A Look Through The Glass On Reaper Roach
Hey Everyone Im Szerro from team HallowedSky (HSK) Some of you may recognise my name, others may not. This past weekend The Shadow Nexus hosted the first major tournament since the release of Wonderland Dreams. Participants were permitted to bring two decks, each including no fewer than ten Wonderland Dreams cards. It’s probably no surprise that for my first choice I went with the metas new big bad Abyss Blood. For the second, however, HSK PancakeReaper cooked me up something a little more interesting: Neutral OTK Roach. I ended up being the only person in the top 16 to bring Forest and there were a few reasons I brought this deck to the tournament.
1) I expected to see a lot of Abyss Blood and this deck feels very strong in that matchup.
2) Very few people have figured out a good Forest list, and as such I didn’t think people would expect such a fast deck.
3) I feel most comfortable playing forest and this feels like one of the strongest Forest decks I’ve ever played.
I already knew i was going to be playing Abyss Blood this tournament since I believe Spawn is far too strong to not play. I wanted something that I thought would compliment a deck that only cares about getting its combo kill off. This is why I took Reaper Roach, it’s similar to Abyss Blood in that it only wants to stay alive just long enough so that it can kill as fast as possible, but does it in a more cultured way. Both decks do a very good job at punishing decks that aren’t optimised well due to their high burst damage, but even more cohesive lists need to be wary as as the burst damage these decks possess can turn an opponent’s slight mistake into a very fast lethal.
This list is pretty similar to how Roach has played in past formats, though there are some newcomers with the addition of Wonderland Dreams. WD very quietly gave Forest some incredible tools with Elf Twins Assault, Beauty and the Beast, and Through the Looking Glass.
Wow what a powerful card. Elf Twins is probably the best 2 mana removal spell in the game right now. Without the help of Through the Looking Glass your elf twins should average around 2-3 damage on 2 targets, this means that by around turn 4 you can usually pick off a 2 drop and a somewhat healthy 3 or 4 drop. That is a massive tempo swing. Once combined with through the looking glass Elf Twins starts to deal upwards of 5 damage for 2 mana, where it can reliably deal with 4 drops and higher single handedly.
There’s something about this card that just really feels like a Forest Legendary to me. After playing a single Through the Looking Glass you can pretty reliably have Beauty as a 7/8 with spell resistance by turn 6. Landing a Beauty on a close to empty board Usually means your opponent won’t be able to kill her. If you can do this and get a single hit to face with Beauty you should be able to end the game with a roach lethal shortly after.
Into the Looking Glass is the oil that makes this deck deck run smoothly. It can be used to Power out Elf Twins and Beauty, it cycles for cheap, and it can turn your Roach’s into neutrals allowing Alice to buff them for bigger Roach turns. It even fills up your two drop slot so you can consistently draw something to play early game or let you dig cheaply when you need to find a tool you don’t have in your hand.
The inclusion of these cards is essential to the structure of the deck, and does wonders for the consistency of Forest’s game plan. The ability to remove 1 and 2 play point followers in favor of greater spell density means our Goblin Mages will pull a Roach 100% of the time. This in turn makes the free Goblin Mages we get from Feena all the more powerful, allowing us to simply leave them in hand and threaten a Roach turn. Furthermore the addition of Beauty and the Beast to the top end of our curve compliments Aerin and Roach both, serving as a substitute finisher in a pinch and providing a strong follow up for when Aerin walls your opponent out.
The general strategy of this deck is to sculpt a hand that will be able to burst someone down while keeping the opponent’s board under control with its strong removal options. You’ll want to use all of your cheap minions to sneak in chip damage when possible, and exploit your beefy minions to take chunks out of the opponent on the occasions you can get them down. Ideally you want to hold all of your 0 cost cards so that you can get one huge burst turn that will either end the game or almost guarantee that you can end it next turn. I really believe this deck is incredibly strong if you can take the time to learn how it works and it’s also incredibly fun to play. I’d like to leave you with a few tips for playing this list.
1) Your 0 cost cards are very important, being able to represent up to 4 damage each when thrown into a really big Roach turn. Use them wisely.
2) Some quick numbers to be aware of with roach math, 5 mana will let you roach twice and play a Guidance.
0 cost + 0 cost + Roach + Guidance + Roach = 8.
As long as you’re playing two Roaches in a turn any additional cards played before the initial Roach is an additional +2 damage
0 + 0 + Roach + Guidance + Roach + Roach = 14
3) During the combo turn be as efficient with play points and board space as possible. Sometimes you’re better off using a Nature’s Guidance on a Faerie and not a Roach.
4) Sometimes your best play is to evolve an Elven Princess Mage or Feena just for the 0 cost card even if you aren’t attacking with it. Sometimes it’s right to evolve even if it means you will not be able to draw a card next turn. 0 cost cards will be a better draw than whatever could have been at the top of your deck more often than you’d think.
A small display of why saving your 0 costs are so important to the success of the deck. Hands with 3 0 costs spells are able to single handedly deal upwards of 20 damage.
Finally the last thing i have for you is a little Q&A i had with HSK PancakeReaper, the person who made the decklist and gave it to me the night before the event. He is an incredibly talented Forest player and deck builder and I thought the reasoning behind his deckbuilding may help you understand the deck more.
Why Will of the Forest and not Dance of Death?
Pancake: That’s kinda obvious for me, it helps better against Alice and can clear Abyss if they don’t evolve it.
What do you think is the best card in the deck?
Pancake: Besides Roach, I think Elf Twins Assault does wonders for this deck. I think it’s basically the main reason why Forest can even survive this meta. As a May replacement it hits 2 targets and scales well into the late game
Why only two Beauty and the Beast?
Pancake: I found a lot of situations where Beauty and the Beast doesn’t work against wide boards, and they just ignore it and go face. So I think two is a reasonable number, while also allowing me to run Aerin at the same time. Aerin basically does what Beauty can’t, and that’s protect your face.
Why Khazia over Goblin Leader?
Pancake: Kaiza guarantees that you have at least 1 neutral card in hand, which synergizes well with BnB, Alice and Elf Twins. You also always have a 2/2 to contest the board.
Do you think this is the best deck right now?
Pancake: It’s definitely strong for sure, but “best” I’m not too sure about. I think it needs a little more time.
Pancake, what do you want to name the deck?
Pancake: I don’t know, I don’t name my decks, I just call it OTK. You can have the liberty of naming it.