Building on a Theme: Telvanni Ambition

Welcome back to the Building on a Theme series, where we take a look at the Theme Decks released alongside Houses of Morrowind! Today, we’ll be talking about the Telvanni Ambition deck and finding ways to improve it - all while adding only Commons and Rares to keep it budget-friendly.

2 Cruel Firebloom
2 Vvardvark Experiment
1 Deathless Draugr
2 Firebolt
1 Moon Sugar Smuggler
2 Abecean Navigator
1 Barilzar’s Tinkering
2 Caius’ Machinations
2 Crystal Tower Crafter
3 Mages Guild Recruit
3 Seyda Neen Courier
3 Soul Split
2 Wind Keep Spellsword
3 Ancestral Dead
2 Blacksap Protector
2 Blood Sacrament
1 Burning Touch
1 House Kinsman
2 Indoril Mastermind
2 Mummify
2 Telvanni Catspaw
2 Tree Minder
2 Wind Clumsiness
1 Archein Elite
1 Archein Venomtongue
2 Bonewalker
3 Drain Blood
2 Elusive Schemer
2 Fire Storm
2 Lightning Bolt
1 Murkwater Shaman
3 Rising of Bones
1 Fleeting Apparition
1 Sun-in-Shadow
3 Telvanni Oathman
1 Ice Storm
2 Spirit Knife
2 Swamp Leviathan
1 Therana’s Lawman
1 Divayth’s Experiments
1 Mushroom Tower

Telvanni Ambition’s Game Plan

As we did with the Redoran Onslaught deck, we need to figure out what Telvanni Ambition wants to do. In the current metagame, many decks in this House play the Control role, buying time while they amass card advantage and remove opposing creatures. If we’re going to stick to Commons and Rares, building a dedicated Control deck will prove difficult; instead, let’s turn this deck into Midrange!

Midrange decks run some high-cost cards, which is a contrast from the Aggro deck we built using the Redoran Onslaught deck. However, they’re still aggressive. The more expensive cards are there to apply pressure to slower decks if they go unanswered and our Telvanni deck will also have access to a good bit of removal to help us out against more aggressive decks with lower magicka curves. Now, let’s get started with some replacements!

Alterations

Against slower decks, we’ll likely want to start attacking quickly. Against faster decks, we’re going to need creatures that help us fight for the board so we don’t get overrun. Either way, this deck’s early game could use a bit of tuning. As usual, we’re going to try to play three copies of the cards we really want to see often for consistency in our 75-card deck while moving away from 1-ofs that aren’

With that in mind, we’ll be taking out the single copies of Deathless Draugr and Moon Sugar Smuggler. This deck also has a focus on actions that we’ll be moving away from for the moment. We’ll still have plenty of tricks up our sleeve, but cards like Mage’s Guild Recuit, Abecean Navigator and Crystal Tower Crafter will be just a little too hard to get consistent value from, similar to the fun but rather RNG-dependent Barilzar’s Tinkering.

To replace some of these, we can add a third Firebolt, a third Wind Keep Spellsword, and a playset of Wardcrafters; these creatures are resilient and Wardcrafter can pull off cool tricks later as well. In addition, we can also add three Goblin Skulks which will go perfectly with our 0-cost actions - speaking of, we should probably remove the Vvardvarks and focus on Cruel Fireblooms, so we know exactly what Goblin Skulk will be searching and can plan for it. Let’s round out our 2-magicka creatures with a set of Shrieking Harpies, a fantastic tool for defense and offense that you’ll likely see in most decks using Intelligence.

Moving on to 3-magicka cards, let’s remove Blood Sacrament. It’s a good tool to deal damage to our opponent, but we could probably use actions with a little more flexibility. Burning Touch and Wild Clumsiness coming out as well will leave us ample space to play three copies of Crushing Blow and a third Lightning Bolt, each of which can be used on our opponent’s creatures or as direct damage.

We can also make more room with Tree Minder, which is a great card for magicka ramp, but probably not necessary if we’re going to be getting aggressive. We can use the space to add a third Telvanni Catspaw and three Haunting Spirits to this deck since they’re solid creatures on their own and fantastic cards to use with our actions that have Betray.

Speaking of drawing more cards, let’s add another Indoril Mastermind and Elusive Schemer! Remember, you can draw the 0-cost Schemers with Goblin Skulk, too. Another 4-Mmagicka creature to consider is Deshaan Avenger; the Last Gasp on this card, like Haunting Spirit, will help with Betray effects. Since we’re an Agility deck with an aggressive plan, I also really like using a set of Cliff Racers to help finish off our opponents.

After all those additions, though, we need to make some space. or we’ll have a 100-card deck! As we’re not aiming to control the game for turns on end, we can cut our three most expensive cards and top out at Swamp Leviathans. We also probably don’t need Fire Storms with the removal we’ve added, although we can keep Ice Storm just in case our opponents flood the board. Other cards that don’t really fit this particular style of deck are our two Lethal 4-magicka cards and Fleeting Apparition.

That about does it for the alterations - let’s have a look at the finished deck!

2 Cruel Firebloom
3 Firebolt
2 Caius’ Machinations
3 Goblin Skulk
3 Seyda Neen Courier
3 Shrieking Harpy
3 Soul Split
3 Wardcrafter
3 Wind Keep Spellsword
3 Ancestral Dead
2 Blacksap Protector
3 Crushing Blow
3 Haunting Spirit
1 House Kinsman
3 Indoril Mastermind
2 Mummify
3 Telvanni Catspaw
2 Bonewalker
3 Deshaan Avenger
3 Drain Blood
3 Elusive Schemer
3 Lightning Bolt
1 Murkwater Shaman
3 Rising of Bones
3 Cliff Racer
1 Sun-in-Shadow
3 Telvanni Oathman
1 Ice Storm
2 Spirit Knife
2 Swamp Leviathan

This version of the Telvanni Ambition deck has an upgraded early game, as well as more Last Gasp creatures to take advantage of the Betray effects and Cruel Fireblooms. Since we aren’t a Control deck, Cliff Racers and Crushing Blows will help us end the game on our terms. If you want to keep this aggressive theme going, extra House Kinsmans would be a perfect addition, as would the powerful Legendary creatures Tazkad, Ancano, and Queen Barenziah.

A Control deck would be a very different approach, but there are a lot of different styles of decks out there so I encourage you to start playing, experiment, and see what works! This will help you make the Telvanni Ambition deck truly your own.

I hope this article helped you, and best of luck on the ladder!