by George Broyer
In this article series, I will be looking at a different archetype for each of the new new J/Rulers in the Lapis Cluster. The first entry is Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro featuring the sibling of Faria and Lars aka the Determined Girl aka the Mage of Sacred Spirit. For Charlotte, I’ve decided to go with an Aggro build. Aggro is offense first deck strategy that focuses on dealing damage fast and early. Whether this is by direct damage spells or resonators with swiftness attacking the same turn they are summoned, the goal of an Aggro deck is to take the advantage early and finish off your opponent as quickly as possible.
Aggro decks normally have creatures and cards with a low will curve meaning generally between 1-3 will cost to be able to play as many spells as soon as you can. There may be a occasionally 4 or 5 will cost spell but not very often should spells with such high costs be included in Aggro decks unless there is a way to cheat them in through other means.
One major draw back of Aggro is hand disadvantage as you want to play your cards often leaving you with little to no hand as the game draw on. This is where Charlotte comes in. Her automatic ability when she flips helps you reload your hand with more Aggro resonators and direct damage spells. This makes her a perfect, if unlikely, candidate to be one of the best Aggro J/Rulers. So, let’s take a look at her and what other cards should join in support in the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article.
RULER: Charlotte, Determined Girl
The first card in the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro is obviously, the lady herself. On the Ruler side, Charlotte, Determined Girl has a couple of interesting abilities that help in an Aggro style deck. First of all, her Judgment cost is only two Will (one Water and one free Will) meaning that it keeps in line with the low Will costs strategy associated with Aggro decks. This means that you don’t have to worry about a high flip cost to get to her best ability, which I will discuss later.
The second ability is Energize. This helps immensely if you are on the draw and playing second as it allows you to keep tempo and works great with another card that you could play turn 1, which I will mention below. This new ability that appears starting in the Lapis Cluster is one of the biggest changes to the game and, perhaps, the most important to help balance competitive game play.
The third ability costs only one Water Will and makes you discard a card, but having the means to rest a target resonator means that you can help make sure your attacks go through. If your opponent possesses many blockers to stall your attacks, your Aggro deck could be in trouble when they can bring out a big spell or resonator to gain back the advantage. So, the ability to rest potential blockers is very important in the Aggro strategy to allow you to hit for as much damage as soon as you can.
J-RULER: Charlotte, the Mage of Sacred Spirit
Charlotte has several good abilities on her J-Ruler side. Up first, she cannot be attacked. This is important because when done right, there is little to no tempo loss when doing Judgment with Charlotte. Because she cannot be attacked, you can continue to call Magic Stones on subsequent turns without fear of her being destroyed by your opponent’s resonators. Also, her other abilities do not require her to rest so you can still use them after calling stones. Another issue with some Aggro Rulers is that you use them to attack as part of your Aggro deck strategy and thus lose will advantage as well as card advantage. Charlotte gets around both of these obstacles.
Speaking of card advantage, Charlotte’s automatic ability when she becomes a J-Ruler is one of the most important that will be discussed in the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article. Again, with a Judgement cost of only two Will, you can flip Charlotte at almost any point in the game but you really want to wait until you have exhausted your hand by playing resonators with Swiftness and or several direct damage spells. Ideally, you want to reserve Judgment until you have 0-2 cards in hand so that you can can as much advantage from doing so.
The strategy to go hard with a full Aggro offensive play style is even better when you know you can replenish your hand very easily. The card draw ability coupled with the low cost of Judgment means that you could most likely even play some of the cards that you just drew, meaning even more damage to your opponent’s face.
Her next ability gains you 100 life for each card that you draw. This means you should gain 300-500 life if you perform Judgement at the optimum time and every subsequent time you draw. Any time you can gain life through normal game processes that is a good ability.
So, if three abilities weren’t enough, Charlotte has a fourth ability which can be very important. On her Ruler side, she could rest cards by paying Will and discarding a card. On her J-Ruler side, you can pay Will and discard a card to return a target resonator to it’s owners hands. This ability can be used several ways. Offensively, it can remove a blocker from the game, especially if lethal damage is in play. Alternatively, it can be used to return your own resonator to your hand. This can be used offensively to recast one of your resonators with Swiftness to swing again with it for additional damage or it can be used defensively to protect one of your resonators from any removal spells/abilities or lethal damage.
Charlotte’s stats do not lend her to be an aggressive attacking Ruler but, with regalia pumps and a Laevateinn, the Demon Sword in play, you could possibly get one good swing when she becomes a J-Ruler for 800-1200 damage or if you need a final 400 damage to finish off your opponent. Otherwise, I would continue to call Magic Stones on subsequent turns to be able to play more spells and/or use her activated ability.
There are must have resonators in every deck archetype and Charlotte Aggro is no different. One of the staples of every Aggro deck in Force of Will is Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon. However, for this Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article, the real MVP is Cheshire Cat, Guide to the Mysterious World. Lancelot is still an important player, but Cheshire Cat lets the deck do somethings that help it perform better as an Aggro deck as well as offering protection to some elements that are heavily present in the meta right now, like hand disruption .
Cheshire Cat, Guide to the Mysterious World is a two drop Water resonator who can remove cards from your hand and then gain symbol skills those cards possess. You can play this ability once on your turn and once on your opponents turn. So, depending on your Magic Stones, Cheshire Cat could be a better turn 2 play than Lancelot in an Aggro deck. Wait, did I just actually say that? Yes and that’s because you could have a turn 2 700/700 resonator with Swiftness and more over the 600/600 stats that Lancelot brings. You then can swing next turn with Cheshire at 700/700 another time and then return Lancelot or another swiftness resonator to play turn 3 for additional damage. Also, if you’re on the draw, you could play a turn 1 700/700 Cheshire Cat with Swiftness using the Water Will from the Energize coin.
Removing cards from the game, also protects your cards from spells like The Scorn of Dark Alice, Lapis’ Dark Storm and more that make you discard cards. Destruction or banish spells like Soulhunt could cause an issue but you return the exile card on your opponents turn to your hand before Cheshire goes to the graveyard. Most hand disruption and destruction spells are Chant speed or cost more Will so you should be able to work around them to not lose your Removed From Game resonator. You could also Remove the Card from Game on your opponents turn using Cheshire’s ability to not have to discard an important card and then just return it to your hand on your turn (after swinging with the extra buff on Cheshire first, of course).
Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame is another must have card that must be mentioned in this Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article. Pricia is not only so good on her own but, when combined with Cheshire Cat, she becomes an even better card in the deck. When Removed From Game by the cat’s ability, Cheshire Cat gains Swiftness, First Strike and Precision (FKA Target Attack). So, on turn 2, you would want to play Cheshire Cat and remove Pricia making it so Cheshire Cat attacks for 700 damage with those awesome abilities. Turn 3, you can swing with the cat again for 700, then return Pricia to your hand and then play her to swing for another 700 damage to your opponent. Seems good.
Flame Sprite is another card that needs to be included. Not only is it a great one drop in any Aggro build but, in Charlotte Aggro, the little fairy becomes more important because it can give Cheshire Cat Swiftness and Flying! If you have multiple Cheshire Cats and a Flame Sprite, you can RFG the sprite for the first cat on turn 2 and then play the second cat on turn 3 and then return it from the first cat and RFG from the second cat. So, potentially, you could swing with two 700/700 flying Cheshire Cats on Turn 3! Also good.
Between Cheshire Cat, Lancelot, Flame Sprite and Pricia, 16 of your 40 deck slots will be taken up at this point in the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article. How you build the rest of your deck with regards to the balance of resonators, chants and regalia is up to you. However, you should run at least 20 resonators as Aggro is normally a resonator based deck strategy. So, some other resonators you could include are:
- Rukh Egg – A card that allows you to search for a Fire Resonator in a deck of almost all Fire Resonators is never a bad inclusion. I like Flame Sprite as the better one drop given the synchronicity with Cheshire Cat but the egg is a Red Aggro deck staple.
- Athena, Titan of Revenge – A 3 drop resonator with Swiftness that can pump itself and deal damage to your opponent. Also, another target to give Cheshire Cat Swiftness.
- Guinevere, the Jealous Queen – Another staple card of many Aggro decks which serves as a sac outlet for Rukh Egg to let you search for another resonator, a way to draw card, and a way to discard Necromancy of the Undead Lord, if included in the deck.
- Flame Dragon of Altea – This card could be an interesting addition. Having a 1200/1200 flying dragon is never a bad thing. Cheshire Cat can help reduce your hand size to play it sooner or a Flame King Shout can cheat it in and give swiftness as well. One swing with the Flame Dragon could put you over the top. Also, with Cheshire, you can remove it to give the cat flying until your hand is gone and its time to play the dragon for 2 Will.
- Alisaris, Avatar of Destruction – Another intriguing possibility. The Alisaris resonator has Swiftness to help Chesh but is also a 5 drop so not a card that would normally fit into the Aggro build. But, giving Cheshire Swiftness and +100/+100 until you are ready to drop, it gives you a 1000/1000 resonator with Swiftness that lets you play a fire chant spell with cost 3 or less from your removed area (hello again, Cheshire Cat ability) could be an good play. It takes 3 cards to set-up between Alisaris, Cheshire and a Fire chant to go down, so it might be too much to count on consistently.
- Snow White, the Valkyrie of Passion – You would probably want to play Athena over Snow White, but she is another 3 drop Fire resonator with Swiftness. So, she fits in the Aggro mold and can work with Cheshire Cat.
- Caldera-Born Dragon – A 4 drop Fire resonator with Swiftness and Flying. Normally, this dragon is a little too expensive for inclusion in an Aggro deck but with synergy with Cheshire Cat, it could see some play.
- Hera, Goddess of Jealousy – Most likely not a main deck resonator in an Aggro build, but the deck is playing blue and Hera is one of the best blue utility cards being able to destroy certain, popular regalia and draw a card if she does. So, she is a good sideboard card but could be a 1 or 2 of in the main deck.
- Alice’s Little Scout – Another good blue card that serves as a good one drop blocker that also gains you card draw. Again, not normally part of the Aggro brew and has no synergy with Cheshire Cat, but if card draw is more important to you, it could be a good inclusion due to the low cost and card draw ability.
CHANTS, ADDITIONS & REGALIA
The second part of the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article is the chants, additions and regalia that will comprise the rest of the deck.
Any direct damage chants, meaning spells that deal damage to J/resonators or players, are worth considering for including in the Charlotte Aggro deck. With the old staple card Thunder gone, Lapis Cluster brings us its spiritual successor, Lightning Strike. Lighting Strike is a 4 of in any Aggro deck. Period. The ability to deal damage to any J/resonator or your opponent is exactly what is needed in the offense first deck. Blood Boil is another great card that can damage your opponent or boost the attack of one of your resonators. Bombardment is another low cost Fire Chant with Quickcast that does damage to a player or resonator.
Necromancy of the Undead Lord is a popular card in Aggro decks and works really well with Charlotte’s activated abilities that require you to discard a card. Flame King Shout is another good inclusion that lets you cheat in cards like Flame Dragon of Altea and Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame (if you’re missing the Wind Will to cast) while dealing 400 damage to your opponent’s board. Demonflame is another one cost damage/destruction spell that targets resonators only but would possibly left out in favor of Lightning Strike.
If you go three colors and include Darkness, along with the Water and Fire, you can include powerful cards like Space-Time Anomaly and Black Moonbeam. You can also hard cast Necromancy from your hand as well.
Regalia is also a consideration in any deck, especially if you plan to run any Ruler’s Memoria for tri-color decks. Laevateinn, the Demon Sword is a must have as the utility it offers Aggro decks is unparalleled. Whether you use it to sac the Egg or Pricia to deal 500 additional damage, pump Charlotte’s damage when she attacks or pitch an additional one to produce Fire will, Laev is the go to Regalia. Other regalia to consider are: Heavenly Instrument, Hydromonica to search for cards; Horn of Sacred Beasts to recycle your graveyard against discard or control decks and to pump Charlotte; Deathscythe, the Life Reaper to make your opponent’s J-Ruler lose Swiftness and Imperishable (and pump your J-Ruler); and Marybell, the Steel Doll to destroy other regalia.
The next part of the Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro article is the Magic Stones for the brew. The stone deck will vary depending on what additional cards you include. No matter what spells you include, you will want to make sure that all the stones can produce Fire will as that is the most represented will attribute in the deck. I would suggest 4 Magic Stone of Hearth’s Core as the starting point. From there, you could add any number of the following magic stones: Ruler’s Memoria, Magic Stone of Scorched Bales or Fire Magic Stone.
With the recent banning of Reflect/Refrain and the new innovations of the Lapis cluster, the competitive meta is in a state of flux. So, designing a sideboard right now is a bit tough because the knowledge of the other archetypes that will see heavy play is not settled. However, cards like Down The Drain (for Red Aggro mirror matches) and Prison of Lunar Lake (for any resonator with automatic abilities popular in decks like Celestial Wing Seraph Control and 4 Sacred Beasts) should definitely be considered. Cards that deal with regalia and/or additions would make good sideboard cards to combat Barrier of Shadows, Wind Secluded Refuge and any regalia. There are not many Fire, Wind or Darkness spells or resonators that fit this category so you might have to fit in a fourth color either wind or light depending on which cards you include.
Even though, at first look, Charlotte might not appear to be an obvious choice for an Aggro ruler, she is a great choice to power the deck archetype. With her ability to let you draw cards and control your opponent’s resonators, Charlotte’s abilities help propel the offensive strategy in ways that other J/rulers cannot. With the abilities of Cheshire Cat, Guide to the Mysterious World and the days of the Water/Fire Aggro deck are clearly back. Throw in some Darkness to include Space-Time Anomaly and Black Moonbeam to make a truly versatile deck without losing the tempo that is important for any Aggro build.
Let me know what you thought of the first deck spotlight entry, Lapis Cluster Deck Ideas: Charlotte Aggro, in our Force of Will deck building series by commenting below. What cards would you include that I didn’t mention? What strategy or combos could also come out of the Charlotte Aggro deck that I missed?