Hex Clash is in full effect! I battled over the weekend, had a great time playing from the comfort of my own home, and even made the Top 8!
Sealed is going to be an ever-changing format, as what Scars of War has added to Herofall makes for a unique, deep, and exciting format. Last week I talked about what I thought where the top archetypes in sealed. This week I want to tackle the draft archetypes as they are a bit different. Decks like Sacred Stance end up being a bit tougher to assemble, while the Ardent focused Marzul and Surging Wildfire focused Wild/Ruby decks end up being a bit easier to assemble – if you can snag some of the cards early.
The only champion that I think gains a lot from draft as opposed to sealed is Takahiro_. Blood/x value based decks are much better in sealed as a lot of the pieces are commons that aren’t too desirable. Pairing with a shard that you can pick up some bombs or ways to end the game is important though. Keep on the lookout for things like Mystic Naturalist, Underworld Officer, Pulverazor, or Aspect of the Squirrel.
If I had to break the draft format down into two tiers like I did with the sealed format, here is how I would rank them:
Champion: Ada the Apparitionist_
I think that the Diamond/Sapphire Fliers deck is the best deck in 665 draft. There are a ton of quality commons, the most powerful uncommons, efficient removal in both sets for both shards, and you get to play the most effective champion in the game with Ada the Apparitionist. HexPrimal’s own Jeff Hoogland wrote a very good primer on this archetype over on the mothership, and I suggest checking it out, but I do want to give my impression on the deck.
Consult the Talon and Mystic Naturalist stand out to me as the two best common or uncommon cards in Scars of War in terms of draft. Consult the Talon is extremely easy to cast at a super discounted rate, especially with the champion power of Ada. It also helps to fuel your Diligence troops, which Diamond and Sapphire have plenty of. Drawing three cards is always going to be good, and the “drawback” of Consult the Talon being seven mana with Mobilize isn’t much of a drawback at all. In fact you are rewarded for doing just what you want to already do: play troops.
Mystic Naturalist feels like a rare and takes over games all on it’s own. Not only does it have insane synergy with the “Outpost” cards from Herofall, but as a 2/4 with flight is can generally attack into anything, helps fuel your Mobilize cards with a benefit to yourself, and dodges a lot of common removal. Chastise, Feed the Flames, Cremate, and Vanquish all miss it, and cards like Shackling Strands and Brood Net are extremely ineffective against it. I will always slam P1P1 Mystic Naturalist over almost every rare or legendary in the set. Diamond/Sapphire also gives us access to Phoenix Guard Lancer which is another great finisher that can also play defense.
Here are some of the usual suspects that you will find in a Diamond/Sapphire Flier deck:
These are all common cards that you will find in a Diamond/Sapphire skies deck. Efficient troops able to play offense and defense when needed. Gallant Spearcliff is the one card from this archetype that continues to impress me. It’s size is perfect and the Valor that it generates can be invaluable. Don’t sleep on this powerful uncommon!
These are some of the uncommon bombs that you’re going to want to keep an eye out for. The “outposts” in particular from Herofall are very good due to how they play with all the Diligence cards, but also the effects are just powerful. Gaining a Valor every single turn or giving all the opponents troops -1 attack are both going to swing games in your favor most of the time.
There are a lot of great options in the removal department. With our deck being all fliers, even the “soft” removal offered by Sapphire can be great. While there may be a few moving parts, most Diamond/Sapphire Fliers decks are going to look roughly the same.
Much like in sealed, the draft version of Wild/Sapphire Dreadlings is very good. In fact, I would say the draft version is generally better. The deck is fueled by synergistic commons that aren’t really used in other archetypes. In draft it is common to have three or more copies of Dread Deployment or Wild’s Favor, which are bombs in this deck and end the game very quickly when combined with a Therroz champion power activation.
Here are the usual suspects for the Wild/Sapphire Dreadlings deck:
As you can see the main idea is that we’re playing Underworld troops to generate charges and gain synergies from our Underworld matters cards like Jorgen’s Workshop and Dread Deployment. This allows us to be aggressive, but from a stance where we can hide it well and kill unsuspecting opponents from out of nowhere.
A real nice thing about this archetype is that we also gain access to all the other playable Sapphire cards like Cloud Bounder. Being wild also gives us access to some nice uncommons like Determined Bushi and Probewarped Hare and the potential for some bomb rares like Aspect of the Squirrel or Pesky Pippit.
I have had a lot of success with this archetype, but I think it’s largely based off how pushed Therroz is as a champion. It’s possible that Therroz was pushed down in activation as opposed to the Ardent champions since Valor was extremely pushed in Herofall. It’s likely Therroz should be 7 or 8 charges to activate, but for now they’re being overshadowed by just how good Ada is.
Ruby Based Charge Decks
Champion: High Cleric Marzul_
Here is the last tier 1 archetype in my opinion, and it’s the one that I’ve honestly had the most fun with. This deck revolves around taking advantage of the following cards:
Getting in early on this deck is ideal since it increases the chances that you have many copies of these cards as both Arena Regular and Rockslider become quite a bit more powerful the more of them you have in play.
I really like the new faction based champions that generate charges when you play troops of specific factions. They are both subtly powerful and a new unique way to design champions for pvp. Hopefully we will see some more in the future. For the time being though, I have had a ton of success and a ton of fun with this archetype.
Since we primarily want Ardent troops (although you can be Underworld with Therroz, I think Ardent is much better), I generally prefer to be Ruby/Diamond or Mono-Ruby with this archetype.
There is plenty of Ruby removal to go around:
Basically any old Ardent troop will work, but I have found myself continually impressed with Ashwood Minstrel and Gallant Duelist. The minstrel has been a great way to hide combat tricks like Outflank and Blitz, and provides a charge and a decent sized body that is perfect for a few Valor or a Staunch Defense. The duelist on the other hand has been a perfect way to push an early aggressive start to keep the opponent on the back foot. If we’re lucky and have curved out perfect we can use our champion power on the turn we duelist. If not, we are likely getting a couple triggers on our Rockslider and attacking for a boatload of damage on turn four. Not only that, but we also get a Valor for our trouble that we can use to grow our Rockslider even more.
Don’t sleep on Gallant Duelist in this deck!
While I think that this archetype is tier 2, I don’t think it’s underpowered or unable to 3-0 any draft where you get the deck. Very similar to the Wild/Sapphire deck, we still gain access to the Dreadling generation from Sapphire and it’s bombs, but we also gain substantially more Underworld troops to go along with our champion power, and some hard removal from Blood.
These are the types of cards you’re going to see that will push you into this archetype. I have used Ivan Slagpot before in my Blood/Sapphire decks, but the more I play with Therroz, the more I like him – especially with Blood. There are so many playable Blood Underworld troops that getting two activations of Therroz in a game is generally elementary, and in the longer games we can even get the third.
Unlike the Wild/Sapphire version though, the Blood version doesn’t have to rely so heavily on Dreadlings to win. It has plenty of removal at its disposal, and plenty of socketed troops that let us take advantage of the pseudo-evasion that the Minor Blood Orb of Intimidation gives us.
I think that Takahiro is a fine champion in sealed, but in draft I like him much more. I have seen a few people playing Therroz or Renner in their Blood/Wild decks when I think most of the time they should be Takahiro.
These decks are going to take advantage of the conscript mechanic and the ability to cash in bodies for life and cards.
These are the kinds of cards we’re going to see in this value driven Takahiro deck. The idea is to wear your opponent out and either win the long game, or get lucky and spike an insane conscript and take over from there.
Blood has plenty of removal in its arsenal, and since most troops are disposable cards like Gruesome Deed and the Wild removal Crackling Clash and Crossing Swords end up being pretty great. We generally end up with some Dreadling generation, which plays very well with our champion power and cards like Xentoth’s Hunger.
I have had some success with this archetype, but in general I feel like it’s pretty weak to the Diamond/Sapphire Fliers deck, so making sure you have access to cards like Turbulence is very important if you end up drafting this archetype.
One of the great things about this draft format is that there are plenty of archetypes that are playable. I would love to hear what your favorite archetype is, and if you think I missed anything with these. I hope that Limited Lab is helping people shore up their Limited game.
Now, go make it into the Top 8 of the next Hex Clash and draft that busted deck!