Ytix O/D Book

After the nerf to Book of Spirits, the archetype almost disappeared entirely. Holding up 2 mana is a large cost, especially when it takes 2 mana to get the Book down in the first place. After trying a few combinations, I believe I’ve found about as good as you’re going to get building around the card. Unlike aggressive decks, this one generally starts its pressure on turn 2 and is more comfortable matching the tempo needed to win: playing quickly against decks like Shamans and Chalice-Ponies, playing for value against attrition decks like Mono-C, and playing defensively against aggro.

Ytix O-D Book.PNG

Why (or why not) Play This Deck?

For those looking for a midrange deck similar to the old Polar Bears one, this is pretty close. Your removal is not as consistent as that decks, but you also have an easier time establishing board control, and you can close out the game much faster. As opposed to the other Ytix decks, this one does not rely on Scarab and does not immediately fold to artifact removal as your creatures are still formidable against other creature decks.

That said, if you do feel like your opponent’s always have artifact removal, it’s definitely not as fun to play. Book is one of your primary value engines, and without it, the deck is just hoping that it won’t run out of steam before finishing the beatdown on the opponent. Also, if you’re opposed to Ytix or tired of seeing Chalice of Yunx, this may not be the deck for you. Chalice the deck can live without at a cost, but Ytix is key to the deck.

The Game Plan

This deck’s game plan is to get your Militant Citadel ability online on turn 1 or 2 and then get a 3-mana creature down. Use Sentry, CFC, and Arrow Barrage to let that creature keep board dominance. Alternatively, the Dominion start can be effective against certain decks like Elves and Rage Rush, but it can be somewhat awkward without a CFC. Hopefully, you can also get the Assassin’s Guild online to stop your opponent's first big creature. You shouldn’t really play Book before you reach 4 mana and 2 lvls, as you won’t be able to trigger it on the same turn. Although, you can play it earlier if you need a proactive play. Once Book is down, your value engine can start going. To get the most out of Book’s value you must make the most of the multiple options available to you. Just a few examples are what to sacrifice to the drawing Hero Power, when to play an Innkeeper to shuffle, when to play the Dragon, and when to float mana for a Book activation during your opponent’s turn. These decisions (especially the last one) will depend on the board-state and your opponent’s deck. Generally, this deck wants to keep board control and then use Book as a defense.

Cards

Ytix, Realm Guardian: A centerpiece of the deck alongside Book. He keeps you card-neutral with your abilities, a key to keeping enough cards in hand before the Book comes online.

Book of Spirits: The namesake of the deck. Playing this card correctly is a key source of value and defense starting in the midgame. Against aggro, this doesn’t do a lot unless the aggro deck takes a long-game approach that decks like Blue Soldiers can settle into. Generally, you leave up 2 mana for this at the end of turn if your best threat that your opponent can kill not a Spirit. This means you need to know what kind of removal your opponent can and might use. This is why you want to have board control as it contorts your opponent into a lose-lose situation where if they play a creature, you kill it in combat, and if they kill your big non-Spirit threat, you just get another one.

Sentry of the Light: This guy is amazing with Book. Use him to win a combat, then sac him to draw a card, and get a Reincarnation Spirit for 3 mana (2 with Citadel). That’s a potential 3-for-1 for an incredibly low mana cost. There are only 3 in the deck due to the fact that you need Book or Metropolis to make this really good, which isn’t usually until turn 3 or 4. They are a great reshuffle target with Innkeeper though once you’ve gotten both online.

Steelnor Innkeeper: One of the only 2-drops that's good on turn 2 and turn 8. While the 2/2/2 body loses strength quickly, this deck utilizes everything about this card. It’s a level 1 creature that can be sacced to get a Reincarnation Spirit, it holds buffs well to win combats, it stupifies things acting as psuedo-removal so that your bigger creatures can win combat easier, and it lets you send your Thunderstorm Titans, Dragons, Sentries, CFCs, and Assassins back into the deck for reuse.

Reincarnation Spirit: As opposed to Thunderstorm Titan, this creature is not as embarrassing to play normally as opposed to cheating out. There are a quite a few tricks with this card including how it interacts with Mesmerizing Spirit, Johrail’s Silencer, and Alabaster Dragon. That last one in particular is important as it helps you guarantee a 5-power 3-speed swift attacker for as little as 5 mana. Note that if Reincarnation is transformed or stupified, it will NOT reshuffle into the deck on death.

Felix the Lightsworn: The other 3-mana creature and hopefully the one you’re playing on turn 2. This thing can dominate a board well into the midgame with help from your removal and buffs. Generally, you don’t want to run this into obvious removal in an attempt to get 3 damage on turn 3-4 in as he is a valuable asset in keeping board control against creature decks.

Arrow Barrage: Stuffs a large portion of aggro openings, and can be good single-creature removal later in the game as creatures don’t usually get bigger than 4HP. It’s lost some stock with the rise of Elves with their 5HP back row, though the front row is very vulnerable to it in the first 3 turns. Zombies also can shrug it off, though Felix is very strong against Zombies.

Pegasus Regimen: A great mana sink in this deck and can be used with Chalice to provide a decent defense against decks without sweepers. Don’t forget about the Pegasus ability, but I haven’t really had it come up as all of the creatures are 2+ speed. You usually want to play this for at least 4 Ponies and on a turn where you have a Chalice on the board and Book is not useful (i.e. you have all or almost all Spirits on the board).

Soul Projection: With the 4-Attack Thunderstorm Titan and the buffing creatures, it doesn’t take much for this to become a boardwipe. Generally it is more of a last resort, which is why there is only 1 copy, but Divine Offering makes this 1-of more effective at lower cost.

Cavalry Field Captain: A key part in getting and keeping board control. Discounted Felix into this is an extremely powerful opening and will almost assuredly get a kill if the opponent has a non-flier out. It also serves as a 3-speed attacker that can chip away at the opponent until they’re in Dragon range. In the late game, you can use this to make a creature unblockable to push in damage.

Alabaster Dragon: The deck’s finisher. Generally, your opponent can’t play around losing 4-7 life suddenly which you can easily throw out due to Reincarnation Spirit’s resilience. Note that you can buff the spirit before sacrificing it to give the buff permanently to the Dragon. Calvary Field Captain in particular gives you the option of either giving a permanent Might Emblem to your Dragon or getting it to 4 speed on its swift turn.

Spoiled Aristocrat: Generally used for Assassin’s Guild as a 3 mana hit for 3. Otherwise it can be played on turn 1 if you don’t have the Militant Citadel opening as long as you have an assassin to make sure it can attack. Just beware of Deathcurse Shaman as that can really stuff that opening. It’s also the 1-mana sacrifice to get Thunderstorm Titan out for 3 mana, which is a nice discount on top of the draw.

Mind Extortion: A flex slot, but can really take opponents by surprise, snatching instants like Guards, Guards!, Pacify, and Marked by the Guards but even power cards like Cataclysm, Helm of Dominion, Infernal Tribute, and Grand Reunion. You generally do not want to play this on turn 1 to do something like take a New Horizons.

Shadowstep Assassin: The headliner Dominion earlygame defensive creature. Like in other decks, the Assassin’s Guild lets you kill anything that would die to deadly. Unlike other decks, this can be sacrificed to get Thunderstorm Titan. Don’t forget that this can trade up in combat to achieve the same goal.

Thunderstorm Titan: Not a great creature by itself, but is a nice fetch from Book for 2 mana. It is a embody sacrifice for Dragon, but it’s really vulnerable to Parallel Evolution and Helm.

Chalice of Yunx: Keeps you afloat, lets you use 2 mana that you’re holding up for Book, and can threaten the lifegain wincon alongside Pegasus Regimen. Since you like sacrificing your own stuff with your Metropolis ability, you can get value and energy onto the Chalice. There are 3 in the deck in order to make 2 likely in a long game if you want them and 1 likely in a middle-length game.

Miltant Citadel: A key in powering out your opening 3-mana cards, and lets you go Assassin + Assassin’s guild on 3 mana 2 levels. Try to use the first for the ability and the second to level as you want to minimize your leftover ability shrines. There are 4 in the deck to maximize the odds of finding it by turn 2. Also consider leveling Order turn 1 if you don’t have a Citadel and have a 3-mana creature so you can try to get the Citadel for your going from 1-to-2 mana play.

Assassin’s Guild: Good removal, but the cooldown is pretty long, so be wary about how you use it.

Stronghold Metropolis: Your means of letting you trigger Book by yourself. You want to be using it most turns after the mid-game especially on your Sentries, but keep your board-state in mind.

Other Options

Exorcism: This makes you lose 2 life, but comes with some nice flexibility. There are some more Evil 2-mana creatures that are seeing play, and in grindy matchups the discard can be useful.

Mistress of the Shadows: A decent way to gain early board control by killing an early creature from your opponent and be fairly sure that you’ll get an attack on the way back. The only issues are the fact that it does little past turn 3 as your creatures are heavily vulnerable to it’s effect on the way back and Arctic Shelter.

Devious Plot: Another kill spell, and can do wonders once Book is in play. Before that, however, it is fairly costly without Sentry.

Marked by the Gods: A conditional removal spell that also has the Ancient tag. There are some targets up front that are good like Offering Yard Priest, Elvish Champion with Play Boost, and Amethyst Scarab. Additionally, it does work against Blue Soldiers as they’ll usually buff their important creatures. Unfortunately, you don’t have anything that puts on Emblems. Note that you can bluff holding up 2 mana for Book.

Pacify: Similar to Marked, but not Ancient so you lose 2 life. This can get any attacker and also bluffs Book, but can’t get non-attackers.

Bloodseeking Mutant: A solid card that helps solidify the board, but it usually performs better in multiples and with Cathedral of the Night.

Cathedral of the Night: You could just run all the Dominion Shrines, but that makes the Order start much weaker. An optimal build with this would most likely look much different.

Matchups

Elves: One of the roughest matchups. Elves has a burst potential that you can’t really keep up with on their good draws. Arrow Barrage can stop the front row in the first couple of turns, and Innkeeper can shut down a Nienna or Summoner, but overall their deck is too efficient at pumping out creatures.

Chalice-Ponys: If you can get a good offense going, you can beat them down before they start gaining huge chunks of life, but this is still unfavored. Try to Snipe a Helm or Cata from their hand with Mind Extortion.

Blue Soldiers: This matchup is slightly unfavored I’d say. You have more copies of Felix as well as Assassin’s Guild, both of which are very good, but they have Mortar, Saluxio, and Parallel Evolution, the last of which can really mess you up if they copy Thunderstorm Titan. If you can get advantage in the first few turns, though, you can leverage it to prevent them from building a board at least in the front row. Innkeeper does a good job shutting down the Tactician boost as well as Saluxio.

Rage Rush: One of your favored matchups, they have a hard time dealing which Titan, Felix if you can get a Might Emblem on him, as well as a Chalice if you can get a decent amount of energy on it. The Aristocrat-Assassin opening works well here especially on the play as you can pretty much trade even on tempo without losing any life. If they go Barbarian you can even eat it with a Aristocrat-Sentry opening. Don’t forget you can stupify the Flame Serpent to negate the Unstoppable damage.

Zombies: I think this is favorable. Felix does great work against the undead hordes. Just make sure you save your Innkeepers to empty their graveyard and stupify their Necromancers. Stupifying Duke Hartsford or Infected Survivor are also good options.

Mono C Control: Harpy makes your life miserable until you can get Book out, but if you can kill it quickly with Assassin’s Guild, Arrow Barrage, or a Stupify + Combat combo, you should be good. Plan out your sacrifices so that you can throw something small to Sanctum or to future Harpies. This is a pretty close matchup, but you can do it especially if you force them to Hero Power into Adv Zash and can find a Chalice or two. As always, watch out for Consume Spirit kills.

W/C Control: Harder than Mono-C as Bezarok can outgrind you, though your Innkeepers can mess with their reanimation.

W/R Control: I have beaten this deck before the Ytix nerf, but I believe the matchup’s gone down from there. They’re probably running a lot of artifact destruction to deal with the Pony-Chalice deck. Also, with Arctic Shelter, their Red Dragon can kill you fairly easily and you can’t stop it.

R/D Midrange: This is similar to W/R control. You’ll have a harder time getting in lethal with their lifegain and they can find Red Dragon with greater ease, but they will also have a harder time than W/R with your big threats. Try to get your Dragon up to a 6/6 to avoid Karthas and Dragonfire.

W/D Control: They’ll have a harder time than Ponies-Chalice dealing with your aggression, but if they can strike lucky with New Horizons you can’t really stop them from crushing you. Ultimately, it’ll depend on what kind of a list they’re running as I don’t think there’s an established list yet.

Shamans: You have to race this. You’re generally disadvantaged, but if they stumble by not having a turn 1 totem or an early enough Offering Yard Priest, you can definitely win. Try to make a 5/5 or bigger Dragon as soon as possible as they’ll really have trouble killing it.

Hatebears: I think this is a favorable matchup, but it depends on the exact list. Ones running Elvish Champion are a lot harder to beat, but you can deal with Flesh Sculptor and Plague Crab fairly easily. Try to snipe a Symbol of Growth from their hand with Mind Extort as it can really change the board.

Grand Reunion: It’ll depend on their list, but you should be favored as the lack of lifegain is rough against Alabaster Dragon. Try to Mind Extortion the turn before they play Grand Reunion.

Healmellion: A favorable matchup. Your Innkeepers can take down the Angelic Temples and empty the graveyard. You generally can put enough pressure to prevent them from winning with lifegain and can play around Holy Radiance decently with Book. Assassin’s Guild deals with Gomur really well.

Red Demons: They definitely have draws that outright beat you, but your deck is good at racing as well as taking down Aamon. Seems to be decently unfavored when they have {ortal and very favored when they don’t.

Holy Demons: I think you should be favored except against their really good openings as you get on the board before they do. With 4 CFCs, you can push in the final damage while still being able to have enough mana to Assassin’s Guild Aamon.

Burning Rage Burn: If they have an early Burning Rage, you’re in some real trouble. You might be able to snag a win with a Dragon before they transform, but the amount of creature removal they have against how many creatures you have will make this difficult.


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