Deck Guru

Deck Guru

So I know in my last article I said I would talk about the decks that topped the ARG open and the first week of KMCs. I even typed up the entire article. However I felt that it has been covered in various articles I have seen throughout the web. So instead I am going to focus on one deck. That made the top cut.

John Fox’s Kalima Deck:

Darkness: 32
Queen Kalima x 3
Suffocate x 3
Gregorias Fortress x 2
Death Liger, Apex Predator x 2
Grudge Weaver x 3
Mesmerize x 3
Scaradorable of Gloom Hollow x 3
Terror Pit x 3
Bone Blades x 3
Ripper Reaper x 3
Maddening Whispers x 2
Mark of Kalima x 2

Light: 7
Andromeda of the Citadel x 2
Stormspark Blast x 3
Keeper of Laws x 2

Nature: 9
Sprout x 3
Mana Storm x 1
Root Trap x 2
Reap and Sow x 3

Darkness/Nature: 3
Necrose Nightmare Bloom x 3

Darkness/Light: 3
Spire Puppet x 3

Total 54

So as soon as I saw the deck make the top 4 I had to build it. I immediately built the deck card for card. I played a couple of solitaire matches and it did alright against my Dragon deck. Seemed like a solid enough deck for me to take to locals and test further. At locals however I went 2-2 and one of those wins was a bye. However I think John built a solid foundation that we can expand upon. Let’s see what John did right and what he did wrong.

What John did right:
The light section was a great inclusion. It is not the first time I’ve seen its inclusion nor will it be the last time, but I can confidently say that adding the light section seemed to curb the Kalima decks tendency to fall flat on its face to any type of aggression, because of Andromeda.

The discard was handy enough. Mesmerize can still be an early game monster. Crippling all the set up plays that the Tempo/Mid-Range need to hit. As well as taking out that pesky Keeper of Laws everyone is playing.

The Nature section seemed pretty solid and standard. Mana Storm proved to actually be pretty useful. Reap and Sow should have been giving the foil treatment, not sprout.

X 3 Suffocate is the way to go. Although not as solid against Naya Blitz/Starseed Smasher decks, it can decimate certain board states. Not to mention it destroys the various Blurple decks popping up.

What didn’t work for me:
Adversely the discard sucked as well. They’d slap down a Keeper of Laws and then there is basically no point. Spire Puppet was cool but did nothing worthwhile to keep you alive long enough to see the benefit of your grind game. Not to mention when you got to late game and you are stuck with a fistful of discard and your opponent is top decking their way to freedom you just get sad.

I am not sure how he got Apex Predator to work, but kudos to him for it. Card was garbage for me all day. Sure it has some cute tricks. But really it’s nothing worthwhile. I got the same feeling about Stormspark Blast. The card is amazing just not in this deck. You have plenty of “board wipe” effects and Stormspark doesn’t really save you a ton when rush/tempo is going in at your face.

Probably the biggest weakness I noticed was that the deck just felt like it packed less of a punch without Tritonus. You were literally Kalima or bust. Andromeda was more of a card that keeps you alive rather than finishes the game. Against any form of Haven, Andromeda gets smashed. You want to overwhelm your opponent by constantly banishing creatures, and you just don’t have enough Kalimas (nor hand presence) to win like that. There needs to be some back up, and Tritonus just lets you do that.

I missed water badly. Even it was just for Tritonus, but Kivu and Squillace Scourge allows for flexibility.


Well first we need to take a look at what the core of a Kalima deck is. It’s Math and Probability. So let’s look at the math.

After play testing with the deck I never straight up whiffed, but you will suffer epic wins and heart breaking losses all through Kalimas/Marks effect.  John has 38/54 Darkness cards, so a little over 70% of the deck is Darkness targets for Kalima and Mark. However this isn’t even taking into account the possibility of shields being darkness cards and the cards you have drawn. In a perfect world you would hit 2/2 or 3/3 for Mark and Kalima respectively, but this world isn’t perfect. Still the odds are in his favor to hit at least 1/2 or 2/3 (usually).

Since this is more of a deck analysis than a deck fix I won’t go into detail about which cards to cut and which cards to add, because honestly. There are a lot of different directions you could go with Kalima. I’ll just list some cards I have really enjoyed testing with (as well as a small explanation about the card).

Skaak the Stinger:

Not going to lie. I underestimated these new Battle Mages. Skaak is awesome. He’s essentially a +2. Definitely a card that should be considered.

King Tritonus:

Even if it is a small Water section, and only 2 of him. You just need something. You burn out so quick with ramp. Tritonus is just a natural fit.

Squillace Scourge:

Dare I say staple in this deck? The card is nuts, it’s a dark for Kalima, AND you push peoples chest in for game. Super Sharktopus Sharknado™

Screeching Scaradorable:

Shout out to Rob Heber for thinking up this one. She fits right in. Hugely necessary for surviving the early game, not to mention its unblockable effect will come in handy. Calling it now.

Ghostbite/Grip of Despair/Toxic Fog/Devouring Smog/Death Smoke:

These are kind of interchangeable, what you are expecting to play meta wise is a key factor into deciding what to put in. Grip is generally all around good but T5 can hurt. Ghost Bite is like a pseudo Bone Blades so it can help and suck all in one. Toxic Fog is a bird and bug killer. I’ve even enjoyed Devouring Smog and Death Smoke. They all have their place and they might even be good if Keeper of Laws didn’t dominate kill spells.

Dark Scaradorable/Doomblast Scaradorable/Obsidian Death/Serperns the Spirit Shifter/Wild strider Ranmoth:

So there are a lot of options in this area. Kalima has zero mid-game. ZERO. These cards kind of solve that, sorta, Doomblast is probably the best of the bunch with Serpens in second. Dark Scaradorable being T6 actually makes him viable. That extra turn can mean the death of you. Obsidian Death hasn’t done crap for me and Ramnoth doesn’t exactly help your Darkness count, although he has had some decent results.

Abstract Ideas:

Notice the abundance of Chimeras? Maybe Hydra Medusa could be a thing? And perhaps some more discard pile recursion. Pathwork Surgeon? There is a lot of directions we could go with Kalima but I just wanted to throw the ideas out there and show that this deck has a lot of different directions you could take it. Experiment!

Next article we will look at a deck that was submitted to me. No surprises now, but keep sending in deck submissions!

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