What We're Playing: Mark Chamberlain

by Mark Chamberlain 7th July 2021 2 : 32

As soon as she was spoiled, I was drawn towards playing Prism in Classic Constructed.

I originally thought that her various Auras would be playstyle-defining cards: pieces that pushed her deck in different directions, that might not coexist well together. Was I wrong or what! I played around with the Genesis value engine; I tried to push the gas pedal with Ode to Wrath; I tried to shore up my defenses and offenses with Merciful Retribution; I tried to stay away from Parable of Humility. Now, after ten weeks of testing (my team printed off the proxies as soon as they went live!), I can say that my concept of the Auras has totally changed.

For example, Parable of Humility has been an all-star. Not only does it bring Phantasm-shattering blocks like Ninth Blade of the Blood Oath into range of a red Blinding Beam, it also effectively blocks. Plus, it stops Boltyn ("Sorry, those attacks are not higher than their printed base attack value."), and makes things hard for Levia and Rhinar ("Did you build your deck around 6's?"), and aggravates the heck out of Chane ("Were you going to attack me for 2 six times? Let's make it 1, six times... I block with the Footsteps.").

In a way, it has been my own little parable of humility- I thought I clocked this card as mediocre, and now it's practically in the mainboard. Either they go wide and finish by popping the Parable (netting me a block of 3-4 and swallowing their final attack, so really blocking for like 7-10), or they go straight for it, handing me another opportunity at the tempo chip. Arc Light Sentinel has really cooled for me in comparison- it's just so expensive, and in the right matchups, the cheaper auras are just as good as an the Sentinel since they magnet attacks so well.

However, my loyalty ultimately lies with The Showstopper, Bravo; how can you resist that Gaston-turned-Gallagher? I still consider that ol' carnie to be the main attraction. After trying out Cayle McCreath's decklist and browsing a few competitive lists on FABDB, I circled back around to a build that my test partner and I banged out in my early days.

It's a Blessing of Deliverence-centric build that focuses on chipping in damage every turn as it controls the opponent's attacks with tall defense reactions. The BoD's help me recover life when I can't shore up every attack they throw at me, and the defense reacts help against the 6+ attacks that people are mainboarding in light of Prism. I hot-swap the big reactions for Pummels in matchups with the Monarch meta (and Ninja), since those heroes seem to be so hand-hungry. At the end of the game, being able to threaten ten damage off of a four damage hammer can really put the gears to a lot of decks.

Bonus!

My wife has been finding success with Viserai in the new meta, too. She does this move on three runechants where you basically piss yourself and cry. You start with 3 chants, pop the Bloodsheathe Skeleta, play red Sloggism, attack with Arknight Ascendancy, and hold a Pummel in reserve. For those counting, this is the sort of move that you can pull off after only one turn of setup; and it represents some 13, 14, or 15 dominated damage, 3 arcane damage, a discard of their choosing, and the extreme likelihood that 9 or more runechants are about to be created. 9 runechants... 9 runechants... that sounds familiar... oh, right, that's the number she needs to go Sloggism into Ninth Blade of the Birthday Boy for 24 damage the very next turn.

Mark Chamberlain

Our narrator, Mark Chamberlain, is a long-time card game player-- but they're all sitting on the shelf while he practices Guardian in Flesh and Blood. Mark is based out of Colorado Springs, USA.