Onslaught, the new expansion for Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions released a few weeks ago, bringing 128 new cards into the meta (the current competitive popularity of deck types). A couple of new deck types have emerged, and the popularity of Destruction Aggro Orruks appears to have waned slightly. In this article, we're going to take a look at one of the new strong meta decks, the Skarbrand Chaos deck.
We're going to look at this deck so that you can either try it out for yourself, or see why it's so strong, so that you can consider what your deck needs to be able to beat it. We're not going to cover the mechanics too much in this article, so if you are interested in Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions, check out our Core Set Introduction.
The deck looks a little like this (some variation may occur depending on player preference, and some cards can be replaced depending on the decks you are coming up against regularly):
- 2x Bloodreaver Chieftain
- 1x Skarbrand
- 1x Gaunt Summoner
- 1x Total Carnage
- 1x Soul Manipulation
- 1x Unrivalled Battle-Lust
- 1x Clawing Lava
- 3x Slashing Screamer
- 3x Fanatical Skullfiend
- 3x Starving Flesh Hounds
- 3x Brazen Skullgrinder
- 3x Bloodfury Wrathmonger
- 1x Blood Sacrifice
- 3x Pain-Induced Fury
- 1x Inferno Blades
- 3x Furious Strike
- 1x Scorn of Sorcery
- 3x Daemonic Fury
- 3x Opportunity Strike
Skarbrand is a new Unique Daemon Champion for Chaos in the Onslaught expansion. He's the sole reason for the big push with this deck in the current meta. His main power is that he increases the damage output from his lane by 3 when you have been reduced to 15 health or less. This is powerful with a lot of Khorne cards because they actually do damage to yourself, so getting to below 15 health early can be relatively simple, and then your own card's power and tempo increases.
Gaunt Summoner is used to recycle Daemon units from the discard pile to your hand, which in this deck are Slashing Screamers and Starving Flesh Hounds. He also works very well in combination with the new Soul Manipulation Blessing and some of the other spells that might not have been taken in an Aggro Chaos deck previously. The two Bloodreaver Chieftain's are a cheap way of flashing through their corners to get to blessings, as their corners are very easy to complete with the focused cards in the deck.
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The Blessings are a mix of new Onslaught Blessings and Blessings from the core set. Clawing Lava is a new neutral Blessing that can let you set up a powerful Opportunity Strike, which we will cover below. Soul Manipulation adds a bit more depth and flavor to the deck than previous pure Aggro decks might expect. There are 5 spells total in the deck, 3 of which are needed for the corners of the Gaunt Summoner, one of which can be from Soul Manipulation. This can build to an incredible chain if timed correctly and with some luck. The most common spell in the deck is Pain-Induced Fury, and you don't want more than 1 (2 at a push) on the board at any one time to get maximum value from it, so timing and card draws are the key to pulling it off.
Total Carnage plays very well into the Skarbrand deck, and doubles up your damage on another champion or Skarbrand if unlocked early. Unrivalled Battle-Lust damages yourself every turn that it is rotating on the board, but also increases your damage output.
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The core of the deck only contains 4 cards from Onslaught, the majority coming from the original core set of cards. This just shows the impact that Skarbrand has had to a deck that was already technically possible. When Skarbrand gets going, his damage output is very impressive.
Fanatical Skullfiend combos well with Pain-Induced Fury, and plays well with needing to be on 15 or less health to increase damage output, making the self-damage less of a negative. You do have to be careful about reducing your own health too far, but the idea is to be able to push out more damage than your opponent can do to you, ramping up to obscene levels when on 15 or less health before your opponent can defeat you.
Opportunity Strike is a straight 2 damage card, that can be used to simply rotate the damage corners of your Champions to work towards your Blessings. But if you draw it early in the game, before you opponent get to populate their board, it's a cheap 5 damage. If the stars align and you unlock the Total Carnage blessing on Skarbrand, this is a casual 8 damage even if your opponent has units in play. I include 3 copies in nearly all of my aggro decks, purely because it can be combo'ed and used to such great effect. It's a simple card, with a solid in-game impact.
Slashing Screamer is one of two daemon units in the deck. It plays well into the damaging yourself combo/mechanic, but also deals damage to you opponent, which can be boosted through Skarbrand and also allows you to remove troublesome units for an action, possibly setting up a powerful Opportunity Strike.
The deck does lack removal, so depending on what you're coming up against, you could easily swap in some removal cards, which would also help to get past the removal corner of the Gaunt Summoner.
We've only covered some of the cards in the deck, simply to make you aware of the available synergies and combos that make the deck so strong. Shutting down these combos, or being able to ramp up your own damage output are the key to beating the Skarbrand deck. When they drop to below 15 health, and their own damage output increases, shutting it down can be quite difficult, but their units can still be damaging themselves, so capitalise on that if able. Weathering the storm can be difficult, especially as they can recycle their daemon units from the graveyard.
A word of note, that although this deck does have a lot of synergies and aims to deal damage directly to your opponent in a very quick time, it's not as simple to pilot as the Aggro Orruk Destruction deck, which is very straight-forward in it's action. Simply lining this deck up and taking it to a tournament won't instantly win for you. Knowing the cards in your deck, what's coming up and planning your actions around the units that are used and available for future play is essential and practice with this deck shouldn't be taken for granted.
The Warhammer Age of Sigmar Champions Onslaught Cards that were used to test this deck were provided by PlayFusion.
If you try this deck out, let us know what you think of it, or let us know any changes you've made to the deck. What works for you? What doesn't. Do you play a different Grand Alliance? What deck is working for you at the moment? Do you think the reign of the Aggro Orruk Destruction deck is over? What is your favourite card from the Onslaught expansion? Let us know in the comments below.