Draft Digest: Return To Sender

Just because Grand Prix Richmond is in the books doesn’t mean we’re putting the packs away! Grab a seat and draft some Amonkhet with Ryan Saxe!

So far, my biggest takeaway from this format has been that I need to prioritize cheaper spells. Plenty of my decks have a lot of one-mana plays, especially since I think that Cartouche of Solidarity is spectacular. When you begin to prioritize inexpensive cards, you can sometimes double-spell on turn 3, and consistently on turn 4. This lets you get a large tempo advantage. The more I play, the more I like cards like Sacred Cat. They aren’t very high-impact, but they do just enough to be worth a card, and the efficiency is truly premium. Now, Sacred Cat isn’t a high pick, but it’s certainly better than I expected.

Anyways, onto the draft!

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

The two most powerful cards in the pack are Never and Scaled Behemoth, so while it is between the two of those, I do want to say that I have been extremely impressed with the enchantments in the pack: Cartouche of Solidarity, Cartouche of Knowledge, and Consuming Ferver. They have all performed quite well. One could even make an argument for Cartouche of Solidarity as it is the only white card in the pack and white is the best color. But I think all of these cards, the white Cartouche included, are enough worse than Never and Scaled Behemoth to disregard.

Scaled Behemoth is an absolute house. Green, in my opinion, is the worst color. Outside of Cartouche of Strength, the commons are pretty lackluster in comparison to the other colors. I mean, come on; white has Gustwalker, Fanbearer, Compulsory Rest, Unwavering Initiate, Binding Mummy, and Cartouche of Solidarity at common; and then green’s second best common is what, Naga Vitalist or Hooded Brawler? That being said, Scaled Behemoth is one of the cards that can get me into a non-aggressive green deck, which does say a lot. The late-game decks will have trouble handling this card and the midrange decks aren’t going to have an easy time going through it. But the extremely aggressive decks kill fast enough that a six-drop can be a liability.

Never is about as solid of a removal spell as you can get in Limited. Murder at sorcery speed is still good, and the additional upsides are real. First off, one of the best archetypes is W/B zombies. So a removal spell that also functions as a Zombie seems perfect for that archetype. And even outside of the Zombies deck, it’s a removal spell that “draws” a card. Overall, I think the additional upside to Never makes it better than Scaled Behemoth, so that’s what I’m going to take.

Pack 1, Pick 2

The Picks So Far:

The Pack:

The Pick:

Galestrike is really only an option here so I can talk about how bad it is. I have not been impressed with this card. If I’m in a deck that wants to be attacking, Winds of Rebuke is better; and if I’m in a controlling deck, well, three mana is just a lot. Especially since the card is quite easy to play around. Bounce spells are better than usual in this format because of the Cartouches, embalm cards, and just how fast the format is. But Galestrike lets them get value out of their Cartouche, and it just overall isn’t easy enough to optimize.

This leaves the best card in the pack, Electrify, and a playable “on-color” card. Never is a good card, but I’m certainly not married to it. And Wasteland Scorpion, while being a solid card, is ultimately replaceable. It’s a three-drop, and it’s a cycler. And while if I end up in a non-red controlling deck, I would certainly play the scorpion, I would miss Electrify significantly more should red be open.

I am willing to take the risk and miss out on a Wasteland Scorpion here. And hey, if black doesn’t seem to be open, I could certainly still end up W/R or something like that! Electrify it is!