I’ve been busy testing and developing Classic Constructed decks for ProQuest season, but that hasn’t stopped me from developing a couple of updated Oldhim decks for the upcoming Skirmish season and piloting them in some weekly events. In today’s article, I’m thrilled to bring two different Oldhim Blitz configurations to the table (one more traditional, and one that relies on a spicy Earthlore Bounty package).
Oldhim gained a lot of power in Blitz from Everfest. Notably, Pulverize, Macho Grande, Steadfast (Red) and Thunder Quake are powerful new additions. With Pulverize and Awakening, Oldhim can actually close games reliably now, and his previous worst enemy in the format, the round timer, isn’t as much of an issue. Pulverize is an absolute powerhouse in Blitz, and we’ll talk through some specific lines a little later down the line in the strategy section.
Here are the two deck lists I’m brewing:
Let’s dive in!
Notably, in both lists we have been able to comfortably cut Remembrance. Oldhim has the offensive power with the 12 reds in the list (10 of which are offensive) to reliably close games now. Pummel will be a constant threat to your opponent, and Pulverize will strip cards from your opponent’s hand and drain their life total like no other card in the format. Even with a full-hand block of 12, your opponent is losing 10 percent of their deck to block the attack, still taking two damage and also losing their next turn while allowing you to come back against them with a full hand. Even if they decide to take the full 14, or the vast majority of it, they’re going to be in a tough spot. With Awakening, Oldhim can more reliably play out Pulverize each and every game, sometimes even both copies.
This is a deck that likes to block frequently and often, using Oldhim’s defense reaction ability and Crown of Seeds and Rampart of the Ram’s Head to defend frequently. In many turns, we’ll simply use three cards to defend our life total, and swing back with the icy hammer threatening a Frostbite token. You’ll play out your power cards as able, but will also follow the traditional Oldhim plan of trying to preserve your element cards, Tear Asunders and Oaken Olds, to close out the game in the late game. By pitching these early and often, you’ll have the gas you need to close out the game as your opponent starts to get tired.
As always, try to preserve your life and armor density until the late game until you need to take a big hit and be able to play out a very strong, multi-card hand. Oldhim is great at just blocking and grinding away with hammer, and it’s a strategy that can be very powerful in its own right, especially as you threaten Frostbite tokens on hit.
Steadfast (Red) is a new addition to the list. The damage prevention tracks the source over the entire turn, not just one attack. This is especially strong against heroes like Kassai and Dorinthea. Instants also are not defending cards, so you can very easily use Steadfast to get around dominate attacks and nasty on-hits. Against Kano, this card will often just win the game on the spot. I used Steadfast and an effective Arcane Barrier 5 against a skilled Kano player in my Armory to prevent 11 arcane damage (one source) from an absolutely juiced Aether Wildfire. Oldhim’s game plan with these additions drastically skews the Kano matchup in our favor.
Both variants of Oldhim I’m brewing have their merits. I took the Earthlore Bounty version to a Top 8 finish in a 30-man Blitz armory, going 4-2 in swiss prior and losing to Prism (not surprising) and an aggressive Viserai configuration that hit some amazing Sonata Arcanix flips – losing in quarter finals to an OTK Viserai list in a close match. And while I do think the more traditional control version will have a better time against OTK & Midrange Viserai, the Earthlore Bounty build felt quite strong last night in the games I won against Viserai players. It never felt like I didn’t have a chance in the matchup.
I do want to note, if you end up running the Earthlore Bounty package and matchup against a Runeblade, you need to wait to play your Gorganian Tome until they play theirs. Playing it first will mean they will draw two cards instead of one and can use the momentum to blow you out of the water. If you draw your Tome before they do, put it into your arsenal and ship it off with Crown of Seeds. You can try to draw it faster later in the game by playing an Awakening to shuffle your deck.
Awakening has been my favorite Guardian card since early in Tales of Aria spoiler season. Even without the earth fuse, it’s unbelievably influential in swinging the tempo in your favor. With a powerhouse like Pulverize, don’t be afraid to drop to a 10+ life deficit from your opponent near the start of the game if it means swinging back with Pulverize for free on the next turn. It’s that strong.
Tip: You can even play a second Awakening on your next hand before your opponent can do anything about it if you draw it and life totals haven’t changed. I used this winning strategy in my recent Blitz Armory to play two back-to-back Pulverize followed up with fused Oaken Old against a Dorinthea player.
You should know your targets for Awakening and commit them (and their costs to memory). Pulverize will always be the priority, but don’t be afraid to pull in attacks like Endless Winter, Oaken Old (if you have Pulse in hand) and Spinal Crush. Endless Winter and Spinal Crush can be especially compelling if you have the earth fuse and can pull them in and play them for free with as little as a two or three life deficit from your opponent. Unsurprisingly, I credit Awakening as the strongest card in this deck.
If you’re looking for a strong baseboard heading into Skirmish season, look no further than Oldhim! Oldhim feels like an extremely solid pick in that he enjoys reasonable matchups against the entire field and no longer has to worry as much about the round timer! Good luck throughout the remainder of the ProQuest season and as we head into Skirmish Season 4!