Exploring the Fringes: Prism's Night Out

by Alex Truell 24th March 2022 6 : 13

We all have that one card. It's not the right fit for your deck, but you put it in anyway. It just speaks to you, and you'd like to give it a shot. But it doesn't make the decklists online for a reason, and soon you've begrudgingly cut it for a more effective card.

But it still calls to you from the binder. And one day, when you're feeling reckless, you start to build around that card, searching for a way to make it playable. You twist and turn and bend your deck to accommodate it, reveling in the novelty. You think, "Maybe I'll be the guy who discovers this card! Maybe they've all been overlooking it!" You shuffle it up at your next game night... and it falls flat on its face.

For some people, the introduction above was a painful read. It's precisely the experience you dread, full of frustration, failure, and the feeling that you've wasted your time. For others, it's all part of the process of enjoying the full range and depth of your card collection. It's the latter group that I dedicate this article to.

This is not a deck guide. It's hardly even a strategy session. There will be no deck lists, and certainly no proven results. Instead, this is kindling, the idea sparker that hopefully gets your mind going. These are the oddball concepts that have settled in the nooks and crannies of my brain; by sharing them with the Flesh and Blood community, maybe together we'll find ways to make them work- or just put them to rest once and for all!

In the past, this series has explored the versatility available to Dash through starting Items and an alternative take on sideboarding that completely transforms Viserai. Today, we're taking inspiration from one of our earliest Everfest previews: Life of the Party.

Getting Crazy

One of the earliest meme cards in the game was Crazy Brew. This was a combination of every other potion in Welcome to Rathe, and it was pretty clear from the get-go that this card was just there for the story of it. Like all potions, it consumed your action point just to put it in play; using it required a dice roll to go your way; and the potential for a negative outcome ensured that this card never saw serious play.

In testament to its popularity among a subset of fun-loving fans, Crazy Brew saw a promo printing with alternate art that overran the card's text in utterly impractical fashion. Did I mention it's a cold foil? To this day, a promo Crazy Brew is a highly sought-after card, in no small part for its sheer absurdity.

So when the first Everfest Armory preview showcased a Crazy Brew payoff card, my mind was set: I would find a deck to make use of this ridiculous card. And maybe, just maybe, it would be more than a meme.

Finding a Drinking Buddy

The search for the hero most worthy of the 'Life of the Party' title was a long one. It required a deck that could:

  • get an Item into play efficiently,
  • benefit from Life of the Party's Go Again, and
  • make the best of both cards when the combo doesn't come up properly.

I decided to stick with a Blitz deck- this was, after all, a fairly meme-y idea, and if it didn't work, I would rather lose in 30 minutes than 50. I also felt that the smaller deck would give me better odds of drawing Crazy Brew early. Plus it gave me more heroes to choose from!

For a brief moment, I thought I could cheat Crazy Brews into play using Knick Knack Bric-a-Brac, which pointed me toward a Warrior (Kassai?) or possibly a Merchant. But on closer inspection, Crazy Brew is not an amulet, potion, or talisman; it's the one 'potion-esque' Item that you can't Knick Knack into play! Without that payoff, there was no need for Copper collecting.

Having begun my searching there, I began toying with the idea of a Boltyn Brew. He had easy access to Go Again (making it less of a liability to slide Crazy Brew into play), and he enjoys a modifier on an attack. But the payoff from Life of the Party felt largely irrelevant; and watering down his deck with non-Light cards hurt his overall strategy.

The next stop was the Savage Lands. Brutes are already used to rolling dice, and have been known to consider Crazy Brew as a viable inclusion. But in a Brute deck, Life of the Party was a serious liability when you didn't have the Brew on hand. An uninspiring attack value and a failed trigger when discarded, Life of the Party felt out of place- an above-rate attack value that felt low among the attack suite of the Brute, and life gain that pushes towards a longer gameplan than the Blitz Brute tends to play.

It was at this point that I stumbled across Prism, and before I'd even workshopped the synergies, the narrative snared me. Prism fit the stereotype evoked in Life of the Party of a student cutting loose at a wild party; and the Illusionist card pool was filled with artwork showcasing hazy visions and altered perceptions.

But beyond the storytelling, Illusionist was in a pretty good spot to make use of the new promo. Luminaris gives ample access to Go Again, so we can put a Brew into play with a leftover action. The potential zero cost on Life of the Party stands in stark contrast to the rest of the attack suite, allowing it to fill a different and complimentary role. And when you move away from a pure Light build, you find non-attack actions that tie your generic attacks into the Illusionist class, allowing them to benefit from the new blue auras.

There were, admittedly, compromises being made in the construction of this deck. Prism is tied much closer to the Light card pool than the Illusionist card pool- in fact, the moment we get another Illusionist hero, Prism is out of this deck. And while I started out with aspirations to truly showcase Life of the Party, I had to eventually settle on only 2 copies for the deck. Because we're using Luminaris, the yellows made the cut.

But thanks to the strength of Phantasm attacks and a rather generalized strategy of 'pitch yellow, throw big attacks', the deck still performs very well.

The Deck

Because Prism is no longer devoted to the Light, the basic Illusionist attacks are free to make their case for inclusion. And as it turns out, you ask your opponent very different questions with the attacks of Everfest. The default 'if this hits, put it in soul' is replaced with a new mantra: 'when this is destroyed...' Now your opponent is actively discouraged from exploiting the weakness inherent to Phantasm- though this is just as often a bluff as a genuine threat.

Passing Mirage makes honest hits of the Phantasm suite. This can be huge for the Light Illusionist cards, which you're much more invested in hitting with. As Auras are so notoriously potent in CC Prism builds these days, they're likely to draw fire away from your health. It's ideal to make great use of an Aura right away- not only to ensure you get its benefit at least once, but to incentivize your opponent to target it.

Celestial Cataclysm is, perhaps, the most precarious inclusion in the deck. As I've said before, we don't focus much on Light or Soul in this deck- but we do passively accumulate cards in the Soul, and it's nice to have a payoff for that. Cataclysm feels very similar to Life of the Party, in a way that makes clear just how solid the latter actually is. Both have Go Again paired with an alternate cost, and both threaten to swing life totals by 7- Cataclysm by its damage, and Life of the Party by its damage plus life gain. Don't work too hard to make Cataclysm happen; if your Soul isn't ready for it, Cataclysm is still a yellow pitch and a 3 block.

Another Round

Playing this deck makes me incredibly excited for the future of the Illusionist class. The non-Light pool of cards is engaging on a very different level, presenting 'either-way-you-lose' choices to your enemies that change how you view the Phantasm keyword. While Aura Prism may be the premiere build for Illusionist today, it's refreshing to know you can still enjoy Illusionist without maintaining a wall of Soul Shields.

But if Prism isn't the life of your party, I'm convinced there's more to this Crazy Party combo than I've explored. The tavern's open, and all are welcome to try the local specialty!

Alex Truell

Alex Truell is the editor for the Rathe Times. Alex is a casually competitive player overseeing the growth of a Flesh and Blood scene in Ripon, WI. Alex is a player who cares about the competitive environment, but doesn't have to live in it; an optimist who loves the game, but can take a step back to critique it; and a deckbuilder who revels in novelty.

Discussion (1)

Mark Chamberlain
CONTRIBUTOR
3 months ago

Very cool! One of my favorite off meta decks is sword Kano, who uses most generic cards and red volt bolt. It doesn't always work, in fact it frequently sputters, but it sure is hilarious when guardian reveals arcane barrier 4/7 and you respond by revealing... A sword.

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