Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #9
Pack 1 pick 1:
Pelakka Wurm, Staggershock, Vendetta, and Consuming Vapors are the cards that stick out. Pelakka Wurm is an excellent creature and will often stabilize the board in addition to netting a favorable trade (two for zero). Vendetta is the most efficient of the removal spells because it’s so cheap and will allow you to cast it and another spell in the same turn cycle. Staggershock isn’t as efficient as Vendetta in terms of mana cost, but it makes up for that by being able to two-for-one the opponent; Consuming Vapors is similar to Staggershock in that regard. Staggershock is at its best against non-Green decks because the creatures are less likely to have more than two toughness while Consuming Vapors is best against decks that don’t generate Eldrazi Spawn tokens. Setting up a good Consuming Vapors can be difficult at times because there might be too many irrelevant creatures in play. However, Consuming Vapors is the one removal spell (of the three here) that can profitably deal with tough situations like a Makindi Griffin with a Mammoth Umbra on it. Staggershock and Consuming Vapors give you the most value for your money and are generally more unfair than Vendetta, especially when combined with recursive cards like Surreal Memoir and Mnemonic Wall respectively. Getting a two-for-one with Staggershock isn’t always going to happen if the opponent is smart about it while it’s much more difficult to successfully play around Consuming Vapors. Pelakka Wurm is really good, but commits us heavily to Green while Staggershock and Consuming Vapors don’t. If we’re cut from the color of whatever spell we take, then we’ll still be able to easily splash it.
My pick: Consuming Vapors
Pack 1 pick 2:
There are a few ways that this draft is likely to unfold from this point. Assuming we stay in Black, we’re likely to end up in Black/Blue/Red Control, Blue/Black levelers, Black/Red tokens, or Black/Green tokens/ramp. It’s entirely possible that we end up drafting a different deck, but those aforementioned archetypes are the most common. There aren’t many cards to choose from; Venerated Teacher, Traitorous Instinct, and Ulamog’s Crusher are the best. Venerated Teacher is only playable if we end up with levelers and is the narrowest of the three cards. Traitorous Instinct is slightly less niche and is especially good in combination with Bloodthrone Vampire, a desirable card if we end up drafting tokens. Ulamog’s Crusher is the card that overlaps the most archetypes; it fits well into all of the token/ramp decks and is a good finisher for a control deck. With the rare missing from the pack, there isn’t much information to gain from which direction we should head. Ulamog’s Crusher is the best option because it doesn’t commit us to a second color which makes it the most flexible.
My pick: Ulamogs Crusher
Pack 1 pick 3:
There certainly are a few Green cards here. The problem is that taking one of them now is going to likely have a negative result for us in pack two because of the other two Green cards that we are shipping in this pack, in addition to the Pelakka Wurm we already sent. Our other options are Evolving Wilds, Explosive Revelation, and Null Champion. Explosive Revelation is slow and can be very inconsistent (especially in a deck with Heat Ray). Evolving Wilds is okay but is a bad pick in a pack with so many good spells. If we knew that we were in trouble of getting cut from a color that had spells that we wanted to play, then the Evolving Wilds would be a legitimate option. However, we don’t have any information to make us believe that we are getting cut. Null Champion is the last option, and while it’s not as resilient offensively as Beastbreaker of Bala Ged is, it’s a fine card to run. Also, by taking the Null Champion we’re forcing the drafters to our left away from Black and into Green/Red which should benefit us in the second pack.
My pick: Null Champion
Pack 1 pick 4:
There’s a lot of utility in this pack. Bala Ged Scorpion, Cadaver Imp, and Mnemonic Wall all scream value. In case you didn’t get the memo, “Value is sweet!” Bala Ged Scorpion ranges from mediocre to awesome; there will be games where it’ll have multiple important targets and others where it’s worse than a Lagac Lizard. There’s usually something for the Scorpion to kill, but it feels miserable when it doesn’t do anything. Cadaver Imp is less likely to be useless because it only requires that something have died prior to it being summoned and also rewards decks with awesome creatures. Killing a Drana sure feels good but there’s an overwhelming feeling of defeat when they scoop it back up with a Cadaver Imp “Thanx brahski, now go kill it again.” Mnemonic Wall is similar to Cadaver Imp, but more difficult to use (because a deck is generally going to have more creatures in it than instants and sorceries). However, the spells that Mnemonic Wall returns are usually better than the creatures that Cadaver Imp returns. If we didn’t already have Consuming Vapors, then this pick would be a bit different and we’d end up with one of the Black cards. Consuming Vapors is usually pretty good and when it gets played multiple times in the same game with the help of Mnemonic Wall, it’s back-breaking.
My pick: Mnemonic Wall
Pack 1 pick 5:
There’s not much to choose from here. Fleeting Distraction is very mediocre when it’s not being used in conjunction with another card (Kiln Fiend, Bala Ged Scorpion, or Sphinx-Bone Wand) whereas Deprive is an essential card in a deck that’s planning on aiming for the long game. As the expected game-length associated with a deck increases, the spells it runs need to be flexible enough to deal with high-impact cards; Deprive is one of those spells.
My pick: Deprive
Pack 1 pick 6:
Angelheart Vial is quite slow and ties up a significant amount of resources for little gain if it’s not played early and when you’re at a high life total. Gloomhunter is fine, but doesn’t fit well into a deck that needs creatures that will live through combat while defending us. Prophetic Prism is a good choice for us because it begins to give us access to a splash (presumably Red) for more removal that will help fuel our Mnemonic Wall.
My pick: Prophetic Prism
Pack 1 pick 7:
Pawn of Ulamog is less useful in our deck than one that makes effective use of Eldrazi Spawn tokens (such as a deck with Raid Bombardment, Broodwarden, Bloodthrone Vampire, Lavafume Invoker, etc.). Eel Umbra is a nice trick especially when the Umbra remains in play (ex: Umbra in response to a Staggershock on a two-toughness creature), but it is usually at its best in deck that is more aggressive. That isn’t to say that our deck won’t end up attacking a lot, but with cards like Ulamog’s Crusher and Mnemonic Wall the Umbra doesn’t appear as useful. Dread Drone is a fine creature that will trade for something big itself while leaving a few Spawn tokens around to give us a bit of latitude.
My pick: Dread Drone
Pack 1 pick 8:
Thought Gorger is difficult to make good if you’re working with the premise that the other cards in your deck have a moderate value attached to them. Thought Gorger can be good in a deck that can’t make good use of excess lands, but those are few and far between in this format of Invokers and Eldrazi. Ogre’s Cleaver doesn’t have much use in a controlling deck because there are usually fewer creatures to put this onto and bash with than other archetypes. Fleeting Distraction at least combines with a few cards that are likely to end up in our deck (Mnemonic Wall/Bala Ged Scorpion/Sphinx-Bone Wand), and despite only having one Mnemonic Wall at this point, and being able to cycle and complicate combat makes Fleeting Distraction somewhat playable.
My pick: Fleeting Distraction
Pack 1 pick 9:
My pick: Lay Bare
Pack 1 pick 10:
My pick: Shrivel
Pack 1 pick 11:
My pick: Evolving Wilds
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Goblin Arsonist
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Fleeting Distraction
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Haze Frog
Pack 1 pick 15:
The first pack wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Black was definitely the color to be in and our first pick was rewarded by a string of Black playables afterwards. While we picked up some decent Blue cards, many of the key Blue spells were absent, which is moderately troubling when thinking about pack three. Cards like Halimar Wavewatch, Regress, Narcolepsy, and Sea Gate Oracle were nowhere to be seen. White was the next best color to be in, but the cards didn’t mesh very well with how we ended up drafting. Pack two is likely to yield a moderate amount of Blue and Black, though more Blue because a few Black spells managed to get past us initially (Vendetta).
Pack 2 pick 1:
Vendetta and Nirkana Revenant are the only two cards to consider here. Nirkana Revenant is tough to deal with when you untap with it in play, but it doesn’t affect the board enough to warrant taking it over a good removal spell like Vendetta. Cards like Guul Draz Assassin, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, and Magmaw (to name a few) are better than Vendetta because they provide lots of reach; they let you “do things” other than attacking that affect the board in a significant fashion. Nirkana Revenant doesn’t do much else besides attack and let you use Invokers/cast Eldrazi/level up more easily.
My pick: Vendetta
Pack 2 pick 2:
Regress is an excellent utility card for any Blue deck to have in this format of Levelers and Umbras. There’s also nothing else in the pack.
My pick: Regress
Pack 2 pick 3:
There are quite a few cards to pick from here. Artisan of Kozilek, Bala Ged Scorpion, Hada Spy Patrol, Frostwind Invoker, and Deprive would all make the cut in our deck (although not really with Deprive since we already have one in addition to one Lay Bare). Bala Ged Scorpion is mediocre in comparison to the Blue options; both Hada Spy Patrol and Frostwind Invoker provide a more efficient clock than the Scorpion because of their evasiveness. However, all three creatures pale in comparison to the effect that Artisan of Kozilek will have on a game. Artisan creates massive swings, and despite costing nine mana, it’s an excellent way to seal a game up. Frostwind Invoker and Hada Spy Patrol are surely going to affect a game much sooner than an Artisan, but they often just die whether it be in combat or more likely to a removal spell. Artisan might also fall prey to the same fate (though the list of cards that deals with it is short), but it reanimates the next best creature that you have and that will often win the game for you.
My pick: Artisan of Kozilek
Pack 2 pick 4:
If Arrogant Bloodlord were a 4/4 for three mana with no strings attached, then it’d be pretty good. However, the sacrifice clause it has makes it very unimpressive at times; the feeling I get when the opponent summons a Sea Gate Oracle when I have a Bloodlord in play is nauseating. Our other options are Bala Ged Scorpion and Cadaver Imp. I mentioned earlier how the Scorpion has a wide range of usefulness and that it’s pretty easy to use Cadaver Imp because there is usually a good amount of creatures that you can return with it. With the way our deck is shaping up, we’ve got all of these cool Eldrazi (Crusher and Artisan) and sweet removal spells (Consuming Vapors), but we are lacking in terms of actually being able to defend ourselves with real creatures. Both Arrogant Bloodlord and Bala Ged Scorpion can play defense, but Bala Ged Scorpion has the additional possibility of value. When you also consider the two Fleeting Distractions that we have already, then finding prey for the Scorpion becomes much easier. The problem with Cadaver Imp is that it doesn’t affect the board effectively by itself in the absence of dead creatures, and while finding creatures that are good at trading in combat usually isn’t a problem, we’re starting to run out of time to do so.
My pick: Bala Ged Scorpion
Pack 2 pick 5:
Dreamstone Hedron is pretty slow if it’s being used only to get ahead of the opponent in the card-advantage department, but it’s excellent when you also have expensive spells to accelerate into.
My pick: Dreamstone Hedron
Pack 2 pick 6:
Cadaver Imp is the only card for us here.
My pick: Cadaver Imp
Pack 2 pick 7:
My pick: Bloodthrone Vampire
Pack 2 pick 8:
My pick: Perish the Thought
Pack 2 pick 9:
My pick: Wrap in Flames
Pack 2 pick 10:
My pick: Shared Discovery
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Bala Ged Scorpion
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Reality Spasm
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Battle Rampart
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Demonic Appetite
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack two was similar to pack one. We picked up some solid Black and a few colorless fatties, but there weren’t many opportunities to pick up good Blue creatures. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Blue is being aggressively cut, but there is definitely a moderate squeeze going on. White was more open than Blue, but unfortunately didn’t have much synergy with what we were trying to draft. Pack three needs to be a bit above average in the creature department for us to make a functional deck.
Pack 3 pick 1:
With Prophetic Prism and Evolving Wilds, splashing Gelatinous Genesis would be quite easy, and it certainly is a powerful spell to splash. However we’ve already got a lot of late-game action with the Ulamog’s Crusher and Artisan of Kozilek while being short on ways to get there. Finishing the game isn’t going to be a problem (while getting there might) and Induce Despair is going to help provide a safer way to get to it.
My pick: Induce Despair
Pack 3 pick 2:
This pick is terrible for us. There’s nothing in Blue or Black to play while the best splash card is Knight of Cliffhaven.
My pick: Knight of Cliffhaven
Pack 3 pick 3:
Here’s another sub-par pack. There aren’t many options besides Zulaport Enforcer. We don’t have sufficient Eldrazi Spawn to support Bloodthrone Vampire well enough which makes the 1/1 quite underwhelming. As I mentioned earlier about Eel Umbra, it would be better in a deck that attacks a lot. Lastly, Reinforced Bulwark is simply inferior to Zulaport Enforcer because it can’t attack and change into a game-ending nearly-unblockable creature.
My pick: Zulaport Enforcer
Pack 3 pick 4:
We haven’t picked up any good cards to splash yet (except for the Knight of Cliffhaven if it comes to that) while having an Evolving Wilds and Prophetic Prism ready which makes a second Evolving Wilds not very useful to say the least. Gloomhunter is the best choice because it’s the only card (besides Jwari Scuttler, and we don’t need more do-nothing Bala Ged Scorpions).
My pick: Gloomhunter
Pack 3 pick 5:
My pick: Essence Feed
Pack 3 pick 6:
My pick: Demystify
Pack 3 pick 7:
Finally we get a pack with a card that isn’t terrible. We don’t have any sweet auras to fetch with Totem-Guide Hartebeest which means See Beyond will be a better choice because it will filter away counterspells, Eldrazi, and land when we don’t need them.
My pick: See Beyond
Pack 3 pick 8:
My pick: Skeletal Wurm
Pack 3 pick 9:
The pack that we opened came back, and while it was above average to start with, it didn’t seem good enough to expect all the cards that came back to do so. Halimar Wavewatch is generally better than Frostwind Invoker because it can play multiple roles more effectively at nearly every point in the game than Frostwind Invoker. When you also consider the amount of high-end that we have in the deck already it’s easy to see that the cheaper, sleeker, more streamlined Halimar Wavewatch will be a better choice.
My pick: Halimar Wavewatch
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Soulbound Guardians
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Naturalize
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Shared Discovery
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Puncturing Light
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Contaminated Ground
Pack 3 pick 15:
Pack three was quite bad for us and we will struggle to make a good deck because of it. I didn’t think that passing only the Nirkana Revenant in pack two was going to have such an impact on the last pack, but apparently it was seen as a sign from God by a guy to our right to go all-in on Black in the last pack.
There are a few ways to build the last portion of the deck:
1) A White splash for Knight of Cliffhaven and Soulbound Guardians off of the Prophetic Prism, Evolving Wilds, and a Plains. The problem with splashing White is that the mana in the deck is already somewhat awkward with its multiple counterspells and abundance of cheap Black creatures.
2) A token sub-theme for Bloodthrone Vampire, Essence Feed, and Shared Discovery. Shared Discovery is one of my favorite ways for the token/X decks to get ahead because they’re already running the token-making cards; it’s not much of a step to include a Shared Discovery or two. The problem with this option is that our deck doesn’t consider Bloodthrone Vampire and Essence Feed and auto-include and are both rather suboptimal without the Shared Discovery.
3) A utility package of Fleeting Distraction and Prophetic Prism to cycle through the deck and find the better cards. The two Fleeting Distractions can combo with the two Bala Ged Scorpions when both are in hand and at other times just cycle in combat (perhaps even getting ahead by a card along the way) when we don’t have a Scorpion.
The problem with running Shared Discovery when it requires us to play cards that we wouldn’t want to run otherwise is that the card advantage gets mitigated. Running Fleeting Distraction becomes better because it doesn’t force you to run cards that are more expensive and don’t interact well with the deck. The White splash is legitimate, but it will be super clunky and cause us to mulligan and stumble in game.
Evil wins the roll and chooses to play first, keeping his hand while we do the same (Evolving Wilds, Island, 2 Swamp, Zulaport Enforcer, Deprive, and Lay Bare). We don’t have the greatest hand, but without any other information it’s not one that we can send back.
[T: 3] Evil plays a Forest on his turn and passes while we use Evolving Wilds to find an Island. One our turn [d: Island] we play an Island and attack with the Enforcer [E: 18] and pass.
[T: 4] Evil plays an Island and summons a Kozilek’s Predator. We have nothing going on so we counter it with Deprive (returning an Island). [d: Island] We replay our Island and attack again with the Enforcer [E: 17]. Afterwards we cycle Fleeting Distraction on our Enforcer [d: Island] and pass.
[T: 5] Evil plays a Forest and summons a Broodwarden while [d: Swamp] we play a Swamp and level up the Enforcer. We can’t attack through Evil’s 4/4 so we have to pass.
[T: 6] Evil plays a Forest and puts a Drake Umbra on his Broodwarden before sending it in to attack us [G: 13]. [d: See Beyond] We’re behind and need to find some action with this See Beyond [d: Fleeting Distraction and Gloomhunter]. We shuffle an Island back into the deck and won’t be missing it anytime soon. Afterwards, we play an Island, summon the Gloomhunter, and attack with the Zulaport Enforcer [E: 14].
[T: 7] Evil attacks again with his Broodwarden [G: 6] and passes with six mana and three cards in hand. [d: Island] We play an Island, attack with the Zulaport Enforcer [E: 11] and pass the turn.
[T: 8] Evil attacks again with the Broodwarden. Before blocking, we cycle Fleeting Distraction to make the Broodwarden smaller [d: Dreamstone Hedron]. This time, we’re obliged to block with the Gloomhunter. Afterwards, Evil summons a Merfolk Skyscout but we counter it with Lay Bare and see his hand of Skittering Invasion, Spawnsire of Ulamog, and Boar Umbra. Evil passes afterwards. [d: Cadaver Imp] We play a Swamp and attack with the Zulaport Enforcer [E: 8]. Then we summon the Cadaver Imp and the Gloomhunter that it got back.
[T: 9] Evil attacks again and we block with the Gloomhunter. Then he plays a Forest and casts Skittering Invasion. [d: Prophetic Prism] We play the Prism [d: Island] but find nothing of use and die to the horde of Spawn tokens.
Sideboard: -1 Fleeting Distraction; +1 Shrivel.
We choose to play first and keep out hand of seven (2 Swamp, Zulaport Enforcer, Dread Drone, Artisan of Kozilek, See Beyond, and Lay Bare) while Evil does the same.
[T: 2] [d: Island] Sometimes you just run well. We’ll need to continue doing that if we’re to slay our formidable adversary. Continuing on, we play our Island and cast See Beyond [d: Vendetta and Mnemonic Wall] (shuffling Lay Bare back into the deck). Then we attack with the Zulaport Enforcer [E: 19] and pass. Evil simply plays a Forest and passes back.
[T: 3] [d: Induce Despair] We play our last land (a Swamp), attack with the Enforcer [E: 18], and pass. Evil plays another Island and summons a Sea Gate Oracle.
[T: 4] [d: Deprive] We can’t do anything and pass the turn. Evil plays a Forest and tries to suit up his Sea Gate Oracle, but we kill it with Vendetta in response [G: 17].
[T: 6] [d: Bala Ged Scorpion] We still can’t do anything and have to pass. Evil has no fear as he plays a Forest and tries to put a Drake Umbra on his Basilisk, but we kill it with Induce Despair (revealing Dread Drone) in response.
[T: 7] [d: Swamp] Finally. We play our Swamp and level up the Zulaport Enforcer before attacking with it [E: 14]. Evil summons a Merfolk Skyscout on his turn and passes.
[T: 8] [d: Dreamstone Hedron] We attack with the Enforcer and Evil blocks with the Skyscout (Island untaps). Before damage, he pumps the Skyscout with Might of the Masses, which kills our Enforcer. We’re left with no good plays and have to pass again. Evil makes his Merfolk Skyscout huge with a Boar Umbra and attacks with it [G: 12]. Then he summons a Sporecap Spider and passes.
[T: 10] [d: Shrivel] We cast Induce (revealing Artisan of Kozilek) immediately to kill the Skyscout and pass. Evil plays a Forest and attacks with his Sporecap Spider and Nema Siltlurker. The Spider gets past our Wall [G: 6] and Evil passes afterwards with one card in hand.
[T: 11] [d: Fleeting Distraction] We cycle Fleeting Distraction [d: Bala Ged Scorpion] and summon one of the Scorpions to kill the Sporecap Spider. On his turn, Evil casts Skittering Invasion and then summons a Hand of Emrakul (sacrificing his fifth Spawn token for mana along the way).
[T: 12] [d: Island] We play our Island and cast the Dreamstone Hedron before passing. Evil attacks with his Hand of Emrakul and Nema Siltlurker while we sacrifice our Bala Ged Scorpion to the Annihilate trigger. Our Mnemonic Wall blocks the Hand [G: 3] and Evil passes afterwards.
[T: 13] [d: Island] We play the Island and summon the Artisan of Kozilek (getting back the Mnemonic Wall) (getting back Induce Despair) and pass the turn. Evil summons a Sea Gate Oracle and then casts Distortion Strike to make his Hand unblockable. We lose.