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Karol’s Crazy Brewz – Ping Mountain Briar

One of my favorite aspects of Flesh and Blood is defending. There’s so much value to be gained in simply stopping your opponents’ attacks. This is why when Tales of Aria came out, the thing that stood out to me was the Embodiment of Earth. This token can singlehandedly create lots of beneficial trades throughout the game, especially with multiple copies out, that I just had to build a deck around it. Today’s deck overview will cover the ways we can aim to make the most out of the Embodiment of Earth tokens with Briar, as well as a few possible suggestions for a strong end game. This is mainly going to be a control deck, as the primary focus is on defending. We do, however, need to eventually win the game, so there are a few end game options for us to finish off our opponent in a timely manner.  

 

 

Ping Mountain Briar by Karol Ruszkiewicz

Class: Runeblade
Hero: Briar, Warden of Thorns
Weapons: Reaping Blade, Rosetta Thorn
Equipment: Arcanite Skullcap, Crown of Seeds, Fyendal's Spring Tunic, Grasp of the Arknight, Nullrune Boots, Shock Charmers, Spellbound Creepers

(3) Arcanic Crackle (red)
(3) Autumn's Touch (red)
(3) Blossoming Spellblade (red)
(3) Channel Mount Heroic (red)
(3) Come to Fight (red)
(3) Command and Conquer (red)
(3) Evergreen (red)
(3) Fate Foreseen (red)
(3) Singeing Steelblade (red)
(3) Sink Below (red)
(3) Vexing Malice (red)
(3) Arcanic Crackle (yellow)
(3) Channel Thunder Steppe (yellow)
(1) Pulse of Candlehold (yellow)
(3) Arcanic Crackle (blue)
(3) Autumn's Touch (blue)
(3) Come to Fight (blue)
(3) Earthlore Surge (blue)
(3) Evergreen (blue)
(3) Force of Nature (blue)
(3) Oath of the Arknight (blue)
(3) Tome of Harvests (blue)
(3) Vexing Malice (blue)
(3) Whisper of the Oracle (blue)

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Header - Stocking Up on Pings

First of all, we need a solid base for guaranteeing those Embodiments come in. What’s great about Briar being a Runeblade is the access to all the attacks with an arcane damage “ping” added on. Cards like Arcanic Crackle, Vexing Malice and Singeing Steelblade are all great because they can threaten multiple instances of damage, making it difficult for our opponent to prevent all sources of damage. Another great card that can help create the Embodiments of Earth is Shock Charmers. You can turn any spare resource points into additional instances of damage from this equipment, assuming your attack does not get defended. 

 

Out of these, my favorite is Arcanic Crackle. This card costs zero, which means with only a single card, we can threaten two separate instances of damage. This is perfect in a deck that will most likely defend with three or four cards, which is very important.

In order to get value from the Embodiments, we need to ensure we’re actively defending with most of our hand. In this list, we’re going to run all nine copies of Arcanic Crackle – it is the bread and butter of the list. Also, Singeing Spellblade (Red) and Vexing Malice are both great cards when our Tunic ticks up to three counters. It’s the perfect way to spend a resource and with a single attack in hand, threaten more Embodiments of Earth. Singeing Spellblade (Red) is good against any deck that doesn’t run defense reactions. It produces that annoying breakpoint of four attack, meaning our opponent would have to commit multiple cards to stop it. On the other hand, Vexing Malice is great at pushing through damage against decks that do not run Arcane Barrier 2. 

 

Header - Building Defenses

The core components of the deck are non-attack action cards we’re going to defend with. While most non-attack action cards defend for two, there are a number that defend for three, making them powerful on defense, especially when combined with Embodiments of Earth. While defending is our primary goal, we do want to include some useful non-attack action cards in case we do actually get more than a one-card hand on our turn. 

 

Channel Mount Heroic is going to be crucial to our end game. This is the card that, more often than not, will win us the game. Rattle Bones defends for three and pairs up nicely with all our annoying pings. What’s better than attacking with one Arcanic Crackle? Attacking with two of them! That’s four instances of damage and potentially four Embodiments of Earth. Red and blue Come to Fights serve those defensive purposes, while also creating good breakpoints on the offense. The majority of remaining non-attack actions are earth cards, because we will need those earth cards to pitch to keep our Channel Mount Heroic alive in the end game. 

 

Header - Closing Out the Game

We know how to slowly chip away at our opponent with the pinging attacks and great defensive value with the Embodiments of Earth and non-attack actions, blocking around four or five damage on average. But how do we win? 

 

This is where things get interesting. The slow, control playstyle this list creates gives us plenty of room to set up whatever combination of cards we want for the end game. My favorite of those is how Channel Mount Heroic interacts with our Arcanic Crackles. Late game, we can simply attack with an Arcanic Crackle, use Spellbound Creepers to play Channel Mount Heroic, get our action point back and swing in with another big attack. Because we have so many earth cards at our disposal, it should be quite easy to keep the Channel alive for two, even three turns!

 

Another way to end a game is to combine a Blossoming Spellblade with Pulse of Candlehold. Those two late game are extremely powerful. A single point of damage from the attack can unleash a chain reaction of damage. Get through a point of arcane damage? Now we can get back a Channel Mount Heroic and give our Blossoming +3 power at instant speed! The possibilities are endless.

 

The most straightforward endgame set up can even be a single Evergreen (Red). Because we’re getting so much value from our defenses, chances are our opponent will be running out of cards at a much faster rate than us. This is where these big attacks shine. By stripping multiple cards on offence as well as defense, we can eventually fatigue our opponent. Rites of Replenishment in multiples lets you chain two copies over and over. Play one, fuse it and get the other copy to the bottom of your deck. Rinse and repeat, until your opponent runs out of cards.

 

Header - Armoring Up

In terms of our equipment and weapon setup, there’s the simple yet effective choice of Arcanite Skullcap, Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, Grasp of the Arknight and Spellbound Creepers. Having lots of armor helps the overall fatigue strategy, while being very effective at stopping on-hit effects. For a more advanced setup, we can go for Crown of Seeds and Shock Charmers. These options are weaker on pure defense, but can help us set up the bottom of our deck for the late game. Crown of Seeds can help with the fatigue strategy and can help mitigate breakpoint attacks. It’s also useful to counteract opponents’ Command and Conquer attacks. Ultimately, the starting armor is a matter of preference and playstyle, as different options offer something beneficial to this overall strategy. 

 

Now, this might be a little bit controversial, but I actually like Dread Scythe as the primary weapon for this strategy. A single blue pitch threatens two different instances of damage on the turns we don’t have an attack action card ready. It can also mitigate life gain from our opponent. Against Ice decks and when using a Grasp of the Arknight, Reaping Blade is a strong option. Creating a Runechant with Grasp basically gives us the same attack value as the Dread Scythe, but it can be more versatile when we’re hit with a Frostbite or other disruption effects. Pitching a red strip card for late game is another pro for Reaping Blade. Rosetta Thorn is not the primary option, as we rarely want to use more than one card on our turn. It can be a good choice into less proactive decks that give us plenty of room to play out our cards. 

 

Header - Pre-Board Considerations

 

Like any control deck, we can turn to the standard defense reactions to help us bolster our defenses against powerful on-hit effects and break points. Classes like Ninja, Ranger and Guardian can have attacks and attack reactions that are hard for us to deal with using only straight defense. This is where these options become useful. Autumn’s Touch (Red) and Evergreen are great against Prism and work overall in the deck for their damage breakpoint. 

 

 

With Briar’s card pool being so huge, there are plenty of options to tweak the direction of the deck. For this particular strategy, we could go more combo based with cards like Fulminate, add more of an aggressive edge with Reaping Blade through Oath of the Arknight (Red) or really hone in on the fatigue plan with Rites of Replenishment. The possibilities are extremely big, so a little experimentation goes a long way.

In terms of matchups, this list performs really well against traditional aggro decks like Katsu Aggro, Boost Dash and the new addition of lightning Lexi. There’s something incredibly satisfying about stopping a whole attack with a single block for four or five with a non-attack action card. Also, this particular build plays a lot differently than many other Briar lists, making it quite easy to trick your opponent into preboarding or playing incorrectly. Before they figure out what you’re trying to do, chances are it’s too late. I hope you have enjoyed this Crazy Brew and I’ll start brewing the next masterpiece!

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