Enter the Whitemoon: Episode 4
Erobert here with another fun Arena run. Sometimes you force the color and sometimes the color forces you, and this draft leaves me with little choice from the first pick. Darling Wolf had warned us all on Discord that Purple was closer to Blue in Arena than it may appear at first glance, and that comes through loud and clear on this run!
Well the safest options are not on the table, but I am a pretty big fan of Disk in Arena as we can always assume that we’ll either have things that are OK to dump, as the average value of cards in your hand will necessarily be lower, but also even relying on cards in Purple to generate items to dump is a more than viable strategy for Disk, especially since we have access to Smite as a power that we can always use, and help put in chipping damage while drawing cards and manipulating the board with Slayer 1.
Oh…oh my. Daigoju actually isn’t even like amazing in Arena but it is more than good enough to play and Perfect Grade is a legitimate bomb, hitting the board and immediately removing blockers anywhere on the board. Baku Bogeyman is a bit less exciting but still a pretty fascinating trick, especially as we can empty our hand with disk and pop something in the opponent’s hand.
Daigoju Packet and Baku Bogeyman
Hotel Barkeep is definitely Disk’s best friend, giving us free flips on a solid body, and in color so that’s a delightful pick. For a dump pick how about an underpowered card in a superpowered color. Come on down Ravine Guardian!
Hotel Barkeep and Ravine Guardian
Well only two cards in Color, so easy enough, but Muttonmorphosis is a worthwhile addition on its own, neutralizing a variety of threats, even working around Warded and Immortal on pesky Minions. Thriving Shade isn’t an amazing four drop, but frequently ends up being a solid vanilla 6/6 like avenging alpha and is nothing to sneeze at.
Thriving Shade and Muttonmorphosis
Ho hum. Steam Bun has plenty to offer, a card to draw and an Item to discard, but it isn’t really electrifying, especially on curve. I could imagine it making the cut, but whatever it’s in our color. Let’s stay in Blue just to give the algorithm hope that it’s not being forced into a mono deck!
Steam Bun and Demolition Speedway
Well, we know what to do here.
Purple Boost and Red Cull
Juiced is a pretty fun in Arena, winning trades and letting you snowball your buffed mediocre Minions over an opponent’s unbuffed mediocre Minions, but this early, I still want to put Minions in the bank. Yojimbo is an interestingly effective card, letting you control trades with Defender and putting some stats on the board for a low low price. Racer in Shadow is much more exciting with Journey of Souls but will get the trick done, especially with the Disk flipped to Day so that it trades way up with Slayer 1.
Racer in Shadow and Yojimbo
Oh dear. Compulsory Curse is almost certainly not making the cut but we do have a nice opportunity to salvage this round with that nice Cull in one of the many non-Purple Colors that we simply do not need this time around.
Compulsory Curse and Green Cull
Ok algorithm I’ve had quite enough of this! Axe Man actually could end up making the cut as it has the distinct utility of being a Minion, but is far from inspiring. I know what will cheer us up! Let’s give our old friend Breath of Wintertide some hope by being drafted! You’ll get there some day little buddy!
Axe Man and Breath of Wintertide
Algorithm plz. Fine, fine! Tong Foot Soldiers is fine! I’m not usually wild about too many one-drops in Arena as they will often get snowballed into oblivion and represent dead draws late, but this one is nice it can trade way up and sneak in some damage early. Dump pick sure why not the card in Color.
Tong Foot Soldier and Cairnhenge
Well I guess all that complaining paid off. Celestial Dragon is an absolute bomb that can and will end games, especially as it can carry the many buffs available to Purple. Oh hey did someone say Purple buffs! Pentacle of Flavors at worst is a removal spell that can easily take out two or three Minions. It can easily keep a Minion alive for multiple trades and on an Agile Minion like Celestial Dragon, can blast many things on the board. Fantastic picks.
Celestial Dragon and Pentacle of Flavors
Alright not much to see here, sometimes the rares/mythics can be enticing but this is a straight shot on our useful Boost and whatever Cull seems most appealing.
Purple Boost and Orange Cull
Well only two choices but they are absolutely solid. Jaded Courtier can stick around and create a two-point life swing every turn and Pushy Oni lets you set up a trade and leave a burly body on the board to swing next turn. Not too shabby!
Pushy Oni and Jaded Courtier
Night Market I’m assuming is not going to make the cut, but you never know! Lantern Colossus on the other hand is a bomb, a large body that will sweep up chump blockers wherever you want on the board as you can always chase them with the cloaked Minion.
Lantern Colossus and Night Market
Ho ho ho. The most critical aspect of Purple bombs like Lantern Colossus and Terragon is that they are in lower rarity so you will have a really good chance of actually drawing them. Knives in the Dark won’t make the cut in all likelihood but it’s you know, actually in color like the Llort, so sure why not!
Lantern Colossus and Knives in the Dark
While I liked Yojimbo earlier, having access to an equally sturdy body with access to Agile (and Agile nullification that pretty much never comes up but hey, gift horse, mouth) also has a lot of appeal right now, especially with buffs like Pentacle of Flavors. Zen Archer even more impressively helps control the board, shooting down attackers and giving an Item that either lets you attack for the win with Agile or, more commonly, something you can dump with Disk.
Zen Archer and Little Crane Girl
Tong Foot Soldiers happily makes the cut again, especially as we’re still a little light on Minions, but the absolute prize here is Sword Saint. On a minion like Lantern Colossus or especially the bombs like Celestial Dragon, you can run away with a game and set up an insurmountable lead on life, all while setting up a dork to attack and block!
Sword Saint and Tong Foot Soldiers
I’m happy to put this Yojimbo over Tong Foot Soldiers, and very happy to have some Shinobis in this packet. While Shinobi of Wind is the big prize, Shinobi of Smoke and Shinobi of Fire are more than serviceable three-drops, with the former offering a decent body that wins many trades and the latter a tool for sneaking in four damage a swing, and getting excess value out of Agile, just like Little Crane Girl.
Shinobi Packet and Yojimbo
Ohhhh there it is. As good as it looks on paper, it is even better in practice. The ability to shoot down Minions from anywhere or just double damage is obviously good, but the limited removal in Arena means it will often have to be managed with Minion combat and it can zip away with Swift. Axe Man is still not exciting but has the distinct edge of being a Minion. Sorry Stratagem!
Shinobi of Wind and Axe Man
Wellllllllll I guess you can’t quite win them all. Bogeyman is fine and there is like a small chance that Feng Shui Master will hit a Stairway to Hades or something, but it really only barely makes the cut in a format where you really need to keep up your curve up and every Minion pulling it’s weight [author’s note: indeed, I ended up just discarding it with Disk in one game]
Feng Shui Master and Baku Bogeyman
Another Jaded Courtier is definitely well worth picking, and we have a bit of a choice. On the one hand, renewable damage on the board from Red Cliffs is pretty appealing, but I don’t have a strong fear of Rush in Arena. Battle Chef on the other hand is a solid Minion on curve which gives you a handy combat trick in Wok Shield, so that’s definitely one I am happy to snap up.
Jaded Courtier and Battle Chef
Well, the only two Purple cards seem like a slam dunk, especially as at this point the Yellow Cull doesn’t do much for us, and while the Sniffer probably won’t make the cut, the Imperative Bell is actually pretty nice for the cycling and especially the ability to ramp out one of our exciting high end threats.
Sniffer and Imperative Bell
Oh boy, some decisions have to be made here! While I’m a bit wary of how thin we look at the four slot, Thriving Shade is kind of bland, especially when we have access to a bomb like Lantern Colossus and the outright value of the Shinobi Packet. If it was just the Shinobi of Smoke, I would be tempted to go for Emperor Koi as an ok four-drop with a nice upside, but the two Shinobis is definitely worth getting.
Shinobi Packet and Lantern Colossus
Well, there are some options here. Simuzen will give us a Healing Potion to discard, but honestly, I feel like we’ve got plenty going on at 1 and having more exciting cards higher on the curve is definitely more desirable in grinding Arena matches. The Decoy on the other hand gets me a card late game and can easily take out an opposing bomb, while adding a little trickery! The packet is honestly only appealing to me because Zen Archer can really lock down the board and none of the others will even make the cut, but that’s how much I like Zen Archer!
Decoy and Stratagem Packet
Well, we don’t have a choice here, but I will say that Insatient is a fine defensive two drop that has the added bonus of disrupting Journey of Souls and other recursion tools, and Little Crane Girl can be pretty useful if you have access to buffing Items or even Pentacle of Flavors, while also providing a resilient blocker that can’t be evaded with Agile.
Little Crane Girl and Insatient
Speaking of resilient blockers! While there are frequently better things to do with 3 Mana, honestly a renewable 4/1 for 3 to block and deal damage to attackers is not hard to get value out of. We have decent Lurker Minions in Jaded Courtier as well, and the Tengu can keep on blocking while you slowly ping the opponent. The Racer in Shadow Packet is even more appealing, as the Racer is a quality removal option, especially with Slayer 1 from Disk, and the Juiced will see decent play as a way to move around attackers and even win trades with the buff to as many as three Minions.
Racer Packet and Stubborn Tengu
Stratagem sadly still won’t make the cut, but Sword Saint is still a stellar pick, as an ok dork that grants an amazing, game-swinging ability, especially with the variety of high-end Minions at our disposal. I’m not too sure that Mind Freak will make the cut every time, but it can be a great tool to disrupt an opponent’s curve, getting us to late game, or even to knock out a bomb from their hand.
Sword Saint and Mind Freak
The curve is really pleasingly designed to get us to our bombs, while still providing plenty of early threats along with the interference. This deck would have been even stronger if we saw the other Purple staple, Terragon, but I’m pretty happy with the array of tools for locking down the board until we can roll out the big guns, multiple Shinobi of Wind and Zen Archer. Disk similarly lets us start chipping early, make trades with Slayer 1, and refill our hand by flipping back to Night. Let’s take a look at two wins, one pretty straightforward and one with more than a few bumps!
The Arena Run - A Breakdown of Two Games
Pretty solid opening, and we can try to carefully burn high end cards so that we have at least one of them in hand by the time we get to late game. Opening with Yojimbo especially lets us slow down the pace of early game and play plenty of defense until we get there.
Yojimbo is already paying off against a speedy Red Orange opponent!
Well so much for that plan. As you can see in the Action Bar, Crimson Pact made short work of Yojimbo and Hotel Barkeep! Fortunately, Racer in Shadow is here to save the day! Similarly setting up zen archer not only gets us a way to slow down the board some, but also an item to dump! We’ve also manage to not burn Perfect Grade so our path to late game is looking pretty smooth.
Piling up on the right side of the board and ignoring the Thieves Bazaar feels pretty manageable with the Jaded Courtier gaining a life every turn, and the Lantern Colossus provides a ton of blocking potential for our pesky lurkers. Until Duskwing comes down that is. We’ll have to feed one of our Archers to that pesky vampire, but Lantern Colossus can roll over it next turn without any problem.
Fortunately we have our handy, dandy Muttonmorphosis to turn that frighteningly Aimless Vessel into a fluffy little sheep that will be no match for the MIGHTY Lantern Colossus! We can also dump that Phoenix Feather, letting us get in two damage while our opponent still has a life lead, and developing disk to draw in the future!
Sadly, the Perfect Grade didn’t even come into play! Pushy Oni not only provides a beefy body, but in many cases can simply push a blocker out of the way and let you swing for the win, even with the lowly Zen Archer! While our opponent had an excellent and speedy deck, the defensive Minions in Purple provide an excellent set of tools to get to our beastly Minions like Lantern Colossus, even keeping Perfect Grade back as a fail safe.
Another pretty solid hand, and while we don’t have much to do but flip disk on turn 1, dumping Little Crane Girl because we have other turn 2 options, and because being able to develop disk might be handy, as we will see our opponent burning blue and red, signaling dangerous early offense.
Nothing but a Foresight activation from the opponent makes me feel like pushing some offense, so I burn the Yojimbo I draw and set down Sword Saint to get some attacks in early and see where the opponent is going with these Red Enchantments they’ve been burning.
Ok, so setting up this trade is a little intimidating, but with Slayer 1 from Disk, and Lurker on Zen Archer, we have a pretty solid defense here, and can hopefully keep our life total high enough to get to our Lantern Colossus.
Well that’s pretty intimidating BUT we can drop our Decoy to hopefully swap with the Sword Saint, eliminating Chloe Sunshine and letting Ironbelly Wyvern trade into Zen Archer. Not quite my favorite use of Archer, but provides us with a relatively clean slate to work with as we get closer to one of the now TWO Lantern Colossi in hand.
Decoy’s Deadly was wasted and Sword Saint got blasted by Orpheum of Horror so our poor little Zen Archer got massacred by Chloe! We drew another Zen Archer but this is a pretty intense board and a good look at how powerful Red Enchantments can be.
Flipping Disk lets of find Stubborn Tengu which was…much more appealing before we knew that Orpheum was coming to the party but it can provide a blocking body for Winter Wolf? Hopefully? Well we can only hope that Zen Archer can shoot down Chloe Sunshine before we take too much more damage. Please Lantern Colossus save us!
The only thing more bleak than my image capturing skills (I really wanted us to get a good look at the Shadow Trapeze) is this life total slowly dwindling. The Cairnhenge under Chloe gave it another attack through Zen Archer, letting it get in five more damage, but leaving it at one. Flipping disk, and dumping one of the Phoenix Feathers lets us trade into the Ironflesh Performer that was previously on Shadow Trapeze, and lining up the Stubborn Tengu with Winter Wolf will hopefully take out Chloe, but not before we take another five damage. Fortunately, Jaded Courtier can get us a little bit of life back, but it’s going to be tight!
Quick hit from Chloe and now a Blackened Jotun threatening!
Fortunately, Tengu can sweep away the right side of the board our mighty Lantern Colossus can finally land on the board! Unfortunately, we can’t also flip disk so our Colossus is going to take one for the team and our Immolation Cloak can’t do much to help, so instead, especially since I’ve drawn another Sword Saint, we can give Lantern Colossus the Biting Blade to recover five life when Jotun trades in. It’s not much but I’ll take it!
Hysterical Strength strikes hard! The Jotun survives the trade but gets us some extra life. So…yay? We still have Immolation cloak to take care of the Jotun when we slide over Jaded Courtier, but that Troll is…not what I want to see. Mercifully, we have a Disk flip! What will be behind doors number 1 and 2???
Well that will do nicely!
We’re both gassed but at least we’re feeling pretty stable and I’ll keep on pinging away with Jaded Courtier as long as that stays on the board…
Ruh Roh again. Well it was nice while it lasted.
Mercifully the draw didn’t find anything too exciting, and the Foresight, while a powerful drawing tool, only puts more Enchantments in hand which in Blue and Red won’t really build board. We can kill Panic Raider with Racer and flip disk dumping Phoenix Feather and stay pretty neutral, which is as good as I hoped for this turn.
While our opponent’s only hope is to put more Enchantments in hand (they only had Hekate’s Wheel to play last turn before using Foresight), we can flip Disk and hopefully find something to complement the Sword Saint we just drew and boy does Disk deliver!
Shinobi of Fire will be likely to survive a Rush Minion or most removal options, and can safely play opposite the Right side of the board and the Sword Saint can set up shop on the other side of the board, away from the Speedway. Let’s go ahead and give that Shinobi of Fire a Wok Shield just in case there is a Sea Fire lurking somewhere.
Setting up a big blocker might have worked if this was a Shinobi of Smoke, but our Shinobi of Fire, buffed by Biting Blade and Juiced will hit for three, put a Scroll of Fire in hand to hit for three more and then let Sword Saint finish the game before we even have a chance to Smite and flip the Disk! A real nail-biter but we can see especially what kinds of options Disk gives as Arena matches drag on!
A very solid 8-1 and tons of fun in mono Purple, especially when you are just handed bombs! Maybe not as brutal as mono Blue but a thoroughly balanced Color, especially one which offers big impact at lower rarities, draining life with Jaded Courtier or burning up defenders with Lantern Colossus. The starting Paths leaving out old standbys like Journey of Souls also feels less intimidating when you can rely on Purple Minions to fill your hand with Items that you’ll happily dump into the garbage while you develop your Disk, draw cards, and use your mighty Smite to take down your opponents!