Drafting and playing Eternal well is incredibly difficult – that’s why I enjoy it. Eternal provides my brain with both entertainment and an outlet for critical thinking.
Seven weeks have passed since my daughter was born, so critical thinking is neither desirable nor possible for me right now. I’m starting to accept that I might never feel smart again. My days are a blur of cries and cups of coffee that go unconsumed. Critical thinking? No thanks. Staring out the window silently? Oh yes please.
I keep waiting for the moment when I feel clever enough to figure out Empire of Glass by drafting and playing games, but y’all might never hear from me again if we wait for that to happen. For now, I’ve done a small handful of drafts and have a sense of the impactful Empire of Glass cards. With a baseline for Empire established, it’s easier to see what about the curated draft packs is relevant.
If you’re going to draft the hard way, anticipating what you might see in future packs is essential. Knowing what’s in packs 2 & 3 can significantly change a card’s value in a format. While there’s not a ton of removal in Empire, the good news is that the draft packs have plenty of good 10x boosted cards and even more quality spells when looking at the 5x options.
Rhum Constructor sized appreciation to @Pusillanimous and Shiftstoned for their format update articles, which makes the draft changes so much easier for my brain to process. Thanks so much for your hard work.
I’m not getting any smarter as the day goes on, so let’s get started and hope for the best. Let’s Talk Limited!
20x boosted cards
Merchants and Etchings being 20x boosted make perfect sense in this market-heavy format. The two valkyries, Renegade valkyrie and Valkyrie Enforcer, being 20x boosted also makes sense to me. They’re quality cards but their prevalence won’t negatively impact the format.
Then there’s Leyline Tracer at 20x boosted….
You’re likely to see this card in draft, especially if the person passing you packs 2 & 3 isn’t in Time. The benchmark for a unit in Empire of Glass is “what does it do against Barricade Basher?” By itself, Leyline Tracer shrinks basher to a 2/2. With any 2-cost fast spell, it trades with the sentinel. In a good deck, this eats the sentinel for free.
Here’s why it matters in draft. This comparison appeared in my first article and continues to be my “Seek Power” of examples.
Knowing that Leyline Tracer is 20x boosted, there’s no doubt which of these cards I want in my Time decks. I want the one that blocks basher twice in the worst case scenario and eats the sentinel for free while making two humbugs in the best case scenario.
While we’re on the topic, ya know what else the Eternal Draft Packs have? Time units that can block basher without dying while also providing value elsewhere.
Sandbinder Sentinel (10x) always overperforms and I don’t see this format being any different. Deals with a flyer, blocks basher, and even helps trigger muster in a deck with cheap spells.
Go ahead and twist my arm, I’ll talk about a card that blocks well while potentially providing long game value: Ancient Excavator (5x). Get back anything and this card is already great. Draw an Amber Lock from your void and the game has just swung massively in your favor.
As if Powerbreach Sentinel (5x) needed help being great. Eats basher as a blocker, provides value as a problematic attacker. Nothing but fun in the sun for Beach Boy.
I’ve seen enough high-quality drafters bond out enough Scourstone Sentinels (10x) to accept them as a threat that might be faced consistently. Hint: you want to target this with Laser Blast.
For the next basher blocker, I present the 10x boosted Ancient Machinist. The question, always, is how reliably can we trigger the 2-drop? Answer: Send for the Reserves exists so we can do whatever we want. Anything with amplify potentially triggers the machinist, so it can transform fairly reliably in the right deck.
I’m not here to talk about the reckless elephant in the room, Barricade Basher, who finds himself in a barricade-less Empire. While Fire decks aren’t my personal preference, steering readers away from them would be the equivalent of recommending you play Reflection. You should absolutely be drafting Fire decks if they’re open and maybe even if they’re not. In some limited formats, a particularly strong faction can support two side-by-side drafters playing it. Fire in Empire of Glass might be that good. Players who like more controlling decks (e.g. me) will always search for answers, but I don’t think there’s much debate that Fire decks are the strongest.
We all know what Fire decks are trying to do on turn three, so the big question is what are they doing on turn 2? Empire of Glass doesn’t provide much in the way of two-drops but the draft packs make up for that.
Flameheart patroller is x10 boosted and continues to be an excellent two-drop, in addition to being a sentinel. At uncommon,
Firemane Lioness (10x) attacks for two in the early game, makes multiple units when you draw it later in the game. Quality two-drop.
Overheating minibot (x5) has gone from card I will reluctantly play to unit that I actively want in my Fire decks.
On the removal front, the highlight is conflagrate being x10 boosted. Three damage at instant speed that also scales well later in the game will always be a good limited card.
Ruinous burst is more than playable in Empire of Glass draft and 10x boosted.
Also at x5: chemical rounds, char
The curated draft packs do a lot of heavy lifting for Primal in terms of removal. Two premium removal spells are 10x boosted: polymorph and permafrost.
Also 10x boosted, lightning strike isn’t at its best in this format. It still acts like a removal spell for small units but doesn’t kill most of the things you’re worried about (Metalfang being a notable exception). Whereas I would’ve run 3-4 in my old Feln decks, now I might want 1-2 in Primal decks.
As is often the case, Primal feels more like a supporting draft color than a foundational one. If I’m playing Primal, the quality removal mentioned above is high on my priority list in packs 2 & 3, as are the next two cards: Wisdom of the Elders (x5) and Forbidden Research (x5).
If you’re planning to win the long game, accumulating more resources than your opponent is usually part of the plan. Card draw spells and successful control decks are usually matched pairs. There are no pure card draw spells in Empire of Glass, so I’ll be taking them highly out of the curated packs.
Rose bloom Mandrake
I’ve never been more intrigued by Rosebloom Mandrake. The all-or-nothing discount means this needs to be in right deck, but in those decks, this will be one of your best cards. I’ll be trying to play a lot of these.
All 10x boosted: Grisly Contest, Execute, suffocate. Worth noting that Grisly Contest is potentially worse (like all Revenge cards) in a format with so much mill.
5x boosted: Deathstrike
The removal is what really stands out, but Triumphant Return (x5) is also very powerful, unique effect in this format so it might be worth drafting higher than usual.
Sunset Priest is 10x boosted which helps Shoaldredger and Darkwater Vines. In Empire of Glass, Sporespitter (10x) also acts as a legitimate win condition in mill decks, though it shouldn’t be plan A.
Vanquish is fantastic and is 10x boosted, so that’s the highlight. The rest of Justice’s interaction is more conditional or pseudo-removal like Rebuke (x5), Edict of Kodosh (x5), and Ensnare (x10)
On the bright side, Justice doesn’t need much help from the draft packs because it has Send to Market.
In Case You Didn’t Know
Getting value out of your power base in limited can be game-changing. When your opponent draws an excess power and you draw an actual card instead, that turn cycle worked positively in your favor. Each faction’s standard is 10x boosted in the curated packs and they should be on your radar. Replacing a sigil in your power base with a standard is usually more valuable than drafting an average playable.
Pompous Historian (x10)
Pompous Historian is better than it’s ever been in my experience. Close to unplayable in some formats, this is basically a 3/3 that draws you a big threat most of the time in Empire of Glass draft.
Seasoned Drillmaster (x10)
In case you haven’t played with it, this card is even better than it looks. Passes the vanilla test as a 3 power 3/3 and has an effect that’s relevant at any point in the game. Goes in any Justice deck despite it being an irrelevant unit type. Anyone seen any Justice 2-drops that wear buffs particularly well???
Bottoms Up (x10)
When it comes to combat math, there are nightmares, Martial Efficiency, and Bottoms Up. You want to be the person casting this, not playing against it.
Speaking of cards that make combat impossible for your opponent, Parry is often 2-for-1 for a whole investment of two power. This card isn’t always a blowout but there are definitely games where Parry is one of the most impactful cards cast.
The slingshot isn’t on the same level as Parry but with so many x/1s in Empire of Glass this feels like a better card than usual.
Spirit Drain (x10)
This is not the removal you’re looking for. Spirit Drain doesn’t kill the most common threats in the format (barricade basher and Shoaldredger). I’m not looking to play Spirit Drain in a typical format because it’s hard to get 6 power worth of value from it but the above information makes me steer far away from it in Empire of Glass.
Most Improved Performance
Though I mostly played casually, I’m pretty sure I’ve drafted every Eternal set. When that’s the case, it’s easy to look at old cards and fail to evaluate them in the context of the new format. Here’s a quick, incomplete list of cards that are better than I can remember seeing them or seem particularly good in this format.
Personally, the dumpster fire that was 2020 contained three highlights:
1. The birth of my daughter. I’m an incredibly fortunate stepfather to a son and daughter, but this is my first time caring for a newborn.
2. Spending more time at home with my family. I left my job this summer so I could teach my kids during the school year. While not ideal, I’ve been home with them far more this year than I would’ve been otherwise so I’ll always be thankful for that.
3. Joining the Eternal community. This game that I’d occasionally play on my phone became a much larger part of my life than I ever would have anticipated entering 2020. Writing about Eternal has been a pleasure. My first article came into existence because Argent Depths draft was excellent. Every article after that was motivated by the community. Becoming an active member of this community has been fantastic, so thank you.
I’m enjoying myself so much that I’ve tried streaming a few drafts from my phone. Most of the kinks have been worked out now, so I’m planning to promote the stream a little more and establish a schedule in the near future. My Twitch username is Schaab214 and I really hope to see you there.
I’m not any smarter at the end of this article but I sure hope you are. Happy new year and happy drafting!
Valley-Clan Sage Fan Club President
To directly promote more content, please check out the Let’s Talk Limited Patreon.
Thank you again to Shiftstoned.com for the draft pack change article.
Thank you always to Stevercakes because I use Eternalwarcry all the time while I write.
None of my 2020 highlights would have been possible without Mrs. Schaab, who has stopped by my stream to say hello a couple of times. If you see her there, please show her some love. She very graciously tolerates me staring off in to space for hours and forgetting what she just asked me to do because I’m writing in my head. She’s been great about all the time I’ve spent on Eternal these past few months, so feel free to say thanks to my favorite person if you see her in my Twitch chat. Thanks.