I’ve been thinking about Codex Strategy a lot lately. I think a useful discussion would be on the strongest openings for each mono-color. This would be illustrative to people who don’t play certain colors, both if they are interested in trying it out, or understanding what that color is trying to do in order to combat it most effectively. The only color I’ve played lately is White, and since this is a discussion feel free to correct me if you think there are stronger/better openings. Also, just because one opening may be considered the strongest, it doesn’t invalidate other openings. If anything, having a meta consensus will weaken the stronger openings by making them more well-known.
Also, I think it’s safe to say every strong opener should worker on turn 1 and it would be helpful to outline one or two cards that you frequently worker, regardless of the match-up. If you disagree that is even possible, that’s fine too.
P1 - Graves, Aged Sensei
This opening gives you the maximum pressure for an aggressive attack on your next turn. You are threatening 3 damage + SparkShot without spending gold or 4 damage by dropping only 2 gold. If you also take Grappling Hook into account, this opening could negate the Squad Leader bonus.
P2 - Rook, Savior Monk
This opening creates a ton of health for 4 gold. Rook is, naturally, one of the biggest meatshields in the game and this opening can stymie a lot of attempts to break through. Additionally, the healing on Savior Monk synergizes well with Rook’s naturally bulky HP. Even though it is often pointless to ‘chip’ at a hero (due to mid-band and max-band healing), it allows some aggression as P2.
Fox Primus and Fox Viper are my go-to workers. Primus costs 3 for a 2/2 and anti-air is really niche. I never feel good paying for it. Fox Viper is a better card, but 1 toughness is a big liability against opposing removal plus it can’t even heal. You also generally tech in some better 1-2 mana plays like Bird’s Nest, Sparring Partner, or Boulder depending on the match-up.
P1 - Calamandra, Merfolk Prospector
Calamandra has good stats for early combat, and levels quickly to make them even better. Her starting ability lets you deal with a lot of early enemy heroes too, if they aren’t Rook / in Squad Leader, or if you draw into Rampant Growth. Merfolk Prospector is cheap, so not a big loss if he’s killed, but effectively puts you on worker parity with P2 if they leave him alone.
P2 - Calamandra, Playful Panda
Calamanda is good here for the same reason, and Playful Panda efficiently gives you two units. If you’re against a faction with haste, i.e. Red, you might want Tiger Cub instead to have a 2/2 patroller that doesn’t arrive exhausted. Taking Argagarg and the Panda here for more Wisps is fine to get free patroller bonuses, but Wisps don’t do damage back to their attacker, so you could find yourself at a big board disadvantage.
Rich Earth and Verdant Tree are situational cards that are safe to worker if you don’t have a plan for them. Rich Earth comes at the cost of ceding early board control, in a colour that struggles to come back from behind. Verdant Tree is only worth playing if you make use of the instant Tech buildings. Ironbark Treant is good to worker later, since it quickly loses usefulness as the game goes on.
P1: Oni and Building Inspector into T2 Aven+MT+Tech 1
P2: Oni and Reputable Newsman or Spectral Aven
If anyone has ideas for Black or Red, share them please.