Dark Knight Rating: Usually Desirable
A 0-cost 5 offense blitzing unbreakable on your turn champion (with ambush too). Yeah, it’s great. The best way to use this is to play it on your turn before you spend your gold, especially when your opponent has no champions in play. Dark Knight is difficult to stop without your opponent using their gold. If they don’t, they take 5 damage. If they do spend their gold, you can respond with a big 1-cost blitzer like Ramping Wurm.
I do also love bouncing this after it hits my opponent. Play and attack with this, then Sea Titan it back to hand if they didn’t spend their gold. This way you can replay it and attack before spending your gold on a future turn.
It can also ambush in to block a champion if needed, but at 2 defense it is vulnerable to all 0-cost removal except Lash.
A 0-cost, blitz, 5 offense, unbreakable on your turn attacker is solid. In addition, it can ambush in as a blocker if absolutely necessary. This is more valuable if you have limited 0-cost cards and decent card draw.
Dark Leader Rating: Practically Unplayable
This card is bad because it gives you so little for 1 gold. If you play it and immediately expend it, you got a 2/1 Evil/Good human token and an expended 4/4 champion that might put another 2/1 Evil/Good human tokens into play next turn. So the question is, how often would you want to spend your gold just to put a 2/1 token into play, that’s right, practically never.
To be fair, Dark Leader can provide 2 chump blockers in one turn. If you play it, don’t expend it, and have it survive to be declared as a blocker, you can then expend it to put the human token into play. Even though Dark Leader is now expended, the attacking champion is still considered “blocked” so the attacking champion won’t damage you.
This is generally thought to be one of the worst cards in the base set. This card will basically never be a threat and basically never win a game, but it does provide 2 potential chump blockers with ambush. If it survives, it does produce a free 2 offense chump blocker per turn unless your opponent uses removal on it. Only pick this if there is nothing better, but I personally think there are less valuable cards.
Ceasefire Rating: Always Desirable
Draw 2 is solid, but being able to draw 2 on your opponent’s turn while they still have their gold is incredible. Most of the time, if you spend your gold on your opponent’s turn before they do, they can respond by playing a blitzing champion and attacking face while your primary defense is down. This card prevents that from happening.
It also prevents all other attacks your opponent might want to make that turn. So, if they attack with a token before attacking with that Raging T-Rex in play, you can play this and that T-Rex can’t attack you that turn. This can also be a great way to set up for a board clear on your turn. If your opponent expands their lead on their turn even though they can’t attack, you can punish them by clearing everything on your turn.
Since your only windows to play cards on your opponent’s turn are:
– after they declare attackers
– after you declare blockers
– when your opponent tries to end your turn
You usually won’t be able to play this before your opponent attacks with at least one champion.
Rating: 5 First pick
Draw 2 cards is a solid 3 by itself. Being able to stop all future attacks in one turn saves games.
If an opponent attacks on their turn, there is no way to play this before that first attack. The only exception, is if they try to end their turn before attacking, and you play it at that time. In that situation they would not be able to then attack after you spent your gold.
This is one of the 3 best “Draw 2 +” cards, and it requires no faction investment. My opinion of this card has risen dramatically as I have played. On a side note, it is another good way to potentially stop Courageous Soul + Secret Legion.
Courageous Soul Rating: Situationally Desirable
Human Tokens can do a lot of blitz damage in one turn. This + Secret Legion is a great way to get 22 worth of attacking, blitzing offense into play (since this is a human, it gets the blitz from Secret Legion). This also has ambush, so it can be played on your opponent’s turn and if it survives, your opponent won’t get a window to kill it on your turn before you can attack with it.
This can also work with non-Good champions, so it can help a heavy zombie and/or demon token deck (or Wolves technically). Theoretically, if you play a Dark Leader on your opponent’s turn and it survives, you could play this into The Risen and immediately attack with this, since Dark Leader makes this human an Evil champion. (Dark Leader is still a bad card though.)
Rating: 1 or 5 First pick, Counter pick
By itself this card does very little. In a token based deck, this card is amazing. The quickest way to beat someone is Courageous Soul + Secret Legion + 1 more 0-cost card (Rally the People, Dark Knight, etc.). As you will see, I generally do not rate token producing cards very highly in base game Epic. So I generally would not recommend drafting a token based strategy, and would therefore not recommend Courageous Soul. If you or your opponent is going for a token strategy, make sure you get this card. In that very specific situation, this would be my overall number 1 draft pick.
Tyrants Updated Notes:
Tokens are a lot more viable now that the tyrants cards have been added. There are a lot more ways to get human and demon tokens, and this card can provide a devastating boost. Insurgency goes a long way to make human tokens worthwhile for attacking, and that indirectly buffs this as well. The rating does not change though because it is still highly situational.
Erase Rating: Always First Pickable +
Bounce in Epic is incredible because it frequently negates an opponent’s previously spent gold. If they play Rampaging Wurm and attack while you still have your gold up, you can play this to return the Wurm to hand and draw 2 cards. Assuming neither of you play anything else that turn, your opponent gained zero resources that turn, and you increased the number of cards in your hand by 1. It is not often that you gain more resources without losing board position on your opponent’s turn than they do.
This is also fast targeted removal which means it can remove an ambushed in blocker. You’re attacking with a Palace Guard and your opponent ambushes in Lurking Giant, great, Erase it before blockers are declared to net one card on your opponent this turn and get 6 damage through to their face. Excellent.
Rating: 5 First Pick
This card is easily one of the best cards in the base set. It is so strong that just existing makes other cards worse. This is the primary reason why I do not like cards that aren’t guaranteed to do something when they come into play. By now it should be clear that I like draw 2 cards, and the second part is amazing.
Returning a champion to hand (bounce) in Epic is incredible. Since you only get 1 gold per turn, and a lot of really powerful champions can only be played on your turn, returning one of those champions to your opponent’s hand effectively neutralizes their gold for that turn + you draw 2 cards. Playing this on your opponent’s turn is brutal, but you can also play it on your turn if they ambush in a blocker.
Further, only untargetable cards are completely immune to this card. This gets around unbreakable, unbanishable, high defense, and to a lesser extent blitz and ambush. This card is incredible, pick it. There are situationally better cards, and this can be situationally worse, but it is still amazing.
Forcemage Apprentice Rating: Situationally Desirable
Kills Muse, direct damage, Sage, need I say more? Great card. You can either save this as removal for when your opponent eventually plays a 2 or 4 defense minion, or you can play it before playing a 1-cost Sage card to get 4 damage through to your opponent’s face. Both options are great. This also needs to be removed or it will chip down your opponent’s health until they are dead, thankfully almost every removal effect in the game can get rid of it (not the newly revealed Savage Uprising).
Since I love targeted removal, I really want to use this to break cards like Necromancer Lord etc., and in situations where your opponent has a lot of targets for this in their deck, it is probably a 4. This can also clear through tokens, and it is obviously a lot more powerful with Sage ally triggers.
This card also really excels at doing damage directly to the face. 2 damage per turn until removed (removed by literally everything) is solid, but 4 damage on your turn, and 2 damage on your opponent’s turn is a pretty quick clock.
Flame Strike Rating: Always First Pickable
8 damage to face, gg. Flame Strike is the finishing blow in a lot of games. It can also remove a decent amount of champions, if desperate.
Rating: 5 First Pick
8 damage to the face is a serious finisher. If possible, I always want to save this to win the game, but it is also decent fast removal if needed.
Flash Fire Rating: Always First Pickable –
2 damage to all champions is relevant in most games. Kills Muse, kills non-demon tokens, etc. In the few games where the situation doesn’t occur that you don’t need a 2 damage board clear, you can always draw 2 cards instead. Always useful.
Rating: 3+, 5
An excellent answer to non-demon tokens or low defense cards like Muse. As a side note, this is a great way to stop Courageous Soul + Secret Legion. I gave this a 5 rating because the primary effect can be so situationally devastating, decent, or terrible, but the “or draw 2” makes this a very powerful card overall.
I downgraded 3 blitz champions from Usually Desirable to Situationally Desirable in my tier list:
These cards can be great, but they have a very specific use (punishing your opponent for spending their gold on your turn before you, when your opponent doesn’t have a champion in play that can effectively block it). Single purpose blitz champions are also bad if you lack sufficient draw in your deck. In addition, you don’t want too many single purpose blitz champions in your deck: if you can’t use one of them in a situation, you likely can’t use the others either.