So Coming back to pox after years I find the game updated and in a better spot than ever before. I also find that I had no idea how bad of a player I was before my favorite theme has always been sand and I am now on a quest to create and refine a current sand BG. I will be posting reviews and thoughts after each game, giving my experiences and discoveries. Here are going to be my rules: 1. BG created from scratch, no net decking 2. Only ranked games count. The goal is to have a competitive deck and friendly games may not be the best representation of that. 3. I will share both my wins and my losses. Can’t learn if I can’t own up to when I make mistakes. 4. I will not change the BG before 3-5 games of each version. If a small modification is made like swapping an upgrade, I will notate it, but no runes swapping until I have played 10 games with the current version. I am going to attempt to record the games and may even post to YouTube. This will be a grand journey! Now, for the first step… Alright so let’s dig in. I have shifted to what feels like the most stable build so far. Melee Champs: champions whose role is to tank and skirmish on the frontlines. Also is our font runners spots. Farcrags Sandkip - fast and able to grab fonts. Provides sandspray and sorrocco to support the front. Leap allows for efficient moving. The weakest melee slot, but highly useful. First deploy if speed is needed, particularly on Underdepths. Sandstalker Lord - Added back in in V4. I just keep feeling like he is a good choice. We will see. He was clutch against Myx but this BG is a hard counter anyway. Varu Dragon - took out completely in V3 as was too squishy for his cost. Farcrags Tardigrade: Took out in V4 because of room. Kanen Alpha: again moved back out as I needed the room for things that benefited the BG more. Sandstalker: Removed in V3 due to cost and durability. Could fight ranged units all day but crumbled as soon as there was a melee opponent. Maybe in a more spell spammy deck with adaptive he would be better, but not currently. Tainted Vinecreeper: v4 put back in as the testing showed amazing utility with the stealthed teleport. The combo of Sandspout plut ambush makes him a very threatening font grabber. Use Tunnel Trap with Planar Dissonance for profit Skywing Imperator: Took out for V5. While good, I did not need him for the role. I would much rather have a sandkip out for his effects. Demonic Sandclaw: removed for v5 as given the option I would always choose other options. The Lord is tanker and does and much damage while the doomies have more versatility and utility. Sundered Doombringer: Added in with V4 as the BG really needs magic damage to deal with incorporeal. Running with Punish and Domain: Sand giving him not onlya good amount of damage, but also some utility to reduce the efficiency of the opponent. Ranged: damage dealers primarily. This theme does not have many good log range options, but they do have answers. Sandlion (Sandsnipe) - the premier dmg dealer at range with piercing shot and domain. It cants miss and will do lots of damage. Watch to position on sand for best results. Sand Elemental - This one is weird, but it a mid-line tank who is also fantastic as contesting fonts. With domain and desert font, he can always reposition to get and attack off and will be hanging around for awhile with calcify. 2x2 is actually a boon here with desert font. V5: removed as the saddest choice for this version. Other runes filled his slot more effectively for the role. Sandspitter - In v5 has become the more reliable and versatile ranged option with sirocco, spray sand, and sandstriker for 15 damage. Made 2x Sandhunter - While good, with 2x Sandkips and Sandspitters I didn’t really need him. Skeezick Wylder - decent ranged option since he stealths on sand but more importantly he brings imbue stun. The BG doesnt have a lot of hard CC so this is a useful addition. Supports: These are the different champs included to support the other options. These are not meant to be the main damage dealers so their AP is best used as a supporting rune the majority of the time. Dune Walker - The iconic support champ for the sand theme. The biggest support is the grant: tunnel. Running tunnel for mobility and Domain: Sand for the grated Mobility. Has become a one focus for a win condition of font control. Dunes Manticore - the heal bot rune for this BG. Transfer life 2 is incredibly good. V2: changed to sand font as it was more reliable so spawning sand and I only run 1 sandstorm. Skeezik Herder - the main reason he is included is drive. Extra ap and extra damage is welcome in addition to the back line sand front. Low damage but good range also allows him to poke a bit. Mutant Doctor: Took out in V4 due to fitting in what I really needed. Doc is very good, but just didnt make the cut. Tech Champs: these are champs chosen to counter something specific, in this case summons and stealth. Locust - My choice of anti-summon. Running locust swarm to support the rest of the BG and sandstriker to help ensure kills on those pesky summons. Also spd 6 with leap makes him a good option for early font grabbing. Mantid Tracker - My choice of detection rune. Hidden sand adds synergy to the list, but with evasive is just a bit unnecessary, I think. Leap 3 for U2. This actually makes a decent font runner to contest and skirmish on a remote font. If they have a melee champ, I can drop some sand via relic or spell and they will not be able to deal with him easily. Declare target keeps him relevant as an additional support rune. Spells: these range from counters to faction staples and I will give reasons on each. Planar Dissonance - Added back in as it pushes my advantage and punishes my opponent. Has been clutch for winning a positioning and resource battle. Purge - V3 Added back in as it’s the only way I can reliably dispel. The main reason is currently there is a popular ST/UD meta BG that puts majestic onto volthsair and there is no other way to deal with it other than dispel. Quicken - a mini power turn rune that can secure a kill nicely. Has become just a faction staple and I prefer it over Quickening or Draconic Benediction due to cost and flexibility. Reforge - my anti equipment rune. Simple enough Sandstorm - the iconic spell for the BG, but I am only running 1 as I don’t think 2x is needed for either sand gen nor the debuf. It hits your own units so it limits it effective potential. A major use now for me is to sandstorm with the intent to tunned around the opponent and grab fonts. Tornado - really my only true damage spell and it’s mainly to destroy relics. Verdict of Derifos - Took out due to slots. Was useful, but never quite what I needed. Sandspout - Started running to help win fights. This BG doesn't have an abundance of croud control so zoning Cancel Magic - Now that I run it I am not sure I want to ever take it out. Relics - I am running 3 relics and each have a specific purpose. Skywing Beacon - I took out in V4. Amazing relic but maximizing the efficiency of the BG led me to take it out. Slum Market - Still gone from earlier versions and have not felt the need to run it. Warbanner - staple in all BGs. Hive - Added in the hive to fight Vothsairs and contest/finish champs. Phalanx Marker - best SL font contestor and buffs up my units more. Equipment: V2 is running more than normal as explained. Dunewalker Mantle - while taking it out I have regretted it. Now with 2x sandspitters I feel I need it for the mobility Legion Standard - this is to counter effects prevented by iron will. It’s been a key rune for me in the past so we will see if it keeps it’s spot going forward. Synergy with sand ele as pawn still causes calcify to trigger. V5: took out but always want to fit it back in. Alakios Blade: While the combo with Dunewalker is cute, it wasnt efficient enough to keep its spot. Bonesplitter Maul - Took out as it wasnt flexible enough and the deck slots are tight. Dragon Gods Staff - Needed spot cleanse and this is the option. Also can be dropped for dispel. Deck Strategy: Revisiting my mindset for playing the game as also made me reconsider my deckbuilding goals. Between sandkips with their spd 7 and leap, the locust and mantid with their leaps, and dunewalker with his grant tunnel, this is a very mobile BG. Add in the domain sand and you can have a Bg that you cannot tie down. My goal is to focus my main force in the center font, slowly outtanking the enemy while using my sand gen and tunneling to get around the line and force a fight on a side. If I have the nora, I can contest a font, drop the beacon, and if they cannot stop either I will control the font OR I will have a forward delpoyment to reinforce that flank and push in. If I am wining mid I can force the side font, but if losing mid I will need to turtle and use my power turn options to gain the advantage. To summarize, win con is speed to contest fonts with superior durability. While rushing fonts seemed like the way, this BG is better at slowly tanking but I have found it can still do good damage. I will add more details to playstyle as I refine it more. This BG benefits far more from playing champs than spells and euips. Most of the non-champs need to only be played when it guarantees a kill or saves a unit. Spells like Planar Dissonance and Sandspout are great ways to debuff and outplay opponents but do not get over spammy. My power turns involve Quicken. This BG doesnt have as many powerturns, but relies more on your own play skill to wear down the opponent. The deck is proving quite fun. That is the deck. I will give further updates after each gaming session! Also will try to record. More to come!