Hello and welcome back to TheBoxer’s Corner! Today I am going to talk about a topic that has been bugging more for a while but I haven’t gotten around to writing up until now. The simple phrase “we could put it in the market.” The market is not a place to shove your cards you couldn’t fit in the main deck. The market is a part of your deck. You build the deck as a whole, the market should not be an afterthought.
You want the market to be where you look for what you need, not the cards that couldn’t cut it for the main deck. You want it to be the main part of IKEA with all kinds of well-manufactured, ingenious Swedish engineering, not the As-Is section with half of a lamp, a chair with 3 legs, and a desk that gets stuck when you pull a shelf out.
It is common logic in other games that are like Eternal such as Magic that the best deck builders build 75 card decks (60+15) not 60 and then 15. In Eternal this logic doesn’t seem as common place. Choosing what Merchants to play should be one of your first decisions you make while building a deck. Whether or not you play a black market has huge ramifications. Especially when considering cards like Garden of Omens or Icaria. Although Smugglers act as virtual copies, some cards are important to play more than one copy of in a game.
Being situational is not a sufficient condition for being included in your market nor is it a necessary condition. Garden of Omens is and example of this. You want the most access you can have to the card so you play 3+1 through Jennev Merchant. Grasping at Shadows is a similar such card. Your market is part of your gameplan.
Although sometimes a narrow card is part of your gameplan against a certain deck, sometimes cards are too narrow. A recent example is Adjudicator’s gavel in Expedition. Its effect is more narrow than silencing one card in the Shadow deck’s market and up to 4 cards in their main deck. This is a waste of a market slot. If you include a narrow card you want it to be impactful and fit with your game plan. Scourge of Frosthome is the perfect example of this. It is only good against control and some midrange during the very late game. But when you play it, it is game over. How many times have you seen Unitless beat Scourge? Now compare that to how many times you have seen Argenport beat Gavel in Expedition. Another example that sometimes comes up is Citywide Ban. Have there been spots where Ban is good? Yes. Is it good as a generic midrange mirror breaker? No. If you are tanking on what to ban I’m laughing to myself as I realized this game got a lot easier.
The market is not extra room to shove cards you couldn’t find room for in the main deck. Don’t put your threat that didn’t quite get there in the market. Whenever you go to get a card from the market it comes with a significant tempo loss. Although this tempo loss depends on how understatted the merchant in question is, it is rare for there to be none. Your market has to account for this. This is why at some points in the history of the game we have seen aggro decks that forgo markets all together. There simply are not cards that make up for this tempo loss. Edicts are great market cards. They are cheap and effective. Avigraft is not what you want in your aggro market. If I am a midrange deck I am thrilled that you spent your turn 4 playing (insert unplayable 4 cost removal here e.g. Cremate or In Cold Blood). The faster your deck is, the cheaper your market cards should be. No aggro deck should market Flamestoker or Azindel’s Gift. These cards are good against control only if you are playing a deck that can reasonably play them.
You want a nice balance between your market and your main deck. If your main deck is light on power you will want a Banner (or two if you’re Popotito). If your main deck is lacking catch all answers (or answers at all like Reanimator) your market should have some. When you go to the market you want to be able to grab what you need, if your market is redundant with your main deck and your main deck has a glaring weakness what is the purpose there? You have a way to access cards that fit into your game plan but are not good draws in a majority or major minority of games.
At one point in Eternal’s history it felt like everyone had relic removal in their market. Right now I feel like most people have learned to not blindly include this in their market but I will make this point anyways in case that changes. You don’t always need relic removal. Before you put relic removal into your deck think to yourself “what relics do I need to answer?” This is a very different question than “what relics are in the meta?” An example of why this is different is a deck very near and dear to my heart: Grenadin. GT100, a very skilled player, cut the market Waystone from the list I won an ETS with and LightsOutAce built for a copy of Burglarize. Grenadin gets such a powerful late game engine going that it can beat Chains and it doesn’t care about cards such as Sword of the Sky King. Waystone is crucial to the gameplan of playing The Witching Hour. The deck is very top heavy so the Waystone was one of the most important market cards. After winning the ECQ, and having some conversations with LightsOutAce he came to the same conclusion the two of us had, that the market Burglarize was a mistake, and not necessary for the game plan. On a similar note you don’t always need Harsh Rule in your market if you don’t have it in your main deck. Please for the love of Sol don’t play Harsh Rule in your aggro market. Harsh Rule might be the most overrated card in the history of Eternal. Is it a bad card? No. Not most of the time. But the decks that want to play it are less common than a lot of people think. Another common folly I’ve seen is including too much top end in a market. How many 8 cost or more cards do you really need in the FTJ market? Do you really need Kairos, Pit of Lenekta, and Sol’s rest to win the mirrors? Or do you really need Chains in addition to Scourge in Hooru control? Needing to build an unbalanced market might be a sign that your main deck is constructed improperly.
Building a market is both one of the most difficult and most important parts of building a deck. The more you think of the deck and the market as 80 cards rather than 75+5 the more you will succeed in building a good market, or in very rare cases realizing a market is not necessary to the game plan. Your market should be a smörgåsbord of powerful tools not the As Is section with dressers with broken drawers. In my next article I’m going to talk about the work I’ve put into tuning Expedition Argenport alongside LightsOutAce, the creator of the deck. Tusen takk for at du leser (thousand thanks for reading)!