Created by Calebovitsch
1. Foreword and forward!
Eternal Card Game is currently one of the biggest digital card games out there and is widely known as one of the best free-to-play ones. The amount of free content the developers are throwing at players is just enormous. One of the best ways of building your card collection in Eternal is just playing the game – usually either in ranked mode or draft mode. Given my long history with playing limited formats in Magic: the Gathering and later arenas in Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, I am more familiar with the latter option.
As of writing this I have been playing Eternal since October 2018 and I have managed to free-to-play my way into the Master rank in constructed in six days and into the Master rank in draft in sixteen days. I have also managed to stay at #1 Master rank at multiple occasions and sprinted to the Master rank in May 2019 in 6 hours 14 minutes. That is the Eternal resume of the person who is going to tell you all about The Flame of Xulta drafts otherwise known as Set 7 drafts.
2. What does asynchronous drafting look like?
Let me tell you about the basics of drafting first. The draft is asynchronous, which means you are not drafting with other people in real time, and thus can take as much time as you need to pick your cards. You can read all of them, you can even watch a movie between picks – nobody is waiting for you to make your choices at that moment.
You will be presented with four cards packs, or rather sets of card packs. In each of those sets you will first see a whole pack – twelve cards, with one of them being a rare or – if you are lucky – a legendary, three of them being uncommons and eight being commons. You are going to pick one of those cards – it goes to your draft pool, i.e. the cards that you can later use to build your deck. Oh, and also – the card is yours. For your collection. You are welcome!
After you pick your first card you are going to see another pack, this time consisting of eleven cards. After each pick you are going to see another pack consisting of one fewer card until you pick the only card remaining. Then the second set of packs kicks in and once again you will pick one of twelve cards. Wash, rinse, repeat for four sets of packs and you will have forty eight cards total, with the obvious option of adding basic Sigils to your deck as well.
Now, there are two types of packs (I will now use the term packs instead of sets of packs). Packs one and four (i.e. your picks 1 – 12 and 37 – 48) are the so-called curated packs – cards from sets 1 – 6 (not from the campaigns) that were chosen by the game developers to work well with the current main set. Most of these packs were previously seen and drafted by other people. Picks 1 and 37 are from packs opened by you. Picks 2 and 38 are from packs opened by Person A and passed to you. Picks 3 and 39 are from packs opened by Person B, then passed to Person A and finally passed to you. Picks 4 and 40 are from packs opened by Person C, then passed to Person B, then to Person A and finally to you – etc. This means these packs are being given to you along the line of eleven other people.
Packs two and three (i.e. your picks 13 – 24 and 25 – 36), are regular The Flame of Xulta packs, just like the ones you can get in-game. These packs are also given to you along the line of eleven other people, but these are not the people who gave you the curated packs, nor are these people the ones that you passed your curated packs to. Just eleven other random drafters.
There are a couple of implications of what I have written. First of all, the signals you will see in pack one will also be viable for pack four. The same goes for packs two and three, respectively. Another thing – there is no sense in cutting colors or hate-drafting like in real-time draft groups. You are not going to receive any cards from the people you passed your packs to, nor will you play against them. Well, there is a non-zero probability of the latter happening, but you will never know. Also, each full twelve-card pack has at least one card of each color. This means if there is a color missing when you have your second pick, at least you know where the person passing you the packs is leaning towards.
3. What changed from the previous draft format?
The changes from the previous draft format are huge. Not only has the main set changed from Dark Frontier to the new kid on the block – The Flame of Xulta, there has been a big shake-up with the curated packs as well. Due to the changes with the Expedition format, the number of cards in the curated packs have gone up from 461 to 818, with some of the cards appearing in those packs five times more often than other cards of its rarity.
The first thing people wonder about in a new draft format is usually How many colors should I play? Right now the influence fixing is being given out mostly in the uncommon slots, but it is also weighed in our favor in the curated packs. It is not as overabundant as it was in the Trials of Grodov draft format, nor as scarce as it was in the Dark Frontier draft format. All of that means you should usually end up with a two-color or a three-color deck, with the third one being a splash more often than a full presence. Influence fixing is covered in more detail later in this guide.
Another change one might notice when going through all the cards available is that there are a lot of two-part synergies in the format. Some cards are pretty bad on their own, but can shine like a glorious beacon of hope in the right environment. That makes rating cards in a vacuum and giving them just a single note much more difficult, and results in answering the question Should I pick card R or card J? with That depends more often than usual. The synergies and card ratings (both general and synergistic) are covered in much more detail later in this guide.
In The Flame of Xulta packs we have some themes and abilities from older sets we have not seen in a while, like Fate, Spellcraft or Ally. There are also six new mechanics:
- Mastery is a new keyword that rewards successfully dealing damage and surviving. A unit achieves Mastery when it deals total damage equal to its Mastery number. You do not need to deal all the damage at once and cards track their Mastery progress throughout zones. If a card has multiple Mastery effects, all damage dealt by it count towards all the Mastery effects at the same time. Similar to Ultimate, Mastery can refresh and be used again if the unit leaves play and returns later. It is present on forty units and one weapon.
- Muster is an ability that can be triggered once per turn. In order to do that, you must play an attachment and a spell in the same turn while the Muster card is in play. There are a lot of ways for doing that, given that the attachment category is quite wide, and it will be covered later in the strategies and synergies section of the guide. It is present on eleven units in Time and Primal.
- Decimate is a new way to power up some cards. When you play a card with this keyword, you may permanently spend one maximum power to increase its potency and use the Decimate clause. There are also four cards that trigger when you Decimate your power. Decimate itself is present on twenty three cards.
- Exalted is a new battle skill that allows a fallen unit to pass its legacy onto an ally. When a unit with Exalted dies, you can play a weapon with its strength, health, battle skills (without Exalted itself) and cost on one of your other units. There are sixteen cards with Exalted or ones that give Exalted to your units.
- Bargain is a very narrow mechanic that lets you play cards directly from your Market. In order to do that, you have to jump through several hoops – you have to be able to have a Market (by having a Merchant or a Bargain card in your deck) with a Bargain card in it, satisfy the Bargain clause on a card (usually by hitting the enemy player with specific units) and pay the power cost of the card. There are five rare cards with Bargain, but you will probably not see them in play in drafts.
- Invoke is a mechanic even more narrow than Bargain, because it can only be seen on five legendary units. When you Invoke a faction, e.g. Shadow, you are presented with three cards from that faction – a spell, a unit and an attachment. You then choose to create and draw one of them.
With the new huge curated card pool we have a ton of old mechanics as well. Right now the things might be a bit more overwhelming to some of the newer players, because there is also Pledge, Renown, Empower, Amplify, Lifeforce, Tribute etc. Also, some of the synergies keyword-specific to the new set, e.g. Decimate, cannot be found in the curated packs, while others, e.g. Curses or Spellcraft Weapons that help trigger Muster are present in packs two and three.
4. How to approach picking cards?
When you look at a new potential pick always take a look at the rare or legendary first – if there is one still available. These cards usually have the potential of being the biggest bombs in the game. On the other hand never skip over the remaining cards, because you might just miss that 10/10 common card that is the cornerstone of your archetype. Usually in the first picks you should focus on very powerful cards. They do not need to be in the same color – in fact, I advise you to go as wide as three colors early on. Obviously if you are thinking between two cards at a similar power level you should pick the one in your current colors, as that is the one you are more likely to end up playing. Also remember which two- and three-color combinations play well together or have overarching themes, e.g. there are many Dragon-matter cards in Fire, Primal and Shadow.
Throughout the rest of the first pack try to read the signals that are coming your way. This means look for good cards that you are getting in picks 7 – 12. If there are multiple signals for a specific color or color combination, this means that you are probably going to get a lot from these colors later in pack four.
By the end of pack one you should have an idea of which color or colors are you going to play. In pack two try and pick the cards in these colors, but remember that the signals you saw previously will mean nothing in this and the next pack. The ideal situation is for you to pick cards from one or two main color in packs one and four, but be open to other possibilities in packs two and three.
By the end of pack three you should have most of your deck ready. Do a final card count and unit count, take a look at your power curve. Picks from pack four should mainly smooth out your power curve and replace filler cards.
5. What should your deck look like?
By the end of the draft you should have a pool consisting of forty eight cards, each and every one of them ready to be played. Let me now tell you how your end build should look like in general. There are four main tips I am going to give you and they regard power, influence, units and overall curve.
Oh! Always play a forty five card deck! No exceptions! This way you can maximize the chances of drawing the best cards from your entire draft pool. Now, let us get to the less obvious things.
When it comes to power the base line is usually 40% – by that I mean around 40% of your cards should be power cards. In a forty five card deck that equals eighteen power cards. Simple? Yes, but wait – there is more to it. Some cards help you by providing more power, more influence or the other way around – can make use of any spare power you might have. You also need to remember that if you do not have a lot of influence fixing, i.e. ways of providing yourself with enough colors to play the cards you have, you might need to play more power. To sum up, just follow the math equation given below:
- If you are playing Seek Power, you should count each as a power card.
- If you are playing at least two units that ramp up your power, e.g. Trail Maker, Amber Acolyte or Bulbous Humbug, you should decrease your power count by one.
- If you have at least five Scout effects that cost one or two power, you should decrease your power count by one.
- If your power curve is low, i.e. you have up to four 5-cost and 6-cost cards, you should decrease your power count by one.
- If your power curve is high, i.e. you have more than four 6-cost cards or higher, you should increase your power count by one.
- If you are playing three or more colors with almost no influence fixing, you should increase your power count by one – especially if you need double influence from all three colors.
- If you have at least three Pledge units, you should decrease your total power count by one.
- If you have four or more Decimate cards, you should increase your total power count by one.
- If you have a lot of power sinks, i.e. effects that make you use your power over and over or Amplify cards or Spellcraft cards or you have a lot of looting effects, i.e. effects that let you draw and discard cards, you should increase your power count by one – as you will either be spending or discarding your excessive power.
Obviously there are more scenarios than I described above, but generally the more power your cards are consuming, the higher your power base should be, and vice versa.
Influence and fixing
There have been a lot of ups and downs when it comes to the amount of influence fixing in the last several draft formats. Right now we are sitting somewhere in the middle with ten uncommon Seats, ten uncommon Insignias, five common Tokens, five common Evangels, Ancient Manual, Bannerman and Seek Power at our disposal. If you are playing Time you also have the option to pick up Trail Maker, Learned Herbalist, Amber Acolyte and Bulbous Humbug.
As a side note, due to the weighed probability of some cards appearing in the curated packs five times more often than other cards in that rarity, we are seeing more Seats, Insignias and Tokens, which makes finding fixing in those packs even more common.
What all of this results in is a split between two-color decks and three-color decks being played. Herein also lies a huge difference when it comes to the value of all the influence fixing cards. If you are running a two-color deck without heavy influence requirements (i.e. you do not have any legendaries like Rujin, Conflict Within or Aamri, Dragonbane) you do not need any influence fixing for your deck to work properly (at least most of the time). That also means that you do not need to pick Insignias or Seats over good quality units that are in the same packs. Evangels are still good picks because they are solid 2-drops on their own.
On the other hand, if you are running a three-color deck where one of those colors is a splash, you should pick up three to five pieces of influence fixing to help you be able to play all the splashed cards. Also – in this situation – if you have many such cards to choose from in one pack, usually you want to get a dual card with your main and splash color. This way in the end deck you might not need to get any basic Sigils from the splash color, which is the preferred way to go with splashing.
When you are figuring out your power requirements, remember that the number of influence sources for your colors should be:
- 3 – 5 for a small splash color that needs max one influence
- 5 – 7 for a medium splash color that needs up to two influence
- 7 – 11 for your main color / colors
There is a fringe case to be made for the recently added cycle of quintuple-influence legendaries with Warp, i.e. Ghodan, Undefeated, Xumucan, the Surveyor, Sediti, the Killing Steel, Rost, the Walking Glacier and Tasbu, the Forbidden. Their requirements are very restrictive and unless you are running a lot of sources of that color, you might be in trouble. To use statistics – if you are running 10 Shadow Sigils and a Tasbu, you have a 4% chance of being able to play him on turn 5, a 10% chance of playing him on turn 7 and 23% chance of playing him on turn 10. Let me roll out the math even more:
- with 11 sources these numbers rise to 7%, 15% and 32%, respectively,
- 12 sources – 11% / 21% / 42%
- 13 sources – 15% / 28% / 52%
- 14 sources – 20% / 36% / 62%
- 15 sources – 26% / 44% / 70%
- 16 sources – 32% / 52% / 77%
- 17 sources – 39% / 60% / 83%
- 18 sources – 46% / 67% / 88%
The inclusion of all the Evangels and a higher priority of Seats and Insignias makes this equation a lot easier on yourself, though. If you are lucky enough to open one of these cards in the first pack just remember to pick all the fixing sources that include this particular color.
Please remember that there is a great web-based power calculator that can math out all of your probabilities and demystify all secrets woven by many math-magicians. Feel free to at least give it a try!
When it comes to the unit count, you should have at the very least fifteen of them, more preferably seventeen to nineteen. It occurs more often than not that you might get a very low unit count if you do not pay attention to your card pool while drafting and I have played a couple of decks with fewer than fifteen units. Also do not go higher than twenty units as it is better to have some tricks or even weak Warp cards than an overabundance of mediocre units.
Obviously you should count cards that create units or turn into them as units, e.g. Manufacture. This leaves around nine to ten spots for attachments, spells and – if you are lucky – sites. These numbers are obviously not be-all and end-all to draft deck building, but they are a start.
Another thing – if you have too many 2-drops and they all show up as your only plays, you will just have to scoop to a Horned Vorlunk or even a Swaying Sea Qirin if you do not have anything to back the small guys up.
Power Curve is the number of proactive cards (that means usually units) that you can play out on your turns, given you always play a Power card. Now, if your deck is aggressive, you should have two to four 1-drops (1-cost cards), six to eight 2-drops, no more 3-drops than 2-drops, no more 4-drops than 3-drops etc. If your deck is more midrange or controlling, you can go down to as few as five 1- and/or 2-drops total, five to seven 3-drops, no more 4-drops than 3-drops etc. Remember that if your curve is lower you can get away with playing one fewer power card and if it is higher you will have to play one more power card.
6. What are the main strategies and synergies?
As I have previously mentioned, in the current draft format you will usually end up with a two-color or a three-color deck. This is also a format, where there are a lot of narrower and broader synergies between cards and mechanics. When choosing which colors to draft and to play, always keep those in mind, e.g. Befoul, a Shadow card, is a much better card when you have a lot of smaller units to sacrifice to it, which can be usually found in Time and Fire. This means that if you are going for a Justice/Shadow deck, picking up (or playing) a Befoul might usually not be the best idea.
Some of the cards you encounter in the curated packs will have newfound synergies with the cards from The Flame of Xulta. Remember to keep an open mind, because something as innocent as a Jack’s Knife can be surprisingly powerful right now.
There are also some anti-synergies in this format, but the biggest one I have encountered is the Evangel cycle with Ancient Manual. The Evangels give you influence when you draw them, but if you have an Ancient Manual in your opening hand, you will not be able to use it as a second source of that influence.
Mastery is the most widespread new keyword from The Flame of Xulta and is mostly a self-sufficient one. There is only one card that supports other Mastery units specifically and directly, and that is the legendary Aamri, Dragonbane – which means you will probably not run across it too often. This means that you cannot build a Mastery deck per se, but that does not mean that Mastery units do not synergize with other cards. On the contrary, all decent and good buff spells and weapons you can play directly on your units are very beneficial for triggering Mastery faster than usual – and, obviously, allowing your Mastery units to survive.
All of this has a couple of consequences. First of all, when you are looking at a unit with Mastery and trying to determine whether it is good or not, take two measurements. Is the unit good without its Mastery, probably being just slightly overcosted? How long will it take the unit to achieve its Mastery and is there a huge risk of it dying in combat? To give you an example for these criteria, Ila & Mizo has a great stat line for a 5-drop, even without its Mastery, which makes it a really solid card in draft. On the other hand, Relentless Combatant takes four attacks to get actionable and is quite expensive for its basic statistics.
The more Mastery units you have, the higher you should be valuing both tricks like Finest Hour or High Alert – but they should already be pretty high up there in your ratings – but also weapons, even ones you would usually dismiss earlier, like Jack’s Knife or Hellfire Rifle. Card gaming 101 – always read the text on your cards – in the case of the two above-mentioned weapons, it is the wielder that deals damage to you or your opponent, which does count towards achieving Mastery.
Muster is a very interesting mechanic, but for me is the biggest let down of the whole new set. That is because there are only eleven cards with this ability, three of which are legendaries. You only have four commons and four uncommons in Time and Primal that can be your centerpiece here, unless you were lucky enough to open Sodi the Metamorph or Gnash, Unrelenting.
As far as the Muster units go, most of them have decent stat lines on their own, with their cost being probably one higher than it would be on a unit without that ability. The abilities themselves are all over the place, either being defensive or offensive. The best non-legendary Muster unit is Greenstretch Empath and it is one that can be played even with very few ways of being able to trigger its Muster.
Now comes the hard part. In order to trigger Muster you have to play an attachment and a spell on the same turn (whether your or your opponent’s), but fortunately there are a lot of ways to do it. The most obvious one comes in the form of Spellcraft weapons and relics, as playing one of them with the added cost counts as both playing an attachment and a spell. There are also a couple of spells that play an attachment, i.e. Sodi’s Choice and Cruelty. Also yes, Curses are attachments, as are relics and weapons – with Exalted Weapons being an added bonus category. There are fringe ways of triggering Muster on your opponent’s turn, e.g. blocking with an Exalted unit and playing a spell, which makes the Muster ability one that encourages finesse plays.
A slightly wider category are cards with the Decimate ability. Their flexibility of being able to permanently spend a maximum power in order to gain a much better effect is a kind of a power sink like the Amplify mechanic back in Defiance drafts. Having a lot of Decimate cards means that you are well off playing some additional power sources in your deck, as later in the game you can you your excess power to generate some beneficial effects.
As for cards that synergize with the Decimate ability, there are only four of them, two in Justice and two in Argenport. The most interesting one is for sure Eloz’s Elite, because when you have this common (!) Paladin in play, using Decimate does not cost you maximum power. That, combines with a good, defensive body makes this a great 2-drop. The rare Soulflame Rider gets cheaper for each you have used Decimate in a game, and just by doing that once you have a very powerful and not so expensive unit. Nivia, Most Devoted and Nivia’s Inquisitor make all Paladins or just themselves bigger, respectively, each time you Decimate. Honestly, those cards do not do much by themselves if you do not have any Decimate effects, maybe aside from Nivia, Most Devoted, and Eloz’s Elite, just for their stat lines. As for the Rider and Inquisitor, you need at least three, but optimally more than five Decimate effects in your deck for those cards to truly shine.
As with all two-part synergies, there is a question of whether to pick these cards high and then make all Decimate cards high priority picks, or to pick them up later if you already have some cards with the Decimate ability. As with most choices in drafting, the answer here is – It depends. Do remember, though, that you can only have a shot at Decimate and Decimate-synergy cards in packs one and four.
Exalted is a very good and interesting battle skill, one that allows your units to live past their time as Exalted Weapons wielder by other units. There is no general strategy when it comes to building a deck around these units, unless you count the cheaper ones like Ardent Convert or Skywatch Zealot as good sacrifice sources for cards like Sol’s Fury or Befoul. The other part of Exalted’s potential lies within making said units bigger, either permanently by giving them weapons, or on fast speed during combat. Remember, the Exalted unit passes all statistics and battle skills it has upon death, including temporary buffs, like the one on Dramatic Exit.
What Exalted introduces to the draft format for the most part is the need for finding some counter-plays to it. In a format with so little hard kill spells as this one, it might be difficult to first kill a huge, weaponed up Exalted unit and then have to fight off another, even bigger unit with the Exalted Weapon. Here is where all bounce effects come into play and yes, Exalted is the reason why you should value cards like Teleport, Edict of Grodov, Maddening Whisper and Praxis Displacer even higher in the current format.
Curses are back with a vengeance. Yes, we finally got more Curse-matter cards, as well as a slew of new Curses – all of them in Linrei colors (i.e. Justice/Primal/Shadow). As for the cards that synergize with Curses, there is now a lot of them, mainly Hexcaster, Kodosh Sees All, Calamity Oracle (as a cross-over with Mill), Misery Walker, Parul, Sealkeeper, Conservatory Alchemist, Felrauk’s Choice and Outcast Fortress, with Sinister Opportunist, Malediction Reader and Skywalk Enforcer in the curated packs and Fenris Nightshade, Drifting Death, Parul’s Choice and Thunderclaw Raven for some additional support.
Curses themselves have a lot of synergies outside the above-mentioned cards as well. As I have mentioned, Calamity Oracle supported by Curses can be the main contender for a good Mill deck. Curses themselves are attachments, which counts for that half of triggering Muster. They are also just good on their own, hindering your opponents’ units or even the opponents themselves! Just remember to watch for those synergies, as even a Fragility can find a good use in the current format.
There is a small sub-section in Shavka, the Fire/Time/Shadow color combination, that has cards that need you to sacrifice one of your units to achieve an effect. These cards are usually cheaper than they would be otherwise, but their effects are quite substantial. I am talking about removal such as Sol’s Fury, Grenade, Burn Out, Combust and Worthy Cause, but also other cards such as Ark of Sol, Last Rites, Wurm Bait, Devour, Ravenous Thornbeast, Sinister Design, Befoul, Mazag, the Waking Terror, Marsh Dragon, Obrak, the Feaster, Direwood Prowler, Repulsive Gorger, Brimstone Altar, Nahid’s Faithful, Sadistic Ritualist, Nahid, the Immortal, Unraveler of Destinies and Profane Nexus that represents four of these cards in one Site.
The most important ones from the list in the paragraph above are for sure the five pieces of removal, especially seeing how scarce removal is in the current draft format. In order use these cards most effectively you need some spare units, ones that do not matter any more (e.g. because they are Cursed), ones that are very small or were created in a bargain, e.g. by Kennelmaster, Firemane Lioness, Flametail Whip, Manufacture, Criva, the Crimson Scythe, Recogulator, Tota Colony, Warhorn, Amber Coin, Aspirant’s Robes, Amber Ring, Proselytize, Search Party, Swaying Sea Qirin, Lumen Attendant, Lumen Shepherd, Tend the Flock, Bloodnurse, Slumbering Stone, Stonescar Pickaxe or Nahid’s Choice. Some of those cards are good on their own, others are just some necessary evil (and Sheep) that you might need to get those Banewulfs into play cheaper. Remember to pick cards from one of these groups higher if you already have numerous representatives from the other.
Discarding cards from your opponents deck (i.e. milling them) is finally fully supported as a draft strategy. Not only did we get some really interesting-looking mill cards (both new in The Flame of Xulta, as well as all the old classics in the curated packs), but some Feln (i.e. Primal and Shadow) cards have synergies with the opponents being milled as well. Fearstoker Raven gets bigger at the end of each turn where a player discarded a card. Dreamsnatcher and Fervent Siphoner also get bigger when your opponents discard cards. Heartstopper steals one discarded card per turn. Rosebloom Mandrake gets much cheaper and Bloodseeker gets much bigger if your opponent has at least ten cards in their void.
As for the mill effects themselves, we received a couple of steady sources of discard, the main being a common Wretched Raven, followed up by a Curse-fueled uncommon Calamity Oracle. Also, you might get lucky enough to grab Eremot, Death Incarnate. There are also some one-shot heavy millers, like Malaise and Sunset Priest. And that is just in The Flame of Xulta! While most of these cards are in Shadow, the presence of Wretched Raven and Rosebloom Mandrake in the common slot makes Feln the most viable mill choice.
We have waited for so long and with each new expansion we received just a couple of new Onis, with a hint of some tribal synergies, but nothing to build a deck around. I mean, Kyojun, Grand Shugo has been around since The Dusk Road. The Flame of Xulta brought us a whole new flock of our favorite Fire/Justice artisans that synergize with weapons and with each other.
In the new expansion we have received Burning Claw, Hanaka, Loremaster, Forgemark Scrivener, Acclaimed Artisan and Rujin, Conflict Within. These centerpieces might not be numerous, but their brethren are, which means that if you get at least a couple cards from the above shortlist – or, for that matter, some legendaries from the curated packs such as previously mentioned Kyojun or even Ijin’s Workshop – that should be enough to power up your aggressive Rakano deck.
Another tribal synergy that is a fan-favorite (to be honest, in all games!) are Dragons. More than just Dragons – Treasure Troves, too! The Flame of Xulta brought us some wonderful, synergistic cards, such as Cozin Darkheart, Dragon Forge, Cindermaw Tota, Slayer’s Edge, Skywatch Zealot, Smokedancer, Vile Collaborator, Voprex’s Choice, Voprex, Hope’s End and Den of Ordeals. Most of these cards are in the higher tiers of rarity, but at least you will know that should you open one up, there are other Dragons who will heed your call.
The fact that many of those cards are legendaries, the most reliable source of the synergy lies within the three uncommon Cultists – two with Dragon Ally abilities and one making all your Dragons bigger. Do not expect too much out of this tribe, but at least be aware of it. After all, if it was not powerful, why would they already release a card called Dragonbane?
Another interesting synergy the developers of the game introduced in the new format lies within Xenan Cultists, i.e. Time and Shadow ones. There is a huge theme of them getting sacrificed or even put into your void directly (via the so-called self-mill effects). This writes in well with the Sacrifice synergies I have already written about. You have to remember, though, that if you are exploring the Xenan color combination there are cards such as High Prophet of Sol, Karvet, Solar Dragon and Zhen-Zu, Hand of Nahid that either get better when your cultists die or buff them while they live. Once again, this is just a narrow theme in this draft format, but one you should be aware of.
One last synergy I wanted to mention – and it is currently more an honorable mention, because I have not tried it out myself yet – is a Skycrag, i.e. Fire and Primal deck variant that relies on your cards buffing damage-dealing spells. I am talking about cards you might have previously overlooked, such as Bladerang, Maelstrom Bell, Cloudsnake Harrier, Lens of Clarity, Prodigous Sorcery, Boltcrafter Shaman, Geminion’s Choice, Wizened Crone, Blood-Sun Staff, Howling Peak Smuggler, Iceberg Warchief and Innate Conviction‘s Arc Dragon. Honestly, this is a much more numerous category than some of the other, more obvious ones I have already written about.
Okay, but what to do with all those effects? Aside from dealing more damage, of course. The centerpiece of this, dare I say, archetype? is a card called Greed’s Reward that deals one damage and if you Decimate your power you also get to draw a card for each damage dealt by it. On the surface it is a very bad card, but what if you can make it deal two more damage? Add double damage? Suddenly it becomes quite powerful. What about other damage dealing spells in Fire and Primal? Let us go one step further – what about spells that do damage to multiple targets, like Piercing Shot, Grenade, Twinflame, Snow Pelting, Warning Jolt, Storm Spiral, Reverberating Strike, Crystallize (oh, wait, this one is great on its own) and Burn Them All. I will leave you with the fiery thoughts of this synergy burning into your mind.
7. What cards to look out for during games?
During the draft games themselves you should always have in mind all tricks the opponent might play in any given situation (especially with the current stop system, but that is another topic). Here is a graphical representation of all fast spells and Ambushers from both The Flame of Xulta and curated packs!
Edit: The tricks added in the Dec 2nd update are in the bottom row.
8. How to be Excellent?
Well, you have managed to get this far, My Dear Reader. Congratulations! As a reward, I will bestow upon you the knowledge of numbers, also called tiers or ratings. That is right, below you can find a link to a spreadsheet containing knowledge more vast than that in Vault of the Praxis. But that is not all! Not only will you find ratings for all ~1000 cards – those do not always work in a vacuum. Aside from the general ratings I have put some additional notes, as some cards tend to be better if you have other things that synergize with them, especially given how many smaller and wider synergies there are in this format. For now – enjoy! You will thank me later.
A couple of notes. Given that drafting experiences may vary, these are just my personal thoughts about the power level of cards. There is also a great difference between card value in pack 1 and pack 4 – at the beginning you are just looking for the most powerful cards and judge them on their raw value, at the end you tend to fill out the holes in your curve, deck composition and you know how many synergistic cards you have, e.g. those where Decimate or Muster matter.
Some cards are very good when you have one copy in your deck, but are not great in multiples. This happens for cards that you do not want to have two copies of in your hand. A good example is Maddening Whisper – it is a great finisher, but if you draw a second one it is usually quite dead. That is why I would rate it as 7/10 for the first copy and 3/10 for the second copy. This does not matter as much for decks that can filter through or loot through your cards with the likes of Gustrider coming to mind.
Also, please remember that these numbers are not be-all and end-all of making good drafting choices. You should have the final build of your deck in mind when choosing cards. If you are lacking 2-drops you are better off getting a 2-cost unit rated a 4 than another 4-cost unit rated a 7. Also – especially in the beginning – you will be presented with a lot of choices between cards with similar power level. My advice is usually to go either with the lesser influence requirement or just with your personal preference.
Quick rating reference guide:
1 – Unplayable, e.g. Reap
2 – Borderline playable or playable in the Market (if you have one), e.g. Chant to Grodov
3 – Worse filler that might end up in your deck, e.g. Yeti Gryffyn Rider
4 – Better filler, e.g. Warbrush Oni
5 – Okay medium cards, e.g. Swaying Sea Qirin
6 – Good cards, e.g. Pokpok’s Slingshot
7 – Very good cards, e.g. Makkar’s Bloodwolf
8 – Great cards, e.g. Champion Grappler
9 – Superb cards, e.g. Grodov’s Favored
10 – Overpowered bombs, e.g. Cozin Darkheart
9. Any last words?
To finish this lengthy monologue I would also like to point out one obvious strategy – the so-called rare-drafting. Yes, I think you should pick that premium legendary. Even if it is not playable in constructed, you can turn it to shiftstone and craft yourself any other legendary. When a new set comes out it is well within your right to draft the cards you also want to see played in your regular decks. And, obviously, when the last picks of a pack come around and there is no card you are going to play in your deck, just picking an unplayable rare still means you are getting some additional shiftstone all for yourself. Also – remember to have fun!
I truly hope you found this wall of text useful and that it will make you better at drafting in Eternal Card Game.
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