Pack 1 pick 1:
There’s not much else going on here besides Thopter Assembly; it’s one of those cards that’s awesome if you get to untap with it (but is quite vulnerable). Blightwidow is the next best card and is quite good, but it doesn’t compare to the Assembly in terms of raw power.
My pick: Thopter Assembly
Pack 1 pick 2:
Nested Ghoul is an underrated creature that’s deceptively good because it’s a walking two-for-one and is relatively large. Unfortunately, Nested Ghoul isn’t going to have a direct impact on the game as quickly or in as many ways as Burn the Impure will. Nested Ghoul may provide more card advantage over the course of a longer game, but Burn the Impure is a very efficient removal spell that will get you out of most bad situations.
My pick: Burn the Impure
Pack 1 pick 3:
Blightwidow and Morbid Plunder are both excellent cards because of the card advantage that they provide, whether it’s virtual in regards to Blightwidow holding off creatures in your Dinosaur deck or actual with Morbid Plunder getting back whatever your two best creatures are. Both commons are at the top of the order but don’t compare to Vedalken Anatomist because of how well it controls the board. The Anatomist is moderately expensive to use, but its ability will dominate the Battlefield quite easily.
My pick: Vedalken Anatomist
Pack 1 pick 4:
There’s less Red than there should be which means it may be getting cut off. Sphere of the Suns is rather mediocre and really only useful if splashing something like Go for the Throat or Arrest; it’s strictly worse than a Myr in a two-color deck. Neurok Commando can be good but only in a deck with a lot of removal against a deck with very few creatures, otherwise it’s underwhelming. Serum Raker is rather good, although it’s quite vulnerable in combat against other flyers.
My pick: Serum Raker
Pack 1 pick 5:
There’s no good Blue card which means we need to decide whether or not to stay committed to Red and take Ogre Resister or take a pick that will let us remain flexible (Rusted Slasher or Phyrexian Juggernaut). It’s really early in the draft which makes it difficult to determine how good Rusted Slasher will be. If we’re able to pick up some Ichor Wellsprings and/or other artifacts with E/LTB-triggers, or simply draft a metalcraft deck, then Rusted Slasher will function quite well. However, without knowing anything about where the draft will go, Phyrexian Juggernaut is a safer pick because it doesn’t require much else besides the six mana needed to summon it. It seems rather obvious that Red is being drafted in front of us, but it may still be possible to support the color with what we have already plus the good cards from pack two. Burn the Impure is quite good and it plus Ogre Resister along with an entire second pack of Red is worth more than a Phyrexian Juggernaut plus the potential open (color) third pack.
My pick: Ogre Resister
Pack 1 pick 6:
Fuel for the Cause can be good in a control deck with Black or one that can readily distribute -1/-1 counters to use this as a two-for-one; otherwise it’s just an expensive counterspell. Copper Carapace is quite good but doesn’t fit well with the creatures that we have because they’re expensive which gets in the way of the moderate equip cost (three). Plague Myr is the best option because it will accelerate the deck’s four/six-mana plays. The Myr is much better than Mirran Spy because the 1/3 flyer is generally unimpressive in most decks as a one-power flyer that’s difficult to get useful utility from (the Spy really needs equipment to hold its own).
My pick: Plague Myr
Pack 1 pick 7:
Vivisection provides a lot of card advantage but it’s difficult to acquire a surplus of creatures to sacrifice in colors besides White which turns the theoretically awesome pseudo-Concentrate into more of an awkward sorcery that sets you back on the board. Spire Serpent is a solid blocker and a great finisher in any deck that can maintain metalcraft after turn six/seven, however it seems more important to prevent any Red playables from slipping past us to maximize our second pack’s potential.
My pick: Ogre Resister
Pack 1 pick 8:
Steel Sabotage is okay and gives Blue decks a cheap way to potentially deal with artifacts without having to rely on the color that it’s paired with. Some people have gone as far as to call Steel Sabotage “Blue’s Galvanic Blast”, but that’s a gross exaggeration of the card’s limited usefulness.
My pick: Steel Sabotage
Pack 1 pick 9:
Koth’s Courier is rather mediocre because it’s color-intensive and doesn’t do much in combat past turn five if you’re not playing against Forests. Hexplate Golem and Gnathosaur are both fine, but there are already a lot of dinosaurs in the deck with very little support from the lower half of the curve. The color requirement of Koth’s Courier is a big issue because it’s likely that we’ll have more Islands than Mountains which will make summoning the Courier on turn three quite difficult, and with that in mind Oculus becomes a better pick. Oculus should buy enough time to let us hit our fourth land drop and start summoning Ogres.
My pick: Oculus
Pack 1 pick 10:
My pick: Spire Serpent
Pack 1 pick 11:
With so many four-drops already, an off-color Bladed Sentinel is not going to be of much use compared to our first counterspell.
My pick: Fuel for the Cause
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Neurok Commando
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Pistus Strike
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Island
Pack 1 pick 15:
The first pack was above average because we opened up a good rare in addition to being passed two high level cards with a constant stream of Blue playables throughout the pack. The only downside was that Red was being cut off moderately, and as a result we weren’t able to pick up any more removal beyond the Burn the Impure. The second pack should provide a modest amount of Red if the people to our left didn’t open good Red cards.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Yea, this is an awesome pack for us…. Finally the age-old debate of on-color Iron Myr versus Flight Spellbomb can be settled once and for all! Thrummingbird is underwhelming at the moment except Vedalken Anatomist is active and isn’t enough reason to justify taking it over an on-color myr in our Ogre Resister deck.
Pack 2 pick 2:
This pack… Heavy Arbalest AND Soliton! Jokes aside (for the moment), Heavy Arbalest is the best card in the pack because it provides an entire end-game plan and board control. Unopposed, a Heavy Arbalest will give the majority of decks problems.
My pick: Heavy Arbalest
Pack 2 pick 3:
Another Iron Myr might be tempting for the people who haven’t had experience playing with Golem Artisan, but be assured that despite how few artifact creatures we have at the moment, we’ll most likely have a considerable amount more after the draft has completed. Golem Artisan is very mana-intensive but provides an amazing amount of reach and utility on both sides of combat; it can very easily win a game.
My pick: Golem Artisan
Pack 2 pick 4:
This pick is still moderately stacked, however there’s only one card for us to pick from.
My pick: Turn to Slag
Pack 2 pick 5:
Lumengrid Drake isn’t likely to be good in the deck because there are so few artifacts in the deck already and getting to the necessary threshold of thirteen/fourteen is going to be difficult. On the other hand, Neurok Replica is quite good by itself and provides an excellent way to fill out the deck’s low end of the curve.
My pick: Neurok Replica
Pack 2 pick 6:
Bonds of Quicksilver is a fine sideboard card against problematic creatures like Engulfing Slagwurm, but it can be picked up much later when packs wheel. Soliton is a much better choice because it combos so well with Heavy Arbalest and is fine as a 3/4 with vigilance.
My pick: Soliton
Pack 2 pick 7:
Neurok Invisimancer and Vulshok Heartstoker aren’t great because it’s unlikely we’ll need to race against other decks due to our good late-game, and it would be better to pick cards that help us get there.
My pick: Halt Order
Pack 2 pick 8:
There’s nothing interesting here except for a third counterspell, although it’s quite unlikely we’re going to play more than two if that.
My pick: Stoic Rebuttal
Pack 2 pick 9:
My pick: Plated Seastrider
Pack 2 pick 10:
Riddlesmith isn’t great in this type of deck (equivalent to dinosaurs) because it has many high-end spells and generally isn’t trying to filter lands away. However, it’s still good enough to take and we don’t want to give any of the other drafters ideas of going into Blue during the last pack.
My pick: Riddlesmith
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Ichor Rats
Pack 2 pick 12:
Saberclaw Golem is normally fine to play even though it’s a bit on the slow side. It’s quite vulnerable to any removal, but it’s difficult enough to kill in combat to counteract the negative aspects.
My pick: Saberclaw Golem
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Lumengrid Drake
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Razorfield Thresher
Pack 2 pick 15:
The second pack was quite mediocre compared to what it could have potentially been like. We saw very little Red despite it not being open in the first pack. We did manage to pick up a few good cards like Golem Artisan, Heavy Arbalest, and Turn to Slag, but that was all. We can only hope that the last pack gives us a better open than the second and that Blue remains to be open like it has been.
Pack 3 pick 1:
Argentum Armor is quite slow and not the greatest in the deck because losing a lot of tempo if it doesn’t connect is more devastating in a deck with a high curve than a low one. Perilous Myr and Tumble Magnet are the two best options for the deck, and while both have the ability to slow the game down, Tumble Magnet is more effective against a wider range of cards. For example, Tumble Magnet can be used offensively, or to stop flyers, and even prevent Argentum Armor from triggering.
My pick: Tumble Magnet
Pack 3 pick 2:
Between Steel Sabotage and Halt Order there are a lot of ways to deal with artifacts to the point of Rust Tick losing a moderate amount of value when comparing it to less restrictive removal. Necropede is also a bit underwhelming compared to what Turn to Slag can do, and considering that there’s an Argentum Armor floating around, taking a removal spell that can also deal with it is a good idea.
My pick: Turn to Slag
Pack 3 pick 3:
Darksteel Myr usually isn’t good enough to play in the maindeck because it’s a mulligan against infect. There are other matchups where it can be good (dinosaurs), but for the most part it’s underwhelming. Unfortunately there’s nothing else that we can actually use with the exception of Sylvok Replica if we also pick up a Copper Myr or play a Forest (unlikely because the deck’s mana is pretty bad already). Sylvok Replica will have a bull’s-eye target on it against most opponents because they’ll fear us being able to us it and waste resources to remove it.
My pick: Sylvok Replica
Pack 3 pick 4:
A second Soliton would be good to combo with the Heavy Arbalest except for the fact that the deck is sporting a very high curve and will benefit more from having a third myr to accelerate into four/five-mana plays.
My pick: Gold Myr
Pack 3 pick 5:
It’s unlikely that Accorder’s Shield will have any place in the deck because the curve is so high and having three unused mana to equip creatures isn’t likely to occur.
My pick: Hand of the Praetors
Pack 3 pick 6:
Trigon of Thought is a good way to get ahead of other slow decks and will combo well with the counterspells/removal that we have in those matchups.
My pick: Trigon of Thought
Pack 3 pick 7:
Disperse is a mediocre utility card that isn’t very useful in this deck because of a lack of ETB triggers (ex: Oxidda Scrapmelter). Flight Spellbomb is also an unexciting card, but it will at least cycle with a bit of utility and help turn on metalcraft for Lumengrid Drake and Spire Serpent.
My pick: Flight Spellbomb
Pack 3 pick 8:
Wall of Tanglecord is good but we already have a modest amount of early defense between Oculus and Neurok/Sylvok Replica. Besides, Sky-Eel School is a better card all-around, although it has lost a bit of value due to the higher frequency of Burn the Impure, Spread the Sickness, and Blightwidow.
My pick: Sky-Eel School
Pack 3 pick 9:
My pick: Scrapdiver Serpent
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Myr Reservoir
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Screeching Silcaw
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Plated Seastrider
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Withstand Death
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Plated Seastrider
Pack 3 pick 15:
The last pack was pretty bad, and although we’ll still be able to make a fine deck, it won’t be nearly as good as it could have been (we’ll still be able to do well with it).
The core (twenty-one) of the deck is filled to the brim and doesn’t have many slots to play around with for secondary-level spells.
The core of the deck is set up quite well to take advantage of a long game which means that it can afford to play some spells that have a low impact during that phase of the game but have a more significant value during the early parts when the deck will be in its weakest position. For example, cards like Oculus, Plated Seastrider, and Sylvok Replica (off-color) provide crucial early support to ensure that the deck can stabilize at a relatively high life total when it starts summoning Ogre Resisters and Golems. Plated Seastrider is the most resilient of the three examples, but it also has the most demanding mana requirements and doesn’t help make either Lumengrid Drake or Spire Serpent better.
The deck’s high curve makes counterspells much worse because it won’t be able to play a threat and leave mana open for a counter until it has seven-nine mana which means that most of the counters will have to remain in the sideboard and be brought in only for certain matchups. The high curve also means that it can’t afford to miss land drops and should still run seventeen despite having three mana Myr and a Flight Spellbomb.
The Sylvok Replica should be deceptively good because it’s value won’t be known to the opponent and they might even change their game-plan and devote resources to kill it or play their spells in a different, less efficient order.
The last slot in the deck can be filled by Oculus, Plated Seastrider, Riddlesmith, Lumengrid Drake, or Spire Serpent. Plated Seastrider isn’t optimal because nearly every Red spell in the deck is double-Red which means there will be more Mountains than Islands, and as a result the Seastrider won’t enter the Battlefield often on turn two like it’s supposed to. Oculus is fine, but its value is very low and doesn’t put up any resistance; Riddlesmith is similar but doesn’t cantrip. Lumengrid Drake isn’t going to be Man-o’-War all the time with only thirteen artifacts (including Sylvok Replica), but it can at least provide air support when needed. The deck is actually somewhat weak to flyers and the Drake will be a useful tool to help stop them. Spire Serpent is a great defender but its cost overshadows its usefulness in the deck as there are already a lot of five-mana spells.
For whatever reason(s), some game replays haven’t been all been viewable and I’m looking into determining what the possible, if any, solutions are. As a result not all of the rounds can be accounted for.
Round 1: Out of Stock
Round 2: Red/Green Dino-poison (splash White).
Evil apparently didn’t have a good draft and made some bad choices about figuring what the proper colors to be in were along with not abandoning his first-picks. He was splashing White for [card]Tine Shrike[/card], [card]Divine Offering[/card] and possibly more spells that we didn’t see. Evil kept a hand that was banking on [card]Arc Trail[/card] being good (he had two) which wasn’t the case as we summoned [card]Ogre Resister[/card] and [card]Golem Artisan[/card]. Eventually Evil eventually got a one-for-one by killing [card]Serum Raker[/card] and the [card]Ogre Resister[/card] with both. However, he took a lot of damage while waiting for the deal to sweeten. Evil’s greed put him too far back to come back when factoring in our hand of multiple removal spells (both [card]Turn to Slag[/card] and the [card]Burn the Impure[/card]).
Game two was similar except we didn’t have any Myr in our deck (because of the two Arc Trails) and had brought in an Island and some counterspells.
Round 3: Red/White Metalcraft
Evil mulligans to five in game one and we run him over quite easily while the opposite happens in game two. Evil’s deck has multiple low-end Metalcraft cards like Ardent Recruit, Auriok Sunchaser, Ichor Wellspring, Origin Spellbomb, Kuldotha Rebirth, and other similar cards.
Game three looks good for us as we’re able to start with a hand that involves turn two Plague Myr, turn three Ogre Resister, turn four Saberclaw Golem, turn five Ogre Resister (#2) with a Neurok Replica thrown into the mix as well. However, Evil played Auriok Sunchaser and Snapsail Glider on turn two and three and was able to metalcraft on turn four by playing an Ichor Wellspring and Origin Spellbomb along with a blocker in the form of Ardent Recruit (which traded for the Resister). Then on turn five he had Kuldotha Rebirth, Trigon of Rage, and a second Ardent Recruit along with a Galvanic Blast to win on turn six (winning quite easily).
The deck never got flooded because there were always ways to spend mana. The mana worked out for the most part, although there weren’t any times when less than two of either type were drawn which may indicate that we were running above average.
Lumengrid Drake was mediocre and never bounced anything because it was so difficult to get metalcraft. We never played against a deck with a lot of flyers and so it never was able to fill all of its roles to see how effective it would be.
Thopter Assembly was quite good mainly because it never died in the two games we played it.
Overall the deck felt somewhat clunky which is generally the case with most dinosaur decks, but the archetype is still good and one of the better available (simply because decks with good cards tend to win).