I’ve been pretty lost as to what a good and bad deck looks like for a couple months – everything seemed bad, and I wasn’t consistently doing well with anything. The decks doing well in tournaments looked fine, but boring. I like to play something EXCITING! Scrappy Hour scratched that itch for a while, and I still think it’s quite good, but it’s not exactly a NEW deck. Fortunately, Batteriez had my back when he suggested FTP Moment. A few iterations later, I believe I’ve found the best version currently:
4 Permafrost (Set1 #193)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
1 Talir’s Intervention (Set3 #58)
4 Torch (Set1 #8)
4 Equivocate (Set1003 #21)
1 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
2 Kaleb’s Choice (Set2 #188)
1 Purify (Set2 #176)
4 Strategize (Set3 #165)
4 Trailblaze (Set2 #111)
3 Hailstorm (Set1003 #11)
4 Wisdom of the Elders (Set1 #218)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
4 Heart of the Vault (Set2 #183)
4 Moment of Creation (Set2 #185)
2 Molot & Nakova (Set2 #199)
3 Fire Sigil (Set1 #1)
2 Primal Sigil (Set1 #187)
3 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
2 Cobalt Waystone (Set3 #151)
2 Crest of Fury (Set3 #266)
4 Crest of Impulse (Set3 #251)
4 Crest of Wisdom (Set3 #261)
3 Seat of Impulse (Set0 #54)
2 Seat of Wisdom (Set0 #63)
The deck originally ran Curiox, Insatiable Seeker, but he has since been cut for better win conditions. Curiox always dies without providing any value, and I want finishers that actually do something against removal. Sandstorm Titan also dies to everything, but he only costs 4 and is a great anti-aggro card.
I naturally thought of Mystic Ascendant and Molot & Nakova. Well, I had a premium Molot & Nakova and wanted to play it somewhere. In actually playing with it though, M&N is insane almost every time I draw it. A massive Aegis Flyer that wipes the enemy board is good, who knew? Eight is a lot of power, but this deck gets there. Flamestoker is another card to consider, but it can’t ever help you stabilize the board and belongs in the sideboard against decks that can’t pressure you before turn 6. After drawing Ascendant and not even wanting to play it too many times, he went out for the second dragon. It’s the opposite of what I thought I would do, but that’s why you test the cards!
The removal suite is fairly fluid, and you can adjust as needed. The core of the deck is the Torch, Permafrost, Equivocate, Strategize, Wisdom of the Elders, Sandstorm Titan, Heart of the Vault, and Moment of Creation. On top of that, I have a bunch of 1- and 2-ofs:
Talir’s Intervention is a weird card, but here it can be used to pop Aegis, stop a Haunting Scream, throw off an opponent’s lethal attack math, or (most often) bounce a Heart of the Vault back to your hand in response to removal. It has held its own as a one-of.
Trailblaze is not very good, but it adds another spell for your Moment of Creation and helps you churn through the deck to hit your payoff cards.
Kaleb’s Choice is versatile and you never flood on the effect with only two. Find the Way is down to one copy since Trailblaze helps hit power drops – between all of the cantrips and Scouting, I’m almost never screwed or flooded. Just try to keep a hand with a couple dual powers and you’re generally in good shape.
Molot & Nakova is my pick for 9th and 10th payoff cards. FTP is very good at removing threats and staying alive, and you need some powerful cards to reward you for that. Heart and Moment are insane, but you need a little more density, and the twin dragons have been the best for me in that slot. With all of the scouting and Strategize, you can usually get rid of it if you don’t need an 8 drop.
FTP has a relatively straightforward plan – you remove stuff, you play big guys, you grind the opponent out of the game with those giant bodies. The actual games, though, have a lot of play to them. You have many microdecisions with Crest scouting and card draw to make, and they aren’t always obvious. In general, some rules I like to follow are:
If you are going to play a card draw spell and not use all of your power, do it on your turn in case you draw a Crest.
If you need to decide whether you want a power early on, look at your hand and influence. If you can hit 7/9 influence needed for the deck and have your 5th power, you should bottom and let your other card draw find you power. Flooding out is a way to lose even with so many great grindy cards. If you are facing an aggro matchup, though, just keep all of the power if you have a 6 or 7 drop in hand – that card will win the game for you if you can cast it, and you just want to get there on time.
If you are digging for a specific thing, such as a threat or a removal spell, you should scout with a Crest before drawing cards. If you don’t know exactly what you need, you should draw cards and then scout once you have more information on what exactly you need. Generally, this means that in the late game you scout first to make sure you don’t draw power, and in the early and mid game you draw first then scout once you know whether you’ll need to draw another power or not. The exception is Trailblaze, which you should play before Crest so you don’t waste the scout.
As far as actually playing your cards, generally the first few turn are spent playing cheap removal spells when necessary and weaving in card draw whenever possible. When given the choice between card draw and affecting the board, you should affect the board, since all of the cards in the world can’t help you if you’re dead.
Once you have 8+ power and can cast everything in the deck, hold a power in hand to put away with possible topdecked Strategizes. If you have Crest, though, it’s worth it to play to improve your draws. In the late game it’s all about maximizing draw quality over time – if you scout and see a Trailblaze on top, you should keep it; not only does it make your Moments bigger, but it also lets you have some quality control over the next card down instead of just drawing it without scouting first.
Feln control is a good matchup – you have more and better late game grinding engines, they don’t have any sweepers so Moment is always a threatening 2-for-1 at any size 5/5 or bigger, and they don’t have any trump cards. Azindel’s Gift and Channel the Tempest both get blown out by Kaleb’s Choice, and you have enough removal that their units aren’t generally dangerous. The games you lose are the ones everyone loses to Feln – they draw 3+ Primal-activated Champions of Cunning by turn 8, or you draw no pressure and they finish you off with Channel the Tempests to face at their leisure.
Time midrange decks are another thing you want to face – you can easily create sentinels larger than any unit in their deck, and you have tons of removal for their big threats. None of the Time decks are good at putting on pressure before turn 4 (and Equivocate, Permafrost, and Purify do a good job of handling Dawnwalker and Reliquary Raider), and by that time you are rolling out units just as large and can overpower them in the late game. Equivocate is also a devastating blowout in double block scenarios Moment frequently forces them into. Heart of the Vault and Torch can finish off damaged units from double blocks or Sandstorm Titans bouncing off each other to make even bad-seeming attacks appealing.
Aggressive decks can be a problem since so much of your power is depleted, but Hailstorm and Sandstorm Titan can sometimes stave the aggression off long enough to land a Heart or Moment and steal a win. If aggro becomes more popular, Lunar Magus is an excellent tech card.
Removal pile decks are fine matchups; Equivocate matches up well against Icaria with all of the incidental pings, and there is a lot of card draw and Molot and Nakova to grind them out. Starsteel Daisho and Sword of the Sky King aren’t too threatening because you have 12 fat units to block them, and they won’t ALWAYS have removal. Also, have you read Heart of the Vault? That card is ridiculous. Any slow matchup where you Warp two Hearts is pretty much a done deal.
FTP Moment is an extremely fun and novel entrant to Eternal’s ranked ladder, and it stacks up well against a slow meta of control and greedy midrange decks. Adjustments will need to be made when aggro comes back out in force, but with 3 factions and plenty of flex spots, the deck is adaptable enough to take on new challenges.
Until next time, may you always draw your Moment at the perfect moment.