“Herald” Cards (Pantheon Specific)
Pantheon introduces a cycle of Herald cards: Herald of Scara, Herald of Angeline, Herald of Lashnok, and probably a Herald of Gareth in the final two unspoiled packs. They are 1-cost champions with a Tribute effect that lets you reveal the top 3 cards of your deck and chose a card of the same alignment to add to your hand. (Banish the other revealed cards.)
Just like the Will cards, these are weak for my draft strategy because I frequently don’t have much more than 10 to 12 cards of my dominant alignment. Therefore, my likelihood of revealing 3 non-alignment matching cards is greater than I am willing to accept. I’d much rather draft either a more reliable alignment-independent card or an alignment-dependent card that I can be sure will activate when I choose to play it.
That being said, if you have recycled through your entire deck and have been keeping track of the order of your banished cards, these can be great to get you to the card you need that you know is coming (assuming it is in your Herald’s alignment). It could even just burn you past 3 cards you didn’t want to draw. Also, if you are in the draft-as-much-of-1-alignment-as-possible camp, these cards becomes much better because you are more likely to get at least 1 alignment-matching card; you might even be able to choose between 2 alignment-matching cards.
Scara vs Angeline
Angeline’s Favor Rating
Draw 2, always acceptable. 0-cost, I’m listening. Jump with a +2/+2 attached, hmm. Best case scenario, you use this to give a Kong airborne and hit your opponent for 15 damage, past whatever non-airborne blockers they might have in play. 0-cost deal 15, seems strong. It also bypasses a potential ambush, non-airborne chump blocker, since you can use it in combat, before blockers are declared.
However, for a 0-cost card that can get damage through, I’d generally rather have breakthrough (Rage/Lash), chump blocker removal (Wither/Raxxa’s Curse/etc), or potential big removal (Vanishing/Feeding Frenzy). In all of these scenarios, not only do I still potentially get damage through (although possibly less damage), but I also remove the chump blocker so it can’t stop me next turn either. Granted, if you just kill your opponent with that one attack, removing a potential chump blocker doesn’t matter.
In addition, I’d draft 0-cost champions over this or high-value champions like Kong, but if I need card draw (and I usually do), this is a perfectly acceptable card that could potentially win me the game.
Silver Wing Guardian Rating
Ambush champions in Dark Draft are great. Airborne champions in Dark Draft are great. Health gain in Dark Draft is pretty strong. Put all that together and you have a solid card, especially since it doesn’t rely on Loyalty or Ally effects.
This is particularly strong with combat tricks, namely Brave Squire. Ambush this in on your opponent’s turn during an attack, gain 4 health, Brave Squire it and block with it (if opponent’s gold is up, Brave Squire before passing initiative, otherwise Brave Squire after blocking), break the opponent’s attacking champion, gain 11 more health, and have a 6/6 airborne righteous champion to attack with on your next turn. (Tom Dixon figured this one out and it was incredibly strong in constructed.)
The reason this isn’t always desirable or better is because it isn’t as absurdly powerful/game-swinging as other cards, it can’t draw cards, and it breaks to Smash and Burn Ally trigger.
Silver Wing Lancer Rating
Effectively the best on-turn punisher to play after your opponent spends their gold on your turn. Without a gold, the only way your opponent can prevent 10 damage to their face is Hasty Retreat, Spore Beast, Blind Faith, Fumble, or a combination of cards such as combat tricks. After it his your opponent, at 8 defense, your opponent will be forced to use a gold (or multiple effects/Vanishing) to remove it, and since it is unbanishable, cards like Divine Judgement can’t sweep it up. It’s hard to appreciate just how strong this card is until you play with or against it.
Force Lance Rating
This is the best enabling card for playing your gold first on your turn.
Most of the time, playing a 1-cost blitz champion and attacking with it while your opponent’s gold is up is a bad idea; your opponent can remove your champion with cards like Medusa, Drain Essence, Erase, Chomp!, etc. and you gain almost no value from them. However, if you Force Lance that champion before passing initiative when you attack, your opponent’s possible answers drop dramatically. Further, since you recycled when you played this, even if your opponent has that Erase, you don’t get completely screwed.
This can also be used on an ambush champion you played last turn, before either player spends their gold, if you think your opponent wants to Medusa it. As a reminder, this only gives unbreakable on your turn, not your opponent’s.
Steel Titan Rating Rating
First Pickable –
This card, if unanswered, can win you the game in two attacks (because 13 offense, effectively unblockable), and it is pretty hard to answer (because untargetable). If your opponent doesn’t have a board clear, Scara’s Will, Winged Death, Lying in Wait, or Mythic Monster/Kong, you basically win. Assuming you can play this without dying since it doesn’t do much the turn it is played, aside from being a big untargetable blocker.
While there are still cards I would pick over this, I would only do so if I either A) already have ways to remove this or B) it’s early enough in the draft that I can pick ways to remove it. This card terrifies me, and I’ve already seen it almost single-handedly win multiple games. One benefit of first picking this card is that your opponent won’t know to prioritize answers for it.
Teleport Rating Rating
I’m not a huge fan of this card, now that the card draw is conditional on expending the target champion. (This also means that if you Teleport a token, the token disappears before you can expend it, so you can’t draw a card. Also true if you play this with no legal targets.)
Best case scenario is that you use this on your turn on a Kong or Brak, get the Tribute effect and then attack with that champion a second time… Now that I think about it though, using this on your Kong off-turn to break a champion and draw a card (by expending Kong) seems pretty strong… Anyways though, my main problem with this card is that it requires you to already have a strong champion already in play to have a strong effect.
Using it defensively to stop an attacking champion feels weak since it triggers that champions tribute/loyalty effect again for your opponent. It can save you if desperate (even against a Force Lanced Silver Wing Lancer), but I would much rather have a card that is strong when behind, can always draw me cards, or can punish an opponent after they spend their gold when I have nothing else in play.
Herald of Scara Rating
I don’t like the Herald cards in draft as I explain above. Therefore, if you ignore the tribute ability, this is a slow 9/7 airborne champion, which I would not draft.
On the bright side though, at 7 defense, your opponent needs to use a gold to remove it, and it can survive in combat against better airborne champions like Ice Drake, Ethereal Dragon, Gold Dragon, Strafing Dragon, etc. It is also a demon, so it lives through Raxxa’s Displeasure (and Dark One’s Fury), which, as a 9/7 airborne champion, is not to be underestimated. Therefore, if you have either of those board clears (which will continue to be less likely as the card pool grows) or you have 15 to 20 other Evil cards, this is a perfectly reasonable 2nd/3rd pick. Otherwise, I’d avoid it.
Scara’s Will Rating
Best Will. I would draft this card even if it didn’t give me an extra Evil gold the turn I play it.
A Fast removal card that can hit Sea Titan/Steel Titan is incredibly valuable, especially since it’s a removal option that doesn’t involve breaking/banishing all your champions too. In addition, it can draw 2. The fact that I can play this and, at minimum, bluff that I could play another 1-cost Evil card makes this absurd. If playing against this, I would recommend practically always spending your gold if they pass while their Evil-locked gold is up though, especially since there aren’t a ton of amazing Evil on-turn gold-punishers.
Scarred Cultist Rating
0-cost champions are inherently desirable, and a 6/5 stat line is no joke. If you are in Evil, this becomes amazing. A threatening 0-cost champion that can return your best 1-cost champion is fantastic. It can even jump onto a Faithful Pegasus (on offense or defense), and it can make Cast Out stronger (since it is a human).
Flames of Furios Rating
I don’t know how to rate this card yet. It’s a draw 2 so its never bad. In addition, it can break practically all 0-cost champions, which is great if your opponent plays multiple. Further, any 8+ defense champions you have in play survive this, and it can be played off-turn as a one-sided board clear. Finally, in Dark Draft your opponent will almost certainly have at least 1 reasonable 7 or less defense champion.
Overall, I think it is worth spending a significant amount of time analyzing how powerful this card would be in any given draft in which you see this. If either player is going tokens, this is amazing. Or, as mentioned, if your opponent has strong 7- defense champions and/or you have strong 8+ defense champion, this could be powerful.
Keira, Wolf Caller Rating
Ambush 10/10 worth of stats, with blitz, not bad. In addition, it can’t be fully removed by a 0-cost card, namely Flash Fire/Wither or Hasty Retreat/Vanishing/Fumble/Lightning Strike. The dream will always be to use this after your opponent plays Wave of Transformation on your turn while your gold is up, but unlike Wolf’s Call, it is significantly harder to casually answer, and the +1/+1 buff means your opponent can’t trade wolves 1 for 1. (Lightning Strike would at least prevent any additional wolves from attacking that turn though.)
Stampeding Einiosaurus Rating
The effective replacement for Rampaging Wurm. This is a fantastic on-turn gold-punisher because it hits for a lot of damage, and it can’t be effectively chump blocked. In addition, the permanent 11 defense means this can’t be broken by Drain Essence, without help, on your opponent’s next turn (which is a nice bonus over Great Horned Lizard, Gold Dragon, etc.).
Every card in this pack is exciting for Dark Draft. Silver Wing Guardian, Silver Wing Lancer, Keira Wolf Caller, and Einiosaurus are all solid gold-punishers. Steel Titan is a worthwhile slow champion which forcibly alters drafting when seen. Herald of Scara could theoretically be powerful, and it will be fun in the game where it works (or frustrating in the game where you drafted it anyway). Scarred Cultist is a solid 0-cost card. Angeline’s Favor, Force Lance, and Teleport can create interesting combat situations. Scara’s Will is sick removal, and Flames of Furios would feel great against a token deck. Of the 2 packs I’ve reviewed so far, if you were only to buy 1 for Dark Draft, I’d buy this one.
The weakest card for my Dark Draft style (even though Evil is currently my most drafted alignment) is definitely Herald of Scara. The most powerful card is probably Steel Titan, followed closely by Scara’s Will.
For constructed, Silver Wing Lancer, Silver Wing Guardian, and Force Lance were all in the deck I played at Worlds. Flames of Furios and Scara’s Will made it into other constructed decks of mine. Keira probably replaces Pack Alpha in Elara’s Hunting Pack. Finally, if Scara’s Will doesn’t become too prevalent, Steel Titan is a real card in constructed too.