This past weekend, I had the chance to go to the Game Day for Born of the Gods. More importantly from my perspective, I got to fight against the latest challenge deck for the Hero’s Path — Battle the Horde! How would I fare against the bloodthirsty Minotaur tribe? Let’s find out!
I was really looking forward to battling the Horde, as I’d enjoyed fighting the Hydra at the last Game Day, and figured this would be a fun challenge as well. For reference, this was the deck I’d used to fight the Hydra:
Anti-Hydra U/W Control - Decklist:
My thoughts from fighting the Hydra with this deck:
“This was simple and effective. It’s a Standard U/W control shell, but with lots more kill spells to wreck Hydra heads with, instead of counterspells (since going into the challenge, I thought for some reason that I couldn’t counter the Hydra’s spells). I was running the full four Ratchet Bombs; since each Hydra head has a casting cost of 0, Bomb was essentially a second set of Supreme Verdicts. Importantly, I also had Cyclonic Rift, giving me access to up to nine reset buttons if overloaded, which was pretty crazy.”
For the Horde challenge, there were a number of things that I changed from this deck. The Ratchet Bombs had been as fantastic against the Hydra as I’d figured (since the Hydra Heads all cost 0); I knew going in that they’d be just as good against the Minotaurs. Azorius Charm was the first thing cut, since putting a Minotaur on top of the Horde deck wouldn’t really do much (they all have haste, so they just get to attack again immediately). Instead, Celestial Flare got the nod as a much more effective kill spell. The AEtherlings and one Angel of Serenity that I’d played in the Hydra challenge had proved to be too slow, and unlike the Hydra Heads, I could actually block Minotaurs; hence, I went with the U/W standard Elspeth, Sun’s Champion as my kill condition for this challenge.
This was my updated list:
Anti-Minotaur U/W Control - Decklist:
This list had a lot going for it. Lots of Wrath effects (9, in fact, plus Elspeth could Wrath big creatures for me as well), the recursive power of Elixir of Immortality if we got into the late game, the full set of Divination and Sphinx’s Revelations to ensure that I’d always be drawing tons of cards, and Celestial Flare to shut down hasty Minotaurs in the early game. I wasn’t sure going in if I’d be able to handle the Horde’s many artifacts (I only had Detention Spheres and Ratchet Bombs to do so), but in the end, I left the Revoke Existences that I was looking at out of the list.
So, how did I end up doing?
In a nutshell, I crushed this challenge, and it wasn’t close. I took The Harvester, The Savant, and The Slayer as my Hero cards, which proved to be a moot decision, as they never really came into play. I would have liked to have access to The Explorer for this challenge, but I hadn’t attended the Launch Party for Born of the Gods, and thus didn’t have one yet.
The extra turns granted to me gave me time to set up turn two Ratchet Bomb for defense, and turn three Divination to find a land drop for turn four. Two Minotaurs came into play attacking, and I wiped them off the board with the Bomb. Jace, Architect of Thought came down for me on my next turn, and I immediately used his +1 ability to reduce the potential aggression of the Minotaurs. Two more 2-power Minotaurs came into play attacking, but were unable to punch through the Jace shield. A devastating second copy of Ratchet Bomb ensured that Jace would be protected from the Minotaurs for another turn.
From here, I was able to cast a turn six Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and used her +1 to make Soldiers. This was effectively the end of the game, as the Minotaurs were never able to punch through the chump blockers created by Elspeth, and I was able to build up to and use her ultimate. Once her emblem was in play, my creatures were all bigger than those of the Horde, and I was able to crush the Horde’s library in only two attacks.
I won the Horde challenge! My prize was this Hero:
Now we’re talking. This is easily one of the better Heroes so far, and I look forward to using it in the Hydra/Archenemy games (or now, Horde/Archenemy games) that we run from now on.
THE MODIFIED HORDE DECK
As I did with the Hydra deck, I picked up two copies of Battle the Horde at Game Day… the plan is that with two copies, I have lots of each card, so I can modify the deck how I wish for multiplayer play. This is my first attempt at revising the deck for multiplayer use, bringing it up to 75 cards:
The Horde 2.0 Decklist:
Of this revised list, 47 of the 75 cards are Minotaurs, bringing the creature half of the deck up to just under 50%, which is roughly where I wanted this one to be.
Unlike the mostly passive Hydra deck, the Minotaurs are highly aggressive right out of the gate, as each one is a creature with haste that must attack each turn. This makes them both better and worse for an Archenemy-plus-Challenge-deck game, since they hit harder right out of the gate, but are easier to stop in EDH than the Hydra deck (since the players’ creatures tend to be large creatures in EDH games, and hence will end up outclassing the Minotaurs after the first few turns).
To compensate for this, I’ve added a full set of Touch of the Horned God, to give the Minotaurs deathtouch, so that they can trade with any blocking creature. I thought it cute that Touch of the Horned God combos with Descend on the Prey, which basically lets the Archenemy pick off and kill whatever defending creature he likes.
The Minotaur deck should be an excellent thing to have as an alternate side challenge, and I’m looking forward to my first Archenemy/Horde game.
THE MODIFIED HYDRA DECK
The Hydra deck has also changed after several playthroughs, evolving to a 75-card deck as well. This is the latest version of the deck:
The Hydra 2.1 Decklist:
I think 75 cards is just right for this deck, though I do wish I had about 5 or 6 more Hydra Heads for the deck instead of some of the spells that I had to add. It feels like the deck should be about 60-65% Head cards (if not more); sadly, between the two decks, there just aren’t enough Heads to run it with 60% Heads, so the deck is half Heads and half spells instead.
Conclusion: So there you have it, that’s a quick look at my experience battling the Horde! I did enjoy it, and so I’m looking forward to my first Horde/Archenemy game later this week (or, dare I say it, a Hydra/Horde/Archenemy game?) This challenge deck also makes me look forward to the third challenge deck that’s coming out with Journey into Nyx as well. Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back later this week with more!