As a paid player who'd crafted complete sets of each card in the game, when Set 4 landed I faced the prospect of farming over 30 new rares (to say nothing of legendaries) just to keep my experiments viable enough to play in ranked. It was too much. While I'm sure many players have provided more financial support to DWD than I have, I've paid for easily a handful of at-release AAA titles and I'm the kind of person who waits for Steam sales.
Many players point to DWD's generosity with free card packs, but I honestly believe that it's the free-to-play players who say this most and that's because they have the expectation of receiving nothing because they contribute nothing; but that's patently false.
It was a f2p player who badgered me into trying Eternal, and scores of you lot who keep me involved in the community and create the content that gets and keeps paid players involved. And I honestly believe it's DWD's biggest game-related misstep to date that both Crests and Merchants (and a few others) are such essential components of ladder success and metagame, but require a massive expenditure of time and energy.
Yes, I know that many of you have no problem playing 10 ranked games a night, every night, for 2 weeks to get a set of rares. But I hope you're self-aware enough to acknowledge that people with demanding jobs, rigorous degree programs, families, and other responsibilities that are exhausting are a fairly large demographic to exclude from your game. (Not deliberately, but just because we'll go find a game that is easier to pick up when it's convenient for us.) Just because one person has enough spare time and energy doesn't mean everyone in the same situation does, or that everyone is in the same situation.
But even if we imagine that farming essential rares is a reasonable cost it gets worse. Ladder success is more difficult until you have access to these cards, so if we assume that ladder is not a thing someone enjoys—there are plenty of people like me who just like to see how cards work together, more who prize tournament play and for whom ranked has become a necessary evil to stay competitive—then you're compounding the non-enjoyment of difficulty winning with the non-enjoyment of winning as a necessity.
When I'm making this complaint as
- a relatively successful-at-winning
- paying customer
- who was brought in by f2p friends
- is sitting on piles of legendaries
- plays at least 20 hours a week on stream
- and does not have any of the typical demands on my time and energy (just an exhausting illness)
then DWD has a problem. When the game starts demanding more non-fun than I'm willing to give so that I can get to the fun part...
So here's the problem—I love Eternal. Unlike many of you, this is the first and only CCG I have ever been willing to play.
DWD has provided me with a product that is clearly a labor of love and incredible vision, even if there will inevitably be missteps or things that aren't perfect for me, but are a net positive for the game.
I want—dear god I want—new players to find Eternal and stay. They are our lifeblood, our innovation, our competition. Winning isn't what keeps me playing the game, it's being challenged by other human minds such that my wins have worth. But right now, some of DWD's choices are making it pretty hard for any new players to stay engaged.
Here's my contribution.
These budget decks meet the following criteria:
No cards from a paid campaign
Must win 4 out of 5 games in Gold-Diamond (Master is meaningless because I have seen what we play at the bottom of the bracket), counting "non-games" and power screw, because consistency matters.
Target goal: 1 passing deck for each faction pairing.
Got a deck that you think passes muster without breaking or bending any of these rules? Ping me. I'll play it on stream and add it here with attribution if we can get 4 of 5.
Are these arbitrary criteria? Prolly. But they result in decks that will let new players climb without requiring dozens of hours of painful ranked losses just to buy the cards that let you farm more effectively.
And the best part is that they can be made better so easily. Whenever I've posted these to reddit, I've primarily had complaints (hilariously) about how the bar is too high—4 out of 5 is an unreasonable winrate to expect—and the deck would be so much better if I just threw in a couple key rares.
Yes. That's the point. Congratulations, you've found both my complaint and the reason I'm willing to endorse these decks. Literally any effort to farm cards on the player's part can make them into powerhouses, but the player will not be required to put in time, energy, or money they don't have just to compete.
1. Argenport - FAILURE, TO DATE
2. Combrei - FAILURE, TO DATE
3. Elysian - FAILURE, TO DATE
4. Feln - FAILURE & 1/2
If It Ain't Nailed Down - EWC Link - hits 3/5 reliably and fuels you with the tears of 30x legendaries-per-deck opponents.
5. Hooru - FAILURE & 1/2 (FallenChameleon had a really sweet one for this that passed... and then the nerfs happened.)
6. Praxis - SUCCESS - Praxis Tokens - EWC Link - Courtesy of nothership <3
7. Rakano - SUCCESS - Rakano Slingers - EWC Link
8. Skycrag - SUCCESS - Skycrag Rally - EWC Link - Courtesy of Alison <3
9. Stonescar - FAILURE, TO DATE
10. Xenan - FAILURE, TO DATE