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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Oct 06 2015 12:00pm
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Hello and welcome to another edition of Sealed Success!  This week I'm going to be going over my 2nd Prerelease pool and talk about my theory for BFZ draft and how there are secretly 6 colors in Battle for Zendikar Limited.

I actually haven't gotten to draft any Battle for Zendikar because it's so hard to actually find product to draft with!  A lot of people are buying this by the case and while that's great for my store because they're making money, it means that the amount of product they have to play with is very limited (read: none, and yes, pun intended).  I suspected this was going to happen and I hate that it's a reality.  While it's annoying that I can't draft with it until it hits Magic Online, the real "victims" here are the casual players that want to buy packs of this set.  

I don't like seeing players that want to buy product just for the sake of opening and seeing what cool rare they got not have that opportunity because some competitive/finance Magic players buy it just to try and get Expeditions.  I understand the appeal of trying to get an Expedition but at the same time it shouldn't be about the money.  It should be about having fun and looking at all the cool new cards and imagining what decks and ideas are possible with them.

The "secret" 6th color 

As you might have guessed, colorless is the 6th color in BFZ Limited.  Much like artifacts where the 6th color in Modern Masters 2, colorless makes up enough cards that it can be considered an actual color.  This means several things.  First of all, decks are going to be more consistent and able to use colorless mana better.  You're more consistent because your mana costs are going to be less restrictive (less double white/black/blue/red/green cards) because less of those cards are going to be in your packs/decks.   Since you have less restrictive mana costs, a lot more cards can be played with multiple colorless mana in their costs, so lands like Blighted Fen and Shrine of the Forsaken Gods are easier to play with.

Secondly, card quantity and (in some cases) card quality in the actual 5 colors is going to go down.  Since colorless cards have to show up at a high enough rate to be considered a mechanic, they're going to show up as often as a colored card would.  Normally there aren't that many cards that aren't colored in a normal set, so you end up getting more colored cards because of it.  You also have to consider the amount of lands that are in this set.  I'd venture to say that this set has more non-basic lands than usual.  This all has to come out of some space right?

Lastly, even though it doesn't seem obvious, you can actually play more colors when you have more colorless cards in your deck.  Let's say you play a deck with 7 colorless cards, that leaves you with 16 colored spells.  The minimum for your manabase is you count the number of colored symbols on your cards, divide by 2 and add 1.  So if they're all single colored spells, then the minimum you need would be 5 of one color and 5 of the other.  That leaves you with 7 colored sources to play with!  Let's say you want to play more than the minimum and go 7 and 7, you still have 3 lands to play with. Even without mana fixing you could add a third color and be fine.  I don't expect most people to add another color to their decks, and that might be correct a lot of the time.  Converge in is the set and that rewards you with playing with more colors, so the takeaway is that you should think about that 3rd color more than you normally would.

BFZ Prerelease Pool #2

WHITE

           

White suffers from lack of quantity and quality both at the same time.  The three removal spells I like, but after that there isn't much going on to make me want to play white with these mediocre to okay at best creatures.  I can splash a removal spell if I get the fixing, but otherwise I'm not optimistic I'm playing white.

BLUE

          

Blue feels like another white to me, the quality and quantity of playable cards is low here.  The blue that is playable is fine, but that's all it is.  It doesn't advance your game plan and it doesn't win the game for you.  Blue is a support color at best.

BLACK

              

Black has a lot of removal, but that's all it really has. The black creatures I do have are too small to do anything other than be chump blockers so unless I have a lot of creatures in another color, all I'm able to do with black is play it as a support color, hopefully a color that has Eldrazi Scions so I can get quite a lot of value off of my Bone Splinters.

RED

                  

Red is extremely solid and shenanigans can happen if I play Zada with enough enablers.  I have some really solid aggressive Landfall creatures along with red removal and that's something that is really attractive given my first three colors.  If I play red I'm going to be playing it in an aggressive shell that can take advantage of Zada and multiple Landfall creatures.

GREEN

         

Green is not that great really but it does have some nice cards.  Unnatural Aggression is great with Landfall creatures and Earthen Arms helps that card as well as Zada.  I do have some Eldrazi Scion in green so I can play a bit of a ramp deck that can play something like Breaker of Armies and/or Scour from Existence.

MULTICOLORED

    

I like the gold cards except for March from the Tomb.  If I end up in any of these color combinations I'll play their corresponding gold card.

COLORLESS

       

I have some nice top end with Bane of Bala Ged and Breaker of Armies.  Blight Herder is my promo here and is great if I'm able to be the ingest deck, but is also serviceable if I'm in the market for 5 mana 4/5.

LANDS

  

Prerelease Deck #2
 
Creatures
1 Giant Mantis
1 Territorial Baloth
1 Makindi Sliderunner
1 Akoum Stonewaker
1 Snapping Gnarlid
1 Valakut Invoker
1 Nettle Drone
2 Belligerent Whiptail
1 Eyeless Watcher
1 Zada, Hedron Grinder
1 Vestige of Emrakul
1 Shatterskull Recruit
1 Brood Monitor
2 Bane of Bala Ged
1 Breaker of Armies
17 cards

Other Spells
2 Earthen Arms
1 Touch of the Void
1 Call the Scions
1 Unnatural Aggression
1 Serpentine Spike
6 cards
Lands
8 Forest
8 Mountain
1 Evolving Wilds
17 cards
 
Evolving Wilds

 

I went with RG as my choice for this pool because of two reasons: green gives me mana to play Eldrazi and Earthen Arms plays really well with Zada. I don't believe that there is any build from this pool that doesn't start with red, so the only explanation needed is what color to pair it with.  Red was aggressive but the other colors weren't aggressive enough to fully commit to that plan, so knowing the games might go a bit long I wanted a way to cast some of my powerful Eldrazi.  Green gave me the best chance to do that will also help with my aggressive Landfall draws.  I did misbuild it however, Firemantle Mage and Ondu Champion should definitely be in over Giant Mantis and Nettle Drone.  I won my first round and dropped after that because I wasn't feeling very well and Magic isn't as fun when you're sick and tired.

BFZ Draft Theory

I believe that BFZ draft is about synergy.  There's a lot of archetypes floating around in BFZ that work better in draft when you can pick one and focus on it as opposed to sealed where you're trying to play a good stuff deck out of a pile of random cards.  Even without a pick order you can tell what cards are powerful and should be taken early, and then by looking at the uncommons you can tell what the specific 2 color pair is trying to do.  Black-white is lifegain, black-green is sacrifice, black-blue is ingest/process, black-red is colorless matters/aggro, white-green is allies/ramp, white-red is allies/landfall, white-blue is skies/tempo, blue-red is ingest/colorless aggro, blue-green is converge, green-red is landfall/ramp.  That's just a general description of the archetypes, I'm sure you can get more detailed and identity what cards actually are important in certain archetypes once you start drafting and exploring the set.  Just make sure to not take cards that don't play well with the archetype, such as playing Kalastria Healer in BR Landfall or Giant Mantis in WG Allies.

Next week I'll be back with my last prerelease pool and a BFZ Magic Online draft!  If you have any comments, questions, or concerns leave them in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!

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