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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Feb 20 2019 1:00pm
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Over the past two weeks, I have offered up my guide to drafting the latest set, Ravnica Allegiance (you can find those articles here and here). Now, it's time to put those guides to the test.

In this article, I will walk you through a draft of Ravnica Allegiance. Full disclosure: I am doing this draft on Arena, rather than Magic Online as I normally would, but for a very specific reason: I am writing the article in between making picks. This means, when you see my thoughts on pick 1, I have not seen what pick 2 will be yet. I feel this gives you a more genuine look into the drafting process, and is not something I can do on Magic Online due to the timer. The bots do value cards slightly differently to humans, but I feel this is still fine to give you an idea of the drafting process.

Let's get into it, shall we?

So, what do we have in this pack? For each pack, I'll look at the cards that appeal to me the most, discuss them, and give my overall card ratings.

Unbreakable Formation: This is an okay card, but not one I really want to start a draft with. It's decent, if not great, in an Orzhov deck, especially those with an aggressive bent. Rating: 6/10

Consecrate/Consume: The Consume part of this card is much more relevant than the Consecrate part, though having the ability to exile a Gate Colossus from an opponent's graveyard does come up. Rating: 6.5/10

Ill-Gotten Inheritance: This card is a little overrated at the moment. That's not to say it isn't good - I want one in all my black decks. But it's not something that I really want to first pick, either - if I know I'm in black, I want one, but it's not enough to want me to take it here. Rating: 6/10

Lawmage's Binding: A premium removal spell. Lawmage's Binding has done a ton of work for me in the format, though it is susceptible to bounce. Rating: 6.5/10

My Pick

There are no real stand out cards in this pack, and the two best are Consecrate/Consume and Lawmage's Binding. The Azorius card slightly wins out for me, though that is really just personal preference, and it is my pick here.

The rare is missing from this pack, but what else do we have?

Biogenic Upgrade: This card just single-handedly wins games. I usually want one copy in all of my Simic and Gruul decks, especially if I have the uncommons that provide either trample or flying to creatures with +1/+1 counters. Rating: 6.5/10

Lawmage's Binding: Everything I said in pick 1 remains true. I'm happy to have this in multiples in my deck, so picking up a second one in two picks would not be the worst thing in the world. Rating: 6.5/10

Get the Point: Unconditional, instant-speed removal with upside. I've splashed this card in Orzhov decks and been quite happy, so taking it early doesn't really lock you into Rakdos. Rating: 7/10

Applied Biomancy: This card is great in Simic decks that are looking to out-tempo the opponent. I'm always happy to run a couple of these. Rating: 6/10

My Pick

While Get the Point is the best card in the pack based on my ratings, the second Lawmage's Binding is actually my pick, as it goes with the card I already have.

The rare is still in this pack, and we can see that there is a common and uncommon missing (and we can work out that the uncommon is Mortify, thanks to uncommon print runs). There are also no straight blue cards.

Clamor Shaman: This is a card I want in all my red decks. The ability to remove a key blocker - even just once - can be lethal for the opponent, especially if you are Gruul. Rating: 5.5/10

Burning-Tree Vandal: Another card I'm happy to have in my red decks, though this time I prefer it slightly more in Rakdos. It lets you mitigate flood if you are aggressive by pitching lands away to hopefully draw into more action. Rating: 5.5/10

Lawmage's Binding: A third Binding? How many is too many? That's a very interesting question; would I want to start my draft with three copies of it? Rating: 6.5/10

Grasping Thrull: One of the key commons for Orzhov decks, this card is also easily splashable in Azorius decks. It has not been uncommon for me to have one or two copies of it in my blue/white decks. Rating: 6/10

My Pick

This is an interesting pick. I ruled out the two red cards immediately; I value them lower than Binding and Thrull, and they don't go with what I've picked already. The real question is: do I want a third Lawmage's Binding in three picks? It's a better card than Thrull but, if I take the Orzhov card, I can keep myself open a bit more. I really had to think about this pick. In the end I opted for the Lawmage's Binding over the Grasping Thrull - mostly because we know one of the bots passing to me took Mortify.

This is where, according to my articles, you should start looking for signals. Is there any here? (Again, thanks to uncommon print runs, I can tell the missing uncommons are either Archway Angel, Swirling Torrent, Ministrant of Obligations or Spire Mangler). 

Skitter Eel: This is a very unassuming, but very solid, creature. It's a 3/3 the turn it comes into play and can turn into a 5/5 the following turn, and is often just the biggest thing on the battlefield. Rating: 6/10

Blade Juggler: One of the best black commons, Blade Juggler is a fantastic card. As a 3/2 for five mana that draws you a card, it is a solid playable; for three mana, it is fantastic. Rating: 6/10

Orzhov Guildgate: The Guildgates are excellent, and this one in particular is on-colour for me. But I don't rate it as high as the two other cards I mentioned. Rating: 5.5/10

My Pick

Blade Juggler might be a signal that black is open, but I have found that the bots on Arena don't draft it highly. There are no clear signals here, other than what we can assume might have been taken (mostly Orzhov cards), so I end up staying on colour and taking the Skitter Eel. 

The missing uncommon in this pack is either Cry of the Carnarium or Pitiless Pontiff. It's pretty clear that at least one drafter to my right is taking Orzhov cards at this stage. So what interests me?

Incubation/Incongruity: Probably the best card in the pack. Incongruity is the best side of it, but both sides are playable, making this quite a flexible card. Rating: 6/10

Syndicate Messenger: This is a fine playable card, and I usually want one or two in my white decks. Rating 5.5/10

Consign to the Pit: Another unconditional removal spell, albeit one that costs six mana. I still think including one in your deck is good, though, but do I take it here? Rating: 6/10

Burning-Tree Vandal: I mentioned this card above. Rating 5.5/10

Gruul Guildgate: I haven't seen any Gate payoffs yet, and this isn't on colour for me so far, but is still a good card. Rating: 5.5/10

My Pick

Knowing what I know about what uncommons are missing, I decide to not take Consign to the Pit, as I think it's pretty clear Orzhov is actually being cut, despite this and Blade Juggler being in the last two packs. I decided to take Incubation / Incongruity here. It goes well with Skitter Eel if I end up pivoting to Simic, but can still be played in Azorius. I think it was the clear pick.

The missing uncommon here is either Rumbling Ruin or, what I assume is most likely, Flames of the Raze Boar

Sky Tether: This is a pretty late Sky Tether, a card I like very much in Azorius decks (where people refer to it as Swords to Plowshares). Rating: 6/10

Fireblade Artist: One of my key cards for Rakdos decks, this might be a very good sign that this guild is open. Still, it seemed black was getting cut, so I'm not sure this is the right way to go. Rating: 6/10

Senate Courier: A decent enough playable, but not one I'm overly excited about. It is on colour, however. Rating: 5/10

Thought Collapse: I've never been a huge fan of counterspells in limited, though this one does work nicely with the Simic adapt deck. Rating: 5/10

My Pick

The strongest cards here are clearly Sky Tether and Fireblade Artist. While the Artist might be a sign Rakdos is open, Sky Tether could equally be a sign that white is open. As I have taken a bunch of Azorius cards already, I took Sky Tether.

 

This is going to be a super-interesting pick. The missing uncommon is black - either Orzhov Enforcer or Bloodmist Infiltrator - further cementing the notion that black is cut.

Essence Capture: Now this is one counterspell I like playing. It's cheap enough, hits the things you want to hit, AND makes your creatures bigger. Rating: 5.5/10

Sphinx of the Guildpact: It's big, it flies, it's hard to deal with - but it costs seven mana. Also, I always forget this has hexproof, not protection. Rating: 5.5/10

Syndicate Messenger: Solid playable. Rating: 5.5/10

Humongulus: I like this card. It's a great blocker, and if you can pick up a High Alert, it's a great attacker. It's also difficult to deal with for your opponents outside of combat. Rating: 5.5/10

Sauroform Hybrid: This is a very, very late Hybrid. It is probably the best two drop in the entire format, and here it is, seventh pick. This might just be a case of the bots undervaluing it, or it could be a sign green is open - though I haven't seen a great deal of good green cards yet. There were a couple of early Simic Guildgates, though, so I might find out soon enough. Rating: 6/10

My Pick

This pick is pretty close. Considering the cards I have at the moment - as a reminder, that's Sky Tether, 3 Lawmage's Binding, Incubation / Incongruity and Skitter Eel - any of these cards would be good. But I have a decision to make: Azorius or Simic? Do I take the more powerful card in Sauroform Hybrid, or play it safe by taking Essence Capture? In the end, I chickened out and took Essence Capture after much deliberation.

There are still some decent cards left in this pack.

Faerie Duelist: A good creature that often lets you win combats, it can be good early as an attacker or late as a combat trick. Rating: 5.5/10

Noxious Groodian:  A great card against Gruul decks. I'm happy to run this in any black deck, and even bring them in out of the sideboard. Rating: 5.5/10

Undercity Scavenger: I think a lot of people underrate this card. A 5/5 for four mana that lets you scry is no joke, and with afterlife cards the downside is negligible. Rating: 6/10

Applied Biomancy: Another good card for Simic decks. Rating: 6/10

My Pick

I'm pretty certain Simic is where I need to be, though I'm still not 100% sure. Applied Biomancy might be the correct pick here, but Faerie Duelist can go in both the Simic and Azorius decks, so it still keeps me open. I decided to take the Faerie.

 

Picks 9-15

I took another Faerie Duelist with the next pick, as it was clearly the best card left in the pack, followed by a Humongulus. There were no blue or white cards for pick 11, so I took an Axebane Beast. That was followed up with a Quench, another Axebane Beast, a very late Thought Collapse and a last pick Humongulus.

Here, after all the picks, is what I ended up playing:

I saw very few Simic related cards in pack 2, but blue was certainly very open. By staying on course and playing it safe, I managed to get into this Azorius control deck. 

I ended up going 4-2 with the deck in best of 3, with my final loss being due to Arena dropping my connection for some reason. This is the first time that's happened to me, and I was honestly pretty salty about it afterwards, as I had a chance to 5-1 the draft. My losses came against other Azorius decks; one was a Dovin's Acuity deck, and the other a mill deck.

I hope this article has proven useful to you. Let me know in the comments below what you think.