This was quite the event with some insane prizes on the line. All of the top 8 would receive a Cold Foil Ira hero with the winner also grabbing a PTI, which is a Professional Tournament Invitation. This hasn’t been as relevant quite yet, but you can expect some big events coming up in the future.
I’d done some testing for this, running a few simulators online and playing out two ARC sealed events with my testing partners. Our consensus came out with the funniest, yet most consistent deck in the format – the Runeblade Pile. We called it the “pile” because, literally, all you do is take all the Runeblade class cards and all the generics and put them together. That’s it. It might seem weird, but this deck won both our sealed events and just steamrolled any Dash or Ranger deck. Wizard becomes a problem if you don’t have Arcane Barrier 3, but cards like Sun Kiss and Erlina’s Prayer can help with the arcane damage. Runeblade pile is incredible at winning games through fatigue. You have 40-45 cards and can simply attack with your weapon, block all incoming damage and wait until your opponent runs out of cards.
The card that’s always talked about when it comes to Arcane Rising Limited format is Induction Chamber. Now, if you heard my latest Session Blood podcast, we talk about this main “bomb” of the format. The card gives you immense consistency and can be a huge pain to deal with – the Achilles heel of the Runeblade pile. We expected there to be around six to eight Induction Chambers opened at the 106 or so person event. I expected there to be a lot of Induction Chamber decks on the top tables, but I’ll get into the strategies to combat the item later.
When I opened my pool, I knew I needed to go Runeblade. I had some great generic cards in three Come to Fight of each color, an Arknight Ascendancy and other powerful Runeblade cards. I also saw three Nullrune equipments. Perfect. I’m protected against Wizard and the generics plus class cards added to 40 cards. I literally put the generic pile and Runeblade pile together and finished my deck in two minutes as per plan. I still went through all the cards to see if there were any interesting interactions and I found one that really stood out:
So the main interaction between these is powering up the Arknight Ascendancy to deal as much damage as possible. Dominate is quite a powerful mechanic in this format and saving the combo for the late game means you can push through a lot of unexpected damage. The opt on the red Force Sight means I was able to set up a red card to reveal to the Bracers of Belief. That’s +2 from bracers and +3 from Force Sight for a total of 10 damage. Well, in theory anyway.
Round 1 – Runeblade
My first round opponent was also on Runeblade. This is a bit of a concern, as usually the player with more cards in their deck has an advantage in the long run of the game. Although I had 40, I knew some of my teammates with the same strategy had 42-44. I decided not to count my opponent’s deck so as to not raise any suspicion about how I’m going to play it out.
At the start, I played a very conservative game, blocking all the Runechants, even for one, and saving my reds for the late game. It also is a way to enable my Bracers of Belief for late game. I traded a few blows here and there, trying to utilize my weapon as much as possible.
Eventually, we were both around the 10 life mark. I pitched my combo of Force Sight (Red) and Arknight Ascendancy and was eagerly waiting to draw it. My opponent played a Enchanting Melody (Red) and Read the Runes (Red) and passed.
Okay, we’re slowing it down! I managed to pop the Melody with an attack, but was unable to strip cards from my opponent’s hand. He played a Come to Fight (Red) followed by an Arknight Ascendancy. Hey, that’s my move! Luckily, I was able to block most of the damage with a Fate Foreseen (Yellow) from arsenal and a block, but still I took a chunk of damage. My opponent made some Runechants and followed up with another big attack of a Rune Flash (Yellow) into another weapon swing. I blocked for a few turns with most of my hand, slowly chipping away with small attacks.
Eventually, I was on one life with my opponent on two. I was able to apply some pressure and eventually got a window to hard cast my Arknight Ascendancy and the dominate was enough to win.
Round 2: Runeblade
Okay, so turns out the strategy I was so proud of was very well known. Another Runeblade pile! Oh well. I tried to play a conservative game, pitching reds to single Runechants pings and blocking up and utilizing Nebula Blade. The game was quite even, but my combo play of Arknight Ascendancy, Force Sight (Red) and Bracers of Belief was enough to pull through.
Round 3: Dash
This round, I faced one of my teammates, Calum. Not only is he a great player, but I knew he opened an Induction Chamber. I lost the dice roll and ended up going second.
Two pistol hits put me down two cards from the get go. I arsenaled a Fate Foreseen (Red) to minimize the damage, but Calum simply shot me with a pistol and played a Sun Kiss (Red). 23 to 18. I kept on leaking damage, while the Fate Foreseen (Red) was stuck in the arsenal. Calum did a great job of mitigating my attacks and kept a high life total while the pistols kept chipping away. I tried to set up the combo, but didn’t have the life total to pull it off. I lost with my opponent at 18 life.
Round 4: Dash
I got paired up against another one of my friends and teammates, Chris Bewely. Chris also had an Induction Chamber. We had a really quick game. Chris put on pressure from the start, hitting boosts on red attacks while I swung back with Nebula Blade. My life kept dropping, but I was slowly setting up my three-card combo. I hit a yellow on Bracers of Belief, meaning my Arknight Ascendancy was coming in for nine. Chris blocked the bulk of the blow, but still took a hit that made me six Runechants. On the following turn, my attack was swiftly blocked and Chris dropped to one. However, the pistols were enough pressure to close out the game.
I ended on 2-2 but I played a few more games even though I was out of contention. Induction Chamber proved too much for my Runeblade Pile to prevail, but I learned a lot about the matchup.
First off, the way to get an edge over Induction Chamber is setting strong non-attack actions in arsenal. Things like Lead the Charge, Come to Fight and Bloodspill Invocation are great set up cards to push for multiple attacks, arcane and physical, to strip Dash of cards in hand and chip through some damage. You have to be patient and wait for that powerful hand or an attack with go again. Powering up the Nebula Blade ensures you put your opponent in very hard blocking spots.
I feel Induction Chamber is an extremely powerful card and can prove difficult to defeat. At the same time, each class has a number of outs to push through the consistent item. Ranger can set up Salvage Shot for the end game since using Azalea’s ability with no deck left means your arrow automatically gains dominate. Wizard can set up powerful combos through pitching red threats for late game. Mechanologist can push through damage with combos like Cognition Nodes, Convection Amplifier and Cadaverous Contraband (Red). Amplifier gives the Contraband dominate, Contraband brings back the Amplifier and the Nodes make sure you get your Contraband back.
I’ll still work on ways to defeat the Induction Chamber, as I feel it’s strong but beatable. There are a number of Skirmishes coming up, with Sealed being the format for a big chunk of those. I’ll report on more ideas on how to tackle this pesky item once I get more reps in. Do you think the card is too strong or do you have some ideas on how to deal with the Chamber?