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Uncommonly Good Uncommons

So the New Year is still setting in, but people have had a bit of time to fiddle around with the Shattered Destiny draft format. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to sink my teeth in, a few standout uncommon cards from Shattered Destiny have shown themselves to be deserving of making decks around. These cards aren’t necessarily the most powerful cards in the format, but they are definitely ones that you want to keep an eye out for—especially since you’ll be picking cards out of two packs of Shattered Destiny before you even look into the large pool of cards that Shards of Fate brings.

 

Royal Cutblood:

Okay, so the obvious card to mention first when you’re talking about uncommons in SD is the Royal Cutblood. This card has been on the top of everyone’s hit list for cutting out of packs, and very rarely can you manage to make a deck with two to three of them. That being said, if you ever manage to put some sleeves around a couple of these guys the payoff can be huge. With Rage 1, Unblockable, and Lifedrain in a perfect scenario, she’s capable of putting through a serious beating and keeping her controller full up on Health. Granted, she’s very vulnerable to a lot of removal, but that’s the key to her power in this format. Zared is showing up in far less matches then he used to with the rise of Bunoshi, there’s now only a single pack containing the very effective Bombsmith, and removal actions in general are harder to come by. The only real difficulty in slipping Cutblood into your deck is the mildly difficult threshold restrictions. Thankfully because of the human theme that’s shoved itself to the foreground there are plenty of cards that can help here. Pick threshold-fixing cards with a slightly higher priority if you’re looking to make her work, and keep a weather eye open for a Verdict of the Ancient Kings to help save her as well.

 

Paladin of the Necropolis:

This is probably one of my favourite archetype-enabling cards in the entire format. At a hefty 1/4 with Lifedrain for three he’s already a fine defensive troop. What makes him uncommon though, is the fact that every time you gain any sort of health for yourself the Paladin will deal one damage to the opponent. Now, one damage at a time might not seem like a whole lot, but it adds up quickly when you manage to get more than one Paladin into your deck and can effectively build around it. In addition, the fact that you’re actively trying to gain health also boosts your survivability against the aggressive Fuzzuko and Bunoshi decks that can often be a problem. Paladin can force your opponent to hold back attacks when they normally wouldn’t, because they don’t want to allow you to gain one health off of a defensive block and take one damage themselves. When you find yourself in possession of multiple Paladins (Paladi?) you really want to hunt down his buddies, Giant Mosquito, Corrupt Harvester, and Blood Aura. Consider running Gozzog and charge generation as well for a quick victory that your opponent can’t answer.

 

Stink Troll:

Another fairly well costed troop, Stink Troll walks into the building as a 3/2 for three, and then parades around waving his one shot ability at the opponent like it’s the key to the city. Being able to give a troop Crush as a free side effect to playing a troop is already good—being able to HOLD ONTO the ability to give away crush at quick speed is better… Giving all your crush troops +1/+1 just by being on the board is just the icing on the cake. The synergy of having two stink trolls on the board alone can usually be enough to force an opponent onto their back foot, as they can use their one shots in multiple ways to really throw off combat math and having crush to push through damage can seal a game if left alone too long. Even in the situations where your opponent can remove this troll, it still leaves a parting gift by throwing out its one shot in response and giving Crush away for free free free! In the case that you have a couple of trolls high-fiving in your picked cards already, make sure to keep an eye out for any sort of troop that already has crush, actions that give crush… And the Stink Troll’s best friend, Wreckasaurus.

 

Wakazashi Ambusher:

The only bunny to make the list at the moment which makes me a little sad. As a four-cost 2/1 he’s not exactly running the show on the board, but his real tactical ability comes from his enter-play effect where he gives -X/-X to an opposing troop, where X equals his attack value. This ability and costing is pretty decent all on its own, but when you stack up his ability to be tunneled on turn two and the fact that he gains +1/+1 every time a shin’hare that you control dies while he’s underground, you realize he can get way out of hand quickly. Any sort of trades you can make with existing Shin’hare on the board only gain in value while he’s hidden away in his tunnel, sharpening his blade. In addition if you’ve managed to snag a few different tunneling troops, your opponent will have a hard time knowing if they should hold onto a troop in their hand or play it out to control the board. If you find yourself holding a couple of Wakazashi, make sure to try to capture a few of his friends: Bucktooth Commander, Surprise Runt Gang, Blossoming Concubunny, Feeding the Young Ones… Basically most shin’hare cards. Underfoot Commander gets a big nod here, as well, for synergy!

 

Town Crier/Exalted Victory:

I’m going to lump these two together, because they’re basically doing the same thing in any given deck: they’re adding a huge amount of value to an already powerful troop type. Sure, I mentioned Cutblood earlier and she’s human, but she can fit into any Ruby/Sapphire/Diamond deck, and she can even do well in just Ruby/Sapphire. These two cards rely heavily on you having humans in your deck, but when they manage to show their potential it can be disastrous for your opponent. Town Crier is a measly 2/2 for four resources, but that’s okay because you’re hoping to play him in situations where you can draw a card for every human on the board (including himself!). Drawing 3-4 cards in a turn for four resources is huge in and of itself, and even though you’ll have to discard two of them, chances are you’ll be improving the condition of your hand. Exalted Victory, on the other hand, is just icing on the cake to a human deck; giving all of your troops on the board +2 attack and all of the humans among them Steadfast and Swiftstrike is enough to change around an entire board state. Even if it looks like you’d be unable to swing into an opponent on a turn, one quick play of this and things change quickly. Your opponent will probably have to make chump blocks that they didn’t want to and it’s unlikely you’ll be losing much board control in the exchange, since your troops are staying readied, and +2 attack / Swiftstrike is enough to push over all but the meatiest of creatures.

These two cards do even more wonders when they’re paired up in multiples, giving thicker consistency to their already powerful effects… Plus, who doesn’t like chaining a town crier into another town crier? If you’re looking to make these cards work, make sure to value even the slightly worse human cards juuuust a bit higher.

 

Cockatwice/Royal Diplomat:

Again, I’m lumping two cards together because they’re very good for nearly the same reasons. Both troops come with a pair of minor gem sockets, and an attractive keyword as well. In the case of Cockatwice, a 3/2 for five isn’t anything to lose your mind over, even with the ‘lethal’ keyword. What makes him stand out is the power that he brings when you socket him with Swiftstrike: force opponents to have to either use hard-to-come-by removal on him, or block with 4+ troops. In addition, you can add Rage 1 to the other socket and make him virtually unblockable by all but invincible troops and troops that negate damage. Even in worse cases, you can make use of Flight or Spellshield to make a nasty blocker. Diplomat however is a pretty solid 3/4 with steadfast, and his gem socket options are more diverse. Flight, +1/+1, Rage 1, Swiftstrike, Lifedrain, Unblockable, Spellshield, -1/-1 to blockers… They’re all good options for the Diplomat.

Both troops are capable of being bombs, but look towards Blood/Diamond if you’re going to play multiple Cockatwice as Swiftstrike is very very often going to be the best gem choice. Both troops benefit from you adding cards to your deck to protect them, or to bring them back from the grave after they’ve been ‘dealt’ with, so look out for Verdict, Call the Grave, Augmented Awakening, and Mentor of the Grave.

 

Electroid:

Last, but not least… My favourite card in Shattered Destiny to get mulitples of. I’ve talked a few times above about stat effectiveness by cost, but this guy is the champion of the list. At 3/4 for ONE resource, he’s a heavy hitter—the downside being that he has a nasty clause attached to him: he can only attack or block if you control four or more dwarves or robots. Thankfully, if you manage to pick up more than one of this guy, you’re already on your way to being able to roll out multiples—and once you do, you really want to hunt down any sort of cheap dwarf or robot to put onto the board to aid him. Power players in this archetype include Construct Foreman (Who can either make ANY artifact a robot, or turn the Electroid itself into a 3/3 if it’s unlikely to ever clear its downside) Gearsmith, Charge Bot, Construction Plans: Hornet Bot/War Hulk. Play Bertram, and crush over your opponents before they have any idea what they’re up against.

Nikolas Podrasky (Pentachills) can often be found streaming limited and constructed play on Twitch. Not afraid to experiment with less popular cards, his stream offers both an educational and entertaining entry into Hex. Find him on twitter as @Pentachills, or on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/pentachills

2 Comments on Uncommonly Good Uncommons

  1. Warrior of Andronicus, Cannon Volley, Scraptech Brawler, Queensguard, and Rallying Banner are all also worth a mention.

  2. They certainly are! The list above does not include -every- good uncommon. I picked ones that a deck could be built around or that might change your decisions in the future picks. (Admittedly, Queensguard/Rallying banner could have been included with Crier/EV.)

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