Scars of Mirrodin Draft #11
Pack 1 pick 1:
Skinrender is a nice card but it’s just not as good, or as opened-ended as Wurmcoil Engine. There are so few cards that trade one-for-one with the card (Arrest, Revoke Existence, and Volition Reins). The opponent has to work so hard to fight through the Engine that most decks will fold before they’re able to do so. Granted, Wurmcoil Engine isn’t great against infect, but it’s amazing everywhere else.
My pick: Wurmcoil Engine
Pack 1 pick 2:
Shatter is fine, but I dislike moving in on red for it because red tends to be overdrafted, and Shatter isn’t the be-all-end-all removal spell that’s universally good like Galvanic Blast is. Most of the time, being able to kill creatures is more important than artifacts, and while the two types do overlap a lot, Shatter simply doesn’t do much against a Sky-Eel School. Tumble Magnet ranges in usefulness and it’s usually not that great in the controlling decks that I favor; it’s best in aggressive decks. Golem Artisan is an excellent creature because it turns your other artifact creatures into large threats and generally complicates the board to the point of being a one-sided Peacekeeper.
My pick: Golem Artisan
Pack 1 pick 3:
Fume Spitter is fine, but a bad choice after passing Skinrender pick one. We are sure that black won’t be good in pack two, and it won’t be worth jumping into it unless it’s for multiple high-quality cards. Snapsail Glider is not great even with metalcraft on because 2/2 flyers are still rather fragile, and only good on offense, unless you’re a fan of trading. I’d rather have superior creatures so the opponent can’t attack in the first place. Copper Myr is the best choice because it keeps us open in addition to allowing us to power out Wurmcoil Engine.
My pick: Copper Myr
Pack 1 pick 4:
Instill Infection is better than Fume Spitter, but the Black Pearl has already set sail in this draft. Culling Dias could be okay, but we really aren’t trying to metalcraft at this point, and there are better options like Silver Myr. The only color that appears to be open is black, and most of the cards we’ve had available to us aren’t exceptional.
My pick: Silver Myr
Pack 1 pick 5:
It would seem that infect is open, even though we haven’t seen a Cystbearer, Plague Stinger, or Ichorclaw Myr yet. There’s been a constant stream of mid-level cards for the archetype passing through us. Still, we’re really open to any color at this point. Clone Shell is fine since we have Wurmcoil Engine and Golem Artisan, but we’d still need a few more good creatures before we’d want to play it. Another myr is okay because none of the other options are exceptional, and we wouldn’t have to bother with picking up any more after this pick; three is usually more than enough in non-metalcraft decks.
My pick: Iron Myr
Pack 1 pick 6:
Panic Spellbomb isn’t an option because red has been not open at all. Green non-infect hasn’t exactly been flowing much either, which makes the Carapace Forger a bit questionable. Still, Venser’s Journal and Neurok Invisimancer are both pretty shaky, which leaves us with the Carapace Forger.
My pick: Carapace Forger
Pack 1 pick 7:
This pack is the same as the last one except that Ghalma’s Warden has replaced Carapace Forger. We aren’t really losing much by jumping around colors, and since it’s likely we’ll stick with at least one of these colors, all is not lost. Ghalma’s Warden is actually decent because it is sturdy without metalcraft, and a beast with.
My pick: Ghalmas Warden
Pack 1 pick 8:
Auriok Sunchaser is usually quite mediocre because it does nothing without metalcraft. Drafting a metalcraft deck isn’t terribly difficult, but you’re forced to make sacrifices in card quality simply because you need to play with a bunch of artifacts. Green doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a good option, even though there’s a Molder Beast here. Clone Shell hasn’t improved since the last time we saw one. Blue hasn’t appeared to be very open either, though Neurok Replica is a pretty reasonable sign that it’s not being drafted heavily. We aren’t going to be drafting black, green, or red which leaves us with white and blue. There’s not much of a choice between Auriok Sunchaser and Neurok Replica in my book; the Replica functions so well in game and is always useful.
My pick: Neurok Replica
Pack 1 pick 9:
Bonds of Quicksilver usually only gets brought in for emergencies, when there’s some large creature beating you and you’ve got nothing else.
My pick: Bonds of Quicksilver
Pack 1 pick 10:
My pick: Screeching Silcaw
Pack 1 pick 11:
My pick: Assault Strobe
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Soul Parry
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Auriok Sunchaser
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Kuldotha Rebirth
Pack 1 pick 15:
The first pack had opened with some very nice artifacts, but it was a struggle to find the right colors to be in afterwards. Infect was open, though most of the cards weren’t the premium ones; beyond that it was difficult to immediately figure what was available afterwards. It felt as if the drafter to the right was in red and trying to figure out what second color was the best because the cards we saw in each color were appearing sporadically. White was open for sure, but there was not much else in any other color afterwards.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Chimeric Mass and Rusted Relic are the best cards. If we‘re going to try and metalcraft, then the Rusted Relic is going to be better because it’s cheaper and puts a lot more pressure on the opponent. Chimeric Mass is a better card if we’re eschewing from metalcraft because it’s going to be a large creature regardless of how many artifacts we end up playing with. For all we know, we’ll only pick up colored spells like Sky-Eel School from this point onwards. We’re also theoretically in blue, which opens us up to the possibility of picking up a Trinket Mage, which is really good with Chimeric Mass.
My pick: Chimeric Mass
Pack 2 pick 2:
There’s not much competing with Sky-Eel School. Embersmith is good, but red was completely cut in the first pack, which isn’t going to help us in the third. We know that white is going to be open, and that blue is likely to be as well.
My pick: Sky-Eel School
Pack 2 pick 3:
Snapsail Glider is still mediocre, as is Auriok Edgewright. A fourth mana-myr is rather unnecessary, but playing either of the aforementioned two creatures is never exciting. At least with the myr we’ll almost always have one for the second turn to accelerate into our expensive spells more reliably.
My pick: Gold Myr
Pack 2 pick 4:
Auriok Replica isn’t much better than Snapsail Glider, but at this point there’s nothing else that we’d play. A fifth mana-myr is unnecessary without a lot of high-mana bombs to ramp into.
My pick: Auriok Replica
Pack 2 pick 5:
Platinum Emperion is large but it costs eight mana, which is difficult to get even with five mana-myrs. Snapsail Glider isn’t a much better option, but at least we can summon it before turn ten.
My pick: Snapsail Glider
Pack 2 pick 6:
Glint Hawk is pretty bad in our deck because it’s nothing more than a Snapsail Glider and isn’t returning Contagion Clasp or Tumble Magnet. Sky-Eel School is by far the best option because it’s a large flyer that filters away bad draws.
My pick: Sky-Eel School
Pack 2 pick 7:
Stoic Rebuttal and Vedalken Certarch are the two cards to consider. I dislike the Certarch for the same reason I dislike Auriok Sunchaser: it just doesn’t do anything without metalcraft. Most decks I draft tend to want a Stoic Rebuttal because they’re built to survive long games where the opponent sees a lot of cards. In most games, it’s likely that the opponent will draw one of their best cards, and Stoic Rebuttal is the universal answer to those situations.
My pick: Stoic Rebuttal
Pack 2 pick 8:
Trinket Mage pairs quite well with Chimeric Mass. We should also look for one or two other cards for the Mage to fetch out, such as a spellbomb or an Accorder’s Shield.
My pick: Trinket Mage
Pack 2 pick 9:
Disperse usually isn’t great unless you’ve got additional synergy such as artifacts with charge counters (Tumble Magnet) or creatures with ETB abilities (Skinrender). Disperse is still a good sideboard option against cards like Volition Reins.
My pick: Disperse
Pack 2 pick 10:
My pick: [draft]Culling Dais[/draft]
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Loxodon Wayfarer
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Ezuris Archers
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Golem Foundry
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Assault Strobe
Pack 2 pick 15:
The second pack was reasonably good because we were able to solidify our second color, and picked up two Sky-Eel Schools along with the Trinket Mage/Chimeric Mass duo. Ideally, the white from pack one keeps flowing in pack three and we’re able to pick up a Revoke Existence/Arrest because we’re rather light on removal at the moment.
Pack 3 pick 1:
Necropede is pretty good on defense, although it’s usually not as good as Perilous Myr. Palladium Myr is a better choice because it will allow us to cut one of the two-mana myr, while still allowing us to accelerate into a five-mana, or even six-mana play on turn four. Necropede is in theory a two-for-one waiting to happen if the opponent runs their creatures into it. While an opponent is less likely to slam their creatures into the red zone against a Necropede, the mana gained by Palladium Myr generates the same type of tempo as the Necropede. However, the Myr always gains the tempo whereas the Necropede doesn’t.
My pick: Palladium Myr
Pack 3 pick 2:
Here’s the Arrest that I was asking for. The only problem is that there’s a Heavy Arbalest in the pack. Heavy Arbalest isn’t exactly the definition of mana-efficiency like Arrest is. In fact, Heavy Arbalest is the opposite of mana efficient. However, the Arbalest excels in a different efficiency category: card advantage. Heavy Arbalest provides a constant source of removal throughout the game. One of the problems plagued by decks in the format is that they flood easily because of running low-impact cards like spellbombs and myrs. Heavy Arbalest makes use of excess mana and myrs. While an aggro deck is likely to make better use of Arrest, this deck is going to utilize Heavy Arbalest very well.
My pick: Heavy Arbalest
Pack 3 pick 3:
Flight Spellbomb would be a decent card to make sure Trinket Mage is always good, but it’s still early in the pack, and picking a low-impact card like Flight Spellbomb over stronger cards isn’t a great idea (it’s likely we’ll still be able to pick one or two up). Glimmerpoint Stag is the best choice because it’s a creature that’s on offense and defense simultaneously, while providing utility against cards like Arrest.
My pick: Glimmerpoint Stag
Pack 3 pick 4:
Darkslick Drake and Trigon of Thought are the two best cards. Plated Seastrider is unnecessary with so many myrs. The Trigon would make it so that the deck won’t run out of gas compared to what it is playing against. The problem is that the Trigon is really slow, but would hopefully draw us into quality flyers like Darkslick Drake. If we simply replace Trigon of Thought with Darkslick Drake, then we will be getting the same end result, but at a cheaper cost.
My pick: Darkslick Drake
Pack 3 pick 5:
Lumengrid Drake isn’t always going to be a Man-o’-War because the number of artifacts, especially cheap ones, is relatively low in our deck. Accorder’s Shield is a better choice because it’s another card to fetch with Trinket Mage. Accorder’s Shield is expensive to equip but allows you to attack freely while restricting the opponent’s options.
My pick: Accorders Shield
Pack 3 pick 6:
A second Disperse is unnecessary, while Gold Myr is moderately useful because it can replace an off-color myr.
My pick: Gold Myr
Pack 3 pick 7:
Tempered Steel can often end up being very overrated because you’ll pick it early and there will be one too many metalcraft drafters. Tempered Steel would pump roughly two-thirds of our creatures, which is above average and puts it ahead of Lumengrid Drake and Ichorclaw Myr. Both the Drake and Steel are dependant on having artifacts but the enchantment has more of an impact in general.
My pick: Tempered Steel
Pack 3 pick 8:
Ghalma’s Warden is fine, but we have quite a few four-mana creatures (Warden, Glimmerpoint Stag, and Darkslick Drake) already. Trigon of Thought is a better choice because it gives our deck inevitability. We’ll eventually draw into a Wurmcoil Engine, Heavy Arbalest, or simply a lot of good creatures. Ghalma’s Warden just sits there.
My pick: Trigon of Thought
Pack 3 pick 9:
In case we need to go aggro, Neurok Invisimancer will be useful.
My pick: Neurok Invisimancer
Pack 3 pick 10:
Kemba’s Skyguard is usually a bit better than Riddlesmith, but in our deck the flyer is going to be difficult to summon because most of our spells are blue. Riddlesmith won’t be great either, except perhaps when we encounter a matchup that requires additional filtering, if the games go extremely long and we have difficulty keeping up.
My pick: Riddlesmith
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Flight Spellbomb
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Plated Seastrider
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Salvage Scout
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Kuldotha Rebirth
Pack 3 pick 15:
The last pack went well and provided a number of good cards. Overall, the draft was a success and we should be able to construct a deck that won’t have much trouble winning. The deck is going to play a traditional control role because it has such high card quality and reach in terms of how well a lot of the cards function in the late game. The core of cards that are the best include the following:
Some people might consider Stoic Rebuttal not very good, but will find its usefulness to be higher than anticipated. The main reason why Stoic Rebuttal is good is because the average game length is so high. The card quality is high enough to where (against most decks) there won’t be more than a few cards that will actually create problems, and Stoic Rebuttal is a good way to deal with them. Flight Spellbomb is another mediocre card compared to the rest, but its role is to support Trinket Mage, which is an auto-include thanks to Chimeric Mass.
After the initial group of eighteen cards is a subset of weaker cards that will be used to fill out the deck. They include the following:
The core has fourteen creatures (counting Chimeric Mass), of which eight are artifacts. It is also of note that there are eleven artifacts. There should be at least sixteen lands in the deck, which is low (despite the number of mana-myrs) because the deck wants to hit its land-drops every turn until six mana, and still has ways to use it afterwards. Sixteen lands means that there can be at most six cards from the list of spells above.
The biggest question is whether the deck is going to play Tempered Steel, because that will take up the most slots. With only eight artifact creatures currently, Tempered Steel would be rather inconsistent. There are a number of creatures to add including Iron/Copper Myr, Auriok Replica, and Snapsail Glider, which would boost the artifact creature count up to twelve of eighteen. Two-thirds isn’t bad, and most of them are small enough that they would benefit greatly from the enchantment. Given the alternatives to Tempered Steel, it would be better to run the enchantment.
Other cards to consider include Auriok Sunchaser, Riddlesmith, Neurok Invisimancer, Accorder’s Shield, Culling Dias, Disperse, and Bonds of Quicksilver.
Riddlesmith is the most powerful but doesn’t fit in because the deck wants to have a lot of lands in play for Heavy Arbalest, Golem Artisan, Trigon of Thought, Wurmcoil Engine and its other five-drops.
If we included Auriok Sunchaser in along with the Tempered Steel package, there would be fifteen artifacts in the deck, which is very borderline for such a weak card otherwise. It’s likely that if we got paired against a deck that forced us to trade more than normal that the Sunchaser would be a useless 1/1 throughout the game.
Neurok Invisimancer doesn’t play well on defense, and thus isn’t very useful until our cards that are actually useful have been used to stabilize the board.
Disperse is better as a sideboard card against cards like Arrest and Volition Reins because our deck can’t really take advantage of it well, besides using it to re-buy a Trinket Mage or Trigon of Thought.
Bonds of Quicksilver can be used to stop almost anything, but is quite expensive at four mana, while requiring the creature to be tapped to be completely effective.
Accorder’s Shield is another card to get with Trinket Mage, and provides a way for the deck to go on the offensive without having to give up any space on defense. One of the problems with Accorder’s Shield is that it doesn’t do anything alone and is slow to utilize. Against decks with removal, it’s very likely that Accorder’s Shield is going to be a source of tempo loss because you’re spending your turn to equip a creature that is going to die to a removal spell. If the Shield were another creature, then it’d be more likely that the opponent wouldn’t be able to attack through. Accorder’s Shield plays to the deck’s strengths the most and gets the final slot in the deck.
The only white spells are Tempered Steed, Glimmerpoint Stag, and Ghalma’s Warden compared to blue with Trinket Mage, Darkslick Drake, two Sky-Eel School, Flight Spellbomb, and Stoic Rebuttal. With two Gold Myr and one Silver Myr the lands should be split with more Islands than Plains. The split shouldn’t be dramatic because it won’t be necessary to cast some of the blue spells until the late portion of the game (like Stoic Rebuttal).
Round 1: UR
Game 1: Evil summoned a Spikeshot Elder along with a Sylvok Lifestaff, but we had a Gold Myr into Tempered Steel. The Steel generated a lot of tempo and made the Elder useless. We added another Gold Myr, Snapsail Glider, and Trinket Mage (Chimeric Mass) to the battlefield, which was enough to trump Evil’s defensive Koth (useless) and Silver Myr.
Game 2: We stalled out with our “two lands and a Myr on the draw” hand and got Scrapmeltered (which ALWAYS happens for some reason). Afterwards some mana-myrs and a Trinket Mage (Darksteel Axe) killed us while we discarded.
Game 3: This game was rather epic and it involved the board stalling out on the ground. Evil had some mana-myrs, Plated Seastrider, Saberclaw Golem, and a Soliton against our multiple Gold Myr, Darkslick Drake, Palladium Myr, Snapsail Glider, Ghalma’s Warden, Trinket Mage (Accorder’s Shield), and Tempered Steel. The Drake was chipping away alone because of an opposing Flight Spellbomb, and eventually Evil summoned a Platinum Emperion which stopped us in our tracks. We summoned a Golem Artisan, which Evil immediately stole with Volition Reins, but we drew into Glimmerpoint Stag to flicker it back to our side. We drew into Wurmcoil Engine, and finally Heavy Arbalest, and started killing Evil’s creatures. Evil drew a Heavy Arbalest of his own two turns later, but used it really ineffectively because he played into Golem Artisan and our Heavy Arbalest itself. Evil lost a few turns later. His lands/creatures were tapped and we drew Neurok Replica, though that actually didn’t matter because we were going to be able to shoot his Emperion.
Round 2: RW
Game 1: We were going to bring early pressure with Tempered Steel and some myrs, but Evil got rid of it with Revoke Existence. We had Heavy Arbalest as backup, along with Trinket Mage, but Evil had Kuldotha Phoenix into Flameborn Hellion into Shatter (Arbalest) to stop us (but not before the Trinket Mage traded with the Hellion). Evil summoned Razor Hippogriff and Snapsail Glider to go along with Kemba (no equipment), and then the board stalled when we made a huge Chimeric Mass and Flight Spellbomb, along with a Darkslick Drake and Sky-Eel School. The Mass traded with the Hippogriff and a Clone Shell, while we drew into Wurmcoil Engine, which traded with Kemba and the Phoenix (though Evil had metalcraft and got it back, but wasn’t able to attack). The game ended when we drew into Golem Artisan to go along with our Wurm tokens.
Game 2: Evil Shattered our Gold Myr when it appeared like we were stuck on blue mana (we weren’t) while playing out random creatures. We stabilized with a Sky-Eel School, but we hadn’t drawn many spells and were on the defensive because of it. We had to trade the School away for a Scrapmelter, countered a Flameborn Hellion, and then died after our Golem Artisan got Revoked.
Game 3: We kept a “two land and a Myr on the draw” hand again, didn’t draw land, and got Scrapmeltered. We had to waste a turn cycling a Flight Spellbomb, but found a land. However, all was lost when Evil resolved a Strata Scythe and promptly killed us three turns later.
Tempered Steel was one of the cards that performed better than I had anticipated. The enchantment gave us the ability to play a game really aggressively. Maybe that was simply because we drew the right assortment of creatures whenever we had it.
Heavy Arbalest was always good even though it was slow at times.
Accorder’s Shield wasn’t spectacular but it was still somewhat useful in game three of round one.
Stoic Rebuttal didn’t help at times when we were losing badly; that’s generally how counterspells work.