Month: May 2018

Eternal Limited Report – 2 weeks of sealed and a great event finish

No article last week because I bought the new God of War game and…well, not much else got done. I managed to play most of my event games, but I didn’t have any time to write. Well, I did, but nothing could tear me away from God of War.

May Sealed – Week 1

I left off having decided on this build for the first week of competition:

Spoiler for uess how I did...

9-1 ; 13-7 in tiebreakers (22-8 overall)

This was the greediest of all of my potential builds, but certainly the most powerful by far. It had a fantastic curve, and the top-end was loaded with incredible value. There were still some fairly mediocre cards in a sealed format. Minotaur Oathkeeper isn’t that useful when your units are either 2/1s or huge. Soaring Guard was solid for triggering Valkyrie Ally, but that was about it. I didn’t even have any relic weapons for which he could get value. Ironclad Oath is an okay trick, and something that this deck actually needed, on account of its lack of removal. Still, having to leave up 4 power to play it on defense was a big risk. If my opponent didn’t walk into it, I felt real dumb. On the flipside, it was an excellent finisher in close games. And nobody expected the second one.

Crownwatch Longsword was also pretty mediocre. I usually like a few weapons in sealed, simply because your opponent won’t have many ways to blow you out. However, this deck did not have any issues punching through. I was more concerned with gumming up the ground until my bombs could take over, and Longsword is a risky play in that respect. Weapons are way less powerful on defense.

Skycrag Stranger was the unsung hero of the deck, the glue that held my ambitious powerbase together. Pteriax Hatchling proved itself worthy of the splash, and Crownwatch Quartermaster was as absurd as predicted. I played very conservative with him, running out just about every other threat into my opponent’s silences and removal, and I was rewarded handsomely when they ran out of gas and I gave my random 2/2 +4/+4 every turn until they died.

Refresh was also incredible. When Set 1 was the draft format and you saw a lot more Refreshes, it was easy to get flooded on them. Because it doesn’t buff attack, you certainly don’t want too many, but in this deck, which only wants to hold the fort until it’s bomb time, it was the perfect trick. I ate a lot of combat tricks with it and had a brick wall of a blocker leftover afterward.

A 9-1 record is a fantastic start to the league. It definitely made me eager to play out all my tiebreaks, as I have a legitimate shot at a top finish with that kind of start. The tiebreakers didn’t go quite as well. I had some power-screw issues that didn’t crop up during the ranked matches. I definitely feel like 13-7 was a bit underperforming for the deck, but then 9-1 was probably a bit better than I deserved, so I’m glad it worked out in the order it did!

Interestingly, I started last month’s league 22-8 as well, but I did it in the wrong order, going 5-5, then 17-3 in tiebreaks. The order of your wins matters! I kind of hate that, especially since it’s not like we get Swiss pairings, but what can ya do?

May Sealed – Week 2

Time to crack some new packs! Always exciting. Here are the two packs I cracked:

How ’bout those rares? Barf. Not getting any help there. Not getting a ton of help in general. The quality of these packs is very, very low. The only not-completely-meh cards are the Trail Maker and the Into the Furnace. The latter isn’t on my radar at all, as Fire is simply a splash, and I have no Grenadin to even make it do 4. Trial Maker, on the other hand, is excactly what the doctor ordered. It really smooths out my greedy 4-faction power base, ramps me to my bombs, and even happens to be an explorer for my sentinel friend.

Amber Waystone is another obvious inclusion, though it is probably rare that I’ll make it to TTTT. Doesn’t cost me anything to play it, though. Silverwing Smith and Copperhall Marshal are both playable cards, but I’m pretty full on 3s, and I certainly don’t need a third Marshal in my 1-ish weapon deck (I do have Arcanist, technically). Silverwing Smith does help trigger my Crownwatch Quartermaster, and it’s a nice flying body to buff with the ability, but it’s nothing too thrilling.

I actually never took a screenshot of the final deck for week 2, but I wound up only swapping Soaring Guard for Trail Maker. I cut a Justice Sigil for the Amber Waystone, figuring that Trail Maker made hitting early Time more important, and he could help fix me for the Justice if I needed it.

Not a huge upgrade by any means, but hey, it worked last week, right?

Spoiler for uess how I did...

8-2, 9-3* in tiebreakers (39-13 overall)

I did not get to finish all of the tiebreakers because I waited until the night before the reset…and then my internet died. Classic Alaskan stuff. Unfortunate that it cost me some potential tiebreaker wins, but I’m satisfied with where I ended up. At 17-3, with 22 tiebreaker wins, I was sitting in 20th place before the reset. Pretty thrilled about that!

Trail Maker was as good as I hoped, and the deck felt a great deal more consistent in its power development. There aren’t many other comments to make on how the deck played out, seeing as I didn’t change much. Here’s to opening better packs next week!

Even with the mediocre opens in pack 2, I was roughly 20th at the end of Week 2, which leaves me within striking distance of the top. Unfortunately, missing those few tiebreaker wins may come back to bite me, as I only have 22 despite my stellar 17-3 record in ranked matches.

Bonus coverage: There Can be Only One Event

We had a second event running last weekend that I was pretty excited to play. The rules were simple: Singleton constructed. You could only play one copy of each non-power card in your deck. Here is what I jammed for my five ranked runs:

I went 3-3, 7-2, 7-1, 7-1, 3-3, for a combined total of 27-10 with this pile of goodstuff, which was good enough for a 59th-place finish.

My theory in deckbuilding was fairly simple: People can only run a single copy of each of the good removal spells, but I can run a whole lot more beefy threats than that. When it comes right down to it, an unanswered Amilli is effectively the same thing as an unanswered Cirso, which is the same thing as an unanswered Worldbearer Behemoth, and so on. The gap between those cards and the role they play in the game is fairly small, whereas the gap between Vanquish and the next-best thing is massive.

Unsuspecting all-stars were Marisen, the Eldest and Moondial. Yeah, I won games on the back of Mystic Ascendant or Predatory Carnosaur, but we knew how good those cards are already. Marisen, though, was absolutely insane. The sheer threat density of my deck meant that my opponent soon ran out of removal. In the mirror matches, where my opponent was putting my removal under similar pressure and boards were stalling out, Marisen just went far over the top of anything they could do. Moondial was a similarly fantastic answer to stalled boards. Interestingly, pretty much every Time deck I played against had a Moondial, but I did not see a single other Marisen.

I’m pretty sure the power base was a hot mess, but between the Time fixers and the Primal card draw spells, I managed to get there more often than not. It may be correct to cut Amilli for something else because there were a lot of games where I didn’t quite get to JJJ.

Other cards I wasn’t sure about were Twinning Ritual and Trailblaze. With Trailblaze, I figured hey, a bit more consistency, but when the games actually played out, it didn’t feel very impactful, and I would almost always have rather spent my power doing something more productive. Twinning Ritual wound up being pretty good. Again, the theory behind the deck was to overwhelm my opponent’s answers with big threats. That meant I had a dearth of cheap things to do, as well as some of the best possible card quality. Combine that, season with a few Echo cards and I figured it was worth a shot. It performed decently well, but I’m still not sure if it was overall correct to run.

Channel the Tempest was also excessively greedy, but good luck getting me to not play that card.

 

Eternal Limited Report – April sealed recap and the build for May

I finally got around to playing out the rest of my ranked matches for the April sealed league right about 9pm on April 30th. While the deck began as one I was excited about, I became less and less excited to play it as the weeks wore on and my packs failed to deliver anything exciting. For May’s league, DWD announced that we’ll be getting two packs per week instead of one, which is a welcome change. Hopefully we’ll get to see our decks make some meaningful leaps throughout the month this time around.

My final pack gave me one nice pickup in a Torch, but the deck was still crippled by its lack of units (especially cheap ones) and any way to deal with a threat that grew out of range of my relic weapons. Here is the final deck I played to close out the league:

My best shot to win with this deck was to pray that I had some cheap units to go with the myriad relic weapons. I absolutely had to gain tempo on my opponent and at least get them within striking distance of a Flame Blast or Flight Lieutenant kill. Games where I fell behind quickly became hopeless if my opponent had any reasonable ways to keep the pressure up on me. Relic weapons are incredible when you’re ahead because they not only trade 1-for-1 with your opponent’s units, but they also open up attacks with your own units so you can really pressure your opponent’s life total.

However, when you have to use a Magma Javelin to kill a 4/4 while still winding up behind on the board, you’re just toast. Yeah, you killed their thing, but you took effectively 3 damage to do so, and you’re going to get attacked to boot. Moreover, in a deck like this which basically has zero ways to kill a unit with more than 4 health (barring warcries landing on my relic weapons), even if you keep the board at parity with your relic weapons, you still are likely to wind up losing the long game.

I started 8-8 before playing my remaining games (though 17-3 in my tiebreaks, which is pride I will take to my grave, even if they didn’t count at all). In the 24 games I played, I went 13-11. Not spectacular. That put me at 21-19 overall, just barely over 50%. It put me comfortably in the top 5000, but without any shot at top 1000, so I didn’t bother with any tiebreaker games. If you count my tiebreaks (pride!), I went a total of 38-22 with this deck, which is quite good. I just didn’t pick a great time to do my winning. Silly me.

I do think the deck was solid, but it did break one of the cardinal rules I outlined in my first sealed article: Don’t be aggressive unless you absolutely have to. I do think the pool backed me into that corner, as I had no removal or great bombs in other factions. Still, I think I definitely could have hit top-1000 with a little extra luck. My problem was that I didn’t even do aggression that well, with the lack of units. A few more 2-drops to go with my relic weapons would have gone a long way. Playing a 3/2 on 2 and then removing their blockers turn after turn with my weapons would have been a great game plan. I just didn’t have that option.

One thing I did notice was many of my opponents playing straight-up 3-faction decks, which I suppose shouldn’t have been too surprising with how weak Sets 2 and 3 can be. Maybe that’s the way to go. Maybe I should have just gone deep on Time and played some of the greedier cards like Frenzied Omnivore. Maybe not. At the end of the month, I’m content with how I built the deck, I think, but there’s definitely an argument to be made for getting greedier.

May’s Pool

Well, no amount of whining about my streakiness is going to bring back April’s league. It’s time to move on to May and see what I’ve got to work with. Here’s the pool, sorted by faction (click to enlarge):

I abandoned my typical process for this pool. Can you guess why? It’s because Justice was about twice as deep as any other faction. There’s just no way I don’t wind up base-J with those cards. I’ve got two sweet bombs in Rolant’s Honor Guard and Crownwatch Quartermaster, as well as a solid number of cheap units and some nice late game power outside of my bombs. My building process simply became a competition to see which faction(s) paired best with Justice.

So what do the other factions have on offer? Well, Fire doesn’t have much beyond Gun Down. I could definitely splash that, however. It’s a solid removal spell that can deal with larger threats. It’s got a few solid 2s in Oni Cavediver and Spark Hatcher, but those aren’t enough to draw me into the faction completely.

Likewise, Time doesn’t have anything incredible, but it does have some very solid options, including an Amber Acolyte, which will help with any potential splashes. Clockroach is a decent card by itself, as the first one will buff the second, meaning you wind up with a 2/2 and a 3/3 in one card. Not the best for 6 power, but also still quite reasonable. Refresh is an excellent combat trick because the health buff sticks around. Trading it for a removal spell or an opposing combat trick feels great. Oasis Seeker is a pretty good 2-drop as far as those go, and Dispel is a reasonable way to deal with opposing flyers. None of these are particularly exciting, but remember that Justice is incredibly deep and I just need to fill in holes here and there to make my deck tick.

Primal has Snow Pelting and Jarrall’s Frostkin, but it doesn’t have any yetis to go with the Pelting, and none of the other cards are exciting. Pelting is playable even without Yetis, but I’m not gonna splash for it just to deal 2. Frostkin is a little more exciting, but you need to be able to deploy him on curve to really get the benefit of his tempo. Even if I had a few dinos, Clutchkeeper is just too expensive. I think they were too conservative in costing her, to be honest. You have to have a pretty damn stacked dino to even be able to play mama-saur, but if you’ve got a dino with 6 attack, why aren’t you beating down?

Shadow is just…garbage. Tock Ticks are cute with Clockroach, but where’s the removal?! That’s shadow’s main strength, and there just isn’t any. At all. Not even an Affliction. Barf.

My multifaction/neutral situation is interesting. Praxis gives me Purify and two copies of Noble Firmane. However, I don’t think the Firemanes are very good in sealed, as your deck simply won’t be focused enough to take advantage of the ability, and I won’t be able to play them on 2 in my base-Justice deck. Purify is another thing I could splash, if I wind up playing Time with the Amber Acolyte.

Skycrag Stranger would help me splash either Fire or Primal. Glad to have a faction stranger this time around. Pteriax Hatchling is an incredible card, and one I’m very keen to try and play if at all possible. It’s just everything you want in a sealed unit. Flyer? Check. Card advantage? Check. Flexibility on curve? Check.

Longhorn Sergeant is fine. If I was to play Rakano, he’d make the cut, but I don’t think I’m going to splash for him. I’m all about warcry, but it takes some work to line up a spot where a 4-cost 2/4 gets to attack, which makes him not quite worth the splash.

Deepwood Ranger isn’t going to get there. Towering Stranger is huge, and I’d play it if I was Skycrag for sure, but I don’t think I’m in for a double-splash. Same with Topaz Drake. I love the big 5/3 charge flyer, but I’ve already got a couple expensive flyers. Though this one closes out the game very quickly, I don’t think it’s quite powerful enough to stretch my faction base to play. Rolant’s Honor Guard can completely turn a lost game around. This guy can’t quite do that, and only having 3 health exposes it to a lot of removal.

Family Charter is a card I’ll play if I need a 28th playable, but I’m not thrilled. It goes up in value if I don’t have other mana sinks, but considering I’ve got a Crownwatch Quartermaster and a bunch of other 6+ drops, I’m good on big mana sinks.

Ultimately, the pool is very, very light on removal. Unlike my last pool, where I was actually flooded with relic weapons, I don’t have a single one here. Justice has a ton of solid units and a couple of combat tricks, but only Entrapment for removal. That alone pushes me toward playing FTJ for Gun Down and Purify to help out. Adding Refresh and Dispel gives me a couple more decent ways to interact. The final question is: Do I splash the Pteriax Hatchling on top of the Fire cards? I do have that Skycrag Stranger which is essentially a “free” primal source, since I would have played it for the Fire splash anyway. Amber Acolyte is another source. Adding one Primal Sigil would give me three sources for a single card. That seems reasonable to me. I’ll give it a shot for a few games, at least.

One final card I considered was the Family Charter. I wasn’t high on it earlier, but if I am going to splash two factions, it might be worth playing for both the early scout to help me find my power and the later-game digging for a missing faction. The counterpoint to that is that, by adding Pteriax Hatchling, I am upping my individual card quality, so I don’t need to draw extra cards to out-value my opponent. My cards should (hopefully) be more powerful overall, so going 1-for-1 with them should favor me. In theory, anyway. It’s choices like this that really make me long for a best-of-three mode in Eternal. Being able to bring in something like Family Charter in matchups where it would shine would go a long way to making borderline cards like Charter see more play.

Ultimately, I’m going to start Charter on the bench, but I may take another look at the deck after week 1. Here is the final product:

This deck has some beef and some nice defensive tools, as well as some cheap flying dorks to go over the top. It’s going to be weak to large ground-pounders, so I’ll have to be careful with spending my Entrapment and Ironclad Oaths, since I may need them to help stabilize a board. If I can avoid getting overpowered early on the ground, I should be able to get in enough chip shots with flyers to win.

I’m not thrilled with Soaring Guard or Silverwing Smith. However, I have a few ways to make them better in Longsword, Minotaur Oathkeeper, Crownwatch Paladin, and Roosting Owl. Plus, Crownwatch Quartermaster does have the Valkyrie Ally ability, which can help stabilize a board long enough to get his activated ability going. They will hopefully be the first cards cut (unless I open some nice relic weapons), but they should be serviecable for now.

The power base is obviously a little shaky, playing 4 factions, but I think it’s good enough. I’m only actually splashing three cards, so I may have a dead card here or there, but I should be okay even if that happens because the card quality in this deck is quite high. That’s the plan, anyway.

So that’s my deck for this week! I’ll report back once I’ve played a few matches and discuss what I opened out of my Set 3 packs. I’m hoping for some Trail Makers, Omnivores, and Entrapments!

Until next time.

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