Drafters’ Corner: Dusk Road Draft Set Review (Time)

Hi everyone! Are you ready for the next installment of the Dusk Road Set Review? Today, I will be covering the Time faction! Time definitely felt like the strongest and deepest color in Set 2 draft, but unfortunately, it’s Set 3 cards falls slightly short of the high preceding standards. That being said, Time is still a decent faction and can provide you with a solid deck. Before jumping into the set, let me just re-iterate my draft rating scale. Also, do check out my Fire draft set review here.

Draft Rating Scale

For this new set, I’ve decided to adapt LSV’s rating scale (mainly for a reason that I’m keeping as a surprise xP). The lower half of the list is identical to LSV, while the top half is slightly different to better distinguish between 3.0/3.5/4.0/4.5 tiers.

5.0: Premium bomb, card that consistently dominates the game and is hard to answer. (Xenan Obelisk, Accelerated Evolution)
4.5: Bomb, card that usually dominates the game if unanswered. (Pillar of Amar, Mistveil Drake, Memory Dredger)
4.0: High impact card that often generate strong value or tempo. (Annihilate, Cobalt Monument, Ageless Mentor)
3.5: Premium playable that pulls you into a color. (Awakened Student, Minotaur Lighthoof, Morningstar)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Stormcrasher, Rebel Sharpshooter, Striped Araktodon)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Stalwart Shield, Awakened Sentinel, Blinkwolf)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Alchemical Blast, Refresh, Thunderhoof Warrior)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Amaran Camel, Amber Ring, Safe Return)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Boltcrafter Shaman, Cirso’s Meddling, Plifer)
0.5: Very low-end playables and sideboard material. (Viper’s Bite, Decay, Centaur Outrider)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (A New Tomorrow, Mating Call, Forgotten Find)

The Time Cards

Amber Waystone

Amber-WaystoneDraft Rating: 1.5

Similar to the other Waystones, Amber Waystone is a strict upgrade to raw sigils. However, the cost of picking it up is non-negligible as you can potentially pick up better cards for the deck instead. +2 Health is a very tiny benefit, especially given that we now only have 1 pack to find Lifeforce payoff cards. This card could see some niche play in tricking your opponent into a race that they can’t actually win due to the +2 Health, but I doube it will be relevant in most games.

Azurite Prixis

Azurite-PrixisDraft Rating: 0.0

This was the first legendary that I received when I cracked open my packs, and even now, I have no idea what this card is supposed to do. It is purely a self-mill (pretty much a strict drawback in draft) for 1 power, or for free in 1/45 games. Even in relic-matters decks, I don’t think I would play this card. It’s right there at the bottom of 0.0 and I will definitely play a sigil over it.

Amaran Shoveler

Amaran-Shoveler

Draft Rating: 1.0

The power level of this card varies drastically with the number of sentinels and relics in your deck. If you have sufficient Sentinels and relics (6+), this card can potentially draw you a card. The discard only really matters if the game comes down to decking (~10% in my experience). Notably, this card is NOT an early game play but rather a late game power sink that “filters” your draws. This card also dies to a stiff breeze, so it’s something that I would generally only play out if I am activating the ability in the same turn or I need the body to chump block.

Ancient Bauble

Ancient-BaubleDraft Rating: 1.0

With only 1 pack to find lifeforce payoffs, I don’t think the lifeforce will be a good archtype to speculate into for this draft format. This is another cheap relic, but playing a cheap, do-nothing relic just to activate your relic matters cards is rarely a good idea.

Gloaming Wisp

Gloaming-Wisp

Draft Rating: 0.5

This card is pretty much a glorified Humbug. We all know how unbeatable Humbugs are, so this rating is obviously a misdirection for those who don’t read the text. The added Nightfall effect is interesting, but unless I have a high density of night matters cards (Winter’s Grasp, Moonlit Gargoyle), I would not be playing this card for it’s effect.

Hesitate

HesitateDraft Rating: 0.5

This is a very mediocre card. It is almost always card disadvantage because your opponent can just recast the spell the following turn. That said, there are fringe cases where your opponent attempts to blow you out with a fast spell and you can respond with this to effectively get a 1-for-1. However, this begs the question then, why are you not playing Backlash or Unseal instead?

Lucky Prospector

Lucky-Prospector

Draft Rating: 0.5

There are approximately 12 playable relics at Common/Uncommon in total, of which you need at least 6 to be happy playing Lucky Prospector. Even then, a turn 3+ 3/3 is not hugely impressive even if it is free/cheap (think Sand Warrior).

Talir’s Intervention

Talirs-Intervention

Card Rating: 1.5

I am a huge fan of modal spells because these cards are rarely completely dead in any matchup AND also provides for interesting decisions and room to outplay your opponent. For this card, you are usually going to be using the last option which can remove quickdraw, deadly or a buff from a unit prior to blocking. The first option is generally pointless while the 2nd option is a more conditional safe return that could blank out targetted removal or removing curses such as Permafrost. That said, this card is still very situational (despite having 2 decent modes), and I would much rather play Teleport or Rebuke over this.

Twilight Hunt

Twilight-HuntDraft Rating: 3.0

This card is at worst, a Predator’s Instinct that triggers Nightfall, and at best, a 1-cost Xenan Initiation. With less removal and fast spells flying around, Killer becomes significantly more powerful and important for the deck. The Nightfall trigger is also a nice bonus if you have other night matters cards in your deck. Without dinosaurs or nightfall synergy, this card will drop to the bottom of 2.5, but given that dinosaurs have some good support in this set, I think speculating with this card is perfectly fine.

Accelerated Impact

Accelerated-Impact

Draft Rating: 1.0

This card feels very gimmicky. On occasion, it could allow you to generate huge blowouts with your 3/7 Town Watchman and 1/5 Towertop Patrol, but in general, I think it often becomes a slightly more powerful, but slow synchronized strike.

Ask for Directions

Ask-for-Directions

Draft Rating: 0.0

Ask for Directions is just bad. You are rarely getting to cast this multiple times and even then, how many times do you have to cast this to make it worth it? I’m thinking at least 4?

Cryptic Etchings

Cryptic-Etchings

Draft Rating: 2.5

This is another cheap relic, but on the upside, it isn’t a do nothing relic! This card feels very similar to Cobalt Ring, but it’s cheaper, and the filtering effect is weaker. Surprisingly, the drop in cost makes this card feels much less clunky and I’m often happy to play this, especially in more durdly decks. Moreover, with the increase in relic matters cards, there’s an additional reason to play this card.

Disjunction

DisjunctionDraft Rating: 2.0

I’m pretty sure this is going to be one of my more controversial ratings. Being a modal card, this card rarely feels dead since in my experience, decks run 3~4 attachments on average. This also has a huge blowout potential because you can remove weapons after attackers/blockers are declared, netting you a sweet 2 or even 3-for-1 deal. I would also want at least 2 good attachments in my deck before playing it, in which case I definitely want 1 copy of Disjunction in my deck. The second copy is much less valuable than the first, and I would have to be very desperate before I play my 4th copy.

Nocturnal Creeper

Nocturnal-Creeper

Draft Rating: 2.5

This is the sand viper of Set 3, but unfortunately, a 2/1 deadly is significantly worse than a 1/2 as it dies to ping effects. That said, ping effects are also much rarer, so the 1 health loss is not as bad as it was in Set 2 draft. Summoning nightfall is also a nice bonus if you have other night matters cards.

Trail Maker

Trail-Maker

Draft Rating: 3.5

What happens if you put Amber Acolyte and Initiate of the Sands in a blender? You get a card that is better than both! A 2/1 body allows it to trade with most 2 drops, +1 additional power gives you ramp AND influence fixing on top of that! This card is straight-up bonkers, and I would happily first pick this in most packs.

Baying Serasaur

Baying-Serasaur

Draft Rating: 2.5

This card is generally a vanilla 3/3 on attack and a vanilla 2/2 on defense. With nightfall triggers, it can swing in for 4/4. While being slightly worse on the defense, I don’t think the difference is that significant to push it down a tier. Moreover, in an aggressive nightfall deck, this card can help to push more damage and close out a game faster.

Dig Site

Dig-Site

Draft Rating: 1.5

Similar to Ancient Defenses, I think Dig Site is more likely to be played for it’s summon effect (which is a slow teleport) rather than the Sentinel-Explorer synergy. However, the effect is significantly weaker at slow speed, and the synergy rarely matters unless you are able to bond out multiple sentinels in a turn.

Lastlight Infusion

Lastlight-Infusion

Draft Rating: 0.5

Remember Unlock Potential? Well, this is often an equivalent, or worse, Unlock Potential with the Nightfall trigger tagged on. This effect is rarely worth a card and paying 3 for a Nightfall trigger is not ideal unless you have multiple Winters’ Grasp in play.

Lunar Magus

Lunar-Magus

Draft Rating: 3.0

This card feels very strong in draft given the fair few incidental nightfall triggers running around. On average, I would expect you to gain at least 8 or 12 health from the Lunar Magus, which makes it a lot more powerful than first impressions. However, what holds it back from hitting 3.5 is that it is not a card that plays well from behind. If you were forced to chump or trade using Lunar Magus straight away, you don’t get the bonus health.

Moondial

Moondial

Draft Ranking: 2.5

This card feels very similar to Highwind Glider in that it’s a crazy powerful late game value generator. I would always want a copy of this in most durdly decks. It is also a nice relic to play for the relic matters deck, which gives this card an additional plus.

Premonition Wisp

Premonition-Wisp

Draft Rating: 1.5

I would never play this card without at least 4 lifeforce triggers. A 3 power 2/2 is significantly below par. However, if I am able to trigger his ultimate semi-reliably, his rating goes up to 3.0. 3 power for 12 points of stats is almost broken levels of value.

Seasoned Spelunker

Seasoned-Spelunker

Draft Rating: 3.0

A 3/3 for 3 is a solid rate, and a 4/4 for 3 is excellent. Seasoned Spelunker also doesn’t rely on you having the relics to activate him, he can do it himself for 5 power! More importantly, he can also help to activate other relic matters cards! The ramp effect of the power stone is also nice. There seems to be a sub-theme of ramp in Time (Initiate of the Sands, Trail Maker, Avirax Familiar, etc) and with enough ramp redundancy, building a big Time deck in draft is not impossible.

Serene Excavator

Serene-Excavator

Draft rating: 2.0

A 1/2 flier is slightly below the acceptable level for a 3-drop, but a 2/3 flier is really sweet. With more than 4 sentinels, I can easily see this card becoming a 3.0. This card also wears weapons well and could be played in a weapons deck that lacks fliers.

Ageless Sentinel

Ageless-Sentinel

Draft Rating: 3.0

Ah, the Striped Araktodon of the Set 3! This card is extremely similar to Striped Araktodon and provides a solid no-frills foundation to most time decks. The Sentinel typing could also come into play for getting out Scourstone Sentinels out quickly and overwhelming the board.

Fantastic Revelation

Fantastic-Revelation

Draft Rating: 0.5

Perhaps an amazing (reckless) drafter could find a way to make this card work and ramp out some crazy big drops early on, but I find playing a do-nothing on turn 4 can cost you a ton of tempo. This card is also pretty much a dead topdeck in the late game.

Gear Master

Gear-Master

Draft Rating: 2.5

This card is very fragile when it hits the board, but being able to turn every sentinel in your hand into a cantrip is an amazingly powerful ability. Less silence and removal running around in the format makes this card a worthy build-around and I would prioritize Sentinels highly after picking this card. That said, I would never play this card in a deck with less than 5 sentinels.

Hissing Spiketail

Hissing-Spiketail

Draft Rating: 1.0

While high attack values on sentinels are valuable for bonding out your huge sentinels, the same cannot be said for Dinosaurs. Foraging Sauropod feels like the only common/uncommon dinosaur worth drafting around, the other 2 are pretty average. The 2 health means that this dinosaur often ends up just trading with a stranger. The second part of the text is mostly flavor as you rarely have any lifeforce payoff. That said, I would be happy to pick this slightly higher than other 1.0s to speculate on the dinosaur tribal.

Insistent Automaton

Insistent-Automaton

Draft Rating: 3.0

This card is solid. You can often plan your plays to either minimize the drawbacks of his summon effect or even take advantage of it, such as bouncing an Amber Acolyte or a Permafrost-ed unit. Being a 4-cost, 4-attack unit also lets it curve out naturally into a 5-cost Scourstone Sentinel.

Lost in the Mist

Lost-in-the-Mist

Draft Rating: 1.5

Being slow speed is an added cost, on top of the added power cost relative to teleport. The main issue with Lost in the Mist is that there is a very specific and narrow window where the +2 cost to the opponent’s unit is relevant (when both players are around 6~8 power). Early on, adding 2 cost to a cheap unit only delays it by 2 turns usually, and there is often redundancy where your opponent can just replace it with a similar unit. Later on, both players generally float a lot of power, so the +2 cost is very inconsequential. Within the narrow window specified, adding +2 cost to a card can actually remove the unit from play for multiple turns because your opponent needs to draw the power to play it.

Lumen Reclaimer

Lumen-Reclaimer

Draft Rating: 3.5

This card is pretty sweet. a 4 power 4/4 is standard, and getting more copies of it in your deck is not something I would say no too. The general rule of thumb is to choose your own void with the summon ability since you will be shuffling solely non-power cards into your deck. Of course, there are exceptions, such as when either player has tons of tokens in their void, choosing your opponent’s void is a better idea. The flexibility, and the entomb effect is what puts this legendary 0.5 above the standard 3.0 (Striped Araktodon).

Sandspitter

Sandspitter

Draft Rating: 1.0

This card is very similar to Hissing Spiketail and most of what I said there was relevant here. The summon effect is going to whiff 75% of the time and the other 25% of the time, the cost increase is going to be marginal at best. Most decks run around 4~6 spells, so hitting a spell and pushing it out of casting range by a singular cost increase is extremely unlikely.

First Watch

First-Watch

Draft Rating: 0.0

Why
Would
You
Even
Think
Of
Playing
This
Card
?

Fishing Dinoch

Fishing-Dinoch

Draft Rating: 3.0

This card is arguably the cornerstone of the Dinosaur Tribal. A 5 power 6/6 is extremely strong and contests the board very well. The fail-case of a 5 power 3/3 is terrifying, but Dinosaurs as a tribal has shown reliable enough consistency that I am happy to speculate on this card.

Frenzied Omnivore

Frenzied-Omnivore

Draft Rating: 4.0

This card is just brutal. Discarding a card isn’t all that costly now with all the random nightfall triggers and a 4/3 killer can remove a fair few units. More importantly, it then grows to a 5/4, making it a good stat-line for a 5-drop. This unit than proceeds to grow, and grow, and grow, easily snowballing into one of the most powerful units on board. I may be a little too high on it at 4.0, but I really like this card and it’s potential.

Sandbinder Sentinel

Sandbinder-Sentinel

Draft Rating: 3.5

Sandstorm Titan’s little brother is nothing to scoff at. While he doesn’t shut down all fliers, he is able to effectively remove flying from a unit permanently. A 4/6 for 5 body is nothing to scoff at and in a faction with few answers to fliers, Sandbinder Sentinel does play an important and hard to replace role.

Stirring Sand

Stirring-Sand

Draft Rating: 1.0

This card is like a Grasping at Shadows, but only with Sentinels. However, being able to pay 2 and exhaust an explorer to revive an additional Sentinel is a very niche payoff that can occasionally snatch or close out a game. Sentinels are also mostly the biggest units in your deck, so the restriction is not a huge deal in 80% (or more) of the cases.

Worldbearer Behemoth

Worldbearer-Behemoth

Draft Rating: 4.0

Triple influence cards are not easy to play, and the chief reason this card is not an easy 4.5. A 6/7 body is very sweet and being able to remove power from your deck and ramp you up is a very powerful effect. If you are able to attack with this multiple times, chances are you’ve locked up the game because there is only gas left in your deck.

Invoke the Waystones

Invoke-the-Waystones

Draft Rating: 0.0

Congratulations on your 800 dust! Now hope to draft a coherent deck with 47 cards =D!

Some people might argue that this is a good late game power sink. However, discarding your top 4 cards is a huge cost in draft and you can easily deck yourself playing this before drawing anything relevant.

Panoptic Guardian

Panoptic-Guardian

Draft Rating: 1.5

Ambush units are always powerful because they can often net a 1-for-0 on summon and generate value later on. However, Panoptic Guardian only has a measly 2 attack, which means it often ends up just eating a Stranger or another 2-drop. I would really want more out of my 6-drops. The Fate effect is a nice bonus, but doesn’t have much impact most of the time.

Timeworn Sentinel

Timeworn-Sentinel

Draft Rating: 2.0

Again, I really want more stats out of my 6-drops. This card has the same amount of stats as Insistent Automaton, a 4-drop! Low attack also makes this card a poor bond target. The only redeeming factor that makes this card a slightly higher pick is the card-draw it provides with Ally. Time has a fair share of explorers so triggering the card-draw is not THAT difficult. If you are able to reliably activate the cantrip (5+ explorers), I would put this card at 3.0.

Tomb Protector

Tomb-Protector

Draft Rating: 3.5

Now, this is the sort of stats that I want to see on my 6-drops. 6/8 generally means he’s the biggest beater on the block and he is a sentinel to boot! The text is mostly flavor and would rarely be relevant. Can we also just take a moment to appreciate how awesome this artwork is?

Serasaur Bull

Serasaur-Bull

Draft Rating: 4.0

Attachment hate is always nice, repeatable and “free” attachment hate is awesome. A 7/6 charge for 7 can easily swing games in your favor, or even outright steal you the game. The Dinosaur Ally isn’t uncommon to activate and even unactivated, this card is fine.

Talir, Unbound

Talir,-Unbound

Draft Rating: 2.0

In most games, Talir, Unbound ends up being a prettier Dormant Sentinel. However, the text does come in useful in very late game scenerios and puts an effective clock on your opponent. Notably, your opponents’ units do not get unexhausted before your additional turn. Thus, with a reasonable board, activating Talir’s ultimate will often win you the game. That said, such situations don’t really arise often enough for me to prioritize and build around Talir.

Dinosaur Stampede

Dinosaur-Stampede

Draft Rating: 0.5

This card gets exponentially more powerful with each dinosaur that you have, but an 8 power SLOW spell that can potentially do nothing is not something I want to play. In a heavy dinosaur deck (8+ dinosaurs) that’s low on playables, I may be persuaded to play this over the 20th power.

Intriguing Ancient

Intriguing-Ancient

Draft Rating: 2.0

This card is often a 4~6 power play assuming you can bond it out. The stats are not amazing, but the entomb provides a nice ground army for chumping purposes. While being a good payoff for being in the Sentinel tribal, I don’t view this card as a cornerstone of the Sentinel tribal deck. As such, I wouldn’t pick it highly unless I’m already drafting Sentinels.

Temporal Distortion

Temporal-Distortion

Draft Rating: 0.0

Another 800 dust in the bank, another card that’ll end up in the pool.

Emerging Colossus

Emerging-Colossus

Draft Rating: 0.5

9 is wayyyyyyy too much in draft and I would only run this if I was desperate for top-end and didn’t manage to pick up any Dormant Sentinels or Towering Terrazons.

Scourstone Sentinel

Scourstone-Sentinel

Draft Rating: 3.0

Now, this is a card I can work with. A 7/8 Sentinel coming down on turn 4~7 can easily overwhelm the opponent. This is the kind of payoff that you want to see in a Sentinel deck and I’m happy to run up to 3 of this in my deck provided that I have enough enablers.

Foraging Sauropod

Foraging-Sauropod

Draft Rating: 2.5

This is the Scourstone Sentinel of the dinosaur tribal. That said, 6/6 is a lot weaker than 7/8 and getting a singular 3/3 off a suicide attack is not worth it. I would be less happy if this was my only payoff for being in the dinosaur tribal. Ideally, I would want some copies of Predator’s Instinct or Twilight Hunt to trigger it’s ability without sacrificing the Foraging Sauropod.

Novaquake Titan

Novaquake-Titan

Draft Rating: 0.5

If you are ever able to cast this and win a game in Draft with it, you are my hero.

Conclusion

Time is definitely no longer the powerhouse it was in Set 2, but it definitely still packs a punch. There seems to be an increased amount of junk or constructed only cards in Time, so I would advise caution with your picks. Do you agree with my ratings? Let me know your thoughts in the reddit thread! Stay tuned for the next update on Justice cards!

See you on the Dusk Road!
Flash2351