[Guide] How to deal with yellow rush - a detailed guide (with pictures!)


Hello everybody,

I see a lot of new players being very frustrated by playing vs a lot of rush decks in their early experience of the game, first and foremost, yellow rush (in short: “YRush”). While I understand this frustration, the problem is not entirely rush decks being too strong - a point one can argue about, but I don’t want to discuss here.
The actual problem new players have, when facing rushdecks in general (and YRush in particular), is a rather huge burden of knowledge about how to deal with these types of decks. The YRush approach might even be the most trickiest of them all, due to the mix of high mobility, movement tricks and removal, the commonly used YRush lists bring to the table.
When losing to YRush, new players often blame their decks, missing cards or just YRush “being too strong/OP”. However, more often than not, they either don’t even notice their actual mistakes which may have led to them losing the game, or at least they don’t know how to improve. Of course, there are “good” and “bad” matchups.

Most of the time, however, the main factor losing the game is simply poor land placement - which especially yellow and blue decks are really good at punishing, if the opponent knows what he’s doing. Yellow rush is no exception. Rush decks in particular often accelerate the problem by their oppressive nature. While slower decks give new players some time to think about their playstyle and figure out mistakes, rush decks apply constant pressure, creating feelings of helplessness and frustration. Land placement mistakes are (naturally) invisible to inexperienced players. And even if they notice such mistakes, what would’ve been the correct play usually remains hidden, if there’s no one to tell them.

The goal of this guide is to lift this burden of knowledge by teaching you a basic understanding of how yellow rush works and how to stop it, especially in regards of the correct land placement. While most of this isn’t obvious, I think it’s quite logical once you understand how yellow rush works.
Just to avoid misunderstanding right away: You don’t have to apply each and everything described below to win a match vs YRush. After all, (believe me or not) YRush isn’t the easiest deck to play, either. Anyways, the more things you can learn from the stuff below (and adjust your playstyle accordingly), the higher your overall win chances will be.

I’ll explain most of this with sweet little pictures to ease the understanding of what I think is quite a detailed and complex explanation. This will hopefully distract you a bit from the sheer amount of text I’m throwing at you. I’m sorry, I can’t offer a shortcut here, but that’s the way it is with complex information.

So, let’s get started.

I. Know your opponent: What is yellow rush?

1. Goals & gameplay of YRush
YRush aims to put as much pressure as possible on the opponent from turn 1 onwards and finish him off as quickly as possible. To achieve that, it basically uses many cheap/haste creatures that scratch the opponents orb with many small hits. In case the sum of the small hits aren’t enough, YRush tries to overwhelm his opponent with a very big and mobile Zealous Crusader, a creature that grows for each hit on the opponents orb.

YRush also uses some kind of removal to deal with small creatures which block its way (Soul Drain, Choking Sand) and/or to deal with big single targets, such as Verduran Force or Ogre Battler (Last Nightmare). Last but not least, some lists usually have access to one of two movement tricks (Flash Wind, Oradrim Fanatic) to give creatures another full movement.

Here’s what a typical yellow rush list could look like:

2. What stands out? What are the weaknesses?

  • Many haste creatures (Khalims Follow, Oradrim Monk, Wind Soldier - all of them with only 1 health)
  • Zealous Crusader (synergizes with many small orb hits) - 5f, 2D, 2/2 - charge 2, gain +2/+2 for each hit on the enemy orb (while in deck/hand)
  • Khalim (best opening) - 5f, 2D, 3/6 - flying, charge 2; adds 0-cost Khalim’s Follower to the hand, for each time this hits the orb
  • Dune Drake (2nd best opening) - 4f, 1D, 4/4 - flying, charge 2 - can’t collect faeria
  • Removal: Soul Drain (2 damage)/ Last Nightmare (hard removal)
  • Possible inclusion: Movement Tricks (Flash Wind/Oradrim Fanatic)

As you can see, YRush evolves around the synergy between haste creatures to hit your orb as soon and as often as possible, possibly destroying your orb by all the small hits or a big zealous crusader later on.
When you look at the (especially haste) creature’s bodies, you’ll notice that most of YRush’s creatures are rather easy to deal with - or would be, if you’d face them in a normal combat situation. Therefore, YRush usually tries to ignore whatever you throw in its way as much as possible. Haste creatures achieve this by attacking (and possibly collecting faeria) within the same turn they are summoned. If the opponent can deal with them after the first hit, their job is already done.

a) However, in order to do this, the YRush player first has to meet a critical condition: Having one or more free desert tiles within 2 spaces of the enemy orb.

I can’t stress this enough. YRush will have a very hard time finishing you, if they can’t reach your orb constantly. Especially if their crusaders remain as a 2/2 - 6/6 body, because of the rush player not being able to hit the orb more than 2 times early on.

There are basically 4 options to stop (most) haste creatures right away:

  • Claiming all tiles within 2 spaces of your orb (hard to achieve; more on that below)
  • Placing one or more taunt creatures next to your orb and/or the opponent’s desert tiles, possibly with high life and low attack, as all the haste creatures only have 1 life anyways. (counter: Flash Wind, removal events, especially Last Nightmare/Choking Sand)
  • Blocking the deserts with your own creatures (counter: dito)
  • Blocking the way from the deserts to your orb with a body (doesn’t work if the desert is next to your orb, obviously)

Of course, there’s also stuff like the 4/4 Dune Drake, 3/6 Khalim, 5/4 Shaytan Demon (and 3/3 Oradrim Templar) to consider. These creature’s are harder to deal with and won’t die to a mere Living Willow, for example. However, they are stopped by a taunt or blocking body just the same, at least until the taunt dies.

b) Yellow Rush usually doesn’t set up harvesters. → Few available faeria
Since YRush has a hard time to pierce through an established defense, it needs to destroy the orb before its opponent can achieve such a defense (or at least get him into lethal range for a wind soldier/flash wind movement combo). Therefore, YRush doesn’t set harvesters, so it usually has only 3 faeria/turn at disposal. If its opponent is able to set up harvesters by himself, he’ll eventually be able to starve yellow rush by playing bigger creatures and getting better trades.

However, to prevent running out of steam, YRush has some tools to gain additional faeria:

  • Summoning haste creatures on deserts next to a faeria well - they will collect in the same turn.
  • Khalim’s Prayer - a 0f, 2D event that adds +2 faeria and draws a card; condition: Opponent’s orb was hit on the same turn + no other prayer played within the same turn.
  • Summon other creatures next to a faeria well (Shaytan Demon, Crusader, Khalim; note that Dune Drake can’t collect!) - they will collect on the next turn, if left unchecked.
  • Khalim - If the way to the opponent’s orb is blocked, Khalim is also a capable harvester, because he can collect from two wells within the same turn while staying close to the opponent’s orb and possibly reach it easily, if necessary with a movement trick (Flash Wind/Oradrim Fanatic)

Because of the first 3 options to gain additional faeria, the most dangerous spot for a YRush’s desert are the far left and right spots between your orb and your faeria wells on the bottom line. Not losing these spots to the rush player can be essential! (More on that below, in section IV. Land placement)

c) Land requirement of yellow creatures is usually 2 deserts
This rule applies to every commonly played creature in yellow rush, except Dune Drake, Air Elemental and Oradrim Templar. Also, only Dune Drake and Khalim have flying AND charge 2. Consequently, those are the creatures, your opponent will mulligan for. Playing an Air Elemental on the center of the board is possible, but it’s rather far away from your orb and also easy to deal with (4/2 for 4f cost). Most experienced players usually don’t play Air Elemental in YRush though, because 4f reduces the early pressure quite a bit.
Therefore, your opponent usually won’t play a creature (besides a Dune Drake) before turn 3, since he needs 2 deserts and he needs them close to your orb. (more on that later)

II. Good cards vs yellow rush & cards that seem good but actually won’t work.

I’ve seen quite some new players making the mistake of assuming that healing effects would counter YRush. This assumption is usually wrong.

Healing usually does NOT counter yellow rush
Why? Because, if YRush can hit your orb many times, a +5 healing won’t stop a 12/12 Zealous Crusader from finishing you. And healing effects usually don’t come along with a creature or a body at all. Exceptions are: Tiki Healer (which has a horrible body at 2/5 for it’s 5 cost) and Shimmering Statue (which, in it’s current state, is just a bad card). All other healing options (Healing Song, Gaea’s Grace, Ruunin’s Command, Soul Drain) are Events, which means they cost faeria without providing your board a body for protection in return. However, that doesn’t mean these cards are a bad idea. At least Ruunin’s Command and Soul Drain can work quite well, but they’re usually the icing on the cake. And they certainly won’t help you at all, if you make mistakes in other aspects.

From what I’ve said above, taunt creatures can really save the day. When looking at the decklist above, you’ll notice that only Dune Drake (4/4) and Shaytan Demon (5/4) have more than 3 attack. Hence, any taunt creature with more than 3 health helps and each taunt creature with more than 5 health is great! However, keep in mind that Yrush also has access to a 2 damage event (Soul Drain) and a hard removal (Last Nightmare). Downside of the latter is, of course, that it needs 3 deserts and a whopping 6 faeria. So even if your Living Willow or Wood Elemental was killed by a Last Nightmare, you come out quite ahead faeria wise. Even more so, if you made a trade with it already.

Note: All of the above creatures work, but I’d be careful with

  • Ogre Battler - VERY vulnerable to Last Nightmare (LN)
  • Icerock Behemoth - Even more vulnerable to LN / Very slow
  • Tiki Chieftain - Only works well with another target creature. It can give itself taunt, but a 2/2 body doesn’t help much.

Also note that Queen’s Guard is usually better than King’s Guard vs rush, if you don’t play a very cheap or combo deck. Faeria advantage is usually better than card advantage, because you usually can’t play all of your cards at once anyways. So it’s generally better to have 3 options you can play 2 from, than having 6 options you only can play one each/every second turn. This is even more important vs rush decks, because you’re tight on faeria as the defender early on.
Taunt enabler (Shamanic Dance, Tiki Chieftain) work best on bodies that already have much life and possibly 4+ attack, to deal with Dune Drakes and Demons.

By now, it should be quite clear that claiming important land spots within a small amount of time can be quite important as well. Therefore, cards that allow to play additional lands (and possibly provide you with a body to trade with) come in handy:

Finally, cards that enable your creatures to make favourable trades (the ones within the green box usually are your best options):

III. Good matchups; example videos

In this section, I want to present some example decks which are favoured playing vs YRush:

Of course they don’t win each and every game vs YRush, just as YRush doesn’t win each and every game vs decks it actually is favoured against, for example:

  • Yellow Archers
  • Supertoad
  • Three Wishes

I also want to share some videos of competitive tournament games featuring YRush vs other decks. They should give you some basic ideas of what different approaches vs YRush can look like:
(I’ll add more links to this section later on. Feel free to share video links of games worth watching.)

  1. It was a very close game, despite Fox playing an unfavoured matchup.

  2. Note the 2 mistakes that lost the game: First, Fox didn’t push his advantage with Baeru (sending him to collect). Second, he could’ve killed the 10/10 Crusader, but decided body blocking him should suffice - which it didn’t. If you can remove a big threat immediately, it’s usually better to do it than to just block it.

  3. Despite everything, I think it’s a really exciting match, both to watch and to play. So don’t lose your hope too early and try to learn as much as possible, especially when losing a game! And despite the mistakes, both players did a really great job there.

IV. Landplacement

First of all, you have to understand that landplacement is key. It is key for having success in faeria in general, and for winning vs YRush in particular. Since it’s impossible to cover every possible different land placement early on, though, I’ll concentrate on the most basic and common stuff.
I divide this section into 3 parts, the third of which I divide into another 4 parts:

  1. General understanding of land placement
  2. The typical openings for yellow rush & the possible approaches to defend.
  3. The first few turns vs yellow rush
    a) Going first (in general)
    b) Going second (in general)
    c) Vs. The Dune Drake Opening (going second)
    d) Vs. The Khalim Opening (going first)

IV.1. General understanding of land placement

(If you’ve read J0k3se’s Guide this picture should appear familiar to you.)

The understanding of this is crucial in order to deal with yellow rush and will also help you to deal with any kind of rush deck.

So, about the picture above:

  • Every spot below the black line is within two tiles of your orb (assault zone). Hence, your opponent can attack your orb from all of these spots with a haste creature, if he has a desert there. Every spot above this line is rather save, meaning that your opponent needs additional movement tricks (Flash Wind, Oradrim Fanatic, Wind Soldier (straight line only!)) to reach your orb by surprise.

  • Every spot below the red line (also refered to as “bottom line”) has a very high priority for your opponent to place a desert upon, while

  • the red circled tiles are the most dangerous spots for haste creatures, because he can summon, collect AND attack from there within the same turn. On the flipside, if you claim these spots with a (colored) land, you can summon your own creatures there, collect at the start of your next turn AND can attack any creature on the circled, square and triangle spots of the same side, and even on the X-marked spots. Therefore, the red circled spots are the most important spots to claim in a game vs rush, both for you and your opponent.

  • the orange squares are just next to your orb. A creature summoned on this spot can fight any creature on any orange square, black X, yellow triangle and on the red circled spot of the same side, while being relatively safe from creature’s attacks from the opposite side’s red circle. It can also collect from there, by stepping on the red circle.

  • The yellow triangles are the so called “assault spots”, because they’re most flexible for attacking: You can reach the orb on two tiles, by stepping on the black X or by stepping onto an orange square. It is impossible to body block your opponent’s way with only one non-taunt creature from there. If both spots next to the orb are blocked, a creature can also step on the red circle in order to collect faeria.

  • The black X’s are the easiest spots to defend, because you can access them from both sides, even if your creature started on the red circles due to collecting faeria. On the flipside, it’s impossible to collect faeria from there without additional movement. Hence, these spots are the least dangerous to “sacrifice” to your opponent.

Since all of these spots are at least 3 tiles away (middle line) from your opponent, you have at least 2 turns of land placement, before your opponent can claim them. Of course, it’s impossible to claim all these spots within just two turns. BUT, you can gain some additional turns of land placements by blocking your opponents land placement way by claiming the yellow triangles and the black X in the middle. Pay attention, though: Your opponent may STEP on one of your lands with his creatures (especially flyers) and place a desert BEHIND your blocking land tiles, if you can’t block the spots with a creature on your own… (More on that later)

IV.2 Typical YRush openings & general approaches to play vs rush.

Yellow rush usually opens in one of the following ways:

Once you see a double or triple praerie opening, you know that you probably play vs some kind of rush.
The desert opening doesn’t necessarily mean it’s YRush - it could as well be any other yellow deck (archers, control), 3-Wishes or G/Y Sacrifice. If it is YRush, though, it means your opponent is either inexperienced or he has Khalim, Sky Prodigy on his starting hand, if you’re going second, expect some kind of movement trick (Flash Wind, Fanatic) as well.

Now there are basically three general approaches on how to deal with rush decks, the choice, of course, depening on your deck and favoured playstyle:

  • Outrush your opponent - only do this if you play a fast deck or a deck that can’t defend what so ever. - Or if your starting hand allows a faster finish than what YRush usually does.
  • Active defense - my default way to go with most decks, because it’s the most flexible way.
  • Passive defense - usually the approach if you play very slow (multi-colored) or burn decks. You might also want to take this approach, if you don’t have any creature you can play on turn 2 due to too high land requirements.

Both defense-approaches’ goal is to stabilize a defense around their orb first. As soon as the rush player continues to struggle piercing through the established defense, they aim for a quick counter attack to turn the tables.

I’ll mostly concentrate on the 2nd approach (active defense), because (for new players) it’s the most complicated way, yet the one I had the most success with. It also should give you a basic idea of how the 3rd approach (passive defense) works. (Again: The other two ways can be more efficient sometimes, depending on your deck, starting hand and personal comfortable playstyle!)

Below, I’ll explain the first few turns very detailed, because everything that follows basically builds upon them and varies from game to game, due to the many different shapes the board can take.

IV.3 The first few turns vs YRush.

a) Going First

When going first, we don’t know whether we play vs YRush or vs something else, yet. With a non-rush deck, we usually want to gain access to one of our faeria wells. So we either want to place a colored land next to your orb (passive defensive) or a 2x praerie in front + to the side (active defense). If I don’t have access to special early plays (think: Prophet of Tides, Triton Diver etc. → lake in front of orb) or play some special deck (e.g. Yellow Archers → desert in front of orb), I usually go for the active defense, because of two reasons:

  • First, I can place a colored land the turn after on more active spot, just next to the middle line (usually next to my faeria well) so I can summon creatures that are closer to any incoming fights later on and start contesting one of the faeria wells on the side.
  • Second, in case my opponent plays rush, I’ve claimed two dangerous spots within the assault zone already. I also can attempt to land block my opponent on the subsequent turns from gaining access to the bottom line.

If you don’t have any creature to play on turn 2 due to land requirements, don’t go for the active defense!
If YRush can open with 2x (or 3x) paerie → desert → Dune Drake (or desert → explore → desert → Khalim), it’s essential to have a body to block their way to the orb. Reason behind this are the land placement mechanics: You can only place a land from one of your creatures onwards, while it stands on a land tile (own or opponent’s). So when starting with 2x praerie (or any colored land in front of your orb), you better make sure that your opponent can’t just fly over to that spot and build a deep desert on one of the spots next to your orb!

Therefore, creatures that only have one colored land requirement (or are neutral) with a faeria-cost of 6 or less, while having more than 2 life (Soul Drain!), are good inclusions, if you plan on the possibility of active defense approaches:

So, an optimal start can look something like this (even better with an Elemental; in which case immediately claim the circled spot of Turn 3 with the additional colored land):

Placementwise, my opponent might’ve just made a small mistake by placing his first desert two tiles in front of my orb instead of one tile to the left, because now I can step on his desert to prevent creature summonings from there. Anyways, let’s analyze the situation:

Note that I have a colored land on the right side (assault spot), from where I can reach any possible combat situation close to my orb except from that circled spot on the left faeria well. Because of this, I want to place another colored land on exactly that spot (remember: one of the most dangerous spots my opponent could take!). If possible, summon a creature there now as well, so

  • I can start collecting from one well on the next turn. Even if it’s a Tiki (in which case, make it a 3/3 (caretaker) or 1/5 (piper); a creature with protection would help as well (King’s Faithful, Queen’s Favourite) remember: Soul Drain!). Starting to collect asap is crucial! Your opponent has the more faeria-efficient early game cards. We need the extra faeria!
  • and also cover the last spot I couldn’t fight an incoming creature from.

Note that the “!”-marked spot is an opening, though. If my opponent has an Air Elemental, he could claim that spot by playing another desert → khalims follower → step on my land → Air Elemental → desert next to my orb. However, even if he does, with a newly summoned creature (on the circled spot), if I step on the desert now, I could still reach it (see below Option A).

However, I could also place another praerie to the right and start collecting with my grizzly. In that case, I fortfeit some combat range though (see below, Option B)

In case I can summon an Elemental on the new colored land on the circled spot, though, I can take the same spot on the right side as well, with the additional colored land. That way, I can summon creatures next to both faeria wells and attack subsequently, which is a HUGE advantage. From there on, it’s just another 2x praerie to cover all leftover spots within the assault zone. Furthermore, I could start collecting with my grizzly as well, though in that case, I leave my orb open for a Khalim’s Follow/Oradrim Monk.

Anyways, I actually have two options here:

As I suggested above, I built another colored land and (possibly) set up a harvester there. Now I can collect every turn and also combat with any incoming creature. My grizzly also blocks the direct way to the orb for any incoming creature without movement tricks.

As you can see, I can reach any possible target with my grizzly next turn. I also gain +1 faeria with my Tiki next turn and got a second forest already. By stepping onto his desert, I also prevented my opponent from summong a second creature (or a third, in case he can step off a newly summoned desert via dash/haste), so I can rather easily deal with any incoming creature, using both, tiki and grizzly. This is especially useful, if I have a (surprising) buff to combat as well. (Safeguard, Elderwood Embrace, Campfire, Triton Banquet, Ruunin’s Command, another Tiki)

Note that I’d even play any 1/1 body on my new land there, even at the risk of a Soul Drain. With many 1/1 or 2/2 bodies, I still come out ahead either faeria-, carddraw- or statwise (think: Elderwood Hermit (-> buffed up grizzly), Bloomsprite (-> reduced new card), Spring Mochi (-> reduced card in the future), Farmboy (+1 faeria advantage), Deathwish Ghoul (dito), Cartographer (faeria advantage AND land advantage), village elder (card draw))

Here, I collected +1 faeria immediately instead, and will collect another faeria on the start of my next turn. I also claimed another 2 (!) spots within the assault zone. Note that, instead of the spot next to my orb, I could’ve claimed the circled spot with my second praerie. This would be safer, because if my opponent has a haste creature + Air Elemental, he can now claim the circled spot himself, which would be worse than the spot next to my orb. However, I have to replace my praerie with a colored land later on, if I want the circled spot for my own summons - which would be inefficient, if done immediately on the next turn, because it leaves more ocean spots for my opponent to claim.

On the downside, I only have one colored land and no second creature to act with just yet. Since my opponent didn’t play anything yet, he has 11 faeria at his disposal, possibly summoning two desert creatures, maybe even 3 (of one of them has haste/dash to step off his desert), applied huge pressure on me! If I now claim the circled spot with another forest and set up a creature, I’ll take at least one, probably two hits to my orb on the next turn.

So, in general, I recommend option A instead, because it leaves you more flexible positionwise. Option B might be favourable, though, if you couldn’t summon another creature without the additional faeria. When taking option B, if possible (= 1 land-req), summon another creature on your first colored land before you end your turn, to maintain a wider attack range.*

However, I can get the best of both worlds, if I have an elemental (and my first creature didn’t cost more than 5 faeria):

However, if you don’t have any creature to play on turn 2 with a colored land requirement of 1 or less, I recommend starting with just a colored land to one side of your orb instead, for two reasons:

  • First, you can still start to collect on turn 3 onwards (with 2x praerie only at turn 4 or later!)
  • Second, you don’t give your opponent a land to step onto in front of your orb, from where he could place a deep desert (or other colored land or even 2x praerie!) next to my orb.

This is also the natural start, when playing a true* multi colored deck (*meaning: With not just a splash of 1 or 2 cards of a different color into an otherwise mono colored deck, e.g. a Triton Banquet into a mono green deck). Why? Because you usually need multiple colored lands asap, and probably also aim to reach the threshold for the bi-colored cards (3/3 land requirements) or even Three Wishes (2/2/2/2). You can still take the active defense approach, if you play Elementals, though.


b) Going Second

When going second, my opponent usually will have placed a double-praerie already, so we know it’s some kind of rush deck. In case he placed a desert in front of his orb instead, it’s either not YRush or he probably has a Khalim (+ Flash Wind) on his starting hand. (See section d) - The Khalim Nightmare (going first))

So our opponent is a bit quicker with his land placements, but we have the advantage of explore (and more important: he doesn’t). However, despite knowing that we have to deal with a rush deck from turn 1 on, going second is probably a tad harder to efficiently defend than going first is. Especially, if our opponent has a Dune Drake to drop on the center by turn 2. (For that scenario, see section c) - The Dune Drake Opening (going second))

Anyways, on turn 1, there are basically 3 (4) options (to defend):

The first way (“Active approach”) seems similar to the active approach when going first. Playing Explore immediately allows to play 4- to 5-cost / 1-land requirement creatures (e.g. Grizzly, Ruunin’s Messenger, Elementals), though. If you have such a creature on your starting hand, I would recommend to go with either the first or second option and play the creature.

Having a creature to play on turn 1 is essential for the active approach, though.
If you have no creature to play on turn 1 (because of land requirements 2+ / faeria-cost > 5), this might happen:

Not only does your opponent get a free hit on your orb, but he also can place a desert next to it, due to standing on our land.

It’s still possible to stop the drake, but you’d have to replace your praerie in front of your orb with a colored land to body block with a newly summoned (non dash/haste) creature - which would throw you back almost a complete turn of land placement!
So if you only have creatures in hand that need 2+ colored lands and/or cost 6+ faeria (exception: Wild Avenger, because of Dash 1), it’s usually better to go with the passive approach or with the 3rd option: This allows you to have a similar active approach like the first option, but you can body block an incoming drake with a 2-land req./6-8 cost creature, like Verduran Force or Ogre Battler, preventing your opponent from stepping on your land with a possible drake + builing a desert next to your orb. You also can save your explore card for later, leaving you more flexible with future land placements. The downside of the third option is that you can’t collect faeria from that spot, which can be troublesome in the subsequent turns.

The 4th approach, I generally don’t recommend at all. While you used pretty much every option to landblock your opponent asap, you can’t play any cards with a land requirement of 2 on turn 2. Only do this, if you have a neutral creature, you can play immediately - and possibly an Elemental or Earthcraft to catch up on lands immediately (note: Wild Growth can replace your praeries, so I don’t recommend opening like that with Wild Growth!). If you can’t place a creature and your opponent plays Dune Drake, he can attack you and either build a deep desert on turn 3, or - in case you blocked both spots next to your orb with another 2x praerie - you need another 1-2 turns to stop the Drake’s assault, because you still have no colored lands, leaving your orb at 12 or even 8 health.

So, to break it down, there usually are only two (three) viable openings - the active and the passive approach. Both of them are perfectly viable:
In general, the passive approach enables you to collect faeria immediately and claims at least the most important spots (bottom line) asap. However, it leaves you open for any early creature, especially Dune Drake, Khalim, Shaytan Demon and Oradrim Templar; and even the haste creature will have an easy first hit, which can quickly snowball, if your opponent also has a Khalim’s Prayer in hand. So basically, the passive approach buys an early faeria advantage + secure priority spots with some free early hits.

The active approach loses out on 2 or 3 faeria at least, because you usually can’t start to collect right away. However, your opponent will have a harder time finding a direct way to your orb and claiming more than one spot in the assault zone at all. Hence, both approaches have their advantages, so let’s see what they can look like if played out in general:

aa) The Active Approach
Again, it’s extremely risky to do this, if you can’t block a possible incoming Dune Drake right away. So I strongly recommend going for the passive approach, if you can’t play a creature on turn 1!
So, assuming you can play a creature on turn 1 (maximum 1-colored land requirement; faeria-cost of 5 or less), the early board will usually look like this after turn 1:

If our opponent doesn’t have a Dune Drake, he now either builds a desert regardless, or goes for another 2x praerie. In case of the latter - congratulations, lucky, we basically have the same scenario as when going first, except you now have a 2-faeria and 1 colored-land-advantage already, while he doesn’t even have a desert. You can just approach as explained above (going first), but you’ll probably have an easier time. Since our opponent doesn’t have a desert, he’s going to need 2 more turns (without Air Elemental) to summon his first creature (except for Dune Drake or Oradrim Templar), so you might as well procede with “Option B” from “going first” and collect another 2 faeria.

In case our opponent decides to build a desert on the board’s center (usual decision, regardless of Dune Drake), the active approach is a bit more tricky. Following the options A and B from “going first” is risky in this situation. Here’s what can happen, assuming you don’t have an Elemental or other additional land placement cards to play:

As you can see, our opponent doesn’t need much to claim at least one of our bottom line spots; if we want a second colored land on turn 2 or 3 instead, he might even claim 2 of them with a double praerie. Summed up:

  • “Going first - Option B” - we can collect, but in case our opponent can play ANY creature (without us having a buff to trade/taunt to stop movement) and/or a haste creature the turn after, he WILL have access to at least one deep spot, because we can’t claim all 3 spots in just one turn.

  • “Going first - Option A” - seems somewhat viable, if we can at least kill whatever creature he may throw at us (in case of none: We can step on the desert and be fine). However, this assumption is treacherous: If we need to kill a creature on his desert via combat, we can’t step on it. Consequently, if he has a haste creature or Flash Wind or just an Oradrim Fanatic/Templar on hand, he can just step past our non-taunt creature and claim a land nonetheless.

  • So, without us playing a taunt next to his desert or having a creature to step on it, our opponent might get a spot on the bottom line, if we just follow the stuff we just learned for “going first”. While the match won’t become “unwinnable” by that, it’d become a lot harder.

Well, here’s a third option. It’s not the perfect solution (which doesn’t exist anyways), but I think it’s better than options A and B from above:

Yes, that’s right. We take the second spot on the middle line (remember, “the black X’s”) and the other assault spot with a double praerie. To you, this should feel completely counter-intuitive after what I’ve said in section “IV.1” - Because, we now have covered all the “unimportant” spots within the assault zone, without claiming a single spot on the bottom line.
However, sometimes the indirect approach is more successful than claiming the important spots right away.
So let’s analyze the situation again:

  • Unlike all other scenarios, until now, our opponent has zero spots to haste + attack orb with Follower/Monk (in the other scenarios, he always had the spot two tiles above our orb, even when going first!). If we manage to exclude him from the other spots as well (and collect some faeria to gain an advantage over his cheap creatures), he’ll have a hard time growing his Crusader to a dangerous level (right now, it should be a useless 2/2 body with charge 2; our opponent might also sit on his Khalim’s Prayers still seeking for an opportunity to use them).

  • By claiming the circled spot to the right (middle picture) with our leftover land placement, our opponent needs a 2 tile (!) movement trick/removal to claim a bottom line spot: We body-block the right desert (or the spot below) with our first creature. Therefore, without removing our creature first, he can’t step past it with just a single tile movement - and he can’t use Last Nightmare as removal without building another desert first! So to claim ANY of the leftover spots, on his next turn, he needs one of the following:

  • Wind Soldier,

  • Oradrim Fanatic or

  • Flash Wind AND a haste/dash1/charge2+ creature.

  • Or a haste creature + enough removal (Monk, Wind Soldier, Soul Drain, Choking Sand).
    Granted, he may have one of these options by turn 4 plus the faeria to use it. But then again, it’s a much bigger investment than just playing a Khalim’s Follower and stepping over.

  • In case we were lucky enough to place a taunt creature in front of his second desert, the only opening for him would be a Oradrim Fanatic (and most YRush lists use Flash Wind instead).
    Note, however, that this only works with a neutral taunt (one of the Guards) or a Wild Avenger (Dash 2).

  • Our orb shouldn’t have taken a single hit until now. In case we were able to summon a second creature already and/or have access to some taunt/removal/buffs, we have quite some chance to keep his creatures away from our orb for another 1 or 2 turns at least. This efficiently prevents our opponent from using any Khalim’s Prayer or Crusaders any time soon. This can be enough time to stabilize our defenses.

Placementwise, our biggest priority on the middle picture was the circled spot on the right, because:

  • We need another colored land on the right side, possibly next to the faeria well to finally start collecting.
  • Note that we haven’t collected a single time right now. We may have stopped the first advance of his creatures, but we need the additional faeria real bad now. Since the bottom line is completely open, we can’t use the powerwheel for +1 faeria gains just yet, as well.
  • Our opponent can otherwise claim the circled spot without any creature movement by just building a 2x praerie.
  • To claim the same spot on the opposite side, however, he needs a big movement (Wind Soldier, Fanatic), even if we don’t have another creature to block the way.

Whether we want to claim the circled spot with another colored land (probably; best spot for future summons!) or another double praerie (to quickly claim another bottom line spot), depends on our hand. If we need to play a 2-land requirement card right now: Go for the colored land. If we only have 2-land requirement creatures left in our hand - same. If we can summon another creature on the circled spot - same, definetly.

Here are pictures of an actual game (pandora) where I followed the above strategy

Again, the whole scenario gets much easier with additional land placement (at the cost of faeria/body stats of course!):

bb) The Passive Approach
With the passive approach, we basically sacrifice the (easier to defend) middle line for an early faeria boost and to secure (only) the most important spots right away. Our orb may receive some beating quite early, though, possibly allowing our opponent to snowball by turn 3 or 4 (bigger Crusader, Khalim’s Prayer).

As you can see, I also can claim the bottom line completely, possibly even both of the assault spots.
From the pictures above, one could assume the passive approach is WAY better than the active approach. I’ll handle the worst case in the following section:

c) The Dune Drake Opening
Remember, a Dune Drake on the opening hand is not uncommon for YRush. Hence, don’t go for the passive approach if you neither can

  • kill the Dune Drake at the start of turn 4 (only 1 hit taken) nor
  • taunt the Dune Drake next to your orb_immediately_ (no hit taken) / at the start of turn 4 (1 hit taken; vulnerable to Last Nightmare!),
  • note that Dune Drake has a 4/4 body, so without any buffs, a Wood Elemental would just die to it. Air- and Fire Elemental can kill the drake, but they are easily removed by a Soul Drain, Wind Soldier or Oradrim Monk.

If you’re confident to manage one or both of the above, the passive approach may give you the edge due to the extra faeria. The extra faeria is especially useful, if you play burn, since you only need some faeria to keep your opponent at bay just long enough to slowly take down his orb without touching it.
Also remember, you can also just place your second colored land in front of your orb and summon a creature to body-block, if your opponent “dropped the drake” on turn 2.

If you can’t kill or taunt an incoming drake, it’s usually better to take an active approach. If neccessary, even the 3rd approach (starting with a colored land in front of your orb → summon a creature on it on turn 2) might work.

So, as a rule of thumb, ask yourself the following questions when going second:

  • Can I set up a harvesting creature on turn 1 (passive approach) AND efficiently deal with an incoming Drake (by summoning a creature in front of my orb, taunting or killing the Drake?) → If yes: Go with the passive approach.
  • If no: Go with the active approach (explore → colored land), if can place a creature in front of your orb by the end of turn 2. (= playing it on turn 1 + moving it on turn 2; or immediately moving it on turn 2 via dash/movement trick (Wild Avenger, Flash Wind, etc.))
  • If no: Build a colored land in front of your orb instead and directly place a creature there on turn 2 (e.g.: Ancient Herald)

d)The Khalim Nightmare (going first)

Watch out for this:

If you experienced it like this once, a desert in front of the orb can lead to quite an uneasy feeling and a rather difficult decision to make.
Think about it: On the second screen, if my opponent actually doesn’t play yellow rush, placing a colored land on the right side (Option A - going first) would set my advance to approach my opponent’s orb back by one turn of land placement.

However, this could happen as well:

This opening as somewhat similar to a Dune Drake opening, except it’s much harder to deal with, even though you’re going first. So, what is it about Khalim that makes him so dangerous?

  • He has flying and charge 2, just like Dune Drake, so he’s able to move fast and doesn’t need lands as well.

  • If he manages to attack your orb even just once, you’ll usually take 2 hits already:

  • Due to the deceiving start (you’re usually going first when this happens), there are 2 lands he could step on to place a desert on a bottom line: The spot in front of your orb and the spot next to your faeria well

  • In case Khalim can attack the orb from the spot in front of your orb, your opponent will immediately place a desert next to your orb and summon the 0-cost Khalim’s Follower to hit your orb another time. DANG! 6/6 Crusader + option for Khalim’s Prayer + a deep spot while your orb is wide open!

  • He comes with a whopping 3/6 body which is really hard too remove early on, (even though it’s just one point of stats more than a Dune Drake):

  • the highest damage-removal is Firebomb with 4 damage - not enough, but already 4 faeria.

  • there are very few creatures with 6 attack. Most of the creatures you can summon on turn 1 or 2 only have 3 attack or less. Which means, even with a buff such as Campfire, Triton Banquet, Elderwood Embrace or Tiki Caretaker, you can only reach 4 or 5 attack. - still not enough.

  • Choking Sand helps, but it’s rather rare to have it in your starting hand, as you normally wouldn’t keep it

  • Even if he can’t attack the orb, he’ll just fly to one of the faeria wells and will attempt to double collect each turn, waiting for an opening to finally attack your orb (careful: Flash Wind!).

That’s Khalim, Sky Prodigy for you. OP or not, we sometimes have to deal with him on turn 2. So, what to do?

  • First, take a deep breath and don’t give up yet! The easiest way to lose a game by playing carelessly because you basically gave up already. Come on, try it at least. I know it’s hard, but imagine how rewarding it’d feel to defend successfully vs a Khalim opening and eventually defeating your opponent. Try it!

  • Alright then! Your first priority is to stop Khalim from hitting your orb immediately. Do the first thing you can from the following list:

  • Kill Khalim with Choking Sand (if you’re playing a yellow deck and were lucky enough to have it)

  • Place a Taunt next to him (if possible) or just in front of your orb. Preferably one with 3 attack or more and at least 4 health. (Best ones for this job early on: Queen’s/King’s Guard, Wood Elemental, Wild Avenger, anything with Shamanic Dance) Note: In case you’ve played a Wood Elemental already and are able to move next to Khalim (by building new lands first), do it! If possible, buff your Wood Elemental with a Tiki/Elderwood Embrace/Shamanic Dance to prevent it from dying to Khalim’s attack + a Soul Drain and possibly from a Choking Sand (Tiki/Campfire/Embrace/Triton Banquet). If you locked Khalim in place: DO NOT (!) ATTACK HIM, IF HE’D SURVIVE IT AND YOUR CREATURE MIGHT DIE TO A SOUL DRAIN!

  • Body Block in front of your orb, if possible with something that doesn’t die to Khalim’s attack or even a Soul Drain.

  • Your second priority - as usualy - is to claim the important land spots, just as described in the sections above. The situation is quite similar to defending vs a Dune Drake, except it’s much harder. However, usually the same rules about land placement apply.

Remember to make a screenshot for each of the following: Khalim was spawned, destroyed and your opponent defeated. Add them all together to a single picture. Whenever you’re thinkng of giving up on future games - look at that picture and think again. :wink:

V. Appendix

There’s more text? Yeah, but just a little. :slight_smile:
I wanted to thank my friends Seife, Thunderbird and SnowyCaty for helping me setting the screenshots up.
My thanks also goes to the Faeria Community on discord, especially skorch13, Sepfire, Tidwell, Wash, J0k3se, Foxclear and Faella for their opinion on some of my questions about what a YRush player would probably do in some specific situations.
Thanks to the Faeria Team for creating such an awesome game.

And last but not least, thank you for reading through all this. I hope this guide could teach you one thing or another about land placement in general and how to deal with YRush in particular.
For any questions, feedback or just small talk, please leave a comment here or pm me ingame or on discord.

That’s it for now.
See you ingame,

P.S.: If you’re a new player or for some weird reasons love statistics, check out my excel sheet for statistics about your personal Faeria collection here.


that tournament game you linked just shows how frustrating it is for me to play against yellow rush…

the guy got a discounted baeru in his first couple of turns, transforming 4 deserts into lakes and pretty much shutting down the “aggression zone”, and yet the rush player still won thanks to a 10/10 crusader with flash wind shenanigans and cheesy wind soldiers…

it’s not about the deck being too powerful, it’s about it always having a way to sneak past your defenses. that makes it very frustrating to face… every time you shut down something, they manage to get you with something else.

got all the lands around your orb? wind soldiers can reach
blocked their pathway? flash wind + chargers
taunts? removal
and now they’re even getting a 4f boardclear…

i don’t have a problem with losing… most of my games are played on unranked. but when i spend the whole game between the hammer and the anvil, only to have my defenses easily circumvented, it just makes me very frustrated. and of all the things you can feel playing a game, frustration is pretty much the worst of them. (this coming from someone who played through darksouls on KB+M)

it was the very reason why i stopped playing hearthstone and yugioh, and pretty much the only thing which could make me want to stop playing faeria.

i don’t mind losing to mid red, sac, burn, or control… when i lose to any of those decks i just dive into another match, hoping i can do a little better next time. but when i lose you Y-rush, i just can’t bring myself to play another game…

as much as veteran players might enjoy having to play around all those things, or have very good strategies to consistently beat Y-rush, you can’t expect new players to dig into forums and read posts like these just so they can (hopefully) perform well on the matchup… and even if they do, there’s a significant chance they still won’t like it.

no game can survive without an influx of new players, and the vast majority will just leave the moment they start having matches like these… (or they’ll start playing the deck themselves, and then there will be even more Y-rushes running into new players…)

i don’t expect the developers to nerf yellow rush, nor buff their counters, and i’m not going to ask them to do either… just letting you know that it’s very unhealthy for the experience and will be a major factor when it comes to new players dropping the game.


Great guide, thank you @Taiyodori, that must have taken ages. The combinations and the various land placement strategies that minimise the YRush threat make a lot of sense. I have struggled to deal with YRush more than most decks but I’m keen to test myself against it now ^^.

Although you have written this really well, and included many helpful pics, it can be difficult to keep track of all the combinations/land placements/faeria counts. I know this is basically impossible to avoid but there is one improvement I think you could incorporate to make things a little easier to follow. Instead of using blocks, circles, triangles and crosses to describe land placement positions (these are easy to muddle up and you also use circles/ovals to show potential land placement), you could give the positions names. For instance, the placement on the Right next to the Orb could be called ROrb/RO, and placement on the Left next to the well could be called LWell/LW. For the rest:

  • Directly in Front of Orb - FOrb1/FO1/F1
  • 2nd in Front of Orb - FOrb2/FO2/F2
  • Middle of the positions in front, and on the Left (Right), of the orb - LMid/LM (RMid/RM)

You could then call the various placement groups Orb/O, Well/W, Mid/M, and FOrb/F. I feel that I would have been able to follow that a bit better, although that might just be me :sweat:. There may be other ideas that are far better but this is all I could come up with right now.

What might also add a lot to your post would be a few videos on good counters to YRush, in particular ones against Dune Drake and Khalim himself with various deck typres.

I assume the cards boxed in green above are the best cards for making favourable trades?

@Foxclear explains here that he made a number mistakes in that game. It does show how tricky YRush can be to play against, especially if one makes mistakes, but Baeru and company probably would have shut that game down quite easily if he’d chased AlphaW’s new desert lands and got rid of the Crusader.


The linked game (Foxclear vs AlphaW) was meant to point out 4 things:

  1. that you can do quite well vs a yrush, even if you play an unfavoured matchup and yrush getting a good start.
  2. it can be quite exciting
  3. you need to push your advantage, once you established your defense. That goes vs any kind of rush. Foxclear explained his mistakes on the other thread: If he had just pursued his opponent’s land placement with Baeru after the initial impact, he would’ve won the match. Instead, he intended to play it safe by defending a bit more and sent Baeru collecting. Then he got punished.
  4. never to underestimate yellow’s movement tricks. If you can deal with a big threat right away, it’s usually better to do so than to just block it off: Foxclear’s second big mistake was to not kill the Zealous Crusader, despite having an opportunity to do so.

Faeria is not easy to be played perfectly. It has a really big learning curve, because of the complexity the board adds to the game. However, this depth is also what makes it such a brilliant game.

I understand your frustration, though. Just yesterday, I would’ve suggested to try the deck I shared and follow the above steps - it worked quite well, even if you made some mistakes (maybe my description was a bit too drastic at some points, implying that you’d lose whenever you make the slightest mistake. Which is definetly not the case.).
However, todays patch really shook things up. I’m not so sure yrush is too much of a thing right now (though green rush probably is). We’ll have to wait and see.

Thank you for your feedback!
Giving each spot a name is a good idea. I’ll include this to ease the understanding as soon as I update the guide. However, the recent patch changed so many things, that I first need to learn the new stuff myself. Right now, the meta is full of new decks, and actually I don’t see much yrush on the ladder at all. So let’s see whether it continues to be a problem for new players or not.

Sadly, I’m not familiar with video making, and I suspect it takes even more time than to write a guide (and prepare all these fancy little pictures). I wanted to update the video section later on with some tournament videos, though. If you (or anybody else reading this) know some good example videos vs yrush, please share it in this thread or give me a poke on discord, so I can add a link to the video section. :slight_smile:

About the “green boxed” cards: That is correct. Seems I forgot to write a line about that. Thanks for pointing that out! I have that edited. Also removing Ruunin’s Shrine from the list, since it (sadly) got reworked completely.

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Added two more videos to the video section (“III.”), this time highlighting two different approaches on how to stop a yrush advance early on with a green deck.


I’m still reading through this. It’s great to see someone talk through the strategy, so thank you! I wanted to make a comment before I forget.

About this video:
YRush being stopped by mono green - Salugi v Donkey74 (MC6Qual1 match 2)

That isn’t really an example of mono green “stopping” yellow rush. Yellow rush gets unlucky with draws and appears to misplay what he does draw, so I didn’t learn anything from watching that particular video. Just wanted to point that one out. No other complaints so far! :slight_smile:


Hi Taiyodori. Amazing in-depth analysis. Strange that it has no direct link in the hub.


This was created before the hub was introduced :slight_smile: Maybe he will upload it to the hub! Its a great idea!

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Indeed. I haven’t used the Hub so far. From what I’ve seen, I’d have to copy & paste all of this into the Guide Writer on the hub - and redo all of the formattings, right? Or is there an easy link to just “upload to the Hub”?
If I have to go through all of the formattings again, I may as well take some more time to update some of the outdated stuff, especially how some cards work.


I dont think there is an easy link to just upload to the hub unfortunately!

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this is such a goddamn great guide. How long did it take you to make it?

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Hello guys I’m a new player. Is yrush still a meta on the game?
Tnx for answering :smiley:

Yes, yellow rush very strong even after salmon nerf.

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