Going Deep – Keep or Redraw?

Hey friends! Today’s article is focused on the first and one of the most important decisions of the game – keep or redraw? Most of the time it is a fairly easy decision; too much or too little power? Redraw! That said many hands can have a mix of power and action, but still be worth sending back. This article will give you some insights into the thinking of top players on keeping versus redrawing hands.

Ilyak has actually joined to give his take on the hands, so we can get a second opinion, and you will see we disagreed on a number of the examples. Since I deliberately chose hands that were difficult, it isn’t that surprising we disagreed in a number of cases. What is more beneficial is seeing our logic of why a given hand is a keep or redraw. We will be pulling hands from the three Tier 1 decks; Felnscar control, Shimmerpack, and Rakano. Be sure to share your thoughts on any hands you disagreed with!

Felnscar

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Neon

REDRAW (Keep against Jito): This hand is surprisingly close, despite the fact that it is missing Primal influence. Against unknown opponents, you are usually just looking for cheap interaction to allow you to get set up before they run you over. That said, without Primal influence, it is pretty easy to imagine this hand stalling out, and is certainly poor versus most midrangy or controlling decks. I think I redraw, although I might keep if I’m on the draw against a known Jito opponent since I would be heavily favored if at least one of my top 4 cards is a Primal source (which there is about a 70% chance of if you check the math).

Ilyak

REDRAW: With 17 sources of primal in the deck you have a 44% chance of hitting 1 or more primal sigils in 2 draws. No dice. Ship it.

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Neon

KEEP: Though it may look clunky, this hand is pretty good, especially on the draw. Torch and Suffocate are great pieces of early interaction, and we only need 1 Shadow source for this hand to be very good. Champion is not great in the starting hand, but the contents are fairly solid, so I keep.

Ilyak

KEEP ON THE DRAW, REDRAW ON THE PLAY: on the play, you have 2 draws to get one of 24 power sources + 3 seek power. This basically puts you at 36% chance to just fall behind immensely. I don’t like this on the play. On the draw, however, you have 3 draws for that same source of power. That gives about an 80% chance to hit that third power on time, so I keep this on the draw.

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Neon

KEEP: Although this has a good influence distribution, and the power comes in undepleted, the interaction could end up being a bit slow. I think this hand if very match up dependent. Against Combrei midrange? Totally serviceable. Against Jito? Utterly abysmal. This can probably contend with most Rakano draws, since it has 2 removal spells, and very few builds will have enough power out the gates to kill you before you draw into more material. Although there are things that can go wrong, I keep.

Ilyak

REDRAW: This is highly matchup-dependent. If you know you’re up against a slower deck and don’t need to be afraid of being rushed down, this is a keep. However, if you’re just going in blind, a Jito or Rakano deck will basically blow you up for keeping something like this. Ship against unknown opponent. Also, ship immediately if you’re on the draw.

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Neon

REDRAW: This is classic example of a hand that has Power + Spells but is still not good enough. I almost always look for cheap interaction first, and we have none of that. Champion of Chaos is just not a great first play of the game, and Deathstrikes are way too slow in a lot of match ups. Not only is the hand slow against aggressive decks, it doesn’t even have card draw to make it interesting against control decks. I might keep this against a slow Combrei deck, but even then I am not excited.

Ilyak

KEEP ON THE PLAY, REDRAW ON THE DRAW: That Champion into Deathstrikes with influence set up is just so tempting.

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Neon

KEEP: This is a classic example of how this is really a 2.5 faction deck. Felnscar does not need Fire influence to function, and 2 Lightning Storms will buy you a lot of time. Storms also stack very well, since casting them twice can kill 4 health units, or units with aegis. If I knew my opponent were on a controlling deck or Combrei Midrange I would ship it, but this looks pretty OK in the dark.

Ilyak

KEEP: Yes, it needs Fire, but you have two Lightning Storms to keep you safe early on, and a guaranteed on-curve Bloodcaster. I like this. Keep.

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Neon

REDRAW (Keep against control): This is something like the flip side of the last hand. Once again, this is missing Fire influence, but that is not a huge concern. The bigger issue is less early interaction. The stacking of Storms to take care of bigger units or units with aegis does not work here. All that being said, if my opponent were on some controlling deck I would actually keep this. I’m not going to be under much pressure early in the game, and Wisdom of the Elders will usually get me enough power to play Staff, which is very important in control mirrors.

Ilyak

REDRAW: That Staff and Harbinger are a bit early, and you only have the one Lightning Storm as defense for your early game. Too vulnerable for me. Toss it.

Shimmerpack

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Neon

REDRAW: This is another classic example of a hand that has power and spells but doesn’t go anywhere. When playing this deck, you must always remember that Talir’s Favored is about 90% Time Sigil, 10% unit, and keeping a hand with 4.9 power, and 2 conditional removal spells, and .1 unit doesn’t seem great. Although someone inexperienced with the deck might be tempted, this is an easy redraw.

Ilyak

REDRAW: This hand is just getting flooded. You’re hoping for a payoff card you don’t know you’re going to get. Immediate ship.

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Neon

KEEP: Here we have a fairly reasonable hand. Although Xenan Obelisk in not outstanding in this right now, it is probably the most important card in the deck, and any hand that can reasonably be expected to cast it with any other supporting cards is probably a keep. Are we excited about powering up just a Talir’s Favored and a Displacer? Not really, but more units will come.

Ilyak

KEEP: This hand has development (Favored), it has interaction (Wasp and Displacer), and a critical payoff card you’ll cast at first opportunity (Obelisk). Snap keep.

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Neon

KEEP: Some starting hands in Shimmerpack are basically asking you to turn to Plan B. What is Plan B? Elysian midrange. An endless parade of Sandstorm Titans is not great in every matchup, but some decks will really struggle. If you miss on your 4th power you might be in trouble, but a Darude train can only be so bad.

Ilyak

KEEP ON THE PLAY, REDRAW ON THE DRAW: Oh the temptations. On the play, you can most likely hit that first Darude drop and go from there. On the draw, it feels like you just might get your face smashed in before you get your payoff. (Greedily) keep on the play. Ship on the draw.

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Neon

KEEP ON THE PLAY, REDRAW ON THE DRAW: I find this hand very interesting because of how much it leans on Initiate of the Sands. If she survives you are able to play Initiate>Acolyte>Scribe into probably another 2 power play, which will usually find you enough power to play a fast Scouting Party. If Initiate dies, you could very easily make no other plays all game long. In fact, she only needs to survive for 1 turn to make this hand function! Given that, I would keep this on the play, and ship it on the draw, since on the draw she is too vulnerable to Vara’s Favor or Desert Marshall. On the play she is only really vulnerable to Suffocate and Torch.

Ilyak

KEEP ON THE PLAY, REDRAW ON THE DRAW: On the play, I like this since you’re only afraid of Suffocate or Torch. On the draw, you get destroyed if that Initiate goes down. Keep on the play, ship on the draw.

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Neon

REDRAW: I feel like this hand has a little bit too much nonsense for my liking. Although any pay-off card (especially Obelisk) will make this hand great, you really need some live draw steps fast. Displacer is acceptable interaction, but not exciting, and Wasp is relatively conditional. I might keep this against Rakano as you can interact with them reasonably well, but in the dark, especially on the draw, I just think there is too much air.

Ilyak

REDRAW: Lots of power development and interaction, but without a clear payoff. I think we can do better. Ship.

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Neon

REDRAW: This is an example of a hand with not enough air! To begin with, you rarely want Shimmerpack in your opening hand. Secondly, this hand just seems too reactive. It has got 2 removal spells, 4 power and not a lot else. This is not really the role Shimmerpack wants to be playing, so I think this is a redraw.

Ilyak

REDRAW: You have an initiate and some interaction, and then nothing for miles. Ship this.

Rakano

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Neon

REDRAW ON THE PLAY AND KEEP ON THE DRAW: Most Rakano builds tend to cheat on power a bit, which makes me suspicious of this hand. Nothing in the hand is particularly strong, and the combination of low impact and possibly missing power drops makes this hand quite awkward. We can also see the cost of playing Inspire. If we knew if it represented a Seat of Glory or Deepforged plate we could easily decide. Since we don’t know, this hand is unexciting, but probably tolerable on the draw.

Ilyak

KEEP: With that inspire, you have plays for at least two turns, and most likely three if you hit power with the inspire or the next turn. I like it. Keep.

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Neon

REDRAW: Here we see part of the struggle of playing reactive cards in a deck like Rakano. If we are against Felnscar we will have very few targets for Vanquish. Righteous Fury is also unexciting in many match ups. What I find most interesting about this hand is how important the power is. If it had Seat + Justice sigil I would be pretty tempted, but as is I’m not very optimistic of how this hand will develop.

Ilyak

REDRAW: You have no guarantee you’re casting that Enforcer on time, and you have no guarantee those Vanquishes are going live anytime soon. Ship.

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Neon

KEEP: This hand has essentially perfect power distribution, but we only have one threat, and it is a weak one. Inspire should help us dig up another threat, but keeping a hand with so much potential to dead end feels pretty sketchy. Lets do a little math. If we look at the deck there are about 20 threats we want to draw: Champion of Glory, Crownwatch Paladin, Rakano Outlaw, Sword of Icaria, Valkyrie Enforcer. If we want to have another threat to play on turn 3 or before we have 3 draws if we are on the play, and 4 draws if we are on the draw. If we plug this into a calculator we have about 65% chance to draw a threat if we are on the play, and 75% chance on the draw. That seems good enough to keep, but it is certainly a gamble. The fact that you have a good distribution of power is what sells this to me, since some hands can have crumby influence needs. That said, if I was against a removal heavy deck, or on the draw, I could easily see sending this back.

Ilyak

REDRAW: You basically have zero proactive plays beyond that Oni Ronin. If it gets torched or Vara’s Favored, you’re in all sorts of hot water. Redraw.

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Neon

KEEP: Although this hand has the potential of flooding out, we have 3 threats. I generally prefer keeping hands with a lot threats since I know the hand does something, rather than hands with a bunch of support cards that could be dead. If our opponent ends up being Combrei we are a heavy dog, since all our cards are nonsense in that match up, but it seems good enough most of the time.

Ilyak

REDRAW: Like the previous hand, I hate to have a huge part of my early game riding on a single 1-health unit. Ship.

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Neon

REDRAW: This is like the mirror of the last hand in some respects. Both have great power, but here we have a ton of support cards, but only one threat. If Champion dies we are in a lot of trouble. Not only does the hand fold to Torch, giving a Champion of Glory a Righteous Fury isn’t exactly hitting the jackpot. I could actually see myself specifically keeping against Shimmerpack, as they are weak to Champ, but even then I’m not thrilled.

Ilyak

REDRAW: if the Champ is cast on curve Torch or Suffocate can blow you out completely. If it isn’t, you have no one or two drop with Rakano. Both avenues just aren’t great. Ship.

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Neon

REDRAW: Once again we see a hand the shows how Rakano has surprisingly bad power. We are very unlikely to curve out with this hand between our lack of double Justice, and just very little power in general. That being said, it does have 2 warcry ladies. I’ll err on the side of caution and say it is a redraw, although I could see someone keeping it on the draw if they are feeling lucky.

Ilyak

KEEP ON THE DRAW, REDRAW ON THE PLAY: Two dead cards. However, you have a turn 2 and a turn 3 play. On the play, it’s another 2-power-on-the-play hand, and is thus a ship. On the draw, if you hit turn 3 and 4 power, you’ll feel great. I think it’s worth the risk on the draw, but not on the play.

Conclusions

So thats everything for today! Do you guys have any specifically interesting redraw decisions you wanted to ask about? Any of our calls you didn’t like? Share all your thoughts in the comments or on Reddit and we will be sure to get back to you!

3 thoughts on “Going Deep – Keep or Redraw?

  1. Very good article. Only one scenario where i found no legitimate justification for a conclusion made by the author and that was the rakano hand with a oni ronin and 4 power along with a sword of icaria and a soulfire drake. He suggests we have 3 threats, but one of them is a five drop and that had seems really bad against another rakano deck, a stonescar deck with even a remotely good draw, a feln deck with feln bloodcaster, or a felnscar deck that has a wealth of draws that make the sword not the greatest thing in the world. Finally, a Ronin’s life expectancy is about that of a fly or ant.

    Like

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