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Posted: 2 weeks ago, edited 2 weeks ago






    – [DECKLIST #2] THE GENIUS GARDENER (feat. Thieves Guild Fence and full of drawing items)

    – [DECKLIST #3] SUPĀ SAIYAJIN (feat. Dragonstar Rider, Sparksmith, Swindler’s Market and Telekinesis)

    – [DECKLIST #4] MASK EN ABYME (feat. Master of Arms, Dragon Priest Mask, Glass Helm of Remedy and Ring of Namira)

    – [DECKLIST #5] REQUIEM FOR A PANT (feat. Stolen Pants, Sparksmith, Corsair Ship and Telekinesis)


    Hello everyone, I am IN-SITU, a big lover of wombo combo Item Assassin !

    At the beginning, I found Gardener of Swords really bad and not playable (’cause at that time I didn’t see his amazing potential in combo deck). But one day i’ve played against an Item Shackle Assassin with Gardener of Swords and “wow !” it was insane. I’ve remembered that I’ve earned a prenium Thieves Guild Fence in a booster pack, i was very interested by her capacity with draw advantages but i hadn’t any idea to build around until the day i’ve played against these Gardeners. So i’ve begun to work on a combo with drawing items (Embassy Disguise, Treasure Map, Tome of Alteration) and other low magicka cost cards to draw entirely my deck for free. I was so proud of my first successful deckbuilding and being one of first players to use Gardener of Swords / Thieves Guild Fence with drawing items to “popularize” this Assassin combo (without Dragonstar Rider, I prefer specify).

    Since this building, i’ve taken a lot of time to play with and to write a guide on its legends-decks page. Otherwise i wanted to discover more of this combo’s engine that is Gardener (with Master of Arms, Dragonstar Rider, Sparksmith.. and other), so the competitive way of these new Item Assassin decks wasn’t so effective and presentation i do for each deck is really time-consuming. However, i want to show you my work about these decks i’ve loved to build and recently i’ve thought to write a short guide, thereby everyone has an idea of the huge opportunity that are wombo combo Item Assassin decks !

    So, here we are but firstly…

    Who is Gardener of Swords ?



    Gardener of Swords has had his first apparition in the , a promotional set of cards released on December 14, 2016 (coinciding with the first Chaos Arena) :

    Gardener of Swords is a card that provides a new twist on item-based decks. Items tend to have some risk associated with them, because if your well-outfitted creature is destroyed by a single removal card, you’ve not only lost your creature but also the items you put on that creature. Gardener of Swords gets around this issue as two of your creatures become armed to the teeth at once! Perhaps the best part is that any item with a summon ability triggers twice. Want to draw two cards off of Enchanted Plate? Shackle two creatures with Mace of Encumbrance? Or how about silencing two creatures for the low-low price of a single Bone Bow?”

    You can find basics details of him on his legends-decks page: Gardener of Swords

    This Redguard (creature type) has the perfect design for multiple interactions with item deck, as Battlemage for the most played and popular but not only, Sorcerer and more recently with Daggerfall Covenant. He can be effective in some Control way (Sorcerer with control tools, the same thing in Tribunal and Mage with Haafingar Marauder for example). But the majority of his utilisation is in mid-tempo combo (Assassin (with Dres Tormentor but not only) , Battlemage (with Dragonstar Rider), Dagoth or Telvanni with Mentor’s Ring).

    However, what is his rating in Arena and Constructed ?

    For the Arena, the probability to build something around item is hard but it can happen. On the other hand, chose one Gardener of Swords won’t be enough and your victory way won’t depend of him. Gardener of Swords in Arena is a very bad choice from my point of view.

    Whereas in Constructed, it’s another story. On the ladder, Item deck can climb the ranks until Legend, but to stay top 100 Legend i don’t think there is deck with Gardener of Swords. It depends so much of our starting hand and the opponent’s game, it’s too much situational. However, we can find and build very strong Item decks with Gardener.

    About event, it’s not impossible to find Item deck. Indeed, TurquoiseLink has played an Item Sorcerer during (2018) with success, (well even if we don’t see Gardener of Swords… never underrate them).

    Now, let’s see together different decklists of wombo combo Item Assassin…

    CVH testing Pdmd28’s decklist

    In this guide, i want to present you combo Item Assassin i’ve played but even if i don’t play Item Shackle Assassin, i think it was important to mention it in this guide. In fact, Shackle Assassin already existed since the beta of the game (August 2016) but with Gardener of Swords in the collection, deckbuilders (as Pdmd28) have surely created the first version of the competitive combo (Shackle) Item Assassin 

    . Since, this list has been tested by CVH during one of his .


    The aim of the wombo combo is to combine Dres Tormentor with Shackle tools (Paralyze, Shrieking Harpy, Giant Snake, Winter’s Grasp) to clean the board, gain the upper hand and attack safely the opponent. The Item way brings more value for Mace of Encumbrance (with Gardener of Swords but not only, Skilled Blacksmith, Master Swordsmith, Arcane Enchanter and Master of Arms too).

    Since, this archetype has little by little disappeared even if there have been some potential new additions for the deck (Icy Shambles, Cartel Arcanist, Illicit Butcher, Wild Clumsiness), you can find some (ancient good) versions here : Legends-decks.

    I musted speak a little bit with you of this symbolical combo Item Assassin deck because it’s the more famous in TESL, even if i never play it, it musted be represented in this guide. For more informations about Item Shackle Assassin, please check CVH video (above) or the Legends-decks link (just above too).

    Now… here comes the time to present you real special wombo combo Item Assassin decks, with :


    Here is my first combo Item Assassin with like master piece: Thieves Guild Fence !


    The aim of this wombo combo is to draw our whole deck free, but… how to do ?

    With one or more Thieves Guild Fence(s) on board and some Gardener of Swords too, we play item as Embassy Disguise, Treasure Map and Tome of Alteration to draw again and again. The most of our deck is full of 3-magicka cost or less (especially items, which can be reduced by Skilled Blacksmith, otherwise Ring of Lordship reduces the creature type we want) and the rest is composed by 4-magicka cost items (Tome of Alteration) and a 5-magicka cost item (Mentor’s Ring), which can be reduced by Skilled Blacksmith both.


    The way to find lethal is to buff our creatures and more we have Gardener of Swords on board, better is. Because more we’ll have drawing copied items, we’ll easier find tools to kill the opponent with some shots (rare is the OTK but it happens). By the way, the tools are: buffed items by Master Swordsmith, to equip our creatures with aggressive items (Mace of Encumbrance, Tome of Alteration) or face a new time (Swift Strike) with a single buffed creature. Unfortunately it’s not so easy to succeed because generally we’ll need to have at least one Gardener on the board (and enough magicka to play a Thieves Guild Fence and Skilled Blacksmith more drawing items, that’s why Ring of Lordship is really important and helps us) before the combo turn.


    Also, there’s a sweet interaction between Scroll Seeker and Treasure Map. Play the Scroll Seeker once we have a Treasure Map in hand to equip him. Moreover, during the combo with Thieves Guild Fence, if we draw a Scroll Seeker, he will be free and Treasure Map could be it too if we have some Skilled Blacksmiths on the board, so here is a really cheap magicka cost interaction. And instead of to draw a card, we draw an action from these 5 actions we have on our list (3 Shadow Shift and 2 Swift Strike), so following the situation, the drawn action could be played instantly for more drawing again or to install the lethal turn with a Swift Strike.

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    About Swift Strike, it’s a good action against Control deck. The best strategy to turn around these kind of deck is to protect the lethal creature with a Shadowmaster, the turn before the combo, to equip they with full of items and use a Swift Strike on the buffed creature. Don’t fortget that Lute protects our equiped creature from Silence and the opponent can misplay about it.

    The other difficulty is against aggro, that’s why Black Hand Messenger works good, especially because with his Drain keyword, we can equip him with items to gain life. About items against aggro, we have Snake Tooth Necklace and Mace of Encumbrance for the tempo (and in the last case, Mentor’s Ring on a Black Hand Messenger or with Snake Tooth Necklace, but we should be alreay dead before to do this ahah).

    Anyway, for aggro / mid / control we have tools to adapt us (for that Crucible Blacksmith is sweety nice), so we need to try to anticipe the opponent’s game (to know what they could play) and turn around of it to find all the necessary tools for the deadly combo.


    Finally i invite you to watch on demonstration the potential of this « » combo (after a hard evolution since my first time (August 2018), thanks to this deck which was the only deck i played to climb the ladder since rank 5!)

    As you have seen, if we can draw all our deck for free so why do not use Swindler’s Market ? It’s a good suggestion and i will try it soon too! (instead of Mentor’s Ring and Snake Tooth Necklace i think). Moreover, with all these items we draw, we can test the list with Sparksmith and Telekinesis both ! (instead of Swift Strike for example and/or what you want). Of course, it’s not a definitive list and if you prefer to mix other stuffs like them so… go ahead !

    Don’t forget to check the legends-decks THE GENIUS GARDENER | Item « IN-SANE » Assassin page to know more details about this combo !


    This deck is not really a surprise, even if it’s less popular than Item Shackle Assassin, the hiding secret power inside this list is Dragonstar Rider :


    Originally, he’s played in Battlemage with Arcane Enchanter for that buffed Dragonstar Rider gains Charge and face the opponent in an OTK (that you can recently see here with Ianbits: ).

    However, the first Item Assassin version with Dragonstar Rider was played with Swindler’s Market, some low-cost items and Thieves Guild Fence and a special combo between Therana and Ice Spike. You can see some examples on Legends-deck which have been inspired by the version of my homie MrN0b0dy with his Ice Spike Therana Swindler item infinite draw 



    The aim of this combo is simple but assembling the pieces isn’t so easy. Goblin Skulk can be interesting here to draw 0-cost card for each time he pilfers. But once we have Dragonstar Rider on the board, with one or more Swindler’s Market, just play on the Rider low cost items (reduced by Skilled Blacksmith for 0 magicka) to draw again and again for dealing damages with Market(s), until the opponent’s death.

    Also, the fact is that 0-cost Gardener’s item copies don’t trigger Swindler’s Market isn’t value to add Gardener of Swords in the “original” list. It’s important to stress.


    However, i think that the best Item Assassin version with Dragonstar Rider‘s combo is to play with Sparksmith and Telekinesis, because we don’t need magicka to summon Swindler’s Market (and turning around Thieves Guild Fence too) as a win condition. Ring of Lordship is a must-have with Gardener of Swords, especially if you play low-cost Redguard as Crown Quartermaster (or why notSentinel Reclaimer too) who gives us items in more, to play many items in a same round. So, what is the best OTK for Telekinesis with a lot of items drawn by Dragonstar Rider, some Gardener(s) and one, two or three Sparksmiths ?


    My version of this combo Item Assassin deck, with Swindler’s Market and Sparksmith. Here is my combo with Sparksmith.

    Spoils of War is really good in this kind of list, easily played for free during the combo. Moreover, Embassy Disguise is a nice draw’s engine, following your number of Gardener on the board, of course! Goblin Skulk helps up to draw 0-cost items, Crucible Blacksmith tutorizes Ring of Lordship, Luth or 0-cost item following the situation and for more draw we have Thieves Guild Recruit and Shadow Shift too.

    The most bigger issue in my list is that we don’t have tools against aggro. You must trade early threats as we can (with Crown Quartermaster or low cost creature with item as Trusty Sword). But we need to find faster as we can the combo with Dragonstar Rider and it’s for that than Swindler’s Market is useful with his Drain-like ongoing ability.

    Mid-range can be a difficulty too but it often lets us more time to assemble the combo with all our drawing cards so it’s usually a good match up. About Control deck, the strategy is to keep in hand the combo (with Swindler’s Market or Sparksmith, but Sparksmith will be more fragilized by Prophecy removal (Piercing Javelin, Lightning Bolt, Mummify) until the turn where we’re totally sure for the OTK. However we can install the OTK with Lute on combo pieces (Dragonstar Rider, Gardener of Swords) in the shadow lane (depending of the opponent’s deck, if they plays Piercing Javelin or Edict of Azura, it’s more careful to deal the most important damages in a single turn, even if we don’t OTK they).


    My version of this combo Item Assassin deck, with Swindler’s Market and Sparksmith. Here is my combo with Markets.

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    Black Hand Messenger and/or Snake Tooth Necklace could help us more against aggro deck, test version you want to be comfortable with that you prefer. You can remove Swindler’s Market, without many 0-cost items for more Telekinesis. It’s your way ! My list is not definitive and the most optimizied, it’s like with this list that i’m loving to play this combo Item Assassin. Indeed, if you prefer concentrate your strategy around Sparksmith, remove some 0-cost items and Goblin Skulk for items as Glass Greaves, Sixth House Amulet (reduced to 0 by Skilled Blacksmith). Glass Greaves with Gardener of Swords is sweety fun to reduce the cost of some cards in our hand. Well, i hope that these suggestions will help you more to enjoy the combo !

    You can discover my version (decklist above) which mixes Swindler’s Market and Sparksmith, in this short selection of games, on YouTube : (3min30)


    Welcome in a “mise en abyme” (or “placed into abyme”) with Master of Arms, Dragon Priest Mask, Glass Helm of Remedy and Ring of Namira, the killing support :


    I’m working of this combo since the end of the last year already, in the same time than the combo with Dragonstar Rider and Swindler’s Market, but the OTK challenge with Glass Helm of Remedy and Ring of Namira is more funny to explore! And i’ve discovered that this list is played since a long time already while i’m writting this article ahah. We have three old lists on legends-decks: Blackice1937 


    and Thumpasorous 

    (more an old french by Desastre)

    So, you have understood the goal of this combo: Having on the board the Ring of Namira, to summon one or two Gardener of Swords (if we don’t have Gardener(s), it’s interesting to keep in hand one or more Dark Rebirth) and a Master of Arms. But, in order that the combo works, we need to discard before it as much as possible Glass Helm of Remedy and at least one Dragon Priest Mask.


    What are the cards which help us to discard items ?

    At the beginning we had Palace Conspirator (nice value to draw in more) and Merchant’s Camel (to find the essential elements for the combo). With Moons of Elsweyr expansion, Discerning Thief is a really good addition (3/4 for 3 magicka) and has the same ability than Palace Conspirator when she pilfers (and if we don’t have items to discard for the draw, it’s not a problem, the two firsts Gearwork Spider can be easily discarded).

    About items, we have a good interaction between them and the discard pile for Master of Arms. Firstly, with Crucible Blacksmith we tutorize Glass Helm of Remedy or Dragon Priest Mask and after, we discard them when we summon a Palace Conspirator or pilfer the opponent with a Discerning Thief.

    So, how does it happen OTK ?

    We need to have all Glass Helm of Remedy in the discard pile, at least one Dragon Priest Mask in the discard pile too, at least one Master of Arms, one or two Gardener of Swords or the same with Dark Rebirth, in our hand. We need to try to be sure that the opponent hasn’t an anti-support on his hand the turn we play Ring of Namira (which is normally the last turn before OTK).


    Finally, we’ll summon Gardener(s) and a Master of Arms. If we have only one Gardener of Swords and at least one Dark Rebirth, we’ll play Dark Rebirth on the Master of Arms. And enjoy the combo !

    As Ring of Namira is 99% the win condition, I have added one Hatchery Meddler for an alternative win condition.

    This kind of list is a mid-tempo archetype which likes to have many magicka for the OTK. So we need to go turn 12 at least. So, against aggro we could have some difficulties but we have tools to prevent the aggressive threat, as : Gearwork Spider, Shrieking Harpy, Black Hand Messenger and Ice Storm. If the situation is really critic, we must play on board Glass Helm of Remedy with Gardener of Swords, to gain more health and time for the combo. Don’t forget that we can use Dragon Priest Mask on Shrieking Harpy and Black Hand Messenger too.

    For midrange deck, Shrieking Harpy is a good tempo with Gearwork Spider. We need to find rapidly our combo and stay alive until the OTK. Generally Mid isn’t a good match up for us.

    Against Control it’s complicated too because they get tools to remove the support and banish our cards from discard pile (Piercing Twilight / Memory Wraith). In this case I think it’s better to play in the same turn Ring of Namira and Master of Arms. Yeah, it costs 13 magicka but we have 2 Dead Drop copies that we should to use to have at least a Completed Contract. I think that Hatchery Meddler is really interesting against Control. If the opponent has an Dawn’s Wrath is hand, it’s over for us, but if they don’t, we should summon Master of Arms and two Gardener of Swords in the shadow lane and play Hatchery Meddler in the next turn for the OTK (as we can see in this short )

    And Dragon Priest Mask is really a good tool to search elements of the combo easier, especially if we equip it on Merchant’s Camel, Palace Conspirator or Crucible Blacksmith. Moreover, if the opponent kills equiped creature and Gardener of Swords, we will have more items in our discard pile, more we’ll have removed Gardener of Swords !


    Finally, many changes have been done since the start of the building, as Embassy Disguise (so risky combo if we draw more than all our deck…), Lady Syl’s Cruelty is interesting but it adds a new element of the combo, so if there are too much elements to assemble, it becomes really difficult to create the OTK (the idea was to play in the same turn Ring of Namira, Master of Arms and one Gardener of Swords or Dark Rebirth). Dead Drop can more easily help us in this kind of situation. Cornerclub Gambler is a good tool to discard item but she’s fragile against blast and removal so i’ve prefered to play Discerning Thief to be sure to draw and a lot of cards were in testing at this moment (Excavate, Ring of Lordship, Channeled Storm, Icy Shambles).

    Maybe that Laaneth could be a great card in this list to tutorize something like the Ring of Namira or something else, even if we have already a lot of drawing cards (especially with Merchant’s Camel).

    See also  Dovahkiyns Basic Guide to Deckbuilding in TESL

    Here is a selection of some games i’ve succeeded with this amazing combo : (2min)

    Now, Iet’s you to find your best version !


    And finally, here is my last big work on combo Item Assassin, this time the master pieces are : Sparksmith, Corsair Ship, Telekinesis and Stolen Pants :


    The burning combo starts with some Corsair Ship(s) on the board. Thanks to Skilled Blacksmith and Ring of Lordship, summon with low cost magicka Sparksmith(s) and Gardener of Swords (thanks to Ring of Lordship) to play Stolen Pants (and all the items we have in your hand, of course) just after and let’s keep the opponent burning !

    If it’s not enough, play a Cruel Firebloom on the equiped creature with Stolen Pants to trigger they Last Gasp ability, or use an Lady Syl’s Cruelty on a buffed creature (with Stolen Pants too) to have enough for playing a Telekinesis.


    We have some tools to find more easily the elements of the combo, with Crucible Blacksmith (to tutorize items we need as Stolen Pants or Ring of Lordship in priority), Thieves Guild Recruit, Discerning Thief and Spoils of War which can be played for free during the combo.

    As we need time and magicka to assemble the OTK (between turn 8 and turn 12), we could be weaken by aggressive deck, but we have tools against aggro. Cruel Firebloom (even if it’s more interesting to keep it for a real threat or for one of our creature in the end of the wombo combo), Gearwork Spider (very nice in this kind of archetype, and can be discarded on Discerning Thief too) and Shrieking Harpy for more tempo in the early game. Black Hand Messenger and Ice Storm in the middle (and late for the mass removal) of the game. Moreover we have Drain creatures with Black Hand Messenger and Brynjolf.

    As always with combo deck, Mid-range is problematic but we have some cards to gain tempo as Cruel Firebloom, Shrieking Harpy and Brynjolf.

    Of course, Control deck isn’t so easy too. They should remove our supports so we need to play in the same round Sparksmith(s) with Gardener(s), Stolen Pants and Telekinesis, hoping we’ve had still at least a Corsair Ship.


    There are a lot of interactions inside this list, as Corsair Ship. This support gives an item for each summoning creature, so imagine with Sheepish Dunmer from Stolen Pants, Gardener of Swords and the burning capacity of Sparksmith, mainly if we have several Sparksmiths on the board !


    I’ve added a Sixth House Amulet to protect Sparksmith during the combo against a Lightning Bolt on Prophecy (it happens yep ahah) but this item is not essential.

    Dark Rebirth was interesting for the end, if we target a Gardener of Swords, he gives his Stolen Pants to the Sheeping Dunmer, triggering Sparksmith. So, the new copy of the sacrified Gardener earns Steel Dagger from Corsair Ship, and if we have other Gardener of Swords, they received Stolen Pants of the sacrified Gardener that the Sheepish Dunmer have earned juste before, triggering again Sparksmith. And the new Gardener is one more time equiped of the Stolen Pants copies of other Gardener(s). But i’ve prefered to use currently Lady Syl’s Cruelty to play more stuffs as Telekinesis. However Dark Rebirth is still a good choice !

    You can discover some ending games, with the combo, on YouTube in this video : (3min40)

    Of course, it’s a non-exhaustive guide, there are much more combo Item Assassin decks, that i don’t play like this funny one with a Lethal creature (Territorial Viper, Clockwork Scorpion) that we equip they with Staff of Sparks to kill all enemy creatures in a lane. (Control Assassin (ft. staff of sparks) 

    by TurquoiseLink or Staff of Venom 

    by WidjettyOne)

    However Item Assassin, than combo Item Assassin, is easier to play. The lack of interactions between several cards, helps us to win without assemble all the elements of a combo. Item Assassin is still a good archetype which can winstreak as Karakondzhul has recently done in this stream :
    Indeed he has succeeded a of 9 victories in a row with this , even going to Legend.

    Here is the end of this guide, i really hope that you have enjoyed these decklists and they have given you the interest to build yours. It’s funny because while i’m writting this article, i’ve had a new combo Item Assassin idea never seen on Legends-decks yet, so maybe i’ll share you this special (Casual) deck in December ! : )

    But mainly… HAVE FUN !

    thanks all to have taken your time to read this description !

    ∞ apologize for my english level ∞

    The Elderscrollsement vôtre,


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    Mihnul 2 weeks ago
    Nice article. Can any of these decks get players to legend? What deck would be easier to handle for a beginner?

    1 Reply
    IN-SITU 2 weeks ago
    Mihnul wrote:
    Nice article. Can any of these decks get players to legend? What deck would be easier to handle for a beginner?

    Hello Mihnul, thank you for your comment !
    Well, once i’ve climbed only with the second decklist (The Genius Gardener) from rank 5 to Legend (#477) in August 2018 but since this time, there have been may updates with the list and still today i think it can be played in Legend.

    However, the deck with Dragonstar Rider could be performing too. I think the best version of combo Item Assassin and Dragonstar Rider would be played/oriented around Sparksmith and Telekinesis rather than Swindler’s Market (it’s my point of view).

    Also, Dragonstar Rider feat. Sparksmith and Telekinesis would be the most easier deck to handle for a beginner : )

    Great stuff! Was fun to read, thank you very much!

    1 Reply
    IN-SITU 2 weeks ago
    TESL. blog (Holoir) wrote:
    Great stuff! Was fun to read, thank you very much!

    Hey Holoir ! Your work on your TESL.blog is really fascinating so thank you for your comment ! I’m glad that you’ve taken pleasure with reading : )

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