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Random 60 Origins 2017

Foreword

At Origins 2017, I went 2-0-2 in the random 60 swiss rounds for a spot in top 4. (One unintentional draw in round 2 and one intentional draw in round 4.)

Random 60

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

60 Card Pool

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

Would you mulligan this pool? Why or why not?

First Pass

When I first go over my list, I look for

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

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

Wild

Wild is my most rewarding alignment here. By committing to Wild, I gain access to 4 alignment-dependent powerful cards, in addition to 5 generically powerful Wild cards and 7 other playable Wild cards. Draka’s Enforcer is one of the best loyalty 2 cards in the game, while Brachiosaurus, Draka Dragon Tyrant, and Pyrosaur are all powerful as well. Below are cards notably absent from my Wild pool to help analyze how strong of a Wild deck it could be.

Notable Wild-commitment cards I do not have access to: Fire Spirit, Raging T-Rex, Strafing Dragon, Scarros Hound of Draka, Spore Beast

Notable Wild-generic cards I do not have access to: Ankylosarus, Feeding Frenzy, Wolf’s Bite, Kong, Lash/Rage, Surprise Attack, Triceratops, Den Mother, Hunting Pack

Sage

My Sage pool has a few incredibly powerful cards, but very little incentive to commit to it as my primary alignment. Amnesia, Ancient Chant, and Thought Plucker are 3 incredibly high-value cards to get. There are also multiple other cards I’d be happy to include.

Notable Sage-generic cards I do not have access to: Fumble, Erase, Forcemage Apprentice, Muse, Ogre Mercenary, Sea Titan, Spike Trap

Evil

Zannos is my only incentive to commit to Evil, and I have multiple Evil cards I wouldn’t really want to play, making him worse. Aside from that though, Winged Death is incredible in addition to multiple other cards.

Notable Evil-generic cards I do not have access to: Raxxa’s Curse, Dark Knight, Drain Essence, Little Devil

Good

My Good pool is fairly lack-luster. I have some strong human token cards, but I don’t have the critical mass to make that particularly viable.

Notable Good-generic cards I do not have access to: Blind Faith, Urgent Messengers, Angel of Light, Brave Squire, Inner Peace, Palace Guard, Silver Dragon, Angel of the Gate, Rescue Griffin

Overall

I was incredibly happy to see: Amnesia, Lightning Storm, Lightning Strike, supported Draka’s Enforcer, Smash and Burn, and Grave Demon. However, as I looked through the list, I noticed a lack of strong reestablishing champions, namely Kong, Sea Titan, Palace Guard, or supported Medusa/Angel of Death. (I forgot I had Winged Death).

In addition, the lack of Feeding Frenzy is a huge hit to Wild decks with Pyrosaur/Draka. Further, the absence of Lash/Rage makes it difficult for big Wild champions to convert their imposing stats into damage. Due to missing these critical components of the strongest Wild decks, I decided to mulligan for something hopefully better.

While I did not consider it at the time, another reason to consider taking a mulligan on your pool is if you don’t get 10+ playable 0-cost cards.

Mulligan Card Pool

You are not allowed a second mulligan, so I had to make this work.

First Pass

Wild

This Wild pool only has 2 cards that reward me for going with a Wild alignment: Brachiosaurus and Pyrosaur (not a huge fan of Hunting Raptors in limited formats especially with Lightning Strike‘s existence).

Notable Wild-generic cards I do not have access to: Wolf’s Bite, Kong, Surprise Attack, Triceratops, Den Mother

Sage

Once again, not much reason to go primarily Sage, but Blue Dragon + Forcemage Apprentice makes my Feeding Frenzy great. Ogre Mercenary and Citadel Scholar are also incredibly strong cards in limited. (They can establish a small threat for you to an empty board without decreasing your hand size.)

Notable Sage-generic cards I do not have access to: Ancient Chant, Amnesia/Erratic Research, Fumble, Muse, Sea Titan, Spike Trap, Thought Plucker

Evil

My Evil pool is sick. Medusa, Murderous Necromancer, and Necromancer Lord are 3 of the most powerful Evil cards in the game, and they have been doing work for me in core-only. Angel of Death is also great as a reestablishing card. Spawning Demon can help keep up your flow of token threats as well. Combine these with the potential of Demon Breach, Infernal Gatekeeper, Necrovirus, and Hunting Pack for a strong token deck.

Notable Evil-commitment cards I do not have access to: Raxxa’s Displeasure, Reaper, Raxxa Demon Tyrant, Plentiful Dead, Zannos Corpse Lord, Rift Summoner

Notable Evil-generic cards I do not have access to: Grave Demon/Heinous Feast, Raxxa’s Curse, Dark Knight, Drain Essence, Little Devil, Final Task, Guilt Demon, Wither, Word of Summoning, Winged Death

Good

Inheritance of the Meek in an Evil token deck is absurdly strong. Also, due to my considerable time spent playing Core-Only on the app, I highly value health gain in limited so I was happy to get Inner Peace and Angel of Light.

Notable Good-generic cards I do not have access to: Blind Faith, Urgent Messengers, Brave Squire, Palace Guard, Silver Dragon, Angel of the GateRescue Griffin

Overall

This deck has a lot more power than the last one due to the insane Evil core. However, the only discard pile banish card in my entire pool is Corpsemonger. Therefore, I must expect to only win by killing my opponent every game. (I take some responsibility for this, due to being quite vocal about the importance of mass-discard pile banishment.)

Mulligan List Second Pass

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

Ideally, the cards I want to play will end up close to 30 so I only need to do minimal cuts or additions. Notable cards that didn’t make this first cut:

  • Brachiosaurus – Since I wasn’t going primarily Wild, I didn’t really consider it. It might have been able to work in the deck though.
  • Rage – With most of my champions being small/tokens, Rage is less likely to provide significant value.
  • Mighty Blow – While theoretically strong in token decks because you are more likely to get an unblocked champion through, it is too all-or-nothing for me. Therefore, I’d be willing to add it back in, but would prefer to leave it out.
  • Deadly Raid – Another all-or-nothing card I’m not a huge fan of using. However, with no mass-discard pile banish card, I probably should have considered it more seriously than I did.
  • Knight of Shadows – A reasonable establishing champion. I’m not sure why I didn’t consider it longer.
  • Angelic Protector – In a deck that needs to kill your opponent, Angelic Protector can be fairly solid. Block an attack and then leave a 9 defense airborne champion in play to attack next turn.

Distribution Passes

After the second pass where I largely assemble my deck, the rest of my time is spent refining that deck based on various desired distributions: min draw/recall cards (15), min establishing cards (6), max slow 1-cost champions (10), min 0-cost cards (10), and min loyalty commitment (10).

I also like to have multiple ambush champions (off-turn gold-punishers), a couple blitz champions (on-turn gold-punishers), some burn to finish off opponents with direct damage, targeted removal, and board clears.

Ideally, I only need to use cards I want to play, but I keep my cards I might play nearby in case I need to fill a hole in the deck.

For a more thorough and deliberate demonstration of my random 60 distribution passes, check out my previous Origins and Gen Con Random 60 articles.

Min Draw/Recall

No matter the format, my minimum number of cards that can either draw/recycle/recall/spend-extra-gold-on is half the cards in the deck. Therefore, in a 30-card deck, I want at least 15. Currently 20 of my 34 cards have some form of draw/recycle/etc not including Inner Peace:

Mythic Monster, Lightning Strike, Hurricane, Flash Fire, Fires of Rebellion, Feeding Frenzy, Ankylosaurus, Inheritance of the Meek, Ceasefire, Noble Unicorn, Demon Breach, Blue Dragon, Citadel Scholar, Erase, Ogre Mercenary, Crystal Golem, Hasty Retreat, Bitten, Inner Demon, and Plague

Since I have over 15, I am able to cut some of those cards that don’t work great with the rest of the deck. At this point, I cut Hurricane and Ceasefire.

I cut Hurricane because my only champion that lives through it is Mythic Monster. In addition, I have plenty of ambush champions and 0-cost champions that will ideally allow me to maintain a presence on the board consistently. Further, I still have Inheritance of the Meek, Angel of Death, and Plague as board clears. Inheritance doesn’t hit my (or my opponent’s) tokens, Angel leaves a 6/5 airborne body behind, and Plague helps hit Evil loyalty.

I cut Ceasefire because I can’t afford a card that is entirely passive and doesn’t advance me towards reducing my opponent to 0 health, since I have no mass discard pile banish card. Cutting a Good card hurts Angel of Light loyalty, Noble Unicorn‘s ally ability, and Inner Peace Recall, but all 3 of those cards are strong enough on their own.

Min Establishing Champions

Regardless of format, I generally want about 1/5 of my deck to be establishing cards. Establishing cards are typically champions with tribute or loyalty abilities that give you an immediate benefit when played, like draw a card or put tokens into play. 0-cost champions can also fill this role because you are able to put a threat into play while retaining your gold to answer your opponent’s play. I like to have 1/5 of my deck be establishing champions because it gives me reasonable odds to have one on the first turn of the game if I have to go first. Not counting Corpsemonger or Thrasher Demon, the deck currently has 8 establishing champions:

Mythic Monster, Ankylosaurus, Noble Unicorn, Murderous Necromancer, Demon Breach, Infernal Gatekeeper, Blue Dragon, and Crystal Golem (untargetable makes it hard to punish the turn you play it)

Since I have over 6, cutting one is acceptable. Of those options, Infernal Gatekeeper is the weakest and least versatile, so it got cut.

Final Cut

The last cut is always the hardest. At this point I have all of my mandatory distributions met: draw 18/31, establishing 7-9/31, max slow 1-costs (under 1/3) 6/31, min 0-cost cards (10+ but as high as possible) 11/31, and min loyalty commitment (10+ for limited) 12/31.

Because I want as many 0s as possible, I refuse to cut any of those: Lightning Strike, Flash Fire, Feeding Frenzy, Ankylosaurus, Citadel Scholar, Forcemage Apprentice, Ogre Mercenary, Hasty Retreat, Corpsemonger, Spawning Demon, and Thrasher Demon.

In order to have a reasonable number of ways to recall Inner Peace, I don’t want to cut any of my 3 other remaining Good Cards: Noble Unicorn, Inheritance of the Meek, and Angel of Light.

I absolutely refuse to cut the most powerful cards: Necromancer Lord, Murderous Necromancer, Medusa, Angel of Death, Erase, and Hunting Pack.

Blue Dragon works nicely with Feeding Frenzy.

Crystal Golem is a strong off-turn play.

Necrovirus, Inner Demon, and Bitten are all Evil and can produce tokens.

Plague is one of my only 2 remaining board clears and is Evil.

All that really leaves is 4 cards: Mythic Monster – another superfluous establishing champion, Demon Breach – a generally weaker card, and Flame Strike/Fires of Rebellion – my one-two burn punch. Demon Breach is safe because I need as much token pressure as possible. In the end, Flame Strike gets cut. I decide to lean on Fires because it is better removal, and it can get around The Gudgeon. The rest of the cards are just too important to get me into a state where I can win.

Final Decklist

My biggest worry about this list was the lack of a mass discard pile banish card.

I also had no 1-cost, blitzing, on-turn gold-punishers; howevever, token decks generally do not need these types of gold-punishers as much as other decks. As long as the token deck can keep pushing small amounts of damage through by maintaining a couple small champions in play, getting a big hit in with a gold-punisher isn’t necessary (although it can be devastatingly helpful).

Match 1

Murderous Necromancer won me my first match. I was able to play it both games, and my opponent was unable to remove it for multiple turns. During those turns, my zombie tokens got through for damage, and my opponent wasn’t able to apply any pressure to me. That 6 defense makes this card so hard to effectively deal with, especially when you add in the fact that it breaks a champion every other turn while giving you a zombie, and it comes with 3 zombies to start.

The finishing blow for game 2 was my reward for picking Fires of Rebellion over Flame Strike. I was able to get my opponent down to 9ish health while they had a The Gudgeon in play. My opponent did not use their The Gudgeon to block my final demon attack because they thought remaining untargetable to prevent me from using burn to finish them off was more valuable than preventing 4 damage. Fires of Rebellion doesn’t target though.

Match 2

I do not recall anything specific from match 2. I won the first game, and then lost the second game to my opponent decking out after time was called. If my opponent would have recycled less they might have been able to win sooner to force a game 3, but I might have been able to apply enough pressure to beat them if they hadn’t. (And a game 3 probably would have ended in a draw anyway.)

Match 3

My 0’s won me match 3. Throughout the course of both games, every time either one of us board cleared, I was able to immediately play 0-cost champions to reestablish control of the board. From this position I was able to chip down my opponent steadily. Fires of Rebellion was also able to snag me the 2nd game win after time was called.

The most memorable play of the match was when I attacked with a demon + Sea Titan together in game 2. I don’t remember the health totals at that point, but I had 2 or 3 demons in play + Sea Titan while my opponent had nothing. After the first demon attack(s) where successful, I decided to attack with my last demon with Sea Titan because I had seen Lying in Wait the first game, I had a feeling my opponent had it in hand, and I wanted to be clever.

After I made the attack, my opponent said something along the lines of “you know every card in the game don’t you,” essentially confirming Lying in Wait was in their hand. They then ended up ambushing in a champion, and since I had no way to remove it, they used it to block both of my champions, and I believe break my demon. While my line protected my Sea Titan, I don’t think it was correct.

In that position, my group attack sacrificed almost a guaranteed 4 damage from my demon attacking alone and expended my Sea Titan for little benefit. If I would have attacked with the demon alone and then Sea Titan alone, my opponent could have used Lying in Wait to banish Sea Titan, but then they would have still had to deal with my remaining demon tokens. This also would have given me a window to recall Demon Breach for free enabling me to maintain my ability to play ambush threats.

Another line I could have taken would have been to attack with all of my demons and then pass without attacking with Sea Titan. If my opponent doesn’t spend their gold, I just dealt 8 or 12 damage for free that turn. If my opponent does spend their gold, they are no longer able to Lying in Wait my Sea Titan. Either way, one of these lines would probably have worked out better than my “clever” group attack.

Match 4

The other 2-0-1 record player and I intentionally drew in round 4. Doing so guaranteed us both a spot in top 4 and gave us time to get food.

Overall Match Observation

One thing I repeatedly found myself doing in multiple matches was spending my gold first, when going second, on the first turn of the game, to break a 0-cost champion and put threat(s) in play. For example, my opponent opens the game by playing Little Devil and attacking. I spend my gold on Medusa or Hunting Pack to break the attacking Little Devil and put threat(s) in play. With my gold down, my opponent is free to play an on-turn gold-punisher; however, I’ve put them in a position where many of them are bad plays.

If the blitz champion doesn’t have breakthrough or airborne, I have the option of blocking to negate the damage. If the they Lash/Rage their attacking champion, they bring themselves down to 2 cards in hand, a difficult position from which to win. Every time I made this play, I came out ahead because my opponent didn’t have a great response, and because I get the first draw of the game on my first turn.

That being said, Kong, Winged Death, or worst of all White Knight are a few cards that could have punished my Medusa play effectively while Pyrosaur or Draka could have punished Hunting Pack effectively. However, on turn 1 your opponent is generally less likely to have a great answer, and if they do, it will still probably drop them down to 3 cards in hand, which might be worth it.

In other words, 0-cost champion then pass isn’t as universally great a turn 1 play as I recently thought it was.

Conclusion

Random 60 has been my statistically best format (only 1 match loss over 4 limited qualifiers), so I am happy to answer any questions below. Next in my Origins’ article series I’ll talk about how my hubris helped me lose my top 4 Dark Draft.

Origins 2017 Picture Recap

Origins 2017 was about a week ago. I ended up spending most of my time hanging out playing Epic. Below are most of the pictures I took.


(John Tatian receives his prize for winning our Bo7 showmatch)


(Limited 1st round opponent Brad Minnigh, also top 4 opponent, and 2nd round constructed opponent)


(Limited 2nd round opponent James Kandziolka)


(Limited 3rd round opponent Dusty Hostutler)


(Limited Winner Martin Dickie)


(Constructed Winner Derek Arnold)


(My 60-card limited pool, I took a few more pictures while building my deck which I am saving for my limited article. As a preview, would you mulligan this list and why? Let me know in the comments below.)

Currently, I plan on writing an article breaking down my random 60 deck and what I remember about my matches. I’ll also talk about my Dark Draft portion, which may or may not get its own article. In addition, I’ll talk about constructed in a separate article as well. (I also played the Hero Realms campaign demo which was so much fun I’ll probably write an article on it too.)

Core Evil Tokens 2 (Successful)

Foreword

With the addition of the “Attack Separately” button on the Epic Digital alpha, I decided I wanted to build an Evil tokens deck. Because I’m me, I built it from scratch in the updated deck builder instead of referencing my first Core Only Evil Tokens list. The decks turned out very similar, but this one is built to crush the Muse/Thought Plucker meta as hard as possible.

For those of you tired of Core Only Digital Alpha content, Origins is in a few days. When I get back, I plan on writing an article on my Friday random 60 tournament experience with Dark Draft too if I make top 8. (Similar to last year, wow…last year.) I also plan to write an article on the top 8 constructed decks on Saturday. (Hopefully it won’t just be all Kark.)

Deck List

Previous and future iterations of Core Only Evil Token decks

Evil (39)

Slow (9)
3x Infernal Gatekeeper
3x Murderous Necromancer
2x Necromancer Lord
1x Soul Hunter

Fast (17)
3x Demon Breach
3x Drain Essence
3x Inner Demon
2x Final Task
3x Medusa
3x Plague

0-Cost (13)
2x Corpse Taker
3x Guilt Demon
3x Plentiful Dead
2x Unquenchable Thirst
3x Word of Summoning

Good (3)

Slow ()

Fast (6)
2x Inheritance of the Meek

0-Cost (1)
1x Brave Squire

Sage (18)

Slow (6)
3x Blue Dragon
3x Winter Fairy

Fast (6)
3x Ancient Chant
3x Wave of Transformation

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

Explanation

I honestly don’t remember exactly how I built this deck, so I’m just going to explain how it all works by breaking it down into its parts. In general, this deck trades on-turn gold punishers for a consistent flow of small attackers while protecting itself against Thought Plucker.

Establishing Token Package

The goal of the deck is to overwhelm your opponent with tokens. If you have more attackers than they have defenders and/or removal, you will chip damage through 2 or 4 at a time. The 4 best cards to do this are Murderous Necromancer, Demon Breach, Plentiful Dead, and Word of Summoning.

Murderous Necromancer is insanely powerful, arguably one of the most powerful cards in core-only, and the single most important card in this deck. Let’s start with the expend ability. Being able to break a champion every other turn and increase your board state means that your opponent needs to remove Murderous Necromancer or lose (same with all of the best Epic cards). At 6 defense, it can only be removed by a 1-cost card or multiple 0s, and, since it doesn’t need to attack to generate additional value, it can’t be broken in combat.

Further, Murderous Necromancer enters play with 3 zombies (assuming Loyalty 2). Therefore, if your opponent is only able to remove the Necromancer, the zombies can start attacking next turn. The only single cards in core-only Epic that can remove both Murderous Necromancer and its zombies are Angel of Death and Time Walker. Both of which can only be played on your opponent’s turn (unless Surprise Attack). Baring the worst case scenario of Surprise Attack + AoD/TW, this means that your opponent either needs to spend their gold to remove everything and develop nothing (Hurricane, Zombie Apoc, etc.) or at least part of the Murderous Necromancer will provide value. If your opponent board clears on their turn, you are able to spend your gold on off-turn gold punishers to put more threats into play. 2 Demons off-turn from Demon Breach is one such way to consistently keep your opponent under pressure.

Demon Breach has been great for me in this deck (even though I used to hate both it and Plentiful Dead). In addition to its roll as an off-turn gold punisher, 3 Demons on turn is a solid establishing threat generator for similar reasons to Murderous Necromancer: it is hard for your opponent to remove all the demons while also developing their board.

The recall effect is also great here because it guarantees that you’ll have a strong off-turn gold-punisher/establishing card in hand. Word of Summoning works similarly except it doesn’t commit your gold.

Plentiful Dead is another strong card in this deck. Being able to repeatedly add just 1 extra zombie has allowed me to push significantly more damage through during games. Murderous Necromancer + 3 zombies is great, but 4 zombies is a surprisingly significant boost, same with 2 Demons and a zombie.

In addition to applying pressure, that recurring zombie is great for chump blocking Sea Titans all day, and it can help mitigate the effects of Thought Pluckers (assuming your opponent doesn’t also have massive amounts of discard pile banish effects, many do). Finally, being able to keep it in hand for Loyalty 2 triggers is a big advantage as well.

Infernal Gatekeeper is the final piece of the Establishing Token package, but it isn’t as powerful as the rest. Essentially, if you play it early in the game while your opponent still has board clears and strong removal effects, you are just spending your gold and a health to maybe get a demon to stay in play (compare that to Demon breach where you lose no health and frequently get 2 demons to stay in play).

Where this card can shine is mid game after your opponent runs out of mass removal. When Infernal Gatekeeper can remain in play for a couple gold uses, its ally ability can really crank up the pressure quickly against your opponent. Play Gatekeeper, get a demon. Off-turn play Demon Breach, get 3 more demons. Start your turn with a 9/9 and 4 demons in play, solid. Infernal Gatekeeper even turns your Evil draw 2s into “draw 2, lose 1 health, make a demon,” I’d play that card.

Anti-Thought Plucker/Muse Package

As predicted, Thought Plucker and Muse have found their way into many constructed decks on the app. Even though I’ve been building my decks with 3-9+ answers, it still hasn’t been enough. So, I decided to ram the 2 most effective answers into this deck: Spike Trap (primarily for Thought Plucker) and Forcemage Apprentice. Unlike Wither, Flash Fire, and Fireball, Spike Trap and Forcemage Apprentice remove Thought Plucker/Muse and benefit me at the same time.

For the situations where I don’t have these answers in hand, Ancient Chant and Winter Fairy provide me with significant card draw to at minimum negate the impact of discarding cards. Blue Dragon can also be used to both draw a card and remove one of those two cards. Even just playing a Blue Dragon to enable you to use a Sage draw 2 to break a future Thought Plucker is valuable.

Plagues and Unquenchable Thirst help to round out the Anti-Thought Plucker/Muse package.

Supporting Package

Off-turn removal that leaves a body in play for you and nothing for your opponent is ridiculously powerful (Medusa). The fact that it can also be used with Plentiful Dead is important too. It can even be used on-turn to remove an ambushed in blocker.

Inner Demon works a bit similarly to give you fast removal that increases your board state, but it’s usually used as a 1-cost Evil draw 2, which is nice in and of itself for this deck.

Necromancer Lord and Corpse Taker allow you to replay some of the strongest champions in the game, Murderous Necromancer for example. Returning Winter Fairy and Blue Dragon can also be quite nice.

Final Task targeting Necromancer Lord can let you play any champion in any discard pile and keep it in play at fast speed. (Necromancer Lord breaks at the end of the turn, the champion Necromancer Lord returned would not). Final Task on Murderous Necromancer is also strong: fast break target champion and put 4 zombies into play.

Drain Essence and Unquenchable Thirst provide fast targeted removal that gains you health. Frequently these are the most important cards against aggro/burn decks.

Inheritance of the Meek and to a lesser extent Wave of Transformation allow you to remove most of your opponent’s champions while leaving you with token threats in play. Against decks with a lot of card draw or decks that rely heavily on tempo, I have found the off-turn use of Inheritance to be absolutely game-winning. However, saving Inheritance as an on-turn one-sided banish-board clear is pretty great against decks that can run out of steam. Plague is the final set of board clears, and it can help against Thought Pluckers (in addition to Necromancer Lords and Forcemage Apprentices). I chose Brave Squire as my single 0-cost card to go with Inheritance because Brave Squire works great with Final Task, and it is a powerful card overall.

Soul Hunter is something I’m trying out. It is a further way to punish Thought Plucker decks, since you can discard it to Plucker so it can start coming back for free. Against non-discard decks, Winter Fairy, Ancient Chant, Blue Dragon, etc. can frequently get you to the point of over drawing, which allows you to discard Soul Hunter as well.

Finally, Guilt Demon is just a strong card. It is also my primary discard pile removal since I can’t fit Amnesia into the deck.

Distributions Breakdown

Below are the break downs for each of my distributions based on my Epic Constructed Process article.

30+ Cards that can Draw/Recycle/Recall/Etc. (35.5)
Reliable (33): 3 Inner Demon, 2 Final Task, 3 Plague, 2 Corpse Taker, 3 Plentiful Dead, 3 Word of Summoning, 2 Inheritance of the Meek, 3 Blue Dragon, 3 Winter Fairy, 3 Ancient Chant, 3 Wave of Transformation, 3 Spike Trap
Unreliable (5 x 1/2 = 2.5): 2 Necromancer Lord, 3 Demon Breach

20 0-cost Cards (20)
2 Corpse Taker, 3 Guilt Demon, 3 Plentiful Dead, 2 Unquenchable Thirst, 3 Word of Summoning, 1 Brave Squire, 3 Forcemage Apprentice, 3 Spike Trap

20- On My Turn Cards (14)
Champions (14): 3 Infernal Gatekeeper, 3 Murderous Necromancer, 2 Necromancer Lord, 3 Blue Dragon, 3 Winter Fairy
Events (0):

1 Soul Hunter is technically slow, but I never want to actually play it, I only want to discard it, ideally.

33+ Primary Alignment Cards (39)
3 Infernal Gatekeeper, 3 Murderous Necromancer, 2 Necromancer Lord, 1 Soul Hunter, 3 Demon Breach, 3 Drain Essence, 3 Inner Demon, 2 Final Task, 3 Medusa, 3 Plague, 2 Corpse Taker, 3 Guilt Demon, 3 Plentiful Dead, 2 Unquenchable Thirst, 3 Word of Summoning

3-9+ On-Turn Gold-Punishers (11)
Standard (0)
:
Non-Standard (11): 3 Inner Demon, 3 Medusa, 3 Drain Essence, and 2 Inheritance of the Meek

This deck does not run any real on-turn gold-punishers because it relies on slowing chipping down the opponent with tokens and off-turn gold punishers. Final Task can work as an on-turn Gold-Punisher if needed. 3 Inner Demon, 3 Medusa, 3 Drain Essence, and 2 Inheritance of the Meek can all function as on-turn gold punishers if your opponent spends their gold to ambush in a blocker. Instead of punishing your opponent with a blitz champion, you punish them by breaking their champion, expanding/maintaining your board state, and pushing damage with your champions already in play.

3-9+ Off-Turn Gold-Punishers (13)
Standard (6): 3 Demon Breach, 3 Medusa
Non-Standard (7): 2 Final Task, 2 Inheritance of the Meek, 3 Wave of Transformation

Demon Breach and Medusa are fairly standard off-turn gold-punishers. Final Task is great when used on Murderous Necromancer or Necromancer Lord specifically. Inheritance and Wave are non-standard off-turn Gold-punishers. The reason I include them for this deck is that they can essentially remove all/most of your opponents threats, while leaving you with threats, that can attack on your next turn, forcing your opponent to remove them to remove your threats/play blockers before you spend your gold on your turn.

1+ Mass Discard Pile Banish (0)
This deck relies on 3 Guilt Demon and 2 Corpse Taker for targeted discard removal.

3 Drain Essences or Comparable Health Gain (3.66)
Reliable (3): 3 Drain Essence
Unreliable (2 x 1/3 = .66): 2 Unquenchable Thirst

3-9+ Muse/Thought Plucker 0-Cost Answers (9.5)
Reliable (8): 2 Unquenchable Thirst, 3 Forcemage Apprentice, 3 Spike Trap
Unreliable (3 x 1/2 = 1.5): 3 Blue Dragon
Honorable Mention: 3 Plague

Anti-Sea Titan/Bounce Plan
Chump block Sea Titan forever. Attack with more individual champions than it can block. Board clear it eventually, if needed.

Thoughts/Concerns

I’m not a huge fan of Infernal Gatekeeper. It has worked in midgame situations, but it hasn’t felt powerful that often. I’m still testing Soul Hunter, but I think I like exactly one in this deck. Final Task is incredibly powerful, and it might deserve to be a 3 (probably cutting 1 Infernal Gatekeeper for it.)

Overall, I have lost very few games with this on the app, and it is a lot of fun to play. Just don’t forget to use “attack separately,” particularly in non-Realtime (Duel) games.

Conclusion

Due to heading out to Origins tomorrow, I don’t have the time to go through and add all of the card links today, but I’ll update this when I get back. Also, I won’t have a chance to post until I get back because I’m not lugging my desktop with me this time. (I’ll try to at least tweet a few updates though: @TomSEpicGaming.)

Tall v Wide Duel Decks Updated

Foreword

Now that I’ve played significantly more Epic, Core-Only specifically on the app, I decided to remake these decks. (Someone also requested duel decks on reddit too.) I have not tested these decks yet, but they can both theoretically do a lot of powerful things. I also designed them to have some theoretically interesting interactions. Slight tweaking of certain card counts would probably make these better…hmmm…just had an idea…

Tall

Evil (6)

Slow (0)

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

0-Cost (2)
1x Corpse Taker
1x Wither

Good (3)

Slow (0)

Fast (2)
2x Ceasefire

0-Cost (1)
1x Brave Squire

Sage (33)

Slow (11)
1x Frost Giant
3x Juggernaut
3x Sea Titan
3x Steel Golem
1x Time Walker

Fast (11)
1x Ancient Chant
1x Crystal Golem
1x Deadly Raid
3x Ice Drake
1x Memory Spirit
3x Stand Alone
1x Thought Plucker

0-Cost (11)
1x Amnesia
3x Keeper of Secrets
3x Forcemage Apprentice
1x Muse
3x Spike Trap

Wild (18)

Slow (6)
3x Kong
3x Triceratops

Fast (6)
3x Hurricane
2x Pyromancer
1x Surprise Attack

0-Cost (6)
3x Flash Fire
1x Lash
2x Cave Troll

Wide

Evil (39)

Slow (11)
2x Angel of Death
1x Drinker of Blood
3x Infernal Gatekeeper
3x Murderous Necromancer
2x Necromancer Lord

Fast (15)
3x Demon Breach
1x Drain Essence
3x Inner Demon
3x Final Task
3x Medusa
2x Plague

0-Cost (13)
1x Corpse Taker
3x Guilt Demon
3x Plentiful Dead
2x Unquenchable Thirst
1x Wither
3x Word of Summoning

Good (6)

Slow (0)

Fast (4)
3x Inheritance of the Meek
1x Resurrection

0-Cost (2)
1x Brave Squire
1x Watchful Gargoyle

Sage (12)

Slow (0)

Fast (8)
1x Ancient Chant
1x Crystal Golem
1x Deadly Raid
1x Erase
1x Lying in Wait
3x Wave of Transformation

0-Cost (4)
1x Amnesia
1x Muse
2x Ogre Mercenary

Wild (3)

Slow (0)

Fast (2)
1x Mighty Blow
1x Surprise Attack

0-Cost (1)
1x Fireball

Random 30 Stream Snipe Raw Footage

Thank you everyone who played and watched my June 1st Random 30 Stream Snipe Session on the Epic Digital Alpha. For those who could not, or if you want to watch your match, below is the raw footage from the stream with timestamps.

Part 2 (5pm CDT – 9pm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EPLTKjofDo
Part 1 (11am CDT – 3pm):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAzIzyu0z2M

Random 30 Stream Snipe Session

Stream Announcement

After two really fun Random 30 games today, I’ve decided to round out my stream snipe sessions with a Random 30 stream. Currently I’m planning on Thursday June 1st, 2017 from 11am CDT (UTC -5) to approximately 3pm CDT, and 5pm CDT (UTC -5) to approximately 9pm CDT.

I stream on Twitch: twitch.tv/tomsepicgaming
I’ll tweet when I go live: @TomSEpicGaming

Random 30 Defense

Random 30 involves dealing out 30 random cards to each player and playing. Simple as that. It can be done with a single collection, so each player has 30 different cards from their opponent, or each player can use their own collection so both players could end up with some of the same cards. (The app does the latter, intentionally.)

This is usually how I teach the game. However, I initially wrote it off fairly early as not a fun format for players that know what they are doing because it is too random; the better player isn’t as favored to win as they are in Dark Draft or Constructed. Recently though, I’ve been really liking the format because I approach it as just a fun experience where I don’t need to win to enjoy it. In addition, trying to figure out the best plays, using cards you wouldn’t use otherwise, in situations where your opponent is less likely to have the best answers, is exhilarating (and occasionally frustrating).

So, if you want to enjoy some less serious Epic, join the chat during the times listed, and I’ll be happy to play. As always, I will explain my plays as we go and provide a summary at the end of each match. Challengers are welcome to stay in chat with audio and video if they so desire, since it is a nice learning experience and wins/losses have no stakes attached.

Stream Raw Footage

Thank you everyone who played and watched. For those who could not, or if you want to watch your match, below is the raw footage from the stream with timestamps.

Part 2 (5pm CDT – 9pm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EPLTKjofDo
Part 1 (11am CDT – 3pm):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAzIzyu0z2M

Epic: Utilizing Revealed Information

Foreword

In Epic, many powerful effects involve showing your opponent cards in your hand. The most obvious of these are Loyalty 2 effects: when a champion with a Loyalty 2 ability enters play, you may reveal 2 cards of that champion’s alignment from your hand to get the effect after the arrow. Other effects that show your opponent a card in your hand include Recall effects (Lightning Storm), Memory Spirit-type cards, and bounce effects (Time Walker). Being able to effectively utilize this information allows you to play at a higher level.

The Basics

First off, there are a few simple practices that can make a big difference.

Loyalty 2: Reveal the Same 2 Cards

When you play a Loyalty 2 champion and reveal 2 cards to your opponent, try to remember which cards you showed them. (Moving the revealed cards to one side of your hand can help you remember.) If you play another Loyalty 2 card on a future turn, reveal the same 2 cards if they are still in your hand. Doing this restricts the amount of information you give your opponent.

Record Cards Your Opponent Reveals

If you want to play at a competitive level, tracking revealed information is critical. When playing in person, writing down the names of revealed cards (as well as cards returned to hand) can be helpful as it is difficult to remember everything. As your opponent plays these cards, cross them off your list. Personally, I prefer to leave all revealed cards face up to save time.

When playing in the app, you can go through the game log to check what cards your opponent has revealed in the past. (Open the game log and click on the “Player resolved effect: Loyalty 2: etc.” to see cards revealed to Loyalty.)

Playing Around Information

Once you start keeping track of revealed cards, the next step is to play around those cards to weaken their effectiveness.

Avoiding Opponent’s Best Plays

On a basic level, playing around the cards you know are in your opponent’s hand involves denying those cards their best possible use cases. In order to do this, understanding the best possible use cases of your opponent’s cards is critical. Therefore, this is something you only get better at by gaining a better understanding of the game. The best way to improve is to lose to a new tactic, think about why you lost, and try to avoid losing the same way again.

Playing Around Examples

Ceasefire Example

Ceasefire is one of the most controversial cards at the writing of this article because it is an essential part of Chamberlain Kark decks. When played in conjunction with a Bodyguard block, Fumble, etc., it can essentially negate an entire turns worth of attack damage bridging Kark decks into their next turn to safely gain health while also drawing 2 cards.

If you know your opponent has a Ceasefire in hand, attacking with multiple champions in a group attack might be the only way to get significant damage through. However, if they have ways to negate that attack with a 0-cost card like Spike Trap, attacking in a group can be very dangerous.

Ceasefire is also a prime example of a card that when you see one of them, in a format that allows multiple copies, it can pay to preemptively play around the card even if you don’t know if they have one in hand. Any turn where an opponent can spend their gold first to draw 2 and limit combat damage to approximately 4 is a strong turn, usually.

Preemptively playing around cards has a lot of caveats, relies on knowing your opponent’s deck/being able to deduce it based on cards played or revealed, and is out of the scope of this article. Essentially it boils down to learning when making the “wrong play” is the best play.

Hide Your Best Plays

While in many situations you only have 2 cards you can reveal to a Loyalty 2 ability, determining which cards to reveal when you have more than 2 is important. Generally, you do not want to reveal your most impactful plays or your plays that are the easiest to play around.

Card Hiding Examples

Hasty Retreat is a card I like to hide whenever possible. The reason for this is that it protects me from most Gold-Punishers if I’m forced to use my gold first on my opponent’s turn. It also protects me if my opponent commits a Lash/Rage to a blocked champion. If my opponent knows I have a Hasty Retreat in hand, they generally won’t commit resources that allow my Hasty Retreat to really shine.

Army of the Apocalypse is another card I like to hide. If my opponent knows I have Army, they can focus their discard pile banish effects on my champions to preemptively neuter my Army.

Amnesia is nice to hide in Dark Draft because your opponent could try to go for a draw out victory. If they do, you can punish them at the last moment and negate multiple gold spent to draw cards to a full-hand.

Inner Peace and other health gain can be nice to hide. Being able to lull your opponent into committing their burn to your face can be devastating.

Hiding a Winged Death to punish a Sea Titan is great.

In general, it is also usually great to hide your unusual inclusions. For instance, if you are going for a Drinker of Blood combo kill, revealing your Drinker early lets your opponent know they need to hold onto a Flash Fire or Wither to answer a board of small champions before you can play your Drinker.

Deciding which cards to reveal depends on what cards are in play, what you have in hand, and what you expect your opponent to do. As a rule of thumb, I like to reveal duplicates to only reveal 1 potential play. I also like to reveal cards I plan on using before my opponent spends their gold, such as Triceratops and other establishing champions. Cards I plan on using just to draw 2 can frequently be strong choices as well.

Playing Into Information

One thing that can be even better than playing around your opponent’s answers is to purposefully play into them. When playing against experienced players that won’t make weak plays, guiding them into the “wrong” strong play can be critical.

Examples: Playing Into Your Opponent

Below are 3 examples of playing into your opponent’s revealed cards in order to guide their plays to your benefit.

Muse (Draw Out Removal)

If you watch my streams or read certain articles of mine, you know that I think Muse is a frustratingly powerful card. It is a 0-cost card that can grant you a major advantage and is difficult to deal with efficiently (particularly in core-only). However, if removed in a 1 for 1 trade (Wither, Flash Fire, Fireball, etc.) or better (Forcemage Apprentice, Wolf’s Bite, Siren’s Song, etc.), Muse can be worthless. Therefore, if your opponent reveals a Wither, playing something your opponent can Wither (Guilt Demon for instance) can draw out their Muse-Removal before you play your Muse. Even though your opponent using Wither to break Guilt Demon is strong, if it costs them their only Muse-Removal, they are in a terrible situation.

Noble Unicorn Bait

In a recent Dark Draft I played, I had drafted Amnesia and a bunch of strong defensive cards in order to pursue a draw out victory. Near the middle of the game, my opponent played Angel of Death and revealed Succubus and one other Evil card.

In order to bait out the Succubus, I played Noble Unicorn on my turn. On their turn, after attacking with Angel of Death, they played Succubus to draw a card and Banish my Noble Unicorn, a very strong play. However, this allowed me to play Forked Lightning on their turn, break both of their 6/5 airborne champions, leave them with just a zombie, and get back into a defensible position. While drawing a card and removing a champion is strong, me being able to essentially off-turn board clear with no downside was much more important in that game.

Ambush Blocker?

In my Bo7 showmatch against John Tatian, I was in a situation where my opponent played Memory Spirit the turn before to return a Drain Essence to hand. Then, on his turn he attacked with the Memory Spirit. I played my Memory Spirit and here is what the casters (cnoz and CJ Moynihan) thought about the play, what my opponent thought about the play, and my explained reasoning at the time.

Casters perspective – 1:46:46 to 1:49:44

Opponent’s perspective – 1:49:37 to 1:51:40

My Explanation – 12:17 to 15:18

When I assembled these clips I was “remembering” that I was talking/thinking about playing Memory Spirit to “play into” his Drain Essence for multiple reasons. Since I knew he had Drain Essence, the obvious play would have been for him to Drain my Memory Spirit to prevent me from blocking/trading, and to get 5 damage through. I was fine with this for these 3 primary reasons:

In the clip, however, I primarily talk about “playing around” Drain Essence by not playing my Ice Drake. Then, I talked about not blocking to “play around” a possible Steel Golem. While John was incredibly close to taking my bait, unfortunately for me he proved again why he is the World Champion by passing up the obvious play. Looking back at it now, I still think this was the correct play for me in this situation though. (I also think John made the correct play in response: gain 9 health fairly safely, not overcommit to the board, and remove my 7 damage threat/card drawer.)

Feeding Your Opponent Information Examples

Sometimes, revealing a card to your opponent to force them to play around it can be beneficial. Basically, if you can force your opponent to disrupt their play in such a way that you can exploit it, you can gain an advantage.

Flame Strike

Fellow Pluck You team member and Epic personality Tom Dixon has gone on the record multiple times discussing one such example: include 1 Flame Strike in your constructed deck and reveal it as soon as possible. By doing this, you let your opponent know that 8 health is effectively 0 for the entire match. Therefore, your opponent will make sub-optimal plays to stay above 8 health, regardless of whether or not Flame Strike is in your hand at that point.

In addition, since you have already gained the advantage of influencing your opponent’s play, you can freely use your Flame Strike as removal. Since your opponent will probably expect you to have more copies in your constructed deck, they will still feel the need to play around it.

Ceasefire/Ice Drake

As mentioned in my Ceasefire example above, Ceasefire/Ice Drake are two powerful cards that encourage your opponent to attack in groups to play around them. Attacking in groups in Epic is usually “wrong” since 1 champion can block multiple. In addition, cards like Spike Trap and Hands from Below can punish group attacks. By showing your opponent Ceasefire/Ice Drake, you encourage them to play in a way that you can punish with your other cards.

Conclusion

Effectively utilizing revealed information is an important step in becoming a better Epic player. By playing around (and occasionally into) your opponent’s revealed cards, you can lessen their effectiveness, and by strategically revealing your Loyalty 2 cards, you can influence your opponent’s plays. From here, the next step is learning how to deduce the cards that might be in your opponent’s deck/hand, and to utilize this information in the same way.

Showmatch Raw Footage Posted

Yesterday, World Champion John Tatian and I finished our Best of Seven First Encounter Showmatch. It was a lot of fun, and we had quite a few games that were Epic in every way: close, exciting, and long.

So far we have my raw stream footage uploaded to Youtube, John’s raw stream footage can be seen on his blog, and both streams can be watched simultaneously with commentary from cnoz + CJ Moynihan.

My Stream: Part 1, Part 2
John’s Stream
cnoz + CJ’s stream (audio starts at 47:00)

Edited videos are planned as well.

 

Core Tier Charts (Wild Update)

I have updated my Dark Draft, Core-Only, Tier Charts article to include my Wild tier charts, included below. Check out the main article for explanations on when and why I draft specific alignments.

Wild Commitment Pick 1 Chart

Searchable Spreadsheet

(Click picture for full size)

Wild Commitment Pick 2/3 Chart

Searchable Spreadsheet

(Click picture for full size)