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 drafts starts off with a devious plan … yet again! Will a preconceived plan work yet again, or will it turn into Yeti fodder? Stay tuned!
Pack 1 Pick 1
Let me start things off with appreciating this pack. This is something I like to open as it has good cards in all the colors and can lead us almost anywhere we want. Time has Locust Hatcher – a card obviously best in spell-matter decks and those usually involve the Combrei color combo – and, on a lesser note, Omnivorous Vorlunk aka Time Torch. Shadow has Cabal Repeater – a very good early and late game unit – and Eviscerate, the second-best common removal in the format. Primal has Cloudsnake Matriarch that is just bonkers in late-game situations. Fire has Streets Aflame and Justice has Roosting Warhawk, both cards very good on their own.
Usually when you get a first pack such as this, there is no single best answer as to what shall I pick? It comes to personal preference, both when it comes to colors and specific cards. In my opinion Locust Hatcher is the best card in the pack because it can take control of the board on its own, but I have also heard some negative comments about this card, that it is overrated etc. If you prefer to go for very aggressive Rakano decks, Streets Aflame is your pick – but then again, you would not go wrong with a Roosting Warhawk. The stories of choices and preferences go on and on. What I went with is just the beginning of this story, but surely it is not the only story that could be told here.
Caleb’s choice: Locust Hatcher
Pack 1 Pick 2
Given what I have just picked up I want to look for synergies and in my opinion the most numerous spell-matter synergies are in Combrei. Hello, Smuggler! Oh, how you grow with each spell I play, and you probably bring one from the Market as well! Once again – this is not the only option available here. If you wanted to keep Hatcher but stay open then Devotee of the Sands is the pick for you. If you feel a hankering for some Elysian goodies, go for Avalanche Yeti. If you would like to twist like the Xenan do, there is another Eviscerate here. Just promise me you will not pick Cinder Sprite (the only Fire card in the pack) as it is even worse then Infernus – and that is saying a ton!
I went on with my Combrei plan, both for fun, profit and science. I will reiterate yet again – there are a lot of good choices here that will probably be validated by what will be available in future packs.
Caleb’s choice: Pearl Abbey Smuggler
Pack 1 Pick 3
I think I just am usually overwhelmed by the value that Umbren Voidbringer … brings … from the void wow that name is spot on! Especially when you are able to pick up a Dark Return in one of the curated packs, then you get this back, and this brings something else back … and somewhere along the way, there is profit to be found!
Enough of these poems. Let me look at the Combrei goodies. Svetya’s Faithful is a very good unit, not really a turn two play (usually), but one that brings a lot of value to the board in the mid- and late-game. Omnivorous Vorlunk is quite good as well. Unfortunately none of these are 10/10 as the Shadow Radiant is in my book (or rather, spreadsheet) so I wanted to go wide into more colors and see which ones will be coming my way.
Caleb’s choice: Umbren Voidbringer
Pack 1 Pick 4
Where do I go from now? I have the three Kerendon colors and not a lot of going on in this pack. Flash Grenade and Kosul Bladebarrier are the only bearable ones, with Flash Grenade being more universally good and Kosul Bladebarrier being part of an armory deck build-around. I disregarded further colors, like Fire with Daring Maneuver and the Coin and went for the trick.
Caleb’s choice: Flash Grenade
Pack 1 Pick 5
Okay, this is not funny! Heretic’s Cannon is another 10/10 card that wins games straight away. Remember that in Eternal there is no response window when playing weapons on your units and attacking afterwards. I mean, there are counters to this card, but it still is just amazing. High Alert is in my colors but it pales in comparison. I did say I wanted to see which colors are open. Also, Cannon is very easily splashable due to its singular Fire requirement (we all know this should be triple Fire, right? Right??)
Caleb’s choice: Heretic’s Cannon
Pack 1 Pick 6
Stonescar Outfitter is a quite good lieutenant that buffs your other units, but I only have a single Umbren in Shadow, and I think the color that ties everything together so far is still Justice. with Shadow for armory, with Fire for aggro or with Time for spell-matters. Also, Emerald Coin is quite good, maybe even on par with the Outfitter.
Caleb’s choice: Emerald Coin
Pack 1 Pick 7
That is a lot of red! Now I am considering just ditching my initial plan of going for Combrei and switch to … Rakano? Out of all these premium early drops I still like Nimble Conscript the most, especially if you can get a lot of tricks for him and ensure he does not lose to a random Kosul Curator or Corrupted Behemoth.
Caleb’s choice: Nimble Conscript
Pack 1 Pick 8
I have some Onslaught cards already and this little guy is the perfect trigger for that effect, as it can attack effortlessly and (almost) never die. One would not go wrong with picking High Alert here either.
Caleb’s choice: Steadfast Paladin
Pack 1 Pick 9
Four Rakano cards left. It seems this is a good color combination to go for, as I will probably get passed some good cards in pack four as well. For now let me just get the more aggressive 1-drop here.
Caleb’s choice: Oni Patrol
Pack 1 Pick 10
One good card to get here is just enough.
Caleb’s choice: Twin Sai
Pack 1 Pick 11
Now if I were to veer back into Time, this might come in handy!
Caleb’s choice: Omnivorous Vorlunk
Pack 1 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Guns Blazing
Pack 2 Pick 1
Given that I am quite set on being in Justice with another color or two, opening up a great rare such as this Valkyrie Enforcer is perfect! It is much better than the rest of this pack, even though e.g. Watchful Amanera would have been great in a Combrei spell-matter deck I set out trying to draft, it still would have lost to the Enforcer. Same goes for Mob Rule in the unruly Shadow splash that will not happen. Backpacker’s Machete is also just much weaker than the Justice flier.
Caleb’s choice: Valkyrie Enforcer
Pack 2 Pick 2
Valkyrie Bodyguard and Soaring Guard are good, but usually much better in armory-based Argenport. Blinkwolf is the average 2-drop for Fire, but much worse than Bladekin Apprentice. I know that there are a lot of effects in the current draft format that just deal one damage, but other than those cases the Quickdraw Oni can get out of control pretty easily – especially when combined with a trick or two at just the right moment.
Caleb’s choice: Bladekin Apprentice
Pack 2 Pick 3
I know I do not have a lot or armor-gaining effects (i.e. Twin Sai), but Silverwing Smith is still a 1/4 flier for three with a potential upside. Nothing else here is any good. Maybe Refresh would have been the pick if I went with the Combrei plan, but … no.
Caleb’s choice: Silverwing Smith
Pack 2 Pick 4
No Justice is a potentially bad sign, at least in regard to the curated packs, but I still get a Machete for my troubles. In retrospect the Crest would have been an even better option, allowing me to splash the Combrei Smuggler – even if I were just playing Rakano. Having Smuggler as the only Time card in the deck is great, because I can pick up some good Time cards along the way and just have them all in the Market, instead of cluttering the maindeck. If I can play the Smuggler that means I have the influence to play the card I get from the Market, right?
Caleb’s choice: Backpacker’s Machete
Pack 2 Pick 5
I rate Soaring Guard higher than Pyre Adept because it has Flying (pun intended).
Caleb’s choice: Soaring Guard
Pack 2 Pick 6
Pummel is a decent trick in a card pool that has almost none (I passed up a Daring Maneuver earlier on). This is not the greatest of tricks and I am getting a bit lukewarm on it over the course of the format, but it is still a decent one. Also, I already have a lot of units and not a lot of support for them.
Caleb’s choice: Pummel
Pack 2 Pick 7
Nothing great here, the Axe is the only card that might see some play. Just be careful that your opponents do not silence the Axe, as it turns into a worthless Spiked Helm.
Caleb’s choice: Grandfather’s Axe
Pack 2 Pick 8
Downfall has been not working for me lately at all – it usually sits in my hand while I cry in the corner. Oh, wait – now I know what is depicted on the card! Anyway, Kosul Diplomat is just a silence spell that gets you a 1/1 unit, while Lingering Influence can be played instead of a Power card. Sure!
Caleb’s choice: Lingering Influence
Pack 2 Pick 9
Another relic weapon is a good addition to the team, especially that now I have a couple of other ways to gain armor.
Caleb’s choice: Mithril Mace
Pack 2 Pick 10
The Justice armor here is really a weapon that allows units to twist more (not applicable here), but most of all re-draws itself an allows one of your units to fight more efficiently. As far as 10th picks go – I am all for this one.
Caleb’s choice: Bronze Cuirass
Pack 2 Pick 11
On-color is better than off-color. Even Grit.
Caleb’s choice: Grit
Pack 2 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Iceberg Frontrunner
Pack 3 Pick 1
This is not a great pack for me. This is not even a good pack for me. It only has some weak 2-drops, a Manufacture and a Copperhall Recruit. Given that most of these would be getting cut anyway (great job, curated packs!) I want to go for something that might see the light of play. As I do have tons of 2-drops already, I go for the Minotaur.
Caleb’s choice: Copperhall Recruit
Pack 3 Pick 2
Once again, nothing here for me. Now, if I had that Smuggler splash I could have gone for an easy Wurmstone here, waiting for us in the Market – or Scorpion Wasp for that matter. As it turns out, Rakano is not supported here. Did I make a wrong choice? Probably, but there will still be a lot of good Rakano drops in pack four (fingers crossed). For now I go with the shiftstoned Rare … that might see the light of play, too.
Caleb’s choice: Rolant’s Memorial
Pack 3 Pick 3
Two relic weapons in a non-armory deck is about the amount I want to go for. This means that Mithril Mace is not a real choice here. Other Justice cards are bad, too. Hipshot is so overcosted, but it is still removal with potential card advantage. Seeing how pack three is going so far, I should just jump at this occasion, not complaint at all. Well, maybe just a little.
Caleb’s choice: Hipshot
Pack 3 Pick 4
Between a smaller flier and a bigger ground dude I want to be more on the offensive. Now, in a full-fledged armory deck this would have been the opposite.
Caleb’s choice: Argenport Soldier
Pack 3 Pick 5
I do have some ways of gaining armor. Remember guys – Horngrinder gets triggered by things such as playing relic weapons, too. It is expensive – especially for a deck with a more aggressive outlook – but is still much better than the rest of the pack.
Caleb’s choice: Horngrinder
Pack 3 Pick 6
After a lot of waiting I finally get passed a good card – Kosul Battlemage. I am happy. Much happier than if there was just another Machete here.
Caleb’s choice: Kosul Battlemage
Pack 3 Pick 7
I was very tempted to go for the Seat here, but in the current draft format you do not really need fixing in two color decks. It is good, do not get me wrong, just that it is not as crucial to your victory as it was in the Defiance and Homecoming drafts. On the other hand, Brightmace Paladin, while strictly outclassed by Lethrai Direbeast in another color and rarity, is still a good unit.
Caleb’s choice: Brightmace Paladin
Pack 3 Pick 8
I do not like Resolute Paladin as much as I thought I liked him a couple of formats ago – especially when he dies to a lot of cheap things, even a Coin. I took the Rallying Banner here with almost no intention of playing it, as it is usually just a win-more card.
Caleb’s choice: Rallying Banner
Pack 3 Pick 9
Rebel Sharpshooter here has the same purpose as Brightmace Paladin a couple of packs ago. Good, but by no means great.
Caleb’s choice: Rebel Sharpshooter
Pack 3 Pick 10
Caleb’s choice: Deft Strike
Pack 3 Pick 11
Upgraded from a non-shiny!
Caleb’s choice: Grandfather’s Axe
Pack 3 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Dispel
Pack 4 Pick 1
Malediction is a board sweeper everybody (including me) keeps forgetting is in the format, thus making it a great card for a lot of situations. Not splashable, though, so – pass! Valkyrie Accuser is a great unit with a tremendously high cost – one that my deck will not be able to pay. It is more suitable in control decks – there it shines a lot! Here it would just get cut after some deliberation. Let me see what else is in here. Horde Duelist. That is it? Well, sure, it is a great aggressive unit.
Caleb’s choice: Horde Duelist
Pack 4 Pick 2
Coins are good, but the potential card advantage via Impatient Pyromage is even better. Remember though – always play Pyromage before you play a power for the turn, as you usually have around 30-40% chance of drawing a power with it.
Caleb’s choice: Impatient Pyromage
Pack 4 Pick 3
What?! Another great card in my colors is a sight for sore eyes, even if you cannot see anything due to the eclipse. The Dragon is much better than everything else here, nothing more to add I guess.
Caleb’s choice: Eclipse Dragon
Pack 4 Pick 4
I was thinking a bit about Tinker Ennervator here, but then remembered his ability is symmetrical. Goodbye, Nimble Conscript, Horde Duelist etc. we hardly knew ye. Do not get me wrong, this card is good, even very good – but not in an aggressive deck that I am building here. We have some chaff in the form of Silver Shortsword and Sizzleback Salamander, but we also have Blurreechaser – one of the better 2-drops in the current draft format. And I do mean a true 2-drop, not like with Svetya’s Faithful.
Caleb’s choice: Blurreechaser
Pack 4 Pick 5
I have to shore up on some tricks finally. Worth mentioning here is the presence of a Coccupted Behemoth and a Shieldcrafter. This means my other two Justice-based options would have gotten some well-deserved love, too.
Caleb’s choice: Daring Maneuver
Pack 4 Pick 6
When in doubt, go for Ruins Guide. Nothing else here is screaming Splash me! Splash meee!
Caleb’s choice: Ruins Guide
Pack 4 Pick 7
As I want to be aggressive with this deck, Shieldcrafter must stay away. Hello, shinee Faithful.
Caleb’s choice: Svetya’s Faithful
Pack 4 Pick 8
A tough choice between three good 2-cost cards. Blurreechaser is better than Horde Duelist, but is it better than Daring Maneuver in a deck full of units and low on tricks?
Caleb’s choice: Daring Maneuver
Pack 4 Pick 9
The trifecta of ability-matters has arrived!
Caleb’s choice: Mining Team
Pack 4 Pick 10
Caleb’s choice: Guns Blazing
Pack 4 Pick 11
Caleb’s choice: Kosul Bladebarrier
Pack 4 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Fend Off
In the end my first three picks of the draft are not present here. Goodbye, Locust Hatcher, Pearl Abbey Smuggler and Umbren Voidbringer – we hardly knew ye, and now you will just turn into shiftstone. What I am left with is thirty three cards and what looks like a seventeen or eighteen power. That also means twenty seven to twenty eight other cards, which will result in me cutting five or six cards from this list. Let’s go!
First of all let me get to the easier part – Attachments and Spells. In the first group we can say farewell to Grandfather’s Axe – even despite me having Brightmace Paladin and Rebel Sharpshooter it is a much worse card when there is no Renown around. Spells are looking good. Lingering Influence is going to get played for a power card, which makes this a seventeen-power deck. This would mean carving out four units.
Ruins Guide does not have a ton of Shift support, with just the Nimble Conscript and a Mining Team. Competing with eight (!) other 2-drops, he is the weakest link. Goodbye. Kosul Bladebarrier does not have a lot of ways to get buffed, I have no Tauride Test Pilots nor Pioneering Aviators to gain armor at will. Out. Copperhall Recruit is out next, alongside Mining Team – still searching for a way out but not finding it. Add power and…
A very confusing draft that probably could have ended in that Combrei spell-matter deck I was thinking about when I opened Locust Hatcher. There are some key cards missing for an aggressive Rakano deck which makes me think this is more like a three- or four-win deck. I know, there are some bombs in here like Eclipse Dragon and the Cannon, but the cannot carry the rest of the deck on their own backs … or can they?
After losing the first game of this draft I felt disheartened. Fortunately I managed to re-hearten myself and took a lot more games home, more than I expected, for sure. The whole draft ended up with a seven win – two loss record and I was feeling great! No Tauride Test Pilots, no Steel Legions, no Roosting Warharks, no Streets Aflame, yet I still managed to win this one.
Now I have some homework for you, dear reader! Try and go through these picks once again and see if you would have been able to force a Combrei spell-matters deck. If yes, please make the decklist on eternalwarcry.com and link it in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this lengthy story and that I will see you on one of my streams!
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