While not a card mechanic, the Redraw option at the beginning of every game of Eternal is critically important but often poorly understood. To help lessen the mystery, I’m going to go into detail to explain how the redraw mechanic works, and then discuss when you should or should not redraw.
The Opening Hand
At the beginning of the game of Eternal, your deck of (presumably) 75 cards is randomized and you are given the top 7 cards of the resulting pile. No restrictions are placed on this first hand, you can get seven power, seven units, or anything in between. You are presented with two options after seeing this opening hand: Keep and Redraw.
You are only offered a limited amount of time to decide to keep your hand. After an initial wait, a time will begin to visually burn down around the keep button. When it reaches the end, your hand will automatically be redrawn. If you press the keep button at any time before this happens, you will keep the displayed opening hand. Nothing further will happen to your deck or hand.
Note: It is possible to click the Keep button but still have the hand be redrawn. This only occurs when the timer burns down to the absolute minimum – it may seem as though there is time left, but the game is already redrawing your hand. To avoid this, always make your decision before the last second!
From the in-game tooltip, Redraw will “Draw a new hand with at least 2 Power.” While this is technically true, it fails to explain exactly what is going behind the scenes. When you click redraw, your hand of seven cards is rejoined with your deck of 75 cards. Then, the following steps occur:
- The 75 card deck is randomized.
- The top seven cards are “drawn”. Unlike the initial hand, these cards are not shown to the player.
- The computer will check the Power composition of the drawn hand. If it contains zero, one, six, or seven power cards. The hand is invalid. Note: cards such as Seek Power or Favors count as non-power cards.
- If the hand is invalid, the 7 cards are returned back to the 75 card deck and the process repeats. Otherwise, proceed to step five.
- If the hand is not invalid, it contains between two and five power. This is a legal redraw hand, and will be given to the player as their opening hand.
- The game now visually presents this hand to the player. All of these steps occur in the time between clicking redrawn and the presentation of the redrawn hand. Nothing further happens to the deck.
So, a couple key things to note. On your initial hand, you could have a hand of all sigils or no sigils at all. On the redraw, this will never ever happen – you’ll always have at least two power and at most five power. Additionally, as the deck is randomized in its entirety, all the cards you saw in your first hand are eligible to be drawn with the redraw. You could get a singleton copy in both hands, or even theoretically receive the exact same hand again! (assuming the initial hand met the redraw’s power requirement). Finally, the Redraw has special caveats for power only. The Redraw does not guarantee a hand that is good, or even playable. Many a player has lost a game by redrawing themselves into a hand of all Fire sigils and Justice cards.
Once the cards are redrawn, your deck order is set and will not be randomized during the game. Sigil searchers like Seek Power will pull a random sigil out of the deck, but leave the deck order the same. Cards put on the bottom with Scheme will stay there. Warcry boosted cards on top will not be mixed into the deck, no matter how many searching effects you play. You can still manipulate your deck through cards like Scheme, Second Sight, and Excavate, just keep in mind that the deck never randomizes.
Knowing When to Redraw
You only get one chance at a better hand, so it is important to know when to take a second hand instead of the opener. As with most parts of Eternal, decisions are subjective and situational, but there are few pretty safe hard and fast rules. For the purposes of this article, Sigil Sources are cards like Seek Power and Favors that pull sigils from your deck and can be counted as power.
Bar one-in-a-billion situations, you should ALWAYS Redraw the following hands:
- Hands with one or fewer power and no sigil sources: You will always redraw at least two power, so your redrawn hand will be better.
- Hands containing six or more sigils and sigil sources: Yow will always redraw at most five power, so your redrawn hand will usually have more action.
- Hands that contain a poor influence fit (i.e. all Fire sigils and Justice cards)
- Hands that have no play before turn 5: Yes, you could be playing a long control game, but its far more likely that you’ll be required to do something before turn 5.
While not as be all end all as the rules above, there are certain times where it is usually correct to use your redraw. Deck choice or the exact composition of a particular hand may cause you to keep them, but generally you’ll want to try again.
Hands you should usually redraw:
- Hands missing your primary influence: If you’re a Fire based deck and you have no fire influence, throw it back.
- Two or more “dead” cards: If you draw both of your Varas in your opener, you’re going to be playing down two cards for a long time. Ship it.
- Wrong Selection of Cards: If you have all your weapons but no units, that’s a bad fit.
- Hands with 5 or more sigils/sigil sources: Generally that’s too much power and not enough action.
- Only two power, all 3+ cost cards: It feels awful to never draw that third power and be stuck with a hand of uncastables. Don’t risk it!
Knowing When to Keep
Equally important than knowing when to redraw is knowing when a hand is actively good. This is a somewhat complex and extremely subjective topic that is best examined on a deck to deck basis. That said, I’m going to try to give you some ideas of what hands are good to keep. Usually you’ll keep the following hands:
- Hands with a supported curve: If you have cards you’d like to cast that cost 1-2-3 or 2-3-4 and the power to support them, you have a pretty good hand.
- Hands that fit your plan: If you’re an aggro deck, this is a low power, unit heavy hand. If you’re a control deck, this is some early game removal and some Sigils, most likely. Hands that fit in well with your game plan are hands you want to keep.
- Hands containing important cards: If your deck relies heavily on a single card (Frontier Jito, Silverwing Familiar, Shimmerpack) you are more likely to keep those hands.
Hopefully this article has helped to clear up some of the mysticism surrounding the mysterious redraw. The redraw suggestions provided in this article are mostly a guide rather than hard and fast rules, there are exceptions to every one (especially when you know what deck your opponent is playing). Have a game mechanic you’d like explained next? Let me know in the comments!