Today marks the release of the first draft pick order since the original! With the two pick orders being four months apart (whew!) plenty of cards have moved around. I’ve written this article as an attempt to explain some of the major shifts that occurred on the pick order. Most of them are based on metagame shifts (which I’ve discussed in a separate article), some are just under/overvalued cards, the rest are card changes.
Cards that went up
Bombs were initially underrated on the first tier list, and the lack of legendaries meant that many absurd bombs weren’t even on the list. With the format slowing down and aggro decks becoming more and more midrange, powerful bombs get there chance to shine. Many expensive cards moved up the the pick order.
Smuggler’s Stash (B- to A+)
At the time, games ended quickly and cared more about tempo than value. By the time you got to 5 power, you’d rarely be able to take the turn off to cast it and you’d usually be bringing back 4 or 5 power worth of units. Nowadays, with games going long, this ends up as reading “draw your four best cards” in the right deck, which is absurdly powerful. You do need to draft around it (mostly by prioritizing weapons) but the power is there.
Whip Chain (B- to A-)
This card was just plain undervalued at the time. While the danger of exposing yourself to Deathstrike was certainly a factor back when it was a common, its one of the few cards that punishes you. This card makes one of your units better and eats their best unit/flyer, putting you way ahead on board. That’s certainly enough value to risk a two for one.
Pillar of Amar (B+ to A+)
This may be the best non rare finisher in the game. Not really a 7 drop, it comes down on turn 8 with a power and puts two 5/5s into play. Unless you’re losing so badly that two 5/5s won’t save you, your opponent needs to kill it immediately or they lose the game as it grind them down.
Seek Power (C- to B-)
Splash was pretty unpopular back when the first tier list was made. It’s grown in popularity, and even two color decks appreciate the deck thinning and faction-fixing that Seek Power provides. It’s a solid inclusion in any deck that isn’t super aggressive.
Amethyst Acolyte (D+ to B)
This card goes up entirely due to its balance change. Before, it did two damage to the opponent and gained you two health, which was cute but the body wasn’t very relevant. Nowadays it gives -1/-1, which is even better than 1 damage because it’s permanent. The power to pick off an enemy unit or shrink their best guy brings it up a lot, even if the body is still not super relevant.
Cards that went down
Torch (S to A)
When the pick order first came out, Rakano and Stonescar decks were in full swing, aggressively ending games by turn six. With games no longer being decided so quickly, players were able to play expensive units that had four or more health, and Torch’s status as a removal spell went down. It’s still a great card, but Fire as a faction has gotten weaker and its no longer the windmill slam it once was.
Sword of Icaria (A to B-)
This one… may have been overvalued. At its base level its a 3 damage removal spell with Warcry, but it played well with other Warcry effects and an early 5/4 Sword was something few draft decks could deal with. Now it falls down the list a lot, as three damage kills less and less of the commonly played units. It is still a good card, it was just overvalued. It’s lower on this pick order than it would be based on power level because it’s a multifaction card and Rakano isn’t a strong combination right now.
Oni Ronin (A+ to A-)
One of the few 2/1s to stay in A rank, Oni Ronin still leads to some busted starts. However, most of his support has gone up in rarity or is gone altogether, making it much harder to get the ball rolling. With the exception of Pyroknight, this is probably the best one drop you can play.
Predator’s Instinct (B+ to C-)
This card is much less impressive than we used to think. Unlike Whip Chain, it requires you already having the biggest unit on the board, so it won’t help you come back from behind. It also doesn’t leave any major benefit behind after you’ve used the Killer ability, so it works as a conditional removal spell. There are enough situations where it isn’t what you want that this card comes way down the list.
If you see a major disparity you’d like me to explain, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!