This is a continuation of my ratings of all cards for Dark Draft. We’re getting into the Tyrants cards in this one.
9 Base Set Cards
Word of Summoning Rating
Off-turn 4/4 with recycle is much better than on-turn 4/3 with recycle (Ogre Mercenary). In addition, its a demon token so it has synergy with other demon synergy cards. The only downside compared to Ogre Mercenary is that it is returned to the token pile if bounced.
Generally, I like this as a way to apply a bit more pressure. Put in 2 off-turn demons with Spawning Demon, then add one more with this. It can also function as a chump blocker with recycle if needed.
A free fast chump blocker that replaces itself with recycle, solid.
Tyrants Updated Rating: 2+
Outside of a token based deck, I don’t feel like a solitary, fast demon is enough value to warrant a card slot and 2 cards in my discard pile. I would rather recycle with cards like Amnesia or White Dragon. This card does work nicely with the demon cards in Tyrants though.
Zombie Apocalypse Rating
Always First Pickable +
Off-turn board clears are great. This one can create chump blockers as well, if you are forced to use it on your opponent’s turn while their gold is up. In addition, you can even set up for playing this by banishing your opponent’s discard pile before with Amnesia/Heinous Feast (or Erratic Research/Grave Demon the turn before).
Rating: 3+, 5- First Pick
One of the best fast board clears in the game. The zombies based on champions in discard piles can make it better or potentially much worse depending on the situation, but it would, at minimum, save you for one more turn.
White Dragon Rating
0-cost 5/5 airborne champion is reasonable on its own. If you can get the recycle, it is a lot better. At 5/5, it trades with a decent number of 1-cost airborne champions, and at 5 damage it is a threat in its own right too.
The best card to use before playing this is probably Banishment. Remove a threat, put an airborne threat into play, and net lose 0 cards from hand.
Rating: 3 (4 with Good investment)
A 0-cost 5/5 airborne is pretty strong. A 0-cost 5/5 airborne with the ability to recycle is really strong.
White Knight Rating
One of my favorite cards.
Once again, Tribute -> draw a card is great. 9/9 blitzer can be a solid on-turn gold-punisher too. Those alone make it desirable to me, but the expend ability can be amazing too (although frequently irrelevant). Put an expended 9/9 into play, draw a card, and break a champion, yeah, pretty nice.
It’s also a human, so it can go airborne with Faithful Pegasus.
9/9 Tribute -> Draw a card is solid, not great though. Blitz is nice to have. Expend ability is great if against Evil champions.
Wave of Transformation Rating
Always First Pickable
The most reliable off-turn board clear.
No champion in the game can survive this card. Unfortunately, when you use this and are behind in quantity of champions in play, you stay behind. In addition, it doesn’t help you much against tokens hordes. That being said, the reliable off-turn board clear is so powerful that these downsides aren’t that problematic. Also, sage draw 2 too.
Rating: 3+, 4
This is the only fast board clear I am not rating a 5-. The reason for this, you can stay behind if your opponent is far ahead and against token decks this won’t do too much. Banishing all champions is a really big deal though which is why this is still a 4, especially since it is fast. Against a token deck this might be counter pick worthy.
Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+, 5
This is the best all-occasions, on-your-opponent’s-turn board clear in the game. It literally stops anything coming at you for at least one turn: unblockable champions, unbanishable champions, untargetable champions, token swarms, everything. The only thing to potentially watch out for is an opponent’s Wolf’s Call after you use it on their turn.
Winter Fairy Rating
After seeing Derek Arnold’s constructed Origins deck, I appreciate the idea of slow, on-turn, “draw 2 and” champions a lot more than I once did (even though his deck didn’t have any: Winter Fairy or The Gudgeon). I wrote about it a bit in my Epic: Constructed – Origins 2016 (Part 2) article, but it does primarily deal with constructed.
When I draft/play/include this card, I never expect it to deal combat damage. It’s great when it does, but it isn’t very likely. Instead, I view it as a draw 2 card that forces my opponent to spend a card to remove it. I always think about playing this and having it immediately get Withered, for example. +1 card in hand for me, -1 card in hand for my opponent.
If played while your opponent has no airborne champions in play, their most likely answers for it are: 0-cost 3 damage removal (avoiding the recycling 0-cost answers Wolf’s Bite and Flame Spike), banishment/transform removal, or other damage/break based 1-cost removal (best case scenario for you). If either of the first 2 options are used, you just drew out an incredibly valuable card from your opponent while drawing 2, great value. “You used your Palace Guard? Okay, I only drew 1 card, but now can you deal with this Kong?”
This is definitely one of my favorite cards in the game (partially because a lot of people undervalue it, although one of those people learned to value it even more than I do in draft), but I don’t value it higher in Dark Draft because Dark Draft is a lot more tempo based than constructed. While drawing 2 and forcing an opponent to use Wither is strong, if they are still at 6 cards in hand and running me over on the board with their gold, that value I just got probably won’t save me.
Overall, I like the card, but I’d rather have a more impactful card in Dark Draft most of the time.
Also, Final Tasking this on your turn to deal 4 damage and draw 3 isn’t bad either. (Tribute, combat damage, on-break effect)
This is another get further ahead card. This will usually draw 2 cards, 1 when played, 1 when broken. If it manages to hit face, it does draw an extra card so it much be removed (most things can remove it though). I like to play this card when I am 1 or more champions ahead of my opponent because even if they use a board clear I don’t get much further behind. It is also one more thing that they need to deal with, which can be tough if the other things are directly winning me the game.
Wolf Companion Rating
+2/+2 can be worthwhile in certain situations, but usually isn’t. Spending a gold to get back this weak effect even with a wolf is largely a waste of a gold, but it can save you in a desperate situation. A better way to get the wolf would be to recycle this card though; that way you don’t have to return it to your hand.
I like Wolf Companion. That small +2/+2 can be just enough to save your champion from a trade. The wolf tokens are also appreciated in an emergency. In addition, I like 0-cost events with 1 gold recall abilities since you can play them twice in 1 turn.
Tyrants Updated Rating: 2
I almost never draft it, and it hasn’t done much. Even though I like the idea, it hasn’t proved that it deserves to keep its 3 rating.
Wolf’s Call Rating
Practically Unplayble +
Not a huge fan of this card because it can be easily countered by a Wither, Flash Fire, Blind Faith, etc. However, without those effects it could potentially work as an 8 damage on-turn gold-punisher, meh. 4 wolves off turn is also meh, and the lack of a draw 2 option is disappointing.
There is one situation where I might draft it though, to be cheeky. If earlier in the draft I was forced to pass my opponent Wave of Transformation (to get an Amnesia, etc.), this can be a nasty punish. They Wave of Transformation on my turn while my gold is up, I play this to attack for 8 +2 for each champion I had in play (now wolves). In a wide/token deck, that could add up quickly.
4 wolves + all wolves gain blitz generally doesn’t do that much. With Pack Alpha it’s a bit better, but you will usually just lose some wolves, and then you end up holding onto the rest for chump blockers. I don’t want to spend my gold for just 4 chump blockers, especially since I can’t draw 2 cards instead.
Tyrants Updated Rating: 1
I just wanted to say that it is interesting in theory for a token deck in a heavy Wave of Transformation constructed meta. Still weak in draft though.
Wurm Hatchling Rating
Without Wild, a 0-cost 4/4 breakthrough champion is not a card I want.
With a significant amount of Wild, this can quickly grow into a real threat. Immediately jumping to 6/6 makes it so no 0-cost, damage-based removal can deal with this by itself. In addition, it can attack as an 8/8 breakthough champion on your next turn, assuming you played a second 1 cost Wild card. At 8/8, it only loses in combat to 24 of the 91 1-cost champions. At 10/10, it only loses to 11 champions. That is pretty crazy (even taking into account that a lot of those champions would never be in combat).
So, if you have a lot of 1-cost Wild cards, this can grow into a very real threat. Forcing your opponent to use a 1-cost card to answer a 0-cost card is powerful.
Rating: 3 with partial Wild investment (4 with heavy Wild investment, 1 with no Wild investment)
A 0-cost 4/4 breakthrough wurm that can get bigger can be pretty intimidating, especially if it can get a lot bigger. At just 4/4 breakthrough though, it is weak.
8 Tyrants Cards
Dark Offering Rating
Always Acceptable –
Spending a card and breaking your own champion is a very stiff price to pay, regardless of the effect. Potentially breaking 2 opposing champions off-turn is a powerful effect. Most of the time in Dark Draft, this price is not worth this effect. Either you aren’t willing to break your own champion or your opponent doesn’t have 2 champions in play you want to break. At least it can draw 2.
The best way to use this card is to break your Soul Hunter, Trihorror, Winter Fairy, The Gudgeon, or Mist Guide Herald. In other words, champions with valuable on-break effects or champions who provide most of their value with their Tribute/Loyalty effect and don’t generate much additional value.
If you have some of these champions, breaking your own champion isn’t much of a problem, and it can even be beneficial. The potential power-level of this card is enormous, but it isn’t likely to achieve that power-level often. (At least not in Dark Draft…I’ve built about 3 constructed decks using Dark Offering with mixed results.)
Rating: 3+, 2
This card can work well with Trihorror or Soul Hunter which want to be broken. Still, I generally wouldn’t want to rely on that situation existing in a draft. Further, it isn’t generally that common a situation, in my experience, where I have a 1-cost champion in play that I don’t really care about when my opponent has 2 champions in play. It’s a cool card, but it is just too situational for me to draft it over most any other card.
Hands from Below Rating
Always Acceptable –
4 damage is enough to break all of the unblockable champions in the game (Thought Plucker, Knight of Shadows, Shadow Imp, etc.). It can also break all tokens and a lot of other 0-cost champions. If you can bait an opponent into group attacking with multiple demons, it can be really strong. (I know from experience being baited into doing just that.)
In addition, 2 zombies is a nice bonus.
Personally, it’s a bit too conditional for me, and the zombies aren’t enough of a bonus to make me desire this heavily. I know plenty of people who love this card though. I’d much rather have Spike Trap.
Generically, I wouldn’t say this is an incredible card in draft. It does seem to be a direct answer to all of the unblockable champions in Epic though. Knight of Shadows, Temporal Enforcer, etc. all have 4 or less defense, so this breaks them all. It also works against Crystal Golem since it doesn’t target. Unfortunately, it can’t hit some potential low defense airborne champions that Spike Trap can hit.
If you believe your opponent has worthwhile targets for this, it is worth drafting. The more potential targets, the more likely you can use this effectively.
Blind Faith Rating
I’ve gone back and forth on this card, but currently I love it in Dark Draft. There are so many situations where stripping abilities off of champions can lead to massive blowouts or even just generically strong plays.
- Stripping blitz off of a surprise token onslaught (Insurgency)
- Stripping airborne, unblockable, or breakthrough from attacking champions (Thought Plucker)
- Stripping airborne from potential blockers (Draka’s Enforcer)
- Stripping untargetable and/or on-break effects (Steel Golem, Trihorror)
With the addition of more mass discard pile banish cards, drawing out becomes less likely. Therefore, recycling is less likely to have even a small downside.
The potential of this card is outstanding.
- You are attacking with an airborne champion, they ambush in an airborne champion to block it. Before they can declare it as a blocker, you play this on that player, that champion loses airborne, that champion can no longer block your airborne champion, and you recycle.
- You are attacking with Kong, they ambush in Crystal Golem to block it. After they declare it as a blocker, but before they get a chance to break it, play this on that player, remove Crystal Golem‘s ability to break itself to draw 2 cards, and you recycle.
- Your opponent has Sea Titan in play when you have a hand of targeted removal that can’t touch it. You play this on that player, recycle, and play your removal on Sea Titan.
- Your opponent attacks with Burrowing Wurm. Play this on that player, remove Burrowing Wurm‘s breakthrough, recycle, and chump block it with a human token.
- Your opponent attacks you with an Insurgency buffed human token hoard, you play this on that player, remove both the blitz and the unbreakable. The +1 offense granted by Insurgency would not be removed.
- You have lethal on board but you opponent has an expended Avenging Angel protected by Royal Escort. You play this on that player, recycle, attack because Avenging Angel is no longer stopping you, and, after blockers are declared and both players know you are going to win, play removal on Avenging Angel just to rub it in (since it is also no longer protected by Royal Escort).
This card is incredibly versatile. It can be played offensively or defensively, and it recycles. However, it is not an inherent threat, nor inherent removal, nor an inherent win condition. So, it can be mildly to incredibly useful in most decks, but I wouldn’t pick it over inherently powerful cards. My opinion on this card still isn’t finalized, but I would be willing to pick it. This is especially true if I had significant airborne, untargetable, or unblockable champions and my opponent could take it if I didn’t.
I think this card has serious potential in constructed, but I don’t have a deck that features it yet.
Forced Exile Rating
I like targeted removal and “or draw 2” cards. Banish is usually stronger than break. This is strong both on-turn and off-turn. Solid.
Rating: 3+, 4+
I love fast targeted removal. The fact that this banishes is also a plus, since it gets around unbreakable, on break effects, and prevents the champion from coming back from the discard pile. However, it can’t remove unbanishable champions like Thundarus.
The two humans can also be a big deal. In a token deck, this is easily a 5 if you play it on your turn. If you plan to play it on your opponent’s turn, I generally would rather give them 1 champion as opposed to 2 (so Bitten or Transform), but this is still excellent.
Arcane Research Rating
I don’t like this card in Dark Draft.
It’s never bad because you can always just play it and banish no other cards to replace it, but you do give a bit of information away for nothing in that case. You also potentially missed out on drafting something better.
In addition, I rarely find myself in a situation where I am searching for exactly 1 card, so banishing multiple cards just hurts my own ability to recycle, while also showing more cards to my opponent.
The only time I would actively want this card in Dark Draft is if I had Flame Strike/other high value burn, Drain Essence, or linchpin cards like Revolt. Devastating your discard pile to win the game has no downside, but devastating your discard pile for a defensive answer or a marginally better champion can do more harm than good sometimes.
This is an interesting, highly situational card that I am going to spend a lot of time explaining.
Effectively, you can search for 1 card in the top x cards of your deck, where x is 1 + the number of cards in your discard pile. So, say you have 5 cards in your discard pile, if you choose to banish them all, you would reveal the top 6 cards and put 1 into your hand. In addition, since this is a 0-cost card, you can potentially play any card you get.
This card is incredible because it can do a lot of highly valuable things:
- This card lets you dig for that final card you need to win: Flame Strike, Deadly Raid, etc.
- Similarly, this card lets you dig for that final combo piece: Insurgency, Priest of Kalnor, etc.
- This card lets you dig for a desperate answer: Wave of Transformation, Hasty Retreat, etc.
- If low on cards in your deck, this card can potentially return a card from your discard pile to hand. For example, say you have 3 cards in your deck, and you banish this + 8 cards in your discard pile. Those cards get shuffled and go to the bottom of your deck, which is now 12 cards. Then you draw 9 of those 12 cards, 6 of which could either be the specific card you wanted to return or the Arcane Research you just played.
- This card can banish cards with “when this card leaves your discard pile” effects: Ancient Chant and Wolf Champion
This card is terrible because it does highly negative things:
- This card requires banishing of cards in your discard pile. This is bad because your discard pile is important for plentiful reasons.
- Recall cards like Lightning Storm and Psionic Assualt
- Return cards like Memory Spirit and Necromancer Lord
- Discard checking cards like Zombie Apocalypse, Army of the Apocalypse, and Unquenchable Thirst
- You need cards in your discard pile for recycle triggers
- An alternate win condition is drawing through your deck. If you banish cards in your discard pile, that is just more cards you need to draw through to win.
- This card can reveal a very significant number of your cards to your opponent. So, if played in the first game of a match, your opponent could learn a decent chunk of your deck early.
- This card, by itself, does less than nothing. You play this, it gets banished, and you reveal the card that replaces it.
With all of this in mind, this card is significantly better in constructed Epic than drafting Epic. Drafting Epic generally relies a lot more on solid high-efficiency plays than accomplishing one specific thing. Due to this, the value of the cards in your discard pile could easily be higher than the value of playing this card. In addition, drawing out for a win is a very real possibility in draft. So, if you draft a more balanced deck that doesn’t try to win through a specific combination of cards, this card isn’t generically amazing.
However, specific cards like Flame Strike, Lightning Storm, Deadly Raid, Insurgency, etc. are so powerful that they can be worth the downside. This card is primarily a finisher in this regard. You only play it when it could win you the game. While it can be used defensively, if you are playing a defensive deck in draft you generally want to maintain the possibility of drawing out for the win.
In constructed, competitive constructed in particular, the downsides are significantly lessened and the upsides are significantly enhanced. You can build your deck as combo deck which makes this excellent. You can build in such a way that your discard pile is less important. In addition, your opponent will frequently already have a decent idea what your deck is running, particularly if it is a popular deck list available online (here or at White Wizard Games Deck Foundry for instance).
So, skipping it is usually fine, but it can definitely enable wins in specific circumstances. It is also possible I am being too harsh on it.
Elara, the Lycomancer Rating
Situationally Desirable +
Another card that I think is undervalued. It’s Sage so I’ll usually be able to hit the loyalty. Transform is an incredibly powerful effect. Free chump blocking wolf isn’t irrelevant. 5 defense puts it out of range of all 0-cost removal cards except Lightning Strike, so it is much more likely to get a second activation or at least force a gold to be spent on it.
6/5 blitzer that brings a wolf with her can also serve as an on-turn gold-punisher if really needed.
Rating: 5 (Sage investment required) 3 (without Sage Investment), First Pick, Counter Pick
I was initially a bit hesitant about this card since it does leave a wolf behind for your opponent when you use it. Now that I have played with it, I know that it is incredible. I would argue that this is one of the, if not the best, board controlling champions in the game. Not only can you give it blitz, but it transforms which can remove all non-untargetable champions. It also has 5 defense, and it gives you a wolf when it comes into play. This is an insanely powerful card.
Without a Sage investment I would still consider this a 3 since it is harder to get rid of and at least gives you a wolf.
7/7 breakthrough champion is a real threat. Playing this without spending your gold and passing is a very reasonable play because of that.
Being able to spend a gold to draw a card with it also has value when needed, but 0-cost breakthrough 7/7 is usually better.
A 0-cost 7/7 breakthrough is nothing to sneeze at. In addition, if you have nothing better to do with your gold for the turn, a mini Triceratops isn’t a terrible play.
Battle Cry Rating
Always Acceptable –
Since the draw 2 option can only be used off-turn, it is slightly weaker than other draw 2 cards. And, since most games won’t want its primary effect, it is primarily just a less versatile “or draw 2” card.
If you have a bunch of tokens or big untargetable champions, +offense and AoE breakthrough can potentially win games. In addition, +3 defense puts even human tokens out of range of breaking to Wither/Flash Fire, which is appreciated. However, I almost never want to commit a gold to potentially win the game, assuming my opponent has no answer, at the risk of gaining nothing.
The +3/+3 off-turn can make some otherwise chump blocking tokens into real threats though (in addition to the draw 2).
Rating: 3+, 3
I haven’t really decided how I feel about this card yet. It is a finisher for a token deck. It can give your untargetable champions breakthrough. It draws 2 cards off turn and gives the buff. Overall, I just need to play with and against this card more.