Hey everyone! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for another “Theory-crafting 101” article!
Unlike our typical TC101 lists, this is a list I have personally played a ton of since Set 7’s release. So while our other lists sport the “untested” clause at the beginning, this one has seen lots of love and attention dedicated to it!
That being said, player preference is always key in any card game, and certain cards I value highly may not be as impressive to you as a player. So there are still lots of ways to tweak this list and make it your own, should you want to dip your toes into a more Controlling, grindy deck type.
With that, let’s take a look!
3x Blue Crouch
3x Blue Guard
3x Blue Rest
1x Time is a Warrior’s Tool
3x Blue Blockade
3x Blue Dominance
3x Blue Minions
2x Visiting the Past
1x Blue Biting Drill
1x Blue Mental Drill
1x Blue Lifting Drill
1x Blue Positioning Drill
Dragon Balls (2):
1x Earth Dragon Ball 3
1x Earth Dragon Ball 7
1x Blue Defensive Effect
3x Mercenary Tao’s Puzzles
Energy Attacks (9):
3x Blue Ki Ball
2x Blue Arm Blast
1x Blue Neck Beam
3x Mercenary Tao’s Super Dodon Wave
Physical Attacks (20):
3x Blue Betrayal
3x Blue Head Knock
3x Blue Challenging Strike
3x Blue Slash
3x Blue Decapitation
2x Blue Vehicle Destruction
2x Wall Breaker
1x Android Arm Breaker
Bonus Section: Learning to Play Mercenary Tao
I’ll say this right up front, this deck can take some time to get used to. First of all, how many of you have actually played Mercenary Tao before this article? Perhaps some, thanks to the 4th place showing of Orange Adaptive Tao during the NJ Cash Event at The Comic Book Store a few weeks back; but I would venture to guess a lot of players reading this are completely unfamiliar with his effects to begin with.
If you are going to try this list out, you are going to want to learn your level 1 and level 2 powers by heart. There are going to be a lot of triggers occurring while you play this deck because of those two levels, so if that intimidates you, you may want to look elsewhere as far as a Control deck. That being said, however, the deck is a ton of fun to pilot, and once you are used to what is going on in the game around you, remembering your triggers (which you should always be doing anyways!) will become second nature for you.
Tao’s level 1 has a few effects. First, his Constant effect says that whenever an Ally is discarded or destroyed from your opponent’s Life Deck, you may raise your anger 1. While this ability is not that important, it can be an additional way to level should you be playing against an Ally heavy list. Next, your Constant effect states whenever one of your attacks is stopped, you Rejuvenate 1. Because this deck is all about the slow march of time, each one of these rejuvenated cards is going to be crucial! Don’t forget these!! Finally, he has a POWER that allows you to shuffle a card from your hand into your Life Deck to draw a card. Having access to turn dead draws into potentially relevant ones is another key part to this deck. You may even find yourself shuffling attacks that aren’t going to do enough back in to try and find other cards. Don’t be afraid to use this effect.
Tao’s level to also has a decent number of effects. Again he as a Constant effect, but this time it states whenever we perform an attack, our opponent destroys the top card of their Life Deck. Like level 1’s rejuvenation effect, this trigger is crucial to winning. SO REMEMBER IT!! Tao also has an attack built in for 1 Life Card of damage that has the secondary effect to shuffle a card from our hand into our Life Deck to draw a card, as well as a Hit effect that says our next attack this combat cannot be stopped. While the hit effect can set up Blue Slashes and other chipping effects nicely, we really don’t care all that much whether it hits. It’s just an extra chip tool that will mill 1 from our opponent and sometimes do upwards of 3 LCs if it hits with the bonuses our deck provides.
What Are We Trying to Accomplish?
Don’t be intimidated while playing this deck. You will find games where you ride dangerously close to the edge of surviving, but if you are determined enough, you can still pull the game off in your favor. Likewise, you may find yourself entering combats where you only have 1 or 2 cards in hand to keep pressure up thanks to your Blue Challenging Strikes. But don’t worry, as long as your board state is adequate, you should have plenty of ways to stay safe, even with only a few cards in hand.
Finesse is really the key to success with this list. Brute Force decks may overwhelm you for a while, but your stages mean virtually nothing in this deck, and you have plenty of prevention, blocks, and recursion to annoy the hell out of whoever is sitting across the table. Just stay focused, don’t rush into combats with your shields down, and don’t lose confidence if your opponent has a good combat on you.
Another thing to remember is while hitting with your attacks is nice, throwing them more often then not is the actual goal. Whether you are on level 1 or level 2, testing the waters with your attacks is all that is needed. If you’re on level 1 and they block, you still get to rejuvenate 1. If you are on level 2 and they block, well you’ve already destroyed 1 card from your Constant power (or more if you have active Challenging Strikes), so its not the end of the world.
Your major win condition (Super Dodon Wave) doesn’t even care if it hits. So just think along those lines while you play. You will be able to gain a lot of information based on how your opponent reacts to certain attacks you play, letting you know whether or not it’s time to go for Dodon Waves or Blue Slashes to try and lock down on them.
Once you have a Wave on your opponent, converting some of your attacks into blocking or prevention is going to help a lot. Using your Mastery, Tao’s shuffle effect, and cards like Blue Ki Ball to turn unwanted cards into beneficial effects or tools is going to be your saving grace.
As long as you aren’t dead, you’re on the path to victory.
The Power Is Yours!
And that’s our look at the cybernetic assassin that is Mercenary Tao!
As always, I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say, and highly encourage you to take this deck for a spin. As stated before, I have been playing this deck a ton since Set 7 and I feel it is one of the better Control strategies out there in the field.
Take a look at our pool and cast your vote for what you would like to see in next week’s article! Remember, every vote counts, as the top 2 runner’s up will return to the poll next week!
Until next time, FanZ Warriors!