Toxic Brew, the Titanium Ladder Killer

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August 4, 2016 by KonanTheBarbarian

This is the origin story of the deck that helped me to reach the #2 highest rated player spot in season one of the official ranked constructed ladder.

I didn’t play much at the start of the ranked season. After a short run to Gold with an AU grow-wide deck I stopped playing for about two weeks until Set 7.1 was released.

(see my Set 7 Metagame Analysis for decks making the rounds at this time)

Exploring an Idea

With new cards in hand the ladder seemed to be the best place to try out new brews. I jumped into UT Poison with Dream Tree, Living Hive, Static Shock, and Stone Brand. While it was certainly a fun deck, it wasn’t really competitive.

Switching over to NU Poison with a similar core, I replaced Static Shock with Scourge Hydra (which has a similar effect) and some more grow-wide options. When it worked it was fun, but it was hard to set up combos while dealing with opponents’ threats and all the 0 Attack cards are horrible when you’re behind on board.

So that didn’t really work either. Some of my teammates tried AU Poison, but got even worse results than just playing a standard AU Control build. Another strategy that came to mind was to build a mono-Uterra Poison deck, where I could splash some cards from other factions. I started with a traditional mono-Uterra build then cut Bramblewood Tracker since he seemed too slow to deal with decks like AT/NT Burn.

From there I added the Poison cards and splashed Call the Lightning

shardplatetoxoid123

Mono-U Core:
3 Enduring Vitality
3 Patron of Deepwood
3 Lifeblood Dryad
2 Scatterspore Eidolon

Poison Core:
3 Leyline Vermin
3 Malice Hermit
3 Shardplate Toxoid
3 Venomous Netherscale
3 Lash of Demara
2 Dissolve

Splash:
2 Call the Lightning

 

Refining the Focus

While the deck was performing well, it had some weaknesses. I lost to burn variants – especially NT Burn, so I wanted to improve that match-up. Some mirror matches showed me how strong Demara’s Pitguard can be in Poison decks since it is such a great way to trigger Leyline Vermin.

When your opponent blocks Pitguard and that creature dies, Leyline Vermin will trigger (even if Pitguard also dies in that combat).

leylinevermin123

I replaced Call the Lightning with Lichmane Dragon since I wanted to play around with this sweet new card and try to beat my opponents with their own weapons (I’m looking at you Indomitable Fiend). The next step was that I swapped out Eidolon for Demara’s Pitguard. I found that I only really needed Lash of Demara against grow-wide decks, so two copies would be sufficient. While Lifeblood Dryad certainly had her role in this deck I often wished for a Ferocious Roar instead of Dryad, so I cut one Dryad as well and added 2 Ferocious Roar. The final list for my Titanium grind was:

Mono-U Core:
3 Enduring Vitality
3 Patron of Deepwood
2 Lifeblood Dryad
Ferocious Roar

Poison Core:
3 Shardplate Toxoid
3 Malice Hermit
3 Venomous Netherscale
3 Leyline Vermin
2 Demara’s Pitguard
2 Dissolve
2 Lash of Demara

Splash:
2 Lichmane Dragon

 

Results and Observations

While my teammates had mixed success with this list, my results outperformed anything I could imagine. That could have been because I was already quite an experienced mono-Uterra player before or that I had some good luck with the match-ups I faced.

The record I had from Platinum to Titanium #2 was 34:1. Yes, I only lost a single game in 35 games – while facing some of the best SolForge players in the world.

I finished the season with an overall winrate of 90.25% (according to my stats) – so for anyone complaining about the randomness of SolForge, you see you can have incredibly high win rates at a high level of play (I usually perform at around 75% so this was also quite unusual for me).

enduringvitality-300What most people (including me) underestimated is how good Enduring Vitality is along with all the creatures from the poison core. Once I had played two Enduring Vitality it basically felt like every single one of my L1 creatures was worth an average L2 creature, so I basically never really got level-screwed.

For example when you play a Pitguard L1 along with a Venomous Netherscale L1 (+2 Vitality), you get an 8/10 and a 6/10 and you put Poison 4 onto the creature opposing Pitguard (often killing that creature and potentially getting a Leyline Vermin on your opponent’s turn).

In contrast to the more grow-wide oriented mono-Uterra decks, the poison deck is exceptional at controlling the board and dealing with your opponent’s threats. It’s incredibly hard to get a positive trade against this deck because creatures with only a few health left will die very fast against it.

Overall this deck is really strong against any Tempys based decks besides burn (mono-N Ignir, NT Move, AT Control, mono-T/UT Raid). It’s quite good against AU/AT Bots and  AU Control is a 50/50, but the NT/AT Burn match-up is quite rough.

It’s more important in PL1 to get at least one Enduring Vitality down than building a huge board. You will usually build momentum very fast in PL2 and once you’re ahead you can often clear your opponent’s board every turn while keeping yours filled. You can easily absorb 60 damage in PL1 (against non-burn decks), so use your life as a resource and kill vanilla (or creatures with only Forge effects) slowly with poison. I also often play Toxoid/Pitguard post combat when I can kill creatures with poison on the opponent’s turn this way.

Lichmane Dragon can be good at times, but he turned out not to be essential for the deck at all. So if you don’t own him you definitely don’t need to forge him or buy the Nekrium preconstructed deck. You can build most of the deck by buying the Set 6.1 and Set 7.1 Uterra preconstructed decks and you basically get all the needed Legends and most of the Heroics for this deck (if you buy two copies of each the deck would cost $22). Instead of Lichmane you could try Aetherphage, Living Hive, Death Current or +1 Pitguard and Roar.

Here is a short video of a game against Outrageous on AT Alyssa:

Two more games including a mirror match against CallmeRobag:


3 comments »

  1. Kaluwit says:

    I’ve played the deck a couple of dozen times and it performs at a very high level. The only decks I have lost to have been Ice Grasp (once) and twice to Nek with a splash. It’s the Zimus’ I’m losing to, tried a few Dragon replacements. Currently trying Wipe Clean as it also damages Grasp critically.

  2. This is really close to the deck I put together that’s been doing quite well. I’ll make a few tweaks to it though. I love your analysis. 🙂

  3. Matt says:

    I use tangle and oxidant spitter to fill in gaps I have in legendaries.

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