Valentina and the American Brewery

Valentina and the American Brewery

Greetings again, Sages! I hope everyone has enjoyed the rain of spoilers (or would it be a reign of spoilers? Hehehe) on the Facebook page and everywhere else. Now that we’ve seen everything this set has to offer, that leaves everyone on the same page: What to brew?

On that note, brewing is one of my favorite things about games—brewing up new deck ideas or combos, finding hidden synergies among all the cards—it really brings out the creativity in all of us. Coincidentally, brewing is also one of my favorite things in real life: I’m a big craft beer fan and to see companies brewing up new beers daily just fills me with happiness. Especially because right now it’s the best brewing season because we get all kinds of different deliciousness for Autumnal flavors. The same holds true for any flavored alcohol, really.

Where was I? Oh, yes—theory-crafting and deck brewing are two essential aspects to any healthy card game and its meta. I’ve written posts on the Facebook page and other places about ideas, how to look at deck brewing, etc., so I won’t really spend time on that here. Instead, I’ll jump into one of my favorite new Rulers and a possible way to build her that I’m sure you’ll all love.

Valentina Ruler Side

Ah, the Princess of Love! Valentina is sure to, erm, stir the hearts of many into following her lead. You’ll notice right off the bat that she has the same J-Activate cost as the rest of our regular Rulers (the exception being Machina), and a two-water cost ability that is certainly interesting. It lets you put a water resonator with a total cost of two or less into play from your hand. I know that at first it seems rather sub-optimal, but hear me out: this allows you to get around cards that may have detrimental enter abilities as well as play resonators at instant speed. This is a glorious thing as there are plenty of cards that could benefit from this, as well as immediately setting Valentina up as a Ruler who wants to control and manipulate the field. However, we still have one more side to go.

Valentina J-Ruler
Such personality.

I… I honestly don’t even know where to begin so I guess top-down is a good suggestion. When she flips, Valentina lets us put a stone into the field from the top of our stone deck, so that we never miss a beat. From there, she just gets better and you know that even though she’s a Princess of Love, she wants to be a Queen of Kickass. She can’t take damage during your turn, and she gets +100/+100 for each card in your hand. Those abilities alone make her worth considering as a Ruler, but no, then they gave her a God’s Art to boot that for the grand total of four will, you get to gain control of a target resonator. Remember what I said about her wanting to control the field? Well she wants to do that through controlling your resonators. Her base stats are on the weaker side at 500/500, but with that buff ability we should have no problem keeping her big. But as one of the Seven Kings, she also gets a nifty little tool.

Gleipnir

See? Even her fancy ribbon is here to kick your ass. Gleipnir is an awesome Regalia (and awesome part of Norse mythology) that gives us a lot of advantage and the ability to fuel Valentina in her quest to conquer. Gleipnir allows your J-Ruler to loot (draw a card, in other words), when they deal battle damage to your opponent or a J-Ruler. This is to give us incentive to attack and put Valentina on the front line if possible. Then, it has the curious effect of being able to rest and force a J/Resonator to block this turn if able, and recover it if you control Valentina. In addition, if you discard another Gleipnir while you have one on the field, you can draw a card. So all in all, this tool allows us to utilize Valentina in just about any way we could want.

So with all this being said, I guess we should look at building a deck for her. But what kind of deck? What would not only allow Valentina to shine, but also support her? The reason I ask that is something that you should keep in mind, and if nothing else you should at least take this away from reading this article: A Ruler is only as good as the deck that supports it.

I’ll say that one more time for the people in the back: a Ruler is only as good as the deck that supports it. What I mean by this is that while it’s fine to make the Ruler the star of your deck—after all they are important characters—if your Ruler or J-Ruler dies, then what do you do? Do you have any other answers? If not, then you should probably take another look at your deck because there are cards that were released with this set that can quite easily kill your J-Ruler. But, despite that, we still haven’t answered the question of what kind of deck we build around her. So let’s break down a couple of points that I think everyone should keep in mind when building for her:

  • Valentina values decks that keep hand power
  • Valentina loves to manipulate resonator field presence

I’m sure you could argue other points, but those are the two that are constant throughout the game, and even more enforced when we consider Gleipnir. So what kind of deck could we build that values card advantage in draw power, and manipulating resonator field presence?

Oh, wait, I think I just said it. Card advantage. In other words, value. A deck that highly prioritizes value would be the best for Valentina. And before you say “well duh every deck prioritizes value,” I want to say that on one hand, that’s not entirely the case, and on the other, there is a deck type that prioritizes value more than any other deck archetype out there.

Tempo.

Of course, you think madly to yourself, why didn’t I think of that? Well you probably did but I digress. It’s okay, you’ll learn in time, as have we all! I won’t go into detail here about what makes tempo a deck as there are many good resources on it (and I’ve personally written a couple of pieces/posts about it) and I think that it’s worth discovering on your own. Plus this article is winding on and I want to hurry it along so you can spend time out there testing and telling me if the idea is bad or good! Feedback is always critical. So I’ll post the deck list, then explain some of the card choices and how the deck should play. So without further ado, here it is:

Valentina’s American Paradise Brewery Tempo

Ruler:
Valentina, the Princess of Love//Valentina, the Ruler of Paradise

Regalia (6):
3x Gleipnir, the Binding of Fate
3x Laevateinn, the Demon Sword

Resonators (20):
4x Jeanne d’Arc
4x Perceval, the Seeker of Holy Grail
4x Hanzo Hattori
4x Soji Okita
4x Medusa, the Dead Eye of Petrification

Spells (17):
4x Alice’s World
4x Demonflame
2x Breath of the God
3x Crime & Punishment
4x Foresee

Stones (10):
4x Magic Stone of Light Vapors
4x Magic Stone of Hearth’s Core
2x Magic Stone of Heat Ray

Sideboard (15):
4x Certo, the Blazing Volcano
1x Breath of the God
3x Dreams of Juliet
3x Deathscythe, the Life Reaper
1x Gleipnir, the Binding of Fate
1x Crime & Punishment
1x Alice in Wonderland//Alice, the Drifter in the World
2x Lumia, the Saint Lady of Rebirth

Phew! Now that I have that out of the way, let’s look at our goals:

Deck Playstyle: This deck aims to create value out of thin air, or barring that, extreme value for very little will. You’ll notice that there’s not a resonator in here over 3 cost and that’s how we want to keep it. Yes, Valentina can’t play out every resonator we have but that’s okay; Valentina still plays out the ones we want her to the most. There’s enough draw power in here to keep Valentina relevant while you make smart early-game trades and aim for a mid-game finish. This is also why our deck is a bit large, because we will be drawing and cycling quite a bit. We have our standard “tempo” value cards in the form of extra turns, drawing, and removal. If Valentina were to somehow die, we still manage to play out the deck using what it brings to the table. The name itself, and part of the name of the article, comes from the colors we use—blue, red, and white—and the term that we’ve tossed around for this, brewing! Also because fire and water make whiskey (get it, firewater? I’m so bad at this) and yeah… anyway…

Card Choices: Some of these should be apparent (like Hanzo) but some of them require explaining, or at least defending. I would like to point out at this time though that if you truly don’t like a card choice I made, that’s okay! Substitute with what you might think is better. If you don’t like one of the colors I chose, choose another! That’s the beauty of brewing, and why we do it.

  • “Laevateinn, the Demon Sword.” I chose this card because while we don’t have to depend on Valentina, it hurts a bit when we can’t. Imperishable, extra damage, and fire will in a pinch is a nice addition to the deck and gives us a bit more versatility.
  • “Perceval, the Seeker of the Holy Grail.” Since we’re running more than four Regalia I figure that Perceval is nice for searching out specifically what we need. Also the damage prevention for Valentina is nice.
  • “Jeanne d’Arc.” Okay, so admittedly I had a hard time between this and Cheshire Cat, but I wanted Jeanne in the end. Why? Because Soji might not always be able to carry us and I like the added benefit of lifegain in a worst-case scenario. Plus she works with Breath of the God for a costless situation, which is fun.
  • “Medusa, the Dead Eye of Petrification.” If you haven’t seen this card, go look it up. Medusa is a scary monster and not just because she’ll turn you to stone, but because if you don’t use targeted removal or attack her while she’s rested, she’s just about impossible to stop, and she can tuck away threats that the opponent has with basically no drawback. Pretty much the definition of a tempo resonator.
  • “Alice’s World.” Did you notice how many of our resonators are different types? Yeah, a turn three or turn four extra turn is a tempo player’s wet dream. Plus with as much cycling and shuffling that we can do to our deck, it’s hard not to have one in hand.
  • “Breath of the God.” This can give Valentina or one of our important resonators protection in a time of need, and it has replacement value. With the oncoming storm of destruction that some J-Rulers will be bringing to the table, it’s hard not to consider this card in anything.
  • “Crime & Punishment.” We don’t have many ways to deal with J-Rulers if need be, so this is as good an answer as any.
  • Various Sideboard cards. Look, I won’t go into these, but just remember that you should build your SB for what you’re anticipating playing in the meta. I put in various anti-aggro and J-Ruler measures, as well as a couple of control options. Adjust. Flex.

How to play: The deck’s biggest weakness is its dependency on having a hand for resources, so there are certain cards that will be a nightmare to you, like Spiral of Despair. That’s okay, because that’s always going to be a thing. We can’t prepare for everything, so in the case of a hand control matchup, try to keep your early threats when you mulligan so you can drop them and not have to worry about a discard effect. If you’re facing an aggro deck, don’t be afraid to trade early to slow them down and look for your removal as soon as possible and to flip Valentina so you can regain control of the board. If you’re playing against midrange, hold your removal for their bombs and force attrition fights that favor you, either by drawing or taking extra turns.

Cards you almost always want to see in your opening hand are: Perceval, Foresee, and an early threat like Soji. The only card you pretty much never want to see opening hand is Alice’s World so that it’s not a dead card sitting in hand. Also, before someone asks “why do you want to play a lot of cards if Valentina favors you having a large hand?” It’s because we will almost always have draw power, so play early that way you can ramp into mid-game and flip her. Also, despite the fact that you’re playing early threats, the deck is still largely reactionary; the deck works well at seeing what the opponent plays and having an answer to it.

Anyway, that’s it for now! As always, my disclaimer is that these decks are merely ideas floating in my head—I haven’t had any kind of time to put them through the ringer. You may or may not notice immediate weaknesses or changes that would make the deck instantly better, but that’s okay because that is what testing is for. At the end of the day my only goal is to generate ideas, so hopefully, if nothing else, people will look at this and learn, or make a better deck! If you have any comments, criticisms, or questions, please let me know and I will try my best to address them.

Until next time, Sages!

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