In this article I explain my process for building my limited deck from Origins Saturday 6/18/16. I went 3-0-2 with this deck which I believe made me the 3 seed in top 8. (I then won the first round of top 8 and lost in top 4.)
In this event, I did not like my first 60-card limited pool, so I mulliganed down to a 56-card limited pool. Unfortunately, I was too focused on the event and didn’t think to take a picture of my pre-mulligan pool.
I mulliganed my first limited pool because it wasn’t strong in any particular faction, and it didn’t have enough amazing faction-independent cards. My only regret was losing Lightning Storm which I believe is the best limited card in Epic.
After the mulligan, this was my card pool:
You are only allowed to mulligan once (down to 56-cards). If you don’t like your second pool, you are stuck with it. When I first go over my list, I look for
strong faction-independent cards (solid arrow:),
strong faction-dependent cards (dashed arrow: ),
strategy-dependent cards like Revolt (line:), and
effectively unplayable cards (line through: ).
All cards without a mark are viable, but not incredible.
(In an actual event, it is better not to mark up the sheet aside from your actual picks.)
My only faction-dependent cards in Wild are fairly weak; I don’t have a lot of them, and the ones I do have aren’t the greatest (Hunting Raptors, Jungle Queen, and, to a lesser extent, Fire Shaman). Due to this, all of the other viable (unmarked cards) are weaker because I don’t need them for Loyalty/Ally effects.
This means that I will probably only take the most incredible, faction-independent cards out of Wild and ignore the rest.
Sage has 7 incredibly powerful faction-dependent cards. In order to reliably use these to their fullest, I would have to include a significant number of other Sage cards. Thankfully, my Sage pool is also packed with strong faction-independent cards as well.
This means that I will probably go heavy Sage in this deck.
I have a few demon/wide/token strategy-dependent cards in Evil. I could go this route, but the strategy doesn’t feel deep enough in this pool. In general, the wide strategy usually isn’t as strong either, and the rest of my cards so far don’t support the wide strategy enough.
If my Good cards heavily support a wide strategy, that is still a possibility, but, since my Sage pool is so strong and deep, it is unlikely I will go wide.
Not a lot of faction-dependent cards in Good and only some support for a wide strategy. In addition, the wide strategy support doesn’t actually synergize with the Evil wide strategy support.
Once again, I will probably just cherry pick the best faction-independent cards from this faction.
My Sage pool is by far my deepest and strongest faction. It offers me a lot of high-tempo cards which are incredible in limited/draft environments.
In the second pass, I weed out all of the cards that almost certainly won’t be in the deck, and I pick the cards that almost certainly will be in the deck.
- Full strike-through for not in deck
- Dashed strike-through for almost certainly not in deck
- Star for in deck
- Dashed star for almost certainly in deck
- Arrow for probably in deck
- Unmarked for possibly in deck
I immediately cut all non-Sage cards that rely on Loyalty or Ally triggers. (Reaper has an ally trigger, but it doesn’t need it to be worthwhile). At the same time, I set aside the most powerful faction-independent cards from my off-faction and the strong cards from my dominant faction (Sage).
At this point, I have 17 cards I will run, 6 cards I will almost certainly run, and 15 more cards I might run, 38 total. (I also have 4 more cards I could squeeze in if needed.)
To further cut down my cards I analyze my distribution of draw effects, slow effects, removal effects, 0-cost effects, and burn effects. (In my next article I will also break down the importance of establishment cards and reestablishment cards.)
Italicized cards are cards I have decided I will definitely run. Cards that were italicized in a previous section are put at the top of each sub-section (Solid Star cards for example). At the end of each section I explain my reasoning for the newly italicized cards.
Struck-through cards are removed cards. Cards that were struck-through in a previous section are put at the bottom of each sub-section. At the end of each section I explain my reasoning for the newly struck-through cards.
Adequate card draw is one of the most important aspects of a solid Epic deck. In limited, I ideally want about half my deck to have draw/recall capabilities. It is a lot less detrimental to rely on -or- draw 2 cards in limited, as opposed to constructed.
1-Cost Draw 2 and… Cards (1 guaranteed, 0 possible, 1 total)
Recall (1 guaranteed, 0 possible, 1 total)
No Draw/Recall (11 guaranteed, 6 possible, 17 total)
Kong, Lurking Giant, Elara the Lycomancer, Helion the Dominator, Ice Drake, Steel Golem, Temporal Enforcer, Time Bender, Turn, Drain Essence, Reaper
Hands from Below
I only have 7 guaranteed draw/recall cards so far and 11 no draw cards. This means I don’t want to include more than 4 of the 6 possible no draw cards. At this point no new cards are for sure going into or getting removed from the deck.
Slow vs Fast Effects
Fast effects are insanely important for Epic. In general, I want my decks to stay around or below 1/3 slow cards.
Fast (11 guaranteed, 14 possible, 25 total)
Lash, Lurking Giant, Amnesia, Hasty Retreat, Helion the Dominator, Ice Drake, Muse, Temporal Enforcer, Time Bender, Drain Essence, Ceasefire
Lying in Wait
Hands from Below
Even if I took all of my possible slow cards (and Turn), I would still have under 1/3 slow cards in my deck. So, no new italicized or struck-through cards from this section.
I don’t have an approximate removal effects number that I use. I generally just try to pack as much removal into my decks as possible.
Targeted Removal (9 guaranteed, 4 possible, 13 total)
Hasty Retreat, Helion the Dominator, Temporal Enforcer, Time Bender, Drain Essence, Turn, Kong, Elara the Lycomancer, Reaper
Lying in Wait
Non-Removal (7 guaranteed, 7 possible, 14 total)
Lurking Giant, Amnesia, Ice Drake, Muse, Ceasefire, Juggernaut, Steel Golem
Board Clears are incredibly important in limited because it is easy to fall behind, so I put in all 3.
I put in Memory Spirit at this point because I’m in Sage, and it is an excellent card that helps with all of the distribution categories so far.
After adding these 5 cards, I am up to 22 guaranteed cards.
I haven’t decided on an approximate number of 0-cost cards for limited yet, at least 3 and probably no more than 10. 0-cost cards shouldn’t be over-included, especially if you do not have much card draw, but they can also be the small edge that wins you a game. So, it’s hard to gauge.
1-Cost (18 guaranteed, 9 possible, 27 total)
This puts me to 25 guaranteed cards, 4 struck-through cards, and 10 possible cards.
Burn is a category that I have been undervaluing in Epic. While it did determine one of the cards I chose, it probably should have determined at least 1 more.
Miscellaneous (1 guaranteed, 0 possible, 1 total)
Non-Burn (21 guaranteed, 3 struck-through, 7 possible, 31 total)
I added Pyromancer here because it had been working well for me at Origins. I should have also added Flame Strike, but I undervalued it. After all of my distribution passes, I am at 26 guaranteed cards. 4 more cards need to be finalized and 4 cut.
By this point I have decided on a dominant faction (or two for some pools), picked the most consistently powerful cards, and made sure my distributions for key aspects was largely solid. Now, I just have to make the final cuts based on deck cohesion and personal preference.
Updated Distribution Numbers
1-Cost Champions that Draw a Card (3 guaranteed, 1 struck-through, 0 possible 15 Draw (5 possible) vs 12 No Draw (3 possible)
1-Cost Draw 2 and… Cards (1 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 0 possible)
-Or- Draw 2 Cards (6 guaranteed, 1 struck through, 5 possible)
Recycle (2 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 0 possible)
Recall (1 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 0 possible)
Miscellaneous (2 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 0 possible)
No Draw/Recall (12 guaranteed, 2 struck-through, 3 possible)
1-Cost Champions that Draw a Card (3 guaranteed, 1 struck-through, 0 possible
15 Draw (5 possible) vs 12 No Draw (3 possible)
Fast (16 guaranteed, 3 struck-through, 6 possible) 19 Fast (7 possible) vs 7 Slow (1 possible)
Slow vs Fast
Your Turn Fast (4 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 1 possible)
Slow (6 guaranteed, 1 struck-through, 1 possible)
[I’m counting Turn as slow and the rest of the Your Turn Fast as fast]
Fast (16 guaranteed, 3 struck-through, 6 possible)
19 Fast (7 possible) vs 7 Slow (1 possible)
Targeted Removal (9 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 4 possible) 18 Removal (4 possible) vs 8 Non-Removal (4 possible)
Small Removal (4 guaranteed, 2 struck-through, 0 possible)
Board Clears (3 guaranteed, 0 possible)
Miscellaneous (2 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 0 possible)
Non-Removal (8 guaranteed, 2 struck-through, 4 possible)
Targeted Removal (9 guaranteed, 0 struck-through, 4 possible)
18 Removal (4 possible) vs 8 Non-Removal (4 possible)
0-Cost (7 guaranteed, 4 struck-through, 0 possible) 7 0-Cost (0 possible) vs 18 1-Cost (9 possible)
1-Cost (18 guaranteed, 9 possible)
0-Cost (7 guaranteed, 4 struck-through, 0 possible)
7 0-Cost (0 possible) vs 18 1-Cost (9 possible)
Burn (4 guaranteed, 1 struck-through, 1 possible) 5 Burn (1 possible) vs 21 Non-Burn (7 possible)
Miscellaneous (1 guaranteed, 0 possible)
Non-Burn (21 guaranteed, 3 struck-through, 7 possible)
Burn (4 guaranteed, 1 struck-through, 1 possible)
5 Burn (1 possible) vs 21 Non-Burn (7 possible)
I probably should have included Flame Strike because it is incredible, but I did not.
I really wanted to include Mighty Blow, but I ended up cutting it. I really like it in theory because it is 10 damage with 1 card, if played on an unblocked attacker. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really showed up much for me in my experience. In addition, this deck has very few tokens and minimal breakthough restricting the viable targets for this card.
Lying in Wait is solid Sage removal that can also draw 2 if needed. I love solid Sage removal/draw 2 cards for this deck. Fairly easy include (even though it made it to the Final Pass).
Final Task could be strong since I have Kong, Juggernaut, Pyromancer, Brave Squire etc., but it is Evil which makes me less inclined to use it in this deck. Final Task also seems a bit weaker in limited because the body usually breaks. I picked other cards over this one.
I highly value fast removal and Necrovirus is solid fast removal. The tokens don’t benefit me significantly, but I can eventually activate it with my few Evil 1-cost cards for extra chump blockers that allow me to be more aggressive.
Forced Exile is more removal, but it is a Good card which doesn’t benefit me. I picked other cards over this card.
Gold Dragon is nice for that 6/8 airborne blitz body. The righteous is an added bonus. I am a fan of having at least a few blitz champions because they can severely punish an opponent for spending their gold first on your turn. This was very close to being cut.
So, below is my deck list that I went 3-0-2 with on Saturday 6/18/16 at Origins:
This deck, like most decks, prefers to draw first instead of play first. Kong, Elara, Temporal Enforcer, Reaper, and to a lesser extent Time Bender, Turn, and all of my targeted removal like having targets when they come into play. These are high value plays that put your opponent on the back foot when they are already 1 card behind.
Once you have an advantage, you want to beat down your opponent with that advantage without over extending. With this deck, you basically always want to hold your gold until your opponent spends theirs. If that means trying to end your turn without spending your gold, great. This deck is packing a large number of fast high-tempo cards that make it incredibly difficult for your opponent to come back from behind.
Juggernaut, Steel Golem, and to a lesser extent Blue Dragon are the only cards in this deck you generally want to play to an open board when your opponent still has their gold. (I call these establishment cards.)
I only remember 2 of the matches particularly well.
In the first match, I believe it ended in a draw because I rushed my final turn after time was called.
I believe the second match I was able to execute my strategy effectively, but I do not remember specifics.
The third match I played was very interesting. This is probably the match with the most turns where neither player spent their gold. Both of us had high tempo decks that could severely punish our opponent for spending their gold first. Due to this, in at least two of the games, we both spent the first few turn just drawing and passing to the next player. This match ended in a draw because neither of us had enough/drew enough of our establishment cards to get things moving in our favor. I would say we played at a fairly decent pace though without too much time in the tank thinking.
Two of the cards that were quite strong in this match up were my Juggernaut and his Dark Knight. Juggernaut in general is an incredible card because it is hard to deal with effectively, and it draws a card. Dark Knight was deceptively strong because I couldn’t stop it from getting in the first turn without spending my gold. If I didn’t have my Blue Dragon to kill it on my turn, I could have been in trouble. Overall these games were memorable and a lot of fun: the games were close, interesting, and unusual and my opponent was cool too. Shout out to Auggie on good games: 1, 1, 1.
I believe this was another match where I was largely able to play my strategy.
The Win and In match. This match was interesting because apparently I could unintentionally draw and most likely make it to top 8. I thought this might be the case but didn’t feel like doing the math. My opponent seemed to know this, and he had to win to make it to top 8.
I don’t remember many of the specifics of this match, but I remember drawing perfectly and largely preventing my opponent from gaining any headway. (Steel Golem off the top after my opponent Inheritance of the Meeked on my turn.) I believe I may have reestablished my board presence with a Kong, and then never let go. Whichever specific reestablishment or establishment card(s) I used, I constantly had the perfect answers in hand that let me just attack, pass, and respond to everything. Ambush in a blocker: return it to hand with Temporal Enforcer or Time Bender. Break my champion on my opponent’s turn: ambush in Lurking Giant to put him right back into the same position.
After the game, we started talking about some concepts such as auto play (I consistently just attack, pass, and react when ahead) and how to break free from the situation I put him in with my high tempo plays. At the time, I didn’t have any great answers, but I am going to be discussing them in my next article about limited in general.
As a quick note, I would say that 1-cost reestablishment cards like Kong, Sea Titan, Reaper, Medusa, Elara, Temporal Enforcer, Angel of Death, etc. are some of the most important limited cards. Without these, your opponent can continuously 1 for 1 trade with you once they get ahead.
High-impact 0-cost cards are also incredibly important. Hasty Retreat is one of the best because it can remove a 1-cost champion for free and allow you to spend your gold on something else, or you can spend your gold and have Hasty Retreat as a safety net. I also think I like Fumble for similar reasons. Lightning Strike can be pretty strong as well, or potentially worthless.
Overall, I am a big fan of limited, and I look forward to going over it generally soon. I am also excited to discuss my Thursday limited deck because it broke form the usual Sage/Wild tempo deck mold.