Ask Ken, 07/12/2004

How important do you think mana curve is in your draft deck?

Welcome to the beginning of the second full week of Ask Ken’s triumphant return. I’m your host, Kartin’ Ken Krouner. It is always odd writing articles that won’t see print until after the next big event. People will read it and wonder why I am not commenting on this huge PT. Well, it is Wednesday as I am writing this, so give it some time. Let’s see what y’all want to know about this time.

Today’s letter comes to us from Ben Jackson. Ben writes:


I have a question about drafting. How important do you think mana curve is in your deck? Assuming 23-24 spells, what do you think your approximate curve should be? To what extent would you sacrifice card quality for the right symbols in the upper right hand corner? Thanks for answering,

THE source for draft questions,

Ben Jackson

Mana curve is a really tricky animal in this block. The presence of Myr, Talismans, Wayfarer’s Bauble, and other forms of acceleration make it very tricky to properly determine what your mana curve actually looks like.

That being said, I think mana conservation is the most critical part to the playing of this format. I think that the player who most efficiently uses his mana will normally win the game.

Mike Turian pointed out a small flaw in this theory that it overrates Equipment. So I guess a better way to put it is that the player who most efficiently uses his mana to develop his board will normally win. There is a precarious balance of mana and spells a deck should have. The exact numbers are quite deck dependent.

As far as the curve itself goes, this is also difficult. When you have a lot of Myr and Talismans, you want your three- and four-drops to be pretty evenly broken up with more consideration given to four-drops. Affinity can also throw off the curve. All these things make it very difficult to construct a perfectly curved deck.

As far as your last question, if you are a fan of my writing, you’ll know that I am not a big fan of spells with a high casting cost. You say sacrifice card quality for casting cost, but I think when judging the quality of a card you have to take casting cost into account. For instance I think Luminous Angel is just a bad card. It is powerful if it hits, but its casting cost makes it poor.

The Source on building a Limited deck,


Well tomorrow you will hear about my exploits at PT: Seattle. G’night everybody!

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