Solitaire Alhama'at Decklist
How Horn of Sacred Beasts Nearly Broke the Game
About a week before the recent banning of Laevateinn and Horn of Sacred Beasts was announced, a new card had just gotten revealed that was getting people chattering. The Cheshire Cat’s Assistance, at first glance, looks to be just an inefficient card that essentially draws you a single card. At least until you realize that it lets you play any card on top of your deck, namely the one that you flip over after you play the initial card on top of your deck... and then the one after that… and the next one… and so on and so forth.
Immediately, it became apparent that with a whole slew of zero cost regalia sticking around, you could essentially play your entire deck in a single turn. So what could we do with that? The answer came with Alhama’at, who could use his mana counters alongside cards like Ancient Heartfelt Fire to steadily accrue more mana counters, essentially netting a profit instead by simply playing cards for free. With Horn of Sacred Beasts, he could then just get to the end of his deck, reshuffle it all back for free, and then keep on doing that until putting together more than twenty two mana counters, enough for a lethal Steam Explosion. If you ever bumped into a second Cheshire Cat’s Assistance, you probably either had Hydromonica or Horn of the Sacred Beasts to move it out of the way and then continue on regardless.
But the more savvy players might say “You need a target resonator in order to do that damage” since a spell needs all targets filled out before it can be played. Turns out Alhama’at had that covered too, for a mere two more mana counters, he could play Alhama’at’s Mage Knight if the opponent never played resonators. So what about Severing Winds? Well, canceling Steam Explosion was out the question, all Alhama’at would have to do is use Horn of Sacred Beasts to reshuffle the deck and begin again.
So let’s go to the absolute extreme and say we have four Severing Winds in our opening hand against this deck and we use all four of them against Horn of Sacred Beasts, keeping him from ever shuffling his deck and using Ancient Heartfelt Fire to gain enough counters to Steam Explosion for 4000 damage. Would you believe Alhama’at had a way to deal with that too? By using Viola’s Machinations, he can still produce an equal amount of mana counters he put into playing the card while cutting down the opponent’s hand, meaning that he can forcibly cut through your copies of Severing Winds and still cobble together everything necessary for Steam Explosion. So how do you win against this deck? Run four Shackles of Ice so Alhama’at can’t use his mana ability and pray you go first.
Thus, you had a near invincible turn one win deck that was quickly put to rest with the banning of Horn of Sacred Beasts. Least to say, thank goodness for that ban. But now the question remains, can we still make a Cheshire Cat’s Assistance deck for Alhama’at?
For this deck we’re looking to win on turn one as consistently as possible. That means that the deck should be able to cobble together everything it needs to win on turn one and go through any interactions our opponent has to stop it. Failing that, and it will occasionally fail since this game a chance involving decks of shuffled cards, the deck should be able to still be able to win at a later point, even through any interactions our opponent has.
Cheshire Cat’s Assistance and Alhama’at are both fantastic for this sort of goal since Cheshire Cat’s Assistance lets you potentially access the entirety of your deck for the low cost of one will on any given turn and Alhama’at lets you play spells without needing a lot of stones thanks to his mana mechanic. Additionally, even if you fail to win on turn one, he naturally starts to get more mana counters again, giving us the resources to try and win on any given turn. So with that in mind, we need to figure out how to build a deck on turn one with those two cards.
Output Equal or Greater than Input
A necessary part of making the deck work is being able to make a profit off of mana counters and will. So long as every card we play gets us at least the same amount of will we put into it, we can continually play cards from the deck without running out of resources. As discussed, the zero cost regalia already naturally fill that spot along with Viola’s Machinations, which gives us as many mana counters as we need to play it, and Ancient Heartfelt Fire, which gives us a net profit of two mana counters.
However, there’s still a few other pieces we can use. Sympathy of Fire and Water turns two mana counters into three will, which on the surface is a profit and can be chained into other copies for a profit of one each time but it’s also much less safe than previous examples since it’s both more expensive and gives us temporary will instead of permanent counters. Thus, if the deck fails to win in a turn and you haven’t spent that will, you’re going to lose it at the end of the turn. Not to mention, due to it being double the price of the other examples, being hit by a Severing Winds will put you back very far. However, it does have the upside of giving us remnant, which it can use on other copies of itself in the graveyard to profit further as well as play more copies of Viola’s Machinations for hand control and Ancient Heartfelt Fire for more mana counters, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to play enough resonators to put both modes online. We’ll get back to that in a bit.
Outside of ancient magic, there are a few sources of cards that pay for themselves, namely Flames of Nyarlathotep, Memory to Memoria, and Moonbreeze Rabbit. Memory of Memoria works similarly to Sympathy of Fire and Water but has the same issue where there’s no way to store that will over a turn in case the deck fails to win in a turn. However, the largest issue with these cards is that they aren’t ancient magic. To be able to play Flames of Nyarlathotep on turn one alongside Cheshire Cat’s Assistance, we would need non-mana fire will and water will, and Alhama’at with his light and darkness energize can’t even pay that going second. Thus, these cards out of the running for at least the main deck.
Picking Out a Win Condition
So without Horn of Sacred Beasts around, it’s a lot harder to cobble together infinite will for a Steam Explosion finish with Alhama’at, thus we need to find a newer, better way to win the game.
World Flame Summoning is an obvious choice since it only costs six mana and can keep opponents under control via banishing their stones, clearing the board of resonators, or even putting 800 damage to your opponent’s face. By targeting your opponent’s stones, you can help alleviate the need to win turn one since you’re essentially setting your opponent a turn back and keeping them from really interacting with you but it’s also essentially more expensive than the rest of your deck and holds up a blaring siren and a sign screaming, “Cancel me with Severing Winds”. Probably not our best option.
Alhama’at’s mage knight conjure time bombA little less blatant of a win condition but still as efficient is Alhama’at’s Mage Knight, the only resonator in the game with the Ancient Magic subtype. With its low cost two will, it’s actually a lot easier to play this out without making a huge dent in your mana counter bank and with four copies, assuming you can play through your entire deck in a turn, lets you put out 2000 attack power on the board with semi-durable 700 defense bodies. That’s a really fast, two turn clock with staying power that you can essentially pull right out of your pocket.
Another card that you can get a lot mileage out of Conjure Time Bomb. Normally, you would be playing this card in the later game, balancing out its cost by often requiring you to pay three extra will insure it’ll actually explode. However, assuming you can play it out on turn 1, it’s not unlikely that your opponent is just completely unable to respond to what is essentially an all in one card that smacks your opponent’s face for a lot of damage and clears whatever might have been on the board, if anything. The math also works out really easy too, four of these means 4000 damage and your opponent has 4000 life to start the game. An important, less obvious detail is that it makes a fire resonator token. Combine that with Alhama’at’s Magic Knight above, which is a water resonator that can also be generated with mana counters and suddenly you have a way to turn on both modes of Sympathy of Fire and Water without ever stepping outside of using mana counters. We can probably use that.
Picking Out Your Regalia
So we’ve got our main combo piece, Cheshire Cat’s Assistance, a bunch of essentially free cards, and a win condition, now all we need to do is fill out the deck with regalia. While any regalia is free off the top, many have abilities that will directly help the deck with consistency. Probably the most obvious one is Hydromonica. At its base, it can put the top card of your deck on the bottom, letting you move past additional copies of Cheshire Cat’s Assistance and other cards you might not want to see. Additionally, assuming your deck fails to win in a turn and you don’t have a Cheshire Cat’s Assistance on the top of your deck, you can use this to find another copy by using the two will and banish ability on it before the start of your next turn. Lastly, if you have additional copies in hand, you can just discard one to draw a card, letting you save important cards like our various win conditions we talked about for later. It’s an automatic four copies right into this deck.
Gleipnir has a similar advantage in that you can use it draw a card off of the top but otherwise you might be able to use its ability to smack around a Sacred Elf with one of your Alhama’at’s Mage Knights? It’s honestly just the draw we care about here to manipulate the top of our deck.
Excalibur, the God’s Sword and Deep Blue, the Phantom Board serve similar purposes in that they produce additional will that you can use to help keep the mana train going, so long as you have a spare copy in your hand. That said, you’re probably just going to be sticking to Deep Blue since nothing the deck uses light will from Excalibur, with one exception we’ll see in a bit, while there’s plenty of places we can make use of water and fire will. Unfortunately, it should be noted will from Sympathy of Fire and Water cannot be used with Deep Blue since Deep Blue’s conversion ability isn’t ancient magic, it’s just an ability.
The last regalia we really care about is Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo, which is just additional free will and actually not requiring that you hold it in hand. Thanks to the awakening clause on Conjure Time Bomb, we can use it to fire off immediately if necessary. Sadly, the return a resonator to hand ability really isn’t useful for us since none of our resonators do much when they enter the field or leave it.
So this deck isn’t without issue. Without having our opponent trying to stop us, we’re already juggling a lot of nonsense that has every ability to just suddenly screw up and leave us staring at a World Flame Summoning at the top of the deck without any way to proceed and that’s going to be largely up to chance, even with our best efforts to minimize it. But like I said, we have an opponent across the table.
The most obvious weakness the deck has is Shackles of Ice, which completely stops Alhama’at from using his mana counters. If that resolves, we’re just dead in the water. The most we can hope for is to be holding a way to get rid of additions, but our options for that is pretty thin. Our best bet will probably be Destructive Assault and Fairy of Sacred Vision, neither of which are in the attributes we like, though Fairy is probably better since Alhama’at does use light stones to some extent and it also doesn’t require a target to play if we’re going through our deck in case we hit some bizarre set up of finding multiple of those without hitting any regalia and our opponent doesn’t end up playing any. Both are obviously sideboard cards since having that in our main deck is only going to be brought in to deal with the card that stops the entire deck.
Less dire is a number of other turn one interactions with us. Wall of Wind is a fast way to stop the deck cold, especially if your opponent is going second with a wind ruler such as Lilias Petal. You either want to go second to get that extra will to play through your opponent’s turn one Wall of Wind or go first and wait until turn two with the hope your opponent doesn’t have two of them.
On the darkness side, the turn one threats we have to our plan is mostly just Nameless Mist. If your opponent goes first with that, there’s just not much to do but lose a Cheshire Cat’s Assistance. Your best bet there is to mulligan for two or grab a second one with Hydromonica, though of course the best way to go about things is probably just go first and sidestep that entire issue anyway. A similar issue is Barrier of Shadows and, the comedy option for countering this deck, Conqueror of the Black Moon, Gill Lapis. Both of these make it way harder to get past additional copies of Cheshire Cat’s Assistance with Hydromonica since moving them to the side is no longer free. If you’re up against Gill Lapis, you just got to shrug it off and laugh because that guy is rare to see around.
And lastly is Severing Winds. If you’re wondering why Force of Will has a free cancel spell that anyone can play, this deck is probably why. This card is why you will always play Cheshire Cat’s Assistance first in a turn, since if that card gets canceled, the entire turn is a dud. Other cards you play off the top of your deck are disposable but Assistance needs to go through. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of working Viola’s Machinations and cutting through the opponent’s hand and hoping he or she doesn’t have two Severing Winds in his or her opening hand.
The Actual Deck List
Finally, the bit everyone actually cares about in a deck article. Thanks for sticking with me all this way, time to finally see what I came up with:
DECK LIST 1
Ruler x 1
Gill Alhama'at x 1
Main Deck x 40
The Cheshire Cat's Assistance x 4
Alhama'at's Mage Knight x 4
Conjure Time Bomb x 4
Sympathy of Fire and Water x 4
Ancient Heartfelt Fire x 4
Viola's Machinations x 4
Deep Blue, the Phantom Board x 4
Interdimensional Vessel, Apollo x 4
Heavenly Instrument, Hydromonica x 4
Gleipnir, the Red Binding of Fate x 4
Stone Deck x 10
Magic Stone of Dark Depth x 2
Magic Stone of Light Vapors x 4
Remains of Attoractia x 4
Sideboard x 15
Fairy of Sacred Vision x 4
World Flame Summoning x 1
Deathscythe, the Life Reaper x 1
Friend from Another World, Kaguya x 1
Zero, Six Sage of Light x 1
Fiethsing, Six Sage of Wind x 1
Zero's Familiar x 1
Tama, Familiar of Holy Wind x 1
Rabbit of Moonlit Nights x 1
Moonbreeze Rabbit x 1
Rabbit of the Aqua Moon x 1
Moon View Rabbit x 1
This is the version I ended up with. The game plan is exactly as we’ve discussed in this article, get Cheshire Cat’s Assistance and ramp up mana counters and will to get out your massive board and bombs. You always want to find Cheshire Cat’s Assistance by mulligan all cards in hand or all but one if you have a Hydromonica in hand since that’s our back up plan to finding it. If you already have it in hand, you want to aim for having Ancient Heartfelt Fire or any regalia not named Apollo in hand since those all can produce additional will or draw you a card via their discard abilities.
From there, it’s just a matter of playing Cheshire Cat’s Assistance and hoping you don’t flip too many Alhama’at’s Mage Knights and Conjure Time Bombs before getting your other will producing cards. Though in retrospect, it might have worked better to only include three of each or something. Eventually, you’ll be able to set up Sympathy of Fire and Water to start getting extra will and reusing cards from your graveyard, as you need.
Thus it follows our original goal. It can win on turn one by pulling out enough mana counter producers to put out enough time bombs to beat our opponent in a single turn. However, failing that, it can also put out a full board of Alhama’at’s Mage Knights to push a slightly slower but still hard to interact with win. Even if that doesn’t work out, we can push out a second attempt by playing a second Cheshire Cat’s Assistance, which we can grab via Hydromonica, making the deck very consistent.
Alhama’at continues to amaze me with how versatile he is. He’s capable of launching powerful control decks that win through steady, incremental advantage and fast, combo oriented decks that aim to close out the game incredibly fast. I hope that people take to the idea and work on improving it and nailing down the proper ratios and math to get it as consistent as possible because this deck is less of a normal deck and more a math problem and a look into probabilities. Honestly, thank goodness Severing Winds is there to keep it in check.
Written by Usht.
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