Ever since Starbone was added to the card pool, everyone wants to make a doggy deck. I have to stop here and brag for just a second – I played doggy decks even before they were cool.
About 2 weeks before Aphelios Champion Expansion was released, I was grinding Diamond ladder with a Viktor Invoke deck with 3x Messenger’s Sigil. I was sitting at Diamond 1 with 0 LP and then I saw it… Starbone was getting added to the game the very next day! On top of that another card that invokes ‘3 or less’-cost Celestials?! This was too good to be true.
I stopped grinding instantly and patiently waited (I was actually very impatient) for these 2 awesome cards to get added to the game. Once they did, I instantly slotted them both into my deck and won 5 games straight to make it to Masters!
This short story is meant for humor and not really a flex, but my love of The Messenger has been around for a while and I was very proud to make it to Masters with this hilarious card. But now the question is…. Is this still just a meme or should we start taking this seriously? Hopefully, this deck guide can help you make that decision!
At the heart of this deck is the Invoke mechanic. The biggest difference between other Invoke decks and this is the speed. We don’t want to get into large Celestial battles at the end of the game. Instead, we want to pressure the mid-to-late game for a quicker finish with either a leveled Zoe or Viktor.
Viktor with his most recent buff gets online a lot quicker, and with a lot less of Hush going around, he becomes a viable win condition. His synergy is the core game plan of the deck, since when he is leveled our Celestials will cost 1 less, and we can add to that the reduction of a Mountain Scryer on board. This allows us to flood the board quickly and apply a lot of pressure.
We also run a fair amount of protection in this list, which will help us with our plan of leveling Zoe or Viktor and finishing the game through their insane power. Messenger’s Sigil helps us fill our deck with cheap Celestials that we can ideally play for even less than 2 mana, and cycle our deck. I can’t tell you how many times The Messengers have bailed me out of bad situations. With all that said, let’s take a look at some of the Core Cards that make this deck.
3x Viktor: As I was previously mentioning, the synergy with Viktor in an Invoke deck is massive. He levels quickly and also helps you get your Celestial cards out quicker. I think he is a perfect splash for the Invoke mechanic, and now that he has received a really substantial buff, he feels better than ever.
3x Zoe: Before Cosmic Creation, when we used to think of the Invoke archetype, our minds went to Aurelion Sol. But now most people think of Zoe. She provides insane value and has become one of the best champions in the game. This deck is built more around Zoe than most though, as we really want to level her up. We can do this by having cheap cards like Viktor’s Hex Core Upgrades, Starry Scamps, and all of the early Celestials. We protect her with Bastion and Giddy and we can consistently level her up and close out games.
3x Spacey Sketcher: This one is super self-explanatory. We want cheap Celestials, and that is what Spacey is good at. She also helps with playing multiple cards to level Zoe at cheap mana costs.
3x Solari Priestess: The Priestess is a weak body and can slow us down, but the value her Invoked Celestials provide is too strong. The Golden Sister is key for games where we level Zoe, The Traveler is great for games when we are running low on value, Falling Comet is a clutch removal, and the list goes on.
3x Mountain Scryer: This is an allegiance deck after all, so of course we are running the Mountain Scryer! His ability provides so many mana discounts in this deck it can become very silly. On top of that, his additional Invoke can be very clutch. We really want to hit Cosmic Inspiration with it, so we can build all of our units up.
3x The Fangs: Out of all the new cards I was not expecting The Fangs to be my personal favorite, but it is quickly becoming just that. This slot used to be taken up by the Solari Sunforger, but I will gladly lose those stats to gain an Invoke of the ever-important cheap Celestials. The versatility he provides is amazing.
2x Starbone: Since we have a ton of Celestial generation, and can consistently get The Messenger, this card is a no-brainer at two copies. The +1|+1 buff actually goes a long way for all of your Celestials, and if you do find a Cosmic Inspiration on top of this your units will just out-value the ones by your opponent.
3x Starshaping: No Invoke deck is complete without the awesome healing and finishing power of Starshaping. It is an absolute must for this deck, especially because without Aurelion Sol to find the late-game Celestials you sometimes need to close a game out.
3x Starry Scamp: This follower finds itself in more of an aggro Invoke decks, but I am using it here mostly as another card to play for free to level Zoe. Since we have plenty of value and card generation, we can afford to run this free unit.
2x Giddy Sparkleologist: Leveling our champions is extremely important, and since we will almost always Behold a Celestial, Giddy serves an important purpose of getting another body out while also protecting our win condition, all the while giving them a solid +1|+1 buff.
2x Spell Thief: Spell Thief allows us to play more cards for our synergies, and it provides us with created card. This levels both of our champions while also adding a massive flexible tool that can find great use in various situations.
2x Pale Cascade: Even with the nerf, Pale is still solid especially in decks that are trying to spam cards to level Zoe since it replaces itself when you Nightfall.
2x Hush: A lot fewer people are running Hush right now, and that actually makes running it even more powerful. 3 mana is a lot now, but the effect is still insanely powerful and can turn games.
2x Bastion: Even more protection for our champions helps us consistently level them up, pushing our win condition.
1x The Skies Descend: We aren’t running any Dragons, but with this many Celestials I love Skies as a 1-of card. It can really catch people off-guard and I can’t tell you how many times I have had this cost 7 or less just from a bunch of Messengers alone.
Mystic Shot: Since this is an Allegiance deck, we have to be careful how many off-region cards we add. We don’t have any direct removal outside of the Obliterate cards, so Mystic Shot could be worth a slot to kill those pesky Twisted Fates.
Guiding Touch: Some cheap healing plus card draw really helps stabilize and level Zoe quicker. This can also be used to heal your units in certain situations when needed.
Behold the Infinite/Supercool Starchart: If you want to dive deeper into the Invoke mechanic you can run either of these cards. I’ve already explained the synergy of Invoke and this deck so you get the picture!
Give It All: This is a spicier option and you would probably only want to run 1 or 2 copies max, but this is another way to get your keywords all shared, besides Level 2 Zoe. I don’t find it necessary, but could see it coming in clutch in certain matchups.
Mulligans in general are pretty straightforward – this is a Zoe deck so we want Zoe! Beyond that, it’s actually easier to just list things that we do not want in our starting hand, and that is pretty much all of our spells. You can keep Starbone if we have multiple ‘3 or less’ Invoke cards in our hand, like a Zoe and a Spacey Sketcher. Our highest cost unit is a 4, so even those aren’t bad to keep if you already have a Zoe. But you do want to prioritize mulliganing for Zoe quite hard.
If you made it this far, I appreciate you reading this breakdown. I know this deck may look like just a janky mess, but I promise it has serious potential. Viktor is in a great spot right now, and Invoke decks still have plenty of tools for this meta. And please do not sleep on how much work The Messenger can put in!
I hope you have a blast trying out this fun and versatile deck, and if you have any suggestions or edits you end up making, make sure to share in the comments below!