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Dwarven Drafting

May 17, 2013

Guys! Guys! Let me tell you about my draft deck!

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to draft HEX: Shards of Fate. This digital trading card game has a lot of depth with its mechanics and flavor. It’s also quite easy to pick up, if you’ve played any other TCGs.

Play-style is a big consideration with any game, and the eight races of HEX give you a lot of options. Whether you favor the noble Ardent races or the craven denizens of the Underworld, finding a faction that suits your style is pretty intuitive.

For me, one of the hallmarks of a good TCG is synergy between its cards. Personally, I’m not always that excited to play the best, most powerful creatures. I’d rather play cards that combine with each other to become unstoppable.

It’s no surprise, then, that the dwarves resonated most with me.

Forged from stone, the dwarves are a weird lot. They’re not the fun-loving ale-drinkers you might expect from another fantasy universe. They spend all their time building high-powered weaponry and robots to do their bidding. Most of the time, that bidding is chaos and oblivion. You might suggest that they get a job, but they already have one: reducing the world and its cultures to many small pieces.

Oh, and they like to dig. I mean, really like to dig. Probably more than just about anyone… outside of the family dog on the front lawn.

In their wanton ruination, dwarves seem to serve a mysterious purpose. In draft, though, they have only one purpose: make machines.

(Well, okay. I guess they can also smash your opponent.)

Here’s how it works: you make a bunch of dwarf troops, and they build machines. Then, those machines build machines. Then those machines build even bigger machines. Then, hopefully, you win!

It’s like an Escher painting, except instead of walking up stairs forever, it ends in mass destruction.

One of the cool things about HEX is that you choose a “champion” to play with when you build your deck. Because I’d drafted dwarven robots, the dwarf champion Bertram Cragraven was the natural choice.

In HEX, whenever you play a resource, not only do you get that much closer to playing an expensive, powerful unit, but it also charges your champion. After three charges, if you have the Sapphire resource type required, you can put a Worker Bot into play. This is a dinky 1/1 artifact troop that can’t even attack, because it’s defensive.

Fortunately, the fact that it’s an artifact troop means much more than the fact that it can’t attack. You don’t want to throw this little guy away in combat, because in proper dwarven hands, he can do so much more.

For example, part of the reason I decided to go Robots is because I got passed this guy:

Eruig

Seven resources is a lot to pay, so we’d better be getting something good for our investment.

WarBot

Well, if you consider a 3/3 Warbot “good,” then yes! We’ll be getting one of those every turn. Oh, and every artifact you control buffs Eurig by +2/+2. In a Bertram Cragraven deck, Eurig will be all grown up in no time. By the way, for dwarves, “all grown up” means “kill your opponent in two turns.” I did mention that they were a bit strange, right?

Dwarves traditionally love to dabble in the gems of Sapphire and Ruby, the types of magic associated building and destroying. However, in my draft, I was cut off of Ruby. How do you draft a successful deck if that happens?

The answer is that you don’t have to stick to just one race if you don’t want to. Whether you’re being forced out of a resource type or you just want to take your deck in a different direction, you can customize the deck how you like.

For me, Diamond was wide open, so I started taking powerful Diamond cards, which include human troops.

One of the human abilities is Inspire, which means that every troop you play after the Inspiring troop gets a permanent bonus. Since HEX keeps track of card modifications for you, troops get those buffs permanently. Whether the troops are killed, shuffled into your deck, or returned to your hand, they’ll always have the bonus. That’s right: they’re “lifers.”

For example, Kraken Guard Mariner is a 1/1 for one resource point. He’s not much on his own, but all of the troops you make after him (costing one or more) get a permanent +1 to health.

For Worker Bots, this is a 50% increase in stats, so an army of defending robots will be that much more intimidating. For Warbots, well, they can also attack!

Card Previews!

MasterTheorycrafter

Speaking of Warbots, this dwarf not only progresses the creation of your Warbot army, but also possesses a wide range of potential effects thanks to its major socket. What would your Theorycrafter do?

AshHarpy

The Ash Harpy is death from above for both champions and troops. And, like any big wildfire, the Harpy is not easy to snuff out permanently. Two non-resource cards lets you bring the Harpy back for a second helping!

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