A fun deck that sets up escalating damage really quickly while also slowing down whatever the opponent's trying to set up. It can be a little shaky in PvP as it's vulnerable to direct counters destroying your spirits/pillars/shields and has a hard time doing anything about whatever permanents the enemy sets up, but it's pretty effective against the AI (and fairly inexpensive, so you can build it easily and farm the AI for cash) and can still do decently on other players (while being fun as hell). The core of the deck:
- Mark of Life.
- Sapphire Pillars x8-10.
- Nova x6.
- Forest Spirit x6.
- Ice Shield x1-3.
- Freeze/Ice Bolt (4-6 total).
- Optional: 1-2x Heal, Druid Staff, Deflagration
With the novas you can frequently get your first spirit out by turn 2, or turn 1 depending on your draw. Since you aren't trying to balance multiple colors of pillars you have an easy time supplying water quanta for growth plus miscellaneous Freeze/Ice Bolt to shut down whatever creatures the opponent tries to set up. I prefer Freeze; Ice Bolt is able to kill things permanently, but it's usually not going to be able to kill anything that has more than 2 HP and it's too expensive.
Freeze only stops things temporarily, but it's cheap and can stop almost any creature for 3 turns, which is all it needs to do. It's just there to stall the enemy long enough that you can put up Ice Shield, which is utterly amazing: it decreases damage by 1 and has a chance to freeze attackers. The freeze seems to activate roughly around 25% of the time; since each activation freezes an attacker for 3 turns, on average most creatures will spend more time frozen than not. Unfortunately most PvP decks will have the capability to destroy or steal your shield. (Notably FFQ swarms usually won't, though, and Ice Shield shuts down FFQ so badly it's not even funny.)
You probably want to fit in 1 or 2 contingency cards--the novas let you splash cheap cards from other colors, so you might consider deflagration to get rid of enemy permanents that threaten to shut you down (although in a lot of cases the enemy will have duplicates anyhow). Druid Staff is also nice for stalling while your spirits get rolling, although you'll be hungry for life quanta. You may want to include an Enchant Artifact to safeguard your precious shields, but it's kind of a gamble to draw 2x Nova + Enchant Artifact + Ice Shield + enough pillars and still get your spirits out fast enough to do any good.
Counters: As noted, the real killer in this deck is the ice shield, which is a magnet for Steal and Deflagration; creatures with Immaterial or Momentum are also going to be rough on this deck, although you can still cross your fingers and hope you outrun aether/gravity decks for damage output. Reverse time shuts this deck down hard; not only does it undo your growth, it wastes mana you can't afford. Cannibal decks are a huge obstacle once they get up Bone Wall; if you get stalled out for a few turns by a x7 Bone Wall you'll probably still be able to kill fairly quickly since your damage is constantly ramping up, but if the enemy can sacrifice creatures to grow it then you may be in trouble (Ice Shield will shut down boneyard swarms, but watch out for Steals from death/darkness decks).
'Theory:' by adding the upgraded parallel universe (twin universe) it may be possible to burst this decks strength only problem with this idea is twin universe is difficult to get and it takes 6 aerther, so you can only use it once.
(Reader's note) one extremely effective counter is the fire shield and a firebolt on spirits you've already played.
- -Creature control in general is going to be problematic. Your primary defense against direct damage is getting spirits out and grown big as quickly as possible. Fire shield will stop you from getting new spirits out, but after 1 growth fire shield alone won't kill them.
' Instead of life/water, use fire/earth and lava golems, which also have the growth ability. They start with 5/1 'and using fire helps you get rid of permenents
- Fire/earth growth does have several noticeable perks, but life/water has advantages of its own:
- While fire/earth needs plenty of both types of quanta, you use hardly any life quanta here which makes it much easier to cut out one color of pillar.
- Between having novas and forest spirits' lower cost it's easier to get them out quickly compared to lava golems. Golems start out ahead in terms of attack even if they wind up being a turn late compared to spirits (which they won't always even be) but the sooner you get your creatures out and start growing them the harder they'll be to kill.
- With novas, mono-sapphire pillars, and freeze's lower cost compared to firebolt you have an easier time shutting down creatures early on. Firebolt is better against low-health creatures because it will kill them outright, but freeze has the advantage of being able to temporarily halt creatures that firebolt wouldn't be able to kill.
- Iceshield and fireshield are both pretty awesome, but iceshield is generally easier to get out with this deck than fireshield is in fire/earth.
- You can fit in a couple of heals or druid's staves here, which helps you stall in a pinch. Since forest spirits can kill decently quickly and you can shut down enemy creatures fairly well, you can pick up a few masteries this way which makes this a reasonable farming deck (that's probably its best use.)
- Since you're using novas, you can still fit in a deflagration for emergency purposes. Fire/earth is still going to be a lot better for permanent control, but you're not going to be completely helpless against nasty weapons/shields with this deck either.
- Comment (from boydorn)
I would advise throwing in a quintessence to this deck, it really helps against decks with good creature control. The novas provide the power, and you can prevent at least one forest spirit from getting hit with poison, spells, lobotomize, reverse time, and all those other things that can otherwise completely destroy your tactics. With this I have made it an effective killer for level 5 enemies.