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FFfreaky Friday – To Scrubland and Back

I am finally back home from Grand Prix Columbus and Gen Con. The week in Indianapolis did not go as well as I would have hoped. Even though I did not win any events at the convention, it did teach me a lot about Standard. Time to look back and figure out what is going on.

At Gen Con I quickly exited the Block Championships. Since it is a dead format now, it is really not worth talking much about. This did let me join the Midwest Master Series LCQ that was starting soon. I did, however, not know about this tournament until 2 minutes before it started. I quickly built up a Naya Shaman deck that I had scattered in my bag and went to battle.

I found out quickly that Inferno Titan is an absolute beast. He is very good when he comes down early against most decks. I was also playing an Emeria Angel that was not good at all. The theory behind that card was there for me, but it did not perform well at all. I never wanted to go search for it and when I drew it, I wished I had Shaman to discard it.

I ended up grinding into the Midwest Master tournament after staying up all night to do so. That meant I got to play in the 10k tournament on Saturday. I got prepared for the event and then went 1-2 and was out of it. I lost to Owen Turtenwald playing Jund, and lost to a play mistake topped onto cascading into the one card in my deck that doesn’t trigger my Vengevines. It was a very disappointing tournament.

Owen sold me on his strategy. Jund seems to be in a very good place in the metagame. Most of the decks right now are not defined and trying things out. This is Jund’s playground and gives it a really good chance to beat down the format. Jund has not changed and for good reasons. It still is the powerhouse deck and proves it will continue to dominate if it is not targeted.

Naya seems that it can be very powerful if built correctly. I have been playing the deck ever since M11 came out and finally realized that [card]Cunning Sparkmage[/card] is just not good enough in the main. Patrick Chapin told me something this last weekend that has echoed through me ever since. He told me that I am too attached to things that I think belong. He hit it on the nose. Just because Sparkmage seems correct in the deck does not make it.

It is only good against the other GW decks and those are not that popular in the metagame. I have lost too many games to Ramp and Control decks because I had too many bad cards game one against them. This means that the deck needs a big overhaul. Even though I have been slaving over the numbers, I have yet to get a list I like.

It seems that the deck is missing something in the early game. The four drops are cluttered and I want something to play off of a turn one accelerant. I have already tried Woolly Thoctar, but it didn’t seem that good unless it was on turn two. Dauntless Escort and Sun Titan just might be what the maindeck wants, or go back to more of a traditional Boss Zoo list.

I still want to be playing a creature deck in this format. Green/Red Ramp does not seem powerful enough to me, and I don’t know what I should be controlling if I play UW. I still just want to beat down.

It is a good thing that Tom “The Boss” Ross is now up in North Dakota with me ready to start testing for Nationals and the Pro Tour. Nacatls run through his blood so we should be able to get a Naya list we both like. I just hope it’s before Nationals start.

The other thing that has to be worked on is M11 draft. I was not too excited when I heard I will have to be playing this format for about a month straight. It only took 3 drafts to realize that this is nothing like M10. It is actually a ton of fun and a very good format. The average power level of the cards went up as well as most of the unbeatable bombs have been taken out. Green got a great card in Plummet and the whole format feels much more skill-intensive.

I am early in my testing for this format, but there is one thing I know I want to be in: blue. Blue seems like the most powerful color and I have won more drafts with that color then any other. Blue/white fliers is a very powerful strategy that I love to get into, but I also enjoy blue/black control. One of the most underrated cards in this strategy is Armored Cancrix. Most people treat this card like the plague. I do not see why, because it really feels like it came out of Rise of the Eldrazi Limited. In that format, I liked to be in a very controlling deck that by just playing some high toughness creatures, I could eliminate many of my opponent’s ground-pounders. Being able to slow the game down and have a deck designed to get damage in off the ground is very powerful. There are only a handful of creatures that get around 5 toughness and those become the creature you target with removal.

The Draft

I recently had a draft that I found very interesting and would be a good topic for my article. Many of the picks bring up good discussions about the format. Let’s see what you guys think!
Pack 1 pick 1:

 

My pick:
Blinding Mage

This pack only has two cards that are first pickable. Condemn is a very good removal spell in a UW Flies style deck while Blinding Mage wins games all by itself if it is not dealt with. The rest of this pack is not too strong. I do like Liliana’s Specter, but it is more of a card that fits a role already in place. Blinding Mage is the pick here because of its constant effect on the board. It also fits the curve very well since there aren’t many good two drops when using this strategy.

Pack 1 pick 2:

 

My pick:
Sleep

I am not happy taking Sleep here. It is a very underwhelming card when I play with it. I mostly joke how it is the most powerful green card in the format, and to be honest it fits best with green. However the pack here is very week and it is between Sleep and Fire Servant. I usually only go into red when I see a more powerful card. Sleep is also in the color I want to be in, so this pick is somewhat forcing a strategy. I do not think it is a bad idea to try to force what you want in this draft format. Sometimes when I am too passive, I end up in a very bad deck that is trying to do too many things. The safe pick is Sleep even though its not the best card in the pack.

Pack 1 pick 3:

 

My pick:
Cloud Elemental

I could have had 3 Specters at this point, but it was not right without the information. Cloud Elemental is part of the backbone to the UW Skies deck. Three drops are very important since it is easy to get cluttered with fours and fives. Prodigal Pyromancer is a very good card but like I said, I don’t want to be put into red. This also might throw my neighbor into the color. This is the second Squadron Hawk, but neither will table back. If the table does not respect blue, I might get the Cancel back. There is pottentially 9 cards in this pack people will want to play with. It is important to see what card does come back to see what people are under drafting if we need to stop forcing.

Pack 1 pick 4:

 

My pick:
Infantry Veteran

Infantry Veteran is not the most exciting card in the pack, but I only want to play one [card]Excommunicate[/card] with this strategy and I see finding one of those to be easy. Stone Golem is okay, but I would rather pick up a [card armored cantrix]Cantrix[/card] or two before one of those. I take the Veteran because it can be a great strategy in post-sideboard games.

Pack 1 pick 5:

 

My pick:

Cloud Elemental 

Seeing this Cultivate made me think about going green. The only reason I do not want to is that I don’t like green with blue or white. It is fine with blue, but if I am playing green, I would rather get into green/black or green/red. Cloud Elemental is not as good as Cultivate but it does fit my force strategy and therefore worth grabbing. It is a bit scary seeing another Squadron Hawk here. If someone picked up the first two a few to my left, I can see myself getting cut in pack two. It is important to go into this strategy when no one to your left in there. UW Skies can be a fragile strategy if people are fighting over it. I find it much more effective when the people to my left are fighting over the other three colors and I have a very good pack 2.

Pack 1 pick 6:

 

My pick:
Silvercoat Lion

Silvercoat Lion will never make the main deck. It is a very good card to be able to sideboard in against aggressive strategies. Since I do not want any of the other cards in the pack, grabbing this card is not a bad call. This pack seems to be dried up so I do not get information on drafting except that white is not being overdrafted since there are two somewhat playable white cards and should not have had more then 4 cards in the color in that pack.

Pack 1 pick 7:

 

My pick:

Azure Drake 

Assassinate is going a bit late here. The more important late card is Azure Drake. This is the best common flier for this deck. It is very important to get your hands on some of these when going into this deck. I used to think that the Llanowar Elves was a signal because of how good it was in M10. It does not seem to have the same powerful effect on the early game as it did before. Many times drafting I wish my Llanowar Elves were additional lands. I am not saying it is not playable, but I just no longer look at it as a strong signal.

Pack 1 pick 8:

 

My pick:

Negate 

This is the second Plummet to come around already. It is very scary to play this deck when there are 3-4 Plummets on the table and we’ve already seen a Giant Spider and two Plummets. Negate is a good card to fight the Plummets and will most likely make the sideboard against green decks.

Pack 1 pick 9:

 

My pick:
Mighty Leap

Condemn and Squadron Hawk got taken so far from this pack. That doesn’t seem too bad since Hawk probably made it around to the other side of the table. Taking Mighty Leap here makes sense since I think Excommunicate should come back in the next pack. Maritime Guard can sometimes be powerful against Black Knights, but I know I should be able to find one later on.

Pack 1 pick 10:

 

My pick:

Hornet Sting 

The Excommunicate did not come back here, but it was a weak pack. I steal the Hornet Sting since it is the most scary card in the pack.

Pack 1 pick 11:

 

My pick:

Cancel 

Since this Cancel came back, this is a good sign for being in blue. White has not been great yet and switching colors is not out of the question. This is a great signal and pick for the deck so far.

Pack 1 pick 12:

 

My pick:

Disentomb 

Pack 1 pick 13:

 

My pick:
Tireless Missionaries

Pack 1 pick 14:

 
My pick:

 

Plains 

Pack 1 pick 15:

Plains 

Pack 2 pick 1:

 

My pick:

Juggernaut 

This was a close pick. Juggernaut is a very good card and can be great when a deck can deal damage with cards like [card]Sleep[/card] and Blinding Mage. Cloud Crusader is a great card, but I already have three fliers that stop the card. Juggernaut can deal 20 damage all on its own with some UW backup.

Pack 2 pick 2:

 

My pick:

Blinding Mage 

This is a very good pack, but nothing compares to the power of multiple Blinding Mages. There is an abundance of green cards in this pack and even another Spider. This is good though, since I am hoping multiple people to my right are fighting over this color.

Pack 2 pick 3:

 

My pick:

Pacifism 

This feels like a treat to me. I almost never get a Pacifism and always get excited to get to play with it. It is a very good card in this format and very good for attrition wars.

Pack 2 pick 4:

 

My pick:

Blinding Mage 

The White Knight would be a very good card for this deck. The Knights are always very strong and almost worth taking over many creatures. I do not want to take it over another Blinding Mage though. They are good on their own, but insane in multiples.

Pack 2 pick 5:

 

My pick:

Cancel 

I do not want to even fight for [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]s anymore. I really do like having 3+ in a deck like this, but I already have three cards that cost two and have passed a lot of these. It is even nice to know that they will not be good against my deck filled with fliers.

Pack 2 pick 6:

 

My pick:

Assault Griffin 

I think this was a mistake. Roc Egg curves better in my deck and Assault Griffin does not look good for this draft. With so many other fliers and Spiders that beat it, I would rather have the scary card that curves nicer.

Pack 2 pick 7:

 

My pick:

Armored Cancrix 

I know I will be getting one of these for Pick 9 of this pack, but I do like having a few in the main and a few in the sideboard. I also do not have any five drops in the deck yet.

Pack 2 pick 8:

 

My pick:

Plummet 

Pack 2 pick 9:

 

My pick:

Armored Cancrix 

Pack 2 pick 10:

 

My pick:

Cloud Elemental 

Pack 2 pick 11:

 

My pick:

Excommunicate 

Pack 2 pick 12:

 

My pick:

Maritime Guard 

Pack 2 pick 13:

 

My pick:

Wurms Tooth 

Pack 2 pick 14:

 

My pick:

Negate  

Pack 2 pick 15:

Mountain 

Pack 3 pick 1:

 

My pick:

Mind Control 

This is a very good card and we haven’t seen many cards that destroy it. Foresee is a very good card and I like to have one of them when the boards stall, but I cannot argue with Control Magic.

Pack 3 pick 2:

 

My pick:

Serra Angel 

Another no-brainer. Even though there is some powerful cards for this deck, nothing compares to Serra Angel. It is the card that will break board stalls and get me more wins than any other card in my deck.

Pack 3 pick 3:

 

My pick:

Preordain 

Pack 3 pick 4:

 

My pick:

Whispersilk Cloak 

This pick is more hating than anything else. Whispersilk Cloak is a good card against UW Skies and also against board stalls. There is nothing in the pack that I would consider “very good” except for the Slime. I would rather fight Acidic Slime then a Cloak. It can also be boarded in when fighting the mirror.

Pack 3 pick 5:

 

My pick: Alluring Siren

This deck does not Alluring Siren very well, but again is a very good sideboard card. It is very good at killing small guys in the early game, but its real job is to make Giant Spiders attack. It has been a strategy I have used and loved for over a year now and I still will pick one up when I can. I do not have any Wall of Frost so it will not make the main.

Pack 3 pick 6:

 

My pick:

Mystifying Maze 

I do not know if this was the correct pick. Since I have not gotten to play these cards much before I thought I would go for the card that sneaks more spells in my deck. I think this pick can go back and forth depending on how many playable cards are in the pool. I really do like Foresee and would like it in my deck. I think that because the deck is mostly fliers and controlling guys, that Foresee might have been the correct pick. But I took LSV’s advice and took the rare for testing.

After playing with the card, I found that Mystifying Maze worked out very well. In the games I played it I would tend to get 1-2 guys attacking and Maze + Blinding Mage preventing the damage. I now have much more respect for that card, and will take it higher when my deck is almost complete.

Pack 3 pick 7:

 

My pick:

Cancel  

Pack 3 pick 8:

 

My pick:

Mana Leak 

I took Mana Leak over Cancel because I already had 3 Cancels. I would never play that many but could see boarding in a Mana Leak when the deck I am playing against is faster.

Pack 3 pick 9:

 

My pick:

Nightwing Shade 

Pack 3 pick 10:

 

My pick:

Scroll Thief 

Pack 3 pick 11:

 

My pick:

Holy Strength 

Pack 3 pick 12:

 

My pick:

Armored Cancrix  

Pack 3 pick 13:

 

My pick:

Armored Cancrix  

Pack 3 pick 14:

 

 

My pick:

Swamp 

Pack 3 pick 15:

Mountain 

I would like to hear what you guys think about how that deck was drafted.

My final decklist:

This whole next week, Tom Ross is staying at my place. I thought it would be a good chance to do something fun for my next article. I think it would be fun to break down a matchup the only way two grinders can. Let me know which Standard matchup you guys would like to see us play out. Until next week!

Brad Nelson

1 thought on “FFfreaky Friday – To Scrubland and Back”

  1. would definitely like to see some analysis on UW control vs Valakut Titan. I’m really interested to see the sideboarding strategy between the two.
    Comment by Clinton — August 12, 2010 @ 9:17 pm |Edit This
    preordain over mana leak? that one doesn’t even get some explanation?
    Comment by the dough — August 12, 2010 @ 9:17 pm |Edit This
    I think you are overvaluing the Cancrix, but otherwise it looks like you drafted well. Taking the first one over an Ice Cage when they (almost) always table seems like a mistake to me, especially if you get passed any Seige Mastodons, which are just better.
    Comment by Daniel — August 12, 2010 @ 9:28 pm |Edit This
    Why do you take Armored Cancrix over Stone Golem? You never really came right out and said it. Is it the fifth point of toughness? Do you never need the third and fourth points of power? Are you worried about Naturalize and Manic Vandal?
    Comment by Seeker — August 12, 2010 @ 9:30 pm |Edit This
    I really like the deck. I think it was really solid and would like to know how it did. The only pick I would like some further explanation on is P1P6. I feel that against aggressive decks the Palace Guard would serve the job better. The card also helps clutter up the ground and let your fliers attack while having a decent blocker. I would really like to hear all of your logic behind the pick so I can learn/understand better
    Comment by CDub — August 12, 2010 @ 9:33 pm |Edit This
    You were getting shipped Blue, 10th pick Cloud Elemental. I completely agree that Blue is the best color to be in as well. It was interesting to see you count the number of White cards in your first pack and then use the remaining number when it tabled to see how many potential White drafters there were. That’s something I never thought of doing. I also like how you took the Plummets and Giant Spiders into account in the aftermath of your Assault Griffen/Roc Egg pick. Those are all higher level draft points to grasp. Noice.
    Comment by Albert Chu — August 12, 2010 @ 10:12 pm |Edit This
    No love for Liliana’s Specter over the Sleep … ?
    Comment by MJ — August 12, 2010 @ 10:19 pm |Edit This
    I’d like to see Jund vs U/W
    Comment by JZ — August 12, 2010 @ 10:42 pm |Edit This
    You passed up on Mana Leak more than a fair number of times, can you explain that choice.
    Comment by Chris — August 12, 2010 @ 10:55 pm |Edit This
    Interresting to note how diffrent you and LSV value mana leak, he was drafting a similar deck and took mana leak every time when you seemed to skip it every time.
    Comment by Hampa — August 12, 2010 @ 11:09 pm |Edit This
    What about the UW mirror?
    Or Naya Conscrip versus UW?
    Comment by Will — August 12, 2010 @ 11:25 pm |Edit This
    I was a little surprised to see Armored Cancrix over Ice Cage (would love to hear the reasoning) other than that the draft seem pretty well “walked through”.
    Comment by balthazar88 — August 12, 2010 @ 11:41 pm |Edit This
    how about naya shaman vs uw…. also i dont see how maze gets passed its such an awesome card espically with all the enchantments in the meta i would honestly say id 1st pick it
    Comment by thedustin — August 12, 2010 @ 11:46 pm |Edit This
    p1p1 corrupt is just not even a consideration for you? that card is pretty sick, i might be tempted to push the guy next to me into white and snap up all the sick black cards coming your way
    Comment by Ben — August 12, 2010 @ 11:47 pm |Edit This
    I would have snapped those mana leaks like no tomorrow. You must really not like them.
    Comment by Alex — August 13, 2010 @ 12:01 am |Edit This
    The only time I ship mana leak (to take something not-awesome) when trying to force UW Skies is when I have a plethora of 2 drops. Otherwise, I think it’s a great card to just use right then on turn 2 and let the tempo swing back to your side. Sideboarding it out when on the Play seems appropriate also using this strategy if you feel just having counterspells isn’t amazing (which I tend to think brad does not).
    0% of the time do I take a 2/5 when my 2nd color is white. There is a white guy with +1 in the front for a white instead of a blue. I think The 2/5 is much, MUCH better in UB control, a deck in which I think Brad had the 2/5 in and it was good, so he might think it translates to the card just being good. I’d always take the 2/5 over the rotting legion though, because that card puts you so far behind it’s not even funny.
    Do not like mystifying maze over foresee. Not really even a close pick in my opinion. You foresee turn 6 or whatever anyway, so it’s not like its a matter of curve. Maze does a whole bunch when you draw it… SOMETIMES. Foresee is always a bomb. 100% of the time when you cast foresee the game is going to change, and only about 85% of the time is the maze going to change the game.
    Comment by Mark Kelso — August 13, 2010 @ 12:22 am |Edit This
    UW vs. Pyro!!
    Comment by Screech — August 13, 2010 @ 12:57 am |Edit This
    I wonder about p3p3, you shipped mana leak, celestial purge and inspired charge over preordain. I can understand shipping the leak with a few counters in your deck already. For me the pick was between inspired charge and celestial purge.
    For your matchup review I would like to see RG valakut against either Naya shaman or UW control.
    Comment by frhaan — August 13, 2010 @ 1:13 am |Edit This
    Maze over forsee and cancrix over ice cage?wtf?
    Comment by PelakkaIwantYourBabies — August 13, 2010 @ 1:19 am |Edit This
    Perhaps Inspired Charge over the Mana Leak. I have yet to play with it but it seems like it would be really good in W/B skies and you had enough countermagic as it is.
    Also, Stone Golem over the Nightwing Shade. It’s better than the Cancrixies and although It still might not make the deck hating the Shade doesn’t seem as useful.
    Other than that I was in agreement with most of the picks or at least found them quite understandable.
    Comment by gforgregarious — August 13, 2010 @ 1:30 am |Edit This
    I’d like to see naya shaman, perhaps against uw or a destructive force deck. I’m a Naya player and I don’t want to give up on the deck, and I do agree that sparkmages generally under preform…
    I haven’t tested it yet, but playing with mul daya channelers in the 3 spot might be decent. They are beaters, or they ramp you to fatties like inferno and/or sun Titan. Also they Almost never miss in the deck, especially with all the fetches..I think replacing sparkmages with them could be good, and could also let you play more late game cards like the titans.
    Comment by Adan — August 13, 2010 @ 1:34 am |Edit This
    i would like to see valakut ramps vs jund and/or WU control
    Comment by warfh — August 13, 2010 @ 1:56 am |Edit This
    Run the gauntlet on the valakut deck, it’s a huge huge huge chunk of the meta at superstars, and I’d be interested to see what’s viable with it being so abundant.
    Comment by Kyle — August 13, 2010 @ 2:20 am |Edit This
    While reading, I made my own picks, going with the Spectre p1p1 because I felt that you ship too much white if you take mage, so it was funny as hell to get three of those in a row.
    Comment by Mordred — August 13, 2010 @ 2:40 am |Edit This
    Thing about Mana Leak in a Skies deck is that you want to tap out t2, t3, t4 to make fliers, and once you’ve got a board position at turn 5, you’d probably rather have cancel than leak? Mark Kelso is correct that you want a lot of Pegasi or similar 2drops for this to be true though.
    The repeated Ice Cage passing would have been nice to have explained. Not that I’m saying Brad made mistakes in passing them, would just like to “see his working” as it were.
    Really nice point on Roc Egg vs Assault Griffin. That’s made me think.
    Comment by Gingerprinz — August 13, 2010 @ 2:57 am |Edit This
    Not taking ice cage twice and instead the cloak + Amored Canerix is just totally wrong. Seriously..
    Comment by Phil — August 13, 2010 @ 4:31 am |Edit This
    you guys should test the naya shaman mirror.
    Comment by JTMoney — August 13, 2010 @ 4:36 am |Edit This
    The last draft I did I had 4 Mana leak and it was beyond horrible!!! Sooo many games in this format end up with mana flood and most spells cost about 3 so past the 6th land they are just dead and cant counter any of the swingy cards like REMOVAL! I definitely would have taken one Ice cage you ended up with like 5 crabs. Pretty insane deck with triple blinding mage?!? aaaand mind control, luuuuukyyy haha.
    Comment by chromatone — August 13, 2010 @ 5:13 am |Edit This
    I can’t think of a signle reason I would take Juggernaut over Cloud Crusader p2p1. I’ve found Juggy to be pretty bad lately. It gets blocked so easily by Wolfs, Companions and Vampires, destroyed by all the main deck naturalizes and solemn offerings and it doesn’t have evasion. UW skies is good because it doesn’t attack fair and cloud crusader only loses to the very best flyers.
    Comment by xXxBWxXx — August 13, 2010 @ 5:57 am |Edit This
    More importantly, how did this deck play out? I think looking through picks and evaluating picks in a vacuum is entertaining but not knowing how the games played out doesn’t really make your pick order anything more than just that.
    Comment by J_Klimek — August 13, 2010 @ 6:20 am |Edit This
    I also disagree on the Juggernaut pick over Cloud Crusader. Most of the cards that would stop it from attacking are the other flyers you drafted, or the three Blinding Mages you drafted. On the other hand, Juggernaut trades with Hill Giants and Sacred Wolves.
    Also, I don’t understand the love for Cancrixes when you could just as easily pick up Siege Mastodons for the same price.
    Then again, a deck with three Blinding Mages is probably good enough no matter what else you put in.
    Comment by Tee — August 13, 2010 @ 6:43 am |Edit This
    RDW vs. UW
    Comment by nathan — August 13, 2010 @ 7:05 am |Edit This
    Honestly, I think the best two match-ups you could write about would be the Shaman Naya vs Removal Heavy Jund (Or Owen’s list) or Shaman Naya vs. U/W Wafo Control.
    There seems to be a large gap in whether or not Shaman Naya is favored or not against UW. I am of the group that says we’re favored/highly favored, but i’d like to see your thoughts on it (I have been running Sun Titan and Dauntless as main board targets however, perhaps that’s part of the reason i’m so lucky vs UW).
    Great articles man, there was a period two weeks ago where you and I pretty much made the SAME Naya changes day to day. Love the analysis.
    Comment by nick cormier — August 13, 2010 @ 7:22 am |Edit This
    why do you like cankrix?
    Comment by Mitchell Sachs — August 13, 2010 @ 7:31 am |Edit This
    naya shaman vs. destructive force or UW vs. valakut ramp
    Comment by Legacy — August 13, 2010 @ 7:41 am |Edit This
    who ever was on your right really doesn’t like green.
    Comment by wk — August 13, 2010 @ 7:53 am |Edit This
    I like three color green in this format, so I probably would’ve scooped up that early BoP, counting on more colors to give me more later pick power, making up for shipping power now.
    Preordain is a fine card, especially if you have some bombs. I do like having 1-2 Mana Leaks in the MD. The card is good. So many giant angels, dragons, leviathons, fireballs, wurms, etc.
    And I agree with the jugs pick.
    Comment by CalebD — August 13, 2010 @ 8:13 am |Edit This
    I know many have asked but why did you pass on so many leaks? You could have had a constructed type permission deck in a draft! I think you would have dominated. In addition you passed on the foresee, and elected to take the maze. I was surprised to see foresee there at the time anyway. But I’m glad the maze worked out.
    Comment by Jedimindtrix — August 13, 2010 @ 8:18 am |Edit This
    @CalebD, totally agree. So many damn bombs in m11, leak is kind of underrated in my opinion. I know late game they’re not AS good, but when you have two open the opponent is very wary of tapping out for that fatty.
    Comment by Jedimindtrix — August 13, 2010 @ 8:20 am |Edit This
    missed an Ice Cage that I think you should have taken. there were like, infinite 13th pick Armored Cancrix in this draft and you even said before starting that you knew you could get them for free at the back of the pack. Ice Cage on the other hand is just better than Pacifism against some decks, and at minimum a minor tempo disruption against others.
    Comment by dbg — August 13, 2010 @ 8:24 am |Edit This
    U/W titan control vs naya shaman/vengevine please
    Comment by anon — August 13, 2010 @ 8:54 am |Edit This
    armored cantrix is actually good. I’ve drafted it with success as well.
    It’s easy to dismiss it like some posters are, but Brad is right – if you look at the format, it basically blocks every single non-flier except for just giant green ramp guys (which his blinding mages and control magic can take care of).
    Sometimes walls are really good – especially in limited, and the armor is a very good wall.
    Comment by eric — August 13, 2010 @ 9:15 am |Edit This
    FFfreaky Friday – To Scrubland and Back…
    Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…
    Trackback by MTGBattlefield — August 13, 2010 @ 9:28 am |Edit This
    The only pick I really disagree with is Maze instead of Foresee. With 3 Blinding Mages I think I’d take the Foresee over the Maze, because then you’re more likely to find a(nother) Mage to lock down their guys, which would essentially be the same as playing the Maze but a lesser mana cost in the long run.
    How did you end up doing? Can we get a match report? I’m really interested to know how it played out.
    Comment by Royce — August 13, 2010 @ 9:32 am |Edit This
    uw vs valakut titan
    Comment by billTHEexterminator — August 13, 2010 @ 9:59 am |Edit This
    Tempo decks have been blowing me out pretty bad lately with cards like ice cage, aether adept, excommunicate, scroll thief, and unsummon, so I would have taken Ice Cage it over the giant crab. With two blinding mages, you should definitely pass mystifying maze and take Foresee.
    Comment by agentdynamo — August 13, 2010 @ 10:38 am |Edit This
    UW control against anything really would be fine to see
    Comment by tom — August 13, 2010 @ 11:04 am |Edit This
    Jund VS Survival Naya. Have seen many different things when both the decks play out. Would really enjoy seeing which one has the clear advantage overrall. Tho Jund might just be it.
    Comment by Pman — August 13, 2010 @ 12:08 pm |Edit This
    cancrix is good here because you dont have to waste a pick to get it. I mean are you guys serious about ice cage?
    Comment by sneakattackkid — August 13, 2010 @ 12:13 pm |Edit This
    Turbo-fog mirror seems relevant
    or NLB vs. RDW
    Comment by what — August 13, 2010 @ 12:15 pm |Edit This
    Have you tried Leyline of Anticipation? It makes each card in your deck a lot better, instant speed draw spells, a huge number of profitable blocks, unreadable counters…
    Comment by Radagast — August 13, 2010 @ 12:50 pm |Edit This
    Blue is sooooo deep in M11. Did an 8-4 yesterday with 3 blue players and all of of them had playables.
    Comment by Matt H — August 13, 2010 @ 1:30 pm |Edit This
    I disagreed with like every one of the early picks after the blinding mage. You clearly just wanted to force UW from the start, and gave almost no respect to far more powerful cards in the other colors.
    Comment by Harry — August 13, 2010 @ 5:30 pm |Edit This
    I disagree on M11 limited being good. UW skies is the best archetype by far and I would like to see someone succeeding on drafting a different archetype and beating it. Winning in a certain format doesn’t automatically mean the format is awesome.
    Comment by javert — August 13, 2010 @ 6:37 pm |Edit This
    naya shaman vs. r/g valakut
    see if naya can out speed valakut or if valakut is just too powerful
    Comment by Brad — August 13, 2010 @ 8:09 pm |Edit This
    hi brad exactly your article is correct about naya build.i was thinking about to remove cunning sparkmage by main 1 week before and maybe go a little back with a free vengevine built with ranger of eos and nacatls.im testing naya a lot for my nationals but i am mot sure if i will play it at the end
    Comment by akis — August 14, 2010 @ 12:48 am |Edit This
    Hey Brad, really liked todays draft, but I think you could habe made the Deck significantly better in pack 3, e.g. by taking Ice Cage over Cantrix and Mana Leak over the Cloak. Yesterday I played à draft with 2 leaks in my deck and they have been awsome all day long! Most of the Time they are just a hard counter, and even late it limits their possibilities when they have to pay more mana for creatures (which is good, because You can handle less creatures with Your blinding Beard… I mean Mages )
    Comment by 2nd Sunrise — August 14, 2010 @ 1:21 am |Edit This
    Why no love for ice cage? I probably would’ve picked it over atleast cancel and cantrix. But then again I haven’t really drafted the format..
    Comment by Summa — August 14, 2010 @ 6:15 am |Edit This
    naya shaman vs UW control or Valakut titan
    Comment by Andrew — August 14, 2010 @ 6:51 am |Edit This
    Pick to discuss imho are:
    p1p4: infantry veteran and excommunicate are both decent, but i think that’s the veteran was the right choice ’cause the deck has a lot of fliers, so the veteran is close to become a pinger that can’t target the creatures and have to tap in your turn, and that is not bad ’cause it’s a 1-drop and not a 3-drop like pyromancer.
    p2p1: i really don’t like juggernaut, i think that you’ve take it over cloud crusader only ’cause it’s colorless and at the end of the pack1 you was thinking about moving out of white. Without that idea, cloud crusader it’s definitly better than juggernaut. They’re both a 4-drop, they both die to the same removal and the same chumpers (equal thoughtness), but the crusaders can block too (and it blocks very well, ’cause most of the fliers has only two in attack, and cloud crusader has first strike), and it’s flying…and you’re drafting uw fliers XD!
    p2p7: i would take the ice cage. I see that this card it’s just understimated by all the pro players: the card it’s not the nuts, but it’s better than cancrix for sure. You’ve said that you haven’t a 5-drop…if my 5-drop is just a cancrix, i’ll prefer to not have 5-drop, i swear.
    p2p10: cloud elemental over mana leak, mh? i agree with brad, the only counter i’d like to auto-include when i’m building is cancel, mana leak is good for sure but i always prefer to play at least 15 creatures, so first comes the creatures and the removal, then comes counters, bouncers, equipment and stuff like might leap, inspired charge etc etc
    p2p11: excommunicate over unsummon? omg wtf, i say. This time i don’t agree: excommunicate it’s just an unsummon that took out the draw from your opponent, but it’s sorcery and costs 3 instead of 1, for god sake. And unsummmon can make things like “eot i bounce my creature with your mind control/pacifism/ice cage on it” ..you can do it for sure even with the excommunicate, but for three mana on your turn and without the surprise effect.
    p2p12: maritime guard over mighty leap? just bad. maritime guard stops the grizzly bears…wow. mightly leap can kill a cloud crusader that was blocking one of your fliers, can make you win by gave flying to juggernaut bashing for seven, and so many many other cool things! it’s true that you’ve already have on of it, but if i’m short of cards at the end of the drafts, i’ll probably prefer a second leap over a useless 1/3.
    p3p6: maze over foresee it’s just right, i can’t see why some people are discuss about that. i’m not saying that foresee is bad, but maze is awesome: sometimes you will not use it, some other times you will use it to survive…some others times you will llooded and you’ll just win ’cause of it!
    p3p7: again, maybe i would take the second leap. i love cancel, but i’m not sure if i’ll ever going to play THREE of them.
    p3p9: you’re so scaried about the shade? the golem is fine and if you would have 2 mighty leap it would be awesome…and for the shade you’ve three blinding mage and pacifism (and the ice cage that i would take)
    p3p10: i just notice you how awesome scroll thief it would be with two or three mighty leap in your deck XD!
    Comment by [-a-L-e-] — August 14, 2010 @ 8:41 am |Edit This
    Cancrix is fine and I agree they are undervalued, but i would have taken the ice cage and just hoped for more cancrix. Ice cage is only about 2/3 of a card, but still. I think Roc Egg over the Griffin would have been correct as well.
    The Maze over Foresee is not horrible or anything. Maze is almost a ‘free’ removal spell by the late game. But Foresee is probably marginally better, and almost any deck that has blue in it can splash it to good effect.
    Comment by Derik — August 14, 2010 @ 9:47 am |Edit This
    100% of the time Foresee is going to change the game? No not when you have and empty board versus an opponent with multiple creatures in play beating you down. I don’t know how many times people have played foresee against me in that situation.
    Comment by Daniel — August 15, 2010 @ 2:07 pm |Edit This

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