- Battlefield 3
- Life 22
- Spellboard 4
Cards 30 / 30
Ready Spells (8)
- 3× Flute Mage
Alteration Spells (3)
I've always loved Maeoni Viper and her Silver Snakes ever since I played her preconstructed deck for my first game after cracking open my Ashes core set. Unfortunately, Snake decks generally suck at winning in constructed Ashes because Silver Snakes take so long to ramp up (and the limit of 3 battlefield slots is brutal).
Your First Five for this deck isn't very flexible:
- Summon Silver Snake (2)
- Resonance (1)
- Open Memories (2) => Summon Silver Snake (0-2)
- Hypnotize (0-2)
- Flex (2): Summon Biter (vs. decks that play big units), Explosive Growth (vs. decks without good unit removal), Golden Veil (vs. Harold/Jessa), or possibly Magic Syphon (vs. dice fixing) or Nature's Wrath (vs. swarm)
Dice cost (with Maeoni's Strike for 1): 8-10
Typically, it's a better idea to summon two Snakes than to use Hypnotize on the first round because you need to keep their battlefield under control, build up your status tokens with a couple attacks, and Hypnotize round 2 after dropping an Explosive Growth. It's pretty common for this deck to swing for 14+ damage with a single Snake (two killed units round 1 => 4 total status tokens on the Snake => Explosive Growth => 6 status tokens/12 attack => Maeoni's Strike => 14 attack).
The problem with this deck is it's very weak to both hard and soft removal, including popular cards like Blood Chains, Regress, Fear, and Hunter's Mark / Harvest Soul. Additionally, because the up-front setup cost is relatively high, less popular cards like Shatter Pulse also trade favorably with Snakes. Against decks that run these cards, you will need to very carefully time your usage of Golden Veil, as that is one of the few things that will save a Snake. Lastly, if your opponent runs Choke or Redirect, you've potentially got serious issues since both completely negate a Hypnotized attack to the Phoenixborn (unless you can successfully clear their battlefield, at which point you don't need Hypnotize anyway).
Several of the cards in this deck are meta-dependent:
- Summon Biter should be swapped with Summon Gilder if your meta tends not to run large units (I included it because it trades favorably with Frostback Bear and Hammer Knight, both of which have traditionally given me trouble in our local meta; however, in all other matches Biters are dead weight).
- Flute Mage should be swapped with Iron Worker if you face a lot of dice control (either [[illusion]] or dice fixing) in your meta. A double side action is key for landing a Hypnotized attack in these matchups, and usually decides the game.
- You might want to decrease the number of Crescendo and/or Particle Shield and increase the number of Molten Gold, Nature's Wrath, and/or Refresh.
And lastly, standard Maeoni play tips apply:
- It's usually not worth it to summon a 3rd Snake (you need your third slot for a utility unit)
- When in doubt, guard with Maeoni. She can take a serious beating, and unless you get really unlucky with your draws and don't get Explosive Growth the game shouldn't last more than 3 rounds
- Killing units trumps hitting the Phoenixborn early in the game (if you don't think they have any good soft or hard control, it's sometimes worth it to just keep their battlefield in check for two rounds and then lay lethal on them round 3).
- Don't be afraid to meditate away extra units! An Iron Worker in hand does you no good if you can't play it, and you only need 1x copy of your Unit Guard summon (2 copies are in there solely for draw consistency)
- Meditate early! This deck doesn't really use side actions, except when you absolutely need them desperately so you need to think ahead for meditating (Golden Veil and Hypnotize do you no good if you can't afford them when you need them).
- Counter-intuitively, non-lethal attacks are your friend. One-punching someone is satisfying, but if they counter it you're usually screwed. A much better play is to hit for a ton of damage that they think they can survive, and then Molten Gold them to death.