A few nights ago I decided to randomly throw together a Shin’hare deck for the arena to see what happened – I’ve always been a fan of the Shin’hare but have never managed to make a particularly effective PvP deck with them. My results in the arena were much different, however. After a bit of tweaking on my original random hodge-podge of cards, the result wound up brutalizing the entire arena, losing only to the War Bot, and even decimating Xarlox with zero trouble. I’ve spent the last couple of nights tweaking and refining the deck, and here’s the result! The cards in bold are the key cards of the deck that I consider to be vital.
- 4 x Hop’hiro, Samurai
- 4 x Fertile Engorger
- 3 x Ritualist of the Spring Litter
- 3 x Killblade of the Milky Eye
- 3 x Concubunny
- 3 x Disciple of Yazukan
- 3 x Emperor’s Lackey
- 3 x Nori (Gem: Minor Blood Orb of Deception)
- 2 x The Mushwocky
- Head: Samurai Kabuto
- Chest: Robes of Yazukan
- Feet: Mentor’s Slippers
- Trinket: Vial of Fecundity
- Gloves: Kit Catchers
- Weapon: Runt Spear
Finally, I’ve made a deck that can actually make use of Hop’hiro! Those of you with long memories may recall that I had the exclusive reveal of Hop’hiro way back in the murky depths of the past, so I’m super happy that I’ve found a way to use him. Anyway. The key components to this deck are Hop’hiro, the Fertile Engorger, Runts of the Litter and Nori. Hop’hiro’s equipment means that every time he connects with the enemy champion, all of your Shin’hare get +1/+1 (including Hop’hiro himself.) This ability is far more important than his actual trigger effect, although the trigger itself is very useful, and when combined with the other sacrifice effects in the deck you won’t have too much trouble getting him upgraded if you need it. Fertile Engorger with both the Vial of Fecundity and the Kit Catchers means that instead of Battle Hoppers she’s spawning Killblades, and the vial means that playing her guarantees at least 3 of them coming into play. Then, once she has spawned her brood of murderous death rabbits, you play Runts of the Litter – the effect from the Runt Spear lets you bring a 1 cost troop from the graveyard back into play – bring the Engorger back and spawn a whole bunch more. What makes this incredibly effective is that the Fertile Engorger doesn’t lose her counters when she goes into the graveyard. This means that even if you only (hah, only) get 3 Killblades from the first attempt, bringing her back in means you are guaranteed at least 6 more from the second go (3 original counters, 1 for coming back into play, 2 more for the spawn effect to go off.) Not to mention you’ve also got your sacrifice fodder from the Runts, too.
The whole Engorger/Runts setup is ludicrously effective. The AI doesn’t really seem to know how to react to lethal troops – it almost never blocks them (even if it means losing the game) and it almost never attacks into them – so having a huge number of them out is already a massive advantage for you. It’s not uncommon, with a couple of Engorgers or a couple of Runt casts, to have well over a dozen of them in play. And once you start swinging with Hop’hiro to boost them all up by +1/+1 every turn, things will very quickly wrap up.
Nori is the other key piece here. With his attack increasing for every Shin’hare in your graveyard (which works well with the various sacrifice powers in the deck), he can very quickly become a huge battering ram to break through your opponents ranks. I use the Orb of Deception gem, which gives troops that block him -1/-1 because it’s useful for softening up opposing troops who think they can get easy blocks, but that isn’t vital – you could reasonably swap it out for any Blood or Wild gem that takes your fancy. His equipment gives a free Battle Hopper when he comes into play too, which works really well with Bunoshi’s charge power as it lets you boost him from a 1/3 to a 4/5 on the turn he comes into play.
The rest of the deck is really just playing around those cards. The extra killblades come in handy for holding off enemy attacks if you don’t get your Fertile Engorgers straight away, and the Ritualist and Concubunny are obviously great at generating extra blockers/sacrifice targets (a neat interaction here is that the Ritualists give you an extra Killblade from your Engorgers, which is helpful.) Emperor’s Lackey is a great troop that you’ll have no trouble keeping in top condition thanks to all the fodder you have, and is especially helpful as a free sacrifice effect if you need to transform Hop’hiro or boost Nori’s attack. You can also trick the opponent into making trades with him by sending him in weak and reverting him while he’s being blocked.
Disciple of Yazukan is here for a couple of reasons. Primarily it serves as a deterrent for enemy fliers – original versions of this deck didn’t have the Disciple and had a great deal of trouble with them. The fact that you can pop him back out of the graveyard after he dies by sacrificing more troops (or having them die normally, I guess) is a great little bonus too. The Robes of Yazukan are helpful for buffing up Hop’hiro and Nori, especially if Hop’hiro is being blocked out by opposing troops before you could boost him up, but they aren’t vital.
As for The Mushwocky, well, who doesn’t love the Mushwocky?! In all seriousness, it works pretty well in this deck when you need something really big to just keep smashing through your opponents troops (the AI will almost always block the Mushwocky, it seems) or if you need a big blocker yourself and don’t have any Killblades.
Both of the other actions here are optional – I went with Strength of the Redwood to help with enemy fliers, but it’s also a nice combat trick you can pull out if you need to. Noxious Glory is actually very effective in this deck, especially against aggro decks like the Darkspire champion and Zoltog, and robot decks, but its 2 attack requirement catches almost every troop you’re likely to see in the arena, and tricks like Hop’hiro’s power and Nori’s gem help it hit bigger targets too. But again, it’s not completely necessary so you can swap it out if needs be.
If you need to swap out some cards, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. Moon’ariu Sensei is always a popular choice that you could take instead of the Concubunnies or the extra Killblades, or even the Ritualists if you wanted. Rune Ear Commander is a reasonable replacement for The Mushwocky if you need a big hitter and the Minion of Yazukan I suspect would work really well in this deck (I didn’t include it because I only have 1 of them.) Guru of the Wounded Petal is also great here (again, I only have 1 so I skipped it) and classics like the Bucktooth Commander, Shin’hare Eulogist and Blood Cauldron Ritualist could easily find a place here too.
Necessary Sacrifice can work well here, though I’ve rarely felt like I need the extra card draw (the original version of the deck had this, but was dropped for Noxious Glory), and there are plenty of classics like Murder available too if you feel the need. Some combination of Wretched Brood and Hideous Conversion could do well for boosting Nori and transforming Hop’hiro, and this deck rarely seems to take much damage so you can probably afford the health cost if you wanted it.
If you are lucky enough to have multiple Fungal Monstrosities, you might consider using those too as they combo well with Noxious Glory, which wipes out all the Shin’hare Jailors. I only have one of them myself so I was never able to pull it off but I imagine it would be pretty effective, as Noxious Glory would also take care of most defenders in a lot of cases.
Cost wise, the core of the deck is relatively cheap. Hop’hiro is the biggest expense I think, but you can pick him up for the equivalent of about 2 arena runs worth of gold if you don’t want to drop platinum on him. His equipment is slightly more expensive but not prohibitively so. The rest of the base stuff is common and uncommon – if you’ve run the arena a lot you may well already have the rest of the equipment you need as well as the Nori’s and Fertile Engorgers, and the chest piece equipment can be left out without much trouble. Other than that, the Ritualist of the Spring Litter is actually a little pricey, but if you don’t have them you can easily replace them with something else – the extra Shin’hare they generate is great, but not mandatory. Other than that, the rest of the deck is all pretty cheap.
As for the Champion, I like Bunoshi here for the synergy with everything else – adding counters to Hop’hiro, and the trick with Nori I mentioned before are both great, but you can swap it for Warmaster Fuzzuko, which is also very effective, or any other champion that you feel like using.
That’s pretty much it. I’ve had a lot of success with this deck already, and it’s able to quite handily defeat all of the Arena champions (War Bot is a little tricky – I’m currently 2 wins out of 3 against him, but 4 out of 5 against Xarlox) and is a whole bunch of fun to play. It runs nice and fast, and is very efficient since almost everything you are doing is 3 resources or less. If you decide to give it a go, let me know how you get on in the comments or on twitter!