Which witch is which? breaking down the time spinning witch archetypes and introducing a fun new version
The 10k Minnesota GP is behind us, and what a fun event it was. A whopping five unique rulers in the top 8 marks a level of field diversity this game hasn't seen in a very long time. But only one of these decks could make it out on top, and Team ARG's very own Ryan Miles emerged victorious with his Time Spinning Witch deck. His list was the classic version that most of us have come to know Witch by; Dinosaur Surfacing into Mosasaurus with the cripplingly powerful Distortion of Time to back it up. While Ryan was piloting this powerful deck to his first place finish, our friends over in Europe were playing a unique version of the Witch to their own high rankings. Today, I want to introduce you to some very unique builds of Witch, as well as introduce you to a new and exciting version of the Time-Spinner that I believe will be very viable moving into GP Orlando this December.
Classic Dinosaur Witch
This is the list Ryan won Minnesota with. The goal is simple: use Dragon Lord's Breath in conjunction with Viola to control the first few turns while setting up idols; use Distortion of Time to set them behind on tempo and stones; then finish them off with Mosasurus to lock them out of resources until a 1500 ATK dinosaur can finish them off.
The Laurites are good for blocking other Witch's Distortion of Time, and are also good for stopping other player's Laurites from hitting YOUR Distortion of Time. If you are playing Laurite, you might as well also be playing Laurite's Seven Disciples, one of the major breakout cards of this new format. This card does it all; clears away enemy resonators, stabilizes your life total, and flies over for the ever important chip damage. It's an amazing mid-to-late-game drop that needs to be dealt with while the Witch is developing her resource-attacking strategy.
I feel like this list is going to be heavily targeted moving into Orlando. Slower wind decks can beat this deck by having four copies of Laurite and Faerur's Spell mained, while going slowly and conserving their will. This deck existing and being as popular as it is likely pushes out any non-wind decks from consideration, as not playing wind is tantamount to conceding against this list.
In the end, this deck really does it all. It has a powerful strategy that needs be addressed by any deck worth considering, has some of the most powerful cards in the current New Frontiers environment including Dragon Lord's Breath and Distortion of Time, and keeps up with the average midrange deck with threats like Laurite's Seven Disciples and Mosasaurs. This deck even has a powerful anti-control plan in Village of the Spirited Away, Kouga. If you are looking for a solid, well tested and powerful deck for GP Orlando, this is your best bet for that event.
This list plays a bunch of one-drops of assorted races to take advantage of the incredibly powerful addition The Kingdom of Diversity, Light Palace. After amassing a huge board of small resonators, flipping your ruler grants them all barrier and flying for an easy way to close out games. A list similar to this one did very well at the 2018 Worlds Day Two event, as well as put several European players in the top of a smaller event over there.
This list has one major fault: It seems to lose to the classic dinosaur witch by virtue of not having any Laurites to stop their Distortion of Time, as well as being pretty weak to opposing Dragon Lord's Breath. But this deck more than makes up for it with its incredibly dominant position against other aggressive creature based decks, beating out Kirik and Chamimi. I expect that with 3 Chamimi in the top 8 of Minnesota, combined with the fact that that deck is cheap and easy to make, we will see many players bring that tiny new ruler to Orlando. If that is a meta bet you are willing to make, try your hand at piloting this version of the witch and enjoy some pretty free games.
If you are an extremely brave soul, you can actually make room for one more Idol of Magic and one more Angel Statue, then play Laurite mainboard without any wind stones. This actually dramatically helps your mainboard Classic Witch matchup...if you are lucky enough to hit the additions. If you are a gamblin' sort and want to really get some sneaky laurites on your opponent, I encourage you to give that a try, but you are a braver soul than I.
Full Control Witch
This is the spiciest, and my favorite, way to play witch. It forfeits the dinosaurs and any useful ground resonators for some of the best control spells in the game. It takes advantage of a full suite of seven color-fixing additions, so it gets to play four colors and the best each of those colors has to offer. The stone base may look scary at first, and it is, but the color fixing additions help to off-set the risk of getting hurt by this risky looking stone line-up.
The main game plan is two-fold. One, this deck can survive to 10 stones, judge witch, then judge her again, making for an easy "game two" on her colossal side. Two, you can stick Rachel, Ancient Library Researcher, and flicker her with Kouga to eventually mill out your opponent and accrue an unbeatable amount of card-advantage. This process of stalling out, constantly searching your deck, and eventually killing your opponent with an alternate win-con is a lot of fun, and highly recommended to anyone with the patience to sit there and pull it off.
With lucky stones and intelligently timed removal, this deck can beat anything in the format. Your biggest foes are your own stone deck and your own patience.
In conclusion, Witch has an incredibly diverse pool of options. When your opponent flips over the Witch, the only thing you know for sure is that you are in for a rough game and that you are going to have to deal with two Distortion of Times somehow. I expect these lists will fluctuate in viability as healthy counter-play options emerge to contest the highest represented decks.