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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
May 25 2017 12:00pm
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Just before Amonkhet came out, I presented you with a draft overview and my thoughts on how the format would play out. Today, I thought it would be good to revisit that article and update it, to give you a better idea on how the format is playing out.

So, what did I get right and what did I get wrong? Read on!

IT'S A TWO COLOUR FORMAT

This is what I said back then and it's still true now... except for if you are playing green. It is certainly possible to play three or more colours in your deck if you pick up some of these fixing:

You really have to be base green to pull off a three or more colour deck, but it is doable (see last week's article, for example). Gift of Paradise is especially important; in this format - which is bomb heavy - this gives you two-coloured mana to cast those Glorybringers and other bombs. Speaking of...

IS IT A PRINCE OR PAUPER FORMAT?

If you have never heard this term before, a "prince format" refers to a draft environment that is heavy on bombs, while a "pauper format" refers to an environment where synergy and the commons and uncommons are more important. Amonkhet is certainly a prince format. I noticed this at the very first pre-release I went to; the amount of high-powered cards being played at the tables was far higher than what I had experienced for quite some time. Why is that? Much of it has to do with how many of these super-powerful limited cards are at rare rather than at mythic rare. This means they show up way more often than normal.

So, what does this mean in the grand scheme of things? Well, it means you really want to play your bombs, and have ways to deal with bombs. If your opponent plays Glorybringer and you don't have a way to get rid of it, you are probably going to lose that game. On top of this, many of the bombs require exile effects to deal with; the Gods are the main example, but also Angel of Sanctions

But what happens if you open a bomb pack 2 or 3 that is not in your colours? If possible, it is usually correct to try and find a way to play it, if possible. This is not always true, but the power level of them is so high that if it doesn't cause you to do back flips, you should try and run it in your deck. This can mean going into a third colour, but what it really means is staying open with your deck choice as long as possible - you really want to be able to switch if you open a bomb pack 2.

SPEAKING OF BOMBS...

These are the cards I am first picking every time pick 1 pack 1:

That's a lot of cards! The list has changed a little now that I've gotten to play with the cards, but if I opened one of these in the first pack, I would be taking it.

IT'S NOT A SLOW, GRINDY FORMAT

Back in my original article, I assumed that, due to the presence of embalm, the format would be slow and grindy. I was wrong. Boy was I wrong.

To be fair, many other people thought the same thing. But the Pro Tour showed what the pros thought of the format, and that was low to the ground aggro. Whilst slower decks can still be fine, if you are playing a low curve aggro deck and have your opponent beaten by turn 4-5, it doesn't really matter if they then play their bomb. In other words, instead of using the limited number of answers to the bombs in the format, beat them before they become a problem.

16-17 LANDS IS STILL CORRECT

I got this one right, though the very low curve decks can play 15 lands. Most decks at the Pro Tour played 16-17; the presence of cycling allows you to smooth your draws somewhat, so 16 and some cheap cyclers should be enough for most decks.

THE DECK ARCHETYPES

Let's look at how the two-colour deck archetypes have played out, in order of the list I used in the last article:

Green/White

While this is supposed to be an exert deck, the deck hasn't really gotten there for me. Drafting around the exert mechanic hasn't proven greatly successful for me so far, though it is certainly possible to draft an aggressive deck in this colour pair and do well. My advice, if you end up in these colours, is to draft a low-curve aggro deck and not stress about exert.

White/Blue

I haven't drafted this deck yet, but have played against it a fair bit. The deck seems strong; the amount of embalm creatures is highly annoying, and serve the role of gumming up the ground while attacking in the air with flyers - some of which also have embalm. You really do want Aven Wind Guide here, as it really makes the deck tick.

It would be remiss of me to not point out the fact that there is also another, more fringe deck in this colour that came out of the Pro Tour. It was essentially a very low-curve aggro deck, playing 6(!) copies of Slither Blade, 3 of Sacred Cat, and 3 of In Oketra's Name. I'm keen to try this to see how good it is.

Black/Green

I had a feeling this would be a strong colour pair, and I have seen people say it is - however, in my experience, it hasn't really worked out that well. It's built around -1/-1 counter synergy, but to me, it just feels clunky and too slow. I don't have much more to say about this pair, other than I try to avoid it now.

Blue/Red

On the other hand, this is a colour pair that has surprised me and that is one of my favourites in the format. Every time I have drafted it, I have felt like I am doing something I shouldn't be able to in draft. You obviously want Enigma Drakes in this deck, as well as much red removal as possible. Cards such as Censor and other cycling cards or blue tempo cards (like Galestrike and Floodwaters) are also very good. This deck archetype is fun and I want to do more of it.

Red/White

This might be the best archetype in the format. It is a very low-curve aggro deck that wants to max out at 3-4 mana. You want high-power low-cost creatures such as Honored Crop-Captain, Gust Walker and Nef-Crop Entangler and combat tricks - even a card like In Oketra's Name is useful here, though Tah-Crop Elite is a card you really want.

Red/Green

I'm pretty sure Wizards of the Coast wanted this to be the "monsters" deck (midrange, beefy creatures), and I have had success drafting that archetype. I have also seen people say a lower-curve aggro deck is very good in these colours, though I have not had any experience with that myself. What I said about this archetype in the first article still applies here.

Black/Red

I had pegged this deck as a cycling or discard deck, which is kind of true, but it is more of an aggro deck. I haven't seen this pair too much, to be honest, and haven't drafted it myself, so cannot comment much on how effective it is.

Blue/Black

When this deck comes off, boy is it good. The key cards are Ruthless Sniper and Faith of the Devoted, as well as cycling cards to support these two. The snipers just gun down most of the aggro creatures in the format, and Faith gives you the ability to close out the game. However, the deck seems quite bad when you don't get all the key pieces you need, so be warned.

White/Black

This is my other favourite colour pair. It is, obviously, based around the Zombie creature type, with Binding Mummy, Wayward Servant and Lord of the Accursed being the key cards. If you can get these cards and a critical mass of zombies, you are well on your way to a good deck.

Blue/Green

This is the ramp deck as expected (and as you could see from last week's draft). I'm not sure on this deck; you need to ramp early for it to work well, but it seems to be very hit or miss. When it works it is very hard to beat, but when it misses you will really struggle. Weaver of Currents, Naga Vitalist and Gift of Paradise are the ramp cards you need, while Greater Sandwurm, Scaled Behemoth and other expensive creatures are the pay off.

CONCLUSION

I hope this updated draft guide proves useful to you. For me, I am enjoying Amonkhet still, and am looking forward to doing more drafts. 

What do you think of the format so far? Feel free to leave me a comment below, on Twitter or on Facebook.