While we wait on any final RCQ results from the weekend, I wanted to take one final look at Swap-Lock before Darkmoon Faire Los Angeles.
Tired of the deck yet? Don't worry. This is most likely the last time you will be hearing about it for a while – at least from me. Crown of the Heavens is fast approaching, and the cards from the new expansion is sure to shake up the format. As a note, I don't know how good you think this card is:
But if you only think that it is 'really good', you're still undervaluing its potential. This card will warp the format around itself. It's cheap, playable in a couple of classes, and is tailor-made to target some of the biggest cards in the format. People have been hoping for a cheap and efficient answer to troublesome ongoing abilities and equipment, and this is it. You best not rely on using your oversized allies thanks to [Grand Crusader] to trade with the opponent's allies. The Voodoo Mask will blow you out, shrinking your allies back down to lethal health totals. Also, Girdle suffers at the hands of this card. So does Winter Veil Disgusie Kit.
So, you know, basically every format-defining card in Core right now. Expect RCQs to be seriously shaken up by Crown of the Heavens. And if people are still playing the same decks, do yourself a favor and buy a play-set of the Voodoo Mask, then crush anyone who didn't get the memo that this card is bonkers.
Anyway, where were we? Oh, right.
Hero: [Skodis the Nethertwister]
4 [Rufus Claybourne]
4 [Dulvar, Hand of the Light]
2 [Al'akir the Windlord]
4 [Steal Essence]
4 [Drain Essence]
4 [Fel Covenant]
4 [Soul Swap]
4 [Fel Blaze]
3 [Invoke the Nether]
3 [Void Rip]
4 [Life Tap]
4 [Bottled Void]
4 [Fordragon Hold]
4 [What's Haunting Witch Hill?]
4 [Mystery Goo]
It's a minor change from last week: [Gnash] became [Invoke the Nether] again. The reason? You lose percentage points against the HordeStone and Girdle decks by removing Invoke for Gnash, as Gnash does next to nothing in those matchups whereas [Invoke the Nether] at least hits stuff like [Mazu'kon] or (here's a biggie) [Al'akir the Windlord]. [Gnash] just wasn't pulling his wait, which now really solidifies my hero selection as Skodis. [Soul-Eater Morgania] just isn't that impressive, as I've noted against the aggressive decks. I never have a chance to flip her.
Instead of matchup breakdowns, I'm instead going to go over what comprises the deck, and explain why those cards are there.
[Sardok] – It's an early turn 1 play that, luckily, has some benefit against a few of the early Horde one drops as well as [Edwin Vancleef]. This and a [Fel Blaze] is one of your easiest answers to Edwin (unless you don't mind taking 7 and combining your sweeper with [Fordragon Hold]). It's important as a protector to help get you to the later game, and it's quite an annoyance for a couple of the aggro deck's speedy starts.
[Rufus Claybourne] – The sole reason Rufus has made it in is to have better percentages against The Murlocs deck, or really any strategy based around [Poison Tipped]. It also benefits in the mirror, and serves as an early play against aggressive decks. He does, however, get rowed a lot, but I'm not comfortable giving him up (he also occasionally prevents damage to you from your own [Fel Blaze]s and [Fel Covenant]s).
[Dulvar, Hand of the Light] – He's best-in-slot for what needs to be done. And admittedly, he can be underwhelming against the super-aggressive GC decks. However, you need something to stabilize the Hunter and aggro matchups, and he does just that once they're out of real threats. It's also nice to have something that can win the game as an additional back-up to [Soul Swap]. He really shines against Hunter, where they're asking themselves, "Do I have [Explosive Shot] or am I losing?". Expect him to be at his best against the Girdle and Shaman decks, where he's just really, really annoying.
[Al'akir the Windlord] – The best finisher. The others just don't compete.
The Essence Stealing Effects – They're crucial for mitigating early damage. It all matters. A lot.
The hard removal – You need ways to get [Mazu'kon] and many other threats off the board, and out of the graveyard for good. This is actually one of the reasons you are even playing Warlock. Hard removal is key in this format. Whether it's getting a [Mazu'kon] out of the way for good or removing [Dagax the Butcher] so that he can't jump into play via [Bottled Light].
[Invoke the Nether] – Sometimes, you need a sweeper. And this card is one of the best at doing so. The reasons for this over [Gnash] is to hit those more expensive cards often found in [Devout Aurastone Hammer] decks and Girdle decks. And let's be honest; it really sucks playing a [Gnash] just to see an [Edwin VanCleef] still staring back at you.
[Life Tap] – These are resources against the hyper-aggressive decks, but against the slower matchups (yes, even HordeStone decks), these help you hit your resource drops by keeping your hand full, and the damage is mitigated by your boatload of healing.
[Soul Swap] – Big beats. You don't win without this card, hence why the deck is named after it.
[Bottled Void] – These are resources early and very powerful burn cards later. The life swings this generates, especially after a [Soul Swap], is crushing.
[Fordragon Hold] – You need early plays, and both the Hold and [Kor'kron Vanguard] are among the best. Every time you get free kills with these, you feel like you're cheating. These locations are the nutter-butters, and I'm surprised they don't get more respect sometimes.
[Mystery Goo] – You have crucial abilities that you need to find, hence the inclusion of this quest.
[What's Haunting Witch Hill?] - The oddest inclusion in the deck, but surprisingly this is going to be a card for two resources a lot of times. Otherwise it's [Your Fortune Awaits You], which is fine in this format as you're completing these once you're out of gas anyway. You guys remember what quests do, right?
As a note, I did a some live streaming of some matches against Daniel Betancourt, who was piloting Hans' Grand Crusader deck from Worlds. On the draw in each game, I went 2-3. I normally would not be happy about such numbers, but when you're not playing Grand Crusader on the draw, you can only do so much. If I could take three games on the play or better (which I'm certainly comfortable in), I'd be happy with the matchup, as I think the strength this deck has in general makes it a worthwhile consideration.
If you are playing Swap-Lock at DMF LA (this build or your own), please come find me on-site. I'll be doing coverage as per the usual, and I'd love to feature any decks that venture away from the standard Hammer/Crusader/Aspect decks.