EYE OF THE STORM – THE MODERN ARMORY

Next week, in anticipation for the upcoming Darkmoon Faire St. Louis, I will do an overall metagame primer and what the main questions you will need to answer in anticipation of the big tournament. Before that, however, there is one last archetype in Contemporary I wanted to go over, specifically one that I feel benefited greatly from some of the new cards printed in Betrayal of the Guardian: (Mostly) Solo Armor Control. I am hesitant to truly call these archetypes “solo” because “no man is an island” and typically these lists run some smattering of allies, usually two to eight, which help them with their overall plan of controlling the board and reaching the late game. There was one solo plate deck that finished in the Top 8 of the DMF Jacksonville ITournament (again, the pre-Betrayal metagame defining tournament), a Paladin control build piloted by Tim Batow.

“Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.”
-Francis Bacon

Here is the list for that deck, though in my SWOT analysis I will be talking about the strengths of the archetype in general and the different classes available (many):
Next week, in anticipation for the upcoming Darkmoon Faire St. Louis, I will do an overall metagame primer and what the main questions you will need to answer in anticipation of the big tournament. Before that, however, there is one last archetype in Contemporary I wanted to go over, specifically one that I feel benefited greatly from some of the new cards printed in Betrayal of the Guardian: (Mostly) Solo Armor Control. I am hesitant to truly call these archetypes “solo” because “no man is an island” and typically these lists run some smattering of allies, usually two to eight, which help them with their overall plan of controlling the board and reaching the late game. There was one solo plate deck that finished in the Top 8 of the DMF Jacksonville ITournament (again, the pre-Betrayal metagame defining tournament), a Paladin control build piloted by Tim Batow.

“Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.”
-Francis Bacon

Here is the list for that deck, though in my SWOT analysis I will be talking about the strengths of the archetype in general and the different classes available (many):
Strengths: The main strengths of any armor-based control deck are the ability to gain a board advantage over ally based decks and turn all of the ally removal in opposing decks into dead draws. They also win through the use of equipment, a card type that has been out of favor as of late compared to both allies and ongoing abilities as viable win conditions. This means that not only can you win through hurting the cards your opponent draws throughout the game, but you may also leave them with very few answers in their decks to even draw into! Dead draws are the main advantage of armor decks, since while you may use allies, as Tim did, they are not your primary win conditions by any stretch of the imagination.
The other advantage armor-based control decks have is their ability to use their equipment as the gift that keeps on giving. Pieces of armor sit in play, ready to be used each turn of the game, forcing your opponent to over commit either more allies or other win conditions to the field. This sets them up for your mass removal type effects: Bottled Spite, Holy Wrath, Despair of Winter, Call of Lightning, Bladestorm, etc.

Several pieces of armor are also very versatile. The Horseman’s Horrific Helm literally shuts down any opposing damage. Polished Breastplate of Valor can be Stashed for an extra benefit to your weapons, or even allows a turn 1 Shalug’doom, the Axe of Unmaking to be “active” without the need to destroy any of your own cards in play. This is especially important in Tim’s list since an active Shalug’doom means an active Seal of Wrath as early as turn 2, to stem the tide from opposing aggro decks.

The strengths of Tim’s specific list as a Paladin-based control deck, is the use of ongoing healing effects to heal back any damage that might have slipped through the cracks in the early game. Both Tower of Radiance and Blessing of the Templar are in-play ways of gaining life each turn. Combined with Ring of the Great Whale (which is actually insane with Tower of Radiance since it gives you multiple “Mend 1” effects instead of one larger Mend effect to enhance) you can easily set up a situation where aggressive decks have no chance of breaking through both your healing and armor walls. You also have The Forgotten’s flip to heal you while damaging the opposing hero. 

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