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FFfreaky Friday – Poison Control!!!

I am sorry that I have been talking about Limited so much. How about one more, and then probably a Top 8 tournament report next week, and then I promise we will cover some constructed. I want to talk about limited this week because I talked about fringe draft strategies last week. I ended up drafting a poison control deck recently, and think it was one of my most interesting drafts in a long time. The deck went back and forth, and a main theme wasn’t found until very late in the draft, but I still wound up with a very good deck. Lets take a look!

Pack 1 pick 1:

 

There are a few really good cards in this pack. Engulfing Slagwurm is a really good card but is very mana intense to grab first pick. It is not powerful enough to build a deck around, and yet would have to be considered when taking picks. Revoke Existence and Shatter are both great removal spells that I have taken first pick in countless drafts. The only problem is that Razor Hippogriff and Trigon of Corruption are both much higher in power level.

This is when one of the biggest dilemmas in Scars of Mirrodin draft comes up. I think that Razor Hippogriff is a slightly more powerful card. It is card advantage just like Trigon of Corruption, and also is a great beat stick. The only problem is that it limits what direction your draft can go. On the other hand, Trigon of Corruption will make it into more decks and it can be the centerpiece for a very good deck. It has more potential to be built around as well.

My pick:

Trigon of Corruption

Pack 1 pick 2:

 

This pack is not even close to as interesting as the last. There is a weak infect creature, a weak colored Myr, and Perilous Myr. Perilous Myr is a wonderful follow up card for Trigon of Corruption. It can allow me enough time to get the Trigon of Corruption online before I get bashed down. I don’t think this pick is really close.

My pick:

Perilous Myr

Pack 1 pick 3:

 

Now this pack is deep, with an abundance of support cards. Both Replicas make great creatures in the right decks and good filler in the on-color ones. Sunspear Shikari is another card that is very good in the right deck. All of these picks will restrict the type of deck I will be able to draft. This makes the removal the safest choice.

My pick:

Turn to Slag

Pack 1 pick 4:

 

Two cards stand out to me in this pack, Heavy Arbalest and Gold Myr. Heavy Arbalest is a very good card in most decks. However, it is on the slow side, making it kind of an awkward pick for what I already have. Gold Myr is very fast for what I want to be doing so far. I am fine with passing the Instill Infection since it would put me into a second colo,r and also will help put someone to out left into infect if they are forcing it.

My pick:

Gold Myr

Pack 1 pick 5:

 

This was a risky pick. It is also a very strong pack. So, what we have is Grindclock, Tel-Jilad Fallen, Glint Hawk, Trinket Mage, Panic Spellbomb, and Fume Spitter. Four cards have been taken out of this pack, and two of them are most likely uncommons. When I evaluate a pack, I almost always ignore the possibility of a foil rare. Sometimes I will put that into consideration, but it is much more consistent to not believe so. This pack screams that someone has taken a red card. There are still some very powerful cards, but almost every red spell will go early. There is no clear signal in this pack either.

I can take the Panic Spellbomb since it has the highest chance to be played, and early in drafting this format I would have taken that card. I used to think that having enough playables is more important than a slightly higher power level. It is even a two mana cycler. I have found that decks lose if they do not have something powerful to do. They can be consistent and do the same thing every game, but they never win if they can’t break away.

Trinket Mage is also a card I used to value much higher. The problem with the Mage is that it can really make you waste two picks. You can take the Mage and then a one drop over a slighly better card so you can give Trinket Mage value. This will also just make your deck more consistent and less powerful.

Glint Hawk, however, can be very powerful as well as dead. It is easier to draft cards around it since they are amazing on their own. Every Tumble Magnet, Contagion Clasp, and Trigon gets that much better when paired with a Hawk. These are also the cards you are going to pick up no matter what. They don’t make you waste picks to gain synergies.

Grindclock is not a terrible card, but it is nothing special. It will end a game around turn ten if it is dropped early. That is all it does. It puts your opponent on a very long clock. I don’t think its great but I have died to it before.

My pick:

Glint Hawk

Pack 1 pick 6:

 

This was just a bad pick. I should have taken Neurok Invisimancer here. It is a much more powerful card and will make the cut if I end up in blue. No matter what I take in this pack, I will not play it main, except for the unblockable common. I was just taking a white card out of the pack to gain value for picking up the color in pack two.

My pick:

Seize the Initiative

Pack 1 pick 7:

 

This pack is very weak except for one card. It is the rare that no one ever really plays with. I don’t really understand why. I know that it takes a long time to get active, but it will end most games when it does. Tower of Calamities does not go into every deck. It will go into many of the decks that I have been drafting lately: very slow, clunky, and all around random decks. It is a gem!

My pick:

Tower of Calamities

Pack 1 pick 8:

 

I will probably not be playing any of these cards. The strongest pick is Soliton. It takes away from the deck that drafted the Heavy Arbalest and gives me value if the equipment comes back around. I am not expecting the equipment, but I am just making a very win/win pick.

My pick:

Soliton

Pack 1 pick 9:

 

I know that Engulfing Slagwurm not something to start a draft with, but it shouldn’t go this late. Seeing this card come around lets me know that the clunky green deck is open. I am liking this table!

My pick:

Engulfing Slagwurm

Pack 1 pick 10:

 

I don’t think I will be in blue and there is an off chance I will board in a Heartstoker.

My pick:

Vulshok Heartstoker

Pack 1 pick 11:

 

Early in most drafts, I think Saberclaw Golem is a slightly higher pick than Molder Beast. You can usually just pick up a few of each by the end of pack three and just decided which ones to play. They go around the table many times.

My pick:

Saberclaw Golem

Pack 1 pick 12:

 

My pick:

Flameborn Hellion

Pack 1 pick 13:

 

My pick:

 

Melt Terrain 

Pack 1 pick 14:

 

My pick:

Turn Aside

Pack 1 pick 15:

–> Island 

Pack 2 pick 1:

 

I think I will end up in a green/red deck. Even if I was in another color, Oxidda Scrapmelter is an insane card. The cards that will come back are probably Auriok Replica and Blight Mamba. There are probably two infect drafters at the table, and we will find out if there is a third. If there are more than just two, I will be set up for a weakish pack three. It is very important to find out since I am in one of their colors.

My pick:

Oxidda Scrapmelter

Pack 2 pick 2:

 

Golem Artisan is a very good card in most decks. So far I have a ton of slow spells, and can’t really invest many more early picks to that side of the curve. Slice in Twain is also a very good removal spell. Those are always important in these clunky decks.

My pick:

 

Slice in Twain 

I do not like seeing that Putrefax. It is much better than not seeing one before you play against it, however!

Pack 2 pick 3:

 

These decks tend to like any Myrs they can get. There is nothing in this pack worth playing, and any chance to play my spells a turn early is worth it.

My pick:

Leaden Myr

Pack 2 pick 4:

 

So lets examine this pack. There are three creatures that fly along with the best common infect creature. What did people take out of this? I can’t see any of these players in infect. One of them passed a Putrefax, so that makes one easy. So can Infect be open? Is Cystbearer good enough to run on its own?

Most people who talk about this format say that it is bad to play half infect decks. For the most part, I agree with this. There is a handful of very good infect creatures that people play different around though. Cystbearer is one of them. It is a very good way to get to the late game without really trying. Running out a couple of early infect creatures, even if it isn’t in a themed deck, will make an opponent play very strange and usually trade there early threats for yours.

Cystbearer is also very good at holding the ground in the early game. I will play a Cystbearer anytime I have a high curve and a decent amount of removal.

My pick:

Cystbearer

Pack 2 pick 5:

 

Taking another Myr here is a great pick. There isn’t anything really worth taking over it, and it will allow me to ignore one in the future when there is a close pick.

My pick:

 

Iron Myr 

Pack 2 pick 6:

 

Ichorclaw Myr should not still be in this pack, even if it has a ton of good cards. I know there is a decent amount of white and blue cards, making it possible that there are several infect players on the table now. This means that it is much more of a threat to me than the other spells.

My pick:

 

Ichorclaw Myr 

Pack 2 pick 7:

 

Molder Beast is a card I could really value in this draft. I don’t know if I will play it, but I know I won’t want to play anything else.

My pick:

 

Molder Beast 

Pack 2 pick 8:

 

Snapsail Glider will be very good at defending the air. There has been a decent amount of fliers going around the table.

My pick:

 

Snapsail Glider 

Pack 2 pick 9:

 

Blight Mamba did end up tabling back, meaning that there are probably two people drafting infect.

My pick:

Blight Mamba

Pack 2 pick 10:

 

Never happy to play it, never sad to play it, always get one.

My pick:

 

Tel-Jilad Defiance 

Pack 2 pick 11:

 

My pick:

 

Moriok Reaver 

Pack 2 pick 12:

 

My pick:

 

Ferrovore 

Pack 2 pick 13:

 

My pick:

 

Golems Heart 

Pack 2 pick 14:

 

My pick:

 

Razorfield Thresher 

Pack 2 pick 15:

–> Island 

Pack 3 pick 1:

 

O_O!!!! Now this changes things up. Contagion Engine is such a bomb, and makes a me really want to be playing with infect creatures. It will turn into a win condition every time I draw it, if we have some guys getting the counters on them. It is an absolute bomb with Trigon of Corruption. Molder Beast is probably going to come back around, and I am probably not going to play it.

My pick:

 

Contagion Engine 

Pack 3 pick 2:

 

This is a very tough pick. Sylvok Replica is a very good card for a deck like this. It is a good piece of removal. Cystbearer, however, gives me the potential of having a decent chance at an infect sub-theme. This pick will strengthen a couple of the cards I have already picked up.

My pick:

 

Cystbearer 

Pack 3 pick 3:

 

This is another pick that is not even close. Having two Trigon of Corruptions will give me so many insane plays when I do draw Contagion Engine.

My pick:

 

Trigon of Corruption 

Pack 3 pick 4:

 

There are some great cards in this pack, and Galvanic Blast is ahead of all of them. It is very weird to see all of this red so late. Remember what happened in pack one, not seeing any of it. I think there were some very good cards in this pack. I’ll be on the look out for some sick bombs.

My pick:

 

Galvanic Blast 

Pack 3 pick 5:

 

It seems very strange to me that Shatter is still in this pack. I think that there are a decent amount of people drafting infect now. I don’t think I will see anymore infect creatures come around. This doesn’t mean I will not be playing my Cystbearers.

My pick:

 

Shatter 

Pack 3 pick 6:

 

The pack is very weak, so I might as well hate the infect creature.

My pick:

 

Contagious Nim 

Pack 3 pick 7:

 

Ding! Ichorclaw Myr is exactly the type of card I want to see. This now gives me 4 really good infect creatures to start the early game with. I finally have the game plan I have been wanting to pull off: start of with some early creatures that our opponents think they have to deal with, and they will not know what hit them in the late game!

My pick:

 

Ichorclaw Myr 

Pack 3 pick 8:

 

My pick:

 

Saberclaw Golem 

Pack 3 pick 9:

 

Yup and yup.

My pick:

 

Molder Beast 

Pack 3 pick 10:

 

My pick:

 

Kuldotha Rebirth 

Pack 3 pick 11:

 

Very interesting, late Carrion Call. I really would have liked to have seen what everyone else picked through out this draft. Very strange one!

My pick:

 

Carrion Call 

Pack 3 pick 12:

 

My pick:

 

Abuna Acolyte 

Pack 3 pick 13:

 

My pick:

 

Dross Hopper 

Pack 3 pick 14:

 

My pick:

 

Glimmerpost 

Pack 3 pick 15:

–> Swamp 

Well, I definitely have a pile of cards to sift through! These are the cards I am for sure playing with:

 

This only thirteen cards. As you can see nothing in this pile will kill my opponents. I think this needs to change.

Poison creatures:

 

Non-poison creatures:

 

Filler:

 

Tel-Jilad Defiance 

My curve desperately needs the infect guys. Carrion Call is not good in this deck since I have no way to pump them up. After I add the five infect creatures, I am left needing five more cards:

 

Leaving us with…

Now lets talk about what this deck wants to do. I know this is not what most people end up with, but I personally think this deck is amazing. It lacks a great plan against a deck with a ton of creatures with flying, but that is about it. This deck is trying to get to the late game as easily as possible. This is not an infect deck, so I will not be trying to make my main goal to deal them ten poison counters. It is a very good, depending on what happens.

The downside to this deck is that drawing a late Ichorclaw Myr can be very bad. It will, however, be better then drawing a random mana-Myr most of the time. This deck is another mid-range control deck with the potential to have a poison blow out game.

Round 1 – Rhoaen

I was very glad to get the opportunity to play against Rich Hoaen, since we never played on the tour at the same time. I kept a decent opener, with everything I want:

 

I started laying out my hand while he tried to get an aggressive force started. The turn I played Contagion Engine, he got his Rust Tick online. He tapped down the Engine to stop my shinanigans, and I was still able to kill off the rest of his team. The next turn was a painful one. Rich played Steel Hellkite. I still hadn’t drawn my second Forest yet, and didn’t before he was able to take them game. I had so many outs to the Dragon, but missed everyone of them.

Next game, I took the play and was able to do exactly what I set out to do with the first game. He ended up topdecking Revoke Existence to take out my Trigon of Corruption. This is when I dropped the Tower on him, and he was soon conceding to some random creatures.

Game three, he put me on the play. Since he knew I was all removal, he wanted the card advantage. This was not to be had, since my opening hand was:

 

His first play of the game was Palladium Myr, while I already had two poison creatures bringing the pain. I Sliced his mana accelerator and, put him at three counters.

He came back at me with a nice 2/4, and I played a Blight Mamba and got him to five counters. He accidentally played his Glint Hawk before he played an Origin Spellbomb. This left him without another 2/2, and might have been the turning point in the game, but I don’t think it really would have mattered. I attacked with all three creatures, since I had drawn a Tel-Jilad Defiance the turn before. He didn’t double block an Ichorclaw Myr and just made me invest mana into my Mamba. I knew that, since he did it this way, it was Dragon time.

He played the Dragon, I Slagged it, and Rich conceded.

Round 2 – The Great Dustini

He was playing infect. This meant I would have an even more insane matchup. This deck should be great against infect. I started off game one with some infect guys and traded away the table. I followed that up with Contagion Engine+Trigon+big green creatures. The game was over very fast.

The next game saw him mulligan to five. I had a decent hand with a Trigon, but the problem was that it was all I was going to draw. I had a few creatures, but nothing from my top end. He was able to dig out of his card disadvantage with a ton of more live draws and Corpse Curs. I never drew another relevant spell.

Would you keep this game three hand?

 

I think this hand is very good. There are fourteen lands and three mana-Myrs left in the deck. I just win once I hit 6 mana. I obviously kept it, and guess what? I missed all of my land drops and died.

It was very disappointing to lose this draft. Even though most of you will think this deck is garbage, I really think is is another way to draft this format. I have found that so many more 3-0s come from when I get in with the best archetype at the table. This means the busted Red/White Metalcraft deck or GB Infect deck.

The problem is that I also find that my decks suck when they don’t pan out and I try to force something because of what I started the draft with. Lately, I have been just staying open for as long as possible. This sometimes means as long as pick two of pack three. I hope you were able to see something new with this article.

As Chief would say,”Poison Control!!”

Brad Nelson

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