Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

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bobthefunny
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Post by bobthefunny » 1 year ago

Aryel, Knight of Windgrace

Ever since I opened Aryel, Knight of Windgrace, and Josu Vess, Lich Knight together at the Dominaria Prerelease, I knew I wanted to make a Knight deck. The idea sat on the backburner for the longest time though, until Eldraine came in and gave us a strong set of thematic knights. With Eldraine, it seems most people are keen to build Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale for their Knights deck, which does give a strong support of the red Kinghts - but I wanted to remain true to my original vision.

I started by pulling out cards from my collections, and doing so let me notice a number of strong potential themes. One idea was the inclusion of Soldiers, as Soldiers and Knights are closely entertwined in White, with cards like Knight-Captain of Eos and Hero if Bladehold. This could lead to a Martial/War/Combat themed deck, with Precinct Captian and Catapult Squad. Another option was a strong First Strike theme, going back to the original White Knight and Black Knight, adding in cards like Valor and things that gave vigilance to give that defensive shield wall type of feel to the deck. Another option was flanking. Ixalan also gave vampires... But then I started pulling out absolutely terrible cards that were absolutely on point for flavor: Dub. Charge. Moment of Glory. Valerous Charge. This tied in well with Knight of Valor or Knight of Glory... This coupled with how many truly terrible Knights exist in White.

This was a terrible idea, but it did give the spark of something that could be incredibly flavorful and fun. It reminded me of the Eldraine prerelease where the Adventures had us practically telling a story with our cards (On Alert was my favorite).

I ended up pulling well over 700 cards, which meant I needed to make some cuts to themes, builds, etc. I started by cutting out a lot of non-thematic cards, because with that many choices it was certainly possible to remain on theme (though some exceptions get made). In the end, the truly terrible cards ended up not making it, but I ended up striking a decent balance between flavor and function.

Strategy

At its heart this deck is an aggro swarm/token deck. Play lots of Knights, draw more Knights, make tokens, buff tokens with several anthem effects, and charge people. There's a decent amount of recursion, and a slight amount of drain/ping found in Knights' Charge, and Syr Konrad, the Grim, which have proved to be powerful alternate win options.

There's a small smattering of control as well, since Haakon, Stromgald Scourge allows consistent recovery and value, and combos with the changeling spells of Nameless Inversion and Crib Swap for powerful removal.
Decklist
Approximate Total Cost:



Incoming Write up

Cards that want in: Terrible, but Thematic cards that want in Also Cavalry Master + Flanking
Last edited by bobthefunny 1 year ago, edited 25 times in total.

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Post by bobthefunny » 1 year ago

Having put it into a deck list made me see that most of the value is just in a few cards, and having played it a bit tonight really drives in how little searching there is in the deck (which was by design). I think with a few tweaks, I can actually make this into a deck that would be decent, on theme, and able to be loaned out.

If I cut the high value cards, and up the card draw (was a bit light), It should be quite interesting.

===

I played 3 games tonight, and despite losing all 3, was rather quite solidly "in it" for 2 of them (first game essentially ended due to combo). I only lost the second game because I got greedy and made a mistake - otherwise I'm 90% sure the game was mine.

A few things stood out to me:
  • Despite there being a few cheap knights, my curve is still high. Often, I would have only a few knights out at a time.
  • I need more card draw. There was some, and the cards were flowing, but my hand dipped into 3-4 cards a few times, and at one point my hand was empty. That's not a great place to be. Notably, my card draw wasn't reaching far enough to hit more card draw.
  • I may want my 3rd wrath back. I may want one additional artifact/enchantment removal.
  • I am weak to flying.


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bobthefunny
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Post by bobthefunny » 1 year ago

This week went rather better.

Knights played two games, and took the first. The second got called to time, and was still anyone's game - but I had several rather powerful plays lined up with several contigency answers, so feel I still had a strong running.

The second game has a rather absurd moment where I got Haakon, Stromgald Scourge out, and had both Nameless Inversion and Crib Swap in the GY for crazy removal, made even more absurd from having The Immortal Sun making the Inversion cost a single mana, and having a large stockpile of treasure tokens from an active Smothering Tithe.



Sadly, it was pointed out that despite my excitement to build this deck, and my adherence to keeping to the WB despite the red knights being revealed, that I done goofed and Tournament Grounds is in fact illegal in the deck - which is really sad since I like it thematically, despite it actually being a terrible card for the deck. (taps for colored mana only about 35% of the time). Guess I'll need to find a replacement.

Current ideas are Field of the Dead (knights leave plenty of those behind), which would be a more power play, or the Castle Adrenvale or Eiganjo Castle, as more thematic additions.

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Post by bobthefunny » 1 year ago

Changes:
In:
This update is mainly removing cards that just aren't working, and making room for some stronger includes that simply weren't in my collection for some reason, but need to be in the deck. Others are just shuffling things around to try different synergies.

So, somehow by accident when going through the Ixalan Vampire Knights, I somehow thought Mavren Fein was a Knight. He's not, so he's out. Martyr's Bond, though powerful, has been too expensive, and I haven't found a good opportunity to drop it when I've drawn it. Champion of Dusk was added when I brought in the Vampire package for card draw, but hasn't really been pulling his weight. Vona, Butcher of Magan has simply been too slow, and hasn't done anything except die. Mirror Entity was the only changeling I added into the deck, and he snuck by on potential power alone - I finally got to play a game with him, and again, it wasn't how I wanted to be spending my limited mana. Silverflame Squire was one of the more fun Adventure cards to play at the Eldraine pre-release, and while it's still fun to have alertful Knights (and Knights DO need squires) - he is unfortunately not a Knight himself - and I want more Knights. Finally, fun as it is to yell "DEATH OR GLORY" really loudly in the store - the card is unfortunately terrible. Elenda has simply not been pulling her weight - While the payoff looks nice, it takes too long, and a 4 mana 1/1 isn't the board position I want to show. Forerunner of the Legion is actually really good, as it gets the changeling spells to go with Haakon - but without the Vampire package, it's a bit of a flavor fail to tutor up only the changeling spells. It would seem that a Knight Deck is the perfect place for Smitten Swordmaster - but I don't typically have a HUGE army of Knights out, and a 4-6 point drain, while great for 1 mana, could instead be more impactful long term.

Coming in, a few cards I was missing - Murderous Rider is a fantastic Adventure to bring into the fold. Likewise, Order of Midnight should be a decent adventure as well. Force of Despair is one I've been wanting to test for a while, and takes the place of Martyr's Bond, as more proactive removal. Knight Exemplar was simply not in my collection at the time, and this has been remedied. Likewise on Cavalier of Night, which should help the removal situation. Resolute Rider looks interesting to try out. Acclaimed Contender will have a chance to whiff, but should at least hit most of the time, as I have above a 20% saturation of targets. Oathsworn Vampire is a low-key add to try - I've noticed some decent lifelink in the deck, and the hope is that getting back a body can prove useful with all the buffs, or he can trigger several of the Knight synergies. Knight of Obligation comes in for additional lifegain. Gideon's Phalanx seems expensive and potentially fragile to grave hate, but gives me another mass-indestructible, which is a minor theme that's amusing. I have help 7 mana for Rout, but this is a different situation - we'll see if surprise Knights alone is worthwhile. If not, there are other cards waiting in the wings.

Waiting in the Wings: History of Benalia would likely want Sun Titan to come in, which I have so far resisted, for no reason other than an odd desire to avoid certain staples just because I can.

For Acclaimed Contender - there are 21 Knight Creatures (including himself, so -1 since he won't be drawing himself), 2 Changeling tribal spells, 4 Equipment, and 2 Legendary Artifacts (that are not also Equipment). That means 28 cards other than himself to find - that's not bad.

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