Saturday, October 3, 2009

What is Best in Life?

The ashes were trampled into the earth, and the blood became as snow...

Can we talk about Conan for a moment?

Who doesn't love this movie? I'm not even talking about seeing Arnold at his peak; the first ten minutes of the film are probably my favorite. The costuming, the immersion, the pathos and violence- its a film of films. Then James Earl Jones in a wig decapitates a woman who is holding her son's hand!

Conan is relevant for more reasons than my watching it as I type this. Post my Herald box purchases, I'm in an even better position than before to craft a truly spectacular Barbarian deck (I think). There are a few key pieces I'm probably lacking, but between two Barbarian Commanders and Two Wild Chieftains, as well as one Holy Blade of Valdac I should be capable of some insane melee violence.

It should be fairly clear that this is going to be a purely Ironfist deck. Further, my goal is to cleave almost entirely to Savage-capable creatures (though I may not actually train Savage on them) due to the thematic benefits of running mostly Barbarians.

A quick update of the runes I'm considering for the concept:

Barbarian Commander x2
Barbarian Shaman x2
Conscripted Warrior x2
Groble x2
Interrogator x2
Mountain Sentry x2
Plains Savage
Savage Shieldman x2
Savage Wolf x2
Tundra Barbarian x2
War-Enchanted Groble
Wild Chieftain x2

Barricade x2
Consecrate the Earth
Earthquake x2
Glorious Charge x2
Hammer Strike x2
Open the Earth x2
Restore Life
Righteous Deflection x2
Smite Enemy
Strip Armor
Unobstructed View

Failed Amplifier
Guard Tower x2
Ironfist Standard (Virtual)
Merchant's Quarter
Nora Mine x2

Axeman's Fate x2
Full Plate Armor x2
Heavy Crossbow x2
Holy Blade of Valdac

The major distinctions between the dwarf and barbarian portions of the Ironfist Faction seem to be speed and damage, especially with the introduction of the Savage ability; this ability costs 15 experience, reduces the creature's nora cost by five, and strips them of all other powers should I find myself controlling a dwarf. Other than someone potentially getting clever with a UD or UD/IF deck (finding some way to control no demons with a Scorched Dwarf in play would stick me with the dwarf on my turn and thus shut off all my creatures' powers), Savage is a deckbuilding decision. I think that I have sufficient quality barbarians to make a run at the deck concept, though I will be lacking ranged attackers since I don't have any Barbarian Archers and traded down to one completely un-leveled Terraformer. I can counter that somewhat by using both of my Heavy Crossbows, though it's difficult to make the choice to include the current iteration of that equipment because I remember how good that they used to be. I could also make use of the Siege Engine sitting in my collection.

There are a few runes which seem like automatic inclusions in any barbarian deck I would make: Barbarian Commanders, Wild Chieftains, Barbarian Shamen, Savage Wolves, and the Holy Blade of Valdac. The Commanders have been an extremely powerful Ironfist card since I started playing, and the presence of one on the battlefield provides significant increase to the quality of all my other champions. The Chieftains are the new freshness in terms of making the idea of a barbarian deck viable in the first place. In addition to being melee threats in their own right, the Chieftains can grant a given barbarian 8 Action Points., alongside Berserker 3 (which is +3 Attack/Damage and +2 Speed). The Shamen aren't as exciting as the other runes, but they provide non-physical damage, range greater than one, and healing. The Savage Wolves are intended to function inside a barbarian deck; they're fast, have multi-targt ability in Pounce, take reduced damage and inflict impressive damage with each attack. An un-leveled Savage Wolf has more health than the Tundra Barbarian, which is uncommon, and actually has a better defense once you factor in Tough (takes one fewer damage from everything). Their ability to train Violent seems less useful in a full-faction Ironfist deck, because there aren't going to be many beasts in play. However, between the Houndmaster and possible inclusion of Mountain Sentries for detection, I think its an ability that may be worth training. The Holy Blade is also intended to function in a barbarian deck, though it's not explicitly terrible in other decks. The ability to turn it into a relic producing a Hallowed Ground effect provides limited healing (though that won't help most of the runes in this deck) and persistent damage against demons and undead. However, giving a barbarian's melee attacks an ongoing damage component is probably more useful.

I'd like to supplement those core runes with the Conscripted Warriors, less because they're an extremely cheap barbarian than because I view them as an Unsummon- if I can maneuver my damaged units to be closest to the deployment zone, popping them out of play for a partial refund and short cooldown is much better than having them die. The Plains Charger is awesome, and I'd love to have two of them as well as a brace of Renegades; if I enjoy playing the deck I'll probably pursue the necessary trades. My Grobles are all strong units in their own right, and provide fire defense and, in the case of the War-Enchanted Groble, more non-physical damage.

The main spells I see wanting are pretty standard; Righteous Deflections and Hammer Strikes help mitigate the threat I face from ranged opponents. Strip Armor is either a kill spell or helps to mitigate Resistance- Physical on my opponents. Glorious Charges also increase the range and flexibility of my band. My quick initial build comes out extremely high on creatures, which is probably acceptable. However, I strip out the Interrogators to add a pair of Nora Mines. This leaves me with 13 barbarians and 19 champions (two of which, the Conscripts, I really consider spells similar to Infest). There are other runes that don't make it into the build but might prove useful if I changed direction, specifically my Failed Amplifier and Guard Towers.

However, the starting build for the deck is:

Champions Name/Cost/Level/Attack/Defense/Speed/Damage/HP/Range

Barbarian Commander x2 92/5/11/20/11/13/50/1
Battlemaster 3, Block 1, Enrage 3, Fearless

Barbarian Shaman 74/2/9/14/10/8/45/1-2
Heal Champion 2, Chain Lightning, Bravery

Barbarian Shaman 84/3/9/14/11/10/45/1-2
Heal Champion 2, Chain Lightning, Bravery

Conscripted Warrior 57/1/11/14/8/10/45/1
Defensive Stance 3, Reinforce

Conscripted Warrior 71/2/11/14/9/10/45/1
Defensive Stance 3, Reinforce, Block 1, Riposte

Groble x2 86/3/10/25/9/10/42/1
Immunity- Fire, Fury, Pulverize 2, Siege

Houndmaster 86/4/10/18/11/11/50/1
Camouflage, Summon Beast 3, Lay Trap-Frost 1, Drive, Savage

Mountain Sentry 54/1/9/9/9/7/35/1
Flight, Detection 3, Sentry

Plains Savage 79/1/14/19/9/12/50/1-2
Charge 2, Heavy Charger, Trample

Renegade 60/2/15/10/9/9/44/1
Melee Specialist 2, Exertion 1, Brutality, Savage

Savage Shieldman 67/1/11/18/9/10/47/1
Block 1, Shield Allies, Shield Throw

Savage Shieldman 69/2/11/18/9/10/51/1
Block 1, Shield Allies, Shield Throw

Savage Wolf 68/1/18/13/11/11/47/1
Rend 1, Pounce 1, Savage, Tough 1

Savage Wolf 64/1/18/13/10/11/47/1
Rend 1, Pounce 1, Savage, Tough 1

War-Enchanted Groble 80/3/10/19/8/11/47/1
Resistance-Physical 2/Fire 3, Spellswallower, Construct Immunities, Adaptive-Ironfist, Loyalty

Wild Chieftain 70/1/21/14/8/12/51/1
Berserk Attack 2, Incite Rage

Wild Chieftain 79/1/21/14/9/12/51/1
Berserker 3, Berserk Attack 2, Incite Rage


Glorious Charge
Hammer Strike x2
Restore Life
Righteous Deflection x2
Strip Armor


Nora Mine x2

Heavy Crossbow
Holy Blade of Valdac

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