You’ve probably heard great things about Boros Modular and Rakdos Madness in Modern Horizons 2 Draft, but I don’t see many people talk about Selesnya. I’m not really sure why, as it is still a really good deck in my opinion.
Each aggressive deck has its crazy starts with potential staying power. Madness can attack for insane bursts of damage as early as Turn 3, but also has multiple sources of repeatable damage to grind longer games. Modular can curve out like crazy thanks to multiple one-drops at common, but it can also grind through combat because the creatures all have value when they die. Selesnya provides a similar promise. It can curve out like crazy and completely destroy you with Smell Fear, a relatively late pick. At the same time, the creatures scale well into the late-game thanks to proliferate, and there are multiple uncommons that provide value when you place +1/+1 counters on them.
Now, Selesnya isn’t my favorite archetype by any means, but you should be open to drafting it. I’m not often going to start with a Selesnya gold card, but I’m confident that if you’re the only Selesnya drafter at the table, you’ll have quite the good deck.
Here’s a draft from Veveil that starts with a great white rare, and he has the option of taking the Selesnya gold uncommon out of this pack. What would you do?
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Imperial Recruiter is a cool card, but it’s at its worst in Boros. I love having Recruiter to tutor up synergy pieces in the other red decks, but I’m pretty tied to Timeless Dragon. I’m willing to go a non-white route if necessary, but I want to maximize the probability I can play my rare. This leaves some interesting white cards as options.
Abiding Grace and Disciple of the Sun are a mix of flexible and inflexible. They may be mono-white, but neither will make every single white deck. They’re more flexible than Captured by Lagacs, but that doesn’t rule out the Aura. Abiding Grace is a fantastic engine with any of the artifact one-drops in the set, particularly Myr Scrapling. And Disciple of the Sun is a solid value card, but best in Orzhov and Azorius. And all three of these white options are much better than Lens Flare.
I think, in a vacuum, the correct pick is Abiding Grace since the earlier you get it, the easier it is to build around. However, the context of the pack shifts everything. Look at the green cards. Terramorph, Tireless Provisioner, and Rift Sower are all enticing options for green decks except for Selesnya. This means that there’s a high probability that Smell Fear wheels, as the non-Selesnya green decks really aren’t interested in the card. When you adjust the value of the cards in the pack such that green is the most probable pairing with white, then Captured by Lagacs is the pick in my opinion.
Pack 1, Pick 5
The Picks So Far:
With two commons missing from the pack, that Counterspell is somewhat of a signal. The card isn’t a slam first pick, but it’s better than most commons. I think that this start is so strong for Selesnya that it’s not enough to deter me, especially when there are other good picks for my current archetype.
Skyblade’s Boon looked really enticing to me at first, particularly because I loved playing Gryff’s Boon in Shadows over Innistrad Draft. However, after playing with it, the card has disappointed. The aggressive white decks are too synergy-driven to care for a card that is just a repeatable source of damage. Sure, it can be a finisher, but I’d rather take Unbounded Potential for this slot, which isn’t the best card either.
I think a lot of people would think I’d take a creature that cares about +1/+1 counters given everything I’ve said about the archetype. Both Deepwood Denizen and Guardian Kin are filler creatures though, and I just don’t think taking filler creatures is where you want to be. Let one of them wheel, and you might not even end up playing them. I believe the correct pick is Thornglint Bridge. Let’s solidify into Selesnya, and have good mana. If you aren’t playing a high density of one-drops in your aggro deck, you can afford to play a tapland or two. And, given the pool of cards I have access to, this deck isn’t looking particularly aggressive either.
Pack 2, Pick 1
The Picks So Far:
At this point, there’s no turning back. This pack has four cards that are all playable in Selesnya, but none that are stellar. Myr Scrapling is a solid enabler, and it combos with Abiding Grace if I can pick one up. Unbounded Potential is a nice combat trick that scales with the game. Break Ties is a combat trick that provides insulation against artifacts and enchantments. And Urban Daggertooth is another reasonable, yet not particularly exciting, creature.
But again, context is king. While in a lot of versions of Selesnya the Daggertooth is filler, the current pool suggests otherwise. Two copies of Smell Fear can be completely backbreaking alongside the Daggertooth. A Monoskelion with two counters is a repeatable proliferate outlet with the Daggertooth. It’s not hard for that creature to push things out of control, and I’m very happy to take it here.
Thanks to Veveil for giving me this fascinating draft to dig through. There were lots of decisions, and it seems like Selesnya was the place to be. If you’d like to view the whole log, you can do so here!