Hey guys, Mike from Deep Wood Force of Will here! So, Alex and I were chatting the other night, when I mentioned a deck that I had used at a recent local tournament that ended up going undefeated (it was an eight-man tournament, but whatever, still counts!) The moment I told him the point of the deck, he lost his mind… so here it is:
All of you: Mike… what is this?
So this is the Grusbalesta Resonance Control deck that has taken many shapes during the time that I have played it. The original format was a way to turbo out Grusbalesta and Abdul, Sinister Vizier to discard your opponent’s hand while gaining counters with Alhama’at. However, once I realized how easy it was to mass counters with Abdul, the deck’s lofty goal of discard ended up turning into the greediest possible idea: getting the double Judgment…
Yes, the big daddy himself is my win condition: an idea that many have tried (and that Antyn once succeeded in a throwaway game many months ago), but few have made successful. Well, I’m here to tell you… that I didn’t succeed much with it either. Seems like whenever I make a deck with a specific idea in mind, I end up never pulling off that idea, but finding some other win condition, but we’ll get to that later. Anyway, onto the deck!
First thing’s first, we have 13 stones.
These ratios were some of the biggest changes I had while building this deck, and it took a while to find something comfortable, but you really want to hit Black early, you don’t need to see Blue until around the mid-game, and Ancient Magic Stone gives you a little bit of wiggle room in exchange for the counters you’re looking to build up for your big combos. As long as you hit a way to produce Green by around turn 3-4, you should be good to go!
Last little detail: If you somehow have all 5 different types of stones out (through picking and choosing what to cycle with Grusbalesta), he becomes a 1100/1100 with Swiftness and Precision. That thing gets scary…
None of my 2-drops are interesting, nor are they fun…
The necessary evils of the metagame, unfortunately. You’re trying to set up your big push, your opponent wants to play things, these three Resonators each say “NO.” to each of those things in different ways. Abdul slows down the Foxes, Lumias, and general Reanimators of our current game, Shade prevents Abdul from stopping our Grusbalesta’s fun, plus it gives us extra life and late game stability, and Rezzard achieves basically the same thing that Abdul does… so fun and interesting!
Ahh… now that’s the good stuff!
The true stars of the show right here; Grusbalesta is your deck’s main win condition, where you can kill off 4-5 stones and gain Resonance for each one that comes into play. This, in combination with Gill Alhama’at’s first and second forms, will ramp your mana counters to extreme degrees, and in your best case scenario, will give you that double Judgment you’re looking for! Sinister Vizier pairs very well with Grusbalesta, as every time a Darkness Magic Stone comes into play, your opponent discards a card. When you have 5 stones coming into play all at once, your opponent is most likely losing their whole hand, which is preeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty good for control. The Dark March Hare was a last-minute addition that paid off extremely well in the end. Having access to a board-wide stat gain/loss ability that also furthers your mana counters is just fantastic, especially when his Resonances work with Grusbalesta.
Rounding out our Resonators is the big lady herself: Frigg. She didn’t pull much weight in the tournament, as I was normally ahead on tempo than my opponent. Only once was she able to pull an Amaterasu’s Foresight from Grave that saved me from certain death. Definitely not a bad card, but definitely match-up dependent.
I heard free spells are pretty good…
Not too much to say about the Ancient Magics; Ancient Heartfelt Fire is free damage/counter acceleration, Ancient Knowledge is an insanely good draw spell, and Erasure is just an answer… to everything. Cool thing about Heartfelt Fire – since Shade is normally the best answer to Abdul in our current Meta, having a free, Quickcast way to deal with it means that my Abdul will normally stick. The only Ancient Magic Chant that I didn’t talk about here was…
Steam Explosion was the absolute M.V.P. of this tournament, no questions asked. While I didn’t get my double Judgment due to my opponent fearing it too much (a lot of people knew what I was running), I’d end up with an Astral Alhama’at with around 16-20 counters on it. How do we use those counters? Why use Steam Explosion of course! My Explosions averaged around 4200 damage during that tournament, and probably ended around 8 of the 10 or so games I played. Definitely thinking of including more of these if I continue this deck idea further.
Not really too much to say about these usual suspects; the cancel package will always be a staple of Green control decks, but having access to Blue also means we get to play around with essential tools, such as Keez’s Call, and even Millenia Bond to an extent. Faerur’s Spell achieves the goal of “NO. I WANT TO PLAY MY CANCEL,” so 2 is plenty. Severing Winds is just too good not to include as a 4-of in decks like this, where, if your opponent goes off on a combo, you want to stop that at all costs (even if that cost is 0 AM I RIGHT OR AM I RIGHT?) Severing Winds achieves that goal, and in the control mirror, you are MORE than happy to throw away a turn in hopes of cancelling a big push by your opponent, even for the cost of 4 will.
Get any of your tools for a 1-will premium? YES PLEASE. Butterfly is an insanely powerful card in decks whose focus is generating value, retaining tempo, and wanting to put the stun on your opponent. Any tool you want for whenever you need it, and a simple way to get the multi-Frigg plays going. Top contender for one of the best on-curve cards in this deck.
Foresight and Floorsight LOL
These three were little extras that I wanted to make sure were included in the deck, when you needed them, they were there, but when you didn’t, you can toss them back from Ancient Knowledge. Amaterasu’s Foresight, of course, is a fantastic anti-aggro card that won me more games than I can count, especially when stalling out until the Steam Explosion push. Shaela’s was more of a tech option as the only card in the game that tosses all your main deck cards AND STONES back into their respective decks. No games went on long enough to where it mattered, but it served its purpose. Dawn was mainly for removing Chimeras but ended up becoming an alternate win-con if Grusbalesta was big and had Swiftness. Cool stuff, super versatile, draws cards!
For when your opponent plays a Dawn of the Earth in response to your Moonbeam Butterfly. Also, this card single-handedly won me a game against Elf spam. Definitely a solid, searchable one-of.
All-purpose answers, for almost none of the decks I faced…
The sideboard for this deck was a little haphazard, but it definitely served its purpose. It was either doubling down on my big threats from my main deck or adding in little extras for specific matchups. Highlights were Grimm, the Rightful King, who kills off stuff like Shackles and Neo Barrier (while also searching the Dark March Hare!), Amaterasu, Guide of Light, who offers more recursion against control, Guardian of Altean Law for swarm, Death at Midnight for Skyscraper Giant and Charlotte, Wielder of the Sacred Spirit, and then Neo Barrier of Shadows and Circle of Healing for more Addition options when using Kaguya’s Moonbeam Butterfly.
God, I love this deck. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I just like to make fun decks that have some purpose to them, whether that purpose is realized, or if I find some other way to enjoy it. Alhama’at as a Ruler is simply so versatile, that the sky really is the limit when building him, and I recommend experimenting with him as much as you can.
For this deck though, there are definitely two options I may take going forward:
- Steam Explosion the deck. Ramping up into an incredible amount of mana counters means that this card will almost always kill your opponent. That version would definitely take some tweaking and would focus more on survival options (doubling down on Foresight and maybe even upping the Shade count).
- Double Judgment Turbo. You heard me right. Adding crazy dumb cards like Demon Orderly and Rachel, Nephilim Commander to accelerate your mana counters even harder would be first on the list of additions, and from there, the world really is your oyster. Add in protection for Alhama’at’s second side, judgment on the flip side, and enjoy your big guy and free spells!
Obviously, I would love to hear all of your ideas for these kinds of decks, but in the meantime, let me know what you think of this monstrosity! And once again, thanks to Alex and the rest of Grinning Remnant for the guest spot (and making this even remotely readable)! Until next time, catch you guys later!
Thanks again to Mike from DeepWood FoW for his guest article! Don’t forget to subscribe to his YouTube channel and like his videos for more awesome Force of Will content!