Shadowfist Deck: Secret Fire by Bruce Neiger
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[posted 23 Aug 2008; updated 16 Mar 2009]
Posted with permission. Thanks Bruce!
Bruce Neiger won the New Heroes tournament at the NYC Proving Ground in August 2007 with this deck. Not quite the first ever New Heroes tournament, but pretty close. He also won the finals of the NYC Proving Ground using a similar deck (listed below).
The NYC Dojo held its first New Heroes event (only cards from the Shadowfist Games sets, currently SSG and CS) last Thursday, 8/24/2007, and I took it as a bit of a challenge to do what I could to break the format. Flambards with Ice Blessing both seemed strong independently, and together seemed like an auto combo, so here's what I came up with:
by Bruce Neiger (51 cards)
Foundations 10 5 Skin and Darkness Bats 5 Fire Ants Hitters / support 15 2 Ice Carvers 5 Flambards 3 Anastasia 1 Harbinger 1 Burning Man 1 Thunder Bird 1 Mistress of Blotted Moonlight 1 Avenging Darkness States 2 1 Ming I's Chosen 1 Thunder stick Events 12 5 Ice Blessing 4 Solar Flares 3 Chain Lightning Sites 10 FSS 2 NFS 3 Forgotten Temple 1 Devil's Mountain 1 Moon Base 1 Hydroponic Garden 1 LaGrange 4 1 University Library 1 Mah Jong Parlor 1 Rainforest Ruins 1 Summer Fire Palace 1 Hot Zone
The deck is lean for several reasons: a) this format has a limited amount of choices for foundations characters, but b) The "tech" is a rather early Flambards / Ice Blessing / Big hitter ramp. Basically, the goal with this deck is to play a site, a foundation, and then a Flambard (damaging and revealing all opponent's sites -- giving you targets for your Ice Blessings) followed up by one or two Ice Blessings as early as possible -- possibly on turn 2 (if your lone site can provide you with 1 extra power....). Use the extra power to get out something large, rather quickly.
The format was 2 four-player preliminary games, followed by a four-player final.
In the first game -- the preliminary round -- I did not draw into any Ice Blessings until well into the game. The deck played well enough, allowing me to get out a few hitters, take a few sites, and be in it at the end when time was called, so that I advanced into the finals on tie-break.
In the second game, I drew much better ... but not unrealistically so: 2 sites, 1 foundation, a Flambard, 2 Ice Blessings and swiftly thereafter, a hitter (The Harbinger). None of my sites provided extra power, so I played a Flambard on turn 3, healed up the opponents sites, gaining 4 power during my opponents' turns, and then played Harbinger on turn 4. That Harbinger... he really doesn't care about small foundation characters as blockers.
A BfP with Harbinger saw Anastasia come out on turn 5, My third site was LaGrange 4, and by turn 6, it was over. You see, that Anastasia doesn't really care if small characters intercept, either.
Some interesting synergies: Flambards, Harbinger and Burning Man provide chi, and the Ice blessings, Ice Carvers and Anastasia provide magic, so Solar Flare becomes a rather good card. Chain Lightning absolutely shines in this format, since Black Helicopter Squads can be annoying, and Wailing Apparitions were everywhere -- and not being able to do any healing is a bad thing in a deck that features Anastasia and Solar Flare. Spraying damage around with Chain Lightning was awesome.
The next time I play the deck, I plan to cut it down further, to improve the chances for this good a draw. What to cut? Avenging Darkness and the two states are fine cards, but never saw the light of day in either game despite holding all of them at one point or another... Cutting them, a foundation and a site is probably a good idea to improve the draw synergy.
As to the sites, LaGrange, power generation and card flow are the stars, so Moon Base and Hydroponic Garden probably get cut for either a second LaGrange, or more likely, a second University Library (reducing the FSS to 9) to further improve card flow.
Hot Zone was a star, but Summer Palace never saw play either, so I still need to figure out if it's good or not in this deck.
Bruce wrote in August 2008: Have not had an opportunity to play this again in the New Heroes format, but I have been playing a derived version in plain old brawls. In fact this derived version won the finals of the NYC Dojo PG -- although without the same dominance.
II (Standard Final brawl version).
by Bruce Neiger (53 cards)
Foundations 10 1 Skin and Darkness Bats 5 Fire Acolytes 4 Darkness Priestess Hitters 12 4 Flambards 2 Anastasia 2 Harbinger 1 King of Fire Pagoda (PaP) 1 Thunderbird 2 Silver Jet (PaP) Events 18 4 Ice Blessing 2 Solar Flares 2 Chain Lightning 2 Brain Fire 2 Discerning Fire 1 Transmogrification 2 Pocket Demon 2 Snowblind Edges 1 Book of Wrath Sites 10 FSS 2 NFS 1 Fox Pass 1 Devil's Mountain 1 Moon Base 2 Moebius Gardens 1 LaGrange 4 2 University Library 1 Mah Jong Parlor 1 Whirlpool of Blood 1 Summer Fire Palace 1 Hot Zone
This version is not quite the same as the one that won the PG (in that version, Book of Wrath, the two pocket demons, and a Moebius Garden, were a fourth Flambards, a Hydroponic Gardens, another solar Flare and Chain Lightning). However, the standard brawl version is much more power hungry, thus the addition / replacement of the Moebius Gardens, Book of Wrath and the two PD's. It is possible that a third PD might be better than the Book -- which also brings up the possibility of playing Fanaticism, but I am not sure the deck needs it. While I didn't think there was room for them, the two Pocket Demons seem an important addition, as flaring up power with the Ice Blessings but encountering an early failure can lead to very little in the way of comeback. For example, in my last effort, an early BfP lead to an early Bite of Jellyfish for the eventual winner. Try to hold the PD's if drawn early, and get started without them, reserving them for if things go wrong.
The deck plays very similarly to the New Heroes version, but with key substitutions.
- Silver Jet is
a very strong card here, as, in addition to his own strengths he is also a "Secret"
card to help out with Harbinger.
- The alt power gen is far more reliable.
- The ability to spray damage with Chain Lightning and Solar flare is still awesome.
- Summer Fire Palace does this too, but often proves to be a prime target, and gets passed around quite a bit. In the last game, after changing hands four times, Julian finally just smoked it.
- Moon base provides another means to damage (and then heal) opponents cards.
Would like to find a way to get the 5th Ice Blessing and a third Snowblind in, but the deck still needs to stay tight due to the 'comborrific' interactions. At 53 cards, and slightly 'under- foundation'ed' it is already pushing the greed envelope.
[writeup by Bruce Neiger]