Hello and welcome to a new installment of Drafting with the Stars! The Dark Frontier draft guide is up and running, alongside a whopping huge list of card ratings! Be sure to check that out!

This episode depicts a fairly straightforward draft, just to show you that sometimes the stars do align and the results can be – quite frankly – ridiculous.

Note: This draft took place before the balance changes of June 6th 2019, so some of the cards might have old stat lines etc.

Pack 1 Pick 1

Let me start things of with assessing the rare in the pack. Spy Glass is a smaller weapon with many upsides! Once you have one of the few Scout-matter cards it is quite the dangerous thing. On its own it still smooths out your draws and is not that much worse than just a lowly Crystal Dirk (unless you like to do the Twist). Remember that this effect counts any Scouts, not only the ones made with the attacks. Speaking of Scouts, Blurreechaseer is also in the pack and this little dude does a lot of work! Nimble Conscript is just an overly aggressive red unit, but now with Crooked Alleyguide’s stat change I think this one might be the weaker of the two. Tauride Test Pilot, Belligerent Yeti, Oni Patrol, Angry Prophet, Arcanum Elite – these are all good cards, but they do not match Nimble Conscript’s, Blurreechaser’s or Tauride Test Pilot’s power level nor the fun level of Spy Glass. You still remember what fun is, right?

I would like to point out that the negates do not work in drafts and Trickster Mage is really just a filler most of the time. Getting back to the pick, at the time of this draft I was feeling overtly aggressive, so I went with the most aggressive option out there. You could not go wrong with any of the other two I mentioned, either.

Caleb’s choice: Nimble Conscript

Pack 1 Pick 2

Steel Legion reporting for double duty – for the attack and defense! Usually seeing this card makes it an easy pick, as it is a very well-stated unit with very good battle skills (on a side note, Dear Direwolf, please make a distinction between Battle Skills and other keywords, like using an icon on reminder text or just a different color, thanks!). Roosting Warhawk is just a Steel Legion-wannabe, still good, but not the real deal. Bulbous Humbug is one of the few pieces of color fixing in Time, and a good one at that. That does not put it on Steel Legion’s Level, but it is close. There are some other decent cards in the pack, but let us be honest and just do it!

Caleb’s choice: Steel Legion

Pack 1 Pick 3

Peaktop Trekker is a good build-around card, even with just a couple of Scout effects. It is also usually on the opponent’s kill list. Char is a baseline removal. Tremorshocker is a baseline #BDYS (Big Dumb Yellow S…tuff). Spellstrike Sorceress is good in a spell-heavy deck. The Coins are good. If this were pick one or two I think I would go for Trekker, but with two good cards in two colors already, I would rather go for an on-color weak removal.

Caleb’s choice: Char

Pack 1 Pick 4

Streets Aflame is the only noteworthy Rakano card. The only other good one here is Eviscerate, but once again I am not looking to swerve here. Sidenote – even with the buff, Elder Meditant and Murderous Flock are not considerations here.

Caleb’s choice: Streets Aflame

Pack 1 Pick 5

Some people tend to like Needlespitter a lot more than me – I mean, I get the sentiment, it can get out of control with Blurreechaser, but you have to pump it before the attack. Daring Maneuver is one of the better tricks in the current draft format and Oni Patrol is a decent early unit. The no Justice in the pack does not mean a lot as four cards are missing now, but it is noteworthy. I am willing to go for the trick, as you cannot have too many of them, right? Right?

Future Caleb disagrees.

Caleb’s choice: Daring Maneuver

Pack 1 Pick 6

Not much of a choice here, but at least it is a decent one! Remember to treat Mining Team as just a cost two Warp – then it is much better!

Caleb’s choice: Mining Team

Pack 1 Pick 7

Rallying Sergeant is a good top-end unit for aggressive Rakano decks, but remember – you do not want to have a lot of 5-drops in your deck. Warfront Missionary is the opposite – an early drop especially good for triggering Onslaught on turn two. There is also a Stonescar Outfitter in the pack – a very good buff unit – but that is not enough to make me go into another color. Between Sergeant and Missionary I opt to go for the higher damage output.

Caleb’s choice: Rallying Sergeant

Pack 1 Pick 8

It is strange to see Corrupted Behemoth so late in pack one, especially that it is highly splashable. The more I play this draft format, the more I treat the Behemoth like a modern Infused Guardian. Getting back to Rakano cards, Heist is a filler card at best – and you got to be careful and remember, you cannot play it, including warping it, when you have no legal targets in hand. Twin Sai is the baseline weapon for an Argenport-based armory deck and High Alert is an all-around great trick for all green-based decks. Given that I do not have any inclinations towards taking Shadow, I want to go for a card that is always good.

Caleb’s choice: High Alert

Pack 1 Pick 9

People call this the best trick in the format. I disagree – this is the cheapest trick in the format, but it also means it is the easiest one to read, game-stop-wise. I mean, it is still a good card, just a bit over-hyped, is all.

Caleb’s choice: Flash Grenade

Pack 1 Pick 10

Filler, but as I said earlier – still playable.

Caleb’s choice: Warfront Missionary

Pack 1 Pick 11

It is always strange to see a real choice to be made this late in a pack. Streets Aflame is the best Fire removal in the set (although … remember last time when Torch was in a draft format?) and Oni Ronin is a decent aggressive early drop. When in doubt, BURN ‘EM ALL!

Caleb’s choice: Streets Aflame

Pack 1 Pick 12

Caleb’s choice: Furnish

Pack 2 Pick 1

Next up is the Void, I mean, the curated packs. Yes, they still come up mostly empty, but let us try to do our best, shall we? Infernus is not really a playable card, one-of damage sources to the opponent were never playable in draft formats. Seat of Glory is good fixing for the deck that is shaping up here. Rebel Sharpshooter is a decent 3-drop, but with no real ways of permanently turning the Quickdraw on – aside from the Backpacker’s Machete that is also in this pack – it is usually just a Yeti Instigator. The Machete itself is a decent weapon in a very weapon-light format. I have been disappointed by Downfall over and over again and at this moment I rate it even lower than Fall Short.

I have previously stated that in the current format you can easily play two color decks without any color fixing. It sure does help to have some, though, and it is very, very scarce. That is why I opted to go for the Seat instead of the Rebel. I just hope I will have enough units by the end of this.

Caleb’s choice: Seat of Glory

Pack 2 Pick 2

I think Shieldsmith is one of the better armor-matter cards in the format, right there with Horngrinder. It is at its best when played in a Dizo’s Racket deck – but that is another story. Although I do not have any support for this card yet, its upsides are great. Outlands Brute is a very aggressive unit and I have had it played against me with success on numerous occasions. Another attempt at Rebel Sharpshooter, a slightly-better-than-Downfall Fall Short and a filler Lingering Influence. I mean, Lingering Influence is much better than in the previous formats, due to both it being a spell that counts as a power card i.e. not taking a true slot in the deck and allowing you to Scout. Right now I plan to go for the card with the biggest potential upside. Just need to take some armor from home…

Caleb’s choice: Shieldsmith

Pack 2 Pick 3

All non-Time Standards are great combat tricks that are more than welcome in my decks! When building your power base I usually treat them as half of a power card, because you usually want to play them for their effect, right? Moving on, Oni Cavediver is just a 2/2 for two with a one-time Scout. The two additional attack when you have a relic (usually weapon) does not come into play too often. The remaining Rakano cards are bad, with Lingering Influence being above the other garbage-tier ones. This pick is an easy one.

Caleb’s choice: Crownwatch Standard

Pack 2 Pick 4

This time, on the other hand, I do not have much to choose from. Overheat is simply bad (unless you have it in a Market to use a potential finisher), but Auric Weaponsmith has some potential uses – especially that I am thinking of going for some weapons with the previously picked Shieldsmith. Remember that things like Emerald Coin mean you are playing weapons and this Minotaur triggers its bonus on them as well. I could also go for a Seat of Order and have options for when good Primal cards come my way, but you have to remember that good Primal cards usually have a double Primal requirement, making them not splashable at all.

Caleb’s choice: Auric Weaponsmith

Pack 2 Pick 5

Another Standard, another happy Caleb! A big shout-out to Reforge here, as it is much better in the current format than ever before. You want to use it in relic weapon-based decks, obviously, as it can turn even the lowliest Improvised Club into legend-worthy Sword of the Sky King! Not a match to the Standard, though. Going lower in the ranks there is Sharpened Reflex (just one reflex, though, all other reflexes will have to wait) that is an okay trick, one that people tend to forget about but still keeps winning games from time to time. Steadfast Deputy is forgettable and Iron Hook … well I am not too deep in the armory business yet.

Caleb’s choice: Crownwatch Standard

Pack 2 Pick 6

A standard response to seeing a Standard is “yes, please!” It is so much better than the Pummel you see here and I have been feeling lower and lower on Pummel as drafts go by. Another easy pick, and a third good Standard at that!

Caleb’s choice: Shugo Standard

Pack 2 Pick 7

With nothing going for me in this pack I go for a Seat in two off-colors that … okay, realistically if this was a one-on color Seat, it would allow for a potential splash. With this one, though … Shiftstone it is!

Caleb’s choice: Seat of Mystery

Pack 2 Pick 8

I feel like Kosul Diplomat is better than I give credit to. It is also the only Rakano card in the pack.

Caleb’s choice: Kosul Diplomat

Pack 2 Pick 9

Second Auric Weaponsmith with no weapons in sight is a bad … sight. Soaring Guard is much better than I thought at the beginning of the format. Even without any relic weapons to support, it is still an overcosted Cloudsnake Hatchling that gains you two health armor. That armor matters for so many things, though! Deputy is somehow still around, though the Sheriff had long been shot.

Caleb’s choice: Soaring Guard

Pack 2 Pick 10

A plethora of bad choices resulting in picking a card that will not get played … or will it?

Caleb’s choice: Downfall

Pack 2 Pick 11

Sure, thank you!

Caleb’s choice: Lingering Influence

Pack 2 Pick 12

Caleb’s choice: Araktodon

Pack 3 Pick 1

Moonstone Vanguard is a very good reason to be in Time right now, but my Rakano deck is looking so nice! I do not want to switch, especially that I have other good options presented to me. A fourth Standard is still a great sight to behold and it does not matter that the other Fire and Justice cards are bad here. One is all I need.

Caleb’s choice: Crownwatch Standard

Pack 3 Pick 2

What? Another one? This is just silly. Who needs units when you have amazing tricks!

Caleb’s choice: Crownwatch Standard

Pack 3 Pick 3

A couple of bad 1-drops and a slow buff spell. Next! Wait, there is also Seek Power here. Sure, why not? It is not as great as in the previous three- and four-color formats, but is still a good card.

Caleb’s choice: Seek Power

Pack 3 Pick 4

Seeing as I am very high with the combat trick number and quite low on units, even a lowly Pyre Adept is something I can be happy to take.

Caleb’s choice: Pyre Adept

Pack 3 Pick 5

As stated above, being low on units makes me happy to pick one up here. Preferably an aggressive one with a higher stat line. Fall Short is really not needed in a deck full of Standards.

Caleb’s choice: Ankle Cutter

Pack 3 Pick 6

Laugh. Out. Loud. I have not had this many Standards in a draft deck. Ever! The logical choice would be to get Argenport Soldier (because, you know, low on units), but I could not resist the temptation of going for something epic.

Caleb’s choice: Shugo Standard

Pack 3 Pick 7

Okay, so maybe I will take a Fall Short after all, if what I am presented with is so empty.

Caleb’s choice: Fall Short

Pack 3 Pick 8

Horngrinder? This late? Are you sure? The defensive stats on this Minotaur are good, but when you include some armor in your deck – even if it turns out to be just one Soaring Guard – makes in bonkalicious! Is that even a word? Wait, let me click on the card and look for a dictionary.

PS. It is not a real word.

Caleb’s choice: Horngrinder

Pack 3 Pick 9

Weapon that gives you armor … it will probably not make the cut, but the other ones will not as well.

Caleb’s choice: Tower Shield

Pack 3 Pick 10

Just a small and fast and furious Yeti.

Caleb’s choice: Iceberg Frontrunner

Pack 3 Pick 11

Hate-draft! Yes, I know, it is not a thing anymore…

Caleb’s choice: Flash Freeze

Pack 3 Pick 12

Caleb’s choice: Snowfort

Pack 4 Pick 1

Tinker Ennervator is one of the better answers to fast decks and Shifted units providing opponents with inevitability. Good stats, too. Impatient Pyromage is great, but not really a 2-drop. Also please remember to play him after combat when you have not played a power card yet, so the power that you will draw ~40% of the time does not go to waste. Svetya’s Faithful is a poster child for aggressive units with good stuff that can even provide (sort of) card advantage when Warped. Emerald Coin is good, but I already have a ton on power cards coming into play depleted. Daring Maneuver … is not needed with the plethora of premium tricks I have. Okay, so the deciding factor is that I have not played Tinker Ennervator yet and would like to try it out.

Future Caleb scoffs and points out that Tinker Ennervator’s effect is symmetrical and you should have gone for Svetya’s Faithful.

Caleb’s choice: Tinker Ennervator

Pack 4 Pick 2

With one red card missing and the only green card being High Alert the choice seems simple. Also noteworthy, the pack as a whole is quite bad.

Caleb’s choice: High Alert

Pack 4 Pick 3

Now here is a choice to be made! Three very good cards in Tauride Test Pilot, Nimble Conscript and Blurreechaser, with a follow-up of Mining Team. I would not mind picking all four, five even – I will take the Salamander home as well! Unfortunately I can take only one from here, so let me see what would be the best option. Generally the fastest one is Nimble Conscript and this card is at its best when combined with a lot of tricks. Check! Okay I think that is enough to make me go with this one.

Caleb’s choice: Nimble Conscript

Pack 4 Pick 4

A very good unit is much better than Coin here, for the currency-reluctant reasons I have presented earlier in this pack. Also, the Warhawk would have been called the best Justice flier in the set, were it not for fan-favorite Steel Legion and Tauride Test Pilot. All this just means that Justice has good fliers, period.

Caleb’s choice: Roosting Warhawk

Pack 4 Pick 5

Right now I need to focus on units much more than on removal – even good removal such as Streets Aflame. Steadfast Paladin is a very easy unit to play – you just attack with it each turn. It is also the best bluff card and the best onslaught trigger. If I had a different card pool the pick would have been Streets Aflame, but with infinite tricks and lacking units … you know where this is going.

Caleb’s choice: Steadfast Paladin

Pack 4 Pick 6

I do not have any relic weapons and only one source of getting armor, which makes Kosul Bladebarrier weaker. It is still a unit and I might pick something up in the next couple of packs.

Caleb’s choice: Kosul Bladebarrier

Pack 4 Pick 7

Nothing playable here, as Outdraw is just a much worse Fiery Fissure.

Caleb’s choice: Outdraw

Pack 4 Pick 8

Sure, I will pick the Maneuver, but it will probably not make the cut.

Caleb’s choice: Daring Maneuver

Pack 4 Pick 9

Given that I already have a surplus of Maneuvers, I am willing to go for the Missionary.

Caleb’s choice: Warfront Missionary

Pack 4 Pick 10

Okay, at least Coin does not take a real card slot in the deck.

Caleb’s choice: Emerald Coin

Pack 4 Pick 11

It is good to see a Char this late, but it will probably not make it into the deck, given a vast amount of premium non-units I have.

Caleb’s choice: Char

Pack 4 Pick 12

Caleb’s choice: Outdraw

Draft Pool

Wow. At this point my first thought was How many Standards are too many Standards? So I asked around and found out there is no such amount. Okay, let me analyze the rest of the pool then. Eighteen units and fifteen spells, with six Standards that turn into spells as well. Let me get a hold of the power situation first.

Here comes the math. With eighteen power as base, I need to include the following trends:

  • I have six Standards which count as half a power each, that would mean going up three power,
  • I have a Seek Power and a Lingering Influence that count as a power card each, which means going down two power,
  • I am running an aggressive deck with a lower curve, which means going down one power.

Okay, so all of this just to tell me that I stay at the baseline? All right, with eighteen power and twenty seven other cards, I have to make as many as six cuts. I do not want to go too low on the unit count, preferably not lower than sixteen of fifteen. Let me look at the weaker cards first. Both Outdraws are out, for sure! Downfall is on the chopping block as well. Flash Grenade does not really belong in an aggressive deck with this many other tricks. Now let me consider the units. Horngrinder is good, but with just one source of armor gain and this being the only 6-drop in a lower curve deck – this is just not a place for him. Also I will probably go up to as much as five power and all my surplus power will just turn into tricks. Other cards that do not work without armor at all are Shieldsmith and Kosul Bladebarrier. That means a total cut of seven cards. One of them has to come back and this time it is Downfall.

Future Caleb scoffs at that choice. Should have been Horngrinder, still.

Draft Deck

Draft Summary

Even despite the low unit count of fifteen in an aggressive deck, it performed as well as you might think. Having power that turns into premium tricks when you max out at five is amazing! The games were fast and furious and – most importantly – no games have been lost during the playthrough of this draft. That is right, it was a 7-0 draft, another notch in the belt, one step closer to that nightmarish achievement of fifty (!) 7-0 drafts.

I could have picked a couple of better cards, went up one or two units, cut the Downfall and maybe a Char, did not go for the Tinker Ennervator. This paragraph depends on whether you are a results-oriented person or not. If you are, then all was fine, I am great, good job me etc. If you are more like me into theories and probabilities – yes, I messed up in a couple of spots. This deck could have been even better. And – above all else – six Standards woohoo!

I hope you enjoyed this lengthy story and that I will see you on one of my streams!

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