Will Favored Hoplite Make Heroic Archetypes Any Better?
Hello everyone! While the full Explorer Anthology 1 list is going to be released next week, we have 3 previews to work through with Favored Hoplite, Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, and Supreme Verdict.
Today, I get the luxury to review one of my favorite cards of all time, with Favored Hoplite. Out of the many years I’ve played Standard, Heroic is still my favorite deck that I’ve ever played. So obviously, this is going to be a completely objective and unbiased review. Jokes aside, this isn’t Standard and Hoplite has a much higher bar to clear for an eternal format.
This one drop on the surface is quite innocuous, but has pretty solid text. Getting a +1/+1 counter with each Heroic trigger is quite good, but preventing damage is a nice piece of text as well. That makes it unkillable in combat or against a Burn spell which can be quite nice, especially since it can turn any spell into pseudo protection.
However, compared to Clever Lumimancer, this is substantially less explosive. Heroic is a deck that’s looking to win quickly, so would we want a slower one drop when trying to kill the opponent as fast as possible? While Favored Hoplite is definitely not as swingy as Lumimancer can be, it is infinitely more consistent.
The thing with Heroic type decks is that you need enough threats and spells for the deck to properly operate. Beyond that, your spells are split into 2 general categories: velocity and protection. Velocity lets you get ahead in some capacity whether it’s Defiant Strike or removal like Reckless Rage.Protection, as the name implies, helps protect your creatures. There’s going to be a good subset of games where you have a fistful of protection spells, and while that can be good, that’s very bad if you were relying on Clever Lumimancer to do anything.
On the other hand, Favored Hoplite can still keep the aggression up in these scenarios. Where Lumimancer may provide fast wins, Hoplite can be an extremely threatening one drop that requires intervention sooner than later. The same can’t always be said for Lumimancer making it the preferred pick for me.
Furthermore, Heroic is really good at forcing removal spells as pretty much every creature in the deck is a must answer so when you have cards that don’t necessitate removal, you’re losing a vital piece of what makes Heroic good.
For example in this list, while Soul-Scar Mage does leave a bit to be desired, every creature here is a huge threat and will prompt removal which is perfect because that can force the opponent to run into one of our protection spells. Without needing to be explosive every game, you give the deck more room to breath and play a bit of a longer game if it’s necessary. It’s a subtle change, but not being pigeonholed into one particular plan is a much bigger strength than it may seem.
While it’s not the most exciting card in the world, it does make a big difference for Heroic in Explorer. The deck was very close to being a contender before, and with this, I believe it’ll have a strong shot at being a good option.
Thank you for reading! Agree or disagree? Come join our Discord community, discuss the new spoilers, and more.
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