A periodic column on Sanctum strategy, theory, and fun,
by Ian Schreiber, Sanctum player name Gannon. You can reach Ian at
Deck Concept: Husks, Husks and More Husks
December 9, 1999
As I've said before, Abomination is one of those Houses where you'll do best
by picking a few Powerhouse cards and building your deck around them. Today
we'll look at an example of this, built around a single card: Husks.
We can get away with building an entire deck around this concept because the
card is so multi-purpose. It can flatten terrain and generate monsters (and
potentially large monster groups), and a lot of cards in Abomination go well
with it. As you'll soon see, the basic uses of Husks will suggest other areas
to expand the deck, and we'll end up with a deck that has a lot of useful combinations
of cards that can nearly guarantee an awesome draw every time.
Basic Strategies Used
Mostly, this is a Powerhouse deck. It is designed to eliminate enemy groups
in a variety of ways.
Husks, obviously. So, what goes well with Husks? Cannibalism on enemy groups
turn every individual weak monster into a recruit-killer. Volgaris can be used
as a way to turn a weak Husk into a huge group-slaying machine, and there should
never be a shortage of targets. Swamp Land can be used to protect your Husk
squares; it'd be a shame if the opponent moved a group onto the square and dispelled
it, after all.
Now, what goes well with Cannibalism? Lots of Monsters; so, throw in a few
Stalking Blyks, Maloch Horrors, and maybe a Bog Horror or two. What goes well
with Volgaris? Again, plenty of monsters; in this case, Entrail Eater is great
because it can kill small enemy groups on its own and it heals itself every
turn. What goes well with Swamp Land? Mirage can be used in combination to trap
an enemy group there, and Mirage can be used to temporarily protect your Husk
squares from enemy groups as well.
And voila, we've expanded a single card to the point where everything in the
deck supports everything else and we should end up with something that's quite
cohesive. Fill it out with a few more support spells of your choice and you're
ready to go!
Your play will be dictated to you by your opening draw, so this deck can play
very differently depending on the shuffle. If you start with Cannibalism and
a few medium-cost monsters in your hand, go for killing their Horde before it
reaches the center town. If you have Mirage, Swamp Land and two Husks, you'll
be wanting to drop the Husks and protect them, maybe even trapping an enemy
group with the Swamp/Mirage combo in the process. If you draw an Entrail Eater
and Volgaris, see if you can't use the Entrail Eater to pick off the opponent's
small second group and then sacrifice it to Volgaris later on if the opponent
tries to send a big group to kill the Entrail Eater. Be flexible and be ready
to take advantage of any combination of cards that falls into your hand.
One point that will always be an issue in this deck is how to use your Husks.
Clearly, casting them in the opponent's walking path will be a waste of time;
they'll just dispel the Husks before it's useful to you. But casting it on the
edge of the board will not make the monsters it produces very useful.
Optimally, you want to drop it in a place where it'll be close enough to a
likely walking path for enemy groups to have its monsters attack them, but far
enough away that it will cost your opponent too much time to actually walk onto
the Husks square. About two squares off the expected walking path is about right,
and it'll give you the chance to trap an enemy group with Swamp Land if they
try for it anyway. Finally, remember that your Husks will not produce monsters
immediately; think two or three turns ahead instead of just one.
Don't be afraid to use Husks as terrain removal either; it's far better to
pay 5 mana and lose a Husks spell than to spend an extra 4 turns walking around
a Mountain to get to that second town.
If you use Volgaris, that alone puts your required mana at 5+4. Using Maloch
Horror increases that to 6+4 which may not be desirable; you may want to ditch
the Malochs and stick to Stalking Blyk, Bog Horror and Entrail Eater.
You have a wide selection of additional spells that will fit with this deck,
so there's a lot of variability within this theme. Sawbones fits the theme and
provides you with extra Cannibalisms for enemy groups, but he also costs 3+2
mana which may conflict with your early casting of Husks.
Cauldron of Strife can get you extra mana which will let you train more recruits
from your Sanctum at the start of the game, but it also forces you to make 4
Will first; a lot of your spells require more Strife and less Will, so this
could slow you down early on.
Nullify might save you from using a Husks to remove terrain, but it might just
conflict with Husks and take up space in your deck.
Accursed Minion can be cast on large enemy groups to kill all but one when
they go up against a wimpy Husk, but it may not fit your deck's mana structure
very well and it might not be necessary since you have plenty of other ways
to deal with large groups.
Ring of Fire can really put the squeeze on the opponent's possible walking
paths, making it easier to drop a Husks on a square where it can really do some
damage, but you have a lot of monsters in your deck and monsters have this annoying
habit to commit suicide by walking onto lava squares and just standing there.
Even an obvious spell like Burst of Will is questionable; it'll help you
if you draw it early with Mirage, but it'll be useless if you have Husks and
Sawbones filling up your hand instead.
You've got a definite lack of combat power here; if your groups actually engage
the enemy in battle they'll probably lose. You also have no real protection
against Lockdown, so your progress might be halted as much as your opponent's.
Your heavy reliance on monsters might be a liability if your opponent uses some
spells that harm monsters (anything from Immersion or Lienna's Sigil to Slay
Monster, Putrefaction or even Domesticate). Likewise, your partial dependence
on the Husks spell could make your deck weaker overall if your opponent has
spells like Nullify or Abatement to take care of them.