Throne of the Tides! Let me just say, finally! I really disliked the block format the more I played it. Maybe it was because I struggled to find a good deck, which would be my fault and not the formats, but forget block. Seriously, have you seen this new set? I literally haven’t been this excited for any set, for any card game ever. The set looks amazing. I’m not talking just for Limited either. I’ve been working on mainly Core Constructed decks in preparation of the World Championships next month, and many of the cards in Throne of the Tides are finding it into my decks. If these cards can influence sets that had cards like [Feral Spirit], [Fizzle], and [Eye of Kilrogg], the next few months should be sweet for deck building.
Core Constructed has shrunk in case you missed the memo, and the shrinking format has added some pseudo-reprints. This means that the cards on that “pseudo-reprint” page are allowed in Core, but are not actually in the sets. So I decided why not play one of these allowed cards, the second best Alliance two drop of all time, [Burly Berta], in a beatdown style deck!
In block one class I worked on to zero success was Mage. The class had very little going for it. The abilities that Mage could play were not powerful enough to justify 25 health, the hero flips that each of the factions had access to were really awful, and it just couldn’t beat Hunter and Paladin. With the help of Throne of the Tides, this is no longer the case. The new Empower keyword has given a reason to play Mage!
Hero: [Rumi of Gnomeregan]
3 [Vakus the Inferno]
4 [Windspeaker Nuvu]
3 [Bronze Drake]
4 [Haratha Hammerflame]
3 [Burly Berta]
4 [Faceless Sapper]
4 [Twilight Shadowdrake]
4 [Kaelon, Herald of the Flame]
3 [Magni, the Mountain King]
3 [Tidus the Relentless]
3 [Molten Scorch]
4 [Arcane Barrage]
3 [Arcane Missiles]
4 [Bottled Knowledge]
3 [Throne of the Tides]
4 [Seeds of Their Demise]
This Rumi deck does not have the usual curve of an aggro deck, but it’s actually quite quick while also having the ability to act as a midrange deck. The addition of allies like [Burly Berta] and [Haratha Hammerflame] who are best at beating the opponent down, but also allow the deck to play catch up, make up for the poor removal selection that Mage has. But if Mage has terrible ally removal and their health is lower than every other classes’ health, why play them? The reason Mage is playable in new core can be attributed to the new keywords from Throne of the Tides, Empower, Enrage, and Delve.
Each of the Empower allies is playable, and most of them are just awesome, and [Kaelon, Herald of the Flame] falls under amazing! Remember when [Bonechewer Behemoth] was a good card? I do because it was the only card I wanted to change in my NACC 2009 winning Kil’zin deck. I wanted one more of the awesome traitor ally, so to make sure I don’t make the same mistake, four [Kaelon, Herald of the Flame] is mandatory in this deck. [Kaelon, Herald of the Flame] is a [Magma Spike] to the opponent’s face that also brings a formidable body to beat down with while being cheaper than my favorite traitor ally! I do wish that Kaelom’s effect was on the Horde Empower Mage card, but I’ll take what burn I can get!
Enrage is another sweet keyword that makes Limited for this set awesome, and will make Core a crazy format of decks quickly changing from the control deck to the aggro deck on the turn of a card. The best of these allies (at least for Alliance) is definitely [Faceless Sapper]. [Shadowfiend] is able to deal three damage the turn he comes out, but this guy does four, and doesn’t require you to be a silly Priest. I believe that the this guy will likely keep Alliance decks in check that will play four [Burly Berta]s and expect that she will be enough on the play to win the game. The sapper crushes Berta, trades for the format’s best card [Boomer], and is an [Arcane Barrage] to the face every time you flip an ally. To make sure you have an ally on top of the deck though, that’s where Delve kicks in.
This is in the running for best keyword in the game. I originally was unimpressed with the cards that had Delve on them, and I felt like Cryptozoic was being too careful with which cards got this keywords, but I was wrong. [Seeds of Their Demise] is the best quest printed in the last year, and it is not close. Every deck wants the ability to draw a live card each turn, and if you can put a card like [Obsidian Drudge] on the bottom of you deck against a deck with only three equipment, it’s like drawing a card. And if you told me I could potentially draw two cards at any time for free I’d think you were crazy, but that’s what Seeds does. Each class also got a specific ability with the sweet new keyword on it, and the Mage is possibly the best one. [Molten Scorch] is the same cost as [Frostbolt], still instant, and has Delve on it which I would call free value. The last of the Delve cards in the deck is obviously the best one, [Throne of the Tides].
I could write for weeks on just this one card. At the time of writing this article [Throne of the Tides] is going for only $14 a copy on Ebay, which I think is a complete bargain. This is definitely the best card in each control deck in Classic, and even more so in Core. I’ve tested this in control decks and loved it, played it in midrange and wanted more, and even in aggro decks like this, it’s better than playing more quests. Being able to filter the best cards to your draw step helps finish burning out a weakened opponent, it helps find an answer to their giant threat, and helps turn on the Enrage allies you could play. If people were complaining about the price tag on [Twilight Citadel]s, they will be complaining about this card's price tag as more Monsters come out, and decks shift away from heavy dragonkin decks.
The reason that this deck is able to work as an aggro deck is that the allies compliment the burn abilities well. [Arcane Barrage] is an inefficient way to kill a [Bella Wilder] or a [Gerwixicks], but when it kills one of them and does four damage to the opponent’s hero, we’re getting somewhere. One of my favorite cards from Twilight of the Dragons is still [Twilight Shadowdrake], but he was really awful in Block Constructed. The block format rewarded decks based on damage type and shadow damage was a Scourgewar theme. The shadowdrake shines here because like [Kaelon, Herald of the Flame] and [Haratha Hammerflame] it rewards you for just bashing them and then burning them out. Cards like [Arcane Missilies], [Arcane Barrage], and [Tidus the Relentless] all work in tandem to quickly whittle an opponent down, while also being able to trade when the deck has a slow start, whereas [Vakus the Inferno] is only great when the deck has an explosive start.
The last card I want to talk about is the [Bottled Knowledge]. It’s not a card that many people would include in an aggro deck, but I wanted a way to draw cards that didn’t need me to have no hand like [Rescue the Earthspeaker!]. Oddly enough the deck can get value off the bottle in a few ways. The most obvious way is to discard [Arcane Barrage] with the intention of playing it again later in the game. The other more obvious way is Death Rattle off of [Burly Berta]! Every damage matters in a deck like this! Be sure that you don’t just row your [Burly Berta] after turn two despite it being pretty weak, discarding her to pump up a friendly ally is her best contribution to the team. The last way is discarding duplicate copies of [Throne of the Tides], because it is very seldom that you will use one, and bottom both cards, then play a second and use it as well (if you do it’s probably because you are facing lethal damage on the next turn).
This deck is really fun, and is actually pretty competitive. While it can struggle against certain decks like the [Aspect of the Wild] Hunter, work can be done to improve those matchups. Potential cards to include could be [Obsidian Drudge] or even [Glacial Tomb]. I suggest you give the [Rumi of Gnomeregan] deck a shot, and let me know what you think of it in the forums!