We continue our “Artifact on a budget” series with one of the best decks in the pauper (all commons) format: the black/green (BG) aggro. This color combination is not competitive in “true” tournaments, but shines in limited environments like pauper and draft matches.
The deck relies on amassing a large army and buffing it with Disciple of Nevermore for bursts of damage. It can easily kill ancient towers too, if winning two lanes proves difficult.
The deck and common alternatives
The heart and soul of this archetype is its minions and they’re all built to rush down towers. Your goal should be to go as wide on the board as possible, favoring numbers over strength.
There are several key cards that benefit a large board. Those are Disciple of Nevermore, Vhoul Martyr and Arm the Rebellion. All of them get more powerful the more creeps you have on the board. Vhoul’s and Arm the Rebellion’s effects are also modifications, meaning the buffs will stay until the creep dies.
The common cards that fit this archetype are few and there is little room to alter the list. A couple of Slays can be considered but Hip Fire will still be the better card most of the time, due to its Get Initiative effect.
Heroes: Sorla Khan ($0.07)
Creeps: Tyler Estate Censor ($0.06)
Spells: Gank ($0.13)
Improvements: Mist of Avernus ($0.07)
Items: Demagicking Maul ($0.07), Jasper Daggers ($0.09)
Even with minimal investment, you can increase the power of this BG aggro deck greatly. The first card I suggest you acquire is Mist of Avernus, which is by far the best improvement for minion-based green decks. Put it in a lane and suddenly even the neutral creeps will be a massive threat.
After Mist of Avernus, go and get yourself a Sorla Khan, although chances are you’ve opened at least one of her in a pack already. Sorla Khan will add the powerful Assault Ladders to your deck, so you can get rid of those Trebuchets, as well as your Necrophos.
Finally, consider a couple of Ganks, which work wonders with Phantom Assassin and a buffed up Bounty Hunter. Gank is a cross-lane spell, so you can use it to cripple the enemy elsewhere on the board, potentially protecting yourself from a board sweeper like At Any Cost or Berserker’s Call. You can also consider running Tyler Estate Censor in place of Assassin’s Apprentice. TEC is a fantastic utility card and although he doesn’t boast the best aggressive stats, setting your opponent one turn back is not something to underestimate.
Heroes: Drow Ranger ($4.06)
Creeps: Emissary of the Quorum ($1.99)
Improvements: The Oath ($0.95), Unearthed Secrets ($1.44)
This is where it gets interesting and the good news is these improvements aren’t even that expensive. Drow Ranger is the best green hero for such decks and now costs half as much as before the nerf to Gust. What’s more, you’ll care much more about her global aura (which was unchanged) then her signature card, so the nerf isn’t affecting this deck as much as it did blue/green combos for example.
Emissary of the Quorum is the other good rare you could consider getting. It’s not even necessary to run 3x Emissaries, so you can keep a healthy mix of them and Thunderhide Packs.
The other two suggested upgrades are not as universal and you can easily go without them. The Oath is a powerful tool, but it’s difficult to use properly. If you’re a novice (and if you’re building on a budget you probably are), I suggest you skip it. If you’ve opened Unearthed Secrets, however, try a few copies of it in this deck. As a BG Aggro, you will be playing a lot of cheap creeps. As a result, your hands will run dry often. Unearthed Secrets will turn your losing lane into an advantage.
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