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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Jul 20 2017 12:00pm
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I have been absent for a few weeks from drafting due to a number of factors, one of which was being very busy with work. This has meant that I have not had a lot of time to study the set like I normally would. I did manage to play in a pre-release, and have done one draft so far, so what you will see below is me relying on my instincts and experience to see if I can draft this format correctly. Should be fun!

 

THE DRAFT

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Let's kick things off with a rare. I have no idea how good Rhonas's Last Stand is; a 5/4 on turn two (albeit needing two green mana) is extremely powerful, though the drawback of not being able to play anything the next turn is a very real one. Still, I'm not giving much up by taking it; the rest of the pack looks pretty weak, with no real stand outs; the next best card is probably Unquenchable Thirst and that's not fantastic. 


  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

I have a couple of cards here to choose from: Lethal Sting and Struggle/Survive are both good removal spells. Struggle is slightly better, so I went with that.


  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

The best card in this pack looks like Khenra Scrapper, with Aven Reedstalker and Bitterbow Sharpshooters the next best.


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Gilded Cerodon seems decent with some deserts, while Harrier Naga and River Hoopoe are fine on their own. I decided to take the Naga; a 3/3 for three mana is above rate, and it goes well with the cards I have taken so far. Unless something indicates otherwise, a green/red beatdown deck might be on the cards (pun very much intended).


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Unsummon and Ruin Rat seem like good enough cards, but I don't think they are any better than Magmaroth or Bitterbow Sharpshooters to make me want to change colours. I took Magmaroth to continue the beatdown theme. 


  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

This was an interesting pick. I was very interested in Rhonas's Stalwart, which is a great aggressive creature. However, against a red deck, Chandra's Defeat will be an excellent card out of the sideboard. It's enough better than Rhonas's Stalwart that I took it.


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Like the previous pick, Liliana's Defeat is a great card out of the sideboard. But I haven't seen enough in black to make me change, and there is a Rhonas's Stalwart here as well. It seems better than Gilded Cerodon to me, the only other card that I was interested, so I took the Stalwart.


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I'm actually not sure whether Granitic Titan or Gift of Strength was the better choice; but when in doubt, I lean towards taking a creature, so I took the Titan.


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

I don't think Graven Abomination is very good, though it does help against creatures with eternalize or embalm.


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Having taken a six-drop earlier, I decided to go with either Gilded Cerodon or Gift of Strength. Again, I decided to take the creature.


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

Another Hippo, this one I'm not sure I'll play.


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

Survivor's Encampment seems okay; for me, I was mostly interested in the fact it is a desert, which works with Gilded Cerodon.


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

So at the end of pack 1, I'm reasonably happy with the deck so far. It's a pretty straight forward green/red beatdown deck and is shaping up nicely.


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Another Rhonas's Last Stand. It might have been correct to take it but, like I said with my first pick, I'm not sure how good it is. I did almost take it, before settling on Desert of the Indomitable. I just thought it might have been too risky to play two of them.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Open Fire is a very easy pick, being a premium removal spell and also can finish off the opponent.


  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Frontline Devastator, Khenra Scrapper and (Rhonas's Stalwart) were all fine picks here, I believe. I took Khenra Scrapper, as it was the evasive one of the three and seems a touch more powerful.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

This was an easy pick for my deck over Firebrand Archer.


  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Thorned Moloch is not a great card in my deck, and I already had some very good three drops. I also don't think Frilled Sandwalla is very good. I decided to take Dagger of the Worthy; it's another card that I don't think is fantastic but it's playable.


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

I don't want to take to many five or six drops and I already had a few, so I took another Magmaroth.


  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

It surprised me to see another Struggle/Survive this late, but I am glad to see it. It's a good removal spell that scales as the game goes on. I think it's premium removal.


  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

It was either the green Desert or Blur of Blades here. While I don't think Blur of Blades is as good as my previous pick, it's a useful combat trick.


  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Feral Prowler is not the kind of two drop I want in a beat down deck, but it is playable.


  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

I now have some good removal and some good, beefy creatures, so let's see what Amonkhet brings.


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Well this was a very easy pick. Insult/Injury is just a beating, especially if you cast both parts in the same turn.


  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Ugh, this isn't a good pack. I wasn't a fan of Onward/Victory in Amonkhet all that much, but it's the only card worth taking.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

I really wanted to take Cartouche of Zeal here, but when I looked at my picks so far, I already had a lot of my non-creature slots taken up by good spells. So instead, I looked at the creatures. I almost went with Defiant Greatmaw but had no -1/-1 counter synergies, and ended up settling on Bloodlust Inciter, which is better than it looks.


  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Ugh, again, a pack with really nothing in it for me. I took Naga Vitalist and moved on.


  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Quarry Hauler has synergy with (Magmaroth) and is a decent enough beater on its own.


  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Initiate's Companion is more what I want to do with my two drops, so I'm happy to run one in my deck.


  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

I doubt I'll run a second Bloodlust Inciter, but I don't want anything else here.


  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

It's possible that I end up running Fling; it's kind of a Lava Axe and with high power creatures in my deck it can be used as a finisher.


  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Not likely to play it, but who knows.


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:

 

 

THE DECK

 

I'm reasonably happy with this deck; I have some decent beaters, some excellent removal and a couple of rares that, I think, are quite powerful. Without knowing much about how the format is shaping up, I hope it's good enough.

 

THE MATCHES

Match 1

I am on the play in game one and I keep a hand of two Forests, four green cards and a red one. Unfortunately I don't find a Mountain until turn five but, luckily, it didn't cost me too badly. My opponent is on black/green and has played a couple of Feral Prowlers, Lord of the Accursed and Merciless Eternal. They manage to attack me down to 10 life due to me declining to block, as I had drawn Insult/Injury. This is enough to finish them off and I win game one.

In game two my opponent starts with a Ruthless Sniper, which makes the Initiate's Companion sitting in my hand a bit awkward. Thankfully I drew more creatures than my opponent did, who seemed to be drawing land; however, this ended up helping them when, after trading blows a bit, they are able to play Sifter Wurm, gaining 4 life in the process. They then Doomfall my Insult/Injury, then kill my Rampaging Hippo; I then made a misclick which cost me the game, as I accidently used Fling on the Hippo I was sacrificing! 

A little annoyed with myself, I started game three with two Forests and Rhonas's Last Stand in my hand. This was enough for me to keep it, as I wanted to see how good this would be. Turns out, pretty darn good. I followed it up with a Magmaroth on turn four, to have both a 5/4 and a 5/5 on the board attacking my opponent. They couldn't keep up, though they tried to survive by chump blocking, but they soon ran out of creatures and I took the match.

Match 2

This was a mirror match, with my opponent playing the same style of deck. Game one was all about Insult/Injury. We played creatures; I attacked, my opponent attacked, and neither of us did much blocking. They difference was I was able to double my damage and alpha strike my opponent out of nowhere.

Game two was all about Rhonas's Last Stand and the power of having a 5/4 on turn two. It helped that my opponent mulliganed to five cards, but they could not find an answer for my turn two play quickly enough and by that stage they had been overrun.

Match 3

My opponent for this match was playing white/green, splashing blue for a card I never saw (I did see their Island, though). Both games in this match played out in a very similar way. I had Insult/Injury in my opening hand both times, and also curved out, playing creatures on turn two, three, four and five in both games. I kept attacking, and in both games, Insult/Injury on turn six essentially won me the game (even if it didn't completely finish my opponent off). It took my opponent from 6 life to 0 in game one, and 15 to 3 in game two, leaving me with three creatures on the board and my opponent with nothing.

One play that happened in game two included me attacking with a 3/3 Magmaroth while my opponent was on 3 life. They cast Impeccable Timing on it to kill it; however, I used Struggle/Survive on my exerted Rhonas's Stalwart to remove a -1/-1 counter from the Magmaroth and take the game. Remember - sometimes you need to do things that go against your natural instincts in order to win!

CONCLUSION

We knew it already but, man, Insult/Injury is a beating. It won me four of the six games I won. Rhonas's Last Stand also performed well, so I was happy with it, with me winning both games I played it. Apart from that, the deck was aggressive, and my creatures could almost attack with impunity due to their size. Magmaroth was quite good and I would happily play it in any aggressive red deck.

That's it for this week, with a 3-0 record. I'll be back next week, hopefully with video of the draft again! 

 

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