Minion Masters: Cards Guide for Draft Mode

Master and Card analysis regarding Draft mode only.

 

Introduction

This guide was last updated February 5, 2021.

In this guide, I will outline my personal strategy for Draft mode and provide a brief analysis of every possible Draft card.

I generally do not read other Minion Masters guides or discuss any card theory with other players. Therefore I am able to offer a unique perspective based on my own hundreds of hours of play.

I prefer to see cards as fulfilling certain roles on the field rather than worrying about specific health or DPS numbers as such. For example, with clever minion placement, it is possible to defeat an enemy minion that would have otherwise steamrolled through your forces easily.

I believe that BetaDwarf has done an altogether good job at card balance. Almost every single card is usable somewhere. However, some cards are only good at specific combos that you are unlikely to achieve in Draft. Therefore it is important to pick well-rounded cards that are useful in many situations.

Gameplay Terminology

I’m going to assume you already know how the game works and is played. I have some gameplay terminology that I will be referring to, but may not necessarily be the standard terms because I don’t read other guides or forum posts.

Bridge Control: Playing cards with main intent to capture and hold bridges.

Aggression: Playing cards with main intent to damage the enemy Tower.

Mana Advantage: (Your minions on field + your mana) – (Enemy minions on field + enemy mana). The main concern of virtually every match is to gain mana advantage as this lets you hold bridges or inflict Tower damage. Of course, there are exceptions as you are free to play whatever cards you want, but gaining and keeping mana advantage is a primary factor of victory.

When calculating the mana advantage of any given play, I tend to think of taking control of a bridge or preventing the enemy from capturing a bridge as being worth 1 mana. So if I use a Chain Lightning (4 mana) to kill an enemy Crystal Arcanist (3 mana) before it captures one of my bridges, then I’ve broken even on the play.

While in deep mana disadvantage, it is important to take a more defensive posture until you have regained the advantage. If the opponent is struggling to counter your cards, then you should try to keep control of the bridges more aggressively.

Push: Any minion or minions that threaten to attack the opposing Tower, whether one minion or a cohesive force.

Split Push: Sending minions down both lanes simultaneously. Each group is weaker, but it captures both bridges and hedges against AOE attacks.

Counter Push: Playing minions such that they will not battle incoming enemy minions, but rather have a clear path to the enemy Tower.

Base Race: When both sides heavily commit to Counter Pushing each other with little mana allocated to defense in the hope of destroying the enemy Tower first.

Ninja Capture: Capturing a bridge without actually forming a dangerous Push, e.g. with the Bridge Buddies spell or Propeller Scrats.

(Adding) Heat: Playing cards while a Push is already attacking the enemy Tower, which will likely add damage the Tower without damaging any enemy minions. i.e. “Adding more heat to the fire.” This can be very risky practice, because you will be in that much more mana disadvantage during the enemy’s counterattack.

Cycle: Playing through all the cards in your deck, or your ability to do so quickly. This lets you reach the powerful Master cards more often, such as Ratbo’s “More Dakka” card. As a quick rule of thumb, I consider a draft deck with average mana cost below 4.0 to be “fast cycling”. However, remember that you are not obligated to play every card as you draw it. A single Colossus may bring up the average cost without necessarily slowing your cycle rate.

Target: A (cheap) minion that is used to attract or absorb an attack from a slow attacker (Cleaver, Colossus, Nyrvir) or stealth minion (Assassin, Shadow Whelp), thus making it vulnerable to attacks from others.

Build-around: A card that requires multiple partner cards in order to reach its full potential. These can be very powerful in Constructed, but should generally be avoided in Draft unless you have already drafted good partner cards.

Minion Roles

Rather than talk about specific stat numbers, I prefer to think of cards as having different roles that they play on the field. I consider the roles to be as follows:

Tank: These are ground melee Minions with high health and low damage for their cost. Although most Tanks can do some damage and even win some engagements solo, this is not their main job and they should be supported by other high-damage Minions whenever possible.

Fighter: These are ground melee Minions with good health and good damage, falling somewhere between Tank and Glass Cannon, and usually performing both roles moderately well. Depending on your need at the moment, they can be played as a tank or damage dealer, and tend to be among the best solo Minions.

Glass Cannon: These are melee Minions with high damage and little health. They are fantastic at clearing away enemy Minions and threatening the enemy Tower, but they are easily killed if actually targeted.

Air: These Minions cannot normally be targeted by ground melee minions and can cross the pit between the two bridges. Most of them have poor health for their cost, relying on the fact that their ideal prey cannot fight back.

Ranged: Ranged minions can attack from long range, and typically have moderate damage and low health for their cost. Like Glass Cannons, they need to have something else, typically a Tank or Fighter, soaking up damage for them.

Jack (of all trades): These are Minions with decent stats and a ranged attack. While they may have strengths and weaknesses just like any other card, they tend to be a little good at everything.

Mob: This means any card that summons more than one minion. Because their total power is spread out, this makes them more resistant to big single-target attacks and more vulnerable to AOE (Area of Effect) attacks.

Anti-mob: This Minion is particularly good at dealing with enemy mobs or larger groups of enemy minions in general, typically because of an AOE (Area of Effect) or very fast attack speed. However, their single-target damage is a little weaker for their cost.

Assassin: While I’m aware there is a card named “Assassin”, this term refers to cards that are particularly good at dealing spike damage to single, moderate-health targets, but suffer a bit against mobs and Tanks.

Big: These are any expensive melee or short-range Minions that pack a lot of mana (typically 6+) into a single unit.

Anti-big: These Minions are particularly good at countering Big units.

Support: These Minions do not have very good personal stats, but can buff friendly Minions or hinder enemies.

Win More: Cards that are good at either damaging the enemy Tower directly, or else “banking” or deferring mana advantage for later, but deal no immediate damage to enemy minions.

Building: Buildings are technically not “Minions” and as such are not affected by any spell or effect that targets only “Minions”. However, they are a type of unit that does not move once placed onto the field.

Anti-building: These minions will only attempt to target buildings, the enemy Tower, and enemy Minions that are taunting (e.g. Scott while he is crying).

Puffs: Puffs are Minions with a unique behavior. They may only be spawned next to your Tower. Most Puffs travel to the nearest bridge and stay there, providing some kind of supportive bonus as long as they are on the bridge. Most Puffs do not attack and are spawned with only a tiny amount of health. The sole exception is Wizard Puff, which must be spawned next to your Tower, but otherwise acts as an ordinary Ranged minion.

Spell: Spells cover a wide range of effects. Some of them just summon a Minion (such as Raging Reinforcements), while others do something damaging or supportive. However, all spells give synergy with certain Masters.

Deckbuilding Theory

Now that we know the card roles, we want to have cards that fulfill a wide variety of those roles. Some cards also fulfill multiple roles. This is what I try to target:

1-2 Tanks / Big: Although you can win without any Tanks, it is a severe disadvantage because you’ll have little staying power once past the bridges. 1 tank is sufficient, but more than 2 weakens your deck considerably.

1-2 Glass Cannons: You need something that’ll actually deal damage and clear away enemy minions, especially ones that are already punching your Tank or Tower.

Fighters can be considered as half-Tank and half-Glass Cannon for this purpose. It’s even fine to have zero Tanks, zero Glass Cannons, and 4 Fighters.

2-4 Ranged / Jacks: Ranged units are often critical to your survival so that you can support your Tanks and target Air units.

0-2 Air: While not critical, some cheap Air units can be very helpful.

1-2 Anti-big: You need a way to deal with cards like Blue Golem, Colossus, and Queen’s Dragon. Anti-big cards tend to be fairly good against other stuff anyway.

2-3 Anti-mob: AOE attacks are currently very powerful and you should select them when available.

0-2 Assassins: I mean assassin-type cards, not necessarily the card named “Assassin”. Don’t take more than two.

1-2 high quality Damaging Spells: I mean something like Fireball as opposed to Mana Puff Madness. If it’s a spell that summons a Minion, such as Raging Reinforcements or Infiltration, favor it more highly if using Settsu or Milloween, but count that as a Minion card for drafting purposes.

0-1 Win More cards: It’s nice to have something to bank your mana advantage into, but you don’t want to overdo it.

0-1 Cheap Bridge Capture: Nabbing any of the Puff cards or a 2-cost card that can capture both bridges (especially Bridge Buddies) is useful, but don’t overdo it. Even 2 such cards is fine. But if you have 3+ cards with zero damage output, you will have a hard time.

0-1 Support: Support cards need friends that are not other Support cards.

Using the above rules, we might try to construct a deck such as:

  • Scrat Tank (tank)
  • Whirly Scrat (fighter, anti-mob)
  • Stun Lancers (fighter, assassin, anti-big)
  • Flightless Dragons (glass cannon)
  • Plasma Marines (ranged)
  • Annihilator (ranged, anti-mob)
  • Dragon Whelp (air)
  • Fireball (spell)
  • Chain Lightning (spell)
  • Spear Throwers (jack)

Of course, this is not a perfect deck. There is no such thing as a perfect draft deck. You’re just looking for something that can get 12 wins. The way to do that is to at least cover your bases and have as few weaknesses as possible.

If you do end up drafting a lopsided deck, don’t give up. Take a minute to think about your deck’s strengths and weaknesses. If you only have one or two cards capable of killing air minions, then you’ll want to be careful about playing them before you see how many air minions your opponent has. If your deck has very poor bridge control, it might be better to play almost recklessly aggressive just to ensure the match won’t go to Mana Frenzy. Not every deck is a 12-win deck, but the majority are capable of 8+.

Masters (Top Tier)

When you begin a Draft, you are allowed to select from 3 random Masters. While all Masters can succeed in Constructed mode, it is impossible to predict what cards you will be offered in Draft, so you may not get cards that work well with your selected Master.

The best Masters are the ones who:
1. Have versatile inherent powers.
2. Are not reliant on specific cards or strategies.

The Top Tier choices below are all very strong. Picking any of them is a good choice. In my order of preference:

1. Morellia

Pros:

  • Book of the Dead is extremely versatile.
  • Many available strategies; especially strong with glass cannon cards (Book of the Dead “W” ability) and 4+ mana spells (Book of the Dead “R” ability).
  • Master ability is not reliant on cycling; can be good with expensive decks.
  • Queen’s Dragon can win games that you were otherwise losing.

Cons:

  • Queen’s Dragon is a one-shot ability.

Summary:
Morellia continues to be the top draft pick on sheer versatility and non-reliance on gimmicks or specific strategies. Queen’s Dragon can win games outright if the opponent has no counters. It’s very rare that I ever draft a “bad” Morellia deck as Book of the Dead works well with a huge variety of cards.

2. Settsu

Pros:

  • Blast Entry covers for gaps in your deck, acting as AOE-damage spell and Jack minion in one.
  • Best master at aggressive plays and chipping away the Tower, but still good at bridge control.
  • Settsu’s stunning laser at 120xp (with good spell support) is terrifying.
  • Great self-defense DPS between reloads.

Cons:

  • Reliant on cycling to reach Blast Entry again.
  • Needs a couple cheap spells to really shine (Shock Rock, Bridge Buddies).
  • A little weak on sustained defense because of the reload mechanic.

Summary:
Settsu is an amazing Draft pick just for Blast Entry and the stunning laser. With a relatively fast-cycling deck and two or three high-potency spells, Settsu has the potential for an outstanding draft that even Morellia can’t defeat.

There is one mistake I see a lot, and it must be avoided to get Settsu’s full potential. Blast Entry should always be aimed with mana advantage in mind. Too many times, I see an opposing Settsu land right next to my Tower as soon as she reaches 20xp. And what is my response? Counter attack. While Settsu is not defending her Tower, I just go over and destroy it. So don’t misuse Blast Entry, okay?

3. Valorian

Pros:

  • Searing Light is ridiculously good at assassinating high-priority targets.
  • Searing Light and self-defense damage at 120xp is pretty absurd.

Cons:

  • Reliant on cycling to reach Searing Light again.
  • Healing and damage boosts need Empyrean synergy.
  • The automatic healing is much more useful on certain minions than others.

Summary:
While the passive minion healing can be helpful sometimes, the main benefit of Valorian in Draft is Searing Light. You will almost always have a good target for it: Bounty Sniper, Drone Walker, Soul Stealer, Harbinger — all of these targets are ripe for gaining mana advantage time and time again as soon as you reach 60xp.

4. Diona

Pros:

  • All the little tricks and traps add up a lot more than you’d expect.
  • Almost unparalleled bridge control. (Only Apep is competitive.)
  • Both trap cards are excellent value.
  • Great on defense; Scruffles helps more when you are having trouble.

Cons:

  • Very reliant on cycling.
  • Weaker on the attack because Scruffles probably won’t reach the resulting potions.

Summary:
Diona is a great pick because of the sheer versatility of her traps and the potions gathered by Scruffles. Both trap cards offer amazing value for their ability to ninja capture bridges, assassinate troublesome enemy minions, and win engagements you otherwise would have lost. The automated bear trap can even provide mana advantage all by itself if it traps a glass cannon and Diona kills the minion herself.

The only reason why Diona isn’t placed higher is because she’s not quite as good at assassinating enemy minions compared to Settsu and Valorian. The arrow trap can kill a Sniper Scrat, sure, but it won’t flatten a group of Plasma Marines like Settsu or chop up an A.I.M. Bot like Valorian.

Masters (Mid Tier)

The following masters are acceptable if none of the top tier picks were offered. I’m ordering these according to my personal preference, but they’re fairly similar in power level and win potential.

5. Stormbringer

Pros:

  • Global attack range at 20xp.
  • Permanent boost to ranged minions at 60xp.
  • Doubled master attack speed at 120xp.
  • Not reliant on cycling.

Cons:

  • Poor self-defense.
  • Needs tanky minions to keep enemies clear of his Tower.

Summary:
Stormbringer is powerful in his simplicity. Ranged units are already very important in Draft, and Stormbringer makes them better. Draft is usually a bit slower-paced as nobody’s going to be using gimmicky Triple Brutish Betrayer decks, so his global attack adds to a lot of damage over the match. He will suffer without some good tanks to hold ground, but is otherwise a good choice with an ability — global attack range — that no other master can quite match.

6. Apep

Pros:

  • Great bridge control and value from free minions.
  • Shield Totem at 60xp can shut down aggressive strategies.

Cons:

  • Very reliant on cycling.
  • Free minions are random and might not be helpful.

Summary:
Apep is a fine pick because his free cards and periodic invincibility can make it difficult for the opponent to maintain bridge control or deal Tower damage, which is kind of what the game is all about.

I rate him mid-tier because he’s reliant on a fast-cycling (but balanced!) draft, and the randomness of the free cards often doesn’t hold up perfectly across 12 to 15 games. He’s a good pick, but I feel like the top-tier masters are more consistent.

7. Ravager

Pros:

  • Huge burst potential from Brutus and Terror Brutus.
  • Haste at 60xp can be very potent.
  • Not reliant on cycling.

Cons:

  • Brutus and Terror Brutus are a one-shot and then gone.
  • Haste is more useful on some minions and not others.
  • Self-defense is very short range.

Summary:
Ravager’s main upside is the potential to win games at the 2 minute mark before the opponent can really find their footing, or win with Terror Brutus once you reach 120xp. You can win at other times, of course, but utilizing Brutus can help a lot. Even applying a lot of pressure can build a big XP advantage. He is uniquely suited to counter cards like Demon Warrior that are looking for a long game.

The poor range on his self-defense and somewhat one-dimensional Brutus summons can be to his detriment. But with the right draft (plenty of air and ranged units!), Ravager succeeds more often than he struggles.

8. Milloween

Pros:

  • Mana Golems and Arcane Missiles are consistently good value.
  • Only somewhat reliant on cycling.

Cons:

  • Needs tanks and cheap spells to reach full potential.

Summary:
There’s not too much to say about Milloween in Draft except that she is an okay pick. Try to draft a relatively fast-cycling deck with tanks (company for Mana Golems) and some cheap but high-potency spells (4 mana or less) like Shock Rock, Stun Blast, and Fireball. She is not a master that I often select, but she is well-rounded and capable of getting 12 wins.

Masters (Low Tier)
It’s not that these Masters are bad or can never succeed. With the right cards, they are all pretty scary and can easily get 12 wins. The problem here is that they are much less likely to draft the “right cards” because their strategies are so narrow.

In rough order of my preference:

9. Ratbo

Pros:

  • Free scrats means bridge control, pressure, and targets.
  • With proper support, More Dakka can be very potent.

Cons:

  • Free scrats might be more fuel for an enemy Soul Stealer or Spiritmancer.
  • Free scrats only generate from minion cards.
  • Ratbo needs a few specific cards to reach full potential.

Summary:
Ratbo is not a bad master, but his abilities are reliant on very specific types of cards. The free scrats may end up giving your opponent an advantage without the right stuff to support them or take down troublesome targets like Soul Stealer. Picking Ratbo is a big gamble because you’re not terribly likely to be offered the right stuff to even consider drafting.

If you do pick Ratbo, it is critical that you try to draft any of his synergy cards that you see. Scrat Horde, Frostfeather Flyby, Spiritmancer — it’s these sorts of cards that give Ratbo a fighting chance in Draft.

10. King Puff

Pros:

  • Buffs for 4- and 5-mana minions.
  • Trick Swap can sometimes generate large advantage.
  • High DPS on self defense attack.

Cons:

  • You still need a balanced deck, not just every 4- and 5-mana minion you see.
  • Trick Swap is hard to use correctly if you aren’t very experienced with King Puff.
  • Self defense is shorter range than typical and has poor attack speed.

Summary:
King Puff is a bit of a gimmicky master that you probably either love or hate. Regardless of my personal opinion, I’m looking at the reliance on 4- and 5-mana minions and saying “No thanks”. Given that I consider him the third worst choice, I virtually never use him in Draft. But I’ll say again: with the right deck, he is plenty scary. Good luck drafting the right deck.

11. Mordar

Pros:

  • Tombstones have potential to be the single best Master power of anyone.

Cons:

  • Utter reliance on Tombstones.
  • Only works well with specific cards and mana costs.
  • Poor self defense against anything not a basic scrat or Crossbow Dude.

Summary:
Mordar is completely reliant on using his Tombstone cards to revive high-cost minions while still having enough cheap stuff for cycling back around to those Tombstones in a reasonable amount of time. While it’s somewhat unlikely that your opponent will be able to counter the Tombstones directly (e.g. stunning them with Shock Rock, Stun Blast, or Chain Lightning to reset them), it’s also somewhat unlikely that you will draft a deck that consistently revives worthwhile cards while still having a balanced attacking force.

If you do get a good draft with Mordar, he’s laughably unstoppable and you can nap your way to 12 wins while nobody can come close to stopping you. But the odds of getting a good draft are very slim.

12. Volco

Pros:

  • Burn the Bridges is a great ability.
  • Only master with an AOE self-defense attack.

Cons:

  • Self-defense cannot target airborne minions.
  • Self-defense has poor single-target damage.
  • Ember of Flame mechanic requires specific deck types.

Summary:
Volco has Burn the Bridges going for him, and pretty much nothing else. The extreme vulnerability to air units often creates mana disadvantage as you must treat even a few Propeller Scrats or a Dragon Whelp as a deadly threat. Ember of Flame is a build-around ability and you are very unlikely to draft the right cards to really reach its full potential.

As with the other low-tier masters, I’m not saying that Volco is always bad forever. But he is indisputably the worst Draft pick simply because of his reliance on specific cards — cards that you probably won’t be offered to draft.

Cards excluded from Draft Mode

To my understanding, the following cards are never available to be drafted:

  • Ritual of Servitude
  • Rabid Prowler
  • Empowered Soul Stealer
  • Propeller Horde
  • Shars’Rakk Twins
  • Gor’Rakk Brutes
  • Lord-Sentinel Thelec
  • Nyrvir the Fallen

Card Ratings

Let me start by saying that all cards are useful — sometimes. The key in Draft is that you must win 12 times before you lose 3 times. If your card is strong but easily countered, then it will only beat players who don’t have the counter.

Therefore my ratings are based on three main criteria:

  • How good is the card at fulfilling its role?
  • How usable is the card? Can you use it anytime, or only in very specific situations?
  • How many cards counter this card?

However, it is also important to pick cards from a variety of roles instead of mindlessly picking 10 Excellent cards. No single card is perfect. The key is how they work as a team, covering each other’s weaknesses.

Conversely, drafting a couple Bad or Awful cards does not doom you to losing. Archetype coverage is top priority, even if you have to draft bad examples of that archetype. For example, I consider Sniper Squad to be a Bad card, but I will take it if I need more Ranged minions.

My possible ratings are:

Excellent: For its mana cost, this is one of the best possible cards for its role and should be valued very highly.

Good: For its mana cost, this is a strong card for its role.

Decent: For its mana cost, this card fulfills its role but has some issues that often make it worse than other options.

Bad: This card has serious issues in Draft or is very easily countered. You can sometimes use it successfully, but only in specific, infrequent scenarios.

Awful: This card is almost always useless and should never be Drafted.

Card Analysis (1 mana)
Blood Imps

Role: Glass Cannon
Rating: Bad

Blood Imps are about the glassiest of glass cannons you can get. They have very good DPS for their cost, but mirroring their damage to your own Tower is a big risk. I will say they are slightly more viable now that they only mirror 50% damage, but it’s still a bad card that makes you take too much damage. At least remember they are glass cannons — play them like you would Swarmers or Scrat Pack.

Disruptor Puff

Role: Puff
Rating: Excellent

Disruptor Puff’s two main strengths are the high speed at which it travels to the bridge, and the teleport after it reaches the bridge, making it the only Puff that can (eventually) capture both bridges.

Heal Puff

Role: Puff
Rating: Excellent

Ninja bridge capture and healing your own Tower is a good combo. Sometimes this card alone can shut down an enemy’s aggressive strategy. I was a bit lukewarm on it back when it cost 2 mana. Now that it’s just 1 like all the other non-combat puffs, it’s a great card. It also counts toward Zen-Chi Flow.

Mana Puff

Role: Puff
Rating: Excellent

Mana Puff can pay for itself if left unaddressed or force the opponent to respond with something more expensive to kill it. Free bridge capture? I’ll take that.

Shroom Puff

Role: Puff
Rating: TBD

TBD; new card.

Squire Puff

Role: Puff
Rating: Good

This is my least favorite 1-mana puff. This can make more sense in Constructed for the Empyrean synergy or specific targets for shield, which you are not likely to get in Draft. However, it does still capture a bridge on the cheap.

Card Analysis (2 mana)
Arcane Ring (1 + 1 mana freeze)

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

I see this spell drafted a lot, and I’m still not sure why. Most of the time, you are putting it on a minion and kind of hoping for the best, as it gives the opponent an opportunity to play around it. Sometimes it pays off, but often it doesn’t.

Suglite Shield (1 + 1 mana freeze)

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

It’s not a bad spell, per se. The issue is that it works better with and against certain minions, and it’s difficult to ensure that the setups will appear. At 2 mana, it’s not like you should expect it to do much anyway, but it just does nothing too often.

Black Hole

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

It used to be that Black Hole was good (but used in cheesy ways) in Constructed. This prompted them to nerf it into oblivion, to a point where it is nearly useless in both modes. To be fair, if you are very fast on the trigger, it can dodge some things, such as Fireball or Valorian’s Searing Light. It’s probably the best “Awful” card, but let’s not get too excited about that, okay? Pretty much every time I see an opponent use it, it does nothing.

Boomer

Role: Glass Cannon, Anti-mob
Rating: Decent

This seems like it ought to be a good unit because it can trade against higher-cost cards like Scrat Horde (3 mana), Legionnaires (5 mana), or even Wolf Among Sheep (6 mana). However, it also trades poorly against a lot of stuff (ranged, air, tanks) and is unlikely to capture many bridges or pressure the opponent’s tower. It’s funny, because Re-Boomer is probably a top-10 Draft card.

Bridge Buddies

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

A very good ninja capture card, and sometimes the scrats can be used as cheap targets to absorb a Cleaver strike. Although it doesn’t exactly put a lot of firepower on the field, it’s probably the best card when it comes to plain and simple bridge capture.

Combustion

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

I’m rating it Bad because recent nerfs have given this very few viable targets. You’ll want to pair this with something very tanky, such as Living Statue, Divine Warrior (with shield up), or Colossus. If you don’t draft any cards like that, then this card may be completely unusable.

Crossbow Dudes

Role: Ranged, Mob
Rating: Good

They don’t do a huge amount of damage, but for 2 mana they can capture bridges and provide a little extra DPS. Now stop nerfing them, please!

Elite Swarmer

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

For its cost, it’s a fairly useful Fighter type card that can act as Tank or damage-dealer. It’s also well capable of taking out ranged units or other cheap cards solo.

Frostfeather Flyby

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

For just 2 mana, this kills or deals considerable damage against troublesome targets, such as Xiao Long, Bounty Sniper, Succubus, and Soul Stealer, and at least provides some damage and a Slow effect to anything else. You can usually find some kind of target to use it on. It’s also an auto-pick for Ratbo as each Frostfeather counts toward More Dakka.

Glenn’s Brew

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

As long as you have a good card to pair it with, this is a pretty amazing card. Don’t think of it as killing one of your own minions after 6 seconds. Think of it as extending the life of a minion that was about to die anyway so that it can keep tanking or dealing damage, sometimes wreaking far more havoc than the 2-mana cost here would suggest.

Grasping Thorns

Role: Spell
Rating: TBD

TBD after a recent buff.

Grenadier

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob
Rating: Bad

For 2 mana, I suppose you shouldn’t expect much, but Grenadier’s slow and weak ground-only attack doesn’t kill much except scrats. Its own low health means it is easily killed if it takes any return fire at all.

Haunting Hugger

Role: Anti-big
Rating: Bad

I don’t like this card very much, and a recent nerf caused it to take longer to possess an enemy minion. Ideally, you want to capture a bridge and possess a minion at the same time. The problem is that only Tanks are really worth possessing, and that Tank must not have a Ranged escort. It’s often difficult to find a place where Haunting Hugger produces actual mana advantage.

Illusory Cleaver

Role: Support
Rating: Bad

It captures a bridge, and can also kill Scrats and Archer Dudes. If it doesn’t do any of this, then playing it is overcosted. There is a chance, especially early in the game, that the opponent can be fooled and counter it like a normal Cleaver, but this only works once unless you actually have a real Cleaver to use sometimes as well.

Illusory Dragon Whelp

Role: Support
Rating: Decent

Better than the Illusory Cleaver in just about every way. At the same mana cost and same 50-damage explosion, this is a flying unit (and can therefore ninja capture bridges from above ground melee enemies), and you can summon 3 with voidborne wound for a 150-damage bomb, which isn’t too bad.

Lone Scout

Role: Ranged
Rating: Good

Although a fairly low impact card, it’s not bad if you can trigger the effect to make it cost only 1 mana. All ranged cards are valuable in Draft, even just one archer.

Nether Bat

Role: Air
Rating: Good

A generally good minion that can be used to cheaply damage and ninja capture bridges from above enemy ground melee minions. Although very fragile, the simple fact of being an air unit makes it very usable.

Once Bitten

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

This spell is really only useful when paired with other things that benefit from spells, such as Milloween (arcane golems), Settsu (reloads), or Dragon Nest. Otherwise it is often overcosted and rarely has an ideal target. Werewolves are good, but you are spending 2 mana and 50% of a minion’s health for it.

Propeller Scrats

Role: Air, Mob
Rating: Good

Very similar to Nether Bat, just divided into three bodies and without the teleport. Good for the same reasons.

Rampage

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

For only 2 mana, you can usually find some minions that will benefit from extra damage. It’s not my favorite spell because it only makes minions better at what they do instead of increasing versatility — a Colossus with rage is still going to get chewed apart by that Dragon Pack, whereas a Chain Lightning could have saved it.

S.T.INT

Role: Ranged
Rating: Good

A decent ranged unit at the 2-mana level. Roughly comparable to Crossbow Dudes put into one minion body.

Scrat Pack

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Good

A good card for its cost; Scrat Pack is good at capturing both bridges, providing targets for slow-attack units like Cleaver, and offers fairly good DPS for 2 mana — as long as something else is taking the damage for them.

Card Analysis (2 mana)
Screaming Scrat

Role: Support
Rating: Bad

I really wish that they would make up their mind as to how much Screaming Scrat costs. It’s too strong at 1 mana and too weak at 2 mana, which makes my job as a guide-writer very annoying when they keep switching back and forth.

Sewer Scrat

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

A surprisingly versatile card that serves as a strong counter to some otherwise very troublesome minions, such as Assassin, Shadow Whelp, Cleaver, and other slow attackers. Since it will take at least 2 attacks before dying (more if you can buff it with Spirit) and inflict poison on its attacker, it very frequently pays for itself. Even if used only for bridge capture, then hey, it’s only 2 mana.

Shock Rock

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

A great little support spell that should not be underestimated. Not only is it a prime pick for Milloween and Settsu, its damage can take out Crossbow Dudes and Crystal Archers/Arcanist, and stun anything else. The stun alone can help minions to win matchups that they otherwise would have lost badly, for example Flightless Dragons versus a Whirly Scrat.

Skeleton Crew

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Bad

Since it’s very unlikely that you will achieve the Accursed Ascension effect in any reasonable amount of time, this is an overcosted card that is good for little more than bridge capture, but is not even very good at that and has no other use.

Slitherbound

Role: Glass Cannon, Ranged, Mob
Rating: Bad

Since it’s unlikely that you’ll get any worthwhile Slitherbound synergy, this is an overcosted card. Since they spawn horizontally, you can’t even split-push with them to capture both bridges.

Spirit Vessel

Role: Support
Rating: Decent

A card that has potential to be very good or very bad depending on what ends up getting the spirit buff. It’s usually a good pick, but you may want to avoid it if you have a lot of mob-type cards.

Swarmers

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Excellent

Their collective DPS is quite high for the 2-mana cost. They can also split-push to capture bridges, take out cheap ranged units like Crossbow Dudes, and serve as cheap targets for slow attackers like Cleaver. Altogether very useful and you can almost always find a place to put them.

Wall

Role: Building, Tank
Rating: Good

An immobile Tank-type unit that also soaks damage from building attackers. Although it doesn’t move, it does have very high health and serves a purpose, especially if you have no other Tanks.

Card Analysis (3 mana)
Leiliel’s Vortex (2 + 1 mana freeze)

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

In general, this is probably superior to Daggerfall as it has the same potential damage, and can also be used to group enemies for AOE attacks or keep enemy melee away from your ranged Minions. For example, Annihilator + Vortex keeps the Annihilator safe while bunching up the targets.

“Armored” Scrats

Role: Tank, Mob
Rating: Good

A mobber tank? Believe it! Against single-target attackers, “Armored” Scrats will absorb at least 6 attacks, and possibly more. They’ll even stop Lord Fanriel’s stormcharge! I used to rate this Excellent before the recent nerf to make this spawn 3 units instead of 4. It’s still fine, but it’s not brazenly overpowered anymore.

Banner Man

Role: Support
Rating: Decent

Can be good, but it depends on what the opponent has. Using Banner Man to shield against a Fireball, Chain Lightning, or Colossus swing can be a huge advantage, but he’s not so useful against stuff like Poison Strike or Magma Storm. Sometimes he’s kind of useless, but you could do worse.

Bazooka Scrat

Role: Anti-Building
Rating: Bad

Huge damage and long range make this a big threat to the enemy Tower (or buildings in general), but its tiny tiny health bar makes it rather easy for the opponent to kill. It’s not a horrible card, but it rarely sees its potential in Draft.

Bridge Shrine

Role: Win More
Rating: Good

After this was changed to 3 mana and requiring capture of one bridge, I’m actually liking this card a lot. It’s probably among my favorite Win More cards and I’m pretty happy to draft it as long as I haven’t already drafted any other Win More cards.

Brutish Betrayer

Role: Anti-Building, Win More
Rating: Bad

I’m not enthusiastic about the double-whammy of doing no damage to minions (except taunters) and mirroring damage to your own Tower. Rammer is okay, but Brutish Betrayer is very risky in Draft, unless you have other cards with a strong slant toward aggression.

Caged Prowler

Role: Win More
Rating: Decent

It’s not a horrible card, but it has some issues. It’s a Win More card, so doesn’t help you when you’re in trouble. It gives your opponent the opportunity or option to destroy it and completely waste your mana. Even in the best case, you are telegraphing to your opponent that they should prepare to intercept a Prowler. I only draft this with greatest reluctance.

Cheese Date

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

Its randomness makes it very hard to recommend. When you play Cheese Date and out pops a random Bazooka Scrat, that’s usually a waste of 3 mana. You can rate it slightly higher for Milloween and Settsu for their spell synergy.

Clear Skies

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

It very depends on if you have anything worthwhile to heal. If you have something huge and beefy like Colossus, then you can usually find a spot to use this where it heals your units and not the opponent’s.

Corpse Explosion

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

You’re not likely to draft this alongside its synergy cards. So I guess, as a straight 100-damage AOE defensive spell plus eventually a Minion, you can compare this to a defensive Daggerfall. But that means you can’t use it to snipe enemy Minions across the board or before they capture a bridge, which is what makes Daggerfall good.

Crystal Arcanist

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob
Rating: Good

Good AOE ranged damage, benefits from Mana Surge, and has longer range than most other ranged units. Its main downside is the extreme fragility, so it is easily killed by … just about everything. I think it’s still worth taking just because of how important Ranged and AOE minions are.

Crystal Archers

Role: Ranged, Mob
Rating: Good

Generally good Ranged minions that benefit from Mana Surge and have longer range than most other ranged units. Although they are fragile, they do benefit from being able to split push. I like Plasma Marines better, but Crystal Archers are still a good pick.

Daggerfall

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

At 80 damage, it doesn’t kill as much stuff as I’d like to see, but it does take out a pretty decent list of cheaper ranged units and mobbers, which are all valuable picks in Draft. You can usually find a target for it.

Dragon Whelp

Role: Glass Cannon, Flying
Rating: Excellent

One of my favorite flying units. For its cost, Dragon Whelp has good DPS and is generally able to beat other air units of similar cost, such as Propeller Scrats and Nether Bat. It is so useful for dealing free damage and ninja capturing bridges that it’s virtually an auto-pick unless I already have a couple of fliers.

Frostfeathers

Role: Ranged, Flying, Mob
Rating: Good

Compared to Dragon Whelp, you trade a bit of pure DPS in exchange for mobbing (making more targets for opposing, say, Harbinger) and slowing enemy targets. I tend to like Dragon Whelp a little better, but Frostfeathers is a great pick.

Future Past

Role: Spell, Win More
Rating: Bad

I don’t like it. It’s just too random. It may give you a nice card that is permanently discounted by 1, but it may also give you something useless. It might help you win a match or two, but will it be consistent enough to help you earn 12 wins? I don’t think so.

Gambler’s Ball

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

Since this was nerfed to require Slitherbound synergy for its chance at a double, it’s pretty much useless in Draft.

Ghost Turret

Role: Building
Rating: Decent

I tend to dislike this because it can’t capture bridges, only targets ground units, and it needs a good target to buff with spirit. It also has shorter range than most other ranged units. I guess you could do worse, but it’s got issues in Draft.

Gor’Rakk Sacrifice

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

This is highly dependent on having a good sacrifice target and hoping that your opponent can’t counter it. The most ideal target is “Armored” Scrats, which are very unlikely to be killed by a spell in time. If you can spawn the Cleaver from something very cheap and do it consistently, this is a fairly good spell. Actually doing that in Draft mode is another question. I would only draft it after having already drafted a good partner card.

Healing Fireball

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

As with Clear Skies, this is entirely dependent on having a good target. It must be paired with something high-health or high-value that will be meaningfully healed (Colossus, Harbinger, etc.). If you have no minions like that, then this card will never find a use. If you do have such a minion, then it can be a very good pick.

Healing Shrine

Role: Building, Support
Rating: Decent

As with Clear Skies and Healing Fireball, you need a target for this. Because it heals over time and can help you contest a fight on a bridge, it does combo a little easier with mid-health fighter-types like Warrior or Battle Shi-Hou.

Jade Flingers

Role: Ranged, Mob
Rating: Decent

Not my favorite ranged unit. I appreciate that they are healthy enough to survive Daggerfall, but their DPS without Growthburst Shroom synergy is unimpressive, and their attack animation has a very weird timing that makes them overkill enemy minions. I’ll still take a decent ranged minion rather than no ranged minion, but this is worse than every other 3-mana ranged minion.

Card Analysis (3 mana)
Jing Long

Role: Air
Rating: Bad

Really not impressed here. Jing is a variation on Xiao Long (in fact, he’s a recolor of the same model), but is altogether much harder to use. As a basic unit, he has very little health and damage. It’s unreasonably difficult to get actual value from the vanish-and-stun mechanic. On occasion, you can accidentally blunder into it helping you, but the positioning and timing need to be too perfect.

Jolo the Hero Scrat

Role: Fighter
Rating: Bad

Now that his invincibility is frontloaded, it makes him more likely to tank a few shots from slow attackers, making him a great answer to some very specific situations. But since those situations are so specific, it’s hard to recommend him in Draft. I’ve never really liked this card, but really, it was scarier back when he could sometimes evade hundreds of damage with enough luck.

Lost Legionnaires

Role: Fighter, Mob
Rating: Decent

It’s an overcosted card that compares poorly to Warrior, but they are able to capture bridges, kill fragile ranged minions, and chop down Scrats and Swarmers.

Mana Puff Madness

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

This is a gimmicky build-around card that can sometimes work in Constructed. Since the recent nerf that raised its cost to 3 mana, it’s gone from “almost never useful in Draft” to “never useful in Draft”.

Netherstep

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

Netherstep is a Constructed build-around card for gimmicky, hyper-aggressive decks. It is nearly impossible to get value out of it in Draft.

Pincer of Dread

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

It’s not a horrible spell, but it’s just so conditional. 170 damage to a single target for 3 mana is not great, so it’s only worth it for the potential fear effect, which is very challenging to achieve in practice. More often, you’ll use this for assassinating low-health targets like Sniper Scrat, but lots of spells can do that.

Plasma Marines

Role: Ranged, Mob
Rating: Excellent

Plasma Marines are my favorite ranged unit at 3 mana. They have decent DPS without reliance on Growthburst Shroom or Mana Surge, and they survive Shock Rock. Put them behind a Tank, and they will do exactly what they’re supposed to do.

Poison Strike

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

A very good spell, altogether better than Daggerfall. Although its damage is delayed (a downside), it also cuts right through shields and deals more damage than other 3 mana spells. As long as you don’t already have 2 or more spells, it’s a great pick.

Ravenous Swarmers

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Good

Assuming you actually have a spell to trigger its bonus effect, this is a quite good card and produces significant DPS, although they can’t take much damage in return. Even without the synergy effect, they’re not horrible. A very usable card.

Re-Boomer

Role: Glass Cannon, Anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

This has become one of my personal favorite cards. Although there is a chance it’ll just be countered by your opponent using a quick Shock Rock or a hard-counter minion (air, ranged), it also beats an enormous amount of stuff 1 on 1 or with light support, and has potential to go just completely out of control and keep exploding over and over. Re-Boomer wins games.

Scrat Horde

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Excellent

One of the best and most extreme of mob-type cards. Employed correctly, Scrat Horde can singlehandedly beat many cards that are much more expensive, even though it loses to just about anything that’s even slightly anti-mob. Try to always play Scrat Horde to counter something that it will beat. It’s a really, really great Draft card.

Snake Druid

Role: Ranged, Flying, Anti-big
Rating: Bad

This used to be a pretty good card before they made it move faster (a nerf) and slowed its attack speed (another nerf). It freezes a singular unit in place, which is good, but doesn’t stun it, so it can still attack anything nearby. Snake Druid itself is also very fragile and easily killed by spells or anything that shoots back — including other air units, which Snake Druid can’t target. If you have no other anti-big card and get offered Snake Druid, you may want to begrudgingly take it. But you can do much better.

Sniper Scrat

Role: Ranged
Rating: Decent

A very long-range unit that can give a good accord of itself as long as it doesn’t get killed by its many counters. Sniper Scrat occupies this weird position of being an extreme single-targeter, but not really dealing sufficient damage to eliminate Tanks and Fighters before they reach him. As long as a friendly Tank is stopping anything from coming close, Sniper Scrat can do its job. But it’s very vulnerable and can get killed before he earns his keep.

Spawn of Fury

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

While I was making this guide, I have wavered between rating this Awful or Bad. I’m siding with Awful as this is a build-around card and it’s very difficult to make this work in Draft. I’m willing to admit you can be lucky enough to draft some combo cards and make this work. But 95%+ of the time, you won’t.

Stun Blast

Role: Spell, Support
Rating: Good

Although this spell does no damage by itself, it can allow your own minions to mop up a whole group while they are stunned. This makes the card rather tricky because it requires that you already have minions on the field — it doesn’t really help if an enemy push is at your Tower and what you really need is Beam of Doom. Still, I consider it a very high quality card. Just be sure to use it when you see the opportunity, because the opportunity is temporary.

Sun Burn

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

Since this got nerfed back into damaging your own minions, it’s only good on weak enemies and durable allies. I’d rather have Daggerfall or Poison Strike every time.

Tantrum Throwers

Role: Jack
Rating: Good

A generally useful card; the spears deal good spike damage against high-priority targets, and then as melee units they can at least capture bridges and give a good performance against other cheap cards. A real bargain at 3 mana, especially if you spawn three.

Unholy Ground

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

A generally useful spell with a lot of different uses. Bridge capture, grounding air units, mobbing slow attackers, adding some extra heat to a Tower attack — it’s easy to misplace and waste as the skeletons are spawned one at a time and easily killed, but it’s still a versatile spell.

Walking Blind Date

Role: Random
Rating: Bad

I generally do not like this card or other random cards in Draft. It’s too likely that you’ll get something bad or easily countered. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Priestess pop out of the box and do absolutely nothing. At least put this alongside a tank so that if it is a ranged unit or glass cannon, it has something to hide behind.

Warrior

Role: Fighter
Rating: Excellent

The quintessential fighter-type card that sets the standard for all other fighter-type cards. At the 3-mana cost, Warrior can tank or deal damage depending on what you need, and she usually earns her keep as long as she is played against the correct enemy minions. It’s not a fancy card, but it’s a very good one for its bargain price.

Xiao Long

Role: Ranged, Flyer, Anti-spell
Rating: Decent

In theory, Xiao Long is an annoying minion type (ranged flyer) and discourages your opponent from using spells. However, its standard DPS is pretty low, and it is easily defeated not only by ranged units in general, but by some of the very same spells Xiao Long is meant to counter, such as Sun Burn and Poison Strike. Its 3-mana cost is generally low risk, but it too easily doesn’t pull its weight in Draft.

Card Analysis (3 mana)
Zap Shrine

Role: Building, Support
Rating: Decent

Can be useful, depending on what the opponent decides to throw at you. Zen-Chi synergy can help give it a big effectiveness burst upon summon, but you can’t always count on that. It’s an okay pick, sometimes very strong, sometimes a bit weak.

Zeppelin Bomber

Role: Anti-mob, Anti-building
Rating: Decent

A bit of an odd card that can damage any ground target, but seeks out buildings. It can do some damage and ninja-capture bridges once you are comfortable with the bomb timing, but it is a fragile unit and only drops its bombs periodically, giving the opponent ample opportunity to shoot it down with just about any ranged unit.

Card Analysis (4 mana)
Arcane Bolt (2 + 2 mana freeze)

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

A pretty solid choice that can take out common targets like A.I.M. Bot, Annihilator, Bahra, and even stun and kill big targets like Colossus if you get enough DPS on it at the same time. As this targets only one minion, you will want to have plenty of other anti-mob stuff to compensate.

Crystal Sentry (3 + 1 mana freeze)

Role: Jack
Rating: Decent

A minion that doesn’t really know what it wants to be. It moves slow, has a shorter than typical range, decent but not great health… At least if you have Mana Surge active, its DPS increases considerably, and it can target air units. Without Mana Surge, I think it’s a Jack in all the worst ways. With Mana Surge, it can put out some serious hurt — once it gets in range.

Ardent Aegis

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

You’re unlikely to get the Empyrean Army bonus, so let’s treat this purely as a spawn of two legionnaires and two crossbow dudes, which is a value of 5 mana for a cost of 4 mana. That sounds okay on paper, but the delayed effect allows your opponent to address it by quickly killing the target minion or with AOE of their choice. If your opponent has no answer for it then it’s fine. But there are too many possible answers for it.

Assassin

Role: Fighter, Assassin
Rating: Excellent

One of the singular best Draft cards, period. Not only is it able to do a sudden spike of 210 damage from stealth, but its health and normal damage are surprisingly high, allowing it to win 1 on 1 fights with an impressive number of targets, which is why I consider it to have a Fighter Role rather than Glass Cannon.

Blastmancer

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob
Rating: Decent

Due to its very low DPS without counting the Soul Detonate explosions, it’s not my favorite anti-mob minion. It does its job, but really only against big groups of tiny units like scrats and swarmers. Obviously he’ll give any Ratbo player a big headache — if only Ratbo appeared more often in Draft, right?

Blind Date

Role: Random
Rating: Bad

I do not like these random cards because it is too likely that they will give you something bad or inappropriate, and will end up being exactly what you don’t need while you are already in mana disadvantage. If you do use this card, try to always put it near your Tower so that you have enough time to place minions that will correctly support it. For example, if it spawns an A.I.M. Bot, then you can put a tank in front of it. You can value it slightly higher for spell synergy (Morellia’s discount, Settsu’s reload, Milloween’s golems).

Bounty Sniper

Role: Ranged
Rating: Good

It has the same base stats as Scrat Sniper, but the possible XP gain and shield can make this a pretty dangerous minion. It’s still vulnerable to anything that is able to approach it, but it’s a solid upgrade over Scrat Sniper.

Cannon Roller

Role: Ranged, Anti-big
Rating: Good

A somewhat strange unit, as the whole back-rolling thing can make it somewhat unpredictable. It can’t target air units and is pretty useless against gap-closers like Prowler and Shieldguard of Light, but its DPS is enormous and it can delay getting killed by many other slow-moving fighters. I label it anti-big because it will easily defeat things like Colossus, Blue Golem, and Mar’Dred, even though it’s not too useful attempting to solo a Cleaver.

Chain Lightning

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

My 2nd most favorite spell in Draft (behind Fireball). The capability for it to arc between targets can result in dealing hundreds of total damage, stun, and it kills high-priority targets like Sniper Scrat. It is typically very easy to find good targets for this, making it an extremely playable card.

Cursebearer

Role: Fighter, Anti-big
Rating: Good

This was ridiculously good back when it cost 3 mana. At the 4-mana level, it’s still a good card but has to be used carefully. It’s pretty decent at fighting other low-cost cards, but try not to put it alone against big high-health stuff. Take Red Golem for example. Red Golem will kill Cursebearer in one punch. But if Cursebearer has some scrats to hide behind, then its curse will stick around for that much longer.

Dragon Nest

Role: Building, Spell synergy
Rating: Awful

It’s extremely unlikely that you’ll draft a deck that can take enough advantage of this.

Drone Buzzers

Role: Ranged, Air
Rating: Good

They are very fragile, but being ranged fliers makes them immune to counterattacks from a lot of minions. Usually they do okay for themselves — at worst, your opponent counters them with something like Daggerfall or Poison Strike. At best, they shoot at targets for a minute straight.

Drone Walker

Role: Ranged
Rating: Good

Mostly a health upgrade to Plasma Marines, as this will survive Daggerfall, Chain Lightning, and Poison Strike. However its DPS is only slightly higher. Ranged units are very valuable in Draft, so this is usually worth drafting if you see it.

Fire Imp

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob
Rating: Decent

A very swingy card. On paper, it is a ranged ground AOE unit, and that’s good. In some circumstances, it can do ridiculous amounts of damage from behind a tank. In others, its fire placement is poor and allows even melee pseudo-mob stuff like Legionnaires to walk up and start smacking him. It’s usually a card worth taking, especially if you lack ranged or anti-mob in your draft, but I’m not very enthusiastic about it lately. It doesn’t attack air units, which is a bit of a downer, and it stopped leading targets after a recent patch, which is also bad.

Fireball

Role: Spell
Rating: Excellent

My singular favorite Draft spell, and contender for best Draft card. This will kill or severely damage most high-priority ranged or glass cannon targets, deals AOE damage if needed, and has a bargain mana cost considering the amount of effect it can have. It doesn’t do very well against shielded units, but it is still almost always worth taking every time it is offered. The only exception is if you are already overloaded on spells.

Flightless Dragons

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Good

Although they are very fragile, Flightless Dragons have tremendous DPS for their price. They move kind of slow, but they win a lot of matchups if you spawn them right on top of their target. They can even serve as targets from something like Cleaver; one dragon might die, but there’s still two left who can do hundreds of damage.

Ghost

Role: Flying, Anti-big
Rating: Good

A somewhat risky, but altogether good anti-big minion. In Constructed, you kind of expect that anyone running Big units will also take spells that will easily kill Ghost. In Draft, this is not necessarily the case. Plus, it’s not a terrible deal even if your Ghost captures something worth 3 or 4 mana, or is destroyed by a 4-mana spell like Chain Lightning or Fireball. The main downside of Ghost is its vulnerability to ranged units like Plasma Marines or Drone Walker, but sometimes you can work around this with good placement.

Gor’Rakk Gate

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

As with Brutish Betrayer, I’m not thrilled about the mirrored damage, but at least this one will attack enemy minions. It’s only going to pay off alongside other hyper-aggressive cards.

Card Analysis (4 mana)

Hypnotize

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

It’s a very situational spell, because it requires targeting a group of certain properties so they attack and do meaningful damage to each other. It can be challenging to actually get 4 mana of value out of this, and it can end up sitting in your hand for prolonged periods. Having Hypnotize is generally better than having no spells, but it’s not too good.

Lady Infray the Spire Warden

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob (kind of)
Rating: Decent

A very weird minion that is basically a single Crystal Archer with 150 health and a big AOE on every third shot. Her relatively decent health makes her more resistant to assassination via spells, but her base DPS is so low that she doesn’t do well against single targets, and I rarely see her shoot a meaningful AOE arrow. Ranged minions are valuable and you can do worse, but you can do a lot better too.

Lightning Bolt

Role: Spell, Anti-big
Rating: Bad

Lightning Bolt has the potential to be devastating to your opponent’s strategy if they are relying on huge, singular minions. Even if you’re killing moderate-cost minions such as Scrat Tank or Defenso Chopper, that’s not bad. However, Draft tends to have a broad variety of cards and it’s rare to encounter an opponent completely reliant on Colossus or Blue Golem with zero backup plan. This card also becomes useless against Ratbo (too many scrats), Diona (that bear trap), Mordar (bolting a Tombstone is not what you want), and in many other situations. I’m not saying it’s a useless card or can never be awesome. But I am saying that it’ll make you less likely to reach 12 wins.

Magma Cannon

Role: Building
Rating: Good

One of the better cannons with all-around capability. It has average range, good damage, and can target air and ground. I’m not overly fond of buildings in Draft as a general rule, but this is one of the best at its job.

Musketeer

Role: Fighter, Anti-big
Rating: Decent

Musketeer is a very unique Fighter card that hard-counters a small set of troublesome minions but fares poorly against most everything else. 1 on 1, an enemy Colossus and Cleaver cannot even touch it. It’ll also evade the deadly first strike of Assassin and Prowler. It does okay against other slow attackers in general, but even Blue Golem gets a punch in between parries. While Musketeer’s damage is high, its mediocre health makes it fairly vulnerable to ranged units.

I feel like Musketeer lacks the versatility to be a truly good Draft card as it only excels in a few situations. Still, it’s not bad. You could draft worse.

Priestess

Role: Support
Rating: Good

I’m giving this card a Good rating, but it is highly dependent on Priestess being partnered with the right Tank. The super-heavy cards like Blue Golem, Colossus, Mar’Dred, or Johann are the best partners. Even cards like Scrat Tank or Defenso Chopper aren’t bad. Stormy is also a great partner. If I’m offered Priestess early, I’ll usually take it in the hope to also pick up a good partner. If she is offered late without a good partner already picked, it’s better to not draft her.

Raging Reinforcements

Role: Spell that summons one of: Fighter (Warrior); Glass Cannon Flyer (Dragon Whelp); Ranged Mob (4 Crossbow Dudes)
Rating: Good

Although the minion you get is randomly selected, you do get to see what it will be and can play it accordingly. These are all very good minions buffed with Rage, plus there is potential for spell synergy with Milloween, Settsu, or Morellia (Book of the Dead cost discount).

Rammer

Role: Anti-building, Win More
Rating: Good

While drafting, I consider this to be a Win More card because it’s usually doing damage only to the enemy Tower. If your opponent does have a building card, odds are they just won’t use it once they see that you have Rammer. It’s a decent card that can add some extra heat to an attack or at least punch the Tower once, but don’t take it if you’ve already drafted another Win More card.

Restless Dead

Role: Spell, Win More (summons Fighters)
Rating: Decent

Obviously this was better when you got 4 mana worth of minions for a cost of 3 mana. It’s still okay as far as Win More cards go, especially if you’re drafting this on Morellia who can now reduce its cost with Book of the Dead.

Shen’s Shock Stick

Role: Spell
Rating: Awful

Since this requires heavy Zen-Chi synergy, it’s usually not going to reach its full potential in Draft. At worst, it’ll be a completely dead card.

Shielded Crossbow Dudes

Role: Ranged, Jack, Mob
Rating: Good

Although their individual DPS is still a little low, the shields and potential to summon four units offers a lot of versatility. It’s usually a ranged card that’s worth drafting.

Skeleton Horde

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Bad

I have never liked this card outside of an Accursed Ascension strategy. On paper, skeletons seem okay. In an actual match, the skeletons walk and swing their weapons very slowly, making it very difficult for them to actually approach and fight things except when you summon them right on top of their target. If you are late in the draft and utterly starved for glass cannons or mob units, take it. But first submit a bug report that “My only good choice here is Skeleton Horde.”

Spear Throwers

Role: Jack, Mob
Rating: Good

As with Tantrum Throwers, this card is generally effective against many units. Their spears serve as spike damage against even air units such as Dragon Whelp or Shadow Whelp, and then they can capture bridges and fight other cheap ground cards. It’s not that you want to draft 3 Spear Thrower cards, but it’s generally easy to get 4 mana of value out of them.

Spirit Infusion

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

As with other Spirit cards, this is entirely dependent on having good targets. With the right partner cards (Glass cannons, fliers, high-damage fighters), it can be utterly dominating. If all you have are a bunch of tanks (who don’t need extra health) and individually weak mob-type cards, this may be waiting in your hand, perpetually unplayable.

Stun Lancers

Role: Fighter, Anti-big
Rating: Excellent

A unit that’s great at exactly one thing: 1 on 1, they can defeat every single ground unit, with the exception of Defenso Chopper and Prowler (if Prowler gets its pounce from range). Their low health and damage means they are rather easily mobbed or taken out by spells. Even so, they still counter a large amount of stuff, and other minions can tank or cover for them. There is no other minion that quite does what Stun Lancers do.

Tranquil Shi-Hou

Role: Tank, Fighter
Rating: Excellent

One of the very best Draft Tanks, which can also fulfill a Fighter role in a pinch. It has decent DPS, and its self-healing ability can result in ludicrous value far exceeding its 4-mana price. Like most Tanks, his attack speed is slow, so he is rather easily mobbed. But he also trades well against other Fighters and can absorb a lot of damage while supported by other high-DPS minions.

Card Analysis (4 mana)
Undying Skeleton

Role: Fighter
Rating: Decent

I think of this card as being two 2-mana minions, the strength of which is to provoke an overreaction from the opponent. They can’t ignore it, or else it’ll start punching the Tower for hundreds of damage. But if they only have expensive cards, then they kill it too easily, push with a minion that might be easily countered, and then have to deal with the revived Skeleton again. Sometimes the opponent is able to deal with it cleanly, especially if they have cheap cards — which is what good decks in Draft often have.

Wheel of Doom

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

A generally useful spell, especially in Draft. It can easily kill groups of lower health minions (300 or less), as well as expensive glass cannons or ranged units such as Bahra or Bounty Sniper. But it also runs the risk of being stopped cold by a Tank in front, and it is not usually worth just doing 300 damage to a Tank. It sometimes fails to help in a bad situation, but it can be very useful.

Whirly Scrat

Role: Fighter, Anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

Take a Warrior, add 1 mana cost and an AOE attack. That’s Whirly Scrat. Cost for cost, Whirly Scrat is able to defeat a huge amount of stuff (even single targets), and has enough health to act as a Tank in a pinch. Although it is not a perfect card, you can almost always do 4 mana worth of damage and/or tanking with it. It is one of the best Fighter cards.

Windwalker Shi-Hou

Role: Fighter
Rating: Decent

As a minion, Windwalker Shi-Hou’s stats are a little sub-par. To get value out of it, you must use its Jump ability to put it next to more vulnerable ranged units in the enemy’s backline. If you can do so, then it’s not bad. However, there is a certain risk that it kills one minion and then the opponent summons a Tank or fighter right next to Windwalker, which it then starts attacking. If you’re lacking Fighters, it’s not a bad draft. But it’s not my favorite either.

Card Analysis (5 mana)

High-Mage Leiliel (3 + 2 mana freeze)

Role: Ranged, anti-mob
Rating: Good

A healthier, buffed up version of Crystal Arcanist. Without Mana Surge, she is not particularly impressive. With Mana Surge, she is able to deal equally well with ranged opponents (from the 50% damage reflection) and mobs. She even survives Fireball. A very versatile and powerful card in the right circumstances, but you do need to make an effort at maintaining Mana Surge.

A.I.M. Bot

Role: Ranged
Rating: Excellent

Take a Drone Walker, add 1 mana to its cost, and give it Marksmanship and Shield. The result is an amazingly versatile unit that is very difficult to remove. Although its DPS is a little low for its price, the increased range means that it will shoot sooner and longer than Plasma Marines or Drone Walker. One of my favorite ranged units in Draft.

Annihilator

Role: Ranged, anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

Cost for cost, Annihilator is one of the best ranged AOE attackers that can target both ground and air. The only thing that does this cheaper is Crystal Arcanist (which is extremely fragile and requires Mana Surge for full potential), and the next upgrade is Bahra the Witchwolf, which is both Legendary (and thus rarely drafted) and a large mana commitment. Annihilator is one of the best and most valuable Draft minions.

Bats Bats Bats!

Role: Spell, Mob
Rating: Decent

A spell that tends to be either unstoppably overpowering or completely useless. It just depends on what the opponent has. Plasma Marines, Drone Walker, and A.I.M. Bot will all make short work of them, as will many well-aimed spells, even Shock Rock. You can do worse, but it’s not the most reliable spell.

Battle Shi-Hou

Role: Fighter, anti-mob
Rating: Good

An overall good ground melee fighter who attacks faster when there are more enemy minions nearby (including air minions). Even 1 on 1, its stats are fairly decent. Because it still fights with (very fast) single attacks, it can still be mobbed by extraordinary numbers, whereas a Fire Imp or Annihilator might have stood its ground. It can also be tricky for the opponent to deal with once it starts punching the opponent’s Tower, because weak or low-DPS units will just make it attack faster and do more damage. Anti-mob fighters are pretty uncommon; think of this as an upgraded Whirly Scrat.

Boom Buggy

Role: Ranged
Rating: Excellent

A versatile ranged unit that is very strong and surprisingly beefy — it even survives Fireball. The main downside (which is sometimes an upside) is the strange way in which it attacks, with pauses and random targets. This can make Boom Buggy somewhat unpredictable, but it’s altogether a very good card.

Brothers of the Void

Role: Fighter/Assassin (Assassin) or Ranged/anti-mob (Fire Imp)
Rating: Good

Assassin and Fire Imp normally cost 4 mana, so this costs 1 more to add Rage and alternate the card between them. These are both pretty strong minions, so I think it’s a generally good card. The added Rage makes them both very powerful.

Crystal Construct

Role: Tank
Rating: Decent

I consider this to be the cheapest pure tank as its 1-mana refund on death effectively means that it costs 4 mana. Although Tanks aren’t expected to fight, its DPS is awful and it can only defend itself against the very weakest enemies. It’s not terrible, but it is utterly useless without a damage-dealing escort.

Defenso Chopper

Role: Tank, anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

One of my favorite Tank cards in the game. Although the Defenso Chopper’s health is not quite as high as other cards, its damage shield against enemy melee attacks means that it isn’t vulnerable to mobs like all other Tanks and Fighters are, and will stop fast attackers like Battle Shi-Hou, Fergus, and Mar’Dred absolutely cold. It’s even not too bad against ground ranged units, as its attack is sufficient to one-shot Plasma Marines or cards of similar health. It doesn’t hold up well against slow attackers (Cleaver, Colossus) or airborne ranged units, but it is still an incredibly versatile card that almost always earns back its cost.

Demon Warrior

Role: Fighter, Win More
Rating: Decent

Demon Warrior is an overcosted Fighter that, mana for mana, loses badly to just about every other Fighter. That is until it reaches its 5th play and onward, where it suddenly becomes game-winningly strong. The risk in Draft is that your deck needs to be both fast-cycling and strong in other ways so that your opponent does not destroy your Tower or reach Mana Frenzy before you are able to play Demon Warrior a 5th time.

As long as your deck can cycle relatively fast and you have no other Win More cards, it can be a good pick. I’ve drafted it with great results sometimes, but I also see many opponents take it and never reach the 5th play.

Divine Warrior

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

Usually a decent card. Since a basic Warrior costs 3 mana, you are paying 2 extra for the divine shield. This makes Divine Warrior a poor play on an empty board, but it can be extremely valuable as a short-term defensive Tank. It’s kind of a niche usage, but a usage that’ll appear with reasonable frequency and it’s very good at what it does.

Gax the World Bomb

Role: Anti-mob
Rating: Bad

The opposite of Clear Skies? It is very, very hard to make this thing work because you are paying 5 mana for a delayed global effect that can hurt you as well. Also, as soon as you summon Gax, the opponent knows it and can adjust their play to mitigate the damage. There is a niche combo with Apep; his Shield Totem will protect his Tower from the explosion.

Guardian

Role: Tank
Rating: Bad

It has the same stats as Crystal Construct, but lacks the mana refund on death and protects nearby Crystal Elf minions. How many Crystal Elf minions are you going to have in Draft? I’d up the rating to “decent” for Milloween as this will shield her Mana Golem, but it’s overcosted without any Crystal Elf synergy.

Incubus

Role: Fighter, anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

A very good Fighter minion that I would most closely compare to Whirly Scrat, which is another great Fighter minion. Incubus will clean up most ground mobs easily, and it teleports to ranged attackers too, bypassing any Tank that would normally be blocking the way. It also counts the enemy master as a ranged attacker, which means Incubus is good at inflicting aggressive Tower damage. No card is perfect, but Incubus is very good at what it does, and can be very hard to stop.

Infiltration

Role: Spell, Ranged
Rating: Excellent

Plasma Marines are a great unit. Ordinarily it costs 3 mana to get two of them. Well, Infiltration costs 5 mana to get four of them — and you can place them anywhere in the arena. How is this even allowed? Now, it is relatively easy for all the marines to be wiped out at once (Daggerfall, Morgrul), but the freedom to use them on your side of the arena like a normal unit, or offensively to assassinate enemy minions or push for Tower damage is very powerful.

Jungle Jumble

Role: Spell, Random
Rating: Bad

Yet another spell that generates random cards. Adding two additional cards to your deck will decrease its cycle speed and is very bad for most masters. Although Zen-Chi minions are altogether good, there is no guarantee that what you get will be helpful. Playing Jungle Jumble itself is also immediate mana disadvantage.

Card Analysis (5 mana)

Laser Turret

Role: Building, anti-big
Rating: Good

Laser Turret is one of the best ways to kill high-health units, and it isn’t too bad against most other types of units, either. There are only a few effective counters to Laser Turret (outside of waiting it out), so chances are pretty good that it’ll be able to take down a Terror Brutus or Colossus before it causes too much trouble. The downside, of course, is that buildings can’t capture bridges or attack the enemy Tower. But Laser Turret is still very good at its job.

Lash of Ah’Mun

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

The potential damage here is difficult to top, and can even capture a bridge. The main drawbacks are the somewhat unpredictable targeting and that its target could move out of range before the second swing. This is still a new card, but it seems mostly like Scratillery, plus damage, minus the scrats.

Legionnaires

Role: Fighter, mob
Rating: Bad

To me, Legionnaires is a card that doesn’t really know what it wants to be and is a Fighter in all the worst ways. Each individual minion is stronger than, say, a scrat or Swarmer, but they are still too weak to withstand most AOE attacks. Yet they are not quite numerous enough to resist single-target attacks very well either. They can certainly deal some damage and clean up ranged units after closing the distance, but they will very rarely outperform their 5 mana cost. It’s not that they’re terrible — they have some health and they do some damage. But they are among my least favorite Fighter cards.

Living Statue

Role: Tank, anti-building
Rating: Decent

A pure Tank with the highest health of any 5-mana minion. However, it only attacks buildings, and takes a very long time to reach those buildings. This makes it entirely reliant on damage-dealing escorts, and may cause a problem by bottlenecking enemy minions that are spending a prolonged time attacking it, which then come at you in a big counter-attack. It can be good, but it’s a bit inconsistent in Draft and not my favorite Tank.

Lone Wolf

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

Lone Wolf is a good Fighter card as long as your deck allows for its ability to trigger consistently. It doesn’t mix well with minion-spawners such as Swarmer Totem or Crossbow Guild. As long as you don’t have cards like that, you should be able to play this. Even if you are occasionally unable to activate the lycanthropy ability, a Warrior with Rage is also a decent card.

Magma Storm

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

I’m personally not crazy about this card because of its unreliability. It is potentially very strong and capable of large amounts of damage and board equalization that is otherwise impossible to find in a 5-mana card. It can take out mobs and big minions alike, and get you out of trouble after your forces have been wiped out. However, you are gambling every time you use this. If the game doesn’t like you, then all the magma rocks will miss and you just wasted 5 mana to achieve absolutely nothing. I consider it an okay draft.

Mal’Shar Shadowfork

Role: Fighter, Assassin
Rating: Good

Mal’Shar has the exact same stats as an Assassin, but you are paying 1 additional mana for what is a sometimes-questionable Voidborne synergy. In order to get proper value from Mal’Shar, you have to actually have a Voidborne minion worth stealthing, have them on the field at the same time, get Mal’Shar to kill something, and then hope that this does something meaningful that the opponent can’t answer. It’s a lot to hope for in Draft. Still, Assassin is a fantastic card, so if we just want to say that Mal’Shar is an Assassin that’s overcosted by 1 mana, then you could do worse.

Morgrul the Swarmer King

Role: Fighter, mob, anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

Although Morgrul was brokenly awesome back when he cost 4 mana, he’s still quite good at 5 mana (with 1 extra swarmer spawned per roar). The AOE on the roar can instantly kill low-health stuff, and Morgrul and his swarmer friends themselves have a good collection of attributes. He’s not quite the auto-pick he used to be, but is still a top-tier Fighter card.

Morgrul’s Ragers

Role: Fighter, Support
Rating: Decent

By themselves, they are a pair of overcosted Elite Swarmers. If you can activate the Voidborne Wound bonus, then giving all friendly minions Rage at a time of your choice can be a devastating bonus. As long as you actually have other Voidborne minions that might occasionally damage the enemy Tower, this card has high potential. If you don’t, then these things are dead weight.

Prowler

Role: Fighter, Assassin
Rating: Excellent

I see Prowler as being a more aggressive Assassin. Its first-strike pounce lets it assassinate most mid-health ground minions, and it’s not too bad at brawling in general. It covers ground quickly and can sometimes chain-pounce between enemy minions before finally sticking to the Tower, making it an excellent card for aggressive plays. I like Assassin a lot, and I like Prowler a lot for the same reasons. It’s usually worth the 1 extra mana.

Scott the Sensitive Savage

Role: Glass Cannon
Rating: Decent

Scott is a swingy card that can be very difficult to use in Draft. His DPS is very high, but in many cases his health is effectively 300, which is rather low for a 5-mana ground melee card. Once he starts crying, he’s probably going to die soon afterward without doing any more damage. Think of him as a variant on Flightless Dragons — slightly less DPS, but 300 more HP with a taunt attached. In the right time and place, Scott can sometimes start doing ridiculous runaway damage to the enemy Tower, but he’s a bit more unreliable than I like to see.

Scrat Launcher

Role: Anti-building, Win More
Rating: Decent

A rather pricey Win More card that is usually a 100% Tower-damage play; Scrat Launcher usually just sacrifices 5 points of mana advantage to start doing damage directly to the opposing Tower. If you’re lucky, maybe you can also play it to destroy an actual building. It can be effective, but just having it tends to commit you to an aggressive play style and helps ensure that, win or lose, the match won’t go to Mana Frenzy.

Scrat Tank

Role: Tank
Rating: Excellent

Scrat Tank is my favorite Tank-type card next to Defenso Chopper. Although its base health is not quite as high as truly dedicated Tanks like Living Statue or Crystal Construct, the invulnerability while not in melee combat often mitigates large amounts of damage, and keeps it safe for absorbing extreme-range attacks from minions like Harbinger and Scrat Sniper, and spells like Fireball. Its own attack isn’t great, but is sufficient for one-shotting low health ranged units like Plasma Marines, which Scrat Tank can drive up to while invincible. Its only real weakness is being mobbed by high numbers, where its slow attack speed is insufficient. However, this is a weakness shared by most Tanks and shouldn’t be surprising.

Scratillery

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

An altogether good spell. Its accuracy is a bit suspect, but its potential AOE damage of 250 is very high, breaking through shields and killing many mid-health units that would have survived Fireball. The spawned scrats can sometimes be useful. It’s a good spell, though just a little on the expensive, sometimes overkill side.

Card Analysis (5 mana)

Shadow Whelp

Role: Air, Assassin
Rating: Good

The airborne counterpart of Assassin. Not counting its stealth attack, Shadow Whelp has the same stats as Dragon Whelp, so you are paying 2 mana for the stealth portion. I think it’s a pretty good card — the stealth allows it to kill minions that might otherwise beat it in a straight fight (such as Drone Walker), and sometimes it can re-stealth and start chasing minions all around the map, causing far more havoc than you’d expect. However, sometimes it is stuck chewing on a Big minion for a long time and is little better than an ordinary (cheaper!) Dragon Whelp. Still a good draft pick, though.

Shen Stormstrike

Role: Fighter, Assassin, Anti-big
Rating: Excellent

Doesn’t this guy look like some kind of old wizard? Turns out that he has the same decent health as other Shi-Hou minions (420), and is very good at 1 on 1 fighting because of his stunning and high-DPS attack. However, that attack is very slow, making him more vulnerable to mobs than even most Fighters are. Still a very good and highly versatile Draft pick, especially if he has some cover from another anti-mob minion.

Smite

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

Because you’re highly unlikely to get the Empyrean synergy, this is best treated as a 200-damage spell to ground minions. It’s pretty much Scratillery (also 5 mana) with only one damage tick (bad), ground only (bad), and 50 less damage (also bad). Still, it’s an AOE damage spell and worth something. But I think it only serves to highlight how good Fireball and Scratillery are.

Sniper Squad

Role: Ranged
Rating: Bad

Two scrat snipers for 5 mana. If the opponent has no answer for it, this can be very strong. However, there are a lot of mana-efficient answers for this, even in Draft. Taking these is a big risk unless you are able to quickly grant them Spirit or a shield (from King Puff or Banner Man)

Soul Stealer

Role: Air, Ranged, Jack, anti-mob
Rating: Good

An altogether well-rounded minion that starts a bit weak, but gets stronger with each minion that it kills. Being Air and Ranged keeps it fairly safe from a lot of things, and its decent health helps it survive Fireball and trade shots with other ranged units like Plasma Marines. It used to be stronger before its nerf, but it’s still a fairly good card that is generally helpful, with a decent chance to far outperform its 5-mana cost.

Spiritmancer

Role: Support
Rating: Decent

A very hit-or-miss card that requires two things. First, it needs to have some friends that will benefit most from spirit. Second, it needs for the opponent to send over good targets. On its own, Spiritmancer’s health and damage are rather pathetic. Combined with ranged units or glass cannons, it can buff their health into a very scary, sometimes even unstoppable force if the conditions are right. It really depends on what else you are able to draft. It needs to be partnered with high-damage mob cards like Plasma Marines or Flightless Dragons.

Stormy

Role: Air, Ranged, anti-mob
Rating: Excellent

Although it’s received a number of nerfs, Stormy is fantastic if you can get the Zen-Chi synergy bonus on it — usually something you can expect given the general high strength of Zen-Chi cards, and easy requirement to just play one before Stormy. Placing Tranquil Shi-Hou first, then Stormy behind it, for example, can be very difficult to answer. Even without the synergy, a card that is represents two Chain Lightnings for 5 mana is pretty good.

Succubus

Role: Jack
Rating: Excellent

Succubus is a Jack with weird (but good) attributes. Her health and damage are decent for a ranged unit, but her range is shorter than typical. Her attack speed is pretty fast, so she is not too vulnerable to mobs. She also nethersteps away after taking a melee attack, making her very strong against weak melee attackers like scrats, swarmers, and legionnaires. Her only real vulnerabilities are spike damage that will one-shot her (Assassin, Cleaver) and extreme range (Scrat Sniper, Harbinger). Obviously she will also have trouble against a Tank backed up by Ranged minions, but that just means you need to give Succubus a Tank friend of her own. An altogether very versatile unit that usually pulls its weight.

Swarmer Totem

Role: Building, Generates glass cannon mobs
Rating: Decent

I’m not a fan of Swarmer Totem. On paper, it offers a lot of value if allowed to generate its full complement of Swarmers. In practice, you are spending 5 mana to invite your opponent to play something that will counter Swarmers. If you are particularly unlucky, you will invite your opponent to play Spiritmancer and get a bunch of free health upgrades. It can also be destroyed quickly by Rammer, Scrat Launcher, Settsu’s Blast Entry… I just don’t see this as 12-win material most of the time.

Ting, Teng & Tung

Role: Ranged
Rating: Good

A generally good ranged unit, especially while all three of them are throwing their berries. Their health is good for a ranged unit, and they deal some minor (somewhat unreliable) anti-mob damage. Uniquely, they may damage nearby enemies even while attacking the enemy Tower, which can generate significant mana advantage. Their below-average range and tendency to keep uselessly throwing berries at a dead target stops them from being perfect.

Toll of the Dead

Role: Spell, Generates a Fighter
Rating: Decent

Since you are rather unlikely to get the Accursed Ascension synergy, this is usually just an overcosted Undying Skeleton. There is potential spell synergy with Milloween (Mana Golem), Settsu (reloads), and Morellia (Book of the Dead spell discount), but for 5 mana, it’s a tough sell.

Wizard Puff

Role: Ranged, anti-big
Rating: Bad

I had rated this as Bad even before this was restricted to only summon adjacent to your Tower. It has poor combat stats, its death effect is random, and now you can’t even put it where you want. I’m not quite willing to deem it an Awful card, but they are really testing my generosity on this.

Woodsman

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

Since you are unlikely to get the Revelry synergy, it’s best to treat this as an upgrade to other basic Fighter- or even Tank-type minions like Warrior (3 mana) and Tranquil Shi-Hou (4 mana). It’s a reasonably good-value card that fulfills its basic role as ground melee Damage Dealer and/or Tank.

Card Analysis (6 mana)

AtG Drone x8

Role: Air, anti-mob
Rating: Bad

Probably my least favorite air card as it can only target ground minions. It’s vulnerable to other air minions, and even most ground ranged minions will outrange it if the AtG Drone gets stuck attacking a Tank. It is a little tougher than most other air or ranged units, but I find that it’s still too easily destroyed unless the opponent has a very unbalanced deck. I almost never draft this, and easily counter it 90% of the time when an opponent plays one.

Caber Tosser

Role: Fighter, anti-mob
Rating: Good

A Woodsman that tosses an AOE caber as its first attack or after a revelry synergy. The caber is very powerful and can kill even a group of Legionnaires. He’s a bit expensive at 6 mana and the caber can be baited onto something weak if you play him to an empty lane, but he’s still a strong minion, even without revelry.

Cleaver

Role: Fighter, Assassin
Rating: Decent

I see Cleaver as being a very exaggerated form of Assassin, which means that it’s very good at what it does and horrible at everything else. The massively frontloaded attack makes it great at assassinating any minions with 300 health or less without taking much return damage, but it’s pretty much useless against mobs. Most opponents will have at least one mob-type card that serves as a very hard counter to this, so you’ll want to play Cleaver directly on top of something that it’ll beat instead of onto an empty lane. In constructed, you can take AOE minions and spells to cover for the Cleaver, but you may not have this luxury in Draft. It’s not a bad pick, but I prefer Assassin or Prowler for the role.

Crossbow Guild

Role: Building (generates Ranged)
Rating: Bad

I’m generally not a fan of these minion-generating buildings. Crossbow Dudes are not so intimidating minions, the building doesn’t help while you’re under pressure, and it can be destroyed by several different spells and minions (looking at you, Incubus). It might help you win a game or two, and then lose three others.

Dormant Defenders

Role: Building, Win More, (Tank during Mana Surge)
Rating: Decent

Two Crystal Constructs for 6 mana (which eventually refund 2) is an absolute steal, even if they are dormant and drain health when not in Mana Surge. They have this really weird collection of properties, technically being buildings while dormant. I treat them as Win More cards to bank some mana or as pure Tanks (like Wall) just to absorb some damage. If you have no other Tank or Win More card, they’re not bad.

Dragon Ball

Role: Spell
Rating: Bad

Regardless of whether you spawn a Flightless Dragon or Dragon Whelp from this, this is generally a build-around card that belongs only in hyper-aggressive decks where a couple hundred extra damage to the enemy Tower might get you the win. Fireball at 4 mana is good. But Fireball plus a very fragile minion at 6 mana is a hard sell.

High Inquisitor Ardera

Role: Ranged, Support
Rating: Bad

I do not like Ardera in Draft. Her personal stats are not great (low DPS for cost; self-damage?!) and it is very hard to get actual value from her support power. She can be very scary in Constructed, but is usually one of the worst Ranged cards in Draft unless you somehow draft a killer combo.

Mountainshaper

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

A decent enough defensive spell, kind of like Magma Storm in the way it can deal massive damage to a big incoming force. However, it does not damage air minions and requires a “charge” time in hand for full effect. In a bad situation, a 1-charge Mountainshaper doesn’t help you at all. I dislike its defensive posture and unreliability, but it is better than having no spells at all.

Nyrvir’s Breath

Role: Spell
Rating: Good

Generally good in the way that it can seriously damage all the ground minions in one lane, which is a great counter to basic pushes of Tanks backed by Ranged. It loses a little potential because your opponent can adapt their play once they know you have this and start split-pushing more, but it’s still a pretty good spell.

Rock Rivals

Role: Big, Anti-big
Rating: Good

Can I even count the times I’ve seen this win the game instantly… for the opponent? This is a good card because Blue Golem (normally 7 mana) is a great card, and getting it with Taunt at a 1-mana discount is even better. However, the first play of this must be from a state of mana advantage, preferably with minions positioned to attack the enemy Living Statue right away.

Remember that you are spending 6 mana, but because it spawns an enemy minion (on the first play), this immediately decreases your current mana advantage by about 5 or 6. If the opponent can counter Blue Golem cleanly (which is easier while they have mana advantage), you might just get steamrolled and lose. But if you already have minions in position to quickly kill the Living Statue, then this becomes a very powerful card. It’s a great card, but you must use it properly.

Slithering Summons

Role: Spell (summons a Tank, or Assassin/Fighter, or Air Jack)
Rating: Awful

Without having a large amount of Call Slitherbound synergy to get the discount, this is an overcosted card that summons one of three very different minions. In a Slither-themed constructed deck, maybe that’s fine. In Draft, you are so unlikely to get consistent value from this that I consider it to be one of the worst Draft cards.

Styxi

Role: Ranged, Anti-mob
Rating: Decent

A buffed, but very expensive version of Scrat Sniper. Styxi is good at killing low-health minions at long range, but does it in a rather strange way with single attacks. If he does attack a high-health minion or the enemy Tower, then his DPS drops considerably until the next kill. His health is high enough to withstand some of the cheaper spells that otherwise kill Scrat Sniper. The Stealth does make him sometimes tricky to deal with, but he is still pretty helpless once engaged directly.

The hope is that Styxi stays on the board for a long time and doesn’t let too many high-health minions start whacking your Tower. It sometimes works out, but sometimes it’s a lot to hope for.

Wolf Among Sheep

Role: Fighter, Mob
Rating: Good

Whereas I’m thoroughly unimpressed by Legionnaires, I think this is a good card. Why? Werewolf.

The werewolf for a 1 mana premium provides a singular and relatively powerful fighter that will probably do very well against whatever was used to counter the Legionnaires. Imagine an enemy Fire Imp or Annihilator — they will clean up Legionnaires all day, but then the werewolf appears and kills the enemy AOE. Now the opponent has to play another card to deal with the werewolf. See how that works? It’s great.

Zealots of the Burning Fist

Role: Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Decent

One of the most expensive ground melee Glass Cannon minions. They may look like Warriors (and therefore Fighter minions), but their high damage and self-damage on each attack is what counts here. Just try to play them directly against something they’ll beat, because they’re rather easy to counter if used alone.

Card Analysis (7 mana)

Border Patrol (5 + 2 mana freeze)

Role: Jack
Rating: Bad

Even with the Crystal Elf synergy, which you are not guaranteed to get (except on Milloween, who can just use Mana Golem for it), this is not usually a great play. Even if you do get the synergy with, say, Crystal Archers… what they really need is Guardian. Will you draft Guardian alongside this? Probably not.

Akinlep’s Gong of Pestilence

Role: Jack
Rating: Good

With fair durability and a ground-and-air AOE attack, this is almost like Johann at a 7-mana price point. There is possible synergy with other cards that inflict poison (Slitherbound, Sewer Scrat), but this is unlikely in Draft. I think it’s a pretty good card, but you do want to try playing it from mana advantage or giving it a beefy Fighter or Tank escort, as this has a fast movement speed and poor performance against single targets (except buildings, which it rams instead of poisons).

Armored Escort

Role: Spell, Win More (summons Jacks)
Rating: Decent

Often either amazing or worthless, depending on what you combo it with and what kind of AOE the opponent has. These guys don’t hold up well against Fireball, and don’t last long against stuff like Whirly Scrat or Annihilator, and especially not High Mage Lauriel. If your opponent has no answer, they are a very strong way to Win More, though. Look to combo with Spiritmancer or Priestess.

Bahra the Witchwolf

Role: Ranged, anti-mob
Rating: Good

A natural progression of minions like Crystal Arcanist and Annihilator. Bahra is also surprisingly durable for a ranged minion, although he notably doesn’t survive Wheel of Doom, and Scratillery is likely to kill him as well. The on-summon rooting effect is also very interesting, so he can be played rather aggressively or save other ranged units from getting engaged by enemy melee. An overall good minion, just with a risk of getting countered as he is expensive.

Beam of DOOM!

Role: Spell
Rating: Decent

No tricks here. Just up to 600 AOE damage to Minions and/or 300 damage to the enemy Tower. It’s good in the right spot, but I often find that once the opponent knows you have this, they won’t quickly give you a good target for it again. I also don’t like that it’s mana-inefficient against Blue Golem or Colossus. I think it’s worth taking as the lone damaging spell in a deck, but I’d skip it if I’ve already grabbed Fireball or Chain Lightning.

Blue Golem

Role: Big, anti-big
Rating: Excellent

My favorite of the big expensive tanky melee minions. Blue golem is very durable for its cost, but also packs an enormous punch to single targets in melee, such that it beats just about every Fighter or Tank in short order. Although it is vulnerable to air and mobbing units, at least Blue Golem is cheaper than other things that are also similarly vulnerable (Red Golem, Mar’Dred).

Brother of the Burning Fist

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

Kind of a slower, more defensive form of Shieldguard of Light. Good for the same reasons, but it doesn’t have quite the same offensive capability without the dash attack. Still a good, tanky Fighter.

Dragon Pack

Role: Air, Glass Cannon, Mob
Rating: Good

Expensive for its DPS (as it has the exact same DPS of 4-mana Flightless Dragons), but one of the fastest ways to take down just about anything that’s not an anti-air AOE minion (Crystal Arcanist, Annihilator, Bahra, and Johann will chew these up). Their health is very low for their cost, and many spells will take them out quickly. Despite some of these issues, they’re usually worth drafting.

Fergus Flagon Fighter

Role: Fighter, anti-mob
Rating: Decent

There might be such a thing as too much AOE. Fergus does a lot of damage to ground minions and will tear most mob-type minions apart, but the vulnerability after his attack can lead to him being killed after just one spin. It’s a big expense when cheaper options (Whirly Scrat, Annihilator) also kill mob-type minions just fine.

Harbinger

Role: Air, Anti-big
Rating: Excellent

Harbinger wins games.

I don’t mean that it wins every game. I mean that Harbinger is one of the best Draft Minions for its mix of safety (Air, decent health, long range) and great single-target DPS with knockback effect. Harbinger is only truly weak against a handful of cards, most of which are easy to take out with a supporting minion or a spell. The mere existence of this card and its sheer power also increases the value of all its counters — when drafting, you should always try to draft at least a card or two that’ll deal with Harbinger.

Howling Moon

Role: Spell, Anti-big (summons two Fighters)
Rating: Good

A generally good spell as long as it deals some damage to enemy minions, especially anything Big. The werewolves are good minions as well. You can usually find a spot to play this, and that spot is usually while you’re in mana disadvantage and could use the swing play.

Last Stand

Role: Spell (Summons Fighter/Mobber)
Rating: Decent

A generally decent spell. It’s likely that your opponent will want to capture both bridges, even if they know you have this spell. The main issue is that even a hundred Legionnaires will still get countered by AOE just as easily as seven do. Nonetheless, it is an okay spell. You can rate it slightly higher on Morellia as she can discount it to 5 via Book of the Dead.

Shieldguard of Light

Role: Fighter
Rating: Good

Hey, remember when this was 6 mana and laughably overpowered? It’s still a pretty good Fighter-type Minion, able to handle most stuff on the ground that gives trouble to other Fighters, such as Cannon Roller and Succubus. It’s best played as a mob-counter (the same way you’d use Morgrul’s roar), and then back it up with some AOE or fast-fire support from Plasma Marines, Crystal Arcanist, etc. while its shield ability recharges.

Wreckinator 9000

Role: Fighter, Anti-mob
Rating: Good

Essentially a more expensive version of Whirly Scrat as a ground melee AOE Minion, with the possibility of an explosion at the end. Backing this up is risky as the explosion will damage friendly Minions as well. Altogether a decent pick.

Card Analysis (8 mana)

Caeleth Dawnhammer

Role: Big, Tank
Rating: Decent

A particularly tanky Big Minion, owing to his periodic invincibility and AOE shield. His high cost and relatively fast walking speed makes him difficult to support, and it’s usually easy for the opponent to bait out his shield and mob him. At least he doesn’t cost 9 mana anymore. Used responsibly, he’s alright, just try not to draft anything else expensive.

Commander Azali

Role: Big, Support
Rating: Bad

Azali is a decent fighter, but is overcosted for stats alone. The value comes from the shield, but Azali is a build-around card where the deck needs to be based on triggering the shield as often as possible and hopefully on glass cannons or mobbers. This is very unreliable in Draft.

Crakgul Doomcleaver

Role: Big, Fighter, Assassin
Rating: Bad

Crakgul has the same base stats as Cleaver, but his special ability reduces the cost of a Voidborne card in your hand by 1 mana each time he scores a kill or smacks the enemy Tower. As I’m sure you can do math, you see that he has to score two kills just to break even versus a Cleaver. He can usually pull off two kills. But don’t you also know that resources now are worth more than resources later? It’s like you’re making a loan at 0% interest.

He performs better in constructed with decks that can pack Shock Rock and Daggerfall to protect him from mobbers. Unless you get cards like that, Crakgul is rarely a great play in Draft.

Future Present

Role: Random
Rating: Bad

I do not like these random cards, especially not one that costs 8 mana. It’s a real kick in the teeth if this gives you a bad card. A bad card that’s discounted is still bad.

Herald Ah’Mun

Role: Air, Anti-mob
Rating: Good

A very expensive, but very powerful AOE flyer. Ah’Mun packs a lot of power and has fairly good health for a flyer, but he does move slow and has a slow attack speed. He’s generally a useful minion and can sometimes be very powerful if the opponent lacks sufficient anti-air, but the 8-mana price tag does carry some risk. Still a good pick as long as you don’t have any other expensive AOE minions who are doing the same job.

Lord Fanriel the Stormcharger

Role: Big, Fighter
Rating: Bad

Lord Fanriel has a problem. The problem is that his stats and stormcharge ability do not justify his 8-mana price most of the time. Too many minions have more than 100 health and will stop the stormcharge. Alternatively, he too easily charges straight to the enemy Tower and starts poking it for unimpressive DPS. As great as it is to kill a couple Crossbow Dudes and deal a few hundred damage to the Tower, Lord Fanriel almost always gives your opponent mana advantage.

Troubadour

Role: Big, Tank, Anti-building
Rating: Bad

The most expensive of supertank building destroyers. In Draft, you’re committing a lot to the hope that you have enough support cards (high damage minions!) and your opponent has insufficient AOE and DPS. It’s a very expensive risk to take, and I’d usually rather have a weaker, but less expensive tank. If Troubadour is your only tank, fine. That’s better than no tank. But I’d give preference to just about anything else.

Void Altar

Role: Building, Win More
Rating: Awful

A hideously expensive Win More card that is only safe to use from a position of high mana advantage — mana that you could probably spend on just about any other card and still be successful. It’s possible that this has gotten a win or two in Constructed, but I have yet to see anyone play this in Draft and win. This is the worst Draft card in Minion Masters.

Card Analysis (9 mana)

Colossus

Role: Big, anti-mob
Rating: Good

A very good card as long as you use it in the right time and place. Ideally, you want to set this down in front of an expensive mob attack, like Last Stand or Wolf Among Sheep, or from a state of some mana advantage. Colossus is countered pretty hard by air units (Dragon Whelp, Harbinger, Ghost(!)) and takes a lot of damage from long range (A.I.M. Bot will do tremendous damage before Colossus gets in range), but its huge AOE damage in the right place can be devastating.

Jadespark Watchers

Role: Fighter, Ranged
Rating: Good

Generally a great Draft choice. Although there’s something inherently inflexible about cramming so much stuff into one card at a 9-mana price tag, it is generally worth it and will beat a lot of stuff cost-for-cost, while also being able to split push. It’s kind of bad if your opponent has heavy AOE, as even Fireball will give this a bad day if all 4 minions are kept together. But in many cases it’s hard to stop cost-effectively.

Red Golem

Role: Big
Rating: Bad

Generally not a great pick. Either this stays in your hand as an overcosted Blue Golem, or you allow your Tower to get knocked below 1500 so you can actually feel decent about playing it. Whenever you have an unplayable card stuck in your hand, it weakens you considerably, such that just drafting this means that some matches will become reliant on playing Red Golem to save you from certain defeat. I’ve seen many opponents play Red Golem, and then fail to stop my immediate counter-push while Red Golem slowly … never … reaches … my … Tower.

To be clear, Red Golem can sometimes win matches. In experience, though, it reduces your chance of winning 12 matches with that deck.

Card Analysis (10 mana)

Jahun, Keeper of Jadespark

Role: Big, Jack, Anti-mob
Rating: Good

Johann is an interesting standout among the other expensive minions. He is very durable and can soak a lot of damage and outlast most 1v1 combats. His attack does area damage, making him good against mobs in general, especially if they’re incoming from a single direction. However, Johann’s single-target DPS is quite poor for his cost, so he doesn’t trade well against singular Fighters, and especially not when taking attacks from multiple directions. Still, the durability and self-defense against air minions makes Johann a very good Draft pick as long as you don’t have too many other expensive cards.

Mar’Dred, Prince of Nightmares

Role: Big, anti-big
Rating: Decent

Mar’Dred is fantastic at assassinating mid-health and even other Big minions with his instant-kill ability, and has a pretty good amount of health to soak damage for any friendly ranged minions accompanying him. However, he has no defense against air and moves slowly, making him vulnerable to long range. His instakill — and fear effect — also don’t activate against unbuffed scrats or skeletons, so he is rather easily mobbed. I think of him as being somewhere between Blue Golem and Red Golem, but you pay a premium to drop Red Golem’s stifling Tower-health requirement. He’s not a bad pick, but I do like Blue Golem better for this “role”, even if Mar’Dred technically beats Blue Golem in a 1v1.

Rockin’ Roller

Role: Spell, Big
Rating: Bad

I’m not impressed. I guess you could say this is a Fireball-like effect (4 mana) plus a Blue Golem (7 mana) at a 1-mana discount. But by combining the two, it’s missing out on what makes those cards truly valuable — that Fireball can be used on the opponent’s side of the board, and Blue Golem walks slow enough to be given proper supporting minions. At 10 mana, it’s seriously difficult to get mana advantage from this card.

Hall of Fame – Best Draft Cards

1. Fireball – The more copies of Fireball you draft, the more you win.

2. Re-Boomer – For only 3 mana, Re-Boomer is capable of enormous damage output.

3. Harbinger – Requires specific counters; if the opponent doesn’t have those counters, they lose.

4. Scrat Tank – Ridiculous durability with a surprisingly decent attack.

5. Defenso Chopper – Great durability and wins against almost everything that costs 5 mana or less.

6. Stun Lancers – 1 on 1, stunlocks and beats a huge list of stuff, including 10-mana minions like Mar’Dred.

7. Scrat Horde – Although fragile, they’re able to singlehandedly beat some much more expensive Minions, such as Blue Golem and Cleaver.

8. Bridge Buddies – The best way to ninja-capture bridges. Plus it’s a spell for Settsu and Milloween.

9. Assassin – A decent overall fighter, instakills many otherwise troublesome minions, and hides from Harbinger and snipers.

10. Dragon Whelp – Cost for cost, one of the best air units without spending too much mana.

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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