I really enjoy the current FOW climate (unpopular opinion) and how it forces intricate decision making during mirror matches. One single misplay, or incorrect timing can cost you not only the game but the match and I really enjoy that fine line which reminds me of high level chess.
I was given the chance to write this article for FoW Library and jumped at the opportunity to dot my thoughts into words post
GP Gosford and explain what Australian Force Of Will is really like… Except, the GP was canceled with the current events which is perfectly understandable, most would be upset or annoyed they couldn’t play, yet I was contempt knowing that there were still events around the world and while I cannot play them, I can still share the knowledge I have gained through playtesting the New Frontiers format in the past few weeks.
Personally I believe in NF the best archetype of deck to play now is Quickcast Sigurd or Control Sigurd / Black Kaguya.
The strategy of the deck in theory is incredibly simple. You play a control orientated game plan with cards like Kaguya, Sealed God of the Moon (DBV-095) and Defense Stance (PofA-087) until you can force your opponent to make a suboptimal line of play in which you can punish them with the infamous Sigurd, the Covenant King (AO3-082) + Athenia, Deity of Harvest and Corruption (DBV-092) hand loop combo. In reality it isn’t always as easy to pull this off, especially in a format that incentivizes playing cheap and efficient counter spells.
So my question within my playtesting sessions was; How do I progress my gameplan while hindering my opponent’s in a mirror match? Because in truth I am confident that this style of deck aggressively controls the meta game to its own pace meaning. This was the list I personally settled on at the end of testing which will be the first shown as I believe this is the optimal way to play this style of deck currently.
I chose Brunhild (SDV1-005) // Brunhild, Caller of Spirits (SDV1-005J) as my ruler of choice for two main reasons:
The first, is that Dispel (SDV1-007) in combination with a Defense Stance on field and hand is extension of the normal 3 Mana counter play which is Kaguya, Sealed God of the Moon (DBV-095) + Chant of Tranquility (DBV-060) or Bastet, Creator of Cats (DBV-056).
The second reason and the more valuable one is that Dispel is a main deck answer that can’t be hit by Don’t Cheat! (AO2-025) to destroy Curse of Caduceus (PofA-051), the supposed silver bullet card to help dismantle the Sacrificial Altar (AOA-100) shenanigans running around. Of course while last format the white energize meant an incredible amount, it is less so now there are perfect duals in the format once again.
As you can see by the list, it leans on using your quickcast answers with your constant draw, callstone, pass gameplay until you can punish your opponent with your altar plays. Awakening of the Winged Lord (AO3-059) is an incredibly versatile card in this list as not only a spell to use at the end of your opponent’s turn because they did nothing, but also setting up huge lethal pushes with your beatstick Faurecia, the Virtuous Vampire (AO3-067) or even changing back to back haikus for Kaguya, Sealed God of the Moon.
Don’t be dissuaded by the lack of removal, Perfect Loki (DBV-098) can forever be recycled as can your Crystallization (AO3-006), but the game plan is simple, you get to choose what they play and when they play it. The evolution of DBV Green White Control has accumulated to this point and with extra toys out of Prologue of Attoractia I expect the core shell of this strategy finding its way into various New Valhalla Rulers decks to breathe life into them.
After testing this and deciding I wanted to play Brunhild, I then thought about if I played a perfect, card-for-card mirror and how I could get an advantage. There was one option in my mind that stood out as the go to, hand control…
If you have been keeping an eye on the latest set you would know discard has become quite prevalent with the reprint of Lapis’ Dark Storm (PofA-060) and the newest addition to the hand control suite; Dark Alice’s Smile (PofA-052), which while on its own doesn’t hit resonators, but does exile Chants, Additions and even Regalia. In combination with Tears of the Fallen (SDV5-019), your first turn off Energize can rip three cards out of your opponent’s hand which can be back-breaking in long control mirrors.
Information is good and the fact that playing hand control gives you access to know what you’re playing into. This version has an incredibly good going first curve also with Tears of the Fallen + any 1 Mana discard into potentially holding up Kaguya, Sealed God of the Moon the following turn and while I believe the early crucial turns are slightly better than the Brunhild version, your late game isn’t as strong and the fact you cannot run Chant of Tranquility is a detriment, however in saying that you also have an easy way to deal with Faurecia, which last format made a mark all over New Frontiers with how strong she was.
All in all, both of these lists have clear similarities, however their approach to the gameplan slightly differs and that could be same from the other viable rulers that can play the Divinity + Sigurd core and I hope in part two of this article I can show you a few more unorthodox lists that do so.
For those preparing for a New Frontiers GP, I wish you luck but do bear in mind, these sort of decks do exists and while they might tackle the game plan slightly different their end result will be to always make you play sub-optimally, choosing what you get to play and when you play it. But don’t fret too much either, because with tight play and correct decision making you can overcome these styles of decks, and these decks honestly are only as good as the pilot that shows up with it.
I hope this was at least somewhat informative,