Welcome to the newest take on the Lab mode – ‘Quick Draw’! At first glance this Lab seems very random and that much of your success is determined by the cards you are given. As I played more and more, I found that getting the most value out of your cards, and managing your mana properly can drastically increase the likelihood of your victory. In this guide I’ve compiled some tips and tricks and cards to look out for to hopefully help you find success in this very unique, volatile game mode.
Event Info and Rewards
- Duration: 3 weeks, August 5 – August 26;
- No entry fee, unlimited play;
- No constructed deck required to enter – all the decks are generated randomly from a predetermined pool of cards;
- Standard XP rewards for play: 200 XP per win, 100 XP per loss (changes to 50 XP after fifth loss in a single day);
- Special Labs Quests could be received as Daily Quests: ‘Play a Labs game’ for 1000 XP and ‘Win a Labs game’ for 1500 XP;
- Labs wins also advance the progress of Spirit Blossom Event Quests and grant you 1 Petal for each win (4 Petals for the first PvP win of each day).
‘Quick Draw’ Rules
- At the start of each round, each players draws 5 Cards from their randomly generated deck of 60 cards.
- You start the game with 3 mana and 3 spell mana. You don’t gain any additional mana crystals on the subsequent rounds and so you’re naturally capped at 3. This limitation can be broken by ramp effects like Catalyst of Aeons and Wolfrider.
- Each card in the game costs between 0 and 3 mana. The formula for the discount is as follows: normal cost between 0-2 mana = discounted cost of 0 mana; 3-4 mana = 1 mana; 5-7 mana = 2 mana; 8 mana and above = 3 mana.
- Each card in the game (either drawn or obtained by any other means) has Fleeting.
- Every other round (Round 1, Round 3, Round 5, etc.), you get a spell card named ‘Prolong’ in your hand. It can be used to remove a Fleeting keyword from any one other card of your choice. Prolong spell doesn’t have Fleeting itself.
Tips and Tricks
- Find ways to cheat mana.
Given the cards’ discounted costs, having even one extra mana can mean the difference between being able to play an additional impactful spell or unit or not. Cards such as Catalyst of Aeons and Wolfrider give you a permanent increase in your mana crystals, allowing you to break the rule of the 3 mana cap. Ways to generate additional mana crystals (Wyrding Stones, Wolfrider), reducing the costs of your cards (Smooth Soloist) or cheating units into play (Warmother’s Call) will give you a sizable advantage over your opponent who has to play within the default mana constraints.
- Conserve your spell mana.
Another useful practice is to save your spell mana when you don’t have particularly powerful spells to play out. It’s tempting to be mana efficient and use your spell mana on spells as soon as you can, but in this mode, spell mana is hard to come by since the default maximum mana you have is 3. So, in order to fill up your spell mana bank after depleting it, you’d have to take a turn off of playing units, or use cards such as Torturted Prodigy, or Attune followers to top it up. It’s in your best interest to set up your spell mana for game-changing spells such as Unyielding Spirit, The Ruination, or Warmother’s Call.
- Allegiance abilities trigger, cards that require you to have a region do not.
It is very infrequent, but Allegiance abilities on your cards can trigger, you just have to be lucky. However, cards such as Trail of Evidence, Insight of Ages, and Flash of Brilliance will not generate you cards because of their region requirements. Those cards have the clause that the created cards should be “from your regions”. However, since you don’t have any regions assigned to your deck in this Lab, no cards will be generated!
- Pick your Prolong targets tactfully.
You get a Prolong card at the start of the game and then another one every other round. The Prolong card is not Fleeting so there’s no rush to play it. You can have multiple copies of Prolong in hand, but be aware that the ’10 cards in hand maximum’ limitation still applies in this Lab.
You will want to use your Prolong cards on big haymakers that you want to preserve for later rounds, whether it be a sizable unit or powerful spell. It may not be in your best interest to hold onto too many Prolong and non-Fleeting cards as you are limited to how many cards you can play in a turn by the mana constraints of the Lab. Focus on the quality of the non-Fleeting cards, not the quantity of them.
The most success I’ve had is using my Prolong on removal cards that I want to save for future turns: Judgment, Ruination, Detain, or Vengeance. This is because in this Lab there are so many powerful units and having removal handy at the right time to stop your opponent’s biggest threats can be the difference between victory and defeat.
Best Units and Spells
In this section we will look at some of the most powerful units and spells in this Lab that can also make excellent Prolong targets. In the mulligan phase, I look to have at least one of these cards in my opening hand whether I have the attack token or not. You want to mulligan aggressively in this lab and use your mana on as many high-impact cards as possible as early as possible.
Note: the discounted mana costs that the cards have in Quick Draw Lab are provided in the brackets.
This champion is probably the most powerful champion to get in this Lab. He has got big stats, Overwhelm, and your opponent essentially has to kill him twice. Even if they do kill him the first time, he just gets bigger! Look to use buff cards such as Stand Alone, Redoubled Valor and Unyielding Spirit (optimally – on his leveled-up form), or create copies of him with Dawn and Dusk!
Catalyst of Aeons (2), Wyrding Stones (1), Wolfrider (1), Smooth Soloist (2)
The ability to manipulate or ramp mana in this Lab is game-changing. As mentioned previously, you will be given a permanent increase in your mana crystals if you resolve a Catalyst of Aeons or Wolfrider’s Plunder requirement. As such, you should prioritize getting your mana cheats online as soon as possible. Having more mana than your opponent (or spending less on your units thanks to Smooth Soloist) is a huge deal in this Lab, as it means that you could potentially extra spells or units, or play cards a tier or two above your opponent. I would consider using Prolong on Catalyst of Aeons, but not on Wyrding Stones, as Wyrding Stones can be removed, and its stats are quite weak. I would avoid using Prolong on Wolfrider and Smooth Soloist as there is no guarantee you can trigger Plunder on any given turn, unless you have a Monkey Idol or Ember Maiden active.
Minah Swiftfoot (3)
Although she will take up all of your mana, her ability to recall 3 enemies is a game changer. Use her when your opponent gets greedy and plays multiple high value units or when your opponent has a unit that has been given buffs. She is also a great Prolong target, especially when you save her for your opponent’s attacking turn.
Commander Ledros (3)
The classic Shadow Isles finisher is a force to be reckoned with in this Lab. He has the potential to kill your opponent outright when you have the Dreadway on the board – un that case his ability that deals half your opponent’s nexus health will be doubled, ending the game on resolution. Once Ledros’s Last Breath triggers and comes back to hand he will still be discounted, but will also be Fleeting, so a Prolong will be necessary to keep him in your hand for the future.
Dawn and Dusk (2)
Being able to copy your strongest unit (especially if it is buffed) will sometimes be more than your opponent can handle. It’s best to use this on a high impact 3 mana bomb, as this nets you 4 mana worth of value giving you the great return for your investment.
Unyielding Spirit (3)
Even though this card has been downgraded to Fast speed it is still a bomb of a card…if it resolves. Thankfully, removal isn’t as plentiful in this Lab, but Deny and Will of Ionia are both around at 1 mana, so consider that before going all in on Unyielding Spirit. It’s best to use this on a unit that has Overwhelm or Elusive to help push through consistent damage. I would recommend using Prolong on this card to keep it in hand until you find a nice juicy target for it. The best targets I’ve run into are Battering Ram, The Leviathan, and Tryndamere.
Warmother’s Call (3)
This card is probably the most powerful one in this Lab. It grants you free unit on cast, so if it pulls a 3-cost unit, it pays for itself. Every turn after that you also get a free unit, effectively gaining you tons of mana over time. You may miss out on Play triggers, but that’s a small price to pay to have the possibility of pulling a 3-cost bomb for free. Resolve this spell as soon as possible, and in multiples if you can. Just be aware of how many units you have on board, and make sure there’s space for the newly summoned unit.
Detain (2), Vengeance (2)
These two are the premium single target removal spells in this Lab, and are my preferred Prolong targets. As there is a plethora of powerful units in this Lab, having an answer when you need it is key. Use it on units that can end the game, or in response to an enhancement your opponent is trying to resolve. Removal is few and far between in this Lab so pick your targets carefully, don’t fire your removal off just because there is a target for it.
Judgment (3), The Ruination (3)
These are the two cards in this Lab that can deal with a wide board from your opponent and pull you back into the game. Judgment, although powerful, suffers from the same weaknesses as Unyielding Spirit. Ideally, you want to use it on a turn when your opponent is out of mana to reduce any counterplay. As for The Ruination, I would ideally save it for a turn where your opponent overextends and spends all their regular mana, and you still have some, if not all, of yours. This way after Ruination resolves, you can refill your board while your opponent has no follow up. Both of these cards are prime targets for Prolong, as you need to wait for a favorable situation to present itself to get the most value out of them.
At 1 mana, Deny is ridiculously undercosted in this Lab. With so many expensive high value spell targets such as Warmother’s Call, Unyielding Spirit, Redoubled Valor, Judgement, Atrocity, The Ruination etc., spending 1 mana to cancel out a 3 mana spell that your opponent probably spent all their spell mana on is back-breaking. Even if it counters a 2-cost spell, your opponent is still spending one more mana than you, so you come out on top.
However, Deny is not the best Prolong target as its use is still highly situational. Sometimes your opponent simply doesn’t play any spells, the spells they are given are at Burst speed, or maybe they only play cheap, low impact spells not worth countering. Try and find a decent spell to counter to get yourself mana advantage, or tempo, early and avoid holding onto Deny too long in the hopes of getting maximum value.
Overall, this Lab is quite a wild ride! At first it seems like it is all up to luck, but after playing a ton of games, I’ve found that planning ahead with the cards you’re offered can improve your winrate and adds a fun layer of complexity to this Lab. However, there will be times when you or your opponent will have overpowered, unstoppable hands that can outright goldfish, and to that I say: just embrace the RNG!