This week I have another walkthrough for you guys.
I attempted to use DraftCap again, and got it working right (the problem was likely that I was running too many other applications in addition to it, and it made my computer freeze). Since I didn’t have time to do more drafts this week, I’m just going to do this one Old School again, and I promise for my next walkthrough I’ll have the DraftCap working right. I apologize, as I know a lot of you want me to use DraftCap… I just don’t have the extra time this week to get more drafting in before submitting this article.
When deciding to use this draft I had two others that I did this week, and this one seemed to be the most interesting by far. This is from an 8-4 Queue on Magic Online.
Lorwyn Pack 1
Cloudcrown Oak, Oblivion Ring, Wanderer’s Twig, Hornet Harasser, Axegrinder Giant, Woodland Changeling, Kithkin Greatheart, Fire-Belly Changeling, Elvish Branchbender, Amoeboid Changeling, Kinsbaile Skirmisher, Kithkin Mourncaller, Vivid Meadow, Tar Pitcher, Sunrise Sovereign
This is an interesting pack to start out a draft with because there are two cards with very different things going for them. On one hand, there is the conventional and all-round good pick in Oblivion Ring that will always make the cut and is easily splashable. On the other we have Sunrise Sovereign, who is excellent in most decks that can cast him and a complete bomb in Giants.
If you polled a bunch of pros, I think you would get votes for both sides of the coin on this pick, but the majority would probably take the Ring as it lacks any form of commitment. I tend to agree, but on this particular day I was in a mood to draft some Giants (or possibly just a bunch of Changelings with Sovereign, even on the splash if need be) and took the 5/5.
Pick: Sunrise Sovereign
Mulldrifter, Weed Strangle, Mudbutton Torchrunner, Woodland Changeling, Springleaf Drum, Kithkin Healer, Footbottom Feast, Shields of Velis Vel, Mournwhelk, Springjack Knight, Sylvan Echoes, Flamekin Bladewhirl, Changeling Titan
If I recall correctly, the last time I even dabbled with the idea of taking anything over an early pick Mulldrifter I was completely attacked in the forums. Since I don’t want to stir up that kind of commotion again, I’m just going to take it here and not even talk about the other stuff in the pack.
Okay, I was just kidding… I am going to make a few comments. First off, I think I like UR as an archetype better than the average player, as I think there is a lot of synergy between quick Elementals and Fliers in terms of an aggressive strategy. Mulldrifter is obviously fine to just splash as well, and the only thing that could possibly even compete here is Changeling Titan since GR is a pretty strong archetype. In fact, thinking more about it I really wouldn’t hate someone taking the Titan here as it really does win games. This is a pick where if you think you are one of the weaker players in the draft you should just take the 7/7 and hope to smash someone before they can outplay you or get their better cards online.
Another thing I noticed with this pack is that DraftCap only recorded 13 cards for some reason from this pack, and one card was left as an asterisk. I’m not sure what to do about that exactly except mention it, and also that I know it wasn’t a good card.
Aethersnipe, Quill-Slinger Boggart, Surge of Thoughtweft, Cloudcrown Oak, Tarfire, Wanderer’s Twig, Needle Drop, Soaring Hope, Elvish Branchbender, Wellgabber Apothecary, Aquitect’s Will, Giant Harbinger, Scattering Stroke
I’m sure the majority of you would look at this pack and say “What? Third pick Tarfire? Slam it, move on.”
That was my first instinct as well until, I delved a bit deeper. In all honesty, Tarfire is probably the best pick from this pack. I decided to take yet another road less travelled though and bolster my first pick with a spicy Giant Harbinger to search it up. Maybe I was being a bit too optimistic about my chances to get into Giants, and it’s certainly risky to start a draft like this, but it’s also not the worst thing ever to experiment and see where it takes you.
Pick: Giant Harbinger
Tarfire, Herbal Poultice, Kithkin Greatheart, Oakgnarl Warrior, Hornet Harasser, Shimmering Grotto, Lace with Moonglove, Blind-Spot Giant, Lys Alana Scarblade, Crush Underfoot, Ashling’s Prerogative, Plains
It seems that Magic Online supports my small-child Giant plan and wants me to get there. Sure, I’d have two Tarfires now, but I think I’d rather have one Tarfire and one Harbinger in this deck. There’s also a Crush Underfoot that hopefully will table.
Deeptread Merrow, Goldmeadow Harrier, Fistful of Force, Soulbright Flamekin, Glimmerdust Nap, Exiled Boggart, Ponder, Heal the Scars, Skeletal Changeling, Shields of Velis Vel, Scattering Stroke
I think that taking Soulbright Flamekin from this pack would be pretty bad, because the only non-Red card I’ve drafted is very splashable. Giants is much better with an RW base anyway if you want to truly benefit from Morningtide, and the late Harrier is a good sign that White is pretty open.
Pick: Goldmeadow Harrier
Not too much interesting here except for a good blocker in the Torchrunner. So far the packs are faring better for my Red path than a UW path that I believe most good drafters would follow here. Again, I’m not saying this is better in general, but it’s another direction you can take with these picks.
Pick: Mudbutton Torchrunner
Soulbright Flamekin, Kithkin Daggerdare, Surge of Thoughtweft, Protective Bubble, Ingot Chewer, Spring Cleaning, Exiled Boggart, Forge[/author]-Tender”]Burrenton [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]-Tender
I suppose I’ll take the Soulbright now when there’s no tapper to take over it.
Pick: Soulbright Flamekin
So far so good as I’m very happy with a late Axegrinder. The card I’m really on the lookout for in pack 2 is Stinkdrinker Daredevil, if that wasn’t obvious already. Of course, I want as many Giants as I can get my hands on as well.
Pick: Axegrinder Giant
Initially I planned on doing all of the picks for this walkthrough since I had DraftCapped it. Since the pictures didn’t end up working right this time, I’m just going to follow my usual format and give a summary of the lap back.
Lorwyn Pack 2
Peppersmoke, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Consuming Bonfire, Wispmare, Stonybrook Angler, Thieving Sprite, Gilt-Leaf Ambush, Wings of Velis Vel, Caterwauling Boggart, Goldmeadow Dodger, Faerie Trickery, Wizened Cenn, Final Revels, Summon the School, Wild Ricochet
This is one of those packs where I just had no idea what to do at first. I’m sure you know the feeling of having settled into a specific color scheme or archetype and then opening a pack that makes you completely rethink what you’re doing.
One thing that I was sure of was that I really didn’t want to be taking Consuming Bonfire from this pack first, as it’s not that great and my deck is already very slow. My considerations then were shifted to what exactly my deck was trying to do. The first thing I realized is that I don’t really have that many White cards and the only one that is particularly good is the tapper. I considered Wizened Cenn for a bit, as a lot of the Kithkin also play well with Giants. It’s possible that Cenn could be the pick here, but I instead decided to take my chances with a card that could entirely reshape my plan: Final Revels.
Not only does Revels not kill my big Giants, it is a great defense against fliers or getting swarmed before my big guys can get online. Since I already had Mulldrifter to splash I wasn’t sure in what direction my deck would go, but that could be determined in the coming packs. I figured I could either end up RWb, RUb, or possibly even double splash. It’s worth noting too that if I was UW I would’ve opened a Summon the School here. Whatever the case, I think Revels is the best pick here and it gives plenty of options for the remainder of the draft.
Pick: Final Revels
Stinkdrinker Daredevil, Dreamspoiler Witches, Battlewand Oak, Oaken Brawler, Hurly-Burly, Giant’s Ire, Dawnfluke, Spellstutter Sprite, Black Poplar Shaman, Elvish Eulogist, Wren’s Run Vanquisher, Flamekin Spitfire, Woodland Guidance, Forced Fruition
If this pack demonstrates anything it’s that you really need to pick Stinkdrinker aggressively when you’re in the archetype. There isn’t anything super exciting in this pack besides possibly the Spitfire, but the Stinkdrinker is an absolute slam at this point with Harbinger, Sovereign, and two Axegrinders. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can table this because it really isn’t worth the risk and you do need it that much.
Pick: Stinkdrinker Daredevil
Paperfin Rascal, Nath’s Elite, Boggart Sprite-Chaser, Oaken Brawler, Stonybrook Angler, Cenn’s Heir, Ringskipper, Black Poplar Shaman, Shimmering Grotto, Marsh Flitter, Jagged-Scar Archers, Merrow Commerce, Spinerock Knoll
I decided to bolster the Final Revels pick with another card that is easily splashable in Marsh Flitter. At this point I was also flirting with the idea of going RBu which I hadn’t considered as a possibility earlier.
Pick: Marsh Flitter
Paperfin Rascal, Dreamspoiler Witches, Runed Stalactite, Nath’s Elite, Sentinels of Glen Elendra, Nath’s Buffoon, Faultgrinder, Rootgrapple, Goldmeadow Dodger, Vivid Marsh, Final Revels, Vivid Meadow
At this point I asked in the chat “This is 8-4, right?” I got two yes responses to this question, so I really have no clue how this happened.
Revels should really never go this late, as anybody can splash it and it has gained a ton of value with Morningtide in the mix as the format is extremely aggressive nowadays. It was excellent in LLL, and I think it’s now one of the best cards to have in LLM because few people even play around it in my experience, unless they see that you have it beforehand.
As far as this deck goes, I’m obviously playing Black in some form now with three good cards. Whether it becomes a main color or remains a big splash option is yet to be determined.
Pick: Final Revels
Did I mention that Stinkbot McGee here lives through Final Revels? I’d say my plan is coming together pretty well for making a slightly suboptimal first pick. Granted this won’t always happen, but it’s nice to try out new things and see how it turns out.
Pick: Stinkdrinker Daredevil
I had the Winnower highlighted for this pick until I thought about it a little more and realized it made no sense. Seriously, how much trouble am I gonna have on the ground with Axegrinder Giants coming out on turn 4, with Stinkdrinkers helping to block? Not much. I’d rather have a way to deal with annoying utility guys like Silvergill Douser or Goldmeadow Harrier, and Peppersmoke is just fine for this. Obviously I’ve decided I’m likely RBu at this point, and I’ve just ditched the few White cards I picked. This isn’t really any kind of loss as the White hasn’t been coming (probably because I shipped O. Ring).
Again, I almost took the Winnower here before realizing that I could actually support Boggart Mob with Stinkdrinkers and Marsh Flitter tokens. While I’ve never drafted a Giant deck like this it seemed like it would work well in theory, as the Stinkdrinkers don’t really do much once you’ve emptied your hand and they might as well go hide under the Mob.
Pick: Boggart Mob
This pick can go a few different ways. Honestly, I could see arguments for Bonfire and Harbinger given how my draft has gone so far. I figured Harbinger was just better than Bonfire, as it can fetch Tarfire and can also allow for a turn 4 Boggart Mob that allows you to search again if it dies. I can also go find Stinkdrinker if my hand is light on mana, which is definitely something worth considering as Stinkdrinker effectively counts as two lands.
The more that I think about it, the Harbinger is the only pick here. Bonfire is just a slower card without as many options. I’m far too lazy to go back and delete that previous paragraph, so you can feel like you were in my head for this pick as I typed out my entire thought process for it.
Pick: Boggart Harbinger
On the way back round I picked up Caterwauling Boggart, Giant’s ire, Shimmering Grotto, Vivid Marsh, and Hearthcage Giant. Quite the selection, and the Marsh even helps me splash Mulldrifter for free. With two Stinkdrinkers I also had every intention of playing the Hearthcage at this point, since I can search it up when I’m ready to cast it.
War-Spike Changeling, Ambassador Oak, Kithkin Zephyrnaut, Moonglove Changeling, Shard Volley, Changeling Sentinel, Latchkey Faerie, Prickly Boggart, Hostile Realm, Everbark Shaman, Pulling Teeth, Spitebellows, Orchard Warden, Veteran’s Armaments, Mutavault
I was running very hot on this particular day, as I was stacking fools repeatedly in poker and opening Mutavaults in decks that didn’t really need any help. It’s even sicker that the ‘Vault is worth something like fifteen tix online. It’s possible that Spitebellows would be a better pick in a live draft where you’re not concerned with getting the most value possible, but the ‘Vault is a very good card and also worth a lot so it’s the obvious choice.
Burrenton Bombardier, Distant Melody, Order of the Golden Cricket, Sunflare Shaman, Weed-Pruner Poplar, Deglamer, Forfend, Floodchaser, Kindled Fury, Thornbite Staff, Walker of the Grove, Graceful Reprieve, Roar of the Crowd
I hate to pass a Bombardier, but the Black options are just better in this draft. Weed-Pruner is a nice compliment to double Final Revels, also allowing me to take out an X/3 if I get the Treefolk out first. The Poplar also lives through Revels, which is yet another reason to take him here. I did consider Thornbite Staff, but it seems like I’ll be using most of my mana every turn and Poplar does a similar thing for free while also being able to attack. If the Staff was instead an Obsidian Battle-Axe, I’d certainly take the Axe without much thought.
Pick: Weed-Pruner Poplar
Final-Sting Faerie, Latchkey Faerie, Lunk Errant, Order of the Golden Cricket, Disperse, Morsel Theft, Stingmoggie, Lys Alana Bowmaster, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Negate, Nevermaker, Noggin Whack, Walker of the Grove
Final-Sting Faerie didn’t seem like it did too much in this deck, so I decided to take another card to possibly splash with Mulldrifter in Nevermaker. The nice thing is that he lives through Revels as well, and can also just be used as a spell by Evoking. I wasn’t sure yet if he’d make the cut, but it’s nice to have a bounce option in your sideboard if not.
Dewdrop Spy, Reins of the Vinesteed, Pack’s Disdain, Sunflare Shaman, Moonglove Changeling, Kindled Fury, Bosk Banneret, Stonybrook Schoolmaster, Mothdust Changeling, Pulling Teeth, Sage’s Dousing, Warren Weirding
As I’ve said previously, I haven’t had good results with Warren Weirding and find it to be pretty mediocre overall in this format. There are just too many Changelings now, and at best it kills their worst man. I’m perfectly happy taking Moonglove Changeling here, as it will be on the cheap a lot of the time in a deck with two Stinkbots.
As a side note, a friend of mine was bragging to me the other day about an MMM draft he did where he had three Thornbite Staffs and five Moonglove Changelings. If you haven’t had the pleasure of giving Deathtouch and shooting down someone’s whole team in a single turn, I seriously urge you to try to do so as it’s pretty exhilarating.
Pick: Moonglove Changeling
When this pack popped up on the screen my roommate was like “Woah, what does that 8/8 Giant do?” I laughed, as there was no chance I was ever playing that card in a maindeck, let alone taking it from a pack where there was a great card for me in Brighthearth Banneret. I’ve talked about how great this card is in pretty much every article I’ve done since the release of Morningtide, and he’s a perfect fit for this deck. Three mana Axegrinder anyone?
Pick: Brighthearth Banneret
I think most of you would probably take Shard Volley here. I also think it’s wrong in this deck because the deck is very mana-hungry. You could argue that with two Stinkdrinkers and a Banneret this likely won’t be an issue. This is true to an extent, but the Firebrand can win games out of nowhere and there are plenty of Warriors in my deck to power it up.
Pick: Vengeful Firebrand
Apparently, the theme of this draft is that if I pass on a removal spell I immediately get another shot at it in the next pack. This time I am taking the Shard Volley, and I will plan on playing it. If you took Shard Volley last pick I think you should take Release the Ants or Festercreep here, though Festercreep isn’t nearly as useful in this deck with double Revels. In most situations, if I’m BR with no Revels I want ‘Creep here every time.
Pick: Shard Volley
Wow. What a sweet pick to round out the deck. What can I say except the cards really went my way in this draft, and sometimes it pays off to take an unconventional path.
Pick: Brighthearth Banneret
The deck itself was pretty tough to build because of the high number of playables I drafted. Here’s how I decided to build it, followed by some comments on the choices.
2 Brighthearth Banneret
2 Stinkdrinker Daredevil
2 Final Revels
2 Axegrinder Giant
First, the Soulbright Flamekins didn’t make the cut because I have four other ways to accelerate out the big Giants. Sovereign also gives Trample and can be tutored up. I almost always want one Soulbright, but they do die to Revels so this deck was a bit of an exception. Lunk Errant is just outclassed by the other big Giants in this deck, though I still wanted to play him because he’s been great for me so far in LLM. Peppersmoke ended up being better as a sideboard option in this deck. Finally, the mana was easier if I only splashed Mulldrifter rather than try to get Nevermaker in the deck.
Overall I was very happy with how the deck turned out, and also happy that I took an alternate path by taking Sovereign first. I realize I may be making a bigger deal about this than seems necessary, but the point is that one of the biggest rules in this format is to avoid committing to a tribe until you can get a feel for how the draft is going. Instead of taking a card that would fit well in any deck, I dove right in and committed with my first pick (though it is less of a commitment than something like Drowner of Secrets or Wizened Cenn, because it works well with Changelings and is easily splashable since it’s expensive). In general you should avoid making these commitment picks until you have a better idea of how things are going to go, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to experiment, and hopefully this draft gave you an idea of how to shift gears and change plans in the face of packs that don’t fit your initial goals.
In round 1 my opponent played out a bunch of Merfolk and then complained incessantly when I five for oned him with Final Revels. He mounted a small form of a comeback before being crushed by Sovereign and Axegrinder. In game 2 he mulliganed and kept a one-lander on the play before again complaining more, and then disconnecting and making me wait until he timed out.
Round 2 was a bit more of a match, though I started with an explosive draw of turn 4 and 5 Axegrinder Giants. My opponent had some big guys of his own, but unfortunately for him he stalled at four lands and had to trade off his Chameleon Colossus straight up without waiting for pump mana. Eventually I unloaded Hearthcage Giant and pushed through the final points with the help of the pump ability. Game 2 I got crushed by my opponent’s opening of Bramblewood Paragon, Imperious Perfect, Chameleon Colossus, and I was starting to wonder if maybe I should’ve taken that second Tarfire over Harbinger. Game 3 my deck got its act back together, and I started with Brighthearth Banneret, Vengeful Firebrand, and then killed both of his guys before swinging in for some damage. We traded guys for a bit before I reloaded with Mulldrifter and eventually just won the war of attrition as he was having trouble with my bigger guys. Giant Harbinger for Sunrise Sovereign invoked a concession when my opponent drew a land on his turn.
Normally I prefer to play out the finals when I do a walkthrough, but my opponent was Eivind Nitter who had beaten me in round 2 of my previous draft, and my girlfriend was also bugging me to go out to dinner. I think this deck would’ve had a solid chance in the finals, though in the previous draft I thought my deck was amazing, and Nitter had one of the best Merfolk decks I’ve seen in LLM… multiple Mothdust Changeling, Judge of Currents, Stonybrook Schoolmasters, and the Summon the School that I opened in pack 2.
Sorry again about the DraftCap not coming through for this week, but at least I now know I have it working on my computer, and I plan on using it in the future now that all of the settings are configured properly. Hopefully this draft provided a unique perspective on the format, since I don’t think BR Giants is a very common archetype to be drafting. See you in the forums!