Sunday 8 March 2015

Draft ChamPion - Reign of Varna Review: Draft Edition

Hello fellow Forgeborn!

Let me introduce myself. I'm Pion, a veteran Solforge player who have been around since the time when games were played on the forum using Excel spreadsheets. Ever since Draft was implemented it's been my favourite format. Draft decks have a different face every time and they let you make use of under-appreciated cards that may never see the face of constructed. Once you've entered a draft, regardless of the size of your collection, you're on the same levelled playing field as the player who only has a starter deck.

Today I will be reviewing the Reign of Varna commons and rares in a draft environment. I will focus on the roles the different cards play in a deck more than giving a general grade. I hope this approach will get you thinking on what roles the cards you draft are intended to play, more so than just having an overall pick order. Without further ado, here are my thoughts:



Barrier Soldier

An interesting showcase of the new player abilities. A role player, useful for stemming the bleeding against aggressive decks or allowing you to set up more favourable trades by ignoring one or more of your opponents threats for a turn. Barrier Soldier should not make up the bulk of your deck, due to it's rather weak body, it will not often successfully engage in combat. A great card for the aggro matchup, especially against Tempys decks which often uses mobility creatures to push damage.

Metamind Archivist

You don't have to go deep into Metaminds to play the Archivist, as its body will trade with most things on level. Its high defensive stats makes it an excellent card next to an Alloyin General, or with Infernal Visage. If your deck is high on buffing cards, the Archivist will impress you by his stats alone. The problem is, as an underdrop Metamind Archivist will not pull its weight, which is why I'd be hard pressed to play it over other potential threats. Also, I would suggest you do not expect to get your extra card(s) from this Metamind. I would only value other Metaminds slightly higher after picking this card. 

Nexus Overwatch

The existence of this card is important to remember even if it's not in your deck. Don't play cards that trade with this in the centre lane, so that your opponent may not get a trade out of her Nexus Overwatch. It is still a good card that you should pick up if you are playing a slightly aggressive deck. If you let a competent opponent dictate the lanes in which the game is played, you will only get to use Nexus Overwatch as an average sized creature.

Oreian Steelskin

This is a plain bad card, do not pick it. Do not level it if you are unlucky enough to end up with one.



An aggressive card with a decreasingly great body as it levels up. This card will trade with those pesky 7/7's you may otherwise not be able to profitably combat, and with little help becomes a threat your opponent could have a hard time handling. Don't reach too far for synergies, let them come naturally. Batterbots are naturally great with Aegis Wings which is a card you should pick up if you can anyway.


Alloyin gets a below average combat trick. It doesn't to anything well, but does several things decently. The combat swings this card provides are seldom game changing. I would pick it only over average sized creatures with no synergy or if you are low on combat tricks.

Torrent Acolyte

One of the good acolytes. Great underdrop and gives you options if you level it. Note that the free card stays in your deck which makes you less likely to draw your other levelled cards. The Power Torrent however is worth it. Pick highly.



Abyssal Maw

This card has a powerful effect that truly rewards you for going deep into abominations. It's a hit a boom or bust card in that it can force you into drafting abominations and not having it work out. On one end, Abominations are plentiful in this draft environment with the return of Graveborn Glutton and Dr. Frankenbaum. However, there is a trap in drafting abominations and levelling this card too aggressively. Make sure you're not on the wrong end on either of those and you'll get rewarded more often than burnt.

Bitterfrost Totem

Spells that change the outcome of combat are great, and levelling spells are usually worse than leveling a creature. That's why playing spells that are good underleveled is where you want to be. Bitterfrost Totem is one you should pick highly.

Rot Wanderer

The weak body means that when you miss it'll hit you hard. Don't play it for value in player level 1 and expect to get more as the game goes on. It probably won't deal with the threats you need to take care of, even if there likely are underdrops lingering on the board to kill. I'd advice against playing this card.

Scourge Hydra

Hail Hydra! Great card to level, great underdrop. Pick it up. You can't go wrong with Scourge Hydra.


Brood Horror

A very interesting new effect that's hard for me to evaluate. While the small buff can make a big difference in the vitality of your creatures, on player levels past one you cannot make sure the right cards get the buff. This card could turn out to be a liability at that point. Very powerful if the stars align. I'd pick more consistently performing cards over this one.

Torrent Witch

The torrent spells were all lacklustre, but the torrent creature cycle have breathed new life into these free spells. Regeneration on the right threat is potentially game winning, so if you have large threats the Torrent Witch will make your opponent have to find an answer. Pick moderately highly.

Vigor Leech

Regenerate spells have historically been poorly performing in draft, while the de-buff spells have proved useful. This card have two lacklustre abilities and the versatility does not make up for that. Pick it only if you must, and play it only as an underdrop if you must.



Blizzard Shaman

Tempys has gotten a gem in this aggressive card. It's great at pushing damage and carries a body to trade with one card and then some at both levels 1 and 2. If you're on the defensive the ability will often be a liability, so like Razortooth Stalker this is a card that mainly fits the aggressively minded player. Pick highly if you intend to be on the beat-down.

Flame Jet

An underdrop spell that does too little at level one on higher player levels to be a good card. It is still useful, but pick good and above average creatures over it unless you lack tricks. Remember that burn is best in draft when you try to push damage.


Lightning Spark 2.0 is a fine draft card in the same vein as Flame Jet. You'd want a few of these effects in your aggressive Tempys deck, and they will do work for you.

Steam Sentinel

The Tempys defender deck got some more juice. Great pick-up for the Oratek deck or as an underdrop against non-movers. Has got an interesting rarity symbol at level 2 and 3.


Everflame Aura

Another burn spell, and the best of the new ones at level 1 which is the most important level for a burn spell. The option of mobility in addition means Everflame Aura is bound to push damage when you need it to. Best of the dual spell cycle. Pick highly if you're aggressive.

Sparkstone Elemental

A real treat for the defender deck, but a risk since it activates your opponents' defenders as well. Levels well, so if you don't face a defender deck it's a solid card to level. If you're on defenders Sparkstone Elemental is a high pick. If not, you could do better.

Torrent Valkyrie

A Volcanic Giant sized creature with an ability worse than Volcanic Giant, because of the free spell increasing the deck size. By far worst of the cycle. Pick up only if you need an average body.



Cavern Serpent

Another interesting showcase of the player abilities, and a rare case of reach in Uterra. This snake has to pay for its uniqueness with slightly below average stats and that puts it into the average pile. Need a way to clear the last few points? Play a body that trades better and you'll be happier with the results.

Swampmoss Ancient

This dinosaur is big. It works well as an underdrop, and if you are aggressive you can mitigate the fact that it stops leveling at 2 and play it early. Slower decks will enjoy a great underdrop. Pick highly, especially if you are aggressive.

Torgmai Mender

Planning on using an all-in strategy? You're unlikely getting that 4-0, but when it works, this creature could get your Necromoeba or Spring Dryad to go the distance. This card is a strong trick if you have board presence, but unless the subject is really resilient, Toorgmai Mender will not be a star.

Ursine Strength

This underlevelled trick is huge. It will gain you a lot of value if used on the right level 2 creature. Like all pump spells Ursine Strength truly shines when you are beating down and are in charge of the trades. Pick highly if you're aggressive or playing resilient creatures. Pick slightly lower if you don't.



In draft, games are rarely won by an individual immortal monster, but every once in a while a Dendrify comes in handy. A good answer to bombs, but at a steep price of giving away a 6/6. Don't pick it over good creatures, but if you pick one up, it should be useful in one or maybe two games.

Torrent Soldier

The best torrent creature in the cycle. Poison is a powerful ability, and Uterra has a lot of small blockers to prevent damage before the inevitable death of the opposing threat. Most of the time the Spore Torrent will act as small scale removal, and for a free effect that surely is good enough. The fact that it comes with a decently sized body makes Torrent Soldier a high pick, although it needs to be levelled for it to be useful.

Toxic Boon

Two decent modes makes a fine card. Try not to use this during player level 1 and its poor scaling won't hurt you too badly later in the game. Don't pick it highly, but if you lack tricks Toxic Boon will fill that role just fine.

That is all for today. Next time I'll be back with thoughts on the new draft pool and the impact the recent changes have had. I'll see you in the queues!

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