Epic Card by Card Analysis (Drafting)

EpicDraft**Update**

This article has been replaced by a more recent version – Epic Card Game: Dark Draft Card Ratings

Foreword

In this 4-part article, I analyze every card in the base set from the perspective of 1v1 draft.

To be clear, this is an opinion piece from someone who has spent a solid amount of time playing and thinking about Epic. I honestly expect and want people to disagree with me. My favorite thing to do in games is to take a card or strategy that everyone thinks is terrible and beat them with it. So to reiterate, this is how I view the cards, based on my experience; this is not an infallible ranking of cards. Feel free to skip around.

The images and hyperlinks are from and to http://www.epiccardgame.com/card-gallery/ All Epic Card Game images are owned by White Wizard Games, Copyright 2016.

Tyrants Update

I am in the process of updating my ratings for cards and adding the Tyrants cards. I will post a generic post with each update.

Guiding Principles

I will be referencing a few ideas throughout explained below. Most are common Trading Card Game (TCG) terms so if familiar with the genre feel free to skip.

I included all of the cards in one document so it is easier to search for them. Since I reference cards throughout if you ctrl+f for the “card name Rating” (For example: Turn Rating) you will be taken to that card.

  1. For these ratings, 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest.
  2. I try to avoid giving .5 rankings, but for some cards, I really do feel like they are right in between.
  3. -OR- Draw 2 cards: Have a base rating of 3+. The draw 2 option alone is that good, and if you have very little card draw in your deck, I would push it up to 4 or 5 first pick. I value it that highly. The second rating for these cards will be for the second option, which is the only part of these cards I will discuss in detail. For example, Apocalypse is (3+, 4+).
  4. First Pick: These are cards you generally want to pick above all others. The tricky part is when you get multiple First Picks at once.
  5. Counter pick/hate draft: Drafting a card to prevent your opponent from getting it.
  6. Fast/Slow: Fast effects are events, champions with ambush, and champion abilities (expend or activated). They can be played at more times than slow effects, for instance, on your opponent’s turn. Slow effects are champions that do not have ambush; they can only be played on your turn.
  7. Evil/Good/Sage/Wild Investment: At least 1/3 of your deck approximately should be this faction to trigger loyalty effects and/or ally effects reliably. If you have cards that need a specific faction investment, generally all ratings for cards of that faction can be treated as about .5 higher for that specific draft. For example, if you are drafting Evil, Trihorror‘s rating would improve from a 2 to a 2.5 for you. (Having a lot of card draw can offset required faction investments, to an extent.)
  8. (_) light/heavy environment: In each draft there will be a different distribution of cards. For example, if you are 75% done drafting and there have been 0 or 1 board clears (such as Apocalypse) available so far, this would be a board clear light environment. If after 25% completion there have already been 8+ direct removal cards (such as Bitten), this would be a direct removal heavy environment. (A removal light/heavy environment looks at both board clears and direct removal.)
  9. Removed: To bounce, break, or banish a champion in play. In some cases, a card must also be banished from a player’s discard pile to be completely removed.
  10. Bounce: Return a champion to hand from play.
  11. Board Clear/Board Wipe/Wrath: Cards like Apocalypse that remove all champions in play, including yours.
  12. Finisher: Cards that allow you to potentially win immediately when played. Generally these cards are weaker to play in any other situation.
  13. Body: A champions offense, defense, and abilities. A 6 offense, 5 defense, champion with airborne would have a decent 6/5 evasive body.
  14. Evasive: Champions with airborne, unblockable, and I include breakthrough. Evasive means harder to block effectively in this context.
  15. Chump Block: A chump block is when a champion blocks a larger attacking champion, without the larger champion breaking. The chump blocker breaks, but the defender does not take any damage. Chump blocking with 0-cost champions, tokens in particular, is a good idea to protect your health. (This is my primary use for tokens.) Chump blocking with a 1-cost champion is frequently a bad idea because you are losing a 1-cost champion while your opponent does not. While not chump blocking might cost you some health, chump blocking costs you board position which is frequently more important.
  16. Board position (strong/weak): Board position largely deals with the champions both players have in play. If you have 3 in play and your opponent has 0, you have a strong board position and they have a weak board position. Losing board position happens when you either lose champions or your opponent gains champions. Some champions (or recall events) are so powerful that their board positions are valued at more then just one champion *see Dark Assassin below*. These champions (or recall events) control the board because their presence discourages/prevents opponents from playing certain cards.
  17. In addition, board position (or more generally position) factors in the number of cards in each player’s hand, the number of cards in each player’s deck, the specific cards in each player’s discard pile, and each player’s current health. For example, say player A has 3 champions in play to an opponent’s zero, 7 cards in hand to an opponent’s zero, recall cards such as Lightning Storm or Psionic Assault in their discard pile when their opponent has none, only 5 cards in their deck to their opponent’s 20, and just 8 health to an opponent’s 60. Even though Player A is dramatically far behind in health, their position is overwhelming stronger then their opponent’s. There is a significant possibility that Player A will win; however, being at 8 or lower health does make you incredibly vulnerable to direct damage like Flame Strike, no matter how strong your position. For example I might say, “it’s 8 to 60, but if I don’t die to Flame Strike, I’m in a much better position.”
  18. Empty Board: None of the players have champions in play.
  19. Direct Damage: Damage from cards like Flame Strike or Blue Dragon that can target either a player or a champion.
  20. Even Trade/1 for 1 Trade: When both players lose the same amount of resources. Direct removal is a good example of this. For instance, playing Chomp! on a Gold Dragon would be an even trade. The 1-cost Chomp! goes to its owner‘s discard pile and the 1-cost Gold Dragon goes to its owner‘s discard pile, no one comes out ahead or behind.
  21. Owner vs Controller: The owner of a card is the person whose deck the card started in. The controller of a card is who can currently use it to attack, block, expend, etc. For instance, if my opponent has Thundarus and I cast Turn on it, I would control it but my opponent would own it (even if we are only using cards that I spent money to purchase).
  22. Face: Damage dealt directly to a player. “I play Flame Strike for 8 damage to the face.”
  23. Over-extend: To over-extend is to use a lot of cards to gain an unnecessarily large advantage over your opponent. For instance, if your opponent has 0 champions in play and you have 3 in play, by playing another champion you might be over-extending. In this case you could get punished by a board clear.
  24. Punish: To punish someone is to exploit a weakness in your opponent’s cards or how they play. For instance, if your opponent over-extends by playing a large number of champions, you can use a board clear to remove all of them, while removing none or just a couple of your champions. In addition, you can punish champions that don’t do anything when they come into play (Thundarus) by bouncing them with Erase.
  25. Clock: A clock or being put on a clock means that a player will lose in x turns unless something changes. For instance, since Thundarus has 10 offense, unless it is removed or chump blocked, it will beat a player by itself with 3 successful attacks. So playing Thundarus (when your opponent has no airborne champions in play) puts your opponent on a 3-turn clock. Chump blocking and life gain delay the clock, removal stops the clock.
  26. Play Around: Playing around a card is when you adjust your play because you either think or know your opponent has a specific card. For instance, if I know you have a Lying in Wait in hand, I might attack with Gold Dragon and a 1/1 human token to protect my Gold Dragon. Even though in this situation my Gold Dragon could now be blocked by a champion without airborne, I am able to play around Lying in Wait.
  27. Stay Ahead/Get Further Ahead: When you have a lead in Epic or other strategy games, there are certain cards that work a lot better. For instance, if you have 2 champions in play to your opponent’s 0, you could play another champion to get further ahead, but that opens you up to a 3 for 1 trade by an opponent’s board clear. In these situations you could also A) save your gold until your opponent uses theirs, B) spend your gold to draw more cards, or C) use cards like Psionic Assault to attack their cards in hand while not making yourself more vulnerable to trades in board position more favorable to your opponent.
  28. Answer: An answer is generally removal or a direct counter to another card or strategy. For instance, an answer for Thundarus is Bitten because it can remove it even though it has 15 defense and is unbanishable. An answer to Courageous Soul + Secret Legion would be Flash Fire since it breaks all of those champions on your opponent’s turn before they can deal damage.
  29. Balanced deck vs Specialized Deck: A balanced deck has a solid mix of slow powerful champions, fast cards, and 0-cost cards (distributions depend on the format). For drafting, roughly 5-10 slow, 3-7 0-cost cards, and the rest fast. For constructed, roughly 10-25 slow, up to 20 0-cost, and the rest fast. In addition, a balanced deck generally has a solid mix of champions/threats, removal, discard removal, board clears, and card draw. A specialized deck generally focuses on specific areas to the detriment of others. For example, a burn deck, that focuses on winning through direct damage, might be lacking on discard removal and board clears, to an extent, in order to fit in as much direct damage as possible. A token deck might sacrifice individual threat champions to bring more cards like Secret Legion or Insurgency to flood the board with tokens that will then be buffed.
  30. Indirectly buffed: When new cards are added through expansions, certain other cards can become situationally stronger. For example, with the addition of a lot of unblockable champions with 4 or less defense, Spike Trap is situationally stronger because it has more high-value targets it can remove now. Spike Trap hasn’t changed at all, but the perceived power of certain cards can alter the perceived power of older cards. If everyone was running champions with 6+ defense before the expansion, Spike Trap would have been terrible. But now, if people start running these 4- defense unblockable champions (and Crystal Golem), Spike Trap would be incredible. **See Meta below**
  31. Indirectly nerfed: Is when a card gets situationally weaker due to the introduction of new cards.
  32. Meta: In every game such as Epic or Magic: The Gathering, people will view certain cards as stronger than others. For instance, I am currently rating all of the cards. Because people view certain cards as stronger, people are more likely to play those cards. For example, if everyone plays token strategies, there would be a token meta. Then, if everyone knows there is a token meta, players might start including more Hurricanes and Quells in their decks as meta picks/counters. As players start making meta picks the meta will then shift away from token strategies and potentially move to control strategies or something else. So, the meta is a constantly shifting understanding of the game defined by what cards people think are strong and are therefore playing. Big meta shifts can frequently occur at/after tournaments when a new, seemingly unbeatable deck emerges.
  33. Dig: Digging is usually drawing cards (potentially a lot of cards) to try and get a specific card. Cards like Arcane Research and Mist Guide Herald also involve you digging for a card because you view multiple cards in an attempt to get a specific one.
  34. Initiative: Whichever player currently has the initiative in Epic is the only player that may play cards or activate abilities. All players have the initiative at least once on each player’s turn. When it is your turn, you start with the initiative. You pass the initiative after you declare attackers, after blockers are declared, and when you try to end your turn. For a more detailed diagram depicting the flow of initiative each turn check out my review here.
  35. Lethal: Enough damage to reduce your opponent to 0 life. For instance, if your opponent has 8 health and you have Flame Strike in hand, you have lethal. As a second example, say it is your opponent’s turn and they have 15 health and no champions in play. You have Sea Titan and Cave Troll in play. In this situation, you would have lethal on board because you can reduce them to 0 health next turn just with cards you already have in play (in this case attacking).
  36. Vanilla: This is usually used to describe a champion/minion/creature in TCGs/CCGs/LCGs with no powers or abilities. The only true vanilla champion in Epic is Hill Giant, which is a 0-cost 8/8 and that’s it. Champions that have only 1 ability are known as vanilla ‘that ability’ champions. So Lurking Giant is a vanilla ambush champion. Burrowing Wurm is a vanilla breakthrough champion.

Evil Cards

angel_of_death

Angel of Death Rating: 5 (Evil investment required) First PickCounter Pick

Breaking all other champions and leaving a 6/5 airborne champion is amazing. Without the Evil investment, a 6/5 airborne champions is still decent. This card is so powerful that if your opponent is going Evil, you should counter pick this card.

apocalypse

Apocalypse Rating: 3+, 4+

On your turn board clears are insurance. You might not need it, but if you don’t have it when you do, you will almost certainly lose. This is playable with any faction-based deck, and its value becomes a 5 first pick in a board clear light environment.

army_of_the_apocalypse

Army of the Apocalypse Rating: 3+, 2+

This is a conditional card. By itself, it is difficult to predict or create a situation where it is more beneficial for you to play. Here are a few situations that make this card potentially very powerful:

  1. You have ways to banish champions (in play and/or in an opponent’s discard pile) and your opponent does not. For example, Amnesia, Guilt Demon, Divine Judgement, or Palace Guard.
  2. Having champions with blitz (not from Loyalty 2) can turn this into a finisher.
  3. Your champions have better bodies in general (bigger or evasive).

If you meet any of these criteria it can be very strong, if your opponent meets these conditions, it might be good to counter pick this card. In the right circumstance this is theoretically a first pick, but be prepared to just draw 2 if the situation does not present itself.

bitten

Bitten Rating: 3+, 4+

I highly value direct removal. This does not require an Evil investment. In a light (direct) removal environment I consider this a 5 potential first pick.

corpse_taker

Corpse Taker Rating: 2

I rank this card low because it is easy to get rid of before it can use its expend ability, and I would generally rather have a threat instead of potentially having a threat returned to hand in draft. On the other hand, if you already have some incredibly strong 1-cost champions, being able to play them twice can be very strong.

dark_assassin

Dark Assassin Rating: 5 (Evil investment required) First PickBoard Control

Targeted removal reusable each turn if not removed is incredible. Without the Evil investment and with only 2 defense, it is very possible it could be removed before it could break another champion. Counter pick if you have limited ways to break/banish it or it will control the board.

dark_knight

Dark Knight Rating: 3

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

Dark Leader Rating: 1.5

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.

demon_breach

Demon Breach Rating: 1

This card is weak. 3 demons on your turn is weak, 2 demons on your opponent’s turn is weak, and spending your gold to lose a health and return a weak card to hand is bad. When I originally saw it, I thought it was cool and strong, but I cannot ever remember wanting to play it when it was in my hand.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3

Yeah, I was wrong about this card. 3 demons on your turn is not weak, if you have other ways to gain multiple champions. 3 4/4’s can get respectable damage through, especially if you have dramatically more champions in play than your opponent. Sure they may have Kong in play, but if you have 4 demons, a zombie, and haven’t spent your gold on your turn, you’re in good shape. Attack with those small guys first and assuming 1 block and neither player plays a card, that is 14 damage that slips through to your opponent. 12 if you hold your zombie back to block Kong.

The recall ability is also nice. It’s nice if you need extra cards, or if your opponent is repeatedly Psionic Assaulting while you wait to draw your discard pile removal. In addition, you can always play this on your opponent’s turn for 2 demons if needed. 2 Demons is a significant drop-off from 3, but they can add pressure or save your life if you can’t do anything better.

This card is also indirectly buffed by all of the demon specific cards in Tyrants. Raxxa, Demon Tyrant, Raxxa’s Displeasure, and Spawing Demon being 3 of those cards.

drain_essence

Drain Essence Rating: 4

I like direct removal and this gets rid of 36 of 51 1-cost champions, and all but 1 of the 0-cost champions (using on a 0-cost champion is not ideal, unless it is Muse). 9 health is also a very solid amount of health gain.

drinker_of_blood

Drinker of Blood Rating: 2+

This card will usually not affect a board immediately and a 5/4 airborne, unbreakable on your turn champion is not great. It can be great as a combo card if you have a lot of tokens and/or board clears. Flash Fire is nice for a 0-cost board clear for non-demon tokens. If it survives a turn (not great chances based on how I like to play) Apocalypse or other breaking board clears are great. Interesting with Army of the Apocalypse.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 2, 4 Counter Pick

In a standard, balanced deck this card is fairly weak. In a token deck, especially one with 0-cost token board clears like Flash Fire and Wither, this card can do work. If you are able to produce a lot of tokens, you can play this before attacking to put you opponent into a tight spot. They basically have to let your small champions through or else they take damage and heal you. Since those small champions lived, they can attack again next turn, even if the Drinker of Blood has been removed by then.

If you can build your deck to get a lot of small champions into play, you can then play Drinker of Blood followed immediately by Flash Fire/Wither. This can do high amounts of damage, and if you don’t win outright, you can gain a high amount of health to keep you in the game until you do win. While I do believe this to be a very powerful constructed play, it is considerably harder to put together in draft since you aren’t guaranteed to get all of the cards you need.

If you believe your opponent is going tokens, this can definitely be worth counter picking. If you are going tokens, you should generally be counter picking Flash Fire etc. anyways, so this can be worth first picking.

final_task

Final Task Rating: 3+, 3+

This lets you bring a champion from either your discard pile or an opponent’s back into play for a turn. Great card to use on champions with powerful tribute or loyalty 2 abilities (Angel of Death or Frost Giant), and this can be played on your opponent’s turn too.

Tyrants Updated Notes:

This is a powerhouse if you have powerful tribute champions, powerful on break champions, unbreakable champions, and/or 0-cost cards that make champions unbreakable (Brave Squire and Priest of Kalnor).

Using this on an Angel of Death as a Fast breaking board clear is worth it even if the Angel of Death breaks at the end of the turn. Using this on your Trihorror is strong because it can attack or block then give you 3 demons. If your opponent breaks it, it is strong for you. If your opponent returns it to your hand, that isn’t terrible for you. If your opponent banishes it, that’s not great. Finally, being able to keep any champion returned in play with Brave Squire and/or Priest of Kalnor (since it makes them unbreakable that turn) is excellent.

This is an incredibly strong constructed card, but it isn’t hard to get at least some cards that work well with it in draft too. Even if you don’t get anything, your opponent probably will, which is nice since you can use it on champions in their discard pile too.

guilt_demon

Guilt Demon Rating: 4 –

This card is great for immediately removing a card from your opponent’s discard pile on their turn, or two cards on your turn. In addition, a 3/2 airborne, blitz body is not bad. If your opponent has no cards that care about discard piles, and your opponent has a lot of fliers or ways to do 2 damage, this card becomes weaker, but against cards like Lightning Storm this can be a first pick.

infernal_gatekeeper

Infernal Gatekeeper rating: 2

A 9/9 is a decent body, repeatedly getting a demon for 1 health is not terrible, but I feel like this card never actually does anything.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+

I value token spawning cards a lot more now. This card can easily get out of control if not removed quickly, particularly if you have an Evil investment.

In addition, this card was indirectly buffed by the plethora of demon based cards in Tyrants. This card itself is a demon, so it survives Raxxa’s Displeasure for example. Demon based cards in general are a lot more plentiful now which makes this card significantly better. The more demon related cards in your deck, the better this card gets.

inner_demon

Inner Demon Rating: 3+, 4+

I highly value direct removal. This does not require an Evil investment. In a light (direct) removal environment I consider this a 5 potential first pick.

medusa

Medusa Rating: 4 (Evil investment required)

Fast direct removal is great. Leaving behind a 6/8 body is an added bonus, but not amazing. Without loyalty, this drops in value significantly. This card can be counter picked, but does not need to be. While this card does always leave behind a significantly bigger body then either Bitten or Inner Demon and even on your opponent’s turn, I feel like I would rather have those cards for the option of draw 2 and lack of loyalty 2 requirement. In a heavy direct removal environment, I actually think this is better. Ambush it into play on your opponent’s turn. Then if they ambush a blocker on your turn, use another removal card on that new champion.

murderous_necromancer

Murderous Necromancer Rating: 3+ (Evil investment required) Board Control

This card will usually be: get 3 zombie tokens for chump blocking, and force the use of a removal card by your opponent. The expend ability will not be used much, but if it survives it will control the board. In a light (direct) removal environment this card becomes a 4 or 5 potential first pick.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4+ (Evil investment required), Board Control, First Pick

Those 3 zombies are quite helpful, especially since it is easier to get a lot more small champions into play with Tyrants. This is also an excellent target for your Final Task.

necromancer_lord

Necromancer Lord Rating: 5 (Evil investment required) First Pick, Counter Pick

This is one of the most powerful cards in the game. When played, you generally get the best 1-cost champion from any discard pile, and if Necromancer Lord is not removed, you get another one per turn. Necromancer Lord does break/banish to everything, but it does require your opponent to use removal on it, otherwise you essentially get 2 coins on each of your turns.

An interesting note, if you return a champion your opponent owns to play (it started in their deck), and they return that champion to hand with Erase, for example, it would go back to the owner‘s hand, not yours. If you do not have the Evil investment to play this, but your opponent does, counter pick it.

plague

Plague Rating: 3+, 4+

The first choice is essentially draw 2 but it can also break cards like Necromancer Lord. The second effect is Apocalypse, see above.

plentiful_dead

Plentiful Dead Rating: 1

I do not like this card. Yes, it is a free fast chump blocker and for 1 health you can play it again. And yes, it is good for activating Evil loyalty effects. I am just not willing to pay that 1 health as a stall for no gain, and I do not think it is worth it for offensive zombie tokens. I could be proven wrong about this card.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 1 (with no Evil investment), 2 (with light Evil investment), 4 (with heavy Evil investment)

I am still not a huge fan of this card in draft; however, with enough Evil investment it can work pretty well. If you can get a basically free zombie on most of your and your opponent’s turns, those zombies really add up quickly. This is not terribly likely in draft since you won’t, and shouldn’t, just take every card of the faction you are playing.

If you have a light Evil investment, it can potentially at least provide a couple fast chump blockers.

soul_hunter

Soul Hunter Rating: 2

This is a slow card that can be banished or returned to hand for no effect; I do not value these types of cards highly. If you opponent has minimal champions with airborne, minimal banish, or you have lots of breaking board clears, this can do work. Otherwise, avoid it.

succubus

Succubus Rating: 3+ (4+ with Evil investment)

I mainly use this as a 6/5 airborne, blitz, draw a card champion. It is a solid, aggressive, evasive body that replaces itself. It is also not bad without the loyalty due to the Tribute -> Draw a card. If you can use it to banish Good champions, even better.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4+

I value tribute draw a card incredibly highly. In addition, I value decently sized airborne bodies as well. Even without blitz with an opponent running 0 Good cards, I would draft this card. If you have an Evil investment and they have Good, banishable champions, this is a 5.

the_risen

The Risen Rating: 2

This can do a solid 9+ damage when played, but the +1 offense, +1 defense goes away after 1 turn, and then you are just left with 3 zombies that might have even been blocked and broken already. This card has a high potential for damage (Dark Knights, Word of Summoning, etc.), but I personally prefer my cards to help me secure board position instead.

Tyrants Updated Notes:

This card is a bit stronger with the addition of more ways to get demons with 0-cost cards. I mainly added in this note to explain how it works with Spawning Demon. If you play Spawning Demon then play this, this will fully resolve giving your Spawning Demon +1/+1 and blitz and giving you 3 3/3 zombies with blitz, but the demon created by Spawning Demon would come in after The Risen resolves. That newly created demon would therefore not gain the buffs.

thrasher_demon

Thrasher Demon Rating: 3+/-

I like this card. This card is best if your opponent has minimal 0-cost champions including tokens or 0-cost removal. If this card attacks each turn, it becomes a threat, and if it is blocked by a 1-cost champion, you will break a 1-cost champion with a 0-cost card. It can also be held back as a blocker to discourage an attack by non-airborne champions.

trihorror

Trihorror Rating: 2

I do not value cards that can be returned to hand or banished with no effect highly. This card does have a strong body (especially for Evil), gives you 3 demons when broken, and was a part of one of my favorite Epic moments so far, but bounce is so good in Epic I cannot rate this highly.

Tyrants Updated Notes:

This is a demon that creates demon tokens when it dies, so it is indirectly buffed by all of the demon cards in Tyrants.

unquenchable_thirst

Unquenchable Thirst Rating: 4-  (Evil investment required)

I value 0-cost removal highly. I like having some health gain. This is a really nice targeted removal card as long as you have Evil cards in your discard pile you do not mind banishing. Unfortunately, Evil cares the most about its discard pile.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 2+

In draft, I am hesitant to banish large amounts of my discard pile for a single effect. I would only draft this card if I expect my opponent to have low defense, high-impact champions like High King, Thought Plucker, etc.

vampire_lord

Vampire Lord Rating: 2

Once again, 1-cost champion that can be bounced or banished with no effect. If your opponent has no answer for it, it grows strong, but it can also get continually chump blocked. Much better with breaking board clears on your turn.

wither

Wither Rating: 2

This card can clear all of one type of non-demon token from the board, finish off a champion already dealt damage, or manipulate an even trade between 2 1-cost champions to be favorable for you (you lose a 0-cost card instead of a 1-cost card). In addition, it breaks Muse.

word_of_summoning

Word of Summoning Rating: 3

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

Zombie Apocalypse 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.

Evil Cards Breakdown

Outright First Picks: 4

For -or- Draw 2 cards, I am counting the higher rating for the card.
5s: 4
4s: 9
3s: 6
2s: 8
1(.5)s: 3

Total Points: 93

Evil Tyrants Cards

dark_offering

Dark Offering 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

Hands from Below Rating: 2+

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.

heinous_feast

Heinous Feast Rating: 3+, 5

Banishing your opponent’s entire discard pile is crazy powerful in draft. It basically prevents them from winning by drawing out, it resets their ability to recycle, it slows down cards like Necromancer Lord, Memory Spirit, and Resurrection, it can setup Army of Apocalypse, and this card even gains you a bit of health.

You can also use it on yourself if you are desperate for a little bit of extra health.

necrovirus

Necrovirus Rating: 5 (with at least some Evil investment)

Fast targeted removal which puts you no further behind your opponent on their turn is excellent. The fact that it can also give you 3 more zombies is an added bonus. The only unfortunate aspect of the card is it can’t clear out a blocker on your turn, since it produces a zombie for your opponent that can chump block.

raxxa_demon_tyrant

Raxxa, Demon Tyrant Rating: 4+

I raised my rating of Demon Breach to 3 because of the 3 demons on your turn. This is 3 6/6 demons on your turn, and a +2/+2 buff to any other demon tokens you have in play. So it’s better. You don’t even need the loyalty to get the extra demons, but the loyalty effect can be excellent as well. It works to clear tokens, High King, etc.

raxxas_curse

Raxxa’s Curse Rating: 3+, 3

This card shines when taking out 0-cost cards like Muse, Guilt Demon, or Shadow Imp. It can also just break a token champion and give you a demon, which isn’t terrible. In addition, it can clear out an ambushed in 0-cost potential chump blocker as well.

raxxas_displeasure

Raxxa’s Displeasure Rating: 3+, 5 Counter Pick

Generally, I like my board clears to be fast, but, since this one avoids demons, it isn’t terribly difficult to get great value out of this card. Even if you just counter pick this, you can always use it just to draw 2 (since the board clear would probably be pretty weak against the demon deck you counter picked it from).

This card is such a powerhouse for Evil in draft. The fact that it also avoids 1-cost champions that just happen to be demons themselves is amazing: Raxxa Demon Tyrant (obviously), Succubus, Medusa, Trihorror, Reaper, etc.

reap_or_sow

Reap or Sow Rating: 3+

This card is interesting due to the fact that it is a board clear that can’t draw 2 instead. The or-effect is put 4 zombies into play. In the average non-token deck, I would say the or-effect is much weaker than draw 2. This is why this card is only a 3.

For a token deck, this can be quite powerful. You have the board clear if needed, and if you want to push forward when you have a champion advantage, this can work for that as well.

In constructed, I believe this card works great because you can include it in a token deck and generally be happy. For drafting, it really depends on the rest of your deck. No matter what, it is at least a board clear, and board clears are very important in draft.

reaper

Reaper Rating: 5 First Pick, Counter Pick, Board Control

This is one of my favorite cards, particularly in draft. A 7/9 with tribute and ally break a champion is a complete powerhouse. You get immediate value when you play it, it has a solid 9 defense, and if not removed, it will effectively shut your opponent out.

My favorite part about this card is that it turns all 1-cost Evil draw 2 cards into removal. I’ve sat behind this and just drawn through my deck. It was glorious.

Even if you aren’t going Evil, the tribute effect and body are strong enough to warrant picking anyway.

This card can even break your own champions, like Soul Hunter and Trihorror, to give you a demon. It cannot however give you a demon if you target an unbreakable champion you control, since the trigger only works if the champion actually breaks. If nothing else, you can always upgrade your humans into demons, and if you have Zealous Necromancer in play get a zombie out of the deal too.

spawning_demon

Spawning Demon Rating: 5 (with heavy Evil investment), 3 (with light Evil investment), 1 (with no Evil investment)

A 0-cost ambush card that can keep spitting out demons is excellent, if you have the Evil investment to support it. Play this on your opponent’s turn after they spent their gold to get 2 demons with whatever Evil card you were going to play anyway.

As a side note, I find it a bit amusing that the demons spawned would be stronger than the Spawning Demon if Raxxa, Demon Tyrant is in play, since Raxxa‘s buff only works on demon tokens.

the_gudgeon

The Gudgeon Rating: 3

Tribute draw 2 cards is pretty nice. The bonus 2/1 unblockable is appreciated, since it will eventually need to be removed. Until it is, the “you are untargetable” effect can be nice to prevent direct damage, or more likely and more interestingly, to prevent cards like Heinous Feast, Ice Drake, and Psionic Assault. The 1 health does make it removable by basically everything though.

The only annoying thing about this card is that it is slow. So, since it will frequently just draw 2 cards, only being able to do that on your turn is not great.

zealous_necromancer

Zealous Necromancer Rating: 5, Board Control

A fast tribute draw a card champion is excellent. The body is pretty small, but the ability is so surprisingly powerful it’s crazy. This card can just be straight up removed fairly easily, but you drew a card so it isn’t a huge deal. If they can’t remove it quickly, it can generate a lot of zombie tokens.

This generates zombie tokens when human, wolf, and demon tokens break which is a really big deal. It also generates zombie tokens when your opponent’s champions break. So, if you attack with a demon, and they block it with something bigger, you just flipped an opponent’s blocker and only had to downgrade a demon into a prepared, deploying zombie to do it. If you opponent tries to attack with non-unbreakable human tokens and you have at least one blocker, this gives you a fresh blocker after each of those human tokens break. So, this card alone can largely shut down a token based strategy of your opponent, and it can help your token based strategy.

If you ambush this in on your opponent’s turn, you can swing with your non zombie army, and then use The Risen to attack with your freshly created zombie army.

I am giving this a 5 because its potential is so game changing, and it draws a card to replace itself if nothing else. I gave it the board control description even though it doesn’t remove champions because it can lock down the board fairly effectively, even though the zombies spawned don’t create more zombies.

Overall, I think this is an easy card to overlook. It’s possible I am overrating it a bit, but I want people to look at this card seriously.

Good Cards

Good cards analysis added on 2/1/16.

angel_of_light

Angel of Light Rating: 3-

This was a difficult one for me to rate. 5/6 Airborne, Ambush is a respectable body. 10 health (with loyalty) is a good amount of health too. My only problems are that 6 defense leaves it fairly fragile (Lightning Storm), and the Tribute and Loyalty 2 effects don’t put you further ahead when you play this. The health just makes it harder to lose.

angel_of_mercy

Angel of Mercy Rating: 5- (Partial Good investment) First Pick, Counter Pick

In basically every game, you only want to play this on your opponent’s turn, after they have spent their gold, when you have a worthwhile Good champion to return to play. In that situation, this card is amazing. Outside that situation, a 4/5 airborne that can be easily removed is not great. Definitely strong enough to warrant counter picking if opponent is going Good.

angelic_protector

Angelic Protector Rating: 3

5/9 airborne, ambush is a really good body. The tribute unbreakable, untargetable (which can target itself) can be situationally very good. Most of the time it is just used on itself as a blocker. 9 defense is a magic number because it survives Flame Strike.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4

I value airborne, ambush champions with more than 6 defense a lot more now. This card also really works well with Sea Hydra. Block a Steel Golem with your Sea Hydra. Then, before damage, ambush this in targeting your Sea Hydra. Your Sea Hydra will still take the 13 damage, but it won’t break. So, your Sea Hydra will gain 13 +1/+1 counters and become an 18/23.

avenging_angel

Avenging Angel Rating: 2+

At Gencon 2015 (before the game was released with only 100 of 120 cards available), this was one of the most discussed cards. A lot of people were saying this card was way too powerful because the combination of all of the abilities (airborne, blitz, righteous, while expended you cannot be attacked) just controlled the game too much. Which if Avenging Angel survives, it is indeed incredible. However, it is so ridiculously fragile that it is frequently removed in a 1 for 1 trade (or it just get’s blocked by another airborne champion). I don’t like those cards because I value targeted removal so highly.

If you are in a light (direct) removal environment this card can dominate. Or if you can deny your opponent card draw or force them to discard with Psionic Assault/Thought Plucker, this card is much better; if your opponent is low on cards, a 1 for 1 trade can still be favorable for you, since this card must be removed.

banishment

Banishment Rating: 4 +/-

Targeted removal is excellent, but drawing 1 card is a big deal. So, if you can use it on your turn when you are already ahead (since this is an event you can use it after someone ambushes in a champion, but before they declare it as a blocker) it is a 5. If you have to use it on your opponents turn, it drops to a 3.

brave_squire

Brave Squire Rating: 5

I really like this card. A fast 0-cost chump blocker is okay. Giving a champion unbreakable and +5 offense for a turn is great. (This could also be used after blockers for 5 extra damage to the face.) Being able to make a fast unbreakable 6/1 chump blocker is gravy.

ceasefire

Ceasefire 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

Courageous Soul 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.

divine_judgment

Divine Judgement Rating: 3+, 4+

Banish board clear on your turn is great. In a board clear light environment this is a 5 First Pick. It is also better if you have Unbanishable champions.

faithful_pegasus

Faithful Pegasus Rating: 2+

Tribute -> Recycle means this card can’t have a 1 rating. I have not been valuing this card highly, but with certain humans it can actually be really useful (White Knight, Time Walker). Once you play this and if you immediately attack with it, your human can’t be prevented from gaining and can’t lose airborne that turn. This card was excellent in a recent pre-constructed game I played, but I’m still wary of it in draft.

feint

Feint Rating: 3+

I love this card in theory. Draw 2 cards + A) a free block or B) a free attack that draws off potential blocker(s) of your opponent. In practice, unless my opponent has already used their gold for the turn, I do not want to risk using mine at either of those 2 points. I would rather just use it at the end of a turn to draw 2 cards and ignore the second part.

gold_dragon

Gold Dragon Rating: 3+

I actually rate this card higher then Avenging Angel strictly because I would rather have the extra 2 defense then the prevent attacking while expended ability. It can still be removed by a lot of cards (not Lightning Storm though) before it does anything, but the amount of health this can gain is enormous.

high_king

High King Rating: 5 (Good investment required) First pick, Counter pick, Board Control

Targeted removal reusable each turn if not removed is incredible, and banish is generally better than break. Without the Good investment this card is removed by literally all removal in the game and probably won’t do anything. But, if not removed, this will control the board.

inheritance_of_the_meek

Inheritance of the Meek Rating: 3+, 5- First Pick

Since this only banishes non-token champions, if you have a lot of token champions it is better, but it’s worse if your opponent has a lot of token champions. In addition, drawing a card is huge, but a fast non-token banishing board clear is even better. Against token decks counter pick this.

inner_peace

Inner Peace Rating: 2+

This was another card that has had a lot of conversation about it being too powerful. If you have limited card draw, then being able to spend your gold every other turn to gain 10 health is quite strong. So, in a card draw light environment when you have a Good investment, this card goes up to a 4.

As I have mentioned though, card draw is so important that you should try to avoid putting yourself into a position where this is great. I rate this lowly because it does not affect the board at all, and if you opponent spends their gold to remove/play a champion, and you just gain life, you will get behind.

It is, however, a strong way to stop very aggressive decks that try to beat you with primarily direct damage.

lord_of_the_arena

Lord of the Arena Rating: 3+

This is another card that might not do anything the turn it comes into play due to fast bounce and fast banishment. The reason this is a 3 and not a 2, is that if you can get your opponent to use their coin, this has the potential to do 13 unbreakable damage to the face or to a lone champion your opponent controls. Using the card to remove a champion in that way would make this a 5, but it is unlikely to happen often in actual play (it’s an unlikely situation and Hasty Retreat).

noble_unicorn

Noble Unicorn Rating: 5 (Good investment) First pick, Counter pick

This card can really run away with the game just by staying in play. Ambush it in on an opponent’s turn to draw after they have spent their gold. On your turn, play a Good card to draw. The card has essentially become 6/6 ambush, draw 2 cards, if your opponent doesn’t remove this, keep drawing cards. Even as just an ambush 6/6 draw a card, this is playable.

palace_guard

Palace Guard Rating: 4 First pick

Targeted banish removal that doesn’t require a faction investment is great. A 6/8 body with nothing else is nothing special, but it is something extra. The only reason I don’t make this a 5 is I think Kong is better generally (even though banish can deal with more answers better: Soul Hunter).

priest_of_kalnor

Priest of Kalnor Rating: 1

In drafts, the 1/4 body is almost meaningless (although it does block non-demon tokens), the 4 health isn’t great, and the loyalty 2 requirement on the slow unbreakable/untargetable isn’t generally worth it. In constructed this can be a beast of a card for that Loyalty 2 ability though.

priestess_of_angeline

Priestess of Angeline Rating: 3 (Good investment)

Tribute -> Recycle makes this card replace itself as a 0-cost, and it will continue to provide health until removed. Almost everything can remove it, but I think it is solid with a Good investment.

rally_the_people

Rally the People Rating: 2

I mainly use this as a fast 0-cost chump block that can be returned to hand if I can’t spend my coin on something better. In a token deck it could be good.

resurrection

Resurrection Rating: 3+, 4+

If you have massive threats like Kong or Raging T-Rex, this card is easily a 5. The fact that it can also draw 2 instead makes this really strong.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+, 5

I play this card in so many of my decks because it is amazing. Being able to effectively play a slow champion on your opponent’s turn as if it had ambush is incredible. Unfortunately, this won’t do much if your opponent banishes the champion. They can either banish it from play, or they can banish it from your discard pile after it breaks (before you have the initiative to play this card).

secret_legion

Secret Legion Rating: 3+, 2+

Once again, this card combos amazingly with Courageous Soul (since all human champions gain blitz),  but aside from that, it is probably just 6 fast chump blockers.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+, 2 or 5, First Pick

Token strategies are a lot more viable now, and Secret Legion is excellent at enabling them. Secret Legion still works great with Courageous Soul, but it also synergizes excellently with Insurgency, Revolt, etc.

standard_bearer

Standard Bearer Rating: 2+

This is another card that has fallen from favor for me. I used to highly value it, but since I do not think token decks are currently viable, I don’t value this card. 3 fast chump blockers is okay.

Tyrants Updated Notes:

Even though Good token champions (human tokens) are more viable now, I am still not a huge fan of this card. If, however, you have Rabble Rouser, this card can provide a lot more value, since you can get a crazy amount of human tokens for this to buff.

the_people_s_champion

The People’s Champion Rating: 3+

Another token generating card, this one has a slightly higher rating because it continually produces tokens until removed. It also survives Divine Judgement. (If you cast Divine Judgement, the tokens from the ally effect would come into play after Divine Judgement banishes everything.) In a removal light environment with a Good investment, the number of tokens can start to get out of control.

thundarus

Thundarus Rating: 4 Counter Pick

This is another champion that has had a lot of discussion about being too powerful. A 10/15 airborne, unbanishable body is enormous, true, but it still gets removed by all break effects and bounces. I give it a 4 because with the 15 defense and the unbanishable, a lot of ways to remove it are taken away. In addition this card alone can kill in 3 turns and there are no tokens to chump block it in the air.

If you can pick most of the targeted break effects and bounce, I would highly  recommend taking this card. If you can’t, it might just be another 1 for 1 trade.

vital_mission

Vital Mission Rating: 3+

This is fast banishment removal. However, using it as removal always gives your opponent a bit of something which is why I didn’t make it a 4. One strong way to use this card is to target your unbanishable champion. “I’ll target Thundarus with Vital Mission, gain 10 health, draw 2 cards, and since Thundarus is unbanishable, I don’t lose that either.” Yes, that is how that works.

watchful_gargoyle

Watchful Gargoyle Rating: 3

A nice little 2/3 airborne, ambush, Tribute -> Recycle body. It is nothing crazy, but I like all of that at 0-cost. A small evasive body has potential to do work, or a fast 0-cost airborne chump blocker.

white_dragon

White Dragon 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

White Knight Rating: 3+

9/9 Tribute -> Draw a card is solid, not great though. Blitz is nice to have. Expend ability is great if against Evil champions.

Good Cards Breakdown

Outright First Picks: 6

For -or- Draw 2 cards, I am counting the higher rating for the card.
5s: 6
4s: 5
3s: 12
2s: 5
1s: 2

Total Points: 98

Good Tyrants Cards

blind_faith

Blind Faith Rating: 2

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

Forced Exile 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.

insurgency

Insurgency Rating: 1 or 5, First Pick, Counter Pick

This card is very powerful in a human token based deck. Giving human tokens blitz is excellent, as is the +1 offense buff. The real power though is the unbreakable. There are quite a few ways to stop a token assault that has been buffed by Courageous Soul, Revolt, etc. (Flash Fire for instance), but there are significantly fewer ways to stop an unbreakable token assault (Quell, Wither, Blind Faith, Ceasefire, Ice Drake, Surprise Attack -> Time Walker, and Wave of Transformation).

If you are going a human token strategy, you want this card. If you think your opponent is going a human token strategy, you probably want to counter pick this card.

markus_watch_captain

Markus, Watch Captain Rating: 4+/- (with Good investment)

This is a 1 if neither you nor your opponent have a Good Investment, discard cards like Psionic Assault, or tokens. In that incredibly rare situation, this is just a slow vanilla 10/10, which is bad. In the incredibly rare situation where you put this into play without spending a gold because your opponent forced you to discard, then you banish 3 demon tokens, and have the loyalty to draw a card, this card is almost frustratingly powerful. (Putting this into play is not playing it from your hand, so it would not trigger Good ally effects if it enters play this way.)

Most of the time, you will probably have the loyalty to draw a card from it which alone makes this a 3. My assumption, is that you would be able to banish some tokens with it as well which pushes it up to a 4 generically for me.

This card is also an indirect nerf to all discard cards such as Psionic Assault.

noble_martyr

Noble Martyr Rating: 3

This is an interesting card that lets me talk about a lot of the intricacies of Epic. In general, I am not a fan of slow champions that do nothing when they come into play, but the inclusion of unbanishable and the discard pile ally trigger make this interesting.

Unbanishable + Discard Pile ally trigger: This is interesting because to remove this card it must either be bounced or broken. If bounced, that is pretty awful for you. If it is removed by breaking (since it can’t be banished without using Blind Faith), then it has to go to your discard pile where you can trigger its ally ability. So, in other words, they can’t use just 1 card to fully remove this card, aside from bouncing it. To prevent it from being able to put 5 human tokens into play, which is quite powerful, it would either need to break in combat or through a break effect, and then your opponent would have to banish it from your discard pile. Since the unbanishable keyword is not in the gray text, it does not apply while it is in your discard pile. So yes, your opponent could break this and then play Guilt Demon to banish this before you can make use of the ally trigger.

Due to these interactions, I am much more likely to play this card. I am a fan of the discard pile ally triggers that let you banish itself for an effect.

paros_rebel_leader

Paros, Rebel Leader Rating: 3 with heavy Good investment, 1 with no Good investment

This card is nice because it is a 0-cost card that can continually put out more tokens. The +1 offense for other human champions is a very nice addition, since it makes your human tokens (generated through this or by other means) threatening in large enough numbers. If you have no Good cards or human champions, a vanilla 3/4 is terrible.

quell

Quell Rating: 4+/-

This card has been incredible for me in a lot of situations. I have used the 1st effect to banish something like 36 human tokens once, and I banished 3 or so powerful 0-cost champions like Forcemage Apprentice another time (both times on my opponent’s turn while also drawing a card). On multiple occasions, I have used the second effect to clear out multiple 1-cost champions while preserving my 0-cost filled board and my unbanishable champions like The People’s Champion.

This card is one of the best board clears for gaining an actual board advantage. It is also one of the best answers for Insurgency attacks. It does, however, have the potential problem of being effectively unplayable. Since it can’t just draw cards, if you have a board advantage that relies on both 0-cost and 1-cost champions, this card can just sit in your hand because you don’t want to banish your 0-cost champions to draw a card. Even still, I am a fan of this card. I really want it if I think my opponent is going token heavy.

rabble_rouser

Rabble Rouser Rating: 4+

Rabble Rouser is a terrifying card since it provides slightly greater than exponential growth. Assuming you have no other human tokens in play (which there is a strong chance you will have human tokens in play if you take this card), it produces 2 the first time. The second activation will leave you with a net 6, then 14, then 30, etc.

As someone from the Epic Card Game Fan Page on Facebook pointed out, if you play Rabble Rouser on your turn without activating it, then Secret Legion on your opponent’s turn and activate your Rabble Rouser, followed by a Rabble Rouser activation on your next turn, you have 30 human tokens (14 not deploying) ready to be utilized whether with Insurgency or something else.

revolt

Revolt Rating: 3+, 2 or 5

In a token deck this is a beast of a finisher. Play this with a build up of tokens or an Insurgency/Secret Legion attack to put out a lot of damage.

Even if you run no tokens, a fast 0-cost chump blocker is useful enough for the 2 rating, especially since you can always draw 2 off of it instead.

royal_escort

Royal Escort Rating: 3+

I like ambush champions. I also like health gain, more so in constructed though. Where this card really shines though is in protecting your more vulnerable champions. You play this on your opponent’s turn, then you play an Avenging Angel and attack with it on your turn. They can’t use targeted removal on Avenging Angel this turn, and if they remove Royal Escort on your turn and remove Avenging Angel on their turn, you have forced out 2 removal cards to answer your Avenging Angel. High King, unsurprisingly, is another nice card to play with Royal Escort.

second_wind

Second Wind Rating: 1

Banishing 2 cards from your discard pile to gain 5 health is not worth it in draft. Your discard pile is precious, partly for recycle effects, partly because drawing through your deck to win is a thing, and partly for the potential to return cards from it to your hand or play. 5 health in draft is not terribly helpful either because you generally lose health in bigger chunks than that. If it can get you above 2, 5, or 8 health, that can be helpful because those are 3 very dangerous health totals to be at, but besides that it is pretty bad.

In constructed, on the other hand, I am a fan of this card. I am very worried about burn decks, and I can easily add this into my control decks that have an abundance of events I don’t mind recycling.

urgent_messengers

Urgent Messengers Rating: 5, First Pick

I love “draw 2 and” cards. This effect is also excellent. 2 human tokens to use as chump blockers or to assist a human token assault are always appreciated.

Sage Cards

Sage cards analysis added on 2/8/16.

amnesia

Amnesia Rating: 3+, 5 First Pick

Banishing an entire player’s discard pile and recycling with a 0-cost card is incredible, absolutely incredible. You can use this to completely shutdown someone close to drawing through their deck. This removes individually threatening cards from a discard pile like Lightning Storm or Soul Hunter.

In addition, it also stops cards that check the discard pile like Zombie Apocalypse, Unquenchable Thirst, and most importantly Army of the Apocalypse (either yours or your opponent’s).  Further, since it is a 0-cost card, it can be used immediately before some of the cards mentioned above. And it replaces itself with recycle. Spectacular, spectacular card.

ancient_chant

Ancient Chant Rating: 4

Fast draw 2 cards is solid. Spending a gold to recall and draw another card is also decent. The “leaves your discard pile trigger” also happens when the card is banished from a discard pile due to Amnesia or any of your cards that recycle. Even though this card will only ever draw cards (besides activate Sage ally and help with other Sage loyalty 2), it does it quite well.

blue_dragon

Blue Dragon Rating: 3.5

6/4 airborne is okay, but I love champions that draw a card when played. In addition, the 2 damage can help finish off a player or deal with a lot of small threats like Necromancer Lord, High King, Muse, etc. The 4 defense does make me hesitant to give it a 4, but if your opponent has a lot of cards like the ones mentioned above, it easily makes it to that 4, possibly 5 with enough Sage ally triggers.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4

Blue Dragon deserves the straight up 4 because the evasive airborne body is that important. Everything Blue Dragon has together make this an excellent card, even if you aren’t running Sage.

crystal_golem

Crystal Golem Rating: 3.5

This card is essentially draw 2 cards + a chump block. You ambush this in after attackers are declared, wait for blocker declarations, declare it as a blocker, then when your opponent passes initiative, break it to draw 2 cards. The low defense prevents it from surviving most combat, but the high offense, untargetable, and ambush can let it attack if your opponent has no champions in play. If it gets blocked, you can always still break it to draw before damage is assigned. It does break to board clear and non-targeting cards like Lying in Wait though, so be careful if you really need to draw those 2 cards.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 5

I really underestimated this card. While the draw 2 cards + a chump block is a solid, common way to use this card, it is also quite strong as an ambushed 7/4 untargetable attacker. If you play it to an empty board, especially after your opponent spent their gold on their turn playing a board clear, you get to attack with a 7/4 untargetable on your turn. So, they probably won’t be able to remove it (barring Lying in Wait, Spike Trap, or Hands from Below), and you can always break it if they ambush something in to block it. In addition, if you play it when there are champions in play, you can attack with this first, force your opponent to flip a champion to block it, break this to draw 2, and then your opponent has one less champion to block the rest of yours this turn.

This is an excellent card in so many situations, and it doesn’t require a Sage Investment.

deadly_raid

Deadly Raid Rating: 3+, 5-

This is one of the biggest straight-up finishers in the game. +2 offense and unblockable will basically never improve your board position, but assuming your opponent can’t remove or stop the attackers, this will win you the game if you have a lot of champions or just a few big ones. Targeted removal or fast board clears can really punish you for using this card, hence the -, but it is still a 5.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+, 4

At this point, I do not value finishers as much as I used to. For this card, you are frequently already winning when you would play this to win, not always, but frequently. In addition, until that point, it is largely worthless. You can at least draw 2 from it though. While this is still a solid card, I do not believe it deserves a 5.

If neither side has much removal or board clears, then this is stronger because it can win a stalemate. Fortunately, in my opinion, those stalemates are fairly rare.

djinn_of_the_sands

Djinn of the Sands Rating: 2

This is a difficult one for me to rate. An 8/8 airborne, blitz champion is a solid evasive body that can do work, but if you use it like this, it can be removed with you gaining nothing.

Instead, you could draw cards with it. If you draw immediately, you just spent your gold on your turn for an expended 7/7 airborne to draw 1 card, not great. If you wait to use it as a blocker first (or the threat of a blocker), since you can expend it after blockers are declared, you risk it getting removed before it does anything, also not great.

While this card is versatile, I am hesitant with all of its options.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3

This is not as bad a card as I originally thought. When played to an empty board when your opponent still has their gold, you can just expend it to draw and pass. If they remove it, you are still up a card, and since the board was empty, you don’t really need it as a blocker at that point.

If you draw out your opponent’s gold on your turn before you spend yours, an 8/8 airborne blitz champion is pretty difficult to stop. If you get that 8 damage to face, even if they remove it on your next turn, you still did 8 damage on top of a 1 for 1 trade.

erase

Erase 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

Forcemage Apprentice Rating: 3

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.

frost_giant

Frost Giant Rating: 5 First Pick

8/12 blitz is solid, but the tribute makes this a crazy strong finisher. Expending all your opponent’s champions makes it so they can’t block. So, playing this card allows all of your champions in play to have a potential shot at your opponent’s face (including the 8 damage from this). In addition, 12 is a very solid defense.

This champion is a monster finisher, but as a lone 8/12 attacker it is still decent. It can, however, be removed without doing anything if it is your only champion that can attack.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4

Same with Deadly Raid, I do not value finishers as much now as I used to. If you win when you play this card, you were frequently winning already, not always though. While still strong, I just don’t think it deserves a 5.

It is much better if you can play this after your opponent spends their gold, especially if they are trying to hold you off with a Secret Legion or something. Also, in a removal/board clear light environment, this can win you the game if the board becomes a stalemate.

hasty_retreat

Hasty Retreat Rating: 3+, 4

Bounce is great. 0-cost bounce is an amazing safeguard against cards like Rampaging Wurm. However, drawing a card for your opponent is a big deal. To avoid that draw, you can block with any legal champion before using this card. Then, before damage is dealt, use this. Even if you block a Burrowing Wurm with a 1/1 human token, you still won’t take any damage, they won’t draw a card, and you just used a 0-cost card to effectively waste a gold spent by your opponent.

ice_drake

Ice Drake Rating: 4 (5 with Sage investment)

A 6/8 airborne, ambush champion is strong by itself, since only Thundarus, Angelic Protector, and Gold Dragon can survive being blocked by it in the air (only Thundarus breaks it in airborne combat too). The loyalty 2 ability is also incredible, especially on an ambush body. It can function as a finisher allowing the rest of your attackers to attack face (and if cast on opponent’s turn, Ice Drake will be able to attack on your turn too). It can also prevent your opponent from attacking. (Although if they attack with a champion on their turn, there is no way to prevent that first attack.)

I rate it as a 4 because I think it is strong enough outside of a heavy Sage investment deck, but with a Sage investment it is a 5. I really like Frost Giant‘s 12 defense in comparison, but Ice Drake with loyalty is a more versatile card.

Tyrants Update Note:

While I am not adjusting the rating, I just wanted to say that a 6/8 airborne, ambush champion is a lot stronger generically than I originally thought. Playing this after your opponent board clears on their turn is excellent. You have a threat going into your turn, and you don’t have to use your gold until they use theirs.

juggernaut

Juggernaut Rating: 3 (4 with Sage investment)

9 offense with breakthrough, blitz, and unbreakable on your turn is a solid threat card. With that loyalty 2 -> draw a card, this is a strong card.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 5 (3 without Sage investment)

Juggernaut is incredible. I love this card. 9/3 blitz, breakthrough, unbreakable on your turn is so nasty. You don’t generally play this when they have a 10 or greater defense champion in play, but if they don’t, they are in trouble whether or not they block. Trading tokens to chump block some of the damage is a fairly weak play for your opponent and so is taking 9 damage to the face. When you add in the loyalty effect to draw a card, you still come out ahead even if they can remove it before it deals damage. The only cards being able to do it are bounce, which lets you draw another card the next time you play it, or banish/transform cards like Banishment and Wave of Transformation that give you something in return.

Overall, if you are going Sage, you almost certainly want this card.

keeper_of_secrets

Keeper of Secrets Rating: 3+

2/3 blitz can do some damage if needed. Recycle on a Sage ally trigger is incredible if you have a Sage investment. I have been picking this card specifically to banish cards like Lightning Storm and Soul Hunter. However, if you have a heavy Sage investment then that ally->recycle is probably the best part of the card. In a heavy Sage investment deck where your opponent has strong discard pile effects, this is a 5 first pick.

lying_in_wait

Lying in Wait Rating: 3+, 5 First Pick

This is one of the best removal events in the game. While it may seem restrictive since it can only affect a champion attacking alone, it is better to attack alone in Epic at least 90% of the time. Having this card lets you banish almost any threat coming at you, including untargetable champions since this does not target. (Yes, that is correct.) So you can banish a Steel Golem attacking alone. Unbanishable champions like Thundarus would be unaffected though.

Just the presence of this card in your deck can force your opponent to make less then ideal attacks to try and play around this card. For instance, if you reveal this card as part of a loyalty 2 trigger, your opponent knows you could use it if they ever attack with a champion alone. If they do not want a champion banished, they might just not attack with a champion. This in effect prevents an attack without you needing to use even a single card. In addition, if they attack with 2 champions you could potentially remove 1 of them with a 0-cost event (Hasty Retreat, etc.), and then use your Lying in Wait. Or you could punish the non-ideal attack with a different card you have in hand (Spike Trap, etc.).

On the other hand, if your opponent knows that you know that they know you have Lying in Wait, they could draw out this card with a “bad attack.” Then, follow up with something like Steel Golem. Or they could bluff. Make an obviously “bad attack” so you don’t play Lying in Wait, thinking it is a trap, and then just get the damage through. A solid mind game card.

memory_spirit

Memory Spirit Rating: 3

5/4 airborne, ambush body is decent. Returning an event card from your discard pile to hand can be really useful. For instance, using this to return an Ancient Chant will still draw you the card, but you also get a 5/4 airborne body on your opponent’s turn as well (or you could return a Wolf’s Companion, Rage, etc. during an attack on your turn). 1-cost cards like Erase are also great to play a second time.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4+

I value evasive, ambush champions a lot more now. A 5/4 airborne, ambush body is excellent. In addition, returning 0-cost events to hand is just so powerful. I love having a discard pile full of Fumble, Feeding Frenzy, Flash Fire, etc. just waiting to be replayed when I need them. Sure, it can also return 1-cost events, which can be great (especially board clears and Ceasefire), but I love it for the 0-costs.

muse

Muse Rating: 5 First Pick

This is another one of the strongest cards in the game. This unassuming 2/2 airborne ambush spirit must be removed as soon as possible or else that player will get far ahead in cards in hand. Granted there are a lot of ways to remove this card with 0-cost and 1-cost cards alike, but if it draws even 1 card, using a card on it (aside from Blue Dragon, etc.) puts the Muse player up 1 card for the trade. And yes this card is so strong I would use a 1-cost removal like Bitten to take out this card if needed.

ogre_mercenary

Ogre Mercenary Rating: 2

Yes this is a 0-cost Tribute->Recycle card so it is essentially free, and I can’t rate it a 1 because of that. But, I really don’t feel like it does enough. I like Watchful Gargoyle because it has ambush and airborne at the cost of 2 offense. I think Word of Summoning is better because it is fast and it is in Evil so other cards can help it more (even though it is a token and therefore more vulnerable to being outright removed).

This card can be played multiple times if bounced, and it can trigger cards like Ancient Chant. Still, I would generally only pick it over 1 rating cards in draft.

psionic_assault

Psionic Assault Rating: 4+ Counter Pick

This card (in conjunction with Lightning Storm) absolutely wrecked me in the 2015 Gen Con tournament top 4. This is the ultimate stay ahead/get further ahead card. If you already have better board position and your opponent is low on cards in hand, this card can make them weaker while not leaving yourself open to an unfavorable trade.

You would not want to play this card while behind because it doesn’t actually help your board position at all. This card is very similar to draw 2 cards, but reducing cards in your opponent’s hand reduces their potential answers and threats. It also makes it more difficult to trigger loyalty 2 abilities which are frequently the strongest part of cards.

This card is weaker if your opponent has a lot of card draw or has ways to banish cards in discard piles (Guilt Demon, etc.). So, I think but am not certain yet, that you would avoid this in a card draw heavy environment, but definitely a 5 first pick/counter pick in a card draw light environment where either player has a Sage investment. Soul Hunter can punish this card slightly.

As a side note, this can also be incredibly brutal against newer players who do not realize the importance of card draw. So you might want to avoid it if you do not want to push them away from the game.

sea_titan

Sea Titan Rating: 5 First Pick

11/14 untargetable body, insane. Add a bounce effect which I constantly say is amazing in Epic. Yeah, this card is incredible. The only sad thing is that I can’t use Lash on it. (But I hope an ability like Magic’s “hexproof” never exists in Epic.)

spike_trap

Spike Trap Rating: 3

Spike Trap is an interesting card in that if it was weaker, I think I would like it more. Deal 5 damage to an attacking champion and recycle is pretty strong. It can break a decent number of champions (airborne champions in particular) and it replaces itself, yes please. If your opponent has no 5 defense or lower champions that want to attack, it can always just replace itself.

Since this affects each attacking champion though, I always want to get more than 1 champion with it. In my mind, I think of this card as I can potentially really nail someone with this card, and when I get just the strong situation of breaking 1 champion, I feel disappointed.

So, if you are like me, don’t get discouraged that champions almost always attack alone, and be happy when you get a 0 for 1 trade with it. If you ever get 2 or more champions or set up something else with it, be ecstatic.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 3+

This card has been indirectly buffed by the inclusion of all of the 4 or less defense unblockable champions (Knight of Shadows, etc.). Spike Trap is much more likely to be valuable because there are a greater number of champions that can be removed effectively by it.

stand_alone

Stand Alone Rating: 3+, 5- First Pick

Fast board clear is great even though this doesn’t technically clear the board. Bringing your opponent down to their strongest champion still serves the same purpose for punishing them for over-extending. It also lets you keep your strongest champion.

steel_golem

Steel Golem Rating: 4

A 13/13 untargetable body is amazing. If you can give it blitz even better. While this doesn’t technically do anything immediately, the number of answers (besides chump blocking) is dramatically reduced (Lying in Wait, Zombie Apocalypse, etc.). In addition, if you can force your opponent to use a board clear to break just one champion, it can set you up for a dominating position later in the game.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4.5

Big untargetable bodies are that strong.

thought_plucker

Thought Plucker Rating: 4 Counter Pick

This is another get further ahead card that works excellently in tandem with Psionic Assault. If you are behind on the board, this won’t catch you up, but it puts you up 2 cards (-1 opponent, +1 you). This card also must be removed otherwise it will dominate the game. If you don’t have reliable ways to remove it (since it is unblockable), you should probably counter pick it. In a card draw light or small removal light environment this is a potential first pick.

time_bender

Time Bender Rating: 5 (Sage investment required) First Pick, Counter Pick, Board Control

Bounce is amazing. Bounce a champion every turn or banish a 0-cost champion is incredible, especially when it is fast. This champion also has 4 defense to avoid all of the 2 damage removal that High King and Dark Assassin are vulnerable too. It can also be used to return your own 1-cost champions to hand if needed. This card must be removed or it will control the board.

time_walker

Time Walker Rating: 5 (Sage investment required) Counter Pick, First Pick

A 10/10 body is pretty strong, but this card is its loyalty 2 effect. Returning all champions to hand and leaving behind a 10/10 is great. Tokens returned to hand also go straight back to the token pool so this clears them permanently. Can make Ogre Mercenary better.

transform

Transform Rating: 3+, 5 First Pick

I probably value this card higher then a lot of people, and I do value it higher then Bitten and Inner Demon. I usually want to play these cards on my opponent’s turn anyways so the possibility to gain a zombie or a demon isn’t great for me. In addition, this banishes any champion except untargetable ones. It gets around unbanishable, unbreakable, effects that happen when a card breaks, and prevents it from coming back from the discard pile. Excellent targeted removal.

The only downside is that it leaves behind a chump blocker if you play it on your turn. So if you attack with Raging T-Rex and they ambush in Lurking Giant, even if you transform the giant, removing it, the 12 damage to face can still be prevented.

turn

Turn Rating: 5– First Pick

This card is great. When played on your turn, it is removal for your opponent’s best champion, and you gain that best champion. Or you could give that champion blitz and attack with it to win the game. Playing this on your turn after your opponent ambushes in a champion is brutal.

On your opponent’s turn, you can take one of their champions and use it to block an attack by another one of their champions. Best case scenario is 2 (or more) of your opponent’s champions break (since you can block then use the expend power: Dark Assassin). Worst case you chump block one champion and prevent another from attacking you.

The reason I give this a double minus (–) is in a bounce heavy environment this card can become significantly weaker. If you take control of your opponent’s champion, and they bounce that champion to hand, it goes to their hand (since they are the owner), instead of your hand (the controller). I decided to go with a 5 rating because outside this one situation, it is incredible. (And forcing your opponent to bounce their own champion isn’t the worst thing.)

warrior_golem

Warrior Golem Rating: 2 (3 with Sage investment)

This is similar to Ogre Mercenary except it can have blitz and is the only card that can recycle itself. A small 4/2 blitzer isn’t amazing but it can get a bit of damage in before going down, and since the recycle doesn’t trigger until this is in the discard pile, you may choose it as one of the 2 cards to recycle. But you can’t bounce it to reuse the recycle effect.

wave_of_transformation

Wave of Transformation 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

Winter Fairy Rating: 3

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.

Sage Cards Breakdown

Outright First Picks: 11

For -or- Draw 2 cards, I am counting the higher rating for the card.
5s:       12
4s:       7
3(.5)s: 8
2s:       3
1s:       0

Total Points: 118

Sage Tyrants Cards

arcane_research

Arcane Research Rating: 2+

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:

  1. This card lets you dig for that final card you need to win: Flame Strike, Deadly Raid, etc.
  2. Similarly, this card lets you dig for that final combo piece: Insurgency, Priest of Kalnor, etc.
  3. This card lets you dig for a desperate answer: Wave of Transformation, Hasty Retreat, etc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. This card requires banishing of cards in your discard pile. This is bad because your discard pile is important for plentiful reasons.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

Elara, the Lycomancer 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.

fumble

Fumble Rating: 3+, 3

Initially, I didn’t think much about this card, since the -10 offense does nothing permanent. However, playing with this card felt very powerful. -10 offense is enough to shut down most attackers for the turn, particularly Juggernaut, and it recycles. So, for a 0-cost card, I can neutralize a 1-cost card for a turn and not lose a card in hand, pretty strong. This then lets me use slow removal like Kong etc. to deal with that troublesome champion on my turn.

In the game that I felt amazing having this card, I do not remember what I originally used it on, but I had a Memory Spirit in hand. I felt so comfortable knowing that this was in my discard pile and I could grab it at any time to stop an attack and recycle.

In other words, I think this card is undervalued.

helion_the_dominator

Helion, the Dominator Rating: 4 (with Sage investment) 3 without Sage investment

An 8/8 ambush champion is solid. A decent sized body with ambush is particularly strong because it can be used after an opponent’s board clear. Without a Sage investment, it is still a 3 for these reasons.

The loyalty 2 ability also has a lot of excellent applications. On your opponent’s turn, you can steal one of their champions for a turn and use it. It is strong whether you use the stolen champion for its expend ability (use Elara, the Lycomancer on herself to banish it and give yourself the wolf), use it to steal an attacker to stop an attack, use it to steal a champion to block your opponent’s attack, or use it to steal a champion for a combination of any of the above.

You can also use it on your turn to steal a potential blocker and attack with it. This is especially devastating if they spend their gold to ambush one in on your turn.

Finally, you can always have Helion target himself to be able to immediately attack or use its expend ability to deal 2 damage to 2 targets. Overall, this is a very solid card.

helions_fury

Helion’s Fury Rating: 3+, 2

I have had the opportunity to draft Helion’s Fury on multiple occasions, and I almost never have. While bouncing 2 champions and drawing a card can be strong, the fact that it can only be used on your turn is really, really limiting. I love bounce on Sea Titan because it leaves me an 11/14 untargetable champion as well. Erase, Hasty Retreat, Temporal Enforcer, and Temporal Shift are all strong because they can be used on your opponent’s turn. Vanishing is a 0-cost card, which is strong. In general, I don’t like this because I feel I wouldn’t really be able to use it on 2 champions frequently, I don’t want to just bounce on my turn, and 1 card is significantly less than 2 (Erase).

knight_of_shadows

Knight of Shadows Rating: 4

9/4 unblockable is strong. The tribute draw and opponent discard is strong. Put those 2 together and you have an amazing card. As a 9/4 unblockable, your opponent must use a card to remove this, otherwise it will quickly win you the game. So, when they use removal, you will have lost a net 0 cards to their net 2 cards, generally. Although, if both players have a full hand of cards, then this card is significantly weaker, since it doesn’t actually affect the board. I don’t frequently say this, but you gotta love that art too.

lesson_learned

Lesson Learned Rating: 3+, 3

This card is just a second versatile copy of your events. If you have strong events, this is better. This is especially powerful if you have events that are specifically high-value for your deck. For example, if you are going for a token rush strategy, this can be a second Secret Legion or Insurrection. A second Flame Strike is also quite strong.

mist_guide_herald

Mist Guide Herald Rating: 3

I still don’t know how I really feel about Mist Guide Herald in draft yet. It is essentially a 3/2 airborne champion that lets you draw then play the best situational champion in the top 5 cards of your deck. That seems like pretty solid stuff, especially when you are even with or ahead of your opponent on the board. When you are behind, it is hope that you get what you need, but if you don’t have what you need in your deck, you can’t get it.

This card is much stronger if you have other strong champions in your deck. It does provide pretty solid value if you can bounce and replay it too. There is a solid chance I will revisit this card later.

shadow_imp

Shadow Imp Rating: 4 (with heavy Sage investment) 2 (without Sage investment)

This card can be really powerful. A 0-cost 2/3 ambush, blitz, unblockable is a very real threat. If you don’t remove it, it will eventually kill you. Where this card really shines though is its ally ability. With the ally ability, you can attack, and then after damage immediately play a 1-cost Sage card to return it to hand. You can either keep it in hand to protect it and use it next turn, or you can replay it for another 2 damage that same turn. In addition, you can use it on your opponent’s turn to ambush it in, chump block, and then before damage return it to hand by playing a 1-cost Sage card. In a heavy Sage investment deck, I really like this card.

Without a Sage investment it can still do 2 unblockable damage a turn until removed. It is also still a nice target for Mighty Blow type effects.

temporal_enforcer

Temporal Enforcer Rating: 5 (with Sage investment) 2.5 (without Sage investment)

I love evasive ambush champions, and unblockable is the best kind of evasion. Then, when you add the loyalty bounce on that evasive body, it becomes an incredibly valuable play on your opponent’s turn. Finally, the ally ability is excellent primarily for removing your opponent’s tokens, but it can also be used to get more value from your 0-cost champions. This can be done by allowing for a second Dark Knight attack in a turn, or it can just be used to protect your Muse after you draw the card for it at the start of your turn. This is an incredibly strong Sage card.

Without a Sage investment this is still an ambush unblockable champion with 6 offense so it can potentially be strong. It isn’t terribly hard to remove though.

temporal_shift

Temporal Shift Rating: 4

Fast, targeted bounce is excellent. In addition, it draws you a card and forces your opponent to banish a card from their hand. (They do not show you which card they banish.) If they have no other cards in hand, this essentially reads banish target champion, draw a card. Otherwise, they can always banish a different card and replay the card you bounced at a later time. I have been convinced to remain somewhat skeptical about this card, but I still believe it to be solid overall.

vanishing

Vanishing Rating: 4

This 0-cost card lets you bounce a 1-cost (or 0-cost) champion at fast speed, but only on your turn. This card is excellent. Wasting an opponent’s 1-cost champion with a 0-cost card is incredible. This can also send an ambushed in champion straight back to your opponent’s hand before it can be declared as a blocker. In addition, you can always return one of your own champions to hand and potentially replay it the same turn.

I really like this card, and I’ve used it effectively. But, I haven’t been drafting it recently, as I’ve valued other cards more. As a side note, I also haven’t included it much in my constructed lists yet. I still think it is incredible, but we will see how I feel about it later.

 

Wild Cards

Wild cards analysis added on 2/15/16.
bellowing_minotaur

Bellowing Minotaur Rating: 1

Bellowing Minotaur is a combination of a lot of strong abilities, but I still feel like the combination of them all in this card is weak. Yes it has blitz and breakthrough. Yes it also gives Wild champions +2 offense and +2 defense the turn when it comes into play. Yes you can recall it.

But, most of the time it’s just a 9/7 blitz, breakthough on the turn it’s played, and if it manages to survive, which is unlikely, it’s juts a 7/5 breakthrough. I just don’t feel like a 9/7 blitz, breakthrough is worth spending a gold on, on my turn. Nor do I think it is worth spending a gold to get it back into my hand. In addition, the +2/+2 buff for Wild champions isn’t worth much because I don’t value token strategies. Tokens aside, it is also hard (and risky) to build up a big board of champions in general. If it had ambush (Jungle Queen), the +2/+2 buff would be a lot more interesting. (This does really intrigue me though. Throw in the Wolf Companions, could be interesting.)

This card could potentially work with a Wave of Transformation and token based strategy, but the odds of putting that together in a draft are not great.

burrowing_wurm

Burrowing Wurm Rating: 2

18/18 breakthrough is huge, but it is still removed by all non-damage based removal. Your opponent also has 3 windows to remove this card (or try to draw removal) before it can do anything: On the turn you play it, on their turn, and when you try to attack with it on your next turn. At least it can’t be chump blocked.

If you can starve your opponent of break/banish/board clear effects this can be a monster. Or, if you can run a control strategy that restricts their hand size, this could be strong. In general, it doesn’t do anything the turn it comes into play, so I don’t like it in draft.

cave_troll

Cave Troll Rating: 3 with partial Wild investment (4+ with heavy Wild investment, 1 with no Wild investment), Counter Pick

This is one of my favorite cards of the set. A 5/3 for 0-cost isn’t great, but being able to block or attack with it every turn is excellent. A slow reusable 0-cost 5/3 blocker that doesn’t cost a health is respectable (unlike Plentiful Dead). It is also worthwhile to attack with since it will come back anyways if broken, and 5 damage to the face can’t be ignored. In addition, it can draw out a blocker before you attack with something more important.

If you can’t recall this though, spending a card on a 5/3 with nothing else will just get you behind.

Overall, an incredibly solid card. I would possibly counter pick it if my opponent had a heavy Wild investment. If either player gets it, discard removal is important to control.

chomp

Chomp! Rating: 4

Fast 12 damage removal with no draw back is quite strong. I have yet to see the +2 offense +2 defense for dinosaurs do anything, but could be nice with Triceratops etc.

fire_shaman

Fire Shaman Rating: 3 with at least partial Wild investment (1 with no wild investment)

Fire Shaman will usually only get 1 ally ability off before it is removed. So as long as you can trigger it once, it is generally at its peak performance. It can help you finish off champions, deal damage to the face, or pick off targets like Muse.

With no Wild investment, a 3/2 won’t do much.

fireball

Fireball Rating: 3+

0-cost fast removal that can hit Muse, etc. for an even trade is nice. The 1-cost ability is also nice especially since it can be used on your opponent’s turn. If your opponent has a lot of 3 or less defense champions, this card becomes stronger. Great against non-demon tokens, and if you are going non-demon tokens you should counter pick this.

flame_strike

Flame Strike 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

Flash Fire 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.

forked_lightning

Forked Lightning Rating: 3

This card will frequently be break/finish target champion and deal 5 damage to your opponent. 5 Damage is not great for breaking champions by itself, but it can remove a decent number of airborne champions. It is possible to remove 2 champions with it, but unless you target tokens or 0-cost champions, it is unlikely.

hunting_raptors

Hunting Raptors Rating: 2.5 (better with Wild investment)

4 damage on each of your turns can be pretty strong, especially since the damage can go straight to the face. The fact that it has ambush is also quite nice because it can expend for 4 damage immediately on your opponent’s turn, and then 4 more at the start of your turn. I personally value removal and board position a lot more though, and a 5 defense body isn’t hard to remove. In addition, there aren’t a ton of great 1-gold targets for this to hit.

hurricane

Hurricane Rating: 3+, 5 First Pick, Counter Pick

Probably my favorite board clear in the game (and it’s fast). I generally value 10+ defense champions highly so I can frequently clear my opponent’s board without clearing my own. If they get most of the 10+ defense champions this is definitely counter pick material.

jungle_queen

Jungle Queen Rating: 3+

Tribute -> Draw a card is excellent, since you don’t lose a card by playing this. A 5/7 slow champion is not great though, and the +1/+1 to Wild champions is minor (except in token vs token battles). Being able to play your Wild champions as if they had ambush is crazy though (Kong, Burrowing Wurm, and Raging T-Rex). If you can make any of those slow, massive, high tempo cards fast, you will probably be in good shape.

Tyrants Updated Rating: 4

This card is frequently picked when I see it. The Tribute -> draw a card is excellent, and giving Wild champions ambush is enough of a threat to draw out removal.

kong

Kong Rating: 5 First Pick

Possibly the strongest card in the base set for how I play the game. A 13/14 body that breaks all but 6 champions (Thundarus, Crystal Golem, etc.) when it comes into play is incredible. Removal + a massive threat is basically perfect for tempo.

lash

Lash Rating: 5 First Pick, Counter Pick

One of the 3 best 0-cost cards in the game (Muse and Amnesia being the other 2). 0-cost card that can remove High King and Necromancer Lord. 0-cost to give +4 offense and breakthrough is amazing, especially with big bodies like Kong. In addition, you could use lash, then immediately recall it and use it again that turn. This is also one of the best recall cards in the base set. This card is incredibly powerful.

lightning_storm

Lightning Storm Rating: 5 First Pick, Counter Pick

This was the second card that absolutely destroyed me in the top 4 of Gen Con 2015. (Psionic Assault was the first.) The existence of this card makes all 6 defense or less champions weaker. When drafting, you need to be careful not to overload on 6 defense champions or lower because this one card can shut you down. You play a 6 defense champion, they use this. You play a second 6 defense champion, they recall and use this next turn. This loop effectively locks you out from playing 6 defense champions entirely, since you can’t get ahead in cards with them.

In addition, this card can put you on a short clock if you are already behind. 6 damage to face, recall, 6 damage to face, etc. This card is ridiculously versatile and powerful, draft it. (It also largely stops Courageous Soul + Secret Legion.)

This is another one of the cards that makes discard removal so important.

lurking_giant

Lurking Giant Rating: 3.5

A fast 11/11 body is quite strong. You can usually ambush this in after an attack is declared to remove a champion. Then you have an 11/11 ready to attack on your next turn. The only reason I hesitate to give this a 4 is fast removal, when your opponent attacks before spending their gold. In that case, you might miss an important block and be put into a really bad position (Turn).

mighty_blow

Mighty Blow Rating: 3+, 4

This card is an excellent way to get that extra 10 damage in, but it can be neutralized. You generally want to play this on an unblocked champion you control, but only after blockers have been assigned. Attack with a little 1/1 human token, they don’t block, drop this and you have an 11/1 unbreakable, unblockable champion. The only answers at that point are fast banishment or bounce. This is one of the strongest cards in a token based strategy, in my opinion.

This can also be used for removal if needed, just use it on your blocker.

pack_alpha

Pack Alpha Rating: 2

This card is frequently just, put 2 wolf tokens into play, and force a removal card from your opponent. It is important to remove this champion because it can put a lot of 3/3 wolves into play. However, it isn’t hard to remove, and I don’t just want 2 wolves for my gold on my turn. In addition, I don’t see tokens as incredibly viable for attacking.

pyromancer

Pyromancer Rating: 3

This card is very similar to Hunting Raptors, except it has 2 extra defense, the 4 damage doesn’t require a Wild investment, you need to spend your gold to do more damage on future turns, and you can attack with it. I generally like Pyromancer better. I prefer cards that don’t require faction investments, and if I am going to damage face with the ability, I generally want to be fairly assured it will win me the game anyways. In that case, it doesn’t make that much difference that I need to spend my gold to use the ability.

rage

Rage Rating: 3+, 3+

+4/+4 and breakthrough for 0-cost is respectable. The +4/+4 can win you an attack or block while protecting your champion, and the breakthrough gets around chump blockers. In addition, since there is no “responding” in Epic. You will get the defense no matter what, and your champion can’t be broken by a Flamestrike before this “resolves” (since it “resolves” immediately).

raging_t_rex

Raging T-Rex Rating: 5 (Wild investment required) First PickCounter Pick

12/10 for a gold isn’t bad, but the draw 2 cards in addition to a 12/10 is incredible. This is one of the best draw 2 + cards in the game (Erase, Ceasefire). It is also the only draw 2 card that leaves a massive threat on the board. Erase is good for tempo and Noble Unicorn can draw a lot of cards, but Raging T-Rex can directly win you the game.

rain_of_fire

Rain of Fire Rating: 3+, 3+

You do not need 3 targets to play this event, but if there are 3 available targets, you must assign damage to each of them (you are a potential target). This is similar to Forked Lightning, except it can draw 2 cards instead. It is generally break a token, break/finish off a champion, and do some damage to your opponent’s face.

rampaging_wurm

Rampaging Wurm Rating: 2

I generally don’t enjoy playing this card. If it hits face for 14 damage that’s great, but if my opponent has an answer, I don’t get any further ahead in board position. If you can force out your opponent’s gold before playing this, it gets much better.

sea_hydra

Sea Hydra Rating: 3

Tribute -> Draw a card, makes me happy. 10 defense is a solid amount of defense, and it has the possibility to grow bigger. It also has recall just in case you can’t spend your gold for the turn. If this card had ambush (Jungle Queen) instead of recall, it would be crazy. As is, it’s fine.

strafing_dragon

Strafing Dragon Rating: 3 (Wild investment required)

A 6/6 airborne, blitz body is okay. The 5 targetable damage is decent. If you ambush it into play before blockers are declared, it can do 11 damage to one target. Without a Wild investment it is significantly worse, but with one, it is average.

surprise_attack

Surprise Attack Rating: 3+

Surprise Attack has incredible potential (Kong, Angel of Death, Thundarus, etc.). It also draws a card to replace itself, so you don’t lose anything by playing it. If you have really powerful slow champions, this can be great. In addition, if you just want to draw through your deck a bit more and are planning on playing a champion anyway, you can just play this then.

However, if you don’t have a champion in hand, draw 1 card isn’t great. In addition, if you don’t have that many slow champions, you won’t gain much by drafting this. This is especially true if you pass up something better to take this.
In constructed this is generally an automatic 3 of in most decks. In draft, it isn’t guaranteed to be as worthwhile.

triceratops

Triceratops Rating: 4

10/10 breakthrough and Tribute -> Draw a card is excellent. This is one of my favorite cards to play on the the first turn of the game.

Tyrants Updated Rating:4.5

This card isn’t quite as strong as the 5s, but it is consistently solid.

wolf_companion

Wolf Companion Rating: 3

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

Wolf’s Call Rating: 1

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

Wurm Hatchling 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.

Wild Base Cards Breakdown

Outright First Picks: 6

For -or- Draw 2 cards, I am counting the higher rating for the card.
5s:       7
4s:       3
3(.5)s: 14
2(.5)s: 4
1s:       2

Total Points: 99

Wild Tyrants Cards

ankylosaurus

Ankylosaurus Rating: 3

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

Battle Cry 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.

brachiosaurus

Brachiosaurus Rating: 5, 2 with no Wild investment

An 8/12 breakthrough body is very solid, and, if you are going Wild, it is better than free (it let you get 2 Wild Ally triggers in 1 turn). In addition, it is a dinosaur, so it works with Great Horned Lizard and Chomp! If you have no Wild cards, it is a much worse Burrowing Wurm.

draka_dragon_tyrant

Draka, Dragon Tyrant Rating: 4- with Wild investment

The best part of this card is the “when this card attacks” effect. 3 damage will frequently break something, and it is excellent for stopping a non-demon token build up. A 9/9 airborne, blitz champion is also pretty threatening. If your opponent has minimal 3 or less defense champions and a lot of fast removal, this drops down to a 2, since it doesn’t do anything of value when it comes into play and can be broken, banished, or bounced with no downside.

drakas_enforcer

Draka’s Enforcer Rating: 4 with Wild investment

7/7 Airborne is a solid body. Ambush is excellent. Loyalty 2 -> Draw a card is amazing. This card could potentially make it to a 4.5. It also works with Thundarus.

drakas_fire

Draka’s Fire Rating: 3

It breaks all generic tokens and most 0-cost champions in general. It can also draw a card. This is a powerful card to pick if you or your opponent is going tokens.

feeding_frenzy

Feeding Frenzy Rating: 3+, 3+

I am not sure how great this card is in draft yet. (In theory, it is excellent in Constructed.) Without necessarily having cards like Fire Shaman, Fire Spirit, Draka Dragon Tyrant, Flash Fire, etc., it might just finish off something inefficiently. It could be nice for token decks.

fire_spirit

Fire Spirit Rating: 3

An 11/9 with tribute -> draw a card isn’t bad at all. Unfortunately, it needs to survive and you need more Wild cards to activate its loyalty ability. It also does not survive Hurricane without a buff.

great_horned_lizard

Great Horned Lizard Rating: 3

This card intrigues me, mainly for constructed though. When played on your opponent’s turn, it is a weaker Lurking Giant, but with breakthrough. When played on your turn, it can potentially buff an Ankylosaurus or other dinosaur, then attack as a 10/11 breakthrough.

lightning_strike

Lightning Strike Rating: 3+, 3

5 damage is enough to break a lot of champions.

smash_and_burn

Smash and Burn Rating: 5 with partial Wild investment

I view this as similar to Feint. Most of the time, if my opponent still has their gold for the turn, I wouldn’t want to use this for the +5/+5 buff. I don’t want to leave myself exposed for such a minor effect, usually.

The strength of this card comes from the fact that you can draw 2 cards at the end of your opponent’s turn, and then deal damage to a champion later in the game. If you have no Wild, this drops to a normal draw 2 with a 3 rating.

wolfs_bite

Wolf’s Bite Rating: 3

This hits a solid number of cards, and in a decent number of situations basically says break target Muse, gain a wolf, and recycle. This is especially valuable if you know/expect your opponent to have cards like Necromancer Lord.

Conclusions

I am planning on writing another article next week (1/22/16). In that article, I will analyze the factions against each other, and go over my drafting philosophy as a whole.

Tyrants Update

I will be adding in the rest of the Tyrants factions cards over the next few weeks. When I discuss the Tyrants cards, I will also provide any updates to the corresponding faction at that time as well. I expect my Tyrants ratings to need some modifications as I get more chance to play with them.

9 thoughts on “Epic Card by Card Analysis (Drafting)”

  1. Amazing analysis, Tom! Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic work.

    Could you please answer a noob question? Why do you have to play Banishment BEFORE the targeted champion has been declared as blocker?

  2. Thank you Bogdan. Feel free to ask me anything about Epic, and I should know the answer (or I will find it out).

    While you don’t have to play Banishment before blockers are declared, it is generally better to because then your attack can still damage your opponent. Once a champion has been “blocked”, it does not matter whether or not the blocking champion survives to the Damage Step, the blocked champion will not be able to do damage to the defending player (unless the attacking champion has breakthrough).

    If you play Banishment before the champion gets a chance to block, then your champion can’t be “blocked” by that champion, and your champion can damage your opponent.

    For example, if my opponent attacks me with Palace Guard, I can play my Lurking Giant before blockers are declared. Then, if my opponent does not want to play anything, I can declare Lurking Giant as a blocker. After I declare Lurking Giant as a blocker, my opponent plays Banishment on Lurking Giant. My Lurking Giant is banished, but Palace Guard won’t damage me because it was “blocked” even though the blocking champion is no longer in play.

    However, if my opponent then Lashes the Palace Guard to give it breakthrough, the full damage would be dealt to my face. This is because breakthrough ignores whether or not a champion is “blocked” and only looks at the defense of the champions blocking it that are still in play. Since the Lurking Giant was the only champion blocking it and Lurking Giant is no longer in play, Palace Guard deals 10 damage to me (6 + 4 from Lash).

    Because this is how blocking works, you can do things like this: My opponent attacks me with Rampaging Wurm. I play Crystal Golem. Assuming my opponent doesn’t want to play any cards, I can declare Crystal Golem as a blocker. Then, once my opponent gets another chance to play cards, I can use Crystal Golems effect to break it and draw 2 cards. And, since Rampaging Wurm was “blocked” it deals no damage to me.

    1. Wow! Again, amazing analysis! Very clear and complex. Thank you, Tom. Yet I have another conundrum: while browsing YouTube for Epic games, soneone said that if a chamipon attacks, it cannot get buffed UNLESS the defender did anything. Is that correct? If so, why? Btw, when will we be able to see you play epic? 😊Either in tournament or with your friends.

  3. That is not correct. During an attack, there are essentially 5 steps. For a more detailed diagram of the turn flow, see my Epic Review page here. I just updated the diagram.

    1) Attacker declares 1 or more attacking champions

    2a) Attacker plays any number of events, champions with ambush, and/or activates any champion powers.
    2b) Defender plays any number of events, champions with ambush, and/or activates any champion powers. If the defender does any of these things, return to 2a. Otherwise, progress to 3.
    (This alternating of who may play cards etc. is called passing initiative. In 2a, the attacker has initiative. In 2b, the defender has initiative.)

    3) Defender declares 0 or more blocking champions

    4a) Attacker plays any number of events, champions with ambush, and/or activates any champion powers.
    4b) Defender plays any number of events, champions with ambush, and/or activates any champion powers. If the defender does any of these things, return to 4a. Otherwise, progress to 5.

    5) Deal damage

    Some examples:
    Example A)
    1) Attacker declares Palace Guard as an attacker

    2a) Attacker passes initiative
    2b) Defender plays Lurking Giant and passes initiative
    2a) Attacker plays Banishment on Lurking giant and passes initiative
    2b) Defender passes initiative

    3) Defender declares 1 human token blocker

    4a) Attacker plays Lash on Palace Guard and passes initiative
    4b) Defender passes initiative

    5) Palace Guard assigns 1 damage to human token and 9 damage to defender. Human token assigns 1 damage to Palace Guard.

    Example B)
    1) Attacker declares human token as an attacker

    2a) Attacker passes initiative
    2b) Defender passes initiative

    3) Defender declares 0 blockers

    4a) Attacker plays Mighty Blow on human token and passes initiative
    4b) Defender passes initiative (Since the declare blockers step has already passed, defender may not declare a blocker against the now 11/1 unbreakable human token)

    5) Human token deals 11 damage to defender

    Example C)
    1) Attacker declares Draka, Dragon Tyrant as an attacker. Draka deals 3 damage to each of the defending player’s champions.

    2a) Attacker plays Feeding Frenzy on the defender’s damaged Thundarus and passes initiative
    2b) Defender plays Ressurection returning Thundarus to play and passes initiative
    2a) Attacker passes initiative
    2b) Defender passes initiative

    3) Defender declares Thundarus as a blocker

    4a) Attacker plays 2 Rages on Draka and passes initiative
    4b) Defender plays Wolf’s Companion on Thundarus and passes initiative
    4a) Attacker plays Lash on Draka and passes initiative
    4b) Defender plays Arcane Research banishing 2 cards from their discard pile. Defender reveals Thundarus, Vital Mission, and Hasty Retreat. Defender puts Hasty Retreat in hand and banishes the other 2 revealed cards. Defender plays Hasty Retreat on Draka and passes initiative.
    4a) Attacker passes initiative
    4b) Defender passes initiative

    5) Since the attacking champion was removed from play (returned to hand) there is no attack champion to deal damage. The blocking champions also have no champion to deal damage to.

    Example D)
    1) Attacker declares Rampaging Wurm as an attacker

    2a) Attacker passes initiative
    2b) Defender plays Crystal Golem and passes initiative
    2a) Attacker passes initiative
    2b) Defender passes initiative

    3) Defender declares Crystal Golem as a blocker

    4a) Attacker passes initiative
    4b) Defender breaks Crystal Golem to draw 2 cards and passes initiative
    4a) Attacker passes initiative
    4b) Defender passes initiative

    5) Since Rampaging Wurm was blocked, it must deal all of its damage to the blocking champions. There are no blocking champions so Rampaging Wurm deals no damage. Crystal Golem broke before the damage step, so Crystal Golem deals no damage.

    Due to this, you almost always want to play buffs after blockers are declared. By waiting until blockers are declared, you can see if you need to buff, and no more blockers may be assigned to that attack.

    I plan on attending at least the 6/18 and 6/19 Epic tournaments at Origins. Most likely I will be at the 6/16 and 6/17 ones as well. I also plan on attending the Gen Con qualifiers. It is unlikely that I will get a chance to stream/record me playing Epic in the near future, but it is something I plan on doing in the future.

    Keep the questions coming if you have any more.

  4. I forgot to mention that this process is usually shortcutted, especially in casual play. It is usually assumed that if you attack with champion(s) and don’t say anything, you are implicitly passing initiative. Be very careful about assuming things in competitive play though.

    If the defender moves as if to lose health after you declare an attack, this most likely means they aren’t declaring a blocker and will pass initiative in 4b, assuming you do not play something in 4a. You may stop them and still play in 4a though. If you do, they are still allowed to play in 4b.

    To avoid these situations, the shorthand is just say pass. For example, “swing with Thundarus and Strafing Dragon, pass.” This literally means I am declaring Thundarus and Strafing Dragon as attackers, and I pass initiative in 2a.

    After this, if the defender doesn’t want to do anything in 2b, they may immediately proceed to blocking without saying pass. If they don’t want to block, they can just say no block, let the attacker pass 4a, and then either play something in 4b or take the damage.

    Full Example
    Attacker: “I’ll swing with Thundarus and Strafing Dragon, pass.”
    Defender: “No block.”
    Attacker: “Pass”
    Defender: “I take 16 damage.”

    1. Thanks a lot, Tom! Best of luck at the tournaments you’ll be attending.

      P. S. Feel free to move our conversation to the tutorial section of your fantastic blog.

    1. Hey, sorry for the late reply. I updated the Sage cards to include rankings for not having a Sage investment. The Good Tyrants card ratings are now up as well.

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