Our Artifact Aggro Black / Blue deck guide explains how to play the deck, with tips on how the heroes and cards synergise with each other.
Artifact's Aggro Black / Blue deck that was first seen at PAX West is a very aggressive affair that requires you to juggle resources carefully before building to a tower-wrecking finish.
Cards like Dimensional Portal allow you to build a quick board, which can then be empowered significantly with boosts like Assault Ladders and Disciple of Nevermore to overwhelm the opponent's defenses.
In the first edition of our guide to playing this deck we've highlighted the deck list itself, and then provided some insight into how the individual hero's benefit the deck's playstyle. We've also highlighted some of the key spell cards in the deck, and explained how they provide their power.
It's highly likely that this deck will feature in the Artifact beta that's scheduled to begin at some point in October. As we get more hands-on time with it, we'll expand on this article so it proves to be the definitive resource you need to play it.
Artifact: Aggro Blue / Black Official Description
Here's what Valve has to say about the playstyle this deck is built around:
Hit the opponent's tower hard and fast.
Your troops are vulnerable. You must deploy your resources wisely, exploiting the weaknesses of your enemies since you can't match their strength head on. Dimensional Portal provides the raw materials you'll need. Assault Ladders and Disciple of Nevermore provide the support you'll need to decimate the enemy tower.
Artifact: Aggro Blue / Black Deck List
Here's the list for the Aggro Black / Blue deck. In a future site update you'll be able to hover over each card to read its full detail.
|1 x J'Muy the Wise||3 x Battlefield Control||2 x Leather Armor|
|1 x Sorla Khan||3 x Strafing Run||2 x Short Sword|
|1 x Necrophos||3 x Grazing Shot||2 x Traveler's Cloak|
|1 x Zeus||3 x Untested Grunt||1 x Fur-lined Mantle|
|1 x Crystal Maiden||3 x Better Late Than Never||2 x Keenfolk Musket|
|3 x Frostbite|
|3 x Assault Ladders|
|3 x Disciple of Nevermore|
|3 x Dimensional Portal|
|3 x Heartstopper Aura|
|3 x Oglodi Vandal|
|3 x Conflagration|
|3 x Thunder God's Wrath|
|3 x Steam Cannon|
Artifact: Aggro Blue / Black Heroes
The following heroes all feature in the Aggro Black / Blue deck. Here's a quick overview of each one, and how they empower the deck:
J'Muy the Wise - Blue - 3 / 8
Ability: Wisdom of the Elders - Draw a card
J'Muy doesn't have the strongest stats for survivability, and note that his ability has a four-turn cooldown which means it's not quite as exciting as it first appears. He does combo well with Battlefield Control though for taking down smaller targets.
Sorla Khan - Black - 8 / 6
Ability: Warmonger - Sorla Khan deals +4 damage when attacking the tower
Sorla is arguably the signature card in this deck, especially when you consider your core win-condition which surrounds obliterating towers. Combined with her vanilla eight damage, that passive means that a minimum of 12 points of damage are going into the targeted tower.
Good cards to combo with Sorla include Assault Ladder, which provides even more tower damage to her and her allies.
Taking everything into consideration, Sorla plays very nicely with your core strategy of creating a generous board of creeps, getting them all nicely buffed up, and then absolutely obliterating the tower in front of you.
Necrophos - Black - 5 / 6
Ability: Sadist - Modify Necrophos with +1 Health after an enemy neighbour dies.
There's core synergy here with cards like Heartstopper Aura, which causes the target to deal two piercing damage to enemy neighbours, and before the action phase begins. This both deals out some very welcome damage, while also offering the potentially to improve Necrophos' health over time.
Even better than that, we understand that this effect persists through death, so you don't need to worry about applying multiple copies of Heartstopper Aura to Necrophos. If that changes, we'll update this section of the guide so you don't accidentally waste precious spell cards!
Zeus - Blue - 3 / 7
Ability: Static Field - Deal 1 piercing damage to Zeus's enemy neighbours after you play a blue spell.
The piercing damage created by Static Field hits both the target itself and the target(s) next to it. Zeus's most important card is Thunder God's Wrath, which does four points of piercing damage to each enemy hero in all lanes. Combined with his Passive ability, it's easy to see just how deadly Zeus can be at controlling lanes.
Crystal Maiden - Blue - 2 / 5
Ability: Static Field - Arcane Aura. After the first time an allied spell is played in each lane, restore 2 Mana to the tower in that lane.
There's obviously great value to be had from this hero as you work through your spell cards.
The Maiden's great for control as well, as her Frostbite spell allows you to not only deal some damage but also lock the target out of play temporarily. If you want to really mess up your opponent's game plan, this is the card to do it with.
Artifact: Aggro Blue / Black Cards
Next, here's a look at some of the most important spell cards contained in the Aggro Blue / Black deck. Combined with the hero information provided above, a clear pattern of the strategy involved quickly emerges:
- Better Late Than Never - 3 Mana Blue Spell. Summon a Melee Creep into any lane. The summoned creature is a 2 / 4 creep, and again represents a key component of the Assault Ladder play.
- Conflagration - 5 Mana Blue Improvement. Deal 2 damage to each enemy before the action phase. Good for clearing out a lane rapidly before building up to your show-stopping play.
- Dimensional Portal - 4 Mana Spell: Summon 3: Melee Creeps. Clear combo potential with Disciple of Nevermore and also Assault Ladder of course.
- Disciple of Nevermore - 3 Mana Black Creep. 4 / 4 and -2 negative armour. Other allies have +2 Attack and -2 Armor. When you trigger this you want to be making a huge offensive play in the hope of wrapping up the game.
- Grazing Shot - 1 Mana Black Spell: Deal 2 damage to a unit in any lane. Black spells are shaping up to be pretty powerful, offering a way to interact with other lanes not currently available.
- Ohlodi Vandal - 4 Mana Black Creep 4 / 4. Play Effect: Deal 4 damage to the enemy tower. Good for surprise damage and sneak around any defenses the opponent has been building up.
- Steam Cannon - 7 Mana Black Improvement: Deal 4 piercing damage to a unit in any lane. A hugely versatile Improvement than can cause a massive headache for your opponent's plans.
- Strafing Run - 1 Mana Blue Spell: Deal 2 damage to each enemy creep. There's some obvious synergy here with Zeus and his impressive passive ability which inflicts damage.
- Untested Grunt - 2 Mana Black Creep 4 / 2. Although this card doesn't seem like its much use for anything other than a clean trade, keep in mind that your Assault Ladder card can give this creep an impressive boost.