A guide by DB Praetorian.
Machina forest was the strongest deck at the start of the expansion but slightly fell out of favour after some quick nerfs.
There are 2 gameplans with mechforest, either you go all-in early and try to kill your opponent with your storm cards and wide boards or you play a little slower and focus on clearing his board and drawing while setting up your turn 7 al machina so you can start chaining damians from turn 8 onwards
Card Choices and mulligans:
Bagworm (3) – Amazing, you play 3. Allows you to do combos and push extra damage with damian. You usually play it with damian on 7 or turn 4-6 to activate cleft or you bounce it with mechagun to draw. You keep it in your opening hand only if you also have guard or mechaclaw.
Beetle (2-3) – Amazing but i’ve seen some people cut it. Its really good against decks that play 1/1 and fight for board but some decks like dragon can just ignore it. It is really nuts in some board based matchups though so I wouldn’t cut it. You can keep it if you’re going first against a slow deck or if you have mechaboomer or some other draw in your hand or if you’re fighting against a deck that plays 1/1s or 1/2s and you want to clear them
Hoverboard Merc (2-3) – Not as impressive but you really need to keep your hand full with this deck. You can keep it if you’re going first and don’t have mechaboomer because you really don’t want to run out of cards when you go first
Wayfaring Illustrator (0-2) – Keeps your handsize big. Not really crucial, you could play something else. Never keep it
Cherub (3) – Insane but i don’t need to explain, every deck plays 3 and so should you. Keep it if you’re going second unless you’re playing against something like dragon because they just want to oracle on 2
Cleft (3) – Amazing board control tool, he deals crazy damage. Although it’s a 2 cost card he gets better the later the game goes so you usually play him on turn 5+. I don’t think you ever keep him unless maybe you’re going second and you’re playing against a very aggressive deck but that has never happened to me
Guard of the Machinatree (3) – Good for reusing cards + draw and the only ward in the deck. Only keep if you have bagworm in your hand.
Mechaboomerang Elf (3) – Your best 2 drop. It gets worse later so this is the number 1 card you want to see in your hand.
Confectioner (2-3) – You don’t have to play 3 of this but now that the deck is slower i really want to have more draw and a guaranteed turn 7 al machina. Keep if you’re going first and sometimes even if you’re going second against a deck that you don’t want to pressure early
Mechaclaw Elf (3) – Lets you smorc people, good card. Keep going first if you have bagworm or if you’re going first vs dragon/ntr rune or some other slow deck.
Ironbow Sniper (0-3) – Not necessary but I like it because now the deck is slower and this is useful to help you survive. You can play it on 4 or you can play it with bagworm if you’re desperate or if you draw this + bagworm with al machina on 7 you can reduce it to 0 and play it then. You can keep it going first if you have mechaboomer in hand
Ironglider Elf (2-3) – A lot worse than before but you really need the draw. I keep it going second.
Natur Al Machinus (3) – You know how broken this is, you play 3. I don’t think you ever keep it in your opening hand though.
Damian (3) – Your wincon. You want to see him late so you never keep this.
Kokkoro (0-3) – Helps you keep your handsize full but you never activate the UB and not being a mech + the bad stats hurts you a bit
Airbound Barrage (0-3) – Good removal but you don’t need more and you don’t want more low cost cards
Guidance (0-3) – Some people played this but I don’t get it, this is not a deck that wants to let go of the board
Robogoblin (0-3) – Helps you keep your handsize while being a full statted 2 drop. If you do play it, this is a card you keep in your opening hand. Probably the best out of the cards that I’m not playing currently.
May (0-1) – Sometimes you can get it for free but I feel like drawing into it will probably put you in a really bad position and you don’t really need it
Mechalance Elf (0-1) Haven’t tried it but it’s probably very slow
tl;dr – if I’m going first im looking for mechaboomer and confectioner and if I’m going second I’m looking for cherub and mechaglider
Turn 1 – Beetle – you can pressure some slow decks, against faster decks you might want to hold it to clear. You can technically bagworm beetle if your opp plays a 1 drop but I’ve honestly never seen that
Turn 2 – Any 2 drop is fine but you wanna play mechaboomer elf to set up your future plays unless your opp has a good target for cherub. Another good play is bagworm into guard of the machinatree
Turn 3 – Confectioner if you can afford to take it slow or bagworm mechaclaw elf if you want to pressure but there are honestly a lot of things you can do
Turn 4 – Ironbow or Glider or double 2 drop
Turn 5 – 2 drop + mechaclaw or a combo with cleft or confectioner + cherub – pretty common since confectioner fetches the cherub
Turn 6 – Confectioner or hoverboards to set up your al machina turn or you might need to play cleft to clear
Turn 7 – Al machina unless you have a really good bagworm + damian setup which destroys your opponent’s board. Al machina is very strong because it often redraws into cards that have immediate impact like cleft. I fuse everything except damian because if you keep damian and the cheat cards from al machina you can do a big turn on 8
Turn 8 – A lot of cards + damian and end their career. Or double damian if you’re really skilled
Turn 9 – You don’t want to get to that point but if you do you wanna play another damian
Ironglider on 4 is a good evo target since you want to keep a lot of cards in your hand. Mechforest is very explosive but all the cards require other cards to work so if your handsize gets really low you can’t do much.
Cherub is often another good evo target since you want to keep a natura card in your hand and if generates a free card and as I said keeping a big hand is key.
Cleft can help you clear the board of smorc for 2, I often smorc for 2 if I don’t need to kill and extra follower and trade with the cleft
Evolving to go face with whatever – sometimes you need the extra pressure
– Mech Sword (60/40) Mechforest is the better mech deck, they can clear mech boards easily and damian will crush sword
– Evo Sword (60/40???) Never played this, no idea. This is pure speculation but my reasoning is that this isn’t a very strong deck and they need to stick a board to win usually
– Ambush Sword (50/50) No idea, haven’t really played it but you don’t have any defense or things that kill ambushed followers. You have to race them which I imagine you can usually do if you go first
– Zeus Dragon (45/55) This deck has even more aoe so it’s pretty difficult to kill them with your earlygame. Their lategame isn’t as absurd but you’ll need some luck to dodge the zeuses. You can get the 2/2 ward in their way but they can just roll ignore ward sometimes
– NTR Dragon (55/45) Dragon dies to pressure but also its a highroll deck so if they go first ramp and clear your board there’s absolutely nothing you can do in the lategame to compete with them. Idk what you do, the only thing that matters is their hand so you just smorc them and hope for the best I guess.
– Mech Forest (50/50) The mirror match. Going first is important because you can play your al machina first. Al machina can answer it but the damian follow-up might kill you.
– Control Forest (50/50) You can’t really stop the roaches and they have healing but you can also do a lot of damage out of hand after turn 8. Possibly worse than I think because I dont trust ladder cforest players
– Mech Blood (45/55) You can keep clearing their board but mechblood is just the better deck – it has more tools and you can’t really race them. Nerea is a problem too but playing your al machina first should give you an edge
– Control Blood (40/60) You have to kill them with multiple damians or they need to not draw nerea
– Paradigm Shift (50/50) If they go first and have a big Colony on 9 they can clear your strong turn 8 play. If not they’ll probably lose. Its difficult to kill them before turn 8 so you have to take the risk
– Belphomet (60/40) Sometimes they cant play heaven’s door safely and if they do they can help you discount your al machina
– Spellboost Rune (50/50) If they go first and play kuon on 6 they will hit your weak turn. If you go first you can deal with their good hands usually
– NTR Rune (50/50) You can pressure them and kill them if they don’t draw the aoe card but you also don’t have any wards to stop them once they set up Riley. Seems to really depend on their draw
– Ginsetsu Shadow (55/45) They need big boards to win and mechforest is great at clearing boards. Just don’t try to race them, shadow has too much healing
– PTP Shadow (60/40) You can pressure them a lot and can usually kill them faster. Just beware the 3 damage aoe
– NTR Shadow (65/35) They lack the defensive tools to stop your damian and are generally slower than you + their earlygame isn’t very good. The only way you really lose is to really big dogos and not having cleft
– Elana (55/45) If they limonia into al machina it can be difficult to deal with but forest can generally deal with big boards and elana can only with through their board
– NTR Haven (65/35) NTR haven is a tempo deck and mechforest can deal with tempo quite well Conclusion: Not bad for ladder but probably not the best idea for a tournament format. If your opp really knows what they are doing maybe some of those winrates will be lower. Also I like these types of midrange decks so I could be biased