Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #8
Pack 1 pick 1:
Induce Despair is one of the most powerful removal spells, but it suffers from consistency issues. It isn’t really good in certain decks like blue/black levelers because the average creature CMC is low which makes it more difficult to abuse. There are also times when it’s necessary to change your line of play because you need to keep a creature in your hand and that can lead to a less effective line of play than if the Induce was a different removal spell. Nevertheless, Induce is the one removal spell that doesn’t care much about anything regarding the creature that it’s going to kill (black/non-black, whether an Umbra is on it) except its toughness. We aren’t passing much to our left. There’s a Bala Ged Scorpion, Mnemonic Wall, Explosive Revelation, Lavafume Invoker, Aura Gnarlid, and Guard Duty. We’ll be able to live without most of those spells regardless of what archetype we go into and aren’t in any danger of being cut from black in pack two.
My pick: Induce Despair
Pack 1 pick 2:
We’ve got a few more options here. Narcolepsy is the best removal spell between it, Forked Bolt, Spawning Breath, and Guard Duty. Mammoth Umbra is the best non-removal spell. Umbras were underrated when Rise of the Eldrazi first came out, even Mammoth Umbra. It’s quite easy to lose a game when the Aura sticks to a flier. It’s better to take Narcolepsy because having removal is more important, especially at the start of a draft when people are trying to settle into their colors. If we get cut off from one color, we’ll still have removal instead of a Mammoth Umbra with potentially no removal. Unfortunately we are passing a few black cards (Cadaver Imp and Bala Ged Scorpion) and that might hurt us later on.
My pick: Narcolepsy
Pack 1 pick 3:
There aren’t many black cards here and is a bad sign for the Induce Despair. Dreamstone Hedron, Sea Gate Oracle, and Regress are the on-color cards to choose from. It’s not worth going into another color for Aura Gnarlid or Battle-Rattle Shaman because we have good blue options. Dreamstone Hedron is a good card, though generally misplaced in a blue deck because blue doesn’t ramp up into anything. However, being able to (slowly) draw a bunch of cards is always appealing. Regress is an excellent utility card and always worth having in a deck because it provides answers to the majority of the format’s themes (levelers and Auras) while saving creatures from removal spells. Sea Gate Oracle is a more efficient Dreamstone Hedron, although it doesn’t provide three cards; it does give you two (a 1/3 creature and one card) for three mana (compared to three cards for nine mana). If we settle into a blue/black deck, it’s likely to be a control deck with Mnemonic Walls and a slow kill or a leveler deck that plays more of a tempo game than the former. The control deck wants Dreamstone Hedron while the leveler deck wants Regress and there isn’t much of a crossover between the two decks. The happy medium is Sea Gate Oracle; it fits well into both decks. Regardless of which direction the deck goes, we’ll be happy with the Sea Gate Oracle.
My pick: Sea Gate Oracle
Pack 1 pick 4:
At least black is still flowing, though Bloodthrone Vampire wouldn’t be very good in our deck at the moment. Bloodrite Invoker is okay, but pretty easy to pick up. Skywatcher Adept is excellent because it’s an efficient leveler; it’s evasive. One of the problems with the black levelers is that you can’t always attack with them after you’ve leveled them up and then have to invest the full amount of mana before you can safely do so. Skywatcher Adept is different.
My pick: Skywatcher Adept
Pack 1 pick 5:
This pack is interesting. There are a lot of people who would just slam the Champion’s Drake, but I’m not one of them. Maybe I’ve just drafted too many bad leveler decks that can’t quite support a Drake and always get paired against the black/red removal deck (and promptly lose). Champion’s Drake suffers from consistency issues and needs a certain amount of levelers to ensure that you always have a dragon and aren’t stuck with a do-nothing 1/1 flyer. It’s true that it’s early in the draft and we’ll have a lot of opportunities to pick up more levelers, but there is another card to consider: Overgrown Battlement. By now most people should recognize that Overgrown Battlement is one of the best green cards and that seeing one this late should be a sign that green is open. Yes, we’ve passed a few green cards already (two copies of Aura Gnarlid, Wildheart Invoker, and Momentous Fall) which might hurt us in pack two. However, if the assessment of this late Battlement is correct, then we should be in store for some good green in the remainder of this pack and pack three. Another reason why we should strongly consider Overgrown Battlement is the lack of quality black so far in the draft. If we’re getting cut from black, then Champion’s Drake is going to be even less useful. blue/green isn’t the ideal color combination because there aren’t many overlapping synergies, but it is still possible to draft a deck of good cards and win without much trouble.
My pick: Overgrown Battlement
Pack 1 pick 6:
Gloomhunter is fine in a leveler deck because it fits into the tempo game that it likes to play. However, Gloomhunter isn’t enough to tie us to black at this point and we should consider the [card]Evolving Wilds[/card] because it will help us splash the Induce Despair if we end up blue/green.
My pick: Evolving Wilds
Pack 1 pick 7:
The one thing we know is that blue is definitely open and should stick with a good blue card whenever the opportunity presents itself. Halimar Wavewatch is an excellent creature and especially good in a deck that needs to stabilize the board quickly.
My pick: Halimar Wavewatch
Pack 1 pick 8:
There are a few late red cards, but we haven’t seen much red throughout the pack which suggests that this pack had a few red removal spells in it. Daggerback Basilisk isn’t very exciting and is likely to be shoved into the sideboard, but it’s better than Ogre’s Cleaver (which is generally too inefficient) because it’s decent against other green decks.
My pick: Daggerback Basilisk
Pack 1 pick 9:
My pick: Zof Shade
Pack 1 pick 10:
My pick: Sporecap Spider
Pack 1 pick 11:
My pick: Preys Vengeance
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Reinforced Bulwark
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Enatu Golem
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Nighthaze
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack one was a bit of a mess. It seems that we were led astray by the Overgrown Battlement because green was non-existent afterwards while there were various random black creatures (though it seemed like both colors weren’t very open). The good news is that blue was wide open and we were able to stick to it getting quite a few good cards. In the next pack we should continue to stick with blue and quickly identify whether green or black is our other main color.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Domestication is quite a card, though I’m finding it to be a bit overrated. Some decks can deal with [card]Domestication[/card] easily whether it be by putting an Umbra on the stolen creature or using some other pump effect (ex: Might of the Masses/Wildheart Invoker) to destroy the Domestication. Domestication is best in a leveler deck because you want to steal the first three-power creature that they play and create a significant tempo swing, ending the game before the larger creatures come into play. Narcolepsy is better suited for our deck because it doesn’t appear that it’ll be ending the game on turn six/seven and will be able to deal with almost every creature that gets thrown at us.
My pick: Narcolepsy
Pack 2 pick 2:
Frostwind Invoker is a good card and definitely worth taking. However, now is the time to try and define our second color. Ondu Giant will help immensely because it cements our ability to splash the Induce Despair and solidify a position in green. Additionally, if we pass all three blue cards, then it’s more likely that we’ll wheel one (See Beyond) when the pack comes back compared to the alternative.
My pick: Ondu Giant
Pack 2 pick 3:
There’s no blue for us here, but there is an Overgrown Battlement which is hopefully a sign that green will be open for the remainder of the pack.
My pick: Overgrown Battlement
Pack 2 pick 4:
Well, at least we know that red isn’t going to be open in pack three considering we’re passed Flame Slash, Heat Ray, Emrakul’s Hatcher, and a second Heat Ray. See Beyond isn’t an exciting card because it only provides filtering and not real card advantage. Guard Gomazoa is a better choice because it creates boards that are difficult for many decks to beat through while we develop ours.
My pick: Guard Gomazoa
Pack 2 pick 5:
We have enough fixing (Evolving Wilds and Ondu Giant) to support a splash with only one Swamp and could easily add another to support Last Kiss. Prophetic Prism would make a dual splash possible or give us the ability to support a broader black splash while keeping the number of Swamps at a minimum. However, it’s more likely that we’ll end up taking blue/green cards and not need the Prophetic Prism than it is picking up more black removal and being short on fixing (adding a second Swamp would be the obvious solution) considering how black was in the first pack.
My pick: Last Kiss
Pack 2 pick 6:
We don’t have many win conditions yet, and there’ve been a lot of Vent Sentinels floating around in the last few picks. Currently we have two Overgrown Battlements and a Guard Gomazoa. If one of the Vent Sentinels wheels, then we might be able to build some sort of four color Wall deck. The other off-color choice here is Knight of Cliffhaven which is another good finisher. Both cards require more fixing to support them than we currently have (especially along the lines of Prophetic Prism) and don’t seem feasible at the moment. However, the on-color options are underwhelming. Stomper Cub is mediocre in a controlling deck without Umbras because it just trades with something. We don’t want to “just trade creatures”; we want to stick a creature and win with it. Gloomhunter doesn’t quite carry enough weight to make it as a splash in our deck because it is a low-impact card that is bad on defense and will of little use to us in the games where we don’t have a Halimar Wavewatch, Overgrown Battlement, or Guard Gomazoa.
My pick: Vent Sentinel
Pack 2 pick 7:
Gloomhunter is more of an option in this pack the last one, but is still not an amazing choice. The problem with Gloomhunter is that it doesn’t fit well into a deck that is going to play long games. The only role that it plays well is an offensive one, and it’s important for all of the deck’s cards to be able to do so. Knight of Cliffhaven is the other choice, and like the Vent Sentinel from last pick, splashing it would require additional fixing. The upside to Knight of Cliffhaven is that it can handle more board scenarios than Gloomhunter can and is likely to have a larger impact on the game.
My pick: Knight of Cliffhaven
Pack 2 pick 8:
Shrivel would be a good sideboard card against the Gloomhunter deck as well as any token decks that we run up against. The other option is to take Soulbound Guardians to go along with the Knight of Cliffhaven that we have. We already have a Sporecap Spider and Guard Gomazoa to deal with the Gloomhunters in addition to our removal spells which means that addressing them further isn’t a big deal. If we manage to wheel the Vent Sentinel from earlier, it would be important to have as many good walls as possible.
My pick: Soulbound Guardians
Pack 2 pick 9:
If we had a bunch of Gloomhunters, then Gravitational Shift would be a good card to have. We don’t have many fliers and that makes Gravitational Shift too symmetric to abuse. We’ve got cards in every color, so we might as well take the best one and figure out what to do when the dust settles.
My pick: Guard Duty
Pack 2 pick 10:
None of the blue cards wheeled (Frostwind Invoker, Regress, and See Beyond). However, we are presented with an opportunity to take advantage of Totem-Guide Hartebeest when we consider the Guard Duty and two copies of Narcolepsy that we already have.
My pick: Totem-Guide Hartebeest
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Repel the Darkness
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Near-Death Experience
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Emerge Unscathed
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Phantasmal Abomination
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack two was a mess. We saw a stream of green early and went into it only to see it evaporate before our eyes into nothing but Gloomhunters and some other black cards. Additionally, we didn’t pick up many blue cards while picking up some white cards. We have good cards, but they’re spread across four colors and in order to make a cohesive deck, we need to prioritize fixing much higher than we normally would. The draft isn’t over; it’s still quite possible to finish strongly and end with a good deck.
Pack 3 pick 1:
This is apparently where all the green cards have been hiding. Kazandu Tuskcaller is a bomb and will end the game by itself, assuming it survives.
My pick: Kazandu Tuskcaller
Pack 3 pick 2:
We’ve got a few options here depending on how close we want to stay to our base. One option is to play it safe and stick with a blue or green card choosing from Wildheart Invoker, Jaddi Lifestrider, Frostwind Invoker, or Halimar Wavewatch. Jaddi Lifestrider is the least powerful. We currently have quite a few ways to gum up the ground and few ways to win which makes the Lifestrider even less desirable. The Wavewatch is in a similar position as the Lifestrider thought it can eventually attack quite well. Wildheart Invoker would provide the best method way to create a game-winning board assuming we’ve got oodles of mana lying around to sink into it while the Frostwind Invoker would be better if we just want to pay five mana for a good threat and be done with it. The other option is to take Induce Despair and hope that we either 1) find more fixing _OR_ 2) cut our splash color down to one (black). Right now our deck is a bit soft to cards like Wildheart/Lavafume/Bloodrite Invoker. In terms of removal, we only have one Induce Despair and Last Kiss (depending on which Invoker we’re dealing with) to handle them. We’ve seen quite a few Invokers and considering the average game length that we’re in for, being able to handle them before they can be activated is important.
My pick: Induce Despair
Pack 3 pick 3:
We don’t have many ways to abuse Mnemonic Wall (two Induce Despairs and one Last Kiss). Additionally, the second Vent Sentinel from last pack didn’t wheel which makes the Wall less useful than if we had two. The same can be said for Awakening Zone. We don’t have anything to accelerate into or ways to use Eldrazi Spawn tokens (like Broodwarden or Wildheart Invoker). Regress isn’t as useful now that we have multiple copies of Narcolepsy, though it is still a fine card. Awakening Zone can create a board that is difficult for many decks to break through. If we have the opportunity to pick up anything else that makes Awakening Zone awesome, then we’ll be glad that we took it.
My pick: Awakening Zone
Pack 3 pick 4:
There are multiple cards that we want here. Bramblesnap is very good in conjunction with Awakening Zone, Last Kiss would round out our removal suite quite well, Prophetic Prism would help support a four-color manabase, and Totem-Guide Hartebeest would make our Narcolepsies come into play with much more frequency. We already have one Hartebeest and little fixing to support it along with a second splash. Last Kiss is the weakest black removal spell and would be worth taking if we didn’t already have two copies of [card]Induce Despair[/card] and one Last Kiss to go along with two copies of Narcolepsy. There isn’t much besides Awakening Zone to support Bramblesnap (we would rather have most of our other creatures untapped). Prophetic Prism would allow us to splash white and play the Knight of Cliffhaven, Totem-Guide Hartebeest, Guard Duty, [card]Emerge Unscathed[/card], and possibly the Soulbound Guardians that we already have in addition to filtering our off-color lands into on-color mana and vice versa to make our hands more consistent.
My pick: Prophetic Prism
Pack 3 pick 5:
Narcolepsy is the easy choice from this pack.
My pick: Narcolepsy
Pack 3 pick 6:
Two Time of Heroes would have been nice had we ended up in a leveler deck. However we will take our second Halimar Wavewatch and be happy with it. Nest Invader will have a much lower impact on the game because it’s only a 2/2 (and we’ve got no Spawn token cards to abuse) and shouldn’t be considered.
My pick: Halimar Wavewatch
Pack 3 pick 7:
My pick: Evolving Wilds
Pack 3 pick 8:
My pick: Nema Siltlurker
Pack 3 pick 9:
With four Auras (Guard Duty and three copies of Narcolepsy) it will be easy to support two copies of Totem-Guide Hartebeest when we consider that we’ve picked up two additional mana-fixing cards (Prophetic Prism and Evolving Wilds) to support white.
My pick: Totem-Guide Hartebeest
Pack 3 pick 10:
It’s funny that none of the blue cards came back from the pick in pack two that had three but the Frostwind Invoker from this earlier pick that had only two blue cards did.
My pick: Frostwind Invoker
Pack 3 pick 11:
Naturalize is good sideboard card for us and against us.
My pick: Naturalize
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Hand of Emrakul
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Ikiral Outrider
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Aura Finesse
Pack 3 pick 15:
The third pack yielded some much-needed mana-fixing which made our deck come together. We’ve got a lot of good cards with a removal engine sub-theme and shouldn’t have too much of a problem doing well in the draft assuming we don’t get many awkward mana draws. There are a lot of cards to work with spread across all five colors and a moderate amount of fixing to support them which means that there will be many decisions to make during deck construction.
[T: 2] Evil plays an Island and follows it up by summoning a late Skywatcher Adept before passing the turn while we use our Evolving Wilds to find an Island of our own. [d: Island] We play our Forest and summon the Overgrown Battlement.
[T: 3] Evil plays a Forest and summons an Aura Gnarlid. [d: Ondu Giant] Our plans to summon and level our Halimar Wavewatch have changed slightly. Instead, we decide to play our Island and summon the Ondu Giant (fetching a Swamp) so we can block the Aura Gnarlid.
[T: 5] Evil plays an Island and casts See Beyond before summoning a second Aura Gnarlid and passing the turn. Before starting our turn, we use the Evolving Wilds to fetch another Forest. [d: Forest] We play our Forest, summon the Halimar Wavewatch, and level it up twice (L2) before passing. In retrospect, it would have been better to attack first with the Frostwind Invoker before playing the Wavewatch because Evil would be on a two turn clock and be forced to spend six more mana on his Skywatcher Adept (to buy himself another draw step from his point of view). Our plan now is to level up the Wavewatch three more times next turn, attack with the Invoker/Wavewatch, and out Narcolepsy on the Adept. We’ll follow up that turn by using the Invoker to give our creatures flying and hit for lethal. However, that plan uses more resources and gives Evil more outs than if we had attacked with the Invoker on this turn.
[T: 6] Evil plays a Forest and casts Training Grounds. Then he levels up his Skywatcher Adept (L2) and summons a Wildheart Invoker before passing the turn. [d: Narcolepsy] We level up the Halimar Wavewatch three times (L5) and attack with it and our Frostwind Invoker [E: 11]. Then we play our Plains and put Narcolepsy on the Skywatcher Adept.
[T: 7] Evil attacks with both Aura Gnarlids [G: 12] and summons a Champion’s Drake before leveling up his Skywatcher Adept (L3). [d: Narcolepsy] We can’t attack for lethal this turn so we decide to just attack with the Halimar Wavewatch [E: 5] and put Narcolepsy on both of the Aura Gnarlids. Evil concedes on his turn.
Evil choose to play last. We keep our hand (Evolving Wilds, Island, Plains, Skywatcher Adept, Frostwind Invoker, Totem-Guide Hartebeest, and Narcolepsy) while Evil mulligans to six cards; he is more satisfied with those six and keeps.
[T: 1] We play our Island and summon the Skywatcher Adept while Evil plays an Island and passes.
[T: 2] [d: Forest] We play our Evolving Wilds and attack with the Adept [E: 19] before passing. Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Champion’s Drake while we use our Evolving Wilds to find a Swamp as well.
[T: 3] [d: Overgrown Battlement] We play our Forest and level up the Skywatcher Adept (L1) before attacking with it [E: 17]. Evil plays a Forest and attacks with the Champion’s Drake [G: 19]. Then he summons an Aura Gnarlid and passes.
[T: 4] [d: Halimar Wavewatch] We play our Plains and attack with the Adept [E: 15]. Then we put Narcolepsy on the Aura Gnarlid and summon the Overgrown Battlement before passing the turn. Evil plays another Island, summons a Skywatcher Adept, and levels it once (L1). Evil decides to not attack with his Champion’s Drake and passes the turn instead.
[T: 5] [d: Last Kiss] We kill the Skywatcher Adept with the Last Kiss [G: 21] and attack with our Adept [E: 13]. Then we summon our Halimar Wavewatch and pass. Evil summons an Ondu Giant (fetching a Forest) and attacks with his Champion’s Drake [G: 20] before passing.
[T: 7] [d: Guard Gomazoa] We attack with our Skywatcher Adept and Frostwind Invoker. Evil decides to chump the Invoker with his Champion’s Drake [E: 9]. Then we level up our Halimar Wavewatch twice (L2) before passing. By leveling up the Wavewatch twice, we make it so that if we draw a land on our next turn, we can attack for lethal if he doesn’t have anything or just for six if he summons a flyer that we can’t attack through. Evil uses Naturalize to destroy the Narcolepsy on his Aura Gnarlid at the end of our turn. On his, he casts See Beyond and attacks with his creatures (Gnarlid, Giant, and Basilisk); we block the Giant with our Overgrown Battlement [G: 16]. Afterwards, Evil summons another Daggerback Basilisk (leaving Island untapped) and passes.
[T: 8] [d: Island] We play our Island, level up our Halimar Wavewatch three times (L5), and attack for lethal.
[T: 3] Evil plays a Swamp, levels up his Treespeaker (L1), and levels up his Null Champion (L1). Then Evil attacks with the Champion [G: 15] and passes. [d: Ondu Giant] We play our Island, summon the Guard Gomazoa, and play the Prophetic Prism (two defenders for Battlement) [d: Halimar Wavewatch].
[T: 4] Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Zulaport Enforcer and Dread Drone. Unfortunately for Evil, his Null can’t beat through our Guard Gomazoa and he is forced to pass. [d: Frostwind Invoker] We summon our Frostwind Invoker and pass.
[T: 5] Evil plays a Swamp, levels up his Zulaport Enforcer (L1), and attacks with it and the Null; we block with Frostwind Invoker and Guard Gomazoa respectively. Before damage, Evil plays Might of the Masses to save his Zulaport Enforcer. Afterwards, Evil taps his Joraga Treespeaker to level it up (L2) and passes. [d: Emerge Unscathed] We cast Awakening Zone and put Narcolepsy on the Zulaport Enforcer.
[T: 6] Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Bloodthrone Vampire (no cards in hand). Then he levels up his Champion twice (L3) and passes. [1 Spawn token] [d: Skywatcher Adept]. We summon our Ondu Giant (fetching an Island) and Skywatcher Adept before passing.
[T: 7] Evil plays a Forest, levels up his Null Champion (L4), and levels up his Joraga Treespeaker three times (L5). He decides that he doesn’t have a good attack and passes. [2 Spawn tokens] [d: Island] We play our Island, level up the Skywatcher Adept (L1), and attack with it [E: 18]. Then we put Narcolepsy on the Null Champion, and level up the Skywatcher Adept once more (L2) (sacrificing one Spawn token) before passing. Frustrated, Evil concedes on his turn.
[T: 1] We play one of the Evolving Wilds and pass while Evil plays a Forest. Before we start our turn, we use the Evolving Wilds to fetch a Swamp.
[T: 2] [d: Totem-Guide Hartebeest We play a Forest and pass. We don’t really want to use our second Evolving Wilds to fetch out an Island because we have seven of them in the deck. Additionally, we have a Hartebeest in hand already and don’t want to cut ourselves off of white mana; we would only have three sources left in the deck to find it if we did (Plains, Prophetic Prism, and Ondu Giant). We could preemptively play the Evolving Wilds and use it to get a Plains which would help our curve, but that would put us into the position of being unable to fetch an Island if it becomes absolutely necessary. On Evil’s turn, he plays a Swamp and summons a