The Complete Guide to Argenport Midrange - fugitivemage28 - August 27, 2018

 
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Hey y'all! I'm fugitivemage28 on Twitch and Doc28 in-game, and today I want to share a bit about one my current favorite decks on Eternal’s competitive ladder, Argenport Midrange! Being a competitive Magic player in addition to playing Eternal, I place a lot of value in collecting and interpreting data for the means of self-improvement. Over the past few days I've gone 74-39 (~65.5%) with the deck through multiple iterations, culminating in me reaching Master for the first time in awhile after a 2-3ish month hiatus.

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2 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
4 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
4 Crownwatch Paladin (Set1 #139)
4 Ripknife Assassin (Set1003 #13)
2 Vanquisher's Blade (Set4 #112)
2 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Auric Interrogator (Set1002 #13)
4 Bloodletter (Set2 #235)
3 Slay (Set2 #236)
4 Unseen Commando (Set3 #122)
2 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Winchest Merchant (Set4 #126)
2 Inquisitor's Blade (Set1003 #9)
4 Sheriff Marley (Set4 #131)
4 Tavrod, Auric Broker (Set1002 #18)
7 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
5 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
3 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)
1 Cabal Standard (Set4 #193)
4 Crest of Vengeance (Set3 #264)
2 Crownwatch Standard (Set4 #97)
4 Seat of Vengeance (Set0 #55)

--------------MARKET---------------

1 Slay (Set2 #236)
1 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
1 Vanquisher's Blade (Set4 #112)
1 Inquisitor Makto (Set2 #242)
1 Argenport Banner (Set2 #231)

(Eternal Warcry link)

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This list originated as a carbon copy of LightsOutAce's list that he posted on eternalwarcry.com, and one of the first changes I made was to cut Sheriff Marley and add Auric Interrogator. Marley seemed weak to me at first glace, and I noticed that the deck could use some additional card advantage. Interrogator is, in my opinion, absolutely integral to the functionality of this deck because it:

  • Provides an additional hit for Tavrod,

  • Adds extra value to the various weapons already in the deck,

  • Punishes decks that take too long to deal with it.

I made one mistake, however, which was to cut Marley in the first place. After playing somewhere around 46 games (31-15 record), I decided to try Marley again for two reasons. First,I noticed how few 4 drops I was playing; my curve spiked hard at 3 and I felt that a more healthy balance was in order. Second, I didn't think that Crownwatch Traitor was well suited for the current version of the deck in that it felt too vulnerable and variable (it dies to Torch after all).

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Sheriff Marley adds a ton of flexibility to the deck for a few reasons:

  • The ability that makes Aegis 1/1s actually matters in a decent number of games: it makes weapons more valuable topdecks and gives us more ways to spend our power. In addition, the Aegis protects the 1/1s from most boardwipes, sniping a couple percentage points from control decks that may otherwise have an easier time dealing with our threats.

  • Attacking becomes less risky: we can more often instigate trades because Marley's tribute ability makes trading way more favorable that it was without her. If I trade my Ripknife Assasin with another unit and then silence something relevant with Marley, I usually feel pretty ahead (especially when that unit is something like a Sandstorm Titan).

  • Marley holds weapons decently well; having yet another unit that benefits from weapons makes each weapon in my deck that much more valuable.

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After learning my lesson, I continued to grind the ladder and make small changes here and there. I had 2 Lingering Influence in my deck for awhile, and eventually I decided that they were too low-impact for me to keep. In addition, I went from 4 sabotage to 2, then quickly back to 4, after realizing how important they are against Alessi and Control. They let us use our power extremely well; 3 drop plus sabotage on t4 happens a decent amount when you draw one after t1. All in all, however, the core of the deck has remained ever since I started playing it; good cards are good cards.

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One last thing I want to go over is the Market, which is super important in this deck because it dramatically expands the number of angles that the deck can exploit. Vanquisher's Blade is an insane hoser card that I play 2 maindeck copies of, namely because it synergizes well enough with the deck in most matchups. Against decks that rely on the void, big creatures, or both, Blade can single-handedly win games and therefore earns its spot in the Market. Valkyrie Enforcer provides nice utility as a silencer and a threat, the Banner helps with fixing in a lot of spots, and Slay provides a clean removal spell built to handle a wide variety of situations. The final Market card is Inquisitor Makto, and I can't even count the number of times this card has won games I would've easily lost without it. Against certain decks, mainly Skycrag (most flavors) and Praxis (most flavors), this card does unreal work and puts a ton of pressure on my opponent to find an decent answer.

Now that I've gone over some of the key cards/interactions, it's time for the matchup guide! Keep in mind that not all of these matchups have been extensively tested - I'll make a note when this is the case. With that in mind...

Praxis Tokens/Midrange: Favorable

  • Giant fliers are great here. As long as you can get rid of Sandstorm Titan once it arrives and be mindful of your life total, this matchup is pretty good. Our plan against Sandstorm Scarf typically involves swarming the board w/ Tavrods and Ripknife Assasins and slowly grinding out the Praxis player w/ removal spells on their bigger units.

  • Key cards: Bloodletter, Inquisitor's Blade, Valkerie Enforcer, Slay, Unseen Commando, Ripknife Assasin, Annihilate.

Skycrag Grenadins: Slightly Favorable

  • Although I feel solidly favored in most games, I've been crushed enough to wonder whether there's more depth to the matchup than my success seems to indicate, so I’ve listed this as only Slightly Favorable. Sticking big (often flying) threats and giving them Lifesteal with Bloodletter works decently well.

  • Key cards: Sheriff Marley, Bloodletter, Makto, Tavrod, Unseen Commando.

Combrei/3 faction Alessi: Slightly Unfavorable

  • One of the hallmarks of a good midrange deck is a lot of super close matchups, and I put Alessi as a slightly bad matchup mostly on how awkward a lot of my cards are against what the deck is capable of. All things being said, I do definitely believe that AP Mid can beat Alessi, but it’s not easy to say the least.

  • Key cards: Sabotage, Valkerie Enforcer, Sheriff Marley, Vanquisher's Blade.

TJP Control: Unfavorable

  • Equivocate is very good against us, and that plus Harsh Rule and Temporal Distortion is unbeatable when it works. Don't fret too much though;  TJP Control stumbles enough to give you opportunities to win. 40/60 is where I'd put this matchup right now based on how much the deck stumbles, but if it gets better/more consistent and rises in popularity, we might be in trouble.

  • Key cards: Auric Interrogator, Tavrod, Sabotage, Crownwatch Paladin, Sheriff Marley

Skycrag Aggro: Even

  • Very play/draw dependent: Hard to win on the draw, but pretty hard to lose on the play. Bloodletter and Unseen Commando are both insane here, so it's been best in my experience to lean pretty hard on those two cards.

  • Key cards, Bloodletter, Unseen Commando, Valkyrie Enforcer, Tavrod

Anything Xenan: Favorable (not a ton of experience here)

  • Our stuff matches up really well against theirs, and if they're playing Interrogator we’re playing what is basically a better Interrogator deck that's also less all-in on the card. Worldbreaker Behemoth is one of the worst problem cards out of this deck, so save Slay for that.

  • Key cards: Slay, Tavrod, Inquisitor's Blade, Ripknife Assasin, Makto, Vanquisher's Blade

Feln Berserk: Slightly Favorable

  • Play Blade as early as possible here (hopefully on an Aegis creature), and if you can't, just pray that your creatures line up well. Haunting Scream is semi-difficult to deal with, so Sabotage can be important as long as it doesn't interrupt your curve.

  • Key cards: Sabotage (sometimes), Vanquisher's Blade, Unseen Commando, Slay, Ripknife Assasin

Feln Control: Favorable (not a ton of experience here)

  • Not having Harsh Rule is a huge boon for us, and our various ways of churning out resilient threats makes life hard on the Feln player.

  • Key cards: Interrogator, Inquisitor's Blade, Sheriff Marley, Sabotage, Tavrod, Makto

Rakano Valkyries: Favorable

  • Our threats line up decently well against theirs. Apart from Vanquish, you aren't too worried about their removal, while Slay isn't really something that deck is equipped to deal with.

  • Key cards: Inquisitor's Blade, Tavrod, Bloodletter, Slay, Valkyrie Enforcer, Vanquisher's Blade

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you soon sometime on ladder!

 

~fugitivemage28