Portalcraft: Mastering Artifacts
Portalcraft has come into the game with tons of fun new mechanics however, one in particular has risen above the rest, Artifacts. This deck is able to generate powerful tokens en mass while simultaneously allowing your cards to synergize with them for a swift victory.
Understanding this deck is crucial as making minor mistakes such as, not knowing what’s left in your deck, the amount of artifacts you’ve destroyed/generated, etc. can lead to sloppy plays or even missing lethal.
The main card of the deck is Deus Ex Machina. Finding her and getting her online as soon as possible is the key to success. She allows you to recover 1 play point upon playing an artifact. While her secondary ability triggers whenever you have Resonance (an even amount of cards in your deck). When this condition is met, at the end of your turn you will discard your hand and draw 6 new cards. This ability allows you to freely use your artifacts and flood the board while dumping your hand to further pump up Safira.
Safira is the secondary win condition, rewarding you for playing the defense game with your artifacts. Every time an artifact is destroyed she grows stronger. Starting from 0 she can quickly grow to 10, 20 or more! This allows you to end games even if your opponent is at full health (As shown below).
Ancient Artifact is the main artifact we want to be generating late game. Ancient artifact has rush so it can be used to remove enemy followers for free should you have Deus Ex Machina online. You can do this even when you’re at 10 play points since you recover 1 play point every time you play this card it’s essentially a 0 play point 3/1 rush. This means you can suicide it before playing Safira to buff her up even more! However you want to avoid generating these until you can ensure you have Deus Ex Machina. Since this is the only artifact that doesn’t draw a card for you, it can dilute your deck, making it difficult to find Machina.
Analyzing Artifact is a helpful tool early on when trying to find Machina. It’s an artifact that can buff up Safira, cheaply fight back for board, while also helping you dig deeper into your deck. Pumping your deck with Analyzing Artifacts then using your artifact tutor cards to dig it out will help you get your Machina in your hand before turn 6.
The mulligan phase is extremely important. Getting Deus Ex Machina is all you care about. Getting her in your hand as early as possible will grant you the flexibility to start mass generating Ancient Artifacts. Otherwise you will need to avoid generating artifacts other than Analyzing Artifacts as it lowers your chances to find Machina.
So in the mulligan phase take these steps:
1. Do you have Machina in your opening hand?
- If the answer is no, send everything back
- If the answer is yes, go to step 2
2. You have Machina in your opening hand.
- Send everything back other than Machina besides these 2 cards
Match Up Analysis
This deck is extremely flexible, adapting to each match up is a key part of finding consistent success with this deck. Here’s some info to help you get started.
Midrange Shadow is a favorable match up. The only way you can lose is if you lose the board to an early catacombs. To avoid this you will want to find Machina and Cat Cannoneer to continue trading. Keep your HP as high as possible and play to survive. You easily win through Safira in this match up so don’t get greedy!
This is by far the worst match up for the deck. You need to get an aggressive start and definitely cannot miss Machina on 6. A beefy safira is going to be the only way to win the game. Dragon has way to much heal and board clears to win through wide boards of artifacts. Suiciding as much artifacts as possible while also taking into consideration how to deal with Bahamut is key to winning the match up. Keep trading while pushing damage to force them to be on the defensive. If you let them get aggressive and set you down to 11 (13 if they have an evo remaining) you won’t be able to stop the imminent Queen combo.
Summit Temple/Aegis Haven
This is a highly favorable match up. Just like Ramp Dragon however you cannot let them be on the aggressive. Fight for board and try to put Haven in a situation where they constantly need to clear the board every turn. Unlike Ramp Dragon they only have Dark and Salvation Jeanne. Even if they use these cards to clear, it requires them to expend their entire turn in doing so. Try to chip them down and put them in a situation where if at any point they play Aegis they risk losing the game outright. Allowing them to safely develop Aegis is the only way you can lose this match up so avoid that at all cost!
Right now the only versions of Bloodcraft seeing success are Jormungand and Vengeance. Both hate being brought down to low health and have very little board clear. Being aggressive is an easy win. Deus Ex Machina isn’t even required for this. Just control the early game board and keep pushing damage. Put them in a state where they can’t be in vengeance or else they’ll die.
Arthur Midrange Sword has given light to a once dead class. Having answers to Melissa and Arthur boards are crucial. Don’t allow them to get a free turn 3 Mars. Keep in mind this match up is entirely board centric. Once you own the board, you win the game. Keep trading until your opponent has no more board floods or ways to clear yours.
Burn Rune or “Dirt” Rune is a 50/50 match up that is entirely draw dependent. If you can keep the early board clear and avoid chip damage, their burn won’t be as threatening. Doing so allows you to put them into a situation where they need to clear the board or die. Generating Ancient Artifacts and drawing them early on is a particularly powerful. In fact this is the only match up where I would recommend doing so even if you don’t have Machina in your hand. Utilizing Spinaria, Ancient Artifact generators, as well as tutors to keep the board yours and out of range of Master Mage Levi’s is a strong overall game plan. Be aggressive while you’re at it, as pushing their HP down early will shut down the option for Mutagenic Bolts to deal with boards Master Mage Levi cannot.
Early game against Forest is key. Keeping anything they play clear is a must. Wood of Brambles can mess you up if you let it get out of hand. If it’s Neutral Forest your best way to win is just keeping yourself in a position where you can always answer a Beauty and the Beast on turn 6. The 2 most popular Forestcraft decks in rotation right now (Control and Neutral) both give you time to set up your Deus Ex Machina. Use that to your strength and always have answers to their threats. The best route to take is holding ancient artifacts and turning off your Machina cycle to ensure you have a way to answer Beauty and the Beast.
In the “mirror” it depends on if you’re going first or second.
Going first, you are not favored in a long game. If you get into a grind game they will out value you as they get an additional card which increases their odds of finding Machina first. They will always be able to out grind you. Going aggressive and forcing out their resources without using too much of your own is a great way to win this match.
Going second, you want the game to go on longer and to avoid chip damage. Focusing on board control is the way to go. Once you get your Machina online all you have to do is mirror their moves and answer whatever they play. Safira will be your main win condition.
Artifact Portal is a strong deck against a large majority of the current top tier decks. While it can struggle against Dragon, decks that can get overwhelmed by board or give portalcraft time to set up their engine will get punished. Learning to abuse that engine efficiently and navigate the early turns is crucial for success.
If you’re a visual learner I recommend checking out my video breaking down the deck list and showcasing some matches. (below)