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I think this deck is the one I had most trial and error with and took a bit of reworking for me to get a list I was happy with. First I tried some trial list, then I tried Spinecleaver sans Spinecleaver. The reason for this is that Sajj is another one of those generals that doesn’t quite work standalone, her BBS needs something to work off, most commonly artifacts, but cards like Falcius and Zephyr also synergise. A lot of her ‘better’ payoff is in those higher rarities, NoSE, Spinecleaver, Auroras Tears, Ankh and so on. And I really like Sajj of all the Vetruvian generals I feel her playstyle to encourage the most fun, get up into their face to hit and be hit, doing artifact combos and such. What I finally settled on is an aggressive list that can use some of her powerful artifacts to dish out damage, the protection of Falcius & Iris Barrier to hit down the enemy and their larger minions without counterattack and to combo with Flameblood Warlock, all supplemented by some of the powerful staple packages. I should say at this point it’s not the strongest deck amongst these budget lists by any stretch, but for the general at this price I think it’s a pretty good shout.
Playing the Deck
How you play out the deck with somewhat depends on your draws, since there’s a few packaged synergies that you can look to play out. The golem package is a good possible open, but Flameblood into Herald is also good, setting up artifacts right off the bat is typically weaker than minions, but if they open with a 2HP minion you can blast with Ankh that may be worth your while. Your goal is to look for these synergies, like setting up a good artifact combination, Iris into Flameblood, doing a Zephyr Frenzy, etc etc whilst pressuring the enemy general’s HP total. Typically that means moving up close into melee range, but Equipping an Ankh can force them to come to you.
Wildfire Ankh, Staff of Y’kir & Iris Barrier
I nearly cut 2/3 of these when discussing the deck with Icicle who made the very good suggestion to pull Ankh and bring in Wind Striker. But to me Ankh and Sajj go hand in hand, pulling a bunch of artifacts from the artifact general just somehow didn’t feel right to me. If a newer player gets Sajj explained to them and gets hyped about smashing people with a suped up robot I want them to find a list that shows of that side of Sajj, and to me nothing shows that better than Wildfire Ankh. The blast lets you deal out damage from a range and usually forces the enemy to come to you to deal with it, importantly it also lets you apply your BBS at a range, potentially to multiple targets. If you like to you can follow Icicle’s suggestion and bring in Wind Striker, which also is an upgrade over Staff. I just felt it was right that if a player comes to the artifact general they find a list with a number of different artifacts that speak to what Sajj is about right there in the list.
Iris Barrier in the game Files is named ‘Sajj Redemption’, well it didn’t quite live up to that, but it is a quite nice option that let’s us go in and smash high attack units with impunity and lets you use your artifacts like Ykir without lowering their durability. It also prevents the self damage of Flameblood Warlock, and lets your reap the upside without the cost. It is just a nice all-round addition to a list that wants to get into the fight and get messy, though if you have Ankh Equipped you don’t usually need this also and vice-versa, so in those cases you can perhaps consider replacing the other, or holding onto it until the one currently equipped breaks. Staff works very nicely when either of the others is equipped and is an inexpensive addition to the deck and to a turn that lets you pile on damage while letting you do other stuff. As a final not I haven’t gone deep into artifacts with just 2 of each, this lets you use the ones that you do have, whilst not punishing you overly hard if you run into a deck that can very easily clear them.
Falcius & Flameblood Warlock
As I mentioned now twice above, the shield that Falcius & Iris grant you negate the downside of Flameblood Warlock and I’d say that this synergy helps a great deal in allowing the deck to play an aggro game plan. Flameblood is a classic aggro minion, stating that it cares way more about lowering the enemy HP than it does lowering your own and if it get to hit again as a 3/1 all the better, but for this deck that isn’t so true, taking damage can really suck if it hits your artifact durability, and Sajj often needs to get in melee range to make use of her BBS and other cards, this brings risk of having the tables turned and your own low HP is now a big concern. This doesn’t make it wrong to Flameblood without protection, it just means be sure if you do.
Falcius is really great for Sajj, it prevents your HP from dropping during your turn, which as explained above can be real useful and grants attack to let her do her thing. Combined with her BBS Falcius lets you clear, say, a Mythron Wanderer without taking any return damage & establishing a minion on board that could potentially hit twice for a bonus 6 damage. It is very much a useful minion for getting in some tempo without suffering damage and due to the synergies it provides is just an obvious inclusion.
This was a holdover from one of the earlier iterations of the deck, I trimmed it down to 2 to make some room elsewhere, but it is still useful for a general that not only looks to be hitting the enemy almost every turn, but also incentivises the enemy to direct damage at them to clear off artifact charges. A little bit of healing can sometimes go a long way, and very much helps against other aggressive or damaging decks. That said if you feel like you need to make a switch, perhaps you think the curve is too low and you need some more card advantage, or maybe you just want to look more all in as an aggressor, then maybe Herald mightn’t be the worst change.
This is the last card for me to talk about that has a bit of synergy with Sajj, allowing her to get the bonus damage of Psionic Strike or any equipped artifacts onto multiple enemy minions when the Bloodsurge goes off. Zephyr can be a nice little surprise, so I typically try and hold it in hand for when you need to surprise them with the Frenzy, but just playing it out as a minion can be okay if you need to do that, the 3/3 body isn’t stellar but can make some trades, and the possibility of the Frenzy will force your opponent into certain positionings and formations which mightn’t be optimal for how they’d like to play. For example having Zephyr just sitting on the field can it hard for them to approach you with all their units at once.
Bone Swarm & Bloodtear Alchemist
Before I cover the staples that fill out the deck I’ll talk about the last few cards that are included to help out the aggro gameplan, even though both of these are just fine cards on their own merit in a range of decks. I like casting Bone Swarm, directly damaging the opponent is nice for an aggressive deck like this, but mostly you want to use it when it’s clearing blockers or low HP units (like wraiths, eggs & heartseekers). It is nice to keep these little duders than can be a plague to our artifact durability down, and is super nice to hold onto all game for if they play into it or for when you finally get them low enough to burst. Bloodtear fills a very similar role to be honest, pinging off 1 HP minions or artifacts and so on, but has the tradeoff as a lower damage single target, it does not have any positioning requirement and comes at a cheaper price with a body that can block, trade into a unit again or take mana tiles for example.
Vetruvian Staple in almost any minion list.
Golem Metallurgist, Celebrant & Dreamshaper
Yep, the Golem package is a great early game option that has a neat highroll as well as some very acceptable draw with Dreamshaper, the main way to draw cards in the deck (1st wish is nice, but pretty negligible). Given the low aggressive curve of the deck getting off that draw can sometimes be quite important, so make your replace decisions accordingly. As mentioned earlier you could quite nicely add Wind Striker into this and that would be a nice addition to the synergy and an extra body to help get that Dreamshaper Bond to happen. Celebrant is also quite nice to have ealy access to 5 mana for the next 2 cards.
Blood of Air & Sandswirl Reader
Yes, I will just copy paste this again:
As I mentioned earlier Vetruvian has some of the best single target removal, and that is down to this pair. Reader is great tempo against a lot of targets, removing a body, creating a body and creating a tile that can give value for the rest of the game. It does have certain poor targets, but mostly you’re happy to be casting this. Also you could use it to return a Friendly minion to reuse Opening Gambits or such. Additionally, it’s worth considering to move onto the sand tile yourself if you believe they will block it on their turn.
Blood of Air is the other part of the duo, it gives less tempo/value, but permanently answers the threat and does so at any range. Often it’s better to prefer to use Swirler where possible earlier, and save Blood of Air for distant threats or cards with powerful Abilities. This is not a rule though. In this deck Blood of Air has a nice upside of often giving 2 immediate face damage or clearing off weak minions that could hurt our artifacts.
Sajj has a couple of primary ways to upgrade her, but neither are top tier decks really. This list is probably closest to a Spinecleaver type deck where you use that artifact to clear a few minions, which puts them on a clock to end the game. I personally quite enjoying playing the Vetruvian trial, Notion of Starless Eternity, though that may be a pretty fragile deck it is real fun to 1 shot your opponent by playing Aurora’s Tears and hitting them twice for the juicy one shot.
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A build of Tempo Sajj with a slight emphasis on big minions. Uses no cards above rare.
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Aggro them down
Part of a series on neutral meme archetypes that can be played (with variable amounts of success) in any faction.
Part 7: Masochism.
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