Innistrad was finally released on MTGO, and although I haven’t exactly been drafting like a fiend, I got a few under my belt a few nights ago. I chose this one to explore in detail because it reminds me greatly of Vivek’s U/G deck he played at Warriors on the first night of ISD drafting(I think it was that night anyway).
It’s Ironsmith, Priest, Captain, or Sensory Deprivation here. I’m not super happy about any of them to start the draft, although it does have the odd quality of not being awesome, so I don’t care much if I don’t play it. G/W Humans is a deck I enjoy immensely, and the Captain is a better card than the Priest anyway in that deck. In fact, I’ve really lost faith in the Priest. A tapper is a tapper, but I just like doing other things in the early turns, and sometimes it’s next to useless. I LOVE Blue, but didn’t pick the Deprivation because it isn’t a card that makes you Blue; it just plays a nice support role and isn’t a universal removal spell. Barring all that, Ironsmith is an option, and a fine creature, but it isn’t very exciting overall.
Green always seems to be open. Hell, I lost to a Mono Green deck in the previous draft easily, and it won the draft soon after, so there must be some merit to the color. I hate Black overall, and don’t much like Victim of Night anyway; another situational removal card that doesn’t do anything too often in a shallow color. Note that if I took the Priest, I would have to take a non White card anyway. White is awesome, but usually heavily contested, so draft White with care; if you keep getting White, but it’s all the so-so ones, realize you’re getting cut, and decide whether an ok White deck is better than whatever else you could be. Sorta wished I took the Blue card, as I would follow it up with an almost true removal spell in Claustrophobia. In regards to my actual pick, this guy is nuts if he spends any amount of time on the board. Bonds of Faith and Claustrophobia can be bad news though if you don’t have a way to take advantage of the bin constantly filling though, so be careful!
I have realized that Rolling Temblor is not very popular; it kills pretty much every Red dude there is. Prey Upon is the best tempo card in the common slot. Once you finally land a large man, for just one mana you can kill an opposing threat. It’s strange how much respect I gained for Grizzled Outcasts this week. Despite the format being pretty quick, he’s fair on his own, and unstoppable when transformed. He also comes down when players have usually spent most of their hand, so he flips regularly, and provides insurance that if you draw blanks, your board will upgrade in a more meaningful way than most other non-Rare werewolves.
This would be where someone would decide to go Black after all. Pick four, and there are three solid cards, one ok Man(or Skeleton), and a marginal spell that is sometimes great. I would have taken the Noble is there wasn’t a creature for me to take. Sentry can be narrow sometimes, but like many men these days if he sticks around it’s bad news for the opponent. Note that Spidery Grasp is good, but there are plenty of chances to get tricks later on.
The Black would have stayed good here with a good removal spell(provided we are not also White or Blue, and playing Pacifism effects). I am a total sucker for graveyard decks, so there was little hesitation in taking the Alchemy. White seems totally cut off, so I started to hope for a Spider Spawning later on, which would go perfectly with what I am probably trying to build. Bear in mind that I could still get lots of White pack two, but until then I will wait around taking Green and Blue cards.
Too powerful to pass here. It’s pretty much a bomb in the G/W deck, and it’s not out of the question I splash for it’s flashback. Taking it over Deprivation has it’s risks, but again, it is seriously a bomb on four.
More solid cards for whoever decided to brave Black. Stitched Drake is excellent, but since we are still in limbo on our deck choice, the Green removal creature is the pick. It’s only very slightly worse than the Drake anyway, and is certain to make the deck.
It’s getting harder and harder to justify sitting on the fence much longer. We have passed only a few Blue cards of real relevance, and Blue is clearly open from the right.
Yay! A clear sign that things are looking up. This spell does not get much credit, but it does the tough job of being cheap and effective at stopping early beats, or enabling a second spell to flip a werewolf back.
This pick was actually a huge mistake. Lost in the Mist and Kindercatch are both far better. I don’t really know why I took this other than I can trigger Morbid for my zero morbid cards. I like this guy in certain decks, but this isn’t shaping up to be one of them, and I could probably get one later on if my deck turns into something that wants a Homunculus.
See? Mistake. Also note me passing the Typhoid Rats, a playable card in Black, this late.
Woo! Man, whoever was cutting White on the right is getting the payoff. At least I’m freerolling for the rest of the draft as well. If Garruk was something bad the Darkthicket Wolf is the easy pick; the card is downright irritating, and 4/4 is hard to block at any stage of the game.
And here’s my payoff. Never played with this guy before, but I am 100% sure he is nuts, even in a deck that doesn’t fill it’s bin. As a bonus, it’s also a Human, so it can’t be Pacified. This guy attacking probably ends the game the next turn, even if he bit the dust on the initial swing, as the Wolves all stick around!
I abandon White entirely by taking the Mauler, even though it interferes with my Splinterfright and Cage Breakers. You can never go wrong with Moon Heron, but my deck is shaping up to be slow and powerful, so the big butted Zombie wins out. I realized right here that Ambush Viper + Spare from Evil is pretty good.
Perhaps this should have just been a Deranged Assistant, but having a 3rd very dangerous win condition is nice. In the end, with the two Alchemies and Splinterfright, it’s probably best I didn’t take the Millikin.
Another pick I regret. I really like Lumberknot. He has inevitability against most decks, and grows faster than you’d think. The pick here is easily Moon Heron. It’s just consistently better, and I don’t need another ground guy that gets larger.
I could have taken the Wolf or the Viper here(probably the Viper since my deck is slow), but I had no flashback cards to get value from my milling effects yet, and this spell is absurdly powerful, as we’ll see below.
I’m not playing Grave Bramble, and I could open Devil’s Play in pack three!
Despite the ‘theme’ of my deck, Boneyard Wurm doesn’t do enough. If it was *+1 toughness to start and had trample, sign me up. as a more or less vanilla dude, even if I played 23 creatures the Wurm might not make the cut.
It’s ok to maindeck this card. Irritating equipment and numerous Pacifism effects make it a blowout at times. I don’t plan on maindecking it here, but you never know.
Nothing beats the Crab in combat. Nothing.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Yeah I know. The thought about Devil’s Play really did come up when I took Sulfur Falls, and I would have taken it if Armored Skaab wasn’t there. the Skaab is actually the only common or uncommon card I would have taken over it here. It turns on my entire deck, and there is the risk of milling away your ways to cast the Play. There is also a chance I will not get a Shimmering Grotto or Caravan Vigil, or have to take it where I don’t want to to make sure I get one. If the opportunity cost was not so high, even with the risks of not being able to cast it, it’s an easy pick.
I just don’t like Sturmgeist. It’s a 3/3 flyer for five typically that requires a hand to not suck. One might argue that it’s got evasion so even having one card is good since it just draws you gas, but is a five mana flying 1 toughness Magpie good? Thought so.
The third time I’m passing a Darkthicket Wolf. Sigh. Still, a second solid flashback card helps my strategy immensely.
Ambush gets the nod over Grasp merely because it is a creature, and fuels the rest of the deck at least as much as Grasp.
Mmmhmm. It’s getting there. This deck is going to be crazy.
I hate Festerhide Boar. Again, it’s a dude, and maybe someday I’ll cast it as a 5/5. Someday.
A late gift that makes me wish I took Moon Heron over Lumberknot.
And I contradict myself again. Not really a mistake though. I wanted the ability to cast Alchemy or Skaab on two if I wanted. Plus, I already had a few flyers that were better.
Well the Vigil came, and I can flashback Alchemy now if I want(or cast DP if I took it)
Pack 3 pick 13:
- Skaab Goliath
- Battleground Geist
- Makeshift Mauler
- Fortress Crab
- Stitched Drake
- Cackling Counterpart
- Forbidden Alchemy x2
- Armored Skaab x2
- Stitcher’s Apprentice
- Deranged Assistant
- Sensory Deprivation
- Silent Departure
- Avacyn’s Pilgrim
- Caravan Vigil
- Prey Uopn
- Ambush Viper x2
- Garruk Relentless
- Grizzled Outcasts
- Kessig Cagebreakers
- Forest x8
- Island x7
I went 1-1 with this deck, for two reasons. One, I was incredibly unlucky with my Forbidden Alchemies. I never hit creatures when I needed to to grow Splinterfright in combat. Two, after being flooded in game one and light to the point where I kept lands twice on Alchemies in game two, I did not attack with Cagebreakers when it wasn’t assured I would win the next turn after I had stabilized at five. The one turn I waited allowed him to topdeck a Brimstone Volley. At least round one was totally epic.
Yes, I am doing this backwards, but this is more anecdotal than anything else. In round one, my opponent was R/W and played a bunch of Humans and equipment like Silver Dagger and Butcher’s Cleaver. Key plays included Unsummoning his Slayer of the Wicked with two +1/+1 counters, a Cleaver, and a Dagger, thinking I only had one really good target for it. I drew Grizzled Outcasts next turn, and sat on it forever, waiting for a turn where he would have to spend mana playing it instead of suiting someone up. When he climbed above 40 life, I had to think about going big with Cagebreakers to win. Garruk fought a 2/2 White Intimidate guy with two weapons, and that was all Garruk ever did in the entire draft. I declined to play Splinterfright when I finally drew it since I needed turns to set up to win. Finally I drew Alchemy into Cagebreakers, but I needed Cackling Counterpart too. My second Alchemy found it, and with only a few cards left, I swung in with the wolf army for more than enough.
I scooped game two on five since my clock was low, and it didn’t look good, though I wasn’t dead.
Game three was similar to game one. We maneuvered for what seemed like forever, him trying to break through my 1/x creatures and me setting up a haymaker of some kind. This time it was Splinterfright + Cackling Counterpart + flashback Counterpart. This time I won with one card left and about a minute on my clock thanks to a Forbidden Alchemy growing Splinterfright #3(the only one to survive to the end).
Cool story yes, but the reason I told it is to show why I love graveyard decks. You know your whole deck, and at some point, you know pretty much what you’re playing to draw, and unlike a normal deck, you have a realistic chance to live to see it. If you have powerful cards, you’ll get to them far more reliably than other decks will. One can plan far more effectively and predict outcomes with far better accuracy using this style of deck. Also, it’s damn fun to be up against the wall of getting decked and win!
This took a while to write, and it’s work time. Comments welcome as always, and tell your friends to ‘like’ me on Facebook so they know when I update!