How to Play: Mind Meld Monastery
You didn’t think Ahri Kennen would go away forever, did you? It’s Ionia. They’re the region most notorious for breaking the game time and time again.
At least until the balance patches hit. While Kinkou Wayfinder may be paying for their sins, the rest of Ionia’s are still free to explore new territory.
It’s Trevor “Shugo” Yung and today I’m bringing you an old spicy favorite of mine. Bilgewater Ionia is a pretty unusual pairing, so allow me to introduce you to the Mind Meld Monastery!
Deck Code: CEEACBACB4AQKCR2AIAQECYMAECQEBACAIDA4KQBAIBAGAQDAICQMAIDAYIQGAICAYCQCAQCAUAQCARRAEAQEAQK
Make no mistake, this is NOT a tempo deck. The core idea is to clog up the board with Dragonlings as you cycle through Dancing Droplets each turn. With multiple stuns and recalls, you’ll continue to stall until you can win with Ahri or Mind Meld. Monastery of Hirana makes this very achievable.
Look, I know what you’re thinking… Monastery? Really!?
Yes, really. The minor tempo loss is a small price to pay for the massive value engine you’ll receive. Eye of the Dragon makes sure of that. What’s not to like?
We’re only ever looking for two key cards; Eye of the Dragon and Monastery of Hirana. Against Aggro, hard mulligan to find Eye of the Dragon. Nothing else matters. Once the core is established, everything else will fall into place.
- Eye of the Dragon (Can keep two copies)
- Monastery of Hirana: Always keep unless you need to hard mulligan for Eye of the Dragon against Aggro.
- Dancing Droplet: Keep alongside Monastery of Hirana.
- Recall: Optional keep if you already have Eye/Monastery/Droplet.
- Twin Disciplines: Optional keep if you already have Eye/Monastery/Droplet.
Example Hand 1: Eye of the Dragon – Eye of the Dragon (2nd Copy) – Monastery of Hirana – Dancing Droplet
Example Hand 2: Eye of the Dragon – Monastery of Hirana – Dancing Droplet – Recall
Kennen levels up extremely consistently in this deck. Monastery of Hirana puts the opponent on a clock by guaranteeing at least one free recall per turn. While Dancing Droplet is the primary target, Kennen makes for an excellent second choice. Doubling up on Marks will help pick off enemies while also building up your spell count for the inevitable Mind Meld.
Kennen’s Lightning Rush
Having access to this helps aid us in these regions. More recalls are always welcome, as is having a two-damage spell that our opponents will rarely expect to play around.
She may no longer have three health, but post-level up Ahri still demands an answer, or else she threatens to end the game out of nowhere. This time we also have Wiggly Burblefish to help set up for a more surprising Elusive lethal.
Having access to an additional Focus speed Recall can be very valuable. It can also help us pick off threats or drag aside their only Elusive blocker.
Monastery of Hirana
This is the glue that holds the deck together. While we never want to see two of them, drawing one is too important to not include three copies. Without Monastery, the deck can run out of steam. We have a lot of flexibility with what we choose to Recall, but more often than not Dancing Droplet will be the choice. Just beware of your hand size.
Droplet is essential. Always try to keep Recall, Retreat, or Twin Disciplines handy to ensure its safety. Losing Droplet can be critical, as you’ll eventually run out of answers and cannot dig through the deck.
This little fella is a great early blocker that effectively costs only one mana thanks to Attune, and generates a free spell. I’ll be honest though, a couple of them are garbage. Ideally, we’d love a free Recall. But Ghost, Rush, and Shakedown all have some sneaky implications that can be very useful. Ghost in particular works great with Mind Meld to provide one more Elusive, which is often just what you need to find lethal. Most of the spells can be quite useful. Just cross your fingers that you don’t get Bloodbait or Jettison.
Eye of the Dragon
I don’t need to say much here, we all know Eye is busted. But it’s thanks to this card that we can play stall-y strategies. Monastery makes it extremely easy to double spell every turn.
Perhaps the most obscure card on the list, but it does open some extra possibilities. Outside of our stuns and recalls, the deck lacks removal. While Hired Gun doesn’t exactly provide that, being able to resummon it with Monastery lets us somewhat manipulate combat. Works well with Quick Attack and Dragonlings.
It’s our combo piece when we’re ready to go in, but can also be recycled for free with Monastery. Just be careful not to overdo it. A hand filled with Bloodbaits and Jettisons is not a fun time.
The perfect piece of protection. Best used in response to removal, or when you need to ghost-block with Droplet.
The worse version of Recall. The Retreat half is nice, but the deck is pretty mana hungry and thus doesn’t want too many of these. One copy is the sweet spot.
One of the best combat tricks in the game and a reason why Ionia has such powerful interaction. An absolute staple ever since they buffed it.
Alongside Monastery you can Recall Concussive Palm every single turn. It’s an extremely powerful stall combo in the mid to late game. Would run three copies if the deck wasn’t as reliant on board space.
Often used as backup when you move in for an Ahri or Mind Meld strike. The longer you can afford to keep it, the better. While it can stop cards like Yordles in Arms, we can often just as easily chump-block and mitigate most of the damage, or at least be able to heal it back up the following turn. The deck can survive a lot, so save Deny for when you need it.
Our prime removal for larger threats. Often used alongside Droplet for maximum value when ghost-blocking. Can also bounce Monastery as a safer target when needed.
The entire reason to be in Bilgewater. Mind Meld is incredibly powerful and lets us play multiple cheap units instead of expensive-costed threats. Alongside enough Elusives, it’ll outright end the game. However, casting it earlier on your double Dragonling turn can be a huge life swing. There’s nothing wrong with using Mind Meld as a one-sided board wipe. The deck packs more than enough value to grind out until the next one!
During the early game, we want to find our Eye of the Dragons and a Monastery. With them in hand, it’s perfectly fine to take a hit or two to get set up.
If we haven’t found our core pieces, we can temporarily stall and dig for answers with our other units. Recall + Droplet provides an easy ghost-block and draws a card. Recall + Kennen gives us two damage worth of removal. Coral Creatures can block a 1-2 power unit and survive to help chump-block the following turn.
With an Eye/Droplet/Monastery set up, we’ll gain all the tools at our disposal. Each turn progresses towards Kennen’s level-up and digs for more answers. The Dragonlings will stall most attacks while Concussive Palm and Homecoming take care of the problematic threats.
Once you reach the threshold for Ahri or Mind Meld, set up the board state to end the game. Or simply strike hard enough to force the opponent into a terrible blocking situation. When attacking with Ahri we’ll want Twin Disciplines to protect either herself or a right-side unit. With Mind Meld, Deny is the best form of backup.
While good with stuns and recalls, this deck doesn’t play a tempo game plan. We don’t care about dealing damage early since all that matters is the final swing. Fae Bladetwirler is a solid unit, but it doesn’t contribute to our win condition.
A reasonable consideration if your meta calls for it. However, most spells within range are either unimportant or already answered by Recall/Twin Disciplines.
Will of Ionia
A more reliable version of Homecoming, but with a much lower ceiling. The ability to ghost-block one threat and bounce another is far too important to replace. And well, we can’t afford to run more interaction in the 4-slot.
Monastery comes at a heavy cost. While three mana isn’t a huge initial investment, to take advantage of it, we’re going to want to cast Sanctuary almost every turn. That mana adds up, especially when we’re so reliant on reaction. Mind Meld lets us get away with a very low unit curve! 🙂
Shugo’s Productivity Thought of the Day
Which of today’s tasks holds the most weight on your shoulders?