The orcs are a fanatically religious race whose society revolves around the zealous worship of their Mountain God, Kog’Tepetl. The orc obsession with gladiatorial combat is an attempt to appease and feed their mountain deity, who they believe gives them the strength to fuel their ferocity.
The orcs are led by five High Clerics who are all arena warriors that, it is believed, were selected by Kog’Tepetl by divine provenance to fight their way to the pinnacle of orc society until they are challenged and defeated themselves.
In orc society, gladiatorial combat and religion is essentially the same thing. Kog’Tepetl demands the sacrifice of the weak to bolster the strong, for only the fiercest of his devotees will be capable of defending their rocky lands from being razed by the enemies from below.
Kog’Tepetl is a Primal that takes the form of a mountain, which the orcs worship and build their dwellings around. An enormous face is built into the face of the mountain, with the mouth serving as a deep cave that serves as one of the holiest sites in the orc realm.
The fighting floor of the gladiatorial arena is covered in small holes, and the orcs believe the blood of those that are vanquished in gladiatorial combat drip down into the holes to feed their mountain god. Ayotochi is the city that has been built at the base of the mountain, and is the most important and populated orc settlement.
The orcs’ five High Clerics serve as the prophets of their god, and are generally regarded as the wisest and most respected members of orc culture. Any orc, male or female, can become a High Cleric, though the process is incredibly arduous.
Once an orc gladiator wins 100 arena battles in row (an astoundingly difficult feat that can only be remotely accomplished by the most ferocious and intelligent combatants), the orc must enter the Cave of Subjugation, an utterly lightness and tiny cavern deep within the mountain. The gladiator must meditate in darkness, alone, for 100 days. When the orc emerges from the cave, he or she must then challenge one of the current High Clerics in single combat to the death. If the challenger wins, he or she becomes the High Cleric in place of the one they defeated.
Orcs are not the only creatures who battle in their arena. War parties are often sent out to capture other creatures to fight. Orcs prefer to challenge themselves against creatures with a modicum of self-awareness, such as ogres, cyclops, and trolls. A captured slave that wins a large number of battles can earn themselves a valued place in orc society, meriting such perks as their individual freedom or even a comfortable home. A non-orc can never become a High Cleric, no matter how many arena matches it wins.
Orcs hate the vennen with a ferocious passion. No vennen would ever be captured for arena fighting, for any creature that participates in the orc gladiator games, even the lowliest dingler, is given a smidgen of respect, which no vennen deserves. An orc will always attempt to kill any vennen on sight.
The Underworld Incursion was so brutal, even the orcs in their remote mountain location took immediate, heavy losses. When the humans extended an invitation to join an alliance with the coyotle and elves, the orcs shocked even themselves by accepting and becoming the unlikeliest member of the Ardent coalition.
The Darkspire orcs conduct the often unsavory aspects of war. Their activities are not officially sanctioned by the Ardent alliance.
Recommended Tribal Strategies
Current orc cards support a very quick aggressive strategy that aims to win the game faster than your opponent can stabilize their strategy. The orcs are present in the Ruby Shard and Blood Shard. When building within this tribe, you will want to focus on low cost troops and actions to support this. While Rage is not unique to the orcs, it is their staple ability that aids their offense. They also within both shards share a theme of costs that force them into an early game win. From losing health per turn or giving away your choice to attack or not.
In competitive play the tribe is currently most often played with only Ruby. The main point against playing with the Blood orcs is that the strategy is very focused on playing on curve and having a hand mixed with Ruby Shard and blood cards can get in the way with this, or the opposite of Blood Shard and ruby cards. There is also not enough aggressive blood cards to create a fast enough deck that only uses Blood Shard. If you feel this doesn't get in your way enough, Blood offers many powerful troops.
Below is listed key troop cards for the tribe at each card cost which is especially important in keeping a good curve with as this deck aims to be able to play a troop every turn. Essentially playing many one to three cost troops and then evening out with some four to five cost cards to help finish of the final parts of your aggressive strategy. Because the deck caps to it's highest costs early and wants hands full of troops and actions rather than resources, you will generally want to play between twenty and twenty four resources.
One Cost Troops
When looking at the Ruby Shard orcs, Savage Raider is the most popular offensive turn one troop. While by their third resource your opponent will often have a troop that can block it when it is forced to attack each turn, by then it will have done a good job of dealing a decent chunk in your opponents health. Later in the game, it will also often slip through their defenses when they are forced to block another troop due to your likely more overwhelming field of troops than theirs.
Unmerciful Tormentor compliments the tribes all-in play style very well. While it may be a weak troop at first, it will quickly become powerful due to all the low cost cards you may likely be playing in your orc deck.
From the Blood Shard is Fang of the Mountain God is a troop without the forced attack of Savage Raider and one more attack, but with the cost of one health per turn. This card is definitely something to consider if you believe your deck is fast enough that the ticking life cost won't matter.
Not an Orc, the ruby Kindling Skarn is a capable card when you aim to go all out with your actions. It is the fastest one drop in the game at dealing damage but also a risky one as it is weak by itself and when drawn later in the game. As it grows each time you play an action and that growth increases with each Transform, you might want to mulligan if it is present in a hand with little actions.
Two Cost Troops
Furious Taskmaster is a Ruby orc that does a good job of rewarding you for playing the deck in tribe. Suddenly you don't have to wait a turn to attack for every orc troop you play as long as you can pay the cost of one resource per troop. It can even give itself Speed if you have nothing else to spend the resources on in the turn you put it on the field.
Arena Brawler is rather weak by itself, but when combined with cards like Furious Taskmaster and Veteran Gladiator it will be able to quickly get it's damage in without having to worry about the cards low toughness.
Through playing Blood you gain access to two more orcs at two cost. Darkspire Priestess offers the deck a way to pressure offense and possibly win trades while gaining a card back or dealing bonus damage. In the early turns your opponent may be afraid to block this troop if they can't beat it in combat as you will gain an edge on them if you can search another or any other Darkspire such as Darkspire Enforcer.
There is also Shamed Gladiator which is flexible for it's cost due to the minor gem within it. It is most popularly played with the Blood gem that gives Rage 1. Giving it Speed is another option. It is also sometimes played with the Ruby gem that does not allow anything but Blood or Artifacts to block it, however that requires two Ruby thresholds in addition to the Blood threshold required to play Shamed Gladiator which is a card combination you may not always see by the time the card is capable of attacking.
Outside the orc theme but important non the less, Ruby Enchantress offers a 2/1 troop for two that also will incrementally increase the attack of your troops. It's important to play this card as soon as you can when going on the all out offense as the added damage per two cost or higher troop played after it adds up quickly.
Emberspire Witch will not offer perfect synergy with the orc cards but is popular for being able to lock out healing stall and win early combat trades. Some aggressive orc decks rather side it for specific match ups that gain life often instead of main decking it.
Three Cost Troops
Veteran Gladiator has the same restriction as Savage Raider but is much stronger to compliment the cards higher cost. Among the added one attack and one defense, it also can block one of your opponents troops from blocking every time it attacks. This will help you disable your opponents best blockers and help your overwhelm them with superior numbers.
Gem-Crazed Berserker is picked for it's minor gem that will often be paired with the Speedgem. Because it is a Ruby card and requires one threshold anyways, it can also be paired and be successful with the gem that allows it to be only blocked by artifacts or Ruby troops.
Claw of the Mountain God is a blood orc that is incredibly efficient for the cards cost. three cost for five attack and four defense? Insane. However the main point against playing it is that it is hard to get out on turn three in a dual shard orc deck due to the two blood threshold cos. A lesser risk is the two damage per turn which sometimes can quickly spell your defeat if your opponent is able to defend against it without taking damage.
Because Throat Cutter provides every troop on your board Rage 1 while it is still on the field, it applies immediate impact. Unlike Ruby Enchantress which is best played early, this card is best played when you have a full field to benefit from it.
Four Cost Troops
The in theme orc, Zoltog who will provide an endless army of Savage Raiders assuming your other orcs can push through. In a deck that deals with trading with your opponents troops and racing them, something that creates cards to that also help to that goal is very welcome.
Five Cost Troops
When everything doesn't go right and you need something to fall back on as a last resort, you can count on the decks troops at the five cost. Sometimes omitted as they are higher than the usual curve that ends at four, these cards can still be considered for the final push.
Te'talca, Orc Gladiator is a troop that can feed off your opponents leftover weak troops and turn a losing game into a quick victory if not answered. When it uses Transform to become Te'talca, High Cleric suddenly your supporting actions hit for double numbers and your opponent will find themselves unable to keep up with your raw damage. It takes quite a bit of resources to setup however and it may be too late by the time you get the transformation completed.
Rampaging Tarasque is currently solely for pure ruby decks due to the cards extremely high threshold cost. It offers an instant 8 damage pressure at a point where your opponent is likely low at life. Because of this if they can block it fully it will often trade with more than one troop and help you get back in the game when you were behind.
Now that you have an idea of what troops you want to play, we also have to look at the actions that support those troops. These actions are added to help you get rid of threats, win battles and race your opponent faster.
The most important among these actions is Gore Feast of Kog'Tepetl which when played on turn four after amassing your troops will win you the game right there if your opponent cannot answer your troops or it. Rage 1 and two attack phases is easily over twentry damage with three troops. Another important synergy with the card is that if it is played after your opponent deals with your troops with something like a board wipe, you can still play it in combination with the Blaze Elemental created by Poca, The Conflagrater and deal nine damage over the two attacks by the Blaze Elemental. Suddenly your opponent is still at risk to your direct damage burns if that play didn't win you the game.
Other important low cost supporting actions to look at that can clear your opponents blocking troops or attack their health directly include, Burn, Ragefire, Burn to the Ground, Ruby Aura, Crushing Blow and Ruby Lance. While the mention of actions are short, they are without a doubt not something you should skip out on. The deck cannot push through lines very well without a handful of actions to support your troops.
As most of the orcs are stand-alone cards, it will be very rare for you to find yourself with enough cards that support orcs that you would want to draft into them specifically. More often you will have many orc cards in your deck but they will not be the focus of your deck. Exceptions of this include the rare situation of seeing a Zoltog or three or more copies of Throat Cutter or Furious Taskmaster. The problem with this being a popular scenario is that both cards are of uncommon rarity and won't be seen in excess very often. In the rare situation that you do get any of these scenarios, there are plenty of orc cards at common rarity and building a core around them will not be very hard. You may however be competing with others in your draft for Darkspire Priestess as blood decks outside of orcs also enjoy the early pressure provided by multiple copies of the troop.
In order to maximize offensive speed, most Orc based decks have very few cards that allow them to generate card advantage. Because of this they are reliant on only the seven cards they start with and every draw after that. If they fall behind in cards to their opponent early on and can't outrace them in troops, the deck is going to have a hard time winning. Capable cards in that sense are Heat Wave which can clear a board before you even take a chunk of damage, or the slower but still efficient, Extinction can also stop orc rushdown before it's too late.
Early game blockers like Flock of Seagulls can be a problem for orcs, however Burn and Ragefire are capable of dealing with those. On the other hand blockers with more than two defense like Glimmerglen Witch are harder for the deck to get past if you are capable of keeping their Veteran Gladiator off the board. Other methods to slow the deck down to the late game where many decks can play their more powerful troops that orcs can't combat include using tempo with cards like Buccaneer, using your one for one removal such as Burn or Repel, or Sapper's Charge which all shards can play. Health gaining abilities can also work but often they side in or already play in their main deck Emberspire Witch. Once you reach the later turns of the game the deck relies on combat tricks like Crushing Blow to push through your troops. If removal is saved for that time, you can often get rid of their two card investment (Troop + Crushing Blow) by removing their troop in response to the action. Finally, if you have access to Diamond Shard cards, one of the better cards to side against aggressive decks like orcs is Blinding Light. This card will allow you to punish a Gore Feast and come out unscathed. If they are trying to trade through your troops, you will even be able to beat their creatures in combat without any risk to your own.
list of Orc cards
Your cards and effects deal double damage.
At the start of your turn, this deals 2 damage to you.
When this troop deals fatal damage to a troop, transform that troop into Infected Zombie and put it into play under your control.
When this enters play, it deals 2 damage to you.
At the start of your turn, this deals 1 damage to you.
[BASIC] , [6 CHARGES]: Reveal the top ten cards of your deck. Create a Rock Elemental with and equal to 3 plus the number of revealed resources and put it into play. Shuffle the revealed cards into your deck.
When this attacks, target opposing troop can't block this turn.
When this dies, choose one at random: It deals 3 damage to each opposing champion; or search your deck for a troop with Darkspire in its name and put it into your hand.
When you gain a charge, this deals 1 damage to each opposing champion.
When you control another Orc, this has +1/+1.
When this dies, transform it into a Burn and put it into your hand.
When this dies, choose one at random: Each opposing champion discards a card at random; or search your deck for a troop with Darkspire in its name and put it into your hand.
There are 33 cards in this list.