Is Chosen One Light Still Viable?
After my humiliating 10-win Weekend Ranked run, I was down to Auric Gold and needed a way to climb back to Mythic fast before the weekend started. Currently, the cheapest and fastest way to climb the ladder is just to play Light - and so I did. However, I didn't want to just play any Light deck - I wanted to show my flair and try something new. So I put on my lab coat and decided to explore a mostly-forgotten mechanic of the Light faction - the Chosen One mechanic. Surprisingly, the deck performed pretty well, although I'd attribute most of that to the strength of Light decks in the current meta.
Even after opening tens of core packs, I still haven't got any copies of Vexing Vicar, Militant Theist, or Prayer of the Desperate, which led me to try this deck. This deck is a Midrange Light deck with Chosen One elements that can be surprisingly strong when RNG is in your favor. On top of that, I've chosen to include The Nemean Lion, which can turn out to be unstoppable against other Light opponents in the right conditions.
Chosen One Themed Cards
These are the only cards in the deck that have a Chosen One mechanic. Other than the Illuminated Warrior, the other cards have respectable stats that play very well with the buffing theme of the deck. The Chosen One mechanic works like this: If you don't have a Chosen One yet, when you play a card that buffs the Chosen One, a random card in your deck is selected as it. However, cards like Illuminated Warrior and Kadmos can re-select another card in your deck to be the Chosen One when you already have one. In this case, your previous Chosen One will retain all its buffs when you draw it but future buffs will go to the current Chosen One.
When trying to get an early advantage, playing Illuminated Warrior first before playing Devout Cleric / Pilgrim of the Cause will correctly buff your topmost creature. Doing it the other way around will spread out the buffs amongst two creatures, which is usually not desired. This early combo can cause serious problems for your opponent.
If you mulligan such a hand, it can possibly cause a big issue for your opponent. Since Chosen One buffs also work when the Chosen One is on the board, a Pilgrim can possibly be an immediate Protected buff, which is insane.
I didn't include the other Chosen One themed cards since I felt like they were either too weak. Fated Arrival seems like an obvious pick, but 3 mana to draw a card is too expensive for this deck. I never managed to get Triumvirate Prophet to work when I did include it. The only card that I might possibly include is the Parthene Shieldmate, which is a respectable 3/3 Frontline that could potentially make the Chosen One harder to remove.
The Nemean Lion
The Nemean Lion used to be one of the worst legendaries of the game, but my experiences playing it after its buff have made me consider it to be a pretty solid card in this deck. The only creatures without a Roar ability in this deck are The Nemean Lion itself and Porphyrion, making the Lion a monster when left unchecked. Against Light opponents who don't have direct damage, it's very likely that the cards that they play also buff the Lion since its effect procs for opponent's Roar creatures too!
It's doubly insane when you manage to make The Nemean Lion the Chosen One too, since it means that you could possibly buff it with Protected with the Pilgrim.
It doesn't always win you games, but it can be really strong and opponents don't always know how it works - I've seen opponents trying to kill it by buffing one of their own units with a Shieldbearer. Sadly, that doesn't work because playing the Shieldbearer also gives +1/+1 to the Lion.
Even though I do possess an Asterius, I thought that it would not work too well with the deck due to how many buff cards there were. I think I'm wrong though, since usually what happens is one card getting buffed a lot rather than a wide board buff. Asterius is also really good with Zealous March. I think I would include it by replacing Porphyrion or Judge Envoy with it.
The general strategy for the deck is similar to that of other Midrange Light decks. Play strong early creatures, buff them, and never lose board control. Use the damage pings of Athenian Archer, Feral Shapeshifter, and Ogre Archer to secure the board; they are essential when trying to claim back board control.
At the same time, if you can get the Chosen One to pop off, it can help a lot. Illuminated Warrior is the key to reliably getting a Chosen One on your next few cards. If you get the buff on a crucial card a Kadmos or The Nemean Lion, it can quickly snowball into a win.
Starting Rank: Mythic (1460 ELO)
Ending Rank: Mythic (1577 ELO)
|Opponent God||Deck Archetype||Score (Wins / Total Games)|
|Nature||Midrange Nature||3 / 4|
|Aggro Nature||0 / 1|
|Amazon Nature||1 / 1|
|War||Control War||2 / 4|
|Frenzied Aggro War||1 / 1|
|Midrange War||4 / 4|
|Aggro War||6 / 7|
|Magic||Control Magic||7 / 7|
|Card Draw Magic||2 / 2|
|Aggro Magic||4 / 5|
|Clone Magic||1 / 1|
|Death||Zombie Death||6 / 7|
|Deception||Aggro Deception||2 / 3|
|Order Deception||2 / 6|
|Midrange Deception||1 / 3|
|Hidden Rush Deception||1 / 1|
|Control Deception||2 / 2|
|Light||Midrange Light||4 / 7|
|Aggro Light||4 / 4|
|Total||53 / 70 (75%)|
The deck seems to generally perform well against War, Magic, and Zombie Death decks. Light's Levy and Mace of Calling are cards that punch way above their weight and usually enable a huge tempo swing when you draw them early. The creature buffs enable efficient trading, and the damage pings help to finish off whatever pesky creatures there are left on the board.
Surprisingly, the deck performed the worst against Deception, only winning 8 out of the 15 matches played. Even though Deception doesn't perform too well in the current meta generally, its midrange capabilities can cause huge problems for this deck. The Hollow is hard to remove, Witherfingers is extremely strong, and card steals can generate lots of value.
Overall, I'm still pretty satisfied with the results of the deck. I like the thrill of possibly being able to steamroll the opponent with a Chosen One, but there are also games where it just doesn't appear and all my Chosen One buffs just go to waste. It's pretty fun when it works, and the Illuminated Warrior boosts this consistency by quite a bit.
If you'd like to spice up your Light decks, perhaps you might want to consider including The Nemean Lion or throwing in a few Chosen One cards to throw your opponent off a little. It doesn't hurt to have a little fun sometimes even if it makes the deck a little more inconsistent 😄
If you've tried the Chosen One mechanic before, let me know what you think of it! I feel like it could work even better if there were just a few more supporting cards.
Post Header art: The Nemean Lion Official Card Art from Gods Unchained