Theros Draft Part 2 – Wisdom Fae Under the Bridge by Graeme McIntyre
I intended to write “Theros Draft Part 2” the week after part 1, but I became increasingly busy, firstly with tournaments on many weekends combined with testing for them and then Christmas stuff/new year stuff. I’m sorry for this, as it makes the article a bit less useful, but I’d like to think the format won’t change so much with the next set that the article is of no use.
I don’t have much experience with black white, and the experience I do have with green white is such that I would avoid drafting it at all costs (I even passed a Fleecemane Lion in the top 8 of the Liverpool PTQ, pick one pack one, so it’s not like I just don’t like it – I really wouldn’t draft it!) so I’m not going to discuss them.
Overview – This combination is aggressive, as it has historically been, but with the added bonus that it can make best use of the small Minotaur theme the set has because it can cast both Rageblood Shaman and Kragma Warcaller.
Best Cards – Blood-Toll Harpy, Cavern Lampad, Erebos’s Emissary, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, insatiable Harpy, Mogis’s Marauders, Ordeal of Erebos, Read the Bones, Tormented Hero, Arena Athlete, Coordinated Assault, Fanatic of Mogis, Ordeal of Purphoros, Portent of Betrayal, Purphoros’s Emissary.
All the good removal (which is good in all combinations) and the random bears and stuff are important (you need the removal to kill their better quality creatures, and you need the curve guys to capitalise on this).
Configuration – 4,4,4,2 curve erring towards the low end if there is a decision to be made. This deck needs a lot of removal to be good, because it plays some pretty average guys. Minotaur are better when you have appropriate lords and it’s worth picking them up where possible, but most of them are pretty weak if you don’t have the lord, so it’s not a great idea to go all in; if you get a lord early, great, draft Felhide Minotaur over Blood-Toll Harpy, but if not you’ll be glad of that evasion when the green decks clog the board up with superior guys.
Overall Considerations – I don’t really like this deck much because the black cards are pretty ambiguous, many of them being better suited to defensive decks, meaning that you’re often stuck playing some cards you’re not overly happy with.
The upside to the deck is that it can do the Minotaur plan, but this isn’t a great pay off considering how powerful the white decks are and how deep blue is. I draft this deck when it’s pretty obviously open, or when I happen to blunder into a string of removal spells early.
Overview – This is the deck of grinding people out, the deck of asking “how many cards are in your hand?” every turn until they say zero and you have 3 or more. Pretty typical of black green in most formats, and while I avoid it in most formats because it always seems a bit indulgent and ambiguous, both Bestow and Monstrosity are well suited to this sort of game plan.
Best Cards – Baleful Eidolon, Disciple of Phenax, Grey Merchant of Asphodel, Keepsake Gorgon, March of the Returned, Read the Bones, Returned Phalanx, Nemesis of Mortals ,Nessian Courser, Nylea’s Disciple, Sedge Scorpion, Time to Feed, Pharika’s Mender.
Configuration – 4, 4, 4,2,1 curve erring to the top end. You’re looking for enough early guys to control the board, then to win the game with bestow effects and monsterous creatures. Your deck will be particularly good if it can set up favourable trades easily, and has a fair number of easy two for ones. Defensive early game cards are very important, allowing the deck the breathing space it needs to set these things up.
Overall Considerations – This deck is pretty decent, but lacking in raw power. It’s really just setting up to be the last man standing, but it is very well equipped to do this. It’s often a little underdrafted in my experience, probably because it’s a bit dull to play.
Overview – This is the ramp deck of the format, relying on red’s cheap removal to cast the big green effects which will win the game. Monstrosity helps with one of the major issues decks like this typically have (they’re full of high casting cost guys), allowing the deck to comfortably play the middle and late game with solid Monstrosities in colours, cheap removal and a relative abundance of accelerants.
Best Cards – Ill-Tempered Cyclops, Spearpoint Oread, Stoneshock Giant, Two-headed Cerberus, Karametra’s Acolyte, Leafcrown Dryad, Nemesis of Mortals, Satyr Hedionist,Nylea’s Disciple,Nessian Asp,Sedge Scorpion, Voyaging Satyr, Vulpine Goliath.
Configuration – 4,3,4,2,1 curve, with defensive early creatures. Again, this deck wants removal (just like all the other decks) so that it doesn’t get rolled by aggressive white draws and so that it can deal with problem cards later in the game too. The deck is looking to cast big threats earlier than the other decks, either in the form of big creatures, monstrous creatures or bestowed creatures.
The deck also has two “combos” it can incorporate, all involving cards that are fine to play on their own, but are better in combination. Nemesis of Mortals and Satyr Hedionist makes a turn 3 5/5, which is pretty decent in a format with weaker than average removal, and Two-headed Cerberus is powerful with pump spells and bestow creatures, which this deck is already planning to play to an extent (although I wouldn’t play a second pump spell unless I had two Cerberus; these effects are a bit on the weak side unless you have incentives like Heroic or the Cerberus).
Overall Considerations – I like this deck a lot. It feels like you rarely get bitten in the ass for drafting it, and it’s pretty decent. It even does some powerful things! That said, be wary of white decks due to their early aggression and don’t overdo the top end of your curve, or you will find yourself backed up against a wall quickly.
Overview – The most aggressive deck in the format, often playing 15-16 land and topping out early, this deck is very much about synergies.
Best Cards – Cavalry Pegasus, Chosen by Heliod, Dauntless Onslaught, Favoured Hoplite,Gods Willing, Heliod’s Emissary, Hopeful Eidolon, Observant Alseid, Ordeal of Heliod, Phalanx Leader, Wingsteed Rider, Akroan Crusader, Arena Athlete, Coordinated Assault, Dragon Mantle, Flamespeaker Adept, Ordeal of Purphoros, Purphoros, Spearpoint Oread, Titan’s Strength, Akroan Hoplite.
Configuration – In the most aggressive builds a very low curve topping out with 2 or 3, 4 casting cost creatures, where one, two and three casting cost creatures do most of the work, is best. These decks need to mulligan well, and Scry is particularly good in them (allowing you to find some land late to Bestow, for instance, or randomly pay for the Monstrosity on an Ill-Tempered Cyclops, when the need arises).
The aggressive Heroic creatures are even more key to this deck than they are to the blue white deck. That said, sometimes this deck will end up being just aggressive, rather than super aggressive, and will play 17 land and a curve like normal aggressive decks. More expensive cards become better with more land, and go from being questionably playable, to good because of this.
It’s difficult to say exactly when you should start drafting higher end guys, but I’d be inclined to do this as soon as I started feeling like my deck wasn’t going to be pretty insane, as something of a hedge.
Overall Considerations – This deck is very powerful, and especially early in the format (before the speed of the white decks was fully respected) the deck provided a lot of free wins for me. It’s important to realize what sort of curve you’re going to end up with as you draft, as this changes the value of certain cards considerably.
I’ve had some things to take care of recently which have made it difficult for me to write on a regular basis, but I fully intend to be back writing most weeks throughout 2014. With that in mind, I’ll start thinking about next week’s article on standard, and which decks I like in the format.
Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing,