Galeru’s Control Ziran Deck Tech

Hello, reader. Recently I have caught the attention of some in the Duelyst community by hitting a 6-0 record in the first 2 weeks of the Meltown League (which you should join, if you have not already). The decklist I used is Healyonar with Zir’an. The list has raised some eyebrows both because of the inclusion of a certain 3 drop and because of the deck’s play style. IceyFire suggested I write something about the list, which I think is a good chance to prove that I am not crazy. πŸ™‚ Also, it would be great if some of my favourite cards become more popular.

Galeru.png

Deck Introduction

Basically the game plan is like this:
– look to out-tempo the opponent early on
– keep your hand size healthy with Sterope or Oath
– keep controlling the board with Sunriser, Vitriol and True Strikes and chip away enemy health
– if it goes on too long and you have not won yet, slam Orbo to turn your early-game tempo cards and True Strikes into late-game bombs and win that way πŸ™‚

What I like about this deck is that it seems as if it never hopelessly loses and keeps the games interesting. πŸ™‚ So you have that. It is probably not the best. It is decent and it does not hopelessly lose…

Card Picks

HEAL EFFECTS:

– Sunrise Cleric, Azure Herald, Healing Mystic
These cards act as your opening turn plays

– Scintilla
I almost always replace it in the opening hand and early turns (except if I don’t have the stronger 3 drops to play). Very good in the late game as a double heal proc. Also helps keep you alive versus aggro.

– Sundrop Elixir
I like having a 1 mana heal proc. Since deck has good card draw, I think it can afford running this. I used to run Sanctify instead which is a good tempo card, but I find that immediate heal proc instead of end-of-turn proc is often crucial.

HEAL SYNERGIES:

– Sunriser, Gold Vitriol
Pretty self-explanatory. Removal, face damage/finishers and threaten continuous value. When using both of those at the same time, keep in mind that the Vitriol ALWAYS seems to hit the target that Sunriser would clear anyway… πŸ™‚

– Sun Sister Sterope
One of my favourite cards in all of Duelyst. I feel it should find its place in more Zir’an decks. Offers card draw, threatens continuous value. The body is not great, so it is prone to being removed – however I am rarely punished for playing it. You get rekt by Draining Wave and also Lava Lance (so replace it against Zabiool, otherwise Progenitor + Lance = gg) but those are fairly rare. Best way to play around removal is try to gain value in the same turn you play it.

TEMPO CARDS:

– Silverguard, Sellsoul
Strong 3 drops that can hit for a lot and good targets to recieve healing. Sellsoul also good at dodging Magmar removal. Do not be afraid of Sellsoul damaging you when dying, if it hits once and you heal it back you have already profited off him (also you have plenty of healing to recover). Be careful when playing Sellsoul with your artifact on, if it dies it will take one tick off.

– Draining Wave
Solid removal, very strong tempo gain. What I love the most about this card is that it opens you up for receiving healing in the early turns and kickstart your Sterope or Vitriol engine. Do not haste to replace this in the late game because of the 4 dmg to face – often you will see good targets that would do that damage anyway πŸ™‚ (or even more)

OTHER:

– Aperion’s Claim

This fits into “refusing to lose hopelessly” mentality of the deck. I think it is enough to have 2, because the card draw is good and you will consistently see them by the late game

– Trinity Oath

Serves as card draw and heal proc. I like to always have at least one card draw in the opening hand, makes me feel safer πŸ™‚ and I mulligan so that I have either this or Sterope. Ideally, Sterope is better earlier, because it is a draw engine and a threat that needs to be removed. Trinity Oath is awesome, BUT it is a tempo loss after all. So, I try to use Sterope draw engine in the early and mid-game and Oath in the late game when you have enough mana to combine it with heal synergies and mitigate the tempo loss.

Notable Exclusions

These are the cards I most often get asked about excluding:

Sunforge Lancer

I did run it in this deck for a long time, as I also thought a Zir’an deck without Lancer is blasphemy. Still I am not sure if the Lancer-less version is the optimal way, but it is doing good so I am sticking with it.

Here is my reasoning:

– I do not need to hit with face all the time. I feel just as comfortable at long range especially if I set up Sterope or Vitriol
– strong 3-drops like Silverguard and Sellsoul that can do dirty work and provide me a target for BBS and other heal effects, turn out to be better for me
– bonus attack on the general is not always useful because people tend to develop their threats out of your range anyway
– Silverguard and Sellsoul do not force me to use my heal procs when I drop them and I save heals for my other heal synergy cards that I think are more consistent
Holy Immolation, Sunstrike, Lucent Beam, Circle of Life, Tempest are all very powerful cards in my opinion, but I don’t think they are optimal for this deck and this is my reasoning:

Holy Immolation

Sometimes you will get that sweet play of hitting face with a minion, cast Holy Immolation on it and clear board, take a huge chunk of the opponent’s HP and win off of that. But that opportunity does not come by often, because your opponent is not going to let you do that. You threaten to get value from a minion hit anyway because you can heal them back, and if they can’t clear your board they will not let you get even a hit, let alone a Holy Immolation play. So the best Immo that you can count on is: play a minion from your hand in a good spot for Holy-Immolating (most likely a 2-drop) and Immo to hit opponent’s face and one or two other targets. But, then what? You have left only a 2 drop that does nothing which is likely going to get cleaned up and your opponent has breathing room to develop their stuff. The 2 drop is not even developed in an optimal position because its position is forced by the Immolation play. Also, you have wasted a healing effect from that Mystic or Herald because you needed to enable the Holy Immo and you could have used it to proc your healing synergies.
Even if the opponent knows I am not running Holy Immolation, they will still need to position carefully because of Sunriser, so I don’t think I am losing out on that.

Sunstrike

It is more flexible then Immo as it does not require a minion on board, and it can also heal your general. But, not only does it do less damage, it is easier to position around and you have nothing like Star’s Fury, so they are not going to be punished for playing around it. Most likely Sunstrike will give you 3 damage to one target and heal 3 HP to your general, which is like casting a Phoenix Fire and an Azure Herald except no 1/4 body, which is not that great. Because it is expensive it is hard to use the heal to proc your synergies. Also you can be forced to position your stuff sub-optimally to gain that heal.

Lucent Beam

Deal 2 damage for 2 mana is bad, so obviously you want to use this in a turn when you can heal and deal that 4 damage. Because heal tiles proc at the end of turn, you must first cast your Mystic or Herald, which makes this basically a 4 mana play, which makes it way worse then Draining Wave in the early game. It is most likely going to be used in the later turns, and at that point it is more valuable as face damage then removal.
Immo and Sunstrike do well at chiping away at opponents health with a very good Lucent Beam finisher (for that Sunstrike + Beam + Beam lethals πŸ™‚ ) you got yourself a very powerful burn strategy. But, I just don’t like burn strategies… If you don’t have enough reach to put your opponent at 0 with your burn tools, you can lose hopelessly…

Circle of Life

Just too expensive. With one 5-mana card, you are not likely to be able to combine that heal proc with your heal synergies. And if you want it for the amount of healing – you have your more efficient healing tools like Elixir and Scintilla, so Circle does not seem worth it.

Tempest

Among the removal I have exluded, I like Tempest the most. In the current meta however, I don’t remember thinking “Oh, man I need Tempests in this” during any match. πŸ™‚ Probably good side-deck option versus Jax Truesight.

Orbo The Ostentatious

Before someone tries this and says, “Well most of the games that I win are over before Orbo drops,” – yes, most of the games that I win are over before Orbo drops, that is OK.
My idea of using Orbo is to try to secure a win in a long game versus another control deck. This situation is relatively rare, so this deck probably does not need Orbo, BUT – it is fun. πŸ™‚ I have always liked this kind of RNG effect (like L’Kian or Monolithic Visions) because it calls on your creativity and improvisation skills to make the best out of randomly selected cards.
I do not recommend dropping Orbo turn 1 as player 2. While it is tempting, it will most certainly lose you the game against any deck.
I will always replace Orbo in the opening hand. Two copies is enough as you have good draw. Best targets are True Strikes and your early game tempo cards (Draining Wave, Sellsouls, etc).

If you want to remove Orbo from the deck (while I do not see why would one do that, but ok…) I would recommend putting in another late game tool like EMP, because Orbo’s function is not as a 3-drop but as a late-game tool πŸ™‚

Mulliganing and Opening Turns

For turn 1 as player 1 the ideal play I think is Cleric and make a heal tile in the middle. Because you will most likely want to move general there anyway, this gives you the option to get a free heal proc if you can get yourself damaged, and it can put your opponent immediately on the backfoot because they need to be careful not to put their stuff near heal tiles as you can punch them and heal for free.

For turn 1 as player 2 my favourite play is Silverguard or Sellsoul on mana tile + Draining Wave to clear their 2 drop. This play can win so many games on it’s own – it gives you huge tempo gain, you basically clear their turn-1 play for free, open your general up to receive healing and you can screw up your opponent’s gameplan (like clear Metalurgist or Celebrant and leave them with a dead Dreamshaper in hand). Even if I expect the opponent to drop a more juicy Draining Wave target in the future (like Thunderhorn or Malicious Wisp) I will do this play anyway because by the time they can drop it, they are already way behind. Second favourite play is Cleric on mana tile + make heal tile on center + Sellsoul on center. This denies your opponent from taking center on turn 2 and basically from here everything they do is good for you (if they clear Sellsoul they used up a resource on your 3 drop and path is clear for you to take center and receive free heal proc thanks to that 4 damage from Sellsoul dying, OR even better they don’t clear Sellsoul and you just start establishing dominance). πŸ™‚

Similar to turn 1 as player 2, for my turn 2 as player 1 the ideal play is a strong 3 drop and Draining Wave their 3 drop, BUT keep in mind they will have 4 mana on the next turn and you may want to keep the Draining Wave for that Thunderhorn…

About mulligan and replacing in the early turns, this is what I would suggest:

– always keep Draining Wave πŸ™‚
– keep one draw engine – Sterope or Oath (as I said above, I like Sterope early and Oath later)
– keep a strong 3 drop (Silverguard or Sellsoul)
– replace Scintilla early, unless you don’t have your stronger 3 drops – I like to save Scintilla for the late game, I don’t want it as a 3/4 “heal-general-for-3” or 3/4 “do-nothing”, I want it to be a 3/4 “get-2-heal-procs-while-you-have-a-Sunriser-or-Vitriol” and for that you might need a lot of mana and it would be nice if your BBS is up on the following turn so it pressures the opponent to clear it
– try to keep balance between heal synergy and heal effect cards, obviously you don’t want only one of those types, you need a little bit of each πŸ™‚ replace based on your matchup

Matchups and Sideboarding

As I said in the introduction, I think this deck does not hopelessly lose to any other deck, so winning or losing will be mostly up to the pilots and Heart of the Cards. πŸ™‚ And that is how I like my decks to be, I like to have control over whether I win or lose (or at least feel like I have control, haha). I don’t mind losing as long as the games are good. You will be looking to out-tempo slower decks that you cannot out-value in the late game (like Fault, Titan, Xor-Xuul, Ebon Ox…) and to survive and out-value faster decks (Aggro Revas, Aggro Cassys, Burn Zir’ans…). And for the Wanderer match-up you have the ability to both out-value them (because they don’t have consistent removal, you can wreck them with Vitriol or Sterope) or out-tempo them depending on how the game plays out and depending on your draws and their draws. However, since Wanderer is a strong deck, it will not be easy either way πŸ™‚

Since the deck is not too fast and it is not too strong late game, I think there are also no heavily favourable match-ups, except maybe burn decks because of the ton of healing.

So, exactly which match-ups are favourable and which are not – it is pretty difficult for me to say, because of how the deck is made and because there is a lot of different decks now in the game and I don’t keep a log or anything…

There is the traditional weakness of Lyonar decks against big minions, so your most unfavourable match-ups are probably Vetruvian with Obelysks, Lyonar with Ironcliffes and Arcanysts with Owlbeast. Because of those I like Paragons, EMPs, Claims and Nightwatchers. I maindeck Claim because it is the universal solution, BUT it will skip your turn and develop nothing. Paragons are good for big things in your face like Wanderers or EMPs. EMP is good with Arcanysts and Obelysks. If I must side in something, the first candidates to be sided out are Orbos 😦 then Claims and if I am increasing my curve I would cut some of the draw cards like cut 1-2 oaths or 1-2 Steropes.

Other Advice

– True Strikes are very good, especially in multiples. Very mana-efficient damage-based removal tools (think of them as 1 mana-2 dmg, 2 mana-4 dmg, 3 mana-6 dmg, etc, and all that damage is distributed however you want!)

– Keep in mind you can heal opponent’s minions to get heal procs

– Keep in mind you can damage your minions with True Strikes and heal them with BBS or move on heal tile to gain additional procs

– When positioning your minions and general try to keep them in moving range of healing tiles, you never know if you will need them

– When making multiple healing tiles, think about keeping them in moving range from one another – this would kind of expand your zone of control as you can move stuff around the field and not lose the healing procs

– Keep yourself damaged! This is very important, I see people all the time try to maximize healing effects. While this looks like a good move, keep in mind that this can lock you out of your healing synergies! It is better to be at 22 then 25. For example, if you are about to heal from 24 to 25 think about stepping away from the heal tile, so you have that option on the next turn (one additional True Strike or Sunriser proc can make a big difference)

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