Gladiator Arena Aggro
3 Fiery Imp
3 Relentless Raider
3 Steel Scimitar
3 Afflicted Alit
3 Graystone Ravager
3 Ice Spike
3 Lurking Crocodile
2 Mage Slayer
3 Orc Clan Captain
2 Cast Out
3 Crushing Blow
3 Gladiator Arena
3 Mighty Ally
2 Raiding Party
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Sentinel Battlemace
1 Markarth Bannerman
2 Triumphant Jarl
Gladiator Arena Aggro
3 [card]Fiery Imp[/card]
3 [card]Relentless Raider[/card]
3 [card]Steel Scimitar[/card]
3 [card]Afflicted Alit[/card]
3 [card]Graystone Ravager[/card]
3 [card]Ice Spike[/card]
3 [card]Lurking Crocodile[/card]
2 [card]Mage Slayer[/card]
3 [card]Orc Clan Captain[/card]
2 [card]Cast Out[/card]
3 [card]Crushing Blow[/card]
3 [card]Gladiator Arena[/card]
3 [card]Mighty Ally[/card]
2 [card]Raiding Party[/card]
3 [card]Lightning Bolt[/card]
2 [card]Sentinel Battlemace[/card]
1 [card]Markarth Bannerman[/card]
2 [card]Triumphant Jarl[/card]
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This deck unfortunately has only been constructed for this season, and as such still needs time to determine whether or not it can sustain itself well into Legend. As of this update, it has currently carried me to Thief (1). For the time being, it has a fairly decent win rate. This list is far from finalized, and many different cards work towards the goal of this deck, and as such there will be many variations and alterations of this deck.
The core behind this however remains means of burn damage (Lightning Bolt, Afflicted Alit, etc), synergy with your burn and face damage (Relentless Raider), and buffing your existing damage (Steel Scimitar, Orc Clan Captain, etc). The glue that really binds the deck however is Gladiator’s Arena. This not only allows you to sustain damage on your opponent regardless of most board states, but also allows you to refill your hand via breaking your own runes (potentially also triggering your own prophecies for even faster swarm and damage), which is something that won’t typically happen when you’re playing against a Control deck in the early to mid tempo of the game. As long as you don’t draw too poorly, you’ll typically see games end before turn 6. It’s fairly simple to play this deck as well.
Since your cards typically have low health but high damage, you’re not going to even consider trading outside of dealing with guards. Face is the place, and pour on the damage. However, keep note that your Relentless Raiders are very vulnerable and very important, so sometimes even on turn 1 it’s better to avoid setting one down whether or not you have another play. Keep them closer to when you’re pouring out a fair chunk of damage, especially if you’ve drawn into pairs. They’re fairly cheap cost along with the majority of the cards in this deck, so it won’t typically slow you from making other plays. The biggest things to consider is that most of your cards are extremely vulnerable, you’ll exhaust your hand quickly thanks to most cards being low cost, you’re giving your opponent a fair deal of cards to work with, and potentially facing some painful prophecies in the process. Keep in mind what deck you’re playing against, and subsequently what prophecies will slow you down the most (keep in mind that Gladiator’s Arena popping their prophecies at the start of their turn means they will get to play a prophecy, but it won’t be able to attack if it’s a creature card until the following turn. This can be especially helpful against debilitating cards like Moonlight Werebat).
Here’s a little bit of match-ups to also help you along:
Control Mage – Unless they draw into piles of cheap removal, you should be able to finish them off or have enough momentum that you won’t even consider worrying about cards like Ice Storm. Gladiator’s Arena is an important card for this matchup, as Control Mage outside of the odd Dreugh will not be able to deal with your support cards, and will continue to inflict damage upon them even while they hide behind Hive Defenders. That being said, their prophecies are extremely powerful, and will slow your down considerably if you hit a bunch of them. They will be able to, at minimum, remove at a 1:1 trade since even your biggest of cards (unbuffed) will drop to a Lightning Bolt.
Scout Ramp – Like Control Mage, they have quite a few means of cost effective removal. You’ll thankfully never have to worry about Finish Off or Leaflurkers. Their prophecies aren’t incredibly painful either, slowing but not halting your progress. However, you’ll fear their fast development of magicka, beefy guards, and your most frightening counter: Shadowfen Priest. Shadowfen Priest will remove your buffs, silence your powerful effects, and make quick work of your Gladiator’s Arena. Seeing two of these in a match could potentially swing the game in their favour long enough for them to develop their high curve, albeit powerful cards that you will have no answers to.
Midrange Archer – Not a lot of scary prophecies outside of Moonlight Werebats (if you’re worried, try keeping the rune breaking to cards like Gladiator’s Arena which will net them the prophecy, but ultimately make them wait before it can attack). You also will be outpacing their damage considerably, so you won’t have to fear Soulrest Marshal. Your weak cards will very rarely ever be wounded, and so Finish Off and Leaflurker are mostly dead draws. Their defensive cards are few, and not too high on health so you’ll be able to roll over them easily enough without heavy trades, and are susceptible to breakthrough. Watch out for Murkwater Witches & Shamans, and Skaven Pyromancers though, which will pick your army apart.
Prophecy Assassin – They want you to break their runes and pop prophecies. Your deck revolves around breaking runes and dealing fast, heavy damage. While not necessarily the worst matchup of the bunch, them hitting 4 prophecies can ultimately allow them to either control the board, or match/overwhelm your tempo of damage (after all, Gladiator’s Arena and Afflicted Alits hurt you all the same). A tough matchup, but not unwinnable.
Token decks – They’ll be able to outswarm you with better efficiency thanks to cards like Imperial Reinforcements. Since you’re also not trading (since losing a 4-1 into a 1-1 is a bad idea outright), that allows them to develop a fairly large board. A turn 3 or 4 Divine Fervor can allow them to match or outpace your damage. That said, outside of Javelin their prophecies aren’t all too painful to deal with. If the token deck is Spellsword based, Edict of Azura is one of your feared cards along with Shadowfen Priest. It’ll obliterate your strong monsters, and shut down your Gladiator’s Arena outright. A tough matchup if they get an early divine fervor, but otherwise nothing too frightening.
Pilfer Monk – While most of the time you won’t be too concerned about their early game, their momentum can shift exponentially if they combo together their pilfers with Master of Thieves, and you’ll be staring down more damage than you can hope to match. However, as they’re fairly combo reliant it can depend on their board & hand. If they’ve drawn well, you might be facing an uphill battle. Otherwise you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.
Other Aggro based decks – No trades, final destination. Race to the face, unless you want second place.
Finally a little bit of insight on some other cards I’ve tried for the deck:
Fearless Northlander – When paired with a Rapid Shot draw engine, you can buff this card considerably and run over their guards with some heavy breakthrough damage. A little bit too reliant on the combo, and otherwise can die to even a mere Execute.
Dark/Dank Rift – It’s free damage that typically won’t be removed, but ultimately the one damage felt rather lacking. Most games typically ending quickly also meant the Atronach rarely saw play. In a more control based version of the deck, it could be something to consider.
Withered Hand Cultist – A fantastic red card in nearly any deck. You could swap out some of the three costs for it if you feel you’re still having a hard time with Assassin or Control based decks. Doesn’t offer a great deal of offensive power, but stops a lot of answers to your cards. Still a card I keep putting in and taking out due to mixed results.
Rihad Horseman – If you’re swapping out a few more cards for equips, a huge buff and breakthrough can allow you to overcome some barriers much like Fearless Northlander, and with less combo required. Still fairly vulnerable however, and as this deck features only a handful of items, I felt it was better to maintain Orc Clan Captains and Mage Slayers.
Earthbone Spinner – Will help you get around larger guards if you find they’re becoming a nuisance. I wouldn’t put more than two into the deck, and it’s difficult finding room for them otherwise. Not a bad tech.
Pogchamp Lurcher – Well, all your other cards are weak in health and strong in offense, so it’s not entirely unreasonable. That said, it will at best draw attention away from your other cards and drop dead before it gets the opportunity to attack. If it does get to attack though, your opponent’s face will never be the same again.
Burn & Pillage – Another fantastic Strength card. Since you’ll destroy their runes extremely quickly, it will obliterate mostly anything when you get the opportunity to play it. However, as the deck was extremely fast on the health burn, I felt it was better to keep cards focused on both prophecy fills, rune breaking, and burn damage. Certainly not a bad card if you choose to use them.
Blood Dragon – You could use this card over Markarth Bannerman if you so choose. For pros, it will not outright die to a Lightning Bolt, and will circumvent some of the tricky guards you might come up against. The downside is it has less synergy with Orc Clan Captains & Nord Firebrands for cheap, fast damage. Not at all a bad card to consider.
Soul Split – Since your cards will drop at the sign of any retaliation, sometimes it isn’t a bad idea to attack, sacrifice, and potentially net another attacker for the following turn. Cheaper than the Slaughterfish Spawning at the potential downside of losing a more than likely dead card. Still not sure which I prefer more.
Fate Weaver – Another prophecy that you yourself may set off, and create another body to attack with. Also mills through your deck, potentially also chaining into another prophecy. High cost however means that it otherwise is a dead draw in the hand. Plus you have two Jarls for refilling your hand, so additional draw power isn’t as concerning. A bit too risky in this more conservative meta.
Thanks for reading, and hope you guys enjoy the deck. If you’d like to see it and others in action, I occasionally stream on Twitch under the same name.
#Edit – Removed the Slaughterfish. They ramped damage up quickly, but we already had a ton of 1 HP cards and the deck felt too vulnerable. Replaced them to add more Lurking Crocodile and Mighty Ally.