Through the 100 decks that we had, we had one that had the Library Access and Nepenthe Seed combo. This combo has received a lot of hype and a lot of scorn, and we finally had a chance to try it our for ourselves. Does the combo live up to the hype? Does the deck need Phase Shift and Key Charge to win? How reliable is it?
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Magnolia, Goldgorge Pickpocket
R. Roberts, the Province Philosopher
Rockmon of the Warlock’s Castle
Tavernkeep Gloriana Kantcrank
Game 1 – Magnolia vs Roberts
One Sentence Summary: You don’t have to draw the entire deck to win the game.
Card of the Match: Champion’s Challenge
I’m highlighting this card and not either part of the combo, since the Challenge is what wiped Robert’s board.
Notable Event: The Library Access and Nepenthe Seed did a lot of work, but didn’t draw the entire deck. It did draw enough cards to crush the rest of the game, as the following Brobnar turn was absolutely devastating.
3 Keys to 0
Game 2 – Rockmon vs Gloriana
OSS: Its difficult to use creatures that are alternating between stunned and dead.
COTM: Poison Wave
This card provides board control AND generates aember. Rockmon is well positioned to make use out of the three Poison Waves, with Mack the Knife and Seeker Needle.
NE: Blinding Light and Poison Wave choked out the board, turn after turn. The combination of the two makes the opponent want to overextend to get around the stun, and then get punished by the Waves.
3 Keys to 1
Game 3 – Magnolia vs Rockmon
OSS: If the Nepenthe Seed and Library Access don’t win the game, the other 34 cards can.
COTM: Gauntlet of Command
One thing we’ve noticed in all of our games, Brobnar decks with no ability to fight immediately tend to suffer. Gauntlet provides that much needed aggression, and then doubles as aember generation after all of the opponents creatures are dead. Gauntlet also serves as an excellent way to clear stuns.
NE: A Yo Mama Mastery was played on a Troll in the early stages of the game. That Troll lived for the rest of the game, and easily healed twenty or more damage.
3 Keys to 2
Game 4 – Roberts vs Gloriana
OSS: Gloriana came back from a two key deficit to win this game.
COTM: Anomaly Exploiter
A lot of cards contributed to help Gloriana win, but I think Anamoly Exploiter deserves the nod. Gloriana’s creatures were outclassed for most of the game, but Anamoly Exploiter took out a lot of problems, including a Gatekeeper with 6 captured aember.
NE: For much of this game, Roberts had a lot of Gloriana’s aember captured.
3 Keys to 2
Game 5 – Magnolia vs Gloriana
OSS: This game is a case study for why people dislike the Nepenthe Seed and Library Access combo.
COTM: Effervescent Principle
Once again, I’ll avoid either of the combo cards in lieu of the card of another card.
NE: Yes, the game was close. Yes, the combo turn won the game. To hit the Library Access after shuffling the deck was a lucky draw, but the following turns would have been disgusting anyway. Gloriana was going to have to start the turn with 6 time 2^6 aember to get past the Effervescent Principle that could be Ruled of Sixed. This game is also notable because it is the first time we called a game without playing it out, since the outcome was close to deterministic.
3 Keys to 2
Game 6 – Roberts vs Rockmon
OSS: Rockmon killed Roberts with his own toys.
Nexus just punishes board with a lot of artifacts. In this game, he picked up a Duskrunner to make pile on. He used Special Delivery and Subtle Maul to do rude things to the opponent.
NE: Nexus going unanswered for several turns was the big swing in this game. He was eventually sent to the Oubliette, but the advantage gained during that time was too much to come back from.
3 Keys to 1
Magnolia, Goldgorge Pickpocket – *Advancing*
The Nepenthe Seed and Library Access combo is, in fact, worthy of the hype. There are ways to force the deck to play fair, and this deck had to win it’s second game without the combo. This deck was on the ropes in the third game, and it proceeded to fight out of that hole to win the game in a dominating fashion. While powerful, I do think that there are things that players can do to fight these types of decks. Artifact disruption is key, since Nepenthe Seed is vulnerable to cards like Poltergeist or Nexus. The fact that the deck won a game without the combo proves that the deck is solid and doesn’t rely on a gimmick to win. The Brobnar here is the kind of companion you want to the rest of the deck: brutal board control. This deck has a lot of tools at its disposal, and its record is an accurate reflection of how good it is. This deck could be an early favorite to win the whole tournament.
Rockmon of the Warlock’s Castle – *Advancing*
This deck is quite good at forcing the opponent to overextend on the board, and then killing all of those creatures with a Coward’s End or Poison Wave. Epic Quest feels dead in this deck, but Cleansing Wave pairs nicely with Poison Wave. There is a lot of aember burst in this deck, since Smith and Virtuous both give half a key. Mack the Knife is an incredible card, and with Seeker Needle, lower power creatures are more of a liability than anything else. There is a solid amount of cross-house functionality, since Gauntlet of Command and Commander Remiel let you utilize your other houses. There is not a lot of stealing for a Shadows deck, but Bumpsy, Grenade Snib and Krump provide some complimentary aember destruction. This deck is weak to large aember bursts, and might find itself in a race in future rounds.
Tavernkeep Gloriana Kantcrank – *Eliminated*
This deck fell just short, and really had a hard time generating aember. Truebaru is a cool card that just doesn’t work against deck that have a way to return it to the hand, and this deck never lined up Hecatomb to go with it. This deck was the deck closest to beating the Library Access deck in this pod, but there isn’t enough disruption here to stop that deck reliably. Dominator Bauble is a good way to use the creatures that Overlord Greking takes. There are some cool synergies in this deck, but nothing that will crack a game open on its own. Arise! is solid in this deck, and Regrowth makes it easy to play some of the problem creatures over and over. The deck has a hard time fighting for the board, and that could be part of the reason it struggles with Aember Generation. There are twenty creatures in this deck, so it relies heavily on them to make aember. With no true board wipe, this deck can fall behind on board control and then struggle to catch back up. Very little aember control in this deck makes it difficult to put enemies off keys.
R. Roberts, the Province Philosopher – *Relegated to WotW*
This deck simply struggles to generate aember. There are lots of controlling aspects of this deck, but it isn’t good at closing out games. This deck could really use a Virtuous Works or Ghostly Hand. The Dis in this deck generates only two aember from playing cards, and relies on Dust Imp dying or reaping to generate enough to forge a key. The deck also found itself with extra removal and no targets, making a lot of hands awkward and forcing the player to decide to discard powerful cards. It is possibly this deck was the victim of a high-powered pod, but it is equally possible that this deck is just not good. It is also possible that this deck is a little more complicated than a normal deck, and more playing with this deck would reveal a better way to play it.
Known Errors: Once again, Dextre shows up here.
Meta Info: Justin and Going First closed the gap with these games. Here are the current standings:
Justin: 56 Wins
Nathan: 58 Wins
First: 56 Wins
Second: 58 Wins