Wednesday, March 23, 2011

MBS Draft #4-5-6 and bonus MD5 draft

Nothing like the weekly downtime to coax me into finally uploading all the videos I've been accumulating.  I think from now on I'm going to try and upload them one by one and a bit more regularly. Here we go...

MBS Draft #4

Looking back:

Pretty straight forward draft. grab first and second pick bombs and then roll with it. Opening yet another bomb helps too. For the record, I split the final here. Normally with a deck like this I'll play it out but as I mentioned in the video, I was coming off a rough streak.

- Pack 1 Pick 6 should probably have been something other than the carapace, even though it ended up making the cut to help out the myrs (and because I just didnt have anything better). It really didnt fit with what I had in my pile at the time. Something like flayer husk or sylvok lifestaff is much better suited for the myr power up role, though I didn't really have a chance to pick either one up.  Either way, at the time I couldn't really predict i'd end up short a few ideal playables and if I could make the pick again i'd take the 3/3 infector as a potential sideboard card. Just to make it clear, I think I ended up better off having taken the carapace, because it was certainly better than the infector main deck and I was short playables, but that doesn't mean its not a mistake.

- There was way too much filler in this deck, and luckily the power of the bombs more than helped make up for it. It's worth noting I may have ended up with the nuts infect deck, and a lot less filler, but I don't think I could've justified jumping in early enough after getting passed the flamefiend and my pile would have to look pretty awful for me to try and jump into infect after pack 1.

MBS Draft #5

looking back:

- What was I thinking picking the juggernaut over the blue myr?!? It was unlikely to be more than just marginally playable, whereas the mana myr made it much more likely to be able to play all my good cards without having a completely miserable mana base.

- Pack 3 pick 1 was a tough one and I still don't know the correct choice here. Mindslaver is pretty sweet with shimmer myr because you can eliminate their opportunity to prepare for it. And maybe that was the right pick seeing as it was possible that any colored card here had a good chance of not actually making the deck. I think the sky-eel school was the best choice out of the colored cards since taking a red card here means that in order to play it I abandon either the conscience or the rebirth.

- On the topic of abandoning one of my bombs, after rewatching the draft I have no idea at what point I could have abandoned a bomb. I don't really think it was too greedy to stick to the plan of playing the bombs and splashing the red removal. The problem was that I made too many picks that didn't take that plan into account. The worst offender was the not taking the blue myr, as mentioned above. But here are some other ones I'd like to get another stab at:

 Pack2 Pick1: Necropede over Prototype Portal. I still like the portal, and I still think it can be considered an early pick. But here I already have a couple of cards capable of creating huge swings in my board position. I should be focused on making my deck support those cards as well as possible, rather than add a card that may need me to jump through a few more hoops to support. Necropede would be part of the solution whereas the portal is a part of the problem.

Pack 3 Pick 2: Revoke existence over Darkslick Drake. If I had access to a constructed quality mana base with dual lands aplenty then I think I could stand by my pick here. But I've already commited to playing 3 colors with my last pick, do I really want another card with 2 mana symbols in it? It's not even like one card can be said to be strictly better than the other here. With an already rough mana base, I should be erring towards whatever is going to be easier for me to cast.

Pack 3 Pick 6: Disperse or Horizon Spellbomb over Kemba's Skyguard. Take my last comment, and amplify it by 10. I actually don't even think i should have played the skyguard main deck. 2 horizon spellbombs without green mana kinda sucks, but so does not being able to cast your cards. I'm leaning towards disperse with this one.

Adjust those 4 picks and I have a much more stable manabase and I have no need to start trying to mindlessly jam extra artifacts into my deck to "power up" the portal and the juggernaut. Not needing to play extra artifacts could let me cut one for an 18th land (a much needed 3rd mountain).

In summary, I let greed get the better of me here. Splashing a 3rd color is fine, but its often going to limit what else your deck can do. My deck was trying to do way to many other things when it really just needed to be mindful of its mana base.

MBS Draft #6

Looking back:

... and sometimes it all just comes together.

- In case you missed it, picks 7-11 of pack 3 powered my deck up by about 10 levels. Not only did I get the second furnace celebration, but 2 more spellbombs, a kuldotha rebirth and the bleak-coven vampires.

- Even given the result, it's hard for me to say that mirrorworks is actually the correct pick over the ogre pack 1 pick 4, especially since there's a remote possibility it wheels. But sometimes it's a good idea to experiment with rares. That's twice now that i've drafted a deck where mirrorworks was insane (the other wasn't recorded but I allude to it in the video), so I may do some more expermenting in the future when I have the choice between it and a solid but replaceable playable.

- I probably like ichor wellspring more than most. I think its a fine early pick over branching to another color as long as you have a red or white card in your pile. It's more of a cantrip that enables metalcraft otherwise, and I'm rarely metalcraft unless I'm white anyways. Pick 3 would have been a blue card if my second pick wasn't red.

- Boy do I hate Cerebral Eruption. It has to be the worst card-I'll-never-cut-if-its-on-color of all time. I wish I just took the necropede, it would have avoided the heartache that may have shaved a few years off my life. Did I go 0 for 6 before I finally hit (and won the finals)? The worst part is that often if you whiff once you can't afford to risk whiffing again the next turn unless its your only chance.

-I think I'm done taking chrome steed when I'm not white based metalcraft. Theres just not enough payoff for taking artifacts over colored cards when you're not playing white. I guess I couldn't have known it at the time, but liquimetal coating would've ended up being a decent option once there are 2 furnace celebration in the pile.

-I'm sure I made a whole bunch of play errors here. This deck was definitely tough to pilot but thankfully powerful enough to forgive a few mistakes here and there. The thing is there were often just so many different lines of play and even looking back now, its tough to say for sure which was the best option.

Bonus MD5 draft:

This is one of my all time favorite formats. Invasion and Ravnica blocks are up there too. It kind of reminds me of invasion. Mostly stinky creaures, but instead of invasions riduclously powered spells we have mirrodins ridiculously powered artifacts/equipment.

Basically, in this format I very rarely strongly commit to even a first color. I just take premium colored cards regardless of the color as long as they are splashable, and otherwise grab the artifact.

I value good equipment over almost everything. By good equipment, I'm talking viridian longbow, vulshok morning star and leonin bola. And obviously a sword or a skullclamp(!) if I'm really lucky.

I put a strong emphasis on getting rewarded by the last pack. The two important themes in fifth dawn are 1 mana artifacts and sunburst. I generally like to have some cards that enable each of them when going into the last pack, otherwise I can't take advantage of many of the most powerful cards there. This means I sometimes take spellbombs and fixers/mana myrs over cards that are more powerful in a vacuum.

I'm not likely to value creatures very highly early in the draft unless they have a sweet ability (and tapping for mana counts!) or have evasion.

Until next time!

Friday, March 11, 2011

MBS Draft #1-2-3

I have 3 drafts to post, enjoy!

Draft #1

The biggest decision here was between blightwidow and skyhunter. Either way it seemed like blue was being cut and I had to look towards a second color (even with blue being cut, no reason to believe im not going to play blue for a control magic and a likely solid pack 2). The blightwidow is in general a much stronger signal than skyhunter, but with a skyhunter in a completely empty pack in the previous pick its a little less clear. As good as blightwidow is, I think that based on the previous pick its just as likely that white is open as green/infect and I'd rather have two cards than 1. I also prefer white blue to green blue, even though we know now that this isnt what ended up happening. It's still a really tough pick, and though it definitely worked out here, I could've just as easily been kicking myself if another blightwidow came the next pack instead of another skyhunter.

Another toughie was divine offering vs skyhunter #3. It's crystal clear that white is open at this point. In terms of signalling shipping the divine offering is a worse signal, since it's a much smaller commitment to white and is therefore more likely to switch the guy to my left into white if he has not yet settled on a second colour (which at this point in the draft is often the case). However, once I know I'm drafting an agressive deck, I normally like to take above average creatures over average removal (although its just the nuts when racing with an artifact heavy deck, not all decks care about racing, and not all decks that care about racing care about life totals). The reason is that too much removal in an aggresive deck slows down the deck and really devalues the effectiveness of the creatures. Drawing lots of removal in a control deck is fine because when you finally draw a threat they tend to be threats that hit hard. In an agressive deck, not curving out on creatures because your hand has a couple removal spells is far worse, because when you draw into some gas its likely to be a creature that is far less impressive once you hit turn 5-6, and easily outclassed by your opponents later drops. It's still nice to have a few removal spells obviously, and if it's an arrest, it'd be harder to pass (except for Koth of course!). But I'd much rather be light on removal then light on aggressive creature drops. I think taking the best card for the deck trumps signalling, especially in this format where players are more ready to swtich plans for a bomb or delay commiting to their second color until the second pack or later.

After that, the draft was pretty straight forward, and red fell into my lap without really ever having to make any tough decisions between red or blue cards. Looking back at the deckbuilding, I can't believe I even considered playing 16 lands. I was probably overvaluing the 3/4 battlecry, 1 was likely enough and could have just as easily cut one the other over the myr, but 17 lands was a must either way.

Draft #2

 Not much to say here. I liked my draft here, but the deck really wanted some combination of perilous myr, necropede or myr sire (in order of preference). It also could've used an extra land! (a common theme in my builds). I just can't believe my greed sometimes when I look back, that golem foundry is waaaaay worse than a land in a deck as mana hungry as this one. I played it to get more value out of throne of geth, but in reality it just vastly increased the likelyhood of awkward draws, where either I'm short on mana or where I draw foundry and it does absolutely zero.

Not much I could've done in those games other than play a more consistent version of my deck, but even then, I don't know that would've made the difference. That doesn't mean I'm unhappy with the deck, I think its well above average and it's more than capable of taking down a queue given an extra land and slightly better draws.

Draft #3

This is a weird one. I started off ready to record but my computer crashed before I could grab the corrupted conscience! I missed the first 5 picks after quickly rebooting, autopicking a powerful basic forest over the control magic. Joining the land when I returned were Master's Call, Loxodon Partisan, Ichor Wellspring and Myr Sire. Could be worse! Having no clue what I passed, I decided rather than try to read any signals here, just go all out aggressive white metalcraft. Normally this would mean I just save the recording for another day, but I thought the draft was interesting enough that I'd record the matches and just post the draft in html. Here it is.

  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

No need to split into red for the resistor when I can keep metalcraft open with some good agressive equipment.

  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Training drone might eventually be interesting, but slasher is pretty sweet with my pile of autdrafted cards.

  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Not very agressive, but it could at least be a sideboard option against a really slow deck, and nothing else looks very good.

  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Dont want to get big here with the rhino. I want my artifacts cheap and aggressive.

  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

Wow! This guy's actually pretty insane in this deck the way its developing. The only thing is if I play 2 of them that only leaves 5-6 colored card slots left.

  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Tough tough pick. . The second recruit I wheeled really gives me incentive to go hard into metalcraft. Arc trail is really tough to pass up. Is it worth a precious colored card slot? Definitely. But I am likely to end up with more than enough good colored cards. The harder thing to do is to pick up enough high quality artifacts to get metalcrafted without playing garbage. That brings the choice to relic or tumble magnet. It could go either way, and I think I'd go tumble magnet if I could do it again. With only 7-8 colored slots, its really nice to get removal out of an artifact for this type of deck.

  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Similar to the last pick except  both the colored card and the artifacts are weaker. I still take the artifact, it could just as easily be the glider, but I have a couple myr including the masters call, and definitely plan on taking more.

  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Stag is good too, but not much synergy for it yet. Edgewright hits harder, especially when its equipped, and costs half as much. Even when I'm not metalcrafted, which shouldn't be very often, its still efficient enough. Shatter is fine too, but not enough to get me red. If there was an artifact better than mana myr, I'd be all over it.

  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Nothing exciting, but I do want mana myrs eventually. Berserker would be ok, if I had any other reason to be red. Darksteel Sentinel is a good card, but I don't plan on playing anything costing 6 or more unless its an absolute bomb.

  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Ok. Maybe this should've been turn to slag. The shikari is pretty easily replaceable, and even if I'm not keen on running turn to slag or anything over 4 mana that isnt completey nuts, I may at least want to side into it.

  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

All I want for christmas is a 2-mana flyer. Plenty of other awesome cards here, but for other decks. Mimic vat is going to sit on the table with nothing underneath it most of the time, and the rest of the time it will likely not have anything worth the 3 mana per turn. Trigon is really solid in general, but in this type of deck, by the time I can activate it once or twice, if I'm not close to winning the game, it's unlikely that trying to grind them with -1/-1 counters is going to be what makes the difference.

  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Again, 2/2 flyer over the trigon. I feel like for this type of deck to really work, you've got to be dedicated to the beatdown plan. Diluting your hands with slow cards, particularly ones that won't flat out win you the game when they stick, just reduces the effectiveness of all the other cards in your deck.

  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Grasp is actually a reasonable option since I don't really have another color. But I go for the gold myr. Between galvanizer, equipment and a really low curve, playing more myr will add legitimate creatures/artifacts to the deck while allowing to reduce my land count to 14 or 15.

  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

I have a drake in blue already from the previous pack, and still a few slots available for colored cards. If I'm running blue, and don't need more artifacts, the certarch will be way better than the replica.

  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Sweet. The second best card for my deck from the pack wheeled. Not surprising with all the goodies that most other decks slammed in their pile, but this is an advantage in drafting this style of deck.

  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:

  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:

Looking back, pretty good result for first pick forest! (split the finals). I could definitely see myself going as low as 14 lands in this style of deck. Being able to lower the land count lets you run enough artifacts to support more of the cheap aggressive colored metalcraft cards.

The hard part in drafting this archtype is finding 17-18 solid artifacts that fit the deck's strategy (or cards that you can count as artifacts like trinket mage, myrsmith or master's call) The deck is not going to be worth drafting if you need to run trigon of mending and friends as cards 23-25.  This leads to some strange picks. If I take arc trails and revoke existences over sweet artifacts too often, I may increase the quality of my colored cards a bit, but it comes at the risk of decreasing the overall quality of cards in the deck. For example, if I take arc trail pack 2, it means I need to prioritize artifacts later in the pack. As a pack progresses, it's way more likely to pick up a solid colored card than a respectable artifact. So  taking arc-trail over relic/magnet now can come at the cost of needing to take trigon of mending over a solid colored metal-craft dude later on. Even when you don't end up needing to run complete trash for artifacts after taking the arc trail, you still end up just moving laterally by improving your colored cards while decreasing the quality of your artifacts, so I dont think its worth the risk. Of course all this only applies when you're already commited to the aggressive metalcraft strategy. If I don't quite know whether I'm metalcraft or not, I'm probably just snapping up the arc trail.