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Beetles, Companions and Sagas, Oh My! Drafting Orzhov in NEO

Can’t get into green lately? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. If you subscribe to the theory that you shouldn’t be moving into green for commons, it’s fairly difficult to end up drafting green these days because the good uncommons aren’t flying around the table anymore. In my experience, green decks that are full of commons just don’t cut it in a format this powerful. Green’s strength comes largely at uncommon off the back of cards like Blossom Prancer, Kappa Tech-Wrecker and Boseiju Reaches Skyward

Because the Sagas are being drafted more appropriately at most tables, the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty draft format feels like it has settled into an equilibrium. Sure, you still get the random pod or two where no one knows that Sagas are good, but by and large, folks are drafting more responsibly these days. What does that mean for the format and how you should draft it?

Unfortunately, it means you aren’t going to be shooting the moon with the busted three or four-color deck full of Sagas as often. In my mind, the format has coalesced around three pillars: green-based Saga decks, UB ninja decks and near mono-red artifact decks. If you’ve been following the evolution of the format, you’ll know that red has been under drafted as of late. However, I still believe it’s dangerous to move into red because it’s very difficult for that color to successfully support two drafters. If you find yourself in the pod where everyone else is clearly off of red or the packs are weak, go nuts drafting red. If given the choice, though, I’d still prefer to start my drafts in other colors, especially black.

My current approach to the format has been to get as deep as possible into black because it pairs very well with all of the other colors. As a result, I’ve found myself ending up in Orzhov more often, and I believe it’s one of the most powerful and reliable options to draft in the format right now if you can’t get into one of the big three decks.

 

 

 

Header - The Game Plan

Basically, you want to outvalue your opponents into oblivion. This deck is chock-full of two-for-ones at the common rarity, and you should try to draft and cast as many of them as possible. In fact, one of the strengths of this archetype is that it can operate almost entirely at common and still compete with the busted uncommons that green has access to.

Ideally, you want to curve an Okiba Reckoner Raid into a Virus Beetle, which is then followed up by a Kami of Terrible Secrets on turn four. To close out the game, you cast an Imperial Oath and then keep chaining that into more Imperial Oaths or enough action to overwhelm your opponent with value.

While that won’t happen every game, if you put enough of the high win rate Orzhov cards into your deck, you’ll find a way to win games fairly easily in my experience. The 17lands data really does point you in the right direction with Orzhov cards as long as you are making sure to include a good mix of artifacts and enchantments at the bottom of your curve.

 

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