According to Webster – Scars of Mirrodin Draft #2

Pack 1 pick 1:


There are two cards that are interesting here: Grasp of Darkness and Turn to Slag. Both cards are color-intensive which is undesirable for early picks in the draft because it reduces our flexibility. Turn to Slag is better in sealed where the format is slower and most people tend to have equipment lurking in their deck; it’s not as good in draft though it’s still fine. Most draft games involve smaller faster creatures that are awkward to spend five mana removing. Many people prefer Red to Black because it’s a stronger color for Metalcraft decks and can be paired with Blue or White whereas Black is generally going to point towards an Infect deck and pair with Green only. However, Black is fine as a Metalcraft color as well. Black gives access to a lot of removal in the form of Fume Spitter, Grasp of Darkness, and Instill Infection. You’ll also often receive gems like Necrogen Scudder that don’t usually make it into the Infect decks, as well as the underrated Bleak Coven Vampires. The big upside to Turn to Slag is that it deals with a lot of the format’s bombs (Geth, Hoard-Smelter Dragon, Steel Hellkite, and Sunblast Angel) whereas Grasp of Darkness doesn’t. Grasp of Darkness has a huge upside to Turn to Slag because it’s a two-mana instant compared to a five-mana sorcery. Grasp is a better choice because it’s far less clunky and allows us to remain open to both Metalcraft and Infect archetypes.

My pick: Grasp of Darkness

Pack 1 pick 2:


Untamed Might is one of the best cards in the Infect deck because it steals so many games. If we knew that we were in the Infect deck, then taking the Might would be fine here because we know that we will end up in Black/Green. However it’s still early and committing to the archetype so soon could backfire. Perilous Myr is good in a Metalcraft deck and complicates the board more than most people would expect; it will often create two-for-one trades. Trigon of Infestation isn’t good because it’s too slow for most games. Auriok Edgewright is another fine creature but would commit us heavily to another color and make our mana terrible. Palladium Myr is the last option and the best because it fits into both Infect and Metalcraft. It’s awesome in Metalcraft and fine in Infect. True, Palladium Myr doesn’t have Infect itself but it lets you set up a lethal Untamed Might sooner as well as accelerate to multi-spell turns earlier than normal.

My pick: Palladium Myr

Pack 1 pick 3:


White might be open because Glint Hawk and Auriok Sunchaser are near the top of line for the color’s creatures. It’s still rather early and if this pick were one-two later, then making a move into White would be a good call. [card]Tel-Jilad Fallen[/card] is a good Infect creature (though it’s no Cystbearer) because most Metalcraft decks will only have about five ways to deal with it and makes for a dangerous creature when combined with a removal-heavy deck. [card]Fume Spitter[/card] is the last option and the most conservative because it doesn’t commit to either archetype or commit us to another color. Fume Spitter’s impact on the board may seem small, but there are a number of high quality creatures with one-toughness and most people underestimate how relevant its effect is (especially for one mana). If we’re going to invest ourselves in another color with this pick, then it would be better to move into Infect because Black and Green are always paired together; there’s absolute certainty that we’ll be drafting Green. If we move to a Metalcraft deck this early, it’s better to wait for a card with more impact than Glint Hawk or Auriok Sunchaser (a good removal spell for example) and stick with good artifacts. I’d rather remain open to both Infect and Metalcraft archetypes and take the Fume Spitter here because there’s only one dedicated Infect card here which isn’t much of a sign. If there were two Infect cards then moving in would be an easier decision, but with only one in the pack there’s still a bit of uncertainty. Fume Spitter is going to be good wherever we end up.

My pick: Fume Spitter

Pack 1 pick 4:


There’s not much Infect present here and the non-Black Metalcraft options are mediocre. Ghalma’s Warden and Barrage Ogre are both “fine” but don’t scream, “jump into a second color for me!” Copper Myr is a better option because Myr are important in Metalcraft decks (replacing lands with similarly-functioning cards that are also artifacts and creatures) and also because on-color Myr are very helpful in Infect decks (casting Grasp of Darkness and Tel-Jilad Fallen early can be difficult).

My pick: Copper Myr

Pack 1 pick 5:


There’s more here in this pack than should be expected. Lumengrid Drake and Glint Hawk are both good off-color Metalcraft options, along with Silver Myr, and to a much lesser extent Clone Shell. Glint Hawk’s value has a wide range because of how it interacts with the rest of your deck. Sometimes a Glint Hawk will be awesome because it gets summoned on turn one with a Memnite and is a 2/2 flyer for one mana or returns a Tumble Magnet/Necrogen Censor/Contagion Clasp to give you even more value. At other times a Glint Hawk will just be a Wind Drake when it returns a Myr (nice Kemba’s Skyguard brah!) which is still fine. There are also times where Glint Hawk is bad because your deck only has ten or so artifacts and they all cost at least three mana and do nothing when/as they enter the Battlefield. Lumengrid Drake is a good Metalcraft creature because it’s fine by itself, and with Metalcraft will create significant tempo swings. Clone Shell is a fine card; the problem with it is that it’s slow and there’s often a bit of variance associated with it. You’re not always going to get a good creature from it and unless you trade it straight up for another creature, chumping with it to put a mystery creature onto the Battlefield might not work out (look Ma, a Myr!). Silver Myr is another good choice if we want to wait for a removal spell to determine which second color we commit to in our Metalcraft deck. The last option is Cystbearer/Contagious Nim. At this point in the pack it should be more obvious what colors and archetypes are the most open, and seeing the two Infect creatures here is a relatively good sign that we should go into it. “But wait!” you say, “There are also a lot of sweet Metalcraft cards. What gives?” If the Cystbearer were a Blackcleave Goblin, then I would be a bit more hesitant. However, Cystbearer is such a good creature in the Infect decks. The biggest problem with Infect decks is that their creatures suck; they’re really small and have the tendency to trade with anything and everything under the sun. Additionally, most opponents are eventually going to get into the habit of blocking whenever possible. Cystbearer has three toughness which makes it survive nearly all early one-on-one fights (think of Plated Geopede) making it especially good when combined with removal.

My pick: Cystbearer

Pack 1 pick 6:


This pick is the same as the previous one with the exception of our archetype being known now. Cystbearer is the easy pick here. Heavy Arbalest is worth talking about because it seems to be overlooked often. I’ve found that becoming flooded is a serious problem even when running sixteen lands. Metalcraft mirrors tend to be intense grinds and I’ve found myself to be left with not enough ways to use my mana. Heavy Arbalest is really slow but offers a way to break a stalemate and give extra value to useless late-game Myr. Infect decks also tend to need a way to finish off the opponent whether it be in the form of Tangle Angler, Contagion Clasp, Plague Stinger, or Throne of Geth, and the Arbalest helps in that regard as well.

My pick: Cystbearer

Pack 1 pick 7:


[card]Vector Asp[/card] is really bad because it’s too small to be able to stand on its own against other creatures; it’s mana intensive and non-evasive. Flesh Allergy is the only card we’d be interested in and isn’t that great unless we’re facing a creature that our conventional removal wouldn’t be able to deal with (like Carnifex Demon).

My pick: Flesh Allergy

Pack 1 pick 8:


Tangle Angler is another good Infect creature because it has a high toughness, creates a way to generate card advantage by luring various utility creatures, and allows the Infect player to make the rest of their creatures unblockable.

My pick: Tangle Angler

Pack 1 pick 9:


There’s nothing for us here. Furnace Celebration and Plated Seastrider are the only cards that are actively bad for us, but neither is actually impossible to deal with (it would be better to pass both and point people towards a bad Metalcraft deck). Furnace Celebration requires a lot of synergy to make it useful; consider the interaction between it and a Panic Spellbomb. You’re spending 1RR to cast the Celebration, 1 to cast the Spellbomb, 2 when resolving the Celebration’s trigger, and R to break even with the Spellbomb to turn the Furnace Celebration into a shock. Let’s count that up again; 1RR + 1 + 2 + R. You’re spending seven mana … to shock something. Sure each additional shock is discounted and costs ONLY four mana, but at least you’ll actually be getting value from that point. The main issue is synergy and TIME; a deck with Furnace Celebration needs a lot of both (an unrealistic amount) to take advantage of the card.

And by the way, I don’t really care if you assembled Barrage Ogre, Furnace Celebration, and chained together five on-color Spellbombs in round four of the Prerelease against the dude that smashed you last week at FNM. There’s a reason why some ultra combos are so flashy; they’re nearly impossible to perform.

My pick: Vensers Journal

Pack 1 pick 10:


My pick: Trigon of Infestation

Pack 1 pick 11:


My pick: Tainted Strike

Pack 1 pick 12:


My pick: Relic Putrescence

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Ferrovore

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Moriok Reaver

Pack 1 pick 15:

The first pack was decent. We had a few opportunities to commit to Infect earlier than we actually did, but still ended up with a good number of cards for the deck. The two late Cystbearers made it quite evident that the archetype was open, but unfortunately we didn’t wheel either of the picks that we had passed up earlier (Untamed Might and Tel-Jilad Fallen). Despite taking a number of Infect cards, we also passed quite a few and hopefully that didn’t make the total number of Infect drafters at the table increase to more than three; we’ll end up short on playables otherwise.

Pack 2 pick 1:


There are a number of good cards for us besides Skinrender; Corpse Cur and Slice in Twain are cards that we want to wheel but likely won’t. Skinrender is easily the best uncommon in the set because it’s effect and body has such an immediate and dramatic impact on the board.

My pick: Skinrender

Pack 2 pick 2:


Blackcleave Goblin is a fine creature but the low toughness means that it’s quite vulnerable and needs the support of a lot of control to be very effective. Sylvok Replica is the best choice because it’s a fine removal spell. The Replica is a better card in a Metalcraft deck because it contributes towards Metalcraft and the goal of twenty real damage, but it’s still fine in an Infect deck. Infect decks desperately need removal even when they’re on-the-board four-mana tricks.

My pick: Sylvok Replica

Pack 2 pick 3:


Untamed Might, Trigon of Rage, and Bladed Pinions are all good ways to give value to your creatures. The Trigon is going to be the least effective most of the time because it doesn’t prevent your creatures from dying. Untamed Might is less likely to wheel from this pack than Bladed Pinions despite the Pinions being an artifact because the Might is the only good Infect card in the pack and we know that there are likely two more Infect drafters at the table. Bladed Pinions and Untamed Might aren’t exactly the same type of card. The Pinions is better in a deck with fewer Infect creatures and little removal because it makes it more difficult for the opponent to trade his creatures with yours whereas Untamed Might has the ability to end a game quickly if you ever maneuver the board to where you’ve got an unblocked Infect creature and a bit of mana floating around. It’s likely that we’ll be able to pick up a Bladed Pinions later on and taking the Might is a better call because we’d rather have multiple Mights instead of multiple Pinions.

My pick: Untamed Might

Pack 2 pick 4:


Liege of the Tangle is really powerful and would be a good backup plan if it weren’t so much mana; eight is a lot even for sealed. Granted we do have Palladium Myr and a Copper Myr, but even then it’s likely that the Liege will often be a mulligan. Contagious Nim is what the deck needs because we’re low on Infect creatures.

My pick: Contagious Nim

Pack 2 pick 5:


Nihil Spellbomb doesn’t contribute directly towards the Infect strategy like it does with Metalcraft, but it still has applications in our deck. In the worst case where we’re short on real playables, the Spellbomb will cycle into a real card. In the best case we’ll have a Throne of Geth and will be able to cycle our Spellbombs for a free proliferate which is an excellent way to finish the opponent off.

My pick: Nihil Spellbomb

Pack 2 pick 6:


Grafted Exoskeleton isn’t great in good Infect decks because all of your creatures already have Infect; it gets better as an Infect deck gets worse. However, there are still very problematic situations that arise with the equipment and artifact removal which opens you up to being two-for-one’d (an unpleasant experience to say the least). Additionally, Grafted Exoskeleton is quite slow just like Trigon of Infestation but there isn’t anything else that we’d play besides Tainted Strike (which we already have one of).

My pick: Grafted Exoskeleton

Pack 2 pick 7:


There’s nothing for us here.

My pick: Barbed Battlegear

Pack 2 pick 8:


Lifesmith isn’t great in Infect decks because they don’t usually run a high enough number of artifacts to support the non-Infect utility creature.

My pick: Nihil Spellbomb

Pack 2 pick 9:


Asceticism isn’t a bomb because it’s pretty slow but it provides a way to ensure that your creatures will dominate the opposition’s.

My pick: Asceticism

Pack 2 pick 10:


My pick: Flameborn Hellion

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Seize the Initiative

Pack 2 pick 12:


My pick: Fulgent Distraction

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Swamp

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Golems Heart

Pack 2 pick 15:

The second pack was actually really bad for us with the exception of opening the Skinrender. We got almost no other good cards and will need a good pack three to make up for the difference. Currently we only have four creatures with Infect along with Grafted Exoskeleton, Trigon of Infestation, and Tainted Strike which means that we’ll have to run a number of those mediocre cards if we don’t pick up a lot of creatures.

Pack 3 pick 1:


Corpse Cur and Cystbearer are both good Infect creatures. If we already had a high number of them, then the pick would be a lot closer. As is, Corpse Cur is likely to not be able to return anything and be a bad Contagious Nim whereas the Cystbearer is going to be awesome.

My pick: Cystbearer

Pack 3 pick 2:


Blight Mamba isn’t as good as one would initially think despite it having regeneration because it’s not evasive. People are just going to block it with a 2/2 and you’ll lose a bunch of tempo having to regenerate it whereas Plague Stinger will almost always be able to connect.

My pick: Plague Stinger

Pack 3 pick 3:


Ezuri’s Brigade is like Liege of the Tangle; a good backup plan but bad in our deck. We simply don’t have enough artifacts to support it. Contagious Nim and Throne of Geth are the two cards that we’re interested in. We currently have Palladium Myr, Copper Myr, Sylvok Replica, and two Nihil Spellbombs that we’re likely to run in addition to Trigon of Infestation, Grafted Exoskeleton, and Barbed Battlegear that we might run to support the Throne. It’s unlikely that the card that we pass will wheel and the Contagious Nim isn’t very sturdy or evasive like a lot of the other Infect creatures. The Throne of Geth is going to give us more value than the 2/2 will because it’s a way for an Infect deck to finish off the opponent outside of the combat phase.

My pick: Throne of Geth

Pack 3 pick 4:


Moriok Replica is fine (although slow) but Necropede is better because we need Infect creatures.

My pick: Necropede

Pack 3 pick 5:


Nihil Spellbomb is likely to be better than Instill Infection if we have [card]Throne of Geth[/card] in play because we’ll be able to get more value and already have a decent amount of removal/tricks. However, when the two cards are alone Instill Infection is much better because both cards cycle but Instill Infection will kill something/make our creature survive combat for only two mana more.

My pick: Instill Infection

Pack 3 pick 6:


Withstand Death is a fine way to make sure our creature survives combat and kill the opponent’s. Even if the opponent’s creature lives it’s unlikely that it will be able to kill anything because it’s going to have -2/-2.

My pick: Withstand Death

Pack 3 pick 7:


Tel-Jilad Defiance is another fine trick. It’s not awesome all the time even though it cycles because the opponent might just have non-artifact creatures to block with. However, there’s not really anything else to take that we’d be interested in because a second Tainted Strike/Grafted Exoskeleton would be redundant.

My pick: Tel-Jilad Defiance

Pack 3 pick 8:


Bellowing Tanglewurm is pretty good in combination with Tel-Jilad Fallen, but we don’t have those. Grasp of Darkness is excellent removal and would be a better choice because it’s so cheap, flexible, and deals with most of the creatures that you’ll be playing against.

My pick: Grasp of Darkness

Pack 3 pick 9:


Infiltration Lens is a good card in an Infect deck because the opponent is always going to block. However in our deck where the number of Infect creatures is lower than normal, we aren’t necessarily going to be able to chain Infect creatures into each other as we trade one-for-one with the opponent. The Lens is likely to be hit or miss whereas the Instill Infection is going to always be decent.

My pick: Instill Infection

Pack 3 pick 10:


My pick: Trigon of Infestation

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Darkslick Drake

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Withstand Death

Pack 3 pick 13:


My pick: Fulgent Distraction

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Golden Urn

Pack 3 pick 15:

Pack three was much better than pack two and was almost good enough to compensate. Overall the draft went fine. I’ve often said that a draft can support 2.5 Infect players and this one felt like it had three in it; there were just not quite enough cards to go around (though we did get a bunch of removal). We should be able to make a fine deck that has a reasonable shot at 2-1.

This deck doesn’t have many Infect creatures (only seven) and will need a lot of support from its spells to carry it through games. We have a pretty robust arsenal of removal (Fume Spitter, Sylvok Replica, Skinrender, two Grasp of Darkness, and two Instill Infection) to ensure that our creatures bash through theirs and will only really suffer against a deck that’s also packing a lot of removal. Flesh Allergy isn’t needed because we already have so much removal and would only need it against bomb creatures.

The low number of Infect creatures means that we are going to also have to run some less than optimal support cards like Trigon of Infestation. If we had fatty non-Infect creatures like Molder Beast then running Tainted Strike would be a good option, but we only have Skinrender for large creatures. Grafted Exoskeleton would be a good way to pump up our smaller non-Infect creatures, but it’s slow and makes us very vulnerable to artifact hate in addition to the fact that we have very few creatures to start off with; we wouldn’t want to run Moriok Reaver just to support Grafted Exoskeleton.

The Nihil Spellbombs are fine on their own because they cycle to dig into real spells letting us cheat on lands in the process and also work quite well with Throne of Geth. Withstand Death and Tel-Jilad Defiance also provide us with a few ways to support our creatures without having to waste real removal spells.





Round 1:

Game 1:
We win the roll, choose to play first, and keep our hand: