[Eredan iTCG] Ferrus' Guide to adventure decks

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What is this?
This guide is supposed to give a short introduction and guide to the 3 decks every player should sooner or later get to successfully fight in adventure mode. These 3 decks are:

  • Demonic Portal (Portal Combat)
  • Discard
  • Golem

Each of these decks is very useful in adventure mode and can for a relatively low investment give a player high victory chances against most campaign bosses. You are never guaranteed a victory, but some decks come very close to always winning against some bosses and all these decks are quite versatile in their use.
They are by no means the only ways to approach those bosses, but they are reasonably cheap to make and reliable.
This is no deck list but more a short essay on the decks and what to consider, since fluctuating market prices, regular card releases and personal play styles make building an ideal cheap deck different for everybody.

Without further ado:

 
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PORTAL COMBAT

Works against:

  • Xzia (Values of the Kotoba boss)
  • The Great Deer (Values of the Sap of Hearts boss)
  • The Dragon (Values of Noz boss)
  • Inferno (The Ritual boss)
  • The Sand of the Arena (All except bosses)
  • The Dark Tower: Ground floor: left door: Lost Tracker

The Strategy:
This deck revolves around two cards:

The idea is to attach Demon my rise to the opponent and then exchange his high attack stat with the low one of your characters via Demonic Portal to deal high damage and receive little in return. Since the exchange happens when the portal activates, you want to have it activate a late as possible, so ideally as the second card of a chain, so you can steal any attack buffs from cards played by the opponent.

Important Rules:

  • Mage with no other class gain chain when playing a non-AoE spell. AoE spells can never be part of a chain.
  • Pure mages that cast a spell dealing damge do not physically attack during the same turn.
  • There can only be one copy of any single character in a deck. If a character has more than one card, only one of those can be in a deck.
  • Guemelite characters can play spells of the same kind as their guemelite type even if they aren’t mages. They gain no inherent advantage or disadvantage by playing spells like pure mages.
  • Nehantist decks can not include Mercenary characters.

Characters:
Since both key cards are spells restricted to the nehantist guild, this deck is basically a variant of Nehantist mages.

The Mages:

Almaria:

Almaria is currently the cheapest Nehantic mage character. Her Act 6 variant needs an Insensibility to level from 1 to 2. Her Act 10 variant does not
She is solid and her damage reduction gives her a little extra protection against multiple hits. Her other abilities are irrelevant to this deck and on turns you play Demonic Portal you don’t want her order bonus active, though it can be of use if there is no portal at hand.

Amidaraxar:

He’s a mage and of the Nehant guild. he needs Desolation of the Heart for level 3. Decent stats for the deck. His passive can be useful in the rare circumstance of you having The Forbidden Book and a situation where it can be played usefully, but it’s not worth to consider normally. His order bonus can be ignored if you don’t use Carkass.

Carfax:

Needs Demonophobia for level 3.
Do not use him!!
For a Portal deck he is bad. The only corruption you care about is Demon may rise, and you want the one that matters attached to the boss. All other corruptions in your deck are filler and only played when there is no better alternative. His ability in essence clutters up your deck and prevents you from drawing your portals. Use Edrianne if you want the recycling on a character.

Death-Tree:

Ebony upgrades with Give Death to Death-Tree. Death-Tree is not particularly useful here. She’s not cheap enough and the added magic damage is too low to be significant. Can find a place, but nothing special.

Dimizar/Zejabel:

One character, two different cards.
The second most expensive nehantic mage. Dimizar is strong. His passive means he can use cards like Brawl or Coaching with no downsides and his order bonus makes your other characters more durable. His only downside is that he increases your characters attack, but that is rarely a deciding factor.

Zejabel on the other hand is rather cheap in his level 1 form, while being even more expensive in his upgrades. For our needs however level 1 is what we want, since his increasing offense at leveling makes his defensive growths moot. And if you can afford upgrading him, then this deck is better served with his living self. His passive is basically irrelevant, though while Insensibility can be useful, it replaces a card from your starting hand and you want your key cards asap. His order bonus is extra defense and as such always useful.

Edrianne

The newest Nehant Mage, she seems perfect for Portal Combat with good stats, a good order bonus and the ability to get your portals back. She will be decent and has the potential to be cheap too.

Iron Mask:

Iron Mask is cheap and useful. He needs a Revealing the Secret for level 3, but then attaches one at the beginning of the game, reducing your deck size effectively to 19 and helping you to get your portal combo going. Order bonus makes him more durable.

Nehantic Receptacle:

Legendary nehant character. Expensive and strong. He has the same advantage to play self-harming cards Dimizar has, has good stats and his order bonus deals extra damage. His other passive however is a two-edged sword, since it can play another portal from you hand and as such can reverse the one normally played, so he needs to be played carefully.

Other characters:

Anagram:

She can chain and play Nehantic spells. Also she is cheap. However her high attack stat make her ill-suited for this deck except as a build-up character if you can’t afford a third mage.

Carkass:

Can play nehantic spells, and his attack increases with corruptions in play, which you will almost assuredly have a few of. He can give an offense boost independent of the opponent and I found that useful against the Sap of Hearts boss. If you use him consider including one copy of Tantadian Spear, Guardian’s Spear or War Axe for him.

Other cards worth consideration:

Since you want to play your combo but the minimum deck size is 20 cards, even with Iron Mask that still leaves 13 more cards. You shouldn’t hesitate to discard those or even additional copies of Demon may rise to get to your important cards, just be careful to not card out. However some cards are more useful than others, so it’s not a bad idea to improve the deck with them.

Nehantic Spells:

All spells chain with mages and as such allow you to play Demonic Portal second in the chain, stealing any attack buffs from the first opposing card played during your turns and of both during opponents turns. Corruptions work well, since they weaken the opponent further.
However, Overconfidence and Contagion reduce attack and as such should be avoided, since we want to steal that anyway. Perversion is a much better card for reducing incoming damage.
Similarly Corruption of the Soul and Tenebrium when dealing damage and any other damage spell prevent a mages physical attack, so shouldn’t be played during the same turn as the portal.
Most other nehantic spells work reasonably well.

Others Cards:

Normal:

  • Brawl removes the base attack stat of the opponent and as such can reduce damage when portal is not at hand. Dimizar and Nehantic Receptacle don’t even suffer the damage.
  • Daemonium is a poor replacement of Demonic Portal, but due to the high stats that most bosses posses can at least give a defense and offense boost for the turn.
  • Freeze removes items and as such can be useful, especially against the Noz Boss, removing his healing via Chimera. So depending on the boss one or two copies should be included.
  • Illumination can allow guemelites to draw out the cards you want from your deck. But since you have at least 2 different nehantic spells already and probably more, it’s far to unreliable to be of much use.
  • Magic Attack removes the opponents defense after his offense and thereby adds injury to insult, letting him feel his full own attack as he strikes back with the piddly 3/5 attack you gave him.
  • Premonition can be chained into portal and has a decent chance to set up a portal for next turn.
  • Wanted works basically like Revealing the Secrets, just with a higher penalty but taking a turn or two to inflict it. Since it chains it works really well and there is little reason to not use it.

Trophy:

  • Break the second chain is Recycle Magic on steroids. Not only does it put the selected spell (Portal) back into your deck, but it also plays it after all normally played cards are played. In addition as a spell it chains for mages. The downside of turning the user Nehant can be safely ignored since they already are.
  • Sentence is a card that in itself has no ties to this deck in specific, but still is a very common sight against certain bosses. The Dragon heals via Chimera and Inferno has a strong inbuilt heal. In both cases a well-timed sentence can deal significant damage and accelerate the fight.
  • Spirit Master is mostly discard fodder, but since it can return two portals in some situations it can prove useful. It can also be played during the turn Temporalis activates.
  • The Prophecy of the Dragon allows you to empty your hand similar to precognition and also to filter your deck. As a spell it gives a nice defense buff and can be chained into portal. Very useful once you got some skill with the deck.

Event:

  • Key of the Eternal is of circumstantial use. Many bosses have strong order bonuses, so by preventing them you will often get an advantage that outweighs the loss of yours. While I personally found it very useful against Inferno, it’s use is still situational.

Cheap Variant Deck list:

Summary:

Portal Combat is a very chance-dependent deck, utilizing a specific combo and needing to get it running to win. Sometimes bad draws will ruin your game, sometimes you get dream draws and a boss playing into your hands. Due to the overpowering offense many bosses have, it is a very useful and strong deck against them and any player intending to farm these bosses should really consider using it against them.
I use mine as a go-to solution to all the bosses listed.

 
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DISCARD

Works against:

  • Abyssien (Values of the Zil boss)
  • Kepher (Values of the Nomads boss)(Recurrs cards under specific conditions)
  • The Mystic Slayer’s Shadow (The Ursend Guild boss)
  • Protectors of Yses (The Thread of Time boss)

The Strategy:
This deck tries to remove cards from the opponents hand and deck as fast as possible so he loses by running out of cards. Since at least one character needs to survive the game the secondary focus of the deck is survival.
Since most cards with a discard theme are from the Zil Warriors guild and often keyed to the Circus Caste, this guide will focus on building a Zil discard deck.

Important Rules:

  • Mage with no other class gain chain when playing a non-AoE spell. AoE spells can never be part of a chain.
  • Pure mages that cast a spell dealing damge do not physically attack during the same turn.
  • There can only be one copy of any single character in a deck. If a character has more than one card, only one of those can be in a deck.
  • Guemelite characters can play spells of the same kind as their guemelite type even if they aren’t mages. They gain no inherent advantage or disadvantage by playing spells like pure mages do.
  • A character can only have one pet attached to him at a time.
  • Cards are drawn at the end of a turn. If a player can’t draw as many cards as he needs to, he has until the end of the next fight to win, otherwise he loses.
  • A perfect victory is when all opposing characters are dead and all own characters are alive at the end of the match. If the opponent loses via discard the result will never be a perfect.
  • In some adventure missions neither side can lose via discard. Pay attention to the special conditions of a mission.

+Discard Cards:+

Normal:

Blackmail

Chains and discards one card. The spirit debuff it delivers works against Treacherous , and the defense debuff is irrelevant since we are not trying to kill the opponent. The spirit reduction can however reduce the magical offense of the opponent. It’s also quite expensive so not really recommended.

Grip

It’s an expensive Theft for mages and shadow guemelites. As the AI wont discard a card for the mage-only effect of the card, the denial of bonusses can be quite useful against some bosses, but useless against others. Verdict: use it, if you have it, but skip it if you don’t. May be more useful with Ishaya.

Indigestion

Discards 2 or 3 if the caster is Circus. Very strong and chains for mages. Use it.

Panic

Discards 1 to 3 cards depending on how played. It can be advisable to discard the first one you draw so you get a better effect from the second one without wasting your actions. Judge the situation and use accordingly. Chains for mages and Salem.

Pickpocket

Steals 3 cards and buffs your Circus. Very good but the lack of chain and that only one can be attached to a single opponent means that you should only use one or two against most bosses.

Theft

One of the few unaligned discard cards. Steals from the deck not the hand and it’s randomness makes it a bit unreliable. Still not bad, but it has lower playing priority than most other discard cards.

Treacherous

This card depends wholly on the opponent. Against high spirit bosses it discards their entire hand, against low-spirit bosses it does nothing. Use accordingly.

Trophy:

Dragon Sacrifice

A card that can be extremely powerful and discard entire hands for just two cards of yours. However it can also do nothing. Best used when you have a grasp of the opponents deck.

Special:

Mental Syphon

Can be bought in the store for 4.000 crystal once you reach level 16. Given that you can decide how many cards to discard after seeing what the opponent has left it is a strong finisher and the mental spell type allows The Psychurgist to play it. Be careful to not card out yourself though.

+Characters:+
The key cards of this deck fall into different categories, so the important facets of a character besides their stats and abilities are their association with the Zil Warriors, their classes, their caste and their guemelite type to play the important cards. Any character not mentioned here bears no special significance aside from these and can be used accordingly.

Abyssien the Devourer:

An ideal mage for a discard deck and accordingly pricy. He is geared for survival and heals when the opponent discards. There is little to be said about him except that you want him.

Alyce:

Needs Vicious Circle for level 2 and Fabulous Destiny for level 3.
She can play anything but theft at full efficiency and then removes it from the grave. Yet she is extremely expensive. Her level 2 is recommended since it allows chaining. Her level 3 increases her defensive stats. We aren’t using non-zil shadow spells, but the other advantage of her level 3 ability is that she can still play zil shadow spells after using Break the second chain.

Councilor Ishaia:

Be very careful if you are using her. Aside from being expensive her passive ability is not of advantage here. It applies to Indigestion and changes it to “discard 4, return 2”, leaving it at a net 2 discard. However her many guilds allow her access to other useful cards and her ability can at least improve defensive spells like Ice Barrier. Her price and little use make her basically a non-option for most discard decks.

Kriss:

Another store card he can also be won with a trophy, but this trophy means you can already afford him or better characters. He can play all the non-spell discard cards which makes him useful, but as an option there are better alternatives.

Marlok the Repentant:

Needs Treacherous for level 2 and Arcanium for level 3.
A surprisingly strong option. He barely improves with level, so his level 1 is fully functional. His order bonus helps letting the enemy discard and activating it via card let’s it work as extra discard during the early turns.

N’ba, N’ta and N’taba:

N’ba is a Priest and little needs to be said about him, except that he recurrs Blackmail each turn.
N’ta is a Shadow guemelite marauder and as such quite useful. While Salem is better a deck can include both.
N’taba as the fusion of both has the advantages of both for our purposes so he can be quite useful, if expensive.

Salem:

Needs Look away
for level 3 and Panic for level 4.
Rather cheap, can cast the important spells for full effect and chains with one of them. Levels 2 and 3 are fully serviceable too. Use him.

Saphira the Zil and Telendar:

Both are too expensive to get for this deck, but if available can be useful. Their ability to chain Treacherous or Theft respectively as well as some defensive cards works well and makes for a fast game.

The Psychurgist:

Needs Blackmail for level 3.
A good option. His circus affiliation helps playing the cards and his order bonus reduces the opponents deck. His level 2 serves well and his level 3 variant has the same advantages and disadvantages Blackmail has with regards to the attribute reduction. As a mental guemelite he can play Mental Syphon.

Other cards worth considering:

The deck should be small enough so you draw the cards you need, however it can have slightly more than 20 cards without hurting its performance too much. Aside from the discard cards the rest should be focusing on defense in one way or another.
One further note regarding cards that give the opponent the choice of discarding or suffering an effect: The AI will almost never discard for them, so you get the effect.

Normal:

Good against bosses that recur cards, but a discard deck should rarely face those.

If you have priests this card will increase their survival rate by a lot.

For Circus characters a chaining +2 Defense, for all others worthless. Should you use Whip, it can be advantageous in getting some damage through.

Discards one for Circus. Generally it’s too weak to be of use, but if you know the opponents deck, it is at least a cheap card to use.

Chains, protects against some magic damage and increases the amount of cards discarded by Treacherous. Situationally useful, also very cheap.

If you rely on mages this is a superior defensive card.

Be careful with this, it makes no check if the character can play the spell, so non-Circus shadow guemelites might get a panic. If your deck fits it however it is a strong way to get your discard spells. And a surefire way to draw that one copy of Mental Syphon.

Do not use this. You want the opponent to draw out, letting him draw less cards doesn’t help you at all.

This depends on your characters. But given how useful some the order bonuses can be it is always worth inclusion. Especially Marlok, Salem and the Psychurgist profit from it.

Another useful defense card.

A weird pair of cards. Obscure reduce the ability of bosses to return cards, but you will rarely field discard against these anyway. Whip is useful, but most discard characters don’t have the attack stat to damage most bosses, so it’s ability will rarely trigger.

Same as Obscure, this is a very useful graveyard depletion and debuff, but rarely useful against the bosses this deck is used for. Not too bad, but competes with Pickpocket for the pet slot and is less useful

I have never seen the AI discard to any optional discard, as such this is just a way to make it discard 1 card. However, for circus it is an almost assured 4 turn debuff for cheap.

Cheap Variant Deck list:

Summary:

Discard is a very efficient deck and against bosses vulnerable to it, it has a very high victory chance to win, with the right setup. However the challenge is to survive long enough, since the opponent still gets a single fight after he has no cards left. It helps however that the AI rarely plays cards when this would lead to a hand size below 5 the next turn.
Especially on the cheap end the deck is more luck-based, since Panic depends on the amount of other Panics drawn, Treacherous needs enemy spirit and Pickpocket and whip are conditional. However, if a boss is vulnerable to it, it often is rather easy to discard them, so building a discard deck is worth it if you ever want to farm these bosses. In addition it is easier easy to slowly upgrade a discard deck over time as funds permit.

 
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GOLEM

Works against:

  • Abyssien (Values of the Zil boss)
  • Dark Tower (many fights, though not all)
  • The Arena Champion (Sands of the Arena boss)
  • The Mystic Slayer’s Shadow (The Ursend Guild boss)

The Strategy:

Make one of your characters immortal. Golem decks focus on making one of the characters as strong as possible as fast as possible so that anything the boss does can deal no damage. Then you kill the boss. It is a simple strategy but executing it fast and well enough is where problems can crop up.

Important Rules:

  • Characters with the “Golem” race can use any items independent of class, race, guild, caste or gender restrictions.
  • There can only be one copy of any single character in a deck. If a character has more than one card, only one of those can be in a deck.
  • Guemelite characters can play spells of the same kind as their guemelite type even if they aren’t mages. They gain no inherent advantage or disadvantage by playing spells like pure mages do.
  • A character can only have one pet attached to him at a time. Pets are not items.
  • Cards are drawn at the end of a turn. If a player can’t draw as many cards as he needs to, he has until the end of the next fight to win, otherwise he loses.
  • A perfect victory is when all opposing characters are dead and all own characters are alive at the end of the match.
  • In some adventure missions neither side can lose via discard. Pay attention to the special conditions of a mission.

What you need:

There are two kinds of characters important for this deck type: Golems and Craftsmen. Due to the variety of options, this section is divided by guilds with a short preamble for each guild, and an additional section for characters that can take the place of a golem without being one. Since each Craftsman has specific items keyed to him, those will be explained along with him, if they are of note.
There are more options for the creative, but detailing them would go far beyond this guide.

Golem decks are built around thoughness, so the elements to focus on are:
- Defense (against physical attacks)
- Spirit (against spells)
- Healing (so that any damage that gets through is not permanent)
- Damage Reduction (basically increased defense/spirit, but can’t be decreased and sometimes also works against direct damage)
- Card Recycling (So you don’t card out, can however be compensated for with careful play)
- Attack (you need to kill the boss in the end)

+Golems & Craftsmen:+

Desert Nomads

Kroub

Kroub is the only nomad craftsman and he sucks. His items, the Sun orb and Shadow orb only impact healing from theurgies and there is nothing else outstanding about him. Add to that that the Desert Nomads have neither golems, nor any noteworthy support cards for golem and you should just ignore him.

Kotoba

Masamune

Similar to Kroub, Masamune has barely any support and his niche isn’t very useful. His special items Wooden Sword and Nodachi can only be attached to warriors (which most golems are) but are rather bad especially given the alternatives. To add insult to injury he can’t even play Masamune’s armor.

Ramen

Ramen on the other hand is a quite good addition to golem decks. Before Pirate golems and craftsmen got as strong as they are now, most golem decks included him, and his Hot Noodles are really useful for golems with or without him. His downsides are that he can only work with mercenary golems and craftsmen and that he simply isn’t in the top 2 craftsmen anymore.

Mercenaries

Aryphas

Needs Divine Fist to be upgraded from Saphyra. This one is a weird golem. The only golem priest in the game, this gives her access to theurgies and priest-only cards, but sadly there is little a golem deck can use. It however is possible to use Destroying the non-human to make her a marauder or Omniscience and give her access to other classes for a time. Also it allows her to profit from the healing property of the Sanctified Hammer.
But aside from gimmick builds her low stats make her of little use.

Foam Giant

Foamy is the classic golem. Before S.A.R.A.H he was the centerpiece of all golem decks and still is one of the strongest around. He has excellent base stats and chains all items. His downside is his rarity and his price. Also while he is a nature guemelite, there are neither unguilded nature spells nor guemelite specific cards that are useful for a golem deck.

Guardian of the Council

An event character, this golem is rather weak on his own and his only stand-out ability is that he autoplays axioms to make up for it. While in some cases the additional speed might be of use and it decreases deck size, it is generally better to use another golem with or without the axioms.

Jayane

The only remarkable thing about Jayane is her hair color. She is a decently though mercenary craftsman and the additional healing from Time Potion can be useful in a budget golem deck. Jayane can be of use, but should be replaced with a better craftsman when possible.

Jorus

Similar to Jayane, Jorus himself is rather unremarkable, however his strength lies in his items. The effect of the Good Jorusien is quite strong and the additional spirit jorus adds is icing on the cake. He should be your second craftsman in most decks.

The Mekalchemist

A very interesting craftsman, though sadly event only. His ability to cast spells is very useful, however not particularly helpful for a golem deck. His ability to double potions depends heavily on which potions you use. Also since it adds the copy after your played cards and copies even copies there are a few sheenanigans you can employ with Health Potion and Temporalis.

 
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Nehantists

Nehantists have neither golems nor craftsmen and their inability to include mercenaries removes another possibility. Unsuited for a golem deck.

Noz’Dingard Envoys

Bomzar

Bomzar is an interesting golem. As a mage he can utilize spells, though his spirit of 0 hampers those. He has a conditional boost, but you generally don’t want to include Aerouant in a golem deck. As is his unique factors are his guild (and the ability to use Dragon’s Wit) and being able to cast spells as a Noz, something not to be underestimated since there are a number of strong buffs in the guild. Or you can just apply Inspiration for a cheap attack boost.

Dragast

Solid stats, is a dragon guem and a dragon knight. The former allows access to draconic spells and the latter makes the dragon knight cards like Dreist easier to use. Sadly there is nothing special about him for most golem decks. His death ability wont help much as he typically will be the only golem in the deck and you want him to survive., and while some useful dragon knight actions exist, they wont make or break your game. If you have him and useful cards like numerical disadvantage or The dragons champion, you can use him, but I would recommend to get a better golem for golem decks in the long run.

Delko

The other unique Noz contribution, Delko is …unremarkable. There is nothing about him making him a worthwhile addition to any golem deck above any other craftsman. His unique items aren’t very useful either. Generally you wont have many weapon activations with your own golem to get much use out of the Toolbox , and the Toolbox Trap is not too useful against most bosses either. However it bears mention that Immobilization combined with Toolbox Trap can lock down some enemies hard, you just need to draw and apply the combo early enough and survive.

Pirates

Ica-Rusty

Needs Ica-Rusty’s Mechanical Arm for level 3.
Solid stats, starts with a decent item and gives your mechanists chain. Solid choice for a golem.

Nut

Needs Time Bomb..
Less useful than Ica, however due to his interaction with Klementine worth to be considered. I’ll elaborate in her entry.

S.A.R.A.H

The golem you want. Reasonably affordable, solid stats and inbuilt card recovery.
SARAH is the ideal golem. She removes any worry about carding out while simultaneously allowing you to dig through your deck without much worry. As long as she is alive you can gear her up and outlast the boss.

Volturia

Another pirate golem. She can boost her spirit rather decently and has an inbuilt situational heal. Generally SARAH will be the better alternative. What makes Volturia interesting is that she is a mage. Aside from good buffs like double clay this allows her full access to all pirate spells as well as item or card effects restricted to mages. And she can easily do magic damage to a boss where most golems have trouble deviating from physical damage. She has potential for some interesting builds, but on an economic comparison a more standard golem deck is far cheaper.

Balastar

Needs Size 50 Monkey Wrench for level 3.
He’s tough and boosts your other craftsmen. Solid. His ability to recoup items is situation but not very useful in a golem deck, but it allows some items to become more useful, or to reuse attachment effects.
His special items Pirate Vaccine and Infected Serum are as such not bad to include and powerful enough to turn the tide in need, but generally you don’t want to be in such a situation anyway, so they are of rather limited use.

Clover

Another solid craftsmen with abilities of little use. While powder weapons aren’t bad, generally they’re not what a golem deck uses and her focus on explosives via Scuttling is similarly useless here. Though enough to be worth considering, she can be easily replaced.

Klementine/Klementine, skilled mechanist

A character with 2 cards and 4 different final forms.
Needs Detonation for level 3 and Port for the alternative upgrade.
Klementine has two variants. Both work as craftsmen but differently.
Her Nut-Variant is basically very useful if you want to boost Nut and have her as a secondary attacker. Since generally you want to focus on defense though, that tactic is not very viable against bosses.
Her other variant however is highly desirable in any golem deck that can afford her and her items. Her ability to chain is second only to Meister Galene and significantly accelerates any golem deck.


Her other variant is the so far only golem craftsman, a combination no other character has naturally.
Both version can be a very powerful asset in any golem deck, and depending on your deck provide early or late toughness. Her order bonus is very useful and a card to activate it every turn is recommended. The fact that she is human and has the champion caste allows to activate a number of different cards and effect that may prove useful. She is too expensive to recommend in a farming deck, but if you have her you want to use her.

Meister Galene

THE craftsman you want. Chains with the items you want to play, boosts and heals your golem and is tough enough to work as a golem replacement in a cinch. If your golem deck is mercenary or pirate, you want him. His items are decent as well with the Grog Pirate boosting your golem as well as healing your human (craftsman) characters and the Galenof Cocktail allowing an item-based magic fire attack.

Souchi

Needs Spoiled Fugu for level 2 and Successful Fugu and The Plank for level 3.
As a Craftsman, Souchi is mediocre, as a marauder however she is really good. To the traditional golem deck she doesn’t contribute much, except the possibility of dealing significant damage before being killed. Since her special items only last some time, they rarely are worth inclusion in a golem deck.

Runic Legion

The runic legion so far features no golem, but a number of (priest/)craftsmen, as such a mercenary golem might have use for them.

Astria

Is craftsman, boosts priests. Pass.

Consul Neixiram

His order bonus boosts runics permanently. With Runification or Savage Cloak you could make your golem runic for that, but the gain is not too high and you need to have turn control. Decent, but not particularly good.

Coranthia

Accumulates Nox runes, however unless you find a way to use those she has no place in the deck.

Lania

Adds a bit of early game healing, not too shabby, but nothing remarkable either.

Sap Heart

Gaya

The Sap Hearts have no other craftsmen and no craftsman items or other cards interesting for a golem deck, so there is generally no reason to use Gaya, who is rather mediocre herself normally. However there is one interesting possibility with her:
Using the Amber Fetish of Destruction on Foam Giant results in him becoming a “Golem-Human” which opens the way to use some card abilities and is more useful than his nature guem typing.

Stone Linkers
So far they have neither golem nor craftsmen. Generally unsuited.
However the 5 different Stone-Hearts can be really strong in a golem deck, depending on the opponent.

Zil warriors

Arckam

Gives out hats. As Valve shows with Team Fortress 2, that is a way to success and riches. While he has nothing in particular going for him, the Magic Hat is a decent way to gain card recycling on your golem and the Devourer hat can work against some bosses that buff themselves.
Surprisingly useful, because of his items, but sadly locks you into Zil.

Marlok’s Golem and Golemarlok

Needs Marlok to level up to level 2. Marlok’s Golem is not too shabby with a Defense of 3 or 4, but has nothing else going for him.
Golemarlok on the other hand is a little bit more fragile, but brings a few interesting options to the table. Like Bomzar he is a Warrior-Mage, but he has a decent spirit stat and he features the human race. The first allows him access to some spells and cards like double clay that help an early defense, and the latter allows him to get some extra-utility out of a few cards, like the Armor of the Thunder King for example.

Honorary Golems

Some characters can fill the place of a golem without being one. They often require a different approach, due to the lack of golem race and therefore inability to use off-guild items and due to their abilities which make them suited for this role.

Aelide

Aelide features a unique and strong ability, that allows her spirit stat to not only defend against spells but double as healing. If she is the only avalonian in the deck she will always heal herself. Since it is quite a bit easier to boost Spirit than to get regular healing the Aelide deck features a lot of spirit boosting items with the intent to outheal any damage done.

Kebek

His ability is a lot weaker than Aelides, but it is possible to get Kebek some decent per fight healing, as such he is not a bad start for a golem replacement. However the stronger bosses will make it difficult to get him on par.

Marzin

Needs Master Mage’s Scale for level 3.
Master-Mage Mazin is an interesting character, especially since he works in a way that means you wont play many cards. The Marzin deck basically tries to include as many spells of the right kind as possible and then tries to shovel them into the grave. Generally you want fire and water, but in some cases lightning might be of use.
The preferred supporting characters are The Marquis to include all the pirate spells, Lady Izandra for Stone-Linker spells and any one witchblade for the few caste-restricted water spells. Dragon’s wit however allows further inclusion of any restricted spells and allows you to support Marzin with any character. Alternatively one can include dragon knights to allow faster shovelling with Follow the pink Rabbit , but due to deck size it is unreliable. Generally it is best to add characters that can take the heat so you have time to discard or with useful abilities. Also any card that is no Marzin fodder has little place in this deck. Marzin has two big downsides, which are the lack of healing and the vulnerability to out-of-fight and direct damage, but on the other hand he is easy to use and never triggers any opposing ability on playing cards.

The Stranger

Event Character. The Stranger has rather strong equipment. Since his items count each other when played, the bonus will be always increasing, but +4 armor and 5 healing per turn increase his survivability significantly. If you have a way to remove his items one by one and then replay them, you can get all of them to their max. bonus.

 
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Theya

Event Character. Her main draw is her invulnerabity during even turns. She has solid stats and using her during the right turns gives a good amount of time to build up. Lack of Golem race handicaps her though. She is a solid choice if there is nothing better.

Valentyne

Event Character. Self-building “golem”. The free equipment makes her build-up fast and as such it is possible to build her up fast enough.

Special: Archmage Artrezil & The Althing

Discard Althing to have it on top of your grave. As long as it stays there Artrezil can only be killed by damage outside or after a fight. Not really a golem, but very few AI opponents can kill him, so he can slowly whittle their HP and cards down, and then finish them off with the right card.

Special: Big Characters

All the big characters (Characters that count for 3) can work similar to golems. As such this guide applies to them as well. But since big chars generally have big stats, the build-up required is far less and it is quite possible to build the deck around only having to survive long enough to kill.

Variant: Debuff Craftsmen

Basically a reverse golem, Craftsmen have a number of very good buffs as well as a big number of debuff items. With most bosses being single enemies, it is possible to debuff them down and make them harmless. Also the same applies to Nehant corruption mages.
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Other cards:

The most important part of a golem deck is the items you use for your golem. Due to golems being able to play and use almost any items, what you use depends on what you have and want to buy. As such every golem deck is unique and a hard list of what to use and what not is not viable.

Special note regarding craftsman items: Many craftsman items use the ability of craftsmen to attach them to other characters. Golems don’t have this! As such be careful when playing craftsman items with your golem, since normally they will all attach to it.

Defense:

Generally you want an Armor and Shield on your golem. Of Special Note is that those usable by craftsmen can be attached to your golem and as such circumvent the downside of activating after the fight, since the golem is not in the fight.
Other than that you want Defense and or Spirit as well as damage reduction.

Size 50 Monkey Wrench

Most defensive craftsman cards that are of special note have already been discussed with their craftsmen. This item however is an immediate +2 def craftsman item and as such rather decent.

Hobnailed Getas

Some bosses have the ability to decrease your stats. Use this against it.

Exoarmore MK II

This makes your humans golems and makes your golems a lot stronger. Now every human you want can become your deck’s golem as long as you find a way to apply this armor to him. The one downside it has is that the golem transformation happens at the end of the fight, so you need to fight at least once ungolemized. In some cases this might be too slow, use your judgement to decide.

Offense:

More Attack = More Good
Some powder weapons can be used to inflict direct damage. Those can be considered as an alternative means of offense.

Portable Heater and Emergency Generator

Growing attack power and/or direct damage your Jorussiens should absorb? Yes please.

Firon

Given how many items you are attaching to a golem, this should be obvious.

Healing:

What any golem wants is a second line of defense against strong bosses and direct damage, as such any card that heals the golem should be considered. Remember golems can play items of any guild.

Chimera

The ultimate weapon for golems. Pump your spirit and outheal any damage the boss does. The downside is the price.

Dreist and The Dragon’s Awakening

Not as good as Chimera but it is a bit of healing and more reliable than Life Devourer

The Pirate Code

One of the stronger, cheap healing items. It’s easy for a golem to gain some powder and even easier for a pirate golem.

Card Recycling:

It is a huge advantage to play S.A.R.A.H. and have all the discarded cards come back eventually instead of them being gone forever. Especially against though opponents digging through your deck for the important cards can be necessary and regaining them a boon. Sadly the only golem with inbuilt recycling is S.A.R.A.H., but there are a few alternatives:

Gaze of the Crow

Slowly recycles and gives a moderate attack boost. Really worth an inclusion if you aren’t using S.A.R.A.H.

Magic Hat

The one reason to use Arckam. Without him this hat works once, with him it works eternally. And even though it only recycles items, that is quite useful, especially if you use temporary items. Any Zil or Mercenary golem deck should think about including this, and it even works for non-golems.

Other Cards:

While the other categories are important, golem decks include other cards that increase speed, help survive or enhance the performance in other ways. Be creative, many cards can be surprisingly useful.

Backpack
Gives your golem chain. your golem wants chain, as do your craftsmen.
If you are lucky enough to own the Neutral Anxiom use that and Chain Labor is a decent substitute for your craftsmen.

Captain’s Hipflask
High stat boosts, chains and no downside for pirates while non-pirates can be built to completely absorb the downside. Use it.

Crown of the Border
Like the Getas protects against any and all stat debuffs, usefulness varies on boss, but against some it is a big help.

Elfine Bow
When you need to kill multiple opponents at once. Pirates can use Weapon Kata too.

Gold Medal
Event Card. The stat increases stay even when the medal is removed. This is a long-term victory on its own.

Health Potion
Event card. Gives your craftsmen chain, can be recurred and boosts are permanent. what’s not to like?

Odds and Ends
Gives your craftsmen a craftsman item to play. While it clutters up the deck, it helps your draws enormously. The only danger is that if it pulls an item the craftsman can’t play, it will just discard.

Ptola Mask
I’ll use this one as a representative of “Slow death” cards. There are a number of different cards that once the golem is unkillable can be used to whittle away at enemies without using normal attacks. Generally it is a viable strategy, but it is slow and normally attack-boosts suffice to kill the boss faster.

Recycling
For pirates. Creates an endless number of new Ica-Rusty’s arms to make Doctor Octopus green with envy. Really powerful, but banned in many parts of the dark tower.

The Gutted
Trophy Card. Generally golems fight one boss so this card stay and slowly debuffs it. While the debuffs is random and slow, there is little harm to it and in slow fights bosses it can be significant. But generally not a card of big use.

Special:: Added classes, guilds and castes
Some cards like Savage Cloak or Paladin’s Amulet add classes, guilds or castes to the wearer or his allies. This allows you to employ cards that normally are not available, or card effects that normally are not usable by your golem.
The only downside is for cards that are not applied to the golem that it’s only lasting as long as the wearer lives, but if you can put another Savage cloak on the golem that one keeps all the modifications applied to it. Be creative and you’ll find use for these cards. And whenever yous ee a card you want to use in your golem deck but can’t, another card might allow it..
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Summary:
No decklist.
Building a golem deck on a budget is often a matter of what’s available and affordable and the bar for success varies against different bosses. Generally golem decks can be cheap, but effective ones often cost quite a sum. Also it’s possible to build expensive ones. How you build a golem deck is up to you, but creativity can replace a big amount of expensive cards or augment them. Also bosses vary a bit, so different strategies can be necessary.
Golem decks however can easily go beyond 20 cards and for slower ones it is recommended, esp. if you have no ways to get cards back. Just be careful not to clutter your deck up with unnecessary or situational cards that actually hinder your play.