The Hat Rack: The Inaugural Address

Ben brings us an article free of Ghost Dad today… So what, I hear you ask, does it contain? The answer to that? Everything. There’s a look at some possible Dissension cards, Ben’s thoughts on the current Standard environment, some tournament tidbits from GP Madison, a complete RRG Draft walkthrough, plus much much more! A fine article, delivered with a fair dose of good humor.

I don’t have any more tournaments that I really want to report on, and I don’t have much left to say about Ghost Dad… so what do I do now? The only thing left to do is, well, write. I’ve got a lot of subjects I want to talk about, so I’m going to start talking and hopefully all the bits and pieces will come together to make an enjoyable article. My goal when writing is to make a piece that I would enjoy reading, so if you do end up reading this, I’m happy with what you’re about to see. That’s a good benchmark of a decent article in my eyes.

There’ve been some cool Dissension cards previewed. I’m going to post the names, as the full text for all thirty cards would take up a lot of room, so go look at MTGsalvation.com and then come back. I’ll wait.

Did you bookmark it? You should. Let’s start.

Hussar of the Court
If block had any sort of relevant aggro, I’d imagine this could be a Bottle Gnomes-type guy. He’s a lot better at defense than Raven Familiar was, so as long as you’re in these colors this guy isn’t ever bad. I don’t think he’s powerful enough to make maindecks, but he’s a potential support card if UW control decks desperately need early defense and card selection – to find, say, Wrath of God or something similar.

Entropic Eidolon
This guy would be so cool in Ghost Dad. He wouldn’t be good, but he’d be so cool. He’s like Krovakian Horror. Not going to see Constructed play, though. He seems like he’d be good in Limited.

Infernal Tutor
Omg b0rken!!!11!!1two!1

Okay, not really. This card seems good and there are a number of decks that want a second copy of key cards – Loxodon Hierarch, Wrath of God, Goryo’s Vengeance, Yosei, Firemane Angel, etc. I don’t see this getting much play in aggro – I’d rather just play another card that does something.

Seal of Doom
This card is good.

Seal of Fire
This card is better. Come on, these are reprints. I’m not going to get wordy on a Shock.

Cytoplast Root-Kin
Man, this mechanic seems awful. It’s about the only way they could make a UG mechanic that isn’t completely busted, but it’s really boring. It seems worse than the Spikes. This’ll probably see play as a 4/4 for four, but I’m not impressed.

Stomphowler Indrik
This could see block play considering how slow the format is. In Limited he is a monster.

Anthem of Rakdos
How awful. I can’t see this seeing play anywhere ever. Anything that compares badly to In The Web of War isn’t going to make the cut.

First things first – this card and this entire cycle is cool. It makes me excited for the set. That’s a good thing. However, this card is significantly worse than it looks upon first impression. Crime is unplayable on its own – it’s very situational and worse than Beacon of Unrest, which didn’t see much exposure either. Now, if we look at Punishment, it doesn’t look too bad at first. But let’s think about it – it’s an Engineered Explosives that can’t be popped quickly in a color and format with lots of spot removal. It won’t do enough for the deck that needs it, and if you really have a problem with tokens, Rolling Spoil will help you out more. It’s possible that this card will see play in block because the format is really slow and BGW is quite good, but don’t expect it to go any further than that.

Man, what’s with this set and all the cool cards? The UG guild guys know how to wow people. I have no idea how good this is and I’m having trouble imagining a game state where I’d want this card, but it’s possible that there’s some cards in Dissension that would work well with this.

Dread Slag
This guy is really big. If there’s a viable BR aggro deck out there, I would be surprised if this guy wasn’t in it—it’s hard to argue with a 9/9 for five.

Get 'em while they're hot

You know what’s scary? We might be getting to the point where people will counter One with Nothing. *shudder*

Gobhobbler Rats
This guy is on the curve if you aren’t yet hellbent, and when you finally drop your hand he becomes a Troll Ascetic. If we see a few more cards like this, there will be a viable BR aggro deck. I’m excited already.

Isperia the Inscrutable
Oh, come on. UR gets Niv-Mizzet, Pinger of Men and Beater of Ass, and UW gets a five-mana three-power flier? Wait until Meloku and Keiga rotate out and we’ll talk. For now, you’re stricken to draft.

Leafdrake Roost
Remember Centaur Glade? Yeah. Expect this card to wreck limited matches. Way too slow and vulnerable for constructed, but in limited this card is a monstrosity of epic proportions.

Lyzolda, the Blood Witch
I’m building BR aggro when this set comes out. This card is awesome. More legends should be this playable – Ipseria, I’m looking at you.

I really like the name. Not a Constructed card, but in Limited the ability will make combat really difficult for anyone facing it – either your smaller guys get bigger or their bigger guys get smaller. Seems like a good deal.

This card is good. It’s a worse Decree of Justice in a slower format with fewer wrath effects, and the other half happens to be a really good tutor. This will see Block, play and possibly Standard as well. In Limited it doesn’t seem bad, but I wouldn’t pick it too highly – most likely I think Supply is the better half in that format, and it’s not exciting enough to be a bomb.

Finally, a decent counterspell. Will see Standard and Block play yada yada probably not great in Limited yada yada hyped up like crazy yada yada maybe UGW control yada yada yada.

Azorius Guildmage
This guy is good. Heartbeat can’t go off into it, it breaks open creature stalls, Greater Good gets a lot worse, etcetera etcetera. He’s on par with the Selesnya Guildmage. Get used to this guy, because he’ll be in good decks for a while.

That’s everything that’s not part of a supercycle. I’m looking forward to see what else is going to show up – this set looks like a lot of fun.

I can’t say that I like this format much any more. A lot of the decks are blending together, and seeing every matchup over and over again is getting stale. I can’t safely recommend Ghost Dad any more with all the Heartbeat and GWB floating around, and while the Pontiff deck is cool when it works, after playing it in about twenty sanctioned matches on MTGO, I think that it has too much of an issue with consistency for me to consider it Tier 1. When it works it’s the most powerful deck in the format bar none, but when it doesn’t you want to throw your deck/computer out the window. What can I say? The metagame is varied and stagnant. If I had to pick a deck to play right now… well, it would probably be Wild Tron. That one’s good and it gets better if you’re lucky. I’m still going to work on the Pontiff deck because it’s really cool and I think there’s a great deck lying in there somewhere, but it needs more tuning. Pro tip: add a land. (Revision note: after adding a land over a Rusalka, mulliganing was a lot less problematic. It’s possible that the list just needs minor tweaks.)

Speaking of Wild Tron, I need to make a correction to my tournament report. On Day 1 playing against Ben Lundquist, I said that he only had three outs in the Mana Leaks that were left in his deck. This was incorrect – he had boarded two Hinders back in, he still had Remands, he still had his Keigas or the Hatchery, etc. I didn’t think about the situation enough while bitching about it, so I should fix my previous errors and let people know.

Hey, does that sand dune look like a Tallowisp to you? Be right back…

GP Madison
This event was good for the times, but I can’t say I enjoyed the tournament. Again, the decks were stale and everything seemed to be about matchups. I will, however, share with you some entertaining beats.

– I was 4-0 in clutch games. Whoo!

– We made it into both Day 2 and the money on tiebreaks, hitting the very last slot both times. We made it in to day 2 by 3.7% on the second tiebreak.

Repeat after me:

– In round 5, our RG player Melissa Detora had to play against URtron. But this was no ordinary Tron list. She won the die roll and played out a standard RG hand, whereas her opponent happened to get turn 4 Tron and Keiga. Still beatable, right? Wrong. On turn 5, he untapped, played a land, played a Loxodon Warhammer and equipped it. In for eight, gain eight life.

Let’s go over that again.

Turn 4 Keiga, turn 5 Loxodon freakin’ Warhammer, equip, bash for eight freakin’ damage.

I am not joking.

– In round 7, I lost so fast and Melissa won so fast that [Bryan] Lynch was still in game 1. I mistakenly thought that Melissa had lost and marked the drop box on the slip – Lynch proceeded to cross it out and win the next two games to salvage our tournament.

– Every Greater Gifts player (with the exception of Brian Siu, who I told how to board against me at dinner the night before,) boarded completely incorrectly against me. Some of them took out the Greater Goods and one went as far as to take out the Greater Goods and the Yoseis. I mean, I understand that you want to make my sideboard cards a little worse, but can people please keep in cards that automatically beat me if you draw them? If you keep in the Greater Good plan, it’s so good against Ghost Dad that I bring in eleven cards and still lose.

– Speaking of Greater Gifts, I had the coolest victory ever against one such deck. He’s at fourteen, I have nine points of damage on the board, and he has one Black source. He casts Gifts Ungiven end of turn and I give him two double Black cards, one of which is a Kagemaro. He untaps, casts Reach, and taps out for Kagemaro with it being a 3/3. “I don’t think he has any removal other than Pillory in his deck.” Little does he know that I have the kill in hand and he just removed all potential outs he might have.

Untap. Draw. Sickening Shoal Kagemaro for three, searching up Shadow Lance and draining you for one. Play it, swing for nine, pump twice, kill you. YUS!

-EFro is the least lucky person in the history of magic. I actually felt bad winning that match, as there was no way I had the right to do so. In game 1 I had Confidant down and flipped lands for infinite turns in a row, and I won by Counciling him out. Game 2 he had Confidant out and by turn 5 he was at eight life. Game 3 I ended up Persecuting him twice and both times I saw four lands and a spell. He had two Arenas going for six turns, and still drew nothing. He still had good quotes, even though after the match he would’ve torn out my trachea with his bare hands if it was legal.

Me: *talking to Ted about how lucky I was with lands off the Confidant and how unlucky Efro was*
EFro: “At least you only did it eight times.”

Me: *after a Persecute revealing Plains x4 and Hand of Honor on turn infinite*
EFro: “That’s how I roll.”

-It’s pretty surreal sitting around a table of pros who you’ve only read about from afar and listening to them talk and laugh and drink and smoke and draft like normal people. And that’s the thing – they are just normal, genuinely nice people.

There may or may not have been Scuttling Deaths in Chambers’ Ghost Dad sideboard. Fear the scuttles.

I like music. I mean, I really, really like music. I have 9000 songs in my iTunes and I read Pitchfork Media. I’m that much of a music nerd. With that said, let’s try the Atenesque “music of the moment” wherein I push my musical tastes upon my hapless readers.

Sleater-Kinney – Call the Doctor
These girls know what they’re doing, and this album is their first full-length that established them as one of the better riot-grrl/indie rock bands to come out of the northwest. If you like a more aggressive and unrefined indie rock sound, get this album, whereas if you like a more musical and emotional sound try out their newest album “The Woods”.

The Magnetic Fields – I Thought you were my Boyfriend
Stephin Merritt is a genius. He’s written hundreds of songs and this is yet another one of his masterpieces. It’s dancy and it’s melancholy and it’s cool. This song embodies everything Jens Lekman ever wants to do in four minutes of strangely distant fun.

Tapes ‘n Tapes – In Houston
This song (and album) grew on me. It’s catchy fuzzy indie rock – somewhere between Wolf Parade and the Olivia Tremor Control circa Cubist Castle. Pitchfork loves it – I would recommend getting this song and giving it a listen.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Spread your Love
The first album I’d heard from these guys was Howl, so when I got their self-titled debut I was amazed at how different it was – think less Wilco and more Jesus and Mary Chain. This song is fuzz-rock at its finest.

The Hives – Abra Cadaver
I’ll be honest – I’m a garage-rock junkie. I love the primal energy and unbridled intensity. The Hives are very good at what they do, and this is the song that a doctor would prescribe you if you had a rock deficiency. It’s two minutes of ass-kicking. Get it.

I used to play this game back when it first came out, and now I’m trying to get back into it seeing as modern age decks are pretty cheap – usually under or up to $100. They’ve printed Affinity (Squadron Supreme) and Goblins (Faces of Evil), and both of them are immensely fun to play and quite complex. If you haven’t played the game in a while, proxy up a deck and give it a whirl, and if you haven’t ever played the game, it’s really fun and not a bad thing to try out. I’ll be looking for PCQs in my area to try and beat up on some locals. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Michael J. Flores
Chill out, people. He’s just a guy. Magic could use a controversial figure, and I think Flores fits perfectly for that job, regardless of whether or not he’s a good deck designer/player/writer. I have no personal beef against him – don’t take arguments concerning non-personal topics personally.

StarCityGames Forums
I existed on these forums before Ghost Dad did. I promise that I have other things to talk about.

Bad Beats
Magic has a luck element to it, and every so often the luck catches up to you and kicks you while you’re down. It happens to everyone, and recently it’s happened to me. I’ve lost four or five drafts in the past thirty-six hours, and the Pontiff deck continues to refuse the production of lands. This is partially because eighteen lands and four Basilica is blatantly incorrect, but it’s also just a fact of life. Remember this saying – “Magic happens.” Back off, take a break, don’t play for a couple hours or days or whatever it takes, and come back when your mental game is more coherent. It’s much less expensive that way. (Revision note: finally won a queue after adding the land. Whoo!)

And finally, as you readers may know, Prague is coming up and the format is RGD booster draft. Now, this is a problem because Dissension prereleases two weeks before the event and we only have two weeks to learn the format. This is more of a problem for me, though, because I suck at drafting. I’ve been practicing like a fiend and going over many drafts with clanmates. Since there haven’t been many Limited articles lately, I think I’ll throw in a draft walkthrough just for fun. Note that while this draft is a victory, I have many train wrecks that have resulted in first round losses. If you want to see one of those, let me know in the forums. Also, I want everyone to critique my drafting skills and let me know if I’m horribly off-base – I’d rather look like an idiot here than in Prague. This is an 8-4.

Pack 1
Selesnya Sanctuary; Wojek Siren; Terraformer; Nightguard Patrol; Vedalken Dismisser; Clinging Darkness; Surge of Zeal; Golgari Brownscale; Gate Hound; Flight of Fancy; Last Gasp; Root-Kin Ally; Recollect; Wojek Apothecary; Sisters of Stone Death.

Dismisser is quite good, but not as good as Last Gasp. It’s the only real pick here.

My pick: Last Gasp

Torpid Moloch; Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi; Boros Garrison; Benevolent Ancestor; Vedalken Entrancer; Thundersong Trumpeter; Infectious Host; Rain of Embers; Stone-Seeder Hierophant; Golgari Signet; Rolling Spoil; Watchwolf; Lightning Helix; Empty the Catacombs.

Woah, what a spicy pack. The correct pick here is either Helix or Entrancer, probably based on personal preference. I don’t really like BWR so I’d probably go with the Entrancer, but… there’s a little something you should know about me.

Ben Hearts The Spoil

I love Rolling Spoil.

That card is always good and it always seems to Time Walk (or double Time Walk) my opponents, with some card advantage thrown in to boot. Every time I’ve cast it in a game, I’ve won. It’s so good! Others don’t agree with me, and I’ve stopped picking it quite so highly, but I think a lot of people undervalue it. It’s a little worse with Guildpact in the mix but it’s still great. If you hit a bounceland on turn 3, what can they do?

Literally nothing.

So, I took it.

My pick: Rolling Spoil

Drift of Phantasms; Gaze of the Gorgon; Coalhauler Swine; Centaur Safeguard; Tidewater Minion; Sadistic Augermage; Gate Hound; Zephyr Spirit; Lurking Informant; Flight of Fancy; Ethereal Usher; Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion; Phytohydra.

The pick here is between Drift, Minion, and Lurking Informant. Drift is quite good and I think it’s a very strong card, but I think Informant is better – it can completely shut down people in the mid to late game, or keep your deck supplied with a steady stream of gas. It’s also a lot easier on your colors, making it a really safe pick.

My pick: Lurking Informant

Dimir Aqueduct; Goblin Spelunkers; Farseek; Boros Fury-Shield; Surveilling Sprite; Dizzy Spell; Thoughtpicker Witch; Seismic Spike; Brainspoil; Sandsower; Psychic Drain; Flame-Kin Zealot.

Removal is very good, and while I don’t like to pass that Farseek, I’m already solidly in Black and I could always use more ways to make things die.

My pick: Brainspoil

Greater Mossdog; Selesnya Sanctuary; Stasis Cell; Benevolent Ancestor; Surveilling Sprite; Clinging Darkness; Rain of Embers; Dryad’s Caress; Dromad Purebred; Compulsive Research; Conclave Phalanx.

Well, crap. I guess I haven’t decided on a third color yet, and a Compulsive Research this late means that Blue could very well be open. The only other options are the unexciting Mossdog, or a bounceland that may very well only be half-color. I think I should take it. (I learned later that Phalanx comes next to Nullmage Shepherd, Belltower Sphinx, and Clutch of the Undercity, so it’s possible that someone to my right a few seats down is Blue, but Compulsive Research is the next best card in the pack after Sphinx and the rare.)

My pick: Compulsive Research

Courier Hawk; Stasis Cell; Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi; Muddle the Mixture; Rally the Righteous; Dromad Purebred; Grayscaled Gharial; Leashling; Festival of the Guildpact; Ghosts of the Innocent.

How awful. Hopefully I won’t have to play whatever I pick out of this pack. I guess Courier Hawk is the most playable guy here, or maybe Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi… maybe I hatedraft Rally? Doesn’t matter, I don’t think. I took the Hawk and I’m not sure if it was right, but every other card here is awful for me.

My pick: Courier Hawk

Strands of Undeath; Muddle the Mixture; Elvish Skysweeper; Conclave’s Blessing; Dimir Infiltrator; Dimir Signet; Dimir Machinations; Remand; Pariah’s Shield.

That’s a little better. The pick here is between Skysweeper, UB Signet, and Strands. I think Strands is a bit underrated and has gotten better in RRG, thanks to the rise of more huge monsters, but Signets are always good and Skysweeper is very helpful in Green to help deal with troublesome fliers repeatedly. I think the correct pick here is the Signet, but I ended up taking the Strands at the last possible second.

My pick: Strands of Undeath

Dogpile; Votary of the Conclave; Sewerdreg; Seismic Spike; Stone-Seeder Hierophant; Seeds of Strength; Twisted Justice; Vindictive Mob.

Seeds of Strength is a decent trick, but I hate tricks in this format. Sewerdreg is an average guy and a lot of people are playing Black. In the pile he goes!

My pick: Sewerdreg

Wojek Siren; Surge of Zeal; Golgari Brownscale; Gate Hound; Root-Kin Ally; Recollect; Wojek Apothecary.

This is more of a pick than you might think. I would say that Brownscale is probably the correct pick – he’s really underrated, but if he’s down early he’s really solid defense that also can attack if necessary. At the time I hadn’t learned how good he was, though, so I took the mediocre Root-Kin Ally. At least he’s a guy.

My pick: Root-Kin Ally

Remaining picks: Golgari Signet; Gaze of the Gorgon; Psychic Drain; Dromad Purebred; Dromad Purebred; Conclave’s Blessing.

The Signet, Gaze, and Drain all went pretty late, which intrigued me. At least two of them could potentially go in my deck.

Pack 2
Roofstalker Wight; Viashino Slasher; Golgari Rot Farm; Bramble Elemental; Ordruun Commando; Dizzy Spell; Infectious Host; Rally the Righteous; Viashino Fangtail; Transluminant; Selesnya Signet; Dimir Guildmage; Voyager Staff; Mnemonic Nexus; Chorus of the Conclave.

Dimir Guildmage by a mile. It’s not close.

My pick: Dimir Guildmage

Barbarian Riftcutter; Terrarion; Votary of the Conclave; Sparkmage Apprentice; Fists of Ironwood; Necromantic Thirst; Goblin Fire Fiend; Perplex; Fiery Conclusion; Siege Wurm; Boros Signet; Ribbons of Night; Pollenbright Wings; Flickerform.

Hello, Ribbons. This is even less close.

My pick: Ribbons of Night

Convolute; Golgari Rot Farm; Fists of Ironwood; War-Torch Goblin; Golgari Brownscale; Conclave’s Blessing; Quickchange; Sell-Sword Brute; Siege Wurm; Instill Furor; Junktroller; Overwhelm; Breath of Fury.

Fists and Overwhelm used to be better than Siege Wurm when there were so many tokens and fewer fatties, but Siege Wurm is now better than Fists and Scatter. It’s the best card in this pack and I’m going to take it.

My pick: Siege Wurm

Woodwraith Strangler; Induce Paranoia; Roofstalker Wight; Sabertooth Alley Cat; Bramble Elemental; Elvish Skysweeper; Boros Recruit; Quickchange; Shambling Shell; Transluminant; Undercity Shade; Mindleech Mass.

Shambling Shell has moved up in my pick order every time I’ve played it. The card is really good – I know people have known that since Ravnica came out, but it needs restating every once in a while. Another easy pick.

My pick: Shambling Shell

Tattered Drake; Mortipede; Dogpile; Gather Courage; Sparkmage Apprentice; Leave No Trace; Drake Familiar; Shred Memory; Seeds of Strength; Darkblast; Stoneshaker Shaman.

I think Darkblast is a good card and I don’t think many of these other cards are all that exciting. Darkblast is capable of single-handedly wrecking some people, and no matter what it’s always useful as a trick in worst-case scenarios.

My pick: Darkblast

Wojek Siren; Convolute; Scatter the Seeds; Surge of Zeal; Sundering Vitae; Caregiver; Elves of Deep Shadow; Netherborn Phalanx; Glass Golem; Congregation at Dawn.

This pack seems pretty good for sixth pick, but so be it. Elves of Deep Shadow and Scatter wouldn’t be bad here, but I think Phalanx and Glassy are both better. Phalanx has been underrated of late, and I think it’s better than a lot of people give it credit for. At this time, it was better than I gave it credit for, and I incorrectly took Glassy.

My pick: Glass Golem

Consult the Necrosages; Greater Mossdog; Incite Hysteria; Centaur Safeguard; Sewerdreg; Smash; Elves of Deep Shadow; Golgari Germination; Vigor Mortis.

The options here are Greater Mossdog, Elves, or Vigor Mortis. Vigor Mortis strikes me as pretty unexciting most of the time, so it’s either the recurring Mossdog or the mana acceleration of Elves. I don’t know what’s correct. I think it’s Greater Mossdog, due to my other opportunities to get mana fixing and a need for quality creatures, but I could be wrong. Sound off in the forums.

My pick: Greater Mossdog

Gaze of the Gorgon; Incite Hysteria; Scatter the Seeds; Dimir Infiltrator; Grayscaled Gharial; Shred Memory; Selesnya Evangel; Reroute.

Could somebody tell me why there’s an eighth pick Evangel?

My pick: Selesnya Evangel

Golgari Rot Farm; Dizzy Spell; Infectious Host; Rally the Righteous; Voyager Staff; Mnemonic Nexus; Chorus of the Conclave.

Bouncelands tabling at an 8-4? How lucky!

My pick: Golgari Rot Farm

Remaining picks: Golgari Rot Farm; Flickerform; garbage.

I’m not sure if Flickerform is good or not in this format. Either way, let’s go to pack 3.

Pack 3
Leap of Flame; Benediction of Moons; Silhana Ledgewalker; Mourning Thrull; Train of Thought; Douse in Gloom; Silhana Starfletcher; Orzhov Basilica; Blind Hunter; Bloodscale Prowler; Repeal; To Arms!, Agent of Masks; Vacuumelt; Witch-Maw Nephilim.

Douse, Agent, or Hunter? I have a decent amount of removal, though I could always use more, but in my experience Agent of Masks is quite good in this type of deck. Whenever I play it I always seem to be ahead by a turn or two.

My pick: Agent of Masks

Infiltrator’s Magemark; Absolver Thrull; Scab-Clan Mauler; Gruul Turf; Ostiary Thrull; Leap of Flame; Train of Thought; Beastmaster’s Magemark; Wild Cantor; Poisonbelly Ogre; Guardian’s Magemark; Martyred Rusalka; Card X; Card Y.

The last two cards in these pack were obscured in the screenshot I took. Either way, I remember that they weren’t good. As for this pack, Ostiary Thrull helps me out the most here. Nothing else is really that close – maybe the Blue Magemark, but I’m not really in Blue. I don’t want to splash for it, and Thrull is still better.

My pick: Ostiary Thrull

Skyrider Trainee; Runeboggle; Mourning Thrull; Cry of Contrition; Tin Street Hooligan; Lionheart Maverick; Ostiary Thrull; Gruul Scrapper; Gruul Signet; Ghor-Clan Bloodscale; Nivix, Aerie of the Firemind; Mortify; Borborygmos.

I think I will take Mortify.

My pick: Mortify

Orzhov Signet; Necromancer’s Magemark; Gruul Scrapper; Wild Cantor; Cremate; Gruul Nodorog; Petrahydrox; Guardian’s Magemark; Gigadrowse; Conjurer’s Ban; Scorched Rusalka; Skarrg, the Rage Pits.

Yus, a signet. I was hoping to get some of those. Nothing else in this pack is worth playing either.

My pick: Orzhov Signet

Tin Street Hooligan; Crystal Seer; Silhana Ledgewalker; Restless Bones; Petrahydrox; Ghor-Clan Savage; Bloodscale Prowler; Withstand; Cryptwailing; Souls of the Faultless; Dryad Sophisticate.

The pick here is between Ghor-Clan Savage, Souls of the Faultless, and Dryad Sophisticate. I don’t have very much experience with Souls, but it looks really hard to cast and I’d rather have a huge guy anyway. Ghor-Clan Savage fits the description of huge guy, and while Sophisticate is unblockable more than half the time, she also dies a lot more. Ghor-Clan becomes unblockable because everything has to chump him.

My pick: Ghor-Clan Savage

Orzhov Signet; Withstand; Wee Dragonauts; Runeboggle; Gruul Nodorog; Fencer’s Magemark; Poisonbelly Ogre; Agent of Masks; Gatherer of Graces; Scorched Rusalka.

A second Agent of Masks? How lucky!

My pick: Agent of Masks

Torch Drake; Absolver Thrull; Izzet Signet; Burning-Tree Bloodscale; Cremate; Skarrgan Pit-Skulk; Benediction of Moons; Wreak Havoc; Shadow Lance.

Does anyone know if Shadow Lance is good? It seems like it would frequently be a Giant Strength with an upkeep of 1B, but it’s possible that I’m wrong. I’ve never seen it played and I haven’t heard much good about it from the people that I’ve asked. It’s sure good in Constructed, though. Either way, I’m going to take the Absolver Thrull as another solid man.

My pick: Absolver Thrull

Crystal Seer; Cry of Contrition; Beastmaster’s Magemark; Skyrider Trainee; Gigadrowse; Castigate; Feral Animist; Glint-Eye Nephilim.

Ew. The pick is either Castigate or Green Magemark, and neither will make my deck. Castigate is a better sideboard card.

My pick: Castigate

Leap of Flame; Benediction of Moons; Silhana Ledgewalker; Orzhov Basilica; Bloodscale Prowler; To Arms!; Witch-Maw Nephilim.

The Nephilim is tempting, but I don’t have enough mana fixing and I could always use another bounceland.

My pick: Orzhov Basilica

Absolver Thrull; Beastmaster’s Magemark; Wild Cantor; Poisonbelly Ogre; Guardian’s Magemark; Martyred Rusalka.

Shrug. I’ll take that Magemark now – I think I’m full up on average guys. I’m probably not going to play the Thrull if I take it anyway, so the Magemark might turn out to belong.

My pick: Beastmaster’s Magemark

Remaining picks: Gruul Nodorog; Restless Bones; garbage.

Here’s what I ended up with.

The deck seems good. It’s got a decent amount of large threats and a bunch of awesome removal. It could’ve been better and I’m not sure if the Flickerform should be in there or not, but either way, I’m happy with the way it turned out. It also happened to win an 8-4, but results don’t matter in determining whether or not the drafting was correct. Say what you think in the forums if you see any mispicks, faulty logic, or misevaluated cards.

Well, looks like I’ve filled up enough space for now. I’m doing the SCG Daily this week, so I’ll see you there or on MTGO.


Ben Goodman
RidiculousHat just about everywhere