For my next build I'm looking at putting together a construct-heavy bg. This is partially to take advantage of the Repair spell, which is a massive 40 healing to a select construct, and partially because I want a Protectorate bg that can handle the first level of Grimlic's Descent on Hard. Grimlic's Descent swarms you with Ash Demons, Rust Demons, and the occasional Imps, Gahlroons, and Waroggs. There's also liberal use of lava, and the Ash Demons are monsters for Inhibiting champs. Also, the AI pops its champs wherever it wants; so as you're pushing over the river toward its shrine, it can just spawn three Ash Demons at yours.
So I'm looking for a bg which has resistance/immunity to fire, the ability to navigate lava, cleansing ability and healing, high damage, and shrine defense. Is that a tall order? Probably, but there's nothing for it but to try. I'll experiment with a full-faction build first, but I imagine I'd do well to consider mixing; I'm thinking specifically here of adding K'Thir Forest, so I can pick up Light as a Feather for my heavier constructs like Earth Golem and Catapult/Siege Engine. I'd also be able to run two Outcasts of the Flame, which can ignore the Ash Demons and slaughter anything else.
Okay, that actually convinced me to consider the split faction first.
As before, let's start with the full-on list of all my available runes. First, I consider Ironfist options. The fact that Mogaslicers count as constructs mean I'll probably take two of them for mobility alone. Full Plate is also a good combination with Light as a Feather. Obviously I want two Repairs, since they're a major draw for building the deck in the first place. I consider at least one Righteous Deflection and one Hammer Strike standard choices for any IS deck that isn't firmly anti-spell; I also like Glorious Charge because I believe it should give Lumbering units cheaty movement. I'm tempted to also include Strip Armor, since I'll be primarily dealing in physical damage. I may want to come back later for an Impervious as well, since that would help with shrine destruction. If I plant a creature with Siege next to someone's shrine, one turn's worth of Impervious might make all the difference.
Having at least one Nora Mine grants a significant advantage, and this bg might actually be expensive enough to warrant two. However, the IS side is already getting pretty full, so I'm going to try running the deck without nora gen for the moment. Most of my construct pieces are unleveled and thus should be fairly cheap; hopefully once they're in play their resilience will keep them there.
Cuts are tough, and I begin to think seriously about abandoning the half-faction concept and going full IS, so I can pack in more constructs (Earth Golems, specifically, and some siege engines) more healing, and a few hardy dwarves. I'm hoping to make up for the lacking elements on the KF side though, with a focus on range and speed.
Dwarven Mogaslicer x2
The Forest has some ground to cover. I know I want both Seeds of Potential, since it provides healing and a trail effect I can use to build a path over lava for non fire-immune creatures. I can also drop it as a font defender in a pinch, then pick the relic up before it's destroyed and redrop a few turns later. I'm considering a Prismatic Crystal as well, since i have some passive units who can self-heal and use the Crystal to clog an area. I don't know that I have the space for it, though, so I move on to spells. Butterfly Wings got a boost when they added Mobility, which is useful for a shrine end-run. Ancestral Anger speeds my units while increasing their damage, so I'll take that as well. Spontaneous Growth is a heal that can also undo a lava spell.
Where Champs are concerned, I'm looking seriously at range. Given that the map I'm building for does grant a couple Elven Archers already, and I have two of my own, Archer Commander will provide some serious benefit. The Outcasts of the Flame were one of the major reasons I went K'Thir, so I'm obviously taking two of those. Timber Wolves provide a quick boost on the board, though they'll crumple fast against UD. With two spots left I toss in a pair of Centuar Skirmishers; they're a new rune I haven't played much, but they have range 2-4 and several mobility options.
Centaur Skirmisher x2
Elven Archer x2
Outcast of the Flame x2
Light as a Feather
Seed of Potential x2
As it stands, then, the final build is then:
Archer Commander 56/1/13/12/7(8 w/ Faction)/10/38/3-6, Commander:Archer
Centaur Skirmisher x2 70/1/14/11/11/7(8 w/ Faction)/7/42/2-4, Mobility, Blitz
Dwarven King 97/4/14/22/9(10 w/ Faction)/14/58/1, War Cry 3, Divine Favor 3, Melee Specialist 2
Dwarven Mogaslicer x2 69/1/15/12/9(10 w/ Faction)/12/48/1, Damage Aura 3, Rend 2, Charge 2
Elven Archer x2 83/3/13/11(12 w/ Faction)/11/12/30/4-7, Barrage 1
Groble 82/3/10/25/9(10 w/ Faction)/10/42/1 Immunity-Fire, Pulverize 1, Siege, Fury
Groble 86/3/10/25/9(10 w/ Faction)/10/42/1 Immunity-Fire, Pulverize 2, Siege, Fury
Lodestone Construct 57/1/10/18/7(8 w/ Faction)/11/46/1 Blacksmith, Construct Immunities, Pilfer
Medic x2 38/1/5/12/7(8 w/ Faction)/5/37/1 Immunity-Disease, Heal Champion 2, Passive, Immunize
Outcast of the Flame 65/13/11/8(9 w/ Faction)/14/37/3-6 Fire Aura 3, Incinerate 1, Dissipate, Confuse Attacker
Outcast of the Flame 84/2/13/11/10(11 w/ Faction)/14/37/3-6 Immunity Fire, Fire Aura 3, Incinerate 2, Dissipate, Confuse Attacker
Timber Wolves 83/2/10/10/9(10 w/ Faction)/9/24/1 Detection 1, Skirmisher, Timber Wolves
War-Enchanted Groble 61/1/10/19/7(8 w/ Faction)/11/45 Spellswallower, Construct Immunities, Adaptive-Ironfist, Loyalty
Light as a Feather
Seed of Potential x2
I'll run this through the standard testing gamut of four beginner matches, four trial matches; but then I'll be taking it into Grimlic's campaign instead of PvP.