9 Base Set/8 Tyrants Cards (1/12/17)

This is a continuation of my ratings of all cards for Dark Draft. We’re getting into the Tyrants cards in this one.

A link to my full tier list may be found here. My reasoning for each card can be found here.

9 Base Set Cards

word_of_summoning

Word of Summoning Rating
Always Acceptable

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.

zombie_apocalypse

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).

white_dragon

White Dragon Rating
Situationally Desirable

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.

white_knight

White Knight Rating
Usually Desirable

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.

wave_of_transformation

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.

winter_fairy

Winter Fairy Rating
Always Acceptable

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)

wolf_companion

Wolf Companion Rating
Practically Unplayble

Terrible.

+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.

wolf_s_call

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.

wurm_hatchling

Wurm Hatchling Rating
Situationally Desirable

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.

8 Tyrants Cards

dark_offering

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.)

hands_from_below

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.

blind_faith

Blind Faith Rating
Usually Desirable

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.

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.

forced_exile

Forced Exile Rating
Always Desirable

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.

arcane_research

Arcane Research Rating
Situationally Acceptable

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.

elara_the_lycomancer

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.

ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus Rating
Always Acceptable

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.

battle_cry

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).

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