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Budget Builds: Returning to Dash's Scrapyard

Welcome everyone to this place full of potential, this treasury of every inventor's dreams! The ✨Scrapyard✨!

"Hold up, Dash’s Scrapyard? I’ve heard of this before!" Yes yes, it's the author's curse, there's always room to improve and the most likely time to discover that is right after you hit 'publish'. Think of this as an updated version to my previous article.

Explore the path to upgrading your Dash deck from it’s cheap but effective foundation into a more optimized, tournament-ready list.

When considering picking up a new deck, it's worth asking a few questions. "Are the Legendaries important?“ "How cheap is it to build this hero?“ "Is the deck viable on a budget?“ Our Budget Builds series aims to put you on a competitive playing field without a big financial investment.

But in this case, there are finally enough reasons to update it to a new era - after all, there were a lot of new and exciting cards in Bright Lights alongside some amazing budget options, with some of those even making it to the big leagues - but more on those later.

And since we had some time for the major shakeups that Bright Lights' enormous card pool brought to our class to settle in, it felt like the perfect time to take a look at what a hybrid list now looks like.

From Scraps to the Showroom

So what do i intend to write about in this article?

I will first start with a budget list that starts with the absolute minimum to gain a working Hybrid Dash CC list. A perfect starting point for everyone who owns and wants to use some bulk from Bright Lights or start from 0 and go to fifty instead of straight to sixty! After establishing this required base, I will move on towards upgrading the list piece by piece in my recommended order, working towards a fully competitive list.

As always, these lists will be largely split between 2 opposite gameplans: the aggressive boost gameplan you will use against other aggro decks and matchups where you need to be as fast as possible when dealing with your opponent, and the defensive pistol item and defense reaction-based gameplan where you will assemble your ultimate endgame weapon mid-fight while enduring your opponents onslaught. The latter plan is mostly used against Guardians or Warriors that could block you out until your tank would be empty when going for the boost plan.

But that’s enough talking, let’s dive into some lists, shall we?

A Messy Masterpiece

As I mentioned, this first one is what I would consider the absolute minimum you would need for a functioning CC Hybrid Dash list, so let’s go over some key pieces.

Since we will be boosting a lot in the aggro plan, we want to include some payoff cards that care about our boosts and synergize with the whole gameplan to run our opponents over.

The first of those payoff cards will be the famous Maximum Velocity. MaxV is often regarded as the face of this whole plan - I mean, who could say no to a 2-cost 10? (This will be a core piece in every version of this list.) We want to boost anyway, so we might as well reward those boosts by sending our opponent with maximum velocity towards 0 life.

Card image of Maximum Velocity (Red)
Card image of Overblast (Red)

The next boost payoff we will run is red Overblast, and while this one fulfills a similar role, this "MaxV at home" is cut for a more flexible replacement at higher budgets. But don’t let this dishearten you, since this is a totally fine budget option.

A budget equipment piece that will help us in this plan is the Vest of the First Fist. While not optimal compared to some expensive options, this will help you play out a 3 boost + payoff, which in most cases means making an otherwise impossible MaxV turn possible to play.

Card image of Vest of the First Fist
Card image of Teklo Plasma Pistol

The defensive plan revolves around our pistol items and assembling a 2 and 2 configuration of Induction Chambers and Plasma Purifiers, so those have to be included. Alongside the pistol items themselves, we have some cards that will help you assemble those, either by grabbing them for you with Spark of Genius or by helping you stay alive with your d-reacts Unmovable and Sink Below. While Unmovable is the biggest defense you could bring on a single card, Sink Below helps you by digging through your deck in search of your items faster.

Card image of Induction Chamber (Red)
Card image of Plasma Purifier (Red)

Your dedicated chest equipment for those matchups would be Teklo Base Chest; feel free to include Ironrot instead if you only own that, but this one has the added benefit of bluffing you play some Evo chest pieces or, if you like to tinker yourself, maybe add some to your list. The same applies to Teklo Base Head, which is only included for the 1 Block.

Card image of Teklo Base Chest
Card image of Teklo Base Head
Card image of Galvanic Bender

On the subject of equipment, as you can see i would 'recommend' Galvanic Bender as your arms equipment, but in a later stage upgrade to Teklo Base Arms, the only benefit of Bender would be in the mirror or against other Mechanologists who could play cards like T-Bone.

So Bender helps by staying on the board and gives you the option to block with it instead of being forced to block with your other equipment. That said, it is definitely not an important reason, and if you think about upgrading to the later stages you could skip Bender for Teklo Base Arms from the beginning, or run Ironrot if you already own those.

Another thing worth mentioning for my linked list is that, while I’ve chosen those boost cards since i thought they were mostly optimal or my preferred options, you could change any of the 0- or 1-cost boost cards for any of the options from Bright Lights and build your first hybrid that way - or just experiment to find the ones you like most!

Card image of Data Link (Red)
Card image of Sprocket Rocket (Red)
Card image of Expedite (Red)

For example, I like the added utility the opt 1 on-hit that Data Link provides for both the aggro and especially the control plan; but if you add some items later to your list, you could play Sprocket Rocket or Expedite instead and have some totally fine options. I just wouldn’t recommend cutting Zero to Sixty, Zipper Hit, and Throttle if you don’t need to, since those are the most efficient boost cards our class has to offer. The blue Payloads, on the other hand, are just a solid blues I like to include so your aggro plan has a way to sneak in the last point of damage, similar to our red Out Pace.

Card image of Zero to Sixty (Red)
Card image of Zipper Hit (Red)
Card image of Throttle (Red)

Give It a Teklo Twist

So we have a functioning hybrid list now, but how can we improve it? Well there are a bunch of options, but let’s look at the more impactful ones first! And what would be more impactful than cutting down less efficient equipment and replacing them with some that fulfill the roles of multiple equipment in a single slot?

Lets meet one of my favorites first: Viziertronic Model i.

Card image of Viziertronic Model i

If you just ignore the first few lines of this card and focus on the Arcane Barrier instead, this card - alongside our trusty Achilles Accelerators - lets us bring an Arcane Barrier: 3 on 2 cards instead of our current 3.

The other big equipment to include is Teklo Foundry Heart, which enables us to bring more 2-blocks than our Teklo Base Chest while generating us resources in the aggro plan similar to our currently played Vest of the First Fist.

Card image of Teklo Foundry Heart

Those are the important equipment upgrades, and I would definitely recommend grabbing them at some point - Viziertronic is quite cheap, and while Teklo Foundry Heart is a bit more expensive, they dropped drastically in price after getting reprinted in Bright Lights.

So what else is there to improve? If we take a look at our sideboard, there's a cards we don’t play in every matchup despite being a really fun and strong card: Spark of Genius. Why don’t we always play one of our hero's specializations? Well the answer is really simple: while this currently only lets us search for and play pistol items, which is essential for the Control plan, we don’t have any items in our deck that we could even target when going for the Aggro plan. If we could add some items, we could move our Sparks to the main deck and open up some space in the sideboard that way.

While Bright Lights brought us a bunch of new items, and some people like to play Backup Protocol: RED, I would recommend going to our other specialization: Teklo Core.

Card image of Teklo Core (Blue)

This card is everything we could wish for in a Spark target: it costs 0 so Spark won’t tax us for it; it's a blue card so we could just pitch it and make sure we have one to spark for later in our pitch stack; and its 2 resources are amazing in both plans, either for enabling some long boost chains for our MaxVs and Overblasts or by providing the resources for playing or loading our pistol items.

So what cards would I add with all of this newly-gained sideboard space? There are a couple of options, and when in doubt I would always recommend looking at improving the existing plans first, which means we could try to power up our Aggro or Control plan.

Card image of Fate Foreseen (Red)
Card image of Reinforce the Line (Red)

Since we freed up some space in the Control plan, I'd like to add more tools to that one, which could mean adding more d-reacts like Fate Foreseen or Reinforce the Line, or maybe another pistol item like a 3rd Purifier to find your items faster or prepare for a bit of item destruction.

Another different approach would be to add something to the 3rd plan. Yes you read correctly. While a traditional hybrid list is build on the foundation of "2 decks with opposing plans in 1 deck", there's no reason to constrain us to this if we could benefit from mixing the plans. So what does mixing the plans mean, how could we improve that? And why should we even care?

Since we still want to keep our strength from the Aggro plan to always boost successfully, we won’t touch our d-reacts in the sideboard, but our Pistol items instead - some lists like to just add them to the Aggro plan to have a backup if your opponent switches to fatigue - or we can cut some of our payoffs, since our MaxVs are less likely to play with more non-boosts. I typically go for this plan against Assassins or Dromai, for example.

Bios Update is an absolute gem in this middle-ground build. There's nothing more satisfying than cheating a pistol item into play without paying the resources or the action point! If you go that route, I will add another honorable mention with Optekal Monocle, which can combo with Bios to search deeper in your deck for that next pistol item you want to cheat onto the board.

Card image of Bios Update (Red)
Card image of Optekal Monocle (Blue)

While this is definitely not the most efficient upgrade, it's worth mentioning for being a really fun one; for the sake of simplicity going forward, I will assume you went for the d-react and Purifier route i recommended earlier.

So if we followed those mentioned upgrades, we will end up with this new list.

It's a lot more streamlined and efficient than the first budget option and sits at a comfortable position since we added a bunch of cards that will overall power up the deck significantly while not being too pricey. While we still have some really strong and flashy cards to add in later stages, this should be your bang-for-your-buck sweet spot.

Once you reached this point, most upcoming upgrades won’t feel as impactful, at least compared to what you have to pay for them - so be prepared for some absurdly priced cards.

Cooking with Octane

Now we will take a look at the last expensive, but mostly reasonable upgrades. First is an expensive upgrade you will use in most matchups from the beginning. We'll upgrade our current Teklo Base Head to Crown of Providence.

Card image of Crown of Providence

It should be obvious why Crown is better: it provides 2 block instead of just 1, and even adds the benefit of being able to sink a card from hand or arsenal to the bottom, which can be used both defensively or offensively.

While these are really good reasons to play this card, in reality it is quite expensive and more of a luxurious upgrade. If you want to upgrade your head equipment while staying more on the lower price range, I would recommend Arcanite Skullcap, which dropped significantly in price and adds the upside of being able to block up to two times for 3 block in total - if you use it as efficient as possible - for a fraction of Crown's cost.

Card image of High Octane (Red)

But let's get away from those expensive Legendaries and go to some expensive Majestics instead.

High Octane is a really flexible card that could end up at the same value of a red Overblast, while being so much more at the same time. Let me explain. At their base, both cards care about a bunch of boosts to then end up with a big combo turn - red Overblast by being bigger itself, while High Octane lets us shoot our Pistol a bunch of times.

So let's do some math and say we boost 3 times for both combos. Both will deal the damage those boosts will do, and with High Octane you end up with 4 action points which can be used for 4 pistol shots, or 8 damage in total; meanwhile, red Overblast will end up with 5 + 1 for each boost - or, again, 8 damage in total.

So if they are that similar, what are the strengths and weaknesses of both cards?

Well, since your shots cost additional resources, you would end up paying 5 for High Octane and the Pistol shots while Overblast sits at a cost of 2; but since we draw off of High Octane, we can generally get to those resources with that additional card. Also, we can use our Teklo Foundry Heart when using High Octane, since we don’t care about the chain like red Overblast does; and our drawn card could mean that we sculpt that turn to do even more. Another added benefit is that, if we try to facilitate a 3rd mixed plan, High Octane becomes much better with every Plasma Purifer. 

So with all of these amazing upsides, what are the downsides?

Card image of Rampart of the Ram's Head

The same way that being able to close the chain can work great with the additional Heart resource, there is one particularly equipment that will ruin our High Octane turns instantly: Rampart of the Ram’s Head. Since we have to close the chain to reload our pistol after each shot, our opponent will be able to block each one with Rampart and nearly nullify our pistol damage that way - while Overblast would never even want to close the chain and deny any Rampart value instead.

But overall, there are more opponents who won’t play Rampart, so in general High Octane will be the much more flexible and better option - which is why we will make this change to our list. Just be aware that more expensive won’t always mean much better.

Card image of Pulsewave Harpoon (Red)

Next on my list would be a great boost card with amazing synergy to our aggro plan: Pulsewave Harpoon. While this card may just seem like all of our other great options for another 1-cost 4-power boost, it will let us ruin our opponent's turn if we are able to play this as our 3rd boost this turn to force a key card to block - and since we try to boost a bunch anyway, this fits perfectly! I would cut our yellow Throttles so we are able to lower our cost curve while adding our only real disruption piece to the list.

Card image of Teklo Pounder (Blue)

If you have read some of my earlier articles, you will recognize Teklo Pounder as another option for our starting item in the aggro plan - which is the main reason why some would argue for a second pounder in their list. But since those days, I went on to start with Induction Chamber against every opponent to trim my sideboard slots by one. You could say it's the first (starting) copy of Teklo Pounder I actually cut. But what is the benefit of the second, and why are we only talking about it now?

Well the second Pounder grants us the opportunity to set up 6 free damage if we are forced into going first against other aggro decks. Since this will only come up in some games, Pounder will sometimes stay in your deck as blue pitch that can’t block for the whole game - and thus I was hesitant to include it in the mid-tier list. Yes, it can sometimes win you games, but it can be totally useless in others. I would argue that being able to setup free damage can be amazing, and adding a single copy to my list that could either end up in my hand on turn 0 or be set up with Spark is worth more than just one more blue that can block for 3 - especially since we typically want to pitch at least one blue each turn anyway.

In the current list, I would cut one of the blue Dive Through Datas to inlcude a single Pounder.

Card image of Twin Drive (Red)

This brings us to the strongest - and most expensive - synergy card for this deck: Twin Drive. This card is amazing for what we are trying to do, and it becomes even better with some of the earlier mentioned upgrades. Why is "boost twice" so valuable?

Need Harpoon to be the 3rd boost? - Boost Twin Drive twice before Harpoon.

Trying to make Maximum Velocity work with only 2 boost cards? Boost Twin Drive twice and make MaxV possible with only 4 cards!

With 2 blues, Twin Drive and High Octane give you 3 pistol shots as a baseline - and since we could just draw one of those, this is a 3-card hand. Add another 0-cost boost and gain a resource with Heart, and it can become absurd really fast.

This card is amazing even if you didn’t get your High Octanes yet and are still on Overblast, and I would recommend getting this card - if you are willing to pay the absurdly high premium price. This is in no world a budget option, but some premium fuel for your current parts.

Bleeding Edge Technology

If you went this far with your upgrades, congratulations! This list is definitely able to compete at the top. While there are still some preferences you could upgrade in this final section, your list is already at a really high power level at this point and every other upgrade will cost you significantly more than you could expect usage out of it.

With that warning out of the way, let’s dive into the laboratories of Metrix and take a look at the most advanced last few upgrades you could go for.

As a shameless plug, here's my personal list that got me into the Top 8 and barely missed Top 4 (and therefore the Nationals invite) at my RTN. I don’t run every bleeding-edge piece of technology, since those tend to come with some hard choices of what to include and what to cut. Aside from those, I know some people who will argue for months about which common boost cards would be optimal, so as always I would encourage you to try different things and shape your deck to better suit your own playstyle.

The first and only EVO technology I personlly run in my list is the reason I mentioned Teklo Base Arms in the first Section. So we will change our Galvanic Bender at this point to enable ourselves to suit up. This will mostly only be relevant on turn 0, similar to our Teklo Pounder but at a significantly higher cost.

Card image of Evo Steel Soul Controller (Blue)

Evo Steel Soul Controller is an amazing setup and instead of adding 6 free damage with our Teklo Pounder this enables us to gain 5 additional armor, while still being a blue in the list that can block for 3!

The added armor will help us deal with scary on-hits especially if those are dominated, something we can struggle with when going with the Aggro plan.

One of the rare moments where i would set this up later than turn 0 or 1 would be if our opponent denied us from a real turn while we have to keep a bunch of cards in our hand like Azalea could do with a dominated Red in the Ledger, which is funnily enough one of our prime targets we want to use the added block value for, or if we end up with a blue heavy hand against guardians that set up themselves.

I add them instead of our current blue Payloads and since we are adding more and more equipments and items to the list as we go on i should probably mention that Sprocket Rocket and Dumpster Dive become better includes with each of those additions, which is why i personally cut the last blue Dive Through Data for a blue Sprocket Rocket in my list.

Now to come to the expensive upgrades i don’t currently run myself.

Card image of Balance of Justice

Balance of Justice is a really strong card - against the correct decks. Drawing a card in response to your opponent drawing 2 is insane value and makes us consider running it instead of Crown against Brutes with Bloodrush Bellow, Kassai with Cash In, and every deck that runs Art of War. That said, in any other matchup, Crown of Providence provides more value. So you could either go the route of running only one of the two, or cutting a sideboard card - in our case, probably one of the 0-cost 4-defense d-reacts - to add this insanely expensive, but strong card.

The other one falls in a similar category of sometimes being a substitute or sometimes being added as well in the form of the weird equipment Adaptive Plating.

Card image of Adaptive Plating

Some prefer to play it for the added block utility instead of Teklo Base Arms and our Evos; some choose one or the other depending on going first or second; and some run them in the legs slot alongside our Evos. I have to admit, the flexibility is great and sometimes you are willing to sacrifice an item to block an awful on-hit or even cheat death itself. If you are running this alongside our Evos, i would probably cut another d-react like i mentioned with Balance.

Still In Development

So what comes next?

With Part the Mistveil on the horizon and a new Assassin, Illusionist, and Ninja, we should be in a fine position with hybrid since we typically had our ways of dealing with those classes unless they do something we haven’t seen before. And even then, our high flexibility will probably allow us to adapt to them just fine.

I hope this article proves to be useful for each new or returning Mechanologist. May your boosts be great and your pistol setup fast!

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