The color Green in Limited has always been known for two things. Creatures and manafixing. Today we’ll be concentrating on the second aspect of the color since I could sit here and tell you that Craw Wurm is a 6/4 for 4GG all day and we wouldn’t get anywhere.
In the past, playing four or five colors in a forty card deck usually meant that you had a base color of Green so that you could find the mana of your splash colors. Invasion block and Urza’s block stand out in my mind specifically, since this strategy was not only viable, but also one of the defining archetypes of the format.
The times have changed, however, and here we are smack dab in the middle of triple Mirrodin Limited. While the above statement remains true, as Green’s common list contains Journey of Discovery, a new race of dorks has arrived to give every color the opportunity to splash: The Myr.
Picking up off-color Myr early on can help you later in the draft, since you’re more likely to take and splash that Terror, Deconstruct, or Arrest. Consequently, once you have a potential splash, you should be searching for the relevant Myr, since it goes a long way to improving your mana base as well as improving the overall speed of your deck. To put it in simple terms, I’d rather have all of my Myr be of the color of my splash and keep the great majority of my lands for my main colors, since most of the splash cards are still good if they come online late in the game. Having lots of lands in the splash color can screw you early on. This fact alone should make you want to draft Myr for your splash color above a good number of other playables late in the draft.
Many people have asked me how often I splash in this format, and my answer has always been the same: A Lot. Let’s examine the different situations that make splashing worthwhile in this artifact filled environment.
One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen people make recently is not taking and splashing the colored bomb uncommons in this format.
We’ll first talk about the big three before moving down the list to talk about the more splashable commons.
Grab the Reins
This one is really beyond me. People open up their third pack and find themselves already solidified in two other colors with a Grab staring back at them. Most people will simply pick an inferior card and ship the bomb along. I’m here to tell you that this is simply wrong in most of these cases and you should always be taking this card with the intent of splashing it.
The biggest argument against my idea here is that it costs two Red mana to get Grab fully online. Hate to tell you, but the card is still excellent even when you can only find one Mountain, it just requires you to be more creative in finding the best way to abuse it.
Bottom line, you should always be willing to splash this bad boy.
Crystal Shard and Betrayal of Flesh
I’ve said it time and again, but apparently people don’t listen since I’m still getting Betrayal fourth pick in drafts. The same type of logic goes for the Shard, except that it’s even easier to splash considering you can activate it for three colorless mana.
Despite what seems to be a clear cut case here to me, I’ve received both cards much later than I should have. This format is arguably the most forgiving in years to splash additional colors, and yet I’m still getting some of the best uncommons in the set for my fourth or fifth pick.
I’d go as far as to say I’m looking for a good reason to splash in every draft. Both of these cards are more than what I’m looking for.
I’ll always splash for Flametongue Kavu, and this guy is almost as good as the big FTK. He’s especially good to splash in a Blue deck, since you’ll have access to Aether Spellbombs and Regress and be able to really abuse the Comes-Into-Play ability.
Coming Back down to Earth..
Since we’re not going to be given opportunities to splash these bomb uncommons in every draft, let’s look closer at the commons that you should keep an eye out for even when you’re not in the relevant color already.
These two are splashable in just about every deck, but they are clearly at their best in a White or Black deck, since those colors lack sufficient means to stop an Artifact threat. Some people would consider it to be almost a hate draft to take a Shatter when you’re not in Red, but I’d tend to disagree. If I see a late Shatter, typically I’ll then go searching for one or two more splash cards (Pyrite Spellbomb and Electrostatic Bolt come to mind) and also for Iron Myr.
I’d like to say at this point also that I’m not a huge fan of the Talismans. This is simply because of the presence of so many powerful non-creature spells. Equipment in particular tends to take up spell slots, as does the usual removal and tricks, and usually there just isn’t room for mana fixers in the spell slots. Since the Myr double as creatures, however, I will always be happy to put my mana acceleration in those spaces.
These two are especially potent in a deck like U/R since it has trouble dealing with Fangren Hunters and the like. Since this is true, I often find myself taking Leaden Myr in pack one with the anticipation of splashing a Terror or Betrayal later in the draft.
Sometimes I will also find myself splashing for Neurok Spy or Somber Hoverguard if I’m lacking evasion, or for Skyhunter Cub or Leonin Den-Guard if I have lots of Equipment. The other creature I like splashing in most of my decks is Tel-Jilad Archer simply because it’s a great inclusion to almost any deck.
Splashing by Archetypes?
In any Green build, your splash considerations should be either Removal, or a way to get your big creatures through for damage. Let’s deal with the latter first, as I have a perfect candidate in mind to talk about.
The number one splash card for any Green deck is Blinding Beam. It’s not even close, and I’ll gladly scoop up multiples. I would rather have Blinding Beam as a splash in any of my Green decks than in my main color in a White deck. What I’m saying here is that I’d rather have a Beam in my G/R deck than have one in my W/R deck. This is exactly the card any deck with lots of huge creatures is looking for as it will just end the game most of the time when you cast it.
While this may sound weird, I’ve had lots of success splashing Predator’s Strikes into my U/W decks since no one really expects it. While I’m not sure if there is any validity to this claim in general, it has personally won me a number of drafts and I figured it was at least worth mentioning here.
As I mentioned before, any deck with Black as it’s base color is really dying for some splashed Artifact kill. Shatter and Deconstruct do the job in a pinch here, and should be drafted accordingly.
Some Final Notes
Splashing doesn’t require playing additional lands really, and as a whole I’ll stick to sixteen land, even when I’m running as many as four colors. It also shouldn’t change the way you play, as you should still be choosing to Play most of the time unless you would draw anyway in a control matchup.
Soooooo & ThatsGameBoys on MODO