Welcome to the first in a new series documenting some of my experiences with drafting in SolForge. The idea is to run through a draft pick by pick, then see how it performs. I hope to run each faction pair at least once per draft pool, but in part that will depend on how often I can draft and how quickly the draft pool rotates. I may also be including any interesting Weekend Warriors or possibly even Elite drafts when I am able to make them. I’m squeeing just thinking about it!
So without further ado, I present to you the first draft!
P1P1: Fervent Assault, Gemhide Ravager, Byzerak Spitemage, Energy Prison, Oreian Justicar, Esperian Scarab – Only three stand out here- Ravager, Justicar, and Scarab. I don’t want to draft TU right now (just a personal thing), so Ravager gets dropped. Justicar is a very real thing, especially in draft with all of its token spamming, but it is a reactive card; this early on I would rather focus on what my deck can do rather than what I want my opponents deck to not do.
P1P2: Blight Walker, Metamind Operator, Swampmoss Lurker, Stranglevine Hydra, Dissolve – With Scarab my first pick, this pack is to lock in the Uterra. Of the three, Dissolve is an automatic no this early on. Hydra can be great, especially with the buffs available in AU, but the Lurker is just generally better without buffs and a better under drop.
P1P3: Ferocious Roar, Nexus Pilot, Forge Guardian Alpha, Aegis Pulse – Not even close. Mass buff is king, or at least an influential crown prince in draft, especially in one of the two best multi-creature pairings.
P1P4: Forge Guardian Alpha, Glowstride Stag, Technognome – Technognome is a great late game bomb, especially if we manage to draft any level up. Neither of the others really stand out here.
P1P5: Aegis Pulse, Verdant Grace – Bleurgh. Neither makes me happy. Verdant just makes me less unhappy than Pulse.
P2P1: Shardplate Graft, Ordnance Captain, Metamind Adept, Metamind Operator, Blood Boon, Stouthide Stegadon – This pack comes down to Captain, Graft or Boon. Ultimately, captain is just a bit better as it has a body attached, and getting formation procs is rarely going to be a problem with AU.
P2P2: Brighttusk Sower, Grove Huntress, Blood Boon, Fangwood Ravager, Vault Technician – Not a bad pack here, but not a good one either. Comes down to a coin toss between Sower or Huntress for their multi-lane shenanigans. Huntress won.
P2P3: Bulwark Bash, Electro Net, Oreian Fieldmarshal, Grove Matriarch – It comes down to the creatures here. Both are good picks for AU. In the end, I figured I am more likely to see another matriarch before the end of drafting so took the Fieldmarshal.
P2P4: Aegis Pulse, Steelwelder Medic, Victory Rush – Pulse is still no good and Steelwelder is a creature, but not one that really helps either AU strategy. Victory Rush, however, is made for grow wide.
P2P5: Vault Technician, Fangwood Ravager – Battle of the Blands time. In the end, it was the slightly bigger butt on Ravager that won this.
P3P1: Forge Guardian Alpha, Metamind Explorer, Metatransfer, Ionic Warcharger, Onyxium Allomancer, Sparkblade Assassin – Between the (again) big butt and mobility, Warcharger was the only possibility here.
P3P2: Lysian Rain, Oreian Fieldmarshal, Tangle, Stygian Lotus, Savage Oath – Turns out I was wrong about the likelihood of seeing more Fieldmarshals earlier, but Lotus is one of the best board fillers when you are behind.
P3P3: Weirwood Ranger, Ordnance Captain, Blood Boon, Technognome – A bit of a close call again here; Ranger buffs power and health and is reusable, but only buffs one at a time and requires an activation. Captain is just less conditional.
P3P4: Deepwood Bear Rider, Metamind Explorer, Lysian Rain – Nothing here is great, but Bear Riders level up relatively well.
P3P5: Verdant Sphere, Technosmith – Technosmith is a staple of Alloyin drafts when he is in the pool. Verdant Sphere is a staple in piles of cards not picked for drafts.
P4P1: Technosmith, Palladium Hindermind, Aetherguard, Aegis Pulse, Roaming Warclaw, Sparkblade Assassin – I would have loved to pick up a second Technosmith here, but the Warclaw is just that bit too good to pass on, especially considering just how little token generation I have so far.
P4P2: Oxidon Spitter, Blood Boon, Tanglesprout, Harbinger of Spring, Steelwelder Medic – Another tough call, I agonised over it for a wee while. Harbinger is a thing, there’s no denying it, but armour in draft can be a real game breaker so I like to try and make sure to have either a Shatterbolt (if I’m drafting Tempys) or Oxidon Spitter (if I’m in Uterra). After much back-and-forth I finally settled on the Harbinger.
P4P3: Cypien Infiltrator, Dissolve, Weirwood Ranger, Stranglevine Hydra – Again, Stranglevine can be a fine Voltron and Infiltrator is a very popular bomb in draft. But reusable creature buff to spread around cannot be ignored.
P4P4: Vault Technician, Technognome, Glowstride Stag – And in the very next pack I get another chance to take a late game bomb, so that works nicely for me.
P4P5: Chistlehearth Archer, Grove Matriarch – Armor hate in draft is important. Mobility hate feels less important. Possibly I’m wrong here, but I’m relatively sure I’ve lost to armour more often. And I did pass on that other Matriarch earlier.
P5P1: Glowstride Stag, Harbinger of Spring, Hive Empress, Savage Oath, Technosmith, Oxidon Spitter – The only one that I don’t want is the Stag. Harbingers are almost auto includes (up to a point- a fourth or fifth is probably excessive). Empress is a great one for grow wide; even after just one proc you put a major clock on your opponent. Oath is faction gated but breakthrough is one of Uterra’s more useful abilities. Levelling up is definitely Alloyin’s best ability and I haven’t been able to grab very much yet. And again, I really hate being locked out by armour in draft. In the end, the call of Harbinger proved just too strong (although I am hyper aware of the lack of token generation in my deck so far as well…)
P5P2: Grove Matriarch, Dissolve, Venomfang, Jet Pack, Blood Boon – And the very next pack gives us another Matriarch. Venomfang would have been more of a consideration if we already had more token spawning.
P5P3: Electro Net, Stouthide Stegadon, Verdant Sphere, Metamind Explorer – An unimpressive pack, the Stouthide does at least have the self healing ability on rank up.
P5P4: Stouthide Stegadon, Aegis Conscript, Forge Guardian Alpha – But we don’t need two of them. And a bit of armour for my own creatures can make all the difference.
P5P5: Nexus Pilot, Scrapforge Titan – Pilot is good, but late game Titan is just plain better.
P6P1: Oreian Fieldmarshal, Tangle, Esperian Scarab, Poisoncoil, Technognome, Matrix Warden – Are we sure that the fieldmarshal is rare?! Obviously, it could only be Scarab here.
P6P2: Shardplate Delver, Runebark Guardian, Tower Cannoneer, Verdant Sphere, Gemhide Basher – Besides the Delver, the only interesting card here is the Basher as semi-removal. However, there are just a few too many things that the Basher won’t kill whereas Delver will always be a bomb.
P6P3: Shardplate Delver, Lysian Rain, Nanoswarm, Forgeplate Sentry – This one came down to a matter of taste. Delver and Sentry are both great in draft, I just prefer more Uterra over Alloyin (if nothing else, gotta think of them Scarab allied procs…)
P6P4: Metamind Explorer, Electro Net, Aegis Conscript – An uninspiring choice here. As ever, the body with attached mini spell is the way to go even if he and it are somewhat *meh*.
P6P5: Tower Cannoneer, Vault Technician – Neither card is stellar, and Cannoneer has the extra point of health early on, but Technician just levels better.
And with that, we now have our deck which looks a little something like this:
On paper, the deck looks a little too indecisive- does it want to flood the board, or level up an unstoppable end game? In an ideal world I would have liked a little more grow wide to focus the deck more, but it doesn’t look too awful. All that remains is to try and play the deck.
So, just how did the deck do in the end?
Game 1 was against a more Alloyin-based AU deck with lots of Ordnance Captains and a really annoying Sonic Pulse. I spent most of rank 1 on the back foot and having to trade lots of creatures to avoid falling too far behind. The scarabs saw a lot of play, and without them I would have struggled more. The Harbingers never showed until rank 3, by which time they were completely irrelevant unfortunately, but I was able to level up some late bombs. Once I hit rank 3 the tables got turned and I managed to start getting out levelled up Technognomes and Titans. 1-0
Game 2 was a super aggressive NT mobility deck. I spent the entire game on the back foot. I couldn’t get any creatures to stick long enough to slow him down, I couldn’t get anything through to hit face until rank two, and got amazingly outplayed. My opponent finished with over 100 life left, I finished with what felt like tyre marks up my back. Well played KingxOfxHarts, you were a worthy victor. 1-1
Game 3 was against another NT mobility and I did have a horrible feeling it would go the same way. This one was more of a slower control deck though, and I actually had a bit more time to build up. I held the early game with early and relatively well buffed Harbingers. End of rank 2/ early rank 3 my opponent made a massive comeback through Cinderbounds and Abyssal Maws, and it did really feel like I might end up losing the game. At the eleventh hour I managed to just pull it back; Shardplate Delver 3, Grove Matriarch 3, and Ferocious Roar 3 over 5.1 and 5.2 were just enough to squeak a win- both of us on single digit life before combat. 2-1
Game 4 was unfortunately a no-show. I appreciate the win, but would rather have battled and risked losing. Oh well. 3-1
Game 5 was against an AT level up deck that was heavy on the level up and bombs to be levelled, but didn’t see much to disrupt my board. As a result, I managed to stay wide the entire game and my opponent ended up conceding at the start of rank 3. 4-1
Game 6 was a mirror match. The main difference was his use of H.E.R.M.E.S. to try and keep his board alive. Unfortunately for my opponent, it wasn’t enough and I managed to get the win at the end of his rank 2. 5-1
Game 7 was an AT mobility deck with a spot of level up (Tech Explorers) and a pair of metagame Oreian Justicars. The Justicars did warp my play more than I wanted, but in the end all they ultimately did was just slow the game down (which I take as vindication of my choice back in P1P1). An Avalanche Invoker also caused some grief at the ends of both ranks 1 and 2 but failed to make any further appearances, and a one-of Emberwind Evoker did make his creatures that bit harder to remove. But ultimately I managed to keep wide enough, and ended up taking the win with a buffed raptor token. 6-1
Game 8 was against an AU grow tall deck; unfortunately for my opponent, he didn’t have a awful lot that I saw that was really worth growing tall (certainly I saw a lot of Grove Huntresses). Added to this, he didn’t make much effort to stop me growing wide and found himself getting overrun by a horde of moderately buffed weenies. He resigned in early rank 2. 7-1
So there you have it- despite appearances, the deck managed to hold its own. The no-show in game 4 was a definite shame, and I did feel bad for my final opponent- the kind of win where you just want to take your opponent aside and give him some pointers (the only real downside to playing online games without a single dedicated chat facility).
So thanks for joining me for this draft- it’s been fun writing things up and hopefully I (or maybe others) can learn the lessons from the experience. Until next time, happy drafting and I’ll see you in the queues!