LAST UPDATE: 6th July 2020
1. Foreword and forward!
Eternal Card Game is currently one of the biggest digital card games out there and is widely known as one of the best free-to-play ones. The amount of free content the developers are throwing at players is just enormous. One of the best ways of building your card collection in Eternal is just playing the game – usually either in ranked mode or draft mode. Given my long history with playing limited formats in Magic: the Gathering and later arenas in Hearthstone and The Elder Scrolls: Legends, I am more familiar with the latter option.
As of writing this I have been playing Eternal since October 2018 and I have managed to free-to-play my way into the Master rank in constructed in six days and into the Master rank in draft in sixteen days. I have also managed to stay at #1 Master rank at multiple occasions and sprinted to the Master rank in May 2019 and January 2020 in 6 hours 14 minutes (yes, same amount of time!). That is the Eternal resume of the person who is going to tell you all about Argent Depths drafts otherwise known as Set 9 drafts.
2. What does asynchronous drafting look like?
Let me tell you about the basics of drafting first. The draft is asynchronous, which means you are not drafting with other people in real time, and thus can take as much time as you need to pick your cards. You can read all of them, you can even watch a movie between picks – nobody is waiting for you to make your choices at that moment.
You will be presented with four cards packs, or rather sets of card packs. In each of those sets you will first see a whole pack – twelve cards, with one of them being a rare or – if you are lucky – a legendary, three of them being uncommons and eight being commons. You are going to pick one of those cards – it goes to your draft pool, i.e. the cards that you can later use to build your deck. Oh, and also – the card is yours. For your collection. You are welcome!
After you pick your first card you are going to see another pack, this time consisting of eleven cards. After each pick you are going to see another pack consisting of one fewer card until you pick the only card remaining. Then the second set of packs kicks in and once again you will pick one of twelve cards. Wash, rinse, repeat for four sets of packs and you will have forty eight cards total, with the obvious option of adding basic Sigils to your deck as well.
Now, there are two types of packs (I will now use the term packs instead of sets of packs). Packs one and four (i.e. your picks 1 – 12 and 37 – 48) are regular Argent Depths packs, just like the ones you can get in-game. Most of these packs were previously seen and drafted by other people. Picks 1 and 37 are from packs opened by you. Picks 2 and 38 are from packs opened by Person A and passed to you. Picks 3 and 39 are from packs opened by Person B, then passed to Person A and finally passed to you. Picks 4 and 40 are from packs opened by Person C, then passed to Person B, then to Person A and finally to you – etc. This means these packs are being given to you along the line of eleven other people.
Packs two and three (i.e. your picks 13 – 24 and 25 – 36), are the so-called curated packs – cards from sets 1 – 7 (not from the campaigns) that were chosen by the game developers to work well with the current main set. These packs are also given to you along the line of eleven other people, but these are not the people who gave you the Argent Depths packs, nor are these people the ones that you passed your Argent Depths packs to. Just eleven other random drafters.
There are a couple of implications of what I have written. First of all, the signals you will see in pack one will also be viable for pack four. The same goes for packs two and three, respectively. Another thing – there is no sense in cutting colors or hate-drafting like in real-time draft groups. You are not going to receive any cards from the people you passed your packs to, nor will you play against them. Well, there is a non-zero probability of the latter happening, but you will never know. Also, each full twelve-card pack has at least one card of each color. This means if there is a color missing when you have your second pick, at least you know where the person passing you the packs is leaning towards.
3. What changed from the previous draft format?
The changes from the previous draft format are huge. Not only has the main set changed from Echoes of Eternity to the new kid on the block – Argent Depths – there has been a big shake-up with the curated packs as well. The number of cards available in the curated packs went down to 619 and it might be easier to digest for people who played the previous draft format, as you can find all cards from Echoes of Eternity in the curated packs. Another piece of information that is worth remembering about the curated packs is that the cards you can find inside them have different weights attached to them. There are some cards that can be found in the packs five or even ten times more often than other cards of its rarity. Here you can find the list of all the cards in the curated packs, along with their weights.
The first thing people wonder about in a new draft format is usually How many colors should I play? Argent Depths is a set that revolves around huge influence costs and requirements, which makes many cards that much more difficult to play or utilize to their fullest potential. There is really a lot of influence fixing in both curated and Argent Depths packs, both when it comes to Power cards and, well, just a lot of cards from the newest set. That does not change the fact, that two-color decks are what you should usually be going for, sometimes with an additional, splashed color. Four or five color decks are a rare occurrence, but contrary to previous formats, now you can even try to build a mono faction deck.
The Strangers unit type that was running amok throughout the previous format has been curtailed, as it can only be found in the curated packs and it weighed at the lowest rate. Another thing you might notice while drafting (or watching other people draft) is that there are certain themes to all ten two-color factions and they will be covered in much more detail later in this guide.
Argent Depths gave us four new keywords – one of the being a new battle skill! – and brought back an old one – Revenge – that this time is focused not only in Justice and Shadow, but can be seen on cards from all factions. Let me explain the new mechanics:
- Decay is a new battle skill that means When this deals damage to a unit or relic weapon, that card’s strength and health / armor are permanently reduced by that much. So, if you are attacking a unit with Decay with your relic weapon, prepare to have its stats permanently reduced. Decay damage is very sticky and works great against some hard to deal with units, such as Revenge and Exalted ones. Decay is present on twenty two cards, but can also be gained as a random battle skill.
- When you Plunder, you may choose a card from your hand and transform it. If the chosen card was power, it becomes a Treasure Trove. If it was not power, it becomes a Sigil of its faction (in the case of multi-faction cards it has an equal chance of becoming a Sigil of each of its factions, and in the case of factionless cards it will become a Sigil of your starting deck’s faction). Plunder can be found on seventeen cards, most of them costing one or two power.
- Surge is an ability similar to an old one – Empower. Surge means When you gain influence, something happens. That means this ability gets triggered once if you play a Sigil, two times if you play a Seat etc. There are also other ways of gaining influence – some of it on fast speed. Surge is present on twenty four cards.
- When you play a unit with Imbue, you may stun one of your other units and keep it stunned. As long as it is stunned, the unit with Imbue gets the other one’s strength and health. This bond is quite fragile, though, as it is susceptible to killing, silencing or returning the imbued unit to their owner’s hand. It is also very important to know – although it is not stated explicitly on the ability tooltip – that you can imbue an exhausted unit. Imbue can be found on thirteen units, one of which allows you to imbue one of your opponent’s units.
With the new huge curated card pool we have some old mechanics as well, e.g. Pledge. This might be overwhelming to some of the newer players, but it is not as daunting as in some of the older draft formats.
4. How to approach picking cards?
When you look at a new potential pick always take a look at the rare or legendary first – if there is one still available. These cards usually have the potential of being the biggest bombs in the game. On the other hand never skip over the remaining cards, because you might just miss that 10/10 common card that is the cornerstone of your archetype. Usually in the first picks you should focus on very powerful cards. They do not need to be in the same color – in fact, I advise you to go as wide as three colors early on. Obviously if you are thinking between two cards at a similar power level you should pick the one in your current colors, as that is the one you are more likely to end up playing. Also remember which two- and three-color combinations play well together or have overarching themes.
Throughout the rest of the first pack try to read the signals that are coming your way. This means look for good cards that you are getting in picks 7 – 12. If there are multiple signals for a specific color or color combination, this means that you are probably going to get a lot from these colors later in pack four.
By the end of pack one you should have an idea of which color or colors are you going to play. In pack two try and pick the cards in these colors, but remember that the signals you saw previously will mean nothing in this and the next pack. The ideal situation is for you to pick cards from one or two main colors in packs one and four, but be open to other possibilities in packs two and three.
By the end of pack three you should have most of your deck ready. Do a final card count and unit count, take a look at your power curve. Picks from pack four should mainly smooth out your power curve and replace filler cards.
5. What should your deck look like?
By the end of the draft you should have a pool consisting of forty eight cards, each and every one of them ready to be played. Let me now tell you how your end build should look like in general. There are four main tips I am going to give you and they regard power, influence, units and overall curve.
Oh! Always play a forty five card deck! No exceptions! This way you can maximize the chances of drawing the best cards from your entire draft pool. Now, let us get to the less obvious things.
When it comes to power the base line is usually 40% – by that I mean around 40% of your cards should be power cards. In a forty five card deck that equals eighteen power cards. Simple? Yes, but wait – there is more to it. Some cards help you by providing more power, more influence or the other way around – can make use of any spare power you might have. You also need to remember that if you do not have a lot of influence fixing, i.e. ways of providing yourself with enough colors to play the cards you have, you might need to play more power. To sum up, just follow the math equation given below:
- If you are playing Seek Power, any Chants or Petition, you should count each as a power card. Etchings should count as a power card if they are in your main color, otherwise they should count as half a power.
- If your power curve is low, i.e. you have up to four 5-cost and 6-cost cards, you should decrease your power count by one.
- If your power curve is high, i.e. you have more than four 6-cost cards or higher, you should increase your power count by one.
- If you are playing three or more colors with almost no influence fixing, you should increase your power count by one – especially if you need at least double influence from all three colors.
- If you have huge influence requirements for both cards and their effects, you should consider increasing your total power count by one.
- If you have at least three Pledge and/or Plunder* cards, you should decrease your total power count by one.
- If you have four or more Decimate cards, you should increase your total power count by one.
- If you have a lot of power sinks, i.e. effects that make you use your power over and over or Spellcraft cards or you have a lot of looting effects, i.e. effects that let you draw and discard cards, you should increase your power count by one – as you will either be spending or discarding your excessive power.
*More on Plunder in Chapter 6.
Obviously there are more scenarios than I described above, but generally the more power your cards are consuming, the higher your power base should be, and vice versa.
Influence and fixing
There have been a lot of ups and downs when it comes to the amount of influence fixing in the last several draft formats. Right now the fixing is available in a lot of different, non-standard ways, but it is not that easy to get perfect fixing for a three-color deck. This time it is much easier to get you much higher on one or two specific colors more than allowing you to go very wide, faction-wise.
In Agrent Depths packs you can grab the five-card cycles of Symbols, Cylixes and Vows when it comes to power cards, alongside Etchings that can also enable you to play with Markets. Aside from that there are lots of different cards that increase your influence, e.g. Imprison or Steam Sprite. The curated packs have much more fixing variety and here are your main tools on going into more than two factions. Speaking of card cycles, you can get all ten Seats, five Tokens from Echoes of Eternity, five Chants and five Evangels. On top of that, Seek Power, Ancient Manual, Unfamiliar Interloper, Petition and Veteran Strategist are also available.
You will usually end up running a two-faction deck, potentially with a splash of a third color. Mono color decks are also a possibility, or ones that run over three quarters of one color with a small splash of another. Remember that some fixing comes from certain spells or when attacks abilities, and obviously the Plunder mechanic.
As far as splashing goes, i.e. playing a low number of cards of a faction in your deck, try playing dual influence Power cards with your main and splash color. This way in the end deck you might not need to get any basic Sigils from the splash color, which is the preferred way to go with splashing. In Argent Depths there is also another factor to remember. Splashing usually means including cards from outside your main color(s) with just single influence requirements. Now there is an option for you to splash double-influence cards, especially if you are doing that by using double-influence sources. A good example comes from one of my recent drafts, where using the below-mentioned numbers I was able to splash Siege Train – a bomb of a card, but with a double Fire requirement – into my Primal-Shadow deck by running two Fire Symbols and one copy of Imprison – all three cards potentially producing two Fire influence at once.
When you are figuring out your power requirements, remember that the number of influence sources for your colors should be:
- 3 – 5 for a small splash color that needs max one influence
- 5 – 7 for a medium splash color that needs up to two influence
- 7 – 11 for your main color / colors
Please remember that there is a great web-based power calculator that can math out all of your probabilities and demystify all secrets woven by many math-magicians. Feel free to at least give it a try!
When it comes to the unit count, you should have at the very least fifteen of them, more preferably seventeen to nineteen. It occurs more often than not that you might get a very low unit count if you do not pay attention to your card pool while drafting and I have played a couple of decks with fewer than fifteen units. Also do not go higher than twenty units as it is better to have weak tricks than an overabundance of mediocre units.
Obviously you should count cards that create units or turn into them as units, e.g. Humbug Nest. This leaves around nine to ten spots for attachments, spells and – if you are lucky – sites. These numbers are obviously not be-all and end-all to draft deck building, but they are a start.
Another thing – if you have too many 2-drops and they all show up as your only plays, you will just have to scoop to a Horned Vorlunk if you do not have anything to back the small guys up.
Power Curve is the number of proactive cards (that means usually units) that you can play out on your turns, given you always play a Power card. Now, if your deck is aggressive, you should have two to four 1-drops (1-cost cards), six to eight 2-drops, no more 3-drops than 2-drops, no more 4-drops than 3-drops etc. If your deck is more midrange or controlling, you can go down to as few as five 1- and/or 2-drops total, five to seven 3-drops, no more 4-drops than 3-drops etc. Remember that if your curve is lower you can get away with playing one fewer power card and if it is higher you will have to play one more power card.
6. What are the main strategies and synergies?
As I have previously mentioned, in the current draft format you will usually end up with a two-faction deck, give or take a color. There are some general strategies for all ten of those combinations, that include smaller or bigger synergies of some cards. There are also the new keywords, which have some synergies built around them.
Let us go through the synergies now, starting with the general ones and then going into all ten two-faction combinations.
Given that Imbue is a new mechanic, I will try to explain it in detail. When you play a unit with this ability, you may stun one of your other units and keep it stunned. As long as it is stunned, the unit with Imbue gets the other one’s strength and health. There are a couple of things that are not explained on the keyword tooltip, though. The main one is that you can use this ability to stun an exhausted unit, e.g. one you already attacked with. The next big one is that the ability only looks at the stunned unit’s stats at the moment of imbuing. If the imbued unit’s attack or health change, the bonus on the other unit does not change. This means that it is a good idea to use this ability on units that already attacked this turn, ones that got temporarily buffed (e.g. with Surge effects) or ones you want to keep out of harm’s way, because they are more useful to you because of their abilities.
Although Imbue is an interesting ability that – when used correctly – can benefit your board state, there is only one card that synergizes with Imbue itself. Danica, Runed Witch allows you to draw a card each time you Imbue a unit. Given she is a legendary card, you will not come across her that often, meaning Imbue becomes a supporting motive, not a main strategy in and of itself. There is also Land’s Edge, which permanently buffs all your stunned units, e.g. those that are imbued frozen. Remember, though, that if the stunned unit grows, the imbue unit does not benefit from this. All of this makes Land’s Edge a fringe case bonus at best. The last, however small consideration is Camouflaged Musket, a relic weapon that gets a bonus to its attack each time one of your unit readies. This includes a unit getting un-stunned when an imbue unit leaves play.
There are several more cards that care about stunned units, though, but I will cover those in the Hooru section, below.
If you have played Eternal Card Game long enough and know about the Empower ability, Surge falls in the same category. Instead of triggering an effect each time a Power card comes into play, this one watches for each time you gain an influence. This means that Surge is easier to trigger (because there is a lot of cards besides Power that give you influence) and can be triggered multiple times (because there are a lot of effects that give you two or more influence, including those on Power cards).
Another big difference between Surge and Empower – in a draft environment – is that this time around there are effects that can give you influence on fast speed, i.e. during an attack. Each color has access to an uncommon that gives you your choice of two influence, there is an option of playing an expensive fast spell with Redmask Warrior in play etc.
Although there are no cards that connect themselves to the Surge keyword itself, most of the Surge effects are either very good or very easy to achieve. The biggest implementation of Surge is in the Rakano colors, where it can lead to very explosive opening, but I will cover it later in the appropriate section.
The addition of Plunder introduces a lot of flexibility for your deck. There are some aspects to remember about this ability. One is that it can be found on cheaper cards, with the most expensive being Yeti Taunt Patrol that costs three power. That means with the current redraw system you should be able to play these cards early, influence permitting. Now, given the dual choice this mechanic gives you, you can turn low-power initial hands into ones that can play out all the cards, and vice versa – very powerful hands get a redraw of one of the power cards.
One of the biggest considerations for Plunder comes with deck building. This ability is, in a way, similar to the Pledge keyword from several sets ago, but with fewer restrictions (it works after first turn, it works both ways etc.), which can change the total amount of power cards your deck might need. On the one hand you might consider running fewer Power cards when you are playing a low-curve, aggressive deck, with the intention of turning some weaker or at-the-moment unplayable cards into the power you need. On the other hand you could run more Power cards in controlling decks with a lot of power sinks, i.e. ways of using your excess power.
Although there are no cards triggered by your ability to Plunder, there are several cards that care about Transforming other cards – and Plunder is exactly that. More on that in the Elysian chapter.
Praxis (Fire-Time) – Expensive spells matter
When drafting a Praxis deck you will come across multiple cards that care about you playing expensive spells, usually costing 5 or more. These payoff cards are all over the place and include Gleeful Firebrand, Redmask Warrior, Rust Machine, Arcanum Battery, Ancient Machinist, Leyline Tracer, Sandblast Mage and Angelica, Praxis Infuser from Argent Depths and Midias, Leyline Dragon, Volatility from the curated packs. There is also an abundance of very expensive spells that gain additional value if you have the payoff cards.
Given that the spells in question are rather expensive, you probably do not want to have too many of them in your deck, as they might clutter your hand in the early game. Three to six such spells is an optimum amount, with premium expensive spells such as Disappear or Reality Snap being the preferred option. It is rather not advisable to play bad expensive spells, e.g. Invoke the Waystones just for the sake of triggering these abilities.
Rakano (Fire-Justice) – Extra surge
As far as Rakano goes, the biggest synergy in these colors is just creating a very aggressive deck. Here is where Surge has found its home, for sure. With very high bursts of damage due to Surge power-up (e.g. Flameheart Patroller, Mightweaver, Chainwhip Bludgoner) and ways of triggering Surge on a regular basis (e.g. Ijin, Walking Armory, Badge of Honor) this archetype has the potential of taking out opponents from seemingly nowhere. It is also important to remember here that Imbue units do like eating up your temporarily powered-up units, making cards like Slagfury Berserker and Auric Official better than they initially seem.
Skycrag (Fire-Primal) – Go wide
Previously this was the domain of Winchest aka Fire-Justice-Shadow. Now Skycrag is your play-a-lot-of-small-unit color combination. To my huge surprise, Primal has received several pieces of token (as in, small unit) generation with Cheerful Shepherd and Mobilization to go with Tend the Flock. If you combine it with Corrosive Dagger, Rust Machine, Granite Waystone, Criva, the Crimson Scythe, Tattoo Dragon and Tota Colony, you have a lot of presence on the board.
As far as payoff for this strategy goes, you can either buff all of your units with Relentless Pursuit, Grizzled Quickshot, Fire Conjuring and Rally. There are also a lot of cards that count the number of units you have in play, like Oni Battledriver, Steam Blast, Steam Sprite, Crill, Clan Raider, Forgeborn or Skyfire Hellkite. And, in the end, if you end up with too many small units, you can always sacrifice them to Kindling Carver.
Stonescar (Fire-Shadow) – Unit attack matters
Similar to Praxis, this faction counts to five and more – this time it is your units’ attack value. In Argent Depths we have received several cards that count specifically whether a unit’s attack is five or more, such as Mightweaver, Spiritweaver or Syl, Cabal Strongarm along some cards that just count on units to have a very high attack value, like Trailtorch Cinderpaw, Darkfyre, Vorpal Cutter, Blade of the Worthy, Buhton, Death’s Reach and, in a way, Pack Conjuring and Skeletal Dragon.
Obviously you need high attack units to synergize with the above-mentioned payoffs. You can look either for units that have huge stats on their own, or can get buffed with Surge and other effects – cards like Badlands Survivalist, Eager Deputy, Darkblade Cutpurse, Flameheart Patroller, Towering Arachnid, Yeti Cookmaster, Ravenous Thornbeast etc.
Combrei (Time-Justice) – Ramp
I believe that in the current draft format playing Combrei is all about ramping your maximum power up, while maintaining a presence on the board. As usual, this is a two-part synergy, which requires cards that produce more power and, well, just expensive cards that do a lot, but would otherwise be too slow. Your maximum power can be helped by Apprentice Mage, Battery Mage, Enter the Monastery, Sabre of Progress, Learned Herbalist, Magnificent Stranger (in a way), Platinum Qirin, Secret Pages, Ancestral Oasis, Pillar of Progress and Penitent Bull. There are also a lot of cards that do not ramp you up on the spot, but look for Power cards for future use, such as Time Etchings, Justice Etchings, Amber Acolyte or Copperhall Porter.
Aside from being able to play more expensive cards earlier and easier, ramping up also means that you will be triggering your Surge abilities more often.
Elysian (Time-Primal) – Transform
When I was going through the Argent Depths cards I have not seen a huge theme that is specific to Elysian, but I did notice that there are several cards that relate to other cards being transformed. Wildgrowth Druid grows slightly, Feral Mandrake gets returned from the void, to Imbue anew and Vargo’s Pelt … tries to do something, but is a legendary and you will probably not see it that often. Oh yes, and Mind Link is here.
On the other hand, if you do have cards that carry about transforming, you can find plenty of those in the format. There is the From cycle, Plunder is a mechanic that transforms a card in your hand, Ancient Mechanist, Learned Imitator, Wump & Mizo and Unraveling Fanatic transform and there are a lot of other transform effects that hinder your opponent’s cards. It is just that there is not enough additional payoff here.
Xenan (Time-Shadow) – Ambush
One of the easiest to find synergies is the Time-Shadow one of playing cards during the opponent’s turn, aka the Ambush synergy. The engine part of this is easy to find – just look through all Ambush units and fast spells and there you go. As far as the payoff goes, there is much more to be had here than in Elysian or Hooru, for sure!
Desperate Courier makes all cards you play on the enemy turn slightly cheaper. Monk Innervator temporarily buffs units ever so slightly, which is useful for Ambush and Charge units, most of the time. Blurhaze Wurm draws you cards. Leyline Tracer gets temporarily bigger for each spell you play. Executioner drains the opponent for one point. Sewer Crocodile and Rolant’s Enforcer get bigger. Aside from these obvious considerations, you have to remember that the option of playing a lot of cards during the opponent’s attack will surely foil their dastardly plans!
Hooru (Justice-Primal) – Stun
As far as Hooru goes, there are several small synergies available for you. One is checking whether there are any stunned units in play, with Bouldergate Guardian and Frostbite Elemental being decently sized units when this condition is met. There is also Shatter, which kills a stunned enemy unit and the recently buffed Fencing Master, which grows if you stun an enemy unit. Remember that for the first two effects you can imbue your own units.
Aside from this there is the amazing removal spell in Bring to Justice, which needs you to have Aegis on your avatar to get rid of a unit forever. To get that protection you can use Bubble Shield, Aniyah, Master Sleuth, Cleansing Rain, Cobalt Waystone, Transpose, Eilyn’s Favor or Forlorn Gryffyn. Although you should grab most of those only if you have already picked up Bring to Justice.
Balebport (Justice-Shadow) – Armory
Just like in the Dark Frontier draft format, Argenport is the home of armory – Relic Weapons and buffing them in various ways. Contrary to Creation Armory from the previous draft format, here you will not find many ways to get your relic weapons back from the void (unless you are willing to splash Fire or Time), but you have to work with what you have.
This usually means gaining lots of armor with cards like Noble Protector, Nightwatch Broadsword, Smogwing Tinker, Backbreaker, Emerald Waystone, Rolant’s Favor, Silver Shortsword, Tax Collector, Storm of Feathers, Eloz’s Choice and buffing overall stats of the weapon with Siphoner Paladin, Telut, the Iron Gate, Tavrod, Auric Financier or Illicit Armaments. Oh, yes, there is also Treasury Gate if you want to go for a more meme route.
Feln (Primal-Shadow) – Revenge matters
When it comes to Primal and Shadow, here is where Revenge found its home. And I do not only mean Revenge units, but spells as well. On the one hand, having a lot of units at your disposal, whether from Primal Cheerful Shepherd, Mobilization and Tend the Flock, allows you to have sacrifice fodder for Grave Robbery, Grisly Contest, Flamebathe Reformation or Ravenous Thornbeast. On the other hand, Revenge spells means you have twice as many spells to draw and play, which makes cards such as Terrazon Echo, Valley-Clan Sage, Ancient Serpent, Rindra, Infiltrator, Powderglider, Tundra Explorer, Galeprowler and Icicle Marksman much better.
There are also a couple of cards that care if you have played a card with Destiny, i.e. Elias, Shadow Wing and Murky Tentaclesis. You will not see a lot of the former, but be very weary of the latter!
This list is obviously not the be-all end-all of synergies available in the format. Especially that you can have payoff cards of a synergy from one faction and combine it with synergistic cards in other colors. For example, there are high cost spells and high attack units outside of Praxis and Stonescar, respectively. Or you can try to look for three-faction synergies, such as Imbue / stunned in Time-Justice-Primal. This is what makes this format really fun and interesting to explore.
7. What cards to look out for during games?
During the draft games themselves you should always have in mind all tricks the opponent might play in any given situation (especially with the current stop system, but that is another topic). Here is a graphical representation of all fast spells and Ambush units from both Argent Depths and curated packs, sorted by faction and cost!
8. How to be Excellent?
Well, you have managed to get this far, My Dear Reader. Congratulations! As a reward, I will bestow upon you the knowledge of numbers, also called tiers or ratings. That is right, below you can find a link to a spreadsheet containing knowledge more vast than that in Vault of the Praxis. But that is not all! Not only will you find ratings for all 216 cards from Argent Depths and 619 cards from the curated packs – those do not always work in a vacuum. Aside from the general ratings I have put some additional notes, as some cards tend to be better if you have other things that synergize with them, especially given how many smaller and wider synergies there are in this format. Additionally, given the huge impact of influence in the current set, there is also going to be an influence rating value. For now – enjoy! You will thank me later.
Generally, cards are rated in two categories. One – the General Rating – is based on their value in a vacuum, without taking their synergies into account, or if they have wide enough synergies. For each narrow synergy where the card would be rated higher, it is noted in the Synergy Rating column. That means that if a card has a ‘1’ General Rating, but a much higher Synergy Rating, it needs specific cards in your deck to be even playable – but if you have them, it can even become great.
A couple of notes. Given that drafting experiences may vary, these are just my personal thoughts about the power level of cards. There is also a great difference between card value in pack 1 and pack 4 – at the beginning you are just looking for the most powerful cards and judge them on their raw value, at the end you tend to fill out the holes in your curve, deck composition and you know how many synergistic cards you have, e.g. those where Relic weapons or having tons of units on the board.
Also, please remember that these numbers are not be-all and end-all of making good drafting choices. You should have the final build of your deck in mind when choosing cards. If you are lacking 2-drops you are better off getting a 2-cost unit rated a 4 than another 4-cost unit rated a 7. Also – especially in the beginning – you will be presented with a lot of choices between cards with similar power level. My advice is usually to go either with the lesser influence requirement or just with your personal preference.
Quick rating reference guide:
1 – Unplayable, e.g. Rebuild
2 – Borderline playable or playable in the Market (if you have one), e.g. Determination Engine
3 – Worse filler that might end up in your deck, e.g. Brightling
4 – Better filler, e.g. Lurking Brute
5 – Okay medium cards, e.g. Sand Tornado
6 – Good cards, e.g. Sky Serpent
7 – Very good cards, e.g. Apprentice Mage
8 – Great cards, e.g. Disappear
9 – Superb cards, e.g. Pillage
10 – Overpowered bombs, e.g. Eilyn, Fearless
9. Any last words?
To finish this lengthy monologue I would also like to point out one obvious strategy – the so-called rare-drafting. Yes, I think you should pick that premium legendary. Even if it is not playable in constructed, you can turn it to shiftstone and craft yourself any other legendary. When a new set comes out it is well within your right to draft the cards you also want to see played in your regular decks. And, obviously, when the last picks of a pack come around and there is no card you are going to play in your deck, just picking an unplayable rare still means you are getting some additional shiftstone all for yourself. Also – remember to have fun!
I truly hope you found this wall of text useful and that it will make you better at drafting in Eternal Card Game.