Howdy! My name is Just Add Bacon, and I am pleased to present something a little different this week. Over many of the patches for Skyweaver to come out this summer, fire has been an element that has received numerous tweaks to many of its cards. Naturally, with myself being an avid smorcer, and fire being my go-to choice for bashing faces, these changes have me in good spirits. So, I thought it would be a fun change of pace to take a look at these cards and how they function with my favorite hero, Fox.
First off, we’ll take a quick look at the options Fox has for building a fire deck, and why we might want to use a fire strategy to begin with. Beneath each card I’ll also include some lines of play you may frequently find appealing.
One of the main reasons to run a fire package or fire deck is just how reliably good its early game is. Fox Familiar is arguably one of the best one drops for agility if not for all the prisms. It’s very mana efficient, has a nice 3 health, and threatens to cycle and buff if not answered. Learning to use Fox Familiar to bait removal options is one of the most important things for any Fox player to do.
P1 (Player 1) T1 (Turn 1)
Fox Familiar, Opponent answers with removal, T2 Mana Flask -> Sworn Oni.
Fox Familiar, Opponent answers with guard, T2 Mana Flask Demon Pact (The Beast.)
The second tactic should only be done if you can’t clear the way with removal. Before you use Demon Pact, make sure to trade in with Familiar to help soften the target. You’re dusting it anyways so who cares if it takes 2 damage.
If you’re going second, then it’s usually helpful to keep removal in hand to open the path for this good boy. Options like Strike Down and Grim Reprisal work well, while some like Snap Trap may be better if your opponent has large guards like Webweaver. Your removal package should allow you to play units and removal in the same turn, so make sure to keep the cost down.
Absolutely essential and mandatory for any build. 1c draw is always going to be at least good and 1c banner is almost always useful. Together, they make Fire Rune an amazingly efficient card, and the flames option is just the icing on the cake. This card is pretty useful to have a lot of the time, but be wary about building with it. If you don’t run On The Hunt, you may want to cut Kook Book so Hot Dog can find this more easily. On the other hand, its also good to keep in the opening, as it is much safer than options like Champ or Flame Sword.
Fox Familiar, Opponent Answers with Gato, Mana Flask into Hot Dog + Fire Rune.
Opponent has 3 mana to answer a 4/3 that already drew and dealt damage. If they don’t answer you have a lot of damage on board.
Unikron, Opponent doesn’t answer/ doesn’t play guard, T2 Fire Rune.
The “We have Fox Familiar at home” strategy, doing this to someone a few times will mean your Unikron will probably start dying on play turn 1. But that’s probably in your interest so something like a Trailblazer can stick.
Going second opens up the potential for Fire Rune to stick onto a Halcyon which can be quite damning for an aggro mirror. However, that doesn’t mean I recommend Mana Flask into Halcyon + 1c when you go first unless you are confident that they can stick. Options like Fox Familiar, Flashbang, Unikron, and Amalgam work well for this though.
If you are going to run fire, you are usually running this. It isn’t mandatory, as it has anti-synergies with Huntaro, but it is certainly worth running over Huntaro. The main appeal of Run Wild is rather subtle in how its math works, but it is actually rather strong in its own right. As we will find out, Fox aggro decks place a heavy focus on efficiently cycling through cards to reach bombs faster. Fox’s engine allows him to run options like Sunder and Catch as the only reach cards and it’s entirely because of options like Run Wild. Put simply, Run Wild is a draw card. It draws a 2c unit for 3 mana, then plays it immediately. This rate on its own would be decently useful, though not quite as good as something like Call To Action, but its secondary ready effect helps push it over. Most importantly for the mirror, the ready effect allows Run Wild to pop stealth, letting Fox cut through cards like Songbird and Rite Knight with good efficiency. Additionally, its targeted draw lets it search for important cards like Brimstone and Rite Knight. And then there is Trailblazer….
Turn 1 Familiar, Turn 2 Removal + Unit, Turn 3 Run Wild.
The low roll for this line of play is usually Brimstone, but getting a 4/2 Brimstone early is very helpful. Sitting on BtaC can ruin a lot of Horik decks, so make sure to get your mana’s worth. The second important unit that you could hit is Rite Knight. With Run Wild’s power boost, it’s a 3c deal 5 draw a dark card (and thin your deck) OR a 0c deal 5 thin your deck. Naturally, you only get one, but either can be helpful. I recommend sitting on Ritual, though, unless you have an Elderwood or something similar to sacrifice. Options like Canopy Archer and Kook Book are good fuel, but also I only recommend this if you have a good use for the mana. If you don’t, you can sit on it and get 6 mana in one turn.
Run Wild into Trailblazer + Firesight.
This is a 5 mana play and a bit different from the others. To say that it can be explosive is an understatement. Fire Rune, On the Hunt, and Fox Familiar are all 1c, so hitting this can allow those cards to come down in the same turn. Additionally, at worst you are getting -3 to the cost of cards in your hand, meaning that this can end up being only a 2 mana in more complex plays. However, actually pulling this off can be quite tricky. In the early game, the risk of hitting Trailblazer makes it hard to use Run Wild safely, and spending an entire turn to draw cards and to summon a 3/2 leaves you in a very weak position on board. If you can hold board and make this play at the same time, I recommend going for it. The impact of its cycling and cost reduction are immense and make plays like Hot Dog and On the Hunt scary. However, you will have to contend with the risk of also hitting Brimstone or Rite Knight, so plan accordingly. If you do decide to go for this on turn 3/4, make sure to play Run Wild before using your Mana Potion/Flask.
This card is your other primary buildaround for fire and is a big part of our reason to exist. A 3/2 that can charge isn’t the craziest thing in the world, but can be helpful, but that’s not the draw. The draw, in fact, is the… well, draw of Hot Dog’s effect, which notably works on Summon regardless of whether or not you are holding fire. The importance of this is that Hot Dog targets the lowest cost fire spell, meaning it will always start with Fire Rune (unless you opted for On the Hunt). This is HUGE, especially since Hot Dog is usually charging, letting him take full advantage of the rune. Additionally, Fire Rune’s flames option also becomes a good bit better, since Hot Dog’s charge lets you pop stealth. This means you can swing in with Hot Dog, punch a stealth unit with your banner, and roast another unit with flames making a big +2 trade. Later in the game, you may instead hit options like Firesight, Run Wild, Uppercut, or Catch. None of these are quite as good as Fire Rune with its raw efficiency, which makes it important to try to play Hot Dog before drawing Fire Rune. Of course, Hot Dog can also ood either On the Hunt, or, if you run that, Burn Out which allows him to double as a late game value engine. In any case, be mindful in how you deploy this good boy.
Unikron/ Fox Familiar
- No answer, flask into dog + rune
- Answers with removal, flask into dog + rune
- Answers with guard, flask into dog, rune dog, trade with Unikron + banner
- Rune Unikron, trade with dog + banner
The quality of these plays diminishes with On the Hunt, but functionally the only thing missing is the +1/+1 bonus. The plays still work when going second, but they don’t offer as big of a tempo swing. It can still be good, but holding for a more complex play may be better.
Now that we have the essentials, let’s look at some of the other cards.
On the Hunt
1c banner draw is really good, but this has a catch. Since it attaches onto the unit, attachments like Fox Familiar’s Fury or Trailblazer’s Firesight may get overwritten. Higher up the curve, this begins to affect cards like Champ, Sworn Oni, or Vlad. Or Zoomie, if you are lucky. The question of use for all of these is variable, but consider this: If you use On the Hunt to kill a unit and draw a Fox Familiar, you have gone +1 in card advantage for 1 mana. The opportunity cost of losing the Fury on Familiar was worth 1 card, but that was also not a draw/buff you were going to get 100% of the time. For Trailblazer, you trade 1 mana and 1 card for banner and 2 more health. The rate is certainly close, and its repeatability makes it useful as a mana bank vs low unit decks.
It’s just good. It’s a 3/2, so it dies to banner, but it also restocks fire in your hand, which lets Hot Dog and Run Wild work. Burn to a Crisp is just a great spell; at worst, it is 3c deal 3 to face. Don’t pass this card up.
It draws. What more do you want? It’s just a nice card. If you can, use it with things like Amalgam or Elderwoods. With Amalgam, it doesn’t check your hand until after the spell has resolved, so you want to be at an odd number when the spell ends. This means that you should play Firesight on your Amalgam when your hand is even, which means playing Amalgam when your hand is odd. Makes sense?
Firesight 2 on a stick. The body isn’t super durable but it’s an amazing hit off of Run Wild if you can pull it off. The cost reduction also works wonders for things like Blaze of Glory and Mothermander.
It’s 2c removal on a stick, and it loves diving in on units like Kook Book. It’s tricky to use with Run Wild, though, since it loses a lot of value opposed to something like Brimstone. It is definitely a good reason to use On the Hunt to fish it out first. It also really appreciates Glorious Mane.
Another unit with good fundamentals. If it goes off, it’s a 3c 4/4 that draws. It can be good in the opening if you have a Flashbang or Unikron. However, it does compete with On the Hunt, as it stops On the Hunt from reliably hitting Hot Dog. Still, it’s a very good card when it works. If you do play it with On the Hunt you can still use its effect to take roots off of units like Elderwoods, or stash On the Hunt on a Songbird for later.
Absolutely crucial for recovering your health. Agility and Strength take a lot of recoil damage when doing basic things like removal, so having this buff/cycle/lifesteal tool is quite impactful. Bonus points if you connect it onto a Hot Dog or Zoomie.
Helps form a catch 22 with Demon Pact and a 1c unit, as suddenly the removal options that can actually answer those lines of play become very limited. Not impossible, but the threat alone can make your opponent take bad hands. I don’t recommend going for it if you have safer options, but if it’s all you have you may get lucky with a turn 2 Oni. Even if you never do that, the threat alone can slow down the control player’s draw.
It’s Mortal Blow in the aggro mirror, but with Banner. Against control, this usually doesn’t play unless you are reaching for lethal or aiming it at something like an Earth Golem or Dracomantium. Against combo decks like MagZam, this card is a curse unless you are bouncing Magnanimous for lethal.
Zoomie can be a little unwieldy at times, but it can also be a big source of damage on a stick. It appreciates cards like Fire Rune, On The Hunt, Flame Sword, and Glorious Mane. At nine mana, it works with Blaze of Glory which is… technically a thing? If you pull it off with 2 or 3 other units, send me a screenshot for my wall.
Blaze of Glory
Blaze of Glory is mostly a flexible card, but it can be tricky to set up. Options like Vyper Charmer, Flurry, Elderfall, and Sabletooth help enable it, while Hot Dog may be able to pull it from your deck. Because it is so expensive, it’s important that the 1c draws help solve problems on board, making it useful with cards like Kook Book, Grim Reprisal, Strike Down, and Canopy Archer. Even when it’s in your deck, it has the “Oni effect”, where your opponent is suddenly much less willing to let Elderwoods sit on board, giving you more passive draw. Be careful with this and Sworn Oni though, as you might overdraw or end up with a hand full of out of decked 1c cards.
Vlad is another flexible option, though it is admittedly so at the cost of power. A 5c unit that dies to banner is not ideal, but its summon effect helps make up for that. It’s primarily played alongside its attachment, Enrage, which can help secure very big health-swings, if not lethal, off of targets like The Beast. It’s very optional, but it gets better with On the Hunt and Glorious Mane.
It’s a good chunk of burn damage, but if you just want a burn card, Vlad may be a bit better. However, this can still do a decent job of contesting board, since it can remove cards like Shell Officer. It’s not for everyone, but it can be good. If you do run it, be wary of it becoming a dead draw in some aggro matchups.
Not so much of a “burn” card as a “this is about to be a lot of damage” card. It can play a lot of roles in a lot of different games, like as a bait for aoe or as a huge wall, and it also makes things like Blaze of Glory scary. Against midrange builds, it can also just become Mortal Blow on a stick with a lot of smaller sticks. All and all, it’s solid if you have the fire to support it, just be wary of getting blown out by aoe like Doomsday.
The trap cards
Unfortunately, this card simply dies too easily and has no way of generating value. You don’t need fire desperately enough to run it, and you aren’t starved of 1c units enough to justify it. Even in a fire deck, Claw Bear would be better. This card isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just that basically every other option is better. If you are playing this card, play something else.
This card is better as an ood from Hot Dog than a main-deck card. When maindecked, it mostly just gets in the way of Hot Dog being good when you could hit Firesight instead.
This card can be good, but in a fire-based deck it simply doesn’t have the buddies to make it work. He’s great at carrying buffs from things like Flame Sword or Fury, but there’s not enough guards in most builds for it to work. It’s also considerably weaker than the other options off of Run Wild.
If you are playing this card, don’t. Swap it for something else as there is nothing this card does that is worth its inclusion over literally any other option.
This card is very risky, but could pay off big if it doesn’t die. If it does though, you are at a rather large disadvantage for an aggro deck.
Just play Hail of Arrows or Claw Swipe, its flames are great for dealing with fate units, but awful for clearing the way as an aggro card.
So now that we’ve covered all the relevant…. What’s that? Hmmm, well, if you say so. Welp, sorry y’all but my editor said that this is actually going to be a two part article! Check in for next week’s post-patch article as I dive in on the synergies and tactics that make Fire Fox my favorite deck in Skyweaver. Until then, see y’all in Sky!
Just Add Bacon is a ferociously fanatical aggro player of the Skyweaver community, working on projects between SkyStreamers, Skyweaver Leagues, and his own personal team, Fox Fang. He is also very active in the competitive scene, holding the grandweaver constructed rank and three tournament wins of his own, along with 2nd in two of the most recent leagues. His favorite decks are Horik control and Fox Aggro. “Basically, anything I can put a dragon or fox into. Or both.”
Just Add Bacon#7811
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