Hi everyone! I’m back for another edition of Pack 1 Pick 1 with Battle for Zendikar. I’ve enjoyed playing Limited so far, and look forward to playing more tournaments in this format. Let’s see what today’s packs have in store for us:
Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper.
Noyan Dar is a bomb in most UW decks. It’s particularly powerful when you take him earlier in the draft since you’re able to prioritize cheap spells like Anticipate slightly higher than normal. Noyan is also very powerful with cards that already have the awaken mechanic, allowing you to turn 2 lands into creatures from a single spell, or make your land into a giant attacker instead of just a moderately-sized one. If you’re able to play Noyan with a few cards in hand and untap before your opponent can remove it, you’ll win the game extremely often.
If Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper were replaced with a basic land:
Clutch of Currents.
Clutch of Currents is probably the best common in the set, and I’d expect to take it out of plenty of packs as a first pick. It’s just a powerful card that doesn’t really force you into any specific archetype, but knowing that you’re going to play it in your deck, you are able to remain in blue.
I actually think Ruinous Path versus Grip of Desolation is a closer pick than it might look. I’m guessing there are even some people who prefer Grip of Desolation. The upside of Ruinous Path is just so high, though. Sometimes it’s just a 3 mana-sorcery-speed removal spell, which is great. Occasionally, you’ll spend 7 mana and awaken a 4/4 in addition to killing a creature. Grip of Desolation has the upside of being an instant, and also exiling 2 permanents enables Processors. Overall though, the cheap cost and versatility of Ruinous Path make it a better card and a better pick. Both cards are great and I’d be happy to first-pick either one.
If Ruinous Path were replaced with a basic land:
Grip of Desolation.
Grip of Desolation is one of the best uncommons in the set, and is a card I’d take over any common and even a lot of quality rares.
Touch of the Void.
A pretty weak pack overall, with Touch of the Void being the clear first pick. It’s not a home run as a first pick but it’s a quality card that I’d play in my red decks 100% of the time. It can power a 1-shot Processor use as well as remove many cheap creatures and even deal with some more expensive problem cards like Windrider Patrol or Barrage Tyrant.
Roil Spout is one of the better uncommons in the set. It is 2 colors, which is not perfect for a first pick, but when a card is this powerful, it’s worth it. Casting a Roil Spout for 3 mana can already be a fine tempo play, as it’s effectively a 1-for-1 that can really trade up a lot on mana sometimes. When you cast it for the awaken cost, you’re removing a blocker and creating a 4/4 attacker with haste. This card has performed exceptionally well for me, and if you’re ever fortunate enough to get 2 copies and string them together, that often ends up the game on the spot.
The first couple of drafts I did, I kind of assumed that Rolling Thunder wouldn’t be as good as it was back in Tempest Block. Well, that’s true, it’s not quite that good—but it’s still great. The games in this format go very long, and there tend to be a few low-toughness creatures hanging around the board a lot of the time. Rolling Thunder is often a 2-, 3-, or even-more-for-1, and also sometimes, the games go on long enough that you’re able to stock up enough mana to do massive amounts of damage to your opponent. I’m happy to first pick this card, and I’d take it even over a card as good as Ugin’s Insight, a card that I also think is great.
That’s all for this edition. What did you think of my picks? Let me know in the comments. This weekend I’ll be in Seattle for the Grand Prix, but I’ll be in the coverage booth with Marshall Sutcliffe and Ian Duke—which I am really looking forward to. You can watch it from home at twitch.tv/channelfireball. If you’re at the event, feel free to stop by and say hi. Hopefully I’ll see you there.