Hello, I am ItsTenz. I’m a long time competitive ccg and tcg player and I fell in love with The Elder Scrolls: Legends as soon as I picked it up. I want to see the game I have come to enjoy so much do well and figured that providing people with more information might help make the game easier to get into. I hope that you find my strategy guides helpful!
Since the release of The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood I have been asked about updating my solo arena guide. Without having access to many of the updated decklists the prospect of doing so was rather daunting, especially in light of the expectation of a new set coming out. Well now Heroes of Skyrim has been released I am taking the time to update as much as possible.
It is my belief, and one I have heard echoed by others, that solo arena is now more difficult. I believe that there are a couple of main reasons for this. The first is that the cards from The Fall of the Dark Brotherhood are quite good. Because the Dark Brotherhood cards were often better than the cards they replaced, the quality of the AI’s decks saw an overall increase. The second reason I believe solo arena got harder is that Heroes of Skyrim had much fewer prophecies than the core set. As a result, players will tend to be offered fewer prophecies. This can result in the aggressive bosses becoming more difficult, especially when they have a strong beneficial game condition such as starting with a creature in play or an attack bonus. Now bearing all of this in mind, solo arena is still worth playing. It is still an excellent method of building your collection. Versus arena is still better overall but it is still possible to achieve good solo arena results consistently.
While the rewards for defeating every solo arena boss aren’t as good as those you would receive for versus arena, they are still worth your time. Until you reach rank 1 you will receive an additional 50 gold every time you get 9 wins, which really helps to offset the cost of arena entry. Because of this, I believe that it is worthwhile to at least get your account to rank 1 solo arena even if you aren’t really interested in playing more than that.
So, let’s take a look at the notable differences between versus and solo arena. If you’re familiar with both modes feel free to skip past this part.
1.) The biggest difference between versus and solo arena is the fact that in solo arena you are playing against the computer while in versus arena you are battling against other players. Human players tend to be a lot less predictable and often more skillful since they are able to adapt much more readily to a variety of situations.
2.) In solo arena you need to beat 9 bosses instead of 7. Like versus arena, if you lose three times your run will end, however you do need to win two more times.
3.) Every time you beat a boss in solo arena you will be offered an additional draft pick for your deck. As you progress through your run this gives you an opportunity to potentially shore up some of your deck’s current weaknesses before future fights.
4.) The solo arena prizes, though decent, are worse than versus arena. The prizes for going 9 wins in solo arena are similar to what you might expect from a 5 win versus arena. That said solo arena is still pretty easy to farm. Typically prizes for going 9 wins are 70-80 gold, 1-3 packs, some soul gems, and/or rare/epic/legendary cards. The bosses will become more difficult and the rewards will improve once you hit rank 4. After hitting rank 4 in solo arena every 9 win run will guarantee you at least 2 packs with a chance of getting a third.
5.) A lot of the solo arena fights feature special mechanics. These range from boss advantages to extra lane mechanics. These special mechanics can keep the fights fresh and interesting.
6.) There is no turn timer in solo arena. You can take as long as you need. This makes solo arena a good choice if you are somewhat distracted or expect possible interruptions to your game play. Additionally, if you disconnect from your game for whatever reason you can usually resume right where you left off. I have disconnected mid-game and resumed it around an hour later without having problems. That said, in an effort to test the limits of this, I did receive a loss for a game I exited out of for more than 24 hours.
Once you’ve bought your ticket you will have to choose your class. While I previously rated green as the best color in solo arena, I currently believe that purple is now the best color. Blue and green are still strong colors, with red and yellow bringing up the end of the train. I will usually pick Scout, Sorcerer, and Warrior very highly. It is my opinion that Heroes of Skyrim has made purple much better, red noticeably better, and yellow worse.
Once you’ve chosen your class it’s time for the draft. Here are some things you should be looking out for while you’re making your picks. For the most part this hasn’t really changed.
1.) Prophecies – Prophecies are particularly potent in solo arena because the computer plays very aggressively and will never play around breaking your runes. You will probably end up with fewer prophecies post Heroes of Skyrim.
2.) Guards – Because the computer plays aggressively guards become very useful tools for both blunting that aggression and preserving your health.
3.) Drain – Drain can function as a powerful stabilization mechanic when the computer is being aggressive. Drain creatures provide you with the ability to allow your runes to be broken before stabilizing, allowing you access to more cards and potential prophecies. Drain has become a fairly critical focus to my HoS drafts as it can help you to recover against aggressive draws when you’re not fortunate enough to hit prophecies.
4.) Cheap creatures – Cheap creatures are a lot more powerful in solo arena than versus arena. There are a few reasons for this. First, boss decks tend to have more mediocre cards than you would expect from a versus arena opponent. This means that you can spend multiple cards dealing with a problematic opposing card without falling as far behind on card advantage. Because the computer will generally play aggressively, cheap creatures become one of the best options to counter the computer’s own early creatures. I feel the need to emphasize this point even more so after the boss deck updates. Having a creature you can play turn 1 can completely flip the game against the aggressive bosses. If there is a powerful lane the AI will often still play its creature into yours, allowing you to get a good preemptive trade. Other times you can potentially push the AI out of a lane with an early creature which will hopefully give you a combat advantage. The converse of this is also often the case. If you miss a turn two play against an aggressive boss you’d better hope you hit a prophecy or the game probably just ended. Finally, a lot of the special lane mechanics give powerful effects when you play creatures in that lane. You can garner a significant edge by playing more creatures in that lane than the computer. This is a lot easier to do when your creatures cost less.
5.) Pilfer creatures – Pilfer creatures are only available to green and yellow, but many of them are quite strong in solo arena. While the computer will usually make an effort to remove your pilfer creatures if it can, getting in multiple hits with a pilfer creature can go a long way toward winning the game, and often isn’t too difficult to pull off. As such, pilfer creatures are capable of functioning as win conditions while also being cheap enough to be used for early trading.
6.) Late game – Despite the importance of having a strong early game, you should also incorporate a few expensive high-impact cards into your deck. Strong late game cards can really help to recoup some of the value you might lose early on in the game trying to deal with the computer’s aggression. Without access to some strong late game cards you might just find yourself low on health, out of cards, and hoping that whatever you draw can deal with the next card the computer draws. At the same time, you don’t want too many late game cards because your main focus should be trying not to get run over early, and having too many expensive cards can leave your deck too slow to react.
7.) Removal – Despite the fact that most solo arena bosses can be beaten on the strength of creature combat alone, sometimes it is very useful to be able to remove a problematic creature from the board immediately. Frequently removal will also help you to mitigate covered creatures when the computer is deploying its creatures to the shadow lane. While I don’t prioritize removal very highly, cards like Firebolt and Crushing Blow are very good at keeping the computer’s board in check. Removal has probably become a bit more important since the update as when I am having a problem with a boss it is usually an aggressive one. Creatures with lethal can often be pseudo-removal as well because the computer often won’t avoid playing large creatures in front of them. When it comes to lethal creatures I find it helps to keep in mind which large potentially problematic creatures are in the opposing deck so that you can try to mitigate them more effectively.
Try to keep these things in mind while you’re doing your draft. Cards that fall into multiple of these categories tend to be especially good in solo arena and should often be prioritized. Striking a good balance between these sorts of cards will give your deck the ability to react to the computer’s aggressive plays but also give you the flexibility you need to play aggressively when you need to race. After you finish drafting take a moment to review your deck. Look to see what sort of weaknesses your deck might have. Do you have a weak early game? Do you wish you had more late game cards? Identifying your deck’s potential weaknesses serves two purposes. First, it will help you to decide what kind of cards you want to add to your deck after you beat a boss. Secondly, if your deck does have some kind of weakness it will potentially influence the order you want to play against the bosses.
When you first start out at rank 9 you will be matched against some starter bosses. These bosses tend to use decks with weaker and often unupgraded cards. As your rank increases the game will integrate more and more of the end game bosses into your runs. Upon reaching rank 1 you will only be playing against these bosses.
At this point you’re ready to choose the first boss to play against. So how should you know which boss to pick? Well in order to plan a good pick order you should first have a general idea of what sort of strategies the various bosses employ and what cards you will want to play around. This is a lot of information and if you play enough you will probably pick up on most of it eventually. That said, you might want to check out the information for a boss when the fight begins so that you have a better idea of what you’re up against and how best to handle it.
Coming back to this section I’m not entirely sure if some of the previous bosses have been retired and other bosses seem to come up very rarely so I haven’t actually been able to collect perfect information regarding all of the decks. I know some cards and some lists will be missing but I feel as though I have collected enough relevant data to go forward with what I have. I will make an effort at updating this more as I am able.
The Mono-Colored Bosses:
I don’t know that I have seen this boss since the Heroes of Skyrim release. I would expect that the decklist wouldn’t have really changed. This deck had little in the way of defensive prophecies so you should usually try to control the board and deny its goblin synergies. Playing control will help mitigate the effectiveness of Murkwater Skirmisher and Murkwater Savage. I am including the old decklist as I don’t believe it has changed if this boss still exists.
Notable cards: 2x Territorial Viper and 2x Chaurus Reaper
Prophecies: 2x Lurking Crocodiles, 1x Moonlight Werebat, and 1x Ransack.
The Silent Skirmisher
This is the goblin boss I usually see now. Play control early, keep the enemy board relatively clear. This will deny them goblin synergies with Murkwater Skirmisher. Waiting to pop runes will make Murkwater Savage potentially less scary. Once you have control of the board you can set up lethals without expecting much in the way of defensive prophecies. This boss’s Goblin Skulks will fetch Murkwater Goblins. Having a good answer for Murkwater Shaman and Murkwater Savage can go a long way toward preventing this boss from snowballing their board.
Notable cards: 2x Shadow Shift, 2x Murkwater Witch, 2x Cliff Racer, 1x Tazkad the Packmaster
Prophecies: 2x Brotherhood Slayer, 2x Moonlight Werebat.
This boss uses a creature heavy midrange deck which contains a bunch of high health guards. Having good answers for these guards can allow you make very high tempo counterplays. Lethal creatures can go a long way. This deck also contains a copy of Immolating Blast so try to be careful not to invest too heavily in a single lane or you might end up losing most of your creatures. Resolute Ally is another card to keep in mind as the reliable buff to a lane can drastically interfere with future combat. This deck contains two copies of Pit Lion that you can potentially interfere with by keeping a lane clear of enemy creatures. I generally recommend trying to control this boss. Sometimes it will have some combination of Resolute Ally/Pit Lion into Hive Defender/The Black Dragon draws that will make it very difficult to race. That said, this deck doesn’t contain very many prophecies so it isn’t that risky if you’re forced to race.
Notable Cards: 1x Penitus Oculatus Agent, 2x Resolute Ally, 1x Hive Defender, 1x The Black Dragon, 1x Divine Fervor, 2x Spiteful Dremora, 1x Senche Tiger, 1x Auroran Sentry, 1x Immolating Blast, 1x Sanctuary Raid
Prophecies: 2x Knight of the Hour, 1x Piercing Javelin.
This boss is very aggressive and will often be very difficult control effectively. That said this boss is probably even harder to race without hitting a lot of your prophecies. You need to mulligan aggressively for early game against this boss, especially when when this boss has the ring. If you have the ring then don’t be afraid to play a two-drop creature turn one. This boss will usually play Blighted Alit or Mighty Ally as soon as it has access to 3 magicka so having a good answer to a 3 health creature early is very strong. There will be times that when you really need an opposing creature to die that you will want to play a higher attack creature to deny getting combat tricked by Steel Scimitar or Frenzied Witchman. This deck doesn’t really have much in the way of defensive prophecies if you are forced to race or are trying to set up lethal. My decklist for Blood Taker is mostly complete but is still missing a few cards.
Notable cards: 2x Nord Firebrand, 2x Steel Scimitar, 2x Bone Bow, 2x Battlerage Orc, 1x Raiding Party, 1x Rampaging Minotaur, 1x Underworld Vigilante
Prophecies: 1x Protector of the Innocent
This deck is capable of some very strong starts. It can also be a difficult deck to race because it contains 3x copies of Baron of Tear, which can turn all of its creatures into guards, as well as 1x Winter’s Grasp which can shut down your attacks for a turn. If the game goes too late there is also a copy of Supreme Atromancer that can take over. If you are in a position where you think you will be unable to control a turn 9 Supreme Atromancer you should probably try to begin setting up lethal around turn 7 or 8. I’m including an old decklist for this boss but I don’t believe it has changed.
Notable cards: 3x Baron of Tear, 2x Daggerfall Mage, 1x Winter’s Grasp, 1x Supreme Atromancer
Prophecies: 3x Shrieking Harpy, 2x Lightning Bolt.
This is a new neutral dwemer boss that came out with Heroes of Skyrim. Unlike the old dwemer boss this boss thankfully does not start with a Halls of the Dwemer already in play. I will usually try to control this boss’s early creatures but you will want to push damage early because games will tend to spiral out of control once Halls of the Dwemer comes down, usually on turn 6. I feel as though I actually hit an annoying amount of prophecies against this deck while trying to race but some of them are very low impact. If the game does end up going late this boss will eventually play Journey to Sovngarde and recycle its creatures into its deck including several of the Spider Workers it generates off of Mechanical Allies. Hopefully you are winning before that comes to pass.
Notable Cards: 1x Shadowmere, 2x Crushing Blow, 2x Dwarven Dynamo, 1x Halls of the Dwemer, 1x Journey to Sovngarde
Prophecies: 1x Blackreach Rebuilder, 1x Lurking Crocodile, 2x Spider Worker, 2x Sparking Spider, 1x Portcullis, 1x Dark Guardian
The Dual-Colored Bosses:
This boss is easily identified by its unique portrait of some bearded old dude wearing a hood. This boss contains both a strong shout theme as well as a strong creature weakening theme. Both of these aspects of the deck cause it to become even stronger as the game progresses. This deck’s only prophecy is a single copy of Brotherhood Slayer. Because of these reasons I generally recommend going aggressive very early. It will still usually be worth it to remove Goblin Skulk and Shearpoint Dragon from the board though. Try to kill this boss before he is able to start using his level 3 Soul Tears or you might find yourself stalled out against a giant guard.
Notable cards: 2x Curse, 2x Drain Vitality, 1x Shadow Shift, 2x Murkwater Witch, 3x Soul Tear, 1x Dark Guardian, Malefic Wreath, 2x Murkwater Shaman, 1x Swims-at-Night, 2x Shearpoint Dragon, 1x Skeletal Dragon
Prophecies: 1x Brotherhood Slayer
This is a potentially difficult deck to beat because it combines a difficult to control late game with a high prophecy density. So while you would often like to race you should expect to be hitting prophecies from the opponent. It is often ok to pressure the opponent if you are capable of dealing with a 2 attack prophecy. This boss has 8 cards it can use to ramp towards its late game. You should probably expect to see Thorn Histmage once this boss hits 5 magicka. If the game goes too late this boss may start slamming high impact legendaries one after another until it overpowers you. You might want to wait on using your removal if using it means that you don’t have an answer to a follow up Night Shadow, Nahagliiv, Bone Colossus, Blood Magic Lord, or Night Talon Lord. It has been my experience that if Blood Magic Lord generates a corpse curse that the computer will not use it. Every card in this deck is purple so its Stalwart Allies will always be ⅗ guards.
Notable cards: 3x Stalwart Ally, 1x Shadowfen Priest, 3x Thorn Histmage, 1x Night Shadow, 1x Bone Colossus, 1x Nahagliiv, 1x Blood Magic Lord, 1x Night Talon Lord, 1x Red Bramman
Prophecies: 2x Fharun Defender, 2x Cursed Spectre, 3x Midnight Sweep, 2x Lurking Mummy
You should be able to identify this boss by its portrait, as it is that of a spriggan and shares art with the card Eldergleam Matron. It should probably not be too surprising that, given this boss’s name, this deck is primarily composed of lethal creatures, animals, and spriggans. The large number of lethal creatures can make this a difficult deck to control with large creatures later on. This boss will begin summoning some really powerful creatures once they hit 5 or 6 magicka and that can also make it difficult to control. This deck does have a good number of prophecies though so you will need to exercise some caution when you break runes. Try to play around Nest of Vipers if the game ends up going long. My decklist for this boss is currently incomplete.
Notable cards: 1x Giant Bat, 1x Sanctuary Pet, 3x Territorial Viper, 1x Cliff Racer, 1x Wild Beastcaller, 1x Shadowgreen Elder, 1x Nest of Vipers
Prophecies: 2x Fighters Guild Recruit, 2x Lurking Crocodile, 1x Frostbite Spider, 1x Moonlight Werebat
This boss is noticeably more aggressive than the other two scout bosses and as its name implies focuses heavily on the slay mechanic. This deck will often have strong starts that will then segue into an equally powerful late game. Because this deck has so many slay creatures it will sometimes be correct to suicide a creature to deny the opponent a slay trigger. This deck has around 5 prophecies so I usually try to play fairly aggressively against it. Its prophecies aren’t so much defensive as they are punishing to your board since a Brotherhood Slayer or a Dune Stalker can really mess things up. This deck has around 6 lane shift effects so be careful where you place your valuable creatures. These can be especially potent with both its lethal and slayer creatures. It has been my experience that if Blood Magic Lord generates a Corpse Curse that the computer will not use it. Try to be mindful of how a Nest of Vipers will impact your board. My decklist for this boss is mostly complete.
Notable cards: 1x Ungolim the Listener, 2x Shadow Shift, 2x Dune Stalker, 1x Grand Ball, 1x Dune Smuggler, 1x Falkreath Defiler, 1x Lucien Lachance, 1x Cicero the Betrayer, 1x Doomcrag Vampire, 1x Blood Magic Lord, 1x Nest of Vipers
Prophecies: 2x Dune Stalker, 3x Brotherhood Slayer
Ruler of the Marsh
I don’t see this boss as much anymore but I have run into it. I believe that the decklist has remained unchanged. This deck doesn’t run very many prophecies so I would usually recommend just trying to deal damage and kill it early before its powerful cards are able to come online. This deck has 6 ramp cards and you should expect to see a Thorn Histmage once this boss hits 5 magicka. You will usually want to start splitting lanes later so that you don’t lose your entire board to a Nest of Vipers clear. It has been my experience that if Blood Magic Lord generates a corpse curse that the computer will not use it.
Notable cards: 2x Murkwater Witch, 2x Territorial Viper, 2x Giant Snake, 1x Flesh Atronach, 1x Nahagliiv, 1x Blood Magic Lord, 1x Red Bramman, 1x Tazkad the Packmaster, 1x Nest of Vipers
Prophecies: 2x Cursed Spectre and 2x Lurking Mummy.
This boss has a unique portrait which I believe shares art with the card Skeletal Dragon. This deck is heavily dragon themed with a minor ramping theme that can allow it to play its expensive cards a bit faster. This deck has 7 prophecies so it is usually pretty raceable. That said, hitting a Mystic Dragon early can be pretty punishing. I will still usually take a fairly aggressive approach to beating this boss when I can though because it can be very difficult to control this boss later on once they play Echo of Akatosh, start recurring creatures with Skeletal Dragon, have a powerful turn with Nahkriin, or completely change the face of the game with Alduin. Try to keep an eye on both your opponent’s dragon count in their discard pile as well as their magicka. If you are able to establish control of the board at a time when Alduin becomes playable you should consider holding back some resources so you can remove Alduin and rebuild your board.
Notable Cards: 1x Firebolt, 1x Sorcerer’s Negation, 1x Dark Guardian, 1x Echo of Akatosh, 1x Skeletal Dragon, 1x Nahkriin, Dragon Priest, 1x Alduin
Prophecies: 2x Midnight Snack, 1x Camlorn Sentinel, 1x Lightning Bolt, 2x Mystic Dragon, 1x Lurking Mummy
This boss has a very heavy creature reanimation theme. It will try to enact this strategy by first using cards like Palace Conspirator and Merchant’s Camel to put large creatures into its discard pile and then try to return them to play with cards like Falkreath Defiler, Blackworm Necromancer, and Gravesinger. I usually try to play pretty aggressively against this deck as it doesn’t really have that many prophecies. If you are able to play aggressively it will often mean being able to deny the reanimation effect from Blackworm Necromancer. Most importantly though is to play around Falkreath Defiler as even a single trigger will often lose you the game on the spot. Be careful about where you position your creatures since taking shadow lane value trades will potentially leave a body behind for Defiler to trigger its slay effect on. If the game manages to go long the computer can just begin to play out its large threats so that’s one of the reasons I like to try to win fairly quickly. It has been my experience that if this boss has a creature in play it will choose to target it with Spear of Embers even if targeting your creature would be better.
Notable cards: 2x Firebolt, 2x Dark Guardian, 1x Mace of Encumbrance, 3x Falkreath Defiler, 1x Cicero the Betrayer, 2x Blackworm Necromancer, 1x Night Talon Lord, 1x Gravesinger, 1x Iron Atronach
Prophecies: 1x Shrieking Harpy, 1x Camlorn Sentinel, 2x Spear of Embers
I don’t believe this deck has changed. This deck doesn’t really have any prophecies and does have a lot of ward creatures. If you have cards that can deal with ward creatures they can be very helpful but I would try to save them until the computer has a chance to play a Breton Conjurer. The combinations of resilient creatures and no prophecies makes this a boss that I will try to race pretty aggressively from the beginning of the game. Try not to play too hard into Ice Storm since it will usually do more damage to your board than theirs.
Notable cards: 2x Firebolt, 2x Breton Conjurer, 1x High King Emeric, 1x Ice Storm.
I don’t believe this deck has changed. I will usually favor an aggressive approach fairly early against this boss but you do need to be a bit more careful as this boss actually has 6 prophecies. Try not to walk your board into a Fire Storm prophecy too hard. Having an effective answer for Breton Conjurer can go a long way towards winning against this boss.
Notable cards: 2x Firebolt, 1x Crushing Blow, 1x Breton Conjurer
Prophecies: 1x Shrieking Harpy, 2x Camlorn Sentinel, 2x Firestorm, 1x Fateweaver
The Baron of Tear
I don’t believe this deck has had any changes. It is actually a monoblue deck featuring Queen Barenziah and Sadras agent so its Cunning Allies will always activate. I will usually try to control this deck early to mitigate the effectiveness of the card Baron of Tear. This deck doesn’t have a lot of prophecy creatures but it will often play the 5 prophecies it does have defensively. Try to hold silence effects for Indoril Archmage if you can, but also position your creatures to avoid getting your entire board destroyed by its last gasp. Expect some of your low health creatures to be picked off by Firebolts and Ash Servant. If the game ends up going long you run the risk of having this boss recur its Elusive Schemers in a manner that can be difficult to control
Notable cards: 2x Firebolt, 2x Cunning Ally, 2x Baron of Tear, 1x Ash Servant, 2x Elusive Schemer, 1x Queen Barenziah, 1x Indoril Archmage
Prophecies: 2x Shrieking Harpy, 3x Lightning Bolt
Scales of Prophecy
This boss is easily identifiable by its unique dragon portrait. I believe its portrait may share art with the card Icewing Dragon. This boss’s name as well as its “The Prophet” title should probably have served as an obvious warning as to the contents of its deck. This is the solo arena boss whose deck contains the most prophecies with a staggering 20. That’s right, ⅔’s of this boss’s deck are prophecies. Fortunately, a number of these prophecies aren’t particularly great when they are being played for their full cost. This is a boss you will really want to take a hard control line against as trying to race it with an even board presence isn’t very realistic. You are going to hit prophecies as you damage this boss so you need to be careful when you break runes. It will often be correct to skip pilfer or drain triggers early on against this boss as they can often cost you more than you benefit from them. Once you begin to run this boss out of cards you can start grinding this boss down a rune at a time. Because so many of this boss’s cards are prophecies you will often have a chance to deal with some of their cards on your turn. If the game goes too late though you may be forced to deal with Echo of Akatosh as well as Paarthurnax
Notable Cards: 2x Woodland Lookout, 1x Serpentine Stalker, 1x Echo of Akatosh, 1x Paarthurnax
Prophecies: 2x Embassy Guard, 2x Fighters Guild Recruit, 2x Midnight Snack, 1x Shrieking Harpy, 2x Blacksap Protector, 1x Camlorn Sentinel, 2x Lightning Bolt, 1x Moonlight Werebat, 2x Mystic Dragon, 1x Insightful Scholar, 2x Fate Weaver, 1x Ransack, 1x Dark Harvester
I don’t believe this deck has had any changes besides the inclusion of Shadowmere. This deck features a heavy last gasp theme. I generally try to control its creatures early to limit the number of last gasp creatures this boss has in play at any given time. I find this really helps to mitigate the impact that a Necrom Mastermind can have on the game. Don’t be afraid to trade into Deshaan Avenger if they are able to play Necrom Mastermind the following turn. This deck can put out a lot of damage though so once I start to accrue a reasonable board I will often begin applying pressure to its health total to better put it within range of lethal in case it starts having crazy turns. This deck has almost no prophecies so you will usually not be punished for breaking runes besides giving the boss more cards. If the game goes too late this deck will eventually start looping through its Elusive Schemers and Shadowmere. Try to hold silence effects for Indoril Archmage if you can, but also position your creatures to avoid getting your entire board destroyed by its last gasp. I’ve included the old decklist, I’m not sure which card was removed for Shadowmere.
Notable cards: 2x Firebolt, 1x Shadowmere, 2x Murkwater Witch, 2x Baron of Tear, 2x Elusive Schemer, 1x Queen Barenziah, 2x Necrom Mastermind, 1x Indoril Archmage
Prophecies: 2x Lightning Bolt
This is an action heavy synergy deck. I will usually try to play a hardline control role against this deck as any extra cards you give it can potentially generate a lot of extra effect through synergies. This deck doesn’t have that many prophecies, and they’re all removal which means that once you are able to assemble lethal damage you can often go for it by attacking with your best creatures first. Try to be careful about racing though as Winter’s Grasp can really make racing difficult. I’m not entirely sure if this deck was updated or not. If it was then I would expect the inclusion of Stealer of Secrets. I’ve included the old decklist.
Notable Cards: 1x Execute, 3x Firebolt, 3x Artaeum Savant, 2x Auridon Paladin, 1x Ayrenn, 1x Lillandril Hexmage, 2x Winter’s Grasp
Prophecies: 3x Lightning Bolt, 3x Piercing Javelin
This is a fairly action heavy synergy deck. You can try to control it some early but you will probably want to begin applying pressure fairly quickly. This deck does have 9 prophecies though so you should be careful about when and how you decide to apply your pressure. If the game ends up going too long then this deck can begin doing some really silly things with Stealer of Secrets and Speaker Terenus. This deck probably also has the most board clears of any of the bosses in the form of Ice Storm, Dawn’s Wrath, and Indoril Archmage. Generally speaking splitting lanes going into turn 7 and 8 will help to limit the damage that a Dawn’s Wrath or Indoril Archmage can do to your board. If you have cheap removal for 2 health creatures then you might want to save it for Chanter of Akatosh.
Notable cards: 1x Lesser Ward, 1x Execute, 1x Firebolt, 1x Arrow Storm, 2x Crushing Blow, 1x Penitus Oculatus Agent, 1x Hive Defender, 1x Ayrenn, 2x Chanter of Akatosh, 1x Ice Storm, 2x Stealer of Secrets, 1x Dawn’s Wrath, 1x Indoril Archmage, 1x Speaker Terenus
Prophecies: 1x Healing Potion, 2x Shrieking Harpy, 1x Camlorn Sentinel, 2x Lightning Bolt, 1x Knight of the Hour, 2x Piercing Javelin
This is an action heavy synergy deck. I will usually try to play a hardline control role against this deck as any extra cards you give it can potentially generate a lot of extra effect through synergies. This deck doesn’t have that many prophecies, and they’re all removal which means that once you are able to assemble lethal damage you can often go for it by attacking with your best creatures first. It is reasonable to keep an early answer to Daggerfall mage when you mulligan against this boss. You will really want to make an effort to not play too hard into Arrow Storm as well since the card can absolutely brutalize a lot of deck’s early game. As the game progresses try not to put yourself in a position where you fold to Immolating Blast if you’re able. This boss will often play Royal Sage turn 4 regardless of the health totals so it is usually ok to take the boss to 26 health early. I’m not entirely sure if this deck was updated or not. If it was then I would expect the inclusion of Stealer of Secrets. I’ve included the old decklist.
Notable Cards: 3x Firebolt, 2x Arrow Storm, 2x Daggerfall Mage, 1x Immolating Blast, 2x Royal Sage
Prophecies: 2x Lightning Bolt, 2x Piercing Javelin
Student of Winterhold
This boss has an easy to identify portait of a light-haired dark elf with a super saiyan hairstyle. This deck has some very powerful late game cards but its early game is somewhat underwhelming. This deck only has 6 prophecies so I would recommend trying to apply pressure early. You may want to make an effort to trade out some creatures though if your opponent plays J’zargo to reduce the impact of all his creatures getting 2 keywords and to trade off your 2 health creatures to reduce the impact of getting 2 damage dealt to your board. Make an effort to play around Dawn’s Wrath. If the game ends up going long then you will likely have to deal with Ancano and Mantikora getting unleashed on your board.
Notable cards: 1x Firebolt, 2x Ash Servant, 1x J’zargo, 1x College of Winterhold, 2x Conjuration Scholar, 1x Ancano, 1x Dawn’s Wrath, 1x Mantikora
Prophecies: 1x Cloudrest Illusionist, 1x Firestorm, 1x Lightning Bolt, 2x Insightful Scholar, 1x Piercing Javelin
This is something of a creature based midrange mage deck that really isn’t anything too special. I will usually play a control role against this deck if I can. It is important to be able to deal with a Hive Defender or The Black Dragon early as this boss will usually play one of them once they hit 4 magicka. With 8 prophecies this boss can be a bit difficult to race, especially because 6 of those prophecies are guard creatures and 4 of those even gain health. It has been my experience that if this boss has a creature in play it will choose to target it with Spear of Embers even if targeting your creature would be better.
Notable Cards: 2x Firebolt, 1x Mace of Encumbrance, 1x Penitus Oculatus Agent, 2x Hive Defender, 1x The Black Dragon, 1x Tome of Alteration, 1x Senche Tiger, 1x Renowned Legate, 1x Sanctuary Raid, 1x Auroran Sentry, 1x Shocking Wamasu
Prophecies: 2x Camlorn Sentinel, 2x Knight of the Hour, 2x Spear of Embers, 2x Dark Harvester
The Hidden Danger
This deck is kind of just a pile of cards, most of which aren’t really that great. There is a minor support theme that would probably be easy to miss a lot of the time. I will still usually take a fairly controlling role against this deck because it can run out of cards pretty quickly due to there being a large number of bad cards in the deck. Try to save your hard removal for either Ayrenn or the Storm Atronachs generated by Dark Rift. Once you start setting up lethal though this deck doesn’t have much it can do to stop you. If you can manage not to get run over by an early Hive Defender this boss is usually pretty easy to beat.
Notable Cards: 2x Firebolt, 2x Dawnstar Healer, 1x Ash Servant, 2x Hive Defender, 1x Ayrenn, 1x Dagi-raht Mystic (will pilfer Two-Moons Contemplation or Dark Rift), 1x Spiteful Dremora
Prophecies: 2x Shrieking Harpy, 1x Fire Storm, 1x Fate Weaver
Master of Sorcery
This is another boss that I believe may have been retired since I haven’t seen it in a long while. It was another action heavy synergy deck and it seemed to always start with a support in play that would deal you 1 damage at the start of their turn. If you run into it then you will probably want to play a fairly controlling game to mitigate the effectiveness of action synergies.
Notable Cards: 2x Lesser Ward, 2x Execute, 2x Crushing Blow, 1x Winter’s Grasp
Prophecies: 2x Healing Potion, 2x Lightning Bolt, 2x Piercing Javelin
Executioner of Talos
This is a token themed deck that will focus on trying to flood the board with a lot of cheap creatures. I tend to adjust my strategy against this deck based on whether or not they have an early Siege Catapult. If they happen to have Siege Catapult you can try to keep it from being able to attack early by killing off the other creatures in the lane. If they don’t have Siege Catapult then racing becomes a much more viable option because this deck only has 2 prophecies. Trying to race an active Siege Catapult can be difficult though as it is a cheap 5/5 for 2. As the game progresses the computer will probably have an opportunity to activate its catapult anyway through token generation so don’t be afraid to trade it off the board once you’ve established a strong board. If this game starts to go long you will likely have to try to avoid being ground out by Divine Fervor boosted Imperial Might tokens. All of the token generation in this deck means that you can expect General Tulius to grow VERY quickly once it comes down so try to hold onto an answer for Tulius before it gets out of hand.
Notable cards: 2x Execute, 2x Siege Catapult, 1x Dark Guardian, 1x Pit Lion, 1x Edict of Azura, 1x Falkreath Defiler, 2x Imperial Reinforcements, 1x Divine Fervor, 2x Imperial Might, 1x General Tulius, 1x Renowned Legate, 1x Sanctuary Raid
Prophecies: 2x Midnight Sweep
I will generally try to control this boss early. Keeping its guards off the board goes a long ways toward reducing the potential impact of Watch Commander. All of the guards in this deck can make General Tulius difficult to deal with if you plan to kill him with creatures. If you’re not well equipped to deal with high-impact late game cards then you should make an effort to try to set up lethal before Gravesinger and Mantikora have a chance to come down and decide the game.
Notable cards: 2x Execute, 1x Dawnbreaker, 1x Falkreath Defiler, 1x Hive Defender, 1x The Black Dragon, 2x Watch Commander, 1x General Tulius, 1x Legion Praefect, 1x Nahagliiv, 1x Sanctuary Raid, 1x Gravesinger, 1x Mantikora
Prophecies: 2x Midnight Sweep, 1x Knight of the Hour, 1x Loyal Housecarl, 2x Lurking Mummy, 1x Piercing Javelin
You will usually want to play a hardline control game against this boss to begin with. Keeping its guards off the board goes a long ways toward reducing the potential impact of Watch Commander. Additionally, this deck has 14 prophecies so you’re pretty much flipping a coin to hit a prophecy every time you break a rune. If you begin to lose control of the game though try to go too crazy with the rune breaks. I will often skip dealing damage with my last creature that hasn’t attacked if it would break a rune.
Notable cards: 2x Dark Guardian, 2x Edict of Azura, 1x Vicious Dreugh, 2x Watch Commander, 1x General Tulius, 1x Nahagliiv, 1x Blood Magic Lord, 1x Mantikora
Prophecies: 2x Fharun Defender, 3x Midnight Sweep, 2x Knight of the Hour, 2x Lurking Mummy, 2x Piercing Javelin, 3x Dark Harvester
This is one of the pilfer themed monk bosses. Guards and removal are at a premium when you face this boss as sometime a single pilfer creature will go completely out of control with Master of Thieves if it is able to connect with your face. Many of these pilfer creatures only start with 2 health so cheap removal is often effective against them. Be careful not to bank too heavily on a 2 or less attack creature as your means of fighting off a pilfer creature though as this deck does contain 3 copies of Execute. Since this deck doesn’t contain Thieves’ Den you don’t have to worry about Master of Thieves suddenly killing you out of nowhere if there isn’t already a pilfer creature in play. It is probably worth keeping a very cheap answer to a turn 1 Descendant of Alkosh during your mulligan if you see one. Try to avoid loading up your board with keyworded creatures going into your opponent’s 5 magicka turn as they will play Ahnassi very aggressively. I have seen a number of games where Ahnassi steals guard which lets a pilfer creature get through and then the 5/5 guard proceeds to protect that pilfer creature until it snowballs out of control. I will usually play a fairly controlling game against this deck to avoid a prophecy Daring Cutpurse going out of control in the event that the boss has a follow up Master of Thieves to combo with it.
Notable cards: 3x Execute, 1x Ungolim the Listener, 1x Grand Ball, 1x Murkwater Witch, 2x Hive Defender, 2x Master of Thieves, 2x Tenmar Swiftclaw, 1x Ahnassi
Prophecies: 3x Daring Cutpurse, 2x Moonlight Werebat, 2x Piercing Javelin
This deck is a life gain themed deck with some very powerful cards. 21 of the cards in this deck are capable of gaining health. As a result you will often be able to get multiple pilfer and drain triggers in without breaking one of your opponent’s runes. That said, if your deck contains Beast Form creatures then you will probably have difficulty reliably activating them at will. You will probably want to save your hard removal for Protector of the Mane, Quin’rawl Burglar, Undying Sentry, and Auroran Sentry. If the opponent draws Leafwater Blessing then they will probably be able to return it to their hand A LOT. Dagi-raht Mystic will always pilfer Ring of Namira. If the computer manages to take the time to actually play Ring of Namira you should expect to take a lot of damage. I usually play a pretty controlling game against this deck as the health gain and drain creatures are pretty difficult to race. I usually make a point of stripping the opponent of as much of their extra health as possible though in an effort to keep Undying Dragon from being a 10/10
Notable cards: 1x Execute, 1x Leafwater Blessing, 1x Dawnstar Healer, 1x Giant Bat, 1x Dawnbreaker, 1x Hive Defender, 1x Brynjolf, 1x Dagi-raht Mystic, 2x Protector of the Mane, 1x Quin’rawl Burglar, 1x Undying Dragon, 1x Ring of Namira, 1x Auroran Sentry
Prophecies: 1x Healing Potion, 2x Priest of the Moons, 2x Moonlight Werebat, 1x Knight of the Hour, 2x Piercing Javelin, 2x Ransack
This is something of a midrange monk boss. It has a bit of a pilfer/slay theme that it tries to augment with 3 copies of Skooma Underboss. Goblin Skulk has 4 cards it can pull out of this deck. Its creatures after turn 4 are pretty strong but I find that this deck is usually pretty controllable since you don’t have to worry about Master of Thieves. Try to save your hard removal for Pahmar-raht Renegade or Quin’rawl Burglar if you can. Try to avoid letting this boss get multiple good slay triggers through the combination of Brotherhood Sanctuary and Skooma Underboss.
Notable cards: 2x Calm, 2x Curse, 1x Execute, 1x Shadow Shift, 1x Dune Stalker, 2x Goblin Skulk, 1x Grand Ball, 1x Dune Smuggler, 1x Malefic Wreath, 1x Tenmar Swiftclaw, 1x The Black Dragon, 1x Thieves’ Den, 1x Quin’rawl Burglar
Prophecies: 2x Daring Cutpurse, 1x Dune Stalker, 2x Brotherhood Slayer
This is one of the pilfer themed monk bosses. Guards and removal are at a premium when you face this boss as sometime a single pilfer creature will go completely out of control with Master of Thieves if it is able to connect with your face. Many of these pilfer creatures only start with 2 health so cheap removal is often effective against them. Be careful not to bank too heavily on a 2 or less attack creature as your means of fighting off a pilfer creature though as this deck does contain 2 copies of Execute. Try to keep in mind the sort of effect Dawnbreaker can have on your game, especially if you have an undead creature in play. The swing can sometimes prove to be too much. Dagi-raht Mystic will pilfer either Thieves’ Den or Divine Fervor. Try to save your hard removal for Quin’rawl Burglar if you can as it can be very difficult to deal with once it starts growing. Because there are 2 copies of Thieves’ Den in this deck you need to be aware of what could happen to the game if your opponent is capable of combining it with Master of Thieves. Try to avoid loading up your board with keyworded creatures going into your opponent’s 5 magicka turn as they will play Ahnassi very aggressively. I have seen a number of games where Ahnassi steals guard which lets a pilfer creature get through and then the 5/5 guard proceeds to protect that pilfer creature until it snowballs out of control. I will usually play a fairly controlling game against this deck to avoid a prophecy Daring Cutpurse going out of control in the event that the boss has a follow up Master of Thieves to combo with it. That said, this deck only has 3 prophecies so when you finally do decide to begin applying pressure it is usually pretty safe.
Notable cards: 2x Execute, 1x Penitus Oculatus Agent, 1x Dawnbreaker, 1x Master of Thieves, 2x Tenmar Swiftclaw, 2x Thieves’ Den, 1x Ahnassi, 1x Dagi-raht Mystic, 1x Divine Fervor, 2x Quin’rawl Burglar
Prophecies: 2x Daring Cutpurse, 1x Piercing Javelin
I believe this boss may have been retired as I haven’t really seen it lately. It was another pilfer-themed deck that played very similarly as both The Collector and Brother Swiftstance so most of the things I’ve said regarding those two decks still apply.
Notable cards: 1x Shadow Shift, 1x Master of Thieves, 2x Thieves’ Den, 1x Ahnassi, 1x Dagi-raht Mystic (pilfers for Thieves’ Den), 1x Quin’rawl Burglar
Prophecies: 2x Daring Cutpurse, 1x Dune Stalker, 1x Priest of the Moons, 2x Piercing Javelins, 1x Ransack
Delta, the Charger
This is basically a monored deck with Tyr. This deck is very aggressive. I don’t believe the list has changed. You need to play a control game early or you will just get run over. If you don’t contest their early creatures you will likely die. Once you are able to establish control of the game and begin to set up lethal Tyr will be the only potential defensive prophecy to interfere with your combat.
Notable cards: 2x Battlerage Orc, 2x Stone Throw, 2x Rampaging Minotaur, 1x Volendrung
Prophecies: 2x Graystone Ravager, 1x Tyr
This deck is very aggressive. I don’t believe the decklist has changed. You need to play a control game early or you will just get run over. If you don’t contest their early creatures you will likely die. This deck has a 7 prophecies, 5 of which are fairly defensive. Gladiator Arena can become problematic if you are low on health and don’t have an answer. Because this deck has 3 cards that are able to self damage you should probably avoid hitting the opponent to health totals 1 or 2 damage away from rune breaks.
Notable cards: 2x Execute, 2x Steel Scimitar, 2x Morthal Executioner, 1x Gladiator Arena
Prophecies: 2x Sharpshooter Scout, 2x Morkul Gatekeeper, 1x Tyr, 2x Piercing Javelin
This deck is very aggressive. I don’t believe the decklist has changed. You need to play a control game early or you will just get run over. If you don’t contest their early creatures you will likely die. Expect to see a Morthal Executioner or Mighty Ally once this boss hits 3 magicka. Make sure to play around Arrow Storm. This deck contains both Golden Saint and Triumphant Jarl so manipulating health totals can be very helpful since the boss will play them even when it is behind on health. If you’re in control of the game try to plan for there being a 4 health guard interfering with your creature combat when your opponent has 6 magicka
Notable cards: 2x Arrow Storm, 2x Morthal Executioner, 2x Stone Throw, 1x Haafingar Marauder, 1x Golden Saint, 1x Triumphant Jarl
Prophecies: 2x Graystone Ravager, 1x Tyr, 2x Piercing Javelin
This is a very token oriented aggressive crusader deck. It has a lot of ways of buffing its tokens and is capable of generating a lot of damage very quickly. You will probably need to control the board early to remove the opposing attack buff creatures from the board or they will generate far too much damage. You will want to make sure that you have an answer to an on-curve Markarth Bannerman. With all the token buffing synergies this deck has, even a single bannerman attack can easily generate another 6+ damage with the tokens. At the same time you will need to end the game before it runs too long or the opponent will being drawing Skeever Infestation pretty much every turn which is pretty much impossible to effectively control. Because of the need to pressure this boss before the game goes too long, and because this deck starts filling with copies of Skeever Infestation very rapidly, I haven’t been able to obtain a full decklist via fatiguing the opponent.
Notable cards: 1x Shadowmere, 2x Nord Firebrand, 1x Raiding Party, 3x Skeever Infestation, 1x Fell the Mighty, 1x The Black ‘Dragon, 1x Divine Fervor, 1x Markarth Bannerman, 1x Sanctuary Raid
Prophecies: 2x Protector of the Innocent, 1x Cast Out, 1x Piercing Javelin
I believe this boss can be identified by its unique portrait that shares art with the card Inspiring Stormcloak. This is a Nord/shout themed deck that is reasonably aggressive but not quite as much so as the other crusaders. The deck is relatively prophecy light with 4 of its 5 prophecies being 2 drops. If the game goes long you will probably have to deal with a level 3 Call of Valor filling an entire lane with 3/3’s and a buffed board with Divine Fervor. Having a good answer to Markarth Bannerman can be really helpful in beating this boss. Try to keep track of the health totals in order to have better control over both Rift Thane and Triumphant Jarl. Generally speaking this deck isn’t that defensive so it is usually ok to take a more aggressive approach to beating it. There are only two copies of Unrelenting Force in the deck so you don’t need to worry about a level 3 Force unsummoning your entire board.
Notable cards: 3x Call of Valor, 1x Grisly Gourmet, 1x Divine Fervor, 1x Markarth Bannerman, 1x Ulfric Stormcloak, 1x Triumphant Jarl
Prophecies: 2x Circle Initiate, 2x Cleric of Kyne, 1x Tyr
This boss is easily identified by its unique portrait, as it’s one of the only portraits to feature a picture of a giant. This boss has a very late game oriented deck that can make it difficult to fight an attrition battle against. It’s usually pretty common for them to play a Young Mammoth on 3 magicka, and a Stampeding Mammoth on 5. Fortunately this deck is relatively prophecy light which makes it very possible to race. Try to make sure that you can get rid of East Empire Crafters the turn they get played or most of your opponent’s creatures will be getting guard which makes racing a lot more difficult. Not a lot of decks are really capable of going card for card against this deck so I wouldn’t really recommend you try. As tempting as it can be to use removal on a Young Mammoth or Stampeding Mammoth I find that I am usually better off saving it for something even larger.
Notable cards: 1x Dark Guardian, 1x Sower of Revenge, 1x Stampede Sentinel, 1x World-Eater Eyrie, 1x Belligerent Giant, 1x Frost Giant, 1x Swiftwing Dragon, 1x Vigilant Giant
Prophecies: 2x Fharun Defender, 2x Protector of the Innocent, 1x Mentor of the Watch, 1x Cursed Spectre
This is one of the orc-themed warrior decks. I will usually try to trade creatures with it pretty early in hope of keeping the opponent’s board empty for the Bangkorai Butcher they usually play turn 4. I usually expect this deck to play a 2 drop orc into Battlerage Orc, into Bangkorai Butcher. Be careful not to lose to an on curve wood Orc Headhunter. I will usually try to save my hard removal for Bangkorai Butcher, Wood Orc Headhunter, or Gortwog gro-Nagorm. If the boss is holding onto a card in their hand with plenty of magicka available then it is probably either Stone Throw or Fell the Mighty. After trying to control this boss’s early game creatures racing becomes a very reasonable option since this deck only has two prophecies in the form of 2x Morkul Gatekeepers. Try to make an effort to keep Bangkorai Butcher and Wrothgar Kingpin off the board as they become very hard to race.
Notable cards: 2x Battlerage Orc, 2x Stone Throw, 2x Fell the Mighty, 1x Fireball, 1x Garnag, Dark Adherent, 2x Orcish Warhammer, 1x Militant Chieftain, 1x Wood Orc Headhunter, 1x Gortwog gro-Nagorm
Prophecies: 2x Morkul Gatekeeper
This is one of the orc-themed warrior decks. The list hasn’t been changed. This deck is very powerful and synergistic. As a result I will usually try to control this boss even more so than I would with Shadowflame. This deck has a few more prophecies than Shadowflame but I find that racing it can be a lot more difficult. This boss is overall better at pushing damage than Shadowflame. There are a few reasons for this. The first reason is Improvised Weapon. Now a lot of the time the computer will just equip it to the first guy it can and it won’t really get much value. Sometimes though the computer will actually use it to make a beneficial trade that leaves its creature still alive. Having one of its creatures survive an extra turn often creates a cascade effect where the end result is that this deck is more likely to have an orc still left in play on turn 4 when it will usually play Bangkorai Butcher. If it proceeds to follow that up with either Wood Orc Headhunter or Militant Chieftain then things can get grim very quickly. This is probably one of the more difficult bosses to beat when it has a beneficial fight condition. I usually just try to kill as many orcs as I can and ride out the storm. This deck only has two defensive prophecies so you’re usually able to set up lethal without much interference. If the boss is holding onto a card in their hand with plenty of magicka available then it is probably Stone Throw.
Notable cards: 2x Improvised Weapon, 2x Battlerage Orc, 3x Stone Throw, 2x Militant Chieftain, 2x Wood Orc Headhunter, 1x Gortwog gro-Nagorm
Prophecies: 2x Fharun Defender, 3x Graystone Ravager
This is a control warrior style deck. The list hasn’t been changed. This deck contains 6 cards that help the boss to ramp into its powerful late game threats. It is usually not too hard to keep Hist Speaker off the board though. While I still generally try control this boss’s early game I think you can switch to pressuring this boss fairly early. When I start to break runes I will often save a ⅔ or a 3/3 to attack last because they survive killing a Midnight Sweep token but they are also usually not too sorely missed if I need to trade them into a Frostbite Spider to protect a larger creature. If you have hard removal I would recommend saving it for one of the 6+ cost cards and if you have lethal creatures it is often advisable to deploy them going into a turn where the boss will have access to 6+ magicka. I usually don’t have too much trouble with this boss and it is probably one of the easier warrior bosses in my opinion.
Notable cards: 3x Battlerage Orc, 2x Rampaging Minotaur, 2x Shadowfen Priest, 1x Gortwog gro-Nagorm, 1x Night Shadow, 1x Bone Colossus, 1x Nahagliiv, 1x Vigilant Giant, 1x Volendrung, 1x Blood Magic Lord
Prophecies: 2x Frostbite Spider, 3x Midnight Sweep, 2x Lurking Mummy
This is probably what I would consider to be the scariest of the the battlemage bosses. It has very high card quality overall and is capable of having some really explosive starts while curving into power cards like Daggerfall Mage, Markarth Bannerman, and Supreme Atromancer. While this deck does have some prophecies, I have found that unless you are very well-equipped to handle an on-curve Supreme Atromancer you will probably have to race. My decklist for this boss is missing quite a few cards which I believe is a testament how often I am forced to end the game as quickly as possible. This deck has some really powerful synergies once it plays Corsair ship and can generate some really ridiculous burst with Nord Firebrands. You should expect to see an on curve Bannerman so try to save an answer for it as it becomes very difficult to win if it gets to attack. I usually end up trying to contest the board early and then just racing in the middle turns of the game.
Notable cards: Daggerfall Mage, Raiding Party, Corsair Ship, Markarth Bannerman, Master of Arms, Supreme Atromancer
Prophecies: Shrieking Harpy, Morkul Gatekeeper
The Dark Flayer
I do not believe this decklist has been changed. It is an aggressive battlemage deck with an item subtheme. While this deck doesn’t have any prophecies, its damage output is absurdly high if you aren’t contesting its creatures. Very often this boss will play several items on 1 or 2 creatures, buffing them to monstrous size and then killing you with 2 or 3 swings. Prophecies and hard removal are usually pretty good against this deck because you can usually deal with multiple cards when you take down their big creature. Shackle effects can cut off a lot of damage and can go a long way toward making this deck raceable if you are inclined to try. Because this deck doesn’t have any prophecies I would usually recommend trying to set up 2 turn lethals when you can since there is no fear of a prophecy creature picking up items. Using one large creature to contest the enemy board won’t always work because of Sentinel Battlemace. This deck doesn’t really have that many threats, but the ones it does have often end up with a lot of health or with wards.
Notable Cards: 2x Firebolt, 3x Mace of Encumbrance, 1x Stone Throw, 3x Sentinel Battlemace, 1x Master of Arms, 1x Merric-at-Aswala
This boss can be identified by its unique portrait that shares art with the card Circle Initiate. This is an item themed deck with a small werewolf Beast Form subtheme. Because this deck has so many items I generally try to play a control role against it. The fewer creatures it has in play the less options it has for where it can equip its items. This boss has multiple cards that can be used to buff its items while they are still in its deck. This deck doesn’t have a lot of prophecies so it is fairly raceable once you have established a board. If you’re going to kill an enemy creature you might want to do it before you break runes to play around Spear of Embers. I find this especially relevant when the creature you plan to kill is a Dragonstar Rider as this deck can often draw 3 extra cards if a prophecy Spear leaves you unable to kill the Rider that turn.
Notable cards: 1x Firebolt, 1x Shield Breaker, 1x Stormcloak Vanguard, 1x Horned Helm, 1x Mace of Encumbrance, 1x Skyforge, 1x Candlehearth Brawler, 1x Sentinel Battlemace, 1x Tome of Alteration, 1x Battlefield Scrounger, 1x Aela the Huntress, 1x Ancestor’s Battleaxe
Prophecies: 2x Circle Initiate, 1x Embassy Guard, 1x Cast Out, 2x Spear of Embers
It is an aggressive battlemage deck with an item subtheme. This deck has almost no prophecies and its damage output is absurdly high if you aren’t contesting its creatures. Very often this boss will play several items on 1 or 2 creatures, buffing them to monstrous size and then killing you with 2 or 3 swings. Prophecies and hard removal are usually pretty good against this deck because you can usually deal with multiple cards when you take down their big creature. Shackle effects can cut off a lot of damage and can go a long way toward making this deck raceable if you are inclined to try. Try to focus on controlling this boss’s creatures early to stabilize, then because this deck has very few prophecies I would usually recommend trying to set up 2 turn lethals since there is no fear of a prophecy creature picking up items.
Notable Cards: 2x Steel Scimitar, 1x Bone Bow, 1x Mace of Encumbrance, 2x Rihad Battlemage, 1x Orcish Warhammer, 1x Reive, Blademaster, 1x Sentinel Battlemace, 1x Master of Arms, 1x Merric-at-Aswala
Prophecies: 2x Spear of Embers
This deck has a lot of really powerful cards. It has access to a lot of charge creatures, has decent removal and has a lot of powerful late game cards. Its early game isn’t quite as powerful but it should start playing strong cards as soon as it reaches 3 magicka and will likely keep playing them for quite awhile after. That said, I will still usually try to play control against this deck early and get ahead on cards by value trading where I can. The problem with playing aggressively against this deck is that it has a lot of prophecies. With 13 prophecies, several of which are defensive, it is very easy for your aggression to stall out if you hit one. Once you stall out it is very easy for this boss to take over the game with its high-impact cards like Child of Hircine, Volendrung, and Tazkad. I find the best way to beat this deck is either to grind through all its cards or to only start attacking once I have managed to built up a board that is well equipped to handle some prophecy guards. When I have tried to race and began breaking runes early I usually end up regretting it. I would recommend playing around Battlerage Orc early and Allena later. I usually expect Tazkad to come down once the computer has 9 magicka so try to set yourself up to be able to deal with it
Notable cards: 1x Ungolim the Listener, 2x Finish Off, 1x Astrid, 2x Battlerage Orc, 1x Orcish Warhammer, 2x Territorial Viper, 1x Vicious Dreugh, 1x Cliff Racer, 2x Underworld Vigilante, 1x Allena Benoch, 1x Child of Hircine, 1x Volendrung, 1x Tazkad the Packmaster
Prophecies: 3x Sharpshooter Scout, 3x Fighters Guild Recruit, 2x Blacksap Protector, 2x Brotherhood Slayer, 2x Moonlight Werebat
This deck is heavily themed with a lot of cards that deal 1 damage to creatures and a lot of the wood elf cards that key off of damaged opposing creatures. Your 1 health creatures are not safe in this matchup as this deck has about 18 ways of dealing 1 damage to a creature. When you do have a valuable 1 health creature that you wish to play you might want to consider playing it in the shadow lane to play around Nord Firebrands. Value trading is often worse in this matchup since leaving creatures alive on 1 health is often as good as killing them while also activating your opponent’s wood elves that key off of damaged enemy creatures. Try not to invest to heavily in a large creature before the opponent has a chance to play Allena Benoch on turn 6. Try to avoid getting blown out by Falinesti Reaver later in the game. This boss will often misorder its sequencing in a way that denies it full value on its cards by playing summon of its creatures with summon effects before it damages your creatures. Don’t be too surprised if this boss kills its own creatures with Skaven Pyromancer before it attacks with them. This deck does have a of 1 damage effects but that also means that a lot of its cards are relatively low impact. I will usually play a more controlling game against this deck because it is relatively easy to run them out of cards. Once you have ground down their resources this boss doesn’t have much in the way of prophecies to deny you setting up lethal. When you have lethal damage on board it is usually pretty safe to go for it as long as you attack with your 1 health creatures first in order to play around Sharpshooter Scout and Grahtwood Ambusher.
Notable cards: 2x Nord Firebrand, 2x Finish Off, 2x Silvenar Tracker, 2x Raiding Party, 2x Skaven Pyromancer, 2x Green-Pact Stalker, 2x Camorran Scout Leader, 2x Leaflurker, 1x Allena Benoch, 1x Falinesti Reaver
Prophecies: 2x Sharpshooter Scout, 2x Grahtwood Ambusher
So now that I’ve covered the bosses themselves, let’s talk a bit about how you want to approach them. Strategically speaking, it is in your interest to play against the easiest bosses first and then progress to the more difficult ones. There are two main reasons for this. The first reason is that beating the easier bosses will hopefully allow you to improve your deck, making it easier to beat the harder ones. The second reason is that If you start on a more difficult boss and lose then you will have fewer chances to beat the other bosses. For example, if you were to start by playing against the 3 most difficult bosses and lose against all of them, you would end up going 0-3 when you probably could have gotten at least some wins against easier bosses.
This is roughly the order I will progress in. Keep in mind that you might find yourself having different levels of difficulty playing against some of these classes. If you are able to identify a class that is consistently causing you difficulty try to save it until later.
-Neutral Dwemer Boss
Straight out of the draft my decks are usually pretty strong against the very aggressive decks. An advantage to this is that it allows me to take down the hyper-aggressive red decks early while giving me the opportunity to add cards to my deck that let me compete in a longer game against the harder decks with higher card quality.
Let’s move onto some actual strategy about how to win games. I just want to take a moment to say that this is what works for ME. Other people may have success with other strategies, but this is what I have personally found to be both consistent and successful.
1. Identify your opponent
The first thing you will want to think about is which boss you’re actually playing against since there are multiple lists for each class. The decks can differ quite a bit within classes and that may affect your strategy. You can do a Ctrl + F search to find information on the bosses in the previous section. This will give you a better idea of what you’re up against strategically and what to play around. There are a number of bosses that have minimal or even zero prophecy cards capable of disrupting your combat, while on the other hand there are bosses whose decks have a very high prophecy density. Knowing how many and what sort of prophecies you are playing against should influence how aggressively you want to break your opponent’s runes.
Most games will fall into 1 of 3 categories. Games where you try to control the opponent and run them out of resources, games where you are actively trying to kill the opponent by snowballing a board they can’t control, and games that are just straight up races. Usually races result when either the computer does something that you realize you can’t control or when the computer begins to heavily play into a non-shadow lane and, at the risk of having your creatures easily neutralized preemptively, you are forced to play your creatures into the opposite lane. Once you have identified the boss you should probably try to enact one of the first two strategies.
2. Consider the fight’s special mechanics
There are a wide variety of special mechanics that can potentially pop up at the start of a fight. These mechanics will often drastically change the optimal way to approach your fight. Try to be aware of how these mechanics might affect the game and try to take this into account during your mulligan. Does the opponent start with a creature already in play? Well you you probably should mulligan aggressively for early game answers to stop it. Is there a plunder or zoo lane that gives a large bonus to creatures played there? Well you should probably mulligan for cheap creatures so that you can better take advantage of these lanes by playing more creatures there. Do you start with extra magicka? Maybe you want to keep a 4 or 5 magicka card because you can actually play it turn 1 or turn 2. These are just a few examples of the kinds of things that you should be looking out for. Try to abuse the special lane mechanics; the computer will certainly try to.
3. Try to play control
While there are some exceptions that will come up, I have found that establishing yourself in the control role early has a lot of benefits. The computer will default to playing aggressively if it can and that makes it somewhat predictable. Playing aggressively means that the computer will be popping your runes and giving you extra cards and potentially prophecies. Hitting early prophecies can easily turn the game in your favor very quickly. This goes both ways though, if you start popping the opponent’s runes early you are opening yourself up to prophecy blowouts as well as giving the computer more cards that they will use to try to kill you. If you can control the flow of cards you have a huge advantage. Even if your deck is fairly aggressive I generally recommend trying to contest the opponent’s board early. It is often easier to try to address an opposing creature sooner rather than later as there are a lot of things that can make creature combat a less effective method of dealing with a creature if you wait. When the computer has a single creature in a lane then you can usually force it into combat with your one creature. Once you allow the computer to have multiple creatures in a lane though, it will have the option to take better combats against any creatures you might play.
4.) Don’t be afraid to trade.
Cards like Daring Cutpurse and Reachman Shaman are capable of snowballing a lot. But that takes time and time isn’t always something you will have because the computer can create unwinnable races. If the computer plays a turn 1 Relentless Raider, something which the red bosses regularly do, then ignoring it is a mistake. The computer’s early game cards can simply represent too much damage if you don’t remove them. Additionally, a lot of the boss decks contain cards that will severely punish you if they get to play them while they have board presence. Trying to race only to run headlong into a Winter’s Grasp or a Giant Snake is an easy way to lose a game you were winning only a moment ago. However, these kinds of cards become a lot less impactful if the opponent doesn’t have much of a board. The boss decks also contain some very low-impact cards which means that they will often be drawing them later in the game while you get to play your more value-oriented cards. This makes value trading a very good option for taking control of the game. Early on you should expect to make a lot of 1 for 1 creature trades as you try to keep the opponent’s board from snowballing. As the game progresses the opportunity to take some value trades will arise, the end result of which will be you being left with a damaged creature. As your board accrues these leftover creatures it will increase your future options significantly by 1.) giving you extra onboard reach against your opponent’s health total when you decide to exert pressure and 2.) by giving you some flexibility to use either the cards in your hand or a leftover onboard creature, whichever is more effective, to deal with an opposing creature.
5.) Don’t be afraid to take some damage.
Sometimes games can drag on and both players will be playing off the top of their decks. If your health isn’t particularly low then you should consider letting the computer hit you. A lot of the time you should be able to leverage the extra cards into a board advantage. Board advantages are easily capable of snowballing into a game win. In practice this often just means that if your health isn’t being particularly threatened, you should focus on developing your board in a way that allows you to make good trades against an opposing creature instead of dropping a guard or expending your removal immediately.
6.) Don’t be afraid to not attack.
Just because you can damage the computer doesn’t mean you should. Even if you wouldn’t break a rune you might still have pilfer or drain creatures that HAVE to attack to get their bonus. Taking the computer to 26 only to pop a rune later with a drain or pilfer creature will give the computer extra resources that can cost you games. (I will however note that if your deck contains creatures with the werewolf Beast Form mechanic that you will usually want to put the opponent at health totals where you are capable of breaking a rune with an attack from a single creature. Doing this will make your Beast Form creatures easier to flip even if the opponent has a guard or removal. This can give you a much more on demand access to your upgraded werewolves increased stats or effects in combat.) There are times that it is even incorrect to attack with pilfer or drain creatures. If you are low and the computer is playing one card per turn, is it really worth it to give them an extra card just to get +1/+1 on your Daring Cutpurse? If you’re at a high health total and high-impact cards are coming down is it really worth it to give the computer an extra card by hitting with a drain creature? A lot of the time the answer is, “No.” so try to be conscious of this.
7. Be flexible
This is a key advantage that you have over the computer. While I generally like to play the more controlling role, sometimes circumstances like random fight mechanics, will make winning that way unrealistic. When that happens you need to be able to adapt. Sometimes you just have to switch gears, completely throw out your previous strategy, and win some other way.
8. Try to set up one and two-turn lethals.
When you’re ahead on cards and in control of the game your board will start filling up with creatures. Eventually you will have to break your opponent’s runes but if you try to kill them over the course of one or two turns then most of the cards you give them won’t be able to have an impact on the game. Most of those cards will be creatures that can’t attack or impact the board until a turn after they’re summoned. By setting up one and two-turn lethals you effectively deny the opponent cards by making many of them unable to relevantly impact the game before it ends. This strategy usually works better against the bosses with decks that are low on prophecies, especially prophecy guards or removal. Against the prophecy-heavy decks you really need to evaluate how much a potential prophecy could change things BEFORE you break a rune. Some of the time it won’t be worth the risk and some of the time you might just have to pray not to get punished.
9.) If you lose, skip that boss for now.
If you end up losing a fight take a moment to reflect on what went wrong. Maybe you could have played it differently or maybe your deck was weak to your opponent’s deck. When a boss beats you I would recommend skipping it for the time being and then coming back after you’ve beaten other bosses. This will give you a chance to add extra cards to your deck that might help you win your rematch. Skipping over a boss you’ve lost to will result in your runs getting more wins because no matter how capable of winning you think your deck is, sometimes you lost because the matchup isn’t in your favor. Giving up multiple losses to the same boss early is only going to end your runs faster.
10.) Try to identify your final boss by their portrait.
This is a relatively minor edge you can give to yourself but it can be helpful. Before you actually unlock your final boss you won’t actually be able to see what class it is but you will be able to see its portrait. While most of the bosses rotate between possible portraits, some bosses do have unique portraits. You should be able to tell which class your final boss will be once you become familiar with their portraits. A lot of the AI bosses within a class play very similarly so you can potentially figure out what kind of strategy you might need to counter ahead of time. The reason that you want to try to identify your final boss early is that once you beat your 8th boss you will still be adding one more card to your deck. The final boss will pretty much always have a special lane condition which can really exaggerate the strengths of the boss’s deck. As a result, the final boss fight will often be one of the most difficult fights you will face, and should be the fight you try to game your deck towards beating the most. Knowing what kind of strategy you are likely to be facing will help you make a more informed choice.
11.) Be aware of the computer’s habits.
As you play you will start to notice that the computer has some habits that will make it a lot more predictable. The fact that YOU might do something doesn’t really have any bearing on what the computer will do. While you will probably come across some exceptions, here are some behaviors that you should keep in mind.
-The computer will play aggressively and won’t play around your runes. The computer doesn’t evaluate whether or not the damage it is dealing is worth the cards or potential prophecies that it will give you.
-The computer will often target your best creature with prophecy removal even if it has already attacked, even if killing a different creature would deny you lethal. A lot of the time attacking with your best creature first will be correct because it will still take a Lightning Bolt or Piercing Javelin anyway. Additionally, if the computer hits a prophecy Shrieking Harpy and there are creatures that can still attack, the computer will choose to shackle one of them. Keep in mind though that what you consider your best creature and what the computer considers your best creature might not always be the same.
-When you break one of the computer’s runes and hit a prophecy, the computer will almost always play it. When the computer moves a prophecy to its hand it is usually because it has bugged out or because there are no possible targets for a spell. A lot of the time this means that you can bait out prophecy removal when your board consists of weaker creatures.
-The computer will go for easy lethals. As nice as it would sometimes be to have the computer miss lethal, you should expect the computer to go for lethal if the only thing between it and victory is your runes.
-The computer won’t play around known information. If you have cards in your hand that have previously been revealed the computer still won’t play around them. This can be used to your advantage a lot of the time.
-The computer will prioritize trading with some creatures. Generally speaking you can expect the computer to be smart enough to trade with your pilfer, drain, or ongoing effect creatures if you give it the opportunity so you shouldn’t assume that they will just go completely ignored. If you start getting the computer low on health or offer it a particularly good trade up it will begin trading with your creatures a lot more.
-The computer will use its removal very aggressively. Cards like Firebolt and Execute can easily be baited out with low-impact creatures like Thieves Guild Recruits. If you have a creature that would die to one of these cards and the computer passed the turn with extra magicka, then there is a good chance that the computer doesn’t have it. In some of my slower games I’ve had the computer Piercing Javelin 1/1’s and 2/2’s just because they were there and it didn’t have anything else to do.
-The computer will often suicide its creatures into your guards. While a human opponent would likely sit on its creatures and hope to better deal with the situation down the road, the computer will just send its creatures into your guard to die bravely in what I can only assume is a display of dominance. The exception to this usually arises when the computer also has a guard in the lane that can protect its other creatures.
-If a lane is full the computer will never sacrifice one of its creatures to play another. This becomes especially relevant on boards where one of the lanes is only large enough for two creatures. You can sometimes use this to your advantage by leaving two small creatures uncontested in the smaller lane while you develop into the bigger lane, hopefully allowing you to control it before the computer can develop there. The computer will then be forced to develop into the bigger lane at which point you will be ready for it. Once you have the larger lane under control you can go back and start cleaning up the smaller lane.
-Sometimes the computer is just plain dumb. Don’t be surprised when the computer does things in the wrong order, makes bad attacks, or plays its creature in the wrong lane. As hopeless as the game may seem from a strategic viewpoint, there is probably a way that the computer can mess it up. Try to avoid conceding too early because you never know when the computer is about to make some inexplicable game-losing blunder.
-A lot of the time playing a lethal or guard creature in a lane will cause the computer to deploy its creatures in the other lane. This is not a hard and fast rule but a lot of the time you can use this to push the computer into or out of a lane. For this reason it can be helpful to save your guards for the shadow lane.
Well, I know that was a lot of information so if you managed to make it this far then I applaud you for your perseverance. Hopefully you will find this guide helpful and you’ll be farming solo arena in no time.