Event Primer – Company of Exiles

OK PEOPLE!

THINGS JUST GOT REAL!

If there is anyone out there who hasn’t seen it yet, we have an event coming this weekend. It is called the “Company of Exiles Event”, where “When you play a spell, play a random unit with the same cost!”

Now before I get into talking about this event I actually want to give a little back-story. Back when I started Eternal I remember battling the Gauntlet boss with this same rule. I remember thinking “this mode is sweet! I wish I could battle someone else like this whenever I wanted….” Then later, when we started seeing events with alternative rules, I thought to myself “Hey! Maybe they could do that Gauntlet mode thing! That would be awesome!!”

So when I saw what the special rule was for the event this weekend….. let’s just say I was excited. The following series of gifs do a pretty good job of summarizing my feelings.

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Ok, so we got that out of the way. Calm down. There is a lot to talk about. Let’s keep it together. This Event’s rule is pretty unusual, so I am going to talk through how it will operate (as I understand it). Next I will run down a quick overview of important power values. Finally, I am going to run down a whole whack of lists that I am interested to try in the event. Let’s get started!!!!

Follow the Rules

The special rule as it is stated is very simple, but things are slightly more complicated. I wanted to run down a few implications of this rule, so you know how to build your decks and navigate the event.

  1. The “free unit” effect will always resolve before your spell resolves. The means that global effects like Harsh Rule or Stand Together will hit your new unit as well.
  2. Summon effects on units should resolve before the spell resolves, if that is relevant.
  3. Negate effects like Backlash and Spell Swipe will not stop the unit from being made. It is worth playing these cards in some numbers still, but they are not as good as they could be.
  4. Playing a spell to generate a unit in response to a weapon or killer attack does not act like ambush. Do not expect that you can redirect weapon attacks by playing a Torch.
  5. If the cost of a spell changes as a result of effects like Trail Stories, Slow, or Firemaw the final cost determines the unit summoning effect rather than the original cost.
  6. Spells that are cast for “free” from effects like destiny, Eilyn’s ability, or with West-Wind Herald should count for the same free unit bonus.

These are some of the bizarre interactions that you should become familiar with. Having an edge in understanding the mechanics could make a big difference in some of your games.

Power Curve

Check out the graphic below. For each power cost I have summarized the average stats at each point on the curve, as well as highlighted some important units that you can hit at each point.

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Let’s talk through some of the important findings from this. One of the most important points on the curve is going to end up being 0. Sand Warrior is the only unit that costs 0, so you are guaranteed to hit a 3/3 every time you cast a 0 cost spell. There are 2 spells that cost 0 naturally – Trail Stories and Stranger’s Mark, and Trail Stories can also make other spells cost 0 as well. The “aggro” decks of the event are going to be focused on trying to play at least 3 Sand Warriors on the first turn of the game, which is going to be messed up. Do you know how easy it is to kill someone when you have 9/9 worth of stats in play on turn 1? REALLY easy. As you will see in my decks I think everyone just needs to play Stranger’s Mark. 0 cost 3/3s are just too good to pass up, and if you think some of your opponents are going to being play 0 cost 3/3s you better have your own too. I am expecting a lot of turn 3 kills in this format. Sand Warrior aggro is essentially the “floor” of the format, which every deck will need to have a plan to address.

The next point on that curve that really matters is 10. There is only 1 unit that costs 10 in the entire game, and that is Scourge of Frostholm. Given the nature of the event, a lot of decks will have literally no way to beat Scourge. Obviously people aren’t powering out 10 drops super early in the game, but ramping out A New Tomorrow or Kindling out a Decimate is a very reliable route to victory. If you are a control deck you need either find a way to block your opponents from dropping the Scourge, or you need to play it more consistently than them. This is going to be the “ceiling” of the format, which all long-game decks will need to plan for.

With these two points as our top and bottom, let’s fill in the middle bits. Let’s take a look at the stat values. When playing ranked a lot you tend to forget that the “average” unit is actually really bad. Even if you draft regularly it is easy to forget about the existence of draft chaff like Cabal Rogue. There are just a lot of bad units out there, and that is really reflected in these numbers. Most units at 1, 2, 3 or 4 cost die to Suffocate. Most units at 1, 2, and 3, as well as a lot of 4s, all die to Torch. This really bumps up the power level of these cards. On the flip side, Vanquish really isn’t that good. It hits significantly less than half the units in the game, and your opponent needs to be play 5 and 6 cost spells for there to even be a realistic chance that you hit anything. Annihilate is also really good if you look through the numbers. This information will inform our deck building.

I have just a couple comments before we move on to the actual decks. It is often going to be best to play spells before combat as there are a ton of units that effect combat. You have cards with summon effects, or with charge that can all do a lot of work. To effectively fight off Sand Warriors your 1 and 2 drop units are not going to be that effective, as they don’t quite measure up stat-wise. The 4 and 5 drop slots actually have a lot of duds. People often think of Idol of Destran as the classic “dud”, but others include Timekeeper if you are not in Time, Champion of Order (which is trash if you are not in Hooru), Infernus that dies at the end of the turn, and the squad of Justics 2/2s for 4.

With that, let’s get to the real business. Let’s look at some decks!

Decks! Decks! Decks!

Before going through the decks, I should warn you that more than usually I am really going off the top of my head here in designing decks. I honestly have no idea what is actually going to work, especially since the rules of card advantage in this event are really screwy. This format is also inherently high variance because someone who high rolls you early can totally run away with the game no matter what you do. In order to play this format you are going to have to lean into the nonsense, since this is going to be wild and degenerate. Since I only have a vague clue about what is actually good in this event I am going to be dropping just a TON of decks. These are not going to have a ton of explanation, since my thinking about any of these decks could be totally backwards. Instead I am just going to throw as much out there as I can to see what sticks. If you have your own variant of one of these decks that you like, or think I missed some interesting archetype, be sure to write about it in the Reddit thread. ENJOY!

Queen

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Trail Stories (Set1 #188)
3 Combust (Set1 #392)
4 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
3 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Quarry (Set1001 #15)
4 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
2 Rally (Set1 #33)
4 Bandit Queen (Set1 #389)
2 Cloud of Ash (Set1 #39)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
2 Granite Monument (Set1 #423)
5 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
2 Amethyst Monument (Set1 #426)
4 Seat of Chaos (Set0 #60)
4 Stonescar Banner (Set1 #419)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

If you think the format is going to be about seeing who can empty their hand fastest, this deck is for you. I expect that you will be casting multiple spells each turns starting from turn 1. I have included 4 Bandit Queen as the only unit because she seems busted in the Sand Warrior mirror.

Note: I went 7-2 with this, and it felt totally busted with some of its draws. There is no question that Queen is worth the slot, even though she is not a spell. I am becoming suspicious of the Granite Monuments, but the rest of the deck felt good.

Praxis Aggro

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Trail Stories (Set1 #188)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Purify (Set2 #176)
4 Sandstorm (Set2 #43)
4 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
4 Kindle (Set1002 #2)
2 Rally (Set1 #33)
4 Unlock Potential (Set1 #76)
2 Bolster (Set2 #51)
2 Cloud of Ash (Set1 #39)
4 Humbug Swarm (Set2 #60)
4 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
7 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
6 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

Similar philosophy to the above deck, but a little bit “bigger” of a build. Unlock Potential is totally back breaking in the Sand Warrior mirror since your 4/4s will outclass their 3/3s. I am not sure if you want Rally in the deck, because I feel the card is weirdly bad in the event, but you could certainly try it out. I have opted instead for Bolster, which seems really good to me.

BolsterBrei

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Finest Hour (Set1 #130)
3 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Refresh (Set1 #501)
4 Strength of Many (Set2 #73)
4 Teleport (Set1 #80)
3 Xenan Initiation (Set2 #44)
4 Stand Together (Set1 #334)
4 Unlock Potential (Set1 #76)
4 Bolster (Set2 #51)
4 Copperhall Blessing (Set1 #168)
4 Victor’s Cry (Set2 #91)
7 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
6 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

Though you don’t get access to turbo out Sand Warriors with things like Trail Stories and Torch, you get a bunch of buff effects that will help break parity. I can easily imagine massacres involving your opponent attacking into your team only to be blown out by Copperhall Blessing, Bolster or Stand Together. Refresh is one of the marginal inclusions in the deck, and you may want to look at fitting in Humbug Swarm or even The Great Parliament.

Kindle-Scourge

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Trail Stories (Set1 #188)
3 Levitate (Set1 #190)
2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
1 Backlash (Set1 #200)
1 Eilyn’s Favor (Set0 #24)
4 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
1 Kaleb’s Choice (Set2 #188)
1 Kaleb’s Favor (Set0 #3)
4 Kindle (Set1002 #2)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
1 Obliterate (Set1 #48)
4 Swindle (Set2 #129)
2 West-Wind Herald (Set1 #231)
4 Decimate (Set2 #200)
6 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
7 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

I think relative to the standards of the event this is going to feel like a combo-control deck. Basically you want to survive long enough to play Decimate, usually on the back of Kindle. Something like turn 6 Kindle, Kindle, Decimate doesn’t sound that unreasonable. Some of the non-spells included in the deck include West-Wind Herald, which is obviously an MVP if he can connect, as well as Permafrost since it is great removal, even if it isn’t a spell.

Scourge Tomorrow

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
2 Slow (Set1 #70)
2 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
4 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
4 Sandstorm (Set2 #43)
4 Teleport (Set1 #80)
3 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Secret Pages (Set1 #81)
4 Stand Together (Set1 #334)
3 Bolster (Set2 #51)
4 The Great Parliament (Set1 #338)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 A New Tomorrow (Set1 #348)
7 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
6 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

This is once again a more controlling deck that is again trying to win via dropping Scourge of Frostholm, this time via A New Tomorrow rather than Decimate. Basically just combining a number of the Combrei cards that look good with a ramp shell. I am particularly interested in The Great Parliament, as there is a chance that a lot of decks are specifically weak to big-ish flyers. Desert Marshall is an important inclusions to fight back against a resolved Scourge of Frostholm on the other side.

Mono Shadow

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Pilfer (Set1 #254)
4 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
4 Devour (Set1 #261)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
2 Extract (Set2 #155)
2 Scheme (Set1 #213)
4 Torrent of Spiders (Set1 #272)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Subvert (Set1 #289)
2 Sleepless Night (Set2 #170)
4 The Witching Hour (Set1 #310)
25 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)

We get a ton of cheap interaction in the form of Suffocate and Sabotage, card draw in the form of Devour, Scheme and Sleepless Night, and late game bombs like The Witching Hour and Torrent of Spiders. Though simple this deck seems amazingly powerful. One particular card you could considering adding is Plague.

Note: I went 7-2 with this deck. This archetype is really really good, and has a ton of game against the Sand Warrior decks. I am not quite sure what to cut, but this should really be playing Palgue.

Feln Control

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
4 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
2 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
2 Extract (Set2 #155)
4 Feln Cauldron (Set1 #380)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
2 Feeding Time (Set1 #381)
2 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
4 Swindle (Set2 #129)
6 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
7 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
4 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

If there is anything true about life in Eternal, it is that there is always a Feln control deck. This one aims to just draw a ton of cards playing blockers as you cycle through your deck. Feln Cauldron is a powerful finisher in this deck since it helps avoid flooding, though I could imagine using Sleepless Night as an alternative. Some people have been excited about using Lightning Storm in a deck like this, but I am concerned about that it cannot hit Sand Warriors, and I feel like your tiny durdles you get from your cheap spells will do enough work to keep you alive.

JPS Control

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Sabotage (Set1 #252)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Suffocate (Set1 #251)
4 Annihilate (Set1 #269)
2 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
4 Vara’s Favor (Set0 #35)
4 Feln Cauldron (Set1 #380)
2 Privilege of Rank (Set1 #157)
4 Slay (Set2 #236)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Deathstrike (Set1 #290)
1 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
3 Swindle (Set2 #129)
4 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
4 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
3 Shadow Sigil (Set1 #249)
3 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)
3 Seat of Vengeance (Set0 #55)
2 Feln Banner (Set1 #417)
4 Seat of Cunning (Set0 #62)
2 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

Read the description above. That pretty much summarizes what is going on here, except we are playing a few tools from Justice, namely Slay, Harsh Rule, and some copies of Privilege of Rank. This would very likely still be consistent enough to do well in the event as long as you can get out of the first couple turns of the game.

Echo Vault

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Accelerated Evolution (Set1 #351)
2 Backlash (Set1 #200)
2 Eilyn’s Favor (Set0 #24)
4 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
4 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
4 Trailblaze (Set2 #111)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
4 Vault of the Praxis (Set1 #480)
4 Crystallize (Set1 #232)
2 Elysian Trailblazer (Set1 #228)
2 Scouting Party (Set1 #488)
6 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
7 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

This deck is functioning on a slightly different axis than many of the others we have covered. Vault of the Praxis seems like a powerful card draw engine in a world where you can just play any 2 spells to draw card. Winning the game would involve hitting your opponent with one of 4 Crystalize to set up lethal over multiple turns. This build may be a bit too slow in practice, or it just needs a lot more removal, but I am certainly interested to see if a deck like this is possible.

Moment of Creation

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Trail Stories (Set1 #188)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Accelerated Evolution (Set1 #351)
4 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
4 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
2 Kindle (Set1002 #2)
4 Secret Pages (Set1 #81)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
2 Rain of Frogs (Set1 #221)
4 Crystallize (Set1 #232)
4 Moment of Creation (Set2 #185)
2 Decimate (Set2 #200)
4 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
5 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
4 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
4 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)

This deck pairs the Trail Stories/Torch/Mark package with a really powerful top end of Moment of Creation and Decimate, which is held together by a whack of card draw. Hard to tell if this is sufficiently consistent, but it is certainly powerful!

Aid of the Hooru

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Levitate (Set1 #190)
2 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
2 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
3 Eilyn’s Favor (Set0 #24)
4 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
3 Lightning Strike (Set1 #197)
4 Trailblaze (Set2 #111)
2 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Polymorph (Set1 #211)
4 Harsh Rule (Set1 #172)
4 West-Wind Herald (Set1 #231)
2 Aid of the Hooru (Set2 #230)
4 Channel the Tempest (Set1 #244)
8 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
9 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
4 Hooru Banner (Set2 #216)
4 Seat of Order (Set0 #51)

A Hooru control deck with a really powerful top end. Aid of the Hooru gives you a Spirit of Resistance (with summon effect). It is pretty easy to win games from that point, the challenge will be surviving until then. West-Wind Herald is also very interesting to me for an event like this.

FTP Broken Stuff

4 Stranger’s Mark (Set1002 #22)
4 Trail Stories (Set1 #188)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Accelerated Evolution (Set1 #351)
4 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
2 Herald’s Song (Set1 #196)
4 Purify (Set2 #176)
2 Assembly Line (Set1 #29)
4 Unlock Potential (Set1 #76)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
4 Ancient Lore (Set1 #105)
4 Crystallize (Set1 #232)
2 Swindle (Set2 #129)
2 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
3 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
3 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
2 Praxis Banner (Set2 #171)
3 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
2 Elysian Banner (Set1 #421)
2 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
2 Seat of Fury (Set0 #53)
2 Skycrag Banner (Set2 #186)
4 Diplomatic Seal (Set1 #425)

A 3 faction deck that attempts to combine the busted Fire cards with the buff effects from Time and the card draw from Primal. A bit of a mess, and certainly needs tuning, but this is really powerful.

Note: I went 6-3 with this deck in the event. I am not totally satisfies with it, specifically with Accelerated Evolution being a bit clunky, but it certainly has legs.


I think that will do it for now. I hope to add a few more decks to the list as I have some more ideas, but I thought I should get these out there as is. Let me know what you think in the Reddit thread, and I will see you in the event!!!

Love,

Neon