Draft Digest: Shroud Out Loud

Ryan Saxe concludes his Modern Masters 2017 miniseries with a look at the set’s U/G cards and musings about a certain waterlogged vegetable.

Grand Prix Orlando March 24-26!

Here I am, sitting across from Zac Hill, Winston Drafting my Cube and talking about one of our favorite Cube philosophies: damp broccoli. For those in the dark, “damp broccoli” describes cards like Coiling Oracle, cards that ooze value. Usually there’s some card draw and ramp here. And the name comes from the broccoli-looking Simic symbol. U/G is not a supported two-color combination in Modern Masters 2017, so this analysis has to keep that in mind.

We have already covered my love for Explore, which is a pretty damp card. But then this little Snake comes along and does a good, and sometimes better, impression of Explore.

Even though Coiling Oracle oozes value, it’s important to understand the circumstances which make it even better. It’s a great grindy card and supplies a body, so for the card to be optimal, we want there to be a reasonable density of one-toughness creatures.

Unfortunately, most of those creatures either make additional bodies or have evasion; then again, I didn’t expect much else. But Coiling Oracle does fit into one of the archetypes Magic R&D has announced for the set: Bant blink. The impact of Coiling Oracle on the format thus will be directly proportional to how good that archetype is.

It’s hard to answer that until we start drafting this weekend, but on a surface level, there is a lot of support for it, and I’m hopeful. I wouldn’t pick up Coiling Oracle until I’m already in Bant, though. And it doesn’t really pull me towards it either.

Ah, more drawing cards and putting lands onto the battlefield! Unfortunately, this effect is a little less needed than Explore. 3UG to draw three cards wouldn’t be good in many normal Limited sets, and putting a land onto the battlefield is an ability that gets worse later in the game. Maybe I am missing something here, but I don’t expect the card to be good. It’s certainly a solid piece of damp broccoli, but it’s just not a great Magic card. That’s all there is to it.

This is a terrifying Magic card, a huge, evasive, monster that is almost impossible to kill. That alone makes it quite enticing. Now, with multiple ramp spells like Explore, and Avacyn’s Pilgrim at common, it’s possible that there is a deck that can cast this reliably early, maybe even turn 5 because of Signets. It blocks well and attacks well. Not much more you can ask from a finisher. Except maybe for a little more of that good, damp value. But I guess I’ll settle.

One thing to consider here is that maybe this card gives more stock towards Urban Evolution. Drawing cards tends to be better when you have very good bombs.

After looking at the last three cards, U/G doesn’t seem very deep, which makes sense, as the two-color pair is not supported in the format. But this one is quite spicy. It’s a nicely valued two-for-one and a solid control-style card. But leaving up five mana is oddly suspicious, and this card gets substantially worse when played around. So the best way to optimize this card is to have plenty of instants to cast.

I went deep into the card Mystical Teachings in my last article. I think that style of deck will have so many ways to operate on their opponent’s turn that Mystic Genesis gains additional value. It’s also an especially good card to get off Mystical Teachings because on turn 6 you can tutor for another instant, should they not cast a spell you want to counter. This gives you an additional two turns where you can leave up your countermagic without wasting mana in case you don’t cast it. In fact, if splashing for Mystic Genesis (or, I guess, Mystical Teachings for that matter) is a thing, I really hope I can jam some copies of Druid’s Deliverance in there so I can tutor up a Fog effect.

Advent of the Wurm is another great card to play with Mystic Genesis. And then, in Bant, you have access to all the populate cards too. This card has a lot of play to it and isn’t easy to optimize given how easy it is to play around. Of course, don’t forget this card exists when your opponent is playing blue and green. Be wary when they pass on turn 5.

That’s all I have time for today. Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity this weekend to get a draft or two in so that next week we can get back to our usual Draft Digest column!

Grand Prix Orlando March 24-26!