Recently I did a couple Dark Drafts with my friend Paul (quite a few), and we wrote notes during a couple so we could post it on here. We are writing up our thoughts throughout the draft in separate posts, so you can get the perspective of each of us. His post can be found here: Sample Epic Dark Draft 3/16/16 (Paul).
Dark Draft is a two-player draft format where each player is simultaneously dealt 5 cards face down. Each player picks 1 of their 5 cards and then passes the remaining 4 to their opponent. Then each player picks 2 of the 4 passed cards and discards the remaining 2. This is done 10 times and you have your 30 card deck. During the draft, you may not look at the cards you drafted (once you draft them) and at the end of the draft you will not be able to cut any cards from your 30. You may go over your drafted deck before the first game though.
To stay true to the Dark Draft format as much as possible, we took notes in a very specific way. After getting dealt the opening 5 cards each round, we wrote down all 5. We then circled our choice and put a square around the 2 cards we expected our opponent to take. In addition, we wrote notes beneath this to reference during these posts. Before looking at the passed cards, we flipped over the page so we could not see the previous choices. On the back of the page, we wrote our 2 choices from the 4 passed cards and any notes. We then started the next round on the next page.
Thoughts: Angel of Death is one of the best possible Evil cards in the game. Bitten and Plague are also excellent, and Word of Summoning is playable. Muse, however, is amazing in all decks. Overall, I do not think Evil (in a single set of the base game) is strong enough in draft. Evil does have some of the most powerful cards, but there aren’t enough amazing cards throughout all of the base game for Evil. So, I take Muse here. I assume Paul takes Angel of Death, locking him into Evil, and now I have a much better idea what he will be picking moving forward.
Thoughts: Flash Fire is one of the best cards in the game, in my opinion, and I pick it without hesitation here. Banishment is an excellent card as well, since I like targeted removal. Banishing champions will also be more important with an opponent going Evil. I would have loved Cave Troll, since I like the card, but without a Wild investment and with Flash Fire and Banishment in the pool, I have to skip it.
Thoughts: So another crazy strong Evil card shows up in the form of Murderous Necromancer. I do not want to take the card because I do not plan on going Evil, but I don’t want Paul to have it either since he is almost certainly going Evil. Drain Essence is also another really useful Evil card. Neither of those cards draw any cards though… Since Thought Plucker is in the pool as well, I am actually going to try and bait Paul into taking those strong Evil cards; then, going forward, I am going to try to deny him as much card draw as possible. I am going to try to make his deck stall by punishing him for taking the amazing no draw cards I leave him. As a side note, Ancient Chant is excellent and Spike Trap is surprisingly useful, but I expect him to take the Evil.
Thoughts: In this pool, the only drawing option is Inheritance of the Meek, it is also an amazing off-turn board clear. So, I take it to deny him card draw. This does leave him the Evil Drinker of Blood and Guilt Demon. Drinker of Blood I think is too situational for draft, but Guilt Demon is generally excellent. Ice Drake is solid, but he almost certainly isn’t going Sage currently. Pyromancer is solid, but I don’t expect him to take it with the other cards in the pool.
Thoughts: Lash no question, it is that strong in so many situations. It can also break Necromancer Lord if he gets/got it. Without Wild, Hunting Raptors is too weak. The People’s Champion is solid, but with all of the removal Paul will have in Evil, I would rather draw a card to replenish the champions he breaks.
Thoughts: Wave of Transformation is currently in my top 5 cards, no question choice. I don’t expect him to take Plentiful Dead even though he is Evil since I think it is bad. Keeper of Secrets is excellent if in Sage, but I don’t think he is. Hurricane is amazing, so I expect he will take that, and Fireball is solid.
Thoughts: Normally Time Bender, when I am sort of going Sage, would be a snap pick because it is so strong. Since I am trying to deny him draw though, returning a champion to hand is less useful because it gives him another card to play. Still, it is amazing enough to play, and it works against Drinker of Blood and Trihorror if he gets it. Lurking Giant is just a beast in draft, especially after your opponent spends their gold. This is particularly true after they board clear. With the Lash I already drafted, having this makes me happy. Feint is essentially just draw 2. Final Task is playable, but not as strong as my 2 choices.
Thoughts: It seems that I am going Sage, and Blue Dragon is excellent, especially to deal with the small defense Evil champions. For him, I do not really know what he will pick. I’ve generally felt like Demon Breach is pretty awful, so probably not that. I don’t think he is going Wild, so probably not Jungle Queen, but it is tribute -> draw a card. Winter Fairy is decent and I don’t think he has much card draw yet (since I have purposefully tried to block it). White Knight is a decent body as well as tribute -> draw a card. Whichever of those 3 he takes, it is disappointing that he will get some card draw.
Thoughts: I don’t have the Wild for Fire Shaman. Gold Dragon is a strong card, 6/8 airborne blitz righteous. I feel like Angel of Light is weak, especially since I haven’t seen Lightning Storm. In addition, I like Thrasher Demon, and I don’t think I have many 0-cost cards currently.
Thoughts: This pack makes me so sad. Sea Titan, Kong, Erase, and Angel of Mercy are all easy first picks for drafting. Rally the People very much is not. I doubt he will want Angel of Mercy since I don’t think he is going Good. I really, really, really do not want to give him Erase since it is so powerful, and it draws 2. Sea Titan is an absolute beast though. 11/14 untargetable with a Tribute -> bounce makes it my #1 or #2 draft pick overall. I could let him have both Sea Titan and Kong, but that is so much tempo. While it really pains me to give him Erase, I think Sea Titan is too strong to pass up, especially since I am also giving him Kong. This is one of those scenarios were you get 1 amazing card, but have to pass 2 amazing cards; they hurt.
Thoughts: Forcemage Apprentice is excellent with Sage, easy pick. Vital Mission is excellent targeted banish removal, and it is especially strong against Evil. Wither and Army of the Apocalypse aren’t strong enough to contest those choices in this situation.
Thoughts: The name of the game is deny Paul draw, so I take Resurrection here. It helps that it is an amazing card. It makes me sad that he gets Succubus, but I can live with that. Inner Peace is fairly weak in draft, and I don’t think he has the loyalty to support Strafing Dragon (especially without the draw). That leaves him Rampaging Wurm, not great for him.
Thoughts: I really want Juggernaut since it is an amazing Sage card. But, I do not expect him to take it, since I don’t think he has the Sage. In addition, I want to deny him the card draw from Crystal Golem. Since The Risen is weak, I expect him to take Flame Strike and Trihorror.
Thoughts: I am incredibly surprised to see Dark Assassin, since I know he is going Evil, he has to be based on what I passed him, I think. I am not going to take it though since my Evil is weak. My Wild is also weak so I’m not taking Wurm Hatchling. This leaves me with White Dragon and Corpse Taker, both of which are strong 0-cost cards.
Thoughts: This pack has 5 excellent cards to choose from. I am taking Zombie Apocalypse because it is A) an off-turn board clear, B) I already have Inheritance of the Meek and Wave of Transformation so I believe I have them all now, C) it is another Evil card to deny Paul’s Evil loyalty, D) I think he will take Turn and Frost Giant over Apocalypse and Stand Alone, but I think he would take Zombie Apocalypse over either Turn or Frost Giant. If he does take Frost Giant and Turn, he will not gain any additional card draw. I’m not sure what his board clear picks look like, so we shall see what he takes.
Thoughts: The choice for me is between Divine Judgement and Hasty Retreat. A 0-cost bounce is incredible, but drawing him a card if I can’t block the champion first is not great for me. Divine Judgement seems a bit less painful since I do not expect to have a lot of champions out at once. He will definitely take Medusa, and he will probably take Divine Judgement. I don’t think he has the Good for High King, and Djinn is pretty bad.
Thoughts: I do not know what card he picked, but he should not have given me Psionic Assault. Since I am already seeking to deny him card draw, giving me Psionic Assault will just compound his problems, especially since I have Thought Plucker. I do not think he saw Thought Plucker though, and it isn’t easy to guess my card denying goal. I would usually snap up Time Walker since I am going Sage, but I think a strong number of his champions have powerful tribute effects, so I don’t want to let him replay them to draw more. Warrior Golem is also decent for my Sage, and it is another 0-cost card. Priestess of Angeline is solid in Good, but I’m not going Good.
This was an interesting draft because I actually spent more thought building my opponent’s deck than my own. Honestly, I normally try to counter my opponent, but writing everything down and thinking clearly about what my opponent will probably pick kicked it up a notch.
In addition, I might have forced him into an over-abundance of slow champions, but I’m not sure.
I won the first 2 games in the best 2 of 3 with this deck. In the first game, I wasn’t able to really deplete his hand, but Sea Titan was unanswered for too many turns and won me the game. In the second game, Psionic Assault just controlled the entire game.
When comparing notes (his post can be found here: Sample Epic Dark Draft 3/16/16 (Paul)), I found out that Paul had not tread the path as closely as I was hoping. In the very first hand, he passed up Angel of Death to go Bitten and Plague because he didn’t want to be committed to Evil that early on. So, my entire draft strategy was based on an assumption that was false. In addition, to avoid getting locked out of drawing fully, he did take Ancient Chant and Demon Breach from the passed cards. From his first picks Memory Spirit, Lightning Storm, Raging T-Rex, and Triceratops all helped stop my no card draw strategy. Demon Breach recall seriously slowed down my Psionic Assault assault in the second game. In addition, I am beginning to more highly value Demon Breach now then during this draft. I’m still not at the point where I would draft it though, probably.
Looking back over my picks, the only ones I am sort of questioning are rounds 3b and 10b. I possibly should have taken The People’s Champion over Lash, but Lash is insane so probably not. I also possibly should have taken Time Walker over Warrior Golem. Overall, I was very pleased with how the draft went.