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Trojan Horse

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  • MadMagician and GuessWePlay5Rings like this

Tags: AggroControlExperimentalFunTournament Quality
Clan: Unicorn
Conflict Cards:
Dynasty Cards:
Influence: /
This is a work in progress. Opinions on what to change most welcome.

This is not a rush deck. There are merits to Wham Bam Two Turn Slam, however it also has consistency issues, and is a bit of a one trick pony, with no Plan B. Probably half the reason Unicorn has the rep it does.

This deck plays a longer game, often allowing an opponent to over-commit and/or under-fate in an attempt to break your provinces. If they do this, let them; losing a couple or even three provinces is not a big deal if it gains you board, card and fate advantage. Then you hit back.

Way of the Unicorn is a fantastic card in this context (it's not a rush card imho, but actually a control card). The 1 fate swing is not to be sniffed at, and can potential be larger with fate off rings. Additionally, nabbing the Void ring two turns in a row (combined with the mild fate choke) really helps clear the board for the following turn. In other situations having first shout at a different ring can be just as important (water can sometimes lead to tap-outs whatever your opponent does, given that you can commit most of your units to the conflict after the fact). Finally, it's an excellent finisher. It's not going to be that uncommon for both players to break the 3rd province on the same round. WotU gives you first dibs on a Stronghold attack next round, which might well determines who wins.

This deck shines at three things:-
1) Forcing over-commits
2) Economy advantage and shrinking the board (void ring is your friend, though don't miss opportunities to use the water ring to open up your second conflict)
3) Breaking the Stronghold in even games (WotU FTW!)

You're aiming for the win around Turn 4 usually, which is roundabout where your economy advantage pays off, especially if your opponent has been lured into inefficiency themselves as a result of your move shenanigans. It can still come earlier (even the famed Turn 2), as in other Unicorn decks, and might come later in other situations. The Void ring is pretty important to this strategy, as it can create clear boards on key turns.

I was playing this with 3 x For Greater Glory, but I think Dragon adds some control options that Unicorn lack, especially against voltrons. I've only played twice with Dragon so far but have been really impressed with the toolbox options it gives me.

I'm on the fence with Tatsuo. Movement is great for forcing over-commits, but there's a lot of it already and his stats are just bad. At 3 cost he'd be fantastic, at 4 he's just a bit naff. I'm tempted to replace all 3, maybe with Keeper Initiate (though Initiate risks bad flops combined with all the holdings). He was really useful in the a recent game I played though and so many of our other tricks don't work on political. He can also pull in bowed characters for triggers (Poet, Spyglass, Trader, Utaku buff).

Regarding Conflict Cards I've left out. I understand why people love Rout, but I don't like leaving those characters ready. This isn't a rush deck after all. Fallen in Battle is another card I just don't have space for. I know a lot of pony players prefer it to Assassinate, and I do find myself burning honour rapidly, but Assassinate can still be game-changing (and can occasionally generate actual hits for Altansarnai's ability, though I guess FiB does that too). I've cut it to 2, but it's so good I'm tempted to put the 3rd back in.

I really like Iuchi Wayfinder, but he was my final cut to get down to 45 because you can usually (currently) play around face-down provinces and he doesn't do much if you get him late. The other cut I made was down to 2 Favoured Mounts. They synergise beautifully with the deck concept and a horse is a trader's best friend, none of this dog nonsense, but there are times they aren't that useful.

This deck really boils down to timing a lot of the time (part of why WotU is good). For the love of pony, put Entrenched Position under your Stronghold because Captive Audience is a thing. People who don't do this confuse me.

You will get some flops that seem terrible. I've played a single Utaku Infantry with 1 fate on it before, didn't work out too badly in the end. Phoenix might have a card that pretty much says on it 'lose to win', but Unicorn can do it just as well.

Imho people under-rate Unicorn because of nonsense group-think and because they think they are a brainless rush faction. There are loads of shenanigans available to Unicorn, it's simply that the cards don't give you a paint-by-numbers guide of how to use them, you actually have to think about it, which is great! They are very much a "whole is greater than sum of their parts" faction.
Sample Hand:


    Conflict side looks almost identical to what I've been running in terms of cards, though I have a few different counts (Assassination x 3, Way of x 2, Cav Reserves x 2). I don't run Favored Mount, but I also don't run Trader at the moment. It hurts even more that these are essentially what's kicking out the Wayfinder, but they're absolutely necessary if the goal is to maximize Trader value.


    Dynasty side, this differs quite a bit, so it will be good to test. No Aggressive Moto, which is fair. I've gone back and forth on him - I don't like him, but sometimes I think he's necessary. Obviously the Trader. I said I wouldn't play him until some expansions came out, but I'll try one more time. I'm personally a fan of Yumino, but I understand why she's cut, especially if you're not running Shameful Display. No Keepers is also interesting. I haven't done that in my builds for a while, since I've grown to like them, but they can clog up the Dynasty slots on occasion. 


    How convinced are you on the provinces, specifically Rally and Entrenched?

    Entrenched Position makes loads of sense. I was running Ancestral Lands under my stronghold on the assumption that people would tend to try to break it with a Political conflict, but now that I think about it Entrenched Position is a better choice:


    • If your Stronghold is under assault, you must defend or lose the game. In order to achieve your own win condition via stronghold break, your province must be unassailable while requiring you to commit as few units to its defense as possible (because every unit committed to defense is one unit less for attack).
    • As GKZhukov notes, Captive Audience can be just as easily used to protect your Stronghold as it can be used offensively.
    • Unicorn cards tend to favor military strength, so by combining Entrenched Position's bonus with your already-strong military you can more easily defend while reserving units for offense.

    Granted, this all assumes that you'll have a Captive Audience in hand at the critical moment, but given there's 3x copies in the deck that's pretty likely so long as you know to keep one in reserve if it looks like a stronghold showdown is likely.


    I've also been running Rally to the Cause simply because switching the type of conflict helps me win while using the fewest units as possible (when they attack political), whereas changing the ring type only matters if I'm losing as a matter of course. Also I have not been happy with Endless Plains' performance, so ditching that was an easy decision (though this might depend on your local meta).

    I'm personally a fan of Yumino, but I understand why she's cut, especially if you're not running Shameful Display. No Keepers is also interesting. I haven't done that in my builds for a while, since I've grown to like them, but they can clog up the Dynasty slots on occasion.

    How convinced are you on the provinces, specifically Rally and Entrenched?

    I bid quite aggressively, but also tend to find I'm always using my cards so wouldn't have much to pitch for Yumino. Keepers are nice, but as you say can be a clog. Whilst I do make use of the fire ring from time to time, I also don't like being forced to use it to make the keepers work.

    Re: Provinces:-

    I'd like to test Endless Plains and Shameful Display a bit, just haven't had much of a chance, and the current ones seem to work well. I think there's definitely a case for Endless, since Rally can be hit and miss anyway - though sometimes the hit is basically a free defence/break-prevention. Both Rally and Pilgrimage can just blow out your opponent's early-game attack though, which, as Skaak notes, frees up units for attack. Shameful usually requires me sending in a defender, which I don't always want to do with ponies.

    I have considered Elemental Fury since I might be inclined to let an attack go undefended, but it feels like it requires too much to fall into place to make a difference (It gets flipped at a time I want to let it through and really care about changing the element). Rally can buy me time if it stalls for just one conflict. (But Endless does arguably fit with this deck's play-style).

    Entrenched Position I'm big on and always stick under the stronghold - I prefer to use CA on attack (especially on Kuroi Mori), but it gives me a strong defensive option if things get hairy. Sure, it can be cancelled and a clan like Lion can generate ridiculous Mil, but it still makes your opponent work a lot harder for the win. That said, I haven't much experience of my Stronghold actually being attacked, so perhaps other stuff also has some merit.
    Oct 27 2017 07:31 PM

    What is your opinion of the clan champion? Do you get much use out of her?

    What is your opinion of the clan champion? Do you get much use out of her?


    Primarily a charge target. Occasionally a Cav Reserves target. I have charged her purely for her ability (when I was breaking anyway) and I have managed to combo Assassinate + kill voltroned character. I wouldn't say *never* play her normally, but generally that's not the plan. Your opponent does also have to play around her as a possibility sometimes (especially if they are going tall rather than wide).


    For this deck, I expect I'll find something that replaces her after a few releases. I suspect she'll fit nicely into a future archetype, though.