Hey guys! Today we had a special event in which the GU team gathered content creators (including me, yey!) to test out the new expansion set and play versus each other, including members from the GU team. We were given access to all cards to be able to try out as many of them to give viewers so a preview of what is possible with the new expansion. They've also given us some deck recipes to try out but I prefer to play my own creations and this is what I'll be going over today. Sadly, we had only 2 hours to build and play, I that time I tried out three different decks and seen a lot of interesting deck ideas from my opponents. I've been fortunate enough to win all of my games so I have confidence that these deck ideas are at least a good starting point for the archetypes I'm going to show here. We'll not go over complete decklists because there wasn't enough time to refine those lists. Rather let's take a look at key cards and ideas that I was toying around with. Okay, let's jump into the first one.
Divine Messanger & Magic
Magic has one of the best favor generating cards, such as Planetar Sage and Blessing of Magic. Paired with a lot of removals, gaining favor comes easy even when you don't have the board control. Ghostly Chariot was a great support card in this deck because reaching 40 favor by turn 7 is easy if you draw at least one Blessing of Magic and casting it on 6 mana, giving you whooping 18 favor from a single card.
We need as many Aethers to give us better chances of activating the Planetar Sage Afterlife effect and thankfully there are some strong ones to consider, including the main one for the deck Divine Messanger. Other Aethers are so good in helping you defend yourself while gathering favor. Planetar Sage and Virtuos Vision have good stats for the Midgame and Aether Vanguard plus Bulwark of the Sky help you remove threats (which gives extra favor) and stall to give you more time.
Funnily enough, I didn't play the Divine Messanger even once, which tells a lot about how well you can defend yourself from aggression. In control matchup, buff from Divine Messanger should also add up a lot of value and plays the role of a pseudo-win-condition that enables you to overwhelm your opponent with, well any creatures.
Hand Buff War
This one blew me away with its amazing performance. Especially when I was able to mulligan for Might Makes Right. Because of that card, you can concede the early game board control and even afford to take a decent amount of damage and then heal up as you play the buffed creatures. Also, since you can, literally pass turns 1-3, Intense Training god power becomes quite useful and if it hits cards like Mountain Raider or creatures with a blitz keyword, regaining board control in the Midgame is a piece of cake.
I didn't really put too much thought in the building of this deck so I went with all of the blitz creatures I could find and the ones that duplicate themselves with a couple of Friendly Mimics. These creatures took almost all slots in the deck and those free slots were filled with relics to help defend against wider boards. Now that I think of it, maybe the better approach would be some board clears but as I said, we didn't have too much time to refine our lists.
This strategy is really hard to stop, decks I struggled with were Deception heavy on sleep effects but I assume Death board clears would be hard to go through as well. Other matchups feel like they are at the mercy of your starting hand, which is why hard mulligan for Might Makes Right seems to be the way to go about destroying your opponents.
Hyperaggressive Guild Deception
Deceptions Guild creatures are just amazing, Switch Duelist, Jinxblade Duelist, Vault Vagabond, Uncanny Rogue, and of course, Orfeos, Champion of Deception are strong cards in general, and Neutrals have also a wide variety of choices, including important ones such as Desert Mercenary and Frumentarii Instigator that help you unload your hand and reload it again with a lot of cards. All of these creatures are cheap and add a lot of pressure, value, and even control of the board.
The playstyle of this that is more or less a no-brainer so my choice of god power was Memory Charm just to it more complicated for my opponent to play around it. A great support tool that I found works really well is the annoying Ludia's Deception that for only 1 mana gives you the information of your opponent's hand and gives you the ability to remove one card that would be problematic to play around and also you get to draw a card. Insane value for this really cheap spell.
A great finisher card and its already on 5 mana, Figure in the Crowd is an easy way to deal at least 5 damage to your opponent's face, it also has flank so even Frontline creatures aren't that big of a problem. I didn't have enough time to test out other aggressive decks but I can say that this will be one of the fastest decks out there that will be viable for the Constructed meta.
Other Deck Ideas
In this section I'll leave shoutouts to my fellow content creators that were participating in this event so that you can see their deck ideas. Other than that I'll mention a couple of those I've seen played against me.
The first one that seemed impressive was a "3-cost or less" Spell Magic decks. As I mentioned before in my reviews of this set, there are a lot of cheap spells, especially 1-cost ones that also serve as cycle spells, so spamming a lot of them in a single turn, almost every turn is a possibility. Because of that, cards like Academy Familiar and Runic Familiar are really strong and can pose as big threats even though they are really cheap creatures. The card that impressed me the most was a relic, Rod of Rodents. A 3 mana relic that can give you a lot of value, and those pesky rats can deal a considerable amount of damage, also they go really well with Form of Unity to create a massive burst to finish off your opponent. With enough refinement, because the strategy revolves around a lot of cycling. This could be one of the most consistent decks out there, making it quite strong and viable in the meta.
The other one was some sort of Afterlife Aggro Death deck. It showed me how Reanimate can be used as a tempo tool, more so than just a huge value generator. With the inclusion of a lot of new Afterlife creatures that summon other creatures, this deck might be an interesting variation to a Zoo type of deck. I didn't see too much of this one but the strategy looks pretty straightforward. Summon creatures, they sacrifice those creatures to summon even more creatures and do it as fast as possible. While this can be a really aggressive deck, with some planning, you can play around many board clears even while continuing to develop your board. I'm not sure how strong it will be, but it looks versatile enough to be a part of the meta at some point so keep an eye on this one.
If you are interested in seeing more deck ideas from other players from the event, I encourage you to take a look at these content creators as well (I'll update this as more content is made):
AlexPax will be posting his decksperiments on his youtube channel soon also.
Cryptoznewb, our fellow Hive member will be updating you on his experience very soon also.
If I find any content related to this playtest I will be updating this list, but this is it for now.
I just gotta say, I had so much fun testing out these new cards and I'm so glad the GU team gave me this opportunity! This expansion seems really great so far and it looks like we will have a lot of things to experiment with and hopefully a big variety of decks viable on the competitive level. After this event I'm ever so excited to finally play this expansion with all of you guys, I hope this day comes soon.
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Thank you for reading!