Hello, my fellow Eternal drafting aficionados! Today I will not be tackling a singular draft-through, but set my sights on a more theoretical piece of limited information. Today I will talk about the results of some of my experimental drafts. How experimental, you might ask? For the last couple of weeks I have tried playing around with some of the more build-around cards from the current draft format, like Sinister Design, Clan Barracks or Dizo’s Racket. I have even tweeted about a week ago that I would like to specifically make a Dizo’s Racket deck if I open one up in one of my drafts. It was my very next draft! Shh, DWD is listening to all your tweets!
What made me want to go deep with such a strange card? In my Dark Frontier Card Ratings of Awesomeness, on a scale of one to ten, I have rated Dizo’s Racket as an asterisk, with a side note that said: I have not played with this card yet. I am guessing it is 1/10 in most decks, 3/10 in decks that have a couple of armor effects but theoretically could be a build-around if you additionally have some Lifesteal units. Now, after playing around with this card, I would like to extend that note into a tl;dr article.
Let me give you some theory about the card, first. It is a four cost Shadow relic that says When you gain Armor, draw that many cards and take twice that much damage. That means all the Armor you would gain is gone, you lose some life and draw some cards. Seems not to straightforward, right? Is it a good card? Not in a vacuum (i.e. not in every deck), but is there a deck you could build around this card? Read on and you will find out!
As this card is a strict build-around, not just an addition to any deck, it is best to start out when you get this in pack one in the first few picks. It is also not an easy task, building your deck around a card, as specific cards might just not come your way, so be careful and be ready to switch colors if nothing comes your way when you are half through your second pack. The upside, though, is that you will be able to make more out of cards that are much worse in other circumstances (i.e. should be passed later in the packs). Oh, and a Dizo’s Racket deck should be very fun to play with.
What is the general strategy of a drafted Dizo’s Racket deck? First of, most of the Armor-generating effects are in Justice, which would mean that yours will be an Argenport deck, with or without additional splashes – I will get to them later and first focus on the core. Next comes the question – is a Dizo’s Racket deck just another Armor-matter / Relic Weapon deck? The answer is a profound NO! The sole fact of how the card works makes all (well, most) of your relic weapons quite bad when you have Racket out in play. Bandit’s Flail is a four cost effect that draws you two cards and deals two damage to you – which is much worse than Wisdom of the Elders.
Remember, you will probably not draw the centerpiece card in all of your games, which means your deck has to have means of winning on its own. Also, the only thing that Dizo’s Racket does is actually draw you more cards – it does not deal damage to the opponent, it does not mill them, it does not win the game on its own. It is just a support card than can get out of control and provide you with an enormous amount of resources to battle thy foe.
I will say it again – relic weapons are worse in a Dizo’s Racket deck than in the usual Argenport armory deck. That does not mean that they are completely useless, as you will not have Racket in play all the time. There are some cards that are much worse even bordering on unplayable in a Dizo’s Racket deck. Let me give you some examples: Kosul Bladebarrier, Kemmo’s Blueprints, Reforge, Armorsmith, Auric Weaponsmith, Valkyrie Bodyguard or Rise to the Challenge.
Your synergy with the relic should come from other cards, ones that give you Armor while doing things on their own. Pioneering Aviator, Tauride Test Pilot, Shieldcrafter, Silverwing Smith, Soaring Guard and Throne Warden are decent-to-great units that give you Armor. With Dizo’s Racket in play, Throne Warden becomes a five cost 4/4 with Aegis that deals four damage to you and draws you four cards. That changes him from good to insanely great, right? A special mention goes to Silver Shortsword – draw six cards for two power is good, right? Yes, but that leads to two problems. First the smaller one – you are drawing so many cards you are in danger of milling yourself – you should always consider the number of cards in your deck when playing this kind of deck. Oh, and the bigger problem – while drawing cards you are also slowly dying.
The latter problem can be dealt with quite easily if you know how to prepare for it – and that is with copious amounts of Lifesteal! There are a lot of units that gain you life each time they deal damage and should be picked much higher when making such a deck. Stuff like Relentless Deadhot, Lethrai Direbeast, Livia, Hexweaver, Razorquill, Spiteful Strike, Crownwatch Standard, Shieldsmith, Geomar, Dreamsnatcher, Extract, Auric Captain, Shadowlands Tyrant, Elder Astrologer, The End is Near and Dizo’s Office are obviously very good or even great on their own, but having them in this deck gives each and every one another point or two on my ratings scale. You have to remember about some outstanding cards as well – if these do not come your way – as you also have things like the lowly Amethyst Coin, Cabal Cutthroat, Savior of the Meek or Sorrow’s Shroud that should be on your radar. A special mention goes to Lifedrinker – the relic weapon that gives you Lifesteal until the end of turn and you can just go bonkers on all the Armor-related card draw!
Okay, so the problems (and solutions) do not end here. Remember, you also need to draw said Dizo’s Racket from your deck first. There is a Shadow common card that goes very late in drafts and that is Scheme – for just three power it lets you draw one of the top four cards from your deck. That is a lot of filtering through! A second copy of the Racket would not hurt, either. Other cards you might want to think of are Merchants and Smugglers and whether you want the Racket to be in your deck or in your Market. Last, but not least, you might also open up the legendary Governor Sahin and play some other relics (like relic weapons) and sacrifice them in order to find your centerpiece.
Most of the theory is behind us now. The only thing left to discuss is whether this type of deck should just be two colors, or should we be looking for a splash as well. I have looked over the other colors and yes, there are some options for splashing. Let me get through the other colors, one at a time.
Fire is quite easy. There are some cards that are quite easy to splash – removal such as Streets Aflame or Granite Coin, tricks such as Shugo Standard or finishers such as Heretic’s Cannon – but there is almost nothing that strictly helps you with the synergies of your deck. Let us move on!
Time is much more promising! You have the rare options of getting Alessi, Combrei Archmage or Stronghold Visage, both of which provide you with additional, constant ways of
gaining Armor drawing cards. This color also offers you a lot of ways to recuperate your life total, such as Corrupted Behemoth, Refresh, Learned Herbalist, Gathering Lights, Healer’s Cloak or Ayan, the Abductor. There are also cards like Horn of Plenty or Blurred Stygimoloch that act as finishers.
Primal offers a different kind of solution – filtering through your deck. Here you have your Gustrider, Lightning Sprite, Pitfall Trap and Trailblaze that can help you find your Dizo’s Racket. Other things you might in this color is just additional removal in form of Clan Standard, Lightning Strike, Ice Bolt, Permafrost and Avalanche Yeti, with the occasional bomb in the form of Lethrai Soothsayer.
I hope you got this far with a great need to open up a Racket or two in your next draft. Remember this, though – while this deck archetype (if I could call it that) still supports cards like Horngrinder, Grit is still an unplayable card! …or is it?
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