Shadowfist Deck: The Jade Monarch Express by Tim Linden

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Home > Decks > Decks: The Jade Monarch Express (Who's The Big Man Now? tournament winner at Origins 2007)
[posted 7 Sep 2007]

Posted with permission. Thanks Tim!

Tim Linden won the Who's The Big Man Now? (dueling) tournament at Origins 2007 with this deck.


The Jade Monarch Express
by Tim Linden (36 cards)
5 Railroad Workers
5 The Jade Dragon
5 Hidden Tomb
2 Plains of Ash

4 Queen of the Ice Pagoda (old)
1 King of the Thunder Pagoda (old)
2 Queen of the Darkness Pagoda

4 Netherworld Return
3 Confucian Stability
4 The Willow Bends
1 Secret Pact

As Marek discussed in his dueling article [, 7 Sep 2007], this is a potentially nasty combo deck where you can often (40-60%) pull off the turn 1 setup for 3 power generation on turn 2+, yielding a foundation Monarch turn 3. It is hard for blitz decks to take the Jade Dragon enhanced Hidden Tomb, especially with the Willow Bends interfering. Netherworld Return gets you your Monarchs back should sword wielding monks kill them off, and the Confucians stop the Imprisons or any other really annoying events. (one game I should have Confucianed the Heat of Battle...) The secret pact was just thrown in because one was sitting in front of me, and I didn't know which event I would really want one more of. The flexibility to get back any of the three events, or to get 2 power or draw four cards sold me to use that last spot on the pact. It did actually help significantly in three of the games.

I chose to use a different hitter selection from Marek's version. The White Ninja, while a strong attacker, I just find too small and easy for opponents to kill on their turn. An old King of the Thunder Pagoda still gives me enough foundations, lets me get out another Monarch, and I really should not have to worry about someone paying 8 to steal him. The Queen of the Darkness Pagoda is just too good not to play - it is just far too often not worth it for the opponent to block her or attack her to get her off the table. And she is quite nice at removing enemy characters, especially considering the Netherworld Return. This gives me three big characters I can get out, rather than just two. I'd have put in a King of the Fire Pagoda too, if he wasn't in other decks I had ready to play for other events.

However, as a combo deck, it is less reliable than is desirable. Still, the combo goes off on turn 1 or 2 around 85% of the time from my playtesting and actual play history. But if you don't have it set up by turn 2, you are most likely going to lose the duel. If you lose the Jade Dragon before you get out a Monarch, it's basically over. Although - since your opponent cannot burn the Jade Monarch site, if you just a power away that can still be good enough - that won me one of the final games.

I was fortunate enough to do well with the deck, and get one or two lucky breaks. And to have three good, tense and exciting duels against Mike's second place deck - a hand blitz type deck that kept getting 6 power Heat of Battles off. Argh!

[writeup by Tim Linden]

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