First, a quick note about vocabulary. What we’re discussing here is the act of trading in your cards in exchange for crafting materials (Shiftstone). The game calls this “Destroying”, but coming from other games you might be more familiar with “dusting” or “disenchanting” (“DE”) or some other term. There has been ongoing disagreement in the community about what word should be used in Eternal, as “destroying” is a bit generic and “shiftstoning” is a bit awkward. “Shifting” or “stoning” would arguably be a bit more usable, but not very descriptive. So I unilaterally decided to go with “recycling”, which seems both self explanatory and not from any other game in particular.
With that out of the way, comes the difficult question of whether you should recycle anything to begin with. If the grand scheme of things, if what you’re going for is long term value and eventually a complete collection, it’s actually quite wasteful to recycle anything at all. But realistically, you’ll need (or at least want) to craft some stuff early in your career, and there are cards that you are very unlikely to miss any time soon. So there is a balance to be struck between long term collection efficiency and short term value, especially keeping in mind than the latter can help with the former (if you get a good deck immediately, your overall acquisition rate is likely to go up due to winning more). The objective here is to point you towards those cards you probably won’t be missing, and the shades of grey they belong to. It is your responsibility to figure out where you as a player fall on the wide spectrum that exist between the collection integrist who recycles nothing and the impatient hothead who recycles anything that doesn’t go into the deck they’re building right now.
There are, however, a few general guidelines that I think everyone on that spectrum would benefit from following :
- Do not recycle commons and uncommons until you have a full set of them. The amount of shiftstone you’ll get from those is not even worth your clicking time, and it’s really wasteful.
- Do not blindly recycle anything from a faction you think you won’t ever play. Tastes change, and faction quests are a thing. It seems extremely unlikely you’d never come to regret a decision like this one.
- The last one might be more controversial, but I think it’s generally a bad idea to recycle (non-premium) rares, as again the rate there isn’t exactly exciting. I can get behind recycling a few at the very start of your career to get that first deck together, but very soon you get to the point where that’s just not a good idea. Rares are typically the bread and butter of a lot of decks, and the chances you’ll miss some of those down the road are not low. At any rate, collection growth is pretty fast in this game, and you’ll have a playset of everything blue within a reasonably short time frame if you play a lot.
And finally, before we actually get on with it, two important disclaimers :
- All of those appraisals are only valid at this particular point in time. It’s simply impossible to predict what the consequences of future nerfs and buffs can be, and the same can be said of future additional sets. One of the worst cards in the game could suddenly become one of the best. It has happened before, and there’s simply no accounting for it. I do try to factor in potential in my ratings, but that’s a shot in the dark at best.
- To state the obvious : this is all personal opinion, not gospel. I did consult with a few other veteran players on these ratings, but this doesn’t mean we’re objectively right. Take everything with a healthy dose of salt, and don’t be afraid to question rather than blindly follow.
Here is how I decided to rate each card. This should be used as a guideline on how to tune your own recycling, based on how far you are willing to go with it.
S is for Sandstorm Titan.
…Well, him and a few other cards too I guess. Those are the staples, the chases, the priority crafts. You’d regret recycling those. Even if you’re not interested in that faction, you’ll need to complete quests in there eventually, and those cards will definitely help. Plus, there’s always the chance they get nerfed – if you held onto them you can then recycle them for full value ! [note : at the time of writing, this feature is not in the game, but it is expected to come soon]
A is for good and often present in competitive decks.
These are fairly close to the status of staple, and will often feature in at least some of the major decks in the relevant faction(s). It would be shortsighted to recycle those for practically anyone.
B is for playable, but mostly absent of tier decks.
Those are cards that you’d typically be happy of slotting into a beginner low budget deck, because they’re really quite decent, but rarely make it into high level play decks where budget is not a consideration. They can be quite close to crossing over into the higher tiers, depending on card changes, new introductions, or just meta shifts. I would advise against recycling those for most people, excluding players with a strong focus on the short term.
C is for bad, although potentially fun to use in some niche decks.
Those cards are unlikely to show up in a tier deck anytime soon, although it’s not completely impossible. They can however be used in “fun” decks of questionable competitive performance, like the ones I typically write deck techs for, or perhaps in a tournament deck sideboard. If all you care about is playing competitive decks, and getting a complete collection anytime soon is off your radar, it’s probably OK to get rid of those.
F is for unplayable.
Not D, not E. F is how bad those are. Just plain bad stuff that can’t really be built around or with, even without trying to make something OP. Even jank players like myself stay away from those cards. If you want to be very conservative with your collection and maximize long term efficiency, but still need a bit of short term shiftstone, keeping your recycling to F tier only is a safe option.
+/- is for indecision.
I’ll add those marks occasionally to denote cards which I could reasonably see be moved up or down a tier, based on the meta mainly. This should hopefully also account a bit for personal bias.
Light the Fuse: F
The list starts with one of the rare Fs. Even jank doesn’t want this card. Trying to build around it involves gimping every other potentially game-winning card in the deck, because pretty much anything else can win faster and more reliably.
Shogun of the Wastes : C-
A very unimpressive card overall, but it’s playable enough in budget piles. It has immediate board effect going for it, although it’s quite win-more and pales in comparison to almost every other similar option.
Soulfire Drake : A+
Although it was a very niche card in closed beta, the recent buff has put this one in reach of S tier. Many of the most popular Stonescar lists (by extension the most popular period) at the time of writing run a couple of those. You’re very unlikely to need more than two, so recycling your 4th or possibly 3rd copy would be reasonable.
Claw of the First Dragon : C
A somewhat amusing card to fool around with in jank, but don’t expect it to ever appear in a tier or tournament list (LocoPojo does not count). If it somehow does, it’ll be as a 1 or 2 of max.
Kaleb, Uncrowned Prince : C
He’s slow and unreliable. A fire based wide deck most likely doesn’t want anything to do with an 8 drop, especially one that had a heavy RNG component. This being said, he can be pretty amusing to screw around with if you’re not afraid to lose some ranking.
Lavablood Goliath : C+
Another janker card, but it actually has some potential to be a real thing. It can be a decent one-of in stuff like slow Combrano, especially with Rise to tutor him. Again, not something you’ll ever need more than 2 of.
Sandstorm Titan : S
By definition. The cornerstone of pretty much all Time based decks, and probably the safest first craft in the game.
Idol of Destran : F
The poster child for poopy legendaries. He takes a lot of footwork to become a more expensive Timekeeper, which isn’t exactly flattering (to be fair, it doesn’t die to silence, so there’s that). In token decks, which is probably its intended home, you’d certainly want more out of 5 power than a dumb body with no impact on the rest of your board. It would conceivably be playable if it had Overwhelm, maybe ?
Mystic Ascendant : A+
Arguably S tier ; clearly a good card anyway. Either he gets answered immediately, or he is likely to win you the game soon. Historically a pillar of “Big Combrei”, but it can also be used to good effect in other time based decks, including Elysian or Xenan.
Ancient Terrazon : C
While certainly scary on the board, it’s soft to all sorts of removal including Permafrost or Annihilate, and can just be chumped easily. Overall a lot less impressive than it can appear to be at first.
Marisen, the Eldest : B
She produces extreme amounts of value fast, with insane Obelisk synergy, but a lot of decks simply don’t want anything to do with an 8 drop. She’s arguably worth slotting in more budget decks when the meta doesn’t kill you before turn 8. 2 maximum.
Talir, Who Sees Beyond : B
She saw play in “Overwhelmaton”, a closed beta deck that is now mostly defunct after nerfs to Divining Rod and Secret Pages combined with the removal of Squad Strategist. She’s yet to find a steady home since, but she’s certainly high impact, and could very well see play again. 2 maximum.
Treasury Gate : B-
Arguably has a place in some versions of Armoury decks, although it is not really essential in any. 2 maximum.
Marshal Ironthorn : A+
Currently a bit out of fashion, but still great. Another cornerstone of greedy Combrei, along with his buddy Mystic Ascendant. While that’s some seriously awesome synergy, he also has potential to shine in quite different situations too.
Augmented Form : C-
The jank lover in me refuses to give this an F because there’s fun to be had with it (yes, dumb balls of stats can be fun – at least when you can direct them freely, permanently and at fast speed). Most other people would probably tell you to recycle this on sight ; they wouldn’t be wrong.
Plated Demolisher : F
This other dumb ball of stats would have a place in armory sideboards in other metas, possibly. It sort-of happened at one point in closed beta for Armory decks, but only at the fringe. I wouldn’t expect much more than that in the foreseeable future.
Rolant, the Iron Fist : F
While undeniably powerful if it hits the board, the ruler of Eternal’s world is a bit too expensive and too easy to assassinate (paradoxically – see Ancient Terrazon) to be of much use. I have legitimately never seen a single deck using him since the start of closed beta (obviously barring I-just-finished-the-campaign piles).
Sword of the Sky King : A
Great control finisher. Stars in Armoury and Icaria Blue in particular. You’ll never need more than 2 of those, and more often than not 1 is enough.
Magus of the Mist : B
I’m trying really hard to pull that rating up, but it’s hard work. He’s amazing value if the opponent lacks an answer. The problem is that those answers are really really easy to come by. Comboing greatly with Unstable Form doesn’t save the dragon whisperer from getting Torched or Annihilated, and is otherwise fairly narrow. He does interact nicely with Obelisk (if only to dodge Torch). Amusingly, he also benefits from your opponent’s Statuary Maiden or Steward of the Past, which at this point very few players seem to be aware of (resulting in people Torching Magus and then right clicking their portrait to peruse the Curses! button). Probably because there are about 3 of us playing Magus out there.
Jarrall Iceheart : C
It takes a whole lot of awkward deckbuilding to make him work, and that’s before you even consider how you’re going to manage to connect with Mr Slowpoke here. While it’s not strictly unheard of, it’s not like it wins you the game there and then on it’s own. If you use it to clear the opponent’s board to swing with yours, Crystallize would probably do the same with a lot less legwork involved. If you want to clear the board period, Harsh Rule is the card you’re looking for. I struggle to see how he would become relevant to the “serious” meta.
Rimescale Draconus : B
A lot more relevant since the buff that came with open beta. Possibly a sleeper card, although it’s a bit awkward to use to its full potential. Most of the time it’s still a jumbo flier which is reasonably likely to neuter 1 or 2 enemy units while coming down, so that’s certainly not bad.
Strength of the Pack : C
A combo piece for juicy jank. Its best bud is West Wind Herald, another card that screams “do stupid stuff with me”. I’d be baffled to see this in competitive play anytime soon, but it’s good fun.
Eilyn, Queen of the Wilds : B
She has a decent deck centered around her, which involves cheating out a lot of expensive stuff (typically Channels) through Snowballs, which is an amusing concept. The deck is actually good enough to take you to gold and probably diamond division, while being good fun to play. I’m not too sure about serious competitive potential, as she can be a bit awkward to work with, but I like her.
Scourge of Frosthome : C
A sideboard card for another meta. Devastating against control… Unless they’re in Combrei, because fun police, and most control decks are. It was also a long time favorite for jank star Reaminator, as it’s a lot easier to get out through Grasping at Shadows than naturally.
Whispers in the Void : C
It has seen some competitive play when Party Hour was in full swing, but it was never actually good. The Spitelings are terribly annoying to a few decks, and the Tormentor himself (while a bit gimmicky) is quite scary when Grasped. It’s not excluded that this would be a reasonable thing to put in a sideboard at some point, and there’s a few gimmicks to explore with it in jank land.
Venomspine Hydra : C
There’s possibly stuff to do here, I feel. In reanimator it was actually a thing people used sometimes, although I’m not sure it was that great of an idea even then. I think it could use some more exploration in Kalis / sacrifice decks. Those decks themselves are unlikely to hit the top of the meta any time soon though.
Touch of the Umbren : B+
Arguably worth a slot in feln control. Can be quite backbreaking. It’s important to note that the unit stolen can attack immediately (unless it was summoned on the opponent’s last turn), so it has an immediate effect on top of the uncounterable removal component. 2 maximum, probably just 1.
Vara, Fate-Touched : A
While she’s obviously the cornerstone of jank favorite Reanimator, she’s also a very solid addition to most slow feln decks, and there’s a fair chance there are yet undiscovered decks revolving around her out there. A very solid 1-of in Feln control decks.
The Last Word : A
Solid win condition for the same (Feln control). You’re unlikely to need more than 1 of those (maximum 2).
The Witching Hour : C+
Started out as a janker card, became furiously oppressive when Party Hour was all the meta, then got obliterated by the nerfs that followed. At this point it’s barely playable at all. The nail in its coffin is more the Champion of Cunning change than the nerf to Hour itself. This makes the card a lot slower even after coming out. But that’s probably for the best in the grand scheme of things. Definitely worth keeping an eye on for future expansions.
Ijin, Imperial Armorer : C+
A very slow and vulnerable value machine. While the best case scenario is bonkers, it’s way too easy to counter. Absolutely backbreaking in draft, but not really any good for serious constructed play.
Navani, Warsinger : B+
Another card with a terrifyingly high ceiling, that is also quite unlikely to end up doing much. The main idea would be to combine her with Warhelm and/or Hammer of Might, but even if you pull that off it’s very likely to take quite a few turns before your dream play actually pays for itself. Currently absent of tier decks, but has made those cuts in the past. Worth keeping an eye on.
Deepforged Plate : A
Currently the only legendary card seeing play in traditional rakano aggro decks (along with Soulfire Drake, sometimes). A very fancy set of pants that can do a whole lot of hurt, especially combined with stuff like the currently-out-of-meta Silverwing Familiar or anything else with Aegis and/or other keywords. It’s also a clean counter to Permafrost. You’re unlikely to need more than 2.
Starsteel Daisho : A
A classic in Armoury and Icaria Blue, this is definitely a solid card, especially paired with Rise to the Challenge which will let you pick it up at 6/4 (or more) to bash you opponent in the head when thier guard is down. Maximum 2, typically only 1 copy.
Icaria, the Liberator : S
An extremely scary ball of keywords that has a very significant immediate impact and is hard to remove. She is however hard to cast and weak to large blockers, most notably Sandstorm Titan. She’s still good enough to have a deck with her name on it (Icaria Blue), to be a regular in Armoury and Combrano decks, and also to feature in a number of lower tier janky decks.
Knight-Chancellor Siraf : S
Possibly the strongest card in the game, even after the relatively mild nerf she received. Unpredictable, but ultimately reliably game-winning late game value machine that is also an extremely cost efficient early game blocker – or even beater. It’s fairly rare to see a Combrei deck that doesn’t want 4 of these.
The Great Parliament : A
As a late game powerhouse which is still decent when cast at the minimum 4, this is another staple of Combrei. It will not feature in every deck though, as it’s really not that great in aggro-ish lists.
Reality Warden : B
A reasonably priced, huge dumb body that happens to also be a hate card can’t be bad. He was seeing play regularly in early closed beta Combrei lists, but has fallen out of favor. Definitely worth running at least as filler until you get your dream list, and arguably a good choice regardless of budget in certain metas.
Vodakhan, Temple Speaker : B+
A very greedy combo enabler with a deck named after it (Vodakhan Combo). With a couple of his friends out, he’ll essentially draw you your whole deck while giving you insane amounts of power, so that’s pretty good. On the other hand, he’s a 7 drop that flat out dies to silence, which is a lot less good. Not a great thing to be running in fast metas, even ignoring the silence thing.
A New Tomorrow : C-
Greed: The Card. There are funny things to be done with it, but probably no competitively good ones. Running more than one would be madness (but so is running just the one too, arguably).
Call the Ancients : C
Pure card disadvantage for a chance at maybe drawing an OP unit at some point later in the game (Titans cost 2 power). It can be very amusing to fool around with, notably with Locopojo’s hilarious “Bananaphone” list, but is ultimately too much of a gamble to be a genuinely good card.
Crown of Possibilities : C+
Once a very prominent card, although in a squarely tier 3 deck (if even that). Now a husk of it’s former self. For more on the subject, here is me rambling endlessly about it. It’s currently in a really bad place, but LSV (who has played this card a lot in closed beta) whispered to us that “something was coming” for it in the future, so maybe it’s not such a bad idea to keep them around.
Cirso, the Great Glutton : S
One of the main reasons to play Elysian in the first place, he’s a huge threat and also the best blocker in the game. Terrifyingly hard to deal with, he’s still a cost effective body even after being dispelled.
Curiox, the Collector : C
Durdle incarnate. Curiox, like Call the Ancients, lures you in with the promise of insane value somewhere down the line, possibly maybe. He doesn’t come with card disadvantage up front, which is a plus, but is still overall unimpressive. He’s very funny to mess with though, using stuff like Second Sight and Echo and Crown of Possibilities. Maximum 2.
Shimmerpack : S
Once a running joke because of how bad it was (or was perceived to be), the glitter monster is now the cornerstone of a tier 1 deck. A card I’m proud to say I played before it was cool (although I was really just following in LocoPojo’s footsteps).
Feln Cauldron : C
This new addition to the game has failed to find a home anywhere at this point. The spells it gives you are totally random, so you’re likely to end up with chaff you have no use for. This points to the discard itself being the actual value of this card, which would be nice for Reanimator if that was a real deck worth running. It’s somewhat playable in Haunting Scream decks and a few related quirky brews, but nothing very impressive has come up yet. The possibility exists that we missed something though.
Midnight Gale : A
A very cost efficient body that is balanced by stringent influence requirements and the ever painful “dies to Torch” property, although to be fair that’s a property a fair amount of 3 drops have. If it doesn’t get removed immediately, it can run away with a game easily.
Black-Sky Harbinger : S
A cornerstone of Feln, which is great at stabilizing, does mean things to wide decks, and combos off quite hard with Withering Witch. It’s interesting that it was widely considered unplayble in closed beta. Admittedly it was 3/4 and not 3/5 at the time, but I don’t think the 1 HP is the difference between a (perceived) D and a S.
Nightmaw, Sight Unseen : F
It has an immediate global effect going for it, which is nice, but it gets shafted hard by silence, and there are simply better and/or cheaper ways to achieve the same results in those same factions. I have never seen even a joke deck running this card.
Snowcrush Animist : A
A very scary effect that happens to be attached to a body, which makes it impossible to answer. The body itself isn’t particularly scary, although it’s certainly relevant. In closed beta you’d only see this in Reanimator, but recently it’s starting to appear in Feln Control (spearheaded by Sir Rhino) and with good reason. Maximum 2.
Bandit Queen : A+
Once one of the most defining cards of the game (and a rare), it’s been a bit more quiet since the move to legendary, although it’s retained all of it’s power. Good enough to have a deck and archetype centered around her, she’s only shy of S tier due to being recently pushed out by more burn centric strategies. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her back front and center in the future.
Statuary Maiden : S
A powerhouse that generates great amounts of value while neutering a lot of problem cards opponents can put out, like Umbren Reaper or Dawnlwaker or Soulfire Drake. Currently a bit out of favor, but a very solid staple that is unlikely to ever be irrelevant.
Scraptank : B
A high ceiling low floor card that can get silly fast, but most of the times just dies to Torch (or gets permafrosted, or silenced) and ends up being a more expensive Assembly Line. Still worth the inclusion in some token decks.
Stonescar Leviathan : C-
The effect is no doubt powerful, and the Leviathan-Devour into Flameblast cheese is just waiting for you to go for it. But that’s a whole lot of power to be durdling to in factions that don’t really like to durdle, and the plan completely folds at the sight of an Aegis, which is pretty bad. Worth keeping an eye on in the future, although probably never to be seen in tier decks.
Voprex, the Great Ruin : F
Yes, your opponent can choose even when he has no board or no hand. Consequently, his potentially awesome effect is most likely to achieve close to nothing. Oh, also, contrarily to what the use of “sacrifice” would seem to imply, Aegis on units actually blocks this effect. The body is decent, but so is Steelbound Dragon’s and you don’t see anyone running that.