Shadowverse’s new expansion has been out for a week, so you know what that means: time to make this blog’s subheader even less accurate. I’m here to post a write-up on my favorite new deck of the expansion: Neutral Midrange Forestcraft. I had been expecting to main a Dark Alice deck for the Wonderland Dreams meta, but I’ve been having so much fun with this deck that I might be sticking with it for the rest of the expansion. So without further ado, here’s the deck list and an explanation of my card choices.
There are two win conditions to this deck: outvalue the opponent with Alice and your array of neutrals, or drop Beauty and the Beast with its full effect and hope that your opponent doesn’t have answers to it. Of course, they are not mutually exclusive – sometimes you will drop Beauty and the Beast to force your opponent to spend all their resources to get rid of it, then you line up a huge field with Alice once they no longer have any answers. Other times you will be forcing your opponent to answer your boards, then drop Beauty and the Beast when they’ve exhausted their resources. And sometimes you will just drop two Beauty and the Beast and watch your opponent flail helplessly against two giant followers on the board.
Now, considering that the main theme of the expansion is the Neutral package, the main complaint right now is that every deck looks the same. So how is this deck any different from other decks that use the Neutral engine? The answer lies, of course, in the main win condition – Beauty and the Beast. To get its full effect, you must have at least 5 cards (giving it +2/2) and at least 3 neutral cards (giving it immunity to destruction) in your hand. Now, sometimes you don’t have to get both – having a huge follower or a spell-immune one on board might be more than enough to win you the game. But the point is, you want to trigger the full effect as consistently as possible. There are four cards in this deck that I use to that end:
Gourmet Emperor Khaiza and Fortunehunter Feena function similarly: they put bodies on the board while not reducing your hand size. Ultimate Carrot gives you a recurring body, meaning that you never have to worry about running out of followers or a hand once it’s in your hand. Feena gives you two followers on board, lets you dig for one of your low-cost followers – drawing Liza is a bonus, but the important part is that your hand size stays the same.
Through the Looking Glass is a combo piece and a valuable draw source – playing it early means that you’ll have enough pieces to consistently activate Beauty and the Beast’s effect. Having Neutrals in hand means that you can also activate Flower Princess’ and Hector’s effects when you need them, as well as giving a damage bonus to Elf Twins’ Assault. Also a minor but important detail is that it lets Alice buff your Forestcraft followers, including Beauty and the Beast.
Flower Princess is one of my favorite cards in this deck. She fills your hand with targets for Looking Glass, gives you a powerful spell in Thorn Burst, or simply just fills your hand so you can activate Beauty and the Beast’s condition.
Now, since this is a Forestcraft deck, let’s look at the class tech options that I picked. I found Elf Girl Liza to be one of the most valuable cards in this deck – with Control and control-oriented Bloodcraft being a popular choice, Revelation is always a danger to wide boards. Another matchup she is a good tech against is Earth Rite variants and D-Shift decks, shielding against Levi and Abomination Awakened. She is also good in mirror matchups to discourage use of Elf Twins’ Assault and Sylvan Justice.
Magical Fairy Lilac is also amazing one-time removal; she discourages the opponent from dropping large followers early on (Abomination, Cinderella, Devil of Vengeance) while also being resistant to most forms of early game removal – 4 defense is quite sticky for a turn 3 follower after all.
I’ll just get this out of the way: ideally you want a 1-2-3 curve in your opening hand; a 2-3-4 curve is acceptable.
Against aggro decks, you definitely want Elf Twins’ Assault in your opening hand, especially going second. Being able to kill two followers at once is important and will often kill aggro’s early game tempo once you kill their 1- and 2-drops. Efficient trading will also allow you to stop a turn 3 Goblin Leader from snowballing.
Against control decks, you want to have either Liza or Through the Looking Glass early on to protect your board or set up your hand for your win conditions.
As much as possible, save your EP for Beauty and the Beast – there’s a huge difference between a 7/8 and a 9/10 follower; an evolved Beauty and the Beast is generally harder to trade into.
Always pay attention to your hand and how many neutrals you currently have in hand. Plan your turns ahead so that you will always have the right conditions to trigger your cards in hand.
Now, the meta is still in its early stages and we still don’t know what will take the meta, though there are already popular decks at the moment. So I’ll just list down the top few decks plus a few other decks that I think will become relevant.
Neutral Sword: Favorable. This deck has tools to deal with Swordcraft’s early game (Elf Twins’ Assault and Lilac) and is able to outvalue the tempo put out by their early game followers. Your main win condition is also immune to most of their removal (Bane, Tsubaki) and they will often struggle in dealing with a 9/10 destruction-immune follower.
Control Blood: Favorable. Liza shuts down Revelation while Beauty and the Beast threatens an early lethal, making it difficult for them to put out Spawn of the Abyss or enhanced Baphomet without dealing with your board first.
Storm/Neutral Haven: Favorable. As long as they don’t draw nuts and flood the board with fat followers, it’s possible to deal with their boards. If you clear their board once, it’s nearly impossible for them to recover – especially when both players are already out of EP to spare. Try not to let Beauty and the Beast fall into the range of their banishes, and watch out for stray Acolyte’s Light teched into their decks.
Aggro/Burn Earth Rite: Unfavorable. They can answer Beauty and the Beast with Petrification or Mutagenic Bolt while burning face with their spells. Liza can mitigate the matchup somewhat by preventing Master Mage Levi from clearing your board, but this is generally an uphill battle.
D-Shift: Extremely favorable. Watch them struggle to clear your wide boards protected by Liza or your huge Beauty and the Beast.
Midrange Shadow: Unfavorable. People are currently sleeping on this deck but it’s still as strong as ever – Eachtar will easily trade with Beauty and the Beast while keeping a huge follower on the board, and your removal will not be able to keep up with their endless boards.
Neutral Blood: This is currently a very strong deck in Master rank, but I actually haven’t faced this one much; I imagine it’s harder than the control matchup because they have actual board control with Tove and Rapunzel. Best to hope to draw into your removals while also building your board.
Other Cards to be Considered
Of course, a few of the card slots are flexible. Teena is a meta call and can be changed to a less EP-dependent card like Snowfield Warrior. Sylvan Justice also deserves a mention if more removal is needed. It’s also possible to hybridize this deck with either Wolf-Bolt or Roach for a more traditional Forest deck, but it will of course play a lot differently from this one.