Decked Out Articles: Glory to Llael – A Highborn Showdown Deck

I’ve been itching to write about a Faith and Fortune Deck, and the Highborn have been looking very interesting. They can hit the max 30 VPs, and the cards that aren’t worth VPs are quite good. Additionally, the deck has an average Rush cost of 6.6, which is really good. Highborn can also play into Castle of the Keys Locations better than most decks. Overall, I think the Llaelese colors in Highborn present some really powerful options, and I want to write about them!

Ashlynn D’Elyse {Orange}
~Offensive Push x1
~Hired Help x2
~Duelist x3
~Talon x3
~Amethyst Rose Gun Mages x2
~Nyss Refugees x1

Captain Damiano {Green}
~Offensive Push x1
~Hired Help x2
~Vanguard x2
~Duelist x1
~Talon x2
~Rutger Shaw and Taryn Di La Rovissi x2
~Nyss Refugees x2

Ashlynn, Heart of the Resistance {Purple}
~Rhulic Alliance x1
~Hired Help x1
~Vanguard x3
~Rutger Shaw and Taryn Di La Rovissi x3
~Amethyst Rose Gun Mages x2
~Dannon Blythe & Bull x2

Winds of War: Invasion of Sul

Locations: Castle of the Keys

The Detachments

One of the best parts about this deck is that every card has above average resource values. You never have to put a 1/1 resource back into your deck. This means that you only remove one of the original 12 cards each time you are removing cards before shuffling. This leaves the deck with very reasonable deployment options in the late game if you have try to capture Narrow Streets or deal with a Redirection (if your opponent won the starting roll).

I also want to mention how good Hired Help can be. It’s really easy to purchase, and you can run all five of them in this deck. They provide flexibility and help rushing the Warriors in your deck, which are quite powerful.

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Orange: This detachment provides a 4/4 resource, two Hired Helps, six of your jacks (that are each worth a VP), and two Amethyst Rose Gun Mages. All of these cards are good, but the Gun Mages are amazing. They are 3 Power and 4 Health for only 6 Rush cost. They also have an ability that reduces an enemy warrior’s power to zero when you deploy or rush the Gun Mages. That is exceptional because you rarely have to face more than 2 cards at a location, and rarely will a single card have enough power to really hinder your escalation at a Location. But if you face a deck like Legion that may depend very heavily on its battle engines . . . even better.

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Green: Many similarities with orange, but a few key differences. This detachment gives you access to a couple Vanguards (2 VPs each) that have Shield Guard, making them very annoying to anyone trying to remove your great warrior cards. Additionally, this color provides two copies of Rutger/Taryn. These synergize with your Duelists (because Jack Marshall boosts a jack’s power), and Powerful Attack adds +1 each time the Jacks gains power. Very nice.

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Purple: This detachment is almost all cards from the other detachments; but who doesn’t want more Vanguards, Gun Mages, and Hired Helps? The only cards that were really a decision came down to including two copies of Dannon Blythe & Bull. I chose this card because it can Rush for less when an enemy has warriors at a location. It’s not an amazing card, but I like how it rounds out the suite of warriors.

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The Warcasters

Ashlynn D’Elyse: This warcaster is not to be underestimated. Worst case scenario: Ashlynn is like Baldur or Stryker, but with 1 less power. But the option to penalize your opponent’s cards with -2 Power can be much better. It really helps protect your 4 Health cards. I’m not sure I would play Highborn without Ashlynn.

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Captain Damiano: If you have played Cryx/Scaverous you’ll already be quite familiar with how to use Damiano. When he is at a location, all of your purchase and rush costs are reduced by 1. Watch for this to smooth out your math. Rushing Vanguards for 8 or Rutger for 6 can really fix a turn for you. But keep in mind it also health your other Warcasters. He is a nice addition to any Highborn Deck.

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Ashlynn, Heart of the Resistance: This is one of the biggest setbacks in the deck. This Warcaster is filler. Purple is amazing for the deck, but lacks a good Warcaster right now. Hopefully a future expansion will fill this gap, because almost anything would be better.

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Playing the Deck

This deck isn’t dependant on any specific cards, which means that “Plan of Attack” is huge boon to searching for your 4/4 resources. But you will need to look at your opponent’s deck and figure out which cards you need the least to figure out what to refresh. If you are playing against Hordes, the Duelist is almost strictly superior to the Talon. You will need to make those sort of assessments based on what it seems like your opponent is playing. Beyond that, you can generally refresh your zero VP cards as long as you don’t go through too many warriors.

This is one of the best decks for average Rush cost. It is pretty much only Cryx that beats this out. So use that to your advantage. Put constant pressure at locations, and it doesn’t hurt you to over-commit. You want the captures, and you don’t care about any of your jacks or warrior going back into your deck. Try to focus your captures on locations with above-average resource values. Outside of your 4/4 resources, you are generally depending on Location captures to help you Rush Jacks with more efficiency.

Potential Changes

1 VP: There is a single VP that you have to cut for Showdown, and there are 3 realistic options to cut. A Duelist, a Talon, or a Rutger/Taryn. I decided to cut a Duelist because I wanted to keep as many 4 Health or lower cards as possible, because I am bringing the Castle of the Keys locations. But any of the 3 choices are legitimate options.

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Devil Dogs: One of the few other real decisions to make with this deck is if you want to run the Nyss Refugees or the Devil Dogs. I went with Nyss because they Rush for 5 and resource for command. But I can easily see playing this deck the other way for the added tech against Warjacks and Warbeasts.

Conclusion

I think that Highborn has huge potential in Showdown, and is probably a single good release away from being strong in standard too. If you are looking for a new deck to try and you like aggressive rushing with a side dish of irritating tricks . . . Highborn is probably right for you!

~Omnus

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