Welcome to Rogue Deck Doctor, the place where I take your craziest ideas and like the unhinged mad scientist I truly am, make them come to life.
So let us embrace our inner Frankenstein and see what unhinged abominations we can make come to life today as we investigate…
This journey is not for the faint of heart, but I’ll guide you step by step as we approach our final product.
Together we shall gaze into the spiraling abyss of deckbuilding and refuse to be intimidated as we plumb its depths. Together we shall find if gold or dross awaits us, and perhaps learn a thing or two about the process itself along the way.
What is Gwen-Finity
The basic concept is to take a Hallowed deck and achieve infinite attacks with it. We can do this because the lovely Eternal Dancers fail to have one important phrase in their text box: “The First Time.”
Yes! Without that all-important wording, this powerful unit will trigger its ability every time we attack. So all we need to do to achieve our desired infinity is make sure every attack gives us another, and another, and another, and another.
There are, I believe, five ways in the game to make this happen (and, wouldn’t that make a fun jeopardy question over Jasensational’s Monday Game Show?). Dragonguard Lookout, Incisive Tactician, Tianna Crownguard, Katarina, and Ruined Reckoner.
Each of these, if in the pool of dead units when Eternal Dancers attack with sufficient power, will trigger a continuing infinity of assaults which shall last until your opponent ceases to function.
The question then is: which of these are the best prospects to build around?
Well… I think that, unfortunately, the original angry woman herself is going to get ruled out due to power concerns. Buffing our unit all the way up to eight attack is certainly doable, but it's sufficiently difficult that we really don’t want it as an added constraint onto our already delicate combo.
For similar reasons, we'll be forced to discard Dragonguard Lookout. While once could certainly theorize a Dragon-centric infinite rally deck, it is once again an added hurdle that we have to behold a Dragon to make our plan function. Our endeavor is already complex enough, so we’d like to avoid those.
That leaves our remaining three options, all in Noxus, solving the topic of our region combination: we will use Shadow Isles/Noxus, and we shall attempt to gain infinite attack steps as consistently and quickly as possible.
This word can mean a couple of different things.
First, I am looking for how often I can assemble my combo. That means I would like to fit more than just the two pieces, if I can manage it. Perhaps we can find room for both Katarina and Ruined Reckoner in our little mélange?
That’s still not quite enough for me, though: having only three copies of Eternal Dancers will cause some serious issues. Luckily for us, Stalking Shadows can find all of our pieces, presuming we’re willing to use the followers to get things done.
We also probably want to make sure we’re getting through our deck at a reasonable pace, so Glimpse Beyond can help us with that, and double as a way to get Katarina killed for Eternal Dancers to bring back.
It does add a problem of its own, though: what shall we sacrifice to the hungry gods that give us our card draw?
Well, when you have one problem, you have a problem.
But when you have two problems, you occasionally have a solution in disguise.
Didn’t I mention consistency was more than one thing?
This is one crucial factor for any combo deck.
You aren’t going to be able to do anything consistently if you keep getting beat up by all the aggro bullies before you can get it done. Small early-game units are what we’re looking for here, to jump in front of our attackers and be lovely Glimpse Beyond targets.
Luckily Gwen has brought quite a few of those with Boisterous Host, Phantom Butler, Conductor Of The Mists, and even Strike Up The Band, to punish our opponent for developing into our board with a myriad of musical blockers stopping them in their tracks.
Also, solidly in the early-game “We like not dying,” slot, I’ll throw in a few Vile Feasts just for spice…
… but that’s not just a dumb dude to block whatever’s coming for our poor vulnerable nexus. No, no, no: that’s the beginning of the entire next section, which any solid deck needs.
Yes: more than just getting in their way, you’ll often need a way to stop whatever nasty thing your opponent invariably has planned for you.
Our regions don’t really give us a solid way to protect our own combo – no Deny nor Rite of Negation here – but we can at least make the other person’s life harder.
We already have Katarina and Vile Feast to provide us with some ping assistance, which leads me in the direction of arguably Noxus’s single best removal spell. That’s right, the flocks are getting ravenous at the party Gwen is hosting tonight!
And everyone knows that when the Ravenous Flock comes a calling it brings its favorite spidery friend alongside. Arachnoid Sentry is a solid tempo protection card on its own, but with the added benefit of making our four-damage removal live, a few copies are an absolute must.
This brings us to the last couple of cards in our deck…
… and this is the point where we really need to start asking the important questions about what our deck is missing.
All decks will of course have different levels and priorities on each of these, but the basic checkmarks on my notepad here include the following:
- A way to win,
- A way to make that win consistent,
- A way to consistently spend our mana in the first few rounds,
- A way to stop our opponent’s from winning with attackers,
- A way to stop our opponent’s from winning with backliners,
- A way to deal with our opponent developing into us before attacking,
- A way to deal with an open attack,
- A backup plan.
Well, our win is rather straightforward – attack someone often enough and they’ll fall over. Infinity should just about get it done no matter how stubborn the blocker.
We addressed our consistency issues with card draw at the beginning, so we’re probably alright in that regard.
The small units should stop us from being overrun, and allow us to spend our mana, and we’ve got at least a sprinkling of interaction now, although some more certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Development punishes are to be had in plenty. Any opponent foolish enough to try to get an on-board advantage against us will have to contend with Stun Spiders and boards full of Ephemeral blockers.
On the other hand, our plans to foil open attacks are rather scarce, though. Currently only Vile Feast or Ravenous Flock help us out.
Last but not least we do quite the solid backup plan. Even if we’re not going infinite, taking multiple attacks with a Hallow-stacked Gwen will quite often be sufficient to destroy an opponent. Hitting the opponent's nexus with a few large drains should suffice for them to fall over, after all.
It seems like what we could use here would be a bit of extra interaction and some more ways to punish open attacks.
I don’t know about you, but to me that just screams Vengeance, or perhaps Shadow Isles Tellstones, which can double as a small amount of protection for our key units in a pinch.
And there’s just one more thing we need to make this dream a reality. I wonder if you’ve been thinking I’d forgotten: what are we to do if our ever so rude opponent decides to block our Eternal Dancers? It would make it hard to realize our infinite dream if our trigger card just dies to a random unit.
Well, worry no further, because Lamb's Respite is here to save the day. Not exactly the most bulletproof engine we’ve assembled here, but if we can put all of it together then the dream of infinite attacks shall come our way.
And even when we don’t, we’ll still do some rather powerful things!
At this point, our deck looks like this:
We’ve made it all the way up to forty cards, but there’s definitely some tweaks we can make before we take it for a go on ye’ olde ladder.
First of all, I’ll notice there are only five champions. Simply put, three Katarina will almost never be correct. That does mean we have a floating slot, though, so who gets the nod?
I think in this case we can make a small trim to our Hallowed count by cutting one Conductor Of The Mists, and fit in a lone Thresh. What better way to retrieve our lost win conditions, after all, than to simply lantern in an extra copy from our deck?
I’ll also note that decks like ours can often experience significant benefit from including a singleton copy of The Ruination. Drawing it can be a complete blowout, and simply forcing our opponent to play around it – or else get punished – adds another entire dimension to the deck for comparatively little cost. I’m happy to snip one of our Strike Up The Band to make room.
That leaves us with the following conglomeration of carefully constructed cards:
It’s alive I tell you! Alive! Muahahahhahahaha!
Yes, well, ahem.
Maniacal cackling aside, the last step is to go out and actually test the crazy thing to start making real-world adjustments and see what shenanigans it can get up to when set free on its own.
I’ll offer a few pieces of play advice before I send you off into the world.
First, for decks like this, and unless you are playing into quite a slow opponent, don’t look to keep your combo pieces in your opening hand.
You’re not going to make the dream happen until round six at the earliest, so you’ve got some time. Instead, go looking for solid pieces of early game to survive and interact with, and trust your combo to come find you.
If you are playing into an opponent with solid removal options you may have to be very patient to get your combo online. Look for ways to pressure them with your plan B – attacking with Hallowed units and a large Gwen – to force their resources away from your precious Eternal Dancers.
The nice thing is that, with a six-point health stat, your most important piece is somewhat difficult to deal with. The other half of your combo wants to be dead, so unless your opponent is packing Obliterates you should be good to go – and even if they do bring Obliterates to the fight, Glimpse Beyond can save you.
I wish you all great luck out there with this crazy nonsense, and until I see you next time here on Rogue Deck Builder I’ll leave you with the mangled words of my favorite crazy astronaut:
“To Gwen-Finity, and BEYOND!”