Topdecks for Top Decks: RO and Valks
Updated: Oct 18, 2020
Welcome to the first edition of Topdecks for Top Decks, the series where we will be discussing tech cards for some of the best decks seen on ladder.
Today's topic is Red-Orange Valuetown and Mono-Blue Valkyries. If you have ever played against either these decks, then you know how tough they can be! But fortunately, they share some of the same weaknesses. Namely that they both play quite aggressive, small minions and can heavily invest into their enchantments. Taking the board and stopping the aggression is the name of the game against these powerhouses of the Mythgard ladder! With that said, let us begin.
Deck Examples of RO and Mono Blue
Here are my examples of an RO and a Valks deck, both of which I have played extensively and with much success. You may use these as a general outline of what to expect on ladder when you encounter them.
Tech Options against RO AND Valks
Magnus Thorsson is obviously just fantastic. He is quite a bit better against RO because this deck tends to play smaller minions that can be killed by his effect (Strigoi Pup, Eager Recruit, Daring Trapezists, Xerxian Recruiter, Melpomene Muse, Panic Raider, Wings of Abaddon) but it is also just the perfect answer to a Seven Ring Ritual as well. While he won't outright kill most Valkyries, he will severely weaken their whole board while planting a 4/4 body on yours, which is still considerable. If your opponent is unfortunate enough to have invested into playing a minion on Odinthrone, however, Magnus is a great card to have in your arsenal to assassinate that pesky Alpha Striker.
Ravine Guardian is the type of card that many people are going to scratch their heads at me for having selected, and I don't blame them. Typically this card isn't great. But in terms of taking control of the board and stopping early aggression, there is maybe only one other two drop in the game that does it better. While you won't be outright slaying Valkyries with this card, you will at least have often taken away 3 lanes from your opponent, which is a big deal considering how much this deck values their freedom of movement. Against RO, though, this card is a beast because it can even deal with many of their minions proactively on your own turn. It has to be said that this card is also great at protecting your other minions as well because it has Defender on your opponent's turn.
Venomfang Mutant is the card I had alluded to being the only better two drop at dealing with these decks. It is an overstatted minion for its mana cost that also dishes out blight, which is extremely valuable against early aggression. It takes the board even better than Ravine Guardian because it is able to effectively deal with most minions on your own turn. Where Ravine Guardian often just sits around controlling an area, this card can proactively take control of the situation. It is also worth noting that Ravine Guardian is Uncommon while Venomfang Mutant is Common, and so having the ability to play one more of these in your deck is not a benefit you should turn your nose up at.
Baba Yaga's Den
Baba Yaga's Den is really great against both of these decks because of its incredibly high life total. The fact that it has swift and is able to fully heal itself are just icing on the cake as it makes this card a ridiculous nuisance for your opponents to have to deal with. Arguably the best three drop one can play against these decks, it is a must-have in any competitive deck playing green. Having the ability to gain defender also means, like Ravine Guardian, that Baba Yaga's Den can be used to protect your other minions.
Led Astray is a niche removal card against RO and Valks because most of the minions they play are going to have less than 4 strength, except in cases where a Valkyrie is on an enchantment. Even so, however, this works well to remove those pesky Bridgeway Trolls and Stormdottir's Chosen before they get out of hand. I would argue that this is a more consistent and effective card against RO because of the way that it removes a minion. It shuffles it back into your opponent's deck which means that it will not give them a soul to draw a minion off of Journey of Souls. This is a massive benefit, as just playing something that kills the minion will only help them to draw another minion quicker.
Rewind Hex is my favorite tech card on this list. Because of the specificity of the card, it is generally advised to only play one of these if you are going to play it at all. It comes with a warning that it will be totally and completely useless against decks that don't run any enchantments. However, when this spell works, it works. The card is considerably better against Valks than it is RO, but it will make miracles happen against RO as well, should you be able to stall the game out long enough. Personally, I love knowing that once my opponent plays a minion on an enchantment that there is always the chance I can just draw this card and practically win the game because of how huge the tempo swing is. Not only is it capable of sending a minion back to your opponent's hand, but it will also plant the enchantment you used it on to the top of their deck, thus controlling their draw and their ability to find an answer to whatever else you have going on. In essence, you have removed two threats as well as denied your opponent a draw for the low cost of 2 mana and a single card. If that doesn't appeal to you, then you don't like winning games!
Desertification Engine is a lot like Baba Yaga's Den in that is it a big-bodied 3 drop minion with swift. Instead of getting Defender and healing itself, though, this construct is able to create deserts every turn. These are great because your opponent has to take one point of damage after attacking into them, and they also refund your enchantments 1 mana with the Rainbow path. While it has one less health than Baba Yaga's Den, Desertification Engine makes up for it in its one gem cost and its synergy with the next card on the list.
Mardykhor is like a single-target Magnus Thorsson but with the added benefit of having a Demise effect that allows the player to deal 3 damage to anything if it occupies a desert enchantment. Yes, this means you can use it on your opponent's face as well as your own minions. This card is worse against RO than Magnus but much, much better against Valks. It's a very tough minion for both of these decks to deal with effectively and efficiently, which makes it one of the best cards on this list for dealing with RO and Valks, collectively. This is, of course, assuming that you have a way of creating deserts in your deck.
Seal of Exile
Seal of Exile is top notch removal. Like Led Astray, this spell completely bypasses RO's Journey of Souls' ability to recover minions from their boneyard. Unlike Led Astray, Seal of Exile will also banish any card of the same name from the opponent's deck, board, hand and boneyard. This is extremely useful in that it can be used to 2 or even 3 for 1 your opponent, and it is made easier by knowing exactly when and what your opponent will draw from Journey of Souls. Against Valks, this card is great for taking out Kara, Ingrid, Bridgeway Trolls and any other minions you can find value from eliminating.
Kushiel the Unforgiving
Kushiel the Unforgiving is an excellent card to play against these decks because of her inherent value to be able to very adequately block multiple minions as well as threaten to trade them all off at once. While it must be said that she is susceptible to Gigantomachia, Dark Passenger and Valkyrie Enforcer, this card will often just win the game if your opponent isn't able to immediately remove or bypass her. Played on her own, she is already ridiculously tough to deal with. Played with Sword Saints, however, and she is capable of becoming an absolute monster.
Sword Saint is a minion that comes with a healy stick. What more can you ask for when you are being rushed down? Play this with mid-range minions like Terragon, Kushiel the Unforgiving, Blackened Jotun for maximum effect and you can win games just off the fact that you have been able to recover health faster than your opponent can mow you down.
Rogue Idolon is great because of her effect to neutralize an enemy minion's attack in the opposing lane. If played in front of an enchantment, she can act as a deterrent to use it. It is also a generally great card for controlling the board, especially when used in tandem with the Impel power. Blast 3 is just a nice addition that helps to rid the board of clumping minions. Another big benefit of playing Rogue Idolon is that she resembles Desertification Engine and Baba Yaga's Den in terms of raw stats for 3 mana, and thus makes her a nuisance for RO and Valks to deal with.
Tech for RO
Thunderclap is Magnus Thorsson at one less mana without the body. While not so highly recommended against Valks because this card doesn't actively take the board, it is great at dealing with the slew of small minions that RO will throw at you.
Insatient is a great card against RO because it can effectively 2 for 1 most of their minions (or at least force an infuse) while also banishing them after play. If you have read up this far in the article already, then you know that preventing your opponent from stacking their Journey of Souls is a big win for you!
Red Cliffs stops your opponent from using rush so long as you occupy the enchantment, which is a big deal to RO's Daring Trapezists and Wings of Abaddon. This is important because not only will they use these minions to surprise trade and rush you down, but they are also imperative for using their value enchantments well. On top of that, it can also be extremely useful for controlling 3 lanes of the board by threatening to deal one damage to their minions played in the area of effect.
Tech For Valks
Misanthropia is great against Valks because unlike Magnus or Thunderclap, it effectively deals with their larger minions. Often this card can just swing the game heavily into your favor because of how much a Valks player will commit to the board before turn 5.
Extract life is a spell that acts as removal while also keeping you alive. It deals well with the larger-bodied minions that Valks plays and will help you to remove problematic cards like Bridgeway Troll, Kara Mourningwives and Stormdottir's Chosen.
Armageddon Angel wipes and takes the board. There's really no better way to deal with the big bodies than that. If you are able to survive until turn 7 to play this bomb, then you shouldn't have much trouble cleaning up the game afterwards.
Red-Orange and Valkyries can be frustrating decks to play against, but I hope that this list has given you some tools to deal with them effectively. There are some common themes that you may have picked up from these cards, namely high-health early game minions, taking the board and efficient removal. I would like to give a big special thanks to L0gick for helping me put this list together. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to join the discussion and have some fun, be sure to join the Mythgard Discord. Thanks for reading and good luck slaying the meta!