Drafting Empire of Glass: Archetypes

“Rats Ablaze” or “Rally Rats” is how I affectionately refer to my favorite Eternal draft archetype of all time. Was it a premiere archetype in that format? Probably not. Was it a good deck? Debatable. Was it insanely fun? Yes. Yes it was and I forced it every single time I could: my relationship with Eternal draft was very different at the time.

These 1/1 rats can’t block. This removal spell is a potentially dead card even when you have the three factions to cast it. Rally is Rally. If you’re familiar with my approach to draft, you can probably guess how I feel about these cards. I hate them. But I love the Rats Ablaze deck.

My reputation as a boring drafter is both understandable and factual. When everyone is trying to discover a new format’s hidden synergies and nuances, I’m usually drafting 2 drops and filling out my curve. Then when my opponent crushes me with some fancy new tech I say “ohhhhhhh, that’s how you use that card” and update my evaluation of it. Had this always been my appproach to Eternal draft, oh the blazing good times I would have missed.

Thanks to this jank draft deck I adore so much, today’s article won’t focus on the things a drafter should do in Empire of Glass draft (I’ll cover that in Drafting Empire of Glass the Hard Way) we’re going to look at some of the things we can do.

EoG has well-supported synergies and multiple competitive archetypes. These decks can be drafted the boring way to maximize your win percentage, the buildaround way based on a couple of powerful synergies that are bananas when they work, and if you draft well while variance is working your way your deck can be both boring and bonkers at once. Let’s take a look at the EoG archetypes and maybe we’ll find the next Rats Ablaze deck among them. Let’s Talk Limited!

Sentinels

Factions: Fire, Justice, Time

Chonky monster bois came to play in this format. You can draft a good sentinels deck by accident because a lot of the good cards you already want just so happen to say “Sentinel.”

What a good Praxis version can do with commons:

Turn 1 okessa’s Audience

Turn 2 coretap Maximizer

Turn 3 barricade basher, crack audience.

Turn 4 bond out Scourstone Sentinel. Turn 4. With commons.

Combrei:

Combrei Sentinels can’t accomplish the same kind of absurdity with commons and don’t feel like true Sentinel decks because the gameplan is less about playing huge monsters and more about just playing good cards.

Note: I’m getting used to looking at units’ health because that’s what laser blast cares about, but Scourstone Sentinel has Bond, which cares about attack. You can cast it for 6 with bastion gatekeeper.

Rakano

You’re Rakano so you’re mostly focused on, ya know, attacking your opponent’s face until they’re dead. A lot of the cards that are very good at attacking your opponent’s face in these factions say Sentinel. A well-timed Controlled Demolition costs 2 when targeting sentinels and can end the game quickly.

You get the two most powerful factions in EoG draft, Laser Blast, and Controlled Demolition. Have fun! 

Rares/Legendaries

Titan Foundry

Titan Foundry is castable but you need to plan for it. The Justice sentinels are terrible at reducing its cost, so your large units need to come from your other factions. If you open Titan Foundry, your best bet is probably to play Combrei. 

Soldier/Amplify

Factions: Justice, Time, PrimalWhile all the factions have amplify cards, Justice, Time, and Primal are supported with amplify and soldiers. Let’s break down soldier decks two different ways: aggro and value.

Hooru: Turn 1 Shock Troops, Turn 2 Maveloft Elite, Turn 3 Call on Allies has to be among the most broken starts a deck can have in limited.

Call on Allies is a much better card than I gave it credit for. You can’t just put it in any Justice deck, but in the right deck it acts like a legendary. These are sometimes referred to as buildaround uncommons. The aspect of this card I misevaluated was its cost. At 3 power, it’s not hard to get even value from this card: 3 power for a 3/3 weapon is fine. The upside, however, is enormous. Shock troops becomes an instant 7/7 for just one example. Justice has tons of soldiers and Bannerman in the format. My initial evaluation of this card would’ve been more accurate if it cost 5, but its cheap power and amplify cost allow you to play it and another card on the same turn. I still don’t consider it a to 5 uncommon but it’s in my top 10 now. When it comes to powerful things you can do in EoG draft, Call on Allies is among the best.

Maveloft Elite is a nightmare to play against which always makes me raise my evaluation of a card. I don’t think there’s a limit to how many I’d play in a primal deck.

Like Hooru in Argent Depths, the soldier Amplify decks are capable of doing absurd amounts of damage in a single turn by getting multiple amplify triggers and buffs from a single spell. I often feel like I had no chance to win after losing to a good version of this deck (Martial Efficiency is usually involved).

Nothing too special about Rakano amplify. It has two of the best combat tricks in Martial Efficiency and Bottoms Up as well as Conflagrate at common. None of my opponents have played Roving Workshop against me, probably because I’m dead before they get the chance.

Amplify value. In an early article, I guessed that Elysian amplify would be one of the more powerful archetypes in the format based largely on the strength of Send for the Reserves. While those decks are more than capable of taking over the game once they’ve stabilized, it’s often difficult to get to that point. The value decks are good, but don’t seem nearly as potent as the hooru decks – which I drastically underestimated.

Combrei gonna Combrei, and this is no different. You can just play good Time cards and Justice cards. Some of them will say amplify. I don’t think I’ve seen shock troops in the Combrei versions and that feels correct to me.

Rares/Legendaries

Argo Ironthorn sure is a card.

Grenadins/Sacrifice

I’m seeing these mechanical critters all over the place and I’ve gotta say, the ingenuity of the Eternal community is fantastic.  Most of the units are suboptimal but people are making it work. These decks are hard to play against and the best versions have Combust and Grisly Contest so they’re more than capable of handling big threats.

Mages are chucking Pesky Wirechewers at each other’s faces, which is a visual I find hilarious. Credit where it’s due: @hatsonlamps is the first person I heard mention the sacrifice theme and has been having success with it, last I heard.

The sneaky MVP I’ve seen in some builds has been Sparking Vermin. It trades up with most two-drops thanks to the entomb Snipe, which always seems to be relevant in this format.

What can you do with a grenadin deck? Potentially wipe your opponents board with Cyber Combustion. Lawl. Lightning storm is a very good limited card and the difference between 2 and 3 damage is huge for this effect. I’ve seen some spell subthemes going on with these lists, and while I’m a huge sucker for blue/red spells decks (lots of MTG boomers are), I really caution players against including a card like Lens of Clarity unless you are 100% committed to only winning a few games. Get your buffs from Plated Hookclaw instead.

Shoaldredger makes for a great top-end in grenadin decks.

If your goal isn’t to win the most games but instead to delight in your victories when they happen, grenadin decks might be a good place to look. Decks with bonus spell damage themes are usually inconsistent but a ton of fun to play.

Rares/Legendaries

Valkyries

Factions: Fire, Justice, Shadow

Rakano and Stonescar do what they always do: a-space. The floor on these decks is pretty high because the Fire cards are just so good, which brings us to the only deck that feels synergistic to me: Argenport.

There’s a big difference between a warped Sludge Blade and a 3/3 relic weapon that costs 5. Metalcraft Cadet isn’t ideal in decks like Rakano or Hooru but fits nicely into Argenport because they buff relic weapons more often (which is usually better than buffing a unit) and enable Valkyrie-Warp for Deathwing and the aforementioned Sludge Blade. The best decks will find ways to utilize the 1/1 unit with cards like Devour. Grisly Contest, Ravenous thornbeast, and Direwood Prowler. The Argenport decks are much harder to build but are very powerful when drafted correctly.

The valkyrie rares are just good cards. Warping Heavy Artillery is one of the easiest ways to win a game in the format.

Mandrakes

Factions: Time, Shadow, Primal

What you need to do: Draft well, build well, draw your cards in the right order. These decks are not easy. When they come together, though, they’re nearly unbeatable.

The mandrakes are distributed beautifully across their three factions: each has two commons, two uncommons, and a rare. Mandrake-themed cards are some of the most powerful in the set including Goliath Flytrap, Root Ripper, and Shoal Stirrings just to name a few.

What can you do? You can play a bunch of 0/2s and then wait for them to transform into 5/7s. Should you? Shruggy shoulder face emoji. I’ve seen it work. I’ve seen train wrecks. “Rats Ablaze” was the same way, so playing Little Seeds is just another thing you can do in EoG draft.

In Shadow-based mandrake decks, I want as many Darkwater Vines as I can get. They really tie the room together, man. One Ultimate trigger can completely transform a board of mandrakes so units that can trigger them easily are at a premium. Plus, they help prolong the game so you can do all your durdly nonsense.

Speaking of cheap Ultimates, Mandrake Simulacrae is much better than I initially thought. I play it happily in all my decks.

Looking Ahead

So what’s the “Rats Ablaze” deck in Empire of Glass? Hooru soldiers gets  my vote. Individually, you’re playing cards like Hardiness and 1/1 vanilla units, but when it works the games aren’t close. Keep an eye out for Valiant Leap in the draft packs too. @Jedi_EJ can’t possibly draft them all.

Soldiers: Justice, Primal, Time
Grenadins: Shadow, Fire, Primal
Valkyries: Fire, Justice, Shadow
Mandrakes: Time, Shadow, Primal
Sentinels: Fire, Time, Justice

I definitely missed a bunch of rares & legendaries, but y’all are smart enough to fill in the blanks.

There’s no shortage of powerful cards and interactions in Empire of Glass draft. If you want to do absurd nonsense, you can do that. If you want to draft the hard way and maximize your win percentage, you can do that too.  If you don’t know how to draft Empire of Glass the Hard Way, don’t worry, I’ll be covering that next time. Until then, happy drafting!

-Schaab
Draft Enthusiast
Valley-Clan Sage Fan Club President

To directly promote more content, please check out the Let’s Talk Limited Patreon.

Author’s note
I mentioned that @Gunner116 started streaming a few weeks back because, well, he’s the 2020 Draft Champion. Now having watched him draft and play a few times, you should definitely be watching him if you want to get better at draft. On rare occasions he even drafts non-Fire decks! Last year was no fluke and I won’t be the least bit surprised if he makes the top 8 again this year.

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