Hey everyone, Jeff here! It has been a while since I’ve written about limited, but I have been bitten by a pretty severe drafting bug since Kismet’s Drafts started firing a little over a week ago, so I wanted to share some of what I have learned. My article today is going to focus on small, high-level overviews of some of the different archetypes this format has to offer as opposed to the deep dives into single archetypes I have done in the past. While I will not be listing out every possible archetype and champion you can be playing in Kismet draft, I am going to try and cover all of the ones I have found to be the most powerful.
This archetype features Morgan McBombus as its champion of choice and is probably the most powerful aggressive archetype in this limited format. Key cards to keep an eye out for while drafting or sorting through your sealed pool include:
Flickering Gobbler is easily the best payoff when going into Sapphire-Ruby. It is an evasive threat that dodges all of our opponent’s basic speed removal. The most important thing to keep track of when thinking of playing McBombus and Flickering Gobbler is keeping our action count up so we can use our Gobbler every turn and activate our champion power on time. Combat Training is the perfect tool for this job, providing a repeatable action source while also making our evasive threats even more deadly.
Conscript actions like Boisterous Ballad and Windbourne Ascension fit into this archetype as well. They double as the action requirement we are often looking to fill out in our aggressive deck, while keeping our troop count high. Threats that make Valors such as Gallant Duelist are also decent for this same reason.
The last thing that lets you know you should be playing Sapphire-Ruby is if some of the premium removal in these shards comes your way. Pyre Strike and Incubation Webs are probably the two best pieces of uncommon removal in these shards. Shackling Strands, Feed the Flames, Cremate, and Blazing Hammer round out the reasonable pieces of removal found at the common slot.
A sample Sapphire-Ruby Aggro draft deck that went 3-0 recently looks like this:
While I think there are a variety of powerful things you can be doing in this Kismet limited format, I think the Blood Midrange decks are probably the strongest among them. These decks will often play Wild or Sapphire as a secondary shard and either Takahiro or Bloodspinner Zorath as their champion. Which of these two champions is best for you will often depend on what your supporting cards look like. I think Takahiro is a bit stronger in terms of raw power, but Blood Spinner Zorath is ideal if your deck winds up a bit short on ways to generate actual Dreadlings.
Key cards to look out for in this archetype include:
Vilefang Eremite is probably one of the scariest cards in this archetype. With a consistent source of Dreadling generation it not only buffers our health total, but also drains our opponent out of the game. To top this off, Vilefang being a 1/4 makes it a brick wall against aggressive decks.
Priest of the Sacred Web is probably the second best Dreadling payoff in the format. It turns all of our temporary 1/1 spiders, into eggs in our opponent’s deck that eventually become permanent 1/1 unblockable Spiderlings.
Dread Factory is probably the most powerful enabler for this archetype. Creating not just one, but two Dreadlings every turn, Dread Factory quickly becomes lethal in combination with Vilefang or Priest.
The splash shards give this archetype different additional tools depending on which one you go with. Sapphire gives you access to additional Dreadling generators like Jorgen’s Workshop and payoff cards like Arachnomancer. Wild gives us access to cards like Shoku’s Garden and Smash Magus. Diamond gives us access to Grim Harvester.
A sample Blood-X Midrange draft deck that recently went 3-0 looks like:
If you want to see how a draft of this Blood Midrange deck can work out check out this stream archive:
The Wild based midrange decks tend to have more of an aggressive slant, but not nearly as much as something like Sapphire-Ruby does. The champion of choice for these decks is generally Furiko or Papa Goot if your payoffs allow. Specifically you should consider playing Papa Goot if you have any of the following:
Papa Goot’s Daybreak constant, in addition to providing a steady stream of health, turns each of these mediocre threats into must answer bombs. Ghost Howler is the scariest of these bombs since it can trigger multiple times each turn once you get multiple Daybreaks into play.
A sample Wild-Diamond Papa Goot decklist that recently went 3-0 looks like:
If you do not see the “health gain matters” payoffs, Furiko generally makes the most sense to play as your champion. Furiko rewards us for doing what most Wild decks are interested in doing anyway – flooding the board with troops. Furiko gives us a scary amount of inevitability that most decks will be hard pressed to beat. Furiko often plays Sapphire as a complementing shard, though this is not a strict requirement. Cards that produce multiple troops are best when playing Furiko so key cards to look out for are:
Blightbush is probably the best of these cards because it can trade off with an opponent’s troop in the early game while turning into additional troops. Warpsteel Shardsworn does a decent Blightbush impersonation with the Minor Wild Orb of Blossoms. Eager Lackey is the slowest of these for generating additional troops, but also occasionally creates total bombs like High Infinitrix.
Arcane Soil is the most explosive manner of getting a payoff from our Furiko activation, though. Much like the Sapphire-Wild deck in constructed, Arcane Soil often lets us combo kill our opponent if we play it the turn we are activating Furiko.
A sample Wild-Sapphire Furiko draft deck that recently went 3-0 looks like:
If you want to see how a draft of the Wild Furiko deck plays out check out this stream archive:
This limited format is incredibly deep. Not only does the card pool allow for a variety of archetypes to be powerful, but the large selection of champions adds another layer of complexity we have not seen in HEX limited before. The most important advice I can give in terms of drafting this set is to stay open as long as possible. Because HEX has 17 card packs, we often end up with more than enough playable cards in every draft deck, so not locking into our second threshold until the second pack is often ideal so we can be flexible in case a powerful bomb comes our way.
Hopefully today’s Limitless piece was helpful to you in stepping up your limited game. If you have any questions about the archetypes I mentioned here or drafting in general feel free to leave me a comment in the forums below.
Thanks for reading,
Jeff is a professional gamer who enjoys the competitive aspects of HEX: Shards of Fate. Constructed is his preferred format and he is always looking for that new piece of technology to give him a leg up on the competition.
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