There are many cards that damage your own life total in exchange for some sort of benefit, in addition to the most basic interaction of exchanging face hits. If you run cards that reward you for taking damage, then you come out ahead on every exchange! Done lightly, this leads to straightforward aggro/burn decks with some minor self-damage synergies, but some factions have the tools to take this theme to an extreme, giving rise to fun combos builds.
- Flameblood Warlock – the poster child for this archetype.
- Sellsoul – a decent card, but it’s more difficult to make proper use of it.
- Frostbone Naga/Riftwalker/Blistering Skorn – include if you need AOE.
- Sworn Avenger
- Ruby Rifter
- Red Synja
The primary payoff minions, all providing some sort of benefit whenever your general takes damage. They’re vulnerable to removal, but win the game in short order if not answered.
- Blood Taura
A much more risky payoff minion, since you can only realistically summon it when you’re in danger of soon dying. However, it is a very powerful card, and some factions have ways of using it immediately or are able to avoid dying at low life totals.
- Chakkram – can’t trigger this yourself but fits in the same sort of strategy
Healing Mystic and Azure Herald are fine for the purpose, but ideally you want to make use of in-faction damage immunity tools, especially those whose effects persist onto your opponent’s turn.
Lyonar – An aggressive list with Aegis Barrier to protect its big payoff minions. Decklist.
Songhai – Can kill from very high life totals with Zendo + Blood Taura. Decklist (credit Starkly for the idea).
Vetruvian – An experimental list. Equipped artifacts will attract damage, which trigger your minions and discount Chakkram. See decklist above.
Abyssian – A tempo deck that can rapidly grow Avenger and Rifter while flooding the board with Husks. Decklist.
Vanar – A controlling list that can survive for a long time at low life totals via Alcuin-looped Concealing Shrouds. Decklist.
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