Magic: the Gathering in the UK
So due to various people crashing at mine for the up coming ptq in Colchester, I have decided that i will play that event, the side affect of this crazy dicision is that I need to learn the set a bit so I know what to look out for hence me playing my first draft this week for over a year. What I want to know is what are the sleeper hits (commons or uncommons that look pants but aren't) and what are the good colour combos?
Any help would be much appreciated
i have had limited experience drafting this set (the first noncube drafts i have done in basically forever) but i've found so far that i've had the most success with GW and RB decks
something which i think is worth knowing is that the common removal is not particularly good - there is no pacifism/doom blade/etc and what little decent common removal that exists is quite colour restricting (eg Annihilating Fire is 1RR, Auger Spree is 1BR. and Trostani's Judgment costs approx. 1million)
I hear a lot of people use the Limited Resources podcast (when they do their common/uncommon set review) to get a basic idea of what the set is about (you will need a number of hours free, however).
I played Golgari (GB) in the prerelease sealed and did poorly, I have done one draft in total - I drafted GB again and went 3-0, so my sample size is a little small.
Every guild-based two color combination has its supporters. Drafting a two color deck outside of a guild means giving up a bunch of power uncommons and even commons so is almost never right. UW is probably the lowest average-rated guild combination but plenty of people rate UR last (but some non-trivial number rate it highest). RB is a lot of people's favorite but (again) some people's lowest. I would say GW averages highest in people's estimation but that might just be because I've had the most success with it.
Heavy 3+ color decks seem to almost always be base green because of Axebane Guardian (good) and Gatecreeper Vine (ok, better with Launch Party). It's also fairly normal for RB or UW decks to splash the color necessary to fit in Teleportal (Overrun).
RB decks are mostly trying to curve out with Unleash creatures, Auger Spree your blocker out of the way and burn to the next blocker or to the face. Annihilating Fire, Explosive Impact, Traitorous Instinct and (especially) Stab Wound give the deck options once the opponent has stabilized. This deck (perhaps surprsingly given that it is basically just Unholy Strength) is often happy to run one or more Deviant Glee. Hellhole Flailer is the bomb uncommon that pushes you into this deck. If you are not unleashing you are probably losing. The guildmage for this deck is completely insane if you curve out making blocking basically impossible for your opponent and getting in extra damage after they decide not to block.
UW decks are your usual UW skies deck. They have detain to temporarily get rid of blockers but most people seem to have gone quite tepid on detain. Sometimes you can use something like Faerie Imposter to get re-use out of your detain guys but the effect is not super powerful. A lot of the creatures in UW are quite anemic and it frequently comes down to trying to peck them to death 1 or 2 points of life at a time. The UW guildmage is not quite as good as he looks but he is still pretty nuts.
WG decks seem to come in two types. (1) Super aggro - 16 or more 2 and 3 drop creatures with a bunch of the (many, many) pump spells. Common Bond is best but Giant Growth, Swift Justice and Chorus of Might are all very playable. You make 2 drop, 3 drop, 2 x 3 drop and then you use pump spells to get through blockers. This deck is actually ridiculously good imho. There will always be more pump spells as there are just so many in the format. (2) Populate - Get some critical mass of 3/3 centaurs and kill your opponent with them. You can beat down if it works out that way or just stabilize, make a bunch of free guys and kill. Once you have an appropriate number of straight up playable token makers like Selesnya Charm, Call of the Conclave, etc. you can start to include things like Rootborn Defenses that are a little more marginal. The WG guildmage is what sends you into this deck as it *absurd*.
UR decks confuse me. There's some kind of aggro version that plays Frostburn Weird on t2 and then puts a Pursuit of Flight on it on t3 and rides it to victory. There's some kind of control version that has some removal and some Thoughtflares that put it way ahead. The consensus seems to be that your very best cards like Teleportal get nicked and played in other decks which makes the guild as a whole weak. Azorius and Rakdos will aslo happily steal your super common (Frostburn Weird). Also has the worst guildmage.
GB decks try to grind it out and achieve late game advantage with scavenge. Doing something like putting +3/+3 on a Daggerdrome Imp to "build your own Baneslayer" and take the game that way. Their guildmage is third best but still nuts. Big on blockers like Trestle Troll. The deck most likely to splash.
Cards that are just as good as they seem: all the guildmages except maybe Izzet, Izzet/Azorios/Selesnya charm, Annihilating Fire, Arrest, Auger Spree, Bloodfray Giant, Call of the Conclave, Centaur Healer, Izzet/Selesnya/Azorius Charms, Skymark Roc.
Cards that are better than they seem: Stab Wound, Frostburn Weird, Lobber Crew, Knightly Valor, Deviant Glee, Ethereal Armor, Common Bond, Armory Guard, Doorkeeper, Axebane Guardian, Trestle Troll, Dramatic Rescue, Voidweilder, Fencing Ace, Keening Apparition (lots of relevant enchantments), Ogre Jailbreaker, Perilous Shadow, Rootborn Defenses, Security Blockade, Sewer Shambler, Spawn of Rik Maadi, Splatter Thug, Swift Justice, Teleportal, Traitorous Instinct.
Cards that are worse than they seem: Izzet Staticaster, Avenging Arrow, Azorius Arrester, all keyrunes (tempo, although they are ok), Azorius Justicar, Courser's Accord, Crosstown Courier (helps Golgari too much), Golgari Decoy, Paralyzing Grasp, Rakdos Cackler, Rakdos Shred-Freak, Soul Tithe, Transguild Promenade.
Would just like to echo Tom in that all the creature enchantments are very playable in this set, particularly Knightly Valor.
worth mentioning Stab Wound i think - the card is way, way better than it seems. You are perfectly happy to just use it to kill a guildmage but putting it on their 2/3 flyer guy and just stalling the game for a bit is way more effective than you might think.
cheers guys, will let you know how it goes
not going mad but damage means life loss right?
Damage to a player causes life loss if there are no replacement effects but it isn't quite a synonym.
Loosing life is not the same as damage though.
My favourite to draft in this format is G/W. Its pretty easy to draft and play and wins a good ammount.
Things that make tokens
Things that populate
The one that fogs and populates is great.
well I drafted G/W splash blue for the wrath (which I was passed), went 2-1 got screwed in 2 games in 1 match up, feel like I had a much better deck than everyone else, the gw guys just seemed to be a bit better costed and seemed to put my opp under a lot of pressure early so they had some very poor blocks made a lot worse by my 4 good combat tricks