Dysian OVERVIEW – Flexible AND Overpowering
Dysian is the boogeyman of draft. It has strong heroics, good commons and rares, a wealth of different strategies, and decent removal. It boasts the strongest Voltron threats in the format with Spring Dryad and Harbinger of Spring combined with the Nekrium and Uterra creature creation.
To top it all off, Dysian is astonishingly consistent. Many of its cards can play the roles of similar cards, so the deck’s strategy isn’t weakened by not drawing a specific card, as you typically have multiple. Grove Matriarch/Scatterspore Tiller, Group Meal/Twinstrength, Spring Dryad/Harbinger, Blight Walker/Shimmerfang Serpent, and so on. This consistency lets Dysian play the same game regardless of what the card components of the draft ended up being.
These core commons are cards that every deck in a faction pair seek. These are high quality commons that are rarely bad picks. Each archetype within a pair will be able to use these cards, regardless of the overarching strategy.
ARCHETYPE – Token Advantage
KEY CARDS – Token Utilization
KEY CARDS – Token Creation
Dysian has a lot of everything in the draft pool, but perhaps its best quality is the sheer amount of powerful heroics it has access to. Nekrium has the greatest number of high-quality heroics, and Uterra has the second highest number. Heroics aren’t necessary for a Dysian deck to perform, but they do help give your deck a lot of sheer power that the traditionally synergistic-over-power faction pair lacks. Thankfully, since there are so many good ones in the faction pair, you’re likely to have at least one high-quality heroic in every draft, if not more. This makes the average Dysian deck simply easier to succeed with than other faction pairs.
The bulk of non-heroic Dysian power comes from the large number of tokens the faction pair can make, and the crazy number of ways they have to make use of them. There is always, always the very obvious “Play Spring Dryad / Harbinger of Spring” method. This method may lack in originality, but it doesn’t suffer for it – both cards are extremely hard to deal with if left unchecked. Especially Harbinger of Spring, which can spiral out of control quickly in rank 1 alongside Ether Wolves. There’s a reason people dislike playing against these two cards – there is very little hard removal in the format, and they keep growing each turn.
Aside from the Spring sisters, you can always simply pump the tokens. Nekrium has the best way to do this in Group Meal, allowing the seedlings from your Grove Matriarchs and Scatterspore Tillers to go from ignorable 1/1s to far more threatening 3/1s, all the while debuffing your opponent’s side of the board. I also typically count Dendrify as a pump spell – turning a 1/1 into a 7/7 is quite good in rank 1, and you can use Dendrify later on in the game as a psuedo removal spell for the large Spring Dryads you may encounter. It’s a very flexible card in this regard.
Finally, the last thing you can do with these tokens is enable raid. This is particularly helpful for Hive Empress, as playing it early in the game can lead to some crazy amounts of damage through poison. But even making an 8/8 Herd Mother in rank 1 or a 13/13 one in rank 2 is quite strong. It allows you to use the tokens you don’t care about any more even as they are attacking to their death.
The token makers themselves are fairly interchangeable, with varying upsides and downsides. The most consistent two are Grove Matriarch and Scatterspore Tiller. Matriarch has a better leveling curve and is better at ensuring Raid, while Tiller’s token can be used to chump block or manipulated in its placement and it larger at ranks 1 and 2. Ether Wolves is probably the strongest token-creating card in the format, but it has an obvious downside – you can only play it once. It is very useful in establishing a board presence early in the game, but often goes unplayed in the midgame until it becomes useful in the late game again as two creatures are hard to deal with when level 3 creatures are being played. Past rank 1, you will find yourself using Ether Wolves primarily as a pump spell for the Spring duo.
Keep in mind that with this archetype, you will need to manage your lanes very carefully, especially if you are playing token spawning cards like Stinging Invocation, Ether Wolves, or Spiritstone Druid – cards that get significantly weaker when your lanes are mostly full. For this reason I tend to rarely draft Spiritstone Druid, as it is the weakest “good” token creation card (in other words, it isn’t Scatter the Seeds).
One thing this archetype struggles with is opposing monsters like Spring Dryad. Dysian has two removal spells – Dendrify and Grave Pact. While Grave Pact is exceptional, Dendrify can be awkward at times. I find that the best defense against an opponent playing Spring Dryad is simply to build up your board faster and stronger. Uterra and Nekrium have the lowest average power amongst level 1 creatures with few creatures breaking 6 power. This makes it harder to trade 1 for 1 with opposing creatures through combat alone without relying on powerhouse Xithian Rotfiend. Adapt your play and instead go for board development rather than board control, and you will have an easier time with games.
ARCHETYPE – Voltron Dysian
KEY CARDS – Pump Emphasis
KEY CARDS – Support
This archetype is typically an off-shoot of the token strategy, since tokens are so prevalent throughout Uterra. However, Voltron involves building up one big threat using many different cards. It takes its name from the old TV show. Voltron is a big, powerful robot that is comprised of smaller robots. I’ve used this name in previous articles but may have done a disservice in not describing what I mean until now.
In the spirit of Voltron, this deck wants to assemble one, big threat that will take your opponent multiple cards to deal with. Shardclaw Crusher is the obvious headliner for this strategy, since it exists only to voltron with other creatures. Slamming Necromoeba or Nyrali Symbiote on a Shardclaw Crusher is a big call to action for your opponent. And as they struggle to deal with a huge regenerative threat, you gain the space to develop your board in the other lanes.
Normally, the weaknesses of a Voltron strategy is point removal. If you have spent multiple cards building your epic Voltron, having it fall to a removal spell is a huge tempo loss. This deck is no exception – losing your Shardclaw’d creature hurts. Luckily, there is an extreme lack of hard removal in this format. The only spell that does it is Grave Pact, which also requires a sacrifice from your opponent. Because of this, the only downside to voltronning in this format is the risk/reward of stacking all of your threats in one lane versus spreading them out between multiple.
Dysian! This is the draft pair nearly everyone accepts as public enemy number 1, and for good reason. With good amounts of solid creatures, good heroics and rares, removal, and ability to snowball games out of control, Dysian has everything going on. And chances are, you – the reader – have already drafted this faction pair! It’s incredibly easy to get suckered into a first pick Nekrium heroic into a Spring Dryad. It’s more difficult not to take the Spring Dryad, in fact. If you enjoy this faction pair, please continue drafting it! I hope these archetypes have made clear the few weaknesses Dysian had and enlightened your play going forward at least a tiny bit.
If Dysian isn’t your pairing of choice, please use this primer as an “insider’s guide” on how to beat The Enemy. The answer, unfortunately, is that it isn’t easy. The best ways are to have access to Grave Pact and have the ability to take advantage of the low attack of the Dysian creatures. This typically means playing a faster game where Dysian has to catch up and doesn’t have time to build a board (Oratek, Umbruk, Esperian), or having the removal and ability to overpower Dysian in the late game (Onyxium, Byzerak).
All in all, Dysian is an extremely solid faction pair in this draft pool. It’s hard to go wrong drafting it, so give it a try in the unlikely event that you haven’t already!