oraymw's picture
By: oraymw, Oraymw
Feb 01 2014 12:06pm
0
Login or register to post comments
9287 views


Welcome to Ars Arcanum, the MTGO stats-based limited column. I’ve haven’t been as prolific with articles lately; life has been busy and beautiful. I expect that I’m not going to be able to churn out these articles quite as quickly as in the past, but I still plan on putting out these spoiler analyses, as well as draft overviews and follow-ups. In any case, Born of the Gods is upon us, so it is time to dig deep into the spoiler, and see what kind of information we can glean. I’m drawing all of this information from the full Born of the Gods Spoiler, which you can find by clicking that link.

As always, we’ll start with basic premises. Creatures are the foundation of limited. Everything else in the format is determined based on what kinds of creatures will be showing up in the format. Because of that, these articles focus mostly on creatures. Once we look at what the creatures are doing, we are then able to figure out the quality of removal spells and creature enhancements, but the value of those cards is determined by the types of creatures with which they are interacting.

Also, I should remind readers of the change of philosophy that I’ve taken since the Theros Spoiler Analysis. In that article, I talked about the purpose that I want these articles to accomplish. The goal is not to be predictive; the goal is to take as much data on the realities of the format as possible, and then use that data as a jumping off point for discussing the possibilities of what will happen. Magic is an incredibly complex game, and I don’t think that it serves all of our best interests for people like me to take hard and fast stances on things that we can’t possibly understand yet. Instead, I will present the information that I have gathered and explore the implications of that data. Again, the focus is exploration, not prediction.

Finally, I need to recap my methods. The basic concept of my articles is called rarity weight. It is a value assigned to different card rarities in order to help us understand how often those cards will show up. Rares have a much lower impact on the overall draft environment than commons, because commons show up with much more regularity. This is especially important when we are adding a small set to the environment, because the rarity weights are different, but I’ll discuss that in more detail below.

With premises stated, let’s get on with the analysis!

Draft Order

In 2011, we saw the release of Mirrodin Besieged and a drastic change in draft order. Before then, whenever we added a new set to the draft format, we would take away one of the large set packs, and add on the new set to the end of the block. For example, we drafted Zendikar, Zendikar, Zendikar until the release of Worldwake, at which point we drafted Zendikar, Zendikar, Worldwake. But with the release of Mirrodin Besieged, we started drafting in reverse order, with Besieged, Scars, Scars. I was very excited for that changed, I thought that it would increase the impact of new sets on the draft environment. It seemed obvious to me that if we were drafting that set first, that it would have a bigger impact on our drafts, because we wouldn’t already be in a set strategy. Fast forward three years, and we’ve had a few other experiences with that draft order. Most specifically, I learned a lot about this draft order from Dragon’s Maze, and I feel like I have a much better handle on how this draft order as affected draft environments.

The biggest thing that I wanted to discuss was that we tend to play fewer cards on average from our first pack than from our last two packs. When I originally sat down to write this article, I just made that statement, since it was based on a lot of logic that I had used over the past year, but I realized that since this is a data-focused article, I needed to dig in and get some data on this. Therefore, behold:

In this graph, we see the average number of cards played from each pack, with a caveat. This is based entirely on my own drafts. It is, necessarily not as accurate as most of my draft data is, but it is still close enough to illustrate the point, especially since we see almost a 10% gap between pack one and pack two. Basically, I play 7.27 cards from pack one, 7.9 cards from pack two, and 8.07 cards from pack three on average. Let me explain the theory, in case this doesn’t make sense. In pack one, you usually want to spend your time reading signals and making sure that you get into the right colors. If you do this, it means that you’ll be able to reap more rewards in the later packs. Forcing the wrong color can often be disastrous. Because of this, you tend to spread your pack one picks more liberally across the colors. The focus on pack one is less about picking up staple cards, and more about picking up the strongest cards in the pack, in order to give yourself a sense of direction in the draft.

In a triple set draft, this isn’t a big deal. All the packs have an equal chance of containing the same cards, so over a long period of time, this unbalance doesn’t matter at all. However, when you add another set, this can make a huge difference. Since we’ll be drafting Born of the Gods first, we’ll end up playing fewer cards from that pack on average than we would play from Theros (barring severe power level disparities). This has a nuanced, but appreciable impact on the draft format.

First, it means that Born of the Gods will have a significantly smaller number of slots in our deck than Theros. Out of 23 cards, we’ll usually play 16 of those cards from Theros, while only 7 will be making it into our deck from Born of the Gods. This means that we are rewarded for focusing our decks on strategies that are supported in Theros. It is a much more important skill to figure out how the new cards will fit into existing strategies than to figure out what kinds of new things will be possible. However, this would still be true if the numbers were all equal, simply because of the number of packs, but one card difference is still a big deal, and it pushes the scale even further towards Theros strategies.

The second point is much more difficult to observe. As I mentioned before, the goal in the first pack is to pick up strong cards that can help us determine the direction that we want to take our deck. The rewards tend to be higher for taking riskier off color picks in pack one, because the possibilities are much wider, and you never know what kinds of cards you’ll open up in pack two. Staying open and switching colors when the signals demand it are important skills for drafting. What this means for Born of the Gods is that the highest tier cards will have a higher impact on the draft than normal, while the lower power cards will be less important. You’ll be basing many more picks on power level, which means that a lot of the lower tier cards are going to be shunted to the side. Depth is less important, while stand out cards are more important.

This is an interesting phenomenon. If a color has a few very powerful commons, that is enough for that color to be very strong in the draft. It allows you to snap up those powerful cards, while easily cutting off the signal to the people on your left. For example, in Born of the Gods, red picks up a few really strong commons like Bolt of Keranos and Fall of the Hammer, but it also gets its fair share of real junkers like Impetuous Sunchaser or Scouring Sands. But this is perfectly fine, because the depth of the color is just not as important when the set is being drafted first; the most important thing is the strength of the best cards in the color.

Finally, it is important to note that it is very difficult in pack one to ensure that you’re going to get the right density enablers versus enabled cards. A great example of this is inspired; obviously there are several powerful inspired cards, but the since you really rely on picking up the enablers in pack one, it can be difficult to balance them correctly. You might pick a strong inspired card in the beginning of the pack, and hope to wheel that Springleaf Drum only to see that someone else picked it much higher than you expected. Generally, it is better to focus on picking up cards that enable pack 2 and 3 strategies, like heroic or devotion enablers.

In the next section, we’ll do a brief examination at some peculiarities of rarity in Born of the Gods.

Rarity Weight

The core concept behind my articles is that of Rarity Weight. I mentioned it in the introduction to the article, but Born of the Gods has a few very particular peculiarities with regard to rarity. In Born of the Gods, there are 60 commons, 60 uncommons, 35 rares, and 10 mythic rares. The numbers for commons, rares, and mythic rares aren’t any different from normal, but the number of uncommons is strange. For example, Dragon’s Maze had 40 uncommons, Dark Ascension had 44, Mirrodin Besieged had 40, and Worldwake also had 40 uncommons. In other words, Born of the Gods has 50% more uncommons than a typical small set, which means that the uncommons will show up in this set with about 66% of the frequency that you would normally expect. This effect is exacerbated by the fact that there are 60 uncommons in Theros, which is an abnormally small number for a large set.

Now, this may seem perfectly fine, since those numbers are the same. An uncommon in Born of the Gods will show up with about the same frequency as if it had been an uncommon in Theros. However, this has a huge impact because of the number of cards in the other rarities in Theros. That set has 101 commons. This means that there are 40% more commons in Theros than in Born of the Gods, which means that you will see a given common from Theros nearly twice as often as if the pack were a Theros pack. Retraction Helix is going to show up in one Born of the Gods pack almost as often as both Voyage’s End and Griptide combined would show up in a Theros pack.

This is important. The change in the number of uncommons means that the common cards in Born of the Gods will have an even bigger overall impact on the set than they would normally have. Getting powerful uncommons will still be important, but the variety of them will be wider, which means that they have a smaller overall impact on limited. Understanding the commons in Born of the Gods will be even more important than normal.

Now, we’ll go ahead and apply this concept of rarity weight, and we’ll dig in to the chewy nougat center of these articles. Bring on the numbers!

Converted Mana Costs

Converted Mana Costs of Creatures in Born of the Gods

Converted Mana Costs of Creatures – BNG and THS Comparison

In the first graph, we see the distribution of CMCs for creatures in Born of the Gods. In the second graph, we see a comparison between this data and the CMCs for creatures from Theros. First, we should talk about where the format is already. When I did the Theros analysis, many people thought that it would end up being a slow format, but I argued against that notion, based on several different factors. I think it is easy to see now that Theros is definitely not a slow format, that fast decks are definitely viable, and that even the slow decks need to be very aware of curve. With that said, it’s worth taking a look at how Born of the Gods changes things.

First, there are slightly more two drops, but not enough to make an appreciable difference. This doesn’t really change anything, but it is important because it means that we aren’t losing access to early game creatures. Compare this with Dragon’s Maze, which had few two drops, and was being added to a format that was very fast. Because of that change, it was often irrelevant. But in Born of the Gods, it shouldn’t be too hard for us to pick up two drops to fill out our curve.

The differences, however, are very noticeable once we hit three, four, and five drops. Born of the Gods has an appreciably lower number of three and four drops, while having a noticeably higher number of five drops. When I was drafting Theros, I felt like the five drop slot was already very competitive. Because of bestow, five drops just needed to be very good in order to compete. Adding even more five drops in Born of the Gods seems difficult. I think it will be even more important to shift five drops slightly down in Born of the Gods, since you’ll need to have open slots for them when you get into Theros.

It doesn’t seem like this will make a big impact on the speed of the format. It does look like the CMCs are shifted slightly to the right, so it might slow things down just a little, but I doubt that this makes a huge difference, since it is only one pack in three.

When I did the THS analysis, I also included a chart showing the CMCs of all the creatures, along with all the bestow costs, and non-creature cards that needed to be cast on curve. The idea is that this helps us get a better view of how we’ll be using our mana in real games. For example; Ill-Tempered Cyclops is a four drop, but he also often acts as a pseudo-six drop because of his monstrosity cost. This is especially important for Bestow, because it means you have a creature that is decent if you cast it on curve, but is also very powerful in the late game. These cards are able to fill out multiple CMC slots, which makes for a much more tempo-oriented environment. This was one of my major arguments about why I thought Theros was a fast format. In the following graph, we’ll see how Born of the Gods compares.

Comparison of CMCs for Creatures, Auras, and Bestow in BNG and THS

This graph gives us a slightly different picture of the state of Born of the Gods. With one fewer pack of Theros, we lose some of the Ordeals and the two mana cantrip auras, while picking up a few more three mana auras when accounting for rarity weight. There is also an even larger gap between fours and fives, mostly on the back of Nyxborn Triton and Nyxborn Wolf. Remember that commons in Born of the Gods show up at nearly twice the frequency of commons from Theros, so the Triton and the Wolf make for significantly more five drop bestow cards than Observant Alseid and Nimbus Naiad. It’s also important to remember that cards like Ephara’s Enlightenment, Fearsome Temper, and Grisly Transformation really want you to have two drops in order to curve out, though they are often still good in the late game.

What these charts show us is that Born of the Gods has a slight shift in focus from two mana to three mana. It isn’t a huge change, and with two Theros packs in the mix, it won’t be enough to make a dramatic change on the format, but this does seem like a slight slowing effect.

In our next section we’ll take a look at creature size.

Creature Size

 Distribution of Power and Toughness for Creatures in Born of the Gods

Average Creature Stats for Born of the Gods

CMC

3.300268

Power

2.397319

Toughness

2.346381

Average P/T Differential

0.050938

 

This is where we see our first dramatic difference between the two sets. Theros had relatively few one toughness creatures, but it had a lot of three toughness creatures. Born of the Gods has a ton of one toughness creatures, but not very many three toughness creatures. However, they both have about the same number of two power and three power creatures. This means that Born of the Gods brings us a higher density of 2/1s, and a lower density of 2/3s. This is a significant change. When toughness is greater than power, it tends to slow down the format because a turn 3 or 4 creature can slow down multiple less expensive creatures. Slower decks are then better able to stabilize against fast decks, and then start implementing their late game plans. When toughness is lower than power on average, it means that players are often able to attack more freely because they know that at the worst their creatures will probably just trade.

The next revealing set of information comes from the Average Creatures Stats table. In all my spoiler analysis articles, I talk about the Average Power and Toughness Differential. This gives us the average difference of Power minus Toughness. This number is almost always negative, and the closer that negative number is to zero, the faster the format tends to be. The bigger the negative number, the slower the format tends to be. In BNG, we have a format with a positive differential. From what we’ve seen, that tends to suggest a fast format. There are definitely many other factors involved, and we’ve seen a few things that suggest a slower format, but so far the creature size would indicate that the format is speeding up.

In the next chart, we’ll see a comparison of the power of creatures in the two sets.

Highest Average Power per Land Drop for BNG and THS

In this chart, we see a comparison of the highest average power of creatures on the board by land drop in Theros. This chart is eerie in how similar the two sets are. They follow almost the same distribution of creatures, with BNG hovering above THS for the entire chart. Again, that suggests a faster format. But there is a little bit of nuance to this. Remember that BNG has a higher average CMC for creatures than THS; although the average power of the two, three, and four drops is higher in BNG, those creatures also show up with slightly lower regularity. This is important, because it changes our perspective on the size of the creatures. When we combine the two formats, Theros creatures are going to make up a big chunk of the low end of our mana curve, and BNG creatures, which tend to be 2/1s and 2/2s will have an incredibly hard time attacking into the 2/3s, 1/4s, and 3/3s for 3 that are so prevalent in THS. When these two sets of creatures mix, we’ll find that the format doesn’t actually speed up too much, because of the density of good defensive creatures in THS.

There was one more important factor to consider with Creature Size, which is what happens when we cast an Aura or a Bestow creature on the biggest creature on the board. The next chart will show us this:

Average Power of Attackers with Auras and Bestow vs. Average Toughness of Defenders

This chart shows us what happens on the turn that we cast an Aura or Bestow a creature. These effects have pseudo-haste; they allow us to add a significant amount of power to whatever our biggest creature is, and attack immediately. In THS, we saw that this was a huge factor in increasing the speed of the format, since your creatures tend to get bigger on your turn, when you are able to attack. Even more, this chart shows an even bigger gap between power and toughness than the THS chart did, which is another indicator suggesting that the format will accelerate. However, there we’ll see some more nuance once again, in the following chart:

Average Power of Attackers with Auras or Bestow – BNG and THS Comparison

In this chart, we’ve isolated just the average power of the greatest attacker, and then we compare the two sets. We see that BNG and THS hold pretty tight in turns three through five, but we see THS take a huge leap ahead on land drops six, seven, and eight. This is important, because those are the turns where you start to see control decks really start to turn around the tempo of the game and take control of the board state. In Theros, this would typically be when the aggro decks would start bestowing their Observant Alseids, Nimbus Naiads, and Emissaries. This made it difficult for the control decks to stabilize, because the aggro decks got so much effective reach in the Bestow creatures.

In BNG, we see a very different effect. When we hit six land drops, we don’t see such a leap ahead. There are two huge reasons why. First, the non-eidolon common bestow creatures in THS all gave +2/+2 bonuses, but the ones in BNG give +1/+1, +1/+2, +2/+1 +2/+3, and +3+1. Overall, this leads to a decrease in average power. Furthermore, the most aggressive colors, red and white, both get the +1 power Bestow creatures. These creatures just don’t have the same tremendous impact as the common bestow creatures in THS had. The other big factor is that we don’t have the emissaries. All of the emissaries granted +3/+3; when decks could start putting them on their creatures, they were often able to close out the game very quickly. In BNG, the uncommon bestow creatures all grant +1/+1. Bestow will still be very important, but it’s important to see that it often won’t have the same dramatically board shifting effect that it did in THS.

Again, we see some elements suggesting the format will speed up, but other more nuanced and powerful factors that suggest the format will slow down. Now that we’ve gone over the data from these creatures, I’m going to spend a little bit of time looking at the theory behind the two incoming mechanics, Inspired and Tribute, but before I do, I want to leave you with one more chart:

Average Power and Toughness of Colors in BNG

In this chart, we see the average power and toughness of creatures in BNG. Look at the chart for a moment. Can you tell what seems wrong about it? I’ll give you a moment… that’s right. Blue has the biggest creatures on average in the set. I mean, black has the next best creatures, and both green and red are almost tied. I’ll just leave that as food for thought.

Inspired

The kinds of mechanics in a set also have a big impact on the flow of the format. In BNG, we get both Inspired and Tribute, while we lose Monstrosity.

Inspired is an ability word mechanic that shows up on creatures in Born of the Gods. Whenever a creature with Inspired untaps, it will trigger some kind of event. The creative focus of this is that the creature is asleep when it is tapped, so when it untaps, it comes back from its dreams with inspiration.

The main way that creatures become tapped in limited is through attacking. BNG also has many inspired enablers that let you tap your creature; in fact, it has more enablers than it does inspired creatures. However, many of them are not very good, which means that you don’t want to prioritize them since you only get one pack to pick up inspired creatures. This means that the biggest way we’ll get inspired is to attack with our creatures, have them survive combat, have them survive through our opponent’s turn, and then untap on our next turn.

I think that the best way to look at Inspired is as a delayed saboteur ability. This describes the class of ability that triggers when a creature deals combat damage to your opponent, and Scroll Thief is a classic example. In other words, this set gives us multiple cycles of Scroll Thieves.

Inspiration seems like the kind of ability that would fit perfectly into an aggressive format. It is at its best when you are attacking your opponent, since it makes any attack in which you get through into more value. However, I don’t think that Inspiration really is an aggro ability. Let me explain. Inspiration is an ability that rewards you for hitting your opponent, but it doesn’t actively help you hit your opponent in the first place. Inspiration creatures tend to be balanced by being smaller than average for their converted mana cost, which means that they have a hard time getting in without help. In an aggro deck, you tend to focus on creatures that can get in by themselves. In those decks, you can’t afford to spend mana and cards in the early game to get one of your creatures through; you need to keep adding a presence to the board. Then, in the late game, you’ll use your removal to clear out your opponent’s stabilizing plays. Inspiration is actually actively bad for achieving these purposes; you are getting a smaller creature for the size, and it doesn’t even help you get in more often. Instead, Inspiration seems like an ability that is much more suited to attrition and control strategies. In these decks, you can afford to clear the way out for an early inspiration attacker, because you expect to gain your wins by piling up incremental advantage, rather than an early blitz.

Again, we see this theme of an element that will probably slow down the format in deceptive ways.

Tribute

The last thing that we’ll talk about is the Tribute mechanic. Tribute X is a keyword mechanic. As the creatures enters the battlefield, your opponent must choose if they want to place X +1/+1 counters on your creature. If they don’t, the Tribute creature has some kind of punishing effect. In the past, this mechanic was often called the punisher mechanic.

First, Tribute is an incredibly hard mechanic to evaluate. Let’s take Siren of the Fanged Coast as an example; one side of the card is Air Elemental, which is a very strong card in limited, and an easy first pick. The other side of the card is a Mind Control that leaves a 1/1 flyer. Mind Control is historically among the most powerful cards in limited history; in fact, in M11 it produced a higher win rate than any other card in the set, including the Titans. If we were to take either of these cards individually, they would be easy first picks, and we would pump our fists to see them P1P1. But Siren of the Fanged Coast is not nearly as good as either of those cards. I have to basic strategies for looking at Tribute cards. Basically, I look at the worse version of the card, and I treat the card as if it were that card with a downside. For Siren of the Fanged Coast, our opponents are going to give us an Air Elemental most of the time. So, it’s an Air Elemental with a downside. “What?! How can that be?” you say. Mind Control as a downside? Here’s the thing; the only time when your opponent is going to give you the Mind Control half of the card is when it is better for them than if you had cast an Air Elemental. You will never get the Mind Control in a situation when it is better, unless your opponent makes a huge mistake. And there are a lot of situations where you would rather have the Air Elemental. For example, if your opponent mulliganned and hasn’t really played anything, and you had a slower draw. Now, you have a five mana 1/1, and if you’d just had an Air Elemental, you could have quickly closed out the game, and they wouldn’t have been able to come back. Also, sometimes they’ll just have a bunch of small creatures, and they won’t mind giving you one of them. In that case, Siren of the Fanged Coast will be much like a five mana Elgaud Inquisitor. Or, you could have the worst case scenario, which is when you cast this spell, and your opponent has a Voyage’s End in hand. In that case, you will take their creature, and then they will return it to their hand, effectively negating the Mind Control half of this card. The important thing is that you will only get that half of the card in those kinds of situations, the times when it is bad. So, you can look at this as an Air Elemental with a downside, which is still a good card, but I would rather have a Prescient Chimera.

There is another way to look at these cards, which is just to look at the vanilla test of the creature, and then to view Tribute as a nebulous and marginal upside. Thunder Brute is a perfect example of this. Both halves of this card seem pretty good. I almost always played Tenement Crasher in my red decks in RTR, and trample would definitely be an upside. Terra Stomper was also a pretty strong card in ZZW, though it got punished by the fact that ZZW was fast enough that this card wasn’t a really high pick. But either of those cards would certainly be nice to have. But Thunder Brute isn’t either of those cards. Instead, you can look at it as a 6 mana, 5/5 trampler with a marginal, but nebulous upside. In other words, the tribute effect will often be about as good as if the creature were just a +1/+1. The best card to compare with Thunder Brute is Vulpine Goliath. I will admit that Thunder Brute is certainly better than the Goliath, but it definitely isn’t a lot better. For one, green decks are much better equipped to cast these kinds of creatures, while red decks don’t really want six drops nearly as much. In any case, Vulpine Goliath only made my deck about half the time in THS; there are just so many good things to do with six mana, that it wouldn’t make the cut. I expect that Thunder Brute will make the cut a little bit more often, but as a six drop, it simply isn’t the kind of thing that you can prioritize, and you should probably just let it wheel.

In any case, we need to talk about the kind of impact that Tribute has on the format. Tribute is another mechanic that seems like it should help out aggressive decks. All of the Tribute creatures get much better when you opponent is under a lot of pressure, since it will often force them to make bad choices. A great example of this is Pharagax Giant. If you get off to a really quick start, then the Giant will be one of the last things that your opponent wants to see. They’ll be forced to give you a 5/5 for 5 cmc, which is certainly a deal in red. The problem is that, once again, Tribute is actually not a mechanic that helps you be aggressive in the first place. None of the tribute cards really help you get off to a really aggressive start except for Fanatic of Xenagos, but the base stats of that creature are just insane. Pharagax Giant, for example, just does not help you establish an aggressive board presence. Fast red decks can only afford a few five drops, and they really want those cards to be Rage of Purphoros to clear out a blocker, or something like that. If those decks get off to any kind of slow or clunky start, Pharagax Giant becomes just a 3/3 for 5, which is not acceptable at all. Usually I would rather just have a Wild Celebrants, and that card only made my deck when I was short on playables.

The point is that once again we see a mechanic that doesn’t have a big impact on speeding up the format; in fact, if the deck with tribute gets off to the slow start, the Tribute cards are actively fighting against their plan, which means that the overall effect of these cards will probably be a wash.

Conclusion and Predictions

Thanks for sticking through this discussion. I’m really excited for Born of the Gods, and I think it will have an interesting impact on Theros draft. Here are a few conclusion and predictions.

1.      Because of the draft order, we will probably play fewer cards on average from our BNG packs than THS packs. This means that the quality of the set depends much more on the strong cards in the colors, and less on the depth of the colors.

2.      With only one pack of BNG, and two packs of THS, we’ll generally be more rewarded for fitting BNG cards into existing archetypes than the other way around.

3.      Uncommons in this set are rarer than normal, which means that commons have a larger impact on the format as a whole.

4.      Overall, the indicators show that there are elements of the format that could make things faster, but that BNG will probably slow down the format a smidgen, but not in a huge way. Mostly, we’ll see the decks performing with about the same speed.

5.      Tribute and Inspired cards are going to be overvalued in general, and Tribute especially. With the exception of Ornitharch, none of the tribute cards seem particularly impressive, but I do predict that people will be first picking them and viewing them as signals in the early stages of the draft format. For Inspired, people are going to twist their decks in odd ways to make them work, and they’ll jam Inspired cards into aggressive decks that don’t want them.

6.      Last time, I predicted that blue was the strongest color in Theros, which wasn’t technically accurate. Black ended up being stronger, with blue in a close second. A big part of this was because blue had a few very strong cards, but ended up being more of a support color. In BNG, I don’t think that is the case. Blue picks up a few very powerful commons, and it also has the creature base to support it, and I think it’s the best color in the set.

7.      The second best color also seems clear to me. Red picks up a few very powerful commons, which play perfectly into a lot of different archetypes from THS. It also has some decent creatures to play along with those removal spells, and a few powerhouse uncommons.

8.      The one archetype that I think will become powerful post BNG that wasn’t beforehand is UR tempo. I’ve definitely played my share of UR tempo decks in THS, but they usually just weren’t as good as a RB, RW, WU, or UG version of the same deck would have been. However, since both blue and red pickup strong creatures and some very good commons in BNG, I think that it is the biggest gainer in the new format.

9.      Finally, I want to take a moment to talk about the prerelease. One of the biggest questions that I get is what to play for the prerelease, which is a very difficult question. First of all, it’s a one shot event, so it is hard to really tell people what will be best. Second, this usually means that people are trying to min/max the prerelease, which kind of isn’t the point; you should really play whatever color you think you will enjoy the most. With that said, I do have some thoughts about it. The colors I would choose would be blue or green. Blue seems deep in BNG, and it is also strong in THS, so you should always be able to play your main color, as well as have strong strategies. Green seems less deep in BNG, but it is the deepest color in THS, so you’ll get enough playables, and getting a color seeded pack means that your deck should still have some strong cards from BNG. With that said, I also think there are cases to be made for black, red, and white, since all of those colors have particular strengths. In a two set format, there is usually enough balance that every color is a good fit, which makes one more reason why you should really just choose the color you think you will enjoy most.

That’s it for Born of the Gods! Remember, the predictions can be useful, but the most important part of this article is the analysis. Look at the data, think through the implications, and decide how that information affects your own evaluation of the format. It is impossible to predict exactly what the format will be like beforehand, so predictions become stale quickly, but this kind of analysis will continue to provide dividends late into the format.

As always, you can follow me on twitter @oraymw for updates about articles. I’ve also put up a Tumblr account at http://oraymw.tumblr.com/ where I post links to my articles. You can go there and subscribe to the RSS feed, and then you’ll be able to get updates whenever a new article goes live.

Finally, I encourage you to check out the podcast that I do with my buddy Zach Orts, which is called All in the Telling. In it, we look at stories from a professional standpoint in order to get a better understanding of why they are important to the human experience. But mostly, we just talk about what makes awesome stories awesome.

Ars Arcanum Archive

 

 

1 Comments

I really hate spoiler because by chantal2013 at Sun, 02/02/2014 - 07:57
chantal2013's picture

I really hate spoiler because it took away excitement. - Larry Starr Sarasota