Hola, Hi, Ciao, Hallo friends of Force of Will!
I haven’t written a strategy article for Force of Will in a long time, and it seemed like the right time to return to analyze one of the strongest decks in the current meta: Kaguya, God of Cats and the Moon (GOG-078) (or Hanzo, Ninja of the Moon (GOG-050)) Moon!
This deck allowed me to split the top4 of the online tournament held over the weekend, which featured as many as 59 players from all over the world.
First things first: a heartfelt thank you to Converging Wills for the organization. The tournament proceeded quickly without any kind of problem, and I would recommend anyone who would like to try the experience to sign up for the next tournament. The environment was very warm and friendly, and there were many “new” players and lots of different decks.
I hadn’t played Force of Will for a very long time… I faced the GP in Milan during the first weekend of May totally unprepared, just to meet again many people I hadn’t seen for almost a year, and I was eager to redeem myself and try to win a tournament as soon as possible.
The opportunity arose practically immediately, and therefore in the next two weeks I set to work together with Alejandro to conceive deck capable of winning the event.
1. The Wanderer Meta
Before delving into the choices made for the construction of the list, a brief introduction on the state of the format is appropriate.
The Wanderer currently sees at the top a structure of triangular decks capable of contrasting each other, namely Belial (TST-073/Astema (TST-067) (and not Belial/Dante, Fallen Angel (TST-054)) – Kaguya, God of Cats and the Moon (GOG-078) Moon – Milest (MSW-026)/Moojdart (MSW-042) Dragons, as well as countless tier 1. 5/2 that revolve around them, including Isis, Heat of the Sand (GOG-023) combo (in both Milest/Moojdart and Nyarlathotep, Game Master (GOG-081) versions), Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030), Yggdrasil, Malefic Verdant Tree (ENW-068), Alice, Tales of Creation (GRL-067), Odin, God of War (GOG-082) and many others, capable of facing one of the three Tier 1 decks well but suffering terribly from the other two.
Bulding a deck is therefore very complex, even considering the number of cards available and the number of possible decks present at a tournament.
I do not believe that it is currently possible to build a deck that can have a positive matchup against all other decks, but what one can do is to come up with a list by making choices based on the percentage of decks one expects to find, while still risking being exposed to some decks in case one’s prediction does not turn out to be correct.
2. The Choice of the Deck
Having said that, my choice was already leaning towards one of the three tier 1 decks from the first day of testing, but it was not an easy one.
I discarded Belial (TST-073/Astema (TST-067) from the very beginning: although it is a really strong deck, the mirror is definitely horrible and after the GP in Milan I had the fear that many people might choose this deck for the tournament and therefore I felt to discard it to avoid playing matches based basically on luck and not on the skill of the individual.
Milest (MSW-026)/Moojdart (MSW-042) Dragons would have been a good choice, since as of today so many players do not know the deck or underestimate it so much, especially Kaguya, God of Cats and the Moon (GOG-078) players. From the lists that came out of both the Milan GP and the online tournament almost no one was equipped enough to beat it consistently and it would have been as good a choice as Kaguya for the tournament. However, I do not particularly like the deck’s playstyle and consider it a deck on the same level as Kaguya, whose gameplay I appreciate more, and my choice therefore fell on the third and only remaining deck of the triad, Kaguya Moon!
3. Deckbuilding Choices
The rest of the cards are customizable depending on the meta, personal preference choices, colors chosen for the deck etc.
Below I will go through card by card the possible choices to include in your list, in addition to those mentioned above that represent the core of the deck and are unavoidable.
0/4 Wind Moon (GOG-059) / Godly Aura (DBV-023): The two cards are similar, which is why I decided to analyze them together. For one Will They allow us to add a Moon and draw a card, which in combination with Hanzo, Ninja of the Moon (GOG-050) means a free Will. Between the two I definitely prefer the first one, since if we have done judgment we can play it for free, it is wind and especially in the first turns or in the “combo” phase, We need the fire Will in order to be able to play Nyarlathotep, God Devouring Messiah (DBV-096), or it is possible that we can’t access a fire source at all, preventing us from playing Godly aura freely; also it is an addition, so it bypasses Faerur’s Spell (ACN-096) and Academy Guard of Lykeion (EDL-039).
Playing both in the deck is possible, but the slots are very tight, and if you expect a diverse meta, with lots of different types of decks, you will need numerous main slots to respond to the different decks present, forcing you to make a choice between one of the two.
0/3 Geryon (TST-084): I have seen so many lists not play it but in a very diverse meta I find it a must-have choice, especially if you expect numerous Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030) // Violet, Atomic Automaton [J-Ruler] (ADW-030J), being the only card, on the play, that can counter Mariabella, Sincere Engineer // Heart-to-Heart Talk (ROL-013). It has a lot of advantages in mirrors as well, being able to easily bypass Faerur’s Spell (ACN-096) and become a removal on a blocker if needed. Also, Geryon ordered almost always means Game in mirror, since the only card that can remove it is possibly Nyarlathotep, God Devouring Messiah (DBV-096), which can be easily countered at that point.
0/3 Gradius (ADW-022) / Mermaid’s Thunder Parasol (EDL-048): I have seen numerous lists play without removals maindeck, but I do not find this to be a wise choice, especially from a mirror match perspective. Not playing any removals means being exposed to the play “Coin Fiethsing, 100 Years of Wizardry (GOG-047)” every time we are on the play without being able to respond in any way, except for Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian (TSW-094) which, however, is not a real answer. The choice between the two depends very much on the construction of the deck: Gradius is better because even in the case that it does not kill our target, it allows us to make it harmless until the end of the turn, while Parasol allows us to play an almost exclusively blue list without having to introduce a possible third color, with the flaw of losing effectiveness as the match progresses.
0/3 Teachings of the Moon (GOG-085): I personally love this one, especially in full combo lists, but in a metagamized list it finds little room, even considering the actual effectiveness of the card, which is often reduced to making a +1 to the number of Moons we control without the ability to recycle.
0/4 Pricia, Seeker of Friends // Pricia’s Big Show (ROL-018): Pricia is probably the strongest wind resonator ever printed. I’ve seen a lot of lists not play it, and even I was one of the detractors in this deck of this card, but the impact it has in so many matches, both as a finisher and as a toolbox, being able to also fix the top of our deck while also taking at instant speed laurite/fietsing/hanzo/nyarla make it a key card to include in every list.
0/4 Setting the Stage for Providence (GRL-034) / Faerur’s Spell (ACN-096): I have seen many lists preferring in the main Setting the stage instead of Faerur’s Spell, but this choice is preferable only exclusively if numerous mirrors are expected, and in any case it would be better to play a split of both at least maindeck to avoid losing from other decks randomly. Not playing Geryon (TST-084) and playing Setting the Stage instead of Faerur’s Spell greatly compromises the matchup against Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030) // Violet, Atomic Automaton [J-Ruler] (ADW-030J), and could mean a free loss that could cost you a lot in terms of rankings during a tournament.
0/4 Academy Guard of Lykeion (EDL-039) / One and Only (ADK-077) / Shackles of Ice (VIN003-040): Having the possibility to customize the main, it is appropriate to include some key cards against certain archetypes to be used already in g1.
Academy Guard of Lykeion (EDL-039) is strong against Isis, Heat of the Sand (GOG-023) combo, while it loses its effectiveness against Magical Dragon (EDL-064), as it has numerous ways to remove it (even just by exhausting Milest (MSW-026) twice in prestep is 400 damage right to remove Academy Guard); do not try to order it to bypass opponent counters, as you risk ruining your gameplan and losing anyway.
One and Only (ADK-077) is a very strong card against Magical Dragon (EDL-064), and nice against Isis, Heat of the Sand (GOG-023), it can also be recycled in mirrors to destroy the Moons in disadvantage situations. If you expect a lot of dragons and want to have a favorable matchup against them this is the card for you.
Shackles of Ice (VIN003-040) is very strong against Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030) and against Angels, and it recycles well against other tier 2 matchups, while losing effectiveness against combos and mirrors. If your fear is Angels more than any other deck, this is the card for you.
0/2 Bastet, Creator of Cats (DBV-056): I have seen many to play it. It is nice in combination with Wind Moon (GOG-059) and Memoria of Reincarnation (RDE-099), allowing us to draw two cards for a single Will. It is a viable option but I prefer to include Ayu, Multidimensional Wanderer (GRL-006) which has a similar function, but without being constrained to having other cards in play. The possible protection provided by Bastet is not enough to justify its presence in maindeck in my opinion, also considering the fact that without Pricia, Seeker of Friends // Pricia’s Big Show (ROL-018) we will have to draw it, without being able to search the deck for it.
0/3 Dark Alice, Rabbit Princess (DBV-009): Another very interesting card, allowing us to recycle any surplus Moons to draw two cards. I consider this card to be good, but it only becomes really strong when we are already winning, so I feel like excluding it from the cards to include in the deck.
3.1 Other cards to consider for the sideboard
0/4 The Third Boon: Persona, Magic Mask (TST-043): This card is very strong both against Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030) // Violet, Atomic Automaton [J-Ruler] (ADW-030J) to be able to counter Atomic Bahamut (ADW-016), and especially against Astema (TST-067) // Astema [J-Ruler] (TST-067J) and Belial (TST-073) // Belial [J-Ruler] (TST-073J) being able to counter almost any of their plays and especially Vergilius, Rebel against Satan (TST-063), the main problem of our deck.
0/4 Elvish Bowman (CMF-065): Very strong card for the mirror match, being a creature it can only be countered by Fiethsing, 100 Years of Wizardry (GOG-047) or Geryon (TST-084) and allows you to slowly erode your opponent’s resources by destroying one Moon each turn.
0/3 Heavenly Gust (VIN003-049) / Dawn of the Earth (ENW-086): Very similar cards addressed pricipally for the mirror match, but they also recycle very well against Alice Phantasia combo. The first one is only green and thus easier to play, even though it requires Torrent to be strong, while the second one is dual-colored but has the advantage of recycling by drawing a card and always works in every state of the game.
0/2 The Library of Lykeion (EDL-053) / Ayu, Multidimensional Wanderer (GRL-006): Cards targeted for matches against black-based decks, where we will easily run out of hand and allow us to quickly draw resources so we can finish off our opponent. Ayu is a Tales so it can be searched for with And War it Shall Be! (GOG-046), while the library allows us to draw up to 5 cards right away and rebuild our hand in one hit.
0/4 Down the Drain (BFA-035): Strong card against Isis, Heat of the Sand (GOG-023) combo and against Violet, Atomic Automaton (ADW-030) // Violet, Atomic Automaton [J-Ruler] (ADW-030J) and if you want you can recycle it against Nyarlathotep, Game Master (GOG-081) // Order of Chaos (GOG-081J). If you expect a lot of these decks it is a highly recommended card for the side.
0/4 Keep the Faith! (GOG-006): nice card that does not shine, however. The deck is already dense with cards that we don’t want to side out and the side has very tight slots, I don’t see why I should play this card instead of others that maybe have the same effect. It is very nice in combination with Shackles of Ice (VIN003-040) in the match against Angels to be able to recycle any discarded Shackles at instant speed, but let’s say it will be more situations where it will recycle a Laurite, Seven Luminaries Astrologian (TSW-094) or Fiethsing, 100 Years of Wizardry (GOG-047) than where we will make such a powerplay. The question arises though: why play a card that is dependent on other cards, when we can directly play other strong side cards in specific mu? It is not such a malleable card that it can make up for its situationality in multiple circumstances, but I do not hide that it can shine in the most unexpected situations.
0/3 Dinner Time (GRL-041): It is definitely an interesting card to try to go all in with Hanzo, Ninja of the Moon (GOG-050). Basically at cost of 1 Will we will be able to play a very big Hanzo even with one stone and try to go all in and close faster. In a full combo list it is definitely an interesting choice and also in some matches where speed matters, but it exposes us to a -1 in hand in case the strategy doesn’t work. If the deck will stay in the meta and the meta will become even faster surely it will be a good inclusion even in main, but I am not a big fan of this card.
4. Final List, tournament and meta considerations.
After a couple of weeks of Testing this was the list I decided to bring: