Building competitive decks can be incredibly expensive.
There is no more depressing truth when it comes to CCGs/TCGs. If you want to compete at the highest level, you either have to get extremely lucky, or drop a lot of cash in order to grab up all the rarest, most devastating cards. It’s that upsetting thought that has always spurred me to try and find the most cost effective deck concepts. At the end of the day, this is a hobby, and not all of us have a ton of capital to throw into a deck.
I began my TCG adventure with the World of Warcraft (RIP) TCG years ago. The game taught me basic fundamentals and, more importantly, how incredibly addicting beating someone in a card game can be. By the time I transitioned over to Magic the Gathering, I had a good idea of what worked and what did not. Unfortunately, I began trying to compete in the standard format at a time when Shards of Alara had produced some rather terrifying and expensive cards, and soon became disheartened as I watched my poor little Grixis control deck get absolutely destroyed by 300 dollar Jund decks. I stopped playing until M10 came out, but when it did, it brought the possibility of a cheap soldier deck, the objective of which was to take down your opponent in five to seven turns. It was an incredibly fast play style and was capable of dismantling other, more expensive decks before they could get situated. I won some tournaments on the local level and, from that point on, the low cost aggro style deck was my poison of choice.
The Rogue deck I’m detailing today is essentially an extension of my M10 soldier deck. It is also designed to win in anywhere from five to seven turns. It features mostly basic and expert level cards (easily obtained through leveling up the Rogue deck/grinding out a bit of dust) alongside a couple of cornerstone rares. There isn’t a card in the deck that costs more than three mana. It goes incredibly fast and took me from Copper to Masters in about two days.
- Backstab x2
- Conceal x2
- Shiv x2
- Elven Archer x2
- Sinister Strike x2
- Leper Gnome x2
- Eviscerate x2
- Headcrack x2
- Sap x2
- Amani Berserker x2
- Defias Ringleader x2
- Faerie Dragon x2
- Ironbeak Owl x2
- SI:7 Agent x2
- Wolfrider x2
Time it not the ally of this deck, regrettably. Each passing turn will make your brigade of low cost minions that much more vulnerable to higher cost spells and creatures. That in mind, this deck ideally features a turn one Leper Gnome or even Elven Archer. While I prefer to save Elven Archer to use for direct damage a bit later on, it can be played on turn one in order to get something on the board. If you happen to have the good fortune to go second, activate The Coin and create two minions via Defias Ringleader. I should note though that, The Coin is horrendously imbalanced at this point and will hopefully see a nerf at some point in order to bring it more in line with its original purpose, that being, give the individual a mana boost, not a mana boost, an additional spell and a combo activator. If that changes, turn one Defias Ringleader will not be nearly as strong. Amani Berserker or Faerie Dragon will still be solid, though.
Beyond turn one, this deck is incredibly reactive, and a lot of your success will come from knowing what other decks are capable of. In example, Mages have the ability to cast Arcane Explosion on turn two. That’s one damage to everything on the board. Be aware of that. Upon reaching turn five, Blizzard becomes available to them. That’s two damage and a freeze to your minions. If you want to win, you have to read your opponent’s hand and plan appropriately. It might be more advantageous at points to leave some minions in your hand and attack with a dagger or spell, rather than clog the board and lead your troops to a board clearing slaughter. If big AoE turns pass and certain spells are not cast, go for broke. Throw down all of the minions in your hand, combo your spells and aim to win the game right there.
Speaking of combos, keep a close inventory of what’s in your hand. It’s imperative that you keep at least one card on you in order to activate combo abilities, such as Headcrack or Eviscerate. This deck bleeds cards and, as such, you will almost never have card advantage, so it’s important to get all the damage possible out of certain spells. Fortunately, most combo cards are pretty strong for what they are, and playing them correctly should give you a significant amount of power when it comes to spell damage and creatures.
Above all though, stay aggressive. That’s what the deck does well. Headcrack can translate into a mid to late game for your deck, being the great card it is, but you don’t want it to get to that point. It will almost never work out for you. Keep the pressure up, use Sap to stall out taunt minions, don’t ever look for trades with minions. Make them do that. You beat on the enemy hero.
Have questions about this particular deck? Leave them in the comments and I’ll be sure to get you an answer.