Pack 1, Pick 1
While all the uncommon gold cards are powerful options, I would rather start with a mono-colored card to start things off. Originally in this format, I would have considered Dire Fleet Neckbreaker; however, I have found B/R Pirates to struggle a lot in this format if you don’t have the absolute best version of the deck, making Neckbreaker substantially narrower than it would appear.
Jungleborn Pioneer is one of the best commons. It has a relevant creature type (although it’s not all that relevant given that Merfolk doesn’t come together all that often), and is great at providing value. You get to laugh at one-toughness threats, which seems to be a recurring theme in this format. It’s not a card I’m ecstatic to first pick, but I’m not unhappy if I have to.
Radiant Destiny, similar to the gold cards, is only maximized in W/B Vampires. Being playable in other decks is certainly a plus, and I don’t mind taking a card like this early as it has a high ceiling; however, I think Bombard is a better first pick. Bombard is splashable, and will be great in every red deck. I wouldn’t fault anybody for taking Radiant Destiny here, but I’m going to go with the Bombard.
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
When deciding for my second pick, the first thing I do is look at the best card in each color while paying specific attention to those in the same color as my first pick in order to make a comparison. The white, green, and blue cards in this pack don’t hold up to the test, so the question is, is the best black card in this pack enough better than Goblin Trailblazer?
Tomb Robber is a difficult card to evaluate. Given how often this format gets into top-deck wars, it’s better than I thought it would be, as you can pitch lands until you hit a spell. However, I don’t believe it is better than reasonable removal.
Impale versus Moment of Craving is a pick that you need to be familiar with in this format. I honestly think it comes down to personal preference for the first copy; however, I would almost always rather have a one-one split than two of one and none of the other. I like to take Moment of Craving over Impale here mostly because I prioritize mana efficiency. It’s easy to get clogged on fours, but it’s hard to have too many impactful two-mana spells.
So now the decision is between Goblin Trailblazer and Moment of Craving. Pack one pick one, this decision very easily goes to Moment of Craving, but does having a Bombard in your pool sway the pick towards the red card? I don’t believe so. Goblin Trailblazer hasn’t performed so well in this format given how punishing one-toughness can be combined with the fact that red aggressive decks struggle. I’ll happily take Moment of Craving here.