Artifacts PtP – Made Simple & Accessible
Fortune’s Hand (Pre-Mini) – Unlimited
Author : MS Finalys (04-Jul-2020)
Artifacts PtP (abbreviated: Path to Purgatory) is a staple Portalcraft deck in the Unlimited format. Initially conceived as a meme with concepts borrowed from Forestcraft PtP two years ago, the deck has received numerous support over the past few expansions and have finally attained a state where it is a versatile and viable deck to play.
For the uninitiated, the deck primarily revolves around winning the game with PtP. Portalcraft has several tools that can help achieve the 30-shadows condition quickly and efficiently while responding to an opponent’s threat or creating a threatening boardstate.
I have always been a believer in making fun and affordable decks that is accessible for most players to enjoy. While fun is subjective, affordable is definitely a measurable metric. In the past, I have shared a baka-roach and Discard-Dragonewt OTK deck. In this guide, I will share the deck that I’ve used and my own perspective while playing Artifacts PtP.
Setting Expectations Right
Before I jump straight into the deck, I would like to share some information regarding the Unlimited format. If you perceive Rotation as a “toxic” environment, then very likely you will think that Unlimited is a giant septic tank. However, if you still wish to take a dip into the murky waters, then it is best that you lower your expectations so that you tilt less.
Games in Unlimited tend to end before Turn 7 or less than 10 minutes. You will witness the atrocities and bullshit of some decks, thinking how some of these are even allowed.
Rest assured, Artifact PtP has its own powerful plays as well.
It is best not to take Unlimited to the heart. Take it easy. Sometimes you win fast, or lose fast.
This is the list that I ran which is created with PtP and affordability in mind. You can access the decklist on shadowverse-portal in this link.
The deck runs NO legendary cards. The cost of the deck is 17,300 vials, which can be reduced to 12,350 vials if you have previously attained the tie-in cards from tie-in events (Focus, Augmentation Bestowal, Artifact Call). This makes it very accessible to new players.
The list differs slightly from what you would see on sites such as shadowverse.gamewith.jp and shadowverse-wins.com where the usual variant runs Shion and Kaiser. Both decks have a slightly different approach when it comes to play style, which will be elaborated further in the mirror matchup section below. As a Shion-less variant, the focus is primarily on activating PtP through an aggressive shadow generation.
** I will only be going through a select few cards that I deem are the most important in the deck.
One of the most versatile cards ever printed in Shadowverse. Most of the time you will be picking Analysing Artifacts to cycle through the deck.
When you are close to closing off the game, you will go for Radiant Artifact, which can be combined with Biofabrication to insert more copies in your deck for you to have more outs of winning.
Paradigm Shift is usually selected if you have many artifacts that can be destroyed, or when you are in need of healing with Keenedge Artifact.
There is no benefit in picking Bifurcating Artifact simply because it is not a threatening play. It messes with the pool of Artifact Scan later on in the game.
Mugnier, in my opinion, is one of the best cards both in terms of art and effect. This cute little girl will mess your opponent up by removing their effect and banishing their amulets. Further elaboration will be discussed in the below sections.
Nilpotent on the other hand is a great staller since there are many threats that deal a shitload of damage in a single turn (usually Shadowcraft or decks with PtP). However, it bears the curse of being a 1PP amulet, making it susceptible to Seraphic Blade.
The turn where you make a comeback, and become an APM god.
Acceleratium is your key enabler. It gives Rush, it refunds your PP, most importantly your Analysing Artifacts can now smash themself. However do take note of boardlocks.
Augmentation Bestowal is your key engine. Card is pretty self-explanatory; play an artifact, get your PP refund and get a free card. However do take note of overdrawing.
Free Shadows for no cost
While each card has its own specific usage, they play an important second role which is generating free shadows. Simply play the spells, burn some cards occasionally and you might set up PtP earlier than expected.
Mulligan & Matchup
|Against Shadowcraft & Dragoncraft||Against Portalcraft & Bloodcraft|
|Artifact Call||Keep||Only with Mechanization|
|Mechagun Wielder||Only with Metaproduction||NO|
To keep things simple, I will focus on the top four classes that are represented in Unlimited at this point of writing this guide. These four classes are the ones that Artifacts PtP have the best odds of winning.
Augmentation Bestowal and Acceleratium are the key cards you must ALWAYS prioritise over others. The engine is too precious to toss away, and you will most likely get your other cards once the engine starts revving. Artifacts PtP is rather flexible when it comes to mulligan, there are however several cards that are more crucial in some matchups over others. In my personal experience, I have distilled down the important cards to keep and it is not necessary to always mull aggressively for Augmentation Bestowal and Acceleratium. Additionally, it is ideal to keep one copy of each of the cards rather than multiple copies since each card serves a different purpose on their own; an artifacts-generator, an artifact-searcher, or simply drawing power.
This is just my personal perspective; as you play more games and familiarize yourself with the different matchups, you may develop your own preference when it comes to the mulligan and refine your mulls accordingly to your play-style. If you are just starting out, get a hang of how each card works in the early and mid-game. Do not over-restrict yourself when it comes to the mull.
The primary decks you will see in Shadowcraft are Minthe-Double-Tyrant or Burial-Atomy. Nilpotent is a must in this matchup in order to buy yourself turns to generate 30 shadows while trying to stay alive. Against Minthe-Tyrant, slam down Nilpotent before entering the opponent’s Turn 6 if Gremory’s effect is active. In the worst case scenario, it buys at least a turn assuming that the opponent removes Nilpotent after playing a Deathly Tyrant.
Against Burial-Atomy, do not rush to slam down Nilpotent, especially if you have the combo coming up. Burial-Atomy is usually the easier matchup for you since the tall bodies provide an excellent opportunity to make a comeback and comfortably set down Nilpotent. It is okay to take some damage (Yes, 13 damage) since Burial-Atomy’s usual way of winning is through huge damage chunks. This is not a significant threat to Artifact. Mugnier is also great against Burial-Atomy since you can banish Staircase to Paradise or Coffin of the Unknown Soul to deprive them of draws and make Atomy turns less threatening. Remember not to panic especially against an Turn 3 Atomy turn. Deep breaths, hope for the best, and let your fingers run through the Augmentation turns.
Against Dragoncraft (Specifically, Dragon Roost variants)
There are 3 main variants that run the Discard package, Justice-Storm, or Zell-Dagon but I will be talking about the overall plan against any generic Dragon Roost players. Nilpotent is extremely important against all variants since the opponent will be trying to unleash an OTK. In this case sometimes you may have to preemptively slam down Nilpotent (especially against incoming Zooey/Storm chains) to mitigate the damage taken.
PtP is not your main priority in this matchup. As artifacts, the deck have enough resources to outgrind a Dragon player thanks to Keenedge Artifact and Focus. Focus can be safely played on 3 since there is usually no board for the Dragon player. Focus should also be used for healing in the late game. In certain scenarios PtP may be required to remove huge bodies. Beware of potential boardlock since your opponent can simply wait out for Nilpotent to expire while slamming down beautiful chocolate girls to buy turns (Zooey).
Mugnier plays a somewhat important role in this matchup. If the opponent slams down Dragon Roost, you may choose to banish it to delay your opponent’s gameplan (assuming they did not have their key cards in hand). Otherwise, if there are already 2 Dragon Roost in play, it is pointless to banish it, so start packing your survival kit.
It is safe to make some assumptions about a typical Artifact Portalcraft opponent:
 They run Shion and Kaiser;
 They run Nilpotent and Mugniers;
 There is at least one PtP in their deck.
Being the unorthodox player who forsaken Shion, there are some realities we must face as well: our board state can never be as huge as their Shion-buffed board. Therefore a prudent approach would be to take a defensive stance and play reactively. I personally try not to attempt to make a board unless I am very confident that the opponent has no answer. This brings me to my second point: the opportune time to slam Mugnier.
Mugnier is a key decider in the mirror. Suppose your opponent has gone all in with a board of Analysing Artifacts and an Acceleratium; that is a great Mugnier turn to deny his draws and disable his Acceleratium. With regards to  and , going second might prove beneficial with extra evos available to disable your opponent’s PtP or Nilpotent for lethal.
Now back to , with the assumption that our opponent runs Kaiser, that means on an equally matched engine, we have an advantage in terms of generating shadows since we want to play reactively, meaning we get an active PtP set up earlier. However in rare instances where games drag out till beyond Turn 10 (thanks to Nilpotent mirrors), Kaiser can be devastating for us to deal with since it does not get destroyed by a single PtP and heals your opponent. Therefore, it is important to consider late game turns with your Paradigm Shift/Syntonisation; Keenedge Artifact for heals if you predict your opponent would be kind to drop a body for you, or Airstrike/Radiant Artifact to push for damage.
The two main variants are Aggro Bloodcraft and Wrath Bloodcraft. Against the aggro nature of both decks, it is important to play to survive until we have our combo turn. The troubling thing about Aggro Blood is Yurius, which is a pain to deal with when Artifacts try to bust out their combo. A way to mitigate damage would be slamming down Mugnier to remove the effect (however you still take the damage for Mugnier entering the play), or evolving an Ancient Artifact. Playing Focus on Turn 3 is generally fine if you are going to play your combo on Turn 4. There is also a consideration to slam an early Nilpotent to mitigate Yurius evolve on Turn 4 or picking Paradigm Shift from Syntonisation.
Mugnier is also a key card in negating Jormungand turns, but not that crucial in dealing with Flauros in Wrath Blood. For both decks, if you manage to survive comfortably or set up an active PtP early enough, you would have pretty much won the game.
Against Other Classes
The other classes are generally those that Artifacts PtP have difficulty in dealing with, or defaults back to the usual strategies/concepts above. I will further talk about a few decks that are represented at a lower proportion at this point of writing this guide.
Let’s start off with some of the worst matchups.
One of your worst matchups unfortunately. Even with Nilpotent, Roach Forest still has a lot of ways to bounce Roach and deal many 3 pings. Furthermore, there are not many bodies for you to smash Analysing Artifacts in, which means a slower deck cycle, and a slower PtP.
Arcane Shop Rune
Your worst nightmare. If you already hate this deck in Rotation, you will also hate this deck in Unlimited. No bodies, what else can I say? (we don’t run Shion too…)
Earth Rite PtP
This deck is pretty much a joke to Artifact PtP. It is simply an imitation of Artifacts PtP with an Earth Rite twist. Artifacts are generally much faster when it comes to generating shadows and more efficient in doing so. Mugnier does wonderfully in this matchup both in removing key amulets and effects.
Mugnier cleaning the dirt off the floor
Summit Temple Haven
This is a 50-50 matchup in my opinion. Damage is slightly harder to mitigate in this matchup especially if your opponent has an early Temple set up.
Mugnier somewhat helps in this matchup with her banish effect (you have to hope that your opponent doesn’t have a second copy). A preemptive Nilpotent is your second best option if your opponent still has Temple on board. The last resort would be using Paradigm Shift for Keenedge Artifacts (to heal out of lethal range) or Barrier Artifact (if the heal does not put you out of lethal range). Familiarise yourself with the usual Summit Temple turns, such as Turn 6 Aether of the White Wing into Justine, Holy Al-mi’raj.
Tips for Playing
 Aim to play fast, then aim to play right.
While it sounds kind of strange, please remember that Artifacts is heavily reliant on Augmentation Bestowal and Acceleratium for its power turn. To make that comeback you need to have speed. Imagine yourself as a Korean Starcraft player, that is the speed you must push yourself to be. If you have previously played Mach-Elana Haven from World Uprooted Rotation, you would already have some experience or a glimpse of what APM you would need. Familiarise yourself with the start of the combo engine and then let your fingers run free.
Reiterating my point from setting expectations; take it easy. You do not have to put yourself in a pressure of “always making the right play”. You do not need to always be PP-efficient, or hand size-efficient when it comes to the power turn.
It is okay to burn cards (that’s still free shadows), it is okay to have an half-assed board. It is okay to just play Artifact Scan/Artifact Call and get one Artifact. Do not be lost in trying to make plays that maximises utility. Who knows, your opponent might not even have an answer for your ridiculous turn even if you played it badly (unless it’s an Artifacts mirror).
 Shadow Management
While trying to build up to 30 shadows, keep a lookout for opportunities where you could have got free shadows. Artifact Scan is a great 0PP spell that helps to generate up to 3 shadows. It can also be used to generate at least 2 shadows when you have a full hand (1 for spell, 1 from burning).
Also, it is good to keep track of the key cards remaining in your deck. You can even consider bringing a pen and paper but that’s just overkill in my opinion. This is important when deciding to go all in to excavate for PtP or other key cards. If done correctly and with a combination of luck, you can set up an amazing Turn 4 PtP.
Mitigating damage with Nilpotent & PtP, and counting cards in the late game: https://youtu.be/RjX0mf8ZSPw
 Deck Management (in the early game)
Extending from , I’ve talked a little about tracking key cards remaining in the deck. In the early game, it is important to NOT stuff your deck with artifacts unnecessarily. This is especially so if you do not have Acceleratium which will hinder the process of cycling through your deck. Biofabrication and Mechanization should be played usually alongside artifact pullers such as Artifact Call or with Augmentation Bestowal online.
 Never give up.
I can’t stress this enough. This is the final tip I can think of and it applies to not just Artifacts PtP specifically. Sometimes when all seems lost, just remember and believe in yourself.
PtP is not the only way to beat the game; you have to be flexible and change your game plan if you are met with the worst.
Survive; find ways to out grind your opponent; find ways to get lethal.
Surviving without PtP clip: https://youtu.be/-8pYzKgGcAU
Artifacts PtP is a strong deck that has a decent chance against many decks in Unlimited. It is relatively cheap and it helps to train the player to play fast, and think flexibly to a certain extent. I hope my perspective has helped to convince you to try out this deck, understand this deck, and dare to think differently. Hopefully, this deck will enlighten you the wonders of Mugnier as well and persuade you to run more copies in both Rotation and Unlimited.
If you do pick up this deck, I hope you have fun playing it in Unlimited.
- shadowverse-wins.com for featuring my lovely streak.
- DB Zhiff for inspiring me to write an article on Artifact Portalcraft too.
- Behind The Card for featuring my deck (the earlier version)
- ManaSurge for the memes and support.
- And you for reading 🙂