Drafters’ Corner: TDC’s FoA Set Review – Multi-faction

Hi everyone! We are now at the home stretch! Once again, we have everyone chiming in to review the cards and hopefully give a nice and comprehensive overview of what to expect among the mutlifaction cards. To give a roadmap of what to expect, I will be compiling all the ratings into a spreadsheet and making it available early next week. There will also be an article on Thursday (back to my usual slot!) talking about how the ratings of Set 1 to 3 cards have changed in the FoA draft format. The previous set reviews are available here: Fire, Time, Justice, Primal, Shadow.

Draft Rating Scale

For this set, I’ll be using the same rating scale as my previous tier list, which is a slight modification to LSV’s rating scale. 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. (Accelerated Evolution, Black-Sky Harbinger)
4.5: Bomb, card that usually dominates the game if unanswered. (Unseen Commando, Sky Terror, Paladin Oathbook)
4.0: High impact card that often generate strong value or tempo. (Annihilate, Shogun’s Scepter, Archive Curator)
3.5: Premium playable that pulls you into a color. (Torch, Amber Acolyte, Dark Return)
3.0: Good playable that basically always makes the cut. (Brightmace Paladin, Ornate Katana, Jotun Cyclops)
2.5: Solid playable that rarely gets cut. (Nocturnal Creeper, Argenport Soldier, Predator’s Instinct)
2.0: Good filler, but sometimes gets cut. (Teleport, Flashy Duelist, Hipshot)
1.5: Filler. Gets cut about half the time. (Rebuke, Aerialist’s Khopesh, Crownwatch Legionnaire)
1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Pit Fighter, Tinker, Belching Behemoth)
0.5: Mostly unplayable card that is worse than playing an extra sigil in most decks. (Water of Life, Cult Aspirant, Slow)
0.0: Completely unplayable. (Mind Link, Temporal Distortion, Azurite Prixis)

Magus of Celerity

Average rating: 3.5

Drifter (3.5)
Magus of Celerity has a solid body for its cost, a free scry and a decent inspire effect – charge is a very powerful ability on many cards and can quickly wear away and chip down at your opponent. Even in board stalls, giving a flier or a large unit charge is good insurance against silence and removal since you generally get one hit in with it.

Recombobulate

Average rating: 2.5

Drifter (2.5)
Recombobulate combines a solid effect and warp. It can be hard to hold up 4 power sometimes (especially if you’re trying to warp it) but people won’t play around it in the same way as they will say entrapment since it’s a rare. Unlike entrapment, it doesn’t actually kill the creature but it provides a solid tempo effect and denies the opponent their next draw so unlike teleport, it is card parity rather than card disadvantage when unwarped and card advantage when warped. The cost reduction effect, while mostly low impact, can be a powerful tool for double-spelling or if you’re very lucky, playing a costly unit ahead of the curve.

Bulletshaper

Average rating: 2.5

Drifter (2.5)
Since Bulletshaper requires you to have the influence it provides in order to cast it, it’s not really great fixing. However, it combines bold adventurer stats, the fixing can sometimes be relevant for casting influence-intensive spells and the two mana boost, while mostly not worth discarding a spell for, can be situationally great.
Isomorphic (3.0)
I would give Bold Adventurer a 2.5 in this format, and this card is better given that you are in Rakano. As with any multifaction card, you should take this lower in pack 1 when you aren’t sure of your colors yet though.

Ijin’s Choice

Average rating: 3.5

Drifter (3.5)
Ijin’s Choice provides an extremely powerful weapon that can easily take over the game for a very reasonable rate of 6 power, split over two turns. Going t2 Ijin’s choice, t3 creature, t4 armor your creature will often be game winning by itself, the mithril armor is good at any point in the game and Ijin’s choice even has another mode that can be useful occasionally and provides it some versatility. Making a 3/3 into a 7/7 with charge is absurd and it can be even better on evasive and lifesteal units.

Rizahn, Greatbow Master

Average rating: 4.5

Drifter (4.5)
Rizahn is busted even without lifesteal, having a premium body in a 5/4 flier for 6 and then killing a useful unit to boot. With lifesteal, it is a lot like Black-Sky Harbinger, one of the best cards in draft since it is almost impossible to race. Reckless is not really much of a downside on Rizahn and may save you a misclick through your attack step!

Alessi, Combrei Archmage

Average rating: 1.0

Drifter (1.0)
Unfortunately, the quantity of cheap non-situational spells one would need in order to make Alessi, Combrei Archmage a great card is not really feasible in draft. However, if you have at least 6 or 7 of these kinds of spells and a lot of time, she can slowly grow into a real threat over the course of the game (but I don’t think is ever an exciting card).
Isomorphic (1.0)
Unless you really got there with many Sharpened Reflexes and such, I’d stay away from this – it’s a terrible topdeck later on and often not even good on turn 2.

Sword of Unity

Average rating: 5.0

Drifter (4.5)
Sword of Unity provides incredible value, being a decent 4 power play and then an absolutely game winning 6 power play, buffing and protecting all your units including the wielder. While you generally want to wait for 6 power to play this card, having the option to do so on 4 (preferably on an evasive unit) is huge upside since this card on even a 2 power flier unit is near impossible to race and will usually require them to have removal. I am slightly lower on this card than my fellow reviewers since it does require you to have a good target for it to be a good 4 power play and to have a decent board or a good target for it to be a gamewinning 6 power play but it is still one of the best cards in the set for draft.
Flash (5.0)
I feel that giving this card less than 5.0 is doing it a disservice. The card just does wayyyyy too much for it’s cost. It gives your unit aegis (prevents opponent from removing it), overwhelm (prevents opponent from chumping it) AND lifesteal (prevents opponent from racing it). I think that it is fine to play it as a 6 power, +3/+3 overwhelm, aegis, lifesteal weapon, but in most cases, you can often extract a lot more value out of it since you can shape your plays around this card (e.g. more bouncing, less trading, or even taking a few more points of damage instead of chumping.)

Siraf’s Choice

Average rating: 0.0

Drifter (0.0)
Paying 8 for a choice of two very situational effects is not really where you want to be in draft – taking a turn off on reaching 8 power to tutor up and buff your best creature (which might well just be something like a 2/2 flier or a 4/4 since those will be the best cards for the situation and your draft pool might not have that many great options) is quite bad. The pack hunt effect requires you to have a board close to or better than your opponent’s to be really good and even then, since it doesn’t provide overwhelm, they can often just chump block and swing back. The third mode of this card, rotting in your hand for a bunch of turns doing nothing since you don’t have 8 power (and might well have more important things to do when you reach 8 power), seals its fate as a card that I cannot really envision being worth playing.

Derry Cathain, Ripclaw Rider

Average rating: 3.0

Mgallop (3.0)
0/4s are way better than usual in this format because of the ability to deny tribute, and this one also gives you some information (and a bit of inconvenience for your opponent). If you can consistently ultimate it, it becomes a very serious threat since there just aren’t that many units bigger than 3/3 in the format.
Isomorphic (3.5)
Decks in this format naturally have a lot of spells thanks to spellcraft, so the ultimate here is not hard to reach. A 0/4 for 2 that becomes a 4/4 a bit later is just great.

Cirso’s Choice

Average rating: 2.5

Mgallop (2.5)
Being fast makes lightning storm a ton better in limited, because it lets you do it after yoru opponent attacks or at the end of their turn, rather than giving them the first opportunity to play a unit after you stormed. That I would say more than makes up for the additional cost, since you dont really want to play storm on 2 anyway…
Drifter (2.5)
It’s also worth noting the other ability can sometimes be useful if you’re low on life and need to close a game out.

Linebreaker’s Shield

Average rating: 4.0

Mgallop (4.0)
This weapon is just great. You should usually spellcraft it, at which point you draw a card, stun a dude, and get +2/+2 and endurance for 5 power (and some armor) which is just insane value, and when you’re struggling for power you can play this for 2 to push some damage or break a stun out of nowhere. This is also a very solid splash.

Long Live the Queen

Average rating: 0.5

Mgallop (0.0)
Negates are quite bad in draft because your opponent has so few spells, and holding up 4 power is more onerous than holding up 2, although this one does promise a lot of value if this works. While there are a lot more spells floating around due to spellcraft, Long Living the torch or polymorph off of a weapon doesn’t really put you ahead, it just keeps you even, and if you hold up 4 to cast this and they just play a unit, well long live might no longer be an apt description of your future.
Isomorphic (1.0)
This is better than negates normally are because it can 2-for-1, there are more targets thanks to spellcraft, and the format lets you play slow decks with a bunch of Canaries and Campfire Watchmen. But it’s still not good.

Unfinished Business

Average rating: 0.0

Mgallop (0.0)
There are basically no revenge units in this format, and this is slow sooooooo, this is basically trading a card and a unit to do some damage or force a chump block, so I’m not sure why you’d ever play this card.

Knight of Sorrow

Average rating: 3.5

Mgallop (3.5)
4/4 lifesteal for 5 is very solid, 6/6 lifesteal for 5 is just great, and its easier to get tribute on a 5 drop. This card can singlehandedly turn around a race or blunt an aggressive start, although it will sometimes struggle to attack into a board stall.

Crunch, the Hoarder

Average rating: 3.5

Mgallop (3.5)
3/3 overwhelm for 3 is good, and the infiltrate here is just a ton of value, even if he never does get berserk. This also plays VERY well on both sides with combat tricks.

Bloodthirsty Brawler

Average rating: 3.5

Mgallop (3.5)
Berserk gets better with overwhelm, and even better on a large unit, since this immediately threatens to hit your opponent for 8. 4/6 is also larger than most 5 drops, and makes multiblocking awful, and if you berserk and attack with a combat trick, there’s really little your opponent can do to prevent you from wrecking them.

Crill, Merciless Pillager

Average rating: 1.5

Mgallop (1.5)
7 for a 5/5 is just really bad stats. If you can start killing attachments it gets better, but you’d still probably need to kill 2 attachments, or get killer/revenge/flying/unblockable, before this is even of comparable value to the 7/8 time unit for 7.

Rindra’s Choice

Average rating: 0.0

Flash (0.0)
The list of good Multifaction cards is a extremely short one, making Rindra’s choice dead in your hand more often than not.

Ancient of the Ice Caves

Average rating: 2.0

Flash (2.0)
4 power 4/4 is a fine rate, but hitting PPSS on 4 is rough. This makes it a huge liability. As with all symmetric abilities, this ability is a lot worse than it first appears because you have to spend 8 power on it AND your opponent gets to play with the new cards first. Notably, the ability becomes great if your opponent has face aegis since that prevents the effect from affecting your opponent.
Isomorphic (2.5)
4PPSS isn’t that much worse than 4PP in a feln deck, and 4/4 overwhelm for 4 is a good rate. Also, the ability is reasonable upside in the situation where you flood out to 8 power while your opponent is only on 4 or 5 power.

Stonescar Pickaxe

Average rating: 3.5

Flash (3.5)
4/2 for 4 is a great rate for weapons, and drawing a grenadin gives you chump blockers to help in racing situations. Paying an extra 3 for quarry is not great, but in the late game, when you have excess power, using it to filter your draws is still pretty sweet. I wouldn’t hold this card for the spellcraft effect, unless I already have enough power in hand for it AND I have other things to do with my power.

Jekk’s Choice

Average rating: 3.0

Flash (3.0)
A fast speed removal is great, but the condition on it makes this card a lot worse than it first appears. However, the good thing about this card is it’s modulaity, and giving your board a permanent +1/+1 at fast speed is also an amazing option on the right board. This is a very flexible card that is rarely dead in most decks, while also making for a great topend in aggressive decks.
Mgallop (3.0)
The biggest issue with this card is how many of the scary threats in this format are scary because they have a Changeestik or Welding Torch on them.

Jekk, Lone Gun

Average rating: 5.0

Flash (5.0)
This card is like Ferrero Rocher, it just keeps getting better the more you bite into it. A 7/7 for 6 is already decent stats. Deadly makes it extremely costly for opponents to multi-block it. The tribute effect is the cherry on top of the proverbial cake, allowing you to remove an opposing unit. But wait, there’s more! If your opponent is every unlucky enough to let Jekk connect (such as through Rampage), the game is basically over since you get another swing with all your units! I will agree with Isomorphic that despite all the glitter and bangs, Jekk isn’t as powerful as Sword of Unity, but it is still a 5.0 for me.
Isomorphic (4.5)
Jekk really doesn’t make it to 5.0 for me – he doesn’t necessarily do much when you are behind (since that makes tribute hard to enable and so he’s just a big dumb ground unit), and even playing this with tribute in a big board stall is just a glorified removal spell. Jekk is certainly a bomb, but much more beatable than something like Accelerated Evolution or Sword of Unity.

Preserver of Dualities

Average rating: 3.5

Flash (3.5)
4/4 worth of stats for a 4 drop is already a decent starting point. Adding more wisps for each Radiant that gets played provides you with a continuous stream of chumpers. Moreover, you can then utilize Preserver’s ability to turn this chumping wisps into threats that can trade up efficiently, or even threaten to crackback for lethal.

Siphon Vitality

Average rating: 4.5

Flash (4.5)
This card is almost as good as Xenan Obelisk, and has a huge impact on most boards. The +1/+1 and -1/-1 effect is also better than a simple +2/+2, since 1) it kills all of your opponent’s x/1s and 2) It makes it much harder for your opponent to double block profitably. The main reason that this is worse than Obelisk is that it doesn’t buff your future plays, although being fast redeems it slightly.
Isomorphic (4.5)
It’s worth noting that this isn’t just Unlock Potential + Plague, since it is also fast – playing this midcombat can be disgusting.

Unraveler of Destinies

Average rating: 3.5

Flash (3.5)
4/7 deadly for 7 is a decent baseline for a 7 drop, allowing it to block most of the units in this format. The ability is also pretty great, given that Xenan oftens produces a lot of wisps. Being able to convert useless 1/1s and 2/2s on the board into card draw and health can often give you an insurmountable advantage over your opponents.

Cirso’s Cleaver

Average rating: 4.0

Isomorphic (4.0)
This is an extremely powerful card if you can handle the influence – even without paying for spellcraft, this is the largest Xenan Initiation ever. If this was a mono-faction card, it would easily be 4.5 or higher. However triple faction is a big cost – this card is always going to require a splash. Fortunately Xenan often wants to splash Primal anyway for Changeestiks or Hatchlings, so this is in one of the better faction triplets.

All Crests

Average rating: 3.5

Mgallop (3.5)
Crests are great. They replace power and give you value, they help your mana, and as early picks they leave you more open since you can play them in decks of either faction.

Chairman’s Contract

Average rating: 0.0

Isomorphic (0.0)
This has a chance of enabling tribute, but it has a higher chance of preventing you from playing the cards in your hand.

Alchemist’s Concoction

Average rating: 1.0

Isomorphic (1.0)
You should only play this as a 1-drop if you are desperate, but even as a 5-drop this doesn’t give enough value to be anything other than filler.
Drifter (0.5)
This card is even worse in this set since alchemical blast itself got worse – there are a lot more defensively stated creatures and less 2/2 fliers for 3 so 2 damage is often not enough to kill anything exciting beyond a 2 drop (or you can sometimes 2 for 1 yourself to kill a larger creature with a smaller creature and alchemical blast which is not very exciting either).

Veteran Strategist

Average rating: 3.5

Isomorphic (3.5)
This is the best influence fixer in the format. Even in a 2-faction deck with no splash this effectively gives 2 extra influence sources (twice as much fixing as a banner) while being a solid body (0/4 for 1 is quite good in this format to block most things and not enable tribute). It even enables lifeforce! I believe this card is better in this format than a fully-on stranger would be, since I like 0/4 more than 2/2 and it provides better fixing if you are splashing. Because this card is great in any deck, I will take it p1p1 over any non-rare other than Changeestik.
Flash (3.5)
I will be the first to admit that I definitely underrated this card, since it didn’t have much eye-catching stats or jaw-dropping abilities. However, after talking to Isomorphic and trying it out in a few of my decks, the card just felt ridiculously good.

Petition

Average rating: 1.5

Isomorphic (1.5)
This is mostly 2-cost Seek Power, though occasionally you can get extra value by searching up a crest, standard, or banner. If you are in need of fixing and/or spells then this is a fine card, if slow.
Flash (1.5)
Notably, this card gets a lot better if you are running multiple banners and crests, while also on a deck with high influence demands.

Recon Tower

Average rating: 1.0

Isomorphic (1.0)
This is similar to Petition, but even slower and doesn’t help with cards like Wurmstone.

Disrupt

Average rating: 0.5

Isomorphic (0.5)
There are very few relics worth destroying in this format below rare, so this is pretty much 3-cost Silence, which is a good way to 2-for-1 yourself while losing tempo. I’d only play this if desperate for spells.

Mask Maker

Average rating: 3.0

Isomorphic (3.0)
This card has a lot of text on it, but you can approximate it as a colorless 4-cost 4/4. That’s a good card.
Drifter (3.5)
The ability to give another creature +1/+1 is often more powerful than just having the extra +1/+1 since you can give the buff to a flier or a creature to make an attack that you couldn’t make before. Also, you should pick this card highly early on since it has the virtue of being a colourless card that’s good in every deck.

Momentum Builder

Average rating: 3.5

Isomorphic (3.5)
This blocks anything on the ground while threatening at any point to become a huge attacker. The most common way to enable attacking with this is going to be to play a spellcraft weapon (e.g. Peacekeeper’s Helm), but it’s worth noting that combat tricks will also get it started. This is so large once it starts attacking that I’ve seen opponents silence it ahead of time, which is also quite fine since you are still left with a 0/10 blocker.

Rotorcycle

Average rating: 1.5

Isomorphic (1.5)
This is a decent 4-drop but nothing exciting. As with all colorless cards, I take this more highly in pack 1 because it can go into any deck.

Closing Thoughts

Most of the multifaction cards are reasonably powerful, but with all of them being at uncommon or higher, they are rarely influential in draft decisions. Non-time multifaction cards also suffer from the lower amount of fixing available in this format, since you are often more likely to end up 2f. That said, I would not hesitate to pick up a bomb multi-faction card (Sword of Unity, Siphon Vitality, etc) early given their raw power levels.

The set also introduced quite a few new factionless cards. These cards are pretty interesting to evaluate, since they get a premium in pick order due to being able to go into any deck. However, this is also dependent on how said card compares to the average card in a deck. If the factionless card is weaker (Recon Tower, Disrupt, or even Alchemical Blast from the old sets), it is rarely worth picking it over a stronger card in any faction. In contrast, a strong factionless card (Mask Maker, Momentum Builder, etc) could easily get a rating bonus of +0.5 to +1.0 just because they are strong cards that go into any deck.

Well, that wraps up our set review! Did you enjoy it? Is there something else that you would like to see in future set reviews? Let me know your thoughts on the reddit thread!

And now, it’s time to draft away!
Flash2351

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