Hi everyone! Over the course of the next few articles, I will be discussing the various tribals in Eternal and how to draft and play them. To start things off, I’m going to talk about my favorite tribal to draft and play: YETIS!
Yeti Tribal Overview
Yetis are only found in the Skycrag faction, but the great majority of them are simply Primal cards. Thus, to draft yetis, you only really need to be in Primal and any Primal-X faction can work well enough. I’ve had success with not just Skycrag Yetis, but also Hooru, Elysian and Feln Yetis.
Yeti decks generally tend to be very aggressive due to the cheap and powerful units that it offers and often closes the game out through unanswered fliers, if not by just running the opponent over with relentless aggression. Primal, while being weak in Set 3, has very good support for this strategy in Set 1 and 2. Cards like Flash Freeze and Jarrall’s Frostkin helps to push through damage and maintain tempo while Cobalt Acolytes and Violent Gust ensure that you mantain aerial dominance.
As a tribe to draft around, you generally want to have at least 5+ yetis in your deck. You often tend to end up with more (if you didn’t try to just force yetis), because each yeti in your deck makes the subsequent yeti much more valuable!
MVPs (Most Valuable Playables!)
These are the most important cards for a yeti deck, and seeing any of them late is a good indication that yetis are open and it might be a good tribal to move into. Having these cards in my deck also strongly motivate me to prioritize the other yeti cards due to synergy considerations.
In my primal set review, I gave this card a cautious 3.5. After playing with it more, I can easily say with confidence that it’s a very easy 3.5 now, if not 4. In a removal light format, 2 damage for 1 is already a very solid card, and the potential to remove 2 or 3 2 health threats with 1 card is insanely powerful. While exhausting is sometimes a cost, it isn’t that outrageous, especially given the low power curve that most yeti decks run on (so you can often go 2 drop yeti into Snow Pelting on 2 things and not miss an attack).
Any drafter worth their salt would be able to tell you that Yeti Windflyer is an important cornerstone of the yeti tribal. And yet, I would argue that most of them are STILL undervaluing Yeti Windflyer. This card slots perfectly into most yeti decks and being a flier in a removal light format just gives it so much more bonus points. It also synergizes well with Crafty Yeti as it’s a 2-drop flier that can often guarantee a turn 3 loot (you do miss out on 1 damage though, unfortunately).
Slushdumper is a pretty medicore 4 drop, but the ability to grow into a very relevant threat later on is not something to be underestimated. I highly value this card in Yeti tribals because yetis often lose to huge ground fatties that outrace them since the biggest playable yeti only has 4 health. With this card, you can easily generate a 8/8 or bigger yeti to choke up the ground while you win through your Windflyers and Jotun Punters.
I knew this card was going to be good. I just didn’t know HOW good it was. And trust me, it is RIDICULOUS. The ability to push through a huge ton of damage is nothing to scoff at and while being weak to silence, most yeti decks are already overloaded on silence targets (Yeti Windflyer, Slushdumper, etc). This card is very powerful at helping to push through the final few points of damage when the board gets stalled out and you rarely get zero value from the ability since you can summon and activate the ability straight away. I’ve stolen games with this card by going activate Slushdumper into a gigantic yeti and then punt it at my opponent’s face for a surprise 12 damage!
Strong Supporting Cards
A 3/1 for 2 is decent, and you generally get a scout out of it even if it trades for an opposing 2 drop due to the overwhelm. The biggest selling point though, is that this card enables a t3 Slope Sergeant to be bonded out. Moreover, this is also one of the better targets for Cobalt Acolyte and Freewing Glider because a free scout a turn gives you insane card quality relative to your opponent.
Even in set 2 draft, I feel that people have been underrating this card. The looting ability, tagged onto a relevant body, is very powerful. Moreover, in yeti tribal decks, you have a very nice and natural curve of Yeti Windflyer into sparked Crafty Yeti. The 3 attack also allows you to bond out Slope Sergeants for 3 power, but that is much less relevant given Crafty Yeti also costs 3.
This guy already has a reasonable statline for a 5 drop, and the ability to give all your other yetis +1 attack is very significant, considering that it often speeds up your clock by 50% at least (if you are clocking your opponent through the air). The extra damage can also help to push through ground units. However, as I’ve said in my previous article, staying open is super important so I would only pick this if I’m sure I’m in skycrag or the pack is very dry otherwise.
I was definitely much higher on Slope Sergeant initially (putting him as a MVP), but recently I’ve found him to be more of a very good supporting cast, or rather, a reward for being in the yeti tribal. He is very powerful if you can bond him out, being able to loot 2 cards also drastically increases your card quality. The looting ability also allows you to see more of your deck, and hence, be looser with your splashing or secondary synergies.
However, I don’t think he is a critical piece of the yeti tribal. I will never say no to Slope Sergeants in my yeti decks, but I have also had very powerful yeti decks without any Slope Sergeants in them.
Snowcrust Yeti, Champion of Fury, Yeti Snowslinger, Iceberg Mason, Ruincrawler Yeti, Wild Rider, Yeti Furflinger
These cards are simply good quality yetis that are often worth prioritizing if you are heavy on yetis already. I think Wild Rider has definitely impressed me, because of the natural curve of Yeti Windflyer into Wild Rider. Moreover, Primal has multiple ways to grant it flying (including Jotun Punter), which allows you to snowball out of control with this card.
General Drafting Guideline
Unlike some MTG draft formats (or so I’ve been told), you don’t simply grab every yeti you see to draft yeti tribal. In fact, you don’t simply grab every card of any tribe when you are drafting that tribe. While there is some payoff for tribal synergy, it is important to evaluate the average power of the tribal card and decide whether it is worth taking over a vanilla card.
For example, I would almost never run a Farplace Finder in my deck unless I am desperate for playables. The 1/1 body is rarely relevant, and while it can activate your Yeti Windflyers and give your Slushdumper +1/+1, the net total is still not worth a card. A very comparable analogy is Tinker. It gives you +2/+2 (which is also comparable to the effect of Farplace Finder since it only matters if you have EXACTLY 1 Windflyer) and the same scout effect. The +2/+2 could also easily land on a more impactful card, such as a weapon to put on your flier instead of making you ground 9/9 fatty into a 10/10 fatty.
Outside of the yetis I’ve listed above, I would generally pick and play most solid playables over other yetis, regardless of how many yetis are already present in my deck. In general, most “tribal” decks in Eternal draft only consist of 6~12 tribal cards, while the rest are an aggregation of vanilla good stuff or a secondary tribal. For example, I’ve seen decks that have both a Yeti package and a Dinosaur package.
For yeti decks, you generally want to play a more aggressive and tempo-orientated game. This means that you generally want to pick up complementary cards that synergize well with this strategy. This includes:
Weapons are extremely powerful in aggressive decks because they effectively have charge (since you can attack with them on the turn that they are played) and they also allow your early units to match up to the larger unit that your opponent plays on subsequent turns. Most Yeti decks also have a great weapons carrier in the form of Yeti Windflyer.
- Aggressive units
Aggressive units synergize well with the Yeti gameplan of running your opponent over and keeping them under constant pressure. Oni Ronin, Clan Hero, Minotaur Oathkeeper are examples of good aggressive cards that go well into a Yeti deck.
- Tempo cards
Primal has some of the most efficient tempo plays around (Jarrall’s Frostkin, Flash Freeze) and you often want to leverage this to push for damage and put your opponent on the back foot. The other factions also have efficient tempo plays that you can leverage (bounce effects for Time, exhaust for fire, silence/stun for Justice and removal for shadow).
- Efficient removal
You also generally want very efficient/cheap removal to go along with the yeti’s aggro plan. Because you are on the beatdown plan, you generally want cheaper removal over more expensive, better removal, e.g. Torch over Mortar, Mortar over Gun Down, Suffocate over Extinguish. This is because with cheaper removal, you can often play the removal and a unit on the same turn, leading to a much larger tempo blowout as compared to spending your entire turn removing your opponent’s threat.
Yetis is definitely one of the more fun and powerful tribals to draft in my experience and they are also very fun to play! However, like all Set 3 draft tribals/factions, it is really only something that you can draft if it is open. So if you see a 9th pick Jotun Punter, you know what time it is! PARTY TIME!