Cooking with Bettorup: Drafting 3-5 Colors in Empire of Glass

Television in the Schaab household often plays Nailed It, an amateur baking show featuring people who would be abysmal Eternal players. I’m sure they’re lovely individuals, but their inability to sequence and manage time would undoubtedly leave them struggling to climb the Eternal leaderboards. These qualities, however, pale in comparison to their unanimously shared flaw: they don’t follow the recipe. It’s all right there. They don’t have to pull the recipe from their memories. They just have to read the instructions and follow them – but they don’t. These jovial rebels treat baking like it’s cooking, where you can adjust the recipe according to your tastes and expect the same results. The results are spectacularly, predictably, awful.

New drafters: try to bake. Find a recipe (18 power, 16-18 units, 45 cards) and follow it as closely as possible.

Becoming a great Eternal drafter isn’t a singular skill – it’s a combination of multiple skills including drafting, deckbuilding, and playing. If you’re a newer player, baking Boring decks allows you to cast your cards and develop your playskill over time (this approach is great for learning but also involves a lot of losing. That’s just part of the process). When playskill becomes an area of strength, baking Boring decks allows you to leverage that skill.

All that being said about how you should learn to bake, follow recipes/models, and heed the instructions that lead to consistent success: today we’re talking about the opposite of that. Today we’re talking about what you can do when you’ve mastered all the basics. I snuck into Bettorup’s kitchen the other day and found him bending all the rules while cooking up some spice, so let’s take a look at a different approach that an elite Eternal drafter is having success with. Let’s cook up some Eternal decks with Bettorup. Let’s Talk Limited!

Why?

What? Why? How? My brain really struggled to process Bettorup’s decklists when I first saw them. Here were the most likely scenarios I came up with:

  1. He lost a bet
  2. He lost several bets
  3. Twitch chat did it.

“He drafted these decks on purpose” came in somewhere around number 24 on the list. To provide additional context, I found these in Bettorup’s 7-win decklist thread, not a joke or trainwreck thread, and he pretty much lives in the top-5 on the Draft leaderboards so we can be sure he’s playing against tough competition. The decklists were intriguing but Master Chef’s note about them was the real surprise.

“I would say I have a problem, but as long as fixing is flowing like water pack 1, 3-5 color good stuff is 100 percent viable if not excellent in this format.” -Bettorup, Eternal Drafter, Master Chef.

My response: “I think I might dedicate an article to this 5 color nonsense. Any advice for the readers?”

And he suuuuuure did have advice for the readers! Just a huge thank you the my buddy, Bettorup, for helping me out with this one. I don’t have a ton of time to play Eternal lately but don’t want to leave y’all hanging, so picking another drafter’s brain and reporting the results is a fine solution. Plus, let’s be honest, I’m never drafting these decks. Maybe one. But I’m certainly not going to be the one who discovers them or drafts them often enough to lay out a recipe.

Actually, there is no recipe. That’s kinda my whole point. The decklists we’re going to look at are only possible if you know why you’re drafting the cards you’re drafting. It requires a broad understanding of Eternal draft gameplay and more nuanced knowledge that applies to this specific format. Ya gotta know how to cook, and Master Chef Bettorup has some advice for aspiring young chefs out there.

The Decks

Above we have your classic Amber Lock/Glen Scout/Bloodboil Executioner/Illicit Armament deck. Pairs nicely with confusion.

I had to check this ^ three times to make sure the second image I added actually goes with the first one. Yes, it is somehow the same deck. Ya know, the Shorthopper/Deathwing/Customs Officer deck we all draft so often.

Exotic Purchase. There’s an Exotic Purchase in this list to go with other cards that encourage a long game like…. Assault Shield and Blackguard Sidearm? What is even happening?

And a quick reminder from Bettorup: “as long as fixing is flowing like water pack 1, 3-5 color good stuff is 100 percent viable if not excellent in this format.”

The Format

“Almost every game in this format comes down to the skies, so be ready for that battle one way or another. Prioritize cheap interactive cards cards that give an edge to that strategy. Avoid double influence cards except for maybe a couple in your main color. Tempo wins a lot of games in this format, so build a cheap curve that tops off at three for the most part. 15 power is ideal in this strategy when card draw is scarce, as it helps mitigate flood. Most importantly of course, prioritize fixing much higher than is comfortable. Identifying early that you want to move into the strategy is key. It rarely works as a bailout out to a messy draft.”

Highlights:

  1. Fliers are incredibly important
  2. Prioritize cheap interactive cards
  3. Avoid double influence cards
  4. Tempo wins a lot of games
  5. Curve should top off around three (mostly)
  6. 15 power is ideal
  7. Prioritize fixing highly during the draft.
  8. This is NOT a backup plan to save a trainwreck draft.

The Draft

All from Bettorup:

  • When in doubt while choosing between two committal picks, take fixing instead.
  • Bannerman is way better than a token and should be taken aggressively.
  • Hard removal should usually trump fixing, and it’s really really important to get the cheap stuff.
  • The quality of your interactive cards and/or 1 for 1 potential units has to be really strong if you want to play a higher curve strat with lots of 5-7 drops.
  • Tapped power doesn’t matter as much if your curve is cheap enough.

The Gameplay

More from Master Chef:

  • Arguably one of the most important things is to assume the role of the beatdown if it’s offered. That goes hand in hand with cheap curves of course.
  • Plunder really helps – Always hold a power if you can, especially as the game progresses. Know what you need to cast your stuff and hold power (also to mess with your opponents sequencing).
  • Regen generates tempo similarly to stun.
  • Always plan for having answers for 1/1 deadlys (oh hello snipe), especially if most of your damage is going to come on the ground (really really important for Basher-based strats).

The Cards

Continuing to let Bettorup do the writing for me:

  • Illicit armament is best in a market, but also can work in a deck with mulitple weapons/and/or weapon recursion. It’s tricky to pull off fair value, and should generally be replaced by a cheap interactive card instead if possible, but if you can get it to act as a two-mana removal spell without 2-for-1-ing yourself, it can be pretty nice. But I’m not saying it’s good, but it can be extremely good [i.e. low floor, high ceiling).
  • Even cards like snipe are solid, as long as you get a tempo-generating 1 for 1 (3/1s usually).
It’s not even fast. I always assumed it was.

The Process

Bettorup knew how to draft long before I started writing about Eternal, so let’s not pretend that he started with Be Boring and ended up here. But if someone can prepare a 9-course meal, we can be sure they know how to chop vegetables and cook some eggs. These decks are only possible after you’ve drafted hundreds, probably thousands, of successfully boring decks. You learn what works, what doesn’t, what really matters during a draft or in a game. You understand the why of drafting the cards you’re drafting, what function they serve in your deck, and how they should be used against your opponent. You learn how to cook.

If you read my work, you know that I advocate for taking Seek Power early in the draft to smooth out your boring 2-faction decks. But taking a Boring approach at first doesn’t mean you have to draft that way forever. Eventually you take Seek Power early in the draft so you can do this kind of five-color nonsense. The lesson is always take Seek Power. If you’re a new drafter, you get to cast your cards. If you’re an experienced drafter, you get to do whatever you want for the rest of the draft. How did I get a 10th pick Seek Power the other day? That means at least 9 drafters haven’t read my articles! Humbling.

There are so many ways to enjoy draft. It’s absolutely possible to just follow recipes, draft boring decks, boringly win games, and be happy with the outcome most of the time. But if you want to be great, you eventually need to learn how to cook. You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. A fundamental understanding of the process is what separates Walter White from all the other cooks and Bettorup from lots of other drafters. They know the why.

The Way

Master Chef is so wise, making sure to include this statement at the end of our discussion (he explained a bunch of stuff, I copied and published it): “Of course this isn’t THE WAY, but it’s the way that’s been working for me”

It occurred to me that I often mention there are several different ways to approach draft but I, uh, never really talk about the other ways. So when I visited Bettorup’s kitchen and saw what he was cooking up, I just knew I had to share. My approach to draft might be boring, but Draft itself isn’t. Draft is fun for so many different reasons, and you get to decide which way you want to enjoy it. Whether it’s the two-faction Schaab special, peanut butter & jelly, or Bettorup’s “Open the pantry and throw everything into a pot!” approach, there are a million ways to cook. Now go make something delicious.

-Schaab
Draft Enthusiast, Valley-Clan Sage Fan Club President, Transcriber of Bettorup’s advice.

Again, HUGE thanks to Bettorup for the decklists and information. You can find his Discord here and Twitch here. I don’t know his exact schedule, but I know I try to drop by and say hello when he’s streaming on Friday nights.

You can contact me with comments, feedback, or coaching inquiries at BeBoring@letstalklimited.com

My content is a labor of love to help others get better at draft that will always be free. Writing gives me significantly less time to grind gold, so all contributions are used to fund more drafts. The best thing you can do is help other people (draft is really hard) but financial support through donations or the Patreon is always appreciated. Thank you!

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