Hello! FallenChameleon here with my first video where I walk us through a Masters Forge. I will go through every pick in detail and then proceed to play out the games. I take my time with my picks not just to be methodical, but to also give you, the viewer, additional time to think through each pick. Apologies for saying "he" and sometimes "she" for the AI, which I mean to refer to as "it"; I try to correct myself in the video where possible.
Provided below is a transcript with pick explanations for those who prefer text. Afterward, skip ahead to 10:00 in the video for the games.
Forging our deck:
Pick # 1
Clearly between Fearless Yeti and Shadowstalker. If this were draft I would absolutely pick the Fearless Yeti here: it's a solid two-drop. But in Forge, there are a few more decks with pesky units like Grenadin Drone, Ticking Grenadin and similar cards. The Fearless Yeti is still a very solid pick. Shadowstalker has a reasonable statline / skill if you can trigger Nightfall reliably which makes it a bit of a risky pick, but the upside of having an unblockable unit is reasonably high. The SS influence works against Shadowstalker and I think the pick is very close between the two. I go with Shadowstalker and will look for potential Nightfall synergy. Also of note, Shadow has access to slightly more removal than primal, and given that forge locks you into two faction decks, this is a slight nod to Shadowstalker as the pick.
Pick # 2
Between Workshop Tinker and Amethyst Acolyte. Sky Crew is not a terrible card, but 8 is a huge cost for an activation in Forge and a 2/4 for 4 is nothing to write home about. This sort of statline is said to "fail the vanilla test." [Editor's note: the "vanilla test" refers to whether you'd still play a unit if it were plain without text, i.e. expecting at least a 3/3 for 3 power] These other two cards are significantly better. Amethyst Acoloyte has a ton of value against the aggressive decks that want to develop one-drops. Acolyte will allow us to stay open and not finalize our last faction. However, Argenport is a strong option for Forge getting both evasive threats as well as removal and combat tricks. I'm happy to commit to Argenport right here and take Workshop Tinker which is a nice two-drop with some utility to discard an unplayable card (maybe a six-or seven-cost unit early or an extra power).
Scheme is okay for forge as a late pick if you happen to have forged a late game oriented deck that is more controlling and wants to find specific answers (rarely the case). I'm never picking it here, and I am seldom picking it at all if I can help it. Afterimage can help to push through damage, and the warp is nice but we don't always want to warp the card if we don't have a unit that needs the unblockable that turn. By process of elimination we pick Copperhall Herald which is quite a reasonable two-drop with some added value with the ultimate.
All three are good cards that I'm happy to have in my deck. If this were a late pick and I had an excessively high curve my pick would be different, but in this spot this is a slam dunk Valkyrie Denouncer. This is just a really solid threat with evasion and one of the reasons I was comfortable going for Argenport early.
Holdup is not a card you want in Forge; you want to be proactive, not playing an over-costed discard spell. Dark Wisp is okay, it can cycle but I go with Duskcaller here. It's a passable statline but I pick it because it allows us to develop potential synergy with Shadowstalker and it's a decent card in its own right.
Subvert is likely the worst pick here. We don't want to be spending four power to draw a random card from the AI's hand when we know their decks are worse than ours on average and the card can be dead late game and unplayable against aggro AI decks. Territorial Elf needs some setup to be good. A one health unit is not great for Forge as I explained earlier with Fearless Yeti. If we already had some weapons or combat tricks I'm happy to pick up the Elf. I go with Encouragment which is not a great trick, but it can help us push damage and Warp is nice. Unlike Afterimage, this trick is one I'm a little happier to draw into as it's much easier to be tempo-efficient at 2 power.
Between Frontier Confessor and Vile Varmint. With all else equal I'd go with Confessor but Varmint is still a deadly flier which is good against the AI as a blocker and deterrent for attacks against us. The Nightfall trigger tips me towards picking Varmint, as its improving our Shadowstalker.
Just a slam dunk Saddle Up. It's a good trick being a fast spell and +4/+4 for three is a fine rate. Tricks are premium cards against an AI opponent as they do not know to play around the tricks. The other two cards are unplayable.
Banished Umbren fails the vanilla test, and we would rather have a two-drop. Both of these are good two-drops (Minotaur Grunt and Longshot Marksman). I go with Marksman because the ultimate adds late game utility and having quickdraw makes combat tricks better. You can't go wrong with either of these two drops.
All three of these are good cards and are good in this deck so it's hard to make a mistake here. We don't have many four-drops which pushes me slightly towards Confessor or Peacekeeper's Helm. I went with Helm because the Rebuke from Spell Craft can help press and advantage with the Stun or stall for time. If we can pick up more fliers a weapon is nice as well and an unblockable Shadowstalker is a nice target as well. This pick is extremely close in my opinion.
Between Battlefield Scrounger, which is a solid two-drop, or Herald of the Parliament. Parliament is the evasive threat and that ultimate generates huge value. There is also slightly less AI removal (or rather the AI is likely more liberal with its use early) than in Draft and this is therefore slightly more safe to run out on turn three or maybe turn four than it would be in draft. Obviously, it works as a turn seven play in both forge and draft. A 4/4 Flying for four is terrific in limited.
A mediocre weapon, a three-cost spell that we discussed earlier, or a decent three-drop that continues to improve our Shadowstalker. Easy Duskcaller.
Betray the Cause has merit in gauntlet because the AI will not recognize its own unit and you can set up a nice two for one. But Victor's Cry is such a strong combat trick that pushes so much damage and comes back for more with revenge.
Coronal Umbren is great if you have wisps, bad otherwise as it is here. The two remaining cards are pretty mediocre. I go with Steady Marshal because we have one gunslinger and could possibly pick up more. These are all bad cards for us.
This one is between a mediocre removal spell and a great fixing Stranger. Easy choice.
There is no consideration here other than to take the six-cost fast spell that's unconditional removal. A 1/1 flier is not where we want to be, and we aren't a removal-heavy deck so Wanted Poster is questionable, but not completely unplayable. It's time we Cut Ties with this pick.
Three good cards. I prioritize removal and evasion very highly and Cut Ties is a decently good removal but not in the same league as something like Annihilate or Slay. We also have one already and multiple six-cost removal is clunky at times. We have a lot of three-drops as is so I wouldn't pick Acolyte here. I am happy to take the Fledgling.
Between Guard Dog, which is a solid three-drop, or Valkyrie Arcanist, which is a solid evasive six-drop. If our curve were heavy on late game cards I'd pick the Dog, but with our deck this is an easy Arcanist.
Umbren Coaxer is decent at gumming up the ground and trading with a big attacker while gaining health. But again, combat tricks are amazing in forge and this is a pretty easy Saddle Up.
Duelist is a decent card but not great with one health. It adds value to Steady Marshal and fits our curve well. Brightmace Paladin is a strong three-drop but we already have plenty threes so I opt for the second Helm.
There is no decision here. Strength of the Many is the pick. Steadfast Deputy, while having an aegis, has a very poor statline and the unit becomes irrelevant in the late-game except as a chump blocker. Lingering Influence has a useful Scout, but Forge decks have plenty of power already and we have a reasonable power curve. Strength of the Many is a solid combat trick which have a ton of value as the AI doesn't play around them.
None of these are that good. I pick the Back-Alley Bouncer to fill out the curve.
Between Sharpened Reflex and Graceful Calligrapher. Sharpened Reflex is a decent trick, but we have quite a few now. I am low on four-drops and a 3/4 endurance is quite strong. I really don't want a 1/2 for 2, even with ambush. Graceful Calligrapher is the pick.
Between Flight Lieutenant and Direwood Prowler. Six is easier to hit than seven power and we have a few two-drops and a one-drop that don't do much late game. I have some strong fliers already and I am happy to pick the Prowler.
Between Kyrex Coach Driver and Sheriff Marley. Coach Driver for the Nightfall synergy and because Deadly makes for great blockers vs the AI. But, Sheriff Marley is kind of a powerhouse—a 4/4 for 4 is playable already... add aegis, a power-sink to make chump blockers, and a silence with Tribute and it's an easy choice.
Let's get to the games! Skip ahead to 10:00 to watch this deck play out.