Day 16 – Dailies, Faction Rankings for Set 5.2 draft

So today I just did dailies, but I also wrote up a bit about how I value each of the factions in draft. It’s kind of subjective, but it’s still worth a talk, I think.

As far as the individual factions go,

  1. Nekrium
  2. Uterra
  3. Tempys
  4. Alloyin

The first two are neck and neck, then comes Tempys, then Alloyin waaaaay at the bottom. I’ll explain why.

Come first pick, there are a lot of strong heroics to immediately put you in Nekrium – Contagion Lord, Dysian Broodqueen, Necromoeba, Portal Shade, Rite of the Grimgaunt, Sorrow Maiden, and Spite Hydra are all cards I wouldn’t mind first picking. Two of them – Dysian Broodqueen and Sorrow Maiden – are also so good I’d put them in the top 5 Heroics in the entire format.

Nekrium has a lot of strategies it can support. This is due to how flexibile and strong its spells are, primarily. The creatures in Nekrium aren’t bad – Abyssal Brute, Corpse Crawler, and Graveborn Glutton pop immediately to mind – but the spells are really why you draft Nekrium. Bitterfrost Totem, Infernal Visage, Howl of Xith, and Spirit Leash. Oh, also Dysian Siphon is the best rare in the set.

It is actually pretty hard to go wrong drafting Nekrium.

To put you into first pick, there are several good heroics, just like Nekrium. Actually I started to list them off, then realized it would be more worthwhile to list which wouldn’t be worth first picking – Cultivate, Deepbranch Ancient, Killer Bee, and Venomous Netherscale. That’s it. The other ones all very from merely good to very good. Tuskin Sporelord and Snowdrift Alpha are also in the top 5 heroics in the format, though it is probably safe to say Snowdrift is actually in the top 1 heroics.

The rares in Uterra are okay, there are lots of roleplayers that are strong depending on what strategy you put them in, things like Esperian Wartusk, Spiritstone Druid, and Spring Dryad. Sometimes they are the strongest cards in your deck, and other times they are just okay. But that’s fine, because there are a lot of solid Uterra commons – mainly Grove Huntress, Roaming Warclaw, and Swampmoss Ancient. Cards that make things big, cards that make other things, just huge creatures – Uterra does it all.

Unlike the previous two factions, the quality of Tempys heroics is somewhat lacking. There are several very good heroics, but most of them require some work. Borean Windweaver and Zarox are definitely the best of the bunch. Then come more specialized cards like Master of Elements, Oratek Warhammer, Fervent Assault, and Frostfang Maiden. All decent cards, but need work.

That said, I really like the Tempys rares and commons. They are all either very aggressive (Thranic Ambusher, Razortooth Stalker, Storm Caller) or have some really good utility attached (Blizzard Shaman, Warbringer Uranti, Flamerift Instigator). Tempys is king of the underdrops – with five common creatures with 7 power or more. Tempys is very good at being aggressive, then using its utility creatures or spells like Everflame Aura or Frostshatter Strike to dodge the block and push even more damage. It comes at a cost – Tempys creatures are very fragile.

Alloyin has very little in the Heroic slot that is actually worth first-picking. Discordant Strike, Esperian Sage, Esperian Scarab, and Oratek Explosives are your best options here. Notice any similarities there? Yep, they are all Allied cards. Alloyin heroics suck. I very rarely first pick any Alloyin cards.

They have also very little given to them in the commons and rares. Batterbot and Spiritsteel Infiltrator are by far the best aggressive creatures in the faction, with utility creatures like Matrix Warden and Nexus Overwatch not too far behind. Onyxium Marauder is perhaps the most threatening Alloyin creature as it has great scaling and is very difficult to put down. After the cards I’ve mentioned though, you are left with cards that are decent (Skyknight Glider, Steelskin Spelunker, Torrent Acolyte), but none that are actually that exciting. And the spells are Jetpack and sometimes Aegis Wings, and everything else isn’t worth mentioning.
As far as Faction Pairs go, this is about how I’d rank them:

  1. Dysian (Uterra/Nekrium)
  2. Byzerak (Nekrium/Tempys)
  3. Esperian (Uterra/Alloyin)
  4. Oratek (Tempys/Alloyin)
  5. Umbruk (Tempys/Uterra)
  6. Onyxium (Nekrium/Alloyin)

Dysian is kind of just classic good stuff. There are a ton of ways to build it, you have lots and lots of good Heroics to choose from, and Dysian Siphon gives an incredible amount of board control. If you don’t know what you are doing when you are drafting, drafting Dysian is probably your best bet, since the card quality is so high.

Byzerak is my personal favorite faction pair in this format, so it’s possible I may be slightly biased here. However, the amount of aggression this faction pair can pull off, accompanied with Howl of Xith as the great finisher, makes it able to roll over any deck that stumbles.

Esperian really needs a good Heroic and almost always has to be grow-wide in order to make it work. Esperian Sage or Scarab and maybe something like Alloyin General or Whispers of Dendris to make the small value creatures in each faction big enough to matter, especially Alloyin.

Oratek is actually pretty much just a Tempys deck with Alloyin support. Matrix Warden is a great tool for pushing damage, Jet Pack can turn on your Avalance Guardians or Cinder Colossus, and Nexus Overwatch can level the great scaling but easily punished Tempys cards. Oratek Battlebrand is honestly what drives this deck home though; it’s the best removal spell in the format (if we discount how Dysian Siphon is ridiculous) and it makes your deck more consistent by leveling a creature.

Umbruk isn’t great, but it is playable. Most often I draft this when I see a Thunderstomp early or an allied card, and then push for a dinosaur-heavy deck. The Dino synergy is honestly what makes this deck tick, especially if you pick up a strong heroic like Gemhide Ravager or Umbruk Lasher. As far as rares go, grab every Umbruk Glider you see. They are fragile, but the very high power combined with mobility and breakthrough make them difficult threats to deal with, and they usually take down a creature and deal chip damage. Unfortunately its late game is very lacking; if you fall behind, you will likely lose.

Onyxium is pretty much unplayable. Alloyin doesn’t offer any support Nekrium wants and isn’t aggressive enough to go for an early game plan. If you find yourself in this faction pair, pray that you see a ton of Onyxium Marauders and/or Discordant Strikes, because those cards are very good, and your only saving grace.
All of this is up to debate, of course. I don’t pretend to be the authority; this is just how I see it.

This is what I opened today:

Unfortunately nothing of note.


  • 3 Event Tickets
  • 65,855 Silver

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