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  • Kevin Cote

Chaparral, Setting the Foundation for Forest and Earth Decks

Updated: Apr 19

What's up, Casters! Kevin here, with the first deck build of mznotepad! I wanted to start off this site with a strong foundation, and what's better than using Forest and Earth as ground zero?


Introduction

Cactus Cat and Snallygaster in a Chapparal background.
Dry, shrubby, and hot, Chaparral biomes are the perfect atmosphere for a Forest and Earth dual deck. Photo edit done by Kevin Cote. All rights reserved by original artists.

Battling Casters have already seen how potent Forest is in the early base set Meta, with high quality Beasties like Roperite and Gumberoo kicking the competition. However, almost all Casters on the MZ Discord have been sleeping on Earth, either due to a lack of available cards or the difficulty of working with it. Earth has very low support in the base set, only spurting ten unique cards in the Aura Type. While the current Earth line up seems fairly weak due to their high Aura Costs, one Beastie in particular shines above the rest: Cactus Cat! Not only is Cactus Cat a Tribal Boost Beastie, but it can easily carry a deck with high damage, Stoneskin, and a great card count of six per Spellbook. Earth is also the sole weakness of Lightning, which is favoring to be the top Aura Type in the Meta.


Not only does Forest and Earth go well together with Tribal Boost synergy, but they both cover each other's faults. Earth can resist the Fireballs and effect damage 1-Drop Forest beasties fall prey to, while Forest gives Earth some much needed card draw with Regrowth and good early game pressure. All this creates a potentially top tier deck! Let's check out the build below.


The Build

"Chaparral", Forest/Earth Midrange Deck (40 Cards)
Kevin Cote w/ M2 Binbin, 24 March 2021

Roperite x 5
Gumberoo x 2
Squonk x 1
Cactus Cat x 6
Tripodero x 1
Snallygaster x 1
(16 Beasties)

Rock Rain x 2
Regrowth x 1
Bookmark x 2
Powerup Red x 1
Chaos Potion x 1
Lightning In A Bottle x 2
Desert x 1
(10 Utility)

Forest Aura x 6
Earth Aura x 5
Earth's Core x 2
Chaos Crystal x 1
(14 Aura)

This build was actually something my guy Will and I collaborated on at 1 AM. We both had very similar versions of a Forest and Earth deck, with just minor card changes. So I want to acknowledge him for his help as well!


Win Condition: As a Midrange deck, Chaparral is looking to scale and trade favorably over time. Tribal Boost beasties can dominate a game if uncontested, and Cactus Cat in particular can be a nuisance without a proper counter. We're aiming to control the board early if possible, and continue building up a 3-4 beastie board that will assault opposing Casters when they have no more answers.


Page Breakdown

  • Roperite, Gumberoo, and Squonk are fantastic early to mid game Forest Beasties. Roperite is core to getting Convert swarms going and providing a Flying counter. While Gumberoo can be unstoppable, I feel like people will start adding in more counters to bouncy boy in the future, such as: Fireball, Chaos Potion, Lightning Bolt, Luck Potion with Paralyze pages, and of course Morpheus. Having two Gumberoos is good enough to apply Meta pressure while providing an out. I was tempted to replace Squonk with another Roperite. But personally, I find Squonk is just too good. A 1-Drop Beastie with 40 base damage and Tribal Boost is absolutely insane, and can handle even 2-Drop Beasties early game, especially enemy Tribal Boosted Beasties.

  • As mentioned earlier, Cactus Cat is core to Chapparal's damage output and win condition. If you got 2-3 Cactus Cat's with a Desert Terra out, you're probably going to win the game as you're swinging for over 100 damage per cat. The only other Earth Beastie I placed in was a single Tripodero, which is an answer versus a heavily defended threat. I've noticed how easy it is for swarm decks to defend a single Beastie, so Tripodero is the sniper we need. And in case we needed more tempo, two Lightning in a Bottle should be enough.

  • Snallygaster and Powerup Red both provide alternate win conditions. If we can't get our Tribal Boost swarm going, we can use either card to give sustained damage over time. And on its own, Snallygaster can easily close out games with a good board set up, before your opponent draws into their own bombs.



Above: Here are some good starting hands you should aim for, using real shuffles!

  • Having two Rock Rain is enough to answer Spirit and Flying threats. Rock Rain can also one shot the biggest Lightning threats, including Quetzalcoatlus, Metal Man of Alabama, and late game Dingbelle. We don't want to play Rock Rain too early, as we want to wait until we can play it for at least a 5-Aura drop. I splashed in a Chaos Potion to provide an extra out versus Spirit, Flying, or tanky beasties (like those affected by Powerup Red).

  • Regrowth and two Bookmarks are just staple cards for Forest decks. Because we have three draw cards in our Spellbook, our effective deck size is about 37 cards, which is not bad!

  • I cut Aura as far back as we could in this deck. We don't need any Forest God's Aember (Forest Aura Artifacts), since almost all of our Forest cards are 1-Drops. Aura is much more consistent early game as well: Aura Artifacts don't work turn 1! Earth's Core is imperative to get our Cactus Cat's out, and Chaos Crystal is a must for dual aura decks.


Pros

  1. Consistent win condition and set up.

  2. Forest/Earth dual typing resists getting sweeped due to type disadvantage.

  3. Can handle Meta Aura Types like Lightning, Frost, and Water.


Cons

  1. May struggle versus hard crowd control cards, particularly those from Spirit (Morpheus, Pyrokinetic blast, etc.).

  2. May be weak to Flame/Water dual decks (i.e., Steam Team).

  3. Like other Tribal Boost decks, can lose the game quickly if a board is not set up in time.


Conclusion


And that's Chaparral! I have not had time to run games with it yet, but theoretically speaking the deck has potential. I'll make an update post detailing how practice games ran with Chaparral, to see if it'll be Meta or not.


What do you folks think of Forest/Earth? Leave a comment down below, and thanks for reading!




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