My life, of late, can only be described as surreal. I am sure no one wants me to go into the gory details, but trust me when I say I can’t imagine a more hectic, stressful, fast-paced life than has been put before me recently.
I went to Venice thinking that I needed a top 48 to qualify for The Masters. I fell significantly short of this goal. I came home to the shocking realization that I only needed a top 128 for masters. I didn’t throw it away, like dropping before I was out of 128 contention… But it still hurts to know exactly how close I was. If anyone is looking to be a nice guy, you can feel free to kill or turn in for cheating anyone who has 34 PT points or more. I need two of them gone – or one and Christophe Haim.
There was also the interesting team issue that arose, which I believe will be featured on The Sideboard at some point in the future.
In any case, none of this is why you clicked the link to this article. You want to know what I think about drafting Blue/White in Onslaught-Onslaught-Legions booster draft.
Madness is the only word that could have described drafting Blue/White in a triple-Onslaught environment; Sparksmiths and Wellwishers decimated this deck. So what changed exactly? For one thing, there are two-thirds of the packs to crack those two bad boys. In addition, Wellwisher is a far smaller threat, as Blue/White now has the capability of coming out so fast that tiny elf can be ignored. Sure, you will still lose most games to the insane Sparksmith draw – but honestly, who won’t? White did get a weapon against this card, a powerful multipurpose weapon.
Deftblade Elite, at first glance, is merely passable. But once you become familiar with provoke and the nature of white with Legions added, you see what a powerhouse this card really is. Incredibly good on both offense and defense, the card is also removal if it hits the table before those pesky tribal 1/1s.
But that is not what I am here to talk about, either. What I am here to talk about is what I feel is the best non-elf common in the set. Echo Tracer is such a versatile, powerful card that I hate passing it when I am not Blue. What fascinates me the most is that I continually see this guy fifth pick.
Paul will try and tell you that Mistform Seaswift is a more important card to Blue/White. He is not completely insane on this matter, but he is flat-out wrong. You do need powerful fliers in this deck. Your primary objective is to race in the air. However, there are plenty of cards that fill the shoes of Mistform Seaswift, and few that fill the role of Echo Tracer.
Echo Tracer is the only common bounce you will find. You get two uncommon cracks for Chain of Vapor and Essence Fracture, but even these cards aren’t reusable and don’t have the capacity to give you card advantage.
The Tracer’s primary job is tempo; I think this is quite obvious. Bounce has always been associated with tempo. The card advantage, while a slightly more advanced play, is still fairly obvious (damage on the stack, unmorph and bounce the Tracer). While this play is often very powerful, you need to be careful against White and other cheap large morphs such as Snarling Undorak. While this play will maintain card equality in these situations, you will drastically lose tempo if you save the Tracer.
A far safer card advantage play, which will also yield greater card advantage, is to block with your Skinthinner or Skirk Marauder and return them after damage is on the stack. I think that this is what really puts the Tracer over all the other commons in the set except Timberwatch Elf. The fact that there is no morph cost to pay on this guy is really insane; Mike Pustilnik was finally ahead of the curve in his wacky card valuation.
The biggest vote against Seaswift is that there are so many other cards that perform similar functions: Ascending Aven, Mistform Dreamer, Keeneye Aven, Gustcloak Harrier, Dive Bomber, Aven Redeemer, Wingbeat Warrior – and those are just the commons. I realize most have two power and don’t race nearly as well, but they will get you by and are far better replacements for Mistform Seaswift than anything is for Echo Tracer.
If you want to be drafting Blue/White, this is how you should value those lovely cards with the black expansion symbol:
- Echo Tracer
- Mistform Seaswift
- Keeneye Aven (moves above Seaswift when you have Multiple Stingers or Aven Brigadier)
- Deftblade Elite
- Daru Stinger (moves down with few soldiers)
- Wingbeat Warrior
- Aven Redeemer
- Gempalm Avenger
- Whipgrass Entangler
- Covert Operative
- Daru Sanctifier
- Glintwing Invoker
- Lowland Tracker
- Starlight Invoker
- Voidmage Apprentice
As always, these orders are subject to change, so check your local listing before heading out to the draft table.
Blue is quite top-heavy, as you can see. Once you get beyond the glamour of the top 3 commons there is a significant drop off. Luckily, this means the color is still underdrafted and you will regularly see these commons sixth and seventh pick. White is a little deeper, but the cards you see at the top are so important to the Blue/White deck it is absurd. The drop off between #8 and #9 is significant.
So give this new archetype a try, and keep repeating: Blue/White beatdown, Red/Green control… Blue/White beatdown, Red/Green control…
A special thanks to Geordie Tait for recommending the dual color dilemmas and curing my writer’s block.