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Building The Most Powerful Hands in Rathe — ARC Edition

Arcane Rising brings with it completely different ways to build your decks and set up big hands. While the heroes from Welcome to Rathe often use blunt force to get the job done, the interactions and are much more subtle in Arcane Rising, requiring more setup and preparation over multiple turns before you see significant rewards. For those of you haven’t yet, make sure you check out my first article on the WTR heroes where I breakdown some of the basic concepts.

To help evaluate each of the different hands I will rank them from one to five based on four different metrics:

  1. Damage output – How much damage this hand can realistically deal?
  2. Block prevention – How difficult is it for your opponent to block the damage?
  3. Consistency – How often is this likely to occur in a game, are there interchangeable cards?
  4. Utility – Does the hand give you another significant advantage?

With that out of the way, lets take a look firstly at one of the format warping powerhouses of the Classic Constructed format.

Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

Dash, Inventor Extraordinaire

From the outset, the basic game plan for Dash is pretty clear: boost like there’s no tomorrow and hope your opponent dies before your deck runs out. The main issue with Dash is that unlike Katsu, you do not have powerful on hit effects that draw you additional cards to keep the turn going, instead you will often be looking to take advantage of powerful items you have played on previous turns to really put the pressure on when it counts.

The “Teklo” Core

High OctaneTeklo CoreZero to Sixty (Red)

High Octane is a great follow up to Teklo Core, ensuring that resources and action points are never lacking on your big turns. Zero to Sixty (Red) is usually the best boost card because it doesn’t cost a resource, allowing you to instead shoot your pistol with the additional action point it creates. Speaking of spare action points…

The Gravy

Tome of FyendalPlasma Purifier

Matt Rogers has won at least three tournaments abusing the interaction between Tome of Fyendal and High Octane (along with Induction Chamber of course). Drawing two cards for the price of one and one resource is a great return and the additional life gain is the cherry on the top. Plasma Purifier means that all of your pistol shots hurt a lot more, paying one resource to shoot for three, four or even five damage over and over again on a turn is just silly. Remember that you can load the Purifier the turn before, saving you from wasting any resources on your big turn.

The Best

Maximum Velocity

Two resources for 10 damage is incredibly strong, but playing three boost cards in a turn and having this card available to follow up is not a trivial task. Already that is four cards before you consider resource generation. Cards like Teklo Core and Teklo Foundry Heart really help here but your deck needs to be specifically built to make use of this card or you’ll often find yourself not drawing enough boost cards at the right time.

Ratings:

  1. Damage output – 2.0 to 4.0 – Damage output here can be very good if you set up Plasma Purifiers and resource generation on a previous turn, netting you upwards of 30 damage. Since you need to play a high amount of boost cards for the deck to functions, sometimes you’ll be stuck playing blue copies of boosts cards which have much lower damage output.
  2. Block prevention – 2 – Since Dash often hits with many small attacks, blocking all of the damage can be quite difficult. Two hits for two will often be better than one hit for four, meaning you’re more likely to deal more damage to your opponent.
  3. Consistency – 4 – Most of your deck will be full of boost cards, which means you can often just block and wait until you draw High Octane along with some other boost cards.
  4. Utility – 1 – No real utility here, most of your cards have mediocre or no on-hit effects.

Azalea, Ace in the Hole

Azalea, Ace in the Hole

Azalea is quite a versatile class. It’s generally played as an aggressive deck utilizing the go-again mechanic to play a flurry of attacks and arrows or firing off a huge arrow using her hero ability to give it dominate.

Endless Arrows

Rapid FireEndless Arrow

Endless Arrow has the highest ceiling out of all of the arrows available at the moment. When paired with Rapid Fire, the number of arrows you can shoot is only limited by the number of reload effects you have in hand. Even without any other cards in hand, you can shoot Endless Arrow three times on a single turn using the Red Liner bow, Bullseye Bracers and Rapid Fire itself. Provided they all hit, that’s 13 damage from two cards that allows you to set the Endless Arrow in arsenal for the next turn. The biggest issue with this hand is that it’s very easy to block and disrupt.

The Gravy

Razor Reflex (Red)Take Aim (Red)Art of War

Cards that can buff Endless Arrow are great ways to push damage through and ensure you land your on-hit effects, especially those at reaction speed. Art of War is particularly good because it buffs all of your Endless Arrow attacks for the entire turn.

The best hands for Azalea often feature the same cards so, before I get to those, let’s go over the core for the big arrow version.

Maximum Tension

RemorselessIncrease the Tension (Red)

When paired together, these two cards make blocking a nightmare for your opponent, effectively preventing your opponent from playing any defense reactions in response. The damage is pretty mediocre but the real benefit is in the block prevention mechanic and the on-hit trigger. Adding Azalea’s hero ability into the mix makes things even better.

The Gravy

Take Aim (Red)Potion of Strength

Play cards that make your attack deal more damage, enough said. The best hands Azalea often feature one card which is unique in the Flesh and Blood world at the moment.

The Best

Three of a KindTome of Fyendal

When paired together, these two cards let you draw a whopping five cards in a single turn. If you play Tome of Fyendal from arsenal and have an Energy Potion on the field, you can also gain up to eight life! The draw back is real though, as you can then only play cards from your arsenal for the rest of the turn and Tome of Fyendal also requires you to have a spare action point lying around. This generally means you will need to wait another whole turn before you can actually use the cards you drew.

Ratings:

  1. Damage output – 3.0 to 5.0 – Even a small Endless Arrow turn has great damage potential and the upside is massive. Your big arrow turns are pretty mediocre but can be difficult to block.
  2. Block prevention – 0.0 to 4.0 – Since you’re often reliant on your arrows hitting to really make the most out of Rapid Fire, your opponent can just heavily block the first attack to prevent all of the damage from your turn. As with Dorinthea and Bravo, dominate is a pretty good block prevention mechanic and Remorseless and Increase the Tension make it even better.
  3. Consistency – 1.0 to 4.0 – The smaller hands are pretty easy to setup but getting your self into the position to play a big Three of a Kind hand is not easy. The big arrow turns are pretty straightforward.
  4. Utility – 4.0 – There’s great utility on the Tome of Fyendal turns. Against some classes, having lots of cards in hand can also be a real benefit to reduce the effectiveness of intimidate effects and allow you to generally block more damage on your opponents good turns. The on-hit triggers from your big arrow attacks are also very strong.

Viserai, Rune Blood

Viserai, Rune Blood

When it comes to big turns with Viserai there is one card that stands far and away above the rest.

Unleash the Tide

Mordred Tide

This card is a powerhouse,. It can be worth upwards of ten additional Runechant tokens on a single turn depending on how many cards you play. Cards that replace themselves are particularly good because they also produce two Runechant tokens, effectively for free.

The Best?

Because of how versatile Mordred Tide is, there isn’t really a best Viserai hand, Mordred Tide is just the best. When you have access to it, everything becomes much smoother, you generate more tokens, your cards have a lower resource cost and you hit for more damage. I’ve listed some of the best interactions with Mordred Tide below.

Arknight Shard

Free Runechant tokens are always appreciated!

Oath of the Arknight (Red)

Oath of the Arknight is a great precursor to all of your big Runeblade attacks like Arknight Ascendancy and Dread Triptych.

Mauvrion Skies (Red)Drawn to the Dark Dimension (Red)

As I mentioned above, any Runeblade card that draws is great on a Mordred Tide turn. In this case, you need an additional action point to keep the turn going of which Mauvrion Skies is the best currently available.

Tome of the Arknight

If you know the top cards of your deck, Tome can draw you two cards and generate two tokens which is an excellent start to any turn.

Dread Triptych

Each instance triggers separately so you can create up to four additional Runechant tokens.

Bloodsheath SkeletaRattle Bones

This interaction allows you to attack twice in a turn with Arknight Ascendancy, really putting you ahead of your opponent.

Rune Flash (Red)Meat and Greet (Red)

Since you generate so many Runechants from all of your Runeblade cards, your Rune Flashes become effectively free and the on-hit trigger from Meat and Greet is much more threatening, allowing you to keep the pressure up on your opponent.

Ratings:

  1. Damage output – 0.0 to 4.5 – Sometimes you will want to stack Runechants and not do any damage on a turn. Other times you might hit your opponent twice with Arknight Ascendancy for 30+ damage.
  2. Block prevention – 3.0 – Runechants can be awkward to block and Arknight Ascendancy has dominate
  3. Consistency – 4.0 – Mordred Tide is all you really need and it makes a lot of your hands very powerful
  4. Utility – 4.0 – Having the ability to stack damage for later in the game is great and the cost reduction mechanic is very useful

Kano

Kano

The biggest advantage Kano has is the ability to play at instant speed. This effectively gives you an additional turn over your opponent at the end of the game as you get an opportunity to play anything from the top of your deck with his hero ability. Kano often plays quite differently, depending on how much arcane armor your opponent has. Generally speaking, you try to play as many actions as possible with good on-hit effects against players without much arcane barrier whereas against opponents with multiple Nullrune Armors, you’ll instead need to set up a big turn to actually push through damage.

The Core

Stir the Aetherwinds (Red)

Almost all of the best hands Wizard can offer involve Stir the Aetherwinds. While increasing the damage of your next action by three does not seem like much, there are plenty of Wizard actions that multiply the amount of arcane damage that can be dealt.

The Gravy

Forked LightningAether Flare (Red)

Since each instance of Forked Lightning is treated separately, both get the benefit of Stir the Aetherwinds and Crucible of Aetherwinds. This makes the simple combo above deal 12 damage, albeit at a cost of six resources. Aether Flare can increase the arcane damage of your next action significantly and costs much less but can be blocked, significantly reducing its effectiveness against player with lots of arcane barrier.

The Best

Blazing AetherBlazing AetherMetacarpus Node

Blazing Aether is high risk high reward card. Without a significant amount of investment, it does literally nothing, but when played correctly it can outright win you the game. Note that like many of the other best hands here, potions really help to ensure that you have enough resources to pull off your big turns and is especially important here.

Ratings:

  1. Damage output – 3.0 to 5.0 – Kano can offer the highest damage output on a single turn, with three Blazing Aether’s potentially hitting for more than 90 damage.
  2. Block prevention – 2.5 – Arcane barrier is both a blessing and a curse. If your opponent has four or more, you’ll really struggle to get damage in at times, but they will also lose all of their equipment slots while you get to keep yours.
  3. Consistency – 2.0 – The biggest turns require a significant amount of setup but you can pull off some decent turns pretty easily.
  4. Utility – 4.0 – The ability to play your big turn at instant speed should not be underestimated.

I hope you enjoyed the second part of this series, if you did make sure you look out for the next part where I breakdown the heroes of Crucible of War!

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