The Alchemist’s Coffer – Wide Shiyana

(Shiyana, Diamond Gemini| Art by Mihail Spil-Haufter)

Hello there and welcome to the The Alchemist’s Coffer, where not all the ideas are beautiful, but the weird and unusual can shine. My name is Mari and I’ve been playing Flesh and Blood, as well as any other card game I can get my hands, on for years.

Regardless of what game I’m playing, my favorite part has and always will be jank. What is jank? It’s something weird and unusual that doesn’t really look like it should work or might not be the most efficient deck in the world. The coolest part is that it works and can get some games just on the weirdness.

So… Why Jank?

While some people don’t enjoy these types of decks, there is a certain joy in succeeding with the weird and unusual. Brewing jank piles can help improve deckbuilding and hone skills that you might not always use.

Where the innate power seems lacking compared to a more traditional competitive deck, jank lists have a few advantages.

First, you have the element of surprise. While someone can spend days practicing against the latest Bravo, Dash, and Briar lists floating around, when you play a jank pile, very few people will know what to expect. This is most apparent with a hero like Shiyana, Diamond Gemini who has a variety of deck choices.

Second, for the price of playing something unconventional, you get access to more unique synergies, such as cards like Whirling Mist Blossom that always threatens a draw two after any attack and contributing a draw to Spring Tidings.

Third, jank is fun. It might not be everyone’s thing to play something sub-optimal just for some laughs, but for others, getting to watch their Rube Goldberg machine work can bring a dumb grin to their face like none other.

Another updside is the story factor. Getting pummeled to death by Crippling Crush is nothing new, but dying to a copy of your own Crippling Crush after watching a pile of weak snatches going eight chain links wide? That will be something not easily forgotten. Additionally when you pilot jank decks, interactions and rulings that might not usually happen crop up, and can show you lines of play you might not usually notice otherwise. Whether a cheaper pile, or filled with more costly staples to make the deck more powerful, jank will always have its benefits and drawbacks.

In any game with hundreds, if not thousands, of combinations of cards and heroes some combinations of cards are going to be overlooked or just considered too jank, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes those underdog, jank, weird decks just need some time developed to showcase a new idea and strategy. Those weird decks won’t always be cheap or straightforward, but they can let a few unique cards shine where conventional decks might leave these hidden gems of ideas to rot.

Imposter Syndrome or Diamond in the Rough?

Jank has its merits, sure, but why this Shiyana, Diamond Gemini deck? Wide Shiyana was made with a single goal in mind: to draw as many cards as possible. Because of that fact, almost every attack in the deck contributes to that goal, and as FAB’s tempo can be hand size, most cards in this deck threaten a swing in tempo to you if your opponent doesn’t give up a card or two to stop you from drawing. Along with every card being relevant, the deck’s cost curve is very aggressive, with the ability to play most hands off of a single resource or two.

With the advent of Dusk Till Dawn, Shiyana got access to more specializations to vary more playstyles. Call Down the Lightning, for example, is a good option for a more aggressive deck like this one. So if you’re inclined to press the advantage and see as many cards as possible while doing so, this could be a solid deck choice for you.

Just because a deck is jank, doesn’t mean all of its pieces are. Utilizing powerful game staples such as Art of War and Enlightened Strike helps us apply more offensive pressure. A good inclusion alongside Art of War, Force of Nature is another great tool this deck has at its disposal to threaten additional draws. Besides Force of Nature, this pile is utilizing Plunder Run to gain tempo and draw cards. For general utility the deck has Coax a Commotion, a powerful card that can improve our turn with two of its three possible modes should it hit, as well as a lone copy of Give and Take, which, while it’s a departure from the constant pressure the deck wants to apply, can add back copies of your other cards to the top of the deck if it’s blocked.

An Inventory of Oddballs

As far as equipment goes, each piece in this lineup has a purpose. Crown of Providence is one of the best generic head pieces in the game. While it may be infamous, its recent reprint is very handy. In addition to having two block, it also helps us smooth and fix questionable hands. Blossom of Spring, while not able to block or replenish its resource gain like its big sister Fyendal’s Spring Tunic, does allow you to gain a resource on the first few turns of the game if you need it. Though if the game seems like it may go rather long, Tunic is a viable option as well. Pick your poison for each matchup.

Cracker Jax is probably the oddest equipment in the deck, but comes in handy to help force more annoying break points and attack values of your attacks as well as turning on Force of Nature to draw an extra card if your opponent doesn’t block. Snapdragon Scalers works well in any deck leveraging low cost attack actions to extend a turn. Then there’s the main and off-hand options for Shiyana, thanks to Vynnset having her own specialization weapon, in Flail of Agony. Because of Flail’s addition to Shiyana’s card pool, we get access to a one-handed weapon. Flail also gives us a pseudo-free weapon attack at the end of a long chain and can make a Runechant if it hits. More importantly, this one-handed weapon gives us access to Ornate Tessen to filter into what we need and Arcane Lantern to help with arcane decks.

As far as the sideboard is concerned, the deck is using it to add more defense. Nullrune Hood, Nullrune Gloves, and Arcane Lantern are your pieces of arcane barrier for when dealing with Runeblade and Wizard. And Ironhide Legs is for matchups with dominate and when extra block is needed.

An Alluring Option

All in all, Wide Shiyana is a very interesting deck that does what Shiyana does best, using powerful cards from other heroes to her advantage. With a relatively unknown deck concept and plenty of room to iterate upon and tune, this unique deck stands poised to steal some wins and spark creativity for new and interesting brews with lesser looked at heroes and cards. I hope to see you snatching cards (and wins) from your opponents with this deck!

Mari is a Flesh and Blood player who enjoys a good session of deckbuilding more than playing the actual game at times, though both sides of the game are her passion. A former Azalea main she has put her bow away in favor of concocting odd brews, having yet to find a true favorite deck again. Coming from a slew of different card games including Magic The Gathering the resident jank specialist is here to brew and jam games... so long as she isn't distracted by other games or creative writing.