16 Base Set Cards (1/4/17)

This is a continuation of my ratings of all cards for Dark Draft.

A link to my full tier list may be found here. My reasoning for each card can be found here.

16 Base Set Cards

murderous_necromancer

Murderous Necromancer Rating
Situationally Desirable

I was impressed by this card in my cube draft at Worlds. Without loyalty, it is a 6 defense champion that can break a champion every turn. Hitting that 6 defense means there is no single 0-cost card that can break/banish this (Smash and Burn being a special case). Therefore, the opponent has to spend a gold to break Murderous Necromancer, and if they don’t, they can’t keep a champion in play.

When you add on the 3 zombies, you get tiny threats that can push damage through while Murderous Necromancer stays in play. In other words, unless your opponent can deal with the zombies, Murderous Necromancer is able to push damage while shutting down your opponent’s ability to come back into the game.

In addition, Murderous Necromancer works great as a target for Final Task, and it isn’t a big deal if it gets bounced. I was definitely underestimating that 6 defense before.

necromancer_lord

Necromancer Lord Rating
Situationally Desirable ++

One of the strongest cards in the game, as long as you have loyalty for it. When you play it, you get the best champion from either discard pile immediately. Then, if Necromancer Lord survives until the next turn, you get the next best one, etc. Even if you are only able to return 1 champion before this gets Lashed, you still put a champion into play while making your opponent lose a card.

Generally, it is better to return your own champions with this card in case your opponent is able to bounce the returned champion. If you returned your own champion, you essentially drew a card if it gets bounced. If you returned one of theirs, you gave them a card.

Loyalty and Tribute abilities do trigger when the target champion is put into play, but ally abilities would not. For example, if you have Necromancer Lord and Blue Dragon in play and you use Necromancer Lord to return Steel Golem to play, you could reveal 2 Sage cards to give Steel Golem blitz, but Blue Dragon would not deal 2 damage to a target.

If you are able to reliably hit the loyalty for this card, you want to draft it. It is awful without loyalty, but due to its potential power, it can be worth counter drafting.

plague

Plague Rating
Always Desirable +

Break all champions is great. The other effect is also usually better than just draw 2 (unless you don’t have 2 cards in your discard pile); it can clear out human tokens and break champions like Necromancer Lord and Thought Plucker. Great card.

plentiful_dead

Plentiful Dead Rating
Situationally Desirable

With a decent amount of 1-cost Evil cards in your deck, this card can be quite useful. Essentially, you can spend 1 health to get a zombie with every 1-cost Evil card you play each turn. These zombies can potentially push through extra damage or chump block.

If you can’t recall it multiple times, it is considerably weaker, but, if you do use it multiple times, 5+ health loss can add up quickly.

noble_unicorn

Noble Unicorn Rating
Situationally Desirable +/Always Acceptable

Ambush, tribute -> draw a card makes this always a decent play as an off-turn gold-punisher. The fact that it threatens to draw even more cards means your opponent needs to deal with it. This is one of my highest priority cards when I’m going Good, but it is also very easy to counter-draft if your opponent is going Good.

palace_guard

Palace Guard Rating
Always Desirable +

Targeted, banish removal with a 6/8 body and no alignment-requirement is incredible.

priest_of_kalnor

Priest of Kalnor Rating
Practically Unplayble

I used this card to chip my opponent down from 9 health to 8 in the 2015 Gen Con quarter-finals allowing me to Flame Strike my opponent. It has done practically nothing for me since then.

The 1/4 body is pretty weak. 4 health gain is appreciated but not worth a card. It’s loyalty 2 ability is tied to Good (the weakest alignment), and its application is very narrow. The best way to use the unbreakable/untargetable is on a champion before it attacks, either a non-deploying champion or a blitz champion. This on a Surprise Attacked Burrowing Wurm would be terrifying. It can also be used on an Avenging Angel you just played before an opponent spends their gold on your turn.

priestess_of_angeline

Priestess of Angeline Rating
Rarely Playable

Tribute -> recycle makes this playable, but I don’t want a slot dedicated to getting out a 1/2 champion that might give me 3 to 9 health and only if I draft and play 1-cost Good cards.

If it is late in the draft and I already have a lot of 1-cost Good cards, I might draft this.

ogre_mercenary

Ogre Mercenary Rating
Situationally Acceptable

I’ve never been a big fan of this card, but I lost to someone in dark draft, fairly convincingly too, who loves this card. 4/3 is a decent 0-cost body, and tribute -> recycle is always appreciated, but the fact that it is slow and lacks any evasion or other abilities makes me not like it. At least it’s Sage.

This card might be better than I think it is. Bouncing it with Time Walker/Reset can always be nice too.

psionic_assault

Psionic Assault Rating
Always Desirable –

This card is nasty. It can easily chew through an opponent’s hand if they aren’t careful. Playing this when an opponent has spent their gold and has 5 or fewer cards in hand is particularly strong because 3 or fewer cards in hand is a very weak position. Once you reduce an opponent to 4 or less, you can potentially keep recalling and replaying this to prevent them from ever being able to come back, as long as you can keep control of the board simultaneously.

If you have strong reestablishing champions like Kong, you can remove their champion while forcing them to remove your new threat. When they remove your threat, they give you another safe window to play this again.

sea_titan

Sea Titan Rating
Always First Pickable +

Insanely powerful card. 11/14 is a huge body. Untargetable makes it hard to deal with, and tribute -> bounce a champion is ridiculous.

This card is amazing at getting you ahead from behind, and it can only be removed by non-damage based board clears and non-targeting cards like Lying In Wait or Winged Death.

Absolute monster.

spike_trap

Spike Trap Rating
Always Acceptable

5 damage is enough to kill a lot of champions, including all of the unblockable champions (like Thought Plucker or Knight of Shadows) and a decent number of airborne champions (like Angel of Death or Memory Spirit). Recycle is also quite nice.

While this does hit all attacking champions, and you can bait people into group attacking if they know you have Ceasefire/Ice Drake, this will usually only hit 1 champion. Despite that, removing 1 champion (especially a 1-cost champion) and recycling is a great deal.

lightning_storm

Lightning Storm Rating
Always First Pickable +++

Best card in dark draft aside from the mass discard pile banish cards.

I’ve won multiple games playing this at the end of my opponent’s turn, recalling it immediately on my turn, and playing it again to kill my opponent when they attack on their next turn. 12 damage over 3 gold before your opponent can get another attack through is strong.

In addition, it can also be used to pick off a decent amount of champions because of its 6 damage. The ability to divide that damage can also be great for removing multiple small champions. Even just using it and recalling it as a 6 damage removal spell has significant value.

Great card.

lurking_giant

Lurking Giant Rating
Usually Desirable +

Great off-turn gold-punisher. Your opponent spends their gold on their turn to board clear? You drop this and start your next turn by attacking with an 11/11 champion, solid.

If your opponent has already spent their gold for the turn, you can even play this to block a champion that was just declared as an attacker. White Knight with loyalty and attack? Okay, Lurking Giant, block, break the Knight, and start my turn with an 11/11, good deal.

mighty_blow

Mighty Blow Rating
Always Acceptable

I’ve liked this card in theory with tokens for a long time. Attack with a token, they choose not to block the 1 to 4 damage. Play this after blockers making it unbreakable and dealing 10 damage.

In practice, I usually just use it to draw 2. It can be nasty with breakthrough champions, but I just haven’t had many times I wanted to play it for its ability.

As mentioned by others elsewhere: Final Task -> Brachiosaurus then play this on Brachiosaurus with the extra Wild gold for an 18/12 unbreakable, breakthrough, blitz champion that won’t break to Final Task‘s end of turn trigger.

pack_alpha

Pack Alpha Rating
Always Acceptable

This card has consistently performed reasonably for me, which is better than I expected. A 5/6 that immediately puts 2 3/3 wolf tokens into play (11/12 stats spread over 3 bodies) is not bad. The fact that Pack Alpha will keep producing wolves until removed is also a real threat. Finally, at 6 health it essentially requires a gold to remove it.

I like this card and draft it, but there are a lot of better ones.

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