Welcome back to Drafting with IYankemDDS! This week we are drafting Triple Born of the Gods. I have become a fan of drafting triple small sets, even though they were not designed to be drafted together. The first time I tried was during Dragon's Maze. I have found that they are a great way to add cards from the new set to your collection and to have a little bit of fun in the process. Sometimes you're able to do wild things that are not available in Block format drafts.
This week, we are going to draft a version of a control deck. There are a variety of elements to a good control deck, with most of them involving staying alive until the late game where we can play a finisher. This particular deck is going to focus on removal. With some decks, you can win with just about anything if you can remove all of your opponent's threats. Let's take a look at how this draft shapes up.
Pack 1 pick 1:
We open up a Mythic Rare in Karametra, God of Harvests, but I actually don't think that she is all that powerful. It is often hard to fault you for rare drafting a Mythic with your first pick, but this one is only worth about a ticket or so on MTGOTraders.com, so at this point I am going for a stronger card if I see one. I feel like Fall of the Hammer fits the bill, so that is what I am taking.
Pack 1 pick 2:
There are a few options in this pack, including Kiora's Follower and Pheras-Band Tromper, but I also see some more strong removal in Bolt of Keranos. One of the critiques of Red is that it is strong in Born of the Gods, but not Theros. That critique is void in this format since we won't be opening any Theros packs, so we'll take the Red card and hope that Red is open.
Pack 1 pick 3:
And the hits keep coming! Searing Blood seems like a pretty clear pick out of this pack. This is our third pick and our third removal spell in Red so we may be well on our way to a Red Controlling-Removal style of deck.
Pack 1 pick 4:
The last pick that I want to highlight out of the first pack comes 4th. Once again, I don't see a lot that excites, so I fairly easily decide on Kragma Butcher. No matter how much removal we get, we still need a way to kill our opponent, and the Butcher can help with that. If we are able to use our removal to clear the way for him, he can get in for four every turn and eat away at our opponent's life total very quickly.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Coming out of the first pack, we are solidly in Red, but unsure about our second color. Toward the end of the pack we took some black cards and a couple of green cards. In this pack the card that stands out is Fanatic of Xenagos. This will be a good card if we end up R/G, and we might even be able to splash it if we are B/R, if we wanted to. Noble Quarry is another possibility, but that card is best with lots of Bestow, which may not be available. I am going to take the Gold card and see what happens over the next few picks.
Pack 2 pick 2:
We open the next pack and there doesn't seem to be much for us. I see a Weight of the Underworld, which is clunky removal, but it is still removal. Even when it doesn't kill their guy, it will usually nerf the power enough to neutralize a threat. We will take this here and it will continue to nudge us toward Black.
Pack 2 pick 3:
While we have been picking up a lot of removal, we don't have very many threats yet. With either a 5/5 Haste Trample of an 8/8 with Trample, we can get a potential finisher, so I am taking Thunder Brute. The next best option here is Raised by Wolves, but we don't have many creatures yet and we are leaning away from Green and toward Black.
Pack 3 pick 1:
We open up the third pack and there isn't much for us here, but there is a money rare in colors that we won't be playing. Bolt of Keranos is another option, but we've already got a couple of those, so we're going to go for the rare this time.
Pack 3 pick 2:
We open the next pack and see some strong Red cards, including another Bolt of Keranos and a Foil Fall of the Hammer. I think Fall of the Hammer is stronger - I really like that it hits at instant speed, so that's what I'm going to take. It would be nice to see the Felhide Brawler come back around.
Pack 3 pick 3:
A few good options in this pack. Servant of Tyramet is good in this kind of deck because he can really grind down that life total. Another Kragma Butcher would not be bad either, but I really like Oracle of Bones in this type of deck because we have so many sorceries and instants. Maybe we'll get lucky and one of the other cards will come back.
Pack 3 pick 6:
The last pick I want to highlight is the 6th pick from the last pack. There are a few options here. We see another Servant of Tyramet, as well as a Kragma Butcher and even a Necrobite, but Drown in Sorrow is too hard to pass up in a deck like this. Since we'll only be running a few creatures, and most of them will have at least 3 toughness, this card has the potential to be very strong in our deck.
As you can see from the picks, we have an abundance of removal. Here is what the final deck looks like:
1 Archetype of Aggression
1 Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass
1 Everflame Eidolon
2 Kragma Butcher
1 Marshmist Titan
1 Oracle of Bones
1 Pharagax Giant
1 Servant of Tyramet
1 Thunder Brute
3 Warchanter of Mogis
2 Bolt of Keranos
1 Drown in Sorrow
2 Fall of the Hammer
1 Pinnacle of Rage
1 Searing Blood
2 Weight of the Underworld
1 Ephara, God of Polis
1 Epiphany Storm
3 Eye Gouge
1 Fanatic of Xenagos
1 Forsaken Drifters
1 Impetuous Sunchaser
1 Marshmist Titan
2 Nyxborn Rollicker
1 Reckless Reveler
2 Scouring Sands
1 Snake of the Golden Grove
I am hoping to control the board and play some of our threats on an empty or inferior board state. We were able to draft 9 removal spells so hopefully that will be enough to clear the way, even for our low-toughness guys. I have a lot of double mana cost cards so I am going to run an even number of Swamps and Mountains. I decide on 18 lands for that reason as well, and the sooner I can cast my 5- and 6-drops, the better. This is a deck where I am usually going to draw first, because I want to spend the early turns blocking and/or removing threats.
Round 1 Game 1
We are up against a UG deck in the First Round. They play out a couple of creatures and we wait for our chance to Drown in Sorrow, but they are able to save their Kiora's Follower with an Aspect of Hydra. It's still a two for one for us, but would have preferred to clear the board.
The game goes on and he plays a Pheres-Band Tromper. We don't want that to get out of hand, so we're going to try to kill it with Fall of the Hammer from our Oracle of Bones. Unfortunately for us, he's got another Aspect of Hydra and saves the Tromper. This could be trouble! There was also a spot where I attacked in with Oracle of Bones, and he blocked with the Vortex Elemental to shuffle the Oracle back in. I probably should have played Pinnacle of Rage to kill both the Vortex and Kiora's Follower, but I wanted to save the burn to try and steal the game out from under him.
Here at the end of the game we've chump-blocked when possible, but he's able to finish us off. On to Game 2!
Round 1 Game 2 (Trail 0-1)
We go on the draw and he plays a Turn 3 Courser of Kruphix. That's going to be trouble for us if we can't remove it. We play a Kragma Butcher and try to induce a double block from the Courser and Kiora's Follower. He does it and we Fall of the Hammer to go for the 2-for-1, but he's got a Retraction Helix and we are way behind.
We try and hang in there but he's been hitting his land drops off of the Courser and he plays the Nessian Wilds Ravager. We did side in a Necrobite to deal with big creatures, but we'd need to draw it, and he's got both the Ravager and a Tromper out!
We have some blockers, but he's able to Retraction Helix both of them with help from Kiora's Follower, and we're done for in the first round.
Match Record: 0-1
Match 2 Game 1
In this round, our opponent appears to be playing a UWG deck. He plays an early Oreskos Sun Guide, but we follow up with a Kragma Butcher and Warchanter of Mogis. He is going to try and catch up by enchanting his Sun Guide with Raised by Wolves.
Luckily we are ready for him! We play a Marshmist Titan and use it to Fall of the Hammer his enchanted Sun Guide and he concedes.
Round 2 Game 2 (Lead 1-0)
Game 2 goes back a forth for a while, but for the second match in a row we're up against Nessian Wilds Ravager! I don't think we sided in Necrobite this time, so we don't have much of an answer. On to Game 3.
Round 2 Game 3 (Tied 1-1)
He leads off with a familiar sight - a Sun Chaser. We're a little slow to get started but play a Pharagax Giant on Turn 5, but he just gives us the 3/3 since he's been gaining life off of the Sun Chaser. He follows up with a Raised by Wolves on the Sunchaser.
We are hanging in there, and play our Thunder Brute. But he enchants the Sun Chaser again, this time with Ephara's Enlightenment. We'll need to find an answer for that in a hurry!
We try and buy ourselves some time by casting Weight of the Underworld on his Voltron and casting Bolt of Keranos on one of the Wolves, but he flashes in Centaurs off of Fated Intervention and we're dead. We'll go to Round 3 and play for pride and a pack.
Match Record: 0-2
Match 3 Game 1
We start the last round and he is running R/W. He plays an Archetype of Courage, but it quickly Falls to the Hammer. He plays out a couple more creatures, but Drown in Sorrow takes care of his board, and we have a Kragma Butcher who survives it.
After that, he doesn't seem to have much left. We play a Warchanter of Mogis and it turns out that 7 damage a turn will eat away at a life total quickly. We take Game 1.
Match 3 Game 2 (Lead 1-0)
We move on to Game 2 and it's more of the same. We remove his guys, play a couple of Warchanters, and finish him off. We avoid the dreaded 0-3.
Final Record: 1-2
What We Learned
I think it's important to write about some draft decks that didn't get there. Yes, it's more fun to write about those decks that crush all the way to 3-0, but we can often take something out of drafts that don't go quite that well. I thought that this deck was promising, as I've had success with this type of deck before. I do think that if things bounced our way during Round 1 we could have won, but our opponent had the answers that he needed. Likewise, in Round 2, we took a lot of mulligans and it didn't quite happen for us. I still feel good about a heavy removal deck, even though it didn't really happen for us until the final round this time.
More specifically, I'll say that I was impressed with some of the removal, and less so with others. Weight of the Underworld is quite clunky, but can sometimes get the job done. The goal might not always be to kill their guy - sometimes we will just neutralize a threat, which can be just what we need.
I'd also like to mention that drafting Triple small set can be a lot of fun. The opportunity to do it is always quite limited, so getting in on the format once or twice isn't bad. Again, it's a good way to pick up new cards if you do decide to keep what you draft.
Next time we are likely to jump in a Theros Block Draft and begin to explore the new card interactions between the two sets. See you then!
Jeff_LR1 (Twitter) / IYankemDDS (MTGO)