Titan, err I mean Ox Songhai is a deck that I think surprised a lot of players these past 2 months yielding not only some pretty impressive displays on ladder but also a first place finish by MunkBusiness in the weekly Ostracon Tournament. The deck operates very similarly to Lyonar’s Alabaster Titan list while also having the ability to run spells. However, after testing the deck with several different play styles and seeing several others do the same – I think we all came to the same conclusion. The deck becomes almost inoperable with the inclusion of spells. This deck wants to be slamming impactful minions on the board or curving out every turn. The MO of the deck (the trial), which is already not easy to complete, becomes that much harder when you dilute the deck with spells. Knowing you’re going to draw a minion every replace means so much more in a deck that wants to thin its hand of minions whose mana costs were already played. There will always be an argument to put Jux in almost any Songhai deck that plays minions but I truthfully feel the deck doesn’t need it. I also want to point out that this deck is not going to perform well for you until you have really made it your own and learned its play style. It took a lot of experimentation until I truly felt I had found the most optimized version that fit my play style so don’t be afraid to experiment with it.
Now, let’s get into some of the intricacies:
First we chose Reva because Heartseekers are always a threat, and they become a 1-mana ping once the trial is completed. The more minions threats we put on board the more we delay our opponent from hitting us in the face.
3x Bloodtear Alchemist – Auto Include – fills your 1 drop spot and pings things, one of the best cards in Duelyst for its cost.
3x Celebrant – Auto Include – Helps you ramp out bigger minions quicker. More mana, more minions, more trials completed.
3x Cryptographer – Auto Include – One of Reva’s strongest 2 drops she can play. T1 readies a Heartseeker while T1P2 lets you play a Heartseeker alongside your Crypto.
2x Azure Herald – Flex Spot – I personally like knowing I have healing in the deck especially in one that isn’t going to win before 7 mana. If you’re going to play around with different card options, start here. (I’ve since replaced these for 2 Calligraphers which have proved to be incredibly strong).
3x Golden Mantella – Auto Include – Some would say this is the deck’s MVP. Strong T1P2 play to take mana tile and place an over-stated battle pet, which is a 1 drop, in the middle of the board. You have now just completed two parts of your trial on turn 1. Good job!
3x Battle Panddo – Auto Include – This card is anti-swarm, anti-heartseeker, anti-eggs, anti-artifacts, etc. We want minions with versatility to fill our toolkit since we aren’t running spells and this card is the poster child for versatility.
2x Skorn – Flex Spot – For me this card is just some more Battle Panddos but with a slightly better body. When played in conjunction with a Battle Panddo you hit everything on your opponents side of the board for 2 damage and that does a lot in a meta full of things that die at 2 damage especially with all the Wanderers and their tokens running amok on ladder.
3x Thunderhorn – Auto Include – Not quite the beast he once was but this guy still threatens swarm decks. We all know why we’re running him though. That sweet, sweet interaction he has once ox has been played where his damage pings everything that touches its target.
2x Sunset Paragon – Auto Include – This card is just a staple in Titan-esque decks. I found it to be nice at two but feel free to add a third.
3x Inquisitor Kron – Flex Spot – For what he does (stalls the game, generates threats, supplies additional damage post ox), it’s hard to find another card that fills this role. However the 5 mana slot has always been home for a ton of impactful cards. I’ve seen people run Dancing Blades and Geomancer in place of Kron and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that – Kron is strong but there are other great options out there.
3x Dustwailer – Flex Spot – It is 2018 and people still aren’t playing around Dustwailer. This card serves one purpose and that’s to extend your range. This card can snipe back line threats/ranged units, hit poorly positioned minions in a line, and also give you a flying minion which allows for some more range and control over the board the following turn if unanswered.
3x Eternity Painter – Auto Include – Would run 4 if I could. I really don’t have to explain why this is auto include, do I? Mass pseudo-removal, mass transform, and develops a minion. Pandas don’t mess around in Duelyst.
3x EMP – Auto Include – Big Daddy EMP, although not as big as he once was, still hits the ground like the nuke he is and can shut down back line threats or dispel buffed minions. Not to mention shake your opponent of all their artifacts.
2x Calligrapher – Auto Include – So upon finishing this article but feeling like there was more to experiment with, I started messing around with Calligrapher and I have swapped out the Heralds for this card as a 2-of. What this card does for you on 7 mana is incredible. Not only does it fill your hand with spells that will almost always benefit you, it also acts as pseudo-removal, pushes for lethal, impacts the board for 10 damage the turn it’s played post trial and, doesn’t have a bad body either. Incredibly strong.
X2 Dagona – Flex Spot – Man does Dagona put in some work. Not only does he EAT a minion, he also spiral techniques something else of your opponent’s. Usually their face. Huge tempo play, rarely can your opponent afford to answer it at this stage of the game and if they transform it then they lose their minion too. Most of the time when you are playing Dagona, you are more than likely completing your trial that turn and then also playing Hideatsu alongside it. Feels strong but definitely not required. It does extend your curve to 8 which allows for some more flexibility in case you don’t draw the one card whose mana you haven’t fulfilled yet (1-7). Also feels good when you drop an EMP on it the following turn – removing it’s only downside.
I know most of these cards look like I’ve listed them as auto includes because of their versatility but really don’t be afraid to try your own brew. This deck is a prime example of one that caters to the deck builder. A strong pilot alongside a strong deck can really show what this deck can do at the higher levels of play and a lot of the community’s strongest players are now starting to experiment with different shells for the deck such as Arcanysts. I personally don’t think there is an optimized version of the list just yet and truthfully this is the type of deck where the definition of “optimized” is defined by the player who builds it perfectly to fit their own play style.