Reckless Rush

By RecklessRush · PlaystyleBack to guides

So you want to learn the hidden arts of Reckless Rush (RR)? Well who better to teach you then Reckless Rush himself. In this guide you will learn how to play a super aggressive playstyle which can be applied to all rush deck archetypes as well as how to play RR at a very effective level.

For those not familiar with the RR deck, it is a hyper-aggressive Swarm rush deck that focuses on closing out games as fast as possible to prevent card level differences between you and your opponent from influencing the game heavily. In other words, if you’re looking for a deck that can get you to high ranks with relatively low levels, this is the perfect deck for you.

Additionally, I’d like to quickly point out that this deck is amazing for grinding quick gold on ladder since games are short and it also makes for a very well rounded deck in most Brawls allowing you to achieve the fusion stone 10 fusion stones milestone. Now that you’re all caught up on the introduction, let’s dive into the specifics of this guide.

How to play

Before jumping into this concept I like to call “prioritisation”, the very first thing I’d like you to do is take a good look at the deck. Take some time to understand it, analyse it (find which cards mix together well) and most importantly memorize it!

I cannot stress this part enough because if you are going into a match without knowing all the cards in your deck, you’re essentially trying to cook a recipe without knowing its ingredients. To play any Stormbound deck at a competitive level, the first step is to analyse the deck.

So let’s get right into a brief overview of all its cards.

Green Prototypes

Green Prototypes are amazing, especially for 1 mana. It is the only 1 mana unit card with movement that currently exists in the game. It is great for setting up combos (since it’s so cheap), moving frontline up so you can deploy more units closer to the enemy base, great for trading into enemy units in last resort defenses, and overall it is just an extra unit on the board the enemy has to deal with.

This card is mostly used for baiting the enemy to attack it, defend a stronger unit that is tucked in the corner, or just to move frontline up/keep frontline. It is perfect for Trinity Openers which will be discussed later on in the guide.

Green Prototypes guideFor more reasons to love Green Prototypes as a card, refer to the Green Prototypes guide by Stratadox.

Summon Militia

Summon Militia is not the greatest card in the deck so you should not be actively looking to play it. In fact, it is typically cycled quite often as its main purpose is to use up any excess 1 mana you have and speed up your deck cycle. Remember, the more cards you play, the faster you will draw back cards you played previously.

Look to only play it on turns where you will have 1 mana in excess. In regards to the actual value of the card, it’s only expected to be used to hold your frontline, otherwise it’s not a really great card.

Doppelbocks

Doppelbocks is an amazing 2 mana card—so unique and can serve so many purposes. Since the token unit spawns forward, it behaves similarly to a movement card since it can be used to push the frontline forward. Additionally, since it provides 2 units, it is amazing for keeping frontline because your opponent will likely have to spend extra mana to deal with two units rather than one. Finally, this card can push the frontline forward in cases no other movement cards can. It is perfect for protecting your stronger units.

Gifted Recruits

Gifted Recruits is a staple 2 mana unit card in almost every deck and a Swarm rush essential. This card does it all, it pushes frontline forward; it’s a relatively strong unit as well (and only gets better as it levels up); it’s cheap and as a last resort can be used to defend.

The card is typically used as a high strength unit for dishing out damage on the opponent, you will likely want to play it in corners and defend it using other weaker cards like Doppelbocks. On turn mana 5 and if you have a strong board, you can typically afford to play Gifted Recruits + Potion of Growth to put pressure on your opponent and force out cards.

Headstart

The main reason to include Head Start is because the typical Swarm rush deck gets countered by many control cards, specifically cards that deal AoE (Area of Effect). This is because many rush decks follow the idea of cheap, weak units and therefore get easily countered by some control cards like Voidsurgers or Bladestorm. Headstart is a very strong card in regards to the mana to strength ratio, as it is +1 strength above Lawless Herd at every level.

That being said it has a slight drawback of not offering full control of where to place it, therefore it can never be used defensively. Since you decide when to play this card, look to control where the token is going to land by playing out your other cards first.

It is important to note that if your Lawless Herd is ever +1 level higher than your Headstart, then you should use Lawless Herd over Headstart since it is virtually the same card except you get the added benefit of controlling where to play it.

This card is meant to be played at times where you want to keep frontline since it is one of the highest strength units in this deck and very cheap in mana for what it’s worth. It is great to play when you aim to do massive pushes in future turns, however since it will take two turns before going into the enemy base, this might not always be the best card when the game is in its final turns (unless you aim to use Forgotten Souls to push it into the base next turn).

Restless Goats

Despite all the negative opinions about Restless Goats, they are actually great at all levels and get much better as they level up. On paper, it seems very low in value and even has negative value attached to it (since you deal 1 damage in exchange for 2 base health at level 1), but specifically in this deck, it absolutely shines.

When playing Swarm rush, your focus is to close out the game as soon as possible and that being said, you should be willing to trade any base health you can to get a lead over your opponent. Since you are expected to win the game before the enemy can even deal high amounts of damage to your base, the self base damage attached to Restless Goats is negligible.

This card serves two main purposes in this deck: a) for Trinity Openers (discussed later) and b) to finish off the enemy since it is one of the few 2-movement units in the deck.

It is not expected to be played in the mid-game because there are other cards that can substitute for the same niche, specifically Gifted Recruits can generally do the same job as Restless Goats outside of the two main purposes listed above. In the mid-game if you have the opportunity to send this card into the enemy base, it’s generally better to keep it on board and make it behave like a Gifted Recruits where it can be used in the corners or to defend a stronger unit.

Wild Saberpaws

Wild Saberpaws should be played for similar reasons as Restless Goats. They can substitute for one another in many cases. One notable difference is that you can manipulate its movement which can prove to be very useful at times. In cases the enemy is doing a good job at defending and it’s impossible to play any movement card since they would just attack into the enemy units, this card can be played as a 0 movement unit and fill the same niche as Head Start.

To reiterate, this card is great in the early and late game: for Trinity Openers in the early game and as a finisher in the late game. In cases where it can be used to fill the same function as Restless Goats, it’s preferable to use this card instead since there is no self base damage drawback.

Forgotten Souls

Forgotten Souls serve only one purpose in the entire deck and should never see any play for any other reason. In regards to its mana-to-strength ratio, it is the weakest in the entire deck. Since the focus of this deck is to get lots of damage fast this card should really only be played once in the entire match and it should be the last card played.

There are some rare cases where you may want to use Forgotten Souls to set up a baselock. Otherwise, the only reason to ever play it is to win the match, whether that means to use it to push a weak unit into the base, perhaps combo’d with Potion of Growth or most remarkably with Devastators. At 7 mana, the Devastators + Forgotten Souls combo is a deadly one.

Potion of Growth

Since this deck mostly runs on the basis of cheap and weak units which generally are very susceptible to area of effect cards, we need to find a way to make more obstacles for the opponent to deal with. This is where Potion of Growth steps in.

This card is great for applying instant pressure on the board since you can buff a unit that is bordering the enemy base. Instead of playing three weak units, consider playing two units instead, one weak and the other buffed with Potion of Growth.

It is especially great for baiting out enemy cards that would have been able to counter Devastators. Playing Potion of Growth one turn before you plan on playing a Devastators at the enemy base, is perfect for baiting out spells like Execution or Flaming Stream.

In summary, Potion of Growth should generally be used for three purposes:

  1. To distribute strength around your units making it difficult for your opponent to clear your frontline.
  2. To apply instant pressure by buffing a unit at the enemy base/baiting resources.
  3. As a finisher when combo’d with Forgotten Souls in the late game.
  4. To vitalize a unit close by your base or cancel out the poison effect.

Since Potion of Growth can vitalize units, it may be preferable to play this card on a poisoned unit to prevent the enemy from using poison synergy cards on it like Marked as Prey or Amberhides. Potion of Growth can also be used in the early game on a unit close to your own base, simply allowing it to grow before it reaches the enemy base.

Shady Ghoul

Shady Ghoul is the third and last card that is capable of performing a Trinity Opener. You might have noticed that I still have this card at level 1—it’s because I do not think this card should be played often in your games. Note that this card is very strong at lower levels/ranks but slowly gets outshined by your other Trinity Opener cards as all your cards level up.

Similar to the Wild Saberpaws treatment, this card behaves very closely to both Restless Goats and Wild Saberpaws. All three of these cards are your go-to early game options for Trinity Openers, as well as your late game cards because they are the only runners in the deck. What separates Shady Ghoul from the other two is that it doesn’t make for the greatest finisher since it has only 1 strength at all levels.

However, one additional niche this card brings is the ability to keep the frontline. Much like how Doppelbocks acts like two units making it difficult for the enemy to reset your frontline, Shady Ghoul does this job even better because the token spawns after Shady Ghoul dies, and in a sense the token is being “protected” as it is invulnerable to Area of Effect damages (unlike Doppelbocks’).

To reiterate, this card should only be played in the early game for Trinity Openers and in the late game specifically when you are in desperate need of keeping the frontline.

Personal servers

Personal Servers is a very fitting 3 mana card in this deck because of its versatility. This card can be used to accomplish several goals such as: move frontline forward, buff a unit to create more pressure, act as a guardian to defend your stronger units and for potential lethal since it can behave like a Potion of Growth substitute.

For 3 mana this card has proven to be very useful. It is not the most important card in the deck nor is it the worst—just a great card to pick up when playing this deck. Typically you should aim to play this card during an odd mana turn (e.g. 5, 7…) and use up the remaining mana with your even-cost units.

Temple of the Heart

Temple of the Heart is an extremely niche card and completely changes the flow of the game. When played properly, this card can become your enemies’ worst nightmare. It has a relatively weak statline so you need to actively be looking for good places to set this down for at least 1 trigger to receive value from it. There are some cases where Temple of the Heart can be used to set up disguised lethals because of the mechanical order of the game.

At the start of your turn the Temple is triggered (2 damage) followed by your units marching into the enemy base (X damage) and now you are given freedom to play out your turn as necessary (Y damage). The addition of this card into the deck makes this variation the most difficult to play, it is not recommended for the majority of players.

Temple of the Heart

For more information on how Temple of the Heart works, you can check out this video.

Devastators

The one that makes your victories feel cheap, the one that puts Winter players to sleep, the one that makes structure players weep, Devastators, Devastators, Devastators. Undoubtedly the best card in the deck. This will be your go-to card that should be played as soon as possible depending on how fast you can set up your board.

On its own, Devastators is a fairly weak card because it can get cleared easily, however with the help of other units and proper positioning, this card can deal absurd amounts of damage to the enemy base. Think of Devastators like the egg of a beast. All alone, Devastators will get eaten up by all the other cards in the game but with proper care and consideration, a beast will hatch and deal massive damage to the enemy. Devastators’ favorite tiles are both top corners on the left and right, as these tiles are the most difficult for the opponent to reach.

Although tearing down structures might look so satisfying, there are actually many cases where it’s better to leave up the enemy structure for a few turns. If the enemy structure is played on a centre tile bordering the enemy base, you can take advantage of the enemy corner and drop Devastators there instead. In cases where the structure is in the corner, you may want to leave it up so that on your 7 mana turn, your Devastators + Forgotten Souls has a clear path into the enemy base. In the early game however, if you have the ability to play Devastators safely (meaning it is protected by one or more units) and also destroy a structure, then this is generally the best play.

There is quite a lot to expand on the formula behind Devastators which will be explained later but for now just be sure to almost never cycle this card as it is almost always better played than cycled especially in the lower ranks where you are able to pull off sneaky Devastator plays much more frequently.

Snowmasons

I want to include a quick overview on this card for those that decide to run the Snowmasons variation. Snowmasons can act as a healthy substitute for Potion of Growth when using it as a finisher or simply to make a unit stronger. Generally, you do not want to self-activate Snowmasons by making it attack into enemy units because every bit of strength counts and you want to utilize Snowmasons weak body to protect one of your stronger units.

In situations where you don’t have Devastators in hand, you can use both Snowmasons and a unit to stimulate pressure by using Snowmasons as a guardian and the other unit to act like Devastators.

Flameless Lizards

The Flameless Lizards variation works better as you climb up the ranks because most decks will be running AoE cards but lacking single target removal cards. By replacing Devastators with Flameless Lizards, the deck requires more speed so often times it’s best to replace Personal Servers with First Mutineers as well.

Flameless Lizards is a solid drop on 5 mana as there are very few cards the enemy can use to clear it. Thus, your frontline will often hold and if Flameless retains most of its strength, a Forgotten Souls on the following turn can end the game. A neat trick is to replace Potion of Growth with Spare Dragonling as well. Spare Dragonling can act as a cheaper and more effective Potion of Growth with the Flameless Lizards setups. The enemies will often times be unsuspecting of these strong setups. With the inclusion of this card, it’s important to always be cycling back for it fast because it is the very heart of the deck.

Game openers

Within the RR decks, there exists a total of three 2-movement units—each of these cost three mana or less and are necessary for preforming any Trinity Opener.

Simply put, a Trinity Opener is pushing your frontline to three tiles forward on your very first turn. In doing so you open up the entire board and give yourself the ability to play a unit on any tile. By maintaining this frontline you give yourself a huge advantage over your opponent.

Here are all the possible Trinity Openers at 3 mana:

And at 4 mana:

Best value

When given multiple options, you should prioritize the Trinity Opener that grants you the most value based off your card levels. Therefore, there is no one absolute best opener, it depends on the value of your cards.

Trinity Openers are the best turn 1 openers for RR because it is very hard for the opponent to match them. Generally speaking you should still be able to maintain this frontline for the duration of the match. A three mana trinity opener can lead to a 4 mana Devastators in the corner in your next turn. A four mana trinity opener can lead to either a Devastators + Green Prototypes play or a Gifted Recruit + Potion of Growth play.

It’s important to note that semi-Trinity Openers exist where you push your frontline only two tiles forward, however (instead of one) you have two units controlling the same row, preferably centre-left and centre-right.

Since they move up at the start of your next turn, you still have good frontline over the board. However, there are far too many semi-Trinity Openers for me to list in this guide, just know that each requires at least one of the Trinity cards (Restless Goats, Wild Saberpaws or Shady Ghoul).

Two reasons as to why Trinity Openers are so important:

  1. You get immediate frontline which you can take advantage of in your following turns.
  2. You give yourself the opportunity to get extremely early and well defended units such as Devastators or a 2-mana unit + Potion of Growth.

Prioritisation

The RR prioritisation refers to being able to distinguish which cards you should aim at playing over others in any given situation. This idea can extend to which enemy units/structures you should focus on killing as well. Which and how you prioritize cards will vary depending on each and every unique turn given a new board state. However, while prioritisation differs largely, there are some rules you can apply to your gameplay to produce the most value/best results for each given turn.

Devastators is one of the most impactful cards in RR. It is considered a high-risk/high-reward card because for 4 mana you can get away with dealing up to 12 damage to the enemy base (at level 5, up to 6 at level 1) but at the same time you’re only playing a 6 strength unit—in this case, you’re better off playing other alternatives like Gifted Recruits and Wild Saberpaws.

Playing Devastators without Forgotten Souls is a bit of a gamble. If the enemy doesn’t have the cards to counter it, you can win the game simply from this play. But you can also lose the game if the enemy is able to defend against it and delay your rush.

Devastators is also great for removing structures, and when enemies play buildings in the corners, you can leave them up until late game for an easy Devastators + Forgotten Souls combo straight into the enemy base.

Since a large portion of the extra damage comes from its effect, you can take advantage of it by keeping Devastators alive even with just a sliver of health. Although a full strength Devastators at the enemy baseline is quite threatening, even a one strength Devastators can be the enemies highest priority target on the board. Sometimes your enemies may even be forced to play an Execution on a one strength Devastators to prevent the damage.

In lower leagues, since players don’t typically play decks with good removal, aim to play Devastators as much as possible because you are generally rewarded in most of these exchanges.

Although Devastators is a high-risk/high-reward card, there are ways to minimize the risks when playing this card. By expanding on what we have already learned, Trinity Openers are amazing for setting up an early Devastators. It is important to note that the earlier into the match you set down Devastators, the harder it is for your enemy to deal with it because of mana constraints. After a turn 1 Trinity opener, assuming the enemy was unsuccessful in clearing both units, you can get an early Devastators tucked into either the top left or top right corner. These are Devastators’ two favorite tiles on the board.

In a situation like above, the enemy needs to find a way to clear the Devastators. This can only be done in a limited number of ways due to mana constraints. A fair trade in mana for the enemy would be using Execution in exchange to kill the Devastators. However, it is important to realize that if the enemy does not have a way to use up the excess mana, the Execution is effectively costing more than 4 mana and you automatically win in this exchange.

In the case that the enemy is able to use up the excess mana, if your defending unit is still alive, you will be able to use it to defend another high priority unit. During your next turn, it will move forward allowing you to pull off yet another top corner tuck play, generally this is best accomplished with a unit + Potion of Growth, once again setting down a high priority target for the enemy to deal with.

By applying pressure every turn you snowball your early game lead in hopes to close out the game fast. This deck doesn’t fare well into the late game so you really want to squeeze in any advantages you can. The biggest takeaway from prioritisation is playing Trinity Openers on your first turn if possible and to really focus on playing Devastators as much as possible and as early as possible. Especially in the lower ranks, this strategy works exceptionally well because opponents do not have many ways to defend against it.

Cycling

Cycling is the most wrongfully used mechanic in the game. In basic terms, cycling refers to the “flow of cards” in your deck and by definition reflects which cards you will draw in your future turns. The cards you draw each turn are NOT at random, instead there is a certain pattern the cards follow. Therefore, you can actually predict which will be your next cards drawn with rather high accuracy.

Drawing Guide

Refer to the drawing guide to learn more about drawing mechanics. You can also practice cycling and see all how drawing works by going to Tools > Deck Builder, then in the sub-menu Practice.

What’s special about cycling is that it is actually a controllable mechanic to some degree. Each turn you are given an opportunity to trade 1 card in your hand in exchange for another one in your deck. Additionally, the order in which you play your cards will greatly affect which ones will be drawn back sooner.

Since this deck is a rush deck, you will be cycling through your deck very fast, meaning you will be given multiple options of cards to play each turn. Linking this back to prioritisation, you need to use the cards that create the best play for that turn and cycle out the cards that aren’t useful in this turn and the next few.

The biggest trouble players find with this mechanic is not knowing when to cycle, and how to cycle. In this rush deck where the value of cards changes depending on the state of the match (early-, mid-, late-game), you need to really cycle out the useless ones so you have better chances of drawing the best cards in your deck.

As a basic rule, you generally want to cycle one card every turn. This is mostly because Devastators is the best card in the deck, and after playing it, you should be fishing to draw and play it again. Given the nature of this complex game, this rule is not always the correct play.

You should be aiming to maximize your usage of Devastators and on the other side of the spectrum, minimize your usage of Forgotten Souls. Bear in mind that these two cards make an amazing combo, so the next question you should be asking is, how do I properly set up this combo? Ideally you want to play this combo exactly when it is available (at the 7-mana turn) and this requires a bit of timing, thinking and luck.

Forgotten Souls is in fact the highest priority cycle for the majority of the game. The only time this card should stay in your hand for more than 1 turn is when you are really sure that the game will be closing out very soon and it would be unwise to cycle this card out as it could be needed for winning.

Additionally, if you really suspect you will pull off a Devastators + Forgotten Souls combo next turn, you should keep it in your hand. Outside of those two reasons, this card should be cycled and never stay in your hand for more than one turn. Once you master cycling, it just becomes natural to know which cards to cycle and when.

Standard cycling rules:

  • You want to be cycling more often than not. This rule is true for every RR match.
  • As far as cycling prioritisation goes, Forgotten Souls has the highest priority, Summon Militia is second and Snowmason is third. This rule is not always true as it really depends on the state of the board and your expectations for which card you will receive after cycling.
  • By playing Devastators in the early game, and cycling Forgotten Souls in the early game, you can expect to draw them both back around the same time for a combo.
  • Since your card levels will differ, aim to play out your best/higher level cards, and cycle out your worst/lowest level cards.
  • Almost never cycle Devastators, and it’s okay to keep this card in your hand for many turns because each turn you should be looking to make a Devastators play setup. As you rank up, Devastators progressively become harder to set down without risk and it may be common to cycle this card only in the early game.

At face value you can only see 4 cards in your deck every turn. Once you master cycling you can actually see a 5th card in your hand every turn and cycling for lethal no longer becomes luck, but instead a skillful trait.

Order

Now that we have covered cycling, we can start learning about order which refers to the order in which you play your cards.

Outside of prioritisation and cycling, order plays a very significant role that usually goes unnoticed to the inexperienced player. At the basic level players start developing an idea behind how to properly utilize order to their advantage because it is the most logical play.

For instance if the enemy has a unit placed near their base for defense, you will play out the cards to remove that enemy unit first before playing your 2 movement unit in hand that can be used for lethal. In more complex cases, order starts becoming debatable between which cards should be played first, second, third or fourth.

There are two parts behind the concept of order:

  1. The Present Value of Order (PVO),
  2. The Future Value of Order (FVO).

The aforementioned situations are illustrating the present value of order (PVO) because the order in which I play my cards this turn, will determine the state of the board/game for this turn and the next turn. The PVO has everything to do with prioritisation—for instance do you want the Doppelbocks’ token to be more forward than the Green Prototypes or vice versa?

As demonstrated earlier, sometimes the order in which you play your cards will have an affect on the PVO. This becomes more obvious during turns where you want to play RNG (luck-based) cards like Summon Militia and Head Start.

Since RNG-based cards like Summon Militia and Head Start have a certain amount of available tiles they can land on, you can adjust your play depending on where you want these tokens to land. For instance, if I want these tokens to land on specific tiles, I can increase the chance of them landing there by occupying the other tiles.

You don’t always want to play your RNG cards last—sometimes your move will be dependent on how the RNG plays out and thus you may want to play them first.

In the following example, I want to be as aggressive as possible. To increase the chances of the Summon Militia token to spawn hopefully on the furthest row possible, I play it first followed by Head Start. Depending on where these tokens land I will determine which unit I want to buff with Potion of Growth.