aReNGee here! Dusk Road has released, and it is awesome! There’s so much new stuff to try out, and lots of it looks both good and fun to play, which is promising. I’ve had my hands on the set for 24 hours and these are my takeaways from it. Keep in mind that this will be mostly an impressions article, although we do have a few lists that are about power level.
Top 5 Tribes
These tribes are ranked based on how much I like them, not by how strong they are.
Everyone’s favorite tiny robots added a whole lot of new friends to their ranks, and many of them double as payoffs. You’re encouraged to go all in on Grenadin tribal, and not only are there enough real cards to do so, there’s also plenty of payoffs. Whether the deck ends up being styled as Kalis, Sacrifice, Go-Wide Rally, or Scrappy Hour, there’s lots of robots to construct. Just do it quickly, they tend to explode when unattended.
TITAN SMASH! The biggest and most expensive tribe of all, Sentinels are not for the low powered player. Most of the new ones care about relics, but there are plenty of relics that help you cast them so its a mutually beneficial arrangement. The new sentinels join existing ones like Sandstorm Titan and Heart of the Vault – that’s a pretty strong tribal base to work from.
Your points or your life! Gunslingers race onto the scene, guns blazing! With Rakano, Stonescar, and FJS varients possible, there’s going to be a lot of target practice as people zero in on the best builds. Both versions of Jekk are expensive, good, and gunslingers – will Rakano Midrange finally be a real thing?
Night falls, and Unseen descend to shadow. Feln Tempo is a deck on everyone’s minds, and Rindra claws his way into most midrange lists as well. Going full Unseen doesn’t look like the line, but plenty of the cards are powerful roleplayers and should see play. I haven’t personally played with Unseen yet, so there may be more power there than I currently expect.
Not sold on Valkyries as a tribe. Many of the new cards have stat totals of six or less, even when you’re paying five for them. That’s not exactly where an aggressive or midrange deck wants to be. Amilli is sweet and Halberd is cool, but there’s just not a lot else there that I want to put in my deck. There are two or three existing Valkyrie that are strong, but the payoff for going deep on tribal just isn’t there at the moment for me.
Honorable Mention: Dinosaurs
The dinosaur tribe is really, really strong. Well, the one card they printed is, anyways. Twilight Hunt is a powerful enabler for dinosaurs, but there aren’t a ton of new dinosaurs worth going deep on. There’s some expensive bond stuff and Darkclaw Ravager to push a Night Dinos archetype, but there isn’t a ton of payoff for going deep on either side – Ravager dies to a breeze and the bond cards aren’t that appealing.
Dishonorable Mention: Explorers
Explorers are disqualified from the tribal discussion for not being a real tribe. They care about explorers, but they’re really there to enable dinosaurs. And sentinels. And maximum power? Explorers are pretty all over the place. You also can’t build a full explorer deck since you’ll need some number of Dinos or Sentinels or something in order to get a payoff. That kind of tension is never good for tribal decks.
Top 5 Diesels
Who are the Diesels? That’s our name for the cycle of 5 cost Legendary units with attack triggers that start at 1 and increase by 1 each time. The name comes from two things: 1) they’re gas, obviously. 2) and more importantly, they all cost XXX (triple influence) which is also the name of a movie starring Vin Diesel.
1. Worldbearer Behemoth
Diesel Dino (DD for short) is the real deal. Picked as the likely “Tavrod of the Set”, Worldbearer Behemoth lives up to the hype as a powerful 5 drop. Playing power for free is very, well, powerful, and it combines well with other powerful cards like Marshal Ironthorn and Mystic Ascendant. You can also just play it as a 5 drop – 6/7s for 5 are pretty strong. Note that it has Overwhelm, not Endurance, which makes it better on offense but worse on defense than Sandstorm Titan.
2. Jekk, Hunted Fugitive
Diesel Jekk (the DJ) is a whole lot of stats. On his own, he attacks as an 8/6 Quickdraw, and that punches through anything. He’s got enough health to survive key removal spells like Torch and Runehammer, but this is definitely an offensive card. He is vulnerable to being chumped but if he gets through, he ends the game real fast.
3. Jotun Feast-Caller
The Diesel with the highest ceiling, Feast-Caller is extremely fragile and horrific on defense, but Aegis will usually keep him safe from spells long enough for him to attack. The first attack will net you a card, but his 4/3 stats mean you’ll often be suicide attacking unless the board is clear. However, if you CAN keep the board clear, drawing more and more cards is certainly worth enabling. Jotun Feast-Callers ability actually reads “When this attacks, draw a card. If this is the second time this ability has resolved, win the game.” because if the board is such that you can afford to attack twice, you’ve won the game.
4. Amilli, Cloudmarshal
Diesel Valkyrie Amilli (D VA for short) gives you a Amilli reasons to play her. Unfortunately, all of them are as a 4/8 flyer. Getting a 1/1 flyer is generally too small of a payoffs to get excited about – most of the time its going to need to chump block, and growing to a 2/2 or 3/3 doesn’t change much on most board states. Amilli does survive all damage based removal and can block almost everything safely, which makes here an okay defensive card, but you’re not as incentivized to attack as with the other Diesels.
5. Shadowlands Tyrant
Unfortunately, Shadowlands Tyrant is just a bit too fragile. He’s vulnerable to a lot of removal spells and odds are high that if he attacks or block, he’s going to trade. You can usually get a large lifesteal hit in with him, but that’s probably going to be it – just one. His ceiling is relatively low (he can only ping small units or enemy face) and he’s just not fast enough to be a aggro/midrange finisher and not resilient enough to be a midrange/control card.
Top 5 Cards I Want To Play
1. Molten Fist
I am going to get 40 armor, then punch someone in the face with it, and it is going to be so satisfying. I enjoy making large weapons, and Molten Fist gives me another way to make them truly gigantic. Prepare for Stronghold Visages and Reforges and a lot of patience.
2. Miner’s Musket
I’m certain this card is broken and I’m going to find out where. Cost reduction is a very powerful ability, especially when paired with card selection. It even gives you a weapon to hit things with… do I hear Armory? Or Quartermaiden? Praxis What Power Costs?
3. Whirling Duo
Our first Rakano card in ten months is sweet. People played Spirit Guide in their Rakano decks, and real old timers will remember playing Brightmace Paladin. Yeah. This is way better than either of those, to the point of being actively good.
The cheaper Righteous Fury! Not only is your unit invincible, he’s dealing twice the pain! They should really remove kill spells from the game as this doesn’t stop them.
5. Wanted Poster
Just kidding, I hate this card.
Top 5 Cards I Want To Play That Are Neither Red Nor Green
These cards are super sweet. They give you something to do with excess power that doesn’t ask you to play monuments (which are weak as actual power) and even come in undepleted! No deck will mind having an extra source of health against aggro (in actual health or armor form) and slow Primal decks will enjoy having extra face Aegis. The fire and shadow waystones are less universal, but they have their place. Having to actually think about power bases again is exciting.
2. Common Cause
Speaking of power bases, this card is way better at enabling your three color aggro decks than Diplomatic Seal is. Anytime you’re playing mostly tribal, you can think about including this card. I’ve had a lot of fun with it in Gunslingers, in particular.
3. NOVAQUAKE TITAN
4. Twilight Hunt
I wish there were more dinosaurs in the set, because this is a card I’d be very excited to play with. Better than Xenan Initiation or Predatory Instinct in the right deck, this is a very cheap removal spell and night enabler. Cards this effective at what they do make me excited to play them, even if this one doesn’t have an obvious home.
5. Stirring Sand
I’d love to play Xenan Sentinel Reanimator by combining this with Grasping at Shadows.
Top 5 Worst Dusk Road Legendaries
When you spend too much time alone, your mid starts to wander and you start to have crazy thoughts. Thoughts like “mill is playable”. If you manage to mill at least half of the opponent’s deck, this will kill them – at the end of their next turn. In the meantime, this card does actual nothing and can hurt you if your opponent has void synergies.
2. Azurite Prixis
I don’t know what this card does or why you’d want it. My pick for this set’s Idol of Destran Award.
3. Riddle Game
While really really fun when it works, how much work do you have to do to make this do anything? On its own, its a 6 power draw a card, so add six power onto whatever else you have to do to enable it. You draw one more card and play this, you’ve draw 3 cards total for 2 cards, one card worth of advantage. You play Wisdom of the Elders then this, you’re up 3 cards for only 9 power. So you need at least 9 or 10 power to get 3 cards worth of advantage out of it, and at that point, why not play Channel the Tempest and not need to combo off?
4. Rock Carapace
I really, really hope whatever you put this on has either endurance or overwhelm. This costs 7, turns off evasion, and has a drawback when you attack. At least Rolant’s Fist doesn’t have drawbacks attacked. There’s better ways to rock.
I think this is actually my most disliked card in The Dusk Road. First, it asks you to jump through the hoop of getting three spells in the void. Not an insurmountable task, but no one likely to happen that early in the game. After you have, it gives you… a reckless 2/2, which will charge to their immediate death if your opponent has any units at all. All this wrapped up in an unplayable 1/1 for 1 that can’t attack or block on any board and dies to everything. Toss this card to the dogs.
Top 5 Dusk Road Art
1. Lumen Reclaimer
The foil of this card is incredible, but even the base art is imposing. The Radiant quite literally standing on an army of corpses, daring you to test her and add yourself to the pile.
2. Lost in the Mist
Someone take the poor kitty home 🙁
3. Sleeping Draught
Fantastic art, terrible flavor. Faking your own death is the flavor I guess, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense when you just got annihilated.
4. Alu, Death Dreamer
Ninja curseflinging summoner mage that summons darkness when she enters? Yeah, that’s what I think she’d look like. If my heart hadn’t already been (re)claimed, I’d make her my portrait.
5. Umbren Coaxer
Here kitty kitty!
Top 5 Dusk Road Art That Did Not Make The Previous List
This is probably my favorite foil, but the regular card doesn’t live up to the subtle lighting effects of the premium.
2. Tie – Darkveil Agent and Deepwood Ranger
If you’re in the market for sweet looking ninja assassins, these are some very sweet looking ninja assassins.
4. Nocturnal Observer
She’s got the same expression I do when someone Harsh Rules their own Oni Ronins. What the…
5. Maimed Watchwing
She’s hurt, but a friend can help her fly again. Flavor home run!
That’s all for today, but I hope you’re having fun with the Dusk Road. I want to know what your experience has been like: What cards are you excited to play with? What card art did you think was spectacular? What overhyped card underwhelmed you, and what sleeper hits are out there? Let me know in the Reddit comments!