Deck Analysis #4: One Turn Heal

23/04/2018

Hello Spellweavers!

I am Rinriet, a Spellweaver regular with three Masters Championship titles. I welcome you back to my article series, where I analyze a deck every week.

For an extensive list of competitive decks, you can check out my What is META? article.

This week I bring you a deck that wins without ever attacking the enemy hero: One Turn Heal (usually abbreviated OTH).

  • Why should you try this deck?

- It is the main META deck whose only win condition is to reach 40HP.

- The deck doesn’t use creatures to attack your rival’s life.

- It is very unique to play. If you like extreme control playstyles, this is for you.

- Despite being a deck with a slow win condition, it can beat aggro.

  • What are the deck’s weaknesses?

- Artifact removal and Curse of Rysha reduce dramatically your chances to win.

- Sometimes the deck needs a lot of skill to pull out a win. Counting cards, for example, can make all the difference (I’ll explain this below).

  • Deck List

Hero: 1x Daris Stormborn

4x Elinor, Magi Adept 4x New Horizons
4x Holy Radiance
3x Pacify
4x Word of Grace
3x Arrow Barrage
2x Exorcism
2x Ray of Righteousness
3x Power Discharge
2x Flashfreeze
3x Ancient Wisdom
4x Snowstorm
2x The Test of Time
4x Thaumic Reflector
4x Trigon of the Pact
11x Order Shrine
6x Wisdom Shrine
  • How to play the deck?

- For your starting hand you want to either have one New Horizons or a wide variety of removal to adapt to the situation. Otherwise, you should consider to mulligan. Against some specific decks, a hand with key cards for the early game is much better. For example, a Holy Radiance against Soldiers or Exorcism plus Flashfreeze against Valor Rage.

- Level order is a little situational. The best start is a Order/Wisdom Trigon. Your second level can be Wisdom to play an early Snowstorm, or Order to play Holy Radiance and improve Word of Grace. If you need to play Test of Time, play a Order/Nature Trigon level.

- Once you have 2 Wisdom, 1 Nature and 2 Order levels, you can use New Horizons to get more Order levels (without a real limit): the more Order levels, the less Word of Grace cards you will need to reach 40 life.

- You have to find a balance between having mana and having sufficient Order levels. A rule of thumb is to have enough mana to play a spell plus the cost to activate your played Thaumic Reflector cards. For example, if you have 2 Reflectors in play, with 9 mana you could play any of your spells thrice, or with 10 mana you could play Elinor and reflect a spell twice too. The extra shrines can be used to power-up you healing.

- In the first turns you have two main objectives: ramping and caring for your life points by removing enemy threats. Try to find a balance between the two.

- Having a lot of cards in your hand is crucial: you need to choose your removal spells carefully.

- Your Thaumic Reflectors are key. Play them either when you can clear the board and have extra mana, or when you can take some damage but clear the turn later thanks to it.

- You don’t need to rush the Reflectors. To use them you need a lot of mana. Try to think ahead your next turns.

- If you use a Reflector to duplicate a spell with a draw effect, like Exorcism, you get to draw again for free. Have that in mind when low on cards.

- If you use a Reflector on a card with several effects, you can choose the effect again. For example, with 5 mana you can play a Power Discharge to freeze a creature, then reflect it to deal 1 damage and destroy it (while drawing 2 cards).

- Be careful: if you use the second effect of Holy Radiance you won’t be able to reflect it because it doesn’t go to the Graveyard.

- If your opponent has Artifact removal cards, try to keep your Reflectors in hand until needed.

- You win condition is to reach 40 life by spamming Word of Grace into Reflectors. Elinor, Magi Adept helps you bringing back them.

- Always do the math for your potential life gain. You don’t want to miss a win.

- You usually want to keep your Word of Grace for late game, but don’t be greedy: if you are low on life, better be safe than sorry.

- You don’t need to effectively One Turn Heal. You can get your extra life slowly, or for example in a two turns burst. With 5 Order levels, 8 mana and 2 Reflectors, you can get 21 life in one turn. That can mean a win in 2 turns.

- Against some decks that lose late power (aggro, or midrange without value engines) you can take your time and grind your levels and mana. Against decay decks you will have to focus on winning as soon as possible.

- If you have 3 Elinors in your graveyard, use the fourth to get an Exorcism, and bring the rest back into your deck. That way you can keep your healing and removal power for longer.

- Counting cards. Everytime you use Divine Offering (DO), you put in the bottom on the deck a card, and then put 4 or 5 cards below your deck (depending on DO success). You don’t know the exact order of those cards, but you know where they are in the deck. If you use DO frequently, and have a good memory or writing system, you get to know the rough order or the cards in your deck.

- Remembering everything can be difficult and tedious, but this mechanic can be used easily to keep track of one card. Once you put a card you want to follow at the bottom of the deck, count the cards behind it; add 5 everytime you hit DO, or 6 if you fail it; compare the number of cards just mentioned with the total amount of cards on your deck, and use DO and draw effects to get your desired card.

- Be careful! Some cards, like New Horizons, shuffle your whole deck. That means you lose all the counting cards information.

- Extra consideration: this deck can be frustrating to play against. Try to be a nice guy: if you can heal to 40, do it. And if you take that to the “friendly” queue, you won’t make friends ;)

  • Alternative card choices

-  First, I want to note that in the upper list I put 65 cards of which 21 are shrines. That is optional. That keeps the usual shrine distribution, and lowers a little the chance to get a specific card. But it helps because sometimes you draw more cards than you want (a lot of your cards have cycle effects and are reflected) and are close to decay yourself. If you prefer to keep the standard optimal 60 cards count, remove a few shrines and the removal of your choice.

- A lot of the usual card choices are, in fact, distribution of the already named ones. More/less Flashfreezes, without Test of Time, etc. Adapt the deck to your needs.

- Spell Warden: It is an option to protect against a copy of artifact removal.

- Frost Elemental: Helps dealing with Jungle Deathtrap in early game, and can force aggro decks to spend mana to kill him.

- Johrails Silencer: Buys you a little time. Play it with the board empty so the rival can’t clean it with the removal spells.

- Enchanted Spring: For the rare case that you get one Elinor transformed, or want to bounce her.

- Electrostatic Storm + Unstable Reactor. It’s a fun variant. Less reliable, but interesting to see.

  • What are the common matchups?

The favorable matchups are usually midrange and aggro that rely on board presence.  Decks with a lot of removal will suffer because they have dead cards they can’t play. Decks with a slow curve will be easily board-cleared and you can scale your healing. In general, if you manage to stall and scale your resources, you are in good shape.

The unfavourable matchups are: Aggro with high HP creatures because they can become hard to kill early game (Deathtraps, Zombies). Decks with Curse of Rysha: if you don’t remove them, you will basically kill yourself; get your spell removal against them if you want to have a chance to win. Decks with artifact removal cards; they can be manageable, but it will be harder to reach 40 life without the constant use of Reflectors.

I hope you liked the guide! If anyone has a suggestion or comment, feel free to send me a forum message, add me in-game, or talk on the game’s discord.