Friday, May 6, 2011

MBS #11 - 14

Massive post today, with 4 drafts. But first.... it seems that mtgovideos is close to dead, so I'm looking for somewhere to post instead of or in addition to it. The only place I've been able to find is Puremtgo, but if anyone has ideas of where else I can post, I'm all ears. Or if anyone wants to start posting on mtgovideos to convince me its not dead, even better!

MBS #11

Looking back:

- P1P6: Maybe I should just take the Keepers here, to follow up the Marauders. As painful as it is to abandon Corrupted Conscience, we haven't seen another blue card since. That said, packs 3 and 4 were weak all the way through, so they don't give much information as to what's actually open, so there is still some value in staying open with the Claws, as unexciting as they are with our current pile of cards.

-P2P1: Well, obviously it worked out, but perilous myr is super close to the arrest here. Without having wheeled the uber later Divine Offering, I think I kind of have to just grab the perilous myr. But we have a hint that white may be wide open, in which case taking a risk for the better card can really pay off.

-P2P2 and on: This may be the easiest audible of all time. The best card in pretty much every pack from here to the end is white or blue, and by a pretty wide margin. There was almost no risk in moving out of red since there was not a red card in sight in pack 2. The choice was marginal artifact to keep the flamefiend dream alive or awesome white/blue card. 

Kind of strange really, we didn't pass any red beyond the burn the impure pick 1, and there was still a mortarpod in that pack (which I personally take over burn the impure unless I already have a red card). I suspect someone on the left opened a flamefiend as well and refused to abandon ship (not that they should!). But still, red was cut HARD pack 2, so it seems like either it was just a strange set of packs, or there were actually two drafters grabbing red cards on our left even after passing them nothing but tables scraps. This just shows how important it can be to remain flexible in this format. It's sometimes hard to send/read signals with so many good artifacts running around. It's especially hard to ensure that the signals you send don't fall on deaf ears when the players you're passing to won't run out of playables if they just keep scooping up artifacts. But there is a potentially large payoff for listening to signals when they're available, since there's a ton of high quality colored cards that are either unsplashable or unneeded in other archetypes.

MBS #12

Looking back:

P1P2: It sucks to pass more green, but mortarpod just does so much for such a small investment. If I'm going to be drafting non-infect green then it's likely to be on the back of giant dinosaurs. But the dinosaurs are easy to find even if maruader is the best of the (non-rare) bunch by a significant margin.  The success of a dino deck hinges on the quality of the early half of your curve, and mortarpod not only is a quality turn two play by itself, it makes the rest of the two and three drop idiots I pick up better. And even if i don't end up going the prehistoric route, mortarpod is still a house.

P1P3: Wow, Marauder vs. Blightwidow again! I'll take Marauder all day every day, but I know many of you are bound to disagree. I fully respect blightwidow in a non-infect deck. It's a respectable blocker, and can even swing if the board is empty enough. But it's clearly at it's best in a dedicated infect deck, and it only should get the nod as an early pick because it keeps you open to infect. Because of my personal aversion to infect, I am far more likely to end up drafting dinosaurs, which is why I almost always pick the maruaduer in this situation. The exception is when I already have a very strong infector in my pile, like corrupter, flesh eater imp or crusader, in which case I feel like keeping myself open to (without forcing!) infect is worthwhile.

P1P4: Rotwolf is mediocre but playable in non-infect, but after passing two blightwidows it's probably best to push whoever grabbed them into infect to keep them from overlapping with the green cards we want in the next pack too much.  Viridian claw isnt great in a dinosaur deck, but it can help justify playing infinite mana myrs if we find ourselves snagging a bunch of myrs. And plus, we may not actually end up in straight dinos, and if we don't the claw will likely be far better than the wolf.

P1P9: Sweet, Keeper's wheeled. I think this is the best 5 drop available for the archetype since it helps against the decks toughest matchup (infect!), so even though we expected a nice wheel, I'm still dancing. Conley Woods loves the slagwurm (as he often states in his videos) but I don't really understand why. The extra toughness doesnt get around that many more removal spells than the 5 toughness dinosaurs (just turn to slag) and the extra mana is painful. These decks end up with a high enough curve as it is, I'm not keen on further raising my curve for something that doesn't do anything special.  

What happened pack 3?!?! Where did all the green go? The only thing I can think of is that maybe some of the nice green cards we passed pack 1 made it around the entire table and back to someone close on our right and they jumped in? Or maybe there was an infect drafter there who was scooping up dinos out of otherwise empty packs? It's a good thing pack 1 was so nice to us, because this could've been a complete disaster.

The one thing I'd change in deckbuilding is that I'd swap the Trigon of Infestation in for something (Glissa's Courrier?) since it actually goes quite well with the claw, the red trigon and the mortarpod.

Match 2 I bashed Vensor's Journal a bit, but for some reason I thought the card said gain 1 life whenever you draw a card. Obviously the card still isn't stellar, but it did make sense in my opponent's deck. I played a lot of clearwater goblets back in the original mirrodin, but to be honest, it probably didn't belong in half the decks I palyed it in. Even then, the goblet is miles ahead of the journal in terms of playability even if the journal can potentially gain more life per turn, because the keeping cards in hand clause is quite a drawback. Not playing spells is often going to cost more life than it saves, and needing cards in hand makes this a pretty brutal topdeck. All that said, if your plan is to recur Mindslavers ftw (!!!), there is probably no better fit for Venser's Journal.  On a side note, if my opponent is anything like me, I would've been so satisfied with my game 2 win that it wouldn't matter what happened game 3. I'd screenshot it and go to bed with a smile on my face.


And speaking of screenshots, I've searched through my replays and collected a few of my best moments over the last few weeks. Maybe not as good as a mindslaver lock in a besieged draft, but they still left me smiling.

Nothing like a good old fashioned T5 Conqueror's pledge, followed by T6 Beastmaster's Ascension. Worth noting I somehow wheeled both these cards in the same pack (maybe not surprising for the ascension, but the pledge doesnt often wheel!).


Wheee! Best Venser ever? Being foil has to add points. Still had this scrapmelter! (Actually I bounced scrapmelter and skinrender back to my hand the previous turn, and replayed the skinrender). Better yet is his 3 line OMG. And better yet is this is game 3 of the finals of an 8-4 (as always) after my opponent declined the split. Greedy.dec pays off.

#3 #4

Ok. So Genesis Wave for 6 is supposed to win the game. But hitting 6/6 with the Flamefiend + Wellspring twice in the same draft makes me happy. I cast it for 7 as well this draft, wasn't as stylish, but it still won me the game.

MBS #13

Looking back:

P2P3: In hindsight, maybe i need mana myrs more than I need spells that require 12 mana over 2 turns + a creature. I like the armor in some decks, but dinos don't need to become super-ultra-argentum-dinos to win the game.

P3P1: Could you resist the temptation here? This deck needed galvanic blast way more than it needed another 5 drop, even if the 5 drop is awesome and rare.

Red just dried up horribly here, but I don't think there was much avoiding it. Unlike in MBS #11, there wasn't any obvious opportunity to get out of red and into something else. The packs were overall below average which makes getting cut a whole lot worse. We ended up with a solid upper half of a good dinosaur curve, but as I said before, that's the easy part. A mana myr and a blast might have made a world of difference to this deck, but it still wouldn't have been stellar.

No surprise we lost in the first round, but there was an interesting decision to end it. I think I made the right play there. Let's break it down.

- There are three pump spells in the format, but only one of them can be played around here. +1/+1 doesn't kill us, and +X/+X kills us no matter what.

- He attacks here no matter what is in his hand, since he has no real reason to fear a counter-attack.

- If he plays another creature and we block, we're in terrible shape. Even if its a small creaure, if we attack into it theres a pretty decent chance he blocks. In a vacuum there's a better chance of him having a creature than having a specific pump spell.

-The only thing pointing to a block here is that there was 1 card left in his hand when he played corpse cur. It was slightly suspicious that he brought back the rats over the necropede (though i guess we had a replica in play). Theres a small chance we could use that info to determine that the last spell is mirran mettle, since the extra poison counter + the extra point of power on the rats puts us at exactly dead. I think it's a bit of a stretch for that to be the logical conclusion though. Even though I think necropede is the better target in general if his paln is to grind us with creatures or if he wants to break through with an untamed might (necropede is in general more likely to avoid being blocked), it's close enough that it wouldn't be surprising if our opponent just valued the rats more in general.

-Overall, even if we can put him at a 50% chance or more of having mirran mettle, I think it's still correct to let it through, since we almost assuredly win the game if he doesn't. On the other hand if we block, we still lose to untamed might and most likely lose to any creature off the top.

MBS #14

P1P1: I love pierce strider. 3/3 hasty artifact for 4 would be awesome, and this is way better. This is like 3/3 haste with when it enters the battlefield it has vigilance and is unblockable until the end of turn. But its even better than that because it still deals 3 damage if they have removal.... Fangren Marauder might still be the pick, but this leaves us more open, and I had drafted way too many fatties over last bunch of drafts and I wanted to be agressive for a change.

P1P4: Peace would be way worse than pierce even if infect didn't exist. It leaves us far more open than morbid plunder does, but we already have a black card, and morbid plunder is way more powerful than the 3/3. I think this was a mistake, but it turned out staying flexible was the right call.

P1P5: Just to elaborate (and maybe reiterate, I may have said this before) on my "hate" for nested ghoul (without dropping my mic on the floor), the 2 for 1 it creates is overrated because more often then not, just having an extra toughness or two creates a similar advantage. Rather than trading for a random two drop, a 4/4 either trades for something of similar value or requires a double block. Sure the ghoul can trade with something of similar casting cost as well, but more often than not your opponent won't actually let that happen. In the case of the double block, you still often trade for two random 2 drops, except with a 4/4 you open yourself to the blowing them out with removal (though I'll concede you can still blow them out with a pump on a ghoul). When compared to the rager, they both create a 2 for 1 that usually just trades with a 2 drop, but one costs 2 less mana, hence my pick. There are situtations (turn to slag for example) where the ghoul is better than a beefier 5 drop, and it's not like I wouldn't be happy playing the ghoul, but I'd rather take a solid early drop and save my 5 slot for something else.

P2P3: I think the only argument for shatter is that we could still have red as heavyish splash. At this point my red is way better than both my other colors though, so I think its pretty safe to just take turn to slag. I definitely value reliable creaure removal over albeit more efficient artifact removal. Especially turn to slag, since it covers equipment too, which is one of the most common in-game situations where you might wish your creature kill was a shatter.

The deck turned out pretty sweet, mostly thanks to an awesome start to pack 2. No insane bombs, but a nice dose of removal with quality plays at every point in the curve. And there's nothing I like more than blowing someone out after they decline the split. That'll teach em'! (Although, I'll admit I've been blown out after refusing the split my fair share of times as well)

Until next time, which may be at another site (though I'll still try to at least post simultaneously at mtgovideos), happy drafting.