Written by 14ierophant
Ever since middle school, I have been a die hard fan of control in CCGs. I love drawing cards, I love canceling and limiting my opponent’s options, and I love the slow burn of beating down my opponent with a 2/1 creature they just can’t answer. Mythgard, despite how differently its archetypes function compared to other card games, hasn’t changed this fact about me. The first control deck I’ve brewed, with the help of the users Jarboe and Myrrors on discord and twitch, is called Thrift Shop. It is still a work in progress, so this article is less about presenting you with a finished deck list and all its intricacies, and more about describing the many forms that Thrift Shop is currently being tested in, why certain things are in the deck or could be in the deck, etc. Essentially, here’s a sneak peek into how decks get conceived, built, and refined, using my current pet project to provide concrete examples.
Ask yourself a simple question: What is the most important thing for a control deck to do? What does a control deck do that, if it didn’t do it, it wouldn’t be control? The answer to that in my mind is inevitability. A control deck has to have a plan for what to do deep into the game, when another deck could easily be out of life, out of resources, out of relevant cards in their deck if it doesn’t come prepared to be in that game state. I set out to examine the available core set cards, paths and powers in Mythgard for how to obtain this inevitability. For Thrift Shop, this is what I came up with:
The theme here is graveyard recursion. Taking either high value targets and bringing them back as a one time thing using Wake the Bones and Chort Stag, or repeatedly recurring smaller but still impactful things via Shroud of the Pit and Nine-Tailed Vixen. Bald Mountain strikes an odd middle ground here, being a repeatable effect, but not for the same card more than once. Misfortune stands out as another outlier in a different way: it recurs itself and only itself, forever.
Now that we have our recursion package, we need things to recur with them. In other words we want giant fatty units and big powerful spells while the smaller recursion wants low drops that are still relevant in the late game. Here are a few options you have for powerful units in your deck. Which you use and how many to use will depend on your collection, other cards in your deck, meta implications, and personal preference. To spotlight some, Terragon is a threat that grants anything overrun, Lantern Colossus with its board clear potential, Indrik Beast due it having protection. My current shell is using Terragon for overrun and its great stat line.
For things to continually recur, our options are far more limited. Vixen wants us to run high impact spirits, but not very many, so we can guarantee which one we’ll draw. We also want to be able to send those spirits back to the bin quickly to redraw them. I’ve selected to run only a single spirit: Racer in Shadow.
Racer in Shadow is amazing as a target for repeated recursion off Vixen and Shroud both. Its Rush keyword and low cost in terms of both gems and mana let us spam it out and get it back into the boneyard with ease. While it won’t trade with much in the late game without help it is still a source of continual value, and provides stall in the early game making trades against other 1 and 2 drops. I’ve flipped between running 4 copies and running only 3. 4 copies means you are more likely to have them in the beginning of the game to make trades, while 3 copies is still plenty for late game recursion and frees up a single deck slot for another card.
A second spirit the play testers are looking into is Stubborn Tengu. He recurs himself if the opponent kills him, threatens a solid amount of damage, slots into a place in the curve we currently lack good options for, outside of Leshy Greene, and can be recurred with Vixen.
Shroud of the Pit also recurs minions continuously, and if you want to recur something every turn, it has to be cheap since you only get one additional energy each turn. Racer is a fine target for Shroud recursion for the same reasons it’s good for Vixen. However I wanted another option in addition to racer for Shroud to hit every turn, enter Steam Bun.
Steam Bun in my opinion is the best stand alone 1 drop to draw later in the game, thanks to its ability to cycle for 1 additional mana, and the helpful Squire Pike it leaves behind. Because the activated ability’s mana cost is not factored into the energy cost to recur with shroud, I can get back a steam bun every single turn, essentially paying 3 mana and 1 purple gem to draw the top card of my deck and add a pike to my hand. In the late game when I’m sitting on 10 or more mana, that’s a small price to pay for a repeated card advantage engine. You could go for all 3 steam buns, but for reasons I’ll get into later, I’m not relying on it as my primary 1 drop, so 2 is enough to ensure I can get the engine going in the late game.
It is worth it to mention that if I let the energy of Shroud build up, I can theoretically grab bigger drops off of it. However, the primary purpose is the repeated incremental gains from Steam Bun and Racer in Shadow. Here’s what the deck might look like thus far:
The next thing we want to add is our draw package. Yes we draw a lot of cards via recursion, but we still need some amount of regular draw to assemble the deck’s pieces and keep our hand full of threats and removal used to stall the game out. We’ve already covered Steam Bun, which can provide a little bit of card draw in the early game. But the bulk of our top deck draw comes from Raid the Tombs and Balance. Both of these draw a lot of cards for their cost, but both also come with downsides. Raid the Tombs has the potential to disrupt our boneyard and prevent recursion later, and Balance relies on the opponent having a lot of minions on their side of the field. However, we can shape our deck and our game plan to mitigate these. I only run 2 copies of Raid the Tombs so that our boneyard is not gutted too hard and we can still get value out of it. In addition I run multiple copies of Racer in Shadow and Steam Bun so even if one gets banished, I can still use the others to fuel the recursion engines. I also chose to focus stalling efforts on life gain and defensive fatties rather than interaction, to encourage my opponent to build up a large board themselves for high impact balances in the mid game.
Speaking of life gain, almost every control deck needs it. You are bound to take some damage as the game progresses into the stage where you can take it over. This is especially true in Mythgard where there are no fast interaction spells to counter rush units. Green/Purple doesn’t have very many options for this, but one of its options in particular is amazing.
Here our inclusion of a lot of fatty defensive units for our recursion comes to reward us further, as they make great recipients of Sword Saint’s life tap weapon to sustain us through early and mid game aggression. Sword Saint can even serve as a blocker for early drops if we burn two purple gems by our second turn.
By the time you’re discussing what you’re going to burn and when you’re going to burn it, a deck has come a long way. Remember this deck’s core is simply a handful of recursion cards in green and purple. Surrounding that are cards which interact favorably with those recursions. Sword Saint represents the first card which interacts favorably with that second layer, without really interacting with the deck’s core strategy. Technically you can recur her in multiple ways, but unless you already have a lot fatties lying around and still need her life gain, you’re not going to reach into the boneyard for her with Wake the Bones, Chort Stag, or Shroud of the Pit. Instead she enhances the big fatties those recursion engines draw, while also increasing our ability to sustain to the late game by adding life gain to our tool belt.
As of right now, the deck can easily burn purple on turns 1 and 2. We have nothing to cast on either of those turns that isn’t purple, and the only card we’re unable to cast on our third turn with those burns is Leshy Greene. However I’m about to throw a monkey wrench into that idea. A monkey wrench named Grinning Kolobok.
Like Sword Saint, Kolobok doesn’t interact with our core strategy. Unlike Sword Saint, Kolobok also doesn’t interact with the second layer of the deck either, nor does Kolobok provide life gain. However, what Kolobok does do for the deck is provide another valuable resource: mana. Control decks look to play for the long game, and in that stage, you need a lot of mana to do a lot of things. You want to play expensive cards, you want to play draw spells alongside threats or defensive units and interaction. You want to pay for engines while maintaining your pressure or defensive posture. Kolobok helps you do all that and more. Like I mentioned above, he does make our “burn plan” a bit rougher. Namely he makes it more difficult to play Sword Saint on our second turn. However, the deck is still only 2 colors, and what you burn in the early game can easily change depending on what cards you have in your hand. If you have Kolobok, burn green and play it. If you have steam bun, burn purple and play it. If you have Kolobok and Sword Saint? Make a judgement call: Which would you rather play on curve? This is something every multi-colored deck deals with at some point along its curve, and the overall value added by the individual cards more than makes up for the slight awkwardness of burning for them.
Despite the previously mentioned focus on life gain and defensive fatties to stall with, the deck still needs interaction. Here are some options:
Detained sets up favorable trades and can be used to stall for another answer. Deported handles ephemeral units like those in Fires of Creation and Hopeless Necromantic decks and lets our minions get in for serious damage. Led Astray has similar interactions with smaller ephemeral units like deported does, while also serving as almost-hard-removal for any smaller unit. Spirit Away handles larger and stickier drops, but at a heavy mana cost. Spirit Stones offers repeatable bounce effects, upgrades Deported and Led Astray to hard removal, and combos with both Racer in Shadow and Pushy Oni in various ways. Mostly however, it creates 3 lanes that are dangerous for the enemy to place a unit onto. All of the interaction spells can also be recurred with Bald Mountain.
This guide has gotten quite long quite quickly, and the deck is still far from finished. The last thing I will go over is the Path and Power for this deck. Sometimes, a deck will have a clear path and/or power it wants. Sometimes you’ll even start the deck building process choosing a path and/or power and building around it as your core. Thrift Shop is not that kind of deck. There are at least 2 path options to look into, and likewise 2 power options. Lets go over paths first. The most obvious path is simply Turn of Seasons.
There’s nothing about the deck or its game plan that changes by running Turn of Season. You draw your extra card during fall, you heal up, and you try and play around winter’s fragility as much as you can. The more interesting, but not necessarily more powerful option is Disk of Circadia.
Disk asks a lot of your deck. It asks for a spammable power, for discard fodder, and for a board to capitalize on slayer. Most often reanimator decks use this path as a cheap way to bin high cost units to then cheat out with Hopeless Necromantic. Our deck isn’t looking to do that, although we can recur the stuff we discard if need be. Instead we’re using Disk to rifle through our deck looking for bombshell mythics and recursion engines, while also buffing our ability to trade with our fatties and other units. We’ll talk about power options now, since Disk impacts what the deck wants.
The first option is Foresight to tailor our draws, generating “pseudo card advantage.” However, Disk of Circadia doesn’t want Foresight since repeated divination has diminishing value. Divination for 2 twice in a row, when flipping from day to night on Disk, is essentially divining for only 3. Instead, Disk is looking more at a power like Mend.
Mend has no overlap with Disk in terms of divination, and it makes up for Disk’s lack of sustain when compared to Turn of Seasons. It also does not rely on having a unit in play like Infuse or Impel, nor does it disrupt our boneyard like Reconstruct. Because of this, I would suggest Foresight for Turn of Seasons variants and Mend for Disk variants.
The final thing I’ll note is that our path will slightly alter some of the cards in our deck, specifically the 2 drops. Green has two amazing 2 drops: Born Again and Gallows Boy.
The slayer from Gallows Boy and Disk of Circadia do not stack. In addition, Born Again offers a repeated discard outlet for the Day Flip on Disk, making it the preferred choice for Disk no questions asked. Turn of Seasons doesn’t interact with either in any particular way, so it’s mostly a meta call for Turn variants. If you find you have enough space in the deck for both, and/or you really need both for some reason or another, they are both extremely solid green units. It’s hard to go wrong with either of them.
name: Thrift Shop
coverart: Nine-Tailed Vixen
path: turn of seasons
3 grinning kolobok
1 rewind hex
2 wake the bones
2 raid the tombs
1 spirit stones
1 led astray
2 leshy greene
2 bald mountain
1 shroud of the pit
1 traitorous murmur
1 chort stag
3 racer in shadow
2 steam bun
2 sword saint
1 rogue vocaloid
1 feng shui master
1 nine-tailed vixen
1 lantern colossus
1 daigoju supreme
Well, here we are at the end. It has been a long ride but I hope you walk away learning something about what the thought process is of making a deck. Anything that I spoke about can be applied to any deck archetype and not just control, so get out there and experiment with some brews. Keep deck building, I will if you do.