Still working on it
A lawtia rush is a lawtia file with mostly level 3 units and 3 shades. Like how 3 salamanders is used in every gowen rush, 3 shades are used in every lawtia rush. Without out it, the rush would not be characteristic of the sphere that it represents, which in this case is keeping the sp low to slow and disrupt your opponent's buildup, ouranking them with superior numbers, and forcing them to further lose sp with revives. As you notice, this is a lot like falkow, except they do it in a different manner (returns and owl sage). However, while falkow have the advantage with rushes and disadvantage versus bigs (unless it's pirates), lawtia is pretty even with both rushes and bigs. The cost of having instant removal rather than preventing a level 3 two turns later (as with death's embrace) and not choosing which unit to remove/having something to deal with the field instantly is that they need 2 cards to do what lawtia does for 1 card, and one of those cards fall flat against bigs. In fact, one of my favorite things about lawtia rush is efficient packing. You can do a lot with 1 copy of bitter destiny and death's embrace, which you'll learn with experience. For example, you can play embrace when you predict a leviathan drop with 1 or 0 loose sp to prevent a regus patroller next turn and hopefully make levi return himself. You can also play embrace on a gaiessoul open to drain the 1 sp required for his open, making the opponent kill one of his units every turn.
I have been playing lawtia rush for a very long time. I'm pretty sure that I was the first one to use bitter destiny. Before I got that card, I was using heartbreak on sakuras and proxies. I viewed it as a pseudo return except the opponent doesn't the the card back, and you can get sp advantage, though you do need to predict that your opponent won't or can't revive and you need to be able to kill the unit. Bitter destiny was an upgrade on heartbreak, though it also meant hitting my units occasionally. Since then I have evolved to use sp pressure to land bitter destiny, not just land it on 3rd copies and sac units. I have mostly gon (and his constant posts) to thank for the 3 shades packing and death's embrace as he posts about it often enough to made me want to try it. It might seem that death's embrace is 3 sp for 3 sp.... maybe, but the disruption ability (2 were listed above) of this grim, and the possibility of forcing opponent to lose field is huge. In essence it is a very strategic grim with many uses and requires some prediction skill.
I haven't seen a full on undead file in folrart for a while. Dean ran it for a couple of matches here and there but never kept up with it. Yes undeads have plenty of direct and indirect nerfs since its release. Let's look at the history of them:
Undeads was introduced as a filetype with hellsmoke, priestess of madness, revenant, and lich. Top rp files were made with hellsmoke priestess of madness combo but none of pure undeads. Pre-nerf 30/30s I imagine were really popular.
Set 7-8 (I joined the game at this time)
Undeads went into decline as other things powercreeped them.
Set 8 EX
Release of EX Cursed Armor Knight made undeads into meta files. However most people chose to play lawtia rush with pre-nerf exorcist doll and EX CAK as tank which overpowered pure undeads. Undeads were also overpowered by HK LAP rush which was really popular at the time.
No undeads in top rp that I knew of.
Exorcist doll was nerfed to not work with EX CAK anymore. HK LAP file was nerfed.
More people started playing pure undeads. At least 4 different undead files made top rp. One with triple esria/astraforse ss. Two with grebados ss. Grebados ss got really popular with undeads. Mine with sp drain and heartbreak (I had no bitter destiny at the time).
Some mid undeads were introduced. They sucked.
Various undead hate was introduced.
1. Talisman of disruption pure undead hate instant win card.
2. Max HP hate on viable and overpowered units even without the undead hate bonus, most notably gravan.
3. Introduction of viable remove from play cards like langbart.
4. Introduction of viable cannot be attacked by action skills units which is auto win vs undeads. Example: Mantra Ray errata.
These 4 trends continue onto set 11 and 12. I'm sure you can find many examples.
EX CAK got a major nerf. It dies twice as fast now with ss sniping and rats/whatever.
More sucky undeads were introduced. Skeleton archer makes you lose half your battles, including against mid falkow which it is supposed to counter.
Continuation of undead hate trend, such as chaos absorbtion.
Introduction of mid refess and verlaat, replacing starter files (undeads were played because they were essentially free wins vs starters), countering undeads.
No undeads in sight. I stopped playing undeads.
I swore off hellsmoke after losing stars to talisman of disruption.
More undead hate cards introduced such as ex mermaid.
No undeads in sight.
Weaknesses of the file
Gets countered by single instant-win cards.
You have to pack 3 copies of every undead. Not a lot of flexibility.
Filespace is incredibly tight.
I find this is the part that most people mess up when playing lawtia. Lawtia rush needs a good aggressive open. If you get stalled, it is incredibly bad. The open usually determines the outcome of the match.
Opening card is always shade. Opening sphere is 1 lawtia. Please do not go to 3 lawtia. There are certain opens where it benefits you to keep your sphere low. Example is defective into galderia ss.
Generic open is shade->level 3 undead depending on what you think is good vs your opponent. For example: do not open magic doll-undead- if you think your opponent has sergis ss. Do not play lich first.
After you play your level 3 undead, follow up with either a shade if you think you can drain or a priestess of madness/wounding sword if you think you won't drain and save your shade for turn 4. This way you keep on some sp pressure and prevent your opponent from playing that crucial level 3. A priestess of madness is only useful if you don't think your opponent will snipe him with a 40 damage ss that turn. Wounding sword is not a great choice if it will kill your undead on close.
Open vs archer scout is shade->wounding sword. Archer scout->dryad is the proper and superior open which gets countered. If opponent does archer->salamander which is dumb, then you can snipe archer scout with ss damage next turn.
Open vs witch queen / catherine is shade->shade. If they played owl sage, follow up with a salamander. Otherwise, put out one of your level 3 undeads, preferably ex cak since good falkow files usually do not have 40 dmg ss and you need attack power against falkow to keep the pressure on and the owl sages/returns off.
Tip on filebuilding
For lawtia rushes, you need enough sac units to trigger all 4 of your soul skills and some more for backlashes. Please don't count 1 lp = 1 unit. That is a gowen mentality (that you should follow playing gowen).
Pretty much needed because he is the only undead with any sort of attack power right off the bat. It also has max hp immunity, which is useful for early sergis filetypes like pixies.
Needed because he is the tankiest undead and also the undead with the best stat distribution.
Recursion on an undead unit, and multiple mass recursion. Auto-include for all files.
I like her over revenant and skeleton archer since he is tankier than rev and does not fail in most matchups like skeleton archer does. She can also kill a sac unit if the opponent is stalling so you can trigger much needed soul skills.
Priestess of Madnessx3
Free recursion. Also auto-include
Your spirit and keeps the sp low. Undeads have incredible timing with this spirit since they have multiple level 2s. Keep your opponent guessing if you'll play a lvl 2 or shade.
Answer to cath opens. Very useful in lawtia mirrors since it's an extra sac unit and does 10 damage on open. In row 2, this unit dishes out 30 massive damage on a level 1. Can also receive hellsmoke buffs for more damage. Useful for sniping units for multiple unit bitter destiny removal.
Your answer to archer scout opens. Also great with undead units because he gives them a permanent buff to attack, a much needed stat for undeads, and usually does not kill them.
You need him to survive. Without him, your whole file can get trolled (unable to do anything) against things like giant arth. If you can get him snowballing, there are very few things that can stop undeads.
You really need this to make sure that your opponent loses field due to not having enough sp to revive. Can also take out some open skills.
Play this on 3rd copies and on death's embrace field wipe. While this card is good, it is not necessary in undeads because sometimes you want lp loss so you can finish iczering the remaining lp. Undeads are usually not aggressive enough to make effiecient use of this grim though.
Lich's skill and broken priest consumes a lot of sp. You'll find yourself skipping a lot of turns towards the end to use lich's skill. Sometimes 1 extra sp from soul pact will save you.
Exchange of souls
Use on magic doll-undead-. It is mostly a counter to max hp hate. Otherwise, using it on a 3rd copy doll is not useful, since you could go an entire game without it closing.
(Recommended) soul skill analysis
Sp drain next turn plus damage (possibly a close and a revive) keeps the sp pressure on. It is also -1sp next turn so it is not redundant with shades (unless opponent likes to leave out 2 spare sp all the time).
Often in lawtia rush you will trigger mutiple soul skill at once, so you want to make sure that they stack. For example if you did shade wounding sword open, you probably will lose both units next turn (say if opponent hit wounding with asuet, you will lose both units). If during the next turn, opponent only had a dryad out for example, then gafc would be a waste since you don't need the 40 extra damage.
This soul doesn't stack as well with the first and second unless all 3 trigger at once and will not help you most of your matchups, but is extremely important for refess matchups. They are quite powerful enough to warrant a sole slot of soul skill dedicated especially for them. I try to put mad priest back row waiting for the trigger, then play death's embrace when it is about to trigger. Mad priest will hit up to 1 loose sp. Inside might hit another sp. Chiruru will probably guarantee a wipe. Then follow up with bitter destiny (or just allow 2x rasams to trigger and iczer the rest or snowball some more so when guardian comes out again you can pretty much 1 shot them). Make sure that they don't dodge this with verlaat open. If they inspiration or play brothers in arms, there's nothing you can do.
Grimlocking endgame screws up some strategies, and takes care of something big that usually comes out endgame. You especially do not want to put sin 4th slot in lawtia rush like commonly used. If you lose a lot of sac units and opponent iczers early game you do not want to sin your level 3 for a level 1 on their side.
This soul was made for undeads. 10 max hp helps you tank a bit more while hopefully giving nothing to your opponent.
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