A periodic column on Sanctum strategy, theory, and fun,
by Ian Schreiber, Sanctum player name Gannon. You can reach Ian at
Deck Concept: Eat & Run
March 16, 2000
Not all decks have to be powerful tools of destruction. In my old CCG playgroup,
we had more admiration for fun decks than killer ones. To us, a fun deck
was one that did something interesting, unexpected and out of the ordinary;
or, one with a weird theme that somehow made a reasonably cohesive deck anyway.
Same Old Despair Lockdown is forgettable even if it does win games, but this
week I'd like to present a deck that, while not ranked-game worthy, will certainly
stick in your opponent's mind for a long time.
I call the deck Eat and Run because (strangely enough) nearly every card
in the deck has something to do with either eating or running.
Basic Strategies Used
The House is Abomination, but you won't find many of Abom's staple cards in
here. If there's a cohesive strategy in here at all, it would be Combat Speed.
There's no Combat spells in here, per se, but there's a lot of extra movement
to allow you to reach the opponent before they're prepared to defend, and there's
enough ways to increase your recruit count (or decrease the opponent's) to give
you a reasonable shot at a combat victory.
The one card that this deck is entirely built around is Xin Shian Alcoves.
It uses five of the six mana types, so it relies on drawing and casting XSA
before anything else.
The Eat cards are: Cannibalism, Ostralek, Entrail Eater, and Sawbones (I
know Sawbones doesn't actually eat anyone, but he may as well).
The Run cards are: Fleetness, Forced March, and Flying Carpet. Yes, I really
did put twelve extra-movement spells in this deck, and I can typically cast
any or all of them on turn 6 or earlier.
That's pretty much the entire deck right there. 30 cards so that I have a decent
shot at drawing XSA early on (2 Ostralek, 4 of everything else).
One thing that I will stress with this deck: you MUST draw XSA and play it.
There is simply too much of your deck that is dead weight if you don't draw
it. If there isn't a copy in your opening hand, start discarding, and keep discarding
until you draw one.
Always make 3 Will first, even if you don't have XSA in hand; tempting as it
is to cast Forced March on turn 3, you'll hate yourself when you don't have
enough mana to cast XSA until turn 10 and all you draw are Fleetness and Flying
Carpet. Always set your first town to produce World mana; that's the only way
you'll get the mana needed for Fleetness, and you can't rely entirely on taking
a second town early on.
Other than above, there's a huge amount of room for creativity during gameplay.
Since all of the spells are general utility effects, you really have to think
about how to use them to their fullest extent.
I've used extra movement to take a new town, take an enemy town when they weren't
expecting it, or keep the enemy out of a town. Once, my opponent cast Lycanthropy
on my main group and I cast Fleetness on his Horde, causing his (Cannibalized)
Horde to overstep the center town and get into combat with my Wolf Horde (which
killed them off).
Sawbones is a spell that's useful on both friendly and enemy groups; I've
used it on a single-recruit group for extra damage potential and on large enemy
groups to keep their size down. One time I had a wall of Entrail Eaters keeping
a single enemy with Immersion at bay; I ended up casting Sawbones on that enemy
group one turn, then Cannibalism on the Sawbones next turn in order to kill
the recruit! The Entrail Eaters killed that enemy group the following turn.
I'd be willing to bet that there's some clever uses for spells in this deck
that I haven't run into yet.
Already, you can probably see a number of spells that would add to this deck's
potential in play.
Stalking Blyk is probably a better choice for a monster than Entrail Eater
(I like the latter because it fits the theme of the deck, though).
Mirage would both fit the theme and give yet another use to your extra movement
spells: combine Mirage with Forced March or Fleetness to make a controllable
Amok-like spell combo.
You could add Possession (you already have the mana if you cast XSA and Ostralek)
and Karkara to steal/sacrifice enemy groups permanently (which, incidentally,
would make it so this deck used all six types of mana).
Adding a few more cheap monsters would give you more mileage out of your Cannibalisms
and Sawbones that you cast on enemy groups.
As always, season to taste. Me, I rather like the original flavor :-)
Clearly, this deck relies on a single spell so anything that got rid of or
prevented that spell (Intercession, Adriel's Glamour, The Unmagicking) would
entirely destroy this deck concept. A deck with a lot of ways to dispel or kill
friendly recruits would be able to counter the offensive Eat spells.
Then again, this isn't supposed to be a competitive deck. Most competent players
with decent decks should run this into the ground. But then they'll miss out
on all the fun ...