The considerations here are Victim, Cultist, Torch, and Claustrophobia. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge proponent of taking a weaker card to “keep my options open,” but the Torch is actually close enough in power to the others to keep it in contention. It’s good at turning Werewolves off for a crucial turn, plus the evasion it grants is actually relevant. On the other hand, it can be annoying to make a perfectly good attacker sit out of combat for a turn, and I’ve seen several decks where there just aren’t enough creatures to equip this to early enough in the game for it to be worthwhile. Claustrophobia and Victim are about a tie considering their various drawbacks (You can bounce or Silverchase the creature! It can’t target Stitched Drake or Villagers of Estwald!), but of the two, I should have given the nod to Claustrophobia, as MTGOers aren’t currently giving the flashback bounce spells or Sensory Deprivation enough credit, making blue a particularly attractive color to be in.
That said, I think the pick ultimately should have been Skirsdag Cultist. Sure, it’s a little slow and more unwieldy than your typical one-shot removal; but it has nice synergy with morbid and death trigger stuff like Pitchburn Devils, and sometimes you’ll run into a deck that just can’t beat it.
The best mono-blue card in the set. An easy pick.
And here I would have been “rewarded” for taking the right card first, but it’s still the only real pick. Taking Armored Skaab to stay “on-color” would be pretty fatuous.
Side question: Have you ever watched a video draft walkthrough where someone looks at packs like the last couple, sees basically no black cards, and says “geez, black must be getting cut?” It’s just too early to make that diagnosis, you giant buffoons. I mean it’s not like every pack has exactly 2.2 cards of each color, plus the rare was missing out of both packs. (I just noticed that I’m using “a lot of quotes.” Even though I think they’ve all been “appropriate,” I’m going to make a “conscious effort” to cut back now.)
I think Deprivation is better than Corpse Lunge in blue/black, even considering blue’s milling effects. Blue/black decks generally want to bury opponents with card advantage and later-game monsters, but to do that, they must first survive opponents’ initial onslaughts. Turn 1 pass, turn 2 Think Twice, turn 3 flash it back isn’t always going to be a viable line. Also, even in blue/black, Corpse Lunge won’t always do what you want in a timely fashion, and it can be a struggle to kill something with three or more toughness. It’s still reasonable removal; it just loses to Sensory Deprivation heads-up. This is not to mention that I’m more committed to blue than to black at the moment, as second picks carry some small amount of signal weight, and my blue card is better than my black anyway.
As a creature with huge variance depending on when you draw it, Stromkirk Noble isn’t generally my kind of card. Given that people might overvalue it because it’s rare and/or rare-draft it and then be more inclined to draft red because of it, though, its presence in the pack might well be a sign that red is open. I could understand taking the Interloper here, but I’ve found it to be underwhelming in decks that aren’t all-out aggressive.
At present, I consider Curse of the Nightly Hunt to be a rather strong sideboard option. I don’t like maindecking it because it’s important to see how a matchup plays out before spending a slot on it.
I don’t like Think Twice, as it sucks up a lot of mana to do virtually nothing, but it’s more likely I’ll play one of those than a second Mr. Krabs.
Heck of a pack. Fortunately, Isolated Chapel isn’t worth much on MTGO right now, so I didn’t feel compelled to take it and brave the ire of the noble forum-posters who question whether the integrity of the whole draft has been compromised.
WOW, LOOKS LIKE GREEN IS REEEAAALLLYYY OPEN!
Morkrut Banshee is the best card in the pack, and the best non-black card is Galvanic Juggernaut. I wish I could have taken it, but my curve was too high. Juggernaut is sufficiently better than Ashmouth Hound that there’s an argument for taking the better card and trying to sort out the curve later, but it’s just not that easy to get reasonable two-drops in red/blue.
Assuming the sentiment I picked up on from the earliest set reviews is still true, Skaab Goliath is quite overrated. Even with Armored Skaabs, it can be tricky to fill your graveyard with creatures, especially since you often have to go out of your way to cram enough creatures into blue-based decks. There’s also competition for the graveyard as a resource from cards like Stitched Drake, Harvest Pyre, etc. It’s pretty resilient, but it doesn’t hit that hard for something you had to jump through hoops for…and if your opponent Silent Departures it, I hope there aren’t any sharp objects lying around. I’ll play Goliath, but I don’t give it high priority. Here, of course, if I thought four mana was too much for my current needs, obviously six mana was too much.
This isn’t the place for Hauberk, but I’ve quickly grown to respect it as both a morbid enabler and part of the famous Elder Cathar/Doomed Traveler + Thraben Sentry + Demonmail Hauberk life-ruining mondo-combo.
You’ll be seeing a lot of Rotting Fensnake in the weeks to come. It’s a relevant creature type, and it’s yet another good way to get morbid, unless of course they’d rather just take the 5.
While I’m ambivalent about Stromkirk Noble, I outright despise the Neonate. Considering the two Stitched Drakes and two Civilized Scholars, though, she will actually be a begrudgingly welcome addition to the deck.
There can be some awkwardness with Sturmgeist and the natural emptying of one’s hand, but I still think it’s more powerful than Cultist.
I thought it was too clumsy at first, but once someone spelled out to me that it was a functional reprint of Plague Spores, I moved it up in my orders accordingly. It’s not as good as Brimstone Volley, of course; I suppose it’s about on par with Harvest Pyre.
Sensory Deprivation is better than Ironsmith in a vacuum, and I don’t think my deck is quite aggressive enough to take the weaker card. Additionally, my deck is pretty close to mono-dude dudes, so I wanted some more non-creatures to give my deck more play.
This probably should have been another Neonate. I’d just picked a second Sensory Deprivation, and I guess because Deprivation is typically a control card and Neonate is typically an aggressive card, my thought was that Neonate wouldn’t mesh as well. My deck didn’t exactly need a vanilla four-drop either, but I could have used another early play. I suppose my natural hatred for Neonate blinded me, but ultimately, this was a marginal pick; Vampire-curve nut draws aside, I wouldn’t be that thrilled to have a second copy of either in my deck.
I’m pretty optimistic about Spectral Flight. It turns most creatures into a pretty unforgiving clock; if your opponent doesn’t have a removal spell in a one-turn window, he/she will probably be in pretty rough shape.
This shouldn’t still be here.
2 Stitched Drake
2 Civilized Scholar
2 Tormented Pariah
Murder of Crows
I included Occultist to give my Drakes a little extra help, but that was probably unnecessary. I probably should have just maindecked the Scourge of Geier Reach instead. If I had made that swapâ€”even if I hadn’t, reallyâ€”perhaps a Tormented Pariah could have become a Kessig Wolf. I generally favor Kessig Wolf over even the first Pariah anyway, but at the time I thought the deck needed the extra punch of a potential 6/4.
I knew I wanted to play a flight-granter, but I figured two would be a little awkward. (As it turned out, I boarded up to both every round.) In general, assuming I want to play one of the two at all, I prefer Spectral Flight in more aggressive decks and Cobbled Wings in slower decks where my enchanted/equipped creatures may need to deal the full 20 by themselves.
ROUND ONE vs. BLUE/RED
Game 1: On the play, I kept four lands, Scholar, Heron, and Occultist. My next seven draws were six lands and Ironfang, so his Geistflame on my Scholar pretty much sealed it. Other relevant cards he played included Skirsdag Cultist, Rage Thrower, and Pitchburn Devils. Even though he was blue, his flying seemed a little lacking, so I boarded in Spectral Flight. His deck didn’t seem too aggressive and might have contained another Skirsdag Cultist, so I took out Sensory Deprivation. I also swapped a Tormented Pariah for the Scourge of Geier Reach.
Game 2: I curved Neonate into Rakish Heir, but my opponent had Brimstone Volley to keep the Neonate from getting out of control. Over the next few turns, while a Stitched Drake went to work on his life total, he blocked my flipped Civilized Scholar with a sick Cultist, and I traded Ashmouth and Occultist for Galvanic Juggernaut. With Sturmgeist and Moon Heron in hand, I felt pretty good about my chances, but he used Harvest Pyre and both halves of Devil’s Play to kill them all. I ripped another Stitched Drake, and he answered RIGHT back with Riot Devils and Armored Skaab. He attacked those into my freshly cast Crab, giving aforementioned crustacean the opportunity to claw him down to a life total that was divisible by three. The Drake got bounced in there, but it came back down and swung for the win.
Game 3: I mulled a no-lander into two Mountains, Crab, Village Ironsmith, and two Stitched Drakes. I obviously wasn’t thrilled, but I figured my Drakes were the best cards against him, so I’d have a better shot at drawing two Islands than winning from a double mulligan. I stalled on lands for a couple turns, but my opponent stalled for a turn as well; somehow he didn’t have removal for Ironfang, which bought me a lot of time. The board stalled out with my Crab, Scourge, Scholar, Ironsmith (flipped back over, I think), and 1/1 Stromkirk Noble facing down his very impressive squad of Riot Devils, two Stitcher’s Apprentice, Feral Ridgewolf, Crossway Vampire, and Armored Skaab. And then…
ROUND TWO vs. U/B/r
Game 1: While he was Thinking Twice and playing a Stitcher’s Apprentice, I was attacking with a Winged Rakish Heir and a Moon Heron. He managed a Curse of Death’s Hold, but he couldn’t even muster anything to kill or block the 2/1 Heron, let alone the Heir.
Since I’d be on the draw against a Curse of Death’s Hold, I boarded out the Neonate. Once again, my opponent’s blue deck didn’t have much in the way of flying, so in came Spectral Flight. Scourge of Geier Reach replaced the unimpressive Selhoff Occultist.
Game 2: He played a couple of Moats in Bitterheart Witch and Creepy Doll, but he was again having difficulties with my fliers even after sacrificing the Witch to Altar’s Reap to get his Curse. On turn 10, he had ten lands in play, and after a flurry of Forbidden Alchemies and Think Twices, he finally found a Murder of Crows to hold off my fliers…with five cards left in his deck. I eventually found out that he had two Back from the Brinks (which seemed underwhelming in his deck) and that his splash was for Heretic’s Punishment. I drew into my Ms. Murder and a Cobbled Wings to kill him, but he’d have been unable to beat me with damage before he ran out of cards.
ROUND THREE vs. G/W
Game 1: My opening hand was five lands, Ashmouth Hound, Moon Heron. This is an acceptable but disappointing keep on the play, but I think pretty close to a universal mulligan on the draw. I was on the draw. I kept. I got the beating I deserved.
Game 2: After various creature trades, we were both essentially empty-handed with life totals in the lower teens, with my Ashmouth Hound staring across at a tapper…and a Gavony Township. I drew Civilized Scholar and Stitched Drake, but he had Smite the Monstrous and Bonds of Faith for those. An Avacyn’s Pilgrim was enough of a supplement to his board to finish me off pretty easily.