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  1. #1
    DP Visionary FDL's Avatar
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    1.5 Here Be Zaladar

    This is the deck I played in 7 of my 8 rounds of World Championships qualifiers. It went 13-1 (only The Haydes managed to grab a game from it). I also brought it to the Grand Finals (see post #2 for more details).

    Much like when someone uses your own hand to slap your face, this deck is annoying. Much like your girlfriend, it can do two things at once: control you and drain your lifeforce. Much like your relationship, it’s a gruelling attrition war. But this time, you’ll be the one with your head held high when the dust settles.

    One thing is certain. It’s not gonna be pretty.

    Here Be Zaladar:

    1x Zaladar

    4x Brutalis
    1x Dark Flayer
    4x Infernal Gargoyle
    4x Death Mage Thaddeus
    4x Molten Destroyer
    3x Shadow Knight

    3x Sacrificial Lamb
    4x Here Be Monsters
    4x Shadow Font
    4x Mind Control

    2x Shriek of Vengeance
    2x Ley Line Nexus

    The Set-Up (going first)
    Your best start is Brutalis (or Dark Flayer if playing a Human opponent) followed by Gargoyle (DMT can work but is best saved to use simultaneously with your ability). From there, you have many plays to build on your board presence.

    T4 Gargoyle to back the first one can be real though for some classes to handle (Rogues, Amber, Zaladar). DMT can combine with Brute and Garg to kill 4hp allies. Against classes with board wipes, you can fake an overextension only to hit them with HBM on T5 (skip a resource) and prevent them from clearing the board. Same thing applies to Rogues, prevent that Raven/Anklebreaker.

    T4 Shadow Font will allow you to clear the board and prevent the annoying Jasmine/Aldon combo or Priest of the Light.

    T4 Here Be Monsters (skip a resource) will slow down your opponent and even out card advantage. If you have a DMT in hand to use on T5 in conjunction with your ability, it's a good play versus Humans.

    The Set-Up (going second)
    The T2 Brutalis is crucial here. Dark Flayer will work well against human but is quite risky against Shadow. You're not doomed if your 2drop-less but things are gonna be a bit darker.

    T3 HBM everytime you can. At first I forced myself to do it against my better logic, but you'd be surprised how many suboptimal play you can force with this move. Backed up by a Brute on the field, DMT in your hand, and Zal's ability, you can take back the board next turn with card and resource advantage. Keep a Shadow Font nearby if you expect PotLs or Gargoyles.

    T4 Apart from the aforementioned DMT + ability, a second HBM can devastate slower builds if they skipped their turn 4 or played non-allies. As when going first, if you can swarm your opponent with Brute + 2 3cc allies while he has trouble setting up, you should also seize the opportunity.

    The Storm
    From T5 onwards, the proverbial storm can start. Mind Control, Molten Destroyer, Shadow Font and Zal’s ability make it so that very few turns pass without the opposing Hero taking a point of damage or three. If you managed to keep a Gargoyle or DMT on the field, it will be almost impossible for your opponent to keep an ally on the board.

    If your opponent has board wiping capacities, always try to force it out him with a Molten Destroyer in your hand (a Shadow Knight will do too). If he relies on crippling effects, play as many bodies as you can.

    If you’re ahead (let’s say, you have the only ally on the board, opponent can’t use his ability next turn), HBM can choke your opponent, and prevent him from striking back with his best tools.

    Shadow Knights and Molten Destroyers are only decoys really. If you get to attack with one of them, you probably just won right then and there. Most of the time, they are there to buy you time, weaken Heroes and allies, while your real damage dealers (Mind Control, Shadow Font, Brute, Garg and DMT) go to work.

    Ley Line Nexus is mainly used late game to seal the deal. Watch out for Spelleater Bands.

    The Kill
    By the late game, you will most likely start to get outdrawn so at some point, you will have to go for the throat. You will rarely get a clean kill (no opposing allies on the board), but there’s no point for style here..

    When your opponent’s around 10-12 HP, start counting. With 2-3 damage from allies, 3 from your ability, 3 from a Shadow Font and 3 from a Mind Control you win. It will most likely take two, maybe even three turns since you will be on low resources (5-6, maybe 7), but there isn’t a whole lot your opponent can do during that time. He’ll probably target your allies first, buying an extra turn to draw direct damage, and will then need to play allies, which you will use against him.

    Sacrificial Lamb can be great here, as you’re surrendering board control anyway, you can use your allies to dig for Shadow Fonts, Mind Controls or DMTs.

    A lot of games end with both players watching Zaladar’s Shadow Energy counter slowly tick up, knowing that the game has already been decided.

    Matchups
    Humans don’t stand much of a chance. Blood Frenzy is the one card you can’t really counter, but the HP drain plays in your plan anyway. Keep Sacrificial Lambs to “free” your crippled allies.

    Against Lance, play an ally a turn and prosper. MC Raven. Sacrifice crippled allies. I rarely use LLN on Anklebreaker, unless I’m already ahead. I’d rather play my weenies. Spelleater bands can save Lance’s ass and spark a comeback so be vigilant.

    Shadow Knights and Mind Controls will beat Zhanna.

    Gwen is the one auto-loss. Soul Seeker pretty much counters this deck. Banebow is also very hard.

    Moonstalker with Shadow Font will also beat you often.

    Majiya will be close, no doubt about it. Molten Destroyer will shine here, taking out precious HP points one by one.

    Gargoyles are the most annoying card in the set (Sandworms come in to late to be much of a nuisance).

    Try to hit draw engines with Shriek when you have an opportunity. With HBM in the deck, the cost of Shrieks is somewhat lessened.

    That's it for now. Ask, comment, flame but most importantly GLHF!
    Last edited by FDL; 06-18-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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  2. #2
    DP Visionary FDL's Avatar
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    WC Grand Finals tech

    -1 Molten Destroyer, -1 Sacrificial Lamb, +3 Plasma Behemoth

    GoinG into the Finals, I was mostly scared of Moonstalker. To try to mitigate his ability, I added the PBs. They were also gonna help against Warriors.

    I ended up facing redpuma’s (IGN: Skullcruizer) Portal Maj in the first round and, as advertised, it was a tight affair. In the deciding game 3, I had this hand on turn 5: Shadow Knight, 2x Molten Destroyer, Mind Control. There was nothing on the board save an Infernal Gargoyle on his side. I sacked the MC hoping he would run out of burn and offer me an opportunity to overwhelm him with 4 turns of fatties and some nice ping damage to Maj... He didn’t. I was afraid that if I MCed his Garg, he would simply play another ally anyway and I would then be toast.
    Last edited by FDL; 06-19-2012 at 01:03 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member SilenceDogood's Avatar
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    Nice deck! I'll have to try it out, it seems like tough competition!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Palestitch's Avatar
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    Nice to see I am not the only Zal player to use HBM ( together with Dai)
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  5. #5
    Devoted Fan Gondorian's Avatar
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    Great write-up and very impressive 13-1 record in Swiss.

  6. #6
    Senior Member bobwei's Avatar
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    Is 5 the optimal number for 2cc?
    Shadow Era, ETC

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  7. #7
    DP Visionary FDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobwei View Post
    Is 5 the optimal number for 2cc?
    I like my 4/1 split.

    Against Shadow, Dark Flayer is an instant sac (even if you don't have a Brutalis to play) but against Humans, it's relevant from turn 2 onwards. At worst someone takes 2 damage, maybe wastes precious durability or even a Crippling Blow that won't disable your Molten Destroyer.

    If going first, a turn 2 DF, turn 3 DMT will kill Puwen and any 3 drop. That's almost the game there. Granted it will only happen once every 10 game (1/6 * 6/10) but it will happen.

    It gives you 66% chance to have a 2 drop vs Humans, compared to 55% if you only run Brutes (or when you play Shadows).

    I started this deck with 2 Flayers but since it's a dead card vs Shadows it's too big of a risk. (note: this is due to DMT's popularity)

    I found myself playing the same split in a Gravebone deck. In fact I should probably write something about my basis for Shadow decks these days:
    4 Brutalis, 1 Dark Flayer, 4 Infernal Gargoyle, 4 DMT, 3 Sacrificial Lamb.
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  8. #8
    DP Visionary Preybird's Avatar
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    Great writeup Fou, and brilliant deck!

    I wholeheartedly agree with your logic on the 2cc allies.
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  9. #9
    DP Visionary FDL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barcafan95 View Post
    Nice to see I am not the only Zal player to use HBM ( together with Dai)
    I've run into a few Zals with HBM in the last months on QM. I remember one hilarious mirror in which 4 HBMs were played back-to-back. Might''ve been a unique event in SE history!

    @Preybird: Thanks.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member BDK16's Avatar
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    Awesome deck Fou! This deck has won me lots of QMs

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