Pack 1 pick 1:
Argentum Armor isn’t as good as it looks because it requires so much mana to cast and equip which translates into multiple turns of the opponent not having anything going on. If a game goes long and both players are in topdeck mode, the Armor will be very good because the opponent is far less likely to have something sandbagged to stop it. Acid Web Spider and Sylvok Replica are good because each functions as a removal spell and a creature. Acid Web Spider is more restrictive as a removal spell, but unlike Sylvok Replica it stays around forever as a solid 3/5 creature. Another restriction to note about the Spider is that it can’t be played proactively compared to Sylvok Replica, which can be problematic if you’re the beatdown and know the opponent has troublesome equipment (like Argentum Armor). Glint Hawk and Glint Hawk Idol are the last two cards to consider. Glint Hawk has a higher variance than Glint Hawk Idol and will change in value depending on what artifacts you have. For example, Glint Hawk will be amazing in a deck with Tumble Magnet, Contagion Clasp, etc. but only be mediocre when it’s bouncing a two/three-mana do-nothing creature. Glint Hawk Idol is generally a safer choice compared to Glint Hawk because it will always be good as a two-mana 2/2 flyer that helps metalcraft.
The white cards (including Glint Hawk Idol) are weaker than the green cards because having removal allows for your deck to deal with the opponent’s more easily than when you don’t. Sylvok Replica and Acid Web Spider leave you open to infect (though Acid Web Spider usually isn’t what an average nfect deck wants because it’s expensive and defensive) while the white cards put you into a more aggressive wetalcraft/W/x-flyer deck. As I mentioned earlier, Sylvok Replica is better suited for an infect deck than Acid Web Spider but the Spider deals with what is being passed in this pack (flyers/equipment) more effectively.
My pick: Acid Web Spider
Pack 1 pick 2:
Arrest and Volition Reins are both powerful cards but are in a different color than our first pick. Both cards have a powerful effect on the battlefield, with Arrest being a safer choice because it doesn’t require as strong a commitment and can be splashed, compared to Volition Reins which can’t. Personal preference makes me lean towards Volition Reins because I generally like what blue offers compared to white. Volition Reins requires a lot more time to set up than Arrest but is usually more unfair when it’s good. If you’ve drafted a deck that can effectively stall out a game with Soliton, Neurok Replica, and Wall of Tanglecord, then Volition Reins will usually steal a good permanent instead of being used as a desperation play when being swarmed by a horde of 2/2 creatures. Perilous Myr and Trigon of Corruption are also excellent choices that don’t require any additional commitment. Perilous Myr complicates the board well, usually deals with most attacking creatures despite their CMC, and will trade two-for-one early on. Trigon of Corruption is much slower than Perilous Myr but has the potential for greater card advantage while providing a proactive form of removal.
The rare is missing from the pack which means that we can’t use print runs to help determine what was taken. In terms of quality, the missing rare was better than Trigon of Corruption, Arrest, and Volition Reins which isn’t a terribly high requirement for a card in the same color. Basically we have very little information to make an informed decision and should pick a card that doesn’t commit us to a specific color which will allow us to be flexible allow us to see more packs to determine which colors are open.
My pick: Trigon of Corruption
Pack 1 pick 3:
There are a few white cards but nothing overly exciting. Trigon of Infestation is slow and best against an infect deck because it greatly reduces the effectiveness of their two-mana creatures (Blight Mamba and Ichorclaw Myr). Against a normal deck the Trigon isn’t great unless you’ve got cards to combo with it (Contagion Clasp, Heavy Arbalest, etc) or are playing a green deck that’s planning on winning with heavy attrition. Overall the Trigon isn’t terribly exciting. Turn to Slag is fine in terms of a removal spell; it’s rather expensive but generally kills everything. Turn to Slag’s high cost makes it less favorable than Shatter and Galvanic Blast initially (even though it’s the most versatile), and when the popularity of red is factored in, it shouldn’t be taken as a strong signal that red is open. However, considering that the other options are so lacking we don’t lose much from this pick by taking the Turn to Slag. If red is indeed open then we’ll be sending a good signal for pack two where we should get a lot.
My pick: Turn to Slag
Pack 1 pick 4:
Blade-Tribe Berserkers are usually unimpressive as a 3/3 and only good in decks that can take advantage of metalcraft and pressure the opponent easily. Iron Myr is a good choice considering that all of our other cards are expensive (Acid Web Spider, Turn to Slag, and Trigon of Corruption). Inexorable Tide is quite good in an infect deck though we haven’t seen much evidence that infect is open. Snapsail Glider isn’t great unless metalcraft is on (it’s still early in the draft though and we could end up transforming into a metalcraft deck). Iron Myr offers the most versatility because it helps accelerate the expensive cards that we already have in addition to being a necessity in metalcraft decks.
My pick: Iron Myr
Pack 1 pick 5:
Here’s another pick with little downside to taking an infect card. Plague Stinger is awesome in infect while Blade-Tribe Berserkers is mediocre in a red deck. Kuldotha Rebirth also does very little without something to combo with it like Furnace Celebration or Perilous Myr. We still haven’t passed much for an infect deck and the benefit of keeping infect open in addition to our other options is more valuable than picking up a mediocre Blade-Tribe Berserkers.
My pick: Plague Stinger
Pack 1 pick 6:
Moriok Replica isn’t great in an infect deck because it’s slow whereas Barrage Ogre is a good utility creature for a red deck. When every artifact is at worst a Shock, it’s not very difficult to take control of the game.
My pick: Barrage Ogre
Pack 1 pick 7:
Infect is probably out so we should focus on a R/x deck. Green hasn’t appeared to be open which means that we may have to abandon it and the Acid Web Spider in favor of blue or white. Rust Tick is a better option than Chrome Steed because it takes so much work in terms of deck construction requirements to make Chrome Steed reliably good than when compared to the excellent utility that Rust Tick provides.
My pick: Rust Tick
Pack 1 pick 8:
At this point we’re committed to red which makes Untamed Might not our best option. Barrage Ogre is the only real choice.
My pick: Barrage Ogre
Pack 1 pick 9:
Nihil Spellbomb and Disperse are the best cards. Disperse is a better card in a vacuum because it actually does something relevant compared to Nihil Spellbomb which generally functions as a placeholder artifact. However, with two Barrage Ogres to take advantage of the cycling Spellbomb in addition to needing Swamps to use it and charge Trigon of Corruption, Nihil Spellbomb has more synergy with the cards that we actually have.
My pick: Nihil Spellbomb
Pack 1 pick 10:
Vulshok Heartstoker is generally bad but still a 2/2 in case we end up short on creatures.
My pick: Vulshok Heartstoker
Pack 1 pick 11:
Ezuri’s Archers will be a good sideboard card in case we end up sticking with green.
My pick: Ezuris Archers
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Goblin Gaveleer
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Relic Putrescence
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Vault Skyward
Pack 1 pick 15:
The first pack was somewhat difficult to navigate through. Red seemed moderately open though that conclusion is based mostly on the late Barrage Ogres and not an abundance of Shatters, Galvanic Blasts, or other good uncommons. Infect was being cut relatively well though there was one pick mid-pack that slipped through with a lot of goodies. There was a mix of blue and white though neither color seemed very open at all. We should stick with red in our next pack and let the flow of the draft help determine if we should remain committed to green or jump into another color.
Pack 2 pick 1:
The two cards that are good for us are Trigon of Thought and Turn to Slag. The Trigon is slow (like most) and will ideally draw into spells and then be fed to a Barrage Ogre. However, that plan is a bit slow even for our deck. A second Turn to Slag is better because it makes us more likely to see red in pack three. If we had an abundance of removal then the Trigon would be a better choice, but at this point we don’t have too much.
My pick: Turn to Slag
Pack 2 pick 2:
There’s not much competing with Oxidda Scrapmelter; it’s an easy two-for-one that swings most games into your favor.
My pick: Oxidda Scrapmelter
Pack 2 pick 3:
Panic Spellbomb is better than Galvanic Blast IF we don’t have metalcraft and IF we have Barrage Ogre active. That’s a lot of “IFs”.
My pick: Galvanic Blast
Pack 2 pick 4:
Our deck already has a moderate amount of removal and being unable to close games could become an issue which is where good finishers like Darksteel Sentinel come in. If we only had creatures like Vulshok Replica and Blade-Tribe Berserkers, then we should consider taking the Sentinel. Between the Sentinel, Hellion, and Golem it’s likely that one will wheel to go with our Acid Web Spider. Despite the two Turn to Slag, Oxidda Scrapmelter, and Rust Tick, it’s good to have cheap instant-speed removal because it can be used easily at any point in the game. Our deck will be struggling in the early game in its current configuration which could lead to us being overwhelmed before we’re able to cast our superior expensive spells.
My pick: Shatter
Pack 2 pick 5:
Rust Tick has been and continues to be underrated by a lot of people. There are very few packs that I have seen with enough good cards to make it a fifth pick. Scars of Mirrodin is 3/8 artifacts and Rust Tick effectively deals with nearly every single one of them.
My pick: Rust Tick
Pack 2 pick 6:
This pick is actually more interesting than most people would initially think mainly because of the cards we’ve already drafted. Red/x decks tend to be able to deal with artifacts fairly well and our deck is no exception. In fact, our deck is concentrated with artifact removal. We have two Rust Ticks, Oxidda Scrapmelter, and Shatter to go along with two Barrage Ogres, Galvanic Blast, Trigon of Corruption, and two Turn to Slags. Needless to say, we’ll be drawing out most games well past turn ten. One of the classic problems of decks with heavy artifact removal is that they will often die to a Sky-Eel School or Flameborn Hellion while holding two Shatters. We’ve got so much removal that additional Shatters drop down significantly in value. Wall of Tanglecord is similar to Shatter in that it’s a two-mana card (basically Journey to Nowhere) that deals with a creature. The most underrated card and best for our deck is Liquimetal Coating. Consider the synergies that it has with some of our cards: two Rust Ticks, Oxidda Scrapmelter, two Barrage Ogres, and Shatter. Barrage Ogre is the most convincing reason to pick Liquimetal Coating because we’ve got so few artifacts that we actually want to sacrifice.
My pick: Liquimetal Coating
Pack 2 pick 7:
Wall of Tanglecord will help us survive early on much better than Shatter because we’ll be able to block non-artifact creatures with it. Later on Shatter will be more effective because we should have more creatures (or a Barrage Ogre) on the battlefield that can trade with the non-important ones.
My pick: Shatter
Pack 2 pick 8:
Ferrovore isn’t much better than Vulshok Heartstoker in a deck with few artifacts and no Furnace Celebration, but there’s not much else to take. Flesh Allergy isn’t very useful in the deck either because it has very few creatures.
My pick: Ferrovore
Pack 2 pick 9:
Golden Urn can be good at times in decks that want to play for the long-game. Unfortunately, this deck can’t take advantage of the Urn’s presence on the battlefield with metalcraft and becomes somewhat lacking and unnecessary with all of our removal. One of the classic problems with heavy-removal decks is that their creatures are bad and the deck lacks a draw engine. Their creatures won’t outclass the average creature and they will be forced to use removal on sub-par creatures. Eventually the opponent will summon a good creature and win before this deck draws another removal spell. Enter Viridian Revel which helps alleviate the lack of a draw engine. I’m not saying Viridian Revel is Mind Spring or anything ridiculous like that, but rather that Viridian Revel provides a steady stream of card-drawing and can drastically change how the opponent plays their half of the game (yes, I realize that the initial advantage is negative one because Viridian Revel does nothing by itself). Suddenly, spellbombs and extra myrs become a lot less disposable while trading one-for-one becomes a losing proposition for the opponent.
My pick: Viridian Revel
Pack 2 pick 10:
My pick: Ferrovore
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Flight Spellbomb
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Saberclaw Golem
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Viridian Revel
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Scoria Elemental
Pack 2 pick 15:
The second pack was quite good and the result of red being cut well in pack one in combination with the people directly to our left not taking good red cards initially. We’ve got enough removal to lessen its importance and concentrate on picking up solid creatures in the last pack.
Pack 3 pick 1:
Kuldotha Phoenix is an awesome creature and an excellent way to close games which is what we are looking for. However, Arc Trail also provides a way to dominate the early game and shut off the opponent long enough for our late-game power to take control. If we didn’t have the two Viridian Revels, the Liquimetal Coating, and the two Barrage Ogres, then the Kuldotha Phoenix would be a lot better because it’s a card that can easily wins games by itself. However, when you consider the incremental advantage that Viridian Revel provides (especially in combination with Liquimetal Coating), it becomes apparent how pulling ahead in a game won’t be a problem. Granted, you won’t always draw the two cards in tandem during the first fives turn of every game. However, when you’re drawing out games to turn fifteen then it’s far more reasonable to assume you’ll see both cards.
My pick: Arc Trail
Pack 3 pick 2:
Heavy Arbalest and Wall of Tanglecord are two of my favorite underrated cards in the format. At the two drafts in Worlds I played with a combined three and five respectively and was never embarrassed to say so. Heavy Arbalest is slow but provides a source of continuous card advantage and will take control of a game if unchecked. The equipment is just absurd with Soliton and Islands (but you already knew that). The main problem Heavy Arbalest in this deck is that there are so few creatures; we currently only have ten (including the Ferrovore and Vulshok Heartstoker that we don’t want to play). Having at least two creatures on the battlefield (preferably three-plus) is important to have Heavy Arbalest function properly. Wall of Tanglecord is going to be a better card for our deck because it’s weak to flyers and early creatures.
My pick: Wall of Tanglecord
Pack 3 pick 3:
We don’t have enough artifacts to support Rusted Relic (currently seven). Neurok Replica would be useful alone as a Horned Turtle but would be worse than Panic Spellbomb with a Barrage Ogre. A Horned Turtle is rather underwhelming and not good enough to warrant a spot in our deck because it can’t attack well and isn’t good enough defensively (unlike Wall of Tanglecord).
My pick: Panic Spellbomb
Pack 3 pick 4:
Furnace Celebration is a card that requires a lot to happen properly to make it work out. A deck needs to have a certain threshold of sacrifice cards to transform Furnace Celebration from a mulligan into a live card. You have to draw Furnace Celebration early before the sacrificing cards or be in a dominant position where you can wait around to draw it (you won’t always be able to leave multiple spellbombs in play because you need to draw cards). Often the Furnace Celebration plan doesn’t come together and you’re left with a deck that is playing cards that are bad (Dross Hopper, Nihil Spellbomb, Ferrovore, etc). The only card that we’re interested in is Horizon Spellbomb because it fixes our awkward mana (minimal green spells all requiring double-green and lots of red spells with many requiring double-red), provides an artifact to cycle with Barrage Ogre, and will cycle when we’ve got nothing else going on.
My pick: Horizon Spellbomb
Pack 3 pick 5:
Leaden Myr is an additional source of acceleration to get our game out from the developmental stages and into the position of being able to summon our five-mana creatures sooner than turn five. Trigon of Thought would help alleviate flooding but is rather slow and redundant when considering the two Viridian Revels. Tel-Jilad Fallen is the last creature to consider and has good synergy with Liquimetal Coating but doesn’t provide a good source of damage in tandem with the rest of our deck since it’s the only infect creature we’d have.
My pick: Leaden Myr
Pack 3 pick 6:
Bellowing Tanglewurm doesn’t do much compared to Molder Beast because we don’t have any other green creatures besides the Acid Web Spider. Molder Beast combines well with the Barrage Ogres, spellbombs, and plethora of artifact removal and is the best choice if we were to take a creature. However, with four five-mana creatures already it would be better to simply take the third Turn to Slag because it’s a better card overall.
My pick: Turn to Slag
Pack 3 pick 7:
Flameborn Hellion is an excellent finisher but we already have enough playables and it would be a better idea to take cards that would be problematic to play against.
My pick: Lumengrid Drake
Pack 3 pick 8:
Vulshok Replica is only superior to Barrage Ogre (#3) because of how heavy our curve is at five mana and non-existent at three mana.
My pick: Vulshok Replica
Pack 3 pick 9:
My pick: Alpha Tyrranax
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Golden Urn
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Vedalken Certarch
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Goblin Gaveleer
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Vault Skyward
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Plated Seastrider
Pack 3 pick 15:
The last pack wasn’t nearly as good as the first and it felt like there was an additional drafter in red than in the first pack. Overall the draft went quite well and we we’ll be able to make a deck that isn’t commonly seen.
There are a lot of cards that need to be fit into this deck but there is little room because of the robust removal suite along with the Revel/Coating package. There are so few cheap creatures to defend with and artifacts to feed Barrage Ogre with. The high curve makes it difficult to run every expensive spell and as a result some cards will end up in the sideboard. The deck also wants to play a land every turn of the game until it gets to five mana which becomes a problem afterwards due to the increased likeliness of flooding. The ratio of Forests to Mountains is also problematic because there are a lot of Red spells in the deck and only a few green. However, it’s important to have Viridian Revel on the battlefield as quickly as possible so it’s easier to pull ahead which means that the number of Forests should be increased beyond the normal amount.
The last cards fighting for slots in the deck are: Leaden Myr, Vulshok Replica, Panic Spellbomb, Alpha Tyrranax, Ferrovore, and the seventeenth land; three of the cards can be included to make a forty-card deck. If the Myr gets cut, then the seventeenth land has to be included and vice versa. Ferrovore and Vulshok Replica are only being considered for curving purposes as there isn’t much going on in the first few turns whereas the deck has lots to do afterwards when it reaches five mana. Vulshok Replica is much better against infect than Ferrovore and is likely to edge out the 2/2 because the deck is much weaker towards infect compared to metalcraft. Panic Spellbomb would only be included as a concession to the fact that there aren’t many artifacts in the deck to be used with the two Barrage Ogres. Liquimetal Coating makes excess lands quite useful later on while, Myr are also suitable cards to be sacrificed. After that there’s not much else to throw away. Alpha Tyrranax is one of the best creatures because it’s got such a high toughness, but its glaring weakness is the high mana-cost. In the end I couldn’t decide on three to cut so I ran forty-one cards (cutting Panic Spellbomb was probably right).
Round 1: B/u Metalcraft
Evil had a lot of extraneous artifacts such as Golden Urn, Flight Spellbomb, Wall of Tanglecord, and Sylvok Lifestaff to power up his Golem Foundry and other metalcraft creatures (of which he drew very few). The matchup was quite favorable because his threat density was really low and all of our removal was geared towards him.
Round 2: U/W metalcraft/flyers
This deck had a much higher threat density than our first opponent and had cards including Grand Architect, Indomitable Archangel, Sword of Body and Mind, Rusted Relic, Sky-Eel School, Lumengrid Drake, Soliton, Darksteel Sentinel, and other assorted cards. We both played some cards, traded some cards, and then there was a brief intermission while we played a Viridian Revel to get ahead. Evil couldn’t keep up and eventually was too far behind after we played Liquimetal Coating to go along with a Barrage Ogre. The highlight of this match was playing Turn to Slag to destroy Sword of Body and Mind, Snapsail Glider, take him off metalcraft leaving him with just Rusted Relic, and also drawing two cards in the process with Viridian Revel.
Round 3: U/W/r metalcraft/flyers
This deck was similar to the deck from round two but was also splashing Red for two Oxidda Scrapmelters and had a Molten-Tail Masticore as its bomb. This first game started off with him making a few myrs with an early Myrsmith that almost got out of hand before we drew Arc Trail. We stabilized and got out a Barrage Ogre that got neutralized with an Arrest. We were forced to waste a Turn to Slag along with a Galvanic Blast to kill the Molten-Tail Masticore after he tapped down too low to kill our Rust Tick on his turn. Despite ridding ourselves of the Masticore we had expended too many resources in the process and died to myr tokens and some flyers after drawing lands for four turns in a row.
Evil had a more aggressive draw in the second game involving Glint Hawk, Glint Hawk Idol, and a Perilous Myr. We took some damage from the Idol but used a Shatter and Arc Trail to clean up Evil’s board. Trigon of Corruption came down for us and killed an Origin Spellbomb token, but it got destroyed by a Scrapmelter. We drew the game out with an Acid Web Spider and drew into both Viridian Revels and the Liquimetal Coating to go along with a Galvanic Blast but we drew into no more removal for the Molten-Tail Masticore when it got summoned shortly afterwards. It was one of the few cards that gave this deck trouble; otherwise winning wouldn’t have been difficult.
Our deck was geared to beat up on metalcraft decks and it was fairly obvious how effective we were as none of the games were very close. Many of the games lasted for a great number of turns but that was because we were thoroughly grinding the opposition down to nothing.
Arc Trail wasn’t as good as it could have been but we never played against infect and it was amazing the one time that we had it early.
Vulshok Replica wasn’t stellar but that’s what we were expecting. Having a two-toughness creature like Ferrovore would have ended up being better for the matchups that we played. Vulshok Replica was in the mainly to combat infect when three-power creatures are invaluable (because they kill Cystbearer and Ichorclaw Myr).
Iron and Leaden Myr weren’t amazing mainly because we only drew them early once while being almost dead later on in the game because we didn’t have a Heavy Arbalest. We had Barrage Ogre out most of the time which made the myrs fine as fodder for it.