Epic Progression (2): Basic Strategy Advice

Foreword

Now that you’ve played a couple games to learn the rules and flow of Epic, I am going to go over 3 general principles that will help you understand the game quicker and better: attack with 1 champion at a time, spend your gold after attacking, and spend your gold every turn (especially on your opponent’s turn). These principles are correct in the vast majority of cases, and if you follow them you will discover some of Epic’s subtler aspects sooner.

Attack with One Champion at a Time

In Epic, unlike Magic, you may declare as many individual attack “phases” in a turn as you want (as long as you can declare at least one attacking champion per attack phase). Further, it is almost always better to attack with one champion at a time, instead of attacking as a group. Attacking in a group allows one champion to block multiple, it can negate keywords like Airborne, and it gives your opponent a chance to break multiple champions in combat.

One Blocker Stops an Entire Attacking Group

No matter how many champions you declare in a single attack, if your opponent declares a single champion as a blocker, all of your simultaneously attacking champions are blocked. Therefore, none of them will deal damage to your opponent (unless breakthrough).

In this example, a 1/1 human token blocked 6 group-attacking demons, preventing 24 damage to the defending player. If the demons would have attacked alone, they could have dealt 20 damage to the defending player instead.

Attacking in Groups can Negate Keywords

If you group-attack with multiple, hard-to-block champions, your opponent only needs to be able to block one of them to block all of them. This can negate a champion’s airborne or unblockable keyword(s).

In addition, when determining how much breakthrough damage is dealt to an opposing player, you add up only the offense of the attacking breakthrough champions and subtract the defense of all defending champions; the difference is dealt to the defending player, and all other offense in the attack is irrelevant for this calculation.

In this example, the defending player is able to block the entire group because it can block either the Triceratops or human token (even though Medusa could not normally block Avenging Angel or Thought Plucker). By blocking the group with Medusa, the defending player would only take Triceratops‘ 2 breakthrough damage, and the defending player could choose to break either the Avenging Angel or Thought Plucker + human token.

If the champions would have attacked alone (preventing the defending player from blocking either Avenging Angel or Thought Plucker), those champions could have dealt an extra 8+ damage to the defending player, let the attacking player draw a card, forced the defending player to discard a card, and only risked losing the human token.

Multiple Attackers can Break to a Surprise in Combat

If you group-attack with multiple champions, even when your opponent has nothing in play, you risk losing all of them together.

In this example, an ambushed Lurking Giant can block, break all 4 group-attacking wolves, and prevent all damage to the defending player. If the wolves would have attacked alone, 3 wolves might have lived and dealt 6 damage to the defending player.

Spend Your Gold After Attacking
(Not Before)

The most common mistake I see new players make is spending their gold/playing cards before attacking. Instead, it is almost always correct to attack with your champions already in play before you do anything else. As long as you have advantageous attacks (opponent has no champions that can block effectively), attacking and waiting to play cards is your safest and most powerful play. If you spend your gold/play cards before attacking, you become more vulnerable to board clears, you restrict your future plays that turn, and you give your opponent free information.

Become More Vulnerable to Board Clears

If you play cards/spend your gold to put more champions into play before attacking with your existing champions, your opponent can use a board clear to both prevent the damage from your attacking champion, and to remove all of your champions from play.

In this example, you have a Jungle Queen in play that can attack. If you spend your gold first (to play Fire Shaman and Bellowing Minotaur), you allow your opponent to remove all of your champions with Hurricane before either Jungle Queen or Bellowing Minotaur can deal damage. If you attack with Jungle Queen first and your opponent plays Hurricane, you can then play Fire Shaman and Bellowing Minotaur, get 12 damage through, and leave yourself with 2 champions in play.

Restrict Your Options that Turn

If you spend your gold before attacking (before your opponent has a chance to play cards/spend their gold), you lose your ability to spend your gold to react to what they do that turn.

In this example, if you spend your gold before attacking with your Triceratops (to play T-Rex), you always lose your Triceratops and are left with a T-Rex to your opponent’s Lurking Giant. If you wait to spend your gold, you can either:

Give Your Opponent Free Information

If you spend your gold before attacking, your opponent knows what you spent your gold on, so they can react to it when they spend their gold.

In this example, if you play Flame Strike before attacking with Ice Drake, your opponent knows they will go to 0 health when Ice Drake hits them, so they use Inner Peace to gain 10 health before Ice Drake deals combat damage. If you wait to play Flame Strike until after Ice Drake hits, you can finish your opponent off immediately (since they can’t play Inner Peace before Flame Strike kills them).

Spend Your Gold Every Turn
(Especially on Your Opponent’s Turn)

1-cost cards in Epic are incredibly powerful. Any turn in which your opponent uses a gold and you do not, you get significantly far behind.

One mistake I see a lot of new players make is not using an “or draw 2” card to draw cards on their opponent’s turn. While saving a card like Apocalypse for its break all effect can be powerful, if you don’t use cards to draw 2, you will eventually run out of cards in hand. This will prevent you from spending your gold every turn and cause you to fall significantly far behind. Since most cards in Epic are incredibly powerful, using 1 card to draw 2 is strong.

Also, don’t forget to use your recall abilities on cards like Lightning Storm and Demon Breach (especially when you can’t spend your gold otherwise).

Conclusion

These are the 3 most important pieces of advice for new players. While it is not universally correct to follow them, they are correct around 90% of the time. By internalizing these rules, you enable yourself to focus on the deeper, emergent aspects of Epic.

I recommend playing multiple games of Epic to understand and internalize these 3 principles before moving onto the next article in this series. In it I plan on going into more complicated, less absolute strategic concepts.

Furi

Introduction

I first saw this played on Penny Arcade’s First 15, and I was intrigued. When I incidentally got it in last month’s Humble Monthly, I decided to try it.

It is amazing. If you enjoy Bullet-Hell boss battles, I highly recommend this, so much so that I had to take time away from my Epic content to write about it.

Quick Description

Furi is a game of boss fights (I’m currently past the fifth). Each boss fight consists of multiple stages. Each stage has a mobility/ranged-attack-focused part (where you can use ranged rapid-fire or charged attacks in addition to melee attacks) and a close-range, melee-only part. In both parts you have an invulnerable dash and a parry. The final stage of each fight is a Bullet-Hell/Other Finale that you need to survive until you can finish off the boss.

[Screenshots from early bosses and don’t do the game justice]

(Mobility/Ranged-Attack-Focused Part Picture 1)

(Mobility/Ranged-Attack-Focused Part Picture 2)

(Close-Range, Melee-Only Part)
(Bullet-Hell/Other Finale)

Game Feels Great

Simply put, the game feels great to play. The difficulty is perfect in that it generally takes me a couple tries to beat each boss, yet I’m always excited to start the fight over to apply what I learned (patterns, tactics, responses, etc). Similarly, the game speed is great; its fast and exciting, but the character still feels like it is entirely under my control. The invulnerable dash enhances this even further because it enables you to exploit opportunities to dodge projectiles/attacks, close gaps quickly to attack in melee, or even strategically retreat. Everything about the pace of the gameplay just feels right.

Against melee attacks, split second parrying is incredibly satisfying (especially when you get a perfect parry), and it leads into the satisfying chain of four melee attacks that ends with a big solid down swing that knocks the boss down and away. Completing that attack chain with that finisher, after nailing a parry or dashing in during/after a massive ranged attack, is gaming bliss. Finally, each boss feels different both stylistically and gameplay wise (although the Close-Range, Melee-Only parts are a bit similar).

My only complaint is that the scenes between bosses are a bit too long and boring, but they function as a pallet cleanser so it’s fine. As a side note, many people seem to love the soundtrack, but I haven’t noticed it much while playing. It probably helps to pull me into the game, and not being overtly noticeable is not a bad thing, but I don’t have strong feelings about it.

Conclusion

Overall, Furi is a stand-out example in the Bullet-Hell genre, and I highly recommend it. The pacing, controls, and difficulty are excellent and provide an adrenaline rush that lasts for a while after stopping. As a heads up, they do recommend using a controller, and that is how I’m playing it.

Gen Con 2017 Random 60 Qualification

Foreword

I went 3-0-1 during the Random 60 portion of this qualifier. I lost a game in the final round.

Random 60

Random 60 is a “limited” Epic Card Game format where you build your deck from a random pool of cards at the beginning of the event. In Random 60, each player is given their own unique list of 60 cards with between 13 and 17 cards of each alignment. Each player uses only the cards on their list to construct a deck of exactly 30 cards. (Constructed Epic deck-building restrictions do not apply, you may include as many 0-cost cards as you have access to in your pool.)

60 Card Pool

If you don’t like your first card pool, you are able to mulligan. If you do, you get a new list of 56 cards with between 12 and 16 cards of each alignment. If you don’t like your second pool, you are stuck with it.

Would you mulligan this pool? Why or why not?

First Pass

When I first go over my list, I look for

  • auto-includes (star: )
  • strong alignment-independent cards (solid arrow:FactionIndependentArrow)
  • strong alignment-dependent cards (dashed arrow: FactionDependentArrow)
  • strategy-dependent cards like Revolt (line:StrategyDependentLine)
  • effectively unplayable cards (line through: StrikeThrough)
  • generally unplayable cards (dashed line through: GenerallyUnplayable)

All cards without a mark are viable, but not incredible.

Wild

Raging T-Rex is a huge incentive to play Wild because it is the best card to play turn 1 going first. I also have other solid Wild cards such as Smash and Burn + Fire Spirit/Fire Shaman + Rain of Fire/Hurricane/Savage Uprising/Draka’s Fire/Fires of Rebellion. Unfortunately, I’m missing many of the rewards for going Wild: Spore Beast, Draka Dragon Tyrant, Draka’s Enforcer, Strafing Dragon, Pyrosaur, Scarros Hound of Draka, Brachiosaurus, and Feeding Frenzy.

Sage

Knight of Elara is my only incentive to go Sage, but there are plenty of other strong Sage cards.

Evil

Evil is by far my most rewarding alignment with Murderous Necromancer, Rift Summoner, Plentiful Dead, Spawning Demon, and Angel of Death. Unfortunately, Spawning Demon and Plentiful Dead require 1-cost, Evil, draw 2s to make them all-stars. In addition, Trihorror, Soul Hunter, and Heinous Feast (since I have Grave Demon) aren’t amazing. Luckily, Grave Demon, Corpsemonger, and Dark Knight are always powerful.

Overall

I kept this list because of Kong, Palace Guard, Grave Demon (a mass discard pile banish effect), and a supported T-Rex. Also having Blind Faith, Dark Knight, Corpsemonger, Ogre Mercenary, and the other auto-includes solidified that choice.

Second Pass

Once I complete my first pass with the deck list provided, I gather all of the cards I can play and divide them into cards I am certainly playing (star), cards I want to play (dotted star), cards I might play (unmarked), and cards I won’t play (strikethrough).

While getting out and dividing the cards, I initially separate them by alignment and cost (as seen below). In addition, I separated the 1-cost cards I am likely to cut into the right column of each alignment.

The only notable card that did not make this first rough cut was Mist Guide Herald. I think MGH can be a powerful card because it can dig you to a card you need, or at least a card that is playable, while also giving you a 3/2 airborne body, which is far from irrelevant. When you put MGH into play, particularly off-turn with Final Task, Surprise Attack, or Resurrection and hit something like Sea Titan, Kong, or Time Walker, it can be insane. However, if it turns up no 1-cost champions you want to play, it can be terrible. Without Final Task, Surprise Attack, Resurrection, or Dark Offering, I have no desire to take that risk. (It can also accidentally banish key cards like Amnesia in Control/Midgrange decks.)

Distributions Pass

Once I have the general shell of the deck, I make sure I have an acceptable amount of cards for the 8 distributions mentioned below (sometimes there are special distributions like 1-cost cards to recall Inner Peace). Meeting these distributions almost always guarantees a reasonable deck.

Distribution Breakdown

  • 14 Wild (Primary Alignment)

Den Mother, Draka’s Fire, Entangling Vines, Fire Shaman, Fire Spirit, Fireball, Fires of Rebellion, Hurricane, Kong, Raging T-Rex, Rain of Fire, Savage Uprising, Smash and Burn, Wolf’s Bite

I have a bit more than I need (10+), so I may cut a couple.

  • 25 Card Draw

Draka’s Fire, Fire Spirit, Fires of Rebellion, Hurricane, Raging T-Rex, Rain of Fire, Savage Uprising, Smash and Burn, Wolf’s Bite, Crystal Golem, Djinn of the Sands, Erase, Knight of Shadows, Lesson Learned, Memory Spirit, Ogre Mercenary, Reusable Knowledge, Spike Trap, Heinous Feast, Inner Demon, The Gudgeon, Blind Faith, Inheritance of the Meek, Noble Unicorn, Urgent Messengers

I have significantly more than I need (15+), so I’ll probably cut multiple.

  • 11 0-cost Cards

Fire Shaman, Fireball, Wolf’s Bite, Forcemage Apprentice, Ogre Mercenary, Spike Trap, Corpsemonger, Dark Knight, Heinous Feast, Blind Faith, Courageous Soul

I’m barely above my minimum (10+), so I’m only willing to cut 1 max.

  • 8 Slow Champions (1 On-turn Gold-punishers)

Den Mother, Fire Spirit, Kong, Raging T-Rex, Knight of Shadows, The Gudgeon, Palace Guard, (Djinn of the Sands)

I’m under my maximum (10-). An extra on-turn gold-punisher would be nice, but since I have a mass discard pile banish effect, not 100% necessary

  • 6 Ambush Champions/Off-turn Gold-punishers

Entangling Vines, Crystal Golem, Memory Spirit, Grave Demon, Angelic Protector, Noble Unicorn

I’m above my absolute minimum (3), but I could take more.

  • 2 Mass Discard Pile Banish

Grave Demon, Heinous Feast

I only need 1.

  • 3 Board Clears

Hurricane, Savage Uprising, Inheritance of the Meek, (Draka’s Fire, Rain of Fire)

An acceptable amount.

  • 7 Targeted Removal (2 Slow/5 Fast)

Kong, Palace Guard, Fires of Rebellion, Smash and Burn, Erase, Inner Demon, Rain of Fire

Only 2 defense-independent off-turn removal effects, but that is probably fine.

  • 5 1-cost Good Cards that can Recall Inner Peace

Angelic Protector, Inheritance of the Meek, Noble Unicorn, Palace Guard, Urgent Messengers

I only need 3.

Distribution Considerations and Cuts

I unequivocally cut Lesson Learned, Knight of Shadows, The Gudgeon, and Heinous Feast. Lesson Learned: I didn’t have enough strong 1-cost events to use with it, and I didn’t have anything else I was willing to cut for it. Knight of Shadows: I didn’t need the card draw, I had no other discard effects, and I’m not a big fan of the 4 defense. The Gudgeon: I didn’t need the card draw. Heinous Feast: I didn’t need the mass discard pile banish nor the card draw.

The last four cuts were significantly more difficult. I ended up cutting what I did because

I’m personally not a huge fan of Inner Demon, so that got cut. Same with Savage Uprising, since I didn’t have too many 0-cost champions. Rain of Fire and Fire Spirit work great with Smash and Burn and Fire Shaman, so I wanted to keep those for the synergy. Urgent Messengers seemed too strong to cut. Therefore, I cut the only remaining questionable slow champion, Den Mother, and the least impactful ambush champion, Angelic Protector.

While making these final cuts, I reconsidered Demon Breach, Helion’s Fury, Knight of Elara, and Chomp!, but I ended up including none of them. Demon Breach could provide additional threats both on-turn and off-turn. Helion’s Fury was additional removal, but only on-turn. Knight of Elara has blitz, but I didn’t have enough Sage to draw a card, and Chomp! is off-turn removal, but not quite as strong as the rest of my options.

Last Minute Adjustment

Once I got down to the 30 cards above, I decided I wanted another off-turn hard-removal card that could answer Thundarus (or Burrowing Wurm). While I think these are bad cards, they can win the game if unanswered, and Erase was my only card that could answer Thundarus by itself (since Thundarus dodges my Palace Guard and Inheritance of the Meek, unless I have Blind Faith). Therefore, I swapped out Urgent Messengers for the generally weaker card Inner Demon, since I didn’t need the card draw.

Memorable Moments

I do not remember much about the matches played at this point, but I remember being surprised just how effective Courageous Soul was for me. I was able to play it frequently on my opponent’s turn to an empty board and attack for 4 damage with my gold up. Even though it was just a worse Dark Knight in those situations, that was still enough to get damage through. In addition, the +2 offense to my champions allowed me to threaten lethal damage on at least one occasion.

I also got the chance to go over a couple players’ 60 card pools with them after our matches (as well as going over my pool). As frequent readers know, I like talking about Epic, and being able to have discussions which can change my opinions in real time is even better, especially when we have common game examples to reference.

If you would like to read about my top 4 Dark Drafts which I won to qualify for Worlds 2017, check out my earlier articles (part 1, part 2).

Coming Soon

I am planning on recording at least one video of me building a Random 60 deck in real time.

Elara’s Hunting Pack (Gen Con 2017)

Foreword

This is my Gen Con 2017 constructed deck. I made it to top 8 and lost to the eventual winner, and yes, this is a Wolf Deck. It is built entirely around Hunting Pack.

Hunting Pack (and other pet cards)

Hunting Pack is strong because it is off-turn removal that puts threats into play. My goal is to make it a no-loyalty alternative to Medusa. Its main weaknesses are that 6 damage isn’t enough to break enough important champions in the current meta, and the wolves can be cleared off incidentally with Flash Fire/Wither or Draka Dragon Tyrant/Pyrosaur. In order to address these weaknesses, I need to boost the amount of damage Hunting Pack does above 6 and make my wolves relevant.

Building Around Hunting Pack

The most obvious way to make Hunting Pack better is to fill the deck with wolf producing cards. So I did. Den Mother and Wolf’s Bite are both solid. Pack Alpha is not great, but it does make wolves. Wolf Companion is worthless as it is never worth a 0-cost slot, especially after Tyrants and Uprising. Wolf’s Call is too bad, unless we lived in a meta where everyone runs three Wave of Transformation; however, Wave of Transformation fits nicely for me, as I ideally will have more champions in play, and it maintains wolves for me. The most interesting inclusion is Elara, the Lycomancer though.

That one wolf is a huge boost. At 4 wolves in play, Hunting Pack deals 8 damage which can break Draka’s Enforcer, a card that was popular in Wild aggro-midrange decks. (Wolf’s Bite is really nice because you get up to 8 damage + 2 in order to break Draka and T-Rex.) The final wolf cards I considered were Lesson Learned and Citadel Raven, both of which allow me to replay Hunting Pack.

Filling with Powerful Cards/Synergies

Since I want to run Elara, my deck building process dictates that I need 33+ Sage cards to reliably hit loyalty. In addition, assuming I run 3 of Hunting Pack, Den Mother, and Pack Alpha, I need at least 1 more Wild 1-cost card to maximize my 0-cost card count. Card Draw and Drain Essence are also important.

Feeding Frenzy Synergy

Feeding Frenzy is one of the most powerful 0-cost cards in the game because it can break a 1-cost champion without spending a gold. In order to make it devastatingly effective though, you need activators. I already have Wolf’s Bite, and I can use Feeding Frenzy to finish off a champion that blocks one of my wolves, but I want/need more. Forcemage is an easy include, and since I’m already in Sage, Helion is a possibility. Feeding Frenzy is also an excellent card to return to hand with Citadel Raven (which I already want for my Hunting Packs). To make space for three Feeding Frenzy, I can run 3 Surprise Attack (another nice card with Lesson Learned/Citadel Raven and Elara/Den Mother).

Filtering

One thing I noticed when testing different iterations of this deck was that the Hunting Pack + wolf synergy was solid, but without it, the deck fell apart. To address this, I experimented with Arcane Research and Mist Guide Herald (in addition to the Surprise Attacks) to get to the best parts of my deck. Arcane Research could help find a Hunting Pack to turn my Lesson Learneds on or a Den Mother to apply pressure. Mist Guide Herald could help me get a 1-cost wolf to make my Hunting Packs deal 12+ damage. In the end, I took out the MGHs, with the help of my team leader Tom Dixon of Pluck U because they were just too inconsistent for the deck.

Strong Sage Cards

The deck already wants Lesson Learned, so including Ancient Chant is even easier than it usually is for me. (Ancient Chant is one of my most included cards in constructed decks.) Knight of Elara provides me with a card draw (which I’m low on) as well as a blitz champion that can get through Sea Titan. Djinn of the Sands works similarly; it can either attack as an 8/8 airborne blitzer, draw 3 cards over 3 turns (not common but it happens), or do anything in between. Ice Drake took the spot of Mist Guide Herald because I need ambush champions and the expend all effect can be absolutely game-winning. (Thanks again Tom Dixon for convincing me.) Sea Titan ends up taking Citadel Raven’s two slots because I expected to be running into more aggro than control. Muse is a powerful card by itself, but it can also potentially draw out Wither/Flash Fires that otherwise could deal with my wolves. Hasty Retreat is anti-aggro, and Amnesia ended up replacing my under-performing Keeper of Secrets to deal with discard shenanigans a bit (probably should have been more Hasty Retreats).

Drain Essence

Since my deck is neither hyper-aggressive with burn nor has other health gain, 3 Drain Essence is basically mandatory. Raxxa’s Curse is an incredibly strong 0-cost card to fill my Evil 0’s slots created by Drain Essence, but it largely made it into the deck because I wanted to be able to get it back with Citadel Raven (even though I cut the Raven). The final Evil 1-cost slot is a flex slot that I currently have Zombie Apocalypse in as an off-turn board clear that can draw 2.

Gen Con 2017 List

Evil (6)

Slow ()

Fast (4)
3x Drain Essence
1x Zombie Apocalypse

0-Cost (2)
2x Raxxa’s Curse

Sage (36)

Slow (10)
2x Citadel Raven/Sea Titan
2x Djinn of the Sands
3x Elara, the Lycomancer
3x Knight of Elara

Fast (14)
3x Ancient Chant
2x Helion, the Dominator
3x Mist Guide Herald/Ice Drake
3x Lesson Learned
3x Wave of Transformation

0-Cost (12)
3x Arcane Research
3x Forcemage Apprentice
1x Hasty Retreat
2x Keeper of Secrets/Amnesia
3x Muse

Wild (18)

Slow (6)
3x Den Mother
3x Pack Alpha

Fast (6)
3x Hunting Pack
3x Surprise Attack

0-Cost (6)
3x Feeding Frenzy
3x Wolf’s Bite

Gen Con 2017 Memorable Match Moments

While I did not remember to write down names/take pictures on Friday, there were a few particularly memorable moments demonstrating the strengths and weaknesses of the deck. (I’m also not certain of the order of the matches.)

Match 1

My first match was against a Wild aggro-midrange deck (these were almost the entire field at Gen Con 2017). In this match my Den Mothers were able to do a lot of work for me. I was able to play them to an empty board and get multiple wolf attacks in before my opponent was able to answer everything.

The most important cards in the match up for my opponent were Draka, Dragon Tyrant (break my wolves) and Smash and Burn (incidentally break my Elara, the Lycomancers). For me, Hunting Pack is always one of my strongest cards, but the recently added Ice Drakes were the cards that clinched the win for me in very close games.

Match 2

I do not remember what my opponent was playing in Match 2, but Djinn of the Sands was the match MVP. In one of the games my opponent got me down to 2 cards in hand on their turn with my gold down (while they were at 5+). I Arcane Researched for 4 looking for some card draw, and ended up taking Djinn. Then, I played it on my turn and drew a card. 3 turns later, I’m hitting him in the air with my 5/5 Djinn after drawing 3 and getting back up to 7 cards in hand. I believe an 8/8 blitzing Djinn also got in for lethal in one of those games. Ice Drake also performed above expectations in this match.

Match 3

I intentionally drew with Brad Minnigh so we could get some lunch, and because we’ve knocked each other out of enough tournaments in the past.

Match 4

Match 4 was against a similar Wild deck from match 1. Unfortunately for me, my opponent did manage to play multiple of both Smash and Burn and Draka enabling them to deal with my pressure (wolves) and control (Elara).

Match 5

Match 5 was against the one Evil token deck in the field (also running Thought Plucker and Knight of Shadows). In the first match, Den Mother and Pack Alpha were able to continuously push small amounts of damage as I controlled the token game. I chipped my way to victory, partially due to the fact that my opponent didn’t run Wither. Knight of Elara and 2/2 or 3/3 wolf tokens also match up very well against Soul Hunter.

Game 2 my opponent won, but I don’t remember many specifics. In general though, I was fortunate that my opponent drew very few of their Rift Summoners. With Rift Summoner, my opponent could have easily outpaced my token generation. I play Den Mother/Pack Alpha on turn, my opponent ambushes in Rift Summoner, I immediately fall behind. This match ended in a 1-1 draw. My final record in swiss was 2-1-2 granting me 8th seed in the top 8.

Top 8

As 8th seed I was paired against 1st seed Nick Blandin: decklist. While I do not remember the bulk of most of the games (Smash and Burn breaking my Elaras was important and Knight of Elara got in for 10 damage multiple times), I do remember the end of each.

Game 1 (Loss of Concentration)

I lost the first game because my opponent successfully baited me into making a play I knew would lose me the game. After attacking with their Kong and spending their gold, my opponent was at 6 health, with a prepared, non-deploying Sea Titan, an expended Kong 6 damage away from breaking, and a Flash Fire in hand (revealed for loyalty earlier). I was at around 6 with an expended Ice Drake, a prepared wolf token, my gold available, and only Hunting Pack that I could spend it on. Potential lines:

  • If my opponent attacked, I could block with my wolf token, then Hunting Pack his Kong finishing it and probably drawing out the Flash Fire
  • If my opponent Flash Fired before attacking to break my blocking wolf, I could have Hunting Packed the Kong, breaking it, and had 3 potential chump blockers for Sea Titan
  • My opponent passed instead. Knowing that I wanted to spend my gold (since my opponent had spent theirs) and that I wanted to break the Kong, I auto-piloted into playing my Hunting Pack. Then, as I knew (but forgot) would happen, my opponent Flash Fired to break all my wolves and then attacked with Sea Titan to finish me off.

If I would have just let the turn end, I could have attacked in the air for lethal, and I was fairly certain he didn’t have a way to block my Ice Drake in hand. After the match I asked him, and he said that he had a burn card to finish me off on my turn, so I probably would have lost anyways. However, if I would have drawn a Drain Essence, Lesson Learned, or Arcane Research to try to find either, I would have immediately used that before attacking, just in case of burn. In other words, by losing focus for a moment, a sacrificed my chance at winning that game.

Game 2 (Arcane Research)

Game 2’s final turn had another complicated board state. Both of us had our gold available. I was attacking with Ice Drake with a prepared, non-deploying Elara and one or two other irrelevant champions. I believe I was low on health. My opponent had an irrelevant, non-airborne champion or two in play and around 15 health.

Before blockers, he played Surprise attack into Mist Guide Herald hitting Kong. After considering for awhile, he chose to break my Elara with Kong. After groaning inside, I used Arcane Research banishing 3 cards in an attempt to find something to combat this board swing, otherwise I would have lost next turn. I flipped over a Wolf’s Bite, with no cards left in my discard pile to recycle. Due to the inability to recycle, I almost passed up on Wolf’s Bite, but I decided to take the risk. Using Wolf’s Bite, I broke the MGH. Ice Drake got through. I played Djinn of the Sands and attacked. It got through. I won. (Thankfully he didn’t have a Hasty Retreat for the Djinn.)

Game 3

I went first, slammed Knight of Elara, drew a card, attacked for 10, and felt great. In the previous games Knight of Elara was pretty much a guaranteed 10 damage (unless Hasty Retreat), in addition to drawing me a card. I also had Feeding Frenzy for a big tempo swing down the road.

My opponent Surprise Attacked Kong, and I lost.

While I had 2 Feeding Frenzys in hand at this point, I had no activator for them. I also had no way to interact with Kong on my opponent’s turn, so I ended up taking 13 when he attacked. Then I just lost, probably to Hunting Raptors. While I included Surprise Attack Sea Titan in my deck in order to beat opposing Aggro decks in the exact same fashion, it still just felt awful auto-losing to that combo after making what I believe to be a powerful turn 1, on-turn play and being able to do nothing to answer it (even though I had ways to deal with it in deck).

It was this moment, on top of earlier practicing with this deck, that I finally accepted the fact that it is always correct to choose to go second. On the bright side though, losing meant I got to play in the limited event, and while I would have loved to win in constructed, my main goal was to get wolves in top 8. As a sneak peak, here was my first random 60 pool of that event:

 

Deck Retrospective

I brought this deck, “Elara’s Hunting Pack” to Gen Con 2017 because I wanted to play a different, unexpected deck, and because it performed better than I was expecting during testing. In the end, the most underwhelming part of the deck was the wolf package. While Hunting Pack worked pretty well, specifically with Elara who dramatically over-performed when not broken by Smash and Burn, Pack Alpha was underwhelming and Den Mother was only okay.

In addition to Elara, a few other Sage cards over-performed for me: Ice Drake, Arcane Research, and Djinn of the Sands. (Knight of Elara was solid.) Surprise Attack Elara is an insanely powerful way to get back into of a game: ambush her in, transform a champion, go to your turn, transform another champion. Not only do you remove two threats, but you also prevent your opponent from retrieving them from their discard pile or even just recycling them later.

On multiple occasions, Ice Drake either kept me alive by expending all of my opponent’s champions, cleared a path for my attacking champions, provided me a reasonable attacking/defending body, or all 3. I was consistently happy to have Ice Drake in hand. Arcane Research in a deck with minimal recycling and a few key cards was repeatedly able to dig me into perfect answers for specific situations. While I don’t generally like the idea of trading a 0-cost slot for a 1-cost card (Corpse Taker), the utility of Arcane Research was truly impressive.

I used to hate this card, but now I love it. Almost every time I play this card, it impresses me. An 8/8 airborne blitz without loyalty is strong, and the threat of multiple card draw is strong. I have used both in different matchups and they have both been pivotal to success. That being said, this is one of the most difficult cards in the game to play well with the most niche applications. Djinn is essentially unplayable when behind on the board, and it is almost worthless a blitz attacker if your opponent’s gold is up. Further, if you are at 7 or so cards in hand, drawing with it doesn’t accomplish much. However, it helps you get to a 7 card handsize when you are low on cards, and once at 7, an 8/8 airborne blitzer (or a 5/5 airborne champion) is a powerful threat.

While I think this is a fun deck that can do powerful things, I highly doubt I’ll be playing it at Worlds. (But I’ll probably have it built for casual play.)

White Wizard Games Fair 2017

White Wizard Games has given more information on their 2017 game fair here.

For those of you considering going, and if feasible I would recommend it because I personally had a great time last year, there are two entry passes you can buy: General Pass and Weekend Gamer Pass.

General Pass

The General Pass gets you access to the site including demos and the ability to play Star Realms against Top Ranked Star Realms players and Epic against Pro Magic players. It is $5 at the door or free if you pre-register.

Weekend Gamer Pass

The Weekend Gamer Pass gets you access to Epic Worlds 2017 Last Chance Qualifiers (LCQs), Epic on-demand tournaments (such as cube draft), daily Star Realms $1,000 tournaments, Hero Realms campaign events etc. (Players who have already qualified for Worlds 2017 will receive a complimentary Weekend Gamer Pass.)

I reached out to WWG to ask about how many LCQs there would be and this is the response I received, “We are still finalizing our plans, but it looks like we’ll have 6 to 8 Last Chance Qualifiers. (Subject to change, of course.)

Based on my past experience, these will probably be a mix of random 60 cut to dark draft top 8/top 4 and constructed qualifiers. They also might overlap making it impossible to compete in all approximately 6 to 8. If you win a qualifier, you qualify for the Worlds 2017 tournament and, as long as you show up, are guaranteed a minimum prize of $500 and a maximum prize of $25,000. (Top 8 is on Monday however.)

The price is $50 for this pass, but if you use promo code: WWGFEarlyBird! you can get $10 off. (I do not know how long this promo code will be active.)

For more information about the event, check out their Registration Page and their Worlds page. Feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences last year too.

Tyrants Wild Anti-Plucker

After getting tired of playing against all-in Plucker/Muse decks on the app, I decided to throw together an all-in anti-Plucker/Muse deck. It served its purpose quite effectively, but it could probably use some refining.

Evil (6)

Slow (1)
1x The Gudgeon

Fast (3)
3x Drain Essence

0-Cost (2)
2x Wither

Good ()

Slow ()

Fast ()

0-Cost ()

Sage (18)

Slow (4)
2x Djinn of the Sands
2x Sea Titan

Fast (8)
3x Ancient Chant
2x Erase
3x Lesson Learned

0-Cost (6)
3x Forcemage Apprentice
3x Spike Trap

Wild (36)

Slow (15)
3x Brachiosaurus
3x Draka, Dragon Tyrant
3x Fire Spirit
3x Kong
3x Raging T-Rex

Fast (9)
3x Draka’s Enforcer
3x Smash and Burn
3x Surprise Attack

0-Cost (12)
3x Feeding Frenzy
3x Flash Fire
3x Lightning Strike
3x Wolf’s Bite

 

Tyrants Evil Control

Foreword

In preparation for Tyrants getting added to the app today, I created this generic Tyrants Evil control deck. I was planning on not explaining it too much, so I could work on my next article, but I should have known better.

Tyrants Evil Control

This is a control deck (leaning midrange) that tries to win with incidental damage from tokens. I have included extra health gain cards to “tech” against burn/aggro decks. This is because I dislike losing to those decks the most and heavy Evil decks have consistently had problems against those decks, in my experience. I also automatically “tech” against Muse/Thought Plucker to some extent.

Build-Around Cards

The fundamental cards I wanted to build around were Murderous Necromancer, Reaper, and Spawning Demon. Murderous Necromancer is a card you can play on your turn while your opponent’s gold is up, and they usually can’t do something significantly better in response. (Surprise Attack -> Sea Titan/Kong isn’t too back breaking, nor is Thought Plucker, and Rift Summoner is in Uprising.)

Reaper is repeatable removal on a 7+ defense body that your opponent can’t incidentally remove with Smash and Burn, Lightning Strike, etc. (although it can be removed by Draka Dragon Tyrant + Feeding Frenzy). Your opponent must spend a gold, such as Kong or Drain Essence. Reaper also benefits from a heavy Evil deck that can consistently play off-turn 1-cost cards either for their effect (Final Task, Drain Essence, Medusa, Demon Breach) or just as a draw 2 (Apocalypse, Plague, Raxxa’s Displeasure, Zombie Apocalypse).

Spawning Demon is the compliment to Reaper rewarding me for playing a large amount of off-turn 1-cost Evil cards. For a net loss of 0 cards and 1 health (Spawning Demon into a 1-cost Evil draw 2), I get 2 off-turn demons, I like it. (If Reaper is in play, break a champion and give its controller a demon too.)

Deck List

Cards in black are the “Foundation” cards I knew I wanted to include (after theorycrafting in my head beforehand). Cards/quantities in amber are the “Filler” cards I added to get to 60. Crossed through cards were cut to make room for magenta “Distribution” cards in order to reach my distributions quotas.

Evil (51)

Slow (12)
1x Angel of Death
3x Murderous Necromancer
2x Necromancer Lord
2x Raxxa, Demon Tyrant
3x Reaper
1x The Gudgeon

Fast (22)
2x Apocalypse
2x Bitten
2x Demon Breach

3x Drain Essence
3x Final Task
3x Medusa
2x Necrovirus
2x Plague
3x Raxxa’s Displeasure
2x Zombie Apocalypse

0-Cost (17)
3x Guilt Demon
2x Heinous Feast
2x Plentiful Dead
3x Raxxa’s Curse
3x Spawning Demon
3x Unquenchable Thirst
1x Wither

Good (3)

Slow (2)
2x Avenging Angel

Fast ()

0-Cost (1)
1x Second Wind

Sage (3)

Slow ()

Fast (2)
2x Ancient Chant

0-Cost (1)
1x Spike Trap

Wild (3)

Slow ()

Fast (2)
2x Surprise Attack

0-Cost (1)
1x Wolf’s Bite

Foundation Cards

These are the cards I knew (or at least was fairly certain) I wanted to include when building the deck/looking through cards.

Auto-Includes

These are cards that I want to include in basically all 33+ Evil decks.

Medusa and Drain Essence are the two insanely-powerful, essentially-unquestionable Auto-Includes.

Necromancer Lord, Final Task, and Surprise Attack aren’t quite at that level, but they are pretty close (particularly when combined with cards like Necromancer Lord, Murderous Necromancer, Angel of Death, Raxxa Demon Tyrant, Medusa, and Reaper.

Plague, Guilt Demon, Raxxa’s Curse, and Plentiful Dead largely fall into this category too.

I consider Ancient Chant an Auto-Include in heavy Evil decks to counter one of its primary weaknesses, a lack of powerful card draw. By including Reaper and Spawning Demon we can turn all Evil draw 2’s into powerful “draw 2 and” cards, but those aren’t enough by themselves.

(Not Quite Build Around) Synergy Cards

These are cards that give your deck much of its strength, but aren’t necessarily Build-Around cards by themselves.

I’ve played a lot of iterations of Demon decks in the past, and the card that just feels like it wins the most games is Raxxa’s Displeasure. Using this to full-clear your opponent while leaving you with demon tokens is incredibly strong, especially since this can be used in combat, after your opponent ambushes in blocker(s). However, its true power is when used in conjunction with demon cards like Raxxa, Reaper, Medusa, Guilt Demon, and Spawning Demon. (Reaper does have a bit of an anti-synergy though because your opponent’s champions turned into demons survive.) Due to the fact that this is also an Evil draw 2 makes this a 3-of in the deck.

Another benefit from going 51 Evil cards to support my Reapers and Spawning Demons is the ability to run 3 Unquenchable Thirsts. The more Evil cards you can get in your discard pile, the stronger this card becomes. That being said, running 3 might seem like (and might actually be) too many since you aren’t likely to get many big uses out of it. I’m trying 3 because of how it interacts with control and aggro in different ways.

Against control, the health gain isn’t too relevant and you can use it to break champions like Thought Plucker, Muse, Necromancer Lord, etc. without needing to banish many cards from your discard pile. This is important because control is the deck most likely to attempt to repeatedly attack your discard pile.

Against aggro, drawing and playing one of these can slow them down just enough to safely run them out of resources. In addition, if you can use this to remove a 1-cost champion, the tempo swing can be enormous.

Against midrange, this can remove mid-sized threats like White Dragon while letting your board clears and targeted removal deal with swarms and/or big individual threats.

Tech Cards

These are cards I included to make my deck stronger against specific matchups. If I end up not running into these matchups often, these cards can be replaced.

Health Gain

Health Gain is important for control because it allows you to stabilize after surviving your opponent’s early aggression. Without it, you can always lose to direct damage, like Flame Strike, even if your opponent runs out of champions in play and cards in hand. That being said, I’ve included extra, less-common health gain to supplement my existing 3 Drain Essence and 3 Unquechable Thirsts.

Avenging Angel is a non-standard inclusion in this deck. I want it specifically because it can repeatedly gain me health, it can’t be removed by a single 0-cost card, and Inner Peace requires multiple 1-cost Good cards to reliably  recall (making it weaker in this deck). I can also bring Avenging Angel back out with Necromancer Lord. In this deck, Avenging Angel should basically never be played while your opponent’s gold is up (if they have cards in hand). Gold Dragon was a very real consideration because the extra 2 defense allows it to dodge a Smash and Burn trigger, but I’ll see if my Guilt Demons and Heinous Feasts will be enough to mitigate that problem.

I also included Second Wind and Heinous Feast for a bit of extra health gain. Both can also draw cards/replace themselves. Against control, Heinous Feast will probably be used as a draw 2 more often. Against aggro, Heinous Feast will probably be used to gain a bit of health, hit a recall card, and starve my opponent’s ability to recycle at a critical time.

An alternative to the Avenging Angel package would be to include Lesson Learned to use with my Drain Essences. This would also be nice to use with Ancient Chant and/or Surprise Attack, but I want to try Avenging Angel instead, since I like leaning towards my midrange blitzing gold punishers.

Anti-Muse/Plucker

Wolf’s Bite, Wither, and Spike Trap are all included over other cards as answers to Muse/Thought Plucker. They help support my Raxxa’s Curses, Unquenchable Thirsts, Plagues, and Raxxas. It’s possible I shift the deck more towards anti-Muse/Plucker if the meta dictates.

Filler Cards/Distribution Cards

These are less-critical cards added to address gaps. Specifically I wanted more Threats and more Card Draw

Threats

Raxxa is included as another way to get tokens that can attack my opponent. It is also nice for the 2 damage to all opposing champions to break Muse/Thought Pluckers. Playing this after a Zombie Apocalypse or Wave of Transformation is quite strong as well.

Demon Breach is another way to get threats into play. In addition, recalling it, especially against control, is stronger than you might expect.

Necrovirus was the final card considered in order to give me additional threats. It was cut for additional card draw tough.

Card Draw

Zombie Apocalypse, Apocalypse, Bitten, Heinous Feast, and Demon Breach were all included as card draw. Board clears are always nice, if needed, especially off-turn ones. Off-turn targeted removal is nice if I’m ahead on board and my opponent tries to slam an airborne blitz champion against me.

Other Considerations

I really want to fit a single Soul Hunter in the deck because it can carry the game against some decks. It is particularly potent with my 3 Reapers because, if I have Reaper in play, I can play Soul Hunter and use Reaper’s ally trigger to immediately break that Soul Hunter, deal 5 damage to my opponent, get my Soul Hunter in my discard pile, and put a demon in play for me. That being said, I do not want to remove any of my splash cards (non-Evil), and I do not want to remove any of my card draw cards (including recall cards like Plentiful Dead and Demon Breach and treating Surprise Attack as half a draw, I am at exactly 30).

This only leaves Angel of Death, Murderous Necromancer, Necromancer Lord, Raxxa, Reaper, Drain Essence, and Medusa. Of those, the only cards I would consider cutting (at this point) are Angel of Death, Necromancer Lord, and Raxxa. I like the singleton Angel for Final Task/Necro Lord shenanigans (off-turn full board clear is nice) and Raxxa is one of my few threats. Necro Lord is the only one of those I seriously considered cutting because I don’t have a ton of targets for it in my deck. However, 2 Necro Lords is much stronger than 1 because you can Necro Lord back your Necro Lord. It is also amazing with Surprise Attack because if it triggers twice it is hard to beat.

Conclusion

Due to the update coming out early and me heading out to play some paper Epic, I wasn’t able to add the card links in yet. However, I can say that the Reapers and Spawning Demons have helped to get me two in app wins so far.

Gen Con 2017 Dark Draft Qualification (Part 2)

Foreword

This is part 2 of my 2-part article on the Dark Draft top 4 portion of my qualifying limited run at Gen Con 2017. (Part 1)

Finals

My finals match was against Nathan Overbay. These were our decks:

My Deck

His Deck

My Interesting Picks

While I do not remember all of my picks, a few stand out.

Strong Start, Human Tokens Though?

My first pack was one of those lamented 1 great, 4 terrible packs. I got Rescue Griffin, and I passed Winds of Change with 3 other mediocre 1-cost cards. The rest of the early packs felt a bit underpowered too; however, they did contain the makings of a decent (human) token deck. I’ve learned not to chase human tokens because it is awful, unless specific cards materialize in 2nd/3rd picks of packs. (I credit this mistake as a contributing factor to my loss at Origins 2017.) But, I know it has the potential to take surprise wins. While I didn’t expect my opponent to go for it, I made a mental note to draft some counter cards, just in case. Especially since I passed some actually strong token cards, namely Hunting Pack and Den Mother, as well.

Token Counter Picks

One of my first token counter picks was Pyrosaur. I do not remember if it was a 1st or 2nd/3rd pick, but I did take it well before I had committed to Wild. At that point, I was not expecting to go deeper in Wild, and I was planning on relying primarily on the tribute effect. (I also picked Spore Beast before I was committed to Wild because it was the only decent card in a 2nd/3rd pick of a pack.)

Savage Uprising was a mid-draft first pick for me because I was lacking any form of board clear at this point, I passed my opponent some strong 1-cost mid-sized champions like White Knight and Avenging Angel, I wanted to deny my potentially token opponent from getting it, and, least-importantly, I figured it might work with my 0-cost champions.

First picking Hurricane was the toughest choice in the draft. I knew that I needed board clears and anti-token cards, I knew that I had at least 1 of Sea Titan or Kong at that point, I knew I needed some more card draw, but I really, really wanted to take Angel of the Gate. AotG is one of my pet cards that I think is amazing in draft, and I almost ignored all of the reasons I knew I needed to draft Hurricane to take it. However, after losing my Dark Draft match at worlds where I picked AotG over Palace Guard, I was finally able to force myself to take the Hurricane.

Miscellaneous

I have been fairly vocal about my dislike of Deadly Raid, and I stand by that dislike. That being said, I’m fairly sure I first picked it from a pack this draft. I remember the pack wasn’t too amazing, I figured I might need it to get past my opponent’s tokens, and I do like it more with big untargetable champions (Sea Titan). In hindsight, I also prevented my potentially token opponent from getting it when my draft had few ways to stop an unblockable token attack (off-turn board clears and/or Blind Faith).

I had a pack with both Little Devil and Dark Knight. I first picked the Little Devil and left my opponent the Dark Knight. The only card that can punish this choice hard is if my opponent got Raxxa’s Curse. Aside from that, the 4 defense on Little Devil actually makes it harder to efficiently remove than Dark Knight‘s unbreakable on turn and its 2 defense. In addition, Little Devil‘s airborne makes it significantly harder to block.

In the final 2nd/3rd pick of the final pack I picked Rally the People over Demonic Rising (and 1 other bad card). While I like Demonic Rising much better than Rally the People, especially because it has a draw 2 option, I expected it would be incredibly unlikely that I would be able to use the non-draw option against my token opponent. Due to that, I decided I would rather have a 0-cost ambush chump blocker than a card that would probably only ever draw 2 in an alignment where I drafted no loyalty or ally effects.

My Thoughts/Concerns Post-Draft

I felt great about my deck. 13 0-cost cards, Sea Titan and Kong, a mass-discard pile banish, and some close-out burn. The only thing I was a bit worried about was my lack of health gain, but I didn’t remember passing too much burn. There were a few cards I wasn’t happy about passing though, Drain Essence and Hunting Pack + Smash and Burn for instance. Finally, I felt like I passed a lot more mediocre packs than I received.

Match Interesting Moments

These were also very intense games where my choices above were critical.

Holding Hasty Retreat

Game 1, turn 1, my opponent plays White Knight with Loyalty (drawing a card) and attacks for 9. I have Hasty Retreat in hand, but no ambush champions to declare as a blocker to prevent my opponent from drawing a card. Looking for an ambush 0-cost blocker, I Ceasefire to draw 2. Not finding one, I seriously consider Hasty Retreating anyway to save myself 9 damage. However, I am unwilling to trade 1 card in my hand, 9 health, and the tempo gained by removing my opponent’s champion for +2 cards in hand for my opponent (White Knight and the draw from Hasty Retreat). This would have put them at 7 cards in hand after taking the first turn with me at 5 (6 at the start of my turn).

As someone who is perpetually scared of being burned out (losing to direct damage from cards like Flame Strike), this was a difficult decision to make, but I felt I couldn’t afford to sacrifice that much card advantage that early. Further, I wanted to save Hasty Retreat just in case I needed it to stop a Lash/Raged blitz champion while my gold was down. I ended up holding onto that card for most of the game, and I either never played it or used it to draw 2. In addition, I was able to prevent myself from taking much if anymore damage that game, thanks to the Bash Brothers: Sea Titan and Kong.

Pyrosaur, Loyalty, Pass (No Attack)

In both games, there was a situation where I had a big champion in play, and my opponent played Den Mother with Necrovirus in their discard pile. Both times, I played my Pyrosaur, breaking all of the wolf tokens, revealed for loyalty (to give Pyrosaur blitz), and passed without attacking. I did this for a couple reasons:

 

  • If I attacked with Pyrosaur, I would get a guaranteed 2 damage to my opponent through, but my Pyrosaur could be blocked and broken by Den Mother in combat with my opponent not needing to spend their gold.
    • This would negate my opponent’s only in play blocker for my big champion, but then they could play any 1-cost Evil card to get 3 more zombie chump blockers, or they could just spend their gold to remove my big champion.
  • By not attacking after spending my gold, my opponent either had to pass without spending their gold or risk getting attacked by my big champion and Pyrosaur.
    • Further, if my opponent tried to just play a 1-cost Evil card to activate their  Necrovirus for chump blockers, I could then attack with Pyrosaur, clear the tokens, draw the Den Mother block, and then attack with my big champion.

In both situations, however, my opponent Hunting Packed my Pyrosaur. On the bright side, I was able to hold back my big champion to block the Den Mother next turn instead of just having it get chump blocked when I attacked.

Hurricane MVP

Due to my opponent’s Hunting Pack, Den Mother, Necrovirus, Zombie Apocalypse, Hands from Below, and 0-cost champions, I found myself in a situation both games where my opponent had significantly more champions in play than me. Due to this, they were in a position where they could both attack with small champions to get damage past my big champion(s) and leave a chump blocker to stop my aggression. In both of these games I found myself desperately digging (drawing multiple cards and/or using cards like Arcane Research) to find my only strong answer, Hurricane. Playing Hurricane with Sea Titan/Kong/Velden in play essentially won me both games. It allowed me to halt my opponent’s aggression without disrupting my own.

In the second game, I played Hurricane on my turn with Sea Titan in play. This cleared out all of my opponent’s blockers, but instead of attacking with Sea Titan, I passed. At this point, I was unwilling to risk my opponent playing an ambush champion, blocking, and trading with my Sea Titan. In other words, I valued preserving my 11/14 untargetable champion over possibly dealing 11 damage to my opponent. Further, I was afraid of 0-cost Spike Trap finishing off my damaged Sea Titan allowing my opponent to spend their gold purely on a 1-cost ambush champion to start applying pressure to me. Even though I had not seen Spike Trap in the first game or the draft, I was not willing to take that risk, even if my opponent spent their gold on a non-ambush champion.

In that situation, my opponent decided to pass without spending their gold. Then they played Divine Judgement on their turn, allowing me to freely ambush in Angelic Protector. When I attacked with Angelic Protector on my next turn, he Spike Trapped -> Reusable Knowledged -> Spike Trapped.

Talking with my opponent after the game, they had no answer for Sea Titan on my turn in hand. However, if I would have attacked, they would have spent their gold to draw 2, and this would have drawn them into their Spike Trap. By not attacking, I denied them a draw 2, and both their gold and Divine Judgement on their turn.

One thing that almost got me to declare my attack anyways was the fact that my opponent said something along the lines of, “that is really bad for me,” after I played my Hurricane. Due to this statement, I figured they probably did not have any answer if I were to attack with Sea Titan. However, not being 100% certain this wasn’t a bluff, and not willing to risk compromising my chance of winning the game later by attacking now, I still held back.

Honorable/Dishonorable Mentions

Savage Uprising was able to get the ideal use case of remove 2+ 1-cost champions on my opponent’s turn while leaving my Little Devil in play. Little Devil did work.

Spore Beast saved my life from a wolf token that was Mighty Blowed post-blocks (after a tense draw 2 gave me my second Wild card needed for loyalty). I won the game and the match next turn.

Deadly Raid and Rally the People were never played.

Conclusion

Forcing myself to look past my individual card preferences while drafting, namely taking Hurricane which I’m lukewarm towards over Angel of the Gate which I love, allowed me to counter my opponent’s draft and win me the match (even though my opponent didn’t go quite as heavy tokens as I was fearing). While drafting I felt like I was getting the significantly better pool of cards, and even though I would say my deck’s overall card quality was higher, my opponent built a better deck than I was expecting, given my impression of what I was passing.

With Dark Draft complete, next up, before coming back to Random 60 and my Epic Progression series, is my top 8 constructed Wolf deck: Elara’s Hunting Pack.