Hey guys and gals, do you have a load of shiftstone ready to go? Wallet feeling a little heavy? Or do you just want to stuff as many legendaries as possible into a constructed deck and call it a day? Well, good thing I’m here to teach you a thing or two about Combrei Midrange in the Eternal Card Game. However, be warned. Combrei is (currently) the most expensive competitive archetype in the game. If you are new to Combrei, or the game entirely, have your shiftstone ready. For reference, my current list costs 78,100 shiftstone total. You may feel like a poor boy afterwards but trust me, it’s all worth it.
I’ll be structuring my guide to Combrei Midrange in to three seperate articles. One will go over deckbuilding decisions, the second will go over gameplay strategies, and the last one will go over matchups and sideboarding. My hope is that this will help it flow and make it easier to read and refer back to if you need to go over any information once again. This also allows me to release them as I finish writing them, letting you have access to the content sooner. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my writing and maybe learn a few things along the way!
Who am I?
Considering this is my first article for Seek Power Gaming, I will formally introduce myself to my glorious readers. I am Reed ‘iReedMinds’ Alexander, Eternal tournament and ladder grinder. I won the 2017 Season 2 Invitational with Combrei Midrange, and I have several Weekly Open Top 8 finishes. I’ve played Eternal since its release into Open Beta, playing Combrei and other Time-based decks almost the entire ride. You may see me in the ETS events or grinding the Master ranks of the constructed ladder.
It easy to think of Combrei Midrange decklists (and most midrange decklists) as several different chunks: Early Game, Late Game, Utility, and Power Base. The Early Game chunk is composed of the units and spells that help you stall out aggressive opponents and get you to your late game. The Late Game is made up of the most powerful effects and synergies you can muster, and they usually win you the game if they get going. The Utility is usually a small set of cards that disrupt your opponent and stops whatever their game plan is, or protects whatever your game plan is. The Power Base is exactly what is sounds like: your decks power cards. A bad power base can make your deck very inconsistent, and a good one can give you a lot of extra utility. These chunks can overlap a bit using cards that come down early to halt aggro but get better as the game goes long. I will go over these chunks individually in more depth, starting with the Early Game.
3 Protect (Set1 #132)
4 Seek Power (Set1 #408)
4 Desert Marshal (Set1 #332)
3 Find the Way (Set1 #513)
4 Temple Scribe (Set1 #502)
4 Vanquish (Set1 #143)
4 Knight-Chancellor Siraf (Set1 #335)
2 Stand Together (Set1 #334)
4 Valkyrie Enforcer (Set1 #151)
4 Sandstorm Titan (Set1 #99)
4 The Great Parliament (Set1 #338)
2 Marshal Ironthorn (Set1 #174)
4 Worldbearer Behemoth (Set3 #87)
4 Mystic Ascendant (Set1 #116)
6 Time Sigil (Set1 #63)
4 Amber Waystone (Set3 #51)
5 Justice Sigil (Set1 #126)
2 Emerald Waystone (Set3 #101)
4 Combrei Banner (Set1 #424)
4 Seat of Progress (Set0 #58)
Throughout this article, I’ll be referencing this Combrei Midrange deck list, which is the list I am playing on the ranked ladder as of the article’s writing. I will also be going over different card choices and options than the ones that I am using, but will primarily be using this list as a starting point.
You are going to need a way to survive in order to assemble your late game engine. The ultimate goal early in the game is to try to stall the board by turn four, and start playing your big boys afterwards. This can be easily achieved by playing a large amount of high health units, but the real challenge is to try to play as many of these early game units and spells that can also be useful in the late game.
Temple Scribe is my two drop of choice, since it can be an early roadblock and it cycles itself later. Another option is Awakened Student, which scales well with your gameplan if played on curve. Power Stone and Trail Maker can ramp your power and help you play all of your five and six power units. Ultimately, I opted to go with Temple Scribe since it’s the only option that is still fine later in game. The rest of these cards are normally only great when played on curve. Desert Marshal is the other two drop staple for Combrei Midrange, but I will talk more about him in the Utility section of this article.
The three drop slot in Combrei Midrange is dominated by Knight-Chancellor Siraf and Valkyrie Enforcer. Valkyrie Enforcer is a great Utility unit, but also does a good job at getting an early board presence. Siraf is a great early game blocker since she dodges almost all of the early game removal spells, and she also acts as a very powerful win condition later in the game.
It’s possible to cut some of the late game cards like Worldbearer Behemoth to add more units to the three drop slot. This is especially helpful if you are having trouble against aggressive decks. Combrei Healer does a great job at stopping the average aggressive deck in their tracks, whereas Copperhall Bailiff is better at stopping go-wide decks like Grenadin. Spirit Guide is another anti-aggro card, but if your opponent uses Torch to kill him then it’s a huge tempo swing in their favor since you have to exhaust your mentored unit. Scorpion Wasp is great against Praxis and other time midrange decks since you can use it to ambush a Predatory Carnosaur. Auric Rune Keeper is the newest addition to this spot, and is much better at attacking than these other options. He may be a good choice if you have a very aggressive very centered around Stand Together.
At the end of the early game we have the four drops, and with that comes the big boy, Sandstorm Titan. On turn four, he can take over almost any board, and he provides a very quick clock when you finally stabilize and start the beat down. Against any deck that isn’t Justice or Shadow he is usually there to stay since they have a very tough time killing him. He does start getting outclassed by Heart of the Vault, Predatory Carnosaur, and Tavrod, Auric Broker later in the game, so you will need a good way to get above those cards.
The Combrei Midrange late game is all based around triggering Mystic Ascendant’s empower ability as many times as possible. You do this by attacking with Worldbearer Behemoth, having Marshal Ironthorn in play, and/or just naturally playing your power cards. Once the engine is rolling, even if your opponent stops it eventually, it’s usually impossible for your opponent to come back from your card advantage that the Ascendant gives you.
Playing less than four copies of Mystic Ascendant is almost always incorrect. You always want to see this unit by turn seven in almost any game, since it’s your primary win condition. However, if there is an absurd amount of aggressive decks, then you could go down to three or even two copies. You will most often see players do this during sideboarding in tournaments.
Marshal Ironthorn, however, is not nearly as necessary as the rest of your late-game cards. It has great synergies with your large spells and units, but doesn’t do too well by himself. It is because of this reason that most people will only play two or three copies of him, and you could even reasonably cut him entirely. Once he gets going with your engine, however, he does beat almost any board stall you get into by using his ultimate. Using Worldbearer Behemoth and Mystic Ascendant to help you find more power, you can get to fifteen power very quickly and almost always win the game with his ultimate. Another newer synergy with the Dusk Road expansion is his ability to double trigger your Waystones and Crests.
Worldbearer Behemoth is the newest Combrei Midrange family member as of this writing, and he doesn’t disappoint. Playing him on turn five means you can play Mystic Ascendant on turn six and activate empower in the same turn, a turn earlier than normal. He can also get to Marshal Ironthorn’s ultimate ability very quickly, and works very will with the Waystones and Crests as well. Like Sandstorm Titan, he is the once of the biggest units in the game at his power cost and will take over almost any board on curve. Any deck without Shadow or Justice will have an incredibly difficult time removing him from the battlefield.
We already discussed Knight-Chancellor Siraf in the Early Game section, but she also doubles as one of the best late game cards in the entire game. People will forever and always play four copies of her since can play every role extremely well. Her exhaust ability may seem very random, but if you end up activating her at least two times, you are most likely very favored to win the game. I’ll discuss how to make the most of her ability more in the Gameplay portion of the guide.
The Great Parliament does similar things as Siraf since it doubles as a turn 4 roadblock and a late game win condition. Marshal Ironthorn and Worldbearer Behemoth can ramp your Parliaments to insane numbers. The card is so versatile that Combrei Midrange and ramp decks will almost always play four copies.
Another option to go really over the top is Vodakhan, Temple Speaker, although he is a little fragile since he is killed by a silence effect. Pillar of Amar and Marisen, the Eldest can flood the board very quickly, but that role is normally already taken up by The Great Parliament. Talir, Who Sees Beyond can give you some good card advantage since almost all of your units are Time units, but an 8 power unit with no immediate affect on the board is unappealing. Talir, Unbound is a new addition in The Dusk Road, but doesn’t quite give us enough of a payoff for getting to that much power. Her ability that gains power also doesn’t have great synergy with The Great Parliament since it cares about maximum power, not current power.
The Utility chunk is a small portion of the deck that is composed of spells units that can disrupt and stop your opponent’s game plan while protecting your own. In Combrei Midrange, this is normally composed of Justice-based removal, silence effects, and protection spells. Desert Marshal and Valkyrie Enforcer stop a lot of annoying units and come down early enough to roadblock aggressive starts. Vanquish can stop late-game threats with great efficiency. You can also splash some different factions to gain access to removal spells like Torch, Slay, and Lightning Storm, however this will make the power base less consistent and will result in more of your power being depleted. Protect and Stand Together both protect your units from removals spells and sweeper effects, like Harsh Rule. Most of these utility cards can lead to huge tempo swings in your favor, so be sure to not skimp on these too much in your deck construction.
The silence effects can stop several annoying units from taking over the game. They are especially powerful against the aggressive champions, since it makes them a bit smaller and shuts down their extra abilities. Need to get in with your owls from The Great Parliament? Silencing opposing, or even friendly Sandstorm Titans can get you lethal in the air. Desert Marshal is the best silence effect in the game currently, but Valkyrie Enforcer isn’t too far behind. If you want to cut some of these, you can shave on the Enforcers or even cut them entirely, but always play four copies of Desert Marshal.
Vanquish is the only removal spell I am currently playing, since usually most of the time my units are commanding the board anyway. When you are trying to command the board in the late game, Vanquish does a very good job dealing with any units that can slip through the cracks. The number of copies you want to play can vary greatly depending on how the meta-game looks. At the time of this writing, there is a lot of Praxis and Rakano on the ranked ladder, so playing the maximum number of Vanquish is very strong. If the ladder is dominated by Feln or Hooru control, go down to around two or three copies since they aren’t very good in those matchups.
Harsh Rule is another popular choice for Combrei Midrange, but I chose to exclude from my deck entirely. Harsh Rule is great when you need to be the one answering the board, but I’ve turned my deck into something that wants to make the opponent have the answer instead. Now that you can play Worldbearer Behemoth, you can use your units to control the board much more efficiently than before as well. Harsh Rule is still definitely a very viable option, and will be very correct if go-wide decks like Grenadin and Xenan Obelisk decks take over the meta-game. I will most likely continue to at least play it in my sideboard for tournaments so that I can have it for matchups like those.
Protect works incredibly well with the gameplan of ‘making your opponent have it.’ Without Protect, your high cost units are very vulnerable to much cheaper removal which causes high tempo swings in your opponent’s favor. If you are playing Harsh Rule then you can skip out on Protect since Harsh Rule gains the tempo back in your favor, but I would still try to find room for one or two copies. Playing Mystic Ascendant and a power on turn seven with Protect in your hand is a huge combo, and can end the game on the spot a large percentage of the time. Playing Siraf on turn four with Protect backup also prevents you from losing tempo against aggressive decks. Keep in mind that it’s possible to get a few copies stuck in your hand if you are in a matchup where it isn’t great, and that is why I personally don’t play the full four copies.
Stand Together plays most of the same roles as Protect, but it can also protect the whole board against sweepers like Harsh Rule. It does cost two extra power but the extra effects are very powerful. I would not recommend playing this card if you are also playing Harsh Rule, since they have very bad tension in the same deck. Overall, if you are not playing Harsh Rule, I would recommend play 4-6 protection spells, and only 1-3 if you are playing Harsh Rule.
The main reason to splash a faction in Combrei Midrange would be to get better Utility spells. Shadow gives you access to Slay, Banish, and Sabotage; which could make your midrange and Chalice matchups better since your removal will line up better. Primal can give you Lightning Storm and Eilyn, Clan Mother, which are particularly strong against aggro. Finally, Fire gives you Torch and Icaria, the Liberator, giving you early removal and a great threat against control and midrange decks. Keep in mind that undepleted power is very important in Combrei Midrange, and adding a third faction can mess that up a good bit. Curving out is important, so don’t push the power too hard if you do end up splashing a color.
The Combrei Midrange power base is almost always composed of 4 Seek Power, 2-3 Find the Way, and 25 power cards giving you 31-32 total power sources. Before The Dusk Road released, this section would have been pretty straightforward, but now we have the option to play Waystones and off faction Crests if we want. All these fancy effects make our Marshal Ironthorn and Worldbearer Behemoth activations even better, but at the same time, it makes our power base more complicated to construct.
Always play four copies of both of your dual power cards. Nothing unusualy there. Seat is rarely depleted even later since you have so many ways to get sigils from your deck. Banner is the same way since you almost always have a unit in play. I would never go below four copies of either of these, even if you are splashing a third faction.
Waystones are a little tougher to add to your deck, since you need to make sure you still have enough sigils to keep Seek Power and Find the Way live throughout the game. I would suggest sticking to 10-11 sigils, and any extra power slots can be taken by the Waystones. Amber Waystone is definitely better than Emerald Waystone, so prioritize those. I end up opting for 11 sigils and 6 Waystones in order to make sure my Seats is undepleted as much as possible. If you are splashing a third faction, I would try to stay away from the Waystones since they can really mess up your seats, although it is still possible to play one or two copies without sacrificing too much consistency.
You also have the option to play off-faction Crests in order to get access to the Scout ability. They would basically act as mono-faction depleted lands that let you Scout. Having undepleted power is very important though, which is why I opt not to go for it. If you splash a third color, their Crest can be very good since they you will be able to actually take advantage of the dual influence.
Find the Way is one of the best grindy cards in the game, allowing you to hit your power every turn without sacrificing too much card advantage. Almost everyone plays either two or three copies of this card, depending on exactly how big you want your deck to be. Drawing even one copy also means your influence requirements are most likely completely met for the whole game.
Seek Power has been in and out of the Combrei deck for a while. Before The Dusk Road released I don’t beleive it was necessary, but if you want to play Worldbearer Behemoth or any other triple influence card, it is very necessary. Seek Power, and also Find the Way, also has a cool synergy with Vodakhan, Temple Speaker if you are going way over the top with that in your deck.
In summary, you want your deck list to be composed of around 20-30% of the Early Game chunk, 20-30% Late Game, 15-25% Utility, and 40-45% Power. This is considering some overlap, such as counting Siraf as an Early Game and Late Game card. Once again, having as many cards as possible that act as both good Early Game cards and Late Game win conditions is very important. This allows your deck to be extremely consistent and flow throughout the game very well.
Keep changing and experimenting with your list as you find the cards you like and don’t like. Change your Utility package according to the meta-game. Combrei Midrange on-average has about a 50/50 matchup against the whole field, so there as plenty of edges to gain from good deck building and solid play decisions. Playing this deck often over time teaches you a lot about the small intricacies and edges you can get, slowly making you a better and better Combrei Midrange player, and I’ll be going over a lot of those edges in the Gameplay article of this guide.
Keep on the lookout for the other portions of this guide coming soon. I’ll have a link to them here once they are completed and published.
If you also want to watch the deck in action, I try to stream as much as I can at www.twitch.tv/ireedminds as well.
Thanks fellas, have a good New Year!