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DanTheMeek
04-19-2014, 01:17 PM
So I've wanted to do, or see done, a thread like this for a while, but I've held off on doing it myself till we both got all the cards in the set, and had a stronger belief that the card re balancing was at or nearing an end. We've now got both, with confirmation that every set 1 card is in, and that the last balance change is likely (though not set in stone) the final balance change the cards will receive. I haven't seen any other threads on it, so forgive me if I've just missed it, but with out further ado, here's my initial (always subject to change) evaluation of the top 10 cards in set 1.

Honorable Mentions: Giant Corpse Fly, Spear Cliff Cloud Knight, Soul Marble, Protectorate Defender, Eldritch Dreamer, Thunder Bird, Repel, Volcannon, Droo's Colossal Walker, Storm Call, Xentoth's Inquisitor, Fist of Brigadoon, Jadim, Eye of Creation, and Buccaneer.

10) Menacing Gralk - We start the list with a guy I feel like slowly grows with popularity with every passing week. His 5 cost is steep, as is his 3 saphire threshold, and his body is pretty unimpressive, but that effect. Exhausting your opponents entire field is already strong, keeping them exhausted for two turns, frankly the game is probably going to be over before their troops get to ready again almost making his effect the same as flat out removing their current field from play. Tower's deck that won the recent large Hex tournament didn't include any Angel of Dawn, but did include 4 Menancing Gralk, and it was featured in every top 8 deck that had any amount of saphire in it, thats some serious food for thought for any one on the fence about this card.

9) Howling Brave - Despite the fact that no wild decks showed up in the most recent top 8, wild still has some solid cards and I knew I had to find a way to get at least one onto this list. I could have included some of their win conditions like Fist of Brigadoon, eye of creation, or Jadim, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt that while the win condition can change depending on how you build your wild deck, the core card you're really going wild for is actually this howling little Coyotle. For 1 his value is un-questionable, 1/1 isn't amazing but is respectable for 1, while a permanent wild threshold increase can be helpful in all sorts of ways. Throw the ability to generate resources on top of everything else and you've got what I'd argue is THE best 1 drop in the game as of set 1. Are there better cards, I think the fact that he's 9th on my list says even I think so, but I still feel Howling Brave is worthy of making the list.

8) Vampire King - If you're looking for value for your resource investment, its hard to over look Vampire King. Four for a 3/3 flyer would be reasonable, four for a 3/4 flyer probably more reasonable do to that second blood threshold. Life drain on top of that makes this guy an extreme value. But wait, there's more? That's right, on top of everything else if this guy hits your opponent directly he has the potentially to steal an opponents card from their hand and immediately put it into play as a vampire for you. That's +2 card advantage swing for zero cost investment on your part, and a 2/2 life draining flyer that's summoned immediately and for free to your field is only further icing on an absurdly rich cake. It speaks to just how troop removal heavy the current meta is that this card is this low on my list.

7) Solitary Exile - I loved this card in magic and I love it again here. With very little constant hate in set 1, the "box" (as I and my friends have come to call it) and its one real downside of giving the card back if its destroyed is hard to exploit for your opponent. Its upsides, however, are easy to exploit, with the ability to target EVERY card in play, including other constants, artifacts, and even invincible troops! It's one weakness is spell shield, but such is true for all targetting spells. If constant hate becomes more common this cards power may decrease, but for the time being this is arguably the best targeted removal card in the game.

6) Living Totem - I feel that this is going to be one of those cards many new players to the game will over look or write off on first glance, unaware that they've just passed on one of the most powerful cards in the game. Recent tournament deck lists show that the top players of Hex right now certainly aren't writing off as its arguably one of the most popular cards in the game, actually showing up in more decks in the last huge tournament then the card thats number 1 on my list. Just let that last part sink in for a moment. So why is it good? Flexibility combines with value and power. Two for 2/2 is decent, and would be fine on a vanilla with its single threshold, but then you get 5 effects, all powerful, for a cost that can be paid during your opponents turn or in reaction to stuff. This last part is the real kicker, as it lets you keep resources available for powerful but reactive cards like repel or counter magic on an opponents turn, then still use that mana to buff Living Totem during their end phase if your opponent doesn't do the action you want to react to. By mitigating the only real downside to your reactive cards, you put yourself into a win/win situation, and who doens't want that?

5) Extinction - There are good cards and there are meta defining cards, and Extinction is both. Four resources for a board wipe has been powerful in MTG since the beginning, and do to the way threshold works in Hex (you could play extinction then play another blood creature even if you had only 2 blood threshold which you could not in MTG) this card is even better in non-mono decks then it is in MTG. The next card in my list does weaken it a little if your against it, but it can also make it even more powerful if your using it so I'll consider that a wash. Regardless, this card single handedly keeps swarm decks from seeing much play, thus meta defining, and the fact that it can even kill spell shield creatures makes it one of the best removal spells in the game even when just used on a single target.

4) Cerulean Mirror Knight - With out even getting into the combos this guy has on the opponents turn with the card at number 1 on this list, lets just be clear, for only 2, and only a single threshold, you get only slightly sub par stats and one of the more powerful effects in the game right now. If just one of your creatures he buffs dies, he's basically given you the same card advantage as an oracle song, only he gave you a decent body immediately on the field. Everything after that is pure gravy. I don't think he stands out to players much as some of the other cards on this list cause he's not himself a win condition, but the fact that he not only helps you get to your win conditions, helps you surivve your opponents win conditions, and does it all for so little cost investment on your part, while I don't necessarily play saphire just to get CMKs, if I'm playing saphire, I'm probably running CMKs.

3) Mastery of Time - I've tried to rack my brain for a downside this card and the only thing I can come to is "it costs 5". Even if you have nothing on the field to actually take full advantage of taking two consecutive turns, at worst this card lets you draw another card and gives you a chance to put another shard into play. When combined with effects like storm call or Menacing Gralk to open up free attacks at the opponent (or even just after an opponent went all in on an attack not realizing the danger they were in for doing so) this card is a win condition. Simply put, if I've got 5 or more resources, there is NO other card in the game that I'd rather have then this.

2) Gore Feast - I feel like this is the single most under rated card in the game right now. Jyntu recently went very deep in a big tournament with the now infamous Stormcall -> Gore Feast combo, but even with out Stormcall or Gralk to guarantee a free kill shot, the ability to attack twice with rage in a turn is pretty out of control powerful. With Poca's champion skill, its possible to do 20 damage in a single turn with only an unbuffed Wrath Seeker in play. You can do 18 with just an Arena Brawler. Its kind of stupid how easy it is to win on turn 4 with this card, even more so if you went first so your opponent only got to take 3 turns. If you do combo it with a Stormcall its a near guaranteed turn 5 win. This card is THE reason to run ruby right now in my opinion. Thank goodness its only rare or I could see it being one of the more expensive legendaries one people better realize just how good this is.

1) Angel of Dawn - This card has been discussed to death on the forums, and if any card were to get nerfed prior to release this would probably be the one. Its power doesn't upset me as much as some players, but there's no denying that playing a 4/4 steadfast flyer for free is powerful, even more so when it can come out on opponents turns. The only real downside to it is that there are situations where you would not want to play it, but the free summon is mandatory. Still, if AoD is not nerfed prior to release, expect it to be one of the most sought after and highest priced cards on the auction house come the AHs release. I feel like its a little over hyped, but not by much, this card is really good, and easily deserving of the number 1 spot for cards in set 1.

So that's my list, I could easily move a number of these cards around in my order or promote/demote to/from honorable mention, and there were plenty of cards I wanted to add to the honorable mention that I left out just because I had to draw the line some where, this first set truly is packed with a lot of powerful cards so I could easily see another player with a top 10 list of entirely different cards. With that in mind, I'd love to hear other peoples top 10s.

Yoss
04-19-2014, 05:02 PM
I'm hoping they up the thresh for AoD to 2 diamond both for casting and for the freebie. Just a minor tweak but it would give aggro that extra time it needs, especially if the AoD is riding in a multi-color deck.

syphonhail
04-19-2014, 05:05 PM
Five of the top 10 cards are all used by blood/diamond to great effect, but you did not include the most important card to the blood/diamond (as well as blue/diamond decks): Soul Marble. It is in your honorable mentions, but this card is such a workhorse, it really gets overlooked as how it makes diamond/x decks effective.

Yoss
04-19-2014, 05:09 PM
Howling Brave can duck out and make room for Soul.

funktion
04-19-2014, 05:54 PM
Only stopping in for a quick minute, I might have missed it in your post but this is for constructed right?

Are you talking about current meta power level or potential? (in which case chimes has incredible potential)

My list would have probably been slightly tweaked:

-Menacing Gralk
-Solitary Exile
-Vampire King (possibly stays on my list)
-Mastery of Time (possibly keeping it on the list but moving it to a weaker position)

+Xentoth's Inquisitor
+Soul Marble
+Eye of Creation

Honorable to Servant.

BenRGamer
04-19-2014, 06:15 PM
What, no Chimes of the Zodiac? That's gotta be in the top five, even after the unique nerf.

Yoss
04-19-2014, 07:21 PM
What, no Chimes of the Zodiac? That's gotta be in the top five, even after the unique nerf.

Then why are precisely zero decks running it competitively?

Gwaer
04-19-2014, 08:01 PM
Competitive deck comps != most valuable cards.

It's silly to think that we've already "solved" the meta and the current decks are the best possible decks. It's very likely that cards that are currently unused could be in the top 10 cards. It depends a lot on what your criterion is. If it's top 10 cards of this current meta, then you're absolutely right. If it is of the set as a whole, that's an entirely different beast.

stiii
04-19-2014, 08:14 PM
As Gwaer said this is just a list of the top 10 cards currently played.