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Thread: Your first impressions of set 3?

  1. #1

    Your first impressions of set 3?

    I suspect many players are in the same boat as me and didn't get to play on the test server as much as they'd have liked but - from what you have played & seeing the full card list - what are your initial impressions of set 3?

    Disclaimer: Comments may return to haunt us when dismissed cards have become the new meta in 6 months.

    ##### My impressions #####

    I'm afraid that I right now I don't see any merit in the Coyotle beyond their striking art, both as set 3 tribe and with previous Coyotle in the mix.
    They're deficient on attack, barely evasive, lack keywords and - while this may just be lack of imagination on my part - I'm not seeing any bombs or win conditions amongst them.
    I'd like their sapphire troops - in moderation - in a mono-sapphire action deck, but wouldn't try to play them tribally.

    Overall I'm pleased & disappointed, if that makes sense?
    Pleased that Elves are bringing ramp/resource-fixing to 2 shards in simple, easily obtained packages.
    I'm disappointed however that Elves aren't playable tribally, as besides the resource overkill they're simply all build with no pay-off owing to the extreme scarcity of cost 5+ Elves & tribal effects.
    Sure to see lots of inclusion in other decks, but I hope in the future they get tribal support.

    Assuming the correct interpretation of confusing templating is that there are no necrotic who 'double-down' on powers (have an effect + another effect they can Shift), then I'm afraid my initial impression is that they are fairly awful collectively.
    So many of them are below (or way below) curve, meaning they can barely utilize their power while they have it & become vanilla chump blockers once they've Shifted it.
    I still intend to make a Deepgaze tribal deck for novelty (and because been waiting for Necrotic since launch), but even those seem on paper to be slow & hugely vulnerable to removal due to their focus on a 'Final Shifting' (which is super-cool for being a lore concept as well as a gameplay one!).
    Outside of tribal, I'd say ruby got the best picks with the cheap Deathmask (unblockable Shift) and Ripper (1/1 speed Shift).

    The proof of viability is in the playing, but initial impressions are that spider eggs as a theme/Vennen as a tribe could not be better supported from a single set than they are here.
    There's an embarrassment of riches in terms of egg synergy, whilst simultaneously making all past Vennen/mill cards relevant and also supporting multiple win conditions - meaning the true threat stays obscured until 5 or 6 turns in.
    I don't know which modes Vennen decks will be competitive in, but from the excellent starter deck through to a full collection they certainly look fun and characterful.

    I don't see a lot to love here (before equipment anyway); a few efficient commons (the Sepulchra Bonewalker stands out for Necrotic), but the rest is primarily just novelty.
    It's good to see new Robots so that 'tribe' may expand going forward, although without more equipment the junk bots aren't likely to encroach on the current decks.

    I'm not sure how good blood looks for drafting (especially 1-2-3 packs), but for veterans there looks to be plenty to like here.
    Outside of Vennen mono-blood set 3 would be a very bad idea, but the cards easily complement/supplant those that came before (e.g. Arachnophobia is a nightmare scenario to face on turn 3).

    I'm often trying to find reasons to love diamond, but set 3 is fairly slim pickings...
    As with previous sets there are a few rare outliers - Deathless Guardian, Blessing of Unicorns, Valiant Escort - but the standard of low rarity cards isn't great & the quality of removal is generally a step down.
    Way too many troops who collectively would take 7+ turns to win if you played 1 each turn and your opponent just passed!

    Overall ruby gets more of the same, but considering that has worked so far it is very welcome.
    Some stand out commons (e.g. Skewer, Lunge) including potential win conditions (e.g. Volley of Arrows), plus ramp effects and intriguing high-rarity cards that may be T1 or merely novelty.
    Personally I'm intrigued by the potential of Scarless Raiders in PvE, with all the corresponding cards & equipment.

    To be honest there doesn't seem to be any role for sapphire in set 3 outside of tribal, which dominates due to the extreme number of sapphire tribes this time around.
    There's plenty of exciting action support, but scarcely any actions that actually compete with past sets - basically paying more for mill & counter in order to sow a few eggs, which isn't efficient outside of Vennen.

    There's a lot of vanilla filler in wild once again (vanilla Elves contribute nothing), and few bombs also this time.
    However there's definite assets for established players (e.g. Sylvan Performer), and the Dinosaur theme is an intriguing one in the context of past cards.
    I'd say there's hope for something competitive to emerge from wild, and also that mono-wild may be a dark horse for drafting with the extra ramp/fixing and 2-in-1 effect cards relative to older sets.

    An interesting bunch, although my gut instinct is that these fall into 2 camps...
    Cards that owing to high cost and/or low requirements, are simply fancy bordered cards for their tribal/shard combos (e.g. Hatchery Cultivator, Periwinkle) - on the whole these range from OK through to spectacular.
    Cards that are simply piling thresholds on to make taking them a gamble (e.g. Army of Myth, Spawn of Bokrug) - only time will tell if they find a place, but personally I suspect that they'll suffer for proving too slow outside of "this one time..." stories.

  2. #2
    I think you have underestimated Coyotle. Properly build full Coyotle prophecy deck could be pretty strong.

  3. #3
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    Forewarning: My analysis is solely based around Limited/Draft/Sealed viability.

    I intend to write more in-depth on various drafting strategies, archetypes and potential when I have more practical experience to test my theories, but my initial response is this:

    Solid filler cards, mostly. A 'tribal' coyotle deck will be consistent and gain a lot of board presence over time, but it's rarely going to be explosive. Perhaps most significantly, the champions that a limited coyotle deck would realistically use seem to also be some of the weakest champions that are still 'playable' in set 3.

    Very potent series of colors in limited, though, as you said, you're unlikely to see the actual "Elf" trait matter much aside from the minstrels, which whilst good won't ever really be top-tier commons. I still disagree with the Hexprimal article some time ago, and I think Mightsinger Alydra is an important champion to consider depending on how much ramp and "5+ cost matters" effects you have in your draft decklist when it comes time to pick a champion.

    Having a guaranteed pay out without requiring you to spend a card is good and enables your deck to run more smoothly, even if the payout (a Gigantisaur) is kinda...uh... unimpressive. And assuming you already have the ideal balance of early ramp and late game beatsticks, then Cressida is, of course, preferable. More details in the Ruby analysis below.

    Ah. Necrotic. And ah, Shift. My favorite tribe of set 3, and I expect Necrotic and Elves to become the pervading powerhouses of draft. I may write a more complete analysis of a lot of their cards in the future, but for now...

    The speed shift is probably my least-favorite of the shift cards, but in general the shift cards are really potent, on-par with existing cards and expectations even before you consider the ability to move the keywords/effects onto a more relevant creature. Necrotic also have some of the most significant champion considerations in draft, most notably Knightbane Ovo, my new favorite champion in the entire game by a landslide. He synergizes exceptionally well with Shift, but he also has some brutal synergies with even commons in some colors. Look at Ethereal caller, then back to Ovo, then to Ethereal Caller, then back to Ovo.

    Ah yes, he also spits over most of sapphires 'removal'. Ouch. Anyway, it seems most shift and necrotic-oriented strategies will be centrally diamond, though ruby and blood seem to offer a bit more than sapphire does to the overall strategy too. The odd thing is I expected far more fixing than what we actually got - I'm not seeing a necrotic deck support even 3 colors reliably, let alone four or five.

    Not a fan. Biggest thing I dislike is how absurdly all-in their mechanic is. Eggs can have enormous or absolutely no impact on a game, depending for how long the game goes on for and how much mill you have. The mechanic is interesting in a sense, and I like the cards that have eggs tacked onto otherwise playable cards (like a removal spell+eggs, or a discard spell+eggs), but I despise the cards that have no purpose but to create eggs or multiply eggs for a "maybe payoff", especially Spider Nest, the single worst card of the set in my opinion, followed by Incubate.

    If you start drafting Vennen and someone reasonably close to you on the table starts cutting your eggs and goes into the same strategy, your draft is in a really really bad spot, because you can't 'abandon ship' easily, because so many Vennen are egg-themed and really, REALLY unimpressive if you're not riding all of your hopes on that mechanic. An elf deck can still work without ramp. A coyotle deck can work without great prophecy targets. A necrotic deck can work without shifting, because all of these tribes have efficient removal, on-curve creatures and versatile effects or uses. Vennen don't have any of these. If your "eggs and mill" doesn't work because the right cards aren't passed to you, sapphire/blood is a really underwhelming color combination to EVER be in, in my eyes. I could be mistaken, but Vennen seem like the only people they'll trap are the players.

    ...okay, I'm exaggerating. There's merit to the strategy, but it's absurdly risky and doesn't have good fall-back plans. So very, very many of the commons and uncommons in sapphire and blood are just so outright BAD if you don't have the egg generation to justify them.

    Scrapheap cards seem fun for the sacrifice outlet purposes in draft. Specifically, Scrapyard Dynamo is more-or-less playable in just about any deck if you really want, as is Relic of Nulzann (though unless you're in a shift strategy, it seems like it's most often going to be an Effigy of Nulzann, since it's hard to make value off the major gems in a 1/1 unless you have a lot of ways to give that 1/1 various forms of evasion or buffs). Some nice filler for almost any deck here, but not much more underneath Rare.

    Arachnophobia doesn't seem that scary to me at all. It's a double-block black Mind Rot, which will most often just make your opponent discard a couple of shards. If they have Ethereal Caller in their hand and are Knightbane Ovo, you're setting yourself up for an early game loss too, by the way. If it weren't for the eggs, I'd play Oracle Song before this in any Vennen deck. Even with the's nice, but not great.

    In general, blood has a lot to like, but it does have this sacrifice theme going on and I don't know if there's QUITE enough payoff for drafting heavily around it. It also leans really heavily, as I mentioned before, on you going Eggs-Vennen, and if you're not going for that a huge swath of blood cards are immediately rendered "Unimpressive".

    Heh, my favorite color by far, so I have to disagree. My favorite common in the set (Ethereal Caller), some REALLY good removal (Etherealize, Pride's Fall), some nice combat tricks and some nice end-game win conditions. Watch out if your opponent is in Coyotle colors and they have resources open - a lot of these Quick Troops can turn a game around on its head.

    An impressive suite of commons and uncommons, ruby seems to be outright one of the safest bets to be in in draft. Removal, efficient aggressive creatures... very straightforward for the most part really. Not a lot of subtlety, but it doesn't need it.

    There's some nice synergies and ways to accumulate card advantage, but Sapphire suffers even more than Blood in what I was saying earlier. To quote myself:

    "It also leans really heavily, as I mentioned before, on you going Eggs-Vennen, and if you're not going for that a huge swath of [sapphire] cards are immediately rendered "Unimpressive"."

    At least there's some efficient fliers here, which are a bit harder to deal with than in sets 1 and 2.

    Efficiency! Wild screams it. Draw a cards for played cards, combat tricks with buff elements, cards that accumulate value or ramp out to game-winning beasties... Fun times, fun times. Doesn't have the ability to fill the field like sets 1 and 2 (that's in diamond and ruby's domain now), and its early game is more sluggish than before (less crush, less over-curve creatures, etc), but wise players will find the vast majority of wild commons and uncommons to be playable in a wide variety of circumstances. An understated color that's hard to get screwed out of in draft.

    For the most part, bomb rares and semi-bomb uncommons. An enjoyable series of cards to play with, just don't prioritize the uncommon dual cards too early in draft, lest you cement yourself into a series of colors which aren't universally open.

  4. #4
    Set 3 looks great and I'm very excited to start building new decks. IMO set 3 looks to be stronger then set 2, bring on set 3 drafts and sealed events.
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  5. #5
    I'm a bit annoyed as i get the feeling the rng just went up and the strategy went down with the vennen egg thing and the coyotle prophecy. The cards as a whole are still very cool and nothing really screams broken at me. But i do find Necrotic a bit slow and hard to assemble considering how easy it is to ruin all the investment with a single reversion. Elfs is the one i thought i would like the least but they seem really cool if you can find a balance between the 5 drops and the ramp they could do some really nice things.
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  6. #6
    As the person always talking about the best sapphire cards first when every competitive player won't (Mirror Knight, Reese, Goreknight), I'll say:

    Sapphire Coyotle are sooooo strong. It's ridiculous how much better they are than the other 2 shards of Coyotle. Indigo Dreamwalker, Thunderfield Elder and Cyclone Shaman specifically with Cyclone Shaman being the weaker of the 3.

    Dreamwalker was bugged and didn't do anything so I can only use theory, however we all know how powerful free tempo is. It really depends on how your deck is built to take advantage of it. Mastery of Time seems like a staple for these decks.

    So basically Thunderfield Elder was the all-star of my testing.

    Thunderfield Elder is always going to give you a good result on the copy, and a 3/2 for 3 body on top is perfectly fine. There are a lot of ways to dig for the cards you just used Prophecy on. A new example is Arcane Focus which actually doesn't shuffle the deck. It puts the card you don't pick at the bottom of the deck I believe, because the rest of my deck would be in the same order.

    It also showed me how interesting Winter Moon could be. The people who evaluated it thought you'd just be returning normal cards. However in practice you're returning cards that have the copy ability from Thunderfield, or cost free from Indigo. Playing the long game it could be incredible. Once again we just have to find a deck that can do so.

    Dreamsmoke/Brown Fox were bugged, but I would have loved to test them.

    Diamond gets incredible removal with Martyr and Pride's Fall. They might be side deck material a lot of times, but they both really hurt certain decks. Martyr is incredibly against decks that rely on few troops. Decks with only Reese as a win condition especially won't be very viable while diamond is around now.

    The fact that Mist Lord was buffed to return at ANY players end phase now. Wow. I can't see this card not being good now.

    Golden Avenger I didn't get to test.

    Blood is getting some strong removal too. Rot Cast is no Persecute, but it's still very useful. Can't really comment on Vampire Princess because it was bugged.

    Anana was really good. I have little doubts she won't eventually see constructed play. And her sacrifice strategy is very strong in limited. You can loop the same card with Anana's buff still on it thanks to cards like Ethereal Caller in the common slot. Ovo is a good idea too like someone said.

    That's really all I was able to test and see in action, playing against a friend using set 2 comp decks and entering drafts.
    Last edited by Axle; 06-21-2015 at 08:38 AM.

  7. #7
    I'm not a big fan of the Vennen theme. I mean, I love daisies. Set 2 has some nice, if not sparse, mill. So whilst mill may not always be a viable option in the current format, sometimes it is, and sometimes it pays off. And I think it's in a pretty solid spot. Adding Vennen into the mix reminds me somewhat of the Agent of M.I.L.L decks we've seen [agents of mole put bombs in enemy deck, daisies mill them out], except that they summon troops for the Vennen. I am personally not a fan of the theme, but that's a personal consideration.

    The Necrotic look pretty fun.

    As regards elves, I made the point in general chat that Ruby needed more 5+ cost elves, as did Wild. It would also be nice to have seen some kind of living totem type card which fits into elf aggro/ramp and which acted as a resource-dump. I mean, set 2 humans has a great many 5+ cost cards which can run away with the game [Royal Diplomat, Royal Enforcer, Valkyr, and to a point Bastion.] But elf has 3 5+ cost elves, which doesn't seem right. So as far as aggro ramp goes, it will be much a matter of using elves to ramp into dinosaurs or larches. The Bladedancer is fine, the Wardancer seems kind of meh. Why would you cost the 1-shot at 7? It's like a super-weaksauce Warrior of Andronicus. Admittedly the card works well with Stirring Oration, but still. And the fact that there really aren't that many ruby 5+ cost cards means you will only be able to use Playing with Fire/Fiery Indignation in a non-mono ruby deck.

    The Coyotle look pretty awesome. I believe there should have been a quick Coyotle swiftstriker, however. I mean, the fact that they are quick troops means you will play them in a situation where they can trade up or after an opponent has swung in order to present lethal. But the stats on the troops make it so that very rarely will you get a 2 for 1 using a quick troop. This does make sense but still, there are many quick troops but not too many with an impact on the board state other than their vanilla stats.

    I would have liked to see some shard fixers in each of the colours [to promote strange colour combo decks, in limited at least.] I would have liked to use ruby elves and ramp into other colours. But the current 'main' shard fixers make this somewhat difficult [looking at you set 3 infusion device.] These decks are my particular favourite because they are very much off-the-wall and deviate from the standard decks you encounter in draft.

    The Scrapyard robots look amazing and fun.

    These are my personal thoughts, and I am very much looking forward to set 3. I think the power level of the troops has decreased slightly and that the removal spells have mostly become more conditional. The fact that there isn't any kind of buccaneer in set 3 makes me kind of happy.
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  8. #8
    So many tricks, quick troops, and even fun RNG elements with Prophecy (Spiderlings I can imagine being annoying at times) is bound to make a super interesting limited environment. I think the skill level has been increased a notch and I'm looking forward to grinding my teeth into it and figuring out all the little synergies that will give me an edge.

  9. #9
    Diamond is not weak at all. I played a nearly mono-diamond deck last night after the sealed part of the test tournament ended and it was by far the strongest draft deck I've played so far, even without drawing a Blessing of Unicorns. Etherealize is very strong removal (kills any creature or any constant for 4), Ethereal Caller is an insane card at common, Pride's Fall is awesome removal, the rares and legendaries are pretty universally good to great, etc.

  10. #10
    Surprised not much has been said about the shards themselves yet, which all seem to be wonderfully powerful. Stand-out winner is starsphere for card selection utility in a game where there's not much benefit to hitting your fourth threshold. All of the shards are very strong, though, and it's nice to be playing some duals that give you resources off the bat now.

    I agree with the few people saying Coyotle are being underestimated. I think they'll be one of the strongest decks in limited, and should have a few stars in constructed too.

    Lots of good prismatic cards here, but time will tell which of them are too expensive for their cost. High hopes for Lanupaw and Angel of Judgment. Anyone saving collections for value, just wait until a 'Commander'-like format comes around, and these are going to be valuables.
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