Maligus vs Furios
Fiery Demise Rating
“Draw 2 ands” are amazing, particularly off-turn ones. Eventually you’ll need to spend a gold to draw 2, and if you can remove a Thought Plucker, Muse, Winged Death, etc. with that draw 2, amazing. If nothing else, it’s a free 3 damage to your opponent.
Greater Lightning Wurm Rating
Situationally Desirable +
6 damage is enough to break a lot of important champions, such as Noble Unicorn, Avenging Angel, Strafing Dragon, and Murderous Necromancer. Attaching that to a 10 defense minion (which is out of range of Drain Essence, Hurricane, and Savage Uprising) is solid, even more so since that 12 breakthrough offense makes that big leftover booty a real threat.
And of course, the 6 damage can always hit your opponent, which is quite powerful if they’re at 6 health, if they have no health gain, or if they are relying on bounce effects for removal (Erase, Sea Titan, etc.). To reiterate though, when I draft this, I will almost always want to use it to remove an opponent’s champion because reestablishing champions are gods in limited. Would not draft a 12/10 Burrowing Wurm outside of Wild though.
Kalani, Woodreader Rating
Always First Pickable
0-cost 5/5 blitz, sold.
5 offense means this can kill your opponent in 6 attacks, and 5 defense means that the only 0s that can meaningfully remove it are Spike Trap, Lightning Strike, and Raxxa’s Curse. (Actually, Brand Rebel Fighter, Dark Knight, and Brave Squire can break it in combat too.)
All of that makes this an Always First Pickable card by itself, but preventing your opponent from gaining health also has value. If your opponent can’t remove this (you’re probably winning anyways but), they can’t effectively use Second Wind, Righteous is turned off, and Inner Peace becomes a dead card.
This can also help setup a burnout kill. Normally, spending your gold on your turn to get your opponent in range of an off-turn burn effect (like Flame Strike), is a risky move, even if their gold is down. This is because they can always go to their turn and immediately spend their gold to gain health before you get initiative to play your burn effect. However, if you play Kalani on your turn, after your opponent’s spends their gold, and don’t attack, they need exactly Raxxa’s Curse, Lightning Strike, Vanishing, or Siren’s Song otherwise all of their 1-cost health gain is worthless. (If they don’t have a 1-cost answer to Kalani, all of their 0-cost health gain is worthless too.)
Rules Interaction: If you play Drain Essence targeting an opponent’s Kalani, you will gain 9 health. This is because Kalani immediately breaks after taking 9 damage, and it is therefore not in play when Drain Essence tries to gain you 9 health. This also applies to blocking and breaking Kalani with a righteous champion, since Righteous is a triggered effect, it waits to resolve until after champions break to combat damage.
Herald of Angeline Rating
Worst Herald (so far). In addition to generically not liking the Herald effect in Dark Draft, Herald of Angeline is in the worst Dark Draft alignment, Good. Therefore, in order to get enough cards for me to feel comfortable successfully drawing a card off this Herald, I need to draft about 19 other Good cards, not going to happen. (On the plus side, since Good is so weak in Dark Draft, you’re more likely to get Good cards passed to you enabling you to get closer to my arbitrary 19.) Then, once you have your 20 Good card Dark Draft deck, this card asks you to play a 1-cost, slow, 5 defense champion without blitz; I really dislike 5 or less defense 1-cost champions because of 0-cost cards like Lightning Strike and Spike Trap.
Further, even if you draw a card from Herald and even if it isn’t removed before it can attack, it still breaks for nothing but 7 health gain against powerful 6/8 airborne champions like Ice Drake and Ethereal Dragon. It also only trades with most other 1-cost airborne champions. Although, when put that way, draw a card, gain 7 health, and break an airborne champion like Angel of the Gate, that doesn’t sound too bad. If it manages to live through that first attack it might gain 14+ health. However, that is a lot of easily preventable if’s.
Angeline’s Will Rating
Situationally Acceptable +
As mentioned, I don’t value the “Will” effect highly in Dark Draft, and the fact that this doesn’t even have an “Or Draw 2” option really plummets my evaluation of the card. While 10 health gain could be strong against an opponent who heavily drafts burn, and I do highly value Inner Peace, spending a gold and a card just to gain 10 health feels weak.
Further, unlike Scara’s Will, the removal effect doesn’t deal with untargetable champions (which are hard to deal with already), it can’t remove an ambush champion before it blocks, and it requires the champion to be expended to even be used. It does banish though, which is almost always better than break. Also, Good has better on-turn gold-punishers than Evil, for example Silver Wing Savior (which could get this back), Silver Wing Lancer, and Gold Dragon. Hmmmm, that actually seems fairly strong, if I’ve already drafted 2+ on-turn, 1-cost, Good, gold-punishers, I’ll value this higher going forward. Otherwise, no thank you. (As a side note, Two Time World Champion John Tatian does like this card “quite a lot.”)
Knight of the Dawn Rating
Always First Pickable
Another 0-cost blitz champion. Can banish a demon when played too, so it is a nice answer to your opponent Raxxa’s Cursing your first 0-cost blitz champion. It’s also a human so it can ride Faithful Pegasus.
Scara’s Gift Rating
Situationally Acceptable +
This card is a beast in constructed, as The Flock demonstrated by putting John Tatian and James Moreland into top 8 with it. If you can repeatedly trigger this, it can gain a ridiculous amount of incidental health and do a ridiculous amount of incidental damage, which is great if you are using a bunch of Evil 1-cost cards to control the board.
However, in Dark Draft I generally don’t draft that many 1-cost cards that could trigger this. Even though I go Evil frequently, that is usually off the back of multiple powerful 0-cost cards and just a couple key 1-cost cards. (As a reminder, spending a gold on a 0-cost card’s Draw 2 ability does not trigger ally abilities.) So, when you take into consideration the fact that I probably won’t cast this more than a few times a game, and the fact that it doesn’t impact the board at all, I am not convinced that this is a consistently worthwhile Dark Draft card.
Krieg, Dark One’s Chosen Rating
I didn’t think much of this card when I saw it, but then I realized how it’s ally trigger interacts. Now it is my favorite card of the set (even if it isn’t consistently that strong). Setting aside the ally trigger for now, an 8/8 that produces two 2/2 zombie tokens isn’t all that impressive, but at least it’s a human for Pegasus and Cast Out. Not a great start though.
However, the Ally ability is sick. In Epic, any effects triggered by another effect “triggered effects” (denoted by a trigger and an arrow such as Ally -> , Tribute -> , Loyalty 2 -> , and When this attacks -> ) are put into a heap until that “triggering effect” is finished resolving. Then, you choose the order in which those heaped triggers resolve.
Example 1 (Event)
Say I have Krieg in play and Necrovirus in my discard pile. If I play Apocalypse, both Krieg’s triggered Ally ability and Necrovirus‘ triggered Ally ability are put into a heap, then I fully resolve Apocalypse and break all champions. Now that Apocalypse has fully resolved, I choose to resolve Necrovirus‘ triggered Ally ability first to put 3 zombie tokens into play. Then, I resolve Krieg’s triggered Ally ability, put 1 zombie token into play and give all of my zombie tokens +1/+1 and blitz. This leaves me with 4 3/3 blitzing zombies after I cleared the board, good stuff.
Example 2 (Champion)
Say I have Krieg in play. If I play Zannos Corpse Lord, both Krieg’s triggered Ally ability and Zannos‘ triggered Loyalty X ability are put into a heap. I choose to resolve Zannos‘ triggered Loyalty X ability first, reveal 5 cards, drain my opponent for 5 health, and make 5 zombie tokens. Then I resolve Krieg’s triggered Ally ability, put 1 zombie token into play and give all of my zombie tokens +1/+1 and blitz. This leaves me with 6 3/3 blitzing zombies, in addition to Krieg’s 8/8 body and Zannos‘ 9/9 body. I like it, I like it a lot.
If you have a Krieg in play and you play a second Krieg, you would end up with 3 3/3 blitzing zombies.
I love this interaction because it is cool, and it rewards a deep understanding of how cards actually resolve in Epic. It also works quite nicely with Forbidden Research (make the zombie first then break the zombie to recall) and Scarred Priestess (use the made zombie as fodder to break an opponent’s champion every time you play a 1-cost Evil card). The problem though, is getting Krieg into play.
As we mentioned, playing Krieg for an 8/8 and two 2/2s isn’t that strong, but at least it isn’t horrible. Further, to get great use out of it’s triggered ally ability we need cards that aren’t great in Dark Draft: Scarred Priestess, Zannos Corpse Lord, Necrovirus etc. (Necrovirus is actually the best of the 3 in limited, and Murderous Necromancer is actually quite strong.) Therefore, the odds of both this being strong in your deck and finding a time to play it are low, and I’d usually much rather draft an always acceptable card in its spot. I will try long and hard to break it in constructed though, but it won’t be easy.
Dark One’s Fury Rating
I value Draws 2s. I frequently draft Evil. One-sided board clears are amazing. Even if your opponent is going Evil and you aren’t, counter drafting this to keep it out of their hands is still strong, especially since it’s always at least a draw 2.
Erwin, Architect of War Rating
Always Acceptable +
I’ve hit loyalty in 3 different alignments in one game because of this card. When focusing on 0-cost cards and “best cards in pack” over drafting “In Alignment,” this can be quite nice to help hit loyalty effects in your secondary, possibly tertiary, and even just primary alignment that you naturally fell into. For the most part, you just want to keep this in your hand to help hit loyalty for much of the game. But, if you need to find a new card, you can always just play it and recycle. 5 defense is not irrelevant either, since it survives a demon attack each turn.
Solid card, I’d pick actively strong cards over it, but I’m always up for drafting it if there’s nothing else crazy in the pack.
Ethereal Dragon Rating
Ambush, Airborne champions are powerful. 8 defense makes it hard to kill in the air, and it even survives Flames of Furios. 6 offense is a real threat. Untargetable is incredible, and it lets you ambush this in while your opponent’s gold is up to use as a hard to punish blocker. Big fan.
Scrap Golem Rating
(Scrap Tokens are token versions of this without Recall or Loyalty 2 -> blitz)
I was in love with this card when I first saw it as a promo (because my favorite card in Magic is Chronozoa), but now that I have it, it just doesn’t seem strong enough (even though they buffed it by giving it a recall ability).
Obviously, without loyalty this card is awful because it’s just a slow 6/6. With loyalty, it’s two slow 6/6s, meh? However, if at least one of them survives both the turn you play it and your opponent’s turn (which is reasonably likely because two 6/6 bodies aren’t easy to remove without a board clear), you can produce even moar 6/6 bodies! Then, theoretically, as long as any of these 6/6s survive until your next turn, you can continue to pump out 6/6s for just that one initial gold. Ignoring the fact that this also gets shut down by Amnesia effects or just running out of cards in your discard pile, is this even worth it? If yes, is it still worth it when you do consider those restrictions? I honestly don’t know yet.
Right now I’m leaning towards no. First off, unlike cards like Murderous Necromancer, Pack Alpha, and Helena’s Chosen, you don’t gain multiple bodies that can freely attack or chump block. Instead, you get 1 prepared 6/6 the turn you play it (and the expended 6/6). If you use the prepared 6/6 to block, it can’t generate more on its next turn, and you are left with your one expended 6/6. On the other hand, if both 6/6s survive until your next turn, you can either make more 6/6s and not attack, attack and not make more 6/6s, or attack with one and make another 6/6 with the other. None of these scenarios particularly interest me because they’re all really slow.
Three places where this could be strong is against a controlling style deck, a deck that relies on single target removal, or a heavy burn deck. Theoretically, your 6/6s can just grind out value while you use your gold to draw cards/force your opponent to discard cards, remove their threats/dodge their removal, or gain health. Even if they do board clear you, there aren’t any board clears that can clear your 6/6s and draw a card (although some can one-sided clear you like Dark One’s Fury). Therefore, if they board clear you on their turn, you can recall this, then replay it on your turn and force them to have another clear (or discard pile removal). Any of these options do rely on your 6/6s being enough to actually pressure your opponent into dealing with them though.
All of that being said, the fact that this relies on banishing cards from your discard pile for fuel is not great. First, this can limit your options for cards like Final Task or Lesson Learned. Second, it can limit your ability to recycle. Third, it basically blows up your ability to win by decking, so you better hope you have a mass-discard-pile-banish effect or can win through damage. Fourth, you can’t use this on turn 1 to establish to an empty board (although that probably wouldn’t be strong enough anyway). Fifth, as mentioned before, this is pretty awful against discard pile removal.
While I think this is an interesting card, I just need to play with it more to see if it’s even okay.
This pack has a lot of interesting cards, and it does come with a few particularly strong 0s. Kalani is probably the strongest card in the pack for Dark Draft (Scara’s Gift is the strongest for constructed), but Knight of the Dawn and Ethereal Dragon are up there too. Krieg is going to be one of my new pet cards (like Knight of Elara) that I constantly try (and probably fail) to build decks around. Looking forward to it.