A Rockpacker's Guide To Deckbuilding

Hello, fellow Eternal players! Some of you might already know that deckbuilding is half the fun of Eternal and for those of you that didn’t know that this article might inspire you to do some good old brewing.

In this article, I want to address some general guidelines for deckbuilding. Most of these are not rules you have to follow, but ideas you should probably keep in mind while building a deck. So let’s start.

Don’t Expect Every Idea To Work Out

Just recently I got asked how I managed to brew as many successful decks as I do. The answer to that is really simple; for every successful brew I published, I had tried around ten that didn’t work out. If you start brewing, you have to accept that the idea you had just sometimes isn’t working in its current form and you either need to rebuild it from scratch or postpone it until it gets new tools in later expansions.

You shouldn’t let this discourage you though, since every attempt, successful or not, will grant you a bit of experience. Try to think of what made the brew fail or what made it successful and you will probably have learned something for your next one.

Test Every Possible Idea For Your Deck (And Test A Lot)

I can’t stress how important this is. If nobody tried the really weird ideas, we probably wouldn’t have decks like TJP Chalice or Unstable Yeti. If you have a deck idea and are not sure how it would work out test it. And by testing I mean play around 30 to 50 games and even that is a rather small sample size. Try every card you can think of and give the deck a spin with every configuration possible. You will probably learn a lot about your deck in the process and are very likely to get to the best card choices, as it gives you an idea of what cards are key to the strategy and which ones are too narrow to be worth including. The bigger the volume of test games, the more precisely you can identify the cards you want to keep.

Decide On One Gameplan

When building a new deck you should ask yourself what is my deck supposed to do. Do I want to counter a very specific meta? Do I want to build a deck that is very well rounded? Or more specifically, do I intend to dodge some specific removal or do I want to counter relic weapons by going wide? The idea is that you know beforehand what you are planning to achieve. Let’s take a look at Praxis Tokens as an example.

The idea behind the deck is very easy. I want to dodge single target removal by not representing any good targets. Everything in the deck is really small and adds additional value on summon. In order to achieve this, I even decided to cut the time staple Sandstorm Titan, even though it would help versus fliers, which are a concern when playing Praxis Tokens. The reason behind the cut is very simple. Since everything in your deck isn’t an attractive removal target it will probably be stuck in your opponent’s hand and once you play your Sandstorm Titan it is very unlikely to survive. So I rather include something that goes along with the go wide plan like Marisen’s Disciple than playing something that doesn’t synergize with the rest of the deck.

Another example is my tJP Midrange list. The idea is to play a lot of good standalone threats that are both good at attacking and defending. To get those I picked the faction pairs with the best statted units, which happen to be in Hooru and Combrei. Next, I realized how many good flying threats this combination offers and filled my deck with all the good ones, such as Shelterwing Rider and Unseen Commando. After that, I wanted to make sure that I bolster some of the weaknesses and added Equivocate and extra silence in form of Desert Marshal, to combat Killer units and Sandstorm Titan. Finally, I added Stand Together to be better vs removal heavy decks. Now, the reason I added 4 Stand Togethers, even though it's a rather situational card, is due to the Shelterwing Rider synergy. This resulted in a very focused flier deck that turned out to be very well rounded.

My latest tJP list for reference: tJP Midrange

My latest Praxis Tokens list for reference: Praxis Freerange Tokens

Try To Run As Many 4-of's As Possible

The idea behind this guideline is that increasing the amount of 4-of's decreases the number of different cards you are able to draw and increases the chance to predict how the game will play out. The more consistent the deck is, the easier it is to plan ahead. To achieve this, it is important to identify the key cards you want for which step 2 helps. This is especially true for proactive decks such as most aggro and midrange ones and less important for control, as control decks tend to play more card draw and filtering and intend to see more cards per match.

As I mentioned previously, this is only a guideline. There are situational cards you don’t want to draw more than once per game and which you rather draw zero of than two, those are reasonable 3 or 2 ofs, depending on your deck speed. In addition, some decks are able to implement some kind of toolbox with tutors such as Rise to the Challenge or Celestial Omen. These decks often include 1-of's with the intention of never drawing it naturally, but to have access to it if necessary.

Think About Which Removal Your Deck Is Vulnerable To

When building a deck you won’t be able to dodge every type of removal. You have to accept that and decide to overload on threats that are vulnerable to the same type. Let’s again take tJP Midrange as an example. The deck plays a lot of standalone threats, but in order to not get blown out by removal, all the threats cost equal to or less than those and the threats that cost more have aegis. The idea is that your opponent can’t gain a tempo lead by removing your expensive threat. Furthermore, the whole deck dodges Vanquish as only the aegis units are a valid target. This was the reason I decided not to run Auric Record Keeper over Siraf, even though the extra aggression would be useful.

Praxis Tokens, on the other hand, tries to overload the sweepers your opponent has. They have no good targets for Vanquish, Torch, Slay, Equivocate or any other single target removal and a lot more unit producing cards than the opponent has sweepers.

Another example is Unitless Control. Even though I don't think unitless decks are any good at the moment, they still do something very unique. They are a response to the rise in removal heavy decks and try to blank as many cards from your opponent's list as possible. This is an interesting idea, but in practice turns out to be less than ideal thanks to the now limited answers you have to run. I believe that it will be a good deck at some point in Eternals future but requires some more tools to function.

So always keep in mind what weaknesses your deck has and try to shore up those without contradicting your gameplan too much.

My latest tJP list for reference: tJP Midrange

My latest Praxis Tokens list for reference: Praxis Freerange Tokens

Build A Consistent Powerbase

This is a really important part of deckbuilding, but luckily one that can be formulated by an easy algorithm, which you can find here: Building a Power Base. It’s never worth straining the powerbase too much to include cards which end up being unplayable because you don’t meet the necessary influence requirements.

In addition, you also need to play the appropriate amount of power. A 25 power deck can’t expect to go to 4 power consistently and a 29 power deck can’t expect to reach 6 power either. In order to get a feeling for the probabilities of hitting your power, I recommend using a hypergeometric calculator.

I use this one: Hypergeometric Calculator

And if you don’t know exactly how to use it this is a small manual:

  • Population size is the number of cards in the deck, so 75
  • Number of successes is the number of cards you want to know the probability for
  • Sample size is the number of cards drawn so far
  • Number of successes in sample is the number of cards you want

Let’s do an example. You are building a 25 power fire aggro deck and want to know if it's a good idea to include 5-power cards in your list. So you fill in all the info, population size is the size of your deck, 75, number of successes is 25, the amount of power we have in the deck and sample size is 11, 7 for the initial hand plus 4 since you start drawing on your second turn if you are on the play. We want to know how likely 5 power on turn 5 is and the number of successes is 5 since we want 5 power. 
When hitting calculate, you get a 27% chance to hit 5 power on turn 5 with 25 power in your deck. You have to keep in mind that the actual number is a bit higher since we don’t account for the mulligan, but 27% is so unlikely that it doesn’t seem worth including a 5 cost card in your 25 power deck. From my experience, you ideally want to be somewhere around 70% to really be able to get there consistently.

I hope this article managed to give you some inspiration for your next brew and I’m eager to see what you all come up with. I will go brew myself for now and maybe my next article will be about a new deck.


AhornDelfin started his Eternal career by putting Feln Strangers in his decks until DWD had to nerf them. His love for 4-of's is only overshadowed by his distaste for 2-of's, and chances are high he came up with 2 new decks while you were reading this. You can find him stalking the different Eternal Discord and Twitch channels, always helping people out.

Leave a Reply

Close Menu