As Skirmish season arrives, it can be easy to put Classic Constructed on the back burner for a while. However, before we take a break from CC, I wanted to get sneak this Lexi deck that I’ve had in my pocket now for almost six months. A very close second to Viserai in my ProQuest choices, this deck has great matchups against many current meta builds, albeit it can crash and burn under the wrong pilot.
As per the title, this deck is indeed, a hybrid build. I’ve been surprised how little Lexi players have taken to hybrid playstyles, which I have long considered the best style for her even through great performances from both full lightning and full ice builds in the past. Whatever your favorite iteration on Lexi may be, take a moment to check out what will at least be, a very fun deck to pilot for you.
The main issue I’ve always had with single element Lexi builds is that you’re forced to run too many bad arrows to compensate for the lack of better options in the single element builds. I’m talking about cards like Snap Shot (not great with Voltaire builds like this one), Cold Wave, Flake Out, etc. The arrows on their own are expensive when you include their cost to load and then shoot, and don’t have consistent usage versus heroes, making her inconsistent matchup to matchup.
Now there are ways around this of course, otherwise mono-element builds wouldn’t do as well as they do. Ice builds get around their issue of poor damage output by simply adding a variety of pumps and using Shock Charmers to chip in extra damage and disruption whenever possible alongside dominate. Lightning builds on the other hand set up massive turns with Three of a Kind, Rain Razors and more. Although both are solid solutions, I think they each have difficulty with solid fundamental gameplay. Aside from the deck’s disruption, Ice decks can still run out of damage if you can soak up their big dominate arrows once or twice a game. Lightning decks on the other hand, can fold under solid disruption handed out at the right time.
This is where the hybrid build comes in to shore both these issues. Before I make you wait any longer, let’s look at the deck list.
1 Lexi, Livewire/Rosetta Thorn (Regular) 1 Voltaire, Strike Twice (Regular) 1 Bull's Eye Bracers (Regular) 1 Fyendal's Spring Tunic (Regular) 1 Heart of Ice (Rainbow Foil) 1 New Horizon (Rainbow Foil) 1 Perch Grapplers (Regular) 1 Shock Charmers (Rainbow Foil) 1 Battering Bolt (Regular) 2 Battering Bolt (Regular) 3 Blizzard Bolt (Red) (Regular) 3 Bolt'n' Shot (Red) (Regular) 2 Buzz Bolt (Red) (Regular) 3 Chilling Icevein (Red) (Regular) 2 Dazzling Crescendo (Red) (Regular) 3 Endless Arrow (Regular) 3 Frazzle (Red) (Regular) 1 Heaven's Claws (Red) (Regular) 3 Ice Storm (Regular) 2 Icy Encounter (Red) (Regular) 3 Lightning Press (Red) (Regular) 1 Pulse of Volthaven (Regular) 3 Three of a Kind (Regular) 3 Heaven's Claws (Yellow) (Regular) 3 Light it Up (Regular) 2 Rain Razors (Regular) 2 Blizzard (Regular) 3 Channel Lake Frigid (Regular) 3 Electrify (Blue) (Regular) 3 Frazzle (Blue) (Regular) 3 Frost Lock (Regular) 3 Heaven's Claws (Blue) (Regular) 1 Ice Quake (Blue) (Regular) 1 Lightning Surge (Blue) (Regular) 3 Polar Blast (Blue) (Regular) 3 Winter's Bite (Blue) (Regular)
See the deck list and sideboard plans on FABDB.
Less than Hybrid, I like to think of this build as very focused. Although I won’t get into all the math behind each decision, let me explain my main parameters in building the deck below.
The core of the deck leans slightly Lightning. In my testing, I quickly realized that the Frazzle line is easily the best way to deal the most extra damage in a jiffy, especially with Shock Charmers being the premier choice for this build. It is hence the only arrow that gets the full suite treatment, coming in at all pitch values. Frazzle being launched out at the start of a Three of a Kind turn is the main key to you really swinging damage through the match.
Light it Up is another obvious choice. Unique to Lexi, the card demands a double block or equipment block most of time simply due to it being able to hit so hard when it connects. Light it Up also is a great arrow to keep stuck around in Arsenal while you’re waiting to get a solid hand to pivot with, as once you do decide to attack, they usually have to reserve their block for the Light it Up, allowing cards like Endless Arrow, Blizzard Bolt, Frazzle, etc, to shine.
On the ice side, Blizzard Bolt makes it in over Chilling Icevein (which is a sideboard card) simply due to it being more difficult to play around. Since they have to pitch/discard on your turn with Chilling Icevein, smart opponents can use the extra pitch to pay for defense reacts or such and get rid of Frostbites on your turn. This isn’t ideal, and you’d rather use Blizzard Bolt to create more Frostbites for them to deal with on their turn and slow their offense.
Frost Lock helps balance out the blues, and plus is honestly a really solid arrow against people running defense reactions and/or instants. The blue has the distinction of also hitting for four with a on-hit when fused, which is a very solid rate. Frost Lock also can literally put the dampener on other aggro decks like Katsu, Briar and Viserai, and ends up being a surprisingly potent solution type arrow in this build.
Aside from the elemental arrows being attack actions, I try to include as many of the lightning attack actions as I can. Even if you draw a no-arrow hand in this build (very rare), you shouldn’t be drawing a no-attack hand.
For the most part, having an attack like Heaven’s Claws presenting a break point is a solid piece, especially since you can throw in multiple Shock Charmers activations on top of it to sort of “save” a poor turn. Keeping the floor of your turns high is important in Lexi, since that is the main downfall of her character usually. In addition, extra arrows like Endless Arrow are important recursive pieces that allow you not to run out of heat, or simply draw out blocks to make way for other arrows like Light it Up. In the mirror, you’ll be playing off two-card hands often, so Endless Arrow is particularly important.
The main non-attack suite is the Polar Blast and Electrify “draw out of Arsenal” duo. Getting card advantage plus their additional effects is huge, and many time they are the spark of huge turns. If you wish, you can easily run more in the sideboard flex slots, but I think the blues do their job just as well here without overloading the deck with non-attack actions. Winter’s Bite (Blue) and Lightning Press (Red) (it’s an instant, I know) basically are there just as very solid fuse cards that each present great value each time they are played.
Lastly, I want to touch on Ice Storm. Much maligned by Lexi players everywhere, I think this card gets too much hate. You can get it off a surprising number of times in this build, and when you do, it represents a must-block arrow. However, even without the fusion, Ice Storm is a solid buff that brings out a little more damage in a deck that benefits from the extra ability to go tall occasionally. Try it out, and if it doesn’t tick for you, Seek and Destroy and/or Weave Ice are solid alternative options.
In this build, the main equipment pieces are New Horizons, Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, Shock Charmers and Perch Grapplers. This gives you five block totally, which although isn’t great, is solid enough in this deck which doesn’t mind blocking from hand from time to time. Make sure your equipment blocks are very timely in this build however, as they really are precious in Ranger.
Heart of Ice comes into the play for your Kano matchup, and I’m still debating whether to run Charmers or Bull’s Eye Bracers against the Wizard in CC. Personally, I lean towards the latter to really push the Kano player to keep all the play in front of you. Two arcane isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible either when paired with Heart of Ice. My entire sideboard should be on the FABDB link, however as a general idea, the deck runs a core of about 51 cards, and either the Ice-build or lightning build can be side boarded in into each matchup, with one or two slots maybe dedicated for specific matches (Battering Bolt, Icy Encounter, etc). There is no hybrid sideboarding. It very much throws off the ratios I have found, although the core is already hybrid, it’s better to sideboard only one way or another.
This deck is not easy to pilot. In fact, I put it up there with my Viserai deck in terms of complexity. You should know that this isn’t an aggro build. Lexi is a midrange character, and should be blocking from time to time. This also means the deck is incredibly flexible, meaning that the I can’t give you too many innate gameplay situations since the deck have so many optimal lines depending on what the board state is.
However, what I will say is that due to the lack of a tutor in the deck, and the sheer amount of draw power (Polar Blast, Electrify, Three of a Kind), you’ll run to your endgame quickly. Make sure you either pitch stack or throw in a few solid turns at the bottom of the deck. Light it Up, being a yellow, is a easily pitchable card which I love to throw to the bottom alongside Lightning Press.
Shock Charmers feels like a cheat code to pitch stacking, alongside giving you free damage. In addition, don’t be afraid to take damage – you can easily deal it back. Your ability to play the Ice variant isn’t as much as win condition as much as it is time to set up your perfect massacre with your Lightning cards. Cards like Frazzle, Light it Up, Lightning Press and Shock Charmers are your main damage dealers, all the rest is just gravy. Realizing this is key understanding tempo in this Lexi deck and gaining value with your other arrows where you can.
Although I can speak much more of this build I’ve worked with for six months, I’m not going to give away all the tidbits here, since I believe learning experiencing is part of the enjoyment of FAB. However, if you’d like to learn more about, or ask me about any of the sideboard slots and deck choices, feel free to reach out to me on twitter at @a_dedanwala. Until then, happy playing!