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Shattered Destiny Quadrant Theory Limited Review: Day 3 RUBY

Here we are again.

It’s always such a pleasure.

Remember when you tried to Review me Twice?

As a quick reference again so that you don’t always need to go back to the previous articles, the scale we will be using for this review is:

10 – This is the best possible card for this situation I could imagine

9 – Having this card in this situation will make me very likely to win the game by itself

8 – Having this card in this situation will definitely help me win the game

7 – This card will almost always be good in this situation (>90% of the time)

6 – This card will be good in this situation most of the time (>50% of the time)

5 – This card will be okay in this situation on average, but rarely will it be very good or very bad

4 – This card will be poor in this situation most of the time (>50% of the time)

3 – This card will almost always be poor in this situation (>90% of the time)

2 – This card is equivalent to a blank card in this situation

1 – Playing this card in this situation will actively cause me to lose the game

 

COMMONS

 

Adrenaline Rush
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
354.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
734

As expressed before, the value of combat tricks is pretty heavily dependent upon their actual cost. I can hold up 1 resource for days for a Wild Growth and still develop my board with only minimal trouble, but for something like Adrenaline Rush that requires three resources I need to try and sequence ways to ensure I get to cast it on my terms—and that isn’t always something that is possible to do. You likely aren’t just slamming this down on turn 3 even if you lead out with a two-drop and sequencing it into a turn 4 or 5 will likely result in not using your resources as efficiently as possible, so in Development this isn’t really the card you want. In Parity it is probably just okay as you frequently will be able to to trade it with something else relevant, but you also are most vulnerable in the Parity situation to getting two-for-one’d if they should have some quick speed removal when you go for the Rush. It certainly is good when you are ahead, as not only can it be used to likely take down any large blocker they do find but also the three potential damage may be all you need to close out a game. Behind is where we also see the drawback of a three-cost combat trick, as you probably aren’t casting it with something else on the same turn and it may not be big enough of a boost to kill everything (if you even have a troop when behind). Sum total is a card that I’m sure you’ll find yourself playing from time to time but only the most aggressive decks that need more cards to keep them ahead will find it to be something they are actively seeking.

 

Arena Regular
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
755.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
655.6

By now you know what to expect grade-wise from a 2/2 or 2/1 for two in Development—it is hard to have too many of them in your opening hand! Where Arena Regular makes his case is by remaining relevant in stalled out games by continuing to provide damage even if his body no longer can push through the opponent’s line. For similar reasons, if your opponent is on the back foot then Regular is not a card they want to see as now even if they draw something to start blocking effectively they risk dying to a few turns of shard drops from you.

 

Boulder Toss
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
576.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
855.9

Boulder Toss is a sweet and highly versatile card. I predict that until people start to learn the common signs of when a Boulder Toss is coming and start to play around it (getting your troop removed in response to it “using” the Boulder Toss is brutal) that it will be crushing fools left and right. It rocks that you can oftentimes treat it as a real removal spell while simultaneously being able to hold it in your back pocket as a way to finish off an opponent that thinks instead they are at a comfortable health total. When you are Ahead and draw a Boulder Toss, choosing between Murder and Burn to the Ground to the face is an amazing feeling. As removal, the only real downside is that if you don’t have any troops then you don’t have any way to chuck boulders at the opposition. Realistically, that only is going to happen repeatedly either in Development when you haven’t yet put down a troop that has adequate attack or in the Behind stage when the lack of a viable troop is likely one of the root causes of being in the predicament you are in the first place.

 

Construct Foreman
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
755.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
735

Construct Foreman’s value is likely going to depend upon if drafting Dwarves is still viable in DDF drafts (Destiny, Destiny, Fate). If you can no longer draft with the intention of making Bertram your champion at the end then suddenly Construct Foreman loses one of his best and certainly his most consistent targets in the lowly Worker Bot. With that draft plan in mind, Foreman is quite strong in the Development and Ahead states as you will be getting either a 3/3 worth of value for a single cost (by “upgrading” the Worker Bot and Foreman’s body) or 4/4 worth of attacking bodies if that is how you would prefer to view it. Being that he has just a single resource cost, you can easily fit him and another card into your curve on turn 3 or 4 and from there you should be in a great position. He is a little more awkward in Parity as the 3/3 might not be relevant, but normally you at least won’t feel too bad about drawing Foreman in a stalled out board unless you’ve already traded away your Worker Bots (and if you have Foreman in your deck, do try to think about that fact before you go chump blocking with Worker Bots at the first chance you get). Where Foreman starts to look poor is if you are behind, as you probably are lacking decent targets in the first place so you very well might just be getting a 1/1 for one and nothing else to go with it.

 

Crackling Bolt
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
867.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
877.05

Even without the additional charge, Crackling Bolt would likely be one of the top commons in Shattered Destiny. As a cheap removal spell it works great both offensively and defensively in the early turns of the game, and is further amplified by the fact that if you do use it early you progress that much quicker towards turning on your champion power. That is not as insignificant as you might think, as even things like being able to activate Zared on turn 3 or a Bertram on turn 2 can cause huge swings in the game earlier than they would be expected when tacked on to what would be a premium card in the first place. When you are Ahead, Crackling Bolt is also just one of the best things you can draw: either you clear out a blocker or you can just go to the face and kill people. Parity is the one place where the limitations of Crackling Bolt start to show up; it might just not be enough damage to kill what troops matter, although you will be hard pressed not to find at least some relevant target somewhere on the board. Finally, in Behind it is not Repel but being a 2-cost removal spell that kills the majority of threats in the format will almost always be a live draw and frequently the low cost of the card will allow you to play it and a second card in the same turn to get back into the game.

 

Elite Pyromancer
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
866.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
656.15

Have you ever played against an opponent who played two Ruby Pyromancers and then just sat on them while playing troop after troop until you died? Welcome to that world all the time now, because Elite Pyromancer is just that situation, only now condensed into a single-card experience for the masses. Like all Inspire troops, if it is your first or second troop of the game then you are going to generate a massive advantage off it; in Elite Pyromancer’s case it isn’t hard to fathom the average case being that you get 7-9 worth of attack for your 3 cost card (obviously 3 of that attack being from the Pyromancer himself). Most Inspire troops are a little weaker in Parity since you can’t count of getting more than one trigger before the game likely swings in some direction, but thankfully even a single trigger from Pyromancer will often be game-shaping in such a way that the opponent needs to deal with it fast or risk being overwhelmed. For the last two stages of a potential game, we are going to focus in more on Pyromancer’s stats, and 3/1 is actually a fine place to be most of the time as it is enough attack to really chip away at an opponent’s health total if you are ahead and enough to make a respectable trade when you are behind.

 

Firesoul Wizard
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
365.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
665.25

Five drop. Just a dude; not really a development card. Got it. You might just glance halfway at this Wizard and think that he’s kinda wimpy as just a 4/2 for five, but don’t be fooled because swiftstrike is the real deal here. He comes down just as effectively (if not more) than a 4/4 for five would, and that is a card we would consider as a baseline for comparison. The lower defense does open him up to Crackling Rots and Bolts, but a Crackling Rot was probably being used in combat to kill your 4/4 anyway so provided you can accept that he is weak to one premium common in the set you can move on. With Firesoul’s size and swiftstrike he should be the largest threat in most board states so normally you will be very happy to have him in Parity whether you prefer using him as an attacker or the one the holds off the ground. Hitting hard and being difficult to deal with make him ideal when ahead, and he can put a full stop to many attacks when you are behind and stabilizes a board state extremely well—again thanks to swiftstrike.

 

Flak Scrapper
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
755.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
655.6

If you are drafting Flak Scrapper in a non-dwarf deck, go take a look at the review of Rotting Buffalo for what you can expect (For those that want the short of it, I gave our not-so-rigid friend a weighted 4.25). The key to Flak Scrapper success, like many dwarf cards, is likely going to hinge upon the use of Bertram’s Worker Bots as fodder. Coming down on turn 3, killing their troop and leaving you with a 2/3 is solid, even if it costs you your charge power to make it happen. If nothing else, defensively few decks will ever be able to just run over a T3 Flak Scrapper from the dwarf deck, and really the only time you are disappointed with Flak Scrapper in your opening hand is when the opponent plays nothing for the first few turns of a game—and those are games that should be in your favor in the first place! In Parity he normally is held back and used to pick off flight troops or finish off a big blocker, much in the same role that Sniper of Gawaine commonly finds itself. Similarly when ahead, just killing their chump blocker or having the option to go to the face is big. Behind you may not actually be able to sacrifice an artifact in all situations and might be forced to just play the 2/3 for three, but even then that isn’t a totally embarrassing deal, making Flak Scrapper a fairly consistent card to have in every dwarf deck.

 

Maniacal Entrepreneur
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
634.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
454.55

We would hope for a 2/2 for two or at least a 2/1 with some ability, but between you and me I’d rather have the extra point of defense on my two-drops than the rarely relevant Crush. Sure, he goes very well with pump but being vulnerable to Zared, Kog’s Thirst, Bombsmith, and Worker Bots is not a trade I make happily.

Still, gotta play those two-drops if you are wanting to win the Development stage of the game, so he’ll make your deck a fair amount of the time. If you manage to grab a Stink Troll, then open up a nice chortle as the Entrepreneurs will normally come around that table and right back into your pile…

 

Mesmeric Hypnoscientist
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
665.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
735.05

Mesmeric Hypnoscientist might be my favorite card to actually tunnel on turn 2. Normally you have to factor in whether the card will still make an impact when it does come up, and for Mez here that will almost always be a resounding “Yes”. One of the key points of tunneling is to figure out how to abuse the fact that tunneling troops can attack immediately when your opponent might not be expecting them to. Mez actually can be a big blunt hammer or an effective scapel as needed. Sometimes he’ll come down, you’ll click on the Sky’le Griffin or whatever was holding your team back and send in everything to let Kismet sort them out later. Other times, Mez will keep their 2/2 chump from doing anything and dare their real troops to block him or eat 5 to the face. Either way, when the board shifts -1 defender and +1 attacker when the opponent wasn’t expecting it to then there is normally an easy advantage to be pressed.

When you draw Mez later, his ability still is quite relevant. A 5/2 is only a little behind what we would expect out of a five-drop. Stifling a blocker for a turn while now threatening another 5-attack dude certainly can shift things, but if the board is way too clogged then you might end up with no good attacks and crossing your fingers that your Hypnoscientist can just trade with something relevant later.

 

Molten Slaggard
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
455
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
654.85

Another vanilla dude, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that vanilla is the same a terrible because Slaggard here is solid on stats where it counts. 4 attack is enough to punch through most of the format’s commons, and when the baseline for a four-cost troop would likely be a 3/3, getting that extra point of attack right off the bat is a fine deal for when you are looking to fill out your curve. In a world of permanent modifiers and charge powers it might seem boring to play a walking pile of attack and defense, but in limited where numbers rule Molten Slaggard should be seeing play quite often.

 

Ridge Raider
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
634.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
533.95

There is a big difference in the consistency between the linear Dwarf draft decks and the linear Orc draft decks. Primarily, this stems from champion powers and, more specifically, how Bertram allows for dwarf decks to come to rely upon having a robot artifact troop in play on turn 3 while Orcs does not have that ability to always “turn on” their mechanics such as Throat Cutter and the extra ability we find here on Ridge Raider. What this means is that when you draft an aggressive Orc deck, Ridge Raider will often but not close to always be a 2/2 early in the game. If he is not a 2/2, then likely he will not have a large impact upon the game. Drawn after that, Ridge Raider just stinks in Parity and Behind stages as either even a 2/2 isn’t going to matter or you will be in a situation where you don’t have any orcs already, so he won’t even be a 2/2 most of the time if you are behind and need to draw your outs. There will likely be a Ridge Raider deck you can try to force if you want to get lucky, but one reason you can safely force such a strategy is because even other Orcs decks may not be interested in trying him out.

 

Shatter Shield
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
665.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
724.7

One cost cards that can have conditional uses are always worth exploring deeply. Oftentimes, if you are the first person to cast multiple cards in a single turn you gain a big tempo advantage that subtlety pushes the game hard in your favor. Cards like Shatter Shield let you create those tempo swings easily; if you are pushing your opponent’s four-drop out of the way with Shield while simultaneously casting your own four drop then you suddenly have made an enormous shift in board position. As long as attacking is a realistic option (which in three quadrants it certainly is) then Shatter Shield is a solid tool to have available to clear the path for your troops to get through. In Parity, it likely is even better than Crushing Blow was at clearing away double blocks and gaining some card advantage when your opponent tries to play around the wrong card from you. Obviously, the big down side to this conditional removal card is that you have to actually be attacking and the opponent has to realistically be blocking before you can even put it onto the chain. When you are behind, this card flat out stinks. Don’t take this rating to mean that Shatter Shield is a poor card just because it isn’t good in that situation, instead take it to mean that you don’t want to slam Shatter Shield in every deck but rather put it in your focused aggressive draft decks so that hopefully you aren’t having to worry hard about the Behind stage in most games anyway.

 

Sly Huntress
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
555.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
675.8

Once again we have multiple troops tacked onto a single card, and again you can expect it to be a card that you will be hard pressed to actually cut from your deck and likely will be comboing with Inspire troops for some great benefits. For 3 attack and 5 defense across your four cost card, Huntress makes a fine Development card as she is both slightly over the curve in terms of expected stats and spread across multiple bodies to turn any Inspire effects into blowouts—especially considering her pet brings Speed to the table. While the fox’s Speed is likely wasted in Parity, just having more bodies make it hard to complain when you draw Huntress when things are stalled out as likely you will find some way to use the extra troop. When ahead, Speed plus some solid attack stats across the two troops can quickly help put away a game, and when Behind we have mentioned before but it continues to be true that having the chance to toss one body (the fox likely here) in the way as a chump blocker and have your other try to stabilize a bit (which a 2/3 like the Huntress can do) makes these types of cards into unique “outs” that you will frequently be looking for if you are being overwhelmed.

 

Underground Overdriver
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
665.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
745.4

Cavern Commando saw occasional play in Shards of Fate—primarily owing to the fact that it was able to come down on turn 3 against aggressive decks and stymie their opening while also being a Dwarf for the purposes of turning on all the Construction Plans and the like. Overdriver has that as a floor, but then gains two fairly interesting abilities on top.  Tunneling will come up occasionally, you just need to be careful about planning to ensure that you will have a Robot around when Overdriver comes up (normally not hard with at least Worker Bots to play with). The big one is a PERMANENT buff to one of your robots—at quick speed no less so when Overdriver comes down you can send in a couple Robots while the opponent has to respect the potential for a big buff to one of them.  It won’t be uncommon to give +3/+3 or more even when not tunneling the Overdriver, and when you do you frequently can give +6/+6 or more and create basically an impossible monster to deal with. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Overdriver is just a slight upgrade to Cavern Commando; he is the real deal when it comes to Dwarf decks.

 

Wounded War Hero
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
634
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
433.85

For reasons to be explained in just a minute, the grading here is done assuming you are trying to put Wounded War Hero in your average Ruby draft deck. He’s probably acceptable in your opening hand; he’ll hit for a couple points of damage and you might even get lucky and turn him into a quick 2/1 and deal some real damage before the opponent can start to fight back. He’s pretty atrocious after that though, as he likely isn’t big enough to make a difference in any other stage of the game. He can be especially brutal when you are behind, as you probably have no one else to work with him and you have just a blank 1/1.

So we probably aren’t just jamming our singleton Hero into every Ruby deck. The next question then becomes “Is there a Wounded War Hero deck in DDF?” Quick stat on the number of common Humans in Shattered Destiny

Sapphire: 6

Diamond: 9

Ruby: 4 (including Wounded War Hero!)

Considering Elite Pyromancer is one of the other Ruby Humans at common you can see that your “Human” deck will be leaning towards going quite heavy into Sapphire or Diamond to meet its human quota. This directly goes at odds against your War Hero who wants you to be heavy Ruby to ensure you can hit your first Ruby Shard drop, so it looks to be tough to reliably go down that path. Still if you see multiple War Heroes early in the pack and you are already taking some premium cards for the deck, it certainly is a viable strategy to try to jam all the War Heroes and cross your fingers—but much like Shards of Fate’s Briar Legion deck you shouldn’t count on that working out in every draft.

 

UNCOMMONS

 

Callous Awakener
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
565.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
665.75

As Humans spread three shards instead of two, Callous Awakener becomes a much better hoser than many of the other uncommon options simply due to being able to fire off the trigger more often. As an example, with Orcs being primarily in Blood and Ruby there is a 30% chance that your opponent isn’t even in a Shard pairing where they could have an Orc (DS, DW, and SW) while the only two-shard pairing that doesn’t potentially involve Humans is Blood/Wild. The floor for Awakener is at least mediocrity (I might be embarrassed to play a 4/3 for five but we aren’t talking Minotaur Mercenary terribleness either), while getting to steal relevant troops can quickly swing the Awakener into one of the most insane plays you can make when it hits. Anytime you are getting two relevant bodies for the price of one card, you are getting way ahead in limited. With Callous Awakener seeming to be able to do that on a somewhat consistent basis, you will have a hard time justifying not including it in your maindeck everytime.

 

Cannon Volley
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
598
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
1087.5

Now we start off with the big guns. Cannon Volley is quite simply insane due to a unique combination of raw power with extreme flexibility. The biggest thing to remember with this card is that you can choose to target the same thing with multiple parts of the damage, so you spread this between three troops for a 3-for-1 or you can dome the opponent for a solid 6. Being a six-cost, it will just be sitting in your hand for a long time but that doesn’t mean it is a blank in development because knowing that you have a Cannon Volley will let you go about combat trying to shape a board state where you can extract maximum value out of the volley. Once you make it to Parity, it is going to be hard to not at least get a relevant 2-for-1 and often get a full-on board affect 3-for-1 and just trample over the opponent. When you are ahead, there might not be a better card to have for the sheer flexibility of doing everything from burning whatever resistance they might find out of the way to just going straight to the face for the final 6 damage. Likewise, when behind you will probably be yelling at your Princess Cory sleeves saying “One-time, deck! Cannon Volley one-time!” If you need a litmus test for if a card is good when behind, just play with a list of the cards from your deck open in a text file and think about what cards you want when you are behind; I imagine Cannon Volley will pretty much always be at the top of the list.

 

Dwarven Ballistics Training
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
564.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
344.75

Dwarven Ballistics Training is probably going to be solid enough to find a home in most decks that you draft, but there will be certain combinations with it that you need to watch out for because it can vault into a high pick if you already have, say, a couple Killblades already in your BR deck and can turn them into death machines. Still, the average hand will be okay with a Ballistics Training in it. It isn’t amazing as you don’t want to just slam it down first thing and if they even do have a target to hit you are giving up your troop’s attack—but having the ability to play it early when the opponent is likely least able to kill your troop in response should normally pan out okay. In Parity, it can range from annoying as you ping the opponent’s health away to nuts if you are able to start decimating a low-defense board and gain virtual card advantage by blanking any X/1s the opponent might draw. Definitely keep in mind your opponent’s troop composition when going to reserves as you might have this card sitting there just waiting to exploit matchups like that. It is pretty unexciting when you are ahead as you probably just want to attack anyway and the opponent is probably getting back into the game with big spells and troops which go way over the top of this card. Finally, when behind it might find corner case situations where you need to kill X/1s (See previous comment on sideboarding towards your matchup), but for the most part it likely won’t do enough and you might not even have a troop to play this on.

 

Fierce Warlord
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
534.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
454.3

In constructed where we can deckbuild to create some guarantees of both having one-drops and them being relevant towards our overall strategy we can find some discussion of the merits of One-Drop Warlord. In Limited, both those clauses are usually a stretch, so the baseline we are looking at is a hard to play 2/1 for 2. If you compare Fierce Warlord to a Maniacal Entrepreneur or an Iljuni Mirthkin you’ll notice the lower than expected Development score; primarily this is due to the double threshold cost making it significantly harder to actually play your Warlord on time.

All that being said, I do think there will be occasions (especially if you can get the Wounded War Hero deck) where Fierce Warlord can become a centerpiece of your strategy. I would like to think that there is some crazy RW Shin’hare archetype that abuses Warlord with Battle Hoppers, but it likely is a shot in the dark if that is actually anything worthwhile to play around with.

 

Gem Snatchers
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
865.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
635.45

Gem Snatchers’ innate low-attack body means that you are going to need to find a way to pump up his attack in some manner to turn it into an effective troop. While that might occasionally mean slotting in Spellshield and then going to town on troop buffs, ordinarily that means that the decks that will really want Gem Snatchers will be either RW (For the +1/+1 gem) and BR (For Rage 1 with the evasion gem). BR is likely going to be the strongest dual-shard combination for Gem Snatchers, so we’ll rate based upon having a virtually unblockable rage troop.

Guess what: a virtually unblockable two-drop with Rage is pretty insane in Development. Snatchers will swing in for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and then your opponent is dead. While the majority of the time the opponent will find something to stop that from happening, only Zared really gains a tempo or card advantage over Gem Snatchers. In Parity, the opponent has to worry about that same course of events; it might be a bit slower but the opponent may also be on a lower health total to start so it can be just as intimidating. With the ability to quickly jump up in attack and evasion to stay relevant Snatchers can remain a very relevant finisher when you are ahead, but the one drawback (as happens with most Rage cards) is that he is pretty much always dead when you are behind—a nonzero cost to be sure.

 

Mentor of the Flames
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
555.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
765.55

Considering Mentor is just “okay” until he dies makes the Ruby transformation card of the cycle just decent if you do play it on curve. The big issue ties into how mediocre Mentor can be in Parity – he’ll either just be a 3/2 for 4 or you’ll be trying to turn him into a Burn, but rarely will you get a true two-for-one in a Parity situation as the opponent likely can produce something big enough to keep your troop at bay.

Where Mentor gets much better is when you are in the extremes of a game one way or another. When you are way ahead, the opponent is likely trading a real troop with it (if they can—if not then 3 damage is respectable to be dealing each turn) and your Burn should then be live to either remove another topdecked troop from the opponent or just kill them outright. When behind he will often be able to trade and then kill off something else—and if not then he at least provides a card-efficient blocker for a turn. Do be careful on both sides of Mentor to watch for times when it is correct to use him plus his Burn to kill 4- and 5-defense troops; for an investment of a single card and 5 resources it can often be the right thing to do.

 

Royal Cutblood
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
997
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
736.7

At minimum you should consider Royal Cutblood a Ruby/Sapphire card. Unblockable and Rage 1 makes Cutblood a better Thunderbird for most applications right out of the gate, but on the reverse side if all we have is Lifedrain and Rage 1 then we don’t expect our Cutblood to actually survive many combat phases. Where Cutblood jumps from a solid Thunderbird role player into sheer insanity is when you can combine all three shards and trigger both keywords. You can’t race a turn 3 Cutblood from the opponent, you can only hope to kill it or the opponent immediately as the combination of Lifedrain and Unblockable results in the Cutblood player very quickly reaching Life Siphon ranges of health swings. Heck, just three attacks is an 18 point health swing from a single card—and your three-drop no less! In both Development and Parity, if a Cutblood lands on either side of the board it immediately becomes the focus of the entire game which is by itself should be high enough praise for a card. Even when Ahead, a Cutblood likely isn’t the opponents most immediate problem but she presents another ticking clock to manage or lose. The only real downside to Cutblood is that if you need to topdeck a blocker she is a poor one for sure.  If 2-2-1 ends up being a more tempo oriented format than triple Shards of Fate was and Development matters more, don’t be surprised if Cutblood is the Volcannon of the set that nobody lets pass for fear of it being used against them…

 

Scraptech Brawler
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
634.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
444.2

Scraptech Brawler is an interesting card to think about in terms of your Development. On one hand, tunneling him on turn 2 means you have done nothing to the board and passed a great deal of tempo opportunity you might have otherwise needed. On the other, having access to 8 resources on turn 5 while still providing a body for your card can be amazing – whether that means casting your Mecha T-Hex early or just dumping two four-drops it should be a pretty intense tempo swing. I am inclined to believe that I would be happy sacrificing my turn 2 play for a big boost later if the importance of 4+ drops in HEX limited continues, and while the additional ability to just play him as a 2/2 isn’t exciting it also at least is something to consider in matchups where you just need to get pressure on the board immediately.

Brawler is a pretty hard fail everywhere else, though. A 2/2 for 3 isn’t impressing anybody if you draw him in any other stage of the game, and it is going to be hard to justify tunneling a Brawler drawn after turn 4 or 5 of any game; if Brawler’s stat line is the only thing talking then you are in trouble.

 

Stink Troll
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
766.5
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
856.1

Stink Troll is pretty amazing, whether you have 8 Crush troops in your deck or 0. A 3/2 for 3 with a minor bonus to Crush troops is solid by itself in Limited, but the One-shot launches him way above his peers. Curving out anything into Stink Troll is going to be abysmal for the opponent, as likely now you have a 3/3 and a 3/2 which really puts the opponent into “deal with this” mode. In Parity, it actually is a different reason why Stink Troll becomes good as now while his body is only solid, giving something of yours Crush and +1/+1 can be big for breaking open a stalemate. When you are ahead, the efficiency and immediate impact of the Troll should help slam the door shut; your opponent already is having trouble blocking effectively and now Crush on your biggest threat should remove chump-blocking from the equation, turning the game into a “top-deck removal now or lose” situation. His size to cost ratio helps keep him relevant when you are behind, and though you can’t count on him being able to give his bonus to another troop everytime when you are in this situation it certainly will come up that the +1/+1 is just enough to keep back an attacker or two that swings the game back into your favor.

 

Rares / Legendaries

 

Army of the Arcane Cinder
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
385.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
734.9

Army of the Arcane Cinder is a card that you’ll lose to and think “How could this ever be rated less than a 5? It’s unbeatable!” Maybe that is a knock against using quadrants, but also it can be a knock against always assuming Army of the Arcane Cinder is going to be a bomb for you. The biggest problem is that if you are already behind, Army is going to do virtually nothing to help bring you back into the game. It really is only in the board-stalled Parity situations where you can start turning Army into an unbeatable engine of aggression that gives the opponent only a matter of time until they fall victim to a hoard of speedy 2/1s.

 

Born of the Flame
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
265.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
675.35

As a seven-drop, and especially as a seven drop with a heavy random component that makes it difficult to plan around, Born of the Flame is pretty junky in your opening hand. Outside of that though, the random troops are likely to be more than enough to make a big difference in the game. For every time you hit Baby Yeti and Wounded War Hero with a Shadowblade Lurker, you also are just as likely to dump Ash Harpy, Lord Alexander and a Royal Falconer on the board and go to town. Obviously, the middle ground will be the most likely thing, but Ruby has enough beefy troops that you should find at least one good troop accompanied by a couple potentially relevant bodies—which on average should be pretty good when the board is stalled out. Born of the Flame is actually best when you need to come back from a poor situation, as the potential to dump 3 troops on the board should be a very heavy swing back against an opponent that has you on the ropes.

 

Destructive Marauder
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
355.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
944.55

With 3 defense, you are buying a relatively fragile body for a six drop here so the question you have to ask is “Do I want to stop the game at this board position right now?”. If you are Ahead, that answer is normally a resounding yes, making Destructive Marauder a strong finisher for aggressive decks that likely can get ahead early and don’t want opposing 6 drops to ruin their day. For everyone else, it can be rather questionable. The big thing to remember about Destructive Marauder in Parity though is that you have knowledge about it when your opponent does not. If you have a shard-heavy draw or the game has gone late you can stuff away 2-3 extra shards, dump a Marauder and then be the one who can rebuild more effectively. Even still, that likely isn’t pushing your odds heavily in your favor and you only have a 7/3 that likely isn’t trading up on offense.

 

Fissuresmith
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
735
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
465.15

Fissuresmith is a card that sounds amazing when you first read it. 2 resources to kill something and get a 2/1—sign me up! Unfortunately, it is actually rather difficult to pull off the two-for-one consistently. In Development, Fissuresmith does shine as you can craft a situation where you let the opponent have an attack without tipping them off too much that they are walking into the Fissuresmith trap (because playing around Fissuresmith on turn 3 in Limited is more often than not going to be the wrong thing to do—they want to take advantage of the temporary tempo advantage they likely have before your tunneling troop comes up). You probably aren’t getting to choose spicy targets, and the 2/1 might be outclassed if you wait more than a turn or two to tunnel him so the upside isn’t game-winning. Still, the option to just tunnel him on turn 2 and start attacking on turn 3 is always pleasant even if you don’t kill a thing. Where Fissuresmith starts to falter is when the board starts clogging up and your opponent isn’t attacking you consistently. When it’s turn 9 and no one has attacked for 3 turns, the opponent is probably thinking just a little bit harder about holding off on their attack for a turn if they draw something to blow open the stalemate. Simiarly, when you are ahead then Fissuresmith is just a 2/1. It is when you are Behind that Fissuresmith comes back to relevance again, as even if the opponent just skips attacking for a turn that is more than you can ask for from pretty much any other 2/1 for two in the game.

 

Furious Wrathbringer
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
455
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
654.85

Rage 1 is a nice bonus, but it likely isn’t going to be a huge shift in the game unless your board is already filled with Orcs who have a clear path to attacking. The biggest holdup typically is that few Orcs have a decent backside, so without a high defense most of them will continue to trade with right around the same quality of troop they already would be trading with. Wrathbringer giving himself Rage is actually one of the better positives, as it already is hard to bring down a 5/4 without double-blocking, so he should be solid just by himself in any case. As a 5-drop, he’s not what you want in every opening hand though (although that value does go up quickly if you stuff your deck with cheap orcs, as curving out 2-3 Orcs into Wrathbringer can be brutal). For Parity, his size alone makes him formidable as he should be safe to start attacking immediately and can in edge cases give your Orcs the attack boost they need to start swinging themselves into the opposition. When you are ahead, Wrathbringer should help bring the game home (again, especially if you already are swinging with Orcs so this value goes up if that is the case), and when behind his once again solid body can be what you need to start holding back the opponent from swinging in.

 

Goremaster
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
665
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
534.85

Goremaster is a card that pretty much requires synergy to become effective, and that normally reflects poorly upon our grading in Quadrant Theory. If your average turn is turning into a Shadowblade Lurker, you aren’t doing it right. While Inspire stacks nicely, the real attraction to Goremaster is running Ruby/Wild and piling in the Crackling Sprouts. Pre-combat, dropping a Crackling Sprout and then a shard gives you a 12/5 crush troop swinging over on turn 4. One hit like that and the opponent is on the back foot for the rest of the game. The rating here is for your average Ruby deck that wants to see if Goremaster fits in, but do be aware that with the right combination of cards (that you do still have to draw alongside Goremaster) you can have a juggernaut of a deck.

 

Heart of Fire
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
222
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
222

Raredrafters gonna raredraft…

 

Heroic Outlaw
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
386
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
765.95

Heroic Outlaw is likely the worst of his cycle for limited, and yet that doesn’t mean a hill of beans as Socketable Major is still one of the most powerful lines in HEX. With Ruby offering a natural evasion mechanic with its Minor gem, all of the “On Damage…” major gems become fair game, with drawing a card and making a Rhino being two of the more powerful options. The other way to spec out your Outlaw is the limited-superstar Gem of Brutality to give a troop -4/-0 while casting your monster. I imagine that starting with some evasion and going for the On Damage combos will be the default for Outlaw, while moving into enters play effects like the Brutality gem if you anticipate being Behind (due to an aggressive opposing deck most likely) more often in the specific matchup you encounter. Outlaw’s rider ability of being free when you are under 5 Health is certainly an important bonus, but the problem is that in Limited it will be very rare to have a lot of games where you are down below 5 Health while this is still in your hand—and even then if you have Brutality or a health gain gem in your Outlaw you still might not be in a good position. It is best not to count on getting a free Outlaw in your typical game, but if it happens by all means take advantage of playing Outlaw and something else in a single turn for an epic comeback.

 

Hired Horn Sellsword
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
746
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
855.5

Just the body we get here is a sweet deal – 4 attack doesn’t come for 3 resources very often, so whether you are hitting the opponent in the face or trading a 3-drop for a 5-drop you can easily find ways to get an advantage just with the stats on our Minotaur friend alone. In your opening hand, Sellsword can be a beating. The opponent is either going to start taking some hard hits, or they will likely have to trade quickly with the Sellsword and take 4 to the dome anyway. On both sides of Sellsword, remember that it pairs nicely with some quick speed removal—the opponent might think they are safe from taking damage from his ability when they block with an second troop left behind, but Burn and the like can quickly turn into a blowout. In Parity, you sadly are rarely going to be getting a trigger from Sellsword, and likely this is where your 4/2 just sits around holding off bigger troops from attacking for fear of swinging in himself and trading with a lowly 2/2. When you are ahead, Sellsword might be one of the best things you can draw as even a topdecked blocker from the opponent likely isn’t stopping the damage from coming. When behind, Sellsword actually is decent thanks to his high attack meaning that he can trade with legitimate threats like Bastions and Boulder Brutes.

 

Jags the Blademaster
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
876.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
756.55

First came Ruby Pyromancer, then Elite Pyromancer, and Jags might as well be “OMGWTFBBQ Pyromancer”. Like Elite Pyromancer, suddenly every troop you play can trade up if it wants. However, double damage on larger and larger troops (Firesoul Wizard and Bloodcrazed Zealot come to mind) starts to quickly get out of hand. All that and Jags still has both an efficient body of his own and—unlike the Pyromancers—a defense rating that keeps him out of the clutches of Zared. You can go back and read the section of Elite Pyromancer; the basic principle works with Jags too.

 

Prince Talysen
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
756
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
755.7

Forget that your evasion-less troop has to hit the opponent to get his bonus ability. A 3/1 for three isn’t a terrible deal to start with; Prince attacks effectively and can easily trade up to larger troops even if you totally ignore his textbox. When you look at the ability as an extra rider for those times when you are Ahead or when you can use a combination or tricks, removal, and potentially opposing bad draws to get a big advantage, that is when you can see that Prince Talysen is actually a card you are going to be quite happy to be playing in pretty much every Ruby deck. Expectations are the thing: you aren’t getting a bomb here and yes, the most common scenario for your Legendary is that it will trade with your opponent’s three-drop. But if what you are expecting with Talysen is the high floor of being an efficient body with the occasional splash of turning himself into an engine of destruction that will start to cascade the advantages of getting free cards into play, then you can see why he ends up as quite the impressive card.

 

Psychotic Anarchist
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
634.75
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
554.65

If you’ve ever stared at a Feral Ogre and a single Wild Shard in your opening hand, you understand the painful difference between single- and double-threshold two-drops. While Anarchist is going to be better than an average 2/2 on turn two when you cast him thanks to Speed, you have to factor into your drafting that a certain percentage of the time you won’t be able to cast him on that critical turn (barring being Mono-Ruby of course). The card draw is likely a wash most of the time but it certainly favors the deck with cheaper cards in the short term as which deck can cast more of those drawn cards faster is going to be the one that gains the real advantage from Anarchist’s ability—so try to make sure that is you! In the rest of the other situations, Anarchist acts like most other 2/2s for 2 in that he’s pretty junky when the board is stalled and just okay elsewhere due to being an efficient cost-to-size to play.

 

Ruinforge Reinventor
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
565.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
555.3

A 3/4 for four is already right around where we would be happy playing something anyway. It’s not a slam dunk but it is going to make the cut most of the time because it is one of those statlines that works everywhere—just enough attack to threaten somebody, just enough defense to hold back a couple troops from the opponent, and just cheap enough to ensure you can play it in time for it to matter.

So that leaves us to figure out exactly how often that ability will matter. The big problem is that we will be conflicted very often with Reinventor. You might have an important Pterobot on the board on turn 4, so do you hold back Reinventor as an insurance policy (in combination with the likely Worker Bot fodder)? Or do you go ahead and play it, which likely helps free up Pterobot to start being a bit more aggressive knowing that Reinventor can safely hold the ground? The timing issue with Reinventor is going to come up fairly often, and it is also going to be very hard to nail exactly when to play Reinventor and when to hold him back in most games. Sometimes though, you will just draw the Reinventor late when you have a Welding Bot or the like in the graveyard anyway and you happily make the trade. Don’t expect Reinventor to always be a blowout, but he’s solid enough all around that you should be able to get some value out of him in every game regardless.

 

Samson, Lead Ballistics Engineer
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
655.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
645

Certainly a lot of combos with his ability to be uncovered (with Elimination Specialist almost certainly leading the way in terms of power), but you probably aren’t getting into a ton of those synergies in your average draft deck. Instead, what you are buying is a 4/3 for four that also happens to be a Dwarf (which from the looks of things is once again the tribe that gets the most linear love). That is just slightly above the power curve for what we would expect out of a four drop and really makes Samson one of those cards that is never the best but also rarely the worst thing you will have in your deck. He certainly hits hard, so don’t be surprised when aggressive Ruby decks take him with absolutely no intentions of combining him with any other dwarves but rather to just have a 4-power beatstick that doesn’t trade with every two-drop on Entrath like Assault Bot always did. The ability still will likely come up enough that we can factor it into our evaluation, but the key will really be how playable are the options he combos with; if those cards help define the Shattered Destiny limited format then Samson’s grade certainly would stand to improve.

 

Zakiir
DevelopmentParityAverage Rating
497.25
AheadBehindWeighted Rating
887.3

While lacking the insane “Enters play” ability of Uruunaz, Zakiir is still probably the strongest of the named dragon cycle as all he has to do is sit around and your opponent is going to lose the game from his powers. It doesn’t matter one bit that you get a random one, as every single one of them is busted good. Even “just” a 5/5 flight troop for 6 scores highly in everything but Development as that statline stabilizes boards and threatens to win all by itself in any game it shows up.

 

 

Top 5 Ruby Commons

1) Crackling Bolt – 7.05

2) Elite Pyromancer – 6.15

3) Boulder Toss – 5.9

4) Sly Huntress—5.8

5) TIE: Flak Scrapper and Arena Brawler—5.6

Crackling Bolt is flat out one of the best cards in the set, common or otherwise. With dual shard uncommons floating around, splashing the Bolt should be both achievable and profitable to do as few things are near the efficiency that Bolt provides. After that, Ruby has a solid core of troops to choose from led by Elite Pyromancer. While Ruby may still have some clunkers among its commons, the core here is good enough that you can’t safely ignore the shard entirely in Shattered Destiny.

Average Ruby Common—5.31

Weighted Average Ruby Common – 5.10

Ruby is the strongest shard we have seen thus far. It has two pieces of strong removal, and a host of solidly costed bodies. Also, like Blood, some of its worst cards are still playable by virtue of being strong in the Development and Ahead quadrants (and thus being decent ways to fill out an aggressive deck).

8 Comments on Shattered Destiny Quadrant Theory Limited Review: Day 3 RUBY

  1. Re: Scraptech Brawler – note that even if you hard cast him for 3 you still get your 3 mana back, so even if you hard cast him later in the game, you still at least get to do so for ‘free’.

  2. These articles are really interesting — thanks for doing them. One quick correction to point out on Scraptech Brawler, though:

    “Brawler is a pretty hard fail everywhere else, though. A 2/2 for 3 isn’t impressing anybody if you draw him in any other stage of the game.”

    His resource generation is whenever he comes into play — not conditional on being tunneled first. So he represents either 8 resources on turn 5, or a 2/2 for FREE with the limitation that it can only be played on turn 3 or later. And with the number of great inspire troops floating around to make that body more relevant, being able to play an extra troop that turn and empty your hand faster can put the opponent too far behind to recover (I had one memorable game yesterday where I went T2 Ruby Pyromancer, T3 Scraptech Brawler, Scraptech Brawler, Sly Huntress).

    • You are both correct about Scraptech Brawler. He did not work that way at GenCon and talking to the developers they indicated that they were at the time planning to have him only create the temporary resources when emerging from underground.

      Having said that, he should be a slight upgrade to the grades I gave him in Development and Behind. As you point out, he can have some nutty opening plays but as a 2/2 he still is going to rely fairly heavily on being Inspired to turn him into something great. He might be free to play on turn 3, but that means you are still resigned to not playing him out until turn 3 where he might be outclassed faster than a 2/2 for two. As for Behind, I’ve talked multiple times about how playing multiple cards in a single turn can be a game changer when behind, so while sometimes you will be empty handed and Brawler is a dead draw you will have other situations where you draw a Brawler and he plus a 5 drop can come down and totally stabilize the board.

  3. Did you forget Royal Cutblood?

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