This is a continuation of my ratings of all cards for Dark Draft.
17 Base Set Cards
Incredibly slow card with no immediate effect when played.
This card is not difficult to deal with before your opponent gets any value out of it. Bounce and banish completely negate its power, and a decent number of those effects get you further ahead when you use them (Erase). Playing Trihorror is usually more of a liability than a benefit.
If I were to play it all, it would be as an on-turn gold-punisher, and there are much better on-turn gold-punishers than this.
I do not value cards that can be returned to hand or banished with no effect highly. This card does have a strong body (especially for Evil), gives you 3 demons when broken, and was a part of one of my favorite Epic moments so far, but bounce is so good in Epic I cannot rate this highly.
Tyrants Updated Notes:
This is a demon that creates demon tokens when it dies, so it is indirectly buffed by all of the demon cards in Tyrants.
Unquenchable Thirst Rating
Reasonable card assuming you have at least 1 mass discard pile banish effect.
A 0-cost card that can remove a lot of champions, provided you have enough Evil cards in your discard pile you are willing to banish. This is generally much better against low defense champions because each card banished from your discard pile is one more you can’t use to recycle or return with cards like Final Task, Lesson Learned, Reusable Knowledge, etc.
Rating: 4- (Evil investment required)
I value 0-cost removal highly. I like having some health gain. This is a really nice targeted removal card as long as you have Evil cards in your discard pile you do not mind banishing. Unfortunately, Evil cares the most about its discard pile.
Tyrants Updated Rating: 2+
In draft, I am hesitant to banish large amounts of my discard pile for a single effect. I would only draft this card if I expect my opponent to have low defense, high-impact champions like High King, Thought Plucker, etc.
Vampire Lord Rating
This card isn’t as bad as I originally thought it was because it can function both as an on-turn and off-turn gold-punisher (blitz and ambush). In addition, it is fairly resilient against bounce because if you play it when their gold is down, if they bounce it with their next gold, you can just replay it.
Unbreakable on your turn can also be nice with cards like Apocalypse.
Ideally, you can ambush this in to block a smaller champion when your opponent’s gold is down on their turn. In that case, you start your turn with an unbreakable 7/7 that will probably grow to a 9/9 by the end of the turn. Unfortunately, that still leaves it in range of Drain Essence on your opponent’s turn.
Once again, 1-cost champion that can be bounced or banished with no effect. If your opponent has no answer for it, it grows strong, but it can also get continually chump blocked. Much better with breaking board clears on your turn.
0-cost, 3 damage, targeted removal is great.
This card’s ability to clear out all of one type of non-demon token is another nice benefit perfect for slowing down/stopping human or zombie hordes. Kills Muse too.
In addition, the -3 offense has actually been relevant in multiple situations too. It is solid answer to Insurgency attacks, and it has functioned as a combat trick quite nicely too.
However, using it as a combat trick can be a bit risky, especially when your opponent’s gold is up. For example, if you use Lurking Giant to block a Kong, you could either Wither before or after damage. If you use it before damage, assuming your opponent plays nothing, you break the Kong and your Lurking Giant survives. On the other hand, if they play their own combat trick like Rage, they have 1 for 1 negated your Wither while keeping their Kong alive. They could even just remove your Lurking Giant before it can deal its finishing damage to their Kong, negating your Wither.
If you use Wither after damage, you only commit your Wither when you are certain it would break your opponent’s Kong. If you get passed initiative when Kong is 3 away from breaking, playing Wither will break it guaranteed. Both choices are viable, and either can be correct in different situations.
This card can clear all of one type of non-demon token from the board, finish off a champion already dealt damage, or manipulate an even trade between 2 1-cost champions to be favorable for you (you lose a 0-cost card instead of a 1-cost card). In addition, it breaks Muse.
The People’s Champion Rating
I like this card, but I wouldn’t say it’s great.
It enters play as 10/9 stats over 3 bodies, one of which is unbanishable but the others are just 1/1s. As long as it stays in play, it threatens to keep producing 1/1 tokens, and most of the time that means you have a nearly limitless stream of chump blockers. This can be strong if you have another champion that can attack with impunity, such as an airborne champion. If you have cards like Revolt or Insurgency, you can also turn those chump blockers into actual threats.
The unbanishable is a nice benefit as well, especially since opponent’s occasionally forget to take that into consideration. (With the official take back rule, if an opponent plays a card like Divine Judgement and then realizes The People’s Champion wouldn’t be banished, they can return it to hand as if they didn’t play it, the only penalty being the information they have given their opponent.)
It is also a human so it can pair with Faithful Pegasus. 8/7 is great for an airborne champion.
Another token generating card, this one has a slightly higher rating because it continually produces tokens until removed. It also survives Divine Judgement. (If you cast Divine Judgement, the tokens from the ally effect would come into play after Divine Judgement banishes everything.) In a removal light environment with a Good investment, the number of tokens can start to get out of control.
Slow, but powerful.
No immediate effect makes this highly vulnerable to bounce effects. It also has no protection from break effects, but it is unbanishable, airborne, and survives all solitary burn removal. In addition, at 10 airborne, offense, it must be removed.
If it is removed easily, it did nothing for you and possibly put you behind. If it can’t be removed, it can win you the game in 3 attacks, especially since it is hard to efficiently chump block in the air.
I generally won’t draft this, but if it is late in the draft and I haven’t passed much targeted break and/or bounce, I would consider taking this.
Rating: 4 Counter Pick
This is another champion that has had a lot of discussion about being too powerful. A 10/15 airborne, unbanishable body is enormous, true, but it still gets removed by all break effects and bounces. I give it a 4 because with the 15 defense and the unbanishable, a lot of ways to remove it are taken away. In addition this card alone can kill in 3 turns and there are no tokens to chump block it in the air.
If you can pick most of the targeted break effects and bounce, I would highly recommend taking this card. If you can’t, it might just be another 1 for 1 trade.
Vital Mission Rating
Similar effect to Magic’s Swords to Plowshares, but the fact that this costs a gold makes the comparison not great. Targeted removal is strong, but in a game where damage can be difficult to deal, giving an opponent 8+ health can be pretty bad. If used on a small champion like Necromancer Lord, Thought Plucker, Angel of Mercy, Hunting Raptors, etc., the small champion probably gained significant value already. At least it does banish so it prevents discard recursion on powerful champions.
On the other hand, using this on your own champion can give you a decent amount of health and draw you to 2 fresh cards, but it requires you to take a massive tempo hit in order to do it (unless you target your own unbanishable champion). Doing this on your turn before you off-turn board clear on your opponent’s turn can be worthwhile though.
This is fast banishment removal. However, using it as removal always gives your opponent a bit of something which is why I didn’t make it a 4. One strong way to use this card is to target your unbanishable champion. “I’ll target Thundarus with Vital Mission, gain 10 health, draw 2 cards, and since Thundarus is unbanishable, I don’t lose that either.” Yes, that is how that works.
Watchful Gargoyle Rating
Tribute -> recycle is nice. Airborne is nice. 2 offense with 3 defense enables it to break non-demon tokens too. Not too scary on offense, but it can function fairly similarly to Fumble (which I love), assuming your opponent doesn’t have 0-cost fast removal to use on it before blockers. I’d much rather have Fumble or Spore Beast.
A nice little 2/3 airborne, ambush, Tribute -> Recycle body. It is nothing crazy, but I like all of that at 0-cost. A small evasive body has potential to do work, or a fast 0-cost airborne chump blocker.
Time Walker Rating
Board clear that leaves you with a 10/10 body in Sage. Yup, pretty strong.
This can also be a great way to abuse 0-cost blitz champions. Play and attack with 0-cost blitz champion(s). Play this. Play and attack with the same 0-cost blitz champions. However, if your opponent has a lot of 0-cost ambush champions or powerful loyalty/tribute abilities, this becomes worse.
Amazing against token decks.
Rating: 5 (Sage investment required) Counter Pick, First Pick
A 10/10 body is pretty strong, but this card is its loyalty 2 effect. Returning all champions to hand and leaving behind a 10/10 is great. Tokens returned to hand also go straight back to the token pool so this clears them permanently. Can make Ogre Mercenary better.
Always Desirable –
Targeted removal that transforms leaving only a wolf behind is pretty great. Only untargetable champions are immune to this card. Unfortunately, in the less likely situation where you want to use this on your turn to remove a blocker, that wolf left behind can always chump block. If nothing else, it is a Sage “or draw 2” card.
Rating: 3+, 5 First Pick
I probably value this card higher then a lot of people, and I do value it higher then Bitten and Inner Demon. I usually want to play these cards on my opponent’s turn anyways so the possibility to gain a zombie or a demon isn’t great for me. In addition, this banishes any champion except untargetable ones. It gets around unbanishable, unbreakable, effects that happen when a card breaks, and prevents it from coming back from the discard pile. Excellent targeted removal.
The only downside is that it leaves behind a chump blocker if you play it on your turn. So if you attack with Raging T-Rex and they ambush in Lurking Giant, even if you transform the giant, removing it, the 12 damage to face can still be prevented.
In a world without bounce, this would easily be one of the best cards in the game. Using this on your turn to permanently take control of a champion (+1 champion for you, -1 champion for your opponent) is incredible value. However, if your opponent is able to bounce the champion, it returns to their hand instead of yours (the owner’s not the controller’s) .
The second ability is also strong because it can let you steal a champion for a turn, give it blitz, and use it to finish off your opponent. It can also steal a champion off-turn to either negate an attacking champion, or, even better, use any one of your opponent’s other champions to block their attacking champion.
Rating: 5– First Pick
This card is great. When played on your turn, it is removal for your opponent’s best champion, and you gain that best champion. Or you could give that champion blitz and attack with it to win the game. Playing this on your turn after your opponent ambushes in a champion is brutal.
On your opponent’s turn, you can take one of their champions and use it to block an attack by another one of their champions. Best case scenario is 2 (or more) of your opponent’s champions break (since you can block then use the expend power: Dark Assassin). Worst case you chump block one champion and prevent another from attacking you.
The reason I give this a double minus (–) is in a bounce heavy environment this card can become significantly weaker. If you take control of your opponent’s champion, and they bounce that champion to hand, it goes to their hand (since they are the owner), instead of your hand (the controller). I decided to go with a 5 rating because outside this one situation, it is incredible. (And forcing your opponent to bounce their own champion isn’t the worst thing.)
Warrior Golem Rating
Situationally Desirable +
4/2 blitz with a recycle trigger attached is a great card to play to an open board while both players have their gold. It isn’t hard to remove, but your opponent needs to immediately remove it or they take damage. In addition, when they remove it, you get to recycle to replace its loss. You can even recycle itself to its own trigger because Warrior Golem is already in your discard pile when the trigger resolves.
Also, since the trigger happens regardless of how it enters your discard pile, you could even discard it to a Thought Plucker and immediately get the recycle effect.
Rating: 2 (3 with Sage investment)
This is similar to Ogre Mercenary except it can have blitz and is the only card that can recycle itself. A small 4/2 blitzer isn’t amazing but it can get a bit of damage in before going down, and since the recycle doesn’t trigger until this is in the discard pile, you may choose it as one of the 2 cards to recycle. But you can’t bounce it to reuse the recycle effect.
Rampaging Wurm Rating
14/14 blitz is an incredibly destructive on-turn gold-punisher. Cards like Lash/Rage make it stronger because it means it can’t be effectively chump blocked by 0-cost champions. Raxxa’s Curse, Wolf’s Bite, etc. are great with it because they can break potential 0-cost ambush chump blockers.
In addition, with its permanent 14/14 stats, it remains a hard to remove threat even after the turn it possibly hits for 14. Few things are as satisfying in Epic as playing and attacking with Rampaging Wurm when your opponent’s gold is down. (If you play it while their gold is up, there are a plethora of 1-cost targeted removal answers to it. If they have one, and they frequently will, they can remove your Wurm without giving you basically any advantage from it.)
I generally don’t enjoy playing this card. If it hits face for 14 damage that’s great, but if my opponent has an answer, I don’t get any further ahead in board position. If you can force out your opponent’s gold before playing this, it gets much better.
Sea Hydra Rating
Always Desirable –
I like Tribute -> draw a card. 10 defense is also a great value. The ability to grow is cool, but not amazing and frequently irrelevant (great with Hurricane though).
Recall on this is also powerful, since when you recall it, you get a Tribute -> draw a card champion back. This can be a nice way to come back if you get low on cards in hand.
Tribute -> Draw a card, makes me happy. 10 defense is a solid amount of defense, and it has the possibility to grow bigger. It also has recall just in case you can’t spend your gold for the turn. If this card had ambush (Jungle Queen) instead of recall, it would be crazy. As is, it’s fine.
Strafing Dragon Rating
Situationally Desirable +
6/6 airborne, ambush, blitz is a solid group of abilities on its own: it lets this function as both an on-turn and off-turn gold-punisher. 5 targeted damage with the loyalty trigger is another big boost. 11 damage gold-punish is great, and so is a 6/6 airborne champion that removes a champion when played. I’ve been undervaluing this card.
Rating: 3 (Wild investment required)
A 6/6 airborne, blitz body is okay. The 5 targetable damage is decent. If you ambush it into play before blockers are declared, it can do 11 damage to one target. Without a Wild investment it is significantly worse, but with one, it is average.
Surprise Attack Rating
Always Acceptable +
This card generally won’t do worse than at least replacing itself when you would play a champion anyway. “It’s my opponent’s turn and my hand is all ambush champions and this? Might as well use this to put one of those ambush champions in play, draw a new card, and get a card in my discard pile.”
Best case scenario, on the other hand, involves putting an incredibly powerful slow champion into play off turn like Sea Titan/Kong, Angel of Death/Time Walker, Raging T-Rex/Triceratops, Raxxa Demon Tyrant/Den Mother, etc.
Still, it is possible, with a champion light deck, to be in a situation where you have Surprise Attack in a hand full of events and 0-cost champions. In that situation you can’t even effectively cycle it.
While Surprise Attack is always acceptable, I would generally rather have the slot filled with a card that is either more versatile or can perform a specific role better, in Dark Draft (in constructed it is usually the first 3 cards I add when I want to include 0-cost Wild cards).
Surprise Attack has incredible potential (Kong, Angel of Death, Thundarus, etc.). It also draws a card to replace itself, so you don’t lose anything by playing it. If you have really powerful slow champions, this can be great. In addition, if you just want to draw through your deck a bit more and are planning on playing a champion anyway, you can just play this then.
However, if you don’t have a champion in hand, draw 1 card isn’t great. In addition, if you don’t have that many slow champions, you won’t gain much by drafting this. This is especially true if you pass up something better to take this.
In constructed this is generally an automatic 3 of in most decks. In draft, it isn’t guaranteed to be as worthwhile.
Speaks for itself.
Tribute -> draw a card on a 10/10 breakthrough body with no alignment requirement. All of those things are great, regardless of what else is in your deck.
10/10 breakthrough and Tribute -> Draw a card is excellent. This is one of my favorite cards to play on the the first turn of the game.
Tyrants Updated Rating:4.5
This card isn’t quite as strong as the 5s, but it is consistently solid.