Hello and welcome to a new installment of Drafting with the Stars! The new draft guide is upon us, along with a list of card ratings!
This is going to be an episode about looking ahead and contemplating all the options that are available to you and could be available to you. It is also about which factions have which synergies that may or may not be overlapping and Calebovitsch making very questionable picks. At least that last part is not new. Let us dive right in!
Pack 1 Pick 1
Usually it is better to start a draft with picking a card in a single color. That leaves you with more options – whether that color is your main, or turns out to be your splash, or maybe you skip it entirely because a couple people in front of you were picking it up. This makes two-color cards that much harder to grab as your first pick. Although in a case where the multi-faction card is a great one, one might think about where that card and that color combination might lead.
In our case we have Forbidden-Rider Outcast, a decently-sized flier with a high influence requirement, but one with a huge added bonus of shrinking an opposing unit while entering play. This two-for-one deal of an evasive unit with a semi-removal effect is exactly what I mean by a great card. Looking further down the pack, there is an Edict of Kodosh, but I do not feel this cycle of cards warrants a first pick. Nahid’s Choice is a solid card, but not the upper echelon of Choices. Snowstorm Druid is one of the better non-legendary Muster units, but I would not pick that card up front, unless I wanted to force Elysian.
In the common slot the cards that stand out are Immortalize, Champion Grappler and Warhorn – in that order, especially that Champion is a two-faction card. I believe the highest power level here lies with the Hooru rare and while that choice is not very flexible color-wise, it has a lot of added synergy with all the Curse-related cards.
Caleb’s choice: Forbidden-Rider Outcast
Pack 1 Pick 2
Now that I picked up a Hooru card I want to think about potential color additions. It would be perfect to draft a two-color deck, sure, but let me consider all other colors as options now. The addition of Fire, i.e. good ol’ Ixtun, does not have many new synergies, but does have the benefit of having a Token in the curated packs. The addition of Time, i.e. Kodosh, has some synergies with Mastery and Muster. The addition of Shadow, i.e. Linrei, has some synergies with Curses and milling the opponent.
Now, with all that being said, it would be best to just pick up a Justice or Primal card and see what colors are open by pick seven or eight. That would probably mean getting Snowstorm Druid and thinking of building up some Muster base, or nabbing a Mistrust. There are also straight-up better cards here, but in other colors. Spiketail Qirin has been over-performing each time I had it in my deck. Wretched Raven is one of the cornerstones of a successful Feln-based mill deck.
Wait, did I say mill?
Caleb’s choice: Wretched Raven
Pack 1 Pick 3
Okay, what has just happened? Oh, right, I picked up a third color because mill. Alright, now that I have three prime colors to work with, let me check this pack out. A side note, I will have to pick up influence fixing much higher if I am running more than two factions. Nivia’s Inquisitor is one of just four Decimate-matter cards in the format, with the other three being in Justice and Shadow. I have no Decimate cards yet, so the synergy so far is quite low, but if the Paladin gets picked up this early, that just means that all Decimate cards in future packs get a slight bonus to their value.
Next up is Vile Collaborator, and I am playing two of the three Dragon colors, but … that is right – no Dragons. Xultan Paladin is a basic filler unit. There is Spiketail Qirin here once again, if I wanted to stay away from one of my colors and swerve into Time. That could be a decent option, because you should stay quite open throughout the first six or so picks, just taking the most powerful cards in each pack – with colors matching your own, if possible. At the point of this draft I thought to myself that between Mill, Decimate and Curses I will probably be able to pick up some good cards in Linrei. That is why I went with the Inquisitor.
Caleb’s choice: Nivia’s Inquisitor
Pack 1 Pick 4
Kairos’ Choice is the best card in the pack, but it is in the two colors I have not picked up yet. That leaves me with three cards to really choose from. Blood of Makkar is what I believe to be a win-more card, unless you either have a lot of Curse synergies or are running a lot of evasive units or cards like Unkindness. Reconnaissance is a decent addition to a deck, especially that it is a Decimate card. Fervent Siphoner gets bonus points from the mill synergies. Three cards, three semi-synergies. Which path to choose?
I believe you cannot go wrong with any of these. All of them have a similar, rather medium rating in my book (or rather, spreadsheet). Just pick one and try to further synergize your deck along this route. At the point of drafting this I wanted to test out all my theories about Blood of Makkar, which is why that was my pick.
Caleb’s choice: Blood of Makkar
Pack 1 Pick 5
We have two Curse-synergistic cards in this pack. Parul’s Choice can either fetch a Curse that you have not played before or make one of your units slightly bigger and more protected. Misery Walker has rather mediocre stats, but once there is a Curse on your opponent’s side of the board, it turns into a formidable flying lifestealer. I believe the Choice would have been better in a format without such a plethora of great Justice-based tricks, with Finest Hour and Draw Strength leading the pack. I believe this time the Walker is a better card – especially with the previously-chosen Blood of Makkar. As a side note regarding the other cards, Tidecaller is a decent filler and Longtail Cavalry is slightly overcosted for what it does. All of which points me towards the Walker.
Caleb’s choice: Misery Walker
Pack 1 Pick 6
This is a point in the first pack where all the good cards should have been picked up already, which means if you see any really good cards left, that usually means that a color is open and will be open in pack four – because pack four will be passed by the same group of people who were passing you pack one. This is when you see Grodov’s Favored here you should think ah, Time is open it seems. Although I am already in three different colors. There is also an Ancient Manual in this pack, and that is a piece of influence fixing that just gets better the more colors you are playing. Check.
Caleb’s choice: Ancient Manual
Pack 1 Pick 7
Rosebloom Mandrake is another cornerstone of a successful mill deck, the part of the synergy that benefits from the opponent having a lot of cards in their void. So far we have picked up Wretched Talon … and that is it. We also Have Nivia’s Inquisitor and what is better to support all the Decimate shenanigans than Eloz’s Elite – a very good blocker that doubles as a permanent boost for all things Decimate. Yes, I do believe this one is better for what I would like to do than Mandrake – although remember that milling is a strategy that is very supported in the curated packs, whereas Decimate is a Flame of Xulta-only keyword, which means that if you want to go for that strategy, you only have one and a half packs of that to go! And most of that at the tail end of the draft, where you should be picking up just the finishing touches, not your main synergy cards! Anyway, that was just a side note, here is another one – Eloz’s Elite is good on its own, whereas Rosebloom Mandrake … cannot be played on its own usually.
Caleb’s choice: Eloz’s Elite
Pack 1 Pick 8
Okay, if pick six was not enough of a signal, another Grodov’s Favored in pick eight is a very clear cut sign I should be going into Time. There is also nothing else really good in the pack. One might argue that Yeti Traditionalist is a worthy pick here – especially that Curses are attachments that can trigger your Muster – but it is way below Favored’s power level. Honestly, with a splashable card open this late, I am willing to bite the bait and pick up a fourth color.
Caleb’s choice: Grodov’s Favored
Pack 1 Pick 9
None of these units really do that much for me. I guess if I pick up a Marsh Dragon or some other Dragon then Skywatch Zealot can be okay. Right now he looks just like an early wall, but that is okay anyway, for my needs.
Caleb’s choice: Skywatch Zealot
Pack 1 Pick 10
This is a good moment to pick up Mandrake, in case my mill plan comes online.
Caleb’s choice: Rosebloom Mandrake
Pack 1 Pick 11
Caleb’s choice: Cindermaw Tota
Pack 1 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Stand Strong
Pack 2 Pick 1
Spire Chaplain is a decently-statted unit that generates a ton of card advantage over the course of its attacks. You have to include a decent amount of Justice Sigils, obviously, but with Forbidden-Rider Outcast having a double Justice requirement I really need to play a decent amount of them. Honestly, the only other choice is Bannerman, and the fixing – even in a three- or four-color deck is way below the power level of the Chaplain.
Caleb’s choice: Spire Chaplain
Pack 2 Pick 2
Another very weak pack for us. Burn Them All is a great card, but not playable at all with the pile we now have. I meant pool! Anyway, there is a small choice for us, between Steadfast Paladin and Cobalt Coin – with the latter one having an upside of playing a Curse off of a power card. I still believe I will be quite heavy on Justice, which is why Steadfast is the way to go for me here.
Caleb’s choice: Steadfast Paladin
Pack 2 Pick 3
I believe I value Plated Goliath way too high for my own good, but having Warped this card numerous times in drafts, I know the best cases for its highest value. It is a double Time card, though, with Grodov’s Favored our only Time card so far. Looking through the rest of the pack, I see that the only other choices are Yeti Snowslinger and Makeshift Barrier. Both are okay, but nothing to write home about. I am willing to snag Goliath here and just see if we get more good Time cards in pack four. Once again – this card is more based on my personal preference, we all have cards we like more than other people do. The more adult choice would be Yeti Snowslinger, I guess.
Caleb’s choice: Plated Goliath
Pack 2 Pick 4
Seat of Cunning and Seek Power are two great pieces of fixing to pick up here, and with a whole rainbow in my card pool I believe this is about time to get one of them. Seek Power is much better in this situation, as it can get any color for us. I also have to note that we are getting passed very mediocre curated packs here.
Caleb’s choice: Seek Power
Pack 2 Pick 5
Conflagrate is the best card here, but not one I am going to pick. This choice is more one between Bannerman for the universal fixing and Shamebearer for a unit-curse combo. In this case I am willing to go for the more adult route with fixing – yes, I am sorely lacking it, even this early on.
Caleb’s choice: Bannerman
Pack 2 Pick 6
If I am really thinking about playing Time, Scorpion Wasp is a great card, a universal removal people are usually not expecting. It is also better in my opinion than Flash Freeze – a great, fast way to knock two units out for two turns. At this point I am considering Time as a third color to compliment Hooru much more than Shadow. That means that Wasp – you are in!
Caleb’s choice: Scorpion Wasp
Pack 2 Pick 7
…right before getting passed Feln Insignia for my fixing in a rather empty pack. Correction – a very powerful pack! There is also Token of Honor aka bad Hooru Insignia and Cobalt Coin. To be honest I should have gone for the Coin, maaaaaybe for the Token, but I still believed in at least splashing and trying out Blood of Makkar. Yes, this is a moment where you should really mull over both the picks you have made already and their implications in regard to what colors are (and thus will be) coming your way. As of writing this article I would have chosen differently … probably.
Caleb’s choice: Feln Insignia
Pack 2 Pick 8
And once again, bounce back into Time territory.
Caleb’s choice: Living Offering
Pack 2 Pick 9
Given that I am not picking any red cards…
Caleb’s choice: Sadistic Ritualist
Pack 2 Pick 10
This Curse is usually not worth it. Spirit Drain is way too expensive for what it does. I mean, if you are sorely lacking removal then I guess it is … playable. Cloak has a lot of potential, though, and is easier played as a splash.
Caleb’s choice: Trickster’s Cloak
Pack 2 Pick 11
Caleb’s choice: Trickster’s Cloak
Pack 2 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Sinister Opportunist
Pack 3 Pick 1
This is why most of us are drafting, right? To get. That. Legendary! Horde Plunderer may not have the most amazing stat line, but its ability is an interesting one, especially if you started on a Muster train. I do not believe we have any ways of triggering Premonition Wisp. Cobalt Acolyte is the counter-choice here, and a good one. The stat line might be on the lower side, but even without other units it is a 2/1 flier for three. What? I do not have four Plunderers yet? Why, a Spellcraft deck would be a great addition to the Deck Check video series … Now, if I only got passed a Changeestik …
Caleb’s choice: Horde Plunderer
Pack 3 Pick 2
… is what I really thought at that point in the draft. Prophecy complete. Yes, Changeestik is as busted now as it has been each time it was in a draft format. It might not win games as fast as Heretic’s Cannon, but it is more than enough – good old evasion + removal combo. I am sorry, am I going to write about Bold Adventurer as an option here? No! End of story (not the card, though, it is not in the format).
Caleb’s choice: Changeestik
Pack 3 Pick 3
Right now it seems that we are in Justice and Primal, with Time … and maybe, just maybe Shadow as well. Still that does not leave a lot of choices. Sadistic Glee is my personal favorite when it comes to drafts, with the potential to mill the opponent very quickly, although we currently just have the one Wretched Raven for that strategy. Lightning Strike is generally a good piece of removal. Token of Annihilation is a piece of influence fixing – if I am still in Shadow. Am I, though? I believe that Lightning Strike is the safest choice, in the way that I know I am playing Primal at this point, but Shadow … probably not. Wretched Raven, Eloz’s Elite and Blood of Makkar have synergistic roots laid out in three directions, but I need to choose one or two paths here. I cannot go in all directions at once. That means even less Shadow. Yes, Lightning Strike it is.
Caleb’s choice: Lightning Strike
Pack 3 Pick 4
Unraveling Fanatic is like a precious egg you have to shelter from the world, but when it hatches … into Sanity’s Anathema it is devastating. Not counting Amethyst Acolyte or Granite Coin, the opponent usually needs to spend a piece of removal on it or get buried under a mountain of card advantage. Also, the counter-point here is another attempt at Yeti Snowslinger and one of the Justice weapons. I believe in the Fanatic. But more than that, I believe in Sanity’s Anathema!
Caleb’s choice: Unraveling Fanatic
Pack 3 Pick 5
A lot of mediocre packs … then being rewarded with Fanatic and Linebreaker’s Shield now. This is just such a great piece of Spellcraft weaponry, I do not believe I need to say any more.
Caleb’s choice: Linebreaker’s Shield
Pack 3 Pick 6
Living Example is an amazing early game unit that powers up each unit that you subsequently draw. The downside is the double Time influence, though, which is a tough way to achieve for a splash color. Strength of Many is a good trick and one that is easier to splash. I am missing fixing, though, and there is a Seat of Wisdom here as well. The question now is whether to take the fixing or the trick? In a situation such as this you should check if you are well on your way to getting to twenty seven – twenty eight playable cards. If you know you will be cutting stuff, you should go for fixing. If you are lacking playables, you should go for the trick, for sure.
Caleb’s choice: Seat of Wisdom
Pack 3 Pick 7
I am going to get right down to the chase and say that while Emerald Coin is a decent card, I will be choosing from between Bring Down and Strength of Many in this pack. The first one is a straight-out removal for fliers, with the Silence effect being very good as well, e.g. on Deadly units mid-combat. Strength of Many is a good support card, but needs you to have units, i.e. a board. It usually can not be played from behind. The other one, on the other hand, can. Right now games often come down to who has the bigger flier. Why not Bring them Down, then?
Caleb’s choice: Bring Down
Pack 3 Pick 8
Bronze Cuirass was much better when there were a lot of Twist units running around. Right now some of them have been cut away and are part of a much bigger curated pool of cards, i.e. you will not be seeing them as often as before. as for the other card, fixing in a three-color deck is much more important than a one-time Scout. That means Bannerman is worth more than a Displaced Oryctodon. After all this pondering, I believe that Bannerman is a pick here. Also, it is nice that we finally have some real choices, even this late in the packs.
Caleb’s choice: Bannerman
Pack 3 Pick 9
None of these are really playable in this draft, but I guess that Seats are generally better than Insignias.
Caleb’s choice: Seat of Fury
Pack 3 Pick 10
This is an Insignia that provides us with fixing, though.
Caleb’s choice: Combrei Insignia
Pack 3 Pick 11
Caleb’s choice: Awaken the Ages
Pack 3 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Synchronized Strike
Pack 4 Pick 1
Hanaka is not any good if you cannot profit from at least his first ability – which leaves him a great card in Rakano Onis, but a weak one otherwise. Bordrlands Lookout – now that I am playing Time – is usually a 2/3 or a 3/4 for just one power, which makes him great value for the price paid. Cult Recruiter and Oni Stalwart have their pros, but none of them compares to the low-low cost of one power.
Caleb’s choice: Borderlands Lookout
Pack 4 Pick 2
Aamri’s Choice is one of the better Choices for sure, and we are playing the factions to support it. Kodosh Sees All is a great finisher for a Curse-heavy deck … to be honest, a Curse-medium deck as well. You just have to play control and let the Gryffyns swarm the board later on. The rest of the cards is mediocre compared to these two. Whereas one is good conditionally and late, the other shines in all situations – both on offense and on defense! This is an easy Choice. Whoops, I spoiled it, I should have said it is an easy choice.
Caleb’s choice: Aamri’s Choice
Pack 4 Pick 3
If I were still considering Shadow I guess Immortalize is the best card in this pack. If not, the choice is between Linrei Evangel and Skyhorror Draconus. The cards I have picked up along the way lead me to believe I am playing a more controlling deck. Also, I have a Skywatch Zealot that might draw a card off of Draconus.
Caleb’s choice: Skyhorror Draconus
Pack 4 Pick 4
Tidecaller is a nice on-curve unit that gives you an additional attacker from time to time. Linrei Evangel is a decent piece of fixing, with its ability being the most meaningless of all the Evangels. Oni Stalwart is a decent blocker as well. Right now you should take a look at your power curve, the fact whether you are a defensive or an aggressive deck and the fact how much more fixing you you need. After contemplating all of those facts I have made my choice … but honestly you could not go wrong with the Shaman or the Oni.
Caleb’s choice: Tidecaller
Pack 4 Pick 5
I have no Curse cards to get with the Raven (Blood of Makkar is out for now). That leaves me with probably just the Tidecaller, then? I mean, there is also Wilderness Refuge here, and we do have Horde Plunderer, but I do not believe that Relic is necessary.
Caleb’s choice: Tidecaller
Pack 4 Pick 6
There are no truly good cards in here, but I do have a Nivia’s Inquisitor in my pool, which makes the Decimate on Storm of Feathers that much better.
Caleb’s choice: Storm of Feathers
Pack 4 Pick 7
I guess the Refuge is better than Inflict Conscience only because I have a Horde Plunderer in my pool and I have no Curse synergies.
Caleb’s choice: Wilderness Refuge
Pack 4 Pick 8
It is great to see a piece of influence fixing this late, for a three-color deck especially.
Caleb’s choice: Elysian Insignia
Pack 4 Pick 9
Wow! There is a huge choice to be made here! It is the time to take a look at the cards you have drafted and see whether you have enough 2-drops and 3-drops to fill your curve. If you have enough playables on both accounts then just go for the power. If not, you should fill your void.
Caleb’s choice: Linrei Evangel
Pack 4 Pick 10
Another great piece of fixing for a three-plus color deck.
Caleb’s choice: Ancient Manual
Pack 4 Pick 11
Caleb’s choice: Rent Seeker
Pack 4 Pick 12
Caleb’s choice: Icy Gaze
This has been a wild ride. Switching colors is always tricky, especially if you are mentally hung up on one of the colors you will be taking out of your deck – in this case it is Shadow. I truly wanted to test out Blood of Makkar, as well as just milling the opponents. Turns out that is not the case and the easiest way to go about this draft is to just take out the Shadow cards entirely and leave this to be just a three-color deck.
That just leaves two cards that have to be taken out. With twenty units in the pool, that is where I want to go usually – as having between seventeen and twenty units (closer to the lower number) is usually key. Rent Seeker is an easy but, being the laughing stock of the Justice units. the other cut goes for Misery Walker, with just one Curse-on-a-unit to trigger its ability. Adding Power is a bit more tricky, but I somehow manage to do that, with having just four sources that come into play depleted.
Throughout the whole deck building process I was saying that this was a bad deck and I would be happy if it had gotten more than two wins. And you know what It surprised me and did get more than two wins. In fact, it got seven wins without suffering any losses, making it my twenty-ninth 7-0 draft.
The cards just clicked together and created nice tempo. Horde Plunderer was performing quite well each time I saw it. Changeestik is still as busted as it was with Spellcraft 4. I mean, there were a lot of fillers in this deck, such as Icy Gaze and Synchronized Strike, but even they were here instead of additional units to provide small, situational advantages. That is what drafts are all about, right?
Now once again I have some homework for you, dear reader! Try and go through these picks once again. What colors would you end up with and why? 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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