Made it to rank 1 with this deck. The idea behind it was to build a ranged deck that does not rely on Automaton synergy at all. While I love playing Automatons and have done so a lot in the past few days I found them too unreliable. You need to build up turn after turn and you can easily snowball out of control. However if your opponent manages to clear your board (Quake + Frostgale for example) it becomes very difficult to find back into the game because you have to build up that synergy yet again starting from scratch. Therefore I wanted to try the complete opposite way and forgo Scouts and their ramifications altogether. It worked out better than I had imagined.
Thoughts behind Scrolls:
- Dust Runner works very well with Piercing Projectile or Concentrate Fire. Good against any deck but against Decay you should not play him prematurely. You risk either Languid or Soul Steal. And don't play him on turn 1 against Growth or Order if you cannot follow up with a turn 2 blocker.
- Gun Automaton still made the list since it's ranged and a 2 drop. It's less useful without Scouts, definitely not a good target for Piercing Projectile anymore. Can be sacrificed easily later on.
- Hired Smuggler isn't great against Decay but can and should be played against all the other factions. Without Forge it means you will always draw Oculus Cannon, so use that to your advantage.
- Machinated can usually be sacrificed early on as well as against Growth in general. Machinated is more of a last resort, don't use it if you can achieve the same goal without it. Increased countdown really hurts you without Bombards. I've seen top players make that mistake. Prime targets for Machinated are Storm Runner and Cannonetta. Try to avoid using it on Thea, Cannon Automaton and Tempest Reaver if you can.
- Piercing Projectile is the second attack buff in the deck. I usually value it more than Machinated because it will not increase your base countdown and often lets you kill two units at once. It works well on Boom Reaver, Dust Runner, Tempest Reaver, Cannon Automaton and sometimes even Hired Smuggler. But again, if you can achieve the same result without it and instead play some more creatures, it's probably better to save it for later. Make sure you familarize yourself with Tempest Reaver and Piercing Projectile. It gives you 1 additional attack, or in other words you will only lose 1 by playing it. Odd Energy numbers are therefore good.
- Boom Reaver is quite good and becomes even better with Piercing Projectile. Against Decay I usually play them instead of Cannonetta or Storm Runner on turn 3. Against Energy I also prefer them early because you can draw out your opponent's Burns and keep your Storm Runner alive longer. Always expect them to have a Burn.
- Cannonetta is not my favorite unit to be honest. Against Decay she will most likely see a Languid anyway and against other factions you will also need Machinated most of the time to get some good use out of her. She can easily be sacrificed. With 3 Piercing Projectiles in the deck you will often find her even less needed.
- Concentrate Fire is another way of an attack buff. It is very versatile. It can be used on anything but Echomatons. It doesn't mean you always should. But did you know that you can kill a Witch Doctor with it? That's right, the husk will not spawn in between the two attacks but only afterwards. Or did you know that Thea will give you +4 Energy if you hit the idol twice? Nice stuff. Still feel free to sacrifice it in the early game. It is very expensive at the early stage and will be more useful later when your opponent's board is more crowded.
- Oculus Cannon is your only structure so try to abuse that fact with your Hired Smuggler. Sacrifice it if you are going to redraw it anyway. Also try not to play more than 2 at once so you can still benefit from the draw. Play them mostly in the back. Think ahead, where do you want it to be to be able to haste it with a Bombard in the future?
- Power Trip is not just good later but also early on either to get huge creatures such as Cannon Automaton and Thea out, or to make an early Bombard play against a rushy opponent. Ideally you don't want to sacrifice it just like Bombards. Of course sometimes you have to. It depends a lot on the matchup too. A turn 3 Power Trip + Cannon Automaton against Energy is great. A turn 5 Power Trip + Thea against Energy is risky. Your opponent could follow up with a Violent Dispersal and get a card advantage out of it. Still do it if that is your best play, but be aware of the risks. Same for Damning Curse and Pushback. Later on don't spam Power Trips for card draw and then play like two Gun Automatons and end your turn. Don't waste those resources! Only use Power Trip if you can benefit from the resource gain in some kind. Tempest Reavers are very good there for example. However, never sacrifice a Power Trip for scrolls on 8 Energy and above. Always use it first and see what you get and then sacrifice that. For most of you that's probably obvious but I've seen that mistake a few times recently.
- Storm Runner is definitely the best 3 cost creature here so be careful when to play him. Especially later on you want to haste him from hand with a Machinated and place other units instead. It's definitely tricky to use him, especially if you are new to Energy. Watch out where you put your Oculus Cannon as well.
- Echomaton is good for ramp. Occasionally you can use Machinated on it to kill something and let it be killed afterwards. I often sacrifice them for the ramp once they have attacked at least once. I mean not volunteeringly but if you need a blocker anyway use the Echomaton.
- Tempest Reaver benefits a lot from Piercing Projectile and Power Trip. I don't like to use Machinated on them but I guess sometimes you have to. One mistake I see a lot of players make is to count it down with a Bombard alongside other units when its attack will then go down to 0 or 1, where it doesn't do anything. Instead of counting it down try to exclude it from the Bombard so it will still attack next turn and give you more options to work with. It's also a good idea to sync the attack of all your Tempest Reavers so when you have to leave resources open for them it will be on the same turn.
Some popular Scrolls that I left out:
- Spark is good against Vaettr, Brave and Hired Smuggler. But it's always a 1 for 1 trade which I don't like. Aggrowth is not really popular at the moment so I can live with that decision. And even if you fall behind chances are you can come back with a Power Trip anyway. Also Mudo Fighter has become quite popular so there is even less use for it now.
- Potion of Resistance is great against Energy and Growth, but useless against the others. Decay has Damning Curse and Poison, Order has Pushback and displacement. I don't like scrolls that have a 50% chance of being a dead draw just from the faction my opponent plays. And even against Energy it is not foolproof, I have killed a number of potioned creatures with Dust Runner.
- Hired Marksman doesn't strike me as that useful. I cannot haste him from hand and he is expensive. His damage is physical and therefore still affected by armor. Storm Runner is definitely better at sniping and zoning and Tempest Reaver is just more value for a 4 drop.
- Ironclad Reaver was never meant to be in Ranged Energy to begin with. I am surprised some people still play him now that Cannon Automaton is that great. He just feels very slow in a Bombard deck and doesn't work with Piercing Projectile and Concentrate Fire.
- Thunder Surge is easily played around. I have noticed more and more players not playing around it anymore though. It has definitely become a bit less common these days. But honestly, with all the Piercing in this deck and Storm Runner I really don't need it.
Anything else you want to know? Feel free to ask me either here or ingame ;)