Hey all! I know you guys have been itching to see this and didn't want to keep you waiting any longer than you had to! Beware, the following may appear as a giant wall of text. I attempted to format as best I could, but I have no clue how well it'll turn out in the end.
*Note: This is not my worlds report, but merely a thread focused on the deck I used at Worlds and Nationals. The deck is currently undefeated in two major tournaments. Has yet to miss playing a 4+ cost character on turn 2 with mulligans. Below is a comprehensive deck breakdown and some thoughts I had going into the tournaments.
Deck Name: “Dinner”
Other possible deck names: “Twilight Feeding” , “Broken Twilight, Broken Feeding” , “Evening Snack” , “Nom Nom Nom”
Deck Designer: Tom Capor
Tournament: 2012 World Championship + notes for 2012 National Championships
Deck Total: 50
2x Master of the Myths
3x Black Dog
3x The Mother’s Hand
3x Twilight Cannibal
3x Hungry Dark Young
3x Grasping Cthonian
2x Displaced Cthonian
2x *Basil Elton
1x Corrupted Midwife
3x Facless Abductor
3x Many-angled Thing
3x Stalking Hounds
3x Twilight Gate
3x Feed Her Young
3x Pushed into the Beyond
2x Broken Space, Broken Time
1x Under the Porch
Faction Break Down:
The Theory and Thoughts behind the Deck:
The meta this year was pretty wild. I really felt like just about anything was viable. Syndicate had their control over skill. Hastur was scary with their discard and character steals. Cthulhu is still a force to be reckoned with due to its ability to clear the board. Silver Twilight and Yog are still really relevant and offer some scary tricks. Even Miskatonic posed a threat (though, far more than I could possibly predict). I guess the only thing I wasn’t worried about was Agency. So I needed a deck that could handle all of that, plus each of its hybrid versions, plus combo decks!
That’s a lot to prepare for. Deciding to basically ignore combo decks was my biggest risk. I rationed that Glimpse was not going to show based on how easy it was to tech against. The recently revealed (and soon to be halted) Logan+Necronomicon combo really put a wrench into things. I had made my own version ranging in speeds from winning on turn 1 to turn 3+. However, to beat that deck it would cause me to come up with a wildly different build or play a different deck entirely. So, instead of teching against it (or use one myself) I decided to try and let others do the work for me. I struggled with that decision, but since I had a bye in the first round so I was hoping that any Logan decks that entered would fall right away letting me avoid the matchup altogether. Of course, this became a moot point as no one even bothered to play either combo deck. Which I really believed played to my advantage.
As for everything else… I needed a deck that could handle support cards with ease (check). I wanted to be aggressive (check). The last few years I always found myself to be in the position of having to create openings with characters sporting weak icons, so I this year I wanted to be the dominator with an intimidating field presence (check). However, I didn’t want to sacrifice my speed for it either (check). The deck needed to draw well in case of discarding or a long game (check). Above all else, since we’re only playing best of 1, the deck needed to be consistent (check).
However, the true heart of my ability to keep this streak alive had to remain. I needed to make sure that I kept enough tricks in the deck that would not only allow me to open holes in my opponent’s defenses, but also disrupt their offense as well. The nationals build felt like it had the bare minimum, but the world’s version had a perfect feel to it thanks to the new additions of Master of the Myths and Pushed into the Beyond.
Thus, this deck was born. Chalk full of high skill characters to combat Syndicate. Ancient Ones, consistent draw, support removal, and every character in the deck either has a Terror icon or Willpower(special exception for Basil, but he doesn't spend too much time in play anyway) to combat Hastur. Able to flood the field quickly and repetitively to combat Cthulhu. And with enough out of turn tricks to fight the remaining factions… like I told Damon after winning the U.S. Nationals… this is the best I’ve got (for the current meta).
Honestly, I tried coming up with better. As I didn’t want to show up with the same deck twice, but since FFG didn’t post my deck in an article (not sure why they haven’t yet as I gave them permission, but they said they had plans for it) and I was unable to post for so long (due to pc problems). Since this deck was a secret kept by accident I took it as a sign and gave myself the green light to play it again.
As a side note. I am, in no way, saying that this deck is unbeatable or whatever. I’m simply saying that for the goals I had set for building my deck were not only achieved, but surpassed any other attempt I made at building a deck designed to reach same goals.
Why the Deck Wins:
The easy way to answer this is… it's strange. Theres nothing new about this deck on paper but it doesn't play the way you'd expect it to. Turn one, I often do nothing or maybe play 1 small 2 cost character. Not unheard of, but strange. Now, most people are going to assume I have some sort of trick to defend myself and commit to stories very cautiously. They're right to do so of course, but instead of playing against what is on the field they to worry more about playing against what is in my hand. Which for someone who's not used to that… it can be really off putting. Then on my following turn I can go from having zero characters to several and they're no mooks. They're Ancient Ones or wreaking machines like Displaced Cthonian plus some other possible friends like The Mother's Hand or Stalking Hounds. So, all of a sudden you're behind and to recover you have to get past some of the most powerful cards in the game! Even if you managed to keep your sanity, the deck doesn't stop. It just keeps coming with more and more large and intimidating characters. It's strange in that you'd think it would run out of steam eventually, but every draw has a high percentage chance of pulling up another large character to replace any of the ones lost.
Add in board wipes like Nodens and Nyarlathotep not letting your oppoenent resource cards how they want can be rather disorienting in such a subtle way.
How to Play the Deck:
On the surface, this is a very simple deck to run. Try to go first if you can and mulligan to a hand that allows you to play Feed Her Young or Twilight Gate (rarely will accelerating your big domain not be the best idea). At some point before you reach your second turn you want to have 3 resources on a single domain. Granted, if you deem the situation necessary, you can skip doing this and doing a 3/2 for you two main domains and be just fine. However, I've yet to run into the need but I recommend only doing this if you're using Feed Her Young. The deck is designed to always threaten with "Pay 1" effects and going 3/2/0 could put you in an awkward (and easy for you oppoenent to predict) position.
You accomplish this by either playing a strong cost 2 character followed by Feed Her Young or Twilight Gate over a character to the domain used to pay for Twilight Gate. Then on your second turn you’ll typically want to resource to 4 on your main domain and drop the biggest, most intimidating character you can. From then on you can resource to 5 in case you need to pay the full cost for Nodens or build up a second domain (or rebuilding your empty domain to 1 in case of Twilight Gate). Of course, building up to 6 isn’t out of the question either. Especially if you’ve drawn both copies of Glaaki or are facing a lot of “return to hand” effects as Glaaki tends to play a big role in most games.
As far as general strategy at stories… it can’t be any simpler than this. In most match-ups/situations you’re going to out-icon and out skill your opponent. All you have to do is be smart when committing. If you don’t leave yourself too open to counter attack it’s difficult for this deck to fail.
- Almost guaranteed to play an Ancient One on turn 2 or other characters of similar power level.
- Beef! You 38 bodies in this deck. Most of which have at least 3 icons, which most of them aren’t redundant in a bad way. Which might be the most out of any deck that I’ve ever used or seen in a tournament.
- No shortage of tricks. Be it Twilight Gate, Black Dog/Master of the Myths, Pushed into the Beyond, Y’Glonac, Facless Abductor or Under the Porch you can make plenty of holes on your opponent’s board position.
- Easy and simple solutions to common problems. For example, Displaced Cthonian solves most problems involving support cards. Your opponent floods the board with cheap low skill characters in an attempt to out race you to stories can be easily handled by Nodens. An opposing Ancient One or other heavy icon beast standing in your path to victory? Just call Glaaki or Y’Glonac to solve your problem. Pushed into the Beyond will also elegantly take care of any problems you might be having with any individual character.
- Able to ignore many of the metagame’s current top strategies just by being so fast and so unrelenting with such large characters.
- Draws extremely well. Even with an empty hand I can pretty much bank on the deck producing at least 1 large character off the top.
- Very stressful opening moves. You have to be smart. Keep your Twilight Gate defenses versatile. Make sure you have a way to drain your 2 resource domain so you can play Feed Her Young on it. Try not to resource Stalking Hounds, Black Dog, or Master of Myths immediately as you may need them to defend yourself. The first round of turns is all about mitigating the damage your opponent can do and if possible reduce their board position.
- Opposing decks that can easily handle Ancient Ones while fielding some of their own can be problematic when trying to use Broken Space, Broken Time. Thanks to Pushed into the Beyond this isn’t nearly as bad, but ideally when your opponent also picks up their deck to pull out an Ancient One you’d typically want to bring out Glaaki to deal with the new threat. However, since you’re (usually) not at 6 resources to easily replay or recover Glaaki should your opponent have the means to remove it from play you can be caught in a rather unfavorable situation.
- Combo decks. This version has so few options to deal with today’s combo decks. It’s not without answers, but none of them are particularly reliable or even optimal. However, this deck can be modified to deal combo decks, but each “counter card” added can significantly take away from this deck’s overall power and consistency.
Individual Card choices and why:
2x *Glaaki – My favorite giant slug. This guy just wins battles! He’s primarily in here for his ability to handle problematic icons.
2x *Nyarlathotep – The deck’s restricted card. Honestly, it was a toss-up between him and Negotium Perambulans in Tenebris . However, believing that my deck could handle low cost rush decks without the conspiracy allowed for a more streamlined deck that put a heavier focus on characters. Plus, having Nyarlathotep gave me hope against decks that I’m weak against by having my opponent resource something they needed. Also, the big guy creates a lot of extra unique problems from my opponents. Especially for players running complex decks that take choice of resourcing for granted.
2x *Y’Glonac – This disruptive gem of an Ancient One has been a favorite of mine for as long as he’s existed. He’s able to do so much with so little that it’s hard to imagine a Shub deck without him. Plus he makes for an excellent turn 2 play when you likely have nothing but 1 resource on your other domains anyway.
1x *Nodens – Nodens is a bit tricky. He is really only there for that emergency case when your opponent floods the field. Otherwise he sits in the hand waiting for an opportunity to strike as this deck contains a lot of 2 and 3 skill characters. Main reason behind only having a single copy. However, keep in mind that Noden’s ability is optional. Thus, if you need it. His skill and icons can be merely added to your forces.
2x Master of the Myths – Not originally in my Nationals deck (an admitted mistake). Originally I had a pair of Dreamlands Fanatics. With more time to iron out the deck this change made all the sense in the world. I primarily use him to not just block but more specifically as way to deny my opponent a victory in the Arcane Struggle or to goad my opponent into draining an extra domain (to play their own) should they feel the need to win it. Otherwise, Master of the Myths is the one of, if not the best, blocker in the game today and having his ability only cost 1 synergized well with the deck’s strategy. Also, a side note. When going second this can be paired with Feed Her Young to create a better turn 1 for you.
3x Black Dog – Similar to Master of the Myths, Black Dog is a huge deterrent. Opponent’s must always respect the Black Dog for his bite is worse than his bark. The reason for 3 of BD instead of MotM is simple. Resource match, easier to play normally, and fear. Most smart opponents will always believe that you have the dog in hand and attack accordingly thus narrowing his options whether you actually have him or not. Which, in turn, causes your opponent to place fewer success tokens in the early turns of the game.
3x The Mother’s Hand – In this deck… it’s cost may as well be 0. And those that know me, know how much I love not paying for useful cards. Since we’re building to 4 resources on turn 2 anyway… this gem allows us to quickly flood the field with decent combatants.
3x Twilight Cannibal – Great icons, high skill, low cost. Add in some toughness and you have one hell of a durable character. If I need the beef for blocking, theres no shame in pulling him out for Under the Porch or Twilight Gate. As an added bonus I don’t think Hungry Dark Young could ask for better friend at stories.
3x Hungry Dark Young – A common resource for Twilight Gate trickery, HDY is an excellent choice at all phases of the game. During your opponent’s first story phase HDY and his friend can block up to 2 story cards and possibly nullify up to 4 opposing characters. Paired with Basil Elton can turn him into a poor man’s The Mother’s Hand. Combo with Under the Porch for some serious discard pile recovery should the need arise.
3x Grasping Cthonian – Solid stats and a quick answer for individual support cards. Pairs well with Twilight Gate and Under the Porch. A no brainer for this style of deck.
2x Displaced Cthonian – This beast causes support heavy/reliant decks to weep. Good stats and the fact that his ability doesn’t require additional resources to continue to use his effect in a deck with so few support cards make it an ideal choice. Basically, with so many powerful support cards in today’s meta, this guy lets you have your cake and eat it to. Only went with two copies because of simply how well he does his job. Just one in play is more than enough.
2x *Basil Elton – Another card that lets you quickly flood the field with powerful characters. Really, Basil is the harbinger of hopelessness. Allowing you to drop an additional cost 4+ character in a single turn can quickly demoralize an opponent. Only went with 2 copies because you can have too much of a good thing. Basil is the weakest thing I can draw when top decking on an empty hand and only useful in the first few turns of the game unless I find a way to refill my hand.
1x Corrupted Midwife – My token fun card. CM might not be the most optimal or streamlined choice for the deck as its typically not needed in most games, but I love it in close/long games. Being able to recover some of my biggest characters at crucial points allowed me to win several games that I normally wouldn’t of been able to. Only went with one copy because it’s not a card I normally rely on and for stats they were/are better options.
3x Facless Abductor – Ok stats for a 2 cost character, but is capable of throwing some serious wrenches in your opponent’s plans at/in any phase of the game.
3x Many-angled Thing – “Polygon” here is simple, yet effective. Creating a 2 for 1 (my opponent losing a character, me gaining a character at the cost of paying for only 1 card) swing every time I play it is just pure advantage. Plus, it can be an ideal Twilight Gate target as well. Your opponent will need every character they can get their hands on against this deck and depriving him of even the weakest of their arsenal all adds to your impending victory.
3x Stalking Hounds – Acts as a deterrent for your opponent to play characters through non-standard means. Which… is really common right now. Plus the hounds really help out when your opponent also grabs a character from Broken Space, Broken Time. Worst case scenario, this deck can easily pay the 4 cost to put it into play. Also, a strong counter to Uroborus + Temple of Ry’leh combo.
3x Twilight Gate – Possibly my favorite card in the game, but definitely the best card in the deck. Always a good play regardless of who’s or what turn it is.
3x Feed Her Young - Realize this. Using cost reducers may be more efficient in the short term, but in the long run having a domain with 4 real resources is far superior in my opinion. However, the cost I pay for is that 26 total shub cards in the deck. When using a card like this that has triple steadfast and a strong desire to play on turn 1… Having over half of the deck matching those steadfast icons is mathematically necessary. Sure, I would love give a few shub slots to some neutral or yog cards instead, but I wasn’t willing to miss. I wasn’t willing to add to the risk of not having a 4 cost character enter play on my second turn.
3x Pushed into the Beyond – Be gone! Obviously I didn’t have this for nationals, but glad it was ready to go for worlds (replaced 1x Ya-te-veo and 2x Forgotten Shoggoth to deal with the threat of the Glimpse deck). Being able to easily resource up to 6 means that I had at least one answer for virtually any threat that I could possibly face. An answer that can be played during any phase regardless of who’s turn it was.
2x Broken Space, Broken Time – 2 extra copies of each of my Ancient Ones. Ran only 2 copies because I didn’t want to rely on it to bring out my Ancient Ones. Flux Stabilizer and opposing Ancient Ones were and still are a concern.
1x Under the Porch – The one support card. I basically puts a an additional copy of each Shub character into the deck. Plus I kind of wanted to have a target for “The Heirloom” story card. With Displaced Cthonian in the deck, I couldn’t field too many support cards knowing they wouldn’t last long, so Under the Porch is a good fit. Like Corrupted Midwife, it’s more of a mid to late game card. Plus with my opponent’s hand likely being chalk full of anti-support cards towards the beginning of the game I wasn’t willing to rely on its effect going off to warrant additional copies. That being said, it can be a huge boon to any Shub heavy deck.
To recreate my nationals deck:
3x Pushed into the Beyond + 2x Master of the Myths -> 2x Dreamlands Fanatic, 2x Forgotten Shoggoth, 1x Ya-te-veo
I would like to throw out some thanks to Chevee Dodd, Mike Mazur and Rhett Jenkins for assisting me in creating/tuning/testing this deck.
At this time I will open up the floor to any questions or comments and remind everyone to keep an eye out for my tournament report(s). Technically I still think I owe you guys one for gencon too and I'll do my best to recap those events as well. However, computer issues do still tend to plague me and ask for you patience while that is being resolved.