Rise of the Shrooms! Shrooms Archetype Guide
Aug 01, 2023
Howdy y’all, my name is Just Add Bacon, and today I’m proud to bring you all a deck guide for Skyweaver’s beloved Shroom archetype. Shrooms are based in the Heart Prism, and exemplify its themes of swarming and cheap units well. Additionally, it can be rather tricky to deal with, creating boards that leave the opponent with nothing but bad choices. However, its focus on going wide with death effects leaves it vulnerable to a number of counters, including AOE spells and dusting. All said, shrooms present a versatile archetype when played correctly, and don’t leave much room for disappointment.
Before diving in, I think it’s important to review what all the shrooms do. They currently come in a number of flavors, though they tend to fall into a few categories: Swarm, Buff, and Trap. Swarm cards give us a lot of units on board, which is good for pairing with Fun Guy’s buff effect. Buffing is just that, making your units buff. This is done with cards that improve the stats of a unit, like Soul Drain, or cards that otherwise augment a unit’s usefulness, like Gift of Qui. Heart units tend to be weaker stat-wise, so buffing them efficiently makes up for this defect. Finally we have Trap cards, which are more context specific than the other two. These include cards that can be used to directly limit the opponent’s choices, or trick them into making plays that are actually suboptimal. For our purposes today, these are mostly death effects from units like Fun Guy and Shroom Stack, but this can also include more traditional cards like Flame Phoenix or Timber.
- Our bread and butter, Fun Guy forms the basis of what this archetype aims to do. It’s only a 1/1, but Fun Guy’s effect is a powerful buff that compliments wide boards well. With Bouran’s hero ability Ritualize, Fun Guy is a cheap and potent pressure option, which can quickly escalate the threat of your board. It can be summoned through cards like Ma Shroom, Shroom Stack, and Mycelium Might, so be aware that this threat is present throughout the game.
- A 4-mana 2/4 is underwhelming, but it also summons a Fun Guy so that’s handy. We run this for more Shroom consistency, and also because it pairs well with the general shroom tactics we’ll soon get to.
- A 6-mana 3/3 isn’t very good. However, its effect more than justifies its body, as summoning multiple Fun Guy can easily trap the opponent in a no-win situation. With Bouran’s hero power, it can also be triggered right away, generating even more bodies to buff. It’s an expensive, but reliable play for setting up board control.
- Handy, but don’t actually run this in your deck. You’re going to play a lot of Fun Guys, which will add a lot of Doom Shroom to your deck, so having one more Doom Shroom won’t really help you much.
- This is a late game card that can be handy, but needs careful use. Playing it on an empty board on turn 6 is usually too slow, and you will lose from the lack of tempo. However, if you’ve already got board control, or if you have a wide board, this can be a good way to press the advantage. Run this if you want more late game power, but I don’t think you’ll always need it.
There are also some non-core shrooms, which I’ll now cover briefly. These aren’t super crucial to our deck, but some of them can be helpful in general.
- It’s ramp on a stick, and that’s usually good. If you can re-trigger this with Ritualize, it’s almost always good to do so.
- A useful body that buffs your hand. This is a good early play if the board is empty, since its slay effect will punish common low-health units.
- Not a Shroom unit (so it won’t loop itself) but it does have a wide range of utility. At best, this draws / recycles things like Elder Shroom. At worst, this adds a ton of Fun Guy to your deck. If you have a ridiculous draw engine, you can use this and just flood the board with shrooms each turn. If you don’t have that, avoid this, as it’ll put too many shrooms into your deck.
- Pairs well with Undergrowth. You can use these two to swarm board and set up things like Fun Guy, but be aware that you’ll often be holding one of these for a while before you can use it. If you can afford the dead cards, it can be a powerful swing.
- Not a unit, but crucial to any Shroom deck. A 2-mana +1 (you have one more card than before you played this) is usually good, and this has an upside. Never cut this.
The primary strength of the shroom archetype is its explosiveness. Shroom decks often work by overwhelming their opponent with wide boards and then buffing them beyond control. This strategy can be quite difficult for an unprepared deck to manage, as the shroom player can develop a weak board efficiently with Heart’s swarm tools to then hold the threat of buffs over the opponent’s head. Here, the opponent will usually be pressured to answer the shroom player’s board every turn.
When playing shrooms, the first objective is to swarm the board. Since we’re in the Heart prism, we have great access to swarm tools like Breach the Gates, Gus, and Icaru. Icaru gets special mention here because it can draw Fun Guy, and the +1/+1 stat buff from Call to Action makes our lil’ dude more durable. Expect a good number of your units to be removed during this stage, as Heart units tend to have poorer stats than units from other prisms. This won’t matter too much, as we plan to overrun the opponent with numbers.
With the board swarmed, the way shrooms actually win games is by rapidly scaling a wide board. For this we have our wonderful Fun Guy, but Heart also has other options. Gift of Qui will allow your units to bash into opponents without risk, and also adds a large amount of Banner to your board. Of course, the shield won’t help with AOE spells, so keep that in mind when you use it. Mycelium might also be a strong buff option if you have a lot of shrooms on board, but it’s a bit slower than something like Gift. Finally, Blood Hunter can be a devastating way to bypass your opponents board for a big swing of direct face damage.
Ideally, the late game for this deck is mostly ignored, although it does have options. Heart’s notorious Undragon and Grave Roil fit in nicely with the deck, and provide a great deal of burn and board for it to use. Roil here is especially threatening, since it can be used to retrigger every Fun Guy in your discard pile. If Undragon is closer to the top of the discard pile, it’ll trigger first, providing 4 lifesteal zombies to be buffed by the Fun Guys. However, we really want to try and close the game by the time we’re playing these cards, as the Doom Shrooms generated by Fun Guy will begin to bog the deck down.
The Shrooms archetype focuses on two key designs to succeed: swarming and death effects. Thus, it inherently falters whenever these strategies are weak. Swarming can be countered by a couple of general tactics. First, walls of large units, especially armored units, can trade favorably into the smaller units generally used for swarming. A swarm player might deal with this by playing more aggressively, or by using hard removal like Dead Weight, but these are situational fixes at best.
Another issue for Shrooms comes from the Death-effect side of its strategy. Death effects, while generally more powerful, are balanced by being slower. Of course, Heart (and especially Bouran) has many tools for triggering Death effects quickly, but this is only looking at the ideal scenario. There will be plenty of times where you are forced to play a death effect unit and just hope it triggers. More often than not it will, but vulnerability to dusting and silence tools has always plagued Heart decks, and will continue to do so.
Finally, the biggest weakness of this deck is AOE spells. This is typically a pretty big issue for Swarm decks, but it’s especially prevalent here due to our reliance on swarming with Death effects. One of the biggest strengths of the shroom archetype is its ability to trap opponents with setups like Ma Shroom or Shroomstack with a trigger like Rot Hound or Ritualize. However, if the opponent has a sufficiently large AOE spell they can just clear the whole board at once, completely negating Fun Guy’s buff effect. Thus, it’s important for users to be aware of the AOE spells the opponent might be running, and try to buff units health above those spells if possible. For example, if your opponent is likely running Volcanic potion, try to have some units at 3 health so they survive the spell. If you can manage this while also having a Fun Guy that will die to the spell, triggering its buff, that’s especially powerful.
Before concluding, I wanted to leave y’all with some card suggestions and sample lists. These lists aren’t perfect, but are intended to be a fun starter for the archetype. These also include some other helpful cards that I didn’t have space to directly mention in the main article.
- He gives a songbird, and it’s two bodies. That’s just handy.
Breach the Gates
- Arguably one of the best 2-mana spells in the game. It’s 2 bodies with Wither and burn damage, so it’s versatile in a number of situations.
Scarab of Life
- Fun Guy without the drawback, but it’s more expensive. Personally, I prefer Fun Guy, because you should win most winnable games before the Doom Shrooms become an issue, but it’s often a great idea to run both of these.
Sentinel of Qui
- Heart tends to struggle with hard removal. Sentinel makes that issue laughable.
- AOE and Burn. I keep mentioning burn damage because it’s very handy for an aggressive deck to have reach in case it loses board control.
Rise From Scrap
- A flexible damage option that also retriggers death and summon effects. A fantastic partner for Shroom Stack, Flame Phoenix, and Undragon.
- Just dummy good. It’s burn, healing, board control, and gives your Roil some board generation, which is great because then the Fun Guy triggers can buff the zomboids repeatedly. Just be aware of playing into a Kha’s Wrath.
Below are two deck strings, one of which I’ve played with, and the other which was kindly given to me by fellow player Kiru. My deck is more midrange with tools like Undergrowth and Undragon, and focuses more on having stabler games. Kiru’s build is much more explosive with cards like Blood Hunter and Joinboid. I think Kiru’s is probably a better take, since it better mitigates the Doom Shroom problem, but I personally enjoy midrange style decks more, and am better at piloting those. I’d recommend to readers to try both, and make tweaks for taste and playstyle.
The Shroom archetype is an aggressive and technical swarm deck, with heavy emphasis on board control and buffing. It also has a lot of cards with cute art, so that’s a plus. Among its strengths is the ability to pressure the opponent with minimal investment and its capacity for late game snowballing. However, like any Heart deck it is prone to disruption, and can frequently stall out should it fail to overwhelm its opponent quickly enough. Altogether, it’s fun, at least according to this guy.
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