16 Base Set Cards (1/5/17)

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

soul_hunter

Soul Hunter Rating
Rarely Playable

Spending your gold on your turn to play this from your hand is weak. It can easily be bounced or banished before it can do anything. In addition, it can’t block airborne champions and does little against breakthrough champions. However, when supported by cards like Ceasefire/Ice Drake, when your opponent has no bounce/banish/discard pile banish effects, and when you get this into play without playing it, it can be strong.

The best way to get this into play is to discard it. You can either discard it when an opponent plays Thought Plucker/Psionic Assault/Knight of Shadows, or you can discard it at the end of your turn when you have 8 or more cards in hand. Then, on your next turn it will return to play without costing your own gold to play it. Since all of the above conditions aren’t easy to achieve in dark draft, I basically never draft it. Also, the fact that it is a demon and doesn’t break to Raxxa’s Displeasure is actually a disadvantage because you can’t use Raxxa’s Displeasure to trigger the on-break effect.

succubus

Succubus Rating
Always Acceptable

Tribute -> draw a card is nice, attached to an airborne, blitz champion is even better. Demon is a nice bonus too, and, if your opponent has non-unbanishable Good champions, the expend ability is very strong.

5 defense is a big weakness though.

the_risen

The Risen Rating
Rarely Playable

This card can be strong in conjunction with other Evil tokens. Play this after your Trihorror breaks and you have 24 blitz damage spread over 6 champions. Using this after an opponent Zombie Apocalypses is also strong.

Aside from that though, it isn’t that great. At minimum you get 3 3/3 blitzing zombies that can attack for 9 damage total, so it isn’t terrible, but specific fairly unlikely conditions are needed for it to be even potentially powerful.

thrasher_demon

Thrasher Demon Rating
Always Acceptable

A 0-cost blitzing demon that trades up with any 1-cost champion that blocks it is not bad. In addition, the 3 health gets it out of range of 0-cost 2 damage events like Wolf’s Bite. Finally, if it is able to attack twice, a 5/5 champion that breaks any blocking champion is a reasonable threat; anything higher and it becomes hard to remove and respectably damaging.

rally_the_people

Rally the People Rating
Practically Unplayable

Terrible.

0 cost card to put a 2/1 human into play and buff your champions. At only +1 offense I wouldn’t even want it in a token deck. With recall, you could spend a gold to put 2 humans into play and give +2 attack, but that isn’t anywhere close to the power of a gold.

At the very least, you can chump block with it, and you can recall it if you have literally no other use for your gold.

resurrection

Resurrection Rating
Always Acceptable

I want to like this card. It has been great for me in some situations, but it has rotted in my hand in many other situations. The ability to essentially play any champion as if it had ambush is a big incentive, but I’ve found that champions you want to return generally either get bounced/banished or removed while your gold is down. I still want to draft this card, but it has underperformed for me repeatedly.

secret_legion

Secret Legion Rating
Situationally Desirable

By itself, this card is pretty weak. 6 humans can work as multiple chump blockers or 6 blitzing attackers, but neither of those are great. Its real power comes from combining it with Courageous Soul (since Courageous Soul is a human this gives it blitz), Revolt, Standard Bearer, etc. Secret Legion + Revolt is a 2 card 21 damage combo, which can win games assuming no Flash Fire, Wither, Blind Faith (would remove the blitz but not the +offense buff), etc.

standard_bearer

Standard Bearer Rating
Situationally Acceptable

Not great on its own, but if you have other human token support, the +2 offense can do work. Until you’ve played with/against a deck that can consistently put human tokens into play while this is out, it is easy to underestimate just how strong this static buff can be.

stand_alone

Stand Alone Rating
Situationally Desirable

This is a great off-turn board clear if your opponent is focusing on a wide, token strategy. In other words, if they have a lot of small champions instead of 1 or 2 big champions in play at a time, this is a great way to remove most of their pressure while leaving your strongest champion in play as well. If you are going wide, this is definitely worth counter-picking because you can always at least draw 2 with it.

If your opponent isn’t going wide, this “board clear” effect can be essentially worthless, however, since this can’t remove their best champion.

steel_golem

Steel Golem Rating
Always Desirable

13/13 untargetable is a strong threat. The fact that this can also gain blitz with Sage Loyalty 2 is a major perk, but I would still first pick this from a pack if I had no other Sage in my deck.

As a 13/13 untargetable blitzer, this is one of the few blitzing champions I would play and attack with while my opponent’s gold is up. Unless they have exactly Lying in Wait, Blind Faith, Surprise Attack -> Winged Death/Angel of Death/Time Walker, or an off-turn board clear, this will at least necessitate a chump block or deal 13 damage.

Great card.

thought_plucker

Thought Plucker Rating
Always First Pickable

This card is so powerful in a vacuum that the constructed meta has largely been forced to shift around it. Ally -> recall cards, Soul Hunter, and other cards have been added to a lot of decks in addition to 0-cost answers to help mitigate the damage of this card. In dark draft, the odds of having all of the best answers to deal with this card are significantly lower.

When played on your opponent’s turn when their gold is down, you immediately get ahead in card advantage. Then, you can immediately attack with it on your turn and force them to remove it; if they can’t, your card advantage becomes even more pronounced (you drew 2 while they discarded 2). If both players started this exchange at 5 cards, you are now at 6 to your opponents 3 (not including the card you drew for your turn).

If they have to spend their gold to deal with your Thought Plucker, you can follow up with any gold-punisher. One really nasty card in this situation is Final Task because if it is used on Thought Plucker and Thought Plucker deals combat damage, the hand sizes could be you at 6 with your opponent at 1 (assuming they used a 1-cost card to remove Thought Plucker without gaining another card, and not including the card you drew for your turn).

The potential to dramatically shift the card advantage into your favor makes this a highly dangerous card. However, if both players are already at 7 cards, this becomes a lot weaker. Ending at 8 to 5 is a lot less devastating than 6 to 3.

In addition, this card won’t be able to bring you back into a game where you are far behind on the board by itself. A 1/1 unblockable champion won’t stop a Triceratops for instance. It can help you draw into an answer like a board clear though.

time_bender

Time Bender Rating
Situationally Desirable

Fast reusable targeted removal is pretty strong. In addition, the 4 defense makes it a lot harder to remove with a single 0-cost event.

Finally, if you play this off-turn to bounce an opponent’s threat, you can always immediately bounce this with its own expend ability on your turn; this protects it from removal and allows you to use it again later. By immediately bouncing it on your turn, you don’t get further ahead, but you can maintain a removal card potentially indefinitely.

pyromancer

Pyromancer Rating
Frequently Desirable

Ambush 5/7 is reasonable. Attaching a Tribute -> deal 4 damage is quite nice because 4 is a nice damage break point for removing certain champions. Pushing 4 damage to the face can also be a nice addition.

The (1 gold): deal 4 damage to a target is incredibly poor gold value by itself, but if your opponent is at 4 or less health, it is all you need. It can effectively function as a 2-gold, 1-card Flame Strike for winning games in many situations.

rage

Rage Rating
Always Desirable

With the possibility of only 1 Blind Faith max in a draft, the ability to grant breakthrough with a 0-cost event can be quite strong. Any chump blocked champion can turn into a a decent amount of damage to the face. In addition, the +4 defense is a nice combat trick that can let your attacking/blocking champion survive combat while the +4 offense lets it break your opponent’s champion. Both of these application are a great use of a card.

raging_t_rex

Raging T-Rex Rating
Situationally Desirable ++

The best card for a Wild deck (not counting mass discard pile banish).

Draw 2 cards is nice, and a 12/10 champion is a very real threat. If you have the Wild to support T-Rex, take it. T-Rex is also enough incentive to start going Wild.

rain_of_fire

Rain of Fire Rating
Usually Desirable

Rain of Fire has been impressing me a lot more than I was originally anticipating. There are a significant number of situations where you can have 3 viable targets for this (1 of which being your opponent’s face). This is another card I recommend playing with/against because it can be easy to underestimate.

The fact that this can also draw 2 is a big advantage over Forked Lightning.

Rules clarification: Targets are chosen when an event resolves. Therefore, you do not need 3 legal targets to be able to play this. If there are no champions in play, you can still play this, choose yourself as the first target to take 3, and your opponent for the second target to take 4. Since there is no legal third target, the 5 damage is lost.

However, if there are 3 legal targets, you must choose all of them. For example. If your opponent has The Gudgeon in play and you have Thought Plucker in play, you must target yourself, the The Gudgeon, and your Thought Plucker (you can’t target your opponent because they are untargetable when you choose targets). However, with the official take back rule, you could choose to return this to hand instead of playing it if you can’t target what you wanted to.

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