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Card Ratings: the Starter Decks

As a basic introduction to the many options Codex offers, I’ve compiled my valuations of each card (as part of a multi-part and not yet complete series). The chosen scale is the american grading system (A-F), but the context for each grade differs by card type, which will be explained in each individual post

Other Card Ratings posts:
The Heroes
The Spells
Tech I - coming soon
Tech II - coming eventually
Tech III

For starter deck cards:

A - Highly above average. These are the cards that make you want to play a particular starter. You never worker these cards in the first two turns, and usually either play them in the first two turns (for units) or never worker them (for spells). Examples: Tormenting Imp (Black), Snapback (White)

B - Above average. These are cards that rarely get workered, but are more situational than A cards, or just less powerful than them. Strategy Lynchpins that are either key or an easy worker also get a “B”. Examples: Spectral Aven (Blue), Battle Suits (Purple)

C - Average. Solid cards that get played or not played depending on the exact hand contents / matchup / game state. Might be a solid role player in some gameplans. Often get workered later in the game when more powerful options are available. Examples: Young Tiger (Green), Spark (Neutral)

D - Below average. A little bit expensive or niche in their usefulness. Perhaps one specific gameplan will make use of them, but they are workered more often than they are played. These are the cards where you say “maybe I’ll use it” and then never end up doing so. Examples: Shock (Red).

F - Way below average. These cards get workered all the time. Either they are too weak for their cost, too situational, or just not worth using a card on. An F means that every other card in your deck is better than it, in all but the most niche of decks, and even then the decks that would want it are not very strong. Very few cards will get an F.



Timely Messenger - B. A single hasty point of damage is very strong in the early game, but the impact of spending a card to deal only 1 damage falls off quickly. An excellent vehicle for temporary or global buff effects.

Tenderfoot - B-. Blocks acceptably as squad leader early game, gets Virtuosso bonuses, but isn’t high impact, and can often be worked around.

Older Brother - C. The classic C, he’s just a solid body for a solid cost.

Brick Thief - C-. In many cases, this is worse than Older Brother, but in some cases, especially later in the game, it is better. Overall, he’s just a 2 atk for 2 gold warm body. Brick Thief is better than a normal 2/1 by a lot due to having an Arrives effect and Resist 1.

Helpful Turtle - D. Often does nothing, or is a “win more” effect. If you can maintain board presence after spending 2 on a 1/2, something very strange is going on.

Granfalloon Flagbearer - C-. Key in some matchups, but expensive in all matchups. Often not worth holding in the deck through the late game.

Fruit Ninja - D+. Going first, on turn 1, Fruit Ninja can do some work. The rest of the time, it’s just a worker.

Spark - D+. A nice effect, but usually only useful when your winning. 1 hp patrollers are often in Scavenger or Technician, so you are falling behind in material. Generally worse than Timely Messenger except against Illusions, where it still shines by being a 1 cost targeting spell.

Bloom - B. Very powerful on an early hero, will usually allow you to steal tempo by killing something, and forcing your opponent to attack the bosted guy on their turn. This is card neutral, but usually gold advantage.

Wither - B-. The counterpart to Bloom. This can also help make a good early trade, but doesn’t leave behind a bonus. However, many starter decks have troublesome units that like to hang out behind the patrol zone, and can be hard to attack. Wither reaches back and trades with many “A” level targets, while also taking out 1 hp squad leaders through their armor.

Overall: B-. To get the overall grade, we drop the bottom 4 cards (since you have to worker something) and look at the others. The Neutral starter contributes many cheap and small effects, but doesn’t scale well into the late game. It also has no “A” quality cards, so unless you are planning to abuse Bloom, Timely Messenger, or just want an overall low cost starter deck, there are probably better options.


Nautical Dog - C+. The inverse of Tenderfoot, but he only gets the attack on your own turn. Still good at trading up on gold, but low impact later, and significantly more vulnerable.

Mad Man - B. Everything mentioned about Timely Messenger applies to his alter ego.

Bombaster - B. Also known as Scorch on a stick, Bombaster takes the solid Older Brother stats and adds the significant versatility of being able to gain “haste” for 1 more.

Careless Musketeer - D+. One health is just a killer for what would otherwise be a very solid unit, and limits it to role player status of picking off Prospectors and Illusions.

Bloodrage Ogre - A. 3/2 breaks just about everything early on, and it is very rare that his drawback will ever come into play. Even if it does, it’s only a loss of gold, not cards. This is the unit you always play in your first or second hand, and probably a second time later.

Makeshift Rambaster - C-. Two cost for 1 hasty damage is fine, but not being able to patrol when you need to really hurts. Best use is sniping Graveyards unexpectedly, but often this is the “oh well” worker.

Bloodburn - B-. Expensive for a minor effect on the board and a bit of deck thinning. One damage a turn (that limit: 4 is only there so you can stop tracking after the first turn) is potent, but 3 is a ton to pay for it. This is usually worth fitting in going first to help you keep the pressure on. Going second, you won’t have the time, but it is still worth it against Skeletons, Illusions, and other 1-HP plans.

Scorch - F. Expensive for a minor effect on the board, and you need a hero so it can’t be played in the first cycle. Almost strictly worse than Bombaster, Scorch is one of the first things to get workered unless you are planning for Hotter Fire, or a base race starting turn 1. Being limited to Patrollers is the killer, as you would love to pick off a Tinkerer or other utility unit hiding in the back.

Pillage - D. Everyone plays around Pillage in the first couple of turns, and because you need a hero and a pirate for the “good” effect, it doesn’t come online until turn 2. If you are using Gunpoint Taxman and/or Crash Bomber you can usually find a moment to cash this in for 2 base damage & 1 gold stolen (if the opponent is always spending out, kill a Scavenger before playing this), but that often isn’t worth using a card. For the all-in base race, this is better than Scorch, but in any other gameplan, it’s just a worker.

Charge - A. Attacking or activating a unit the moment it arrives is game changing throughout the midgame. Even at 2 cost, getting an immediate attack with a Flying unit will change the tide of the game. As an extra bonus, it even gets +1 ATK, so all those 4 ATK bodies get to show up and break a tech building immediately.

Overall: B+. Red has lots of solid cheap units, two A-level cards, and a couple of easy Workers. Everything good is cheap enough that you can feel free to tech in expensive Tier I units or Spells, and count on your starter deck to provide acceptable blockers.


Merfolk Prospector - A-. As the only 1-drop in the greens starter, this gets special recognition. It’s also a must-kill unit for the opponent, since otherwise it’s an extra worker at no extra cost. There are games where it doesn’t come out, and late game it might not be worth the card, but the economic gains from an early Prospector will win most games.

Tiger Cub - C. Another vanilla 2/2 for 2. Solid, cute, and this one has in-color synergies with Midori!

Young Treant - B. Provides cycling manipulation early, and an extra chump blocker late. Low impact at all stages of the game, but a nice little tree for many different green strategies. Young Treant remains relevant throughout the game as a deck thinner / tech accelerator.

Playful Panda - B-. 2 for the price of 1. A tiger cub that defends poorly when first summoned, but contributes 2 bodies for various synergies, and just blocks in a pinch. Playful Panda’s 2/2 body eventually gets outclassed, but Growth really just wants more bodies in play, and the Panda delivers that.

Ironbark Treant - C. It looks like a good defender, but going down to 1 ATK means you often spend 3 gold for a Moment’s Peace, offer not valid at Tier II. Sometimes that’s all you need, other times this gets workered.

Spore Shambler - B-. One of the most versatile units in the game. This can be a 5-cost double Fortune’s Favor, a 3 cost 2/3, a way to kill Illusions, or anything in between. The versatility means this will often hang around in the deck longer than the other starter units. Don’t get too excited, however, this guy is still expensive.

Verdant Tree - D-. Don’t sleep on the Healing 1, that can really help. Often, however, the tree will get quickly killed, and strand your higher Tech units in hand. Only usable as a trick-shot with specific builds, or when you are already winning and want to finish things in style. Note that it’s perfectly OK to leave this circulating until you hit 9 workers, and use it just to accelerate Tech III.

Rich Earth - C-. This is functionally a 2 cost extra worker (that also costs a card). You can usually afford that if you expect the game to go long, so make sure whatever your long game is will trump the opponent’s long game before you commit to this. Most games are decided around turn 7 or 8, so this could generate up to that much gold, but often you have to stop making workers at 8, 9, or 10 workers because you’re running out of cards (a dilemma not helped by having spent a card on Rich Earth), and if you aren’t making workers, this does nothing (except thin your deck).

Rampant Growth - A. At every stage of the game, this lets you attack with a similarly sized unit or hero to kill the opponent’s Squad Leader and have your unit or hero survive. A great tempo play at any stage.

Forest’s Favor - B. See Bloom.

Overall: B. Green provides a solid foundation with units that remain relevant through Tech I, and several ways to accelerate gold, along with two very solid spells.



Pestering Haunt - C-. The Haunt typically gets played on turn 1 or 2 along with a Hero when you would have discarded 4 cards at the end of the turn. In other niche builds, he might have additional usage, but in general a 1/1 that can’t patrol isn’t worth a card, even if “free.” About as useful as Spark - unless your opponent is using Wisps or Mirrors, the Haunt will die the first time it attacks.

Skeleton Javelineer - C+. A basic 1/1 for 1. That isn’t as good as a 2/2 for 2, but being a Skeleton means that he plays an important role in the Skeleton Army deck. In addition, he can poke something for 1, and stay alive, so he often functions as more like 2 1/1 skeletons on offense.

Poisonblade Rogue - D. A typical 2/1 for 2 is basically unplayable, but the Rouge is good at breaking up defensive lines, so it has use in some gameplans, in some situations. It’s also the only 2-cost unit in the starter.

Thieving Imp - A. One of the best Turn 1 plays going first, and incredibly solid to re-play as long as the 2/2 body is substantial. It’s not just the card advantage of paying 1 gold more than an Older Brother to get +1 card, shrinking the opponent’s hand early on slows down their tech, and repeated applications makes every dead draw hurt even more. Plus, the discard is random, which can severely disrupt the opponent’s gameplan.

Jandra, the Negator - F. The 3/3 body is not enough to justify the 3 cost. 3 attack gets stifled by any Squad Leader hero, and black lacks the tools to break through that. Trying to defend with her is risking a blowout from Arrest or other single target control effects. Then, when she survives, you are painted into a corner as an opposing Tech 1 or removal spell could wipe your whole board (other than Thieving Imp and any other Demons you might have). Note: There is some debate about this grade - see comments below. I’m sticking with my assessment for now, but please link to games (PBF or YouTube) that show Jandra performing well, and we can discuss.

Graveyard - B+. Like all locations, this takes a turn before it can tap, but you can immediately benefit from the deck thinning of not having your Tech 0 chuds going to the discard pile when they die. Combined with Thieving Imp, this is an engine of destruction, and even re-playing Haunts and Javelineers is worth the initial investment (compare to Bloodburn). Being able to re-buy your Tech I and Tech II options is just icing.

Skeletal Archery - D+. Are you playing an army of skeletons? Do you need a little bit of anti-air to kill a Nullcraft or Gargoyle? Then play Skeletal Archery and be happy. Otherwise, this is an easy worker. This is not a reliable means of killing larger fliers, as the skeletons are too vulnerable and expensive if you aren’t making them your focus. Even if they are your focus, Archery isn’t always needed.

Deteriorate - A. 0 cost, kills everything small, patrolling or not, except for the three 1/1 starter deck guys with specific anti-targeting abilities in blue, white, and purple. Significantly, this finishes off larger attackers who left themselves with 1 hp, and does it through any size of patrol zone. Or, it lets your attackers survive (especially useful against defenders like Ironbark Treant who have a small amount of attack, but lots of hp/armor where you would have to send multiple attackers into it).

Summon Skeletons - D. Expensive, requires a hero, not really playable on the first two turns because of that. If you aren’t assembling a legion of skeletons, this can leverage your patrol zone to block some attacks at the cost of gold, but it won’t ever thin your deck, and remains low impact throughout the game. A key part of hitting 5 skeletons for Skeletal Lord, but often just a worker.

Sacrifice the Weak - A. With Garth, this effectively costs 3 and no sacrifice, sometimes you won’t have a unit, and this is just a 2 cost hard removal spell. Scales into the lategame if you have some stealth / direct damage to remove the smaller units. Combos well with Deteriorate to clear an early board.

Overall: A-. Black gives you multiple top end cards, and two cheap warm bodies, along with a skeleton theme that can either be embraced or sidelined. The primary weakness is enemy Heroes, as nothing in the starter matches up well against an opposing 2/3 non-unit.


Building Inspector - C+. A 1/1 for 1 who often costs your opponent 1 gold and gives you a body to use Manufactured Truth on. Solid, but not mandatory.

Spectral Aven - A-. One of only two starter deck Fliers, this one really packs a punch. Although often killed off by targeted buffs, if not dealt with the Aven will win any game. And even if dealt with, it forces out an early hero, and still trades 1-for-1 (possibly at a gold loss unless it was patrolling the Lookout slot).

Bluecoat Musketeer - D. This guy doesn’t defend well, having only 1 ATK. And he doesn’t have evasion of any kind to be able to target his Long Range. Going first, or with an awkward draw, he can provide consistent pressure, but usually he ends up as an early Worker. Against Black, however, he is a better choice than Spectral Aven for the “get a little bit of value every turn” slot.

Traffic Director - C-. He’s a 1/1 for 1 that blocks and can’t be removed by most spells or abilities. He’s also good at getting a little bit of damage on buildings to power up Earthquake or Air Hammer, but usually he’s just being played to chump block.

Porkhand Magistrate - C+. 3 cost is high, but 2/3 is good stats for defending or attacking early on. Later in the game, the Magistrate can answer anything that doesn’t have Untargetable or Haste, including many Tier III units. This guy is solid, and if your draw lines up correctly, it’s usually worth it to get him into play.

Reputable Newsman - A-. A building that can patrol, the Newsman is great value early and late, and helps answer whatever you most fear, as long as it’s a spell. He’s really bad at applying pressure, or halting enemy pressure, though. For that reason, he will usually float around in your deck until the midgame, when he can come out and prevent a key spell or protect a key hero.

Jail - B-. Expensive, doesn’t affect the current board, and can often be played around. It does slow down any sort of value unit strategy, where your opponent is just trying to play a bunch of 3-4 cost efficient bodies. Against a spell and hero strat, it does little to nothing. Against a fast tech strat, they will have to play an extra guy to rescue their tech target. Better when you are the aggressor, but taking a turn off to Jail up usually makes you no longer the aggressor.

Lawful Search - D+. Useful information, a little bit of cycling control, and confirmation for your Community Service. This is the archetypal “D” - something that you always mean to use, but then gets workered because everything else in hand is better. Bumped up because it can at least cycle in the late game.

Arrest - A. Another answer to some tier III units, and lots of annoying early game defense. Disabling any squad leader for only 2 gold will often result in the rest of their board dying, and no attacks back next turn, as their big unit will remain disabled. Useful any turn of any game - even if you aren’t attacking, it can cause opponents to play scared and not patrol when they otherwise might.

Manufactured Truth - C+. A generic combat trick. It only costs 1, so you can usually work it in, but the effect is often either trading 2 for 1 (albeit, your spell + weak unit for their Tech I unit) or copies an Aven (even newly played) to effectively give a unit tap: deal 2 damage to something.

Overall: B. The blue starter is very slow, and while it tries to slow the opponent down as well, you aren’t favored in a Tech 0 battle against any other starter. The strength is that your cards generally remain relevant throughout the game, you just have to escape the early game without being at a crippling disadvantage.


White (courtesy of Caphriel):

Smoker - B-. Stealth is great for pinging enemy 1hp guys and trading up, or damaging buildings for Earthquake, or finishing off a damaged tech building or hero or bigger attacker. And sometimes bouncing back to your hand when it gets targeted instead of dying can make it not worth their effort. Combos nicely with Safe Attacking to survive hitting enemy 1/1s. Unfortunately, you can’t buff it without bouncing it barring global buffs. But it’s still a 1/1 for 1 with Stealth.

Aged Sensei - B+. Another 1/1 for 1, and his exhaust ability is fantastic. It’s the same as Argagarg’s midband! This guy can easily become a “must kill” for opponents, because he’ll let you turn trades into kills with the attacker surviving, or let you trade up for more expensive targets. The extra attack power can also be crucial to breaking through squad leaders. But if you’re not attacking he’s just a 1/1 for 1. And he can target heroes, too!

Savior Monk - C+. 2/2 for 2, but comes with Healing 1. Caph gave this a B with the following logic: "This guy is way better than the Helpful Turtle or Older Brother/Tiger Cub. You’re probably going to be playing this guy most times you draw him in the first cycle because he’s your only 2-cost, 2-hp unit. The healing can combo well with Rook, or in general with any aggro play in which your guys are surviving but taking damage. The white starter provides a lot of options for that."
I believe that the times when you are attacking, surviving with damage, and also surviving the opponent’s turn with your damaged units and the monk you are going to be winning that game without getting the healing. Or your unit/hero that healed up ends up dying anyway on your next turn. The constitutionality on this being better than Older Brother is niche enough that I can’t give this more than a minor bump.

Fox Viper - D. 2/1 Sparkshot for 2 gold is a pretty abysmal blocker in most cases, and Sparkshot is very niche utility except against major token spam or similar. Will get murdered by any number of 1 cost, 1hp attackers from various starter decks. Probably worker this most of the time. Has some synergy with the Ninjutsu spec.
3/9: re-calibrated 2/1 for 2 down to D from C-, dropping this vanilla version to match.

Morningstar Flagbearer - C-. Like the Granfalloon Flagbearer, it can really interfere with certain strategies, but unless your opponent was planning to use a lot of targeted abilities on their own guys, he’s an expensive 2/2. Notable in that there’s synergy with Aged Sensei and Smoker - keeping opponents from targeting them with pings could be valuable.

Fox Primus - C-. Fruit Ninja with anti-air. Unless you’re playing against the Blue or Purple starter, your opponent isn’t going to have flying available early. Against those decks it’s more useful. Also combos with Aged Sensei or Sensei’s Advice to hit the magic number of 4 atk early in the game. But still probably going to be obsolete forever as soon as you hit tech 1. Has some synergy with the Ninjutsu spec, especially a fast Setsuki Ultimate giving it Haste and Stealth.

Safe Attacking - B+. A 1-cost upgrade that stays out of your deck forever is pretty great. Its effect is also great if you’re attacking - This can easily make the difference between trading and just killing something, or losing two units to kill something vs. losing one. Combos well with Aged Sensei and Sensei’s Advice. Often worth holding on to even after the first few turns because if you’re spending most of your gold on heroes, playing it to thin your deck could be legitimate, and if it saves even one guy, it’s paid for itself.

Grappling Hook - C+. As combat tricks go, this one is pretty neat. The primary use is moving a Squad Leader to somewhere else (Lookout is the usual location) so you can get to the squishier stuff behind it. It can also be used to line up a Sparkshot attack, or remove something from Elite. In some niche circumstances it might be worth moving a technician or scavenger, if you think losing a card is worth denying your opponent 1 gold, or both of you having 1 fewer card is worth it. It is much better to keep against Truth spec because it kills patrolling Illusions, but otherwise its utility tapers off as you start wanting to get more value out of your cards.

Sensei’s Advice - B+. The same stats as Rampant Growth, but distributed over two of your units and for one gold less. This is great if you’ve got enough guys on the field to hit with it, but somewhat less useful because it’s spread around and can’t target heroes. Very useful in the early game and any time you’re one atk short of killing something or 1 hp short of surviving a trade. It’s Sensei in a Bottle! Forces your opponent to avoid setting up multiple exact trades in their patrol zone, and is especially potent on Rook’s Birds to get them past a Nullcraft or Bird in Squad Leader.

Snapback - A+. Wow, what can’t be said about Snapback? This is one of the best starter deck cards in the game, and its presence warps your opponent’s strategies without you ever having to play it. They max a hero so they can use its ult? Snapback. Patrolling a hero as squad lead to protect their units? Snapback. Want to get a midlevel hero out of the patrol zone and bring out a lower-HP one to kill instead? Snapback. Can’t kill Garth but don’t want to get Doom Grasped next turn? Snapback. Want to replace Drakk with Zane so you can kill Zane and not have to deal with Frenzy next turn? You get the idea. Snapback has good utility on turn 3 or later, and is very disruptive.

Overall rating:
Caph: A-. Much better on the attack than on defense, though, so if you don’t have any heroes or tech 1 units that can help defend you might find yourself in an awkward situation. If you’re not attacking, Sensei’s Advice, Grappling Hook, and Safe Attacking all lose value, but if you are attacking, you get tons of value from your units. It’s tempting to worker your inefficient units and keep white’s amazing starter spells, but that can also be a trap unless you’re planning to tech in lots of efficient units.
EricF: B+. Aside from Snapback, most of this starter is cheap low-impact stuff, with no built-in way to get cards back aside from Setsuki. No real stinkers, with the worst option being a 2/1 for 2. White is an excellent support for a hero focused gameplan, but suffers if it gets put on the back foot and can’t pick its own battles.

Purple (synthesized from Griffin’s notes):

Battle Suits - B: Obviously the reason Battle Suits decks work. Amazing card, makes units just better than they should be and makes you a tempo fighting monster. Works with some fun multicolour things including all of Peace. Some decks just won’t use it much outside of the starter, though. Regardless, it affects the board slightly the turn it is played, then stays out of your deck and makes lots of things just a little bit better, even when you aren’t abusing it.

Fading Argonaut - A: A 2/3 for 2. It’s fading is basically an upside because of Temporal Research, and in Suits builds it’s a 3/3 for 2 starter deck unit which is just bonkers?

Nullcraft - A-: Basically 1 damage, every turn, to anything, starting right now. Very few things work against it in starters, especially since its ‘drawback’ stops Deteriorate and Wither. Like if Bloodburn cost 1 less and had haste and ignored resist. This will often compel a Tower, which is your 2 gold + card for their 3 gold, and you still got to deal 1 damage (possibly killing a Prospector or Sensei) before, and 1 damage at any point in the future (or patrol to stop fliers).

Hardened Mox - B-: Like Nullcraft, but benefits from suits, even harder to remove, but more limited in attack targets and no haste and costs 1 more. If you use suits then it’s Bloodburn with limited targeting but twice a turn. Tends to be ‘worker if it doesn’t fit in the first 2-4 turns’, but in those first 2-4 turns it’s really good. If you have ways to add runes to the Mox, you can build your own Immortal and compete with Tech II strategies (at the cost of not being able to use Tech II units, though buildings, upgrades, and Tech III are all OK).

Neo Plexus - C: It’s the baseline 2/2, except actually it’s usually a 3/2 in Suits decks. Even in non-suits Decks you can play it, then the opponent has to play as if it has 3 attack because suits exists so it’s better than Tiger Cub.

Forgotten Fighter - C-: It’s tempo, sometimes. You get a 1g tempo lead if you hit something like Porkhand or Ironbark, plus the tempo lead from it being immediate to let you push damage past them unexpectedly. Can hit a couple tech I units, notably Boulder who stumps many aggro decks. Falls off hard, never gets used in some games.

Temporal Research - C-: One of the most inefficient ways to draw extra cards, and only works well if you have Prynn available (never play this without 3 runes in play, and it’s almost impossible to get to 10 unless you’re using lots of Forecast stuff, which is a niche deck), but pay 4 & a card to draw 2 “right now” (and get Prynn into play) still beats out Surplus by a country mile for recovering hand size around turn 5-6. Don’t feel bad about workering this if you have better card drawing (Setsuki max band, Hyperion, Dark Pact, Garrison), or if you have an awkard hand, but it’s very “nice to have.”

Tinkerer - D: Potentially, repeating value giving you free Remember summons, early Plasmodiums or Conclaves, and other tricks. In practice, you’re protecting a 1/2 for 2. He’s at least a body, but without a slow opposing start or draws working out perfectly, he can just be lost tempo.

Plasmodium - C-: To tempo/Stewardess Decks, this thing is throwing 2g & a card at losing the game by slowing down for 3 turns. To time rune Decks, ideally it only lags a turn or so, and then BAM, 4/4 haste is insane from a starter if it comes that early, really it’s why Seer is even an option in the first tech cycle. Expect to play this / worker this about equally, but generally too slow going second.

Time Spiral - D: Niche card for time rune manipulation, and expensive even then. You aren’t using this on Prynn/Fading often, so it’s shit to Stewardess, but it’s a free summon with Rememberer, and maybe getting your Plasmodium/Conclave a turn earlier is worth it too in Time Rune decks.

Overall - A-: The starter has a few top-flight cards, and a bunch of stinkers. You should usually be able to play only the top-flight ones, though, and worker the rest.


I think it’s worth mentioning that Grappling Hook can also be used to get value from Grave’s and Fox Viper’s sparkshot.


Pillage has literally been the margin of error that has won me games with my hyper rush deck. Ignoring my niche deck, direct base damage(2 with a pirate) that IS NOT tied to any specific hero is actually a powerful effect in late game base race situations. In those scenarios you can count on the opponent being able to dump a lot of cheap units and low level heroes in the patrol zone to keep you out. Being able to cut through all that with minimal prerequisites(no tech buildings and 2 out of 3 heroes dead? low gold? no problem!) is actually kinda amazing.

I wrote the above because you seem to undervalue the effect of direct base damage this card has. Pillage can easily be worth 4 base damage and 1 gold stolen over the course of a game. And you’d be surprised how game warping the gold steal effect is.

1 gold actually counts for a lot in the early game. 2 gold makes quite an impact in the midgame. No matter what stage of the game, I often find that the difference between a good play and an amazing one is only about 1-3 gold. If your opponent isn’t floating gold then they can’t hit you with One Massive Truckload™ of a turn later. If they are floating gold then you get to capitalize. You’d be surprised how many people I’ve caught floating gold.

I don’t worker Pillage until midgame, if ever. Pillage is THE card everyone either plays around or sleeps on against red.


Jandra is still definitely not an F.

Quick note: Poisonblade Rogue is misspelled. It doesn’t hugely matter, but the misspelling is making Autocard not recognize it. :frowning:

Agree Jandra > F. As Player 1 Turn 1, she’s a fantastic play, especially if you also draw the Haunt, or have Deteriorate coming Turn 2. Puts her at a ‘C’ level, imo.

I feel like the fact that there’s heated disagreement on just the value of the starting decks’ cards bodes well for the long-term life of the game ^^

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I’m confused - are you saying a 2/2 for 2 is a C while a 2/3 for 2 is a C-, or is that a typo?

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I think you are underestimating the cost of spending a card on a 1/1. I did review my ratings, and I agree that haunt should be higher and summon skeletons lower (see above for new notes), but I think baseline a 2/2 for 2 and 1/1 for 1 are both Cs.
Also, on turn 3 and 4 your deck is mostly still starter deck stuff, and then on turns 5-7 you might still want to play a warm body, especially if you have some sort of spell and/or hero based gameplay going on. In that case, the same tradeoff from turn 1 still applies: you can kill 2 1/1 guys with a 2/2, for the same gold cost, and gain card advantage. Or team up with a 3/3 to break a tech building while surviving a Tower.
2/2s dont go completely obsolete in the midgame, they are just mediocre… hence the “C” grade.

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It depends on which deck has the better Midgame plan, though. If player A invests 2 cards in 2 1/1 units expecting to get them back from patrol bonuses, and player B just doesn’t attack, and patrols with his 2/2, the game is going to progress in mostly a standoff, which benefits whichever player is going to be doing the more broken thing. And the player who didn’t go down on cards will be at a slight advantage in that race.

You can only get at most one scavenger and one technician bonus per turn, so if the board develops to 4-5 units/heroes on each side, one player will be able to make a bunch of good attacks all at once, and minimize the patrol bonuses they give up while getting the advantages of picking their targets. For the player with 1/1s, that advantage is minimal, since his guys are dying, his Tower does nothing, and his max-band hero can only make 1 attack, compared to the player with a 2/2, 3/4, and level 1 hero who can aim their attacks and end up with a dominating board position (plus free hero levels, which early max-banding locks you out of).

I’m not saying generic 1/1 for 1 is bad, because it’s not. I just think it’s about equal to a 2/2 for 2, in the grand scheme of things.

Hardened Mox could probably use a little love! Also, why do you guys think a 2/2 for 2 is average? I feel like it’s a below average to awful turn whenever someone is forced to play one…

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Apologies for reviving an old thread, but this seems the best place since it’s listed on the Codex resources.

After playing with Green starter for a while, I would dispute Verdant Tree’s rating here, since I think it’s less niche than the above quote describes. Obviously its most attractive ability is rushing a Tech II building, which is risky and strategy-specific for the reasons described.

But in a close game, where patrols are regularly getting wiped, I find the Tree’s most useful ability is instantly rebuilding destroyed Tech buildings. For 2 gold, the opponent suddenly has to destroy a 3 HP building in addition to destroying the Tech II. Unlike playing an extra patroller, overpower, Stampede, damage buffs etc. don’t let a single unit kill both of them, so in addition to the extra damage they need to get two attackers past the patrol. Plus, that 2 gold is easier to justify when you’re on 9–10 workers than when you’re on 6 workers and trying to rush Tech II the next turn.


I think your analysis is accurate, and doesn’t change the overall conclusion of “this is a niche card, and you won’t feel bad if you worker it early”

Also, I now consider Bloodburn and Rich Earth to be F grade always worker cards, and Scorch to be a D (niche card good for base races), while Pillage moves up to a C- (often played around, but nice for base races).

Paying net 2 gold early for Rich Earth to save you gold later is a poor tradeoff, unless you are doing some sort of “deploy nothing as P2, and save up gold” gambit, because your lack of early board presence will cost you more than the couple of gold saved later.

Bloodburn is just too low impact for the cost.