Hey guys, aReNGee here. Yesterday it came to our attention via the Eternal Discord chat that we will very likely see a new “mini set” this month, with between 5 and 100 new cards. Three of these new cards were spoiled in the new GameInsider February issue, so be sure to check that out! For those that don’t have access to the issue, I’ll help you out. Here are our three new spoilers (all of them listed as Rare):
Jekk, the Bounty Hunter
The cowboy behind the throne finally makes an appearance! This is the guy who’s avatar isn’t a card yet, and whose shotgun and sword rest on the Eternal Throne on the splash page. Besides being one of the key figures of the Eternal lore, the card itself is pretty powerful. We’ve all seen by now how strong “Summon: Silence” is as an effect, and adding on stun certainly makes the ability even stronger. At that point in the game, Jekk essentially removes an enemy unit from the board for two turns, which is pretty close to killing it outright. The effect is certainly worth 2 power (see Rebuke) and the body you get is quite reasonable. A 6/4 Quickdraw passes the Sandstorm Titan Test and can attack through nearly everything of comparable cost, from Infernal Tyrants to Black Sky Harbingers to Statuary Maidens. He’s reasonably resilient and doesn’t die to cheap removal like Torch or Annihilate, although Permafrost and Lightning Strike do catch him.
The card is certainly powerful, and there’s only one thing preventing you from slotting him in your existing Rakano decks – he costs 6 power. This is usually out of the traditional Rakano decks reach, and he’s not exactly an Armory card, which means he doesn’t slot into either of the obvious Fire/Justice decks. However, he does find an obvious home in the third Fire/Justice archetype – Combrano (FTJ Midrange). Imagine a Combrei deck with 12 Silences instead of 8 and the game ending top end of Rise for Icaria… I can hear Jaffa salivating now.
(Jaffa was a deckbuilder whose main claim to fame was “splashing” Rise to the Challenge and Icaria in every color combination. Feln splash Icaria wasn’t the most consistent deck ever built)
Alternatively, with a little bit more support from the new mini-set, Rakano Midrange could become a legitimate archetype. At the moment there just aren’t many Rakano units at 4, 5 and 6 cost worth playing in constructed. Jekk combines with Icaria to give these Rakano decks a powerful top end to build towards, so all that’s missing is the midgame punch. If Rakano gets a powerful 4 or 5 cost unit, Rakano Midrange is certainly worth trying.
Cabal Spymaster is one of those cards in which the body is so far below the curve it needs to be evaluated entirely on the basis of its effect. A 4 power 4/4 with no keywords is nothing to get excited about, as even Navani’s ridiculous Warcry train struggles to see play. There’s very little it can attack through, and not much it can block of comparable cost. Since all of the potential power of the card is in its ability, we must evaluate it based on that alone – while at the same time aware that a single silence renders the card useless.
Your units can Infiltrate any number of times.
On the surface, this is a powerful effect. Being able to Infiltrate many times can potentially generate huge advantages, especially when you take into consideration that most Infiltrate abilities are balanced around only activating once. Unfortunately, this card doesn’t actually make it any easier to get even the first hit in, which is something Infiltrate decks usually struggle with. Additionally, it doesn’t work well with either of the current All-Stars of Infiltrate decks, Gorgon Fanatic and Haunting Scream. Both kill the unit at the end of turn, and returning it to play resets its ability anyways so you don’t get additional value. Cabal Spymaster actually has surprisingly low impact on a traditional Haunting Scream style deck.
Spymaster still does basically nothing when combined with “Infiltrate” cards like Gorgon Swiftblade and Midnight Gale. Where Spymaster starts to really get going is where you consider non-traditional Infiltrates. Lethrai Ranger rapidly grows out of control when it can constantly reinfiltrate. Desperado threatens to kill a unit every turn, assuming you can get it through. Cabal Recruiter builds you an army. Even the humble Blood Beetle grows, and looks to keep on growing. None of these cards see particularly widespread play at the moment, but could combine with Spymaster to form a new multi-infiltrate archetype.
On the other side of the coin, Spymaster could combine with an unexpected partner – Yeti Tribal! Wump, Party Starter already allows your Yetis to infiltrate as soon as they come down. Spymaster allows those Yetis to trigger again, and again, and again… While I can’t prove it will work this way in practice, in theory two Wumps, a Spymaster and a Scouting Party combine to deal 8 damage and draw 8 cards – that’s a dream worth living for! If you’d like to go with a more reliable method of triggers, playing Beastcaller’s Amulet on a cheap flyer should allow you to get your first beast. Assuming your flyer survives, a follow-up Spymaster could surprise your opponent and generate you 5/5 after 5/5.
Overall, Spymaster is often more of a win-more kind of card, as its ability is only relevant on offense and reliant on a couple of other things to have happened first. You need to be able to attack more or less freely, and you need to have already got an infiltrate trigger before the card does anything. Right now, I’d expect people to try Spymaster for a while, but unless there is a new Infiltrate card that works really well with her, I wouldn’t expect her to become the core of a breakout new constructed deck.
Between patch 1.14 and this spoiler, we’ve tripled the number of cheap ramp cards we have access to. At its most basic level, it acts as a Secret Pages by allowing you to jump from 3 to 5 power. Redundancy in cheap ramp should finally allow Eternal to have an actual ramp deck, that focuses on rapidly increasing its power and playing powerful threats. Between Initiate of the Sands, Secret Pages, Marshal Ironthorn, and now this card, you should have enough redundancy to reach eight power by turn 5 or 6. What you do with that power is up to you.
The additional power drop also allows you to trigger empower twice, so this card combines well with Combrei staples like Awakened Student and especially Mystic Ascendant. It also combines well with Marshal Ironthorn, assuming you still have any power in hand. Running out of power in hand is a real concern with this card, as it doesn’t really do anything if you only have one or fewer sigils to play. To solve this problem, the potential addition of forgotten card Voice of the Speaker gives your power cards Echo and allows you to double up on your plays. Voice also works fantastically well in combination with Vodakhan, who is a natural friend to Marshal Ironthorn and Mystic Ascendant… The deck just builds itself!
Outside of a ramp/combo deck, there isn’t much of a place for Combrei Emissary. A 3 power 2/2 isn’t a real constructed body, so like Spymaster it’s all about the effect. Emissary can give you immediate value for the low cost of having any power in hand, so it’s not difficult to get a cards worth of value out of it, and its upside when combined with other ramp cards is quite high. Overall, this is a good card that should help enable a new Ramp Archetype and a solid addition to the forgotten Vodakombo decks.