In our Epic Guest Blogger series, we welcome Nicholas Heal, Epic 2016 World Championship competitor and all-around good guy.

 

Hello! I’m Nicholas Heal, a 25-year-old card game enthusiast from Wakefield, MA! I recently competed in the Epic World Championship and have come to share some information I learned while preparing for the tournament that might help others improve upon their game.

Helpful Links:

http://www.epiccardgame.com/formats/ (Different ways to play EpicCG)

http://decks.epiccardgame.com/decklists/tournament (Decklists from EpicCG tournaments)

http://www.epiccardgame.com/card-gallery/ (Card gallery without uprising)

http://www.epiccardgame.com/uprising-card-list/ (Uprising Card Gallery)

 

Constructed:

The 0 rule: You only need to have two 1 gold cards (1s) of a faction (Good, Evil, Sage, Wild) for every 0 cost cards (0s) of a faction (Good, Evil, Sage, Wild) if you have less then twenty 0 cost cards.

-That means a deck can have a range of (0-20) for 0s and a range of (40-60) for 1s.

-If you play less than twenty 0s you can have slots in your deck that are unaligned

-There is a debate on which is correct, no one knows (I’m a true 20 believer but I can see myself playing fewer if the format dictates specific answers)

With that out of the way, I can start talking about the constructed format in general. Because of the ratios needed for legality, I found that it was better to start building decks from the 0s rather then the 1s.

.
When I first get into a card game I tend to build an “Aggro” Deck (A deck which seeks to use the least amount of resources in order to finish the game as quick as possible) and a “Control” Deck (A deck which seeks to generate more resources then the opponent and win the game through that advantage)

 

Wild Aggro

0s:

Flash Fire

Fireball

Wild Shaman

Flame Spike

Rage

Anklyosaurus

Lash

Feeding Frenzy

 

You’ll notice there are 8 cards on the list, but if you put 3 copies of each into your deck that gives 24 cards. There is a branch as to what you can do.

  • Try to get it down to 20 by maximizing individual card numbers: 3x: Flash Fire, Fireball, Wild Shaman, Flame Spike, Rage, Anklyosaurus (18)  2x: Lash (2)
  • Try to get it down to 20 by maximizing individual card name  3x: Flash Fire, Fireball, Wild Shaman, Flame Spike (12) 2x: Rage, Anklyosaurus, Lash, Feeding Frenzy (8)

Both of these techniques work, I prefer the first method when I don’t have a lot of time to play test and the second when I do because it allows me to see more interactions and get a feel for cards that I feel are more situational in nature and less powerful from an abstract sense.

Now that we have a 0s base, we can start by building the 1s portion of our deck. By the 0s we have to have 40 Wild (W) 1s.

(For simplicity sake, I will have the same 1s core for both decks)

1s:

Kong

Raging T-Rex

Brachiosaurus

Strafing Dragon

Hunting Raptors

Draka’s Enforcer

Pyrosaur

Rampaging Wurm

Flame Strike

Fires of Rebellion

Smash and Burn

Surprise Attack

Savage Uprising

 

13 cards round out the list of cards I want to play at 3X which brings us to another interesting question: What to do with the last slot?

One-ofs, fun-ofs, and what have you: Sometimes you’ll run into an empty slot in the deck and won’t know what card to put into it. I prefer to include cards that allow you to attack from a different angle then normally. For example, in this deck I would prefer a card like Draka, Dragon Tyrant (If you want another champion) or a card like Lightning Storm (if you want some protection against being gold screwed) but ultimately, the decision should be one that is made rather then one that is randomly assigned. In playtesting if I have one-ofs in the deck I make sure to note if any other card would be better when it is in my hand.

With that we have a list that looks like:

 

Wild 0s: 20

3 Flash Fire

3 Fireball

3 Flame Spike

3 Rage

3 Anklyosaurus

3 Wild Shaman

2 Lash

 

Wild 1s: 40

3 Surprise Attack

3 Flame Strike

3 Fires of Rebellion

3 Smash and Burn

3 Savage Uprising

1 Lightning Storm

3 Kong

3 Raging T-Rex

3 Brachiosaurus

3 Strafing Dragon

3 Hunting Raptors

3 Draka’s Enforcer

3 Pyrosaur

3 Rampaging Wurm

 

And with that the aggro deck is done. And now, to build the control deck. Unlike the aggro deck, in where we started with the 0s cards, with control we are gonna start with the 1s. Unfortunately, this process is a little more complicated then just starting with the 0s.

 

 

4 Color Control

Since the focus on control decks is a card advantage source, a quick search through the cards gives us these champions:

Winter Fairy (S)

Thought Plucker (S)

Knight of Shadows (S)

 

What do each of these champions have in common?  They are all Sage, and they replace themselves when you play them, so even if your opponent deals with them you will be up a card. Winter Fairy and Thought Plucker get you a card when they connect, with Knight being a big enough threat that they have to deal with quickly.

A control deck needs flexible answers to survive, and there is nothing more flexible then board clears that work on your opponent’s turn.

Martial Law (G)

Inheritance of the Meek (G)

Quell (G)

Zombie Apocalypse (E)

Wave of Transformation (S)

 

Of these five, three clear the board but give your opponent some tokens, Inheritance clears non-tokens only and Quell can only clear (0) champions on your opponents turn, but does so and draws a card. Of these options, I think we only need the ones that make tokens.

 

That brings us to this list:

Winter Fairy (S)

Thought Plucker (S)

Knight of Shadows (S)

Martial Law (G)

Zombie Apocalypse (E)

Wave of Transformation (S)

 

Since we have board clears that leave behind tokens, we’re gonna want some ways to clear them up for free.

 

Raxxa’s Enforcer (E)

Raxxa, Demon Tyrant (E, Loyalty 2)

War Machine (S, Loyalty 2)

Pyrosaur (W, Loyalty 2)

Draka, Dragon Tyrant (W, Loyalty 2)

 

Looking at the cards that are already on the list, I would tend to the side of War Machine, by the virtue of it being Sage-based loyalty.

Now that we have the board clears in the deck, we should focus on single target removal.

 

Palace Guard (G)

Medusa (E, Loyalty 2)

Kong (W)

Drain Essence (E)

Flame Strike (W)

Fires of Rebellion (W)

Vital Mission (G)

 

I personally like Drain Essence and Flame Strike as single target removal, since Flame Strike can go face to close out a game, and Drain Essence is health gain in a pinch. (Because of how the game resolves cards, you can play cards without targets and still resolve relevant effects)

 

Updated list looks like:

Winter Fairy (S)

Thought Plucker (S)

Knight of Shadows (S)

Martial Law (G)

Zombie Apocalypse (E)

Wave of Transformation (S)

War Machine (S, Loyalty 2)

Drain Essence (E)

Flame Strike (W)

 

If we play three of each card, that is 27 cards. Assuming twenty 0s, we have thirteen 1s spot left in the deck. We have a pretty strong core, and just need some utility cards in order to smooth out the deck.

 

Lesson Learned (S)

Surprise Attack (W)

Final Task (E)

 

With these cards added to the list, that makes 4 1s spots left. Since our factions are all over the place, I think its a proper time to make the 0s of the deck.

Currently, our card numbers are: S:18 E:9 W:6 G:3

That gives us a 0s requirement of: S:9 E:5 (with 1 of the remaining deck slots going to a evil 1s) W:3 G:2 (with 1 of the remaining deck slots going to a good 1s) and 1 slot unaffiliated.

 

Sage 0s:

Muse

Amnesia

Frantic Digging

Fumble

Hasty Retreat

 

Only real note is that if you expect a lot of aggro, you should consider fumble/hasty in deck.

 

Evil 0s:

Guilt Demon

Heinous Feast

Raxxa’s Curse

 

I would caution against filling your deck with cards that banish the discard pile. If you spend too many slots to build specifically against decks that are playing “fair” you might end up the wrong side of a flurry of burn.

 

Wild 0s:

Fireball

Flame Spike

Flash Fire

Personally I prefer Flash Fire because of the synergies with Wave of Transformation and Zombie Apocalypse.

 

Good 0s:

Second Wind

Blind Faith

 

Both have their uses, I prefer Second Wind myself. Blind Faith is powerful option that is very hard to play around.

In order to finish the list, we only have a few undecided slots left. Currently this is where I stand:

0s: 19

Sage: 9

3 Muse

3 Amnesia

3 Frantic Digging

 

Evil:5

2 Guilt Demon

2 Raxxa’s Curse

1 Heinous Feast

 

Wild: 3

3 Flash Fire

 

Good: 2

2 Second Wind

1 TBD

1s: 38

 

Sage: 18

3 Winter Fairy

3 Thought Plucker

3 Knight of Shadows

3 War Machine

3 Wave of Transformation

3 Lesson Learned

 

Evil: 10

3 Zombie Apocalypse

3 Drain Essence

3 Final Task

1 TBD

 

Wild: 6

3 Flame Strike

3 Surprise Attack

 

Good: 4

3 Martial Law

1 TBD
Undetermined: 2

 

The only thing I think this deck is missing is some way to just draw a million cards. Well that card is Ancient Chant. If you’re wondering why I didn’t put Ancient Chant with the utility cards, it’s because I wanted to have a little section just about Ancient Chant and how certain cards interact with it.

Ancient Chant Interactions of which to be aware:

Ancient Chant in the discard pile → Play Lesson Learned using the second ability with Ancient Chant as the target → Draw 4 cards (1 from the first time it leaves the discard to the play area, 2 cards from the resolution of Ancient Chant, and 1 card when it gets banished from the discard as part of Lesson Learned)

Recycle interaction → you get to draw another card if you recycle Ancient Chant.

Single target banish effects (Guilt Demon) → Remember that in a pinch you can banish Ancient Chants in your discard to draw another card.

Frantic Digging → You can discard Ancient Chant to Frantic Digging and Recycle it to draw 3 cards (1 card from the effect of Digging, 1 card from the Recycle, 1 card from the Chant getting banished)

Getting your discard pile banished with a Chant in it. → Remember your card!

Also I wanted to talk about how cards work with Frantic Digging as an example. Currently in the rules, if you have no other cards in hand when you play Frantic Digging you can activate its effect without paying the cost (Technically, you resolve the card from top to bottom and just ignore any of the effects you can’t use) that means, if you have Frantic Digging as your last card in hand you can draw 2 cards! (1 from the effect, 1 from the recycle).

As I mentioned earlier, Drain essence can be used to just gain 9 health, without it having to target a champion.

Thanks for being patient with me through all those interaction and rules explanation, now lets finish the deck!

 

 

Currently we have 5 slots missing, while we could decide to run 19 0s, with 3 Ancient chant being the last 0 and the last 2 unaligned slots and go from there but I personally want to run the full 20 so we’ll have to get a little bit creative to find out where that last chant is going to be.

Looking back on the list we have now, the only real card I would feel comfortable shaving down to 2 cards is Winter Fairy. Not having ambush makes it a tad clunky in multiples, so I like trimming to 2.

With that done, we are down to 3 slots left undecided; a Sage 0s, a Good 1s, and a Evil 1s. What they are depends on player preference, and I’ll explain my preference for each right now.

 

Fumble

 

Don’t underestimate this card, otherwise it will blow you out. Impossible to play around completely, and even preventing 5 or 6 damage is enough to turn the tide of a game, also you get to draw a card as well!

 

Palace Guard

 

While pretty unexciting, it is a solid card that gives you a flexible answer to whatever threats your opponent will play. Other cards I could see in this spot is Avenging Angel (Put your opponent to the test, have an answer or GG), or Divine Judgment (as another board clear). Though if you feel like a certain card is correct, feel free to try it out and lemme know in the comments!

 

Raxxa’s Enforcer

 

Another “Safe” pick for a one of. This card should be just fine as it has synergies with some of our board clears while being a big body. Other cards that I could see being played in this slot are Drinker of Blood (for the burst damage out of nowhere), or Necromancer Lord (While getting Loyalty 2 for Evil is a little rough for this deck, Necromancer Lord can just take over a game).

With all that in mind, here is my finished list:

 

0s: 20

Sage: 10

3 Muse

3 Amnesia

3 Frantic Digging

1 Fumble

 

Evil:5

2 Guilt Demon

2 Raxxa’s Curse

1 Heinous Feast

 

Wild: 3

3 Flash Fire

 

Good: 2

2 Second Wind

 

1s: 40

 

Sage: 20

2 Winter Fairy

3 Thought Plucker

3 Knight of Shadows

3 War Machine

3 Ancient Chant

3 Wave of Transformation

3 Lesson Learned

 

Evil: 10

3 Zombie Apocalypse

3 Drain Essence

3 Final Task

1 Raxxa’s Enforcer

 

Wild: 6

3 Flame Strike

3 Surprise Attack

 

Good: 4

3 Martial Law

1 Palace Guard

 

And with that the deck is completed, I hope that reading through this process will help you design decks in the future. There are many ways to build a deck, and I’ve found that the the easiest way to get into a game is to first start by building a deck that is very proactive (which usually means an aggressive style deck) and after I’ve familiarized myself with the cards and rules in the game, then I start to get creative and explore other options. By breaking up the amount of work that I do when I first get into a game into chunks, I can prevent myself from getting overwhelmed by the amount of options that present itself.

 

Thoughts on the Constructed Metagame:

If Worlds was any indicator, there are a bunch of viable strategies with Kark being probably the best strategy after the weekend. I tested Kark a little bit in the early stages of testing, but quickly discarded it when I couldn’t really beat a Psionic assault, like ever, it would show up and then I would run out of cards and die. I figured that it was more likely that people would be on Thought Plucker decks and Wild Aggro, due to the power of Thought Plucker and the ease of build with Wild Aggro (As long as 40% of the cards are right, the other cards really don’t matter). I decided to play a Wild Aggro list with 3 fumble and 2 hasty retreat in order to gain points in the aggro mirror I expected to play.

I found that the Plucker decks had a trouble with direct damage, as their ways to gain health weren’t as efficient at answering the threats the aggro decks could put out, as well as the speed the aggro decks possessed. The Aggro deck had trouble with the Kark deck due to the fact that they could gain enough health reliably to deal with the direct damage, and had enough board clears to deal with the champions, usually just winning with a random Angel of Light.

Currently I see a few problems with the constructed format that I feel could be addressed very easily with card design going forward.

Rock Paper Scissors (RPS) Metagame:

I feel that this game currently evolves an RPS metagame, and that has to do with the way that constructed decks are built. The limitations for this game in the deck building rules is that for each one 0s card, two 1s cards of the same color have to be played. This allows a lot of flexibility for builders to design decks and find unique synergies across all colors, with cards rewarding the player for playing a commitment of a certain color as well to make sure that there are incentives for all types of decks to form. The flip side is that, since every deck can play every card, the decks will get more homogenized as the format evolves and as players preference shifts towards what is the meta. Currently this game doesn’t have the means to support the full evolution from Worlds towards the homogenized “finished” metagame. With lack of online tournament data, as well as the lack of a proper tournament scene for at least the foreseeable future we may never see what this format would look like.

Packages of Cards:

Since there are no side boards in EpicCG, every deck needs to be flexible and have answers for a wide variety of decks, otherwise the deck could just lose to something unforeseen. Epic Allows every deck to have access to every synergy, at the price of deck slots. What that means is that you can start your decks around a particular core group of specific packages, and have access to powerful cards in every deck.

For example, say that you were having trouble against a Psionic Assault/ Thought Plucker deck, and wanted a way to draw a lot of cards. You could fit this package into your deck to combat the discard.

3 Muse

3 Ancient Chant

3 Lesson Learned

 

I like starting my decks with this package

3 Muse

3 Wave of Transformation

3 Lesson Learned

3 Flash Fire

3 Flame Strike

3 Surprise Attack

 

When you start your decks with this particular set of cards, it means you get a board clear, (Flash Fire + Wave of Transformation) access to a 3 Gold Kill ( Flame Strike x2, 3 Flash Fire, 1xLesson Learned / Flame Strike), a powerful card advantage engine that demands an answer (Muse), and Surprise Attack (Best combo in the game is Surprise Attack + Champion). Also it gives your deck a lot of utility, by the virtue of half the cards also being D2S allowing you to just draw two when the other half of the card isn’t relevant.

Other Packages:

Evil control package:

3 Heinous Feast

3 Drain Essence

3 Zombie Apocalypse

 

Sage burst card advantage package:

3 Frantic Digging

3 Ancient Chant

3 Lesson Learned

 

Good healthgain package:

3 Second Wind

3 Avenging Angel

3 Gold Dragon

 

Just a sample of what packages look like. By figuring out specific packages of cards that are powerful against certain strategies

By giving every particular deck access to the same set of tools, if the cards themselves aren’t appropriately balanced to each other you run the risk of the game becoming “solved” with the slight variations in each deck being minuscule. That is an unhealthy meta-game, where there is only mild innovation going on instead of the robust innovation that happens in a healthy meta game. Fortunately, there are only a few cards that could send the game spiraling into a 2 or 1 deck metagame.

  • Chamberlain Kark- If there was any card to watch going forward, it’s this one. Winning both Worlds 2016 and the 2017 Worlds Qualifier is a big deal, and I have heard cries of “BAH-RO-KEN” from some players. I think the reason why Kark is such a big deal is because of the support that was given to him, and that player’s haven’t really figured out how to play against what was an unknown quantity going into Worlds.
  • Flame Strike- Currently I think that there is no more room for 7+ damage cards to players in the game. While not broken from a top tier competitive point, it was a little frustrating to have a deck that I spent hours theory crafting lose consistently to a pile of green cards I threw together ~5 minutes. (This really happened to me when I first started preparing for qualifiers) I don’t think that Flame Strike needs to be banned or anything, this is just a caution to the developers that Wild Aggro is by far the easiest deck to build and optimize and I think that Wild Aggro at a good power-level currently for the format.

 

Dark Draft:

What is Dark Draft?

Dark Draft is a limited format that uses 1 copy of each card as the card pool. It requires at least 100 different cards, and usually uses all of the cards in the format (as of time of writing the current format is: Base Game, Tyrants, Uprising. Which gives 216 unique cards)

Randomize the card pool (by whatever method, as long as both parties agree that the card pool is sufficiently randomized)

Deal out 5 cards to each player

Each player looks at their pack and takes 1 card, then passes the pack to the other player.

Each player then looks at the new pack of 4 cards, takes 2 and discard the rest.

Repeat this process 9 more times, so that each player will end up with a 30 card deck.

Play a game with the decks the players have drafted.

Worlds 2016 rules change: For Worlds, there was an additional rule added allowing for a 60 second review period after packs 3 and 7. (9 cards picked and 21 cards picked respectively)

My procedure for Dark Draft:

I do things a little differently for Dark Draft. The initial discovery of this method goes to my friends, Nick Blandin and Dade Finstein and it was discovered while testing for the World Championship. It came to me after we Dark Drafted for hours and I eventually fell asleep, they kept testing and came up with a way to simplify the process while also making sure that the card count wasn’t wrong (It’s harder then it looks after playing for 7 or 8 hours)

Here are the steps:

  1. Randomize the Card Pool
  2. Each Player counts a stack of 50 cards from the Card Pool
  3. Each Player randomizes their stack and then passes it to the other player
  4. Remove the unused portions of the Card Pool from the play area.
  5. Each Player then verifies that the number of cards in the stack they were passed is 50 (If lower, add cards from the card pool, if higher remove cards from the stack back into the card Pool)
  6. If both stacks are 50, Each player randomizes the stack they have and sets them down.
  7. Dark Draft as normal.

Makes it easier to verify 100 cards, and makes sure both players are helping in the set-up which speeds up the process a little bit.

If you have a different procedure, I would love to hear about it in the comments!                                                 

Defining “Play”

I use this term to describe how many decisions a game has, as I find that I enjoy games with a lot of decisions that you can use to generate small advantages over the course of the game itself. That isn’t to say a game with only a few decisions isn’t fun (look into Rock Paper Scissors Game Theory discussions if you’re interested in games with little decisions that are endlessly complex #JustThrowRock #AlwaysWorks).

Making informed decisions or “playing” while doing the draft instead of traditional Sealed Deck play which rewards building the most powerful and consistent option out of the cards you received, or traditional Draft play (Cube Draft in Epic) where the games largely play out depending on the relative strength of the top 10-15 cards of each players library (SMOrc Face) and I’ve found most of the enjoyment from traditional Draft play to be drafting the deck.

My Strategy for Dark Drafting is a little complex, but was made much simpler with the addition of review periods during Worlds 2016. (I recommend that the company adopts that into their official rules for the format, and for players to start Dark Draft with that rule in mind) This is due to the fact that I largely don’t really care what cards are in my deck as long as I have these deck building rules in mind.

Keep in mind, there is no particular order for this list I just want every deck to have this.

2 Clean Board Clear

1 Mass Discard Banish cards

1 Targeted Discard Banish cards

1 Direct Damage card

1 “Cheese” Card

 

It ain’t easy being Cheesy, Kappa

Did you guys know that Salt is a byproduct of Cheese? /s Cheese is a term from the RTS competitive scene that refers to a certain strategy that is designed to take an opponent by surprise and win a game but be very vulnerable to counter strategies and if the player fails to win very quickly they are often very far behind.[1]

Other then that I want the rest of my deck to be flexible and powerful. I don’t mind taking Loyalty 2 champions with only 4 cards of the faction in my deck because the games go long and you can sculpt a hand in which their abilities turn live through recycling. I like champions with ambush because they give me flexibility and making sure I can use my gold on each turn cycle. Draw 2 or Something (D2S) are important to pick up to make sure your hand is never empty, as a very easy way to lose the game is to not be able to use your gold on your opponents turn. I dislike having 0s champions that don’t replace themselves as there are many cards that remove 0s cost champions for very little or no cost and if you start to fall behind on tempo and cards the game spirals out of control from there.

 

Rationale behind the numbers:

2 Clean Board Clear

Zombie Apocalypse, Wave of Transformation, Apocalypse, Divine Judgment, Martial Law, Reap or Sow

Clean Board Clear are ones that just nuke the board, with no restrictions like non-token champions, or non-demon champions.

 

1 Mass Discard Banish

Heinous Feast, Amnesia, Grave Demon, Erratic Research

It’s important to have at least one of these in order to fit against your opponent decking out. If you have 1 of these and your opponent doesn’t, then as long as you go through the deck at the same pace as your opponent then you will eventually win.

 

1 Targeted Discard Banish cards

Guilt Demon, Corpse Taker, Keeper of Secrets, Corpsemonger

I like having one of these as a hedge against my opponent having a recall card, or other effect that relies on the discard pile.

 

1 Direct Damage card

Flame Strike, Forked Lightning, Lightning Storm, Savage Uprising, Fires of Rebellion, Rain of Fire

I like having one of these in my deck because direct damage is pretty hard to play around in certain situations and you can steal games that your opponent has stabilized.

 

1 “Cheese” Card

Mighty Blow, Deadly Raid

I like these cards because they allow you to pressure the opponent in Lose/Lose scenarios when you are ahead and trying to end the game. Being able to force your opponent into having a specific type of card in their hand in order to not lose the game is a good thing, and is your best friend when you’re very far behind because they never have it right?

 

During the Draft:

When you’re drafting it’s important to note certain cards that you are passing; cheese cards that can win the game out of nowhere like Deadly Raid or Mighty Blow so you know to avoid walking into them, board clear cards cards that can clear the board like Divine Judgment or Apocalypse so you don’t walk right into them, direct damage cards like Flame Strike or Fires of Rebellion so you know what health totals they can win the game from, combat tricks like Wolf’s Companion or Brave Squire, and powerful loyalty cards like Necromancer Lord or Raging T-Rex.

Being informed about your opponents deck makes you more informed during the game and you may be able to evade a misstep because of some information that is known to you. While some people have memory that can remember every card they passed their opponent, I find that mentally draining and found that by focusing on key cards it makes the process easier.

 

Thoughts on Dark Draft:

Out of the 3 formats that I had to prepare for, Dark Draft was by far my favorite. I liked how simple it was to set up, and the turn around time between Drafts is very quick. I wouldn’t mind playing an entire tournament centered around Dark Drafting, as it seemed to be the format with the most “play”.

 

Cube Draft:

What is Cube Draft?

Unlike Traditional Cube Draft (TCD), which uses a singleton card pool despite the rarity of the card itself, Epic uses Modified Cube Draft (MCD) rules by allowing certain cards to be more scarce then others by the red gem rarity marker.

In order to play Cube Draft you need these products first:

3 Copies of Epic CG (Base set)

3 Copies of Epic CG (Tyrants)

3 Copies of Epic CG (Uprising)

 

Then remove two copies of each card with a red-gem in the corner, and you got your card pool.

 

Draft Procedure:

  1. Randomize the Card Pool
  2. Have each player makes 3 packs of 15
  3. Draft the first pack passing to the left

->Review period

  1. Draft the second pack passing to the right

->Review period

  1. Draft the third pack passing to the left
  2. Cut 6 cards from the cards you have drafted
  3. Play against the player across the table from you (4 drafting spots away if 8 players,3 if 6 players, 2 if 4 players)

 

Draft Strategy:

Unlike Dark Draft, where you have to pay attention to pretty much every pick you give your opponent, In Cube you really only need to pay attention to your deck and what cards are in it. While it is nice knowing what cards are in the card pool, the most important thing is to make sure your deck is playable and focused. Take note of powerful cards that you’ve passed, especially the loyalty ones, so you can make more informed decisions in the games after the draft. In an 8 person draft, I generally just try to keep myself as open as possible and then I’ll commit when I see a powerful loyalty card in a color I’m in, I’m not too worried about individual card synergies and more worried about deck cohesion (unlike dark draft, where my focus is reversed).

What to do with the six cuts?

Honestly, I think some people are under utilizing the six cuts when they are drafting. You can use these six slots in the draft to defensive draft (taking a problematic card out of the card pool by picking it), and speculative archetype picks (for cards that are only good in a certain archetype). I generally like to save 3 slots for the last picks of each pack, as that is when you have the least control over which card you are given.

 

Thoughts on Cube Draft:

The Draft portion of Cube Draft is the best part of the format, and it’s really fun to see where the packs take you. I don’t really like how variant in power level or consistency the different archetypes feel, and  sometimes it feels like the person that wins the draft won the pairings lottery if everyone’s deck is very strong and focused or won the opening lottery is every players deck is very weak and unfocused.

I don’t like the rarity system that they use to determine what the card pool is for the draft, as it creates pools that lean heavily towards certain archetypes as well as the seemingly random distribution of red-gem and white-gem cards. (Corpsemonger vs Guilt Demon as an example) There are also cards that demand specific answers that a lot of the archetypes have problems with and some archetypes don’t care about that are white-gemmed as well. (Steel Golem)

I have heard from some players that the better version of Cube Draft is use a singleton copy of the game (216 Cards) and do a 4-man draft with it, using the same drafting procedure as Cube Draft. I haven’t played this yet so I don’t know if it’s fun or not, but it fixes the only issue that I have with Cube Draft currently (Card Ratios just feel weird).

 

Closing Thoughts:

While the game has its problems, I’m not too worried for the future of this game. I think that most of my issues comes from the fact that the game is so different from other competitive CGs and since it’s a young game and I expect it to only get better as time passes. This game is one of  my favorites to play with my friends at a bar, due to the simple complexities the game has. I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed making it, and wish you a happy holidays!

 

Bonus!  New Format:

Stack:

Stack is my favorite format to introduce players to the game, and it’s very simple to set up as well. It’s a format that is meant to be played by two player, but you can play with more if you follow the Multiplayer rule set that is in the game book.

Stack Procedure:

  1. Randomize a singleton copy of the game (Whatever you own, just make sure it’s only one copy of each card)
  2. Place the stack of cards in the middle
  3. Play a game of epic as normal
  4. After the game, place all used cards in a separate pile
  5. Play until you run out of cards, letting the loser of the previous game decide if they want to play or draw.

 

Additional Rule:

I like to play with a additional scoring rule myself. Whenever a player wins a game, they put all the cards that were used in the game into a pile outside of the play area. At the end of the stack, whoever has the most cards won is the winner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Gauntlet:

Solid decks against which you can test.

Wild Aggro:

3 Fireball

3 Flashfire

3 Flamespike

3 Spore Beast

3 Rage

3 Frantic Digging

2 Fumble

3 Brachiosaurus

3 Raging T-Rex

3 Hunting Raptors

3 Starfing Dragon

3 Kong

2 Rampaging Wurm

3 Flame Strike

3 Fires of Rebellion

3 Surprise Attack

3 Smash and Burn

1 Lightning Storm

1 Sea Titan

3 Wave of Transformation

3 Lesson Learned

3 Ancient Chant

 

Thought Plucker Tempo:

2 Wither

3 Guilt Demon

3 Flashfire

3 Frantic Digging

3 Muse

3 Fumble

3 Amnesia

1 Necromancer Lord

3 Drain Essence

3 Final Task

3 Zombie Apocalypse

3 Flame Strike

3 Surprise Attack

3 Thought Plucker

3 Knight of Shadows

3 Mist Guide Herald

3 War Machine

3 Lesson Learned

3 Wave of Transformation

3 Temporal Shift

3 Ancient Chant

 

Kark Deck Wins:

3 Priestess of Angeline

3 Brand

3 Consume

3 Second Wind

3 Blind Faith

3 Frantic Digging

2 Amnesia

1 Sea Titan

3 Reset

3 Ancient Chant

3 Lesson Learned

3 Drain Essence

3 Final Task

3 Angel of Light

3 Chamberlain Kark

3 Palace Guard

3 Noble Unicorn

2 Royal Escort

1 Angel of Mercy

3 Ceasefire

2 Inner Peace

2 Divine Judgement

2 Inheritance of the Meek

[1]    http://wiki.teamliquid.net/starcraft/Cheese