Your Guide to Mono-Blood Midrange

 

This is SqueakyCookie here with a guide on Mono-Blood Midrange. I have had some recent success with the deck (CCS Top 4, Bash Top 4) and have noticed a few play mistake trends that I’d like to point out. I wanted to put out a deck guide that will hopefully help you get to know the deck better and maybe give someone the few extra percentage points they need to win the next Bash!

Mono-Blood is a midrange/control deck that wants to slowly grind its’ opponents out of the game. While you can have aggressive starts with double Vampire Prince or Vampire Prince into Bride into removal, most games you will end up trading cards until you’re both empty. At this point you get to activate your hero power to refill your hand and your top decks are generally more powerful than your opponents (with exception to things like Wildlife/Runic Avalanche).

With cards like Withering Gaze and Primordial Cockatwice we can disrupt what ever it is our opponents trying to do while helping us get threats like Bride of the Damned and Dark Heart of Nulzann to stick around to kill them. With targeted discard it’s important to assess how you’re going to prevent your opponent from carrying out their game plan. It is usually better to disrupt your opponent than to ensure your threat sticks.

We all know that the best card in the deck is Bride of the Damned and once you play with it or against it you will quickly find out why! Anytime you play a Bride you always want to be getting as much as you can out of it, that’s why you want to be playing it on turns 4+ so you can play it plus a blood shard to trigger her ability or on turn 5 with a Strangle so you can kill and steal your opponents’ troop.

Zeddek’s Judgment is one of those cards that doesn’t look that good on paper, but when you play with it you will realize how much value it can generate. Sometimes you just get two Daybreaks, but often your opponent will be faced with at least one difficult choice, whether that be returning a Bride from your crypt or letting you draw a card. The fact that it shuffles back in and with zero cost is why we run it. A cycling, zero-cost value generator is exactly what this list is looking for to bridge into the mid to late game.

Herofall, Strangle and Massacre are the removal in the deck and it’s probably the best removal that you can get in Hex. Massacre giving troops a permanent -3/-3 can blunt an assault for several turns, while also killing any Momentum giants when they revert on your opponents turn. Interestingly, Bride of the Damned reverts troops before taking control of them so Massacre into a large board means sacrificing your Bride for any creatures that perish, but they come back with their normal stats! Herofall is a busted card. The fact that it voids the rest of the targeted troop in deck AND IN HAND makes it the second most powerful card in the list. Removing an Exalted Pathfinder is good, but also getting the back up in their hand and ensuring they never draw another one cuts out one of their primary card advantage engines. 

Dark Heart of Nuzann is like someone that you owe money too and if you’re not paying him then he’s killing your cat! He’s nuts at almost any point in the game, but he shines best when your opponent has one problem card out, and sometimes he just keeps the board in check when your opponents are trying to go wide. While Dark Heart seems like it might be poor against decks like Candles, better-Abyss‘ing them every turn can keep them off of the critical mass they need to win. An early Dark Heart can even snipe a Merry Caravan if you have a removal action for their first trigger. With a Bride in play and the threshold requirement met, you get any troop they sacrifice to Dark Heart along with any Dreadling’s allowing you to feed your Dark Heart stolen troops instead of your own.

Vampire Queen is there to sometimes just close a game out really fast, not much else to say about it. Flight is an ability that there aren’t a lot of answers too. If you can cast this on curve, with disruption, you can outrace cards like Psychic Ascension and Merry Caravan. They have to appease RNGesus to get Skyreach/Flight to block. If you get to untap and get Vampire Princess, you can start to tear apart any heavy action hands if your opponent refilled with Consult the Talons or Silver Talon Adjudicators.  

Vampire Prince is here to help us hit shards in order to ensure we get 6+ shards in play. Sometimes it’s your win con as your opponent battles with scraping together a winning strategy through your disruption or finding answers to your other threats. A single Vampire Prince can go all the way if you hit a few Nightfalls and cycle some Necropolis Coins. 

Journey into Nightmare is one of a few ways to have raw card advantage and can be a win-con using your opponents cards. Make sure not to kill your own Journey into Nightmares with your Dark Heart of Nuzann. Mono-Blood is relatively short on win conditions, so it isn’t that rare to kill your opponent using their own cards, especially considering Withering Gaze also steals their card. I’ve Psychic Ascensioned people, Consulted the Talons, and conscripted the service of a Merry Caravan.  

Blood’s Favor is just some raw card draw, but I like it more than some other draw actions due to its modal options. Sometimes the life gain is relevant to give you another turn to draw a Herofall or Massacre. Often, it is just a draw two, but when it’s not, you get to see the value of having options. This is close to the only flex slot in the deck as we are not running Demented Whispers.

Eternal Seeker is our best way to deal with lots of guy that cost the same, if our opponents cast Wildlife for 5 we can play this to kill everything on there board and it also kills random constant’s or artifacts that some decks play.  Notably, most of the powerful constants from Adoni-Zeddeck decks cost 4, Merry Caravan and Exalted Pathfinder share a cost, and Candles/Light the Votives tokens all are dealt with easily via Eternal Seeker. 

Match Ups/Reserves:

Candles

The strategy here is to make a few Candlekin with cards like Acolyte of Flame, Light ‘Em Up and Runic Candescence then make them bigger with Wax Dawn and Choir of Lumos. I believe that our game one is not that bad if we can Withering Gaze them early and if we take a Wax Dawn, Wings of Wax or Choir of Lumos we are a big favorite. Also keeping the Candlekin count on board down is extremely important so aggressively using removal and deploying Dark Hearts can take your opponent off lethal, giving you time to get to Massacre or Bride.

Bring in: 3 Blight Knight, 2 Massacre, 1 Strangle

Take out: 2 Journey Into Nightmare, 1 Blood’s Favor, 1 Herofall, 1 Zeddek’s Judgment

The plan after Reserves is to land a turn 2 Blight Knight after Withering Gazing  turn one and taking  their only or cheapest removal and our follow up is Massacre. We are taking out Journey into Nightmare because the games go too fast for them to ever really have an impact. Also cards like Zeddek’s Judgment, Herofall and Blood’s Favor can be slow and not do enough to the board to help stabilize it. Make sure to keep hands with lots of early interaction and ways to keep your Blight Knights or Bride of the Damned’s in play, as with either of them in play it’s almost impossible to lose.  

D/S Psychic Ascension  

Cassia Goldenlight is the champion that I see most for this deck, as it helps them have another win condition with Light the Votives when we are able to strip their Ascensions. They play Light the Votices and Warpsteel Shardsworn to help them mobilize Consult the Talon to dig to Psychic Ascension while also making it cheaper. Our game one can rough if they have a lot of interrupts and we don’t get out an early threat. We’re looking to keep them off of 1-cost Consult the Talons. 

Bring in: 3 Blight Knight, 1 Blood’s Favor, 1 Vampire Queen

Take out: 2 Journey Into Nightmare, 1 Massacre, 2 Herofall

We are taking out Journey Into Nightmare because they are low impact and don’t help us win the game any faster, we’re always on the Psychic Ascension clock. Only one Massacre comes out because we want to have an out to early Candlekin pressure. And the Herofalls come out because there is just not a lot of targets for them, just Dark Heart of Nulzann. Sometimes they do bring in guys out of reserves so you might want to bring them back in if they do.

Blight Knights are coming in to help put a clock on them and slow down their Light the Votives. Blood’s Favor helps you keep up in cards and the Vampire Queen just helps you have more threats. All you are trying to do is kill them before they cast a Psychic Ascension so you want to keep hands with cheap threats and lots of ways to mess up their hand.

R/W or R/S Ramp

I think R/S is the more feared match up here as the threat of Merry Caravan/Exalted Pathfinder into double-land drop with Balthasar’s hero power can negate our one-for-one disruption and Eyes of the Heart can run away with a game. These strategies are trying to ramp as fast as they can to play big threats like Eternal Seeker, Primordial Sabretooth, Eyes of the Heart, and Wildlife. So our Withering Gazes are really good in this match up most of the time, they take away their ramp actions and hard to deal with cards like Runic Avalanche and Eyes of the Heart, while also giving you the opportunity to cast them later in the game. You also want a fast clock in this match-up because cards like Wildlife and Runic Avalanche off the top can really put us under. It is important to not concede to large Wildlife’s or Merry Caravans as Bride of the Damned can completely overtake a board of Wild creatures. If you have a Bride out and are able to kill a “fight” troop, you can chain that into a second reanimate and then combat becomes difficult for your opponent. I’ve won several games after Wildlife’s for 5+ on the strength of Bride and a couple of removal actions with troops like Iremaw and Rowdy Ringmaster.

Bring in: 1 Blood’s Favor, 1 Vampire Queen. Maybe 1-2 Disruptor Drone if they are playing Merry Caravans

Take out: 2 Massacre. If bringing in Disruptor Drones,  take out 1 Journey into Nightmare, 1 Zeddek’s Judgment

Games 2 and 3 play out like game one except they have Brosi-Buk to empty your hand for most often limited unplayables. Sometimes you can mise and get powerful stuff off the trigger.  Try to have an early Withering Gaze and a fast Clock with Vampire Princes. Also make sure you have ways to kill their Exalted Pathfinders or they can take over the game with all the card advantage.

D/W Momentum

Cards like Righteous Waxshot, Leprechaun Artist and Shamrock, The Goldfather can provide an early clock and Lady Avalanche’s hero power can pump troops to lethal quicklyAll of their troops have Momentum or ways to make shards to set there momentum off, so cards like Massacre are great when they revert on our opponents turn. Herofalls should be saved form the most powerful troops if possible, Exalted Pathfinder and Shamrock. 

Bring in: 2 Massacre, 1 Strangle, 1 Blood’s Favor

Take out: 1 Journey into Nightmare, 2 Withering Gaze

Just stay with the game one plan of kill everything they play. We are keeping in 2 Withering Gaze because they do bring in a lot of actions to deal with our Bride of the Damned and we really want one of them to stay around and just take over the game. This is one of the best matchups for Bride of the Damned because taking their guys and presenting an endless stream of blockers and eventually attackers becomes insurmountable. 

Mirror

Our champion should be Bar’dak the Butcher, not Renner. We should know how this deck works because we are playing it. This match-up can be very hard and require some luck to win sometimes, but it is very important to know what is important in the mirror because it is not only the best deck in the format, but one of the most played. Going in to a tournament and not having a plan for the mirror match is a good way to drop early. 

The most important part of this match up is to play as many shards as you can in order to be able to double action. Getting to 6+ shards is very good as you can do things like Bride plus removal, which can be very backbreaking for your opponents. Sometimes it is correct to not cast actions in order to insulate yourself from Cockatwice. Focus on what is important contextually and don’t let yourself lose the last two threats in your hand. Making shard drops also gets you to hero power quicker and this matchup is all about card advantage and attrition. Oftentimes, you will want to save your Bride of the Damned for when they are on empty, as a Herofall removes any future Brides. Herofall is very powerful in the mirror due to the low count of game winners. It isn’t uncommon to have only a couple troops left to win the game with. Journey into Nightmare is the most important card in the match-up and it’s not close. Of note, if your opponent is playing Demented Whispers, expect their game plan late-game to include the mill plan. It’s oddly more reliable than the beatdown if you can’t replenish your threats with Journey into Nightmare. 

Bring in: 1 Blood’s Favor, 1 Journey into Nightmare – maybe bring in Disruptor Drones to take out opposing Journeys.

Take out: 2 Massacre

If you have any kind of card advantage then you are going to be more favored to win this match-up, that means having a turn 5 Journey into Nightmare is nuts in this game so we want as many as we can get into our deck. Blood’s Favor helps us do the same and also lets us find more shards if we get stuck anywhere. Like I said before, this match-up can come down to how well you draw and whoever secures the first repeatable card advantage source whether it be Journey (A+) or Corners of the World (D-). 

That concludes my guide on Mono-Blood. I hope you guys have taken something positive away from this article and it helps you in someway to either play or play against Mono-Blood in the future.

– SqueakyCookie

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