I’ve finally started getting the hang of the Theros Beyond Death Draft format. As I mentioned earlier this week, I spent a lot of time losing at the beginning of this format. With a couple of extra days of drafting, watching streams, and delving into my mistakes with other well-respected Limited players, I believe I have found the errors in my ways.
It was based in a fundamental misunderstanding of the commons. What I believed was mediocre filler is good filler, and what I believed was good filler is mediocre filler. This meant that, while I may have drafted synergistic decks with powerful cards, my average card quality was below par. And that showed in my results. This demonstrates the importance of understanding how to maximize the value of your commons. The majority of cards in any given Limited deck are commons, and hence discerning the proper collection of commons that make each archetype tick is paramount to success. Below are examples of my misevaluations:
- I believed there were diminishing returns on Final Death, and hence thought it was a good common, but not the best of the best. It’s actually in the top three commons in the set.
- Omen of the Sea is so much better than it looks. The flash synergy and enchantment synergy coupled on an efficient piece of card selection is unparalleled. It’s a top common overall and should be taken highly.
- Daybreak Chimera is not as good as it looks. Yes, it’s still a fine rate, but if you can’t cast it on Turn 4 it very quickly falls off in efficiency. With the density of interaction in the set, it’s just not as easy as I expected to maintain devotion. I thought this was a first pickable card, and that Sunmane Pegasus was mediocre. It turns out that Sunmane Pegasus is pretty awesome, as it makes racing impossible, and Daybreak Chimera is clunky. Both are good playables, but they aren’t as far apart as I initially thought.
- Hero of the Pride is a phenomenal two-drop that should be taken highly. I originally didn’t see white decks as going wide, but rather going tall. This is wrong. I missed the fact that cards like Pious Wayfarer and Transcendent Envoy have value late through the heroic triggers. These are the filler spells that you want to go with premium two-drops like Hero of the Pride. That is unintuitive, and now that I’ve adjusted, my white decks feel much better and I’m winning more!
- Riptide Turtle is the removal spell that Ichthyomorphosis wants to be. The enchantment removal spell is still solid, but Riptide Turtle is impressive and enables slow blue decks to always hold up mana without worrying about the random ground creatures that resolve early.
It might sound small, but these minor adjustments of common color evaluations made a large difference in the decks I could draft. Every little edge counts in Magic, and proper common evaluation is one of the most important edges in modern Limited.
Pack 1, Pick 1
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Pack 1, Pick 5
The Picks So Far: