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By: BigBadWolf, Mauro Ricardo Geraldes Peleira
May 24 2010 1:48am
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Making a top 10 list of draft picks for Rise of the Eldrazi is useful, but whenever I'm in a draft I find that the first picks, or better yet, the good VS good card are not that hard. Of course it takes sill to look at a pack and figure out what the right pick is according to the impact that pack is going to have on our neighbour, or the second card we might get when it comes back around, but the Flame Slash VS Vendetta kind of picks usually come down to personal preference, and if you made the wrong call, you still have a good card for your deck, and a direction to go in. It's in the middle of the pack that I'm spending the most time in the decision making process.

Think about it. When was the last time you timed out in your first pick? Well, it may have happened not because you took too long to figure out the right call, but because you needed some time to find the guts to actually make it (like taking Enclave Cryptologist over Staggershock, because you know that with Heat Ray and Forked Bolt still in the pack you would see no red cards in the second pack). Personally, I take more time to make my decisions in the middle of the pack, between picks of similar power, or of similar function in my deck.

After my last (and first) article here, about Rise of the Eldrazi limited, my friends who read it said they would have liked to see more card VS card picks debated, and so I put together this list of picks I've been confronted with on ocasion, after reviewing my drafts online (and they're plenty). They're not all about commons of the same color, but more about cards of similar power or function in the deck i'm drafting. I hope they help you in your decisions in the future.

And by the way, I know it might depend on what you already have, and that the right pick most of the time isn't the right pick always, but these are just some guidelines based on the experience I've had so far.

In no particular order:

Kor Line-Slinger VS Puncturing Light

A conditional tapper versus a conditional removal. The tapper is really fragile, and doesn't stop much in the first place. What makes tappers so good is that they act like removal that you can ''adjust'' over time. Ever felt sorry you wasted a removal on a flying 2/2, and now your opponent is ravaging you with a 5/5? What if you could give back the flyer and take care of the beast? Well, this girl doesn't get much better over time, and just makes a red opponent really happy to see you. On the other hand the removal spell doesn't kill that much either, it's like a one shot version of the tapper. I find both cards rather weaker than they appear, but have been quite displeased with the creature. Every time she eats a Spawning Breath I just die a little inside. If I'm comfortable in with my deck do leave the mana up sometimes, I'll go with the spell. Even if I don't have it, if they saw it in game one I can always do Like Larry King's wives, and fake it.

Oh, and don't pick the Slinger just because you are short on creatures. Being short on creatures means you are short on attackers and ways to win the game, and this girl isn't likely to see some action (well, that's what I suspect... I don't know that much about Zendikar to know what girls there do to pass the time).

Snake Umbra VS Boar Umbra

Have you seen all the umbra's? It's like they are out of names and just started copying random TV shows, like Kights of the Zodiac (I just stole that joke from Tiago Chan, because I can, and I think it 's funny).

SPOILER ALERT:

Undisclosed sources have leaked the Scars of Mirrodin Pre-Release Card:

Dragon Bahall

MR

4RR

Flying

5/5

. At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 7 balls, you win the game.

''What else would you wish for? A pair of girl Panties''

Back to topic, +3+3 is better. I've had Snake Umbra on plenty occasions, and it can, sometimes, win the game on it's own, but it's not always great, and you can have a hard time finding something with evasion that can get this to trigger all that often if you are in green, since it usually pairs up nicely with red, even with the possibility of comboing it up with Vent Sentinel or Brimstone Mage. The Boar Umbra just makes one of your guys such a threat that it will actually win more games. Just look at which one they made uncommon.

Venerated Teacher VS Time of Heroes

Sometimes I'm in UW and I have this decision to make, either in a late pick, which is a good sign that means the Level Up plan is open, or in a second or third pack. My experience tells me that Time of Heroes is better, even if the Teacher can lead to so many insane openings. Every creature getting that bonus at level one is so insane it doesn't matter that you can't level up all the way if you don't have the time.

If it's early in the draft I might take the teacher first, but just because I believe UB levelers is better than UW if it's open.

Survival Cache VS See Beyond

I've had this decision come up quite often, and Survival Cache has been hard for me to evaluate, although I've had it countless times. When it's good, it's great. Really great. It's the turning point where I won the game, where I got ahead on cards and life, then never missed a play, always had the answer, etc. When it's bad, it's worst than a fog. And it's been bad quite often. It felt as i read it that if it's in your opening hand your in great shape, but then they open with Mortician Beetle, Soul's Attendant or Lone Missionary, and it's just sad. I've labeled it in the ''Falter effects'' category. It sometimes wins you the game, but you shouldn't be happy about it. And it might not even be that good, since with Falter , when you played it, it was for the win. You can get two cards and still lose. See Beyond is consistent. It get's you two cards, and takes away your worst. It's not amazing, but I'll take it.

Corpsehatch VS Vendetta

I think lsv already covered this one, and I agree with him. It's not uncommon to find both in a pack you open (no pun intended), and the one mana removal is the better one. Even if you are planing on going for Eldrazi, you should have better ways of spawning tokens than the removal spell, and four mana and instant speed is too much of a difference to pass. I would only pick Corpsehatch if it would be my third Vendetta, since you don't want to lose that much life.

Wildheart Invoker VS Kozilek's Predator

One has an ability that wins games by itself, the other powers out cards that win the game by itself. At first I considered the pick to be like this: ''if I have a Pelakka Wurm or a Broodwarden, or Eldrazi, or something else the tokens could be useful, I'll take the predator'', but now I see I ALWAYS have something useful if I'm in green, or will get something by the end of the draft. The 4th power point of the Invoker is actually very relevant in this format, but how often I get to use his ability compared to powering up a 5th turn 7/7 with some life gain attached, or have some use for two random dorks, is not often enough.

Prey's Vengeance VS Might of the Masses

Two tricks in a limited environment where most creatures don't need the extra help in combat. I don't like to go aggro very much, but if I do, I prefer the might's ''I win'' factor. It's not that often that rebounding +2+2 is all that helpful, but winning the game with an unblocked attacker for a gazillion damage is very nice indeed. Just think about this: when you face a green deck, which one do you worry about? (and so much for my ''look what which one they printed as uncommon'' theory)

Warmonger's Chariot VS Ogre's Cleaver

This one isn't that much about which one to pick , because you should always picks the Chariot. If you really want a Cleaver, you will likely see one to pick later in the draft, since it's not that high of a pick. What has happened to me a couple of times is that I have both and only have room for one when building my deck, and the choice isn't that obvious. You'd think decks like Ux would appreciate the Cleaver on a creature with evasion, but Ux has creature that want the +2 toughness of the wagon, and some walls to attack, including the devastating if equipped Soulbound Guardians. The green decks with lots a mana and tokens are the ones who want the +5. A 5/1 is so much more threatening than a 2/3, and when you don't have to level up your creatures you end up with a lot more available mana.

And the final one:

Joraga Treespeaker VS Red Removal

This one I get a lot, and I'm not that sure, because removal is removal, but there is no better way to start the game than with this elf. Green more often than not pairs with red, and when I open second pack Flame Slash and Treespeaker, and if I pick the removal, when it's in my opening hand, I always feel like I made the wrong choice. Now that I pick the elf, I'm always happier, and it's if I draw it late and really need to kill a creature, I remember that if it was in my initial seven, I probably wouldn't be losing anyway. If the elf lives it feels like you just double Time Walked. I had one game where I never drew a land besides my initial 3, and I still played everything, including a Ulamog's Crusher just before he conceded.

And that's it. I hope it helps, because we need every edge we can get these days, in every single pick.

Thank you for reading.

1 Comments

I totally agree about Prey's by Odindusk at Mon, 05/24/2010 - 15:59
Odindusk's picture

I totally agree about Prey's Vengeance vs Might of the Masses. It's not even close.

"+2/+2 surprise damage now, and then another free +2/+2 next turn when my opponent will be fully prepared for it..."

or

"+9/+9. I win."