Mirrodin Besieged Draft #1
Pack 1 pick 1:
Lumengrid Gargoyle isn’t as good as it appears because it’s expensive and an artifact with no significant upsides; it’s fine but not great. Yes, it’s large and flies like Steel Hellkite and Thopter Assembly, but the similarity ends there. Spending six mana on an artifact creature demands getting some real value from it for it to be a windmill slam, and the Gargoyle is simply lacking. The rest of the pack is quite mediocre with the exception of Septic Rats (moderately good) which pigeon-holes us into infect. That’s not to say that going all-in on infect from the get-go is a bad idea, it’s just a strategy that involves more risk. Either pick works, and the direction to go should be based on preference and what you’re trying to do in the draft. If you’re trying to 3-0, then the riskier path is the way to go because the potential rewards are higher.
My pick: Septic Rats
Pack 1 pick 2:
Corrupted Conscience is excellent and one of the best uncommons on the set. Other notables in the pack include Burn the Impure and Blightwidow, although Burn really isn’t an option because Corrupted Conscience is the better of the two that will go into a non-infect deck (almost always an effortless two-for-one). There are a few options to consider:
1. Take Corrupted Conscience and draft blue/black infect.
2. Take Corrupted Conscience, abandon infect, and potentially black.
3. Take Blightwidow and hope that infect will remain open.
The first option is the worst because it’s difficult to acquire enough playables and requires that black is wide open in the last two packs. The second option is fine because nothing amazing was passed in the first pick which leaves us looking at blue and whatever else is open. The third option involves more risk than the second, but sets up the second pack relatively well because it’s much less likely that infect won’t be open. With the rare missing it’s difficult to tell what direction will benefit us the most (blue/x or infect), and we only know that it’s likely that blue is open directly to our right but nothing beyond that. Despite how good Corrupted Conscience is, the rewards for going all-in on infect are substantial. Even if it becomes apparent that it’s not open, Blightwidow is still excellent in many other archetypes.
My pick: Blightwidow
Pack 1 pick 3:
Flensermite isn’t very good without equipment like Copper Carapace to boost its power/toughness which leaves only Pistus Strike. Pistus Strike is pretty good in sealed because most pools have dragons to deal with, but in draft it’s less likely to be as useful; it’s still a strong sideboard card though and much better than Wing Puncture/Ezuri’s Archers.
My pick: Pistus Strike
Pack 1 pick 4:
Creeping Corrosion is a relatively good sign that green is open and a decent card in infect because it’s not difficult to draft a deck with very few artifacts. Virulent Wound is also decent and has more synergy with the deck since it gives the opponent poison counters, but it doesn’t have the amount of raw power that Creeping Corrosion does.
My pick: Creeping Corrosion
Pack 1 pick 5:
Copper Carapace is quite good because it provides a significant bonus making it much harder to kill infect’s small creatures. However, it’s more likely that we’ll be rewarded in pack two if we reduce the number of infect creatures to ensure that fewer people are drafting the archetype. Core Prowler will lead to some pretty sick turns with its proliferate effect, but it’s much more frail on the battlefield compared to Septic Rats (which is also much cheaper).
My pick: Septic Rats
Pack 1 pick 6:
Viridian Emissary is quite weak in infect (except the mirror where you’re more likely to be on the defensive). Mirran Meddle is fine, though minor pump effects are narrow and reduce the consistency of a deck when dealing with mulligans. Flensermite is the best choice because it’s the most likely to end up in the maindeck.
My pick: Flensermite
Pack 1 pick 7:
Glissa’s Courier is a bad sideboard card because it’s not giving the opponent poison counters. Tine Shrike is okay but requires cards to help cast it (Viridian Emissary/Horizon Spellbomb/Gold Myr), and all of those are relatively mediocre in the deck. Still, there aren’t any other good options and it’s likely that the Tine Strike will make someone else want to go into infect.
My pick: Tine Shrike
Pack 1 pick 8:
Fangren Marauder is an excellent plan B because it provides a huge body as well as making it quite difficult for any artifact-heavy deck to successfully race. Morbid Plunder is a better choice though because it provides a source of card advantage that is necessary to grind out the opponent.
My pick: Morbid Plunder
Pack 1 pick 9:
My pick: Tangle Hulk
Pack 1 pick 10:
My pick: Tangle Hulk
Pack 1 pick 11:
My pick: Myr Sire
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Unnatural Predation
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Horrifying Revelation
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Koths Courier
Pack 1 pick 15:
Infect wasn’t as open as desired in the pack even though there was a moderate amount of cards midway through the pack (while nothing wheeled from the initial picks like Virulent Wound). Still, the second pack should yield a lot more because of how colors flowed in the first.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Sunblast Angel is pretty awesome but there was no white being passed in the first pack compared to the other colors which means we won’t be able to support it after abandoning green. Additionally, the Arrest in the pack will complicate matters in the third pack by sending a bad signal. Acid Web Spider is quite good but it doesn’t mesh with the archetype’s strategy like Contagion Clasp does. Clasp is excellent in the deck because it doesn’t require other charge counter cards to be useful and works so well with the infect mechanic.
My pick: Contagion Clasp
Pack 2 pick 2:
There are quite a few good cards here, and unfortunately this pack will have a negative effect on our third pack because of how laden it is with infect cards. Skinrender and Putrefax are the most powerful options, though it’s going to be best to take Skinrender because it’s always useful regardless of the game-state. Putrefax is better in aggressive decks when you’re winning but that’s not always going to be the case.
My pick: Skinrender
Pack 2 pick 3:
Flesh Allergy is generally not what the archetype wants to do because there are very few irrelevant creatures that lose their value as the game progresses (unlike myr in metalcraft). We do have a Myr Sire, though it’s unlikely that it will make the cut into the deck. Tel-Jilad Fallen is the only real choice and a fine one.
My pick: Tel-Jilad Fallen
Pack 2 pick 4:
Tainted Strike is good with two Tangle Hulks and Skinrender but is likely to wheel. Blight Mamba and Rust Tick are better options than Fume Spitter because they both have more impact on the game. Between the two cards Rust Tick is a bit more powerful because its ability provides more flexibility on the Battlefield. The format is roughly forty percent artifacts (half of them creatures) and having a Blinding Mage to stop the worst of them is a potent effect. Another important point to consider is the fact that there are two Septic Rats in the deck and maximizing their potential is a crucial component to the deck’s goldfish draws.
My pick: Blight Mamba
Pack 2 pick 5:
Ichorclaw Myr is the clear pick here as there’s nothing else that comes remotely close to accomplishing what it does. Palladium Myr and Moriok Replica are marginal because the archetype isn’t accelerating into anything and isn’t on the defensive more of the time (re: blocking with Replica and sacrificing before damage).
Pack 2 pick 6:
There’s no need for more dinosaurs (because of the two Tangle Hulks) which dismisses Alpha Tyrranax as an option. Silver Myr is also unnecessary because there’s nothing to accelerate into and is a bad turn-two play compared to any infect creature. Perilous Myr is also out of place except in the mirror where it’s most likely that we’ll be on defense. Tower of Calamities is another sideboard card for the mirror, although it’s far less consistent because it’s important to have cards that have an immediate impact on the board to ensure that you’re not run over.
My pick: Perilous Myr
Pack 2 pick 7:
Barbed Battlegear is very mediocre because a lot of infect creatures have one-toughness and can’t be equipped without dying. There’s nothing for us in this pick and Vulshok Replica is the most useful card against us since it trades with most of our resilient creatures (Ichorclaw Myr, Septic Rats, and Cystbearer).
My pick: Vulshok Replica
Pack 2 pick 8:
Untamed Might is good especially as the curve of the deck decreases and makes it more likely that the opponent will be behind sooner (and forced to tap out). Instill Infection is going to be better for the other cases where you have an average deck because it helps put you ahead with regards to card advantage. Our deck doesn’t appear to have a curve low enough to take more advantage of Untamed Might compared to simply grinding out the opponent with cards like Morbid Plunder, Contagion Clasp, and Skinrender.
My pick: Instill Infection
Pack 2 pick 9:
Nihil Spellbomb is the only card we’d consider playing and it would only be for the mirror when dealing with Corpse Cur and Morbid Plunder shenanigans
My pick: Nihil Spellbomb
Pack 2 pick 10:
Unfortunately both the Putrefax and Plague Stinger didn’t wheel which means that there are at least two other infect drafters, though after what we saw from the first pack that isn’t surprising. Blight Mamba is the only choice for us.
My pick: Blight Mamba
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Ezuris Archers
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Tainted Strike
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Bleak Coven Vampires
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Ferrovore
Pack 2 pick 15:
The second pack was better than the first, although the main reason is from our own doing (cutting infect hard while passing everything else).
Pack 3 pick 1:
Heavy Arbalest is quite a card and passing it is no easy task. Contagion Engine is simply one of the best cards to have (especially in infect where double-proliferating will be game) because it’s a wrath that also kills the opponent within a few turns.
My pick: Contagion Engine
Pack 3 pick 2:
Tine Shrike is the only card that we have to make a splash for which is quite unimpressive and eliminates Horizon Spellbomb. Perilous Myr is also unnecessary because of the nature of the archetype. Tumble Magnet is the best choice because it functions well with Contagion Clasp/Engine while providing effective disruption for little cost while we beat down with Septic Rats and Tel-Jilad Fallen.
My pick: Tumble Magnet
Pack 3 pick 3:
Cystbearer is like Contagious Nim but with a +0/+1 bonus thrown in for free. How could anyone turn down a deal like that?
My pick: Cystbearer
Pack 3 pick 4:
Throne of Geth can be a powerful utility card in a deck because it provides a very inexpensive way (in terms of mana) to proliferate. Generally a deck will want at least eight artifacts to be able to use the Throne continuously and this one is a bit short on good artifacts (four excluding Myr Sire, two Tangle Hulks, and a Perilous Myr). The other option is Asceticism which is not usually a good card because it’s very mana-intensive and not good in the mirror. However, against some decks it can be a powerful way to grind out the opponent and blank the majority of their removal. If we had more artifacts, the Throne would be a better choice, however it’s simply too inconsistent in the deck.
My pick: Asceticism
Pack 3 pick 5:
We’re low on creatures at the moment which makes Blackcleave Goblin and Trigon of Infestation better choices than a second Instill Infection. The Goblin is a better choice in a fast deck (which is not what we’re working with), but in this it will likely be underwhelming in most games. The Trigon is much slower than the Goblin but has a lot more staying power and interacts quite well with Contagion Clasp/Engine and Asceticism.
My pick: Trigon of Infestation
Pack 3 pick 6:
Bladed Pinions is a good way to help get the deck’s three-drops through though it’s underwhelming when dealing with only one-power creatures like Blight Mamba and other two-drops. Unfortunately there aren’t many creatures to equip Bladed Pinions to in the first place. Moriok Replica is the other choice and not directly useful with the deck’s goals. However in games of attrition the Replica can provide another source of card-advantage especially when throwing Morbid Plunder into the mix.
My pick: Moriok Replica
Pack 3 pick 7:
My pick: Instill Infection
Pack 3 pick 8:
My pick: Untamed Might
Pack 3 pick 9:
My pick: Tel-Jilad Fallen
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Inexorable Tide
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Necrogen Scudder
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Moriok Reaver
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Kuldotha Rebirth
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Golems Heart
Pack 3 pick 15:
The third pack wasn’t the worst, and opening a good rare certainly made it much nicer. Overall, the draft had some bumps mainly because there was one person over the limit that infect could support. However, we managed to get enough good cards to build a successful deck and shouldn’t have too much trouble winning.
Building the Deck
There are a few ways to take the deck ranging from including cards that are more proactive like Flensermite, Pistus Strike, Unnatural Predation, and Tainted Strike to playing cards that lock up the board and let us win at our discretion.
The core of the deck is the following nineteen cards:
The remaining cards include:
Flensermite won’t be great unless we also include Unnatural Predation to help ensure that Septic Rats is always attacking as a 3/3. However, there’s nothing else to support Flensermite and make it better than a 1/1 (which is bad).
There are a lot of creatures to make Tainted Strike good: Moriok Reaver, Necrogen Scudder, Moriok Replica, and Tangle Hulk especially. However, none of these creatures directly help the deck’s strategy with the exception of Moriok Replica because the deck is slow and has could benefit from the pseudo-Sakura-Tribe Elder. Necrogen Scudder and Tangle Hulk are completely out of place in the deck and the only creature that is going to be auto-included that’s good with Tainted Strike is Skinrender. Including a bunch of vanilla non-infect creatures to make Tainted Strike better is going to compromise the deck’s focus.
Pistus Strike is generally too weak for draft, although if we saw enough fliers during the draft, there would be enough reason to justify playing it main.
Asceticism is quite slow but lets us get more mileage from our low number of creatures in addition to making our Tel-Jilad Fallen much better.
Perilous Myr doesn’t directly help with the deck’s strategy, but does buy time which normally wouldn’t be good in an infect deck. However, the composition of the deck’s spells favors a long game which means that Perilous Myr likely has a place in the deck.
Moriok Replica is another slow card and not directly tied with the deck’s strategy with the exception of gaining card advantage in certain matchups. It’s unlikely that the Replica is going to be able to be used before turn five/six because of the number of four-mana spells in the deck.
Nihil Spellbomb offers little utility in the deck other than for playing a thirty-nine card deck. There’s no synergy with cards like Painsmith or other cards than benefit us for playing artifact spells.
The high curve of the deck suggests that eighteen lands is appropriate which means that only three of the other cards can be included in the deck. The front-runners include Perilous Myr, Asceticism, Moriok Replica, Unnatural Predation, and Flensermite. The Myr and Asceticism are the strongest of the five which means that it’s unlikely that Flensermite will have a place without the inclusion of Unnatural Predation. Unnatural Predation is fine without Flensermite and an awesome combination with Untamed Might in the late-game. However, of all the candidates for the final slots, Unnatural Predation is one of the most narrow with the least amount of power; it’s the most likely to be a mulligan.
Round 1: black/white infect
We played defensively dealing with Evil’s threats at he played them; Plague Stinger got killed by Contagion Clasp and so on. Evil tried to utilize an Accorder’s Shield to get extra value from his creatures, but the Clasp trumped his attempts. For example, he summoned a Phyrexian Digester and equipped it with the Shield before running it into our Blight Mamba. Later on, he tried to attack with the Digester again, but we proliferated to neutralize it. The Clasp kept working while we played spells like Skinrender and Instill Infection to control the board while using Cystbearer and Blightwidow to give Evil a poison counter. The advantage overtook Evil quite rapidly and it became apparent as his hand and board disintegrated compared to ours which was cluttered with creatures and unused spells.
Round 2: black/green infect
Perilous Myr was huge in the first game because Evil didn’t want to trade his Cystbearer for it while an Ichor Rats with Livewire Lash ran into our Blight Mamba. We bunkered down with Trigon of Infestation and Asceticism (to turn off his removal) while matching Evil’s creatures (Cystbearer vs. Scourge Servant, etc.). The Asceticism prevented our Tel-Jilad Fallen from being killed by Evil’s Fume Spitter and Plaguemaw Beast. The game wouldn’t have been close, but Evil had a Putrefax in addition to Livewire Lash to give us four extra poison counters. However, we were able to grind out the win with the Trigon and Contagion Clasp while holding Contagion Engine and Skinrender.
Round 3: blue/red metalcraft
Evil had a heavy-artifact deck and a few non-artifact creatures like Blisterstick Shaman, Lumengrid Drake, Darkslick Drake, and Argent Sphinx in addition to Corrupted Conscience. We were on the defensive both games simply because of the portion of spells that were drawn. Evil ran out of gas in the first while we had multiple four-drops like Trigon of Infestation and both Tel-Jilad Fallen. Not even Corrupted Conscience was enough to turn the tide in his favor thanks to Untamed Might.
The second game involved a quick Argent Sphinx, but we kept it in check with Contagion Clasp and were able to proliferate it away before Evil could phase it out. In the meantime Evil had managed to beat us down with various artifact creatures and threatened to kill us, but we drew the land necessary to wrath him with Contagion Engine, which provided us enough time to take over the game.
Asceticism proved to be quite useful despite playing against two infect decks mainly because it gave our creatures shroud. There were games with multiple Fume Spitters/Virulent Wounds in addition to Trigon of Corruption and Plaguemaw Beast.
Trigon of Infestation also gave us a lot of mileage with the help of Contagion Clasp. The Trigon has always been a good card for the mirror and it’s yet to disappoint.
Morbid Plunder would have been quite good in any of the games but we never drew it.
Creeping Corrosion would have been good in either of the games that we drew it, however the games played out such that we didn’t need it. In round one we could have used it to destroy a Phyrexian Digester and Accorder’s Shield, but we also had Contagion Clasp which seemed like it would be better to keep in play (it was). In round three, we could have destroyed most of the opponent’s board (which was mostly irrelevant small creatures), but we were on low life and had Contagion Clasp, Tumble Magnet, Contagion Engine, and Trigon of Infestation. Despite having a deck with very few artifacts, there was much more symmetry associated with Creeping Corrosion than was desired because all of our artifacts were essential.
The draft could have gone down two main paths: Septic Rats and Lumengrid Gargoyle. I won’t recommend either way always, but the safer choice is generally better because drafting reactively will lead towards a higher success rate. Going all-in on extreme archetypes like infect and white-weenie aggro (both of which are quite good) from the beginning of the draft will work out at times, but will also lead towards trainwrecks much more often than had you drafted reactively and took what was passed to you. This draft illustrated one of the possible outcomes of forcing an archetype; yes, it worked out somewhat. However, had we not opened Clasp and Engine as well as been passed Skinrender we wouldn’t have won and would have ended up with a mediocre deck. Forcing an archetype will produce 3-0 decks a moderate amount of the time, but the same is true with 1-2/0-3 decks. Sometimes the cards just aren’t available.