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Artifact Deck Guide:
[RB] Swim & VinKelsier's Face Smasher

By VinKelsier | Updated November 27th, 2018
Copy Deck Code
VinKelsier November 27th, 2018
Avg. Mana Cost = 5
All Items
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
16 12 8 4 0
Value $325
Total Cards 40
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8.3 Rating
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296 Votes
8.3 Rating
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Deck Stats Details Tools Discussion (16) Open in Builder
Open in Builder
296 V o t e s
Mana Curve
All Items
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
16 12 8 4 0
Value $325
Total Cards 40
Deal First Hand

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Valiant's Avatar
Valiant Posted: December 28th, 2018 | 7:42 AM
Well, it's not that easy to win with this deck as some other users imply. It is good, yes, but not good enough to win games without requiring some thinking from the player. Personally, being completely unfamiliar with the deck's cards, I managed to win about 5 out of my 10 first games. Hopefully this ratio will become better as I become more familiar with the cards.

However, I'd strongly suggest against buying the cards for this deck considering Axe's price at the moment.
ArtifactCanada's Avatar
ArtifactCanada Posted: December 24th, 2018 | 8:16 AM
Hi, It is deck is very cool, I am playing it and you should win before 6/7 mana or you lose. But, now we have update and change something in the shopping on the Jasper Daggers can improve it. Jasper Daggers causes the equipped hero's combat damage to be Piercing Damage. This also affects their Cleave and Siege damage, if they have any -- their cleave damage will ignore the positive armor of the units being cleaved, and their siege damage will ignore any armor the tower has. Also, Jasper Daggers is purging your opponent's effects from equipped hero. How do you think about it? and What can we replace?
Bobbave's Avatar
Bobbave Posted: December 10th, 2018 | 6:06 AM
What about Claszurem Hourglass ? i think it could be cool !
NecroMongo88's Avatar
NecroMongo88 Posted: December 4th, 2018 | 7:45 PM
Don't have Axe but replaced him with Beastmaster. Going pretty good. Extra creep can push out the lanes and Primal Roar can clear minions/heroes out of the way for fatal tower damage.
Bianca7's Avatar
Bianca7 Posted: December 4th, 2018 | 4:58 PM

Hey! I really dig the idea of this deck, but do you feel like lane mobility is an issue here?

What about slotting in escape route/relentless pursuit or even adding 1 more blink dagger?

cfaerot's Avatar
cfaerot Posted: December 1st, 2018 | 6:21 PM
thx you for this deck. It is really nice. i play something like 15 games and loss only 1
HUMBLE BUTT Posted: December 1st, 2018 | 2:47 PM
I dont know what's wrong with me, I read the author strategy/tips...doing what iam told...but lose 3 times in a row with this deck....this is depressing
ArtemB's Avatar
ArtemB Posted: December 2nd, 2018 | 10:37 PM
Hey man, I had a rough start as well until I watched a video where SUNSfan plays (and explains along the way) this deck:

After the video it finally click how to play this deck and I went for a 18:0 win-streak.
DrDisRespect's Avatar
DrDisRespect Posted: November 30th, 2018 | 1:59 PM
Install game. Play tutorial to learn game for the first time. Google 'artifact deck builder'. Find this site and sort constructed decks by rating to find this guide. Build this deck in game but didn't read authors strategy/tips. Queue a few against AI to practice with deck. Queue a ticket for competitive constructed. Go on a perfect run 5-0. Only cost me $75
Daowna's Avatar
Daowna Posted: December 3rd, 2018 | 12:21 PM
I think it was closer to $30 with Axe being the majority of the cost at around $20. Really fun deck though if you're interested in lane mobility and the occasional round 3 victory. If you don't finish by round 5-6 you're going to have a hard time though, especially against blue decks.
Lothar's Avatar
Lothar Posted: December 2nd, 2018 | 6:40 AM
forsenCD Impressive
Sunrunner's Avatar
Sunrunner Posted: November 29th, 2018 | 1:24 PM
I tried lots of decks to get into the game, usually I'm more of a control player but as I still don't know anything about the decks and the cards this is not the right archtype for me currently.

This deck is great tho, went into 2 leagues with it so far and went 5-0 and 5-1, in some really intense games.
Daowna's Avatar
Daowna Posted: November 29th, 2018 | 10:45 AM
Install game. Play tutorial to learn game for the first time. Google 'artifact deck builder'. Find this site and sort constructed decks by rating to find this guide. Build this deck in game but didn't read authors strategy/tips. Queue a few against AI to practice with deck. Queue a ticket for competitive constructed. Go on a perfect run 5-0. Where do I go from here?
VinKelsier's Avatar
VinKelsier Posted: November 27th, 2018 | 11:41 AM
Ran out of space, a few noteworthy exclusions from the deck:
Time of Triumph - Just too slow for this deck. Drawing it instead of a playable card is not where we want to be.
Red Mist Pillager - Also too slow. You also need to not have an enemy hero killing your creep, or the RMP will spawn into that hero and not propagate.
Smash Their Defenses! - Can be an entirely dead card, and even when it destroys something useful, it means you spent your entire turn doing that and did not develop the board. Most improvements get value over time, which we want to avoid.
McFeeds's Avatar
McFeeds Posted: November 29th, 2018 | 8:35 AM
Thoughts on replacing the 1 Spring the Trap with Time of Triumph? I think having one just for that last push can be helpful and spring is almost as slow.
Daowna's Avatar
Daowna Posted: November 29th, 2018 | 10:51 AM
So I don't know what I'm talking about (disclaimer). But I can tell you I won my first competitive constructed run (to go 5-0) because of Spring the Trap against a deck that was using Time of Triumph in the 5th game. You're able to shift lanes hard with Spring the Trap when lined up with hero re-spawns. Lane mobility is a strong suit for this deck and gives you a huge advantage over decks that hard buff a single lane with cards like Time of Triumph. But remember, I don't really know what I'm saying right now.
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Deck Details & Information

The core of this deck is tempo based with a goal of controlling the board early via strong flop heroes alongside resilient creeps that accomplish the same goal. Once this early control has been achieved and the opponent is being pressured, Sorla threatens to close out at least 1 lane before the opponent can get back on their feet. It is also within reason to actually threaten and even win all 3 lanes early on without fully committing, after which a card like Disciple of Nevermore can be used to close out a lane based on opportunities presented by the opponent’s deployment.

The three flop heroes are:

Bristleback - Raw stats with the threat of growing. If he flops into a hero he can kill, often the opponent will not even try to redeploy into the lane. He is also extremely unlikely to die on turn1.

Axe - Raw stats once again. Instead of threatening to grow, has built in sustain/resilience in his 2 armor. He should never die on turn-1.

Phantom Assassin (PA) - Slightly less raw stats, but still threatens many heroes with an effective 10 attack.

The last 2 heroes are:

Sorla Khan on the turn (position 4) - The goal is to put her into a wide lane (where she has favorable odds to hit a tower), often Axe’s or Bristle’s. Don’t forget to consider creep spawns before you make your decision on where to deploy her. If the situation calls for it and she can be in a wide lane with either Assault Ladders or Disciple of Nevermore, it is possible for her to take a tower on turn 3 (5 mana). If the opponent is running LC and you may want Sorla to dodge a lane with a red hero that can Duel her.

Legion Commander (LC) on the river (position 5) - The reality is that LC can easily be in any position in most decks. This deck just has so many other strong or specifically placed heroes, that she falls into this position. She still applies significant pressure when she hits the board, and Duel is one of the best signature cards in the game. Her deployment is less rigid than Sorla’s. Consider what lane needs additional pressure or red hero presence (the following turn Berserker’s Call will be active). It is also worth considering if she blocks a Stonehall Elite from being played directly into a melee creep.

Early game proactive lane pressure cards:

Bronze Legionnaire - This creep has perfect stats to kill melee creeps every turn while threatening weaker blue heroes over 2 turns as well.

Mercenary Exiles - There is a lot of nuance involved in knowing when to pump this card and when not to. Hitting the 4~6 attack range (spending 4-8 gold) is almost always worth it in the early game so that it can efficiently 1-shot creeps for as long as it remains on the board. In the late game, you can sometimes get a surprise tower lethal by dropping your gold, and throughout the game, you have to consider how badly you need to purchase items. Likewise, while purchasing items, you have to consider if next turn you want to pump Exiles and may want to consider making an added purchase to not “waste” the excess gold if you only wanted to pump them so far. Be wary of pumping this too much if there is a risk of Slay wiping you out.

Stonehall Elite - Same stat line as Bronze Legionnaire, but with the ability to grow. Ideally, this card should be played directly into a creep it can kill, but there are times that you need to play it into a lane where that is not the case simply because it is still a creep that pressures the board. It is also worth considering that if the opponent has mana, they can get good trades against it with cards such as Viscous Nasal Goo, Hip Fire, Oglodi Vandal, and Bronze Legionnaire. As such, there are times it is worth passing and letting your opponent play their mana first if you expect that they should have a 4-mana play of their own.

Legion Standard Bearer - While it does not do damage itself directly, it allows melee creeps to trade up and kill heroes or to 1-shot enemy melee creeps while also absorbing damage off the damage dealers that you do have.

Oglodi Vandal - This creep provides the worst stats of those mentioned, but it still kills 2 melee creeps over 2 turns while doing 4 damage to the tower. Alternative it kills 1 melee creep while doing 4 damage directly then hits the tower itself in following turns. Since this is a black creep, there is added incentive to play it in Sorla’s lane if we want to eventually present an ancient threat.

Reactive/Situational/Mid-game Cards:

Viscous Nasal Goo - This card is often underrated due to people just tossing it on heroes without much consideration, hoping for the permanent “modify” aspect of it to generate value. While this can sometimes be the correct play, it is often better to use it to control the board. Using it on a Stonehall Elite to cause a melee creep to trade into it is a necessity. Using it on a hero where the added damage will create a kill (with curves, it can result in 4-6 damage) is generally good. Even killing a less impactful creep in 1 blow with a melee creep ( Bronze Legionnaire or Oglodi Vandal) can be impactful, especially if this causes a melee creep, played creep, or hero get through to the tower the following turn with Assault Ladders or Disciple of Nevermore on the board.

Assault Ladders - This improvement is rather straightforward. Realize that playing it too early into a lane where it is not needed is essentially throwing the card away, but waiting too long can cause mana to be a choking point. If it looks like you have a wide lane that can benefit from it turn 1 (PA spawns to the left of said lane), it can definitely be right to play it turn 1, but there is risk associated with it.

Disciple of Nevermore - This creep creates surprise burst tower pressure, including the potential to deal 80 damage to an ancient. Chaining 2 copies of this, or 1 alongside an Assault Ladders creates a very fast clock that often requires something along the lines of Annihilation, At Any Cost, or Conflagration to deal with.

Spring the Trap - The idea behind this inclusion is that after you’ve won a lane, you may want to use that mana to influence another lane, as this is not an uncommon scenario. Running 2 copies however can create problems if both are drawn, as the card is not very strong (though still playable) when played directly into the lane it is cast from.

Gank - Another cross lane play that can be done from a lane that is already won. This card can also stop the big board wipes or problematic spells with initiative not even being a problem. Do not be scared to sacrifice a hero with this if it removes the potential for your opponent to wipe another lane.

Duel - It is most often correct to NOT play this on turn 1 and instead save it for the more critical turns in the game to stop your opponent from playing high impact spells such as Annihilation. On turns where cards such as that are an option for your opponent, you also need to consider initiative

Berserker's Call - Pushing tower damage when this kills 2 creeps is very often a correct play. Initiative must be considered to get use from this when you want to kill heroes.

Enough Magic! - Once again, initiative is important to use this card effectively. Killing their damaged heroes and potentially pushing tower damage before they can react with strong plays or even healing potions/items helps to snowball the advantage you have earned from your strong early game tempo plays.

Coup de Grace - Be selective with targets here. Not all heroes are worth instantly killing. Locking blue out of a board wipe or red out of a Berserker’s Call on turn-6 if you have initiative is. Evaluate on a case-by-base basis.

Hip Fire - The first initiative card we have available. Do not be scared to kill your own creep or damage your own hero to get initiative for the critical lane. This can also be used to kill a creep (especially if you got bad curves into said creep). Initiative also allows you to follow this up with a second damage source to kill a hero.

Fight Through the Pain - The other initiative card. It can be right to use it simply to save a hero, but initiative is very important in the mid-game. As with Hip Fire, realize you can chain 2 cards together. In this case, it can allow a hero to survive a Berserker’s Call as the 2 armor prevents up to 6 damage.


Short Sword / Traveler’s Cloak - Cheap, basic items. Do not be fooled and think they are bad. The deck wants to end the game early and take advantage of gold to do so. Especially alongside Mercenary Exiles, these items do what they need to do and do not require excessive gold.

Demagicking Maul - For an extra 2 gold, this provides some versatility in dealing with improvements. Since the deck is not running Smash Their Defenses!, which can simply be a dead card and does not help generate tempo on board, this provides an answer to improvements if needed. It is not the end of the world to buy it as a 2 attack weapon.

Phase Boots - Provides health and utility. It can be used to set up a red hero for a Berserker's Call (ideally the round before, after which initiative can be taken, but if the opponent has no answer, it can be used the turn Call is played also), to allow Bristle to kill a hero, or to allow Sorla to go wide and hit a tower. It can also activate a Stonehall Elite’s trigger simultaneously.

Blink Dagger - Lane mobility is huge and this deck inherently creates situations situations where a lane is taken early and a hero needs to be relocated to another lane. Also look for the opponent over-committing to a lane and abandoning it, or moving into a lane after a board wipe.

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