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Artifact Deck Tech: Blue Green Swarm Decklist

January 24th, 2019 | jscaliseok

Introduction


Last week, we took an in-depth look at the Red Green ramp decks that took over the WePlay Artifact Tournament. Today, we’re going back to that tournament to analyze the winning list and discuss what makes it so strong for the current meta.

Today’s deck is a throwback (of sorts) to the Blue Green decks of old that used small combos and efficient spells to swarm the board and overwhelm their opponent. This version is something I did not cover early on in Artifact, but it is both extremely strong and fun to play. Not only do you get to use the powerful control options that Blue provides, but you also get a strong base of green cards that enable you to take advantage of a wide board. If you like creeps, this one's for you.

The Heroes



The five heroes here are the same ones this deck has always played. You have Kanna, Treant Protector, and Zeus as your first three, followed by Drow Ranger and Ogre Magi to bring up the rare. All of those cards are perfect for this deck because they either further or directly support the token swarm strategy it loves.

Kanna is the backbone to this build. Not only does she allow you to control where your creeps spawn (which then enables you to choose which lane you want to push or defend in), but Prey on the Weak is one of the strongest spells in Artifact.

The signature card has a mega combo with Diabolic Revelation, and is also great in a lane that has seen a lot of combat. The spell is one of the easiest ways to take over a lane and summon a bunch of units out of nowhere. Just be careful about where and how you place Kanna. Losing creeps out of other lanes can be a problem from time to time if you aren’t careful.

Treant Protector is a solid body who helps protect creeps (which are the focus here) with his ability. Not only that, but the Roseleaf Druids are good defenders, have a lot of health (which means they can be buffed well) and help move you up your curve.

Zeus is here simply to provide Thunder God’s Wrath, which remains one of the strongest kill spells in the game. When set up properly you can take out two, three, or even four heroes in one shot. That type of swing is something not a lot of people will be able to come back from, and you always want to be on the lookout for it.

Finally, Drow Ranger and Ogre Magi are incredible support cards. Ranger, even with the nerf, is one of the best ways to turn a lot of small creeps into serious threats, while the Ogre offers you free value through his static ability. He also solves one of the biggest problems, which is decks that counter your massive boards with large boards of their own. Slamming down Ignite ensures that your opponent’s units won’t be around too long and that you can always win in creep combat. Try to stack or use the improvements where your opponent goes wide to counter you.

Mana on Mana



The idea of this deck is, at its base, a simple one. You generate a lot of mana quickly and then use that extra power to generate huge boards of creeps your opponent can’t handle. Even so, that plan has a few moving parts you need to keep track of. The most important of which is the mana.

There are two ways you can interact with mana in this deck. You can either ramp up through cards like Stars Align and Roseleaf Druid, or you can refresh with Aghanim’s Sanctum.

As always, you need to be very important when utilizing Stars Align. It is one of the strongest cards in the game, but only when run out at key times. Just getting a tempo play can be right if you’re behind, but often you want to use it to burst ahead and take control of the board.

Roseleaf Druid, while strong, is not quite as impactful. Keeping the creep alive is fine, but it shouldn’t be your main focus. Rather, your goal is to get it down where you can take advantage of it for a turn or two. Mainly, it should be put into places where it can set up bigger cards.

Aghanim’s Sanctum is a great improvement, and it can do a lot of work for you later in the game. Be aware of that and try to put into lanes where you can get value from its effect. For instance, having it in a lane where you need to use Annihilation next turn isn’t as great as a lane with a lot of other action because you’ll only be able to cast one spell.

The Big Blast



Many people may wonder, if this entire deck is about pushing with units, why clear your own board? There are a few answers to that question, but the main one is that you’ll always be able to refill your units faster than your opponent.

At Any Cost and Annihilation are two of the best spells in Artifact. There are many powerful single target kill spells out there, but finding good AOE is hard to come by. Both cards give you the option to take down any threats your opponent throws out you while also playing into your deck.

Nobody likes killing off their own units, but it rarely matters when you have so many ways to spread out on the board. You take out a lot (or all) of the units and then you refill that lane with an army while your opponent only musters a few troops. Not only that, but there are many ways to set up At Any Cost in a way where your opponent will lose a lot more creeps than you.

Don’t go too crazy with these spells (you never want to wipe away multiple turns worth of work) but do know that you can use them as pure control tool. Often, players will respond to a huge creep push by flooding another lane. Being able to clear that lane out in one card is a great way to win a race.

Also note that At Any Cost does have a cap where Annihilation does not. For that reason, Cost is best used against creeps, while Annihilation should be reserved for strong heroes. This will not always be the case (especially when facing a fast aggro deck) but for the most part you want to burn cost where you can and save Annihilation for later on.

A Never-Ending Supply of Cards



Of course, no Blue-based deck would be complete without card draw. There are many ways to fill your hand and dig through your deck in this one, and they are all incredibly efficient.

First, we have Diabolic Revelation. This is easily one of the strongest cards in the deck. Though doing two damage to your own units seems like a bad tradeoff, being able to draw two cards for one mana is absolutely worth it. In addition, you also get a great combo with Prey on the Weak.

Playing the one mana spell, getting some cards, and then creating a huge board of hounds is one of the primary ways this deck wins games. Revelation can be used early, or it can be used late in order to wrap things up. Be aware of both modes and play to them accordingly.

Unearthed Secrets is your green source of card draw, and it does a lot of work here. Once you put it down your opponent will likely trigger it turn after turn for the rest of the game. Understand you want the improvement somewhere that is going to take damage, but that does not mean you need to put it an abandoned lane.

Many players place Secrets into a lane they have no interest in, but putting it into a heavily contested area works as well. The only lanes you want to avoid are the ones where you’re far ahead or where you have a wide board that your opponent is unlikely to get through. Try to run the improvement out as early as possible and reap the rewards.

The final two card draw options here are Foresight and Arcane Assault. Foresight is as straightforward as card draw gets, while Assault has the all-important “initiative” keyword printed on it. Being able to go first in a deck filled with strong AOE options or big finishers is incredibly important and you always want to ensure you have a way to get it.

Assault is great for two different reasons. One, it has the ability to smooth out your draws during the early or mid-parts of the game. Two, it can be saved for the later stages of the game when you absolutely need to play a card in a certain lane. Understand how you’ll need it during the match and play to it accordingly.

Finish Them



Control cards and solid spells are nice, but at some point you have to actually win the game. There are three ways this deck makes that happen.

First, as covered, you have Prey on the Weak. The signature card can get out of hand in a hurry, and being able to chain it with Diabolic Revelations is incredible. One is often enough to put on lethal tower pressure, but don’t be afraid to stack two or all three if you’re going for the win.

Next, there is Emissary of the Quorum. This beater of a card is your biggest payoff for playing a huge amount of creeps. The ability to give all of your units an extra two attack and two health will end the game in a hurry. In fact, you often only need one activation to put things away.

Understand that the eight cost unit is your most powerful card and it is a close-out play more than anything else. You want to set it up when it’s in your hand by playing a lot of creeps onto one or two lanes. One does the trick most of the time, but if you see your opponent attempting to counter that line of play, the best way to make sure it has something to hit is spreading out over two lanes by having Kanna in one and using Prey in another.

The last finisher, Incarnation of Selemene, has one of the most powerful abilities in Artifact. Being able to refresh your mana over and over again enables you to go infinite. In fact, it is extremely hard to lose the game once you get to turn nine.

That brings up one last important part of this build, which is don’t be afraid to turn into a pure control deck for most of the game. Your strongest cards cost a ton of mana, and that means you’re in it for the long haul. It can be tempting to try to apply early pressure, but a lot of games your job is to sit back, block with creeps, and then use strong spells to keep your opponent’s pressure off until you get to your big plays.

Items



I personally love the item break down in this deck because of how simple it is. Often, Artifact players love to get tricky with their items. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but there is something to say for having a plan and sticking with it.

This list comes with three choices. You get Leather Armor, Traveler’s Cloak, and Blink Dagger. That’s it.

The two cheap items work to protect your heroes and ensure you’ll always have something to buy. Blue heroes are inherently weak, and the two green ones here aren’t the strongest bodies either. The armor and cloaks come out early and fight off strong pushes from red and black decks.

Of course, as this is a tournament deck, you can always switch the low-cost items out depending on the lists you’re facing. If you aren’t seeing a ton of red or black you could make these options cheap damage items instead (think Stonehall Pike) or tech cards like Demagicking Maul.

The final cards are Blink Dagger because, of course they are. There is nothing quite as strong as the item in the current game, and though you are a control deck it is never a bad idea to have your heroes bounce around the board.

Conclusion


Who doesn't love doing unfair things? Artifact operates with a set of rules, and this list seeks to break them. You cheat on mana, cheat on how many cards you can reasonably play in a turn, and make drawbacks advantages. Control decks have taken to a certain style over the past month, but this one breaks that mold and presents a cool combo-oriented style that no other decks run with.
(Last Updated: March 21st, 2019)

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