Crushing Broodqueen: Stasis Warden’s Time to Shine

19

September 4, 2014 by KonanTheBarbarian

Last time updated October 8

Even before the recent World Championship Qualifier (WCQ) the constructed tournament queues were full of Nekrium-Uterra (NU) lists, which all had one card in common – Dysian Broodqueen. In the WCQ fourteen decks in the Top 16 were variants of NU Broodqueen (Top 16 Aug WCQ Decklists) which gave this archetype another huge boost.

Dysian Broodqueen creates strong synergies with threats like Grimgaunt Doomrider, Nefrax, the Soulweaver, and support cards like Aetherphage, Xithian Direhound and Tarsus Deathweaver (to name a few).

Broodfang, the snake token Broodqueen produces, can often kill creatures by itself (especially in combination with Tarsus Deathweaver).

If left unattended Broodqueen’s activated ability can take out another threat while feeding a Grimgaunt Doomrider. It can be pretty nasty to play against.

 

Did I mention I hate mirror matches!?

 

broodqueen-end-the-madness-poster2I played the NU mirror a few times and got sick of it fast. In a forum thread full of complaints about all the NU decks, pwndnoob – who ranked fourth on Aug 27 Official Leaderboard with an 83.9% win rate in Constructed Tournaments – piped up and said he got it done with an Alloyin-Tempys (AT) Stasis Warden deck. He didn’t post a decklist, but I knew this archetype by heart from Set 2 and immediately started brewing.

Check out pwndnoobs Stasis Warden Primer which he wrote after getting a Top 16 finish in a major tournament after the release of Set 2. His updated list differs from mine and I think he misses an important card, which you’ll see later.

 

Why should I play AT Stasis Warden?

 

stasiswarden2artThis is easily one of the most complicated decks to pilot. The smallest mistake can cost you the game and to make things worse – the deck has so many spells that every once in a while you’ll open the game with a serious handicap.

The upside is that AT Stasis Warden has an extremely strong late-game. Nobody out-stalls a Stasis Warden deck – not even Killion, Infinity Warden, himself.

In a recent match my opponent was able to level five extra cards in Player Level 1 (PL1) with the help of Oratek Warhammer and Oratek Battlebrand in an AT deck. However, he didn’t deal a threatening amount of damage in PL1 and I was able to stabilize in PL2 even though he played seven (yes seven!) L2 cards. In PL3 I proceeded to remove every single L3 he played (except for a Cindersmoke Wyvern 3 that survived for a turn with three health). I survived to win it with twelve health.

If you reach PL3 intact you have probably won already. It doesn’t matter how many leveled cards your opponent draws because you can usually remove all his threats while protecting your own creatures with defender. An active Ghox 3 on your board will almost surely carry you to a win.

Surviving on three health

Stabilize at three health and keep on burning!

Stasis Warden is fun to play because each turn is a new puzzle. With Set 3, new tools (Oratek Battlebrand, Burnout) make the deck more reliable than ever. The counter that caused the most trouble for Stasis Warden – UT Yetis (the defender crushing archetype)  – isn’t played anymore in Constructed because of the NU Broodqueen decks. To prove that this deck is really working I piloted it to an 81.3% win rate in the Constructed Queue this week (See: Tournament Leaders – Sept 2), tied for best win rate on the week.

When this article was written, roughly 70% of the decks in the Constructed Queue were NU Broodqueen decks. You can get a certain satisfaction knowing that this deck drives these opponents crazy – your turns will take longer because you draw extra cards and have so many options that it takes time to figure out the optimal play. In the beginning you may even find the deck frustrating to pilot. Don’t start a constructed tournament right away because it takes some practice to play the deck successfully.

 

How hard is it to assemble this deck?

 

The deck “only” requires six legendary rarity cards (Ghox, Metamind Paragon and Ironmind Acolyte). If you buy three copies of the Ironmind Intuition precon deck you will get the core you need for $30. The deck isn’t tuned to be cheap – it is simply the best available build.

The heroics that you need are Flamebreak Invoker and Static Shock. If you don’t already have playsets you can craft them by buying silver with gold (in the in-game store) and crafting them in the deckbuilder (roughly $3 for each heroic).

The rest of the cards are all rares and commons that are very easy to get.

 

Enough talk! Where is the decklist?

 

ghox1art-tiltLet’s start with the core of the deck. You need all the creatures listed below – mine and pwndnoob’s lists don’t differ here.

I initially started with Metamind Overseer in my list, but I found him very underwhelming. Even if I drew him with perfect timing I rarely had an opportunity to play him at the end of the player level. I also started off with three copies of Glacial Crush, but more often than not I ended up removing my opponent’s threats with burn spells and Flamebreak Invoker, so I decided to cut one Glacial Crush. Although this is a Stasis Warden deck I also decided to include only 2 Stasis Warden. In general I have found that I only want to level 1 Stasis Warden in PL1 and I don’t want to have 2 more under leveled copies of them in my deck.

Core cards:

3 Ghox, Metamind Paragon
3 Ironmind Acolyte
2 Stasis Warden
3 Flamebreak Invoker
3 Static Shock
3 Oratek Battlebrand
3 Energy Surge
3 Burnout
2 Glacial Crush

Let’s look a little more closely at the core cards that come from Set 3.

battlebrand1-cropOratek Battlebrand – AT Stasis Warden is competitive in Set 3 because of this card. It removes your opponent’s threats and hopefully levels your Energy Surges, which, along with Ghox, are the engines that help get your combos going.

Burnout – You can use this spell as an underdrop that you sometimes have to play in PL1 but prefer to play later when it can thin out your deck. In the ideal case you can use it to take out a leveled Tarsus Deathweaver or Dysian Broodqueen. It is also a great answer to your opponents underdrops in PL1 like Scatterspore Eidolon.

 

Flex Card Considerations

 

There are still four cards missing and I have tried various combinations of mostly spells that could fit into that slot. You can try different things for the flex slots and might find something more effective.

Perilous Insight – You need cards to level your Energy Surges and this one definitely helps you with that. One copy is fine because you often can’t afford to play it or don’t draw it along with Energy Surge and it shouldn’t clog your deck. This deck can sometimes also be low on Alloyin Cards for the Allied trigger on Oratek Battlebrand and I wanted at least one Alloyin card in my flex slots.

Cypien Augmentation – doesn’t help your game plan and sometimes you can’t play to the center lane (e.g. if there is a Broodqueen snake that you can’t remove).

Aerial Surge – was surprisingly effective because it triggers both Stasis Warden and Flamebreak Invoker and Mobility can also help in certain situations (e.g. to crash your gnomes into your opponents creatures). I tried two copies and then moved back to one copy, because you can’t run too many must level cards.

Energy Prison – Don’t bother trying this one. It’s level gated and doesn’t remove your opponent’s threats like Dysian Broodqueen.

Uranti Bolt – This seemed like a no brainer, but I’m actually a little torn on it. It’s one of those cards that you sometimes don’t play for three matches and in the next game it saves your ass. I almost never level it in PL1 since Burnout can nearly do the same job as the L2. Uranti Bolt is uniquely an enabler for Glacial Crush in PL2/3, but often you don’t even need it.

Flame Lance – Flame Lance is definitely a good Uranti Bolt replacement and can be used as well. It’s a little more reliable in PL1, but doesn’t help as much later. If you struggle in PL1 give Flame Lance a try.

Aetherforge Oracle – I have tried her and didn’t like her. The problem is you only need her only to level energy surges and from then on your left with a card that you don’t want to draw.

Everflame Phoenix – If you are falling behind too fast Phoenix can help, but often more spells are better.

Iron Maiden – If the meta contains lot’s of lategame decks Iron Maiden is definitely worth a second look. Don’t include more than 1 copy.

Killion, Infinity Warden – After having the chance to toy around with Killion it seems like he is definitely worth running him. He is simply the best option when it comes down to leveling your energy surges and is also great in PL1 if you couldn’t play Ghox, Flamebreak or Stasis Warden in PL1 so far.

My final decklists runs 2 Uranti Bolt, 2 Killion, Infinity Warden and 1 Iron Maiden, because AT decks became much more popular recently.

AT Stasis Warden

 

stasiswarden1-art23 Flamebreak Invoker
3 Ghox, Metamind Paragon
3 Ironmind Acolyte
2 Stasis Warden

3 Burnout
3 Energy Surge
3 Oratek Battlebrand
3 Static Shock
2 Glacial Crush
2 Uranti Bolt
2 Killion, Infinity Warden
1 Iron Maiden

 

Play Guide

 

AT Stasis Warden is a control deck and it’s not very fast, but has an incredible late-game. In PL1 and PL2 you try to keep the board clear while leveling your threats. One of your main priorities should be to level one Energy Surge each Player Level. Along with Static Shock it’s the main engine for your deck. It’s also important to get your Static Shocks leveled in this deck although this often comes naturally.

Screenshot_2014-09-01-23-46-58

Spot the board clearing play?

Typically you play one creature and one spell per turn in PL1. You can also ignore creatures that are vanilla creatures once they hit the board (e.g. Weirwood Patriarch, Aetherphage), but you should try to remove your opponents threats (e.g. Dysian Broodqueen, Grimgaunt Doomrider, Tuskin Sporelord) as soon as possible. Of course it can often be smart to play two creatures, but usually you can only afford that against slow decks or when your’re going second in PL1.

optimalDraws1

Before: Even board, great hand

I prefer Flamebreak Invoker over Stasis Warden against NU decks, since he often prevents the deck from snowballing in PL1 and helps to clear the board (although I still like to level one Stasis Warden). If your opponent’s deck isn’t that aggressive then Ghox and Stasis Warden is also an awesome combo in PL1, since Stasis Warden’s ability can protect Ghox and give you extra triggers for Ironmind Acolyte.

If you should play Ghox over Flamebreak Invoker (e.g. on an nearly emptpy board in PL1) depends on how many Static Shocks and how many Irondmind Acolyte are remaing in your deck. The second consideration is (besides the board position) your opponents deck – is he likely to play an Aetherphage next turn? Probably play the Flamebreak. With this deck it is very important to check the remaining cards in your deck regularely and try to guess what your outs are and soon you will see you will win much more often.

Ideally you level 1-2 Flamebreak Invoker, 1-2 Ghox, a Stasis Warden, and an Energy Surge in PL1 and your opponent should be only one creature ahead with your life total still above 70.

Most of how this deck plays in different situations is up to practice. For example, what do you do if your opponent plays a Turn 1 Scatterspore Eidolon and you have the option to remove it with Burnout or play two creatures? Stop your opponent from snowballing by burning it out.

optimalDraws2

After: Great board, great hand

It’s the small things that you have to learn while playing with this list that make it so good. When I lose a game with this deck I usually have the feeling I could have taken a different line at some point, which turned out to be the wrong decision.

If you are eager to learn and are willing to play a complicated deck, you will have a lot of fun with this list.


19 comments »

  1. Kestralb says:

    Thanks for the great writeup Konan! This does indeed look like a really cool and fun deck.

  2. Zigoulle says:

    How do you deal with aetherphase with this deck it seems like im getting destroyed over and over by it

    • KonanTheBarbarian says:

      It really depends on the Aetherphage timing of your opponent. I have found Aetherphage only really hurts in multiples or if your opponents draws them together with Broodqueen (and you can’t take her out anymore). He is a good counter to this deck, but there are also situations where you can simply play two creatures and then play 2 spells with your next hand. If your opponent can Aetherphage you over multiple turn it gets annoying – I’ll grant you that.

  3. Prujan says:

    Can this deck work without Acolytes? I dont have any 🙁

    • KonanTheBarbarian says:

      Of course it will work, but Acolytes definitely make the deck more consistent. You can give it a try, but I think your results might be mixed.

  4. Nix42 says:

    Thank you for writing this article! This is an archetype I’ve always liked, and it’s good to see it continue to be evolved.
    I have one question: You consider going to 3 Glacial Crush, 2 Uranti Bolt, and 2 Aetherforge Oracle against. However, this would make your deck 31 cards: you’re taking out 1 Perilous Insight and 1 Aerial Surge, but trying to add 1 Glacial Crush and 2 Aetherforge Oracle.

    • KonanTheBarbarian says:

      Yeah you have found a small error. My intention were 2 Aetherforge Oracle and 2 Uranti Bolt in the flex slot. I also like 2 Phoenix and 2 Uranti Bolt – I just had one 4:0 run with 2 Phoenixes and one game the 2.4 Phoenix won me the game, but it’s definitely not necessary.

      • Nix42 says:

        Sorry if I’m just being thick, but I’m still not entirely sure what you are saying. Is what you mean that you wouldn’t run 3 Glacial Crush in either version?

        Re:Phoenix
        In the pure Draw-Burn version of this deck, I’ve really liked Phoenix as a card that is good at all times: it has a strong level 1, which can help since the deck’s weakest point is its PL1, it levels strongly, especially with all the card drawing making it more likely to draw an ashes 2.3-4, and it serves as a good underdrop when necessary.

        I’m not sure whether Phoenix fits in the Stasis version yet; I have not tested it very much.

        • KonanTheBarbarian says:

          Yes only 2 Glacial Crushes. So far I’m happy with the Phoenix, but I didn’t play him the week I got the 81.3% wins in the constructed queue.

  5. Pabright1 says:

    A) Thank you for posting this. B) I put together your list and started playing it in the que, consistent with what you said I have been nearly undefeated.

    My biggest takeaway from playing the ques is that Broodqueen is not as completely dominating as I originally thought. Without a doubt, she is still a house and I think the NU Queen builds will continue to be dominating in the ques for a while. That being said, I feel very comfortable bringing my invokers, static shocks, and battlebrands to the table.

    My version of your build cuts the uranti bolt and aerial surge in favor of two copies of Citadel Guard and Jet pack. Citadel guard works great as an underdrop response and I feel that is the weakest aspect of the deck (PL1 & PL2). I am also running perilous insight and have found it to be quite potent in the right situation and a battlebrand trigger in the wrong one. What are your thoughts on running the guard?

    • KonanTheBarbarian says:

      Actually I quite like the addition of Citadel Guard as underdrop – the deck is definitely short on underdrops that aren’t spells. I included Phoenix for that reason, but I guess Citadel Guard works fine as well and ensures the Battlebrand triggers better. To be honest – I think you can use pretty much whatever you prefer most in the flex slots, because the core of the deck is very solid. I think I might give Citadel Guard a try.

      • KonanTheBarbarian says:

        Alright after I have tested Citadel Guard I’m sad to announce it didn’t do too much good to the deck. I think it simply isn’t flexible enough and even after playing it’s level 1 I often just played better cards (Ghox, Flamebreak) over it’s level 2.
        It wasn’t bad either, but I would rather recommend Aetherforge Oracle/Killion than Citadel Guard.

        • Pabright1 says:

          My testing has revealed similar patterns, it has started feeling like deadweight. I was curious whether or not killion would make the cut – good to know, I may give it a shot! Thanks for the update!

  6. Shortfang23 says:

    Casually crushing constructed queues with this list since you put up the article. Just wanted to say thanks for brewing and messing with the list and providing possible answers to keep the meta fresh. I thoroughly enjoy this deck and am excited to see how it will help to shape the next WCQ. Keep up the good work!

  7. pwndnoob says:

    The first two weeks I’ve been 81% and 75% with Stasis in constructed. It really is lethal if played well.

    Independent of Konan, I’ve tested down to exact same core of 26 cards. Impressively, just changed to 2 Glacial Crush and 3 Burnout as core recently.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of people trying Stasis out recently, but deviating from this sort of list. Don’t. Konan is completely right here.

  8. Pabright1 says:

    I’ve been really enjoying playing this deck so I wanted to throw in more commentary here. The cacophony of discussion on the solforgegame.com forums and on reddit seem a tad overwhelming for my tastes.

    My testing has pushed me towards adding a flex spot by cutting a copy of stasis warden. I agree with your analysis that stasis warden is really the card you want one leveled up copy of in your deck and I am noticing a problem with this deck which is getting hands with too many cards you want to play. As a result, I cut one stasis warden.

    Second consideration is for the flex spot category, I just started running metamind adept and conflagrate. Both have added some consistency at dealing with the above referenced problem and both have been crucial in winning games on a couple of occasions. My brother pointed this out to me – that acolyte triggering off of just ghox and energy surge works, but is also easily dealt with (see aetherphage discussion above).

    I hope this discussion keeps adding to the strategy behind this deck because it is a fun one to play (though I imagine more than one opponent has gotten frustrated by the 3 minute turns at player level 3 and 4).

  9. Suirad says:

    I kinda like 2x Killion, 1x Aerial Surge, 1x Seal of Kadras in the flex spots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *