Draft Analysis – Fire

Ever onward, ever upward! Today we’re continuing the draft analysis of each faction by tackling Fire. You can check out the past articles here, here, and here.

Before we jump in, I’ll reiterate that these ratings shouldn’t be an end point when it comes to card picks. Card evaluations should be made on the fly based on how much and what you’ve drafted already. These are my personal evaluations, and folks might disagree about various numbers. 

Assembly Line – 1.5

In limited, 1/1s get outclassed real quick. It’s also much more difficult to try and draft a deck that utilizes the token-based synergies that make Assembly Line such a powerful constructed card. At the end of the day, you’re getting 3/3 worth of stats for 3 mana, but you have a much harder time attacking that with a 3/3. I’d generally avoid this card unless you happen to draft the perfect token deck.

Bladekin Apprentice – 2.5

I really like Bladekin Apprentice. If you can get him out early, you can make it increasingly harder for your opponent to muster up an appropriate double or triple block without the fear of being majorly blown out. The perpetual 1 toughness makes it a bit fragile, as it’s rather weak to Amethyst Acolytes, Snowballs, and the like.

Brazen Daredevil – 1.5

If Brazen Daredevil didn’t have Reckless, or was bigger, or could choose its target, it would be substantially better. Unfortunately, those three things combined make it a rather fragile unit in limited. That said, if you can pump it up somehow–via Warcry perhaps, or  a weapon or a pump spell–she can do a lot of damage. Rather deck dependant.

Burn Out – 1.5

A much better card in Stonescar than Rakano, Burn Out is the epitome of the “all-in” card. Without any sacrifice shenanigans, you’re paying quadruple the mana and having to sacrifice a creature to do two more damage than a Torch. That said, sometimes you just need to burn your opponent’s face off. Generally speaking though, I won’t play it..

Calderan Gunsmith – .5

These stats are super weak, and unless you have some weird synergies with your deck, the damage isn’t nearly going to offset the poor stat line.

Censari Brigand – 2

If your deck has a lot of ways to push damage through via Overwhelm, Brigand can be a game-winner. Generally though, it’s an okay threat. A 2/2 with charge really isn’t all that much to write home about, and the frequency with which you’ll be able to attack unimpeded are slim in limited.

Centaur Outrider – .5

Half a point seems fair for a Centaur.

Centaur Raidleader – 3

If your deck is relatively aggressive, Centaur Raidleader is ideal. He not only helps crash in, he enables a potentially powerful follow up attack. Generally better in Rakano considering how many crappy creatures are in Stonescar and the fact that you might also be netting some Warcry triggers on the charged up unit. .

Charchain Flail – 1.5

Charchain Flail does almost the exact same thing as Flame Blast albeit much, much worse. It can’t go to the face (usually) and you end up taking damage in the process when using it to clear a minion. In exchange you get a slightly better influence cost, various weapon synergies, and Warcry boosts. That trade off is not worth it. At the end of the day it’s still an okay removal spell, just don’t be fooled that it’s awesome because it’s a rare and occasionally played in constructed.

Claw of the First Dragon – 1.5

Claw of the First Dragon is actually pretty dope. If you’re making it to 7 mana, a 4/4 weapon is pretty strong, and the Entomb effect is actually ok. The 1-drops in Eternal vary from ok to miserable, so don’t expect miracles from it.

Cloud of Ash – 1.5

Cloud of Ash is a surprisingly potent finisher for an aggressive deck. Often times with a Fire deck, you’ll find you can push through a fair amount of damage but have trouble finishing things off. Cloud of Ash is great way to do that. The problem are those times when you haven’t done the damage at the beginning and Cloud of Ash is just sitting in your hand.

Crowd Favorite – 2.5

I usually cut this guy personally, but every time someone else has played Crowd Favorite against me he’s been pretty impressive. Getting a Ornate Katana for instance means you’re getting a 5/4 that draws a card for 6 mana which is actually an okay deal.

Dusthoof Brawler – 1

Really miserable stats and too expensive to really help push through early damage.

Fevered Scout – 2

Unless you’ve got a ton of spells, this guy is probably going to be pretty miserable.

Flame Blast – 4.5

If you’re in Fire, you should be picking up Flame Blast 99% of the time if you can. It’s only real drawback is its influence requirement, which is hefty.

Frontier Jito – .5

I don’t want to give this a zero since there’s a deck I’m sure that wants him (i.e., the all one-drop deck). In general, you’ll almost never want this guy though.

Frontline Cyclops – 2.5

I actually like Frontline Cyclops. Unlike the other creatures with Reckless, his size means you’ll rarely see him stupidly smash into a much larger unit. He also has Warcry, which works really well with Reckless as it turns out. I’ve been known to splash him in an Elysian deck or two via Amber Acolyte just as a sizeable body if I’m lacking in that regard.

Furnace Mage – 4

If you’re in Fire, Furnace Mage is probably one of the better units that you can draft. While it’s body isn’t overwhelmingly impressive by itself, it’s powerful effect more than makes up for it. Attachments are fairly common in limited, but unlike Decay or Ruin, Furnace Mage isn’t just a measly one-for-one and can be useful even when no attachment needs destroyin’. It’s a shame he’s not splashable, but he’s definitely one of the bigger draws to Fire if you’re going for a more controlling deck.

General Izalio – 3.5

General Izalio is a pretty awesome unit for having no summon ability. He turns even the lowliest Grenadin into a force to be reckoned with, and a 6-attack Quickdraw unit is nigh impossible to block. His only drawback is his high cost which, unfortunately, tends to be more problematic in Fire (which is fairly aggressive) than in other colors.

Granite Acolyte – 3

Granite Acolyte is stronger than he looks. He’s a natural combo with Rebel Sharpshooter and Oni Taskmaster, and if you have any flyers, he’s able to progress your “kill them in the air” plan while developing your ground defense.

Granite Monument – 2

The weakest of the monuments in limited. A 4/1 with charge can be strong, but it dies to literally anything which really knocks it’s power down a notch. Compared to a 5/5 with Overwhelm or a 4/4 flyer, it’s clear that Granite Monument is fairly lackluster. Still, it’s probably better than drawing your fifth power when you’re in Fire, so I guess it’s not all bad.

Grenadin Drone – 2.5

While almost the exact same critiques I gave about Assembly Line can be said about Grenadin Drone, there’s one major difference that makes it much more playable: it costs only one mana. At three mana, you’ve likely got other stuff you want to be doing. At one mana, you frequently have no real play. It’s also much more mana efficient; these Grenadin cost half a mana compared to AL’s one whole mana per 1/1. If you’re in an aggressive deck, you could do worse for sure.

Guerrilla Fighter – 3

Tempo is the name of the game. The body is mediocre, and the Warcry is mediocre by extension, but the summon ability is really top notch. Fire is often about pushing through damage and Guerrilla Fighter lets you do that while developing your board.

Heavy Axe – .5

I can think of very few scenarios where I’d really want to play Heavy Axe over literally any other card. The boost isn’t usually enough to let is survive in combat, which lends itself to a 2-for-1 really easily. I’d avoid unless you’re extremely aggressive and/or have a bunch of flyers.

Hellfire Rifle – .5

Unless you’re putting this on a Renegade Valkyrie, six mana for +3/+3 is an absurd overpayment. Compare this to Morningstar, which often lets you get at least 3 extra damage in via Overwhelm.

Infernus – .5

Unless you have, like, the fastest deck imaginable, never play this card in limited. 

Kaleb, Uncrowned Prince – 1

I’ll be honest, I’ve never played with Kaleb before. My hunch is that he’s bad. After all, he costs 8, and there are a lot of really mediocre weapons out there. That said, if you’ve got a lot of random Fire units littering the board, who knows! Still, in limited, you’re really not looking to play 8-mana spells all that often, especially in Fire.

Lavablood Goliath – 1

Take everything I’ve been saying about the lack of playability of 8-drops and then double it. That’s my opinion on playing a 9-drop in limited. Don’t get me wrong; casting this is downright incredible. The frequency with which it’ll rot in your hand makes it downright unplayable though.

Light the Fuse – 1.5

While a meme card at best in constructed, the starting number of card in a player’s’ deck is approximately halved in limited. If you do the math, casting this on turn one means there’s about a 10% chance every turn to have your opponent hit. After 5 draws, that translates to about a 50% chance of a at least one hit. Is that worth a card? Yeah, probably, if you’re an aggressive deck. If not, then no. Drawing this card past your opponent hand though has substantially diminishing returns though.

Magma Javelin – 2

Here’s where my bias shows. Magma Javelin is just a really bad card on paper; it costs a lot for what it does, which is fairly limited and miserable. That said, Fire does its best when it’s being aggressive, and Magma Javelin is a perfectly reasonable way to remove an otherwise meddlesome blocker out of the way.

Morningstar – 4.5

I may be way overvaluing Morningstar, but in my estimation it’s close to the best non-rare Fire card there is. Heck, it might actually be better than Flameblast. Giving +3/+3 for four mana is a solid rate of return, but the real clincher is Overwhelm. Plopping this down on a Lethrai Ranger or Rebel Sharpshooter is a quick way to end a game. It translates into so much more than just 3 extra damage most of the time since an opponent can’t chump block. Finally, it’s splashable, meaning you can even run it in  your Time decks on your Towering Terrazon.

Obliterate – 4.5

A fantastic removal spell. Obliterate kills just about any creature while also conveniently doming the opponent for a fair amount. It also does so for the low price of 5 mana. Really can’t be beat.

 

Oni Quartermaster – 3.5

Oni Quartermaster’s power level vary wildly depending on, you guessed it, how many weapons you have. If you’re plopping down weapons left and right, the 2/2 body on this 3-drop doesn’t look nearly as pathetic.

Oni Ronin – 3

Fire wants to be aggressive, and one of the ways you do that is by starting to attack on turn 2. Don’t get me wrong; a 2/1 isn’t a strong card in a vacuum. In the context of Fire’s overarching strategy though, it works quite nicely.

Ornate Katana – 3

Ornate Katana replaces itself, plain and simple. Playing it on a Rebel Sharpshooter or flyer is a great way to substantially increase pressure without opening yourself up to the susceptibility to the card disadvantage issue that weapons often have. Getting a few Warcry triggers on one of these is about the best feeling in the world. Even better if your deck is filled with one-drops.

Outlands Sniper – 4

I’m fairly confident that Outlands Sniper is the unsung hero of Fire in limited. Removal is awesome, and removal that doubles as a body is the hallmark of a solid draft card. It doesn’t get much better than killing a Serpent Trainer or Snapper while progressing your board.

Piercing Shot – 2.5

Two damage doesn’t kill a whole lot (I know I just got done singing the praises of Outlands Sniper), so this card isn’t all that impressive. Still, it does kill most early plays making it a solid inclusion for most aggressive decks. Don’t grab these over better playables simply because it qualifies as “removal” though.

Pyre Adept – 2

Being strictly worse than a vanilla 3/2 for two is hard to do, but here we are. Honestly, Pyre Adept should probably be lower. It’s worse than so many other 2-drops, strangers included, and the extra point of power is almost certainly not worth whatever the tradeoff may be. That said, if you’re in Fire, you need a robust early curve and sometimes that means playing a 3/1 for 2.

Pyroknight – 4

Pyroknight is a great example of a one-drop that transitions well into the late game. Draw it early and get 2-4 damage in, maybe trading it off in the onslaught. Draw it late, and suddenly that one-drop is a 6/5 with Overwhelm. Pyroknight is essentially a split card, and split cards are often quite strong.

Rakano Flagbearer – 1

If your opponent stumbles, Rakano Flagbearer can be really solid. If they don’t, you’re essentially paying 3 mana for 2 Warcry triggers–not really the best ROI. There’s a deck that probably wants this card, but most probably want to stay far away.

Rakano Outlaw – 3.5

Unlike its 2/1 Aegis’d brother-in-arms, Rakano Outlaw is actually still quite good in limited. Having Quickdraw is a great ability, especially in conjunction with attack-boosting cards like Rampage or Ornate Katana. Rakano Outlaw would be good even without Warcry, which just pushes it way up.

Rally – 2.5

Rally is a solid limited trick in the right deck. You could either be on the token go-wde plan or playing several units with Quickdraw like Rebel Sharpshooter or Rakano Outlaw. I wouldn’t play more than one unless you have an absurd number of token generators, as having this rot in your hand is rather awkward and not uncommon.

Rampage – 2.5

Compared to Finest Hour, Rampage is really mediocre. Still, a trick is a trick, and if you’re playing either Stonescar or Rakano you’re likely going to need tricks to win. Granting Overwhelm isn’t immaterial either, as incidental damage is a way you can finish your opponent off in Fire.

Rebel Illuminator – 4

Card advantage in Fire? Do mine eyes deceive? It’s probably unsurprising that Rebel Illuminator is a good card; you’re essentially guaranteeing a two-for-one. I think Outland Sniper is probably better in the context of draft as there’s a severe delay as to when Rebel Illuminator’s removal actually comes to fruition.

Rebel Sharpshooter – 4.5

I’m rating this rather highly but I’m convinced it’s probably correct. More than any other unit, Rebel Sharpshooter tends to dominate a game and lead Fire to victory. Be it via a weapon like Ornate Katana or just boring old Warcry triggers, a sizeable unit with quickdraw that only costs 3 mana often helps put away games. I feel weird giving such a high rating to a 3/3 for 3 without any real removal, but that’s the way my experiences have played out.

Recogulator – 2

Unless you get the weird sacrifice synergy deck going, Recogulator is just a really awkward unit. It’s largely worse than Assembly Line, which I already don’t think is very good.

Ruin – 0

If sideboards were a thing in Eternal draft this might be rated higher. As it is, I can’t ever really see playing this in my maindeck. Just way too narrow of an effect, especially since Fire has plenty of direct damage to deal with relic weapons.

Ruthless Stranger – 2

He’s a 2/1 for one which is fine. In Stranger decks, he’s solid but not incredible as only pumping attacks doesn’t really protect your valuable Strangers all that much.

Shogun of the Wastes – 3.5

I’ve never cast this card but I have had it cast against me and it’s just as powerful as it seems, which is to say pretty powerful if given the right board state. If you’ve got a few creatures with overwhelm or just a lot more units that your opponent, you can often put them into a position where they have no good blocks.

Shogun’s Scepter – 3

A fairly solid weapon due to the fact that it provides a body to mitigate any card disadvantage should your unit die. It’s really good if you can get multiple attacks off (obviously), so it gets better if you have fliers you can lean on.

Song of War – 0

I don’t know how this would ever be good in limited. Maybe if you have a token strategy, but even then it feels like too many things have to go right.

Soulfire Drake – 5

Absurd in draft. Just everything about this card is unfair.

Steelbound Dragon – 4

If you can get to 7 mana, Steelbound Dragon should win the game if you have any sort of parity with your opponent.

Steelfang Chakram – 3.5

Steelfang Chakram can be really good in limited and is one of the ways that you can turn token producers into a real threat. Unless your opponent has a silence, you’ll be able to convert most of your lowly units into sizeable trades.

Stonescar Maul – 4

Stonescar Maul can put away games, especially if you can clear a few 1/1s off with it. It’s just about the best top end a Rakano or Stonescar deck can have.

Temper – 1.5

The best possible answer to False Prince, Temper is okay else where. There are quite a few ubiquitous X/1s, so you’ll often be able to remove something, even if it’s not the ideal target.

Ticking Grenadin – 1

Unless you’ve got an absurdly aggressive deck, I’d leave this guy on the sidelines. He’s too weak to justify including, much like the other 1/1s in the game.

Torch – 3.5

Ok now, just hear me out: Torch is merely fine. Its power comes from efficiency; however, in draft, efficiency is not the only important aspect of a removal spell. If you’re staring down a Towering Terrazon, Torch is going to look mighty silly in your hand. Don’t get me wrong though. It’s a great pickup for any Fire deck. It’s just not a huge bomb like some folks seem to believe it to be based on its constructed applications.

Trail Stories – 0

Negative one.

Warhelm – 1

There’s too little upside for Warhelm to be worth including. Unless you’re slapping it on a unit that’s immediately attacking and then also not dying immediately, there are few upsides to this card, even for one mana.

Worldpyre Phoenix – 3.5

This is a 5/5 flyer for 6 in Fire which is solid. The times that you’ll be able to recast this when it dies are few and far between though.

Wrap up

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading. Make sure to leave any comments you have–good or bad–and stay tuned for the last couple articles where I cover Shadow and Multicolored cards.

2 thoughts on “Draft Analysis – Fire

  1. Thanks for writing these! I’ve played quite a few drafts now, but I have been wildly inconsistent, so I really appreciate having some different opinions to consider as I keep playing.

  2. Gotta note, rating magma javelin over charchain flail is probably wrong. You’re paying one extra fire influence for a strictly better effect. Not better by an insignificant amount either. The fact that you can play it as a low drop for early damage or little duder kills, as a mid-high drop for big units, as a really high drop to maybe finish out games on cleared boards, and as a sorta combo with stash, is pretty neat. Not saying you should necessarily pump the score super high, but it should be at least 2, to reflect your opinion of magma javelin, or maybe a half-point higher, because it’s better. You can’t be valuing the splashability of javelin that much.