Hey, everyone!  It’s Micah and we’re back for Part 2 of our crossover draft project articles.  If you missed part 1 be sure to check it out at RNG.  Seriously, go read that article if you haven’t, otherwise, you’ll be confused when we start talking about WRM(and what it actually means)!  One thing I know for sure is that Part 1 generated some seriously heated debate in the Eternal Discord channel!  We’ll be discussing the origins of that heat more on Tuesday, but today we’re going to go over the uncommons.  Let’s get to it!  Today we’ll start with the “worst” cards first.

15 “Worst” Uncommons

 
Name Times Played Winrate Modifier
Tinker Apprentice 15 -7.56
Infinite Hourglass 13 -5.92
Flight Lieutenant 12 -5.73
Desperado 18 -5.61
Yeti Troublemaker 26 -5.41
Amethyst Ring 15 -5.05
Lifedrinker 19 -4.91
Amethyst Monument 34 -4.85
Storm Glider 29 -4.80
Hunter’s Harpoon 87 -4.68
Highwind Glider 58 -4.61
Brilliant Discovery 23 -4.46
Piercing Shot 47 -4.23
Psionic Savant 27 -4.15
Smuggler’s Stash 22 -3.85

Tinker Apprentice

Micah: 1/1 for 1 with minor conditional upside is not nearly strong enough to see play.

Flash: Warcrying a specific card (e.g. Rebel Sharpshooter) could be extremely powerful but in general, Tinker Apprentice is just not worth a card slot.

Infinite Hourglass

Micah: This looks so good on its surface.  You almost never lose a race once you resolve it right?  Wrong, you wasted a card and possibly a turn casting this instead of a threat.

Flash: Similar to Tinker Apprentice, Infinite Hourglass rarely feels like a justified inclusion in any deck. It does have the benefit of completely blanking Permafrost and Eye of Winter, but running a card specifically to counter an uncommon and a rare does not seem like a wise idea.

Flight Lieutenant

Micah: Giving your whole team flying is a reasonable win condition so I am slightly surprised to see this as the 3rd “worst” card in the set.  My guess is that there are simply better late game cards to build a slow deck around.

Flash: Flight Lieutenant being in the bottom of the uncommons is surprising to me. It is a pretty lackluster finisher for Justice, but it can often just surprise lethal your opponent through board stalls. The 4/4 body is probably the main factor holding it back and it does pale in comparison to other Justice curve toppers, such as Fourth-Tree Elder or even, Roosting Owl.

Desperado

Micah: This got WAY worse once the fixing strangers started seeing massive amounts of play.  Unless you have free (think Minotaur Lighthoof) this will almost always be trading for a stranger.

Flash: This is just an average card in my book, but I think there are drafters still having the set 1 mentality where Desperado is a much better card. The infiltrate text on this card is significantly harder to trigger in this format as there are fewer units/spells to grant it evasion. I also think some drafters overrate it because they overestimate the frequency of triggering the infiltrate with a good target on board. I do think that this card is swimming at the bottom of the rankings due to the heavy overrating by the drafters.

Yeti Troublemaker

Micah: Paying 4 power for a 3/2 puts you pretty far behind.  Doing it twice is enough to seal your fate.

Flash: I’m not surprised to see Yeti Troublemaker here. This card is heavily underwhelming on it own and the card advantage is often irrelevant if you are paying twice the power cost for each card and getting tempoed out hard. In the famous words of LightsOutAce, “Many have died in search of value” and Yeti Troublemakers have often been found next to their cold lifeless bodies.

Amethyst Ring

Micah: This is not the Lifeforce enabler you were looking for!  This card does not affect the board and should not see play.

Flash: This card is just so bad. It is able to consistently trigger lifeforce, yes, but spending 3 power a turn to do so is not ideal. Assuming I am drafting lifeforce, I would much rather have cards such as Skeeter, Amaran Camel or Sanctuary Priest instead of Amethyst Ring in my deck.

Lifedrinker

Micah: This one is somewhat surprising.  It cost 1 more than Talon of Nostrix, but you get the 2 life back.  It seems like that kind of effect would not cause you to lose 5% more often.  *shrug*

Flash: This card is basically a more expensive Talon of Nostrix. The increase in cost is also extremely significant because, on the draw, this card can’t answer a Turn 2 Lethrai Ranger or Awakened Student.

Amethyst Monument

Micah: This strikes me as more of an effect of people forcing Lifeforce and then not finding the enablers rather than this being actively bad.  Whenever a power slot can be filled with a power that’s also a creature you should be doing pretty well.  Don’t cut this from your Shadow decks.

Flash: Seeing this card chilling in the dumpster ranks really made my day because I have been consistently arguing that Amethyst Monument is the worst of the 5 monuments. In a vacuum, a 3/3 lifesteal is probably comparable to a 4/1 charge (Granite Monument). However, the difference is that the other monuments all synergize with their faction archetypes, weapons theme for Justice, Fliers for Primal and solid big dudes for Time. Granite Monument also does well because as a fire deck, you are almost always the beatdown and thus, your opponent will rarely have a blocker to trade for your 4/1 on turn 5. A 3/3 lifesteal unit just does not do much on most boards and is often, just a worse Xenan Destroyer.

Stormglider

Micah: A 2/2 Flier for 4 is playable (see Valkyrie Militant with its WRM of .36).  When the temporary upside costs 5 power you should steer clear.

Flash: This is another card that I think people severely overrated. In most cases, it is just a more expensive Stormcrasher. The text is rarely relevant unless both players are stuck in topdeck mode and overwhelm on a flier is almost like an oxymoron. I do feel slightly vindicated that the stats back me up on this since this is another card that many drafters disagreed with me on.

Hunter’s Harpoon

Micah: Ahh the darling of the first few weeks of the format has taken quite a tumble.  I would say the large negative WRM here is in large part due to it being overrated.  It buffs a unit gives a form of evasion AND draws cards.  That is probably playable, but not 1st-6th pickable.  I would say this is still good in Skycrag decks with tons of fliers.

Flash: This list just keeps getting better for me! Hunter’s Harpoon is another card that I panned hard. Spending 4 power to give a unit +1/+1 and quickdraw is not what you want to do in Skycrag. You really want to play a big beefy beater on turn 4 (such as Jotun Cyclops) to keep the aggro snowball rolling (pun 100% intended). Moreover, to net a card draw, you often have to play this card on a flier, opening yourself to huge blowouts. Even if you do get a draw out of the Harpoon, it still ends up being a tempo-negative 2-for-2.

Highwind Glider

Micah: We all had such high hopes for this card.  In a different faction pair (based in time most likely) this would be an insane late game beast.  Sadly Hooru just wants to beat down and stun units, not grind out the late game.

Flash: This is another card that I felt belong on this list, but I do feel sad for it. Highwind Glider has the potential to be such a broken card because it out durdles most other cards. The problem? It’s in the wrong factions. Hooru is generally an aggressive/tempo-orientated faction. The games often end before you are able to cast and activate this card because Hooru doesn’t have the cards to lock up the board. If this card was in Combrei, it would probably be borderline broken and currently, it does shine the most as a splash in Combrei decks.

Brilliant Discovery

Micah: This one is a tough pill to swallow after I so whole heartily endorsed its greatness.  But we all must bow to the reality of the data.  I would still play this in a deck that had a solid plan to make it to the late game and wanted to cast 7 and 8 drops.

Flash: This is just a bad card. Don’t play it. Ever.

Piercing Shot

Micah: I’m surprised that this isn’t better in a world with so many strangers.  The biggest issue is that it’s so narrow.  This is only killing two drops or maybe a Pteriax Hatchling.  The opponent also MUST have a unit in play or this is dead in your hand.  Compare this to hipshot which can go face if necessary (and warp, which we all know is amazing).

Flash: I am really surprised to see Piercing Shot at such a low rating. My guess would be that there is a limit on the number of interactions that you would want to run and if you are in Fire, you have much better options in the form of Torch, Mortar, Purify and Gun Down. Moreover, I think Piercing Shot being slow means that it really only goes into aggressive decks as it’s hard to extract value from it later on when most units are already sufficiently fat.

Psionic Savant

Micah: I’ve lost to this card many times.  That doesn’t mean that it’s good.  This is too expensive and slow for this format.  The addition of Archive Curator at common didn’t help this either.

Flash: This card has a huge “trap” sign next to it. At first glance, it seems unbeatable as a card that grows every turn. However, the main drawback for this card is that it grows way too slowly to be relevant and it basically dies to a snowball or even a stiff breeze. I generally don’t like playing Psionic Savants, but if I do, I would want to run units/spells that are able to draw cards and thus, bump Psionic Savant out of snowball range at least.

Smuggler’s Stash

Micah: I think most of this rating can be explained by it being overrated and that players don’t fully consider the deckbuilding requirements this card requires to be great.  You need multiple weapons for it to really be good AND a solid plan to survive into the late stages of the game.

Flash: I think that Smuggler’s Stash took a big hit in the ratings because of how overrated it is. While this card is great for late game value, I do think drafters, in general, overvalue it and splash it way too loosely

Flash’s Overall Thoughts: There seem to be 2 clear categories of cards in the 15 worst commons. Half the cards are flat out bad cards (e.g. Brilliant Discovery, Amethyst Ring, Tinker Apprentice) while the other half seem to suffer from being heavily overrated by the community (e.g. Highwind Glider, Storm Glider, Smuggler’s Stash). Cards that fit only a specific game plan (such as Highwind Glider, Smuggler’s Stash and Piercing Shot) also tend to be lower on the ratings and this could be an indication of players not optimizing their decks towards the game plan of their deck. For example, in a Stonescar hyper aggro deck, I would not be super keen to run a Smuggler’s Stash.

15 “Best” Uncommons

Which faction do you think makes up 1/3 of the top 15 uncommons?  My guess is most of you would say Time and you would be right.  But I would also guess that MOST of you didn’t even think about Shadow.  Those that did would also be right!  Lots of surprises here let’s dig in!

 
Name Times Played Winrate Modifier
Praxis Displacer 68 6.42
Xenan Initiation 131 6.33
Shadowlands Bonepicker 60 6.10
Amber Monument 66 6.05
Plague 36 5.79
Diplomatic Seal 43 5.72
Cabal Cutthroat 32 5.42
Tranquil Scholar 70 5.40
Furnace Mage 36 5.24
Rolant’s Choice 58 4.70
Minotaur Lighthoof 53 4.63
Ice Sprite 62 4.53
Slay 88 4.52
Amber Ring 36 4.52
Unlock Potential 30 4.25

Praxis Displacer

Micah: This guard just screams value and tempo.  A clean answer to weapons and can remove problematic blockers so you an A+Space.  This card is great and if you are in Time you should be picking this ALWAYS.

Flash: Move over Cannonbearer and Icaria, there’s a new bae in town! Praxis Displacer claims the top spot in the uncommon list with style. I am also guilty of underrating this card and this analysis definitely bumped it up in my pick order. Getting a 3/2 body with a tempo advantage is nothing to scoff at and you can also consider bouncing your own minions to use their summon effects again. Bounce effects have also gotten better with the release of Set 2 because of the dilution of hard removal. This means that players are more likely to play weapons in their deck (lower chances of getting straight 2-for-1ed), which in turn makes bouncing an opponent minion even better, getting a tempo advantage AND destroying a weapon.

Xenan Initiation

Micah: I was secretly rooting for this to be the best uncommon, but only so that we would have killer spells on either end of the spectrum.  Why this is so much better than Predator’s Instinct is an interesting question.  We’ve talked before about cards that have multiple effects and how strong they are compared to cards with single effects.  Initiation is no different.  The buff makes it much more likely you’ll be able to keep your unit after it kills your opponents.  That is a big deal.

Flash: This is another card that benefitted heavily from the dilution of hard removal. Xenan Initiation allows you to target a key minion on your opponent’s board, making it a pseudo-removal spell. The +1/+1 is often relevant as well since it often allows you use your X-drop to eat their X-drop directly, rather than making it a 2-for-1 (as is often the case with predator’s instinct).

Shadowlands Bonepicker

Micah: Everyone should be picking Bonepicker highly.  It is really easy to splash and will win the game on its own if left unanswered.

Flash: Guess what this card has in common with the previous 2? Yup, it’s significantly better in a meta with scarce hard removal. This card is also a good draw throughout the entire game, a 3/3 for 3 is perfectly fine, while it can grow to scary sizes in the late game, making it a much better topdeck than most other 3 drops.

Amber Monument

Micah: Despite some of the monuments having negative WRM scores they are all playable.  A 5/5 Overwhelm unit is just the best of the bunch.  It also happens to be in the best faction which also helps.

Flash: A 5 power 5/5 with Overwhelm is amazing, and the added ability to get you out of a screw just pushes it over the edge. It is definitely no surprise to see Amber Monument so highly ranked.

Plague

Micah: Plague is the mirror of Unlock Potential and Synchronized Strike.  Whether you’re shrinking the opponent’s whole team or buffing your team those effects are extremely powerful and let you swing with impunity.  By the time we’re done we’ll see 3 of these effects in the top 15.

Flash: I could write a wall of text to explain why this card is broken, or I could just leave you with this (https://clips.twitch.tv/FurtiveHonorableYakBibleThump).

Diplomatic Seal

Micah: Fixing is good.  Which is why it’s a little surprising how much better this is than say Amber Acolyte(-.99 WRM) or Seek Power (-.14 WRM).  I think it is partly underrated, but it also lets factions other than time splash.

Flash: Seal is pseudo-fixing and ensures that you don’t end up in ridiculous faction screws. It is also important to remember that you don’t get the default 4 seats/4 banners in draft, so faction screws are much more common in draft, even for 2F decks. That being said, I would recommend using Diplomatic Seals with caution. You generally only want them in decks with less than 5 total influence requirements (e.g. FFPPs) and rather than replace your splashed sigil, Diplomatic Seal should always replace a primary faction with lower influence requirement. For example, in a stonescar deck splashing primal and with influence requirements of FFSP, I would run a Diplomatic Seal over the Shadow Sigil. In events of a tie (such as an aforementioned deck with requirements of FFSSP), the tiebreakers would be when is the earliest I need double of one influence and how many double fire and double shadow card do I run.

Cabal Cutthroat

Micah: Okay this one is weird.  A 2/2 Lifesteal for 2 power is a very good rate, but it feels like there are other factors at play.  One of the things that separate really good Lifeforce decks from most of the ones I draft is incidental life gain.  Lifeforce only works well when you don’t have to spend WHOLE cards on gaining life.  Another possibility is that Lifesteal is great with weapons.  So both Argenport’s and Xenan’s strategies play well with this little 2-drop.  *There’s also some math stuff that we can hopefully cover on Tuesday with how Flash’s model handles enablers and payoff cards.

Flash: Cabal Cutthroat is definitely not a card I expected in the top 15 uncommons, especially when we note that Lethrai Ranger is chilling all the way at the bottom of the commons. Comparing Lethrai Ranger vs Cabal Cutthroat, Xenan Destroyer vs Ravenous Thornbeast and Highbranch Sentry vs Brightmace Paladin, there seems to be a distinct trend of lifesteal cards outperforming their non-lifesteal counterparts. This suggests that lifesteal or dare I say lifeforce, is worth a second look and perhaps some re-evaluation to account for the life gain is in order.

Tranquil Scholar

Micah: “We hearthstone now!” is a common refrain when this card comes down.  This card oozes value.  Unblockable or Double Damage often can win the game, depending on what unit is in your hand.

Flash: Tranquil Scholar is arguably one of the best 2-drops in this format and seeing it this high up is no surprise to me. Given that the draft decks are significantly more unit-centric, you almost always get 2 keywords off of Tranquil Scholar. Moreover, some keywords, such as unblockable, deadly, quickdraw, aegis, can potentially win you the game on the spot.

Tranquil_Scholar

Furnace Mage

Micah: I’m starting to feel a bit like a broken record, but cards that do multiple things are almost always going to be good, if not great.  This will never be dead in your hand, unlike a card like Decay.

Flash: This is another surprise for me initially, but after some rationalizing, it somewhat makes sense. In theory, this card is like Jotun Cyclops. 4/3 is not significantly worse than a 4/4 and the added benefit of occasionally destroying an enemy relic or weapon is what pushes this card’s WR modifier up. I also think there is a component of being underrated that factors into this card’s WR modifier.

Rolant’s Choice

Micah: A more restrictive and expensive Plague with flexibility is still a really good card.  I’d say most of its power lies in the Plague effect, though I’ve certainly lost to a Karmic Guardian with the +3/3 on it.  The buff is especially good with Revenge units.

Flash: Rolant’s choice being this high is basically testimony to how ridiculously undercosted Plague is. In 95% of cases, Rolant’s choice is just a 5 power Plague. In a meta with a high density with x/1s and 1/x deadly units, the plague effect is often at least a 2-for-1, if not 3/4-for-1.

Minotaur Lighthoof

Micah: A 4/4 with upside everyone!  If you see this late in pack 1 you should be moving into Shadow.

Flash: I’m really happy to see Minotaur Lighthoof on this top uncommons chart. I have repeatedly argued for this card to be picked even before it was buffed to 4 power 4/4 (It was originally a 5 power 4/5). This card is a solid body for its cost and has an amazing tag-on effect. Not only can it help you push through face damage with one of your units, it can also help trigger infiltrates on cards like Desperado and Memory Dredger.

Ice Sprite

Micah: Again Broken Record.  A unit with removal attached is incredible value.  Give it evasion and you’ve got the best Primal uncommon by far.

Flash: Ice Sprite is another pseudo-removal spell and being in the top 15 is relatively unsurprising. What surprises me though, is that Permafrost has a significantly worse WR modifier compared to Ice Sprite. I suspect that this is due to drafters pivoting hard into Primal after a P2P1 permafrost and ending up with a worse deck. Drafters might also be overly eager to splash for a Permafrost, thus hurting their consistency. In contrast, Ice Sprite flies under most players radar, and thus, only gets played in decks that actually already want to play primal.

Slay

Micah: Slay totally slays.  I’ve seen serious respectable drafters consider double splashing for this card (Note: I would not recommend this).  Unconditional removal will always be at a premium.  No surprise here.

Flash: If I had to guess which card makes the top 15 uncommons, my money would definitely have been on Slay and Plague. A 3-power kill spell in a format light on removal is something you should almost never say no to.

Amber Ring

Micah: Remember all those times I spoke about having a plan to reach the late game?  This is one of those ways.  Many drafters prefer Emerald ring over this, but the numbers don’t lie.  This is obviously not great against large overwhelm units, but these little 1/1’s can chump the large ground units indefinitely.  They also happen to play well with…

Flash: Amber Ring is probably the second best ring in my opinion (behind Emerald Ring) and it is great in durdly Time drafts. You can generate infinite chump blockers while trying to draw your game-ending threats. That being said, I don’t think it is top 15 material and I think that part of this high WR modifier is due to being underrated by drafters.

Unlock Potential

Micah: The slow, but permanent, Synchronized Strike!  Your opponents will see it coming, but there’s still probably not much they can do about it.  Say this out loud with me, “Cards that effectively buff my entire board (assuming I have one) are GOOD.”

Flash: Similar to Xenan Destroyer, Icebow, and Horned Vorlunk, I think that Unlock Potential is a very synergy driven card. Being able to go Humbug Swarm into Unlock Potential is great, but casting it during a board stall or on a small board is much less so. However, because it only gets played in decks with good synergy, it’s WR modifier is artificially inflated.

Flash’s overall thoughts: One thing that stands out to me is that a common theme of these cards are cards that are good on their own, but with an additional effect pegged on the body (such as giving a unit unblockable, pay 5 to get +2/+1). The flexibility of such cards would definitely shine in a limited format since they often have to fill different roles in different matchups. Mono-faction cards also constitute 12/15 cards in this list, again reinforcing my opinion that players are generally too eager to splash or even go full 4f/5f.

I wanted to take a moment and thank Flash for all the work he’s done on the project.  Without him and his analysis the data really would be much less useful than it is now.  We’re excited to see the fire and fury this article generates!  Hopefully we’ll be able to bring some clarity next Tuesday as we discuss some of the Stranger Things about this dataset and the results.

If you haven’t been submitting your data please start now! (especially if you’ve been lamenting the “small” size of the sample)

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