Today we’ll be doing something that I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. Drafting can often be incredibly complex; not only are you evaluating cards on the fly, but the power levels of those cards change as you get deeper into each pack. Obviously some cards have synergy with one another, and in many cases they will also interlock with whatever champion you wind up choosing. Meanwhile you also need to pay close attention to the cards which you are passing so that you are prepared throughout the rest of the draft process as well as during actual game play.
A lot of new players are picking up Hex and asking for advice with drafting. I feel that if you are comfortable with the client that drafting can be one of the best ways to further familiarize yourself with the game. If your draft starts off well it is more likely to end well. With that said, we’re going to be looking at the first eight picks of a draft I was in recently. Before we go any further, however, I want to elaborate on why we’re only reviewing the first eight picks. Every time you take a card in draft you create a “butterfly effect” for all players participating. The cards that you decide to take directly impact the decisions of the other players. By isolating the first eight picks we are able to realistically look at what other routes and strategies might have otherwise been available to us since up until the 9th pick none of our decisions have come full circle.
Note: One final thing before we start: I will be giving out the required packs and platinum needed to enter a draft to one randomly chosen person who lists out their first eight picks in the comments below. (see the end of this article for further info)
I will be going over the details of each pick directly below each picture. If you want to follow along and see where you might have wound up I suggest that you try to skip over my text on the first pass and then go back to read it.
Pick 1: This pack has an abundance of Blood cards, but none of them are particularly amazing by my standards. As a rare, Subtle Striker isn’t terrible by any means, it is an early game troop that has the ability to lock your opponent out of using their champion’s charge power. With Shattered Destiny being such a charge-centric set this can be pretty decent but at the end of the day I don’t feel like we’d be getting enough mileage by taking him this early. The other cards in this pack which I personally like are Bastion of Adamanth (late game threat), Town Crier (your ticket to value town) and Underground Overdriver (decent robot synergy). Town Crier can require quite a bit of effort to get going and is also a somewhat underwhelming body at a cost where you often can’t afford to only be playing a 2/2. However, this pack offers so many options for other archtypes that we might have the option of forcing Sapphire.
My pick: Town Crier
Pick 2: Scheme fetches a decent price (~100p) and it is a card that definitely has potential to spike up higher at some point. It is unlikely to pull a ton of weight in draft but I wouldn’t shame anyone for just raredrafting it. I’m personally a big fan of both Killblade of the Milky Eye and S.P.A.M. Bot, though I probably overvalue the robot a little bit. The person who opened this took a common (surely Hexpardy champ Pentachills could tell us what it was), and left us with quite the gift in the form of Royal Enforcer. Obviously, a 5/5 troop with spellshield can wreck some face.
My Pick: Royal Enforcer
Pick 3: Given what we already had the last pack was pretty easy. This one on the other hand definitely presents a few options. A rare and uncommon are both missing and wild is the least represented shard. More often than not my personal draft strategy is to commit early which I feel pays off during packs two and three. There’s no strong reason to jump ship and take the Tormented Ritualist when we have strong options like Elite Pyromancer and Queensguard. I feel like this could be somewhat of a tossup but the Queensguard just has too much potential for me to pass up.
My pick: Queensguard
Pick 4: At this point, Blood seems exceptionally open but we’ve already passed a few pretty solid cards. If we wanted to switch now would be the time, the Wakizashi Ambusher can really wreck someone’s day. The two factors to consider, however, are that none of our cards play particularly well with Blood (although we could probably pull off Blood / Sapphire evasion with Bunoshi) and we’ve already passed a goodly number of strong Blood cards. Hex drafting can be fairly forgiving but this pick is the point of no return.
My pick: Murmurs from the Void (Decent removal / tempo, and hopefully we can snag a couple Mindcallers to reduce the cost.)
Pick 5: Not that you would ever know since this is written rather than recorded but I feel like I misspicked here. The choices which we’re being presented are all pretty close to one another. The Field Tactician fills a gap which we might otherwise have trouble with and can be quite strong against the Bunoshi based opponents which we will undoubtedly face. Additionally, the Augmented Awakening gives us a chance to rebuy one of our threats and have it come back with a vengeance. The other option is for us to take one of the two cards that offer shard fixing. In hindsight I think I should’ve grabbed the Tactician but I wanted to try something out.
My pick: Hex Geode
Pick 6: Next time I’ll take better pictures : P. I could really use a Mindcaller or two but I also need to pay attention to my curve and don’t want to fall too far behind in the early game. More importantly, we passed a couple Mindcallers already (back in packs one and two) and I expect some to wheel (hint: they did). Passing the Reactor Bot though is gonna hurt but I like that what we have so far “doubles down” on what the Messenger is particularly good at.
My pick: Phoenix Guard Messenger
Pick 7: Okay now this seems like a pretty dead pack to us. I don’t particularly like playing against Lethal Weapons but it is also easy enough to pick up that there is no point hate drafting it to deny it to the other players. We have already passed a Crackling Wit and a couple Dementia Daisies though and it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to keep our options open in case something goes horribly wrong. Also, at this point we are undoubtedly in Sapphire and we want to make sure that the next pack is as good as it can be for us. We really want to avoid giving the other players any reason to consider being in Sapphire. Taking Daisies helps us shove them out—maybe not by much but it does.
My pick: Dementia Daisies
Pick 8: Arriving at the 8th pack this is a somewhat good sign to me. There is a Sapphire card which we’re happy to play and there are a whole bunch of other cards that all go into the same archetypes. The rest of the players in the draft are going to be fighting over the same cards while we get to take whatever we like.
My pick: Subterranean Spy.
Some tips to mention moving forward:
- We are definitely playing humans (and need to pick up another 6-8 of them for the town crier to pay off).
- Sapphire is almost certainly our primarily color, pick a second one to focus on rather than grabbing Diamond and Ruby equally.
- Palamedes / Sir Giles Rowan / Feather Drifting Downriver are all potential champion candidates for us.
- We want to pick up one of the Mindcallers we passed.
- Our 11th pick should have something solid waiting for us.
- Try and grab a Bastion in pack two if we can.
- The strongest cards we’ve passed were fairly aggressive ones. We need to shore up our early game and prioritize removal since we’re currently pretty light in that department.
It seemed like there were two directions that were available to us. The first, and also the one we took, was to commit heavily to Sapphire ensuring that packs two and three would be delivering gifts. The second option would have been to take the best card in the first 3 picks regardless of what we already had in which case it is possible we might have wound up playing Blood. I’m just not that confident that we’d have wound up with a decklist that had the power level to get us very far had we gone with option two.
I ended up losing in a fairly close game three of the finals, but here is what I ran:
As mentioned above, I’ll be giving out the required packs and plat to enter draft to a randomly chosen person who leaves a list of their picks in the comments below.
- Be sure to include your Hex in-game username
- I will choose the winner on Wednesday, April 29th @ ~10pm CST