At the beginning on the year Portalcraft was released. I much like many people am not a fan of change and decided that I would just abstain from playing the class. After about 3 months one thing became clear to me. Portal is very real class and the things that it’s capable of doing are very powerful. I decided that I can’t keep living a lie and sought out to learn how to play the class. I stayed up many nights grinding the deck until I actually felt competent at piloting the deck. Now after all these games I feel as though I have a very good grasp on how Artifact Portal plays as a whole and thus I bring to you wonderful readers a 2 part beginners guide to the class to hopefully help people learn how to play the class.
Right off the bat let’s talk about Resonance as a mechanic. Many of the cards in portal get powered up when you are in Resonance (you are in Resonance if your deck contains an even number of cards.) This means that if your going first you will naturally be in Resonance on turn 1/3/5 and if you went second turns 2/4/6. But the mechanic is much more complex than just that since:
- Drawing a card will directly affect if you are in Resonance or not.
- The class has another major Mechanic built into it in Artifacts. We will discuss Artifacts more in depth later but for now the main thing to note is between all the ways you can shuffle Artifacts into your deck and pull them out means that as a Portal player you usually have quite a bit of control over if your in Resonance or not.
When starting out Resonance can be a tricky mechanic to play with. There are occasionally turns where you will go in and out of Resonance multiple times and if you don’t have your plan mapped out well one misstep can ruin your whole turn or worse, it can affect you for multiple turns as you struggle to try and get yourself back into Resonance at the right times.
The most common cards in Portal at the moment that care about you being in Resonance are:
Deus Ex Machina: Deus Ex is like the engine to Portalcraft. She allows you to rapidly dig through your deck to find specific tools like Acceleratium, Safira, Magna Legacy and of course, Artifacts. It is often right to get Deus online as fast as possible however sometimes you will find you are better off getting the most out of your hand before you try to get a new one. Deus Ex will also refund you a play point for every Artifact you play, allowing for degenerate turns where you play multiple 1 cost Artifacts without actually spending any Play Points. Deus Ex is arguably the strongest card in Portal, competing only with Acceleratium.
Miriam, Synthetic Being: The only card from Dawnbreak Nightedge that currently sees play in stock Portal lists. Miriam is incredibly helpful since if your in Resonance she allows you to either shuffle a Radiant and Prime Artifact into your deck (the less common mode of the two) or she can tutor an artifact from your deck to your hand. The Tutor effect is very powerful since it’s such a cheap way to put a reasonable body on board while drawing an artifact.
Hakrabi: Most 5 drops nowadays are ¾’s or less. Hakrabi is a 4/4 that in Resonance will pull you 2 Artifacts and when not in Resonance will pull 1. Hakrabi is a good way to keep your hand size up while getting a reasonable body on the field. Since she’s 5PP you will not always be able to use her to get into Resonance but she can get you into Resonance in a pinch.
Dimension Cut: This card really doesn’t get played all too often but I thought it was worth mentioning. Dimension Cut is an efficient removal spell when in Resonance and a lackluster Sylvan justice when your not. The main issue with the card is with all of the artifacts portal has accent to combined with Acceleratium you’re just better off playing more ways to make Artifacts.
There are many tools you have access to in Portal that will allow you to control whether you are or are not in Resonance. Of those the ones that see the most play are:
Biofabrication: Biofab is an interesting card with 3 main functions. Cheating play points, Getting you in/out of Resonance and getting more Artifacts into your deck. Other than that the card is very low impact but it’s so flexible that it usually makes the cut.
Metaproduction: Portals version of insight. Metaproduction will push you in/out of Resonance the moment you play it while getting an Analyzing into your deck. Meta on 1 can enable Miriam on 2 if your going second. Sometimes you will want to play Metaproduction as soon as possible, other times Meta is best if you hold it to activate/deactivate Resonance.
Icarus: Portals version of Timeworn Mage Levi. To start with, a 2pp 2/2 is never bad. When you play her you will shuffle 2 Ancient Artifacts into your deck. These can be helpful later for controlling the board. When you evolve her however she puts a random Artifact from your deck to your hand, helpful for controlling Resonance and the board. Since she shuffles Ancients in you will often get ancients off of her making her a great way to pick off multiple followers in a turn.
Miriam, Synthetic Being: Despite what I’ve already said about Miriam, she still has another key part to her. Her tutor effect will allow you to pull yourself out of Resonance. This is helpful for turns where you don’t want to throw your hand away to Deus Ex or when you want to play other draw effect but still want to end the turn in Resonance.
Fervent Machine Soldier: A solid ⅔ body for 3 that draws a card and helps you control Resonance. There isn’t much else to say other than this guy is just solid at helping portal stick to it’s game plan.
All of these cards Directly interact with Artifacts in your deck, however we don’t have time for that today. Come back next week when we discuss the types of Artifacts, mulligans, and how to go about playing a game of artifact portal.