Path to Champion - A Splinterlands Series - Rental and Strategy/Tactics Guide - Death Focus + SEASON SUMMARY (CHAMPION)
Welcome fortunate soul and find this guide for the cheesiest Focus in Splinterlands. Welcome to DEATH!!
Let me start with who I am. A Splinterlands Champion Player who loves all focuses, I also happen to be the "Hand" of the Oneup-Cartel, and an avid Crypto Project dabbler...NFTs or Defi does not matter. I only have 20k Power in cards ownership and play only with rentals ... that monologue is over. So now to the good stuff.
Splinterlands is a complex game. So there is no harm in not being good at it. However, that does not to be the constant. You can improve by focusing on certain things when playing certain classes. I already have done a guide on Fire Focus, which you can find below.
So let's start with what Death Focus is...
Death Focus remains the focus with monsters with the most destructive utility. There is no shortage of slows, rust, weakness, blind, demoralize, silences and headwinds. In my opinion, Death is the king of low mana matches (Redemption + Rust + Weakness). Unless you as a player are bad, you should win low mana matches 90% of the time. Death is also very strong in mid mana matches (Scavenge + Slow + Blind + Opportunity/Sneak). However, in large mana matches are where death suffers. You have to guess the right combination of debuff combinations which is very hard,
But I still managed to climb from Champion III to Champion II, so it isn't like you cannot figure it out.
So let's start with
Jarlax the undead - This 2 mana summoner will be used more often than you think, so always get it. You can use it where need an extra mana to slot in a key debuff or where summoners are disabled. A must-get.
Zintar Mortalis - 3 mana, must get especially in mid mana matchups and melee only matches.
Contessa L'ament - 3 mana summoner with range debuff. Only get her if you cannot afford mimosa, you will not see her in champion at all.
Cryptmancer - Demoralize, Slow and Weakness all in one 5 mana card. WOW!! NOT REALLY. I would rather use jarlax and 3 more mana. This card cost does not justify its performance. It however has better uses in Mimosa in maybe 10% of the rulesets, so get him only if you can afford it. I chose to skip.
Owster Rotwell- Only use where you know your opponent will play magic...which in diamond and champion will happen 5% of the time. Ergo not worth it. Only get him if you are swimming in DEC.
Mimosa Nightshade - A gothic Waifu....you will use her the most...good against magic and ranged,her affliction is kind of useless at high level. It does not help that she is countered by Yodin and a llama. I wish they had made her more offensive-oriented like yodin. Either way must to get.
Waka Spiritblade - A collector's trophy, he has no real use at all.
Thaddius Brood - The best summoner in death for its cost. You will use him in all low mana matches except where magic is not allowed. GET THIS EMO KID at all costs.
Playing Strategy in Low mana matches
Death has the dirtiest trick in the book....it is downright disgusting. It is so disgusting that your opponent has to mind game you to win.
"Weaken" + "Redemption" + "Rust" + "Slow" + "Stun" in the order of importance. You want your minions to die...yes you want them to die. Oh but "Divine Shield" will protect them, or "protect" will keep the opponent alive...or large monsters...nope...Here see an example.
This is before the passive proc....and the below image is after..
and this is the result...a handed victory...
DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS COMBO...there are very few things that can survive this, but throw a stun in and nothing survives it. So let's go to the breakdown
Having 3 weakens in key to winning against 90% of your matches.
Undead Priest - 2 Mana 6 health with slow and weaken. This card is the perfect fit in our formation.
Cthulu - 11 mana card that can only be used in reverse speed rule set. Expensive and therefore ignore it.
Death Elemental - 3 mana with 5 speed and snipe + Weaken. Another perfect fit...just remember one thing...DO NOT USE THIS IN A MIRROR MATCH. Besides that a must-get.
Doctor Blight - 4 mana with a plethora of abilities. This guy was made for this focus. He is a must to get regardless of the cost.
The ability that makes your monsters want to die. 1 dmg to all opponents after death is a dirty dirty strat. And guess what you have 4 options. Remember to always station them at the back if running one...or one as frontline and the other as backline if running 2.
Life Sapper - 3 Mana 4 health and 4 speed with Life leech. This card on it's own is just so good but redemption makes it a cherry on the cake. Must get.
Venari Spellsmith - 4 Mana 4 health and 3 speed. This card is inferior to life sapper in every way don't bother getting this.
Cursed Slimeball - Get the 6 star version not 10 star...This way it has redemption with 2 health and your opponent's opportunity will hit it. Must get.
Halfling Alchemist - This card is expensive but really good if you want to absorb a hit. If you can afford it get the 4 Star.
But Spiritsurge!! What is the enemy is running Protect? Run Rust...but what if they are running 2 Protects? Run 2 Rusts....yes it is possible because of the two 2 mana rust monsters
Weirding Warrior - a 2 mana 3 health with Shatter. Perfect isn't he? Not sure why he is weirding. Get him.
Darkest Mage - Another 2 mana with 4 health and affliction. Pick this one between the two if you need one rust.
Boogeyman - Who doesn't like this card. a 6 mana with slow, demoralize and rust. This card can be used if one rust is needed and you have mana to spare. And get this because you will be using this in majority of your mid mana matches.
"Slow" is the nail in the coffin for the survivors of your redemption attack. It does not matter if they survive if they cannot act first, and that is the problem with bigger frontline monsters.
Undead Priest - GET THIS PHAROAH DRESSED PRIEST
Creeping Ooze - 1 mana 3 health with 2 attack. I didn't like this card in fire, but here it is just perfect. Get him if you can afford it
Scavo Hireling - 3 mana with 5 health and repair. Undead Priest is superior in every way...pass..
Cursed Windeku - 6 mana with 11 health + Heal + Thorns + Slow. This guy is amazing in mid mana matches. He is a must get.
Boogeyman - If I have to cover a monster more than 1 time, than it means to get him.
Venator Kinjo - This is probably the only focus where venator does not fit in because of Revealer which is a 4 mana with reflection shield and stun.
Now what if the opponent had a llama, golem or llama, Kron...Should I just surrender. Nope you run a stun, because that will cause the the self heal tank to skip a turn without healing. For the purpose of the small mana matches the only 3 of notice would be the small mana monsters.
Revealer - 4 mana 5 health with reflection shield, immunity and stun. This guy is a staple and you must get him. Luckily his cost is quite low.
Dwarven Wizard - 3 mana with 5 health. However his cost is too high and I chose to not go with him.
Gremlin Blaster - Only good for melee can attack from any position. Get him if you can afford it. I passed.
The others are more than 4 mana and will not be used in the low mana matchups.
Playing Strategy in mid mana matches
Ever feel annoyed by that 1 scavenge monster that keeps racking health...Just imagine 5 or 6 of them. Yes, Death is disgusting because they can pull these types of formations. Your opponent will hate you, hell you will hate this formation because your matches would be so long, as the health keeps racking up and up.
There is not much to add here just run 5 scavenges with the right debuff to cheese and win.
Want to feel good? Run this formation, just seeing the health pileup will make you feel good, even if you lose which is rare.
Dark Ha'on - Our 10 mana Taunt who we love so so much. If this card wasn't there, Death would have no chance in high mana matches. Why is he so good in mid mana matches? Because there is no giant killer card in the opponent's formation. Get him
Maggots- 3 mana, 3 speed, 4 health...and OPPORTUNITY. This card is criminally underused, people look at the slow speed and just give up...but speed is NOT death's attribute...you do not care about speed, you care about killing which maggot will do so under Dark Haon's protection.
Riftwing -What an amazing card!! Also massively underused a 4 mana with flying and 8 health. You can use him in earthquake and even poison matches..also headwinds baby...GET IT..
Parasitic Growth- 4 mana, 3 speed, 5 health...and another OPPORTUNITY. The cost is justified, you love this card as it will hit the same target as maggots. You don't care about low speed at all as you are protected by Dark Ha'on.
Doctor Blight- What did I say about mentioning a monster more than once? yup get it.
Gelatanious Cube- This card is too expensive in my opinion to be worth it. I chose not to get him. It is better to have a rust ability in the 6th slot, or tank heal.
But what about my Sneak monsters?? There are so many high speed ones !!
This is the other option you have to running low mana or mid mana matches...though honestly...I would be surprised if you ever needed it. I started off in low champion running sneak with inspire...but that didn't long as it was countered so easily. Nevertheless if you do want to run it.
It is better to run this in combination with the scavenge lineup or run it with a weaken lineup and take advantage of the low health...but keep in mind...you will be outsped by fire, you will be outtanked by water as you can do nothing to taunt, and you will be outdamaged by life.
Uraeus- a 3 mana, 4 health and 3 speed monster. He can tank a hit and can poison so you can use him, but doctor blight is a better poisoner
Elven Cutthroat- Overpriced card..there are much better sneak cards in death's arsenal.
Skeleton Assassin - a 3 mana with 6 speed and 5 health. This is a good card, his health is decent so he doesn't immediately die to amplified thorns. Get him
Silent Sha-vi - a 5 mana with 6 speed and 7 health with PIERCE. This is the only decent card putting in a mid mana matchup. The cripple is useless and personally there is no need for cripple in this game.
Undead Badger - a 2 mana with 6 speed and 4 health. This is a very good card, if you are not just blindly ramming it into a backline thorn monster, which unfortunately will be doing most of the time.
Sand Worm - a 9 mana with 1 speed (LOL) and 7 health + 7 attack with PIERCE. Reverse speed...this is king. The cost is really high so only get it if you can afford it.
Special Mention Niche Abilities:
h) Giant Killer
Djinn Murat - YOU NEED THIS CARD!! Against those taunts and 10 mana monsters, this guy will do a whopping 6 DMG and an excellent tank.
Legionnaire Alvar - Too expensive for bringing nothing to the table...don't bother
i) Return Fire
Ever-Hungry Skull - only use him where magic is not allowed or void armor is there.
Phantasm - 6 mana 10 health, 6 speed and 3 attack. He is good but nightmare is a better option or cursed Windeku
Onyx Sentinel - Only get him if he is cheaper
Cornelius - You need this guy, get him regardless of cost...this is your most expensive card
Almo Cambio - you can choose not to get him, he is not mandatory, but if you get him for cheap he is really good in poison and snipe matches (place him on number 2).
MORE MELEE POWER!! These guys will add more power to your already buffed sneak and opportunity melee monsters.
Shadowy Presence - 1 mana with 6 health and strengthen...This is good to pair up with your sneak/opportunity lineup but you will be using it lesser than you think.
Enchanted Pixie - Too expensive...but an amazing card...but only get it if you can afford the DEC. I passed due to the cost.
Late Game Strategy
So you remember me saying that death has weak late game? This is true not because death does not have the tools but because as a player you are not experienced enough to play it. If played correctly Death can outplay even the scary Dragon lineup.
Scary as hell lineup right? not so much when I know what my opponent is going to play. This game was won on the back of misses because of blind...Again do not underestimate blind. It can make a plethora of differences in your win rate. The other ability is tank heal that you need to rely on.
HOWEVER, THE MOST GARBAGE THING IS THAT DEATH DOES NOT HAVE ACCESS TO "CLEANSE". So your late game loses a lot due to this.
You need blind!! Always I don't care if the opponent has 5 magic and one melee monster...You need it so
Dark Astronomer - a 4 mana with SHATTER with 3 attack and 5 health...The mana cost is a bit high but can be used in a midrange formation.
Spirit Hoarder - A 3 mana Blind Card!! that sounds awesome, right? Not really, this is an underwhelming card with limited reliability as it lacks damage and is slow as hell so the heal doesn't proc fast enough. But still to be used if you cannot make space for one mana more. Rent is also cheap.
Insidious Warlock - 5 mana...2 speed...6 health...not worth it
Spirit Miner - This guy is an all-star in all matchups except low-mana matchups. Yes he is expensive, but he will be getting you tons of wins so the cost if renting is well worth it.
Octopider - You need this card..he will decide your late game...always get him.
l) Tank Heal
Tortisian Chief - This 5 mana guy is going to carry so many games for you...it is a fantastic card for it's cost and you need it in your deck.
Corrupted Pegasus - This is an amazing card...but WAY too expensive. This is totally up to you but IMO the cost is not worth the small bump in winrate.
Debuffs like Demoralize, Headwinds and Silence
There are way too many options, to select so it is difficult to narrow down which one to go for so let me summarise in my own way
Get all of them...you need them all in large mana, mid mana, and short mana matches respectively.
Again all but legionnarie alvar..
Is death hard to play?
Not really...trial and error
Can you show some matchups?
Sure...Just keep in mind that I have won all the matches below:
and so on and on
I spent a total of 23k DEC in rentals this season and look below the amazing stuff I got. I got more dec than I spent in rentals. So If anyone asks if renting and playing is worth it?
show them this guide and say YES it is.
Thank you all for reading.
Also if you don't know what Splinterlands is:
Use my referral to join:
And don't hesitate to ask questions.
CREDIT: Reward Images are from splex.gg, Search Images from Peakmonsters and DEC/profile image from Splinterlands.
EDIT: Made some typos and semantic errors!! Special thanks to @solymi for pointing them out.