Coal Roarkwin – Phoenixborn of Rustwatch
Ability: Slash [Side Action] [Discard a card] : Deal 1 damage to a target unit. If an opponent has no units in play, you may instead deal 1 damage to their Phoenixborn instead.
The deck I was least interested in turned out to be my favorite. The Iron Men are straightforward and strong, and Coal makes for a perfect aggro deck. Interestingly enough, Isaac Vega gave his swordsman character the least health, and biggest spell-board. His battlefield is a whopping six, making his stats even out nicely.
Strengths and Power Cards
Before we get into cards, I’d like to talk about Slash. At first I was weary of discarding cards for a 1 damage ping, especially in a 30 card game. But 1 damage as a side action (as Natural dice users know) can make or break the game. My strategy with Coal? A.B.S. Always be Slashin’. Keep those opposing units down, keep their battlefield low. Is their battlefield empty? Don’t think about it – Slash. When faced with bigger threats, you’ll want to plan your slashes and other pings accordingly, but for The Phoenixborn of Rustwatch, slashing is the way he deals with things.
Coal’s strength lies within his Iron Men. Hell, one of his cards even depicts him supporting his units instead of taking to the battlefield. All the allies in Coal’s deck are useful, but two I felt rise above the rest.
Iron Worker A2/L2/R1 [Main Action] [Two Basic] Resourceful 1 Overtime Hard work pays off in Rustwatch it seems.Overtime, especially if you let it build up a little, will let you unleash a wave of pings that can clear an opponent’s board. Take 3 status tokens, and poof, you can slash twice and ping with 2 Frogs if needed, enough to deal with mostunits. Keep this guy alive, as his ability is inexhaustible, and useful even if he has attacked.
Anchornaut A0/L1/R0 Cost: [Main Action] [1 Basic] Throw 1. I love these little guys. Put them in the field, Throw 1, and don’t worry about it. Did they die? Ceremonial dice power brings them back without so much as a ping to yourself. Your opponent may make the mistake of ignoring them, allowing you to build up a team of free pings, considering Throw takes neither a main or side action.
Those two are the basis for the team, allowing you to cut through defenses, but you need some more meat to actually get damage through, which is where the following card comes in.
Summon Iron Rhino [Main Action] [1Leaf] Pay [Main Action] [Exhaust] [6Basic]: Place an Iron Rhino Conjuration onto your battlefield EXPENSIVE. This is the first thing that comes to mind. This thing takes a Leaf just to ready, and six more energy to summon. Focused just right, the least you can pay for a single Rhino is seven energy. In the end, I would say this card is worth it because
Iron Rhino A5/L4/R0. I would play this card for the flavor text alone. The sheer image in my mind of a Rhino crafted of crude iron crushing through opposing units on the docks as Coal yells “Welcome to Rustwatch, you bastards!” is almost as satisfying as doing it in-game. This guy is a big, meaty, threat that few things in the game can deal with. Get him out, and do not swing with him until your opponent has an open field, or you have a particularly annoying unit to get rid of. Let him sit there. Let them fear.
One Hundred Blades [Main Action] [2 Basic]. Oh glory, another great card with great flavor text. Coal’s unique card cuts down everything. You can ping away with the aforementioned cards/abilities until everything has just one left, and then unleash this bad boy. It deals one to the Phoenixborn as well, which is nice, AND allows for a card draw, getting you an extra slash, or even an extra One Hundred Bladesfor the turn. Wonderful card that I can’t imagine a Coal deck without. Night night, Mist Spirit Swarm
I find that the above more than serves against most decks. Most of Coal’s spellboard helps, but is not really necessary. You may look into other cards to fill the slots Strengthen is a nice spell to buff up your unblocked attackers. Protect I haven’t play-tested as much, but when cast I’ve been so aggressive I’ve yet to find it useful. All cards you don’t want to use becomes slashes anyway, so there is no bad card in a Coal deck.
Weakness and Counters:
Coal has the least HP of any Phoenixborn. Fifteen is a dangerous number especially against direct pings. ThreeMolten Gold action spells will reduce him to a meager six health, ALL of which can be ping’d away by Stormwind Sniper since Protect only targets units and not Phoenixborn.
In general Coal’s deck is pretty cheap, aside from the Iron Rhino. If your opponent casts Steady Gaze or Gazes one with a Blue Jaguar, you can expect trouble. Manage your energy well, and summon only when needed, becauseExpand Energy isn’t going to save you when you’re 6 mana dice down.
Slash, while Coal’s most useful tool, is also a double-edged sword. Discarding a card in a 30 card game must always be a tactical decision, and before long you can mill yourself out. Saria’s Three-Eyed Owls will limit the usefulness of your Slashes by making you discard cards. When you’re one ping away from an open field for your Iron Rhino, this can really hurt. Because most her units have more than 1 life, it makes it a little harder to clear the field. She can alsoStrange Copy an Iron Rhino for protection. My goal when playing Coal against Saria is pure aggro. Slash and get a Rhino out before she gets her mill set up. Let her exhaust her allies for their special abilities. It will hurt a little bit, but your opponent will be a little more reluctant to make you discard a card when she just took an Iron Rhino to the face.
Jessa. Good God Jessa. Blood Puppets will drain either a card from you slashing or an energy Coal desperately needs. With his large battlefield, the slot occupation won’t bother much, so these little guys can be dealt with later in the turn. Living Doll and Leech Warrior are great against most decks, but against Coal, they become a nightmare worthy of their card art. Undying Heart makes them borderline invincible, and puts a halt to Coal’s slashing. Fear is ridiculous, as it cost nothing but a main action, and can be used to put your 6 cost Iron Rhino right back where it came from. Blood Archers have Battle Advantage, and Blood Oath, enabling them to take an Iron Rhino in a straight-up fight. When something actually dies, Jessa pops a Final Cry which whittles away at Coal’s already low health. I usually deal with Jessa by targeting the unit’s first. Yes, you will lose a little momentum, but if you can manage your energy right, and kill them right before you get the first player token, you can deal some nice damage. Much like Saria, she needs these units for blockers, and their abilities are no good when exhausted, so she’ll be reluctant to retaliate from your full attack.
Other than those two, I’ve had little trouble smashing everything down with the Iron Men. Look out for buffs like Root Armor that’ll interrupt your oh so carefully planned card + energy pings.
I’ll be honest. I’ve had so much fun with the Iron Men that I haven’t yet played much with tweaked cards. That being said here are some ideas. What is wonderful about coal is that Anchornaut, Iron Worker, Iron Rhino, and 100 Blades all use the Basic energy face, allowing him to be extremely diverse with his mana pool.
I want so badly to include Stormwind Sniper in this deck, it may be worth it just to bring 1 or 2 Spirit dice in place of a couple of your nature ones. More ping, high attack, more quick aggro is a good inclusion.
I’ve had a little success in bringing Small Sacrifice and pinging my own Anchornauts after their Throw for an extra damage, as in my experience most players will get rid of those little guys as quick as possible. Still need to playtest more.
Summon Sleeping Widows – is an idea. It’s a little expensive when considering your cermony dice, but once your Anchornaut dies it could be nice to have two more attackers to take his place.
Final Cry – is something to consider as well. If you’ve got the ceremony dice to spare, 2 direct damage for a reaction can be worth more than bringing your little guy back.
Spiked Armor – is good to throw on Iron Worker or even Iron Rhino, but I feel as if this card slot could be better used for something more aggressive.
Mist Typhoon – Essentially, a not-as-good One-Hundred Blades, but the board wiping capabilities combined with a card draw is wonderful for Coal. And if you’re bringing the Illusion dice for Stormwind Sniper anyway…
Refresh – Save a dice slot or two for Charm Dice. Because this card is a must have. Bring back an Iron Rhino from his slumber, and then crush them.
The Iron Men is a wonderfully build aggro deck that with just a few minor adjustments can have your opponent staying on the defensive for the entire game. Plan your energy carefully, utilize your Overtime, and Always be slashin’
Overview by /u/Sonokym.