Shadowfist Deck: Mostly Harmless: Monarchs by Bruce Neiger

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Home > Decks > Decks: Mostly Harmless: Monarchs (finalist at the 2005 National Championships, Part 2, at DexCon 8 and winner of NY/NJ State Championships 2009 at Dexcon 12)
[posted 8 Aug 2005; updated 5 June 2010]

Originally posted to the Shadowfist Forum on Yahoogroups on 29 July 2005 by Alex Bergmann. Republished with permission. If you're a member of the group, you can read the original in the archive. 2009 version provided by Bruce and posted with permission, thanks!

Bruce Neiger made it to the finals of the 2005 National Championships, Part 2, at DexCon 8 with the original version of this deck, and used a modified version to win the NY/NJ State Championships at Dexcon 12 in 2009.


Mostly Harmless: Monarchs (MH:M) - 2009 version
by Bruce Neiger (53 cards)

Mostly Harmless:Monarchs
Pure Foundations (5)
5 Kunlun Clan Assault
Hitters (Foundations) (10)
3 Queen of the Ice Pagoda (foundation version from Ltd/Std)
1 King of the Fire Pagoda (Netherworld 2 version)
1 Queen of the Darkness Pagoda
2 Wu Man Kai
1 Sky Dragon
2 Red Bat
Tricks (23)
5 Netherworld Return
5 Beneficent Tao
2 Discerning Fire
1 Celestial Stance
2 Contract of the Fox
1 Lateral Reincarnation
2 Balanced Harmonies
1 Fire Sled
3 Fortune of the Turtle
1 Blanket of Darkness
Alternate Power Generation (5)
5 Violet Med
FSS (10)
2 Grizzly Pass
2 Temple of the Angry Spirits
2 Disco
2 Gambling House
1 Sacred Heart Hospital
1 LaGrange Four

The deck strategy is to put out a large / defensive site, Temple or Grizzly Pass, and then defend with KCA / Ben Tao, while you build up to 5 / 6 power.. The Ben Tao's also ramp up your 7M resources, as well as increasing the event count for Red Bat.

Between the VM's and apg sites, it is usually possible to have enough for a large stick by turn 4.. occasionally by turn 3, and only rarely having to wait to turn 5(which is a poor start, and usually means a struggle). Get a quick burn for Power, and deploy another hitter (or critical toys like Balanced Harmonies).

The Netherworld returns are incredibly cheap powerful recursion, since your opponents are unlikely to be able to come close to your Character value, even in aggregate, since your dudes are all huge.

Once you 'get started', the combination of Ben Tao, Balanced Harmonies is incredibly powerful with your large sticks, and SHH reinforces the theme of very difficult to stop monsters. The Fortunes are there as much to prevent attack interruption as they are to preserve the hitters themselves... While there are 5 of them, Netherworld Return is not your first choice.

Wu Man Kai is as usual, a star, defeating many threats and annoyances. Fire sled is often a dead draw, but but often needed, as it is your only site defense.

The current version of the deck has two Jade Willows replacing a (sadly lost) Wu Man Kai, and the QotDP, and a single The Becoming replacing the lateral reincarnation.

[writeup by Bruce Neiger]


Mostly Harmless: Monarchs (MH:M) - 2005 version
by Bruce Neiger (50 cards)

   5 Kunlun Clan Assault

   3 Grizzly Pass
   2 Temple of Angry Spirits
   1 Gambling House
   2 Disco
   1 Sacred Heart Hospital

   3 Queen of the Ice Pagoda (Old)
   1 King of the Thunder Pagoda (Old) [discarded immediately, due to high power environment]
   2 Queen of the Darkness Pagoda (New)
   1 King of the Fire Pagoda (New)
   2 Red Bat
   1 Sky Dragon

   3 Violet Meditation
   2 Pocket Demon
   5 Benificent Tao
   2 Balanced Harmonies
   1 Brain Fire
   1 Discerning Fire
   1 Dawn of the Righteous
   5 Netherworld Return

   2 Fortune of the Turtle 
   2 Contract of the Fox 
   1 Celestial Stance

   1 Blanket of Darkness

Thoughts: It was developed based on Jeff Tang's "Mostly Harmless" Deck (which we now both refer to as: "Mostly Harmless: Ting Ting" (MH:TT)

MH:TT is based on dragons and KCA to fuel 10 PD and VM. The sites are all PGs and Whirlpools with an odd Petroglyphs or Festival Circle. That deck's early game defense is final brawl, the offense is KCA and big Ting Ting -- with mostly Proving Ground, she tends to be big... and lots of free / cheap events to fuel huge late game Red Bats. That deck is slower than MH:M , since you usually have to spend a few turns getting out dragon resources and playing PD's /VMeds to make Red bat about a 10-fighting stick, although Jeff claims that he does a fair amount of winning with 8-fighting Red bats fairly early. I believe it. This deck uses KCA's to fuel PD/VM also... but the early game is large & nasty sites with Ben Tao to heal them while you simply build up to 6 power with FSS, PD. VM, and extra power sites like G-House and Disco. Then you play a Monarch.

This deck substituted 5 Netherworld returns for the Golden Comebacks, making the recursion even cheaper, and 5 Beneficent Tao (healing) for the Brawls (harming)... No need to clear the board of weenies -- what are they really going to do against a Queen with a Contract of the Fox on her, or If I have a Sacred Heart Hospital or Balanced harmonies out?

MH:TT and MH:M part company after the idea of "nothing till you put out a huge stick or two, bring them back cheaply and play a lot of cheap events for Red Bat's sake"... MH:TT uses some nice dragon tricks (Golden Comeback, Back for seconds, Never Surrender, Th on Th), MH: Monarchs has equally nice (IMO) Chi, magic, 7M and Monarch toys (Ben Tao, Balanced harmonies, Brain Fire, Celestial Stance, Blanket of D, FotT, Contract of the Fox). MH:TT is also a very strong deck, though. It is perhaps a touch less consistent, but seems more robust that the original netherworld return deck, with significant means of generating power (PD/VM in addition to the extra power sites), signficantly easier access to healing (Easier to get out Balanced harmonies than Ice Totem), and more conssitent access to Chi, which permits a few extra slots dedicated to Chi tricks (Contract, FotT)

The deck sometimes just rolls over against Blade Palms and Imprisons, and loses a lot of its edge against Bull markets (though it doesn't quite go away, as we've seen, but the field becomes a bit tooooo level)

In hindsight, also, a Spirit Pole (even with so limited number of targets as 2-3 FoTT, 1 C Stance and 2 Contact) might be good.. but what to take out? Maybe the Blanket? If I had a spirit pole in play during that Bomb, I would have won, I think. Ah well. Another Disc Fire would prolly go down smoothly as well.... Oh the decisions.

Fortune of the Turtle is an important card, not for preserving the characters so much (that's what the Netherworld Returns are for) as to prevent attack disruption.

This version is a lot larger than the old Netherword Return deck, but it has a plan B with the 7 Masters: First, the "front row sites" are all large and hard to take or nasty (ToAS and Grizzly Pass... even Disco)... next the ability to heal these tough sites usually means that they are hard to take away from me early. That changed too quickly against Bull Markets of course, but whaddya gonna do? Second, I can play some big beef without a Monarch resoruce, using the 7M stuff...

In the finals, the game was long enough that I burned out my deck. By the time Alex B played that last Neutron Bomb, there was only 1 hitter in my deck left (I had pitched the old King of T, and two Queen of Ice, since I thought they were redundant... All that was left was Red Bat. After the Bomb I got back the old Queen with a Netherworld Return. If I had gotten back Red Bat I would have won, I think (I don't believe there was any stoppage left, I could have been wrong.) The last Netherworld Return got back Red Bat... and that was it (one RB on the table, one in my depleted deck, no other hitters, and a Fox Pass on the table. Q.E.D.)

Play strategy: Simple. Discard at a hemorrhaging levels to get a site or two and an old Queen or King, or a KCA or both. (Optional: Bitch and moan about getting nothing in your early draws while you) Build up to 6 or 7 power with FSS, VM/PD and the odd Disco or GHouse. If you draw no Queen, use KCA / Ben Tao for defense. Play a Monarch or a 7M stick, averaging around turn 4, but sometimes T3 or occasionally as late as T5... If it's turn 5, you are behind and may not recover, but that is rare. Then "Go directly to to town". If no one has a Killdeer, Imprison or Blade Palm, burn a site for Power. Repeat... then start burning for victory. Play with your toys. It's actually very fun deck to play -- not terribly difficult, but rewarding skill very nicely. If someone shows up at the table with 5 imprisons or 5 Blade palms, pray for FotT or at least a useable Brain Fire or else just give them your lunch.

[writeup by Bruce Neiger, posted by Alex Bergmann]

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