The Return of Melgis: A Heated Exchange
By Josh Cosentino
When a rotation happens, deck builders everywhere rejoice. There’s new cards, new ideas, and a brand new metagame. While the World Championship this weekend has a lot of players focused on Lapis Cluster, we’re going to look forward to the New Frontiers format.
This time around, I’ve decided to take a new spin on an all too familiar archetype. The Aggro deck. Championed by the ‘shirtless savior’ Melgis himself. It’s definitely been awhile since Melgis has been at his prime, but I think it’s high time he sees a comeback. His J-Ruler side is arguably the best in the aggro camp, and his Ruler side is equipped to even beat attrition based control decks.
Let’s take a look at some of the cards we’ll use to build a shell around. Lancelot is the easiest first card to gravitate towards, as he is far and above the best resonator in Red. The second card that comes to mind is Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame, as she lends herself so well to an aggressive strategy. In light of the fact that we will be playing Pricia, we might as well play Rapid Growth. I usually don’t like pump spells due to the risk of getting outvalued by a removal spell, but the Remnant ability hedges against that nicely. Also, the card has a high amount of synergy with Lancelot.
Rapid Growth and Pricia will be our only two Green cards. There is also a necessary curve of having two Red sources for Lancelot on turn two and a green source for Pricia or Rapid Growth on turn three, so we’re going to have to use a multitude of sources that produce both Green and Red Will. I don’t believe that using just four Blasting Waves will be enough, due to the fact that we’ll only have a Green Source by turn three 83.3% of the time. That means that we won’t cast Pricia on curve in one out of every five games. That simply wouldn’t do. I decided that four Ruler’s Memoria is necessary, since it increases the odds to 100% in a ten Stone deck. The issue this creates is that you have to run a non-zero number of Regalia to ensure that you don’t get burned by a Memoria coming in rested. So I did some number crunching.
Who Invited the Math Nerd?
It feels like so long since the days of Reflect and seeing an average of nine cards on turn one. Now that he’s gone, the math to figure out how many regalia to run has changed slightly since you’re seeing a smaller percentage of your deck. We’re still looking for Reflect-like success percentages, so let’s look back for a second. In the last big event where Reflect dominated the top eight, players averaged nine Regalia and four Ruler’s Memoria in their lists. This means that with an average of a three card mulligan, there was only a 7.3% chance of missing a Regalia. Paired with a 40% chance of hitting a turn one Ruler’s Memoria, there was only a 2.9% chance of a complete failure. This is the bar we’re looking to strive towards.
I decided to start with a lower number of Regalia to see how extreme we could get. Regalia in an Aggro deck can clutter your hand a little bit, although Melgis is happy seeing multiple Swords. All of these calculations are done in the mindset that we’re on the play to stress test under the worst possible conditions. Were also assuming that we mulligan three cards. I decided to see what it would look like if we played four Memoria and eight Regalia. There is a 13.6% chance that we miss a Regalia, and a 5.4% chance of complete failure. That seemed a bit too high for my liking. Adding a ninth Regalia decreases this probability to 4.1% while increasing the chance of double Regalia from 51% to 58%. That’s when I decided to get a little creative with it. Cutting to three Ruler’s Memoria gets us to 3.09% complete failure rate, while still keeping us above 99% to cast Pricia on curve.
Once more, I decided to get even crazier with it. I chose to play four Invitation of Disaster. On the off chance that we want to cast it for its Awaken cost, we’ll need eleven Will to do so. Since we’re an aggro deck, we want to stay away from Will producers. Bear with me one more time as we go to the calculator. Adding the eleventh Stone only decreases our chance of casting Pricia to 97.5% on turn three. Doesn’t seem like too high of an opportunity cost to me. The adverse effect of this is actually a benefit in that our complete failure rate drops to 2.79%, which is even better than most Reflect decks were getting! My deductions point to nine Regalia and three Ruler’s Memoria in an eleven card Stone deck to be the optimal choice. Enough with the math, let’s get down to the deck list.
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Demon Sword – The focal point of any Red deck, Lancelot shines as bright as always here.
4 Lightning Strike – Thunder’s spiritual successor. This card can help clear a path for our resonators or finish the game for us.
4 Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame – How many abilities can they fit on this card? She’s been a staple in aggro decks since she’s been printed, and I don’t think that’s changing anytime soon.
4 Blood Boil – Blood Boil has a lot of utility, and will slot nicely with our resonator package.
4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword – The first four members of our nine Regalia crew are Melgis’ deadly blades. Flipping Melgis with these on board can do some heavy damage.
1 Athena, Titan of Revenge – This card can do some big damage late game, and I don’t mind her as a one-of at the top of our curve.
4 Invitation of Disaster -More burn cards. These can double as a finisher in games you couldn’t normally win.
4 Flame Sprite – A lot of Aggro decks still choose Guinevere as their premier one drop, but I think a more linear aggro strategy fits a bit better in today’s metagame. I do like Guinevere in the sideboard for the aggro mirror to generate advantage.
4 Rapid Growth – Does really well in combination with Lancelot, and can help in Resonator matchups.
2 Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo – This is the 5th and 6th Regalia. We’ll use this to protect our Resonators and even bounce Swiftness guys to attack again!
3 Artemis, the God’s Bow – Without Reflect around to pump Resonators out of range, this card has a home in the main deck again. These will serve as our remaining Regalia.
2 Demonflame -These are included to synergize with the Bow and Sprites, and can help immensely against decks that rely on Will producers to get ahead. You’re not speeding past me, Machina.
4 Magic Stone of Blasting Waves |
3 Ruler’s Memoria – The Stone core that was explained earlier.
4 Magic Stone of Flame |
All in all, this deck is incredibly fast. Test it for yourself! Let me know what you think about the list and my math in the comments. All this math was done using a Hypergeometric Calculator in addition to a regular calculator to compound probabilities. If you’re interested in more articles using this sort of math and more, check out David Baker’s article series “Force of Math” on TavernTCG!
by Josh Cosentino