16 Tyrants Cards (1/18/17)

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.

Important Concept

Mass Discard Pile Banish: A mass discard pile banish card is the single most important card in Dark Draft and other limited formats. Its importance is so great, my top tier consists of exclusively these cards (Amnesia, Erratic Research, Grave Demon, and Heinous Feast).

As long as you have at least 1 mass discard pile banish card and recycle it as soon as possible after playing it, you should have an almost 0% chance of losing to your opponent drawing through their entire deck.

16 Tyrants Cards

heinous_feast

Heinous Feast Rating
Always First Pick –

Mass discard pile banish is the most important aspect in Dark Draft and other limited formats.

0-cost, fast discard pile banish is nice, but I’d rather the mass discard pile banish card either recycle, give me an 8/8 ambush body, or draw 2 cards than gain some health.

necrovirus

Necrovirus Rating
Frequently Desirable

Off-turn targeted removal that doesn’t put your opponent any further ahead than you is excellent. The fact that it also gives you a chump blocker for that turn is a big deal too. 3 Zombies with your next 1-Cost Evil spell is also relevant.

Unfortunately, if used on your turn, it leaves behind a chump blocker for your opponent. It also can’t draw 2 if you don’t need the removal.

raxxa_demon_tyrant

Raxxa, Demon Tyrant Rating
Always Desirable

18/18 worth of stats spread over 3 bodies without loyalty is great. The fact that if Raxxa gets bounced you can get 2 more 6/6 demons is also great. Raxxa can even buff your other demons in play, even if Raxxa is your only 1-cost Evil card in deck. (If Raxxa is removed the demons automatically revert to 4/4s.)

The loyalty effect is also excellent. 2 damage is nice for breaking all non-demon tokens, Muse, and other troublesome low defense champions. Off-turn Zombie Apocalypse/Wave of Transformation is already incredibly strong. Follow it up with Raxxa with loyalty on your turn to completely wipe their board and establish multiple threats.

Great without loyalty, potentially amazing with loyalty.

raxxas_curse

Raxxa’s Curse Rating
Always First Pickable

Draft Frequency: 9

Draft Power: 8

Raxxa’s Curse is a faction-independent powerhouse. Breaking any 0-cost champion and giving you a demon token is a strong swing in your favor. (I have put myself significantly ahead in at least one draft where I Raxxa’s Cursed a Muse that my opponent was relying on early.)

Since every faction has strong 0-cost minions (Guilt Demon/Spawning Demon, White Dragon/Paros Rebel Leader, Keeper of Secrets/Shadow Imp, Fire Shaman/Ankylosaurus) this will usually have a target to hit. In addition, even using it on a token is valuable.

Aside from breaking Muses, my favorite use of this card is to break an ambushed in 0-cost blocker. If I can draw my opponent’s gold out before mine, play a Rampaging Wurm, and break my opponent’s zombie from Plentiful Dead before blocks, I am happy.

If nothing else, you can always draw 2 with it.

insurgency

Insurgency Rating
Situationally Desirable +

By itself, this is weak. Attack for 8 over 4 unbreakable bodies is more reliable than Wolf’s Call, but no card wants to be compared to Wolf’s Call. 4 off-turn unbreakable blockers can save your life, but not a great use of a gold.

Where this card really shines is with other human token cards generally and AoE buffs specifically. Insurgency and then Revolt gives you 4 unbreakable, blitz 4/1 human tokens and 1 blitz 3/1 human token. Unless your opponent can AoE banish, Ceasefire, Ice Drake, Force Field, Surprise Attack -> Time Walker/Frost Giant/Velden Frost Titan, Blind Faith, or make a lot of blocks, they could take 19 damage from 2 cards (assuming you had no other human tokens in play).

This is one of the most important cards for a human token deck, and one of the strongest 2 card combinations in the game.

markus_watch_captain

Markus, Watch Captain Rating
Situationally Desirable +

Thought Pluckering me? How about I put a 10/10 into play instead of discarding, seems nice.

Oh yeah, and I actually drafted some other Good alignment cards, so I’ll reveal these 2 to draw a card to replace him.

You have 3 Demons in play too, not any more you don’t. At least you still get your ambushed in 1/1 unblockable champion.

10 defense is great.
Put it into play if discarded is great. Banish up to 3 tokens, particularly demons is great. Loyalty 2 -> draw a card is excellent (except that it is Good Loyalty 2). If you can trigger at least one of its abilities this is a strong card. If you get all 3 (you almost certainly won’t), it is incredible. In any other alignment, this would be really difficult to pass up, since Loyalty 2 -> draw a card is my favorite part.

It’s also a human so it can go airborne with Faithful Pegasus.

noble_martyr

Noble Martyr Rating
Situationally Acceptable

4 defense on a ground based champion that doesn’t deal 4 damage when it is played and attacks (Pyrosaur call-out), is really weak. It dies to so many champions and multiple 0-cost cards. If it survives, it can at least sneak 7 damage through (weak for an on-turn gold-punisher).

However, Unbanishable on a card with a discard pile ally trigger is a nice combination. Unless they transform it or bounce it (or banish it from your discard pile), you’ll be able to trigger the loyalty ability for 5 humans. Do this at the end of your opponent’s turn, then Insurgency on your turn and you have 9 unbreakable, blitz 2/1 champions for 18 damage. Or you can just trigger it for chump blockers.

paros_rebel_leader

Paros, Rebel Leader Rating
Situationally Desirable

Great card for Good-focused decks or human token decks. +1 offense for humans is a big deal. Human tokens now trade with non-demon tokens and bigger humans sneak a bit of extra damage through too.

In addition, being able to continually put out chump blockers either forces your opponent not to attack, or lets you attack with your champions more freely. Also, 4 defense is a nice breakpoint.

fumble

Fumble Rating
Always Desirable

Love this card.

0-cost card that shuts down most attacks completely while recycling. Also, unlike Watchful Gargoyle, it can’t be countered by an opponent’s 0-cost card (although champions can be buffed over the -10 offense). Fumble is the card that makes me feel safe.

It is also Sage and can draw 2 if needed.

helion_the_dominator

Helion, the Dominator Rating
Frequently Desirable +

8/8 ambush means it can’t be bad. It is also Sage with a loyalty 2 ability, interesting. Steal a champion for a turn and give it blitz, yeah, I like that. So many great applications for it.

One of the best case scenarios: opponent attacks with a champion (Infernal Gatekeeper for instance). You play this to steal another one of their champions (White Knight). Assuming they don’t remove their White Knight you now control, you declare it as a blocker. Before both champions break each other, you rub it in by expending White Knight to break one of their demon tokens. Pretty valuable use of a gold; break 2 champions (and a demon token) and put an 8/8 into play, off-turn.

This can also steal an ambushed in champion before it can be declared as a blocker. Once you finish your initial attack, you can then attack with your opponent’s champion.

If needed, it can also just steal an attacking champion for the turn, completely negating the attack.

Fortunately, this does not prepare a stolen champion.

Before I forget, Helion even has the ability to expend to deal 2 damage to up to 2 targets. It can push some damage to face while breaking Muse at the same time. You can even ambush Helion in and then target him with his own loyalty 2 ability to give him blitz for the turn (this can also make him an 8/8 on-turn gold-punisher instead of an off-turn gold-punisher). Great card.

When playing against a deck with Helion, it is important to attack with your most evasive champions first. If you have an unblockable champion, airborne champion, and a neither unblockable, nor airborne champion, attack with them in that order. By doing this, you prevent the possibility of your opponent stealing one of your champions and using it to block another one of your champions.

helions_fury

Helion’s Fury Rating
Always Acceptable –

I’ve never really been impressed by Helion’s Fury. It is only on-turn removal which isn’t great. In addition, it isn’t terribly common to want to bounce 2 champions on your turn instead of 1. At least it can remove a token when played. Drawing a card is nice though. It could also potentially be involved in an interesting combat situation, saving one of your attackers/blockers in a group attack/block while removing one of theirs in a group attack/block.

Essentially though, it is a Sage draw 2.

knight_of_shadows

Knight of Shadows Rating
Always Desirable

I like tribute -> draw a card, forcing my opponent to discard in limited formats is also usually great. 9 offense + unblockable is a strong combination as well. At 4 defense though, it gets removed by a decent amount of cards including Hands from Below and Spike Trap.

While I will frequently take this card happily, I do prefer my slow champions to have either an even more devastating effect or more defense.

brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus Rating
Situationally Desirable

The best way to use this is to play it while your opponent’s gold is up and pass. They will either:

  • use their gold

allowing you to play an on-turn gold-punisher, removal on their ambush champion (Kong for instance), or draw cards

  • pass out of fear of an on-turn gold-punisher/removal

essentially making this an 8/12 breakthrough dinosaur with tribute -> target opponent loses their gold. I’d play that card.

If you spend your gold immediately after playing Brachiosaurus, your opponent will have full gold information. If you played a second champion, they could just board clear you, which would make Brachiosaurus just 2 for 1 yourself. However, this can double trigger Wild ally triggers like Fire Spirit or Fire Shaman, which can be quite powerful.

draka_dragon_tyrant

Draka, Dragon Tyrant Rating
Situationally Desirable +

9/9 airborne, blitz (with Wild Loyalty) is great. An excellent, hard to block, heavy hitting, on-turn gold-punisher. It also clears out non-demon tokens, in addition to a lot of 0-cost champions like Muse.

Works great with Feeding Frenzy.

drakas_enforcer

Draka’s Enforcer Rating
Frequently Desirable +

One of the best off-turn gold-punishers. 7/7 airborne can even break a lot of airborne champions in combat and survive. Loyalty 2 -> draw a card is always appreciated.

drakas_fire

Draka’s Fire Rating
Frequently Desirable

Deal 5 damage to all opposing champions and draw a card has been surprisingly powerful more often than I was expecting. It is a great way to clear out tokens (incidental or otherwise), it sweeps up most other 0-cost champions too, and it can finish off damaged champions as well. All without affecting your champions in play. This + Lightning Strike has worked wonders for me.

5 damage to everything has won me games. It can also stop non-Insurgency surprise token assaults.

In general, this card does better than I expect it to. (I did drop it from Usually Desirable to Frequently Desirable on 1/18/17 though. I don’t think I would usually want it, and I probably just didn’t think about it when I created the Frequently Desirable column.)

2 thoughts on “16 Tyrants Cards (1/18/17)”

  1. Thanks for doing all these reviews, Tom, I’m learning a lot about the game. Thinking about what makes removal desirable on/off-turn has been interesting, it makes me realise why I’ve come to like Banishment so much (and why I didn’t use to rate it).

    My favourite Raxxa’s Curse target is that frickin Griffon…

    Great news about the puzzle! I’m looking forward to it 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, I enjoy writing them. It also looks like I’ll have time to finish this, run the puzzle contest, and get a couple experimental deck builds up before the Epic Digital Kickstarter begins/finishes. I should have even more to talk about once the app is out. (Probably some other forms of content too.)

      Ankylosaurus is another fun Raxxa’s Curse target, whether or not your opponent spent their gold to draw.

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