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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Oct 28 2013 11:09am
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I've been learning to enjoy red-based aggro decks in Theros drafts recently.  I read Caleb Durward's article about heroic decks, played against some seemingly-awful, but surprisingly effective beatdown decks, and started exploring that space myself.  We even get to choose what color we're pairing with our Red by waffling back and forth a couple of times during the draft.  You'll probably know when we go full-on man-mode (My half-serious designation for going in on a gold card of questionable value and going a little bit out of our way to try to make it work).

  Pack 1 pick 1:

We start off with a choice between a very, very good uncommon for both heroic and non-heroic decks, Coordinated Assault, a Kragma Warcaller (hello man-mode!), Voyaging Satyr, and Gray Merchant.  I'll stay single-colored, and pick the best heroic enabler, which is also fine in non-heroic decks.


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  Pack 1 pick 2:

After a somewhat tough pick, this one is pretty easy.


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  Pack 1 pick 3:

 Nimbus Naiad is one of the best commons in the set.  I'm not quite as excited to grab up Read the Bones if I'm attacking and pumping.  Borderland Minotaur might be the right choice, but he's more like quality filler than Naiad, which is a pretty good card.  Finally, we could go for the Battlemaster, but I don't love GR heroic, and I wouldn't want him over the other options.  

 


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  Pack 1 pick 4:

This is... a bit speculative.  I like the Triton, the pack kind of sucks... but I probably should take either a removal spell or Agent of Horizons here.


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  Pack 1 pick 5:

This is exciting to see in the 5th pack.  I'm not sure what the heck people were taking over the Ordeal and the Onslaught, but I'm not gonna be fussed about it.  I'll keep going with Red.  This pack was either stacked, or the drafters upstream from me are brain damaged, since there are two very solid green cards in the pack as well.


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  Pack 1 pick 6:

Again, this is a bit speculative, but I do really like the RU pairing, and I'm not exactly excited to take any of the white or black cards, which are better in a vacuum, but not good enough to have me interested in going after them.


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  Pack 1 pick 7:

More speculation.  Also, I had a brief dream of a Coordinated Assault turning my dude into a 2/3 first striker that eats one of their attackers or something. I dunno.


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  Pack 1 pick 8:

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  Pack 1 pick 9:

Apparently my fellow drafters are cowards and yellow dogs.  We will seize the initiative.


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  Pack 1 pick 10:

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  Pack 1 pick 11:

RAWRRRRR WE WILL EAT YOU!


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  Pack 2 pick 1:

Screw it, the Marauder isn't a Minotaur, but he kills you with the best of them.  The Ordeal is probably my pick if I weren't going man-mode based on one gold card wheeling, but here we are.  We're also not exactly abandoning great Blue cards to go this way.


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  Pack 2 pick 2:

WE WILL ASSAULT YOU IN A COORDINATED MANNER, REPEATEDLY!  Three great blue cards are going around, a nice Eidolon for a White deck, and we'll hope we get that poopy, less-rocking minotaur back, I guess.


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  Pack 2 pick 3:

OH YEA.  PUT THAT MAN-SUIT ON AND ROCK YOUR BULLHAT!  The WR dude gave me a little pause.  Luckily, we're in man-mode, and don't have to stop to do things like "thinking" or "planning ahead."


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  Pack 2 pick 4:

THIS DUDE KNOWS HOW TO ROCK!  HE'S IN THE MIDDLE OF A HUGE METAL JUMP!  


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  Pack 2 pick 5:

AHAHAHAHA Oh man, all of the Minotaurs.  No cowards allowed, just attackers.


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  Pack 2 pick 6:

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  Pack 2 pick 7:

We're light on removal, but we have a Hero to lead the way now.


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  Pack 2 pick 8:

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  Pack 2 pick 9:

 

Now we get a nice little SB option in the junk.


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  Pack 3 pick 1:

It's like finding a copy of Dream Theater in a pile of your wife's grandmother's cds!


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  Pack 3 pick 2:

He's bellowing our anthem!  We would obviously love either red creature to make it back around.


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  Pack 3 pick 3:

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  Pack 3 pick 4:

Wow!  This is insane.  I don't know that it is good, but 4 copies of a very playable trick?  Seems like a reasonable expectation to hold going into every draft now.


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  Pack 3 pick 5:

 You're probably saying, "Now, if you'd just picked real cards this draft, you could play nice cards like this Warrior, or this Emissary, or maybe this Asp, to go along with your sick combat tricks."

I say, "DEATHTOUCH PLUS FIRST STRIKE!" 


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  Pack 3 pick 6:

I have failed. I had a metal choice to make, and I chose to RAGEEEEEEEEEEEEE instead of Cleaving Skulls!  Seems pretty whiny of me.


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  Pack 3 pick 7:

Seriously, what was I thinking. I must have temporarily been soothed, the wild beast briefly tamed.  


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 My build is below.  I often sided in a Lash of the Whip.

MANMODE ACTIVATED!
 
Creatures
0 cards

Other Spells
4 Coordinated Assault
1 Ordeal of Purphoros
2 Akroan Crusader
1 Satyr Rambler
1 Arena Athlete
1 Scourgemark
2 Borderland Minotaur
1 Mogis's Marauder
1 Minotaur Skullcleaver
1 Tormented Hero
1 Unknown Shores
2 Kragma Warcaller
1 Deathbellow Raider
2 Spearpoint Oread
1 Baleful Eidolon
1 Two-Headed Cerebus
1 Rage of Purphoros
1 Dragon Mantle
0 cards
Lands
9 Mountain
6 Swamp
15 cards
 
Deathbellow Raider

 

Round one saw me run right over a GW deck in game one.  I don't remember the specifics of game two, but I seem to recall a Hopeful Eidolon being involved, and me winning anyway.

Round two, I played against an apparently mono-blue deck.  I played Crusader on turn 1, Deathbellow Raider on turn two.  He had no plays other than lands.  On turn 3, I didn't play anything, just attacking, and on turn 4 he scooped.  Game two was the same thing, except he played a Naiad to trade with my Arena Athlete.  It wasn't enough to stop my metalmen though - Borderland (not borderline this time mirite?) Minotaur into a lord gave me the easy win.

Round three was somewhat close - again I curved out, a Crusader into an Arena Athlete, into no play into his open mana on turn three. I just attacked.  I had Swamp, Mountain, filterland, and had an Ordeal, but didn't want to cast it into Last Breath mana, when I was also holding Coordinated Assault.  I untapped on turn 4, played a Swamp, then played Ordeal, with Assault to back it up if he tried Breath.  Instead, he scooped'm up. In game two, he was able to stick this guy then team it up with some of this and go to town on me. If that seems like it lasted for a shorter amount of time than one might prefer, that's what I said too. 

Game three was a curious situation.  I had used up something like 15 minutes of my time, because I'd had to help the wife with some stuff, and my daughter had a question for me, and so on.  My opponent had made a few sarcastic/serious remarks (in game one, when I won on T4 - "Glad that took 4 minutes, in game two - "Welcome back." and so on), and then said, "Well, thanks MTGO," apparently for his keep, or for giving him a bad enough hand to keep bitterly, but a good enough one not to mull, or something?  I'm not sure.  Anyway, I led with a Crusader.  He had the Hopeful Eidolon on T1.  This seemed HORRIBLE to me.  If you ever play the Eidolon on a 3/3, I'm in a LOT of trouble. Maybe even a 2/2.  Or a 1/1.  Basically, give yourself a chance!  I ran my Crusader into his Eidolon, but he took it instead, which is kind of what I guessed he would do, however, I did have a Coordinated Assault that I considered using if he blocked. I followed up with Deathbellow duders.  He had no play.  I attacked with both of my guys, and he took it.  I passed after playing Akroan Crusader, and I may have missed my land here. I believe I did, but I'm not certain.  I know I hit 4 mana on turn 5 though.  At this point, he had a Gift of Immortality on his Eidolon, which was helping him stay in the game against my "must-attack" Raider.  I attacked, and he blocked my Crusader with the Eidolon.  He wasted (imo) a Battlewise Valor when I used Coordinated Assault on both of my Crusaders.  This did keep his Eidolon upright, but it would have come back with the Gift anyway.  I don't remember if he scried to top or to the bottom though, so maybe it dug him into his next play, Celestial Archon, which he tapped out for.  

My board was Crusader, 1/1 token, Deathbellow, and a Borderlineland Minotaur.  He had the Eidolon, a problem, and the Archon, a HUGE problem that lets him sit back and eat any of my guys whenever he wants.  I do have a Coordinated Assault.  I want to limit the damage he's doing with the Archon ASAP, so I REALLY want him to toss the Archon in front of the BMs and then Coordinated Assault it to trade guys.  I basically telegraphed my play, doing about the worst possible thing: I sent just the two minotaurs. Immediately after I realized I'd totally telegraphed it.  I should have sent the team.  This means I either get through at least +2 damage, plus make a guy, and first strike a guy to stop him from gaining life, while losing a 1/1 if he is VERY conservative, or a 2/3, but keeping my 4/3 to try again, if he plays it the way I would, blocking a 1/1 with his Eidolon, and a 2/3 with the Archon. 

Worse yet, I was stuck on 4 mountains, so I can't regen if he correctly reads my bluff/hope and blocks my 2/3 with his Archon, and my 4/3 with his +1 life.  Luckily, he is an idiot, or my play wasn't that bad, because he blocked the way I hoped he would, and we traded my junk 4/3 for his glorious 4/4.  Well, I had to throw away my Coordinated Assault, but still, worth it.

Next he played a Snare Squad, basically a blank.  I had no land though, and passed back after attacking and giving him another life.  He played Wingsteed Rider.  I had nothing again, I believe.  He played some sort of pump spell and bashed for 5.  His Rider was now a 3/3.  I untapped, and ripped a swamp.  SO GOOD!  This turned on my Lash of the Whip (sided in) and my Warcaller.  At this point, I didn't want to play the Warcaller and lose a race to his Rider + removal, so I killed the Rider.  He played... nothing I think, and passed back. I drew my second Warcaller dropped Warcaller, and passed it back.  I didn't want to give him a chance to use the neck snap variant to set me back.  He complained/complemented me, "Nice rips."

I told him that I agreed, that was a good time to draw a swamp.  He didn't seem to want to talk about it anymore, and played an Asp, as I recall.  I untapped, ripped Mogis's Maruaders (NICE RIPPPP) and played my second Warcaller, then gave him another turn.  He had nothing very interesting, and I played my Marauders and attacked for 10 million (the actual amount).  He then observed that he was happy that it had taken that amount of time to play those games.  I'm not sure if he was happy because he needed something to do during that time, and appreciated me sharing the entertainment we had partaken in, or if he actually was like, dying from point, and needed a companion during his last moment, but it was nice of him to say so.

I hope you enjoyed the draft - I don't think my picks were optimal, but I'm a firm* believer in man-moding it up as much as possible in Theros, and I beg you to try it out if you get the chance!

 

*By firm believer, I mean, I'll do it something.  And it is not "good" drafting, but man, it is FUN.

2 Comments

Good job, interesting deck by Orgion at Tue, 10/29/2013 - 11:09
Orgion's picture
5

Always satisfying beating an a**e. Good job!

Interesting draft too. I thought you had multiple opportunities to draft a different, potentially stronger deck (RU, RG for example). I completely disagreed with most of your draft choices in the first pack. For instance, I thought it was common wisdom take the grey merchant for your first pick if you see it, just in case you know it becomes relevant? Yet your deck end up 3-0 so what do I know!

Loving the Theros drafting at the moment. So many different strategies and tricks, the set is so deep. Now if you could try and draft a successful RG deck please I'd be really grateful!

Thanks by walkerdog at Wed, 10/30/2013 - 00:49
walkerdog's picture
5

Grey merchant is certainly one of the strongest commons, but it's generally a difficult card to "force," and if you're not heavily black, it goes from stellar to mediocre. So it can be very swingy, plus Coordinated Assault can be anywhere from decent to amazing in some decks, and will get in any deck that has a little red and do good work.

That's not to say it would be bad or wrong to take Merchant there.

Also, if you look at my last draft, here, you'll see a RG-based result:

http://puremtgo.com/articles/theros-2-now-something-little-different

Thanks for the response.