Starter Deck Guides

Community Member

Jun 20, 2023

Howdy y’all, my name is Just Add Bacon, presenting a new partner series with the release of the new starter decks and hero abilities! This set of articles is primarily geared towards newer players, although I assure y’all that there’s something in these for everyone. So, without further ado, let’s break it down!

Starter Deck Guide: Ada

Key Features

The Strength starter is the first deck that players will unlock in Skyweaver, and Ada (the hero representing the pure Strength prism) comes with a simple ability.

“Empower: The first unit you play each turn gains +1 power.”

A few notes on this ability.

  • The ability only works when you play a unit. It will not trigger due to summon effects from cards like Elderfall, Hexed Sentinel, or Demon Pact.
  • The ability does work with effects that trigger when a unit gains power.
  • The ability will provide the most value when applied to durable units, like those with large healthpools, defensive traits like Armor, or defensive attachments like Shield.

Ada’s ability doesn’t seem to do a lot at first glance, but it’s actually quite useful. For starters, Ada’s deck has a large number of units that trigger effects when they gain power. Units like Treefolk Sage, Treefolk Hunter, and Armis Dropship all have very useful effects which are usually kept in line by the extra mana it takes to trigger them. With Ada’s ability these are essentially play effects with side benefits, making them even more useful than normal.

On a more fundamental level, Ada’s ability is useful in two ways. First, Ada’s ability makes her units much better at controlling the board. Strength units already tend to hold above average stats, but adding even more power to them makes it much easier for them to remove units above their cost. Most useful is when this ability is applied to units with large healthpools, since they will be able to take advantage of the buff more often.

Aside from controlling the board, Ada’s ability is also handy for subtly draining the opponent’s health. Because the buff is being applied to a unit, Ada threatens the ability to compound her bonus turn after turn; empowered units can continue to bash the enemy hero for outsized damage. This makes her units more inherently threatening, which can force enemies into making bad plays.

Moving on to her cards, Ada’s deck features heavy support for developing and buffing boards. Strong early options include units like Treefolk Sage, Septic Sapling, Armis Cannon, Armis Trooper, and Stalwart Sentinel. These units are notable for either having strong stats, or being good at responding to the opponent’s plays. Armis Trooper gets an extra special mention here, since its Dash ability allows it to take advantage of Ada's ability on the same turn it’s played.
On the top, Ada has a lot of powerful units that can quickly take over games. The aforementioned Treefolk Hunter can quickly outvalue opponents, and Treefolk Bulwark is useful for making boards that are nigh impossible to answer.  More expensive than these are cards like Armis Dropship and Cthonos, The Sealed, which present ways to develop monstrous boards. Dropship can play an Armis Trooper on play thanks to Ada’s ability, and threatens to keep deploying damage each time it gets a buff. Cthonos, The Sealed, is 10 mana, but summons more stats than any other 10-mana unit in the game. Notably, it summons units until your board is full, so wait until it’s empty for the most value.

Ace Cards

Below is a list of the best cards in Ada’s starter deck, sorted by cost. Take note that these are only best in the Ada deck, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be good in other decks.

Treefolk Sage

  • Sage has a unique effect which gives ally units +1 health any time they gain power. When paired with Ada’s hero ability, this means that it can be played as a 2/5 on turn 2, which is a big threat since Sage will continue to buff ally units. It can be removed by a decent number of spells, mostly Wisdom tools like Eradicate and Incinerate, but it’s very hard to answer well.

Earth Call

  • This won’t be spectacular in many decks, if any, but I call it out here to bring up an important point about the Strength prism. One of Strength’s biggest weaknesses is its lack of reliable draw power, forcing it to rely on either clunky or risky options. Earth Call is stable, not too expensive, and has a unique wording which makes its draw a bit more reliable than average. This will be replaced eventually in most decks, but until then it will be quite helpful.

Treefolk Bulwark

  • See Treefolk Sage, and then imagine if it buffed all your units.

Power Infusion

  • Doubling stuff is very good. Your average unit in Ada will be somewhere around 3-4 power, meaning this is adding an extra 5-6 power to the unit. It scales aggressively, and also buffs the unit twice, making it a great companion for options like Sage and Bulwark. Your unit will still be vulnerable to hard removal though, so I recommend using this either to close games or to set up a two-turn lethal.

Armis Dropship

  • This unit has by far the biggest payoff for buffing it, producing at worst 3 damage and at best a whole extra body to be dealt with. Its base stats are a bit weak for a 7-mana unit, so try your best to combo it. Once you’ve unlocked more cards, Chromeosaur can make a good partner for this, reducing its cost so you can combo with it more aggressively.


As with any deck, the Ada starter has a few vulnerabilities. For starters, while her units have great stats, they tend to be just a bit expensive mana-wise, leaving her vulnerable to more tempo focused decks. Samya and Bouran in particular can threaten her with their armies of cheap and fast units. These heroes can be combated with A.O.E. (area of effect) spells like Cleave, or walls like Stalwart Sentinel.

Aside from this, Ada can also fizzle out if she doesn’t generate enough momentum from her early game. +1 power is a great buff to a unit on turn 2, but is much less impactful on turn 10. Thus, I’d recommend against building slower decks with this ability. This fact also renders Ada a bit more susceptible to decks with strong early game control tools. Anything with powerful removal options should be able to clear her off board before she gets rolling, thus mitigating the impact of her ability and taking control in the late game.

To deal with this shortcoming, there are a few options. The first is meta specific, and involves building your deck to be resistant to common removal options. Units with Armor, Shield, or High Health tend to resist on-curve removal well. If the opponent is then forced to spend more mana to kill your unit than you spent to play it, you can also convert that difference into more tempo.

The second option involves reducing the average cost of your deck (otherwise known as its mana curve). While this doesn’t make a unit harder to remove, it means that you suffer less of a drawback when it is removed. When done right, and combined with the right amount of draw power, this creates an archetype known as Zoo, which overwhelms opponents with waves of units that they can’t efficiently answer with single-target removal. These kinds of decks are normally weak to A.O.E. spells, but Ada has access to powerful and high-health units which can weather A.O.E.’s well.


When it comes to upgrading Ada, or any starter for that matter, there are a few different types of adjustments one could make. First are strictly optimal changes, which mostly involve upgrading bad cards. For Ada, I would recommend removing cards like Overgrowth, Cleave, and Vanquish. These cards might look nice and synergistic, but more often than not their above-average mana cost won’t be worth the extra power.

The next kind of adjustment one can make to a deck is an archetypal change, wherein a player makes their deck more cohesive with a specific gameplan. Ada’s ability works best with Aggro and Midrange strategies, so these types of changes should work to bring the deck in line with those kinds of gameplans. If one aims for an aggro build, I would recommend reducing the curve by cutting units like Cthonos, The Sealed, Armis Dropship, Treefolk Leader, and perhaps a few other bulky options like Stomper or Rooted Defenses. However, if one is planning on a Midrange build, then it would instead be wiser to focus more on tempo and mana-efficient cards, rather than pure aggression. For these kinds of decks I would remove Power Infusion, Rooted Defenses, Leader, and Stomper.

Finally, probably the most important changes one ever makes to a deck are meta-specific changes. “The Meta” refers to an idea about what kinds of decks, and what cards in them, are popular among players, and has a great deal of influence on what can be successful.

Meta-specific changes always depend on what is actually being played in the given meta, but can be summed up in a few ideas. First is awareness of keywords. If units with Armor are popular, one should avoid running a lot of units with only 1 power. If Shield is popular, then relying more on spells for removal would be wise. If aggro decks are killing on turn 9, then a gameplan built around a series of high-cost units is counterproductive.

Here, I can’t give specific advice, as it depends entirely on what you are playing against. What I can say though is that good players take note of why they won or lost a game, and are always adjusting accordingly. Watch your opponent’s decks too; if they’re playing roughly the same deck, they might’ve figured out the change for you!

Because this is a guide for new players, I’ve also laid out some simple changes for people to follow based on what playstyle they like. If a card has another option next to it after an -> it means that the new card is almost always better than the old one.

Always Cut

  • Sprouting
  • Treefolk Brawler
  • Vanquish -> Sunder, Mortal Blow, Hyper Beam
  • Overgrowth

Always Add

  • Strike Down
  • Sunder

Faster Decks


  • Cthonos, The Sealed
  • Armis Dropship
  • Treefolk Stomper
  • Treefolk Leader
  • Treefolk Hunter
  • Cleave (run Clawsipe)


  • Call to Action
  • Shogun
  • Ironshell
  • Hexed Sentinel
  • Tatt
  • Pontiff of Armis

Midrange Builds


  • Treefolk Leader
  • Power Infusion
  • Rooted Defenses
  • Treefolk Nurturer
  • Armis Commander
  • Goblet of Armis


  • Halcyon
  • Hyper Beam
  • Olifant
  • Steam Knight
  • Roothog
  • Kha’s Wrath


As the first deck players will unlock, Ada has a lot of Strengths. Her passive hero ability makes her incredible at dealing damage and controlling board, and also amps up the abilities on many units. Her deck fits this theme well, giving users many ways to bully their opponents off board before smashing the opponent with large units. However, she can be overrun with waves of small units, or thrown off board by powerful control tools, so players will need to be wary if they want success with her.
 This article was produced as part of a new series analyzing the starter decks and their heroes. The articles covering the other heroes are also available now, so be sure to check them out for more info! You can also check me out on the Sky Sessions Podcast, co-hosted with blankHandle and Cytus, where we go in depth on all things related to Skyweaver. Until next time, I will see y’all in Sky!

Starter Deck Guide: Samya


Presenting the Agility addition to my series covering the starter decks. This article focuses on Samya, an aggressive and tempo-focused hero. With a hero power that gives her extra attacks, she’s well poised to smash through the opponent’s early units. However, the recoil from this can drain player’s health, forcing Samya players to close games early.

Key Features

As previously stated, Samya’s ability gives her extra hero attacks. The ability is

Lightspeed: Your hero attacks target enemy Unit. Can be used once per turn, 3 uses per game.”

Some notes on the ability:

  • Your hero already has a free attack each turn, so you can use this to attack twice in a turn. Don’t use this ability if your free attack would accomplish the same goal.
  • Other cards that let your hero attack multiple times in a turn (like Fan Strike) don’t interfere with this. Using those cards with this can let your hero attack many times in a turn.
  • This attack is targeted, so it can ignore things like stealth. However, this attack can not target units with the Shroud enchantment.

Samya’s ability well embodies the Agility prism’s key designs; it is very powerful in the short term, and drops off over the long term. Because it is essentially 0-cost damage, Samya’s ability works well for destroying cheap and weak enemy units on the early turns of the game. Agility as a prism generally aims to run over its opponents early, so the hero power complements it well.

The most important feature of Samya’s ability is how it works with Banner. Banner is a keyword found on units and spells, and it gives your hero +1 power. If it’s a spell, your hero has an extra point of damage added to all their attacks for the rest of the turn that the spell was played. If it’s a unit, your hero’s attacks deal one more damage so long as that unit is alive.

Because Lightspeed has your hero make extra attacks, it’s obviously helpful to have those attacks deal more damage. At base, your attack is only one damage, which usually isn’t that helpful. If you have a Banner card in play, however, your punches get exponentially more impactful, since you get to use the Banner effect on both your free and given attack. Put simply, you get to double dip. Combine Lightspeed with multiple Banner cards and the multiplication can quickly delete units.

However, I would be remiss if I did not caution readers about two things. First, Agility relies heavily on using Banner and its hero attack to remove enemy units. This can be great, since this is typically tempo and resource efficient, but it also drains the user’s health. Against heroes like Ada or Bouran, players may find their hitpoints rapidly depleted while making little progress against the opponent’s own. Secondly, Lightspeed is only really powerful when it’s combined with Banner. This means that your deck will be constructed with at least one obvious element, enemies will know about this, and there are clear ways to counter it. This also leads back to the first issue, meaning that Samya players need to be very aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

Digressing from her ability, Samya’s cards best support an aggressive game plan that beats down the opponent in the early game. Cheap stealth units like Vulpine Archer, Cygnan Striker, and Vulpine Spy provide relatively safe early plays, and tempo heavy options like Flare Up, Ember Mask, Honk, and Vulpine Rogue provide reliable tools for removing the opponents early units.

At the top of her curve, Samya’s deck features numerous explosive combos. What is probably the biggest enabler for any of these is Strikestorm. This is a 5-mana spell with numerous effects. First, it has the coveted Banner keyword, which fuels a lot of Samya’s tools like Lightspeed. Secondly, it gives your hero damage immunity for the rest of the turn, allowing the user to brawl with larger units without obscene recoil. Finally, Strikestorm has the user attack each enemy unit once. Below are some applications with this.

  • Air Slash / Stern Lesson can be a 0-mana follow up if you hit 3 enemies and then attack with your hero.
  • Playing Flock first means that this will deal 6 damage to each enemy unit, and also leave your hero with 6 power to punch something else.
  • If you have a Vulpine Merchant on board, you’ll draw a card for each enemy unit. Merchant also has Banner, further enhancing the usefulness of this combo.
  • Vulpine Spy, Cygnan Striker, and Vulpine Mage can convert each attack into a point of damage.

Aside from these combos, the other threat in Samya’s deck is Aerigos, the Branded, which has two big effects. The first is that it reduces its cost to play by whatever your hero's power is. At base, your hero has 1 power, so even though this unit's cost is technically 10, it essentially starts at 9. The second effect is that Aerigos gives your hero +5 power. Notably, this stacks with Banner, meaning that whatever effects discounted Titan’s play will also continue to add your hero’s damage.

Ace Cards

Below is a list of the best cards in Samya’s starter deck, sorted by cost. Take note that these are only best in the Samya deck, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be good in other decks.

Fan Strike

  • A simple but very important card, Fan Strike turns on multi-attack synergies without having to use your limited hero ability. It also heals you for two, mitigating the recoil from attacking units.
  • See Also: Cygnan Singer

Vulpine Archer

  • This is a card that doesn’t excel in any one thing, but does a lot of things well. Aggro decks really need cheap units and ways to secure board control early in the game. With its Stealth, it’s a reliable turn-1 play, immediately pressing damage into the enemy hero. It’s also useful as a reactive tool, since its ping of damage can delete common units like Crypto, Songbird, or anything with 2 health if you add your hero attack.

Vulpine Rogue

  • Essentially Archer’s big brother, Vulpine Rogue provides a hefty chunk of damage for 3 mana. It has 2 health, meaning it’s vulnerable to dying to Banner, so make sure you get your value out of it when it’s played.

Vulpine Scout

  • His statline is a little weird, but Scout has some useful applications against opposing aggro decks. Some aggressive decks aim to go wide with many weak units at once (these are usually called either swarm or zoo decks). Since Samya relies on her hero attack to control board, this can be an issue, since they will have more units than she can attack at once. Scout helps alleviate this with its Dash. Normally, Dash would not be great on a unit with 3 health and 2 power, but—against a deck where their units have even poorer stats—Scout becomes a potent tempo play.

Air Slash /  Stern Lesson

  • Situationally mid, situationally brutal. Keep these around for multi-attack combos, it’s your bread and butter.


  • This card alone is a good reason to play Agility. Something I left out from earlier was how useful its damage prevention is. Use this to get around things like Lifesteal and zomboids.

Vulpine Merchant

  • Agility is constantly fighting Strength to be the worst prism at drawing. This card is very good at drawing, and that’s quite rare for Agility. Cherish it, and try to use it with Lightspeed.

Aerigos, the Branded

  • This card simply inflicts damage to your opponent. If possible, cards like Flare Up and Evasion can bring it out ahead of schedule, so keep those in mind if you don’t need to use them. You can also try to play it cheap just to force your opponent to burn removal inefficiently.


As I’ve tried to stress throughout this article, the biggest weakness of Samya is her health. All the tempo and damage in the world doesn’t matter if you’re dead, and at times Samya can be better at hurting herself than the enemy hero. This can be mitigated through a couple of ways. The obvious option is healing, although there are some problems with this. While options do exist, Agility generally lacks healing. When it does gain access to healing, those are usually units with Lifesteal, which need to hit the enemy hero first. Of course, that’s part of the gameplan, but it’s not necessarily reliable.

The second approach involves relying more on other ways of dealing with units. Effects with Wither can reduce a unit’s power, making it easier to attack into or just ignore. Buff spells like Dawnblade can also be useful, trading a unit’s attack for removal and a threat. Agility does have useful removal options for the early game, like Backstab and Fire Rune, but these will be less helpful against units with bigger stats, which pose the greater threat.

The final approach for Samya players involves beating down the opponent more quickly and using the tempo advantage to overwhelm their opponents. In this case, you simply gear your deck for even faster aggression; the best cards in the world are worthless if you don't have time to play them. This approach can be useful for dealing with slow, expensive threats like Cryogen, but may be worse for handling threats like Roothog.

Aside from the above issue, one other weakness is a trend with Agility’s units. These units tend to be well-statted for aggression, featuring low costs and immediate effects with a good attack stat. However, Agility units tend to be some of the worst in the game when it comes to durability. So, while it may not be a major setback when any particular unit is removed (it was cheap after all) it is quite likely that any of your units could be removed at a given time. Thus, it is crucial that Samya players constantly clear their opponent’s units, lest they trade and the Samya player loses board control.


Unlike with the Ada deck, I think upgrading the Samya deck is relatively straightforward. Because Samya’s ability makes the most sense in aggressive decks with lots of Banner, the only changes we should make are ones that match that archetype. So, in general, we want to cut stuff that is slow, passive, clunky, or non-threatening.

Below are some simple changes I would recommend. These are not golden rules, but should help move players in the right direction.

Always Cut

  • Storm’s Fury (too slow)
  • Cygnan Master (too slow)
  • Cygnan Ranger
  • Cygnan Teacher (If you want this, run Disciple of Gusto)
  • Vulpine Spy
  • Cygnan Monk

Recommended Additions

  • Fire Rune
  • Fox Familiar
  • Gleamguide
  • Lightning Vial
  • Dawn Blade
  • Gale
  • Zapeta


Fastest of her peers, Samya is the definitive hero for people who just want to rush down the opponent. Her powerful ability allows her to outshine opponents at the start of every match, especially with Banner, and her selection of cards guarantees that players will be a threat from turn one. However, the brightest match burns the fastest, and Samya players will need to take care to close games before their resources, namely their hitpoints, are depleted.

This article was produced as part of a new series analyzing the starter decks and their heroes. The articles covering the other heroes are also available now, so be sure to check them out for more info! You can also check me out on the Sky Sessions Podcast, co-hosted with blankHandle and Cytus, where we go in depth on all things related to Skyweaver. Until next time, I will see y’all in Sky!

Starter Deck Guide: Lotus


Presenting to everyone the Wisdom edition of my series covering starter decks. In stark contrast to Ada and Samya, Lotus is a defensively oriented hero, featuring an ability that helps carry players towards the late game. However, the delay in value can also be problematic for Lotus players, requiring wielders to carefully control the game.

Key Features

Lotus’ ability is as follows:

“Enlightened: Whenever your mana reaches a multiple of 5, draw a card and give your hero +3 hp”

As usual, some notes:

  • It must be a new multiple of 5. If you reduce your mana below a multiple, and then increase it again, you will not trigger the ability.
  • If your mana increases enough to meet the condition multiple times at once, the ability will trigger only once.

Lotus’ ability is rather distinct from most other hero abilities, in that it purely adds resources for the user. Ada, Samya’s and Ari’s abilities all increase the damage a player will deal over a game, functionally decreasing the health of heroes. Lotus’ ability works to counteract that, and also continuously adds cards to the player’s hand. Since it works off of intervals of 5, don’t expect this to trigger a ton, but it will certainly be helpful in every game.

Aside from his ability, Lotus’ deck features a diverse selection of units, chiefly distinguished by their effects. Many of Lotus’ cards feature effects that repeat for each 5 max mana you have, meaning that their effectiveness will continue to improve throughout the game. However, you’d be wrong if you thought you’d have to wait for those bonuses! Lotus’ deck also features a large number of “ramp” cards, which increase a player’s max mana. Because these kinds of cards are important for any Wisdom-based control deck, I’m going to go ahead and highlight them now.

Water Wisp: Ramps both people, but you benefit more from having more mana. A nice turn-1 play.

Take Root: A 3-mana earth spell, this just increases your max mana by 1 (for the rest of the game you have 1 more mana at the start of each turn).

Earth Scion: A meh body for 4 mana, but it ramps and heals too. Quite good.

Gift of Sky: Ramps with a targeted draw. Try to play this ASAP.

Gift of Aya: a 5-mana earth spell. Gift is more expensive than Take Root, but comes with some extra benefits. If you want to run one of these, you almost always want the other too.

Gigabloom: Arguably the slowest ramping option, but it’s distinct in that it gives you 2 extra mana. If you can play this early your deck becomes much more threatening.

Mana Geyser: Expensive, and only ramps for one, but reactive. Useful versus heroes that make wide, low-health boards.

Aside from ramps, Lotus has 2 main kinds of units, Wisps and Scions. Wisps comprise Lotus’ early game, and are mostly cheap units with minor effects. These are handy for contesting the board, and you ideally play them at the start of the game. Lotus’ other unit type, Scions, have abilities that scale with your max mana, making them more impactful as the game goes on. However, don’t take this to mean that you shouldn’t play them until your mana is at least 10 or 15. These units will generally be good before such a late stage, and saving resources for later is a poor strategy if it means you’ll lose before then.

Last but not least are Lotus’ two finisher options, Doomsday and Nihilos, The Hollow. Doomsday doesn’t strictly have to be used as a finisher, although in practice that’s how it will usually be played. Doomsday is unique among AOE options in that it also hits the enemy hero, providing a hefty amount of burn in the late game. It will also clear out a wide number of low and mid-cost units, meaning it can also be used to clear the path to the enemy hero.

Nihilos, The Hollow does similar things to Doomsday, but with a couple slight differences. First, its damage is health reduction, meaning it ignores things like Armor and Barrier. However, it’s a bit less damage than Doomsday deals. On the upside, Nihilos, The Hollow also heals the user and draws for each trigger, making it less suited for blasting the opponent’s board and more useful for amassing resources.

Ace Cards

For Lotus, it should generally be taken for granted that every card that increases your max mana is important. So, here I’ll only be covering the important cards that don’t ramp. Also, these are just the ace cards within Lotus’ starter deck. Many are still good outside of Lotus’ deck, but they won’t always be.

Air Wisp / Fire Wisp

  • Lotus’ cards are more complementary towards controlling the early game and stalling until he has more max mana. These two serve this purpose well by providing a reliable stream of cards and early plays.

Surging Power

  • One of Lotus’ few but very useful buff tools, this is especially handy since it can also heal your hero. You usually want to play it on a unit, but not until turn 5.


  • In TCG’s, cards like Overload are generally called “Hard Removal.” These are cards that tend to outright destroy whatever unit they target, rather than only being good for addressing certain types of units. Overload isn’t strictly hard removal, but effectively functions that way, since expensive units rarely have more health than their mana cost. Save this for blowing apart big threats from other decks, but don’t keep it in the opening hand.

Metal Scion

  • A brutal finisher option. It’s not very powerful if its effect only gives +1/+1, or if it only buffs itself, but the fact that it continues to grow makes it a reliable way to close games. Also trades decently well into most removal.


Far and away, the biggest weakness of Lotus is his vulnerability in the early game. Lotus’ starter deck features low-cost units that, while fine, don’t stack up favorably against Samya’s tempo or Ada’s raw power. Additionally, Lotus’ deck also has the largest collection of high-cost cards among the starter decks. This leaves him especially vulnerable to bad opening hands, compounding his early-game weakness (this is informally known as bricking). There is one major rule of thumb to addressing both of these weaknesses, which I expect every control player to have tattooed on their right arm: lower the curve!

“The curve” in this case refers to the mana-curve, a semi-formal measure of a deck that judges where the costs of its cards lie. For reference, Ada’s is relatively flat and sits between 1 and 6 mana; Samya’s is lower, and focuses on costs between 1 and 4. The curve of a deck represents how cheap its cards generally are, and is useful for determining how easily it makes good plays on a given turn.

Visually, Lotus’ curve looks quite similar to Ada’s, although this is a strong example of why only looking at the curve can be misleading. Ada’s curve distributes units evenly throughout it, and has mostly cheaper spells; Lotus’ curve has expensive units and spells, and over half of units cost 4 mana or more! This is generally undesirable, as it means that it’s far less likely for Lotus to combine cards into a powerful play than Ada, as his cards are generally less likely to be able to “fit” within the set cost of mana (think about how easy it is to play 2 2-mana units in a turn as opposed to 2 4-mana units). Ada, having more options, has an advantage then; all else being equal, she has more choices, is harder to predict, and more likely to have a good play.

To remedy this, Lotus will need to run cheaper cards. However, this will inevitably mean cutting his more expensive cards, which in turn hurts his late game. How does one manage this? The simple answer is picking battles; determine what heroes you want to beat, run *just* enough late-game to beat them, and nothing more. The other option is variable cards, like Arcadeum Mask, which allow you to invest more mana to extract more value. These are useful in diverse metas, as their flexibility allows players to adjust their deck to their opponents in real time.


For Lotus there are two kinds of upgrades we can make. The first are upgrades that lower the curve. Use these when you want to beat aggro decks like Ada and Samya more. The second kind of upgrades are value upgrades, which increase how many resources you’ll have throughout a game. Use these to win more against heroes like Lotus.

Always Cut

  • Air Scion
  • Sky United (Doesn’t fit any theme in Lotus.)
  • Light Scion
  • Fire Scion
  • Dark Scion
  • Mind Wisp
  • Light Wisp
  • Dark Wisp

Always Add

  • Xavi
  • Incinerate

Reducing Curve


  • Mana Geyser
  • Gigabloom
  • Overload


  • Earth Warden (Draws Take Root.)
  • Giza
  • Pokey, Mailpig
  • Overdraft
  • Judgement

Adding Value


  • Blazing Blessing
  • Metal Wisp


  • Kha Meht (Make sure you have the elements to support this. I’d recommend about 3 sources of each.)
  • Prismata + Sphinx Mask
  • Eldritch Lore
  • Earth Warden
  • Giza

These changes may seem like a lot, and tuning control decks is notoriously hard. So, I’ve also included a sample decklist for y’all to use. A decent number of these cards will take time to unlock, but until then gradual adjustments to the starter will suffice. The general plan of the deck is relatively similar, except this is geared to be more defensive.


Lotus may be a tricky hero for new players, but he’ll certainly be rewarding. His set of cards grants him unparalleled dominance in the late game, and his vast library of defensive resources will help ensure his control over the board. However, the wait for power also holds Lotus back, as his opponents will find much appreciated breathing room in the early stages of the game. Thus, it is crucial that Lotus players take a proactive approach to matches, and lock down control before it’s too late.

This article was produced as part of a new series analyzing the starter decks and their heroes. The articles covering the other heroes are also available now, so be sure to check them out for more info! You can also check me out on the Sky Sessions Podcast, co-hosted with blankHandle and Cytus, where we go in depth on all things related to Skyweaver. Until next time, I will see y’all in Sky!

Starter Deck Guide: Bouran


Presenting Heart’s section of the starter deck series. Heart’s hero, Bouran, represents the Heart prism’s key themes well, being all at once tricky and tactical, flexible and unpredictable. With such strengths the Heart prism accels at outmaneuvering opponents at various stages of the game with powerful death effects. However, by dividing its strengths among multiple areas, Heart fails to master any specific domain. Additionally, Heart relies a lot on death effects and utilizing its discard pile, making it more vulnerable to disruption than most prisms. As such, Heart players will need to be thoughtful with their plays, ensuring that the traps they lay for opponents don’t entrap themselves.

Key Features

Bouran’s hero ability is as follows:
“Ritualize - Activated hero ability Pay 1 Mana: Trigger target ally Unit's Death effect - Can be used once per turn - 3 uses per game.”

Bouran’s ability represents something new for us in this series, in that the strength of his ability is really volatile. Like Samya, he has a limited number of uses per game, but his ability doesn’t outright say “damage” or “health”. Rather, Bouran’s ability matches one of the most fundamental aspects of the Heart prism: flexibility. Bouran’s ability will vary depending on the units in your deck, and as such can work well for a wide range of builds. Offensively minded decks might leverage units like Funguy and Festival Cannon to threaten the opponent with explosive plays. Slower decks might look to cards like Old Fogey and Flame Phoenix, using Bouran’s relatively cheap power to double dip on ramping or burn. In short, the usefulness of Bouran’s ability depends a lot on his units, but it will generally be good – death effects just tend to be stronger than their summon counterparts.

As for his deck, Bouran has a couple of noticeable features. First, his curve is rather low, only really being beaten out by Samya. This positions him well for controlling the board with units, especially once the units themselves are considered. Bouran’s deck features a large number of units that are called “floaters.” These are units that are usually cheap and replace themselves by creating more cards, usually on death. If there’s any single kind of unit that it’s good to have a lot of, it’s floaters, as these kinds of cards do a number of good things for a deck, like improving the deck’s draw power and consistency.

Aside from that, Bouran’s deck is also great for summoning many units at once. Whether its Royal Guard, Hordeboid, Call the Dead, Giant Mummy, or Noxdeos, the Cursed, Bouran is essentially guaranteed a never-ending supply of units with which to swarm the opponent. This type of strategy is also quite common, and powerful; “Swarm” decks, which play a large number of below-average units, tend to be common and useful in most TCG’s. In Skyweaver it’s no different, and Bouran is this game’s introduction to the archetype.

Swarm decks have two objectives in any given game. The first of these is establishing control over the board, which is done by just playing a ton of units. The second depends on the first, and involves using board control to develop momentum. With enough pressure, players can carry an early lead through an entire game, allowing their plays to accumulate beyond what the opponent can manage. Swarm decks do this by overwhelming the opponent; with a lot of units on board they find easy answers to their opponents plays, and frequently do so without losing card advantage. This makes swarm decks tricky for many kinds of decks to deal with, as answering them well relies heavily on having the right cards at the very start of the game.

Now that we understand Bouran’s unique strategy, we can understand how his cards fit that plan. Units like Graveboid, Treasureboid, and Royal Guard help ensure a steady stream of units, and tempo-focused options like Gemboid, Skaterboid and Sunbeam help maintain pressure. Above these Bouran has bulkier pressure options, like Scavenboid, Soulmaw Ammit, Joinboid, Giant Mummy, and Ancient Sphinx. These make strong offensive plays while Bouran’s ahead, allowing him to compound his pressure.

Ace Cards

Below are the ace cards for Bouran’s deck. Take note that while cards may be really good in this particular deck, they could be bad elsewhere. The usefulness of a card depends a lot on the deck it’s in, so always be mindful of how a card contributes to a deck’s gameplan.


  • With a 1/2 statline this looks weak, but don’t let that fool you. In conjunction with Bouran’s hero power, you can easily play 6-mana units on turn four. As my woeful friend Cytus has shown me many times, this also opens up the potential for playing Joinboid with Bouran’s ability on turn 4.

Offering / Sacboid

  • This card is quite good, as it lets you upgrade weak units for better ones throughout the game while also getting through your deck. It’s tempting (and usually pretty good) to just play a unit from and then sacrifice it with this, but that’s not the only way: you can also use it to sacrifice damaged units, trigger important death effects, or remove unhelpful allies (like units affected by the Roots enchantment).

Scarab of Life

  • On its own this isn’t very good, but it’s quite explosive with Bouran’s ability. You have a very limited number of triggers per game, but Scarab is usually worth one. Be wary about buffing wide boards with low health, as they could be taken out by an area of effect spell (like Burninate) afterwards.

Soulmaw Ammit

  • Unlike in most trading card games, health is actually a very valuable and precious resource, and games are often decided by small margins of hitpoints. Ammit is one of a limited set of units with Lifesteal, which means that whatever damage it deals to the enemy hero will also heal you. This is especially valuable on Ammit, as his death effect can deal damage to the enemy hero, also healing you.

Ancient Sphinx

  • A powerful top-end tempo option. Sphinx requires careful consideration of what’s in your discard pile, but the stats it can generate on summon are quite good. Look to play this with cards like Giant Mummy so you don’t leave your hero open to attack.


Bouran’s deck features a few key vulnerabilities worth mentioning. For starters, swarm decks focus heavily on swarming the board with a large number of units, from which it will snowball and win the game. Unfortunately for swarm decks, there are common tools to counter this strategy. AOE (area of effect) spells, like Burninate, Hail of Arrows, and Mass Confuse, exist in every prism, at many price points, and with wide ranges of effects. These kinds of cards tend to be most devastating against swarm based decks, as they become more effective the more units they can hit. Swarm players can outmaneuver these by playing less units of course, but playing reservedly can cause the player to lose tempo, and thus their whole advantage.

Another weakness most Swarm decks face is in the late game. Traditional aggro decks always suffer here, but most have burn cards like Drillbot and Chomp to avoid this part of the game. However, Bouran’s deck lacks strong burn options, like Samya’s Aerigos, the Branded. Thus, if it fails to secure enough early advantage, its offensive can fizzle out, as the opponent gains more many to answer the aggressors plays.

To remedy these issues, there are a few options. For AOE spells, the easiest approach is to start by determining what AOE’s are common, and adding specific cards that are resistant to those effects. Most AOE tend to deal low damage to an individual unit, meaning bulkier options can weather them. Additionally, floaters can mitigate the losses, although you will still be losing board control.

As for dealing with late-game-lag, the obvious option is simply to add burn damage to the deck. However, this may not be advisable. Burn cards work because the user has aggressive, high-damage units that quickly reduce the opponent’s hp. If a burn card isn’t directly leading to a win, though, it’s a dead card. Bouran’s deck doesn’t use high-aggression units, but it relies on having a large number of them to develop tempo. This makes burn options risky, as they’ll be a big setback if drawn too soon.

How, then, to deal with the late game? My advice is to take advantage of Heart’s flexibility. Heart has many cards, like Phoenix Plume, Evermore, Scarabot, and Graveroil, which all get better or worse depending on the units they recover. For example, if a Scarabot recovers a Gemboid that’s handy for tempo, but won’t do much if it’s turn 7. However, if that same Scarabot digs up an Ancient Sphinx, which then finds a Giant Mummy, you’ve extracted much more value from the same card. If you then redraw that Scarabot with a Phoenix Plume you can even redraw that Ancient Sphinx again!


Upgrades for Bouran are decently straightforward: lower the curve, make some strict improvements, and probably add a little sauce with some explosive combos.

Always Cut

  • Bond of Duty
  • Cycle of Life
  • Gravekin
  • Divine Rites
  • Graverobbing (if you want this run Breach the Gates)

Always Add

  • Icaru
  • Rags the Returned
  • Soul Drain
  • Sentinel of Qai

Good Burn Options

  • Flame Phoenix
  • Festival Cannon
  • Gerry the Goon (requires many zomboids to be effective)

High End Threats

  • Scraptrosity
  • Pharonis
  • Empty the Undercroft (especially dangerous with Hope)
  • Undragon

And finally, here’s a list to build towards. This deck focuses on snowballing tempo with cheap floaters, and also taking advantage of recursion in cards like Rags the Returned and Tireless Iteration. It caps out with Ancient Sphinx, who usually summons a Giant Mummy or Humongshroom, but the deck has the tools to play Sphinx multiple times if need be. Flame Phoenix and Festival Cannon are also included for burn options.



Bouran is a tricky hero, embodying the Heart prism with an unpredictable hero ability and units that render even death moot. His swarms of units can overrun opponents, and their resilience to removal makes them hard to answer well. However, he can be defeated by powerful board control spells, and suffers if dragged into a late game. Therefore, Bouran players need to be merciless in their pressure, and never allow their opponent time to compose themselves.

This article was produced as part of a new series analyzing the starter decks and their heroes. The articles covering the other heroes are also available now, so be sure to check them out for more info! You can also check me out on the Sky Sessions Podcast, co-hosted with blankHandle and Cytus, where we go in depth on all things related to Skyweaver. Until next time, I will see y’all in Sky!

Starter Deck Guide: Ari


Presenting the 5th and final starter deck guide! This article’s hero is Ari, the Intellect weaver who turns knowledge into power. Of any hero I’ve covered in this series, Ari excited me the most, as his tools are geared towards complex, mind-bending combos, and tricky setups to shut opponents out of games. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Key Features

Ari’s ability is as follows:

Fabricate - Activated hero ability Pay 1 Mana: Add Spear Shot to your hand - Can be used once per turn.”

A single, very important, thing to note is that Ari’s ability has unlimited uses per game. This has many applications, but we’ll start with the obvious: In a vacuum, Ari is more likely than any other hero to win a long game. Simply put, he does more damage on an average turn than an opponent does in the late game. Of course, this will be mitigated in a number of ways (Ada’s units probably deal more net damage, Lotus’ ability provides more overall resources than Ari’s) but it’s still a considerable threat in Ari’s toolbox.

Aside from inevitability, Ari’s ability has two other useful functions. The first is anti-aggro. Intellect units tend to have the lowest total stats in the game, but have stronger effects. This makes them, and Ari, vulnerable to aggro decks, which can efficiently remove these poorly-statted units and beat Ari down quickly. Arcanist changes this though, as it provides Ari a steady pool of damage to remove units with.

The other useful function of Ari’s ability has to do with its ability to combo with units. Many Intellect units have effects that rely on spells, benefiting from spells being played either while they are on board or before. Arcanist provides a reliable stream of 0-mana cards with which to trigger these abilities, making them quite reliable in practice. However, to understand just how good that is, we need to discuss his cards.

Ari’s deck follows a semi-low curve, which is generally faster than Ada’s but worse than Samya’s. However, it should be noted that his tempo will always be just a little better than his curve presents due to his ability. At the low end, Ari has useful removal tools like Twinspear and Icebolt coupled with a small assortment of floaters in Maskling and Maskmaker. Where Ari really shines begins with his 3-mana cards, with units like Tortugan Monk, Tortugan Tinkerer, and Tortugan Fisherman. These all represent strong tempo plays for Ari that get better with his spells. What’s so nice about them is that their passive abilities means they can threaten to continue creating value beyond the turn they are played. Thus, opponents are generally forced to address them quickly, which can often be less than ideal for them.

Beyond his early game, Ari also has a couple of tools that I’m sure new players will find devastating. Tortugan Crusher, when played with a Spear Shot, is a 5-mana 7/7 with Guard that will continue to grow turn after turn. Masked Sentinel is similarly (if less threateningly) positioned, developing 6/8 of stats for 5 mana. Sea Storm is likely one of the best AOE spells in the game, compounding the damage your assorted Spear Shots deal and even hurting the enemy hero. Finally, on the very top we have Vathyos, the Sunken, which provides a veritable boatload of burn damage wherever you need it.

All of these cards, combined with Ari’s ability, present him with a rather unique gameplan. Ari’s starter is a semi-aggressive deck that primarily focuses on removing its opponents units while developing tempo. At the same time, it usually aims towards 1 or 2 big combos per game, using them to carry itself to victory. Versus faster decks, Ari attempts to quash their early aggression with his inexhaustible removal. Versus control decks, Ari will attempt to beat down the opponent fast before closing games with burn. Altogether, Ari players have something quite nice: like Bouran, they can adjust how they use their deck within a given match to better deal with that game’s opponent.

Ace Cards

Ari’s starter deck has a number of useful cards. Below I’ve highlighted what makes them handy, although it should be noted that this is specific to Ari’s starter. These cards may be good in many other decks, but care should be taken when considering these cards in new contexts.

Maskling / Maskmaker

  • Helpful floaters. See my article on Bouran for a thorough discussion of why floaters are helpful.


  • Occasionally average, occasionally nutty. With +2/+2 it’s strong, with +3/+3 and beyond it’s crazy. It can get removed by hard removal, or tech options like Whisk Away, but just use it to trade with those spells.

Tortugan Fisherman / Tinkerer

  • Just really good tempo cards. Fisherman can be played with just its spell, but I would try to avoid playing Tinkerer unless you have another spell to bring its health to 4.

Tortugan Crusher

  • This guy can single-handedly win games. For best results, try to play it early (like with a mana potion) and leave the opponent no units to attack it with. If it sticks, you can hopefully play Illusion on it too.

Sea Storm

  • A powerful AOE with burn potential, I think this card is so good it could even be nerfed in the future. With a single spear it’s a useful one-sided AOE, and with any more than that it just gets increasingly wild.

Vathyos, the Sunken

  • Ari’s ace, and a disgusting burn option. Even Agility doesn’t have on-command damage like this, but don’t make it your entire gameplan. Instead, consider it this way: “My opponent knows I have 10 points of free face damage once I get to turn 10. So, if I knock them to 10 by then, I win. So, they’ll have to be extra careful with their health. Additionally, if I rush them hard enough early, I can win on 10 even if I lose board control.”


Ari’s weaknesses are few, but notable. First off, Intellect units tend to have worse stats among units. They tend to make up for this with strong effects and keywords (see Cobalt, Frostmaiden), but effects and keywords don’t usually do much against removal. Thus, Intellect units are often some of the easiest to answer, limiting how persistent of a threat they can be.

Additionally, while Ari’s cards individually have good tempo, he’s slightly lacking in draw power. This means that, while he may be able to curve out strong plays in the early game, Ari can easily fizzle out of cards versus more durable opponents like Bouran and Lotus.

Running cheaper cards helps with the first issue, to a degree. The first issue can’t exactly be solved (since it comes just from using Intellect cards) but we mitigate its effects. With cheaper units, it matters less if our units are killed by removal (since the opponent gains less advantage from such a trade). Additionally, this also fits our gameplan of high-tempo removal + unit plays.

Unfortunately, this can’t be the only change we make. If we just lower the curve of Ari’s deck and make it more aggressive we’ll run out of cards even faster (cheaper units tend to have less staying power). Additionally, if we try too hard to be like Samya, we’ll end up just being a worse Samya deck. So, we also need to add some draw power or other value generation cards to the deck. Intellect actually has a number of good options for this, like Lapin Microneer, Bauble, and Mechabun (note that these are all floaters).


Below are some upgrades I would make to Ari’s deck, collection permitting. Note that these are just ways to improve upon Ari’s starter, and there are in fact numerous ways to build a good deck for this hero.

Always Cut

  • Tortugan Behemoth (This and Sea Storm do roughly the same thing, and one is cheaper and deals burn.)
  • See Beyond
  • Many Faces
  • Mask’s Boon
  • Spear Shot (Diminishing Returns)
  • Visions

Always Add

  • Gato
  • Lapin Microneer
  • Bubbles
  • Grizzled Fisher
  • Enigma Golem + Mass Confuse

Other Good Cards

  • Cobalt
  • Bauble
  • Angler
  • Doomlighter
  • Encantadora
  • Star Cetacean
  • Cast in Chrome

Listed below is just one take on Ari, designed to fit the semi-aggressive gameplan we’ve talked about. Here, Cast In Chrome is put to strong use, working as a spell that summons a unit for its cost. This is quite helpful, as we can use it to more reliably have our 2-mana floaters (it even triggers Vapors automatically) or summon Tortugan Crusher from our deck on turn 5 (ensuring he becomes a 7/7 with guard and Lead). On the top, we dig into Intellect’s more explosive finishers with cards like Fren-Z, Spellbreaker, and Cryogen, with our beloved Vathyos, the Sunken of course.



Well, that finally wraps up this guide series on the starter decks! If you’ve read all of them, thank you very much. If you haven’t, GET TO IT! It’s been really great working on these for y’all, and I hope that everyone who reads them can get something out of it. As per usual, if you dear reader need help with anything, feel free to message me on Discord. Additionally, if you can’t get enough, come check me out on Sky Sessions, where I accompany blankHandle and Cytus in discussing all things Skyweaver related. Until next time, see y’all in Sky!

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