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Lexi in Constructed – Making the Most of New Horizon

Tales of Aria brought with it every Ranger’s dream – access to a second Arsenal slot in the form of New Horizon. The new powerful legendary allows you to have two cards in the Arsenal slot, as long as the first card is face up. Since Ranger has a strong focus on Arsenal, it used to be hard to manage Arsenal in a way that would guarantee smooth turns. Part of the appeal to Ranger as a class has been the flavor win of loading up arrows and shooting them, while having the constant puzzle of working with Arsenal to optimize your turns.

 

However, this constant puzzle has been what deterred many players from running Ranger in tournament play. New Horizon allows Ranger players to play out their turn without getting cards stuck in their Arsenal, but more importantly, it adds a new layer of strategic gameplay to the Ranger class. I will be focusing the article on how New Horizon works with Lexi, as the equipment is much more suited for her than Azalea, who would still prefer Skullbone Crosswrap most of the time. New Horizon is a powerful tool in many aspects of the game. I’ll outline how it can help with an aggressive strategy, setting up combos and can help to control the game.

 

 

Header - Aggressive Plans

 

Aggressive archetypes in general struggle against control decks – decks that either disrupt your game plan or focus so much on defense that it becomes nearly impossible to get through any damage at all. Cards like Sink Below, Fate Foreseen and now with the addition of Embodiments of Earth in Briar, Shields and the defense reaction hero ability in Oldhim make it really tough to get a proactive aggro plan going.

Usually, because you need to pitch for your attacks, while defense is “free,” the aggro deck loses out on value, when matched your best five aggressive cards against their best five defensive cards. New Horizon breaks that comparison by giving you a sixth card – the extra Arsenal slot. This slot is crucial to get a six-card on five-card advantage and be able to push through the control decks’ defenses. With Lexi’s Lightning side, one attack hitting can have a chain reaction of amplified lightning damage – just look at Frazzle and Buzz Bolt.

 

Some of the cards I like to save the most in the second arsenal slot are Ball Lightning, Buzz Bolt and Endless Arrow. Ball Lightning is a great start to a powerful six-card hand. Easiest way to imagine its value is play out your best five-card hand – Frazzle (Red) into Heaven’s Claw (Red) into a Buzz Bolt (Red), all fused. A good control deck could defend two attacks with two cards each, while an equipment block and a defense reaction could take out the final hit.

Now, think of that same turn with a lead from a Ball Lightning (Red). Suddenly, the five cards they have are simply not enough to stop your big, go-wide turn. They will either have to sacrifice a lot of equipment blocks or take a lot of amplified lightning damage. The reason I like Buzz Bolt and Endless Arrow as the other two options for the second Arsenal slot is because those are great finishers for a big chain – they both offer those annoying on-hit effects that have to be dealt with. 

The hardest thing about creating these powerful, aggressive six-card hands is having the foresight and restraint to know when to simply load up an arrow into the Arsenal and pass, placing another card into the Arsenal in preparation for the big turn. It might be daunting, knowing you’re not fully pressuring your opponent on your turn, but with Lexi, the synergies between the attacks is greater than the threat of each individual card. This is why most of the time it is better to just save the two cards in Arsenal for the next turn, rather than play out all your attacks as soon as you can.

 

Header - Setting Up a Combo

Anyone who has played any combo deck in Flesh and Blood would love a second Arsenal slot. This is the perfect way to pair up those powerful card combinations that help you win the game. Whether its Flashfreeze and cards to fuse them with, Tome of Fyendal and Three of a Kind or just saving that Ice Storm for the right turn, New Horizon helps you get there. Many combo decks rely on things like potions to create a permanent board state that will culminate into a big, powerful turn, but with an extra Arsenal slot, you can simply hold one power card there, for as many turns as you need, practically turning it into an extra permanent card on the board. 

 

One of such cards you can play around with is Korshem. The new fabled can be really powerful, but it’s really hard to keep in play, especially on your opponent’s turn. It isn’t the easiest card to get value from and does not defend, making it quite clunky on the turns you don’t want to draw it. With New Horizon, you can keep it there and wait for that big, value turn, even making the most of it from having five cards on top of the Korshem to really make the most of it. The possibilities are endless. Simply think of your most outrageous magical Christmasland combo, build a deck around it and rely on New Horizon to help you pull it off.

 

Header - Controlling the Game

While Ranger is not seen as a traditional control archetype, there are a number of cards that help you play a type of control, disruption and tempo gameplay. We’ve seen Ranger receive a control tool in Crucible of War in the form of traps, and lots of disruption options for Lexi in Tales of Aria. However, traps and defense reactions in general can be a bit of a trap in Ranger, as arsenalling those can mean your opponent simply does not attack and gets these types of cards stuck in your Arsenal.

Azalea has a natural answer to such problems with her hero ability, but Lexi does not. The second Arsenal slot from New Horizon helps to reduce that clunkiness in Lexi and gives her a viable control-type strategy. Having a defense reaction ready throughout the game on top of four cards and another in Arsenal gives the Ranger a lot of defensive options. While it might be a face-up option, sometimes the only play your opponent has is to play into it. 

 

Cards like Sink Below, Take Cover, Winter’s Bite and Channel Lake Frigid are examples of the control and disruptive options Lexi has to utilize with the second Arsenal slot. By stashing a defense reaction, you and your opponent know that you have protective measures.

A face-up defense reaction might not seem as effective, but it can deter your opponent from making certain plays. For example, an enemy Bravo might choose not to dominate their big crush attack, whereas they would normally have, you end up defending it with three cards from hand and holding the defense reaction, still controlling the game state. On the disruption side, the second Arsenal slot can make the most of cards like Winter’s Bite and Channel Lake Frigid. On your turn you flip up the Ice card, give the opponent a Frostbite, and play out some attacks. If your opponent knows you have these disruptive cards, they might defend with their cards, as their turn won’t be eventful. If they do, you can simply hold the Winter’s Bite or Channel in your arsenal for the next turn, and sustain the value the cards offer for the following turn. 

New Horizon gives Ranger a lot of utility options for game play and deckbuilding. However, this new tool is not easy to use and requires a lot of readjustment to the way you sequence your turns. You can get some good value from it if you can think ahead of not only the rest of your turn, your next turn, but multiple turns ahead. Being able to have a card waiting for a specific game state even from early game all the way to late game can win games. The trick is having the foresight and self restraint to get there. 

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