Monarch preview season is in full swing and we’re now less than two weeks from the pre-release! We’ve already been shown three brand new heroes for existing classes, but with a twist. The talent system brings us Shadow Brute Levia and Shadow Runeblade Chane from the Demonastery. On the other hand, hailing from Solana we now have Ser Boltyn, Breaker of Dawn, a Light Warrior. This twist on the existing design features now reveals a completely new aspect to the game that’s super exciting. I can’t wait to see a Brute from Metrix in the future! Today however, I’ll be focused on the Brute of Monarch, Levia, in Constructed
For now, I turn my sights fully on the new heroes and their talents in Limited and Constructed with Monarch’s impending release. Excitingly, with many of the Shadow cards and Shawdow class cards revealed, we can already dive in and explore Constructed strategies and evaluate the impact of a lot of these cards.
Brute’s been a class I’ve enjoyed playing immensely, and Rhinar even accompanied me through my Calling win from Sealed deck to Top 8 draft. The addition of Mandible Claw in Crucible of War meant I spent a lot of time in the past format playing Rhinar again. Needless to say, the reveal of Levia had me excited to explore what might be possible in Classic Constructed and Blitz when I can get my hands on cards release weekend.
With that in mind, today I’ll explore some of the cards already spoiled and their impact on Constructed formats, how I think they can be utilized, from build arounds to playability ,and ideal numbers or cycles of cards to play.
This card is, in my opinion, one of the strongest cards we’ve seen so far from the Monarch previews. While it might look like just a 6 attack, no defense, three-cost yellow attack action, it really does everything you want to be doing in Levia.
This is effectively a repeatable threat that fulfills all the conditions you need. When banished from the graveyard, it’ll trigger Levia’s ability. It can also trigger abilities such as Convulsion from the Bellows of Hell, Endless Maw and even interact favorably as the discard off Bloodrush Bellow. Then you can play it again straight away as a 6 attack for 3 that doesn’t cost a card, put it in the graveyard and do it all again!
On of the best ways to put this into perspective is to use a card like Convulsion from the Bellows of Hell as an example. From a three-card hand, you can Convulsions into playing Deep Rooted Evil from banish for 9 dominate. One of the best ways to end a double Mandible Claw swing for five and five is with a Brute attack action for eight. Deep Rooted Evil allows you to always have the attack action and have it not cost you a card, allowing you to Arsenal the extra card or not be caught short on resources if you draw a yellow and a red, for example off Bloodrush Bellow.
Deep Rooted Evil as a repeatable effect is just the ticket for giving Levia a powerful attack to continually throw at the opponent from Arsenal.
There’s a very good reason that Soul Harvest is legendary and a deck can contain just the one copy. A six-cost attack that swings for up to 12, while still having great flexibility as a blue resource card and defends for three, is really strong. Not only does it provide all that, Soul Harvest even enables you to set up your other legendary, Doomsday. Since Doomsday is an instant, you can even play Soul Harvest and then Doomsday in the same turn to summon up a Blasmophet, the Soul Harvetser token.
Soul Harvest really allows you to also set up future turns by choosing the six cards you banish. You might running cards like Deep Rooted Evil, Tome of Torment and cards with blood debt that have less than 6 attack, improving your hit rate for the random banish cards for the remainder of the game.
On the face of it, Doomsday looks like it might be somewhat hard to achieve setup for. Realistically though, because of cards like Deep Rooted Evil (there it is again!) and other 6 attack Shadow Brute actions like Deadwood Rambler (Blue), Endless Maw (Red), Shadow of Blasmophet and even cards that will unavoidably get banished like Convulsions from the Bellows of Hell (Red), it won’t be that hard at all to utter the phrase “Doomsday.” Of course, even if these random banishes don’t line up and it’s a slow climb to Doomsday, finding and playing Soul Harvest will fix that problem for you!
Blasmophet, the Soul Harvester is a seriously good card. Getting this Ally token into play does a few things. First, it causes a headache for your opponent. If they want to kill it, they need to do it all at once and by doing so they reduce the output of damage towards you. If they choose to ignore it however, you now have this extra threat that can allow you to get in with more damage with additional action points, or simply allow you to defend out the opponent’s turn with your full hand and swing back for six damage for free – a win-win.
What a name this card has, and a pretty good effect too that I fully expect to see shine particularly in Blitz, but also Classic Constructed. The power of this card really comes from the dominate buff on cards that already have large attack values. In addition, unlike a lot of attack buff effects, Convulsions from the Bellows of Hell doesn’t just work on class-specific cards, instead giving the +X and dominate to any attack action card. This makes the card super flexible for things like Command and Conquer to get it to 7 or 9 attack and push it through with dominate to really disrupt an opponent’s setup or offensive turn.
Pairing Convulsions with Deep Rooted Evil or another attack action from banish is a great way to get some good value attacks out. Additionally, pair it with strong on-hit effect attack actions. I can see uses for the full cycle of this card in Constructed, with red appealing to me most in Blitz because of the speed and low life totals. In Classic Constructed, I see this more as an endgame or setup piece for the dominate, so I like the yellow and blue cycles depending on what weapon and/or attack actions these might be pitched for early.
A 9 power attack for three resources in the form of Endless Maw (Red) is a massive attack to drop in the midgame, taking cards from the opponent or pushing damage. It’s a great pairing partner with Convulsions from the Bellows of Hell (Red) if you have the cards in graveyard to pay for it. Having enough and the right cards in graveyard is vital; after all, playing a lot of these new Shadow Brute actions requires a nice juicy grave, otherwise you simply can’t pay the costs! Managing your deck and life total has its own challenges, and now you’ll be adding in careful management of graveyard and banish for blood debt.
I can primarily see the red version of Endless Maw in Constructed formats because of the 6 attack value – either play it or defend for 3 with it and get it into the graveyard to help fuel other banish costs. Draw it mid to late game and you have a sizeable attack to throw out though.
The second majestic we’ve seen in the Shadow Brute class, Shadow of Blasmophet gives you a great way to search up Deep Rooted Evil or another card playable from banish to be utilized later. You can really equate this effect to draw a card, and a specific relevant attack at that.
Banish can, in some ways, be thought of and treated like a second Arsenal (provided the blood debt doesn’t get out of control). So, it’s basically a 6 attack red for two that nets a card, a very good card at that.
However, this card that does come with some downside. With no defensive value, you have to consider carefully how you’ll play this card and ask yourself, “how many cards that don’t defend can I afford to play?” Additionally, this is another card with blood debt that you can’t play from banish, so if you stack too many of these up in banish and can’t trigger Levia’s ability on any given turn, you’ll be paying a steep price that could see you potentially out of the game.
Pulping (Red) is a great way to fuel your graveyard with the additional discard that doesn’t actually cost you a card due to the draw effect. Additionally, you can set this card up to guarantee the dominate and, if the opponent is unprepared, you’ll be getting that go again pretty reliably to kick off a big turn. I see Pulping (Red) being a card that finds its way into a lot of Brute decks, but again how many cards that don’t defend can you afford to really play? This will be the balancing act.
You can see a lot of these Shadow Brute cards previewed for Monarch really synergize together and the developers are showing this pretty clearly. Whether it’s fueling the graveyard to play and fulfill the cost of other attack and non-attack actions or coming full circle out of banish, the card that I think is the real lynch pin of this deck’s eventual strategy is Deep Rooted Evil.
Levia, Shadowborn Abomination looks a heap of fun and a hero capable of some really big setup turns sandwiched between consistent aggressive turns. With Ravenous Meataxe and Hexagore, the Death Hydra, you have two new weapons to potentially arm yourself with alongside the incumbents in Mandible Claw and Romping Club. The ways to build this deck are going to be numerous. Will you be picking up Levia, Shadowborn Abomination when Monarch drops? If so, what strategy are you eyeing up with the new Shadow Brute cards?