Dusk Road Set Review – Multifaction and Neutral

Ok friends, we are on the the last segment of this set review! Hold on to your butts, we are going to jam these last couples dozen cards. I should note that draft ratings are specifically calibrated for P1P1 scenarios. Cards with difficult to hit influence requirements are going to be marked down for those reason, so a card that might look good on the surface is going to receive a weaker grade than it would otherwise. You can find all the other stuff I have written around The Dusk Road below!

Tombstone Review

Hot Takes for Filthy Net Deckers

Fire Set Review

Time Set Review

Justice Set Review

Primal Set Review

Shadow Set Review

Part 1 of Limited Review Podcast

Part 2 of Limited Review Podcast

Intro to Dusk Road Ranked Podcast

Reddit Thread for this article


Ranked Ratings:

★★★★★ Format defining card

Examples: Sandstorm Titan, Torch, and Harsh Rule

★★★★ Archetype staple, or multi-deck support card

Examples: Waystones, Permafrost, Rally

★★★ Role player or narrow support card

Examples: Polymorph, Rise to the Challenge, Withering Witch

★★ Long shot or meme-tier

Examples: Knucklebones, Crown of possibilities, Groundbreaker

★ Unplayable

Examples: Idol of Destran, Copperhall Recruit, Daze


Draft Ratings

★★★★★ Bomb or extremely efficient removal

Examples: Twinbrood Sauropod, Annihilate, and Slimespitter Slug

★★★★ Better than average

Examples: Feeding Time, Mortar, Archive Curator

★★★ Around average power level

Examples: Striped Araktodon, Hipshot, Highbranch Sentry

★★ Below average, but not embarrassing

Examples: Centaur Outrider, Cabal Slasher, Cirso’s Meddling

★ Unplayable

Examples: Accelerate, Helpful Doorbot, Aid of the Hooru


The Crests

Crest-of-Impulse

Ranked

★★★★★ We are doing these bad boys all at once. Crests are a huge deal. They are probably more powerful than many people realize, so unless you are fully devoted to the A+Space life, I think you want to try and maximize the number of Crests in your decks. SirRhino and I kinda go off about these on our recent podcast, and there is a lot to say about them, so I am not going to repeat all of that. Moral of the story: these cards are great.

Draft

★★★★ If you look back at the Fire section of the set review I give a detailed explanation about picking power, and how it is much better to do in pack 4 when you know more about your deck. These are kind of like Waystones in many respects, but they are much better on average I think, and they are also rare, so you will be pretty tempted to just rare draft them when you see them. If you have 1 of the 2 factions of a Crest I would still play it. For example, if you are in a straight Combrei deck I would play every copy of Crest of Impulse I could get my hands on.

Mysterium Orb

Mysterium-Orb

Ranked

★★★ This card has gone up and down a lot for me. Compared to other fringe, hard-to-use cards I feel like Mysterium Orb has gotten a lot of attention early in the format, but the results have been mixed. This card is extremely impactful in some game states, but other games it is just a 3-cost relic. I still think it has potential, but I am starting to doubt it will ever make it into a tier 1 deck.

Draft

★ I can’t suggest playing a card like this. I suppose there is a universe where you get the nut Explorer/Sentinel deck where it will be OK, but this card is below average in power level in the majority of Praxis decks.

Monolith Guardian

Monolith-Guardian

Ranked

★★★★ 4-mana 7/7’s are pretty good I hear, and this has the potential to be just that. Obviously the floor on this card is quite problematic. Purify or Desert Marshall are major blow outs, but even Disjunction can cause major issues. Still, this card is certainly worth working on.

Draft

★★★ This is such a high variance pick. If you get this into a good Praxis deck this is totally absurd, but in a bad Praxis deck it is basically unplayable. It isn’t even that this is just a 4-cost 7/7, but it allows your Scourstone Sentinels to come down the next turn. If you want to maximize win % I would avoid picking this early, but if you want to maximize fun, just pick it and move in. You really want at least 4 relics in your deck, most of which are hopefully good.

Whirling Duo

Whirling-Duo

Ranked

★★★★ This has already made and impact on ranked. On the base level 3/3 charge lifesteal is a respectable card in an aggro deck against both aggro and control, but Whirling Duo has a bunch of subtle synergies. This is a great inclusion in Divining Rod decks, it works with Unseen Commando, it is a Gunslinger, etc. etc. Certainly not at the level of something like Titan, but a very powerful card that will see extensive play.

Draft

★★★ This is certainly a downshift on the basis of being 2 faction. Splashing this in a non-Rakano deck is pretty uninteresting, given that its power really comes from being a 3-drop. Obviously if you are in Rakano already you play every copy you can get your hands on, but P1P1 I might choose something like Arcanist, Extinguish, or other premium commons over this.

Tinker Dronedropper

Tinker-Dronedropper

Ranked

★ This is like bad Memory Dredger? Regrowing 2-drops is a lot more powerful than dropping 1/1s, and Memeory Dredger was not exactly breaking the format. I need to see some convincing evidence that this is worth the effort, because I am just not interested.

Draft

★★★★ A constant feed of 1/1s will clog up the ground, while your Drone Dropper deals 3 a turn in the air. That is a winning game plan all in one! Once again, the strict influence requirements do batter, but if you see this P1P1 I think she is worth speculating on, since she is more powerful than any of the commons or uncommons on pure power  level.

Kaleb, Reborn

Kaleb-Reborn

Ranked

★★★★ I have not seen many people talk about this card, but I think it is potentially a powerhouse. 4/4 for 4 is obviously not exciting, but in a spell heavy deck Kaleb will often be able to hit for a lot more than 4. This is very much on the list of cards that I need to get my hands on, but this feels like it has a lot of potential.

Draft

★★★★Every part of this card is great in draft. Obviously 4/4 for 4 is not stellar, but it is also not bad, and you have the potential to grow. The +1/+1 ability makes him really hard to block, and drawing a new hand is super powerful. His extremely strict influence cost keeps him back from 5 stars, but he is certainly going to feel like a bomb in some games.

 

Iceberg Warchief

Iceberg-Warchief

Ranked

★★ I have tried this a little, and I honestly don’t really think it has what it takes. He has a great text box, but 5 is just so much to pay for these effects, and a lacklustre body. I’ll give the second star out of pity, but I think Warchief will miss.

Draft

★★★ If you have no Yetis in you deck this is a lot 3-star card. If you have half a dozen Yetis he goes up to high 3-star. If you have more, he rapidly becomes a bomb. I probably hope to pick this up after I already have some Yetis, and am a little upset if I have to first pick this, but sometimes this will just be nuts.

Auric Record Keeper

Auric-Record-Keeper

Ranked

★★★ 4/4 for 3 with upside and no strings attached is pretty great, but to be honest, this probably doesn’t fit into most Combrei faction decks. A lot of Combrei decks are looking to go really big, or are playing Chalice, or are unitless control. You pretty much need to be in a beatdown Combrei build, and this is good there, but the archetype is very narrow.

Draft

★★★ 3 might seem low on a card like this, but this is a multifaction 3-drop, meaning the cost of picking this early is not trivial. Combrei is also one of the few faction pairing that are not really supported in the new set. There is not tribal synergies in that faction pair. This doesn’t mean it is undraftable, but rather it is best to avoid unless it is actually open. If there are good mono-faction commons or uncommons you should really prefer those over Record Keeper, but if not this could be a strong pick.

Shush

Shush

Ranked

★ I have gone off about this in other places and don’t really feel the need to repeat it unless people really want me to: Shush is really bad. People love “extraction” effects, and this is a cute implementation of that style of card, but this is going to do stone nothing in a lot of games. Do not play this.

Draft

★ Read above.

Scaletender

Scaletender

Ranked

★ There are just much more powerful things happening in the format. Way too slow.

Draft

★★ If you are already in an Elysian deck you will be happy to have this, since basically every deck will have enough dinos to consistently trigger her effect. Still not an exciting card, and you should never pick her early, but she is fine.

Deepwood Ranger

Deepwood-Ranger

Ranked

★ The card that Hooru midrange clearly needed more than anything else was a massiv 5-drop that was just a conditional pile of stats.

Draft

★★ I don’t even think every Hooru deck wants this. Obviously 5-cost 4/4 is not a failure, but it is also not exciting. I don’t feel many people have a good grasp on the “2 battle skills matter” mechanic in draft, and this is a good example of where that is confusing. Are we supposed to take this and draft around it? Or is this the pay off for finding the right lane? Certainly playable, but beyond that I don’t really know.

Eilyn, Clan Mother

Eilyn-Clan-Mother

Ranked

★★★ This is an inherently narrow card. There is only going to be a couple of decks that want a 7JJPP card, but if you are in the market for that kind of card, this certainly delivers. Eilyn has a great stat line, a great set of abilities, a great summon effect and a great ultimate. We need to do more work to figure out what this kind of control deck will look like, but I think Eilyn will have a place.

Draft

★★★★ This feels like the kind of card that is worth working for. How do you beat this card if you can actually cast it? Obviously it is not trivial, but if you really work to build a good control deck, this is the exact kind of finisher that you want.

Crownwatch Traitor

Crownwatch-Traitor

Ranked

★★★ This card is really weird. I think this is good in an Argenport midrange deck but I am not really sure. Dying to Torch stinks, but there are ways to play around that I suppose. This does an impressive job of dodging Vanquish while maintaining a good aggressive posture. Is there some way to abuse this that I am missing? There has gotta be. Maybe not now, but some day.

Draft

★★★ Seems good I guess. It is a legend so you will probably take it almost no matter what, but it has decent stats in both halves. Probably not worth bending over backward for, but good enough.

Recycler

Recycler

Ranked

★ I have tried this a little, and determined that 2/2s for 3 are not very good. The Fixit is obviously a nice thing to have, but this is just too slow for ranked in my opinion. The fact that your opponent has agency to just shoot the Recycler first is quite an important downside.

Draft

★★★ Good but not great. I think any Stonescar deck will play as many as they get access to, but it is not like Recycler is that much better than Obsidian Golem. Probably not worth splashing for, or picking too early, but it is a good sign Stonescar is open if that is something you would be inclined to draft.

 

Duskwalker

Duskwalker

Ranked

★★★★ There is a lot to like here. Obviously this isn’t the most dependable ramp effect, but +2 power is just much. Powering out 7 drops as early as turn 4 in some cases could just be game ending. Night also helps solve the fundamental problem of ramp decks – drawing all ramp and no pay off! Obviously this doesn’t totally eliminate the problem, but having access to a bit of passive card draw will help mitigate the issue. I expect to see people work with this card a lot. It isn’t even like the fail state of 4/4 for 4 is that embarrassing.

Draft

★★★★ You can basically just read the ranked description, except the last sentence should read “Even the fail state of 4/4 for 4 is very strong.” or something. This is still a multifaction card which has that inherent weakness, and there isn’t really a strong Xenan draft archetype in the set, but cards like this are just strong enough that it kind of doesn’t matter.

Agile Deathjaw

Agile-Deathjaw

Ranked

★ I still don’t get it. Between this and the Duskclaw Ravager in Shadow, it looks like there is supposed to be a Xenan dinosaurs deck, but there just isn’t enough support, and the cards just seem underpowered. 3/3 ambush for 3 would not be good enough, and this costs 5 and only has ambush conditionally!! At least the 2 cards I mentioned at least have synergy? I don’t know, I guess we might get more support in later sets, but as of right now these cards have nothing going on that captures my interest.

Draft

★ I expect that something like 10% of Xenan decks will actually want this card. You somehow find yourself in a Xenan deck (or TPS deck) just packed with dinosaurs going into pack 4 and you open this and now your deck gets a massive level up. The other 90% of Xenan decks are not going to watch Agile Deathjaw, since he is under-stated even for limited.

Inquisitor’s Halberd

Inquisitors-Halberd

Ranked

★★ The card is fine I guess, but I just don’t really think there are many decks that are hurting for a Sword of Icaria. If Jotun Feast-Caller or other aegis threats becomes very popular, I suppose Argenport decks can start packing some weapons like this, but I just have a hard time believing you shouldn’t just be playing armory at that point.

Draft

★★★ In the dark this is 3 stars, but if you are already into a Valkyrie deck it can move up to a low 4 star card. It is going to be hard to get 2 (meaningful) kills off a weapon like this in most board states even with a Valkyrie in play, so this is largely just “3JS deal 3” at the end of the day.

Rooftop Vigilante

Rooftop-Vigilante

Ranked

★★★ One of these days I am going to spend some time with Argenport Gunslinger and/or Valkyries based solely on how much I love this card. 2/3 flying warcry for 3 gives us a lot to like already, but that second line of text could have some really warping effects on the game. Suddenly something like Duelling Pistols is just a house. There is a lot to like here, and I am anxiously awaiting the chance to give it a try.

Draft

★★★★ This card is a monster in draft. Warcry is great in limited. 2/3 flyers for 3 are great in limited. Deadly is great in limited. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this card is a bomb. I think that if this were a single faction card I would probably be a 5 star card, but I will limit this to 4 stars given that it is multifaction (even though it is arguably in the best faction combination).

Vicious Highwayman

Vicious-Highwayman

Ranked

★★★ I am a lot colder on this card than many others. This card is a haymaker in aggro mirrors, allowing you to pick off a 1-drop, set up a difficult to block attack, and a swing in health. Everything you ever wanted right? Well, against most non-aggro decks I feel like the card is fairly medium. It is respectable obviously, but hardly exciting. If Stonescar Gunslingers is a deck I imagine he will make the cut, and he is a great tech choice when the meta gets really degenerate with Queen decks, but outside of that I probably wouldn’t suggest playing him.

Draft

★★★★ This card is good in draft, but hardly a bomb. 4/2s are going to be blocked a lot, and although 1 health units exist, you are not going to be picking off a 1-health unit that matters every game you play this. The strict faction influence is also a big deal in limited, since you are far less likely to slam this on turn 4. If you do get this on curve, and you do pick up a unit with 1-health you are a heavy favorite, but that is just not going to happen every game, and “bandit king” is only a mediocre top deck in the mid-game.

Failed Reflection

Failed-Reflection

Ranked

★ Ok, I have said it once, and I will say it again – big dumb vanilla units are not really what this game is about. To me this feels like a Scrap Tank but without the Grenadin bros to go along with it, or a Champion of Progress. Just a massive idiot that does nothing but be a massive idiot. I really can’t come up with anything here. What is this supposed to do? Are we going to be Rampaging this? or Kaleb’s Intervention? Maybe Twinbarrel + an overwhelm effect? I really don’t see it.

Draft

★★★★ Unlike ranked, draft is often about playing the biggest idiot possible. If you need a 12/12 this can be a 12/12. Not big enough for you? How about a 16/16? 20/20? Obviously you will not have infinite units to sacrifice to this, but you will likely turn Failed Reflection into a big enough monster to take over the game long before you run out of fodder, especially if you pick up even a couple Spark Hatchers or Grenadin Drones. Given all the conditions on this card he is still a 4 star card, but he is certainly an easy first pick.

Skywalk Enforcer

Skywalk-Enforcer

Ranked

★★★ This card is honestly causing me fits. I know I have talked a lot through these reviews about a potential “curses matters” deck or “Alu deck”. In reality I am more talking about a Skywalk Enforcer deck. Though 1/4 flyer for 3 is not exciting, 3/4 flier for 3 would have my attention, and a 5/4 flier for 3 would warp the game. This doesn’t seem outrageous, and it is not like Skywalk Enforcer has much in the way of inherent weaknesses in terms of the removal people are playing. Possibly an important card, but also possibly meme tier. 3 stars is generous, but I want to give him a chance.

Draft

★★★ Focusing just on pick 1 pack 1 I think you want to pick up premium commons or uncommons over a card like this. Instead, I think it is more sensible to start with good a couple good Primal or Shadow cards, get passed an Enforcer, and move in from there. There are going to be some nutty decks with a bunch of these and just mono curses, and they are going to take people for a ride, but that is going to be hard to assemble. When you get the chance I would try and move in since it seems sweet, but a lot of the time it is actually going to be a trap. The fail state of 1/4 flier for 3 is not bad still, but clearly not inspiring.

Rindra, the Duskblade

Rindra-the-Duskblade

Ranked

★★★★ Rindra is one of the headliners of a Feln Nightfall deck. 5/5 lifesteal overwhelm for 5 would be pretty sick, and Rindra is honestly not that far off that card it has felt to me. There is going to be a lot to learn about building Nightfall decks and playing them properly, but Rindra is here to teach us all about that.

Draft

★★★★ I really struggle to give 5 stars to a card with the cost 4XXYY. That is so exclusive and so difficult to cast. Rindra clearly is way above the curve in terms of abilities and stats by limited standards, but that the end of the day he can be taken down in normal combat, making me suspect he might not be a bomb in draft. Still, way above virtually every common and uncommon, and it is a legend so you are probably going to pick it anyway, so just play it and be happy.

Curiox, Insatiable Seeker

Curiox-Insatiable-Seeker

Ranked

★★ I have yet to see an honest attempt at a Curiox deck, but I haven’t quite pieced together what it is even supposed to look like. My first impression is something like FTP Calderan Cradle? Or maybe an Explorers deck? I really am not sure, and I don’t even know if this is worth the effort. I hope I am wrong here, but if I had to given an honest bet I think this is meme-tier.

Draft

★★ If you want to maximize your wins you probably can’t play this card. If you want to maximize your fun, that is a different story. This card asks you to warp your influence to get FFTTPP and your deck so that you have a mix of spells and relics rather than units. Seems like a tall ask, but I for one plan to fully YOLO on this card the first chance I get.

Common Cause

Common-Cause
Ranked

★★★ The real appeal to a card like this is the ability to enable 3+ F tribal. I would have killed for this in my climb up to master with Strangers, though this clearly does not solve the problems of that deck entirely. Gunslingers and even potentially Dinosaurs should be interested in this card as well. I probably prefer Seats Banners or Crests in most 2F tribal decks, but the more exotic deck will really want this.

Draft

★★ Are you a 3F deck with heavy tribal synergies? No? Well this card is probably bad. Too fancy for my tastes.

Family Charter

Family_Charter.png

Ranked

★★ I find it hard to believe that this is ever the best option available. Presumably someone plays this for the purpose of triggering “relics matter” synergies but giving access to card draw if things go late. Is there really nothing better to do though? Moondial is a card. Isn’t Cryptic Etchings a better power sink of the long game? I know not every faction has access to these things, but most of the relics matter stuff is in time, no? I’m not sure, but I am really not seeing this.

Draft

★★ Read the above comment. Works here too. It is playable, but is better to avoid if possible.


We did it! Set review is over! I am so happy to share all these thoughts with all of you. There are still obviously a lot of open questions remaining here, but I can’t wait to really dig into playing now that this review is done. If you have any thoughts be sure to share them in the Reddit thread, and check out the other sections of the review listed at the top. Once again, I want to let everyone know that I started a Patreon to support my Podcast, so if you are one of the listeners I would greatly appreciate you taking a look. I will probably improve it some in the near future as things are sparse, but I appreciate you support none-the-less.

Love,

Neon