Draft Digest: Trial Of Consensus

Last week’s Amonkhet Draft picks proved controversial! Ryan Saxe shares his finding since then and serves up two more perplexing packs ahead of GP Richmond this weekend!

There really wasn’t much of a consensus on what the correct picks were for my last article. Now that I’ve drafted the format a substantial amount, I’m quite sure I can speak on this. Rags//Riches, as I mentioned, is confirmed an absolute bomb. Aggressive decks are king in this format; the exert two-drops are so good. Rags just kills an abundance of relevant cards, and that’s all there is to it. Yes, Infest would be a great first pick in this format.

As far as the second pick, I have gone higher on both Cartouche of Ambition and Bloodrage Brawler. Given how good Rags//Riches is, I would take the Cartouche, especially given that I have Trial of Ambition. The Trial-Cartouche synergy is obviously good, but it really is even better than I thought! Also, the Cartouche of Ambition is a key card to non-aggro decks in this format, because it can be very difficult for the aggressive decks to beat it. Hence it goes quite well with our Rags//Riches.

So even though aggro is the way to go, you can draft control decks. It’s why I expect this to be one of the greatest formats of all time. Will this pack set us up for a sweet aggro deck or control deck?

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

Warfire Javelineer has not impressed me. I thought it was going to be the second coming of Flametongue Kavu, but it’s not. Sure, sometimes it kills something, but outside of U/R Spells (an archetype I have not been fond of) it’s quite mediocre, and hence you should not take it here.

I don’t like Ahn-Crop Champion for similar reasons. While W/G is a fine archetype, a gold card has to be a hell of a lot better than a four mana 4/4 for me to first-pick it. And the ability to Exert and untap your team is definitely not significant enough to change that.

So we have narrowed it down to two very good two-drops: Bitterblade Warrior and Binding Mummy. I think the pick is Binding Mummy by a reasonable margin. I actually think Binding Mummy is one of the best commons in the set (I don’t expect the world to agree with me on this…yet!). Bitterblade Warrior is a solid two-drop, but overall it’s replaceable.

Binding Mummy is great in most white decks. And don’t even get me started about the card in W/B. It has become very clear that Binding Mummy is substantially better than Wayward Servant in the W/B Zombies deck, which should tell you a lot. But in all of these decks, the card just gets in more damage than you would think. It almost reads “cards you have with Embalm are unblockable” because if they block you can Embalm to start tapping things. This is a premium aggressive two-drop, and you should draft it higher than you do.

Pack 1, Pick 5

The Picks So Far:

I think this draft is going quite well. Binding Mummy and Gust Walker (“Li’l Gusty” for short) are premium commons for these white aggressive decks. W/U has played as an Embalm/fliers deck that plays very well with a low curve and chipping in a bunch of extra damage by allowing trade attacks thanks to Embalm. And Aven Wind Guide and Binding Mummy synergize very well with this plan.

The Pack:

The Pick:

I think we can dismiss River Serpent pretty easily, as both Labyrinth Guardian and Sacred Cat are perfectly on-theme. The question is, which is better?

Sacred Cat has impressed me. I didn’t think this card was going to be good, but lo and behold, it does just enough in plenty of decks to justify playing. The thing is, that’s all it really is: playable. I do like putting it in all my white decks, but it usually goes pretty late, and it hasn’t taken over any games or anything like that. I think the Labyrinth Guardian gives you a little more bang for your buck.

Read it a little closer. Labyrinth Guardian only dies when it’s targeted by a spell! So abilities from cards like Quarry Hauler don’t actually kill it. This makes the card much closer to a 2/3 for two with Embalm for four. That card is very good. First-pickable, in my opinion. If you’re the beatdown, it attacks well, and if you’re not, it blocks well. I’m taking Labyrinth Guardian, and I’m very happy about it!