Legend has it there is a blade so powerful it can fell beast and man alike in a single blow. Come take a seat by the fire traveler for I will tell you the tale of that legendary blade. They say it resides somewhere deep in the lands called “Rotation.” Once wielded by the Levin Sabre of old, Albert, now the blade awaits a new master worthy of its immense power. Tell me traveler, are you intrigued? Do you believe it is you who is destined to carry this blade? If so I will tell you all of the secrets of the sword.
Midrange Sword is a deck that often gets flack for being simple to pilot. While the deck has less complexities than something like Artifact portal, the deck still gives the player many decisions to make over the course of a game (and Mid Sword can have some VERY long games). Mid Sword is very flexible in that it is very capable of ending a game very fast if your opponents are not careful but can also take a long and grindy approach to many matchups. The deck also has many tech options you can go for but we will start by taking a look at the decks core.
The decks core sets a tone for what Mid Sword is trying to do, develop a board with followers that can control the board, or followers that provide above average stats for their cost. Generally you will be able to make many value trades over the course of a game and it will be up to you to decide when it’s time to stop controlling the board and when it’s time to push face damage. If you are not careful with your timing it can spell defeat.
I would like to go over the core and why/how you play certain cards.
Chromatic Duel: Needless to say this card is incredibly powerful. If you play this card for 1 you will find yourself much more often than not taking Queen Hemera the White. In fast matchups you should usually play Duel for Hemera to help you keep control of the board early. In matchups where you have more time it is often best to wait until you can enhance it for 6PP to get both Hemera, Magnus and a full play point refund. Both Magnus and Hemera serve two very different purposes. Hemera is best used to take back a board or to bury your opponent in a follower lead. Magnus should be used to fade your opponents big effect turns such as Magna Legacy. Magnus is a great way to set up for board for a Sky Fortress turn.
Pro tip: The most interesting part about this card is when it’s played turn 1 in the sword mirror. If you are going second and crack duel for Hemera before turn 4 it will put your opponent in a very awkward situation where they will either give up a card for free to Hemera or be forced to pass. If you are going first it may bait out a turn 3 pass from your opponent.
Bladed Hedgehog: 2PP ⅓ is a very strong stat line since it’s hard to cleanly remove early and can clean up 1hp followers. With the added bonus of Sword having access to “fast” followers like Lancer of the Tempest and Magical Marksman Valse you can grow the Hedgehog without giving your opponent a chance to react. It’s not unreasonable for a hedgehog to get 5 attack, and to be honest that’s the unreasonable part. In the mirror be wary of playing hedgehog on the draw. It gets destroyed by Lancer of the Tempest.
Cuhullin: Cuhullin is incredibly flexible. Cheap removal when you need him, a follower you can just tempo out when you have no other plays or you can get the best of both worlds with his enhance 6. Sword would play 6 of these if it could. Cuhullin is also an insanely powerful Arthur pull.
Holy Bear Knight: 2PP 2/2 ward. Enough said. You won’t often enhance bear Knight but every now and then you will. Solid Arthur pull.
Sky Commander Celia: Celia does everything. She’s a 2PP 2/2 in a pinch. She’s a better floral fencer when you play her in Hope’s Strategist mode and she’s a win condition in Despair’s Messenger mode. I find I play her in Hope mode most often. You will not often have this situation come up but you can play Celia in Despair mode to gain extra value off of your Fanfare effects. Keep this in mind but do not go out of your way to do it, it’s rarely the right play.
Mars, Silent Flame General: I often see people skimp out on playing all 3 Mars. I wholeheartedly disagree with that decision. An unchecked Mars can run away with a game very fast. She is very similar to pre nerf Alice, Wonderland Explorer in the way they can push an advantage, though they do it a little differently from each other.
Lancer of the Tempest: Another card I see people occasionally shave down to 2. Lancer is a very strong follow up to a bladed Hedgehog and eats 1 power followers alive. Sometimes a curve like that can shut someone out of the game. Lancers enhance 7 is also the only good AOE Sword has in it’s toolbox making lancer a very valuable include.
Valse, Magical Marksman: Valse is a reasonably statted 3 drop that gives you your choice of removal spell. More often than not you will take Fatal Spellbomb since it’s so efficient for it’s cost but you will find times to take the Holy Purebomb too. Purebomb is backup big removal when you don’t have a Cuhullin with the added benefit of banishing and being able to target amulets.
Gawain of the Round Table: Gawain’s power comes from his ability to high roll your opponent with a turn 6 Arthur or turn 7 Sky Fortress. If your on the play your usually best off not playing him on turn 4 since his ¾ statline gets wrecked by almost any evolved follower. Nowadays Swordcraft plays a lot of quality commanders so you can usually get a few good triggers off of one Gawain.
Luminous Mage: Lumi Mage is a threat and a half. When you play her you get a free evolve on any commander you choose. Most often you will evolve the mage but the knight she comes with is also a great evolve target too since she can anthem your team. This card is just raw value and tends to be good throughout the game. If your playing Frontline Cavalier you can combo the two together on turn 9 to instantly build a board. When playing Lumi keep in mind which of your cards are commanders. You can get a surprise 2 damage in with her by evolving something like a Mars or Lancer the turn you play Mage.
Arthur, Knight King: The Hallmark card of the deck. When your playing against sword you are constantly playing against the clock trying to set yourself up to deal with Arthur. Arthur is a massive tempo swing that gets you tons of 2 (or less) drops while thinning your deck. Sword has access to a variety of powerful options, some that don’t even see much play (like Innocent Princess Prim). The sky is the limit with Arthur and as Sword gets more options in the early game he will likely only get stronger.
Sky Fortress: This is your endgame. If Arthur wasn’t the nail in the coffin a well timed Air Ship will be. Sky Fortress excels at pushing you far ahead if you are even on board with your opponent. Fortress can be used to protect you through the Ward it gives. It can be used as card advantage when hitting a commander. Let’s not forget that it can just be used to close a game out since it’s +3/+4 buff is pseudo storm. I occasionally see people shave on the numbers of Fortress since it can make a hand brick but I believe the consistency of having 3 is just worth the times it messes your hand up.
What tech cards are right for you?
Since Midsword can close out a game quickly or grind one out slowly you may find certain cards will fit your playstyle better. I personally like to play my midsword like this.
The Two Barbarossa’s plus Support Cannon allow me to grind games out really hard. I have a 2/1 split between Gawain and Frontline Cavalier just so I have a way to heal a little bit and if I draw one of each I will have options. I like to play a single Prim so I have an extra target for my Arthur’s. I also like Prim because if I am playing against Haven and I drop Arthur and pull Prim I can evolve her and keep her stealthed, this way I don’t get blown out by Jean, Become of Salvation. This list plays the full core shown earlier tailored to my own playstyle.
You may find yourself wondering, what options does one have with teching a sword list?
Innocent Princess Prim: A simple ⅓ for 2. What’s nice about Prim is she can’t be interacted with until you break her stealth. This let’s you keep her hidden until she can get a good trade or get buffed by a Sky Fortress. She can also steal a game with her enhance effect though it’s not common to play her for 8.
Noble Chancellor: Chancellor’s main draw is that he is a commander if your a support canon build. I have never seen his effect go off before so don’t expect that to make waves.
Young Ogrehunter Momo: Dragoon scyther is a strong card, Momo does a good scyther impression. Momo fights for the same decks lot as Lancer of the Tempest. Try to not play more than 4 of these 3PP rush effects since they tend to be at best 1 for 1’s. Play around with the numbers and see what you like best.
Frontline Cavalier: a very strong option if Gawain is not your style. The two cards serve similar roles. Frontline gives you the board NOW whereas Gawain gives you the advantage after you get a strong commander flood turn.
Confront Adversity: Are fairy’s driving you mad? Confront is a good option to clean up a weak board while developing your own. Only the brave pack this card.
Kunoichi Master: Kunoichi Master is unadulterated raw face damage. When you play her you will likely be giving up your board control but you can push at least 5 damage the next turn, more with evolves. Kunoichi is a great way to set up for a Celia finish since the stealth bodies almost always survive until next turn.
Barbarossa: Grind the card. Barbarossa can put your opponent into some really awkward positions while providing infinite value. If you play Barb try and set it up so you give yourself the best chance of getting him back at 2PP.
Support Cannon: Support Cannon is similar to Barbarossa in that they both grind out a game, the difference is Barbarossa shines when you need to get back onto the board. Support Cannon is best when you already have it and you can take time off to develop a win condition. After 2 or 3 good cannon triggers it pays for itself and everything else is just a bonus. Strong against control often too slow to fight aggro.
Darksaber Melissa: A big tough to deal with ward. Melissa is strong against decks that rely on spells to clear. She’s also a strong roadblock against aggro decks.
Council of Card Knights: This used to be 5PP… even so at 6 Council is perfectly reasonable. It provides 3 relevant effects on ⅓ bodies need to push face asap? Evolve the Storm unit. Need to deal with a big boy? Spaid Raiders got you covered. Want to just walk up? Shield guardian is there for you. This card just does a lot of good things.
Hero of Antiquity: Sky Fortress isn’t flashy enough for you? Try Hero out. He’s big and hard to remove. Hero never really got his time in the sun but he certainly isn’t a bad card.
What about Mulligan’s? Midsword has 1 goal with it’s Mulligan’s. Get a curve and don’t stop. If I’m going second and already have a 2 drop I’ll keep Gawain in hopes I will draw Arthur. Arthur is often another worthwhile keep since he is so powerful on turn 6 or 7. The main goal with your Mulligan’s is to make sure you don’t miss your 2 and 3 drops. If you have both your 2 and 3 drops you can consider keeping a 5 drop.
You have done well traveler to make it this far. Your have only just started your mastery of this sacred blade. Now go forth and claim your destiny on the battlefield.