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By: walkerdog, Tyler Walker
Nov 05 2013 7:21am
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The "Bruce" article, by John Rizzo, tried to make the reader (and the writer) confront tendencies towards poor choices.  If you haven't read it, I recommend it - it is basically a better, more comprehensive version of Kibler's recent article arguing for playing net-decks.  The idea is that we all make awful decisions every day.  The example I liked the best was staying out late when you have to work the next day.  It's an awful decision, but hey, we do it at times.  It's not that it's the "wrong" decision, but it isn't the one that is "best" for oneself.  Another one, which I took joy in, was "not netdecking" and the scorn that people who tend to avoid netdecks have for the practice of deckdecking:

"Hey I might've lost but I'm so much better than you Mr. Net Decker because I built my own deck and refused to ID and a whole bunch of other baggage that I can use as a wonderful excuse. In the meantime I'll deride you for not searching for the deeper meaning of Magic or hell of life which is a big pile of ass..."

As Mr. Rizzo put it, we will justify our poor decision-making process by blaming others for their more optimal choices!  So the first step appears to be acknowledging this weakness in ourself, and then trying to minimize it's impact on our lives (or at least on our MTG-related choices).  Sometimes we really are expressing something about ourselves, but it's frequently something dumb in our psyche, not something "special" or "unique" to oneself.

I have noticed a weakness in myself, or a quirk at the very least - I tend to avoid "best" options in limited to go after gimmicks.  I try to avoid terribly underpowered gimmicks, but if you offer me my choice of a sweet heroic card, such as Favored Hoplite, and a Lightning Strike, in the first pack, it's going to hurt my heart a little to take the Strike, even though it is a great card with better color requirements.  I also try too hard to "signal" based on the first couple picks - this is dumb because it's not 1-2 packs that should determine the colors that I am in, it is when, say, the next 5 people upstream, downstream, and upstream feed me good cards for the next 40+ picks in colors they aren't touching.

I was talking about this with Nick Lynn, #22 in the world at being a noob, and he basically told me to quit worrying about signaling, quit worrying about archetypes as much, and take the best card. 

I didn't totally take his advice to heart, but it was good advice... 

Pack 1 pick 1:

 

There are two cards here that are the "best," the Emissary and the Lightning Strike.  After that, a person could probably talk themselves (incorrectly) into either sweet Minotaur, or blue flyer.  It would be hard to pick Wingsteed Rider over the Emissary, even if you like Heroic.


  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 2:
 

 Okay - the best card is Prophet, closely following by Naiad, then Asp, and Vaporkin.  Read the Bones is pretty nice too, and Flamespeaker Adept is fine.  We're in a bit of an awkward situation, since the three best cards are Green-Blue, Blue, Green, and Blue, but we're taking the best Blue card.  It is arguable that I should just take Prophet, because it is INSANE but I like UW quite a bit, more so than UG most of the time. 


  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 3:

 

This one is a bit messy too - Dauntless Onslaught is a borderline bomb if you end up with a highly heroic pile of guys, but Naiad is still very strong.  I might be wrong to not just grab the Onslaught.

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 4:

Again, a frustrating place to be, especially when I made a choice to skip an amazing UG card a few picks back.  The only two cards I want in my deck very often?  Green.


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  Pack 1 pick 5:
 

Hnnnnn - another messy spot, and another place for me to out-think myself.  Asp is the best card here.  The Hunter and Gods Willing are fine, and the Centaur is probably about as good as each of them, but I choose to keep going into Blue.  I really feel like Asp is correct though.


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  Pack 1 pick 6:

I am a bit proud of myself for getting this one right, but it took way longer than it should have to move into Green a bit more.

 

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  Pack 1 pick 7:

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  Pack 1 pick 8:

This is another area where I am not sure that the choice I made was correct, but I feel like it might be closer - Griptide and the Chimera are the two strongest cards in the pack.  Griptide is pretty good removal.  Chimera is a pretty nice flyer.  Chimera though, is gold, which is a plus and a minus - someone close to me (Prophet.dec guy, for example) might feel like Prophet and Chimera are strong reasons to be UG, while my best cards are... UG.  At the same time, he's going to be happy to have Griptide anyway, and I still feel like the Tide is the best card.

 

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  Pack 1 pick 9:

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  Pack 1 pick 11:

This is pretty tight too - Savage Surge is great if I end up with much in the way of heroic, and beyond the obvious, "Oh hey, I untapped my huge heroic guy and ate your best card," aspect of the trick, sometimes you just have to race with it, attacking, pumping, and using the untap to hold up a blocker while pushing 2 extra damage through.  The Disciple is not as good in those situations, but still is a 3/3 and can gain some crazy amounts of life in races.


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  Pack 2 pick 1:

  
Raredraft - Phalanx Leader is probably our real pick, although maybe it's Griptide if we're not sure if we'll even play White.

My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 2:


This pack is crappy for us, but the Presence is still fine, and gets better if we end up playing three colors.

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  Pack 2 pick 3:


I'm always excited to play this stupid guy - I love the Heroic guys that grow with little work, and the scrying is so helpful at keeping you gassy.

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 4:


Ordeal is really solid - this might actually be the right time to take a Voyage's End, but I decided, "Screw it, Hoplite is fun."  Here, along with my earlier choice not to go after the Prophet, are probably the choices whose motivations I would question the most.

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  Pack 2 pick 5:

And we're back to Green cards, with 0 Blue in the pack!  I decided that Presence is a good idea, since I have some good Green cards, but I'm greedy enough to splash White if I have an Emissary, a Hoplite, and a decent pile of Heroic-friendly cards.

 

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 6:

I still love the heroic guys, but the 1/4 is not the most aggressive, and I have noticed that the aggressive decks in Theros frequently become about actual evasion as a finisher, and don't always actually kill you with the guy with "heroic" in his textbox.


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  Pack 2 pick 7:

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  Pack 2 pick 8:

I think I might have clicked this on accident - Winds is the card we want.

 

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  Pack 2 pick 9:

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  Pack 2 pick 10:

I'm not totally dismissing the possibility that I might just be a 3+ color deck based on Nylea's Presence.

 

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  Pack 3 pick 1:

 

Anthousa hasn't been very impressive for me - she's fine, but I'm not exactly excited to play her.  For her cost, and the cost of "sending 2/2 lands in to die probably", she feels more like a good Uncommon.  Her best feature tends to be just having 5 toughness.

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  Pack 3 pick 2:


I have no idea here - we don't have a bunch of Wingsteed Riders to make Gods Willing ridiculous, and the Dryad is very good in almost every deck.

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  Pack 3 pick 6:

If these past few packs weren't clear, we're PROBABLY playing some Green.


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So this was an awkward draft.  I built the deck as GUw, splashing for the Emissary and the Hoplite.  I had the "hand that enrages opponents" in R1, hitting UWG mana and Hoplite + pump effect by turn 3 both games, winning quickly.  There wasn't much to these games other than my opponent's disheartened, "Really?" in G2 when I dropped the Hip Hoplite again.

R2 we fought against red-green.  Luckily, we had good cards with "Heroic" in the text box, and while he could stop our guys, he had to choose between tapping out for a board presence and playing removal - if he removed a guy, we'd play another, and if he played a guy, we'd Bestow/Ordeal, and he'd die soon after.

R3 saw us mana-screwed 2/3 games - not badly, but missing a land drop on turn 3 and then on turn 4 in games 1 and 3, which let our Bu opponent Grey Merchant us into oblivion.

I think that while I shifted into Green later than I should have, this was a decent draft.  I'll try to get a RG deck (one that works) soon, as per request.  If you have anything you want, let me know.

8 Comments

Not sure why you took Stymied by MarcosPMA at Tue, 11/05/2013 - 23:38
MarcosPMA's picture

Not sure why you took Stymied Hopes over Breaching Hippocamp, neither are exciting but Stymied Hopes is really more of a 2 mana scry one than an actual counter, whereas Breaching Hippocamp can at least attack and block.

I will actually play by walkerdog at Wed, 11/06/2013 - 15:22
walkerdog's picture

I will actually play hippocamp 0 times in the entirety of this format I think. He might be an option for people who don't hate him as much as me though.

Breaching Hippocamp by Felorin at Thu, 11/07/2013 - 12:34
Felorin's picture

Well, he's no Nimbus Naiad, but I think this is a very solid card, and certainly way better than Stymied Hopes which will often be a dead card. The Hippocamp is never a dead card. It's a Hill Giant with a point of toughness missing, which is not terrible in limited and will trade with a lot of other creatures in combat. That's enough to make it filler at the least.

But it's got Flash. Flash means it's sometimes removal, when you flash it in and block. Sometimes it's a race-math-swinger, when someone alphas because you don't have lethal on-board, you flash this guy in End Of Turn and now you DO have lethal and just win.

Plus he doesn't JUST have flash, you get a free untap. Which means once in a while you get to ambush TWO attacking creatures with unexpected blocks, or get a second free use out of some activated ability, etc.

Sure, in many games the bonus upsides won't come into play, and then he's "just" a 3/2 creature, which is fine. As oppposed to a card that's sometimes just a scry 1, which is worth like half a card. I also think there's value in having some playable creatures in sideboard, so games 2 and 3 you can say "I need to up my creature count from 15 to 18 against this type of deck" or "I need to raise my curve" or "I need to lower my curve" or even in deck construction you might see "I'm low on 4 drops" or "I'm low on creatures" and he's good to have in there.

If you only pick exciting creatures and not solid ones, you're missing out on value. This guy doesn't fly and gain +1 counters, or bestow, but he's solid as a rock.

Stymied hope is good. I by country hillbilly at Thu, 11/07/2013 - 14:48
country hillbilly's picture

Stymied hope is good. I don't think people can differentiate between power and tempo, stymied hope is a great tempo card.

I have played 2+ in UW heroic and it was great. Obviously 1 at the maximum usually - but I heartily disagree with your ranking in comparison to hippocamp - completely different cards....

Yeah, I'm still not sure if by Procrastination at Wed, 11/06/2013 - 00:17
Procrastination's picture

Yeah, I'm still not sure if you were being objective enough in your picks. It seemed like you really wanted White heroic to work for you so there were a few picks where you took White cards even though you were shaping up on a solid Blue/Green deck.

Pack 1 Pick 9: Artisan's Sorrow seems better than Annul? It's pricey, but sometimes it's a massive blowout.

Pack 2 Pick 1: That Raredraft seems like a waste with a playable Blue card in the pack.

Pack 2 Pick 3: When you saw very little good White in pack 1, why take Hoplite? Heck, you could have raredrafted this time and fixed your mana for your almost certain U/G deck.

There were of course several others, but I feel like pack 2 is where it started to fall apart. Could just be me though?

I agree with these by walkerdog at Wed, 11/06/2013 - 15:21
walkerdog's picture

I agree with these statements. Except I'll almost always raredraft anything over 2 tix, barring a bomb in the pack or something - playable isn't enough!

No offense Tyler but this by country hillbilly at Wed, 11/06/2013 - 14:19
country hillbilly's picture
2

No offense Tyler but this deck and draft is a trainwreck.

How can you begin with a comment like:

"quit worrying about archetypes as much, and take the best card."

Then proceed, in PACK ONE PICK 2, to completely ignore Prophet of Kruphix? You do see the irony in this while still ending up in Blue Green?

Just not a lot of meat on the bone here dude, feels like you threw up an article and an anecdote just to do so. Give us more MEAT!

Right by walkerdog at Wed, 11/06/2013 - 15:20
walkerdog's picture

That makes sense Zach - but I thought it was a good example of being stuck on that early, then adjusting partway through. Like, there are certainly times I would just try to force an awful UW deck out of this, thinking, "Man, the guy NEXT to me is sure getting the Green!" instead of making the adjustment. If anything, it was an even harder adjustment to make after passing Prophet, but still correct.

I'll try to get a better example of "clear thinking" from pick one for my next one, but I'm also still hunting a good (elusive) GR deck.