How to Play the Pathfinder with ZachAttack
Well known for his strong performances in the Sorcery League, ZachAttack, as he is known on the Sorcery Discord has a tremendous depth of experience with Sorcery: Contested Realm - a veteran of the Sorcery League, including a finals match with the Pathfinder Avatar in Season 2 (we won't spoil anything in case you haven't seen the match yet!).
Zach breaks down how he plays this particular Avatar with his battle-tested deck list “Pathfinders Revenge."
You can view Zach's full deck list on Sorcery’s deckbuilder here.
The Pathfinder’s Revenge
Q: Deck Inspiration: What inspired you to create this deck? What theme or concept behind this deck do you think makes it stand out?
Back when I started playing in January, no one was playing Pathfinder. I went through the first Sorcery League and noticed only 6 games, out of over 150, were played with it making it the second least used Avatar (the first being Avatar of Fire with only 1 game played).
I thought it had a pretty powerful ability but anytime I used it people recommended I use a different Avatar. “Sorcerer would be better, Seer would be better,” but I was determined to make it work.
The initial idea was to ramp mana, since the Pathfinder can play a site every turn, to get out big minions that weren't as feasible to get out with other Avatars because it would take too long to get the mana to play them. The deck evolved over time to become a deck that focuses on stalling the game until you can play heavy hitters with cards like Bury, Divine Healing, and Root Spiders. This deck works uniquely from others because you don't have to spend turns to draw sites, meaning you fill your hand with minions you may not play for a few turns but also lots of removal cards.
Q: Key Card Choices: Tell us about some of the key cards in your deck and why you included them. How do they synergize with your deck's strategy?
There are only a few cards that have stayed in the deck since the first iteration of the deck. Cards like Common Sense let you search for Ordinaries, Bury lets you kill a minion very easily for cheap, Blink allows you to cycle cards and get your Avatar out of tough places, and Grapple Shot helps to get additional damage out of your minions.
These are all staples for Earth and Air decks. The only minions that were in every iteration of my deck were Rootspider, Highland Clansmen. Rootspider is a great defensive card disabling any minion above it when burrowed and Highland Clansmen isn’t used in other decks because oftentimes it's too expensive, but with Pathfinder you can get it out in a timely manner.
Q: Playstyle Tips: What's the recommended playstyle for this deck? Are there any specific strategies or combos that players should be aware of when using it?
With this deck, you want to mulligan your high-cost spells so you can start the game with removal or stall cards like Bury and Rootspider. One hidden combo that not many people realize is Pudge Butcher doesn’t have to fight the unit he drags, meaning you can use Pudge to drag in your own Pathfinder and place sites on the other side of the board if you get locked in by an opponent with Blink in hand! Another not commonly recognizable strategy are my water sites. You may wonder what they are doing in there since the deck doesn’t use any water minions but the true purpose is anti-bury.
If you play a big threat (Daperyll Vampire, Sky Barron, Pudge Butcher) your opponent will want to immediately remove it, typically by means of Bury or Earthquake because it is the best removal for large creatures. By playing it on a water site it prevents your opponent from burying it for one turn. If your opponent doesn’t have earth it doesn’t matter but it's good to have just in case.
Q: Matchup Insights: How does your deck perform against popular archetypes in the game? Are there any particular matchups where it excels or struggles?
This deck performs exceptionally well against most Avatars but faces challenges against early aggro decks and the Avatar of Earth. The Pathfinder poses a significant threat to the Deathspeaker, especially considering the prevalent win condition of Nimbus Jinn, which becomes ineffective if your Avatar is situated on a Rootspider or within Gnome Hollows.
Battlemage also struggles against this deck due to the absence of small minions for consumption. The mobility of Pathfinders adds another layer of complexity, preventing easy targeting for the Flamecaller's ability or your opponent executing a Grapple Shot maneuver on your Avatar after turn 2, given your ability to avoid line of sight.
While this deck may have a favorable matchup against the Avatar of Earth, the use of Earth sites inadvertently buffs the opponent's Avatar. In such matchups, a cautious and defensive playstyle with blockers becomes crucial. The general consensus is that stalling out any Avatar (except Sorcerer) positions you well, leveraging superior card draw and a wealth of options. Eventually, your opponent will deplete their resources, resorting to top-decking for a favorable outcome.
ZachAttack can be found on the Sorcery Discord and is a participant in the ongoing Sorcery League.
You can join in the discussion of the Pathfinder in the Sorcery: Contested Realm Facebook group.