Pack 1, Pick 3
The Picks So Far:
Vine Mare is an obnoxious card, and I’m ecstatic to start a draft with it. A 5/3 is above rate for a four-drop, and hexproof isn’t particularly fair. To top it all off, 40% of color-combinations are black, so a reasonable portion of the time your opponent can’t necessarily plan to block it. I’m going to try pretty hard to stay green in order to maximize the chance to play an unfair card, but if the color isn’t open, I will back off. It’s no A+ level bomb where I’m almost never moving off it, but the card is great.
Druid of the Cowl is a very solid green common, and playing Vine Mare on turn three is certainly a solid plan for winning a game of Magic: the Gathering. So regardless of the decision in this pack, there’s a solid pick in the color I’m already in. That being said, Druid of the Cowl isn’t anything particularly special. The card is quite good, but that’s it, and hopefully we can do a little bit better.
Ajani’s Pridemate is a powerful card with maximizable synergies. It’s definitely at its best in W/B, given that that archetype is all about the life gain. However, as a bear with potential upside, it’s likely solid in W/G and it’s possible that I shouldn’t even be green to begin with, but I think I would take Druid of the Cowl over the Pridemate given already having the Vine Mare.
Suspicious Bookcase is quite the difficult card to evaluate, but I expect it will be reasonable. It’s a colorless creature and hence, can make any deck. But moreso, fills an important role as a blocker early and the role of a threat (assuming you have another creature that can attack) later on. Its importance will depend on the probability of battlefield stalls and the value of blocking. I wouldn’t be surprised if the card is a D-level card, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was a B-level card in the right context either. I still don’t think it beats the Druid.
So, the last decision is between Druid of the Cowl and Aether Tunnel. And it doesn’t take much thinking to understand that Aether Tunnel with Vine Mare is absolutely disgusting. I’m unsure how good auras will be in this format, in general, but Aether Tunnel is a powerful and uninteractive variant of auras, and with a hexproof threat, I think it should be the pick here.
Pack 1, Pick 4
The Picks So Far:
This pack doesn’t have any good non-blue-or-green options, since Fiery Finish is just too inefficient. So, staying on the U/G train, the pick is between Dryad Greenseeker and Totally Lost, which are too very different cards. The questions is this: Which card is more likely to be the optimal combination of powerful and necessary, given the deck at the end of the draft? Totally Lost can fill the role of interaction, while Dryad Greenseeker can fill the role of an early play that is also reasonable later in the game.
In general, I like to take the early play over a five-mana-spell. There’s rarely a time where you have too many early plays, and so the ones that scale well into the lategame are often premium. Now I’m expecting Totally Lost to be a solid interactive spell, but Dryad Greenseeker looks good and is cheaper, so without a deep understanding of the format, I think it’s what I would take. And it also helps that it’s reasonable to splash Aether Tunnel and still be a base green deck, while splashing Vine Mare isn’t a particularly good idea.
This draft was fairly interesting, and I think brings up a very important question that we will need to answer as soon as we can: Will auras be good in Core Set 2019 Draft? They won’t all be, but sometimes formats are hostile to them and other times they aren’t. We’ll have to wait and see this starting this weekend!