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Shaqattaq
11-18-2015, 02:44 PM
It has always been clear that Winter Moon is an extremely powerful champion, but the problem always came down to how exactly you wanted to build around her. At the FiveShards Sapphire Cup, the first post-Majesty tournament, Winter Moon was both the most played Champion and one of the least successful. However, a lot of that comes down to how Winter Moon decks need to have the metagame defined for them before they can start setting up their deck to best take advantage of the card advantage and recursion mechanisms that the Champion power gives you. With Ruby Wild Ramp, Mono Blood Control, and Azurecannon having established themselves in the first set of Constructed IQ tournaments, we have a target to build to. Get ready, because Winter Moon is coming...

https://www.hextcg.com/latest-brew-winter-moon/

jtatta
11-18-2015, 03:44 PM
Good article! Winter Moon is far and away my favorite champion and the number of WM decks I have built is staggering. Also staggering is the number of two shard versions which is like 1. Ha. Regarding the hands:

First Hand:
I'd mulligan this I believe. Being on the draw you don't have anything going on before they can start laying threats. You don't have any real answer to Phenteo nor a Cripple for a potential Princess or King. The Time Ripple is likely to be Inquisitioned and the Rootfather cycle likely won't help too much. You hand can get worse for sure but just having the resources and cards to play isn't always the best hand. If you were somehow sure that they weren't playing Inquisition then the hand would be "fine."

Second Hand:
I think this hand is pretty solid for Kranok. The Withering Touch is likely to snag a really key card in the matchup and your Princess should be a solid play on curve assuming a shard draw in the top 3 cards (pretty good %). Two shard keeps can be risky but having a card like Withering Touch as well as one of the best cards in the matchup (Princess) is worth the risk, imo. Corpse Fly will also be a nuisance for the WM deck. I's worth noting that playing the Withering Touch on turn 1 isn't really the best idea as waiting until turn 2 gives you another option. You aren't going to Touch an Arcane Focus over something like a counter or Cripple/Ripple anyway.

Third Hand:
On the play this hand is decent. Even on the draw I'd be inclined to keep it as going to 5 against Cressida is a death sentence. Spend you first few turns playing Focus and try to find something to slow them down. Ideally you'll hit a Carnasaurus for a potential turn 3 play but you'll be fighting an uphill battle. If they have Periwinkle you'll be in some trouble but your counters should at least keep it close as long as they "just" spend the first few turns ramping. I wouldn't worry about not playing your second focus in order to counter their Chlorophyllia on turn 2, the Verdict will be better spent on a mid to late game Eye.

Fourth Hand:
You do have one of the best cards in the matchup in Periwinkle as well as a way to play it under a countermagic with Howling Brave. This hand is super weak to Carnasaurus but R/W top decks so well that it's likely worth the risk. I think that this is the most borderline keep/mulligan of the four hands although the first hand is debatable as well.

Piecetinker
11-18-2015, 05:32 PM
1 – Windsinger Control on the draw against Kranok

I would definitely mulligan here. No good way to ramp into Rootfather fast enough and a simple Inquisition or Withering Touch can totally prevent you from gaining an advantage. Carnasaurus overall isn't a good for for the deck so most of the time it's going to be a dead card. If you play a Carnasaurus to remove a Corpse Fly, that's a 2 for 1 against you since Corpse Fly removed a card through its hand disrupt and killed your Carnasaurus. Honestly it is hard to have a hand that is particularly strong against mono-Blood with SW Wintermoon. I believe the cards you want in an opening hand like this against Mono-Blood include Cripple, Countermagic, Chlorophyllia, and hoping to get enough draw and ramp to survive until a Mass Polymorph.

2 – Kranok Mono B on the draw against Winter Moon

This is an excellent hand against SW. Vampire Princess and Corpse Fly can easily get some early damage and apply some great pressure by Turn 3. The Rot Cast may be a dead draw but everything else is looking good. Tatta did say not to use Withering touch T1, but I disagree. Playing it T1 allows you to remove cards like Cholophyllia and Time Ripple. Time Ripple is not necessarily a threat against Corpse Fly, but can be quite annoying to deal with if you end up playing a Vampire Princess.

3 – Windsinger Control on the play against Cressida after a 7 shard hand mulligan

This is actually a tough keep against RW. You really want to draw your Carnasaurus early on. Arcane Focus MIGHT give you that Carnasaurus if you need. However, since you already mulligan'd once I think it might be safe to keep a hand like this. If you don't draw a Carnasaurus and your opponent plays either a Puck or Periwinkle, you may be in a really bad position.

4 – Cressida Ramp on the play against Winter Moon

I would not keep this hand. You MAY be able to draw into something really nice, but you really have no play and are hoping for top decks. If opponent has a Carnasaurus or any decent starting hand you may be in a bit of trouble. Especially since RW Ramp does not have any good card draw besides Balthasar you are really hoping that you get some perfect draws going for you.

RotSniperAboveU
11-18-2015, 09:01 PM
Nice article. I've been thinking about what sort of Winter Moon style decks would be competitive in the current constructed meta and this looks really good.

My thoughts on the hand questions:

1. This hand is questionable. I don't have the most familiarity with playing this type of deck in constructed, so I'm not sure what the best decision is. In the heat of the moment, I would probably keep this, but really considering it further, it's probably correct to redraw this.

2. I would keep this hand, but would need a 3rd resource soon. Much less risky on the draw. The plan would be to use withering touch with corpse fly to get some card advantage going, and then follow up with a bigger threat.

3 - I think I would keep this hand, no reason to go to 5, since the Arcane Focus can be used to find what we need most. Charge power can shuffle in the focus, or a Verdict if we need to interrupt something to slow down their ramp.

4 - I don't like the high potential for this hand to do nothing after turn 3, so I would probably redraw this one. I never want to be in top deck mode that early in a game.

Tough questions!

OutlandishMatt
11-19-2015, 12:14 AM
Jtatta and Piecetinker make good arguments for the 3rd hand with Carnasarus but he is a WW threshold while your Countermagic is a SS threshold. The problem you'll run into most likely is having to dig for shards with Focus to hit thresholds. I'd keep it just because you have options and going down to 5 probably won't look better.

wurtil
11-20-2015, 09:14 AM
My own personal opinion:

First Hand - I think this one is close, but a mulligan to me. On the play, Mono Blood can easily stick a Phenteo or Vampire Princess without fear of Countermagic. While that makes Time Ripple much more valuable to keep, it also means that you can't count on being able to both cycle Rootfather and play a turn 2 Time Ripple at the same time (because if you drew a card off Rootfather on T2 you have to accept a hit from Princess on your next turn as you won't have the resources to both Ripple and play any interrupts). On the draw for a Wintermoon deck, I prefer trying to find hands with Cripple in them to stave off Vampire Kings/Princesses.

Second Hand - I think jtatta nailed it, this is very close to the ideal hand against an opposing control deck. Barring drawing an Inquisition on your first turn, you are going to wait until T2 and then play Withering Touch and if the Wintermoon deck only has one answer to Vampire Princess then you will drop her down on turn 3 and hopefully let her cruise to victory.

Third Hand - Most everyone hit on this being a keepable hand, but the big thing to point out here is how to use those Arcane Focuses. Unless your Cressida opponent has mulligan'd down to four or something crazy, you probably aren't going to Verdict a Chlorophyllia and would rather save it for a later Eye of Creation. That means what you'll probably want to do instead is to pass on playing a T1 Focus and instead wait to see if you can get any better knowledge first. A T2 Periwinkle all but forces you to immediately search for a second Wild threshold and a Carnasaurus (even though you might just be dead if they have a 5 drop on turn 3), but the longer you can wait to play those Focuses the more information you can have available to make a good decision. At a minimum you probably are going to play Focus' until you can find a second Sapphire Threshold on turn 2 to ensure you can actually get your interrupts online, but much will depend upon what your first and second draw step as well as your opponents plays reveal.

Fourth Hand - This one is close, and really it depends greatly upon the makeup of your deck. Using Koma's winning build from the last IQ with 10 five-drop troops I'd probably keep this as you have ~34.5% chance to draw one of those five drop by your third turn, in which case you should typically cruise to victory (and even if you don't, Periwinkle by itself creates a sense of pressure for the opponent that will give you time to build into Rootfathers or Eyes, so really the biggest threat is them having the Carnasaurus). If I was playing a build with far fewer 5 drops, I would be less inclined to keep this hand as it isn't nearly as good if I am tapping the top of my deck while Master Mosses and Syyns appear for no syngergistic gain off of Periwinkle.

Thanks to everyone that posted!