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Back to Basics with Kano in Blitz

Kano is a great choice to play in your local Blitz event or even an international Skirmish, and he’s always a contender to take the win! Let’s dive in and break down some of the key cards in the deck.


Stir the Aetherwinds (Red)

 

Stir the Aetherwinds is basically your bread and butter for getting damage over that Nullrune 3 or pesky Nullrune 4. This card is most well known for it’s classic combination with Forked Lightning and can push 10 damage before buffs and 14 damage after using Crucible of Aetherweave and Metacarpus Node.

Parking Stir in your Arsenal can also allow you to burst massive amounts of damage without a full four-card hand. The ability to combo this with your Storm Striders can quickly lead to lethal damage on your opponent’s turn when they overextend into a big attack.

 

Forked Lightning

 

Forked Lightning is, without a doubt, the most feared card in Wizard’s toolbox. Buffing Forked with Stir the Aetherwinds and your equipment/weapon leads to massive damage. While this card is considered a single source of damage, any buff on this card is doubled!

While 14 damage is great, the real threat comes after in the form of Blazing Aether, which if pitched or set up correctly in your deck, can hit for another 14 damage after being Kano’d out for three resources.

 

Blazing Aether

 

Blazing Aether is how you’re going to kill your opponent most of the time. The card requires some set up and is best utilized when you know the order of you pitch and can use Kano’s ability to banish it off the top of your deck after dealing a large amount of damage.

One thing to note – Aether Flare doubles the effectiveness of Blazing Aether and can be almost as powerful as Forked Lightning in terms of damage output for a third of the cost! For example, if Aether Flare hits for five, Blazing Aether hits for 10 as a result of getting the buff from Aether Flare and checking the damage done to the opponent so far that turn. Pitching two Blazing Aether’s next to each other is the bread and butter of OTK (one-turn-kill) and how Wizard is able to present 40 to 50 damage in a single turn.

 

Tome of Aetherwind

 

Tome of Aetherwind is the most versatile card in your deck, giving you the ability to draw two or add an additional two Arcane damage on your next attack. Hitting this off Kano is always a free roll as if you decide to draw two, you’re likely to replace the resource cost of Kano’ing with two more blues and continue to “go off.”

The option to increase arcane damage can also be exactly what you need to squeeze out the few final points of damage and present lethal. The downside of Tome is that it blocks for 2, a downside that you’re sure to feel when playing in a meta dominated by Ira and Dorinthea.

 

Sonic Boom

 

Sonic Boom is where Wizard’s ability to pull off a turn zero or one kill comes from. Sonic Boom can reveal the second copy of itself off the top of the deck after hitting, allowing you to chain the ability. If you’re facing up against Nullrune 4, consider playing this card when you have the resources to pump it with Crucible of Aetherweave and Metacarpus Node to ensure that it always hits. Sonic Boom into Voltic Bolt or Aether Spindle is essentially the reason you play this card in your deck. Hitting either of those cards off the Sonic Boom trigger can buy you tempo and push through a large amount of damage on to your opponent.

 

Lesson in Lava

 

Lesson in Lava with Crucible of Aetherweave for four damage → hit for one → search Tome of Aetherwind → Kano → play Tome of Aetherwind at instant speed is by far the most common combo you’ll see with Lesson in Lava.

However, there are many other strong play patterns for this card. For instance, if you hit for two, you can reveal and put Stir the Aetherwinds on top of your deck and choose to draw it at the end of your turn. By doing this, you can present an explosive and potentially lethal attack on either your opponent’s turn (using Storm Striders) or on your next turn. If you’ve already done a decent amount of damage before Lesson in Lava hits or it goes unblocked, searching up Blazing Aether and using Kano’s ability to play it at instant speed is something to consider.

 

Storm Striders

 

Storm Striders is the most powerful and threatening card in Wizard. The ability to play on your opponent’s turn at instant speed is how you’re going to win the game 95 percent of the time.

It’s important to not use Storm Striders too early in the game and not to use it to simply push damage, unless you’re getting your opponent to a sub-three life total. Once Storm Striders are gone, you’re at the mercy of the top of your deck and pitch to play on your opponent’s turn, and with the threat of activation gone, your opponent will feel much more comfortable overextending into you and pushing damage.

 

Header - What's OTK and How Do I Do It?

Contrary to popular belief, OTK in Wizard is a mindset and not really a deck archetype. Almost all Wizard decks are capable of pulling off 20 to 40 damage turns if their pitch is set up correctly. The skill comes knowing when to OTK, and recognizing when your game plan needs to switch to setting up for that big final turn. Before delving into when you should plan for an OTK, let’s talk a bit about the cards and how to set it up. There are quite a few cards this can be done with, but I’ll highlight the most popular sequence below.

 

Arsenal

Forked Lightning

 

Top of Deck Cards

Stir the Aetherwinds (Red)Blazing AetherBlazing Aether

 

As mentioned above, you’re going to want to pitch Stir the Aetherwinds, Blazing Aether and Blazing Aether together and track your pitch so that you know when they’re coming up. Before doing this, pitch four to six blues so that you can ensure that you’ll have a full 12 resources to work with when playing out this combo.

Make sure you have Talismanic Lens available to opt and fix your hand before this combo comes up. Having Fyendal’s Spring Tunic resource and two Energy Potions on the battlefield is also very important for being able to push the max amount of damage possible. The combo can be confusing, so here are some examples written out with damage output and resource requirements calculated:

 

Combo (resource = “+X”, Nullrune 3 is assumed when calculating blocks)

  • Boots + 1 (not needed if Arsenal correct)
  • Kano +3
  • Stir +2
  • Forked (Arsenal) +3
  • Kano +3
  • Blazing Aether
  • Kano +3
  • Blazing Aether
  • == Resource Total: 14
  • == Damage Raw: 40
  • == Damage if Blocked: 19

 

  • Boots +1 (not needed if Arsenal correct)
  • Kano +3
  • Stir +2
  • Crucible +1
  • Metacarpus Nodes +1
  • Forked (Arsenal) +3
  • Kano +3
  • Blazing Aether
  • Kano +3
  • Blazing Aether
  • == Resource Total: 17
  • == Damage Raw: 56
  • == Damage if Blocked: 35

 

Header - When to Focus on OTK

Kano is all about setup and pitching for big turns no matter what opponent and no matter what match up. Even if you’re confident that you can burn your opponent out with cards like Voltic Bolt and Forked Lightning on your turn, you should always pitch a big final burst turn as insurance.

 

Stir the Aetherwinds (Red)Metacarpus Node

 

If your opponent is running Nullrune 4, you’re almost certainly going to OTK them with a combo similar to the one mentioned above. Nullrune 4 turns off a lot of potential explosive turns in the early and mid game and can completely blank both Lesson in Lava and Sonic Boom unless you use Stir the Aetherwinds or Metacarpus Nodes.

If your opponent is putting relentless pressure on you and stripping your entire hand every turn, make sure to get your Potions on the field, pitch Blazing Aether and Stir the Aetherwinds together, and survive. The hardest part about OTK is usually just getting there, both Ira and Dorinthea will consistently pressure your life total and try to stop you from getting through your deck and into the cards you’ve pitched.

 

Header - Points to Keep in Mind

Your deck list is not going to win you the game. I’ve played Kano decks with 23 blues that only looked to set up big burst turns, I’ve played Kano decks with 16 blues and cards like Zap (Red) and Reverberate (Red) that tried to present as much pressure as possible every turn and I’ve played Kano decks that turbo’d to OTK using Index, Cindering Foresight and Whisper of the Oracle.

My biggest take away was that the deck list was the smallest piece of the puzzle when it comes to winning with Kano. Most Kano deck lists are going to have the OTK package and early and mid game threats to pressure the opponent’s hand and whittle down their life total over the course of the game. In order to win with Kano, I recommend you focus on these fundamentals:

  • Energy Potion wins games, get it on the field.
  • Only use Storm Striders to kill or put the opponent low enough that anything off the top of the deck will kill them.
  • Block when necessary, but don’t be afraid to take a bit of damage to give a lot back.
  • Pitch to win and make sure you memorize what’s coming up.
  • Talismanic Lens is one of the most important cards in the deck, do not use it lightly.
  • Play around Sigil of Solace, most of your opponents will run it; expect it to be in Arsenal.
  • Going second will let you get cards out of the opponent’s hand, but going first gives you the chance to Energy Potion on turn one and speed up your Fyendal’s Spring Tunic resource.

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