This is a continuation of my ratings of all cards for Dark Draft.
Final 8 Tyrants Cards
The Gudgeon Rating
Card draw is essential in limited formats. Getting a 2/1 unblockable champion that protects you from most burn (Flamestrike not Draka’s Fire), most discard pile banish (Amnesia/Grave Demon/Keeper of Secrets not Guilt Demon), and some discard effects (Psionic Assault/Thought Plucker-tribute not Knight of Shadows or Thought Plucker-deal damage trigger) is a nice bonus.
Generally, it is also much safer to draw 2 cards on your turn than your opponent’s. Unfortunately for The Gudgeon though, it competes with the other slow champions/on-your-turn effects like Kong, White Knight, Army of the Apocalypse, Divine Judgement, etc.
The best part of The Gudgeon is its interaction with Soul Hunter and Plague Zombies (to a lesser extent Fairy Trickster, Ice Drake/Frost Giant, and Scarros). For example, say you have The Gudgeon in play and your opponent has Soul Hunter in play. You Lightning Strike their Soul Hunter. What happens?
Yup, since you are untargetable, and your opponent must target a player to be affected by Soul Hunter‘s non-optional effect, they must target themself. Pretty nice. Soul Hunter and Plague Zombies are particularly nasty because it is less likely that the official take back rule will apply. If an opponent plays Plague Zombies (while you have The Gudgeon in play), attacks with a zombie, and then passes initiative, if you break all their zombies, it is too late for them to take back playing Plague Zombies, so your opponent must take the Plague Zombie damage to their face.
The nice part about Fairy Trickster, Ice Drake/Frost Giant, and Scarros is that you immediately choose a target when the champion enters play. If you then realize you don’t want to expend all your champions or deal 1+ damage to your board and yourself, you can take back that play as if it didn’t happen. Unfortunately for a Scarros play, you’ve already revealed a bunch of cards in your hand.
Surprise Attack is a bit of a tricky interaction. Since you draw a card before putting a champion in play, you can’t take back playing Surprise Attack if you realize your champion won’t do what you want. You can choose a different champion or none at all though. In the case of Scarros, you could also choose to resolve Loyalty 0 even after you revealed 1 or more cards.
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 Rating
Ambush + tribute -> draw a card is nice, but 4 defense with only 3 offense is not.
That being said, if your opponent can’t remove Zealous Necromancer or board clear you, this card can take control of a game. Gaining a zombie after each and every non-zombie champion breaks, including your opponent’s champions and both players non-zombie tokens, means that you can have a hard to exhaust horde of chump blockers if nothing else.
This is particularly nasty against decks with human tokens because you can block their human token with a zombie, break the human token in combat, and then gain a new prepared zombie token to block the next attacking human token. In addition, if your opponent chump blocks your champions with any non-zombie champion, you still get a zombie.
Zealous Necromancer has won games both for and against me, but I still don’t like drafting/playing it much. If I’m going tokens or I expect my opponent to be going tokens (or if the rest of the pack is bad), I’ll draft this.
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.
Second Wind Rating
5 health with recycle can frequently be just enough to keep you out of burn range for an extra turn or two. This is especially strong because a lot of burn wins can revolve around using 2 1-cost burn cards in a row, one at the end of your turn after you’ve spent your gold, and a second at the start of their turn before you can spend a gold. Not only can Second Wind save you here, but it punishes your opponent for wasting an entire turn not affecting the board with their gold.
Second Wind’s recycle is also indirectly stronger after Uprising because, with the addition of Erratic Research and Grave Demon (plus a seemingly faster game pace), it is much less likely to win by drawing through your deck. I particularly like this card with Memory Spirit.
Without recycle this would be so much worse.
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 Rating
Off-turn draw 2 with a perk (usually 2 chump blockers). Great.
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.
Temporal Shift Rating
A weaker Erase, usually. As fast bounce removal that maintains both players’ handsize, this can be a nice tempo play, and can theoretically be stronger than Erase in discard-based control decks. However, draw 2 is usually better than forcing your opponent to choose 1 card from their hand to banish.
An alternate use of this card is to target an opponent’s token. Not only do you remove the token from play, but your opponent still has to banish a card from their hand. While this is a nice trick and a reasonable card, I would still rather have Erase.
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.
This can be brutal.
Use this to return an ambushed in Lurking Giant to hand, remove an ambushed in token chump blocker, return a slow champion like Thundarus to hand, or even return your own Rampaging Wurm (that started the turn in play) for a second attack. All of these uses are excellent.
Even when used to return an opponent’s champion to hand (net -1 card in hand for you and +1 card in hand for your opponent), the board advantage this can give you is huge. It’s also Sage and can draw 2.
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.
Smash and Burn Rating
One of my favorite cards.
9 times out of 10, I use this purely to draw 2 cards largely ignoring the +5/+5 buff. Then, a few turns later, I trigger it to break one of a plethora of 6 or less defense champions including Avenging Angel, Strafing Dragon, Thought Plucker, etc. This alone makes this one of the best “draw 2 and” cards in the game. Even if you only have 3 other Wild 1-cost cards in your deck, you’ll still probably get the trigger, or at least force the use of a discard pile banish card after you’ve already resolved the draw 2 effect.
+5/+5 can be nice too. I have used it to buff a champion to win a combat on multiple occasions, but I almost always do it only after my opponent spends their gold. It would be pretty awful to use this to buff a champion just to have your opponent Erase or otherwise remove it before it can do damage.
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.
Wolf’s Bite Rating
Always First Pickable
One of my most included cards in constructed, and it’s pretty great in limited formats too.
This breaks Muse and recycles and gives you a wolf.
There are few cards that can trade with a Muse and put you ahead, for that reason alone, this card is amazing. It can also be used to enable Feeding Frenzy, finish off a damaged champion, create an emergency chump blocker, or even convince an opponent to make a game losing block.
I love this card.
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.
And with that, I have finally re-rated all of the cards up through Uprising.
I still want to go through and clean up the now 46,032 word beast of an article with all of the ratings though (Epic Card Game: Dark Draft Card Ratings). I’ll make another post to let everyone know when it is complete…at least until the next expansion releases…followed by the inevitable re-rating of at least that expansion…