This is a blogpost written by Darwin Kastle, Lead Developer of Epic Card Game.
When drafting Epic, I have specific goals that I’m trying to accomplish with my picks. One of my biggest goals is being able to keep my hand size at the maximum of seven cards over the course of the game. This gives me the highest number of options in every situation as the game unfolds. It also lets me take advantage of free cards without inhibiting my ability to make good use of my gold every turn. Another advantage of always having lots of cards in hand is that it increases my chances of being able to trigger loyalty abilities when needed. Loyalty abilities are typically some of the most powerful effects in the game, so it’s important to be able to draft loyalty cards with the expectation that you will be able to make effective use of those cards.
My other big goal is to be able to both put massive pressure on my opponent, and to be able to remove the pressure my opponent puts on me. Cards that can accomplish both at once like Angel of Death, Medusa and Kong are especially exciting. Another way to accomplish this is with carefully set up sweepers that you can play on your opponent’s turn like Hurricane, Zombie Apocalypse, Wave of Transformation and Inheritance of the Meek. Played correctly, cards like these can allow you to start the turn with the pressure on your opponent, when they thought they were ending their turn with massive pressure on you.
With these goals in mind, I have specific categories of cards I’m looking for when I’m drafting.
Powerful draw twos. Having access to lots of cards is key and so is having things to spend your gold on your opponent’s turn in a variety of situations. While you wouldn’t want your entire deck to be draw two events, a powerful draw two is quite valuable.
- Draw two and do something else- Ceasefire, Feint, and Plague.
- Draw two or sweep the board- Divine Judgement, Wave of Transformation and Apocalypse.
- Free cards that can draw two- Flashfire, Hasty Retreat and Rage.
- Draw twos in the colors you want to get Loyalty and Ally triggers in.
Powerful free cards. To maximize the power of drawing lots of cards, you need high quality free cards.
- Removal- Wither, Fireball, and Spike Trap.
- Ambush blockers- Watchful Gargoyle, Plentiful Dead, and Dark Knight.
- Recycle- White Dragon, Priestess of Angeline, and Ogre Mercenary.
- Draw Twos- Flashfire, Amnesia, and Rage.
- Triggers in your main colors- Plentiful Dead, Fire Shaman, Keeper of Secrets.
Card draw champions. Anytime you can spend your gold to play a powerful champion and draw a card, that was probably gold well spent.
Tempo changing targeted removal. Removing an enemy champion while also gaining some other advantage is a critical way of gaining incremental advantage in Epic limited.
- Removal on opponent’s turn- Pyromancer, Drain Essence and Chomp!
- Free removal- Wither, Spike Trap, and Fireball
- Tribute removal- Kong, Palace Guard, and Medusa
Mass Removal. Games of Epic often get out of hand despite your best efforts. Mass removal is often your only way back into the game. While “normal” mass removal cards like Divine Judgment and Apocalypse are good, ones that you can play on your opponent’s turn are even better- like Wave of Transformation, Zombie Apocalypse and Hurricane. If you have lots of Red, Angel of Death is worth taking over almost any card.
Narrow Mass Removal. As I’ve mentioned, mass removal is powerful, if you can remove most champions while leaving some of yours behind, it can be even more powerful. Powerful examples include Hurricane, Inheritance of the Meek, and Flashfire. A similar effect can be achieved by playing with unbreakable champions and cards that break all champions.
Engines. Being able to assemble various cards into a powerful engine that’s greater than the sum of its parts can give you an overpowering advantage. Certain cards lend themselves to creating an engine that you can build around them- Plentiful Dead, Noble Unicorn, and Angel of Mercy.
Combos. Like Engines, drafting cards that create powerful combinations together can lead to wins. Some examples- Flash Fire or Wither plus Drinker of Blood and tokens. Amnesia plus Army of the Apocalypse or Zombie Apocalypse.
Discard Pile control. Since decking yourself wins you the game and since there are so many cards that take advantage of your discard pile, being able to banish your opponent’s discard pile is quite powerful. This includes cards like Amnesia, Guilt Demon and Keeper of Secrets.
Health Gain. Games of Epic are frequently quite close and big health swings can often be pivotal, especially if you do it while also affecting the rest of the game. My favorites are Angel of Light and Drain Essence, but free health gain like Priestess of Angeline and Unquenchable Thirst can be powerful too.
- Burn- Lightning Storm, Flame Strike, and Pyromancer.
- Mass enhancement- Courageous Soul, Deadly Raid, and The Risen.
- Large Blitz champions- Rampaging Wurm, Gold Dragon, and Frost Giant.
Given the power level and importance of the categories of cards that I’ve mentioned above, the most important cards and the cards that make the best first picks are usually cards that fall into more than one of these categories. Some examples of top cards for Epic draft:
Muse- I take Muse over almost anything. It’s free, it’s a champion that draws cards, and it’s basically an entire engine in one card.
Raging T-Rex- Not only is this a powerful card draw champion, it’s also a draw two and do something else card.
Flashfire- It’s free, it’s a draw two, it’s burn and it’s narrow mass removal that you can play on your opponent’s turn.
Amnesia- It’s free, it’s a draw two, it’s discard pile control and it plays a part in some powerful combos.
Drain Essence- It removes a champion on your opponent’s turn and not only does it not have a drawback while doing so, it gains you a whopping nine health. This makes it a perfect card for changing the game’s tempo in your favor.
Noble Unicorn- It’s a card draw champion that you can play on your opponent’s turn and it’s easy to create an engine around.
On the most basic level, when drafting Epic you need to make sure you have the right mixture of free cards and gold cards, as well as the right mixture of Champions, Champions with Ambush and Events. After that, you should try to focus your colors a bit, to take advantage of Loyalty and Ally abilities. Once you’re ready for something a bit more advanced than those basic concepts, try applying the things I’ve discussed above and you should find your results improving. Good luck!