I love new set week! Echoes of Eternity is an extremely powerful set, full of build-arounds and obviously powerful cards. There are tons of new ideas being tossed round on reddit, discord, and the ladder, and they will take some time to refine, so instead of talking about decklists, today I’m going to be talking about the cards from EoE that excite me the most.
Kato, Arena Herald
Kato is like Spark Hatcher, only you get another 0/1 if you pay another power, and then late game he is a very reasonable two 8/8s for 3 power. It doesn’t take much to get me excited about sacrifice decks, but when you get a tool this sweet, EVERYONE should be! He’s even a cultist to Bargain out Ark of Sol – Kato does everything, and I’m definitely going to be playing a lot of him.
Digging 5 cards deep is a HUGE boost in consistency for relic decks, and the fact that you can hit a power, too, means you will rarely whiff – with 33 hits (8 relics in your deck on top of 25 power) you will miss less than 5% of the time. While this does mean you need two distinct relics, it isn’t hard to find a supplementary relic for most decks that will want this. Elves, for example, really wants to find Sunset Stone, but it can easily include a Tome of Horrors and Numbing Cold for an Elvish Swindler package, or just jam some Waystone Fragments in the deck. A Combustion Cell deck can play another sacrifice relic like Brimstone Altar, Shavka’s Lute, or Shrine to Karvet. Calibrate is going to see tons of play in a wide variety of decks, and be very good in them provided you can find at least eight relics you want to play.
Crack the Earth
All of the Market spells are exciting, but Crack the Earth is my favorite for a few reasons. There are a lot of exciting and powerful cards at 5 cost, especially in Time (various fatties, Grodov’s Burden, Striking Snake Formation, Eremot’s Machinations, Xenan Temple to name a few). The 1/1 Crack summons is a Cultist, so you can use it to Bargain Ark of Sol (have I mentioned that Ark of Sol is ridiculous?), and it’s a unit, so it synergizes with all of the cool cards that want sacrifice fodder.
It’s a sloth! Need I say more? Okay, okay, in addition to being super cute, Gentle Grazer is also really strong. You don’t want Seek Power in your deck with Grazer if you can avoid it, as it is a weak hit, but it isn’t difficult to fill your 2 slot with all removal to have a 3/2 Ambush 2-for-1 on demand. Perhaps your 2 drops could be all removal and Evenhanded Golem? Also, in case you didn’t notice, Grazer has Corrupted, so in the late game (or if you’re already ahead on board and don’t want to commit more cards) you can just play another card. Echoes of Eternity has some preeeeeety strong cards in it.
Sloth is also another Ambush unit that gives critical mass for Endless Nightmare. Between Grazer, Sabertooth Pride-Leader, Banish, Defile, Annihilate, and Damara, it won’t be hard to give Nightmare Killer and bring it back every turn. I do love midrange unit Xenan decks!
I don’t know what you want me to say – you can read the card. Completely broken and absurd, with the only ask being to play 30ish monofaction units in your deck. Great in a board stall, great against removal-heavy decks, and even a removal spell in the late game. Just wow.
Remember when they nerfed Heart of the Vault? Yeah, he’s back. What an absurd card. The drawback of the opponent playing a couple strangers after you play your big stranger isn’t even that bad, as an attack regains all of the card advantage, and also randomly hates on the void for some reason. Even Elysian was weak to reanimator, and that needed fixing, apparently.
Grodov’s Stranger is going to see the most play of any Echoes of Eternity card in both formats.
This one is more of a role player, but there are a fair number of Time decks that wanted card draw and played small units that love Distillation, and it’s the card besides Grodov’s Stranger that I’ve put in the most decks so far. Three cards is so many cards.
I love Invoking, and this guy can easily Invoke twice! The ask is really not very high, as there are tons of playable Flying units in all factions at cheap costs, and they even got Majestic Skies as an excellent support card. I think the Skies decks definitely want this card, as it is a very low-effort 3-for-1 that is easy to enable. Also, Invoke is fun!
Damara, Deft Saboteur
Wow, another card that is completely packed with abilities! 3/1 Ambush for 2 is a fine stat line, and can be used as a bad Lightning Strike, but Damara also does several other things. Most Sites have 4 health, so unblockable against Sites isn’t THAT important, but it is nice trinket text. The ultimate is the real juice, though – in grindy mirrors, stealing your opponent’s expensive market card can be back-breaking. Against combo decks, you might just instantly win. And, my favorite of all, is that it works with The Merriest Mandrake! Mandrake was already a borderline competitive deck, and getting another great Ultimate unit in Damara and a devastating swing card in Eremot’s Machinations could push it up to tier 1.
Another broken Stranger, though this one is a little worse in the stranger mirror since the attack trigger does nothing. It also oddly incentivizes you to play FEWER strangers in your deck, as if both players are playing Strangers with a Makkar’s Stranger in play, the player with FEWER Strangers in their deck comes out ahead, as most of their draws from the opponent’s deck are strangers that draw more cards, where the opponent’s draws from their deck are less likely to hit Strangers that keep drawing. Truly bizarre stuff.Also, regardless of that nonsense, Makkar’s Stranger is broken and absurd.
Pale Rider’s Timepiece
I love The Witching Hour, so more Pale Rider cards will always have my attention. The Spellcraft is mostly flavor text, but it will come up in some longer games or in Horde Plunderer decks and be great. Even without the Spellcraft, this is the strongest Weapon we’ve ever seen. It provides a huge Killer unit with Lifesteal to stabilize the board, and it provides evasion. It’s compares favorably to Cirso’s Cleaver in two fewer factions and for less power. I’m going to play Timepiece a lot fairly, and also try to put it on Zealous Artisan.
Unlock the Vault
This one is a little more speculative, as I haven’t actually played or theorycrafted a deck with Unlock the Vault yet, but it seems potentially broken. Some self-mill into Unlock for Shavka’s Embrace or Sword of the Sky King, Pit of Lenekta or Martyr’s Chains, and Pale Rider’s Timepiece or Cirso’s Cleaver sounds exciting. Someday, somebody will break this.
Strange Burglar is a lot of stats for 4 power, and the draw ability is very efficient if you don’t care about your health total. A sacrifice deck that is more aggressive than Grenadin definitely wants this, as it can push the go-wide damage while also refilling for a very cheap rate. Only 2 power to draw three cards, jeez…
I mentioned Machinations briefly earlier, so I’ll just take this opportunity to name a few of the piles I’m most excited to bring back.
Xenan Lifespeaker, The Merriest Mandrake, Aviasaur Patriarch
Nahid’s Faithful, Zhen-Zu, Shadowlands Guide
Alessi, some Combrei beaststick 2 and 3 drops
Weary Spiteling, Magenta Wisp, Soulbringer (with Mitotic Wisp in play)
Sporefolk and a Merchant in a reanimator-style deck, maybe with Spitefeeder as well
Machinations is such a versatile and powerful card that I’m sure there will be many shells for it I haven’t thought of, as well. It’s also a fine market card that Crack the Earth can fetch in decks with lots of cheap units.
Echoes of Eternity has brought an astonishing number of interesting cards, and these are just the ones I’m most excited about – there are plenty more cards that are powerful or potentially worth building around, but are not my style or I just missed. What excites you most about the new set?
Until next time, may all your brews be successful!