Reflect, Child of Potential. No other card in Force of Will is as polarizing as this Ruler. There have been dozens of articles written about how best to attack R//R, ranging from ‘Is R//R too overpowered for the game?’ to ‘Is it time to ban R//R?’. There’s a reason for those articles, as R//R has been a dominating force (heh) in Force of Will. Currently, taking into account the three most current AGPs, R//R makes up a staggering 67% of the Meta. That means that you either better learn to love the Magic Counters, or, learn to fight through them.
That’s not to say that R//R is the only deck in the New Frontiers format. No, not at all. Other decks have popped up, but mainly, they have been Meta choices to fight through the explosiveness of Cthugha R//R or to stabilize after the overwhelming onslaught of Alice’s World R//R. Those decks mainly consist of the next most represented Ruler: Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Avatar of Yggdrasil decks do a ton of different things, fighting R//R by trying to throw a wrench into R//R’s gameplan. While that’s worked in some situations, the match-up can be very draw dependent.
So, the question becomes, how do you fight R//R? The answer is: card for card.
Enter: Puss in Boots.
You might be saying to yourself, ‘Puss in Boots is a tier 2 deck at best right now!’ or ‘Puss in Boots is well past his prime!’. True, there was a time when Puss in Boots was much more represented than he was previously, but, he still has the raw power to beat down the beat down decks, and to even combat the World Tree. But, to do so, we have to look at the card selection.
Here you have your obvious Musketeer package. The Three really compliment each other very well, by producing more will (Aramis), doing Pierce damage in a format full of 2, 4, and 5 defense Resonators (Porthos), and searching up the silver bullet Addition: Resonators (Athos), while all dropping the cost of Puss in Boots’ judgment to 0. On top of being offensive, the Three can really clog up the board, making it harder for Cthughas and Cthulu Resonators to get through, lending to our Midrange strategy.
Whew. There’s a lot going on through this group. Let’s break them down individually. Familiar of Holy Wind and Elvish Priest make up our 1 drops. Familiar is such a fantastic Resonator, drawing us a card and being able to hit for a random 3 damage at any time. That can be both a Battle trick, or just to destroy a random Resonator. Familiar is such a swiss army knife, and honestly, could be the all star of the deck. Next, is Elvish Priest , a Resonator who, along with Puss in Boots payment reduction on Musketeer Resonators, allows us to hit a turn 2 Athos, the Three Musketeers, which is almost back breaking against some decks. This accelerated start helps us fight through the new Conqueror of the Black Moon, Gill Lapis Control decks.
Gretel allows for more will consistency, with only 1 non-wind Magic Stone the chances to hit a Magic stone are incredible. Gretel also gives us a chump blocker and gives a little something extra on the off-chance we have her out when we cast Absolute Cake Zone. In that same vein, Fiethsing, the Magus of Holy Wind is both a combat trick, will accelerator, and provides oomph on both the offensive/defensive side, as well as allowing a boost when casting Exceed, the Ancient Magic.
Finally we get to the Avatar of the Seven Lands, Alice. The game-ender. If you’re playing Wind, and you aren’t playing the two Avatars, then you’re doing it wrong. The card, even when not paired with Blade of the Seven Lands, Excalibur X, is insanely strong. She can fight out Gwiber, the White Dragon with ease. She can annihilate an Arthur Pendragon, King of the Round Table. She can soak up burn damage from Thunder or Flame of Outer World. When played at the right time, and in the right situation, she can easily end the game on the spot.
So, our Resonators offer us utility in the form of card draw, combat tricks, will acceleration, and the ability to clog up the board when needed in a Midrange strategy. We have what we need from our Resonators, now to take a look at our spells to see what we have to fully complement the suite.
Five burn spells, doing 5 damage each, is enough to shoot down most opponent’s early plays. Shadow Flame also virtually gives us access to another two Shadow Flames, by being able to cast with the Remnant cost. However, the downside of Shadow Flame is that it doesn’t hit J-Rulers or Players, so that’s important to keep in mind. Shadow Flame’s true purpose is to burn away threats to a) stabilize and b) clear a lane for buffed up Musketeers to attack through.
Wall of Wind is an absolute blowout against some decks. Catching an Alice’s World player out of will and countering their Alice’s World basically ends the game against our Musketeers. The card is both strong early and late (due to the fact that most decks are trying to cast off of three or four stones). Absolute Cake Zone is only a one-of because of where we are with our curve. We’re wanting to power through the 2-drops, but still gives us a chance to counter, and a chance to draw a card. Exceed, the Ancient Magic is just… Wow. Exceed is another card that can just end the game if the opponent isn't expecting it.
Ame-no-Habakiri is a no-brainer. A strong, resilient Addition that can put Athos, the Three Musketeers into a realm all by himself, making him almost a one-Musketeer army. Dragonslayer, on the other hand, seems like an odd choice at first glance, but it does two things for us. One, Dragonslayer places a 5 damage bubble around Athos, the Three Musketeers, allowing us to attack more freely with him. Second, it destroys a Dragon. Gwiber, the White Dragon? Dead. Blazer, the Eater of Dimensions? Dead. Oh, by the way, Falltgold, the Dragoon? Dead. Dragonslayer is a Meta-call, and can be replaced with other choices (I recommend Flying Carpet, but the choice is yours).
Finally, our Regalia speaks for itself: 1x Blade of the Seven Lands, Excalibur X
That’s where we’re at. The sideboard, at the moment, is a Meta call. Filled with cards like Robe of Fire-Rat and Foment of the World Tree, we’re looking for options to fight through R//R aggro decks. Susanowo, the Ten-Fist Sword helps us fight dragons, when needed. Another Dragonslayer is there if needed, and Flying Carpet is an option to pop in if you don’t expect any dragons (it also cycles itself).
This format is wide open, even though Reflect, Child of Potential is the King on the Throne. There are avenues of attack to take down the Magic Counter Ruler. You as a player just need to know what you’re going up against and how best to compete against it. Test this deck out. Let me know what you think. I want to hear your opinions on this.