Misplays I’m About to Make: Empire of Glass

Hello and welcome to The Misplay, where we evaluate cards based on how badly we are going to play them. My name is Mark and I’m joined by some of the new cards in Eternal’s upcoming expansion, Empire of Glass. In today’s article, I will be breaking down misplays that future Mark is probably going to make in the early weeks following the release of Empire of Glass with a small side of more typical card advantage. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the pitfalls Future Mark is going to fall into in the new expansion.

Heavy Artillery

I have to start with the elephant in the room. Everytime I look at Valkyrie-Warp, I get a headache. I have to go find the article about it, read the rules text, read the card with Valkyrie-Warp, read the rules text again, and then maybe I have a shot at knowing everything that’s happening. With Valkyrie-Warp, you get cards that you can play from the top of your deck with upside as long as you have a Valkyrie in play. I have visions of a world where Future Mark starts a turn with his new favorite card, Lynax, Moltenwing in play. Then in a level of good luck he’s never experienced, a Heavy Artillery is sitting on top of his deck. With uninhibited glee, he attacks and trades with an opposing flying unit just waiting for the chance to clear the board and get in some damage with the shiny new relic weapon he just crafted, only to have Heavy Artillery turn its back on him because he just lost his only valkyrie in combat. Future Mark won’t shame concede, but I’m sure Twitch chat will have a field day with that misplay.

Relay Point

It wouldn’t be The Misplay content without the chance to talk about missing lethal. The Relay Point misplays that Future Mark is going to make are going to be much more game losing than lost opportunity to warp a card off the top of your deck. A 2/1 for 2 in the early game is fine. The extra text that lets you exhaust four of your units to sacrifice your relic and play a 5/5 Sentinel sounds great for the late game. However – and this is a big however – four units is probably close to half of your board state in a grindy game of limited. There are two traps that I hope you won’t fall into that I’m 90% sure Future Mark will. At some point, Future Mark is going to play a 5/5 instead of swinging for lethal with his units. The other lethal Future Mark is going to find is leaving himself dead on board. I can’t stress enough how big a commitment I think exhausting four units in limited is. At parity, you give up your combat position for a turn. If you’re behind, this puts you further behind because it might force you into blocks you didn’t want to have to make later or take away a crucial attack in a tight race. You might also just leave yourself dead on board. Don’t be like Future Mark. Think through the next couple of combats.

Nectar of Unlife

Nectar of Unlife is a sweet card for draft and sealed. Decay has proven itself to be a pretty good way of dealing with recursive units or just getting a unit down to a size where it can be dealt with in combat or with a different removal spell. This card also has some ample upside potential with the amplify effect. I don’t think it’s unrealistic to get to draw two units from your void in a grindy limited game. Getting one unit from amplify is already a strong two for one and any more than that is just gravy. Now remember how I was singing the praises of Decay against lots of stats and recursive units? Well, there is a new ability coming in Empire of Glass that presents a new type of resiliency. Regen prevents the first instance of any damage that gets dealt to a unit with Regen. I know Future Mark is prone to forgetting things, and I know for a fact that he is going to forget that Nectar of Life deals damage. As a result, he’s going to use a precious removal spell on a unit with Regen up and lose a card, lose a turn, lose the chance to Amplify later, and lose the game.

Fair Exchange

From missed lethal to bad sequencing of turns, all of Future Mark’s misplays have been in-game so far. Fair Exchange presents the opportunity to not only make in-game mistakes but deck-building misplays as well. I’m not a world-renowned deck builder and, while I hope Future Mark is better at building decks than me, he’s not great at it either. Past Mark is the kind of guy who builds Hojan decks without Justice Sigils. Fair Exchange is a really interesting and potentially devastatingly powerful card, but it does come with deck-building constraints. It’s important to note that you can’t cheat on power with Fair Exchange which is probably good for such an inexpensive card. I’m sure Future Mark can come up with some cute combos and value plays to work with Fair Exchange. I’m equally sure he’ll do something like build a low to the ground aggro deck or a leaner mid range deck that tops out at 5 drops. Then he’ll happily build a market with 6 drops and never be able to Fair Exchange. He gets bonus demerits if Fair Exchange is his only way to access the market. Don’t be like Future Mark build an 80 card deck not a 75 card deck with a 5 card Market.

Onoris Roa

Last but not least, my love for all things FTS in Expedition and At Any Cost in Throne is well documented in our little slice of Discord. Onoris Roa is a chunky speed bump against the At Any Cost game plan. I don’t think this unit kills the deck single handedly (the lack of Cylixes might), but it is a unit that requires an answer before At Any Cost can do its thing. We have a category of misplay for the type of misplay that Future Mark is going to run into. It’ll be right up there with not playing that 12th shadow influence before playing a would-be-lethal At Any Cost or Twisting a souped up Street Urchin to five power with a Hostile Takeover. Future Mark is going to try to play an At Any Cost with Onoris Roa in play and lose horribly. There’s also a high likelihood that he’ll be holding Annihilate or Icaria when he does.


There is a ton going on in Empire of Glass. There are interesting decisions to be made and new lessons to learn going into the new formats. It looks like it’s going to be a long road for Future Mark paved with bad plays, sweet cards, and a lot of embarrassing moments on stream and in Discord. All in all, Empire of Glass looks like a home run of a set. Don’t be like Future Mark. Take some time to read the new cards closely. Check those deck lists twice. Hopefully we can all learn today what Future Mark has to learn the hard way.

The Great Kudzu

Vegans and vegetarians beware. Gone are the days when fruits and veggies don’t bite back. A new mandrake is coming to Myria. It’s big, it’s bad, it’s got a lot of teeth, it gives you a Torch’s worth of life when you draw it, and its first three friends join the party for free…eventually. Hello and welcome to The Misplay, where we are proud to present The Great Kudzu.

Instead of putting our heads together to come up with one really hot take, everyone on the team gets a chance to share their thoughts on this new unit.

Colacoma

Unfortunately I think 17 total power (7 to play and 10 to ultimate) is just too much to ask. If the unit was good without the ultimate it might be worth considering, but a 7 cost 7/7 is just too weak. The one potential use I could see is off the Fate ability if market switching is very prevalent. Maybe gaining the 3 life can be good, but I doubt it would be as good as Xo generating a treasure.

Piereese

“Yeah what he said.”

imsobad

While the Fate ability and ultimate do some interesting things, 7 power for a vanilla 7/7 isn’t very exciting. I will likely try to pair this card with Merriest Mandrake however I do not foresee The Great Kudzu showing up often or at all in constructed play.

Deedub

Seems a bit expensive so I’m in the camp of “Merriest Mandrake Memes or Bust.”

Cananada

At first glance, it feels like a card that holds promise, but ultimately won’t see the top levels of play. But part of why I enjoy Eternal is the way new releases can breathe life into some cards that have fallen to disuse, introducing cards that feel like they have an intended purpose and place. This card is bringing back memories of old life force decks with Mask of Torment from seasons past. Between Bastion’s release of Astri Patrol,  the new promo Dichro’s Ruin, and the recent spoilers from Empire of Glass (The Great Kudzu and Onoris Roa), I’m filled with new ideas for some old favorites.

Crylorenzo

This card won’t be an easy shoe-in anywhere, but I see things coming together for Lifeforce to make a comeback perhaps. Mask of Torment + Merriest Mandrake and this might be a starter idea.The ultimate is insane if you can get it.

Gatosujo

Everyone has jumped to the low hanging fruit of the mandrake tree and pointed out the Merriest Mandrake combo and memes potential of this unit. The big plant costs a lot for both the down payment to play it and has a steeply costed ultimate. However, free things are dangerous things. Destiny is incredibly powerful and historically dangerous to the point where the mechanic itself has been nerfed for being insane. It might be a little overly optimistic to pair this with Nahid’s Distillation to draw into a massive Destiny turn but assembling big powerful units is right in Time’s wheel house. Even if they are spaced out over two or three turns, making three free big units that draw a card is not a bad floor case. I’ll go on record as being cautiously optimistic and call this a delayed, pseudo Know Thy Enemy for mono time.

Soapyelo

The Fate gaining 3 life and the ultimate are the most exciting parts of this card. A 7/7 for 7 is not exciting with 0 battle skills. Ten is a ton to have to pay to activate an ability and you then have to have something else to have the ability have any kind of effect that turn. I could see having fun with this and Merriest Mandrake. There is probably some kind of magical Christmasland OTK scenario you could set up with this but I doubt that it would be competitively viable. Doesn’t seem like something you will be crafting.

Parmele

I’m pretty sure this is the same name of a local magician I know. Different abilities. If this Great Kudzu could pull a rabbit from a hat I would play it. As it stands, I don’t play Eternal this cute. I’m sure it can do something powerful. If you can keep this on board with your Merriest Mandrake and have units on top of your deck then I don’t deserve to win. If I ever lose to this card on stream I’ll do 100 pushups. Not at once obviously, I’m not very strong.

Watchwolf92

By being both expensive to cast and expensive to ultimate, I want to make sure I’m doing something unfair. In Throne, it’s harder to get more unfair than Talir Combo in Time, so I would be looking at Expedition for this card’s home. I want to pair this with Wasteland Broker in a unit-light ramp deck or in a Tota Circle/Reactor Forge/Cheering Section type of deck. This is the type of card that will either rarely see play or be the center of an unfair combo deck, so start brewing today!

MLNTN

This is the kind of card that DWD buffs a year after release because it’s under-played and still no one plays it after the buff. Given the type of deck that this requires, you’re not even guaranteed to give Destiny to good units. Honestly, it’s not even draft fodder. Best case scenario is people try and fail to get this card to do anything, but it will likely just be ignored. The Great Kudzu needs so much setup and support that it should have been named The Great Kudn’tzu. I’m gonna feel really sad if I pull any of these cards from a pack.

Magikarp

If this card said, “Fate: You gain 3, draw a Treasure Trove,” I’d think it could be a really nice fit into some sort of Lifeforce deck. As it stands, it’ll be a fun card to pull off in casual queues. Unlike Talir, this card gives Destiny to non-Time units, which is something. I’ll bet a crazy combo player will pull something off with this.

Git Gud

I’m an elementary school teacher and I teach capoeira on the weekends. Thinking about learning and growth is both near and dear to my heart and perpetually on my mind. On this episode of The Misplay we literally went back to school for Act Two. I would be willing to bet that anyone who gets into Eternal and sticks with it, wants to improve at something in the game. We often talk about improving in abstract ad nauseum, but not the concrete things we can do to improve. I’m going to recap and expand on our discussion from the show with a goal-oriented system to improve at playing Eternal.

A framework that often gets used in education is called S.M.A.R.T goals. S.M.A.R.T is an acronym outlining the qualities to look for in a goal that help ensure that a goal will have a meaningful impact on your learning. Goals following this criteria should be: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and have a timeline. Each aspect builds towards the goal being a stronger tool for learning and holding yourself accountable to your goal. Below is a short description of what to look for in Eternal and an example of how to take a skill and build a goal that can effectively inform your practice.

SMART – Specific

A specific goal outlines one targetable skill that your practice will revolve around. The key here is one. Choosing one skill or aspect forces you to think critically about what you are going to be practicing. It also is easier to measure the skill since different skills will be measured in different ways.

Example:

I want my mulligan decisions to be stronger than just checking to make sure I have all of my influence

Goal: During redraws I will plan out my first three turns of the game before deciding if I will redraw.

SMART – Measurable

Goals need to be measurable. I will tell you here this is the hardest part. Setting a goal up to be measurable is not too bad. The harder part (and the less fun part) is actually measuring the goal while you work on it. This is the biggest challenge in holding yourself accountable. If you don’t measure your progress you won’t know if you’re improving or if you need to change your approach. Come up with a checklist, make a table, write a short note after the game, do something to actually measure your progress. Create an incentive for yourself and reward your hard work.

It’s not mandatory to write it down and have stacks of game notes pile up on your dining room table. You could write out a table for your plan and give yourself feedback on the quality of your decision. If a checklist is all you need while you’re in game that’s fine too. Even a Post-It on your computer or table could suffice. The main point is to decide what and how you are going to measure your goal so you know you are on track.

SMART – Attainable

The goal should be attainable. I want to qualify for Worlds is a great goal but in the realm of attainable it’s pretty low probability. It’s also a goal that doesn’t give you very much agency. Planning out my first three turns during redraws is not a very glamorous goal. It does come with the upside of being attainable and you are in 100% control of whether or not you are successful at this goal. Shooting for worlds is awesome but not a roadmap to improvement all by itself. Attainable does not mean easy. Goals can challenge you to think about Eternal in ways you haven’t before or in more depth than before. Attainable goals give you the agency to succeed or fail with as few outside factors as possible affecting your results.

SMART – Relevant

You want your goals to be relevant to your development as player, builder, tuner etc. Make sure your goal aligns with the skill you want to target. If you want to get better at building decks with a good curve, then the example goal of planning your early turns during redraws doesn’t make sense.

SMART – Timeline

Giving yourself a deadline or window of time to practice the skill helps with holding yourself accountable for your progress. Set a timeline for how long you’ll practice the goal and attainable result that you are aiming for during this time. A time frame is not a termination point but a definition of how long you are planning on working on the skill. Be realistic, honest, and compassionate about your results and outcomes. People develop habits and learn at different rates. Choose a time frame that will work for you and give it your best effort.

Everyone learns and studies differently. The strategy outlined here is just one entry point on a journey to learning and getting better at playing Eternal. Learning is not a one size fits all process. You could distill this process with Nahid’s permission (of course) down to a simpler set of steps if tables, journaling, and data collection are not your thing. For me, setting and achieving my goals boils down to these three things: identify what you want to improve, find and create ways to work specifically on that skill, and get feedback so you can adjust and continue to grow. Meeting one or two small goals at a time will hopefully lead to achieving greater heights going forward. Good luck and I’m rooting for you to accomplish your goals one S.M.A.R.T. step at a time.

Helpful Doorbot: The Untold Story

This is the story of one Grenadin’s fall from grace. As a warning to our readers, this story contains graphic images, incidents of nerfing, a broken heart, and is, of course, largely untrue.

The picture you have in your mind of Helpful Doorbot is, as he is today, a sullen, legless Grenadin worn down by life. It may come as a surprise to you that they were once a vibrant, jovial Grenadin whose only crime, if it were indeed a crime, was that of pleasing others.

Their given name was Helpful Grenadin and they were not an 0/3. They were a well-stated 2/3 for two with the text: “Summon: Give one of your other Grenadins or Oni +2/0 this turn.”

When Helpful Grenadin enrolled at The Dusk Road Academy, they immediately fell in with popular kids. They were Homecoming King, Treasurer of the 5-F Club, and voted “Most Likely to be Nerfed”. It was Oni Ronin who called him, “The best two-drop in the game, hands down bruh.” Their friendship blossomed and soon they were inseparable. You couldn’t find a deck that included Oni Ronin and not Helpful Grenadin.

In their prime, they would go on to win several ETS events. They landed sponsorship deals with Redbull, NIVIDA, and Cholula. They had a cameo in Chicago Fire and were arguably more popular than Torch.

Not everyone was happy.

Other factions called them “Oppressive”. Members of Reddit threatened to quit the game because, as one Redditor said, “All I see on ladder is Mono Fire. This isn’t fun. OMG! FIX! NERF! PLZ!” Spark Hatcher once tweeted that the only thing Helpful Grenadin was good for was “holding the door open for Ronin”. That tweet has been since deleted.

In the Spring of 2018, frustration had reached a pinnacle. According to court documents obtained by The Misplay, Granite Acolyte armed with a Shogun Scepter had broken into Helpful Grenadin’s home. Luckily, the Acolyte didn’t have the “Deadly” keyword or things would have ended much worse. Of course, many who know how the story ends believe death may have been a lesser fate than what befell the Grenadin.

Two weeks before the release of The Fall of Argenport in the Summer of 2018, Dire Wolf Digital released a balance patch. Helpful Grenadin became an 0/3 with the text: “Summon: Give one of your other Grenadins or Oni +1/0 this turn”. With two simple nerfs, Helpful Grenadin descended into obscurity. Their very public breakup with Oni Ronin was covered on every blog, Twitch stream, and fourteen Eternal podcasts. To make matters worse, Oni Ronin was seen less than a week later on Eternal Warcry in the same deck as Spark Hatcher.

Oni Ronin did not respond to our requests for a comment.

Some still tried to force the pairing, but an 0/3 “that didn’t do anything” didn’t do anything. In a final blow, Dire Wolf Digital altered the art to remove the Grenadin’s legs, removed their summon text, reduced their cost, and renamed them “Helpful Doorbot” following the release of Defiance.

A few QAnon conspiracy theories have taken hold over the years, perhaps the most salacious is the theory that Spark Hatcher held some sort of dirt over Dire Wolf Digital developer LSV.

One look at Helpful Doorbot tells the whole story. “I worry,” says Helpful Doorbot, “for cards like Even Handed Golem who fly a little too close to the sun. I hope my story serves as a warning. Nobody is safe. Nobody.”

Misplays I’m About to Make

Hello and welcome to The Misplay set review for all things constructed and limited in 16,000 words… I’m just kidding, that’s not why you came here. Today, I’ll be taking a look at some of the spoilers from Argent Depths and making a very on brand type of prediction: Misplays I’ll be making with these cards once the full set is live. Without further ado, I am proud to present “Misplays Future Mark will be making with Argent Depths”.

Plunder

For starters, let’s talk Plunder for a minute. This new mechanic is decision intensive and Plunder has a lot going on. First off it’s always a may, so take the time to check and learn the interface before randomly clicking past the decision in instances when you want to Plunder. The misplay Future Mark is most likely to make is needing to Plunder for a fire influence and Plundering a multi-faction card for that coin toss instead of Plundering a fire card. My math might not be very good but 100% is way better than a 50/50 shot at getting the influence you need.

Vow

Next up is a cycle that is not nearly as busted as my first reading, the Vows. You’ll note that they have influence makers at the top of the card that designate what faction they support. However, you will also note upon reading the rules text that they grant one influence not two and definitely not three like past Mark may or may not have thought upon reading them for the first time. The cool thing about these is that they come into play undepleted and filter a sigil out of your deck. The more decisions presented, the more chance for misplays. The level I misplay here is mistakenly playing a vow when I think it’s some other kind of power like an Insignia. Future Mark is really going to next level himself by dealing one damage to himself, breaking his relic weapon before getting to attack with it.

Button?

Before I cover some Imbue-related misplays Future Mark is certainly going to make, we need to talk about this guy’s name.

 

Buhton… I cannot come up with a cool sounding pronunciation of this card’s name. I need a guide on how to read it. Until then (and probably forever after), I will be referring to this card as ‘Button’. It doesn’t matter that it has monster stats at a better rate than pre-nerf Soulfire Drake. Now that’s not a perfectly fair comparison as Drake has flying, but it’s not hard for this to attack for eight or more.

Imbue

Now, Imbue is another ability that gives you an immediate choice between investing a unit that you will stun for as long as Button is in play, turning it into a truly monstrous unit, or just playing Button and A-spacing your way to victory, sans Imbue. The misplay I can guarantee Future Mark will make is to Imbue a unit that can’t kill a unit he needs to remove and proceed to ruin his attacks for that turn, if not the rest of the game. He will also almost certainly Imbue a unit when it’s better to just A-space for lethal and have that decision blow up in his face.

Imbue does bring some risk of getting pseudo two-for-one’d with the way the mechanic works, so I’ll give you two misplays for one mechanic. Take a look at Roshi, the Entrancer.

It does offer two Imbues for the price of one. I’m not going to give a perfectly accurate constructed review, though I think this card asks a lot and the weak stats need to hit a couple of pretty solid units to make playing this worthwhile. But I can say – with close to perfect certainty – that at some point, Future Mark is going to try to imbue an opposing unit with Roshi that has endurance, wasting that turn instead of doing something productive. He will be rewarded with a 4 power 1/1 staring down something like a Sandstorm Titan. You could also make the argument that playing this card in the first place is a misplay Future Mark is going to make.

Well, I think I’ve picked on Future Mark enough for one day. Thanks for stopping by and hopefully you won’t make the same mistakes as Future Mark.

Ijin, Walking Armory

Behold! Ijin, Walking Armory. Oni Attacker Man’s great-great aunt.

The Misplay courtesy of our teammate and Patron, Deedub, present the newest Eternal spoiler: Ijin, Walking Armory.

I asked Team Misplay to share their thoughts on Ijin, Walking Armory:

LocoPojo

This is a solidly built red drop that transitions Rakano into the mid-game. It shores up green influence for Sediti/Icaria in Throne, enables whatever FFJJJJ Legendary we expect to see, and giving flyers, Aegis units, and Charge units (Rakano staples) the stats they need to survive. In Draft it’s a great pickup: 3/3s for 3 make the limited world go round, and Ijin is an impossible engine once that influence is going. Oni/weapon synergy is a plus, but we’ve yet to see that deck take wing and this isn’t the sole card to do it.

The main risk here is that you play a mediocre tempo unit in comparison to more immediate impactful drops like Whirling Duo, Milos Rebel Bomber, and Mr. Musclegun the 4th. Some work has to be done to push Justice influence to the finish line, but once you’re there you won’t regret it. A serious value card with fixing not offered by other cards of its caliber.

Piereese

Yah, what he said. Nailed it.

colacoma

Something that I’ve always been a fan of are cards that you can play throughout the game at different values. I loved Kicker in MtG. This feels like one of those cards.

soapyelo

This card feels built for Surge. It synergies well with super Justice heavy strategies where you can trigger the super powerful 4/4 weapon ability consistently. It’s also an Oni so could find a place in Oni builds. Seems like a fun card that will be good in limited and see some fringe constructed play.

crylorenzo

I love it and I am rooting for it to be successful. I want to build the weapon deck LocoPojo hinted at. Part of this cards success will depend on how successful Surge is as a mechanic and how much support Oni’s get in general, but I’m hopeful.

Deedub

Definitely agree she’ll be a solid card in limited: a 3/3 for 3 that can fix/enable Surge and eventually make all your units giant. In constructed, she’ll probably have a spot in a Rakano Aggro/Mid strategy. But in Throne she competes with a lot of other strong three drops that effect the board when played. She’s definitely a card I’m interested in trying in aggressive strategies and we’ve started to see a lot of influence based effects both in this set as well as with Mantle of Justice and Silverblade Intrusion from previous releases.

gatosujo

I don’t know if I’m the only skeptic. I wrote a few lines about a proto build and even writing it felt like jumping through too many hoops. It seems quite win-more if it’s going unanswered. I do see merit in limited as a surge enabler and also a great late game top deck in a more aggressively slanted deck. Ijin is walking into a world pretty hostile to units that don’t generate immediate advantage. Time will tell if Ijin’s got the armory to survive in it.

Special thanks to Deedub for the spoiler. Tell us what you think on Reddit.

Eternal Journey Hosts Successful Charity Tournament

Eternal Journey hosted a peasant tournament last week raising nearly $5,000 for Child’s Play, a charity that aims to improve the lives of children through play. The money raised included a $2,450 matching donation by Dire Wolf Digital.

Over forty players registered for the free tournament, which included prize support for the Top 4, a team prize, and an additional $150 donation from community All-Star Kasendrith for the three “most creative” decks as voted on by Twitch chat.

After six swiss rounds, these were your Top 8 competitors:

  1. TempestDragonKing
  2. theovermaster
  3. CaptainTeembro
  4. DrPringles
  5. Piereese
  6. TheBryanStage
  7. noverb
  8. iplongno

Team Misplay had Piereese to root for in the Top 8 (for all of about two minutes). He came out of his quarter-final match with DrPringles saying “it wasn’t even close”, so fast in fact that the commentators quickly forgot who the 8th person in the Top 8 was. It was also DrPringles who would go on to win back-to-back Eternal Journey peasant tournaments with their blazing fast Mono Fire deck.

Congrats to Team Rankstar who posted the best team results. The most creative decks were awarded to Watchwolf92, gatosujo, and TempestDragonKing. Watchwolf92’s deck consisted of only cards that began with letters in “Child’s Play” and whose Market spelled “Child”.

Watchwolf92’s Child’s Play inspired deck and Market.

The pièce de résistance was how smoothly and well-run the tournament was. “There’s no way this happens without the entire team pitching in,” Jedi said. DubMic and Kal_Shadowstep managed Battlefly, celtic7guardian ran giveaways in Twitch chat, and Sakarnen helped set up the feature matches and deck techs.

And of course, the entire tournament was streamed by Jedi who casted alongside SirRhino. A legacy member of the community, SirRhino’s Eternal commentary is second to none.

As an observer, I was impressed with the quality of the stream. How about Punsforall deck techs between rounds? A hole cam to see both hands. Jedi was literally juggling fire during one of the intermissions. You can watch the entire VOD on Jedi’s Twitch channel.

Punsforall breaking it down!

For those interested in the tournament meta, there was definitely a strong relic theme. They mostly centered on abusing Waystone Gate and Bottle Storm. TempestDragonKing’s (6-0) Elysian deck made clever use of Unstable Form to great advantage in their “most creative” deck. Xenan Lifeforce was another strong archetype piloted by theovermaster and noverb among others.

Piereese played an FTS Sac list that utilized Madness and Defile to steal cards and reanimate. iplongno played a Combrei Aggro deck with reliable fast spells and stocky units. Ultimately, it was two Mono Fire decks in the final between CamptainTeembro and DrPringles. Jedi and SirRhino half-heartedly joked that if a technical issue arose in the stream the finals would be over before it could be resolved. There were some notable differences between the decks but Touch of Force was likely the biggest difference maker propelling DrPringles to back-to-back victories in the format.

Jedi would like to thank the hundreds contributors and viewers on stream who made the tournament a special success. “The community response has been so overwhelming that we will 100% be running another tournament in the future,” Jedi said. Expect to see something again in several months.

Special thanks to Piereese who helped write this article.

Bringing Reanimator Back from the Dead

I love reanimator.

Reanimator is sending me to Worlds this year and has gotten me to at least Stage 2 of every event I have played with it this season. Although the change to singleton Markets has diminished the deck’s consistency, I still think that it can power through metas when it’s not expected.

While reanimator can have draws that autopilot to a turn five win, most are not so straightforward. This is a primer I put together to help people unfamiliar with playing reanimator or those players who want to get better at the nuanced decisions to be successful with the deck.

Reanimator, colacoma’s Top 32 Throne Spring Championship.
The Combo

Vara, Fate-Touched; Azindel, Revealed; and Grasping at Shadows

At its heart, reanimator is a combo deck. The key to deck is resolving Grasping at Shadows returning Vara and then Azindel from your void. Azidel brings two Shadow units which allows you to bring two more and pretty soon your entire void is on the table ready to smash. These three cards make the deck and I wouldn’t consider cutting any copies of any of them.

I’ve seen some lists that run a single Grasp in the Market with 8 Smugglers. The advantage to maindecking them is: 1) you have more high-roll potential by drawing one naturally and 2) you have backup copies if you get negated. It is worth noting that many games play slow enough that you just hit eight power and play Vara naturally, so losing your Grasps to something like Rain of Frogs is not game breaking. With more copies of Grasp, you can also just grab Azindel and it’s often good enough on its own. Returning just Harbringer or Icaria to fight aggressive decks is often powerful too. While in Magical Christmas Land you can always wait for a full combo, in real life that’s not always the case and often not necessary.

The Enablers/Draw

Herald’s Song, Master Cartographer, Sporefolk, Honor of Claws, Back Alley-Delinquent, Strategize

These are the cards that get combo pieces into the void. While it may not seem important on the surface, the order in which you play these cards is vital. Against aggressive decks you need the chump blockers to survive until you can combo, but in midrange/control matchups you need the Sabotages to clear their answers before you can go for it. Sporefolk you rarely want to play before you have SSSPPP for Felrauk. Ordering these cards is the most difficult part of piloting the deck.

The Grind

Felrauk the Outcast; Blightmoth; Black-Sky Harbinger; Icaria, First Reaper

While reanimator has been a thing ever since Grasp was printed, I feel like Felrauk really makes the deck (especially after Privilege of Rank was nerfed). This card is huge in both aggressive and control matches as it provides card advantage, a body to trade, breaks aegis to make way for sabotage, and can be a legitimate win condition. Also, it feels great to mill two with a Sporefolk.

Blightmoth, Harbinger, and Icaria serve as board control before and after you combo off. Depending on the meta, these are the cards that I switch in numbers or add/drop. Blightmoth has the added benefit of triggering Vara when it dies, and Harbinger triggers Azindel. Learning when to hold these to cast from hand and when to dump them for later reanimation is also key, and in the more grindy games you’ll often want to get two bites of the apple with your big guys.

The Market

Royal Decree, Hailstorm, Cobalt Waystone, Desecrate, Linrei’s Kiss

I think Royal Decree (against control/combo), Hailstorm (against aggro), and Cobalt Waystone (power with the potential upside of aegis) are all pretty straight forward. Desecrate can help against a big unit but is more there to answer Vanquisher’s Blade or Reality Warden. Linrei’s Kiss is to go get Grasp or Vara. This is much weaker than playing a Grasp in the market before the market nerf but a passable option. Our team has tried Re-read in this spot but it was too inconsistent.

As this deck stands it scoops to Adjudicator’s Gavel. This was strictly a meta call for this event. Burglarize is a good market option if you expect relic hate.

Playing reanimator

Piloting reanimator is nuanced, as you can play it either as a straight combo deck or as a grindy control deck with the combo to kill. A lot of your power will come into play exhausted but you really want to have SSSPPP for Felrauk, so it may be correct to miss plays and play exhausted power in order to have Felrauk power earlier. Against an unknown opponent this decision is largely made based on your opening hand. The key decision points:

1) Should I mulligan?

Besides the obvious cases of too few/many power, this really comes down to the question of can my hand follow a game plan. If you have any mix of enablers and combo pieces the answer is usually yes. It is worth noting that following a game plan doesn’t mean can it combo: some of the best hands involve a turn three Back Alley discarding Felrauk and playing Sabotage. If you have a good grindy hand it is as good (if not better) than a good combo hand.

2) Can I get a quick combo?

If yes, the answer is usually to set up and go for it, unless…

3) Do I think my opponent is on Harsh Rule?

If yes, you need to Sabotage/Royal Decree them before going off. Even if you have a quick combo it’s better to play a slow game and lean on your hand control elements. Protect your combo pieces from cards like Royal Decree or Rain of Frogs by getting them out of your hand ASAP. Planning your reanimation around Harsh Rules is also important. You will get Harsh Rule’d, so you don’t want to give all your Azindel’s voidbound when it happens. Winning through a single Harsh Rule by having a second reanimation turn is common. The second Harsh Rule hurts a lot more than the first.

4) Do I just need to survive?

Against fast aggressive decks you basically just need to hold on as long as possible. Back Alley’s three toughness is pretty useful here, and if you can sabotage out a torch to keep him in play he can buy you a lot of time against some decks. While aggressive decks in general are not a good matchup, reanimator plays better against the very low to the ground ones where Back Alley, Blightmoth, and eventually Harbinger shine. The more mid rangy ones like Stonescar are rougher.

Playing against reanimator

Reanimator is usually a meta call, so its appearance is usually cyclical. When people are playing mostly mid-range and no hate reanimator becomes good until it is hated out of the format. People stop playing the hate and reanimator rears its head again.

As a midrange or aggressive deck you basically want to go as fast as possible. Usually there aren’t any sweeps except in the market so you need to pressure them as quickly as possible. Use removal on blockers ASAP and just go full face.

As a control deck your goal is to take out as many of the key cards as possible. Turn to Seed is super powerful in doing this (and may eventually kill reanimator) as well as Rain of Frogs or Royal Decree with Onslaught. Transpose is also a very nice tool, as reanimator can break slow speed Aegis to get in with sabotage, but the fast speed Aegis will protect your key cards. Control decks with these tools don’t need to pack void hate, as the deck is just naturally very good against reanimator.

Conclusions

If you like high rolling and big explosive turns, try reanimator. It’s a fun deck with many more play decisions than you may realize. I want to thank my teammate and childhood friend, imsobad, with whom I worked with to initially build the deck. It was a wild run that took us both to the Promises by Fire ECQ finals where I edged him out in the mirror to punch my ticket to Worlds. When the time comes I promise that, if reanimator is anywhere near playable, I will be playing it.

Spring Challenge – Throne

We should start by thanking TheBoxer for shaking up the Spring Challenge – Throne meta last minute and presenting us with a disgusting Even Vox brew. As a team, we took a mix of decks to get a feel for the upcoming ECQ. Myself and a few others brought Skycrag Control (Spellcrag) while others played Skycrag Aggro, Reanimator, and Even Vox.

There were more than enough Vox decks in the Top 64 and it just shows how fast a meta can change from one week to the next. The other dominant decks were Ixtun Control, Spellcrag, FTJ Midrange, Skycrag and Stonescar Aggro (expect less aggro in the meta with the upcoming card changes), and one beautiful relic deck piloted by TGP’s Batteriez.

As the newest member of The Misplay, I really wanted to make an impact and share my knowledge and experience. [Edit: Oh, he did.] I ended Stage 1 21-7 and advanced all the way to the Top 4 before losing to TheBergund on Ixtun Control. I’m pretty sure I’ve shed the nickname “the rookie”. I want to thank the team who helped test and piece together our list, especially Piereese our resident Spellcrag guru who just missed the cut at 18-10.

Parmele also earned a Top 64 spot on Spellcrag. Parmele adds, “I finally played the right deck. Podcast listeners will be proud. We identified Spellcrag as being powerful pretty early and I was able to get a lot more reps in than usual. I am still nowhere near proficient at the decision making required to call myself an expert pilot. My 19-9 was more a testament to the strength of the deck than my play.”

chicityshogun (20-8) and Deedub (17-11) both played Skycrag Aggro. chicityshogun has been on a historic hot streak in major events and unfortunately we were paired up in the Top 16 where I edged him out.

Doc28 made the bold choice to go with Even Vox and it paid off (19-9). Like myself, he made it all the way to the Top 4. He had some wild matches and we heard him say several times, “I can’t believe I just won that!” Turns out, he says, “Karvet is good in the mirror.”

Congrats to the whole team for another excellent showing with half of the playing-group again making the Top 64. We’re looking forward to seeing how the balance changes shake up the meta ahead of the next ECQ.

Check out three of the team’s decks in the Top 16 Decklists.

Winners and Losers from Whispers of the Throne

Whispers of the Throne has finally released, injecting a batch of new cards into Throne and Expedition. History shows us that campaigns (and mini-campaigns) tend to dramatically shake up formats; in the Tales of Horus Traver, big bad Tavrod crashed the party and stomped all over his competition. Although he was never nerfed, Tavrod’s presence defined Eternal for a significant period of time. Vara, Endra, Korovyat Palace and Saber-tooth Prideleader further attest to the power level of limited releases, and this week’s bundle will be no different.

What can we expect moving forward with all these new cards?  How will both formats change, and which cards will instigate and perpetuate these changes? Predicting the future is a tall task, but nonetheless I will attempt to do just that! Let’s start by taking a look at what will change in Throne, the format with the largest available card pool in the game.

Throne

Winner: Keelo/Makto Sacrifice 

I’ll cut right to the chase: Keelo is very strong, and Makto plays very well in a Keelo “Pod” shell. There are a bunch of sweet units that curve into Makto with Keelo, Makto curves into Icaria or Telut and the game reaches its conclusion. It’s been a hot second since Makto saw his rise to stardom, but I think now’s the time for a Revenge renaissance.

The real star of the show, however, is our resident Birthing Pod on a stick. Two aspects of Keelo differentiate her from Pod; she’s a unit, and her ability cannot be responded to if you activate it immediately after playing her. The good news is that, if you sequence accordingly, you’ll be able to get the unit you need before your opponent’s interaction window. The bad news, however, is that your opponent can interact with Keelo using single-target removal. One of the frustrating parts about playing against Birthing Pod was that it required very specific interaction to be dealt with; Keelo is a unit, and a Torch-able one at that.

While there are some upsides to having your Pod be a unit, I consider it to be a significant downside. Single-target removal spells are very prevalent, so you’re not required to allot specific slots in your deck for the purpose of beating an uncommon card type. This means that your opponents will usually be able to answer Keelo, and you must plan accordingly. Nonetheless, the payoffs for building your deck around her are massive, so expect to play against this archetype regularly on ladder.

Loser: Spellcrag/Unitless Control

Most constructed playable units in Eternal impact the board or fuel a synergy engine; you can’t really get away with random fatties or aggressive early drops unless your deck has payoffs that convert those stat lines into more impactful sequences. Garden decks tend to be very good at praying on units that need to stay on board in order be maximized, and with each new expansion comes a wave of impactful units that do something besides attacking and blocking.

Don’t get me wrong, control decks are still a strong option in Throne. Until Garden of Omens gets nerfed (again), control will be a pillar of the format, but it’s worth noting that the deck gained virtually nothing from the bundle while lots of other strategies received powerful support. Furthermore, I don’t think unitless is particularly well positioned into a field of Makto nonsense and Even decks, so you’ll need to have a significant skill edge over the playing field at large in order to succeed with this deck in an ECQ.

Winner: Fire Aggro

Oni Ronin aficionados rejoice! Fire-based aggressive strategies are back on the menu, in no small part due to Milos and his anti-Sabertooth, anti-Golem text. Milos singlehandedly solves two of aggro’s biggest problems: ambushing cats and early card advantage. In addition to being a powerful hoser, Milos is pretty respectable on rate as a 3/3 charger with overwhelm, meaning that he’ll rarely be a dead card in your hand.

Milos also happens to be a Gunslinger, which is surprisingly relevant and could lead to some clever market choices in Stonescar Aggro like Hideout Pistol. Furthermore, being a Gunslinger might give Rakano Aggro the unit type density to consider running Steady Marshal as an above-rate one drop that doesn’t die to Blazing Salvo. All in all, Milos significantly expands the options for Fire-based aggressive strategies in Throne and should give them more of a fighting chance going forward.

Loser: Even Strangers

Those who’ve watched my stream recently can attest to the power of Evenhanded Golem in tandem with Grodov’s Stranger and Traver’s Farm. So long as you avoid playing your Golems with a single active Farm on board, the deck functions very smoothly and has all the tools tackle the Throne metagame. Up until this point, the clean answers to Golem have been fairly lackluster; Royal Decree constitutes a significant tempo loss, and Magebreaker is too weak of a card to consider maindecking.

To circle back to Fire-based aggro, the very presence of Milos will have an effect on the strength of Even decks in Throne. Milos not only shuts off your Golems when he connects but counters the tempo loss you’d usually experience from an ambushed Sabertooth Prideleader. I want to emphasize that I’m not preaching the downfall of Time-based Even decks; rather, I see this development as bringing them closer to Earth relative to the rest of the format.

Expedition

Winner: Tri-Faction Decks

In the most recent ECQ, I consciously chose to play Skycrag Dragons over Menace Dragons due to the diminishing returns of stronger cards in relation to a much poorer powerbase. Part of this equation was evaluating the available payoffs, and at that time I concluded that sticking to two factions was the best way to build the archetype. With that said, I expect Whispers of the Throne to give new life to tri-faction decks in Expedition with its cycle of 2-cost legendary units.

At first glance, I expect each unit in the cycle to see some amount of play in Expedition. It’s not immediately obvious where Keelo, Elham and Kaspar will fit, but I expect that there’s at least a solid tier 2-3 deck featuring each one respectively. Vox and Razca happen to fit well in existing shells, meaning that either one of them could turn their faction combo into a serious contender. We’ll see how this shapes up as the format progresses and deck builders refine and retool their lists, but as of now I’m feeling optimistic about each member of this powerful cycle.

Loser: Tribal Decks

This card is really strong against Dragons and Strangers, and it slots super nicely into the FTS sacrifice decks. Decent bodies with Corrupted are almost always better than they look, with the best example of this being Rectifier. Hence, I expect Blightmoth to play a similar role in decks that can take advantage of Corrupted and want to improve their matchups against tribal strategies.

As someone who has played an extensive amount of Dragons in Expedition, I can tell you right now that I’m not looking forward to staring this guy down. Dragons is very good at being an early game control deck that pivots into a mid-to-late game evasive beatdown deck, and Blightmoth in tandem with light disruption makes the latter significantly harder to sustain. For what its worth, I do think Blightmoth will make the format better overall since it’ll do a reasonable job policing Stranger decks. I’ve felt for a while that the sacrifice decks were a card or two away from making the Strangers matchup very lopsided, and this might be the missing piece to the puzzle.

Winner: Touch of Force

This one definitely needs a bit of an explanation. Since its confirmed that Yushkov, Brutal Tyrant himself deals the damage from his ability, granting double damage will make his ability extremely potent. If your double-damage Yushkov happens to sacrifice a Grodov’s Stranger, you get a twelve damage Fling and a Korovyat Palace in hand for your trouble. Touch of Force has been awaiting its moment to shine, and I think that moment might be upon us.

I could see a Praxis midrange deck with Yushkov being a great shell for Touch of Force in Expedition. Yushkov gives Praxis decks inevitability and an answer to large board stalls that doesn’t require the deck to warp itself around ramping to Kairos, meaning that you can lower the deck’s curve yet maintain a lot of staying power. Korovyat Palace will be a lot stronger in Expedition than it is in Throne, so the payoff for finishing Yushkov’s mastery is massive. Finding the best shell to do that will be valuable going forward, so be on the lookout for Touch of Force!

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you on ladder!