Rotation Swordcraft has changed a lot after Arthur got nerfed, since then people have tried to use the Loot/Latham decklist. My personal favorite list made by myself uses Jiraiya.  I’ve played some games using this deck and managed great results in Grand Master Ranked.

What are the Advantages?

This deck gains a lot of value from the follower-based strategy, which is strong and fun to play. Playing Jiraiya is crucial mostly against decks that bring big followers because you can outplay them easily.

How does the deck work?

The entire deck aims for board advantage, it’s just a matter of knowing how to use it properly. Here is my advice on using the deck;

  • Rapier Master: Keeping this card in opening hands isn’t very good against most of the decks in the meta but if you’re playing against Bloodcraft or Runecraft, you should probably keep the card because early followers work well against decks which are slow. During the late game, if you already have Latham’s effect, top decking Rapier Master can be good because she gains Storm and you can have a 6/6 follower with Ward and Bane.
  • Chromatic Duel: This is something you should keep in the opening hand against most of the decks because both Hemera and Magnus work well. If you’re playing against Runecraft, you mostly will opt to pick Magnus and play it when evolution is active for you because most of Rune removals are damage-based but beware of Fiery Embrace. Meanwhile, against Bloodcraft, Forestcraft, and Portalcraft, Hemera is very good because she’s basically a removal because of the rush and she also generates a soldier when she attacks, putting the opponent into a 3 for 1 trade if they don’t use any abilities or spells.
  • Sky Commander Celia: Keeping Celia in the opening hand isn’t really good against most decks if you’re going second but if you’re going first and there’s no other 2pp card in hand, you might want to keep it because a 2/2 follower is good for a turn 2 play. Usually on turn 5 if there are no followers on board at my side and the opponent’s, I would play the Celia into the Hope mode to fill my board. If you’re on a board advantage, there’s no need to play Celia quickly because the Despair mode is a good finisher.
  • Servant of Usurpation: This card is the best turn 2 play against decks except for Runecraft because he dies to Magic Missile and Forestcraft because he dies to Insect Lord easily.
  • Usurping Spineblade: If you’re facing Swordcraft or Bloodcraft, this card is a must keep card because removal is crucial in those matchups. Never keep this against Runecraft and Havencraft because it can be a dead card in hand since those decks don’t have many followers.
  • Lancer of the Tempest: Why am I bringing this card? The card is a good removal in case you need it on turn 3. It’s rush with 3/2 body and it can get rid a 1/x (x=3 or less) while staying alive. In the mid game, this card works well against Shadowcraft because this card can get rid of Cerberus and her minions easily.
  • Valse, Magical Marksman: If you’re facing Swordcraft, Bloodcraft, Havencraft, or Portalcraft this is a must keep in the opening hand. Up against Havencraft which usually is a Tenko deck; or Portalcraft which usually is a Lishenna deck, taking the Holy Purebomb is very crucial against them to get rid of their win condition. Meanwhile, against Sword and Blood, the Fatal Spellbomb works as a good tempo play.
  • Disciple of Usurpation: The card itself is already good because it has 3 effects for a 3 drop and doesn’t require Evolution points to maximize its power.
  • Octrice, Omen of Usurpation: This card works very well against decks with Last Words followers especially Shadowcraft. On turn 8, the card is also good because the free Evolve and gaining 2 loot cards can be game-changing sometimes.
  • Frontline Cavalier: The card is good when the board is empty on both sides and you have an Evolution point.
  • Apostle of Usurpation: He’s a good follower that can remove small followers easily while presenting a big threat on the field with his stats.
  • Dragon Knights: These are good followers, turn 5 Vane and Evolve hitting an opponent follower is the best tempo against follower-based decks. Turn 5 Lancelot and Evolve going face when playing against Blood and they have no board is also a good play because you need to go fast against Bloodcraft.
  • Zeta, Crimson Lancer: She has a big power that can remove a big follower easily and sometimes stay alive because she has 5 defense. Also, when she attacks she gives you Beatrix and it’s very good to have a Storm on hand.
  • Gilnelise, Omen of Craving: Basically I bring her because she’s a follower that can pump the other followers and gain additional advantages because of her other effects and stats.
  • Latham, Honorable Knight: The card is the most powerful card in the deck because the 1/1 soldiers generated from any follower attacking are very crucial against all decks.
  • Jiraiya: He’s a good tempo play when you play him at either 2 pp or 9 pp with a board because changing a big statted follower into a 1/1 can allow you to just ignore that follower and hit face for a tempo play.

It’s Synergy Time!

  • Turn 2 Servant of Usurpation into Turn 3 Jiraiya on an opponent’s follower with higher stats is my favorite play because you can trade the Servant into it, you remove a follower efficiently and grow your Servant.
  • Latham + Frontline Cavalier = Free life gain.
  • Latham + Hope Celia = Free storm for Celia’s Minions.
  • Latham + Jiraiya = Free removal on a lot of opponents’ boards that have big power.
  • Latham + Turn 10 Rapier Master = A 6/6 follower with Storm, Bane, and Ward.
  • Loot cards = You can get loot cards easily with the deck and abuse it with followers that have effects when you play the loot cards like Apostle and Disciple.

The Downside of the Deck

The deck is mostly a board control deck with follower-based gameplay and because of that, the deck doesn’t really do much against decks that don’t have a lot of followers like Havencraft and Runecraft. You might want to go fast against those decks because they win late game but remember to not run out of gas while going aggressive on your opponent.

Performance on Ranked Ladder?

The deck is good on ranked because it doesn’t require much deep calculation so it won’t take up too much time and effort but still, it’s a grindy deck so you need to think about saving resources rather than using stuff like the Loot cards in unnecessary situations.

The Matchups

VS Shadowcraft: If you have good tempo plays + Latham on turn 8 and draw some Octrices, the chance of winning will be good.

VS Havencraft: This is the worst matchup for me because Haven has a lot of board wipes, although if you manage to Magnus with a big board before Haven’s turn 8 (Themis potential) you should be winning.

VS Runecraft: Runecraft is also a bad matchup because they basically just remove your followers in the early game but don’t fear playing against it because you still have Magnus to be your most powerful midgame tempo play.

VS Portalcraft: If you’re facing the Lishenna version, you should be winning if you draw your Valse. Other than that, the match will be a super grindy match. Octrice will be one of the key cards to beat the Artifact version because you can steal the draw Last Words from the Analyzing Artifact.

VS Bloodcraft: This is one of the good matchups because if you manage to control the field, Blood basically loses. Octrice also works very well against a turn 3 Purehearted Singer.

VS Dragoncraft: Before Galmieux was nerfed, facing this deck was very hard because Galmieux destroyed your tempo plays easily. After Galmieux got nerfed, people are back to trying the ramp version together with the PDK version and if they manage to ramp fast and get to Poseidon on turn 5 or 6 you will be in a hard situation if you don’t have a Jiraiya on hand.

VS Forestcraft: I would like to say that this is a 50 – 50 matchup because basically, the one who gets to remove and develop the board first wins. Beware of Insect Lord into your Servant of Usurpation because it’s the worst thing for you to happen in the early game.