A periodic column on Sanctum strategy, theory, and fun,
by Ian Schreiber, Sanctum player name Gannon. You can reach Ian at
Deck Concept: Body Odor
April 13, 2000
After becoming bored with the standard Lycanthropy-Minotaur-Complacency Body
Powerhouse and Fleetness-Fortitude-Olotus
Body Combat Speed decks, I decided
to see if there was anything else the Cyclopes could do.
The first place I looked was the complimentary House of Nature; ever wonder
what Body is capable of if you splash in some Order? That's what this deck is
Basic Strategies Used
This is very much a Combat Speed deck, which I consider an improvement over
Body's normal Combat Speed because of its combination of combat enhancements
and weakening spells; an enemy capable of dispelling groups could probably get
rid of your combat pumping spells on your own groups, and it could probably
get rid of damage-reduction spells on their own groups, but not both.
Look in your deck builder and see what you can get for 1 Order (and any amount
of World) the results are quite nice. Ill Winds can stop enemy archers,
Pixie Dust seriously reduces enemy hand damage, Dryad's Favors is single-recruit
removal and dispel, Inundate makes nice movement denial, Karillian Arrows is
a great archer damage spell, Pact of Mystery could get you a seriously huge
amount of Mystery mana for a turn, Syzygy reduces the cost of everything for
a turn ... with a selection like that, why even bother looking at the spells requiring
A few spells jumped out at me, as things that supported Body's theme. Pixie
Dust, Dryad's Favors and Karillian Arrows all seemed to support Body's Combat
theme. Reading Pixie Dust again, I noticed that it could target a minion (that
is, a recruit or a monster); Lycanthropy practically leaped out of my computer
monitor and screamed combine me with that spell! Syzygy seemed like a natural
addition, letting me cast Lycanthropy and Nomadic Tribe for a bargain 3+2.
So, this was going to be a Combat Speed deck. Toss in the obligatory 4 Fleetness
and Fortitude. Nomadic Tribe was nice in that it occasionally would produce
an Archer, giving me yet another target for Karillian Arrows. I added the questionable
Dire Portent, on the theory that I'll likely be out-producing the opponent in
recruits so trading one for one is to my advantage. Scrying Pool is almost mandatory,
to allow casting Dryad's Favors and Pixie Dust on an enemy in a Forest. A few
more minor combat-based spells, maybe a Sign of Order or two, and it's done.
The mana structure of this deck
is very cheap (I got 4 World, 3 Mystery, 1 Order) which means you can afford
to create two or three recruits from your Sanctum on the first two turns. That
one point of Order mana is important though, and more often than not I'd set
my first town to Order just to make sure I got it. I'd also try to conceal my
hidden strength for as long as possible; an opponent can hardly expect a Pixie
Dust on their Horde right before the center town, but a skilled player might
be a bit suspicious if you're casting Syzygy or Karillian Arrows on turn 4 (then
again, a turn 4 Syzygy leading into a turn 5 Lycanthropy is generally worth
tipping your hand for).
Otherwise, this plays much like a standard Combat Speed deck. Burn through
your cheap spells quickly, pumping up your own recruits or weakening the enemy,
and use Fleetness to try to force an early combat at center town. Lycanthropy
can take care of one or two enemy groups that are threats, and Pixie Dust can
of course neutralize the damage potential of a pack of wolves.
While this deck is fairly straightforward, there are several other potential
deck concepts using the same mana structure but entirely different spells.
Rather than concentrating on pure combat, you could put more of a focus on
damage reduction, combining Pixie Dust and Ill Winds to nullify the opponent's
damage entirely, and combine that with monsters to kill the group or spells
like Complacency and Lycanthropy to just hold the group off indefinitely.
Taking it up to a second Order mana (add a few more Sign of Order spells) and
you've got a whole new range of possibilities. Try Body Waterworld,
with Inundate, Will o' the Wisp and Deluge (using Burst of Order to get the
mana for Deluge), and use your own Shaman's Walk to cross over the water yourself.
Or simply use Complacency, Lycanthropy and Will o' the Wisp as twelve anti-group
spells in a single deck.
Syzygy itself gives you plenty of options, even if you just stop at 1 Order;
think of any 1+1 cost spells in any House (which can be cast for free under
the effect of Syzygy!). Try 4 each of Fertility and Nomadic Tribe for massive
recruit generation, then use them and Syzygy to cast Karkara for a big monster
(Rampage would just add insult to injury). Using Syzygy to cast Fortify on your
towns would be amusing; you could then add Nomadic Tribe for a sort of Metropolis
I'm sure that the enterprising player can think of even more options for a
Body + Order deck along these same general lines.
As with any Combat Speed deck, you are susceptible to spells that kill an entire
group, and if your opponent gets a decent entrenched defense you'll have trouble
breaking through it.
You're also weak against global spell denial; if an Unmagicking or Intercession
hits right before a key battle, you could be in serious trouble.
Lockdown could also have a chance
against you on a town layout where nothing is nearby, although the odds are
in your favor that you'll get one or two quick towns using Fleetness.
If you choose not to pack any terrain-crossing spells, Waterworld or other
terrain-control decks could be the worst thing you'll face, as it provides the
opponent a way to slow you down while killing your groups all at the same time.
The moral of the story: use at least a little bit of terrain control in your