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

Hi everyone! For today, I will be doing the Dusk Road set review the Justice faction! The Fire draft set review and Time draft set review are available as well. Justice definitely feels like the strongest faction, with 2 of the strongest commons in the set. Before jumping into the set, let me just re-iterate my draft rating scale.

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 Justice Cards

Emerald Waystone

Emerald-Waystone

Draft Rating: 1.5

1 armor is rarely going to matter and unless you have multiple armor matters cards, I don’t see you reaping much benefits out of running this over a sigil.

Humble Instructor

Humble-Instructor

Draft Rating: 1.5

Now, I’ll be honest, I have yet to draft a proper unseen tribal deck, nor have I seen one. However, IF there was such a unseen tribal draft, the theme seems to be centered around multiple battle skills, with cards like Unseen Commando and Deepwood Ranger. If you have at least 6+ cards with 2 or more battle skills, I can see playing Humble Instructor as a pseudo-Emerald RIng in the deck.

Rolant’s Intervention

Rolants-Intervention

Draft Rating: 2.0

This is probably one of the strongest Interventions in my opinion. Since most removal are targeted towards fliers, which in turn are often Valkyrie, the Aegis effect of this card comes into play more often than one would expect. A mini-detain as a fallback is also pretty sweet and can help you blow out some blocks. The middle option is would almost never be used.

Steady Marshal

Steady-Marshal

Draft Rating: 2.0

Now, a 1 power 2/3 on turn 1 is SCARY, but if it comes down later or only gets activated later, it is a lot less scary. This card will be solid in a gunslinger tribal and can also serve to activate your other Gunslingers. I would generally want at least 3 2-cost gunslingers and a few more other gunslingers before I’m happy to play this card.

Wanted Poster

Wanted-Poster

Draft Rating: 1.5

This card is a Wisdom of the Elders if the attached unit dies. However, that is not an easy condition to fulfill with the limited removal in draft. If this card gets silenced, you also end up at a net disadvantage. As such, I would only play this card if I have 4+ removals to follow it up with.

Whetstone

Whetstone

Draft Rating: 0.0

A +1 attack to all your relic weapons rarely feels THAT impactful and is almost definitely not worth a card in your deck.

Copperhall Porter

Copperhall-Porter

Draft Rating: 3.0

This is a premium 2 drop since it can draw you a sigil on death and helps smooth out your draws. The loss of 1 health definitely feels a lot less impactful in this format.

Crackshot Fugitive

Crackshot-Fugitive

Draft Rating: 2.5

This card has a solid base, a 2/2 for 2. Moreover, it fits perfectly in the gunslinger tribe since many gunslingers get a bonus +1/+1 weapon from Ally effects. In a good gunslinger deck, it won’t be surprising to see this card attack as a 5/5 or 6/6.

Curfew Enforcement

Curfew-Enforcement

Draft Rating: 3.0

Half a plague is still a pretty devastating effect and if you are able to exhaust multiple Valkyries, this card can potentially nullify the entire enemy board. While gaining a lot of power in Valkyrie tribal decks, I would still be happy to play this without any Valkyries in deck.

Rampart Protector

Rampart-Protector

Draft Rating: 1.5

A 1/1 for 2 is really not where you want to be and I don’t think the text will be extremely impactful in most cases. Getting a single 2/2 Soldier only makes this card comparable to an average 2-drop, so you need to trigger it multiple times to be worth playing this card. Moreover, the 2-drops will generally come down pretty late, when the ground would already be clogged up.

Reinvigorate

Reinvigorate

Draft Rating: 3.0

This is a pretty neat trick, allowing you to unexhaust a unit for defense and give it at least +1/+1, if not more. The endurance effect is also permanent, which means the same unit can now always attack and block. This card feels similar to playing Stalwart Shield at fast speed and can often net you a good trade if you opponent doesn’t sniff it out.

Soaring Guard

Soaring-Guard

Draft Rating: 1.0

The bonus armor is mostly flavor and a 1/2 flier is pretty bad. It is unable to block or bounce most 2 drops and a 1 damage per turn clock is not something to be amazed about. I wouldn’t play this card in my decks unless im in a dire need of 2 drops.

Tax Collector

Tax-Collector

Draft Rating: 3.0

Now this is a sweet statline for a 2-drop. The double J influence is slightly off-putting, but not ridiculous most of the time. The text is occasionally relevant if Tax Collector stays on the board for a long period, often netting you +4 or more armor over the cause of the game. I have yet to use his ultimate and I doubt it will be a game changer most of the time.

Copperhall Marshal

Copperhall-Marshal

Draft Rating: 3.0

3/3 for 3 is a fine rate and the ultimate has been relevant in multiple games for me. While the stun is conditional, I rarely find myself lacking in weapons in justice. Moreover, the simple threat of a stun into a+space can often put the opponent on the back foot.

Crownwatch Legionnaire

Crownwatch-Legionnaire

Draft Rating: 1.5

Despite being a soldier, I think Crownwatch Legionnaire is designed to be played in the Unseen skills matters archtype. That said, 1/3 for 3 is just bad, even with the 2 keywords. This card feels like a worse Treasury Guard in most situations, but on occasion, I think it can do work in the Unseen deck.

Entrapment

Entrapment

Draft Rating: 3.0

This card is very interesting. It’s almost unconditional removal, but with all the incidental Nightfall card running around, it is actually handicapped significantly. It can also be sniffed out by better players and played round, which worries me. Currently, I think this is still 3.0, but as the format matures, I think this card might drop down to the 2.5 tier.

Showdown

Showdown

Card Rating: 1.5

This card is a targeted Copperhall Blessing for one of your units and can occasionally steal a game with the surprise burst damage. That said, 3 cost is a lot and in most cases, it will be equivalent, or worse than most other pump spells (Finest Hour, Strength of Many).

Signal Flag

Signal-Flag

Draft Rating: 1.5

1 attack is just too low for a 3 cost weapon. The 4 armor is nice, but rarely do you have 2 or more 1 health targets to kill with this weapon, so it is mostly irrelevant outside of the health boost. I could see playing this if you are desperately light on interaction, but I am really not a fan of it.

Silverwing Smith

Silverwing-Smith

Draft Rating: 2.5

Now this is a fun card. Silverwing Smith works really well with relic weapons and Valkyrie Militant, allowing you to get multiple swings with the same weapon. (Note: if you play a relic weapon with both Silverwing Smith and Valkyrie Militant in play, you get +2 armor from Silverwing Smith since it triggers for both the relic weapon and the Valkyrie Militant’s armor gain). The 1/4 flying body is also nothing to scoff at, making it a great blocker to stall out the skies.

Stella, the Shotcaller

Stella-the-Shotcaller

Draft Rating: 0.5

Stella, the Shotcaller requires a lot of build-around to make work, and the body is way to fragile for a 3-drop. I think this card is unplayable in draft unless you have a deck filled with weapons and gunslingers to make a single, sucide swing by Stella worth it.

Tandem Watchwing

Tandem-Watchwing

Draft Rating: 2.0

A 2/1 flier is pretty sad for a 3-drop, but a 3/2 flier is very sweet. In a Valkyrie deck, I can see this card going up to 2.5 or 3.0, but if you are unable to activate it, the floor is just too low to be worth playing.

Unseen Commando

Unseen-Commando

Draft Rating: 4.0

This is one of the better Unseen battle skills payoff cards and can significantly buff your board. Even without the Unseen synergy, this card still puts in the work. A 3/4 lifesteal flier is extremely hard to race and can often just run away with the game. This is a easy slam pick over most other cards.

Valkyrie Cadet

Valkyrie-Cadet

Draft Rating: 1.0

Remember Renegard Valkyrie? Add an additional conditional to her keywords, remove 1 health, and you end up with probably the worst Valkyrie in the entire set.

Valkyrie Justiciar

Valkyrie-Justiciar

Draft Rating: 1.5

The text on Valkyrie Justiciar is actually really interesting and powerful, but unfortunately, tying it to a body that dies to a stiff breeze is not a good thing. It can potentially lock the targeted card out of your opponent’s hand for multiple turns, or it could simply get removed instantly.

Bisma, Revered Elder

Bisma-Revered-Elder

Draft Rating: 1.5

This card is interesting, but a 4 cost 3/3 is not a good sign, and requiring it to survive multiple turns before you can reap the benefits is a high ask. Perhaps if the Unseen tribal is a thing, we could see Bisma being picked higher?

Caltrops

Caltrops

Draft Rating: 0.5

Subtext of this card seems to be “Screw Tarvod!”. In any case, duplicates are relatively rare in draft, so the second part of the text is usually irrelevant. The -5 attack could come in useful, but paying 4 cost for it is too steep.

Curse of Taxation

Curse-of-Taxation

Draft Rating: 0.0

Who wants to bet that DWD printed this so that people will stop asking for land destruction?

Ground Crew

Ground-Crew

Draft Rating: 1.5

This is another interesting card. The 1 power cost is almost insignificant compared to the loss of flying, which is the actual cost of activating this card. Trading in flying for +3/+3 makes for interesting gameplay decisions and can also discourage your opponent from racing (If they swing with their big attackers, you can chump and activate ground crew to swing with a huge Valkyrie in return). A 2/4 statline is not the most embarrassing, but also not something to write home about.

Ironclad Oath

Ironclad-Oath

Draft Rating: 2.5

The armor gain is usually irrelevant, so this just turns into a weaker Victor’s Cry, and without the revenge. That said, tricks are so much rarer in set 3 that I often find myself happy to pick one of this relatively early.

Lawman’s Sidearm

Lawmans-Sidearm

Draft Rating: 3.0

Weapons matter is a theme in gunslingers, which increases the rating of good weapons. A 3/2 weapon is nothing to scoff at and being able to draw 1 or 2 sigils out of you deck both smooths out your curve and also increases your odds of drawing gas. I have definitely been impressed by this card multiple times and I do wonder whether it is sufficient to breach into 3.5 territory.

Rakano Sheriff

Rakano-Sheriff

Draft Rating: 4.0

This Sheriff may seem weak, but leave him on board for a turn and he can easily run away with the game. As long as you have a decent board, Rakano Sheriff pretty much locks up the game by being a gigantic beatstick. However, without a board, Rakano Sheriff is pretty bad and that is the chief reason for it not being any higher.

Shielded Shortbarrel

Shielded-Shortbarrel

Draft Rating: 2.5

This card feels very comparable to Stalwart Shield to me (maybe marginally weaker). The Aegis effect is extremely relevant, especially on big fatties or your fliers. The main weakness of this card is that it only adds 1 health, making your equipped unit very vulnerable to relic weapons.

Shieldsmith

Shieldsmith

Draft Rating: 2.0

This card seems good at first glance, but needing to lose at least 3 armor before you break even in terms of stats is pretty rough. That said, if you can get him going, the lifesteal would make racing very favorable for you. The main deciding factor of whether this card sees play is the density of relic weapons in your deck (since that’s the most reliable way to lose armor). In general, I would want at least 3 relic weapons with 2+ armor and a few other ways to gain armor (Valkyrie Militant, Streetwise Informant, etc) before I’ll include this card in my deck.

Spiritblade Stalker

Spiritblade-Stalker

Draft Rating: 3.0

2/4 for 4 looks weak, but the ultimate more than makes up for it. Giving a unit of your choice +1/+1 and Lifesteal can be game-winning, especially if you have a reasonably sized flier. The ability can also target the card itself in a pitch.

Valkyrie Bodyguard

Valkyrie-Bodyguard

Draft Rating: 2.0

A 3/4 flier is very hard to answer in the air, and explains why there is a negative text attached to Valkyrie Bodyguard. That said, even as just a blocker, this card is a decent filler in most decks. With multiple ways to activate her, I can see Valkyrie Bodyguard being a 3.0 or 3.5.

Amilli, Cloudmarshal

Amilli-Cloudmarshal

Draft Rating: 4.5

When this card was first spoiled, I was so sure that it would be a clear 5.0. A huge butt in the air that is hard to remove and generates increasingly bigger chump blockers (making it very tough for your opponent to race) seems like a dream. However, dying to the most common set 3 removal (Extinguish) is a huge drawback and the sole reason this card got downgraded to 4.5.

Frontier Confessor

Frontier-Confessor

Draft Rating: 3.5

This is one of the cornerstone of Justice commons that makes Justice such a strong faction. Silence on a sweet 3/4 body is a great rate for 5 power and in a format where unanswered fliers often run away with the game, Frontier Confessor’s value rises significantly

Hammer of Authority

Hammer-of-Authority

Draft Rating: 3.5

This card is very similar to a Duelist Blade. Being able to prevent your opponent from playing any spells on your turn greatly simplifies combat and reduces the risk of a blowout. Swinging for 4 damage with 4 armor is very strong as well.

Valkyrie Arcanist

Valkyrie-Arcanist

Draft Rating: 3.5

The other cornerstone of Justice commons is this brilliant Valkyrie. A 5 power 3/3 flier is already playable on its own, throw on a brilliant entomb effect giving you a free Gemblade makes this card one of the top 2 commons in the format. Being a Valkyrie is also a nice bonus.

Challenge by Law

Challenge-by-Law

Draft Rating: 3.5

A unconditional kill spell is always good, but 6 cost is on the steep side. Silencing some units are also as good as killing them and grounding all the opposing fliers is often significant. On the right board, this card could be effectively a one-sided board wipe or even just steal a game off grounding their flying blockers. There is a chance that I could be under-rating this card since an asymmetric board-wide silence can be very, very powerful.

Crownwatch Quartermaster

Crownwatch-Quartermaster

Draft Rating: 4.0

Valkyrie tribal is a very viable tribe so tiggering the ally effect is not a huge concern. Activated, this card is 6/8 worth of stats for 6 power, and can be repeatedly exhausted to give a friendly unit a huge buff (usually +4/+4 or more since Quartermaster brings 2 soldiers with him). Unchecked, Crownwatch Quartermaster can generate a huge advantage and run away with the game.

Emerald Spear

Emerald-Spear

Draft Rating: 1.5

Even if I had a 100% chance of triggering the Ally effect, this card still feels quite lackluster for a 6 drop. A 2/2 will usually not impact the board significantly at this point in the game and 6 power for a 3/3 relic weapon is pretty overcosted.

Regent’s Blade

Regents-Blade

Draft Rating: 4.0

Given that most of the removal in the format revolves around damage, being invulnerable to damage renders it safe from most removal as well. Moreover, the attached creature cannot be bested in combat. This puts a clock on your opponent and is a solid win condition. That said, being vulnerable to attachment hate (which I think should be more played in this format), is a significant drawback and I suspect the rating will drop as the format develops.

Tower Shield

Tower-Shield

Draft Rating: 1.0

This is almost always a worse Stalwart shield, having the same stats and no endurance with 2 extra cost. The summon effect can potentially be impactful to allow multiple swings with a relic weapon, but I don’t think it is worth the trade-offs.

Town Watchman

Town-Watchman

Draft Rating: 1.5

I do like this card quite a lot. The warcry is mostly irrelevant but the fat butt does a great job in stalling and bouncing ground blockers so that your valkyries can close out the game in the air. 3 attack is slightly on the low side, but a high attack is not essential for a ground blocker.

Aerial Attendant

Aerial-Attendant

Draft Rating: 2.0

This card generally gets played on turn 4~6, and a 4/3 flier is just alright for the hoops that you have to jump through. I’m alright with picking this speculatively, but I would not be happy to play this card with less that 6 valkyries in my final deck.

Crown of Authority

Crown-of-Authority

Draft Rating: 0.5

The effect is pretty sweet, but is rarely relevant for more than a few units before the game ends (assuming the game even lasts long enough for this card to be played). The potential of this just being a dead card, or you dying due to not doing anything on turn 7 is way too high, so I would be very desperate before I’m happy to play this card.

Last Stand at the Gate

Last-Stand-at-the-Gate

Draft Rating: 2.0

This is a solid late game finisher and synergizes really well with the armor matters theme in justice decks. The drawback is occasionally costly, but the payoff is really great. A 6/6 weapon can often kill multiple things on a stalled board and 3 2/3s really gum up the board. This card only fits in the more control-orientated decks and should never be played in aggressive decks.

Minsod, the Peerless

Minsod-the-Peerless

Draft Rating: 3.0

Again, I’m not sure if unseen tribal is a thing, but if you are able to pick up multiple unseens to bond this out early, I can see this card being a potential bomb. A 10/10 on turn 5 or 6 is extremely scary and can easily run away with the game.

Silverwing Rallier

Silverwing-Rallier

Draft Rating: 2.5

While 9 is a lot more than 7, 5/4 is also a lot more than 4/3. A 5/4 flier pretty much dominates the skies so I think this card is a worthwhile build-around.

Conclusion

Justice is definitely a strong faction, with very good commons. They also have very powerful valkyries and gunslingers, both of which are very well-supported tribes. The unseen is still a question mark for me and I would love to explore it more. What do you think? Let me know in the reddit thread! Also, stay tuned for the next installment on the Primal faction.

The Dusk Road ENDS HERE!
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