PoxNora Savage Tundra Phalanx Runes Style Guide
PoxNora Savage Tundra Phalanx Runes Style Guide by Rodin
I haven’t seen these types of decks get a lot of discussion, so I thought I’d go ahead and post up some thoughts on these. I’ve been running a phalanx deck quite successfully, so here’s my review of the runes:
(Note: I have omitted a few of the really, really obvious ones, like Juya and Icesnap)
Angel of Perseverance:
Can be quite powerful, but I have a hard time scraping the nora together to get her out a lot of the time. Plus, you have to choose to run her over Juya or Icesnap, which is a tough call. Still, she’s not half bad – 4 base defense against most champions, and goes up to 6 when she Intensifies. If you manage to get her some support, you can easily get her up to 9, 10 defense.
Arctic Turtle v. Frost Giant:
Arctic Turtle easily wins out over Frost Giant for me most of the time. 5 defense base makes him ridiculously tanky, and unlike the Frost Giant there isn’t a cooldown on his defense – with Frost Giant, players tend to wait for a couple turns until Defensive Stance goes away and then they just alpha strike him into an early grave. Arctic Turtle also has another major advantage for this type of deck.
Why no Arcadon?
Simply put, the Arcadon doesn’t fit into this deck at all. There is very little frost damage for him to amp. He has a DoT and Sunder, but the deck focuses very much on focus fire and taking down opponents one at a time – I’ll go into that a bit later. He also just doesn’t have the defense – his HP is great, but you’ll lose him darned fast. The only reason to run him is for Shatter, but since most phalanx runes also lack Detection I prefer to go with the venerable Yeti Scout. 2×2 also counts against him in this deck, since the deck focuses strongly on auras (Defender, Battlemaster, Majestic) and having a 2×2 that is not generating one of these is counter-productive.
See one of the threads on him. He’s decent enough, but if you’re using him as a tanky rune the Arctic Turtle is cheaper, and if you’re using him as a damage rune you can pump up a real ranged unit that can actually move. If he gets adjusted to be cheaper or more versatile he could easily become a solid include, however.
We all know this rune. Standard auto-include anyway, but particularly useful for this deck, as you will OFTEN be fighting in front of your Shrine or font, or even inside your font if you have a Lonx Defender going.
I include one of these guys mainly because it’s hard to get two Arctic Turtles on the field at the same time without utterly clogging up your own troops. Defender 3 over Defender 2 is nice, but his personal defense is low, meaning he’s subject to getting focused down. Combine with an Arctic Turtle though to make your opponent cry: 8 defense on the Turtle, 4 defense on the Mountaineer.
I don’t often deploy him, but the Ice Golem revels in this sort of deck. His high defense and Physical Resist make him quite solid as a tank, and he’s faster than your others. I tend to use him for solo missions, like holding a remote font. Stick a Mirrored Shield on him against non-physical units – they will take more damage than he does, guaranteed.
In theory, this guy should be useful in this sort of deck. However, he is outclassed as a tank by the runes I listed above and as a primary combat unit does not have enough punch. Avoid.
The Nohkan Do units
First of all, why Nohkan Do? The reason is simple – the deck is relatively low on damage and continually tempts foes to attack you. Nohkan Do is ideal for this, and also allows your champions to fight individually without getting immediately brained. This is often essential due to how the maps are designed – you often need to send a unit to the far side of the map away from all your auras.
Additionally, since your units in general tend to survive longer, the chance of getting a second Block/Dodge in are quite high.
The most expensive of the lot, and the least useful. Still, he’s fast and deals quite a heavy punch with Blitz. He’s very useful for battlefield control, and sits up on the front lines next to your tanks. One of the best runes for chasing down those annoying ranged units.
A very awesome rune in general, he fills the holes in this deck’s playstyles. The deck overall is slow – he’s blazingly fast while not in combat. Use him extensively to mess your opponents about at their fonts, or make them think he’s about to do that and have him come in at a key moment. Just a darned useful fellow to have around.
One of the two primary ranged units for this deck. Since it’s not always possible to keep your ranged units bang up close to your tanks, the Mindstrikers are highly useful because they can use Nohkan Do for protection on their own and as such have a limited tanking ability of their own. I generally prefer these over Jakei Elders due to how cluttered combat gets for this style of deck – you want the minimum 3 range.
Jakei Frost Queen:
Essential unit. Get two, put them in. Nobody messes up an attack formation like these chicks. They’ve got low minimum range, massively long range, high damage, and cannot be effectively meleed, particularly if you sling some extra defense their way. Frost Queens are the offensive backbone of any Phalanx deck.
Not as useful as you might think. Most of your champions already have more than 1 defense at base, Crystal Phoenix provides most of the healing you’ll need, and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be running Permafrost Obelisks (covered below) to mean that any spell fired at you will more than compensate you for it. I haven’t been running one, but I’m going to sling one in temporarily for testing and let you know how she works out. I think she’s likely to be very high on the tempo hit though…
A good source of Detection, she also provides Battlemaster on the move, which is very helpful when you do go on the offensive. She is also quite tough on her own, and has excellent range for this deck, 2-5.
A useful 1x include, I wouldn’t put more than 1 in unless you’re having a really hard time holding onto your fonts. Most of the time, I use him to eliminate one of the far fonts from play – Phalanx decks work best by having one large brawl, and if you can encourage the enemy to not even bother approaching your most isolated font, all the better. Rarely engages in combat, but a good trump card to have when you need it. Also cool for breaking sieges on Ironfist Mountains and Ruins of Valdac; I’ve had more than one opponent surrender after my Defender started making his way toward the central font where the huge fight was stalemated.
Another Majestic unit. You can’t have enough Majestic for a Phalanx deck. The Shaman has the perfect range to be popping shots over your main tanks, and can Swap out any unit that is getting focused on. I find him useful, but he’s generally second-string to the Frost Queens and only comes out if I’m in a pinch.
There are two ways to build this deck – with spells, or without. I run without. If you fancy spells, go wild with all the usuals – Gale Force, Ice Storm, etc. There’s no spell support that is especially notable for assisting a Phalanx deck, but that doesn’t make ST’s standard spell support any less excellent.
————————– Coordination Tower ————————
Highlighted because this is THE rune that makes this deck work. Run 2. Always, always run 2. Coordination Tower provides extra defense, but primarily it’s the damage engine. As a phalanx player, you’re going to have a lot of champions on the field. They will all be close together, and you can squeeze a buncha buncha runes into that little AoE 2.
Coordination Tower is why low damage scores on certain champions shouldn’t worry you. My Arctic Turtle double attacked for 16 damage each in the last game I played. Any enemy breaking its teeth on a full phalanx with a Coordination Tower in there is going to get massacred, one at a time. Focus down one champion at a time to force them to come at you. Your range units should generally be picking off other range units, if you can manage it. What’s more important is the number and sequence of attacks – plan ahead! You won’t have time in a big battle to work all this out during just your turn. Have a base attack pattern already in mind during your enemy’s turn, and do your best to adjust on the fly as his champions adjust positions.
Don’t bother. You don’t have a lot of Vuln: Fire in this deck (almost none, in fact), and there is also very little Frost damage. Leave the Shard at home, you need the space for a second Coordination Tower.
Another invaluable rune. I deploy these the instant it’s reasonable to do so – if I absolutely need a champion, I’ll wait a turn. As soon as you start getting 2-3 champions together, you’re going to need it.
Once you have two Obelisks out, forget about defensive spell positioning. Many players lose to my deck simply because they spammed spells at my Phalanx, and I encourage them to do so. Even if you spend a turn Pacified or Blinded every so often, you can generally adjust your positioning to minimize their advantage and still pull through. Remember – you’re built for the slugging match, not them, and they just blew 50 nora on a spell that only damaged some of your champions a little bit and gave 6 free HP to the rest.
Deploy them REALLY early against certain decks that love to open the spell spam early, like FW and FS. FS I generally deploy them as soon as they hit, no ifs ands or buts. Stopping their Marsh Songs (or gaining +6 HP every 5 turns) is a wonderful thing.
Obviously, if you’re running spells, leave the Obelisks at home and play more cautiously with your spacing to prevent AoE spam from taking you down. Your phalanx won’t be as effective, but that’s balanced out by being able to Gale Force stuff all over the place and drop Ice Storms for your champions to fight on. I prefer Obelisks myself.
Flag of Unification:
I still include one of these, I don’t run it too too often due to the potential damage from Coordination Towers, but the Flag is the best way to beat a counter-turtle. Slap a Flag on your Arctic Turtle and begin a slow advance, bringing up your Lonx Defender to punt them off their font and take control of it. Generally only worthwhile if the battle is enormous and there are 6-7+ units on either side.
See the Mirrored Shield thread that’s on the front page of the ST forums right now for more details, but in general this rune goes on your tanks or your primary harasser to mess up your opponent’s non-physical. Fantastic on your tanks for dealing with Damage auras, which would normally go through his defense. Also on your tanks, the damage divides first, then reduces, so a 10 damage champion attacking an Arctic turtle will deal 0 damage to the Turtle and 5 to himself. Fun, innit?
Vindrax Scale Shield:
You would think that +2 defense and Resist: Physical is a darned useful thing to have, right? Ehhh. I’ve tried using this equip, I really have, but Vuln: Magical is just too big a downside. Mirrored Shield is more effective in most situations, due to the proliferation of non-physical damage. Just don’t bother with Vinny Shield, there’s better stuff out there.