Alice Cluster: Sylvia Aggro

While Blazer Gill Rabus represents the more defensive side in the aggro spectrum, Sylvia Gill Palarilias represents the offensive end of it. Explosiveness is the deck’s gameplan – dealing huge amounts of damage (and sometimes, lethal) when given the slightest of openings.

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Sylvia has certain advantages that make her a great choice for aggressive decks in the Alice Cluster metagame. First is that she enables Fire Magic Stones to produce Wind Will. This opens up a lot of options for aggressive strategies, as we gain access to the offensive TMS powerhouse known as Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame. In addition to that, we can cast Rapid Growth easily and consistently – which is great if you’re named Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, as we’re going to discuss the other options Wind offers us later on.

Second is that she’s a threat and removal rolled into one. Unlike most J-Rulers, Sylvia has built-in Swiftness and doesn’t have to rely on Laevateinn, the Demon Sword. She also has Flying, making it easier for her to hit her intended target – whether it’s the opponent’s face, or controlling the opponent’s field.

Speaking of controlling the field, she enters the it while dealing 1000 damage to any J/Resonator. This built-in removal goes well with her last ability, wherein we can Recover up to three Magic Stones when she destroys a character.

This means that her Judgement essentially costs only one Will, and the free resources go a long way in developing our offensive plan. For example, we can do Judgement, destroy an opposing Resonator with the 1000 damage, recover three Magic Stones, cast Lancelot + Hector, kill another Resonator and deal 1000 to the opponent, have Sylvia kill an opposing Rested Resonator, recover three more Magic Stones, cast Flame King’s Shout and bring in Pricia to attack for a further 700 damage.

Sequences like this makes her deadly on the pivotal turn 5, and until then our roles is to keep poking the opponent with damage and maintain field advantage to ensure that everything turns out well.

Her major downside of course, is that she doesn’t produce Wind Will anymore as a J-Ruler, and her offensive power gets easily hampered by Deathscythe. Personally though, I think it’s a small price to pay for the ability to take the opponent from 4000 to zero in one turn.

Here’s the list:


Who’s Tier 2 Now?

Ruler: Sylvia Gill Palarilias

4 Laevateinn, the Demon Sword
4 Artemis, the God’s Bow
2 Marybell, the Steel Doll
2 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper

4 Demonflame
3 Rapid Growth
2 Flame King’s Shout

4 Guinevere, the Jealous Queen
4 Rukh Egg
4 Lancelot, the Knight of Mad Demon
1 Hector de Maris, the Acolyte of Mad Demon
4 Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame
2 Gareth, the Dauntless Knight

4 Ruler’s Memoria
6 Fire Magic Stone

Sideboard:
1 Deathscythe, the Life Reaper
2 Marybell, the Steel Doll
3 Wind-Secluded Refuge
3 Foment of the World Tree
2 Hera, the Goddess of Jealousy
3 Burn to Cinders
1 Flame King’s Shout


Let’s do a quick run-through of the deck:

Regalia

Being a deck that relies on Ruler’s Memoria, it has to contain a critical mass of Regalia such that we’ll be able to draw at least one in our opening hand. Thankfully, a number of Regalias go well with Sylvia, and these are Lavaeteinn, Deathscythe, and Marybell.

Laevateinn, the Demon Sword is the backbone of every offensive J-Ruler strategy. Giving Swiftness to a J-Ruler and allowing it to attack immediately or use Activated Abilities that require it to Rest is worlds apart from having it just stand there doing nothing. It is in fact so good, that even Reflect decks use a copy or two to immediately use Refrain’s abilities on the same turn.

In our case, the Demon Sword is used to increase both Sylvia’s ATK damage, and the 1000 damage that she does when she enters the field (notice how Laevateinn increases all of the damage done by a J-Ruler). This becomes particularly useful when attempting to destroy high-DEF Characters like Gill Lapis, Valentina 2.0, Avatar Alice, Gwiber, etc.

Laevateinn also plays a central part in doing Sylvia’s explosive plays. Let’s say that we start a  turn 5 with a Gareth, Rukh Egg, and Laevateinn on the field. Before the recovery step, we Rest Laevateinn to get +200 damage. Then on our Main Step, we do the following:

  • Activate Laevateinn again (total of +400 damage).
  • Banish our Rukh Egg to Laevateinn to Recover it, and search for Pricia.
  • Activate Laevateinn for the third time (+600 damage)
  • Do Judgement, dealing 1600 damage to an opposing Resonator (e.g. a potential blocker), destroying it an Recovering three Magic Stones.
  • Attack with Gareth (total of 800 damage done to opponent).
  • Attack with Pricia (total of 1500 damage done).
  • Banish Pricia to Laevateinn (total 2000 damage done), use it again (+800 damage)
  • Banish Gareth to Laevateinn, and use it again. (+1000 damage).
  • Attack with Sylvia for lethal (1000 ATK + 1000 damage).

Note that you can activate Laevateinn at instant speed, so when to do it is left to your best judgement.

Plays like these sometimes win games that Sylvia has no business of winning, especially if the opponent isn’t aware of her damage potential. However, these scenarios are few and far in-between – oftentimes, the deck pokes the opponent with Lancelot or Pricia over the course of a few turns to put the opponent within Sylvia’s killing range, but it’s good to be able to identify these burst-damage scenarios that become possible with even a single copy of Laevateinn on the field.

If you an extra copy in hand, doing Judgement a turn earlier also becomes an option by discarding it for the extra Fire Will.

Artemis, the God’s Bow has been the defining Regalia of the SKL metagame. Back in the day, Arla vs Arla matches are usually won or lost by how many bows each player managed to put out. Its popularity waned when people moved in to Reflect and Orb of Illusion, but now it’s getting a resurgence in popularity in the Alice Cluster format.

For those of you unfamiliar with the God’s Bow, it’s both an offensive and defensive tool which has limited “arrow” counters and can only be used on an attacking or blocking J/Resonators. Depending on the number of arrows on the bow, you can do one of three things:

  • Removing an arrow counter to deal 400 damage.
  • Removing two arrow counters to destroy an Addition: Resonator.
  • Removing four arrow counters to destroy a J/Resonator with Flying.

Note that Artemis enters play with four counter only if our J/Ruler is Arla.

That’s a lot of value and utility for a 0-cost card. By its lonesone, a copy can fend off smaller Resonators, but multiple copies will deter even the biggest of attackers, as you can use multiple bows on the same target.

The final, sometimes overlooked, ability of the Artemis is that it gives our J-Ruler Target Attack. Adding this to Sylvia’s Flying capability makes her able to attack almost any Character on the field with little difficulty (and possibly Recovering an additional three stones).

The God’s Bow is best paired with Demonflame, as it provides an easy way to damage a Resonator for the latter to finish it off

Deathscythe, the Life Reaper’s function in the deck is pretty straightforward – it ensures that any J-Ruler Sylvia throws her 1000 damage against isn’t coming back anytime soon, as it removes Imperishable. It also slows down other J-Rulers (like opposing Sylvias) significantly by removing Swiftness. We can also activate it to give our J-Ruler a +200/+200 bonus for the turn, which helps in both dealing damage and survival.

Finally, we can also discard it to Guinevere’s ability and get it back from the graveyard later on.

Marybell, the Steel Doll prevents a bit of damage, making our J-Ruler more resilient to direct-damage spells like Burn to Cinders. We can also occasionally pay 5 Will to transform her into a 1000/1000 Resonator to beat the opponent with.

But her primary function is to destroy Regalia. Ruler’s Memoria is looking to be a popular choice for decks in the Alice Cluster format, which means that opponents will be packing Regalia, and having a cheap answer to some of it (such as Change the World, and Deathscythe), helps a lot in our game plan (or hampering theirs).

Spells

Demonflame is our primary removal spell. It’s fast and cheap, with the added bonus of outright destroying the target if it has the slightest bit of damage.

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Rapid Growth is our primary Lancelot pump for him to reach the 1000 ATK and shoot fireballs. We can also use it on Sylvia herself, which can help push damage or help her survive. Having Remnant, we can discard the spell to Guinevere’s ability if absolutely needed.

Finally, Flame King’s Shout is our primary Area of Effect spell, and works well with Gareth. It also allows us to cast Pricia even without Wind Will available.

Resonators

I think most of the lineup here had been discussed in my Blazer post, and in other websites in general. So let’s focus on two Resonators which aren’t found in Blazer Knights – Rukh Egg and Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame.

Rukh Egg is probably the most important Resonator when we’re playing Fire simply for its capability to search for Fire Resonator that’s appropriate for the situation. This allowed Fire decks to pack 1 copy of multiple Fire Resonators and then search for them as the situation demands it.

As a 1-cost Resonator, it’s a cheap, annoying blocker as well. Finally, if our opponent doesn’t want to destroy it, we can pop it forcefully using either Guinevere or Laevateinn’s abilities.

Pricia, Pursuant of Exploding Flame is does A LOT for her cost. Having Swiftness, Target Attack, and First Strike combined allows her to act as a pseudo-removal spell since her 700 ATK will kill most Resonators of the same (or lesser) cost.

For an extra Wind Will, we can have her fly over blockers and deliver her damage straight to the face. If the opponent manages to kill her? That’s another 500 damage to their faces.
Apparently, 1200 damage for three Will is good value, and this makes her a good fit in most aggressive strategies. Just remember that our deck can only produce Wind Will from Ruler’s Memoria when Sylvia becomes a J-Ruler.

Sideboard

As an aggressive deck, Sylvia’s sideboard is an interesting one, as we can fill it with choices that aren’t found in Blazer, or other aggressive decks.

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Wind-Secluded Refuge is our defensive tool to protect Sylvia against J-Ruler-killing spells and effects such as Blazer’s, and the upcoming Black Moon Beam. It also replaces itself, which is nice. Depending on how much your local metagame hates J-Rulers, we might need to include a 4th copy instead of another Flame King’s Shout.

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The inclusion of a healing effect such as Foment of the World Tree is foreign to aggressive strategies, yet the extra life and ability to put throw useless cards to hopefully draw more useful ones allow Sylvia to reach the crucial turn 5 against more aggressive decks, and potentially turn the game around from there.

We have a couple copies of Hera, the Goddess of Jealousy to really punish Regalia decks. Finally, three Burn to Cinders act as additional removal on matchups where we have to play defensively.

So if you find Blazer’s stoic, defensive playstyle boring and prefer something more proactive and explosive, do give Sylvia a try – and if you find new tech that works well with her (e.g. Wall of Wind), let us know at the comments!

Until then!

Card images from the awesome db.fowtcg.us

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2 thoughts on “Alice Cluster: Sylvia Aggro”

    1. Hi Arcana,

      Apologies for the lack of updates, it’s Nationals week here and we’re testing the waters in preparation for it. 🙂

      While I don’t have an exact list, I’m eyeing on a couple of cards:
      Blood Boil is probably the reach aggressive decks are looking for in the format. 600 damage and negating heals, or an additional 800 damage goes a long way in closing some games (e.g. against Huang Long decks that stabilize at around turn 6).

      Flame Trap is a good tech to have if you’re expecting Fairies and Machines to be popular (and they have good reason to be, with all the upgrades they have in BFA).

      Finally, Alisaris is a good finisher – he does Gilles de Rais-esque damage by re-using Blood Boil. Or you can combo his ability with Flame King’s Shout and put an additional Pricia, Gareth, or Lancelot into play.

      These are the thoughts from the top of my head for now, I hope it helps. 🙂

      Like

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