Time for another new arena deck I’ve been toying with – this one a Diamond/Ruby/Sapphire human PvE deck that packs a lot of power and is a lot of fun to play! Lets get straight to it.
Wrath of Adamanth
- 7 x Diamond Shard
- 4 x Ruby Shard
- 4 x Sapphire Shard
- 2 x Shard of Conquest
- 2 x Shard of Innovation
- 2 x Shard of Purpose
- 4 x Queensguard
- 3 x Valiant Escort
- 4 x Protectorate Defender (Gem: Major Diamond of Solidarity)
- 4 x Royal Herald
- 4 x Royal Cutblood
- 3 x War Prodigy
- 2 x Buccaneer
- 3 x Azurefate Sorceress (Gems: Minor Sapphire of the Sky, Major Sapphire of the Mind)
- 3 x Town Crier
- 3 x Hero of Adamanth
- 3 x Inner Conflict
- Head: none
- Chest: Bulwark of the Impenetrable
- Feet: Dragon Crest Treads
- Trinket: Grandaddy’s Compass
- Gloves: Gauntlets of the Tireless Watch
- Weapon: Scepter of Nightmares
Things listed in bold are the parts of the deck I consider to be vital – the rest of it could reasonably be substituted for other cards/equipment without problem.
So obviously the deck is a 3 shard Human deck, and the core of it is built around taking full advantage of the perks humans get for using all 3 gems. Queensguard is a nice troop in this deck because it grows pretty consistently throughout the game – it’s not uncommon to have a couple of them out as 3/3s by turn 3, and they just keep growing from there. This makes the AI eager to get rid of them, allowing you to trade for dangerous enemy troops, or to keep them back as increasingly powerful blockers as needed. The Protectorate Defender with the Gauntlets of the Tireless Watch is just flatout crazy, an incredible package for just 2 resources. When you have all 3 shards playing the Protectorate Defender lets you deal 2 damage to a target troop (basically a free Burn), draw a card, and you get the troop on top of it who will go on to buff your entire field every time he hits the enemy champ (assuming you use the right gem.) And this deck has no trouble getting all 3 shards by turn 2, meaning in a lot of cases you get get all those benefits from him on turn 3. Absolutely nuts for 2 resources.
The Royal Herald is one of the ways you’ll be getting all of the threshold you need (you’ll ultimately want 2 of each) and while unremarkable once she’s on the field she’s still good for getting in some damage if the enemy has no blockers, or for blocking some of their troops – 2 attack will kill a lot of stuff in the arena. This might seem like a fairly lacklustre troop after the Protectorate Defender, but that threshold really does come in handy, because it almost guarantees that your Royal Cutblood will be ready to go by the time she hits the board, and this card flat out wins games. With all 3 thresholds available to you, she has Rage 1, Lifedrain and Unblockable and with her trinket she also has Speed. These things are so devastating to the enemy that getting one of the board will probably secure you the win; get 2 out and it’s as close to a guaranteed win as you’re likely to get (I’ve never lost a game with 2 of them in play.)
Last on the list of essentials is the War Prodigy. This guy is pretty impressive by default, giving all your humans +2/+2 once you meet the threshold requirements (and this guy is the reason the Royal Heralds are so important) but with the Dragon Crest Treads he becomes something else, boosting your entire field by +3/+3 and giving them Steadfast. Every troop in the deck is a human so you don’t need to worry about any of them being left out in the cold. Getting all of those different thresholds might seem like a big ask but the deck does it reliably by turn 4 in most cases and once this guy is active your enemy is in for a lot of pain.
The rest of these cards can be subbed out for anything else that takes your fancy if you don’t like the card in question (or just don’t have access to it.)
Valiant Escort is a nice 1-drop that I added simply for it being a 2/1 for 1 resource. I figured that its ability might situationally come in handy (there are a few come-into-play effects in the deck, most noticeably the Protectorate Defender and Hero of Adamanth, and you could also use it to move a more important troop out of the way of some removal) but the truth is these situations haven’t actually come up for me yet. It’s a solid troop, but there are other options available to you. I originally had The Ancestor’s Chosen in that spot, which has the advantage of filling out the head equipment slot too, and they work perfectly well. If you want something more accessible, Shield Trainer or Adamanthian Scrivener are perfectly workable here (you could switch out the Grandaddy’s Compass for the Ring of the White Tower to give you situational Spellshield if you wanted.) Or, if you want to break outside the human typing there’s a whole host of 1-cost troops that would be decent replacements.
The Buccaneer is a classic and pretty much speaks for himself at this point, but pretty much any of the 3-cost human troops would fit just fine into his place. The Vanguard of Cerulea and Vanguard of Gawaine are obvious choices for their multi-colour synergy but any of the inspire troops or maybe the Royal Den Mother would all be worthy replacements. Town Crier is great for drawing a bunch of cards in games that have stalled out – perfect for digging for that War Prodigy or extra shard you need to get things going again but is completely optional and can happily be replaced with anything at all. Azurefate Sorceress is here just because I think it’s a cool troop more than anything. Gemming her for Flight and card draw is what I went for and it’s very effective (it’s good to have at least some fliers for the arena) but again, she is hardly required – her inspire effect is almost wasted in the deck so there may well be more appropriate options. Any of the 4-cost pet-generating troops could work here (Shellsafe Sure Shot, Royal Falconer, Wizard of the Silver Talon) but the Phoenix Guard Enforcer might also be worth considering so that you still have something with flight in deck. Again though – that’s just the humans. If you want to break outside of that you could drop anything you wanted into there.
The final troop is the Hero of Adamanth. This guy works really well in the deck due to the density of humans in there – he rarely comes out smaller than a 10/10 (I think I got an 8/8 once or twice) and having something that’s just huge and stompy like that can really help break through walls of tricky enemies. This is also the one troop in the deck that really benefits from the Azurefate Sorceress’ inspire, and this thing with Flight is basically a next turn win. Again though, not a necessity and can be switched out if you don’t feel the need for a big hitter or have an option you prefer – there are a few 5+ cost humans that could fit in well here.
Inner Conflict is the tool you’ll use for shutting down the opponents bigger troops and with the equipment is very effective. This combined with the Buccaneer and the Protectorate Defender’s ruby effect form the bulk of your control/removal for the deck and it’s been perfectly adequate, but if you don’t like Inner Conflict feel free to change it for whatever else takes your fancy. The last card is the Resource Optimising Infusion Device, whose purpose here should be obvious at this point. You can switch this out for the shardless threshold fixing of choice – it occurred to me while writing this that the Hex Geode may well be a better option just because it’s free and you rarely get much out of the sacrifice effect either way.
As for the Champion, I went with Palamedes since it seemed to fit well, but he’s completely optional and can be replaced with whoever you prefer. Urgnock might be interesting, especially for buffing your Royal Cutblood up quickly.
Playing the Deck
You might have noticed that the deck only has 21 resources. It manages to get away with it for a couple of reasons – the bulk of the deck is 3-cost or less, and the large amount of threshold fixing helps prevent situations where you might be missing a specific shard. Obviously you have to be clever about which hands you keep (especially against the aggro decks in the arena where you can’t usually get away with a slow start) but I routinely keep hands with only 2 resources in using this deck and it’s almost never a problem – I’ve won games easily without drawing another resource beyond those initial 2.
In an ideal situation you’ll have a Royal Cutblood or a Protectorate Defender, one of your 1-drops and maybe a Royal Herald plus whatever other shards/threshold you need to get things going. Having a War Prodigy and all the threshold you need to switch him on is also a great start. Really though, you can get a way with a lot in this deck, so as long as you have a troop and enough resources to get it into play in your opening hand you’ll usually do ok. Even a single Queensguard can rapidly grow to a respectable size without too much trouble.
Don’t be afraid to play your Protectorate Defenders before you have all 3 thresholds open – sometimes you’ll really need to get rid of an enemy troop early and need to drop him with only a ruby, or sometimes you really just need another card and it’s perfectly reasonable to drop him with only 2 of the 3 up. One thing to keep in mind however – his ruby damage effect isn’t optional. If you play him and your opponent has no troops in play, you’re going to be cooking one of your own instead, so obviously you’ll want to think carefully about the order that you play your shards here. This isn’t usually an issue as long as you are familiar with the encounters, but might catch you off guard against the Emberspire Witch, for example.
I mentioned earlier that the Valiant Escort’s trigger effect can be useful for a number of troops in the deck – something worth thinking about is using it on the Hero of Adamanth, which will give you his “+2/+2 for every human in the top 10 cards of your deck” effect again when you replay him. Odds are you’ll never need a troop that big, but you never know!
An interesting note about the War Bot – there are quite a few troops and combinations of troops in this deck that won’t cause it to use its board wipe power. The best example of this I’ve seen is that it won’t do the wipe while you have a Valiant Escort and a Royal Cutblood in play. Since the Royal Cutblood has Lifedrain and can’t be blocked, you can take advantage of this to try and race it out if the situation seems right, leaving the Valiant Escort to hold off its smaller attackers.
The deck has 5 rares in. The Hero of Adamanth, War Prodigy and Valiant Escort all seem to be pretty cheap – I’ve picked up at least one of each for around 5000 gold over the last week or so, so hopefully getting hold of them shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The Azurefate Sorceress is surprisingly expensive, sitting around 300 plat last I looked, but as I mentioned above she’s entirely optional so if you don’t have the cards and don’t want to shell out for them you can swap her easily. The Protectorate Defender is only slightly cheaper than the Sorceress and is unfortunately something I’d consider essential to the deck, so if you don’t already have 4 of them then this will be your biggest expense if you want to try it out.
So, that’s the deck! I’ve perfected the arena with this, it’s got a lot of power in there and deals well with a lot of situations. It routinely stomps over common problem-opponents like Xarlox and as I mentioned above can even deal with the War Bot too. If you decide to give this deck a go, let me know how you get on in the comments, or hit me up on twitter!