While many people, including myself, are really enjoying Kaldheim Limited, there’s nearly unanimous agreement that the colors are unbalanced. Last week I covered how I strongly bias towards blue, red, and green because their common quality is just so much higher than black and white. However, I still like most of the white aggressive decks, and will happily draft them when the color is open and cards are flowing. Black, on the other hand, tells a different story.
I will legitimately take Axgard Cavalry and Squash over Burning-Rune Demon Pack 1, Pick 1. Even though the Demon is a mythic bomb, I think the common quality of black is so low that, even if I am the only black drafter at a table, I still have to get lucky and have the right black cards opened to get a good deck. However, not all black cards are bad to start a draft with. A big reason I don’t like these mythics is the double-color requirement makes them very difficult to splash. I’m down to first-pick a Draugr Necromancer because almost every green deck I draft can happily splash that card. Basically, I view any black card as a green card. It’s why I still take Binding the Old Gods relatively highly.
This draft starts with a black rare that doesn’t have a double-color requirement. Do you think it’s good enough to justify drafting a base-black deck? Is it splashable? Would you pick it?
Pack 1, Pick 1
Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire and Bloodsky Berserker are both very good black cards, but as I’ve said earlier in this article, it’s extremely hard to get me to draft black. These cards are no exception. Bloodsky Berserker is great in aggressive decks, but it’s not splashable because it’s so bad as a late topdeck. Varragoth, on the other hand, is a pretty powerful topdeck and is hence probably a good inclusion in multicolor green decks that have enough black sources. Still, that doesn’t describe a card I would like to first-pick. Think about it this way — if this black rare is only going to end up in my deck if I’m a multicolor snow deck, often base Simic, why would I take it over a generically good Simic card?
So, which is a better Simic card — Littjara Mirrorlake or Moritte of the Frost? Honestly, I’m not so sure. Both cards have underperformed my expectations but I had high expectations to start. I’m not particularly happy to start my draft with them but I’m not particularly upset about it either. Given that the Littjara Mirrorlake requires double green mana while Moritte of the Frost only requires a single green mana, it’s possible to splash Moritte in Izzet. It’s also a Giant for the Izzet deck too. So, while this isn’t how I want to start my draft, I took Morrite of the Frost.
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Moritte of the Frost is not a strong enough first pick for me to consider it anything other than a tiebreaker. So while Ravenous Lindwurm and Ice Tunnel are both significantly on-plan with Moritte, I don’t think that synergy pushes them into the discussion with Squash and Clarion Spirit.
I think a lot of people may call me crazy for saying Squash is a better early pick than Ice Tunnel, but hear me out. Ice Tunnel produces the most useless color in the format: black. Also, Squash is just one of the most underrated commons at the moment. Thanks to changelings, it’s so easy to turn on the mana reduction component, turning the card into an incredibly premium piece of interaction. It’s a card I’m fairly happy to first pick and it’s a lovely splash in Simic, especially with a Giant already in the pool. I can see taking Squash if you’re very much not a fan of the white aggressive decks, but I do enjoy them, so I took Clarion Spirit out of this pack.
Clarion Spirit is one of the best uncommons in the entire set. The white decks often want to play Equipment so any creature that can produce multiple bodies is premium. I’m routinely seeing this card later than I should because I believe many players are avoiding white aggressive decks. This is a great reason to pursue a white deck, so much so that I’m biasing towards it instead of Simic snow with both Clarion Spirit and Moritte of the Frost in my pool.
Pack 1, Pick 3
The Picks So Far:
I’ve come up on Rootless Yew the more I like Ravenous Lindwurm. I’m actively trying to play three copies of Lindwurm in my green decks so Rootless Yew often has a nice home in those decks. However, this card is still a lower priority than Lindwurm itself and hence should not be taken here.
Both Bind the Monster and Frost Bite are two overrated, efficient, common removal spells. At the beginning of the format, I took both of these cards highly. Now, I don’t even treat them as if they’re in the Top 5 commons of their respective colors. Frost Bite is a good card, but the red aggro decks would rather have tricks and Equipment, and without a deep enough snow theme to turn Shock into Lightning Bolt, the card is lackluster.
Bind the Monster, on the other hand, always kills any creature, but the damage is relevant and there’s a lot of bounce and enchantment interaction that makes it awkward. Don’t get me wrong — I like both of these cards, but they’re just overrated and not as good as the best option in the pack.
If you haven’t adopted Goldvein Pick, it’s time to adjust. Pick is secretly the best white common in the format. I believe the Equipment provides more value to the average white deck than Bound in Gold. The Treasure creation makes it function as though the equip cost is zero with additional upside of ramping and splashing. I’m very happy to take it here and it helped me be a bit creative in the draft.
The decks below are two ways to build my final pool. I went with the classic Boros deck, but Goldvein Pick opened up options to splash Runes, which are inherently powerful alongside the Pick.