Hello and welcome to a new installment of Drafting with the Stars! I have recently went through my draft card ratings list and updated a lot of things there – be sure to check it out!
You have probably had some drafts where you thought everything was going your way, but there was something … missing. A key component if you will. Maybe even more than one. Usually, these drafts end with … unexpected results.
Pack 1 Pick 1
This is a very strange first pack to open in a draft with not a lot of good cards to choose from. Malediction is one of the few mass removal spells in the format and one that people (including myself) usually do not expect in a lot of board situations. That factor alone makes it a bit better than it really is. Aside from that, we got Retribution – the best single-target common removal spell – and a couple of second-rate cards (at least as first picks go) in Roosting Warhawk, Daring Maneuver, Razorquill and even Swirl the Sands.
Usually, I would go for the Retribution. But, given the surprise factor of Malediction, I opted to go that route. My choice had a lot of downsides, though. First of all, Malediction has a double Shadow requirement which makes it not too likely to get splashed and it also limits my second color options – e.g. I would not want to go into Stonescar, as that combination is usually quite aggressive and a Malediction would hurt me more ~85% of the time. Also, Retribution is easy to splash. Let us see what becomes of this draft.
Caleb’s choice: Malediction
Pack 1 Pick 2
Having picked up Malediction pack one pick one makes me want to go into mono removal, or at least as much additional targeted removal as possible. Staying in Shadow is a reasonable choice, especially with Eviscerate in the pack. Razorquill could also be an option, especially since in its natural state it survives Malediction. Also – that is the baseline for units I would like to have in the deck – for them to have more than three health.
I could also try out Tauride Test Pilot as it is a very good unit, but it being in a second color is a turn-off, for sure. The rest of this pack is rather bad or mediocre at best.
Caleb’s choice: Eviscerate
Pack 1 Pick 3
With no interesting Shadow cards here I need to think about which color to choose as my second. Fire is probably out, as Stonescar is a rather aggressive color combination and my so-far-mono-removal.dec is a controlling one. I could continue the mono removal theme, but Isolate is just a weak card overall and I have not had much success with it so far. That leaves me with Yeti Instigator and Displaced Oryctodon. Between Primal and Time, Time usually has big, defensive units and that pairs up with my mass -3/-3 spell a bit better. I make my pick and try to go for that color combination, but honestly I just want to stay in Shadow and see what happens next.
Caleb’s choice: Displaced Oryctodon
Pack 1 Pick 4
Jackpot! Horn of Plenty is one of the cornerstones of a successful Xenan Twist deck and it keeps some of my smaller units outside of Malediction Range. Seems like me going into Time is going to pay off! A side note – this pack is, otherwise, quite bad. If I were in Hooru by pick three I would pick Rime Conclave Smuggler, sure! Other than that, this pack is filled with fillers.
Caleb’s choice: Horn of Plenty
Pack 1 Pick 5
No Shadow, no Fire. That is quite interesting and should have been a clear signal for me to think about switching lanes, but unfortunately I tend to be stubborn. There is a good pick here nonetheless, especially since I already have a Horn of Plenty to support it in making even more, even bigger Oozes. Belligerent Yeti and the improved-after-the-buff Murderous Flock are also options if I were to move into Primal. I am going with the synergies, though.
Caleb’s choice: Quicksilver Ooze
Pack 1 Pick 6
No Shadow once again, and just a single sub-par Time card. There are a couple of options here: I could take one of the Insignias to allow me a splash route, but this only works with on-color Insignias, which would mean the Stonescar one. It is also another chance to pick up a Belligerent Yeti and pair it up with Time’s plethora of health boosting. I could also go for the best card in the pack, i.e. Roosting Warhawk. I chose to go wide and have the potential to play a Streets Aflame or a Heretic’s Cannon – if I get passed one.
Caleb’s choice: Stonescar Insignia
Pack 1 Pick 7
A very bad pack with almost nothing to choose from. Given my mono removal tendencies, I am willing to play Winnow on occasion. There is also a reason to pick Cobalt Coin here as an off-color one, as it is best paired up with big Time units. Wait, what big Time units?
Caleb’s choice: Winnow
Pack 1 Pick 8
Finally! Shadow has come back to me! Although, Auric Reclaimer is at its best in Agrenport armory decks, it still is a 2/3 2-drop, which is enough as far as stats are concerned.
Caleb’s choice: Auric Reclaimer
Pack 1 Pick 9
If I were to go into another color I think it would be Primal by now – as I have already said, Time has good health buffs for the Yeti.
Caleb’s choice: Belligerent Yeti
Pack 1 Pick 10
Combrei Insignia might allow me to splash some Justice cards, like Retribution or Tauride Test Pilot – if I get any.
Caleb’s choice: Combrei Insignia
Pack 1 Pick 11
Nothing interesting here.
Caleb’s choice: Vicious Rumors
Pack 1 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Kosul Curator
Pack 2 Pick 1
Beastcaller’s Amulet is a great tempo card which usually allows you to play a 5/5 Beast for just three power, while also slightly upgrading one of your existing units. Now, with Shift units emerging with Unblockable it is even easier to trigger this Infiltrate ability. Seek Power is a decent card, but much worse than in the previous two draft formats (Defiance and Homecoming). There is also Awakened Sentinel, but it is nowhere near the power level of the Amulet. Did I mention that you should not read what the rare does – you will just waste your Time!
Caleb’s choice: Beastcaller’s Amulet
Pack 2 Pick 2
Usually by now I would have my deck figured out – what my colors and synergies are – but I keep getting weak packs, or maybe I have gone into the wrong colors to begin with. Do not worry, that happens. You also usually need only twenty seven cards of the forty eight you are presented, so there is some wiggle room here and there. By now I know I want to be in Shadow for Malediction and Eviscerate, but Time looks like a splash for Horn of Plenty as much as a full second color. There is a playable card for me here in Temple Standard (side note – if you trigger Beastcaller’s Amulet’s Infiltrate ability remember: Temple Tactic also bounces weapons with units, which could mean another Amulet trigger for you).
Another option is to go for the best card in the pack – Ceremonial Mask – and try to swerve into Argenport with a potential Horn splash, maybe also the Ooze and Corrupted Behemoths – if any come my way.
Caleb’s choice: Ceremonial Mask
Pack 2 Pick 3
As usual for the curated packs – ten cards and nothing really stands out as a great pick. There are two considerations here so at least there is something to talk about. With the Mask I have taken in the previous pack I could get Fall Short – a card that I do not detest playing any longer (unless the opponent plays an Infinite Hourglass and I scream at the heavens). There is also Refresh as a very good Twist support and Malediction survival option. I am not too sure about going into Justice (the last pick was very speculative) and I want to go with the safer option here.
Caleb’s choice: Refresh
Pack 2 Pick 4
This is even worse than before. Where is my streamer’s luck when I need it, huh? With all the bad stuff in here the only option that I do not discount at the very beginning is a Worn Shield. Yes! Worn Shield pick four! It is like a worse Refresh after all, I mean it works for the same synergies.
Caleb’s choice: Worn Shield
Pack 2 Pick 5
Okay, one Worn Shield is more than enough. Here it is only picking up leftover Shiftstone.
Caleb’s choice: Fangs in the Dark
Pack 2 Pick 6
Between Training Ground and Avirax Familiar I went for the spell. Although, the sum of it costs three power, if you play the spell on turn one and Monk on turn two, you can just call this a 2-drop – and that is for sure what this deck needs. It also needs good quality cards! I will even settle for decent ones at this point.
Caleb’s choice: Training Ground
Pack 2 Pick 7
Now, this is more like it. Awakened Sentinel is a bit underwhelming when you play it from your hand, but not too bad, either, as it can stop ground assaults quite well. I also should not discount the Belligerent Yeti I have already picked up and both Lightning Strike is another potential splash option and Seat of Wisdom is a very good splash enabler. I do not want to play Primal at this point, though.
Caleb’s choice: Awakened Sentinel
Pack 2 Pick 8
Okay, so about that Primal … given there are no Xenan cards here, not even filler ones, I will just settle for the best card in this pack. And that is the Clan Standard.
Caleb’s choice: Clan Standard
Pack 2 Pick 9
Cryptic Etchings is a decent option for Elysian or Praxis decks that have some Scout synergies – but these are non-existent in the Xenan combination I am gunning for. Sorrow’s Shroud is overcosted, but it does allow for a couple more Twist activations. Cabal Scavenger is just bad.
Caleb’s choice: Sorrow’s Shroud
Pack 2 Pick 10
I did pick up a couple of Primal cards earlier.
Caleb’s choice: Snowcrust Yeti
Pack 2 Pick 11
I did pick up some Primal cards earlier.
Caleb’s choice: Icebow
Pack 2 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Pummel
Pack 3 Pick 1
Finally there is some removal here! And I mean Extract – a Shadow-y Streets Aflame that loses its quickness for the Lifesteal. Both options are good. I do not have enough good cards for my main deck, not to mention a Market. Sorry, Ebon Dune Smuggler, the store is empty. Flickerling could also be an option if not for the Extract in this pack – and that is saying a lot (of bad things) about the quality of this pack.
Caleb’s choice: Extract
Pack 3 Pick 2
Mob Rule looks like an easy pick here. I might not have enough units, but at least the Ooze multiplies. With a Refresh and a Shield I do not think I need another Refresh. There is also a Crest of Cunning here and please remember – these are good even if you only have one of these colors in your deck.
After some additional thought I started leaning a bit more towards the Crest. That card might allow me to splash some Primal, and given that I am very low on playables at this moment I am going for this as an option.
Caleb’s choice: Crest of Cunning
Pack 3 Pick 3
A lot of Fire and a lot of nothing at the same time. Speaking of the Primal splash (and not having enough units) … Araktodon?
Caleb’s choice: Araktodon
Pack 3 Pick 4
Finally something in my colors. Yes, it is not a great unit, but it is a unit nonetheless!
Caleb’s choice: Flickerling
Pack 3 Pick 5
To be honest if I am going for a controlling deck I like having one Improvised Club there. It can act as late game card advantage or just as a cleaning crew.
Caleb’s choice: Improvised Club
Pack 3 Pick 6
If I am not going to play the Xenan cards presented here and there is a decent Primal card … let’s go with Advance Scout.
Caleb’s choice: Advance Scout
Pack 3 Pick 7
If I am running a control deck then deck filtration and looking for bombs like Malediction is what I want. A second Club is never what I want and Freewing Glider is not the greatest splash card.
Caleb’s choice: Scheme
Pack 3 Pick 8
Umbren Deathwatcher is a good unit for a control deck. You just have to watch out for any silence effects. I am not sure about what role Primal is going to play in this deck, so I want to stay with a worthwhile Shadow card over Lightning Strike.
Caleb’s choice: Umbren Deathwatcher
Pack 3 Pick 9
There is some potential in Wild Cloudsnake – it just needs one other flier to be decent, and after that it gets out of control. It is much better than Snowfort, though.
Caleb’s choice: Wild Cloudsnake
Pack 3 Pick 10
Just going for Shiftstone.
Caleb’s choice: Cloud of Ash
Pack 3 Pick 11
Once again – nothing.
Caleb’s choice: Farplace Finder
Pack 3 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Pyre Adept
Pack 4 Pick 1
Vara’s Sanctum could be a build-around for control decks – because they have a low number of units by definition. It is not great on its own, though, and has nothing special to combo with in this deck. Avalanche Yeti is always a good sight, as it can take out two units for three (!) turns and it looks like I need to start thinking about Primal more. The other Auralian cards are just bad and it is too late to switch for Streets Aflame or such.
Caleb’s choice: Avalanche Yeti
Pack 4 Pick 2
Another weak Auralian pack. The more I think about this draft the more I wish I was in Justice from the beginning. Steel Legion would have been a premium pick up here. Given the colors and theme I am working with here, maybe Elder Meditant for some added card draw value…
Caleb’s choice: Elder Meditant
Pack 4 Pick 3
I do not have a lot of Time cards and it really is looking more like a splash right now. That means I do not want to go with Tremorshocker as it has a double Time requirement. Between the rest of the Feln cards in this pack, I am not a great fan of Hunting Anoura. The Primal cards are very mediocre, but at least Murderous Flock is playable after the buff it received recently.
Caleb’s choice: Murderous Flock
Pack 4 Pick 4
Right now it is looking more like a Feln deck with a splash of Time than a Xenan deck with a splash of Primal. Than means Auralian Infestation is not as valuable to me and that I could think about playing Aggressive Ursine – one of the better Primal cards in the set.
Caleb’s choice: Aggressive Ursine
Pack 4 Pick 5
Wow, this is a quite late Cloudsnake Matriarch. It is also the only reasonable Auralian card in here. Easy choice. Too bad I do not have too many other Warp cards, just Awakened Sentinel and Winnow.
Caleb’s choice: Cloudsnake Matriarch
Pack 4 Pick 6
Another great and late pickup here, with no competition in sight!
Caleb’s choice: Spiteful Strike
Pack 4 Pick 7
Another late and great Primal card is here for me. Keen Saddleback is probably even better than Cloudsnake Matriarch on its own, too!
Caleb’s choice: Keen Saddleback
Pack 4 Pick 8
That is a very late Crooked Alleyguide. Here, step this way! *thomp*
Caleb’s choice: Crooked Alleyguide
Pack 4 Pick 9
What?! Why did I have to wait this long for a string of premium cards?
Caleb’s choice: Cloudsnake Matriarch
Pack 4 Pick 10
Now that I am cemented into Primal I will gladly pick a Belligerent Yeti.
Caleb’s choice: Belligerent Yeti
Pack 4 Pick 11
When low on units, pick bad and mediocre units.
Caleb’s choice: Gorgon Cutthroat
Pack 4 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Winnow
Thirty two cards between three colors to start the deck building process only solidifies me into thinking I either went into the wrong colors or got passed awful packs in this draft. It turns out that Time is the splash here, not Primal as I initially thought. Also, a lot of the better Primal cards have a double Primal requirement.
I can safely cut out Displaced Oryctodon and Training Ground as having early units in the splash color is not something you want to go for – unless you are very light on the units, which is not the case here. This leaves me with Quicksilver Ooze, Awakened Sentinel, Horn of Plenty and Refresh in the splash color. I also have no color fixing, but we will get to the power situation in a moment.
With three more cuts to be made I put the axe to Snowcrust Yeti as I do not need 1-drops in a controlling deck. I also took out Sorrow’s Shroud as it is a very weak card. Ooze does not have a lot of support here as well and it is also out of here. When I add the power I am left with something like this.
This is what I came up with. After some thought, though, going with these three Time cards with a lack of color fixing is not a great option. I went over the card pool and thought about what three other Feln cards I could play instead of these. Getting back Snowcrust Yeti, Sorrow’s Shroud and getting a Winnow in here. Well, these cards are worse than their Time counterparts, but at least I will not lose a game or two due to influence constraints. After some more searching I have also switched Sorrow’s Shroud to Worn Shield, as I just need the health buff to trigger Belligerent Yeti a couple more times.
The end deck looks like this.
This draft left me reeling. If you go back and look through it I could have probably ended up with a much better deck, just in other colors. Would it have been Skycrag? Argenport? Maybe Hooru? If you dare to wade these waters again, please make a deck list you could get off of this draft on eternalwarcry.com and link it in the comments below.
One thing is sure – Malediction did not live up to its potential in this draft. It never did much and just got me in difficult board positions, the whole forced draft portion notwithstanding. The whole thing ended up with four wins and three losses and was a mediocre finish as the last draft I played in June. Oh well, maybe July will be better (and DWD will re-do curated packs as well).
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