Hi, I'm a faithful Elements player who has been with the game when it was still version 0.3. As I watched the game grow and saw more and more people come together just to discuss about the game, I suddenly felt compelled to contribute as well. So here it is, my first Elements deck strategy guide, the Rainbow-Hourglass deck.
If you have just stumbled onto this guide and don't know what a Rainbow-Hourglass deck is, it is a deck that includes Quantum Pillars, Golden Hourglasses, and various creatures, spells, and permanent cards from all the elements.
I can tell you first and foremost that this deck will be one of the most interesting and fun decks you'll ever play. Some decks rely on just a few key cards (e.g., Mono-Aether and their Dimensional Shields, Poison and their Chrysaoras, etc.), while keeping their card count low (i.e., 30 cards). Although this produces consistent results, it is exactly that lack of variation that makes these decks so boring. If you have ever played these kinds of decks before, you would know. However, a Rainbow deck can contain cards from every element, thus making every starting hand and every game vastly different from the one you've just had before.
But what if fun isn't your number 1 priority? What if it is to win? What if it is to pwn those noobs and show them who has the superior deck? Well have no worries, because the Rainbow deck can take advantage of every element, you can use their cards in effective combinations normally impossible in a Mono-deck.
The Cards Edit
There is no absolute combination of cards with which you must build you deck. Instead you can go with what combinations you think are the best and what works for you. However, I will list some rules that you should adhere to when building your Rainbow deck and I'll also list some cards that deserve special attention, some of which you might include in your deck.
Here I'll list some cards that you might include in your own unique Rainbow-Hourglass deck. Do note that it is not recommended to have more than 4 of any one of these cards (Except Golden Hourglasses). However, if you think that your particular setup is okay, test it in some low level duels and then decide if it works for you.
Quantum Pillar – I will begin with this card because it is what distinguishes Rainbow decks from every other kind of deck out there. Unlike conventional pillars, Quantum Pillars generate 3 quanta. However, what element each of these 3 quanta belong to is random (meaning with 1 Quantum Pillar, you could get 3 quanta of all different elements, or even 3 quanta of the same element. It is all random). The sheer production power of the Quantum Pillars will guarantee you more quanta than any other Pillars. However, these quanta will be somewhat evenly spread to all the elements. Even though you may have trouble getting the quanta you need in the beginning of a duel, when approaching its end, you will find yourself with a massive supply of quanta from every element (If the duel was sufficiently long). The powerful Quantum Pillar will be the main source of quantum for your duels. Assuming that you will have a 60 card deck, 20-25 Quantum Pillars are recommended.
Maxwell's Demon - Despite its high quantum cost, its paradox skill is excellent at disposing of most dragons. However, when considering that not all creatures have a higher attack than defense, and that this card has high summoning and skill costs, this card is not as useful as it appears to be. Don't have too many in your deck.
Dissipation Shield (Upgraded) - Although the normal version works well (at least for Entropy decks), using the upgraded version allows you to defend yourself with every single one of your quanta. Because of the raw production power of your Quantum Pillars, often (esp., in the later stages of a duel when you've collected a lot of unused quanta) you will find yourself literally invincible because your opponent simply does not have enough power to put a dent in your huge supply of quanta.
However, the Dissipation Shield does have the down side of putting your (sometimes extremely important) quanta in the line of fire. If your opponent has enough offensive power, he/she can eat away at your quantum supply and eventually reduce you to almost nothing. At that point your shield will be destroyed, leaving you in a very vulnerable position (since you have lost you quantum supply and cannot play any cards). Playing this card right in the beginning of the duel is equal to suicide against a strong opponent. Therefore only use this card either when you have a large supply of quanta and you are confident of victory, or if your opponent is threatening to take you out, then at that point you have no choice and must play your shield (Unless you have another source of protection, if you do, use that first).
Although the Dissipation Shield will often be your last line of defense, it is still a powerful one. So if you have the money, you should definitely upgrade a few dissipation shields (2-4), it is one of the few cards that work best with a rainbow deck instead of a more specialized one.
Lycanthrope - With its low cost and its +5/+5 skill, it is a very solid combat creature card. It is highly resistant to damage spells such as lighting and is very cheap to summon. You will see that your Lycanthropes will often be the first ones to enter the battlefield. Although some other cards (like the Shrieker and Lava Golem) have more strength, the Lycanthrope’s high health and summoning speed make it less vulnerable. This is a great card if you like fast creatures.
Nova - Although useless to the average Mono-Deck, this card can be a valuable asset to the Rainbow deck, because unlike Mono-Decks, the rainbow Deck can take full advantage of all the 12 quanta generated. Having novas can vastly increase the speed of your deck in terms of initial setup. I recommend having at least 4 of these in your deck.
Bone Wall - This card used to only cost 3 death quanta, but now it costs 7, and so its effectiveness has been highly reduced for decks not specialized in the death element. However, this card is still very powerful against high hitters, so having one in your deck should be okay (I wouldn’t even recommend having more than 1).
Armagio - Although this card can sometimes be a life saver, as with all high-cost cards, I don't recommend having too many in your deck. Also especially because there are a lot of useful gravity cards that you can use, sometimes you have to make choices on which to have and which not to have in order to avoid overspecializing on a single quantum.
Gravity Shield - This card can be quite devastating to decks based on dragons with more than 5hp, but there actually are not too many creatures and decks that can be greatly handicapped by this card. So I personally wouldn't use this card because of its inconsistence, but you should choose for yourself based on your own experience.
Otyugh – This is an excellent anti-creature card, and if nothing else, a great force of intimidation. I have seen in PvP many people who threw everything they had against my Otyughs despite the fact that they were of no threat to their dragons, shriekers, etc. But perhaps many of them were just simply not taking the chance of me Blessing/Armour Plating my Otyugh on my next turn. In addition, upgrading this card will bring its health to 5 instead of 3, making the Elite Otyugh a force to be reckoned with. A must have.
Gravity Pull - Call me naive, but I don't know why people have seemingly ignored this nice card. Using this card on an enemy creature can allow your own creatures to destroy it. Not only is this card very flexible (you can also use it on one of your own creatures to avoid some damage), it can allow you to take out the toughest of creatures because your creatures will not stop pounding that poor thing until it’s history. The only downside is that it takes away some damage you otherwise would have done to your opponent (but if the creature threat is big enough, you probably won't care about that). Overall, it is a good alternative to spells such as Lighting and Fire bolt.
Graviton Fire Eater - Although it doesn't have as much growth potential as a Forest Spirit or Lava Golem, it is not as vulnerable when it is just summoned. With a low cost and high starting health, it is less susceptible to an early exit from the battlefield. Weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself if this card is right for you.
Plate Armor - A cheap card that goes great with Otyughs, but I personally prefer Blessings, since they give an extra attack boost that I could use on my other creatures if I do not have an Otyugh on hand. The extra cost is usually okay because I don't put too many Blessings in my deck, or any other light cards for that matter.
Graboid - Because it enters the game burrowed, the entrance of the Shrieker is a guarantee. The Graboid's low cost, low vulnerability and growth into the powerful Shrieker makes it a powerful card (Even the Shrieker can burrow to safety if things don't go too well up on the surface). The Graboid can be a staple of your deck's offensive power.
Forest Spirit - The Forest Spirit can grow into a powerhouse if you protect it in its infancy. Although I prefer the more powerful Lava Golem, a couple of Forest Spirits in your deck is perfectly fine if you can't find any other life cards to use.
Empathic Bond - Although this card is most effective with mob decks (esp. FFQs), it can still be effective with Rainbow decks since it contains many low-cost creatures. Although I have not extensively used this card myself, I can see its potential and so I encourage you to try it out.
Fire Spirit - I have included this card in order to purposely tell you to NOT use it in your deck. The Fire Spirit is very vulnerable (with only 2 hp) and it is no better than a Forest Spirit or Lava Golem. Avoid this card.
Deflagration - An efficient anti-permanent card. Although the Steal card can be much better, Deflagration is a viable alternative to if you are already stressing your Darkness quantum supply.
Lava Golem - The 5/1 Lava Golem has a huge head start compared to other growth creatures. You can quickly find yourself overwhelming your opponent with even a single Lava Golem. Experiencing it for yourself is the best way to learn the great strength of this card. Do not miss out on this card.
Freeze - The Freeze spell should not be underestimated. In some cases it can be your best option in a seemingly hopeless situation. For example, if you find yourself against an extremely powerful creature that you have no hopes of destroying (e.g., a blessed Golden Dragon or a severely neglected Lava Golem, etc.), simply freeze it. The more powerful the creature, the more vulnerable they are to being frozen, because the more powerful they are, the more your opponent will miss out on that advantage when it becomes a block of ice. Freeze can be a very useful spell, consider have a couple in your deck.
Mind Flayer - Although not a great physical threat, the Mind Flayer is a potent threat nonetheless. Elements is filled with creatures with potentially harmful skills. This card will be an excellent counter for surprisingly, a lot of creatures. You'll be surprised at the number of creature cards that become absolutely useless when they lose their skills. Vultures, Otyughs and Devourers are good cards, but they all become useless lumps of meat and wastes of space once the Mind Flayer is through with them (and that's just 3, I could name all the potential targets for you, but it's probably more fun if you find out on your own). In other words, another must have.
Arctic Squid - I still remember the days when Arctic Squids were still on sale at the bazaar (that's right, they weren't always rare), but that's long gone now. I have seen many poor dragons that were kept on ice by these bastards throughout the whole course of a duel. But putting all the hate aside, (maybe it’s because I don't have one) this is a highly valuable card. You might be worried about its high skill cost, but keep in mind that you'll have 3 turns to get those 3 water quanta (unless you're facing more than one creature). So if you have the fortune to own one of these, use them.
Blessing - A good flexible booster for your creatures, use them on your vulnerable growth creatures, or on your Otyughs (you can choose to bless that Otyugh right before it eats that pesky dragon for an extra surprise for your opponent).
Miracle - Surprisingly, despite its enormous cost, it is useable in a Rainbow deck. But just barely. I personally haven't really tried them (despite having 3), but I can imagine how useful it can be.
Firefly Queen - A key card in a once very popular strategy. The Firefly Queen is popular for good reasons. It is highly resilient, and the armies of Fireflies that they spawn are quite fearsome. However, do not think that you can rely solely on her abilities. While her high summoning cost is quite obvious, it might not be known that her vigorous productivity can leave a very big dent in your life quantum supply (and that is why many people choose to have the productive Rustler work to meet her demands instead of simple Life Pillars). I know that she can be very tempting, but try to just have a couple at the most.
Golden Hourglass - Ah, this is the one and only key card of your deck, the Golden Hourglass. Its ability will increase your deck's power in a unique way. By giving you more cards. It is best if you learned this from experience, but before you do, I can promise you that this card will be worth it. Sometimes, your mark of time will not keep up with the great quantum demand of your Hourglasses, but don't worry, the extra pillars you draw will help to keep things rolling. But another way to solve this problem is to upgrade your Hourglasses, reducing their ability cost from 2 to 1, a significant change.
The Golden Hourglass is an exception to many rules, because I advise that you have 5-6 of them in your deck.
Reverse Time - Although your supply of time quanta will already be stressed by your Hourglasses, this spell card can be very effective so that it might be worth it. Not only can it stall your opponent's hand and force him/her to waste quanta playing the reversed card again, you can also erase whatever booster and/or growth that the creature previously had. You can even save your own creatures by reversing them when they are lobotomized, frozen, infected, etc. If your deck can endure the already high time quantum demand, you should include this card in it.
Steal - This is the best anti-permanent card that I have seen so far. Not only can this card take out a dangerous permanent, it lets you take it and use for yourself. Sometimes stealing a powerful permanent can totally reverse the outcome of a duel (e.g. stealing a dimensional shield). This card should be your primary method of dealing with dangerous permanents. A must have.
Dimensional Shield – This card is one of the best shields you’ll ever get your hands on. Having 3 turns without damage while you pound away at the opponent can drastically turn the tide of a duel. Even though the Dimensional Shield does have a fairly high cost, the 6 aether quanta can be easily generated in the 3 turns that you have bought yourself. If you are looking for some protection, is card is your best friend.
Lightning – Although damage spells of Mono-Decks can potentially dish out more damage, (e.g., Drain Life, Fire Bolt) the quanta of those individual elements will not be generated fast enough for those cards to be of good use in a Rainbow deck. Lighting on the other hand, has high base damage at a low cost, capable of taking out a large number of different creatures. It is a good anti-creature card, so definitely consider putting some in your deck.
The rare weapons have very unique effects and can be powerful aids in your elemental battles. Although they are indeed powerful, some are more suitable in Rainbow decks than others. You can include around 3 of these cards in your deck. Too many weapons can result in your hand getting clogged up with them (but don’t think of putting any Flying Weapon cards in your deck; they are for a specific strategy, and are of no use for large decks like Rainbow decks). There is only one weapon slot, so carefully choose what you put in it.
Discord - This card can actually devastate Mono-Decks, since transforming their quanta is nearly identical to quantum denial. The Discord’s low cost and unique effect make it a good choice for a weapon.
Arsenic - Although this rare card can be a powerful addition to a Poison deck, it can only reach its maximum strength when it is played early on. For Poison decks with very low card counts, that is not a problem. However, this can be quite difficult for a Rainbow deck (I can guarantee that you’ll reach the 60 card maximum) with a very high card count (drawing an Arsenic in your starting hand becomes very difficult). However, it is still a very deadly card even when played fairly late, so having one in your deck is perfectly okay.
Pulverizer – This card has a high damage to cost ratio (meaning the damage comes cheap), and a good anti-permanent ability. If you have sufficient gravity quanta, you can even go after you opponent’s pillars once you have cleared out their more dangerous permanents. Upgrading this card significantly reduces its ability cost, making it an even more powerful anti-permanent card (Its quantum denial ability also becomes augmented). This card is highly recommended.
Druidic Staff – If you like healing, and enjoy offense as much as defense, then this card will be a fine support weapon. Sometimes you can get an elemental mastery simply by playing some shields and have the Druidic Staff heal you to full health.
Fahrenheit - This fire weapon has a lot of damage potential that Rainbow decks can take advantage of, but the process will be slow. I have not personally tested this card yet, but if speed is not an issue for you, then this card will be viable.
Trident - Although I do not have one, I’m guessing that the Trident can be a useful card. Like Arsenic, it is best when drawn early, but feel free to try out this card.
Owl's Eye - When combined with the Otyugh and/or Maxwell’s Demon, this card can be of invaluable help in your creature killing efforts. Even though I’m usually very shy of high cost cards, the abilities of the Owl’s Eye cannot be ignored.
Eternity – I wouldn’t normally recommend this card because it will be in direct conflict with your Golden Hourglasses (they both have high time quantum costs). But for the sake of discovery, don’t let that stop you from trying this out.
Vampire Stiletto - I personally prefer the Druidic Staff (even if it is blocked by a shield, it still heals you unlike the Vampire Siletto), but since the 2 are so alike, it is more of a personal choice.
Lobotomizer – Like the Pulverizer, the Lobotomizer packs a punch at a low cost. Also its ability to take away creature skills makes it a very useful card. (This has been explained previously with the Mind Flayer card) The Lobotomizer is a must have.
Your Deck Edit
As you have probably seen by now, Rainbow decks have a massive array of cards to choose from. You will quickly find yourself at the 60 card limit and still ask for more. Therefore choosing which cards to use can be a challenge. But instead of giving you a checklist of cards, I want you to create your own unique style of play. So instead I will give you some general guidelines as to how to construct your Rainbow-Hourglass deck.
1. Utilize every element
Because Quantum Pillars generate quanta randomly, you'll get roughly the same quantities of quanta for every element. Therefore don't fill your deck with too many cards of the same element (Golden Hourglasses are an exception since I’m assuming that you will have a Mark of Time). If you do, you might overstress your quantum supply and frequently run out of quanta of the particular element that you are using. Also you will neglect the other elements (Having a lot of unused quanta lying around is never a good thing).
2. Keep costs low
Again, because of the somewhat equal distribution of quanta, you won't have a lot for each element in the beginning of the duel. Therefore, make sure that most of your cards have a low quantum cost to make sure that your card setup isn't too slow. Not being able to play your cards fast enough can be deadly when you are up against decks such as Poison, or Mono-Fire. A general rule to follow is to make sure that most of your cards have a quantum cost of 3 or less (Around 75% of them). Some especially useful cards like Dimensional Shield, Owl's Eye, and Miracle are exceptions (The other 25%). Be that as it may, try not to rely too much on any single one of these cards (Again, Hourglasses are an exception), Rainbow decks are known for their variety, not specialization.
3. Power of Time
I would recommend that you have a Mark of Time so that you can take full advantage of the Golden Hourglass card, because it will be the only key card in your deck. Using Hourglasses will greatly improve the speed of your setup and your overall power. You will draw more (creatures, spells, etc.) cards, and the necessary pillars to play them. Some decks, after using up their initial cards from their starting hand, often become dead in the water as they draw pillar after pillar. But with the Golden Hourglass card, you can really dig into your deck, and have more chances to draw the card that you really need.
4. Adventure and Discovery
This is the thing I love most about the Rainbow deck, its flexibility. Remember that everything I'm telling you are only recommendations based on my own limited experience and knowledge. You should be the one to create and solidify your own unique deck and style. Don't be afraid to try things that you come across, be it a new card, or a new strategy. Keep the cards that you win instead of selling them, and see how you can use them for a new strategy. Even if you get bored with your Rainbow deck, (which I doubt you will) you can always change your mark and build a new deck out of the cards you collected from your various victories. The bottom line is, try new things and go with what works for you.
The Duels Edit
After you play your first few games, you may notice that you often have a difficult time playing your cards on the first few turns. Other decks may be already starting their setup while you are still waiting for more quanta. Don’t worry, this is typical of a Rainbow deck. Since Quantum Pillars produce quantum randomly, they will generate some quanta that you need, and some you don’t need. Therefore in the beginning of the duel you could wait a while before you get the quanta you need to play your cards.
If I had to describe the Rainbow-Hourglass deck in one word, I would say that it is a deck of acceleration. Although this concept can apply to all decks, it fits most appropriately with Rainbow decks (And any other deck filled with Hourglasses). As you start to use your Hourglasses, the speed at which you draw useful creatures and permanents increase, and the speed at which you draw more Hourglasses also increase. See where I’m going with this? As the battle rages on, your power accelerates as you draw cards faster and faster.
In other words, the Rainbow-Hourglass deck is a long-term growth deck. It is most powerful if it is given a long time to be set up. Although other decks may also grow in power too, the Rainbow-Hourglass deck grows faster. Many times I have found myself initially behind in a duel against a powerful opponent. But as the duel dragged on, I started to draw more and more cards and eventually I was in total control.
When in a duel, make sure to adequately protect yourself when there is a threat. You do not want your opponent to have an early victory. However, if the threat is minimal (e.g., a few weak creatures or a single strong one), try to save your high cost shields for later. Instead, stand your ground and let your Hourglasses do the work. Don’t waste steals on your opponent’s pillars (unless they had the misfortune to have only one), save it for the permanents that they will play later. Eventually, you will have built up an impressive supply of quanta to protect yourself with (by using Dissipation Shield). The fun begins as you summon creatures at an increasing pace while your opponent tries to take down your quanta supply.
Weaknesses and Counters Edit