#1: Hare – Beast Tail
Hare Dagger is an easy selection for the top card-draw ability in Axie right now. 120 base damage is quite strong on a Tail move and 30 Shields is a lot more than 0!
Rated #1 due to its reliability of triggering, especially on a Bird or Aqua Axie. If your Axie moves first in the round, you get a card! The combination of damage and reliability, with some bonus shields, is by far first-in-class among card-draw abilities.
#2: Hero – Beast Back
The Heroic Reward for attacking an Aquatic or Bird Axie is – you guessed it – a free card! Hero takes the #2 slot, barely, from Bone Sail (#3) because of one simple fact – it costs 0 energy. Bone Sail is a more reliable trigger in the right situation, but it’s far harder to use correctly than Hero, which is just point-and-shoot.
Hero is best combined with an Evasion move like Little Owl, Gerbil, or Toothless Bite. Aquatic and Bird Axies are generally positioned safely behind the opposing Defender, where they can sit and lay down damage un-interrupted.
The 0-energy aspect is crucial to strategies that involve evasion, and especially to those that require 3-card combinations to trigger. For example, Tiny Turtle’s ‘stun’ effect’. When played correctly, Hero is a simple & deadly piece of a Combo Axie’s arsenal.
Hero is ideal on Axies with high Morale (increased Critical Strike chance) or Skill (increased damage multiplier in Combos). Speed is always useful, but this particular “build” does not take advantage of speed in the same way a Hare Dagger build might.
#3: Bone Sail – Reptile Back
Ivory Chop is one of only a few cards in Axie with a “shield break” trigger. The others are Sponge, Carrot, Snail Shell, Beech & Snake Jar.
Currently, Bone Sail combines with Bumpy to form a particularly nasty combo that can draw at least 2-3 cards each turn. We anticipate this engine will get powered down in a future patch.
Bumpy Combo aside, Bone Sail remains a favorite card on the team. The ATK and DEF stats are well-balanced, lending to a “bruiser” style build on a high Health Axie such as a Plant, Moon, or Reptile.
On a defender, the card draw will help you sculpt an early-game hand and build card advantage. On a back-line Axie, it will help steal advantage in the endgame and keep your Axie alive with 70 shields.
The ideal build with Bone Sail would almost always include Beech at the horn & Carrot on the tail, for additional shield-break synergy. The mouth slot is versatile, so we suggest either Serious on a front-line defender or a self-heal like Mosquito to regain some of the lost HP from shield-breaks.
Ivory Chop is one of the most powerful card-draw abilities in Axie, but its situational nature keeps it out of the top slots. This is an ability to watch in future metagames, as most players have not figured out the right build for Bone Sail just yet.
#4: Pumpkin – Plant Back
October Treat is an odd one – it’s got no attack, so it functions more like a magic protection spell rather than an offensive move. In fact, using your Pumpkin will _not_ trigger an attack at all, so your Axie will not trigger the on-hit trigger of Yam. (If all this talk about triggers is triggering you, then, I am truly sorry).
The real value of Pumpkin is on a front-line defender; you get to play cat-and-mouse with your opponent. If they elect to go all-in with a first-turn barrage, 120 shields will effectively stop their plan short of killing your defender. If they instead opt to hold back and save energy, the shields may be wasted but you will draw a card.
Although neither outcome is particularly exciting – die less or draw a card and deal 0 damage – such is the price of versatility. In a game with tons of unknown information between opponents, a card that adapts to the situation at-hand is worth its weight in gold.
#5: Cattail – Plant Tail
Cattail is a simple card that does a simple job. Its stats are both quite low, although for 0 energy, not much more can be expected. I would anticipate the attack being removed, and the shields raised to 50, in a future patch. This change would make the card substantially better.
As it stands, Cattail is just a situational role-player. If you can catch your opponent combo’ing off with Ronin, Imp & Cottontail, you’ll draw half of your deck! Otherwise, it creates little to no impact on the game.
If this card were a purely defensive “spell” like Pumpkin, it would likely be much higher on this list.
#6: Blue Moon – Aqua Back
The only reason Scale Dart is at the bottom of this card-draw barrel is because it’s not really a card-draw attack. The number of situational factors necessary to draw even a single card prevents this from consideration.
That said, the stats are quite strong in a vacuum so it’s a competent basic Attacker card. When compared to Hare, however, the difference in caliber is clear; draw a card on every attack, or draw a card _maybe_ once per game?
We anticipate that future changes to the game, especially level 2 parts and branching evolution, will fill in many of these gaps nicely. There is simply a lack of reliable card draw besides Hare, and that is currently causing skewed build priorities in our team breeding. We have not experimented enough with Hero, but the class-based trigger requirements are a bit too situational as compared to Hare’s automatic reward.
Overall, we suggest that every Axie team have a way to draw extra cards if possible. Even if the best you can do is a Blue Moon Axie, every little advantage counts!