How do you manipulate Zephrys The Great to offer you the true ‘perfect’ card?

[HQ] Zephrys the Great

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This post is based on information from the set reveal stream and dev twitter replies, primarily Celestalon – source. Plus observations from the early access theorycraft streams on Twitch.

How do you manipulate Zephrys The Great to offer you the true ‘perfect’ card?

Be aware of 3 rules:

  • Zephrys only offers cards from the Basic and Classic set.
  • Zephrys doesn’t know what cards you have in your hand.
  • Zephrys prioritizes offering you plays for this turn.

Set up the board before wishing:

Before wishing for a Flamestrike make good trades and play cheap spells from hand to set up an efficient Flamestrike. This is to avoid being offered Twisting Nether instead. Your primary aim should be to leave yourself on 7 mana. If that involves playing the coin, don’t forget to play it before playing Zephrys; he doesn’t know you have the coin in hand (even though it’s ‘public’ information, he never considers cards in hand.)

Devs have said a common situation with Zephrys will be searching for ways to set up lethal on your opponent. Look for Savage Roar or Bloodlust lethals every turn. Then play face damage spells, play charge minions, silence taunts, and leave yourself exactly 3 mana for Savage Roar, for example.

If you’ve got a visible lethal opportunity he’ll offer it to you; even if you haven’t spotted it yourself. Zephrys considers factors like – active minion damage, weapon damage, hero power damage, fatigue damage when deciding what card to offer you. If you have not set up lethal and you feel you’ve been offered a random card… take a look for lethal again.

Tell Zephrys if you want a card for this turn or next turn:

The mantra is ‘don’t draw last’, but consider using your last 2 mana on a turn for the Zephrys play. Ensure you have used up all your other mana crystals. This prioritizes being offered a strong minion with a mana cost of your next turns mana value.

8 mana is a key turn. Play Zephrys first on turn 7 and you’ll be offered a 5 drop; play Zephrys last on turn 7 and you’ll be offered Tirion Fordring. Try to avoid suggesting you are looking for a Basic or Classic 10-drop, unless you could really use Deathwing next turn.

A proactive Zephrys will often be best:

Saving Zephrys to grab a reactive card; a get out of trouble card, will often NOT be as strong as looking for a proactive play. Particularly if you are holding reactive cards. It may well be best to set up for a proactive minion that will use all your mana next turn, or a Mountain Giant or a Sea Giant for this turn. ( These 2 cards were often seen on the theorycraft streams as ‘pleasant surprises’ )

Card draw can be good:

One tactic is to deliberately run down your hand size. Even with very suboptimal plays if your current cards in hand are weak in this match up. Zephrys is more likely to offer you card draw, like Nourish or Sprint, if your hand size is low. However he will de-prioritize card draw if your deck size is low.

Consider putting Zephrys in non-highlander deck:

Okay this is fringe. If a strong Control deck rises in the meta, and games like mirror matches start to run long on a regular basis. Then put in Zephrys. He’ll be playable at some point in a Control vs Control fatigue game. And versus aggro… play him on curve for his tight 3/2 body.

All factors to consider when playing Zephyrs:

  • Offers only classic and basic cards.
  • Offers spells/minions/weapons from any class.
  • Pulls from a pool of strong cards. You will never see bloodfen raptor.
  • Considers cards in categories (a board clear, a minion play, a single target removal, etc), and will try to offer you options from different categories. But it may give you 3 board clear options if you really need it.
  • Tries to offer you strong plays for this turn or next turn, but prioritizes this turn.
  • If there is a legal card that gives you lethal Zephrys will give it to you.
  • Zephrys will often offer the same predictable choices if it is faced with the same situation.
  • Zephrys does NOT know what cards you have in hand. i.e. Play your fireball vs 12 health opponent then play Zephrys to get another fireball.
  • When considering giving you a damage spell for lethal, Zephrys will count active minion damage, weapon damage, hero power damage, fatigue damage, but NOT damage from cards in hand.
  • Zephrys prioritizes mana considerations, and it prioritize plays this turn (as they are generally stronger than later plays). However it may offer you 2 options for this turn, and 1 for next turn, as an example.
  • Zephrys considerations include, but are not limited to – minions on board, your class, your opponents class, hand sizes, deck sizes, your health, your opponents health.
  • Zephrys works in wild, but is less likely to offer optimal picks. It will not offer you cards from the Hall of Fame set.
  • Zephrys will never give you options to duplicate itself. i.e no shadowsteps or brewmasters. ( Djinni’s never let you wish for more wishes! )

Examples of rarer plays:

  • May offer hungry crab if your opponent has nightmare amalgam on board, but will offer sacrificial pact if you are low on life.
  • If the opponent has a strong big minion, it may offer you faceless manipulator.
  • A card the dev often saw from Zephrys is Mass Dispel. Presented when a low health opponent has multiple taunts.
  • It will offer you sacrificial pact if your opponent is Jaraxxus.
  • If there is a single RNG card that could get you lethal, Zephrys won’t value it in the same way as a strictly lethal card, but Zephrys may still offer it if there are no other good options.
  • Zephrys considers cards using their base cost. Avoid playing Zephrys into Rebuke or Loatheb.
  • Zephrys will offer silence when one of your minions is frozen. Presumably prioritizing it if the minion has a good trade or the opponent is on low health.
  • Zephrys will prioritize cheaper cards. If you set up to get the 3 mana Fan of Knives, he will most likely offer you the 2 mana Arcane Explosion instead. Just in case you have a 1 mana play in hand. Remember it is blind to the cards in your hand.
  • It does seem to over prioritize situationally reactive cards like Blood Knight or Hungry Crab over broader, stronger plays. It may be best to avoid playing Zephrys until you can clear these distractions off the board. Then there will be more slots available for stronger cards.
  • It also seems to favour answers with a body attached like BGH, stampeding kodo, or MCT when a spell would be better.
  • Observing occasional clear errors “one time he offered Harrison Jones versus Druid with no Weapon”. I couldn’t say if they’ll upgrade his ‘AI’ when they get more data back.
  • If you are looking for a 1 mana minion removal he seems to prioritize Lightning Bolts overload over Soulfires discard cost. Even with a large hand size. Worth noting if next turns mana is critical.
  • At the moment he may struggle with opponents deathrattle and reborn minions, but he has been observed factoring in lifesteal taunts.
  • If the opponent has a secret up he seems to like offering the new secret removal minion, SI:7 Inflitrator from the classic set.

Vs Zephrys:

Peter Whalen mentioned he was often able to predict one of the 3 offered cards, but one of the other designers could typically predict all 3. With experience some of us will be able to predict the opponents ‘wished’ card. Although the usefulness of this is diminished by the wish card being typically played out of hand immediately.

I feel one of the most common situations when playing against any highlander deck will be to avoid leaving them a bloodlust-lethal-board from 7 mana onwards. (i.e 2 mana to play Zephrys, and 5 mana for a +9 damage bloodlust.)