Pack 1 pick 1:
Fireball is the best card by a fair margin. It’s very versatile, being able to kill multiple small creatures, one large creature, or end the game when you aim nine points of damage at the opponent’s face. Sign in Blood is the next best card trailing far behind Fireball.
My pick: Fireball
Pack 1 pick 2:
Pacifism and Sign in Blood are the two best cards; Centaur Courser, Mind Rot, and Rise from the Grave are the next best, but don’t offer as much power as the first two. Fireball doesn’t necessarily commit us to heavy red which would let us take Sign in Blood without worry of playing with only six Swamps in our deck. Between Sign in Blood and Pacifism, Pacifism is a better card; it’s cheap efficient removal. Sign in Blood and the other card-drawing spells like Divination are good, but the high-end removal spells like Lightning Bolt, Pacifism, Tendrils of Corruption, and Doom Blade are better in general because it’s important to be able to answer the opponent’s bombs than draw into a land and a Hill Giant.
My pick: Pacifism
Pack 1 pick 3:
Prodigal Pyromancer is an excellent card in this otherwise mediocre pack; it offers excellent board control early. Entangling Vines is mediocre removal because it’s so situational and expensive. Kalonian Behemoth is a large creature, but it’s also very expensive.
My pick: Prodigal Pyromancer
Pack 1 pick 4:
Stormfront Pegasus is the best on-color card. Red/white has more aggressive cards; that makes Palace Guard not a good option. Pegasus Charger is just a better card in the first place as well. Jackal Familiar is in the same boat as Palace Guard. While it’s better at attacking than Palace Guard, it’s harder for either card to be as good as a 2/1 flyer for two mana.
My pick: Stormfront Pegasus
Pack 1 pick 5:
In other color combinations, Safe Passage would be an easy choice; it’s good in defensive decks. It is much easier to maximize Safe Passage when you’re blocking rather than when you’re attacking; the reason why is this: Let’s say the opponent knows you have Safe Passage for whatever reason. If they don’t attack with enough creatures, you should be able to block normally and get a beneficial trade. If they attack with too many, they risk being on the losing side of an X-for-one trade while you take no damage as long as you have a certain threshold of creatures. In white/blue you’re often able to attack around the opponent in the air which forces them to eventually have to attack with too many creatures because they need to race you. The same is true to lesser extent in white/black. White/green offers big enough creatures to create two-for-one trades naturally because you’ve got access to Craw Wurm and Stampeding Rhino. Safe Passage effectively trades your three-mana spell for their one-three creatures instead of your creatures. When you’re attacking, if there are multiple attackers and blockers, it’s much harder to orchestrate the proper blocks because you have no control over it. Sure it’s possible to attack with two 4/4s while the opponent only has 2/2s to block with. Safe Passage would be good there. However, in red/white that’s rarely the case. What red/white needs is cheap creatures that don’t suck backed by tricks. Veteran Armorsmith is the most dominant two-drop creature. It beats everything alone in combat except for itself, Drudge Skeletons, and Black Knight. The soldier theme helps you build a better army than what you pay for, allowing you to not have your creatures outclassed by the opponent’s more expensive creatures.
My pick: Veteran Armorsmith
Pack 1 pick 6:
There isn’t much in this pack. Panic Attack is the only card we would play. There are a few slots that you can dedicate to cards like this, Lava Axe, Excommunicate, Glorious Charge, Trumpet Blast, Act of Treason, etc; they’re miser cards that steal games in the right scenarios.
My pick: Panic Attack
Pack 1 pick 7:
Miser cards like Trumpet Blast are easy to pick up late. You shouldn’t waste early picks on most of them. Griffin Sentinel is okay. It doesn’t attack very well, but it’s good for five damage because it flies.
My pick: Griffin Sentinel
Pack 1 pick 8:
Again, we only have one choice. Viashino Spearhunter is good in conjunction with Prodigal Pyromancer; the two make favorable blocking very tough for the opponent. It’s also very good with removal spells. If the opponent double-blocks the spearhunter, you can use Divine Verdict, Lightning Bolt, or whatever trick you have to neutralize the other.
My pick: Viashino Spearhunter
Pack 1 pick 9:
There’s nothing for us here. Lifelink at least gives us a mediocre sideboard option against Ice Cage and Illusionary Servant.
My pick: Lifelink
Pack 1 pick 10:
There’s nothing for us here. Holy Strength (like Lifelink) at least gives us a mediocre sideboard option against Ice Cage and Illusionary Servant.
My pick: Holy Strength
Pack 1 pick 11:
Every now and then I’ve encountered a deck with LOTS of enchantments.
My pick: Tempest of Light
Pack 1 pick 12:
Shatter and Solemn Offering are always good sideboard cards.
My pick: Shatter
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Island
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Burst of Speed
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack one was a bit light because no playable cards wheeled. While we have the skeleton of a decent aggro deck, we still have a long ways to go. It’s vital to pick up more soldiers like Veteran Swordsmith.
Pack 2 pick 1:
This pack is deep; most of it is playable. Lightning Bolt plus a lot of chaff creatures is what we’re looking at. There’s not much of a choice here.
My pick: Lightning Bolt
Pack 2 pick 2:
Again we’re presented with an awesome card plus some filler. Pacifism is amazing because it handles every type of creature. It’s also superb at facilitating tempo like Lightning Bolt because it’s cheap enough to play multiple spells in a single turn.
My pick: Pacifism
Pack 2 pick 3:
Whispersilk Cloak isn’t as good in draft as it is in sealed where green and white are the most common colors you’re going to play against. The board stalls more often in sealed. Whispersilk Cloak is a way to force through damage and win before the opponent kills you with their good card(s). In draft, Whispersilk Cloak is unnecessary unless your deck has no way to really close out games. Veteran Armorsmith is better than the equipment. It will add more consistency and synergy to the deck. Soldiers are good when a certain threshold is reached; otherwise, they’re mostly mediocre creatures.
My pick: Veteran Armorsmith
Pack 2 pick 4:
Dragon Whelp is a nice card. It’s much better than Berserkers of Blood Ridge because it’s the “same” size but flies. At the end of the game, it acts like a Fireball-on-wheels. Generally, a flying creature with four or more power will be the pick over the best targeted removal because they give you so much more reach. You’re going to win more games from having an Air Elemental in your deck than a Doom Blade. While Dragon Whelp isn’t quite a Serra Angel, it’s still in the same category.
My pick: Dragon Whelp
Pack 2 pick 5:
Ignite Disorder is a sweet card at times. It’s not uncommon to get a two-for-one with it. I don’t like it enough to play maindeck though; not here with Lightning Bolt, two Pacifisms, and Fireball already. If we didn’t have any removal yet, then it would definitely be an option. However, we’ve got quite a bit. Stormfront Pegasus is the type of card we want: evasive, fast, and efficient.
My pick: Stormfront Pegasus
Pack 2 pick 6:
This is an interesting pack. Celestial Purge is another type of Ignite Disorder and wouldn’t make the maindeck. Sparkmage Apprentice is the weakest between it, Armored Ascension, and Divine Verdict. It doesn’t have the reach that the other two do. Divine Verdict isn’t the best removal; it’s expensive. It’s much worse on defense because if you leave four mana open with five cards in you hand, the opponent may just not attack you and play some more monsters. You’ve just been set back considerably by not playing anything and their attack next turn is sure to be much more effective. On offense, Divine Verdict is better, but can still be awkward for reasons similar to Safe Passage. If you have two 2/2s and the opponent has two 3/3s, it isn’t worthwhile to attack. If you attack with one 2/2, the opponent is going to double-block. You’re trading Divine Verdict plus your 2/2 for their 3/3; that’s not very good. If you attack with both 2/2s, the opponent will put one 3/3 on each 2/2. You can Divine Verdict one of the 3/3’s, but your other 2/2 gets eaten by their other 3/3. In the end the trade is the same: your 2/2 and Divine Verdict for their 3/3. Now not every board is going to be as unappealing as the one described above. You could have three 2/2s to the opponent’s lone 4/4. Divine Verdict is good there. If they block, you kill their creature. If they don’t block, even better; you get to use your mana to play a real spell while getting free damage in. With everything taken into account, Divine Verdict just isn’t exciting, unlike Pacifism, which is awesome. Armored Ascension is a card I both loathe and love; it’s got a high risk/high reward quality about it. Against decks with removal, you’re begging to get two-for-one’d; it’s not very good there. Other decks will have serious problems dealing with Armored Ascension. You’re basically building your own Nightmare with haste. Decks flat out lose to those types of creatures.
My pick: Armored Ascension
Pack 2 pick 7:
Canyon Minotaur is an average creature. We have eight creatures already so we can pass on this one. If Mesa Enchantress were a 2/2, we’d probably take her. We have three enchantments already that we are going to play for sure. However, since she is a 0/2, there isn’t much use in playing her. Excommunicate is the type of card the deck needs. A deck with a low curve can take advantage of Excommunicate better than others. Excommunicate punishes slower decks with expensive creatures. The aggressive deck will be able to force through more damage and be closer to killing the opponent.
My pick: Excommunicate
Pack 2 pick 8:
Righteousness is powerful. It’s going to trade with virtually any attacking creature. One problem with it and other pump spells is that it opens you up to a two-for-one. Another problem is that it requires you to be attacked which is less likely to happen with this deck than other less aggressive ones. Fiery Hellhound is similar to Lightning Elemental; it does a lot of damage but trades with everything. Lightning Elemental would be better in our deck because it isn’t red-intensive. With so few red spells and Armored Ascension, we are going to minimize red if possible. The only exception to this is Dragon Whelp. Siege Mastodon is the card we want. With our mana, Fiery Hellhound is more likely to be cast when we could cast Siege Mastodon. In that case, Siege Mastodon is just better because it is likely to be able to kill the same creatures as Fiery Hellhound but will be much harder to kill itself.
My pick: Siege Mastodon
Pack 2 pick 9:
Berserkers of Blood Ridge and Siege Mastodon are virtually the same, though the Berserkers can attack through a few other creatures like Giant Spider and Horned Turtle. The downside to Berserkers of Blood Ridge is that you don’t always want to attack. While those times will be few with this deck, they will arise. The question is whether the deck needs another Viashino Spearhunter more than the two slower creatures. The Spearhunter being red is a minor point to consider. With two Veteran Armorsmith and Armored Ascension, we’re going to be playing a minimum of nine Plains (probably at least ten). While having a low mana curve is important for aggressive decks, it’s still necessary to have creatures that carry weight on their own. Not every game is going to go according to plan where we play two-drop, three-drop, pacifism your guy and play another two-drop. We’ll be on the draw, mulligan, or just play against a removal-heavy draw. For those games, our deck will need to cough up more than Viashino Spearhunter or Silvercoat Lion because their creatures will be larger/more numerous than what we have by the time we fight through their spells.
My pick: Siege Mastodon
Pack 2 pick 10:
Jackal Familiar would be a lot better if we weren’t so white-heavy. An opening hand of Jackal Familiar and Veteran Armorsmith would be pretty awkward. Trumpet Blast is a card we’re more likely to play.
My pick: Trumpet Blast
Pack 2 pick 11:
Wall of Faith is the last card out of the pack we want to have played against us.
My pick: Wall of Faith
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Plains
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Tome Scour
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Telepathy
Pack 2 pick 14:
The deck has gotten much better. We have an excellent number of quality two-drops as well as good removal. We need to pick up at least five more creatures. We have too many miser cards and not enough creatures to make them useful.
Pack 3 pick 1:
This is quite unfortunate. There isn’t a single card worth playing in red/white. Doom Blade and Snapping Drake are the best cards in the pack and the only ones worth splashing for if the situation demanded it. With two Veteran Armorsmith, Armored Ascension, and Dragon Whelp, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll play either card. Snapping Drake is the better choice. Let’s say we end up playing it. Chances are we’ll be playing two Islands or one Island and one Terramorphic Expanse which means it’s likely we’ll be quite late in the game before we cast it. At that point it seems more likely that we’ll be looking for some card to finish the opponent off, not the other way around. We’re the aggressor and Snapping Drake fits that role better than Doom Blade.
My pick: Snapping Drake
Pack 3 pick 2:
Gorgon Flail is better in this deck than most others. 1. It’s good with Prodigal Pyromancer and Viashino Spearhunter. 2. The deck wants ways to force through damage. Veteran Armorsmith would be another good addition, making it much more likely we’d have one in play on turn two. However, both Gorgon Flail and Veteran Armorsmith are inferior to Rhox Pikemaster. Rhox Pikemaster has an incredible board presence for four mana; it is similar to Veteran Armorsmith, besting virtually every creature less than five mana. Rhox Pikemaster also makes Veteran Armorsmith much more effective, requiring three 2/2s to kill it. Gorgon Flail doesn’t provide as much board position as Rhox Pikemaster.
My pick: Rhox Pikemaster
Pack 3 pick 3:
Blinding Mage is the easy pick. It’s removal that scales upward as the threats in play become greater. Blinding Mage is one of the best commons; it’s very dominant on the board.
My pick: Blinding Mage
Pack 3 pick 4:
Again, Blinding Mage is the easy choice.
My pick: Blinding Mage
Pack 3 pick 5:
Excommunicate and Terramorphic Expanse are the two choices. Terramorphic Expanse would allow us to splash Snapping Drake or at the minimum fix our mana to let us cast Dragon Whelp more easily. I don’t like the idea of splashing the Snapping Drake; it’s going to hurt our mana more than it will benefit us. As is, our miser cards aren’t what I’d like them to be like. Panic Attack and Trumpet Blast are marginal; Excommunicate at worst cycles and is better in more situations than the other two. When you’re in a losing position, Excommunicate is going to provide the most help.
My pick: Excommunicate
Pack 3 pick 6:
There’s no choice here. Sixth pick Pacifism. Yes, it is nice. Thanks.
My pick: Pacifism
Pack 3 pick 7:
Mesa Enchantress might not have been bad after all”¦ In all seriousness, a second Armored Ascension is going to provide the deck with the ability to end games quickly.
My pick: Armored Ascension
Pack 3 pick 8:
Undead Slayer is not very exciting. It’s not a soldier so it won’t get any bonuses from Rhox Pikemaster and Veteran Armorsmith. If we were to play another vanilla creature, it would likely be a Viashino Spearhunter or Canyon Minotaur. Undead Slayer isn’t too far off from either against non-black decks. It’s got the ability to steal some games against certain black decks. There are ten cards that Undead Slayer can exile: Cemetery Reaper, Child of Night, Drudge Skeletons, Gravedigger, Rise from the Grave, Vampire Aristocrat, Vampire Nocturnus, Wall of Bone, Warpath Ghoul, and Zombie Goliath. Being able to randomly hose someone makes Undead Slayer much better than Goblin Piker. We wouldn’t even run Goblin Piker because it’s red.
My pick: Undead Slayer
Pack 3 pick 9:
There’s nothing for us here. We might as well take the best card in the pack.
My pick: Diabolic Tutor
Pack 3 pick 10:
Lava Axe is a card we’d play. It’s going to be better than the second Excommunicate.
My pick: Lava Axe
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: Glorious Charge
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Act of Treason
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Solemn Offering
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Burst of Speed
Pack 3 pick 15:
We’re on the draw and keep a mana-heavy hand (3 Plains, 2 Mountain, Undead Slayer, and Pacifism). We could mulligan and it would be likely to end up with one more non-land, but we don’t know how useful Undead Slayer will be; it could be awesome. If we were on the play, then a mulligan would be in order because we are so much less likely to have a two-drop.
Evil leads off with Swamps followed by two Drudge Skeletons (G: 19). Undead Slayer is going to be amazing this game unless it dies quickly. The fact that we’re going to potentially two-for-zero Evil counters the fact that we’ve drawn three lands in a row. Undead Slayer enters the battlefield, ready to vanquish its foes.
Evil is stuck on Island/Swamp and attacks with his two skeletons. He could have Weakness and wants to trade two-for-one like that. He could just be bluffing and has nothing. He isn’t at a disadvantage with his attack because he can regenerate whichever we block. If he has Weakness for the Undead Slayer, he’ll have to have another Swamp to keep the skeleton that we block alive. It seems unlikely that Evil will have many more creatures to exile, let alone the mana to summon them; the value of Undead Slayer doesn’t seem likely to go up much more. We’d be fine with trading it for Weakness here because we have Prodigal Pyromancer and two Stormfront Pegasus. After this brief thought we decide to block (G: 18). Evil does not regenerate his skeleton which means he forgot to or has Essence Scatter in hand. It’s too early to want to hold up Negate.
Our draw yields Dragon Whelp, but we decide to exile Evil’s other Drudge Skeleton and hope to see if we’re successful at baiting out Assassinate if Evil draws a land. Evil does draw a land but has no plays. We could just attack with our Undead Slayer and hold onto Dragon Whelp and Prodigal Pyromancer, but we can’t be sure whether Evil is just brain dead or actually has Essence Scatter. We charge in (E: 18) and summon Dragon Whelp; Evil has the Essence Scatter.
Looming Shade joins Evil’s side. It won’t be much trouble though; Evil is mana-light and we have Prodigal Pyromancer to harass his Shade if he taps down too low. We’ve got no plays because we’re drawing more lands than we would have liked to; all spells would have been ideal. We’re SO unlucky. At least we can still attack with Undead Slayer (E: 16). Evil sends in his Looming Shade in retaliation; we don’t block (G: 17). Evil taps out to summon Air Elemental. Good thing we have Pacifism.
Prodigal Pyromancer sends a shower of sparks hailing down upon the Looming Shade. Its charred form smolders as the Air Elemental develops an odd feeling; for the first time in its life, it feels a bit warm and fuzzy inside. Pacifism makes Evil’s play terrible. We draw some action and play Blinding Mage while the Undead Slayer smites Evil (E: 14). Evil decides to use a lifeline and call his Black Knight (yea, THAT card) to literally cold our offense. Looks like Prodigal Pyromancer is going to be working overtime (E: 13).
We’re stalled out and Blinding Mage is working to keep Dread Warlock on lockdown. Prodigal Pyromancer and Griffin Sentinel are chipping away at Evil’s life total. Evil tries to regain some offense and plays Rise from the Grave on his Looming Shade, but we take care of his plan with Undead Slayer (since it becomes a zombie which Evil apparently forgot about). We summon another Blinding Mage. Evil is playing no relevant spells: Sage Owl (which makes our second Blinding Mage useful) and Gorgon Flail. The Pyromancer and Griffin whittle Evil away over an excruciatingly slow six turns.
Our hand is less sketchy this time (Stormfront Pegasus, Rhox Pikemaster, Armored Ascension, 3 Plains, and Mountain). Evil’s clairvoyance is strong and has the Zephyr Sprite on turn one. He goes on the offensive and attacks us not once (G: 19) but twice (G: 18) even after we summon our mighty steed, the Stormfront Pegasus. We’re all too happy to race. We’ve drawn two Pacifisms already.
Warpath Ghoul is the next member of Evil’s offense. We’re ready with Pacifism as Stormfront Pegasus charges over it (E: 18). We could just wait to draw another ground creature to neutralize the Ghoul, like the Rhox Pikemaster we’re going to play next turn, but that means that the Ghoul will get one hit in for sure. If Evil does nothing but hold up Essence Scatter or has removal for our man, we may be in trouble. Since we don’t have another creature at the moment, it would be better to make Evil need to commit more threats to the board and tap out in the process so we can resolve Pikemaster, Ascension, and Lava Axe.
Evil doesn’t have a fourth land, but plays Duress (taking Pacifism). He leaves us with Rhox Pikemaster, Plains, Armored Ascension, and Lava Axe. He’s done racing for now and passes. We play Armored Ascension on our Pegasus. Evil has Essence Scatter mana up and we know he has it (somewhere). We didn’t see removal in his deck in game one. We want to be able to attack, and invalidating the Zephyr Sprite with Armored Ascension seems like the most productive route. Unfortunately, Evil is an aspiring Swiss army knife and has the Unsummon.
Zephyr Sprite continues the beatdown (G: 17); its goal of five damage is almost complete. Evil still doesn’t have a fourth land and passes. We play Stormfront Pegasus and Blinding Mage; both resolve. Evil has Weakness for the Pegasus as Zephyr Sprite swings in again (G: 16). We play Veteran Armorsmith and leave Blinding Mage up instead of playing Rhox Pikemaster. It would be better to wait for Evil to tap down before trying to resolve the Pikemaster.
Evil has a Drudge Skeletons. We can’t attack through it, and unfortunately we see our Rhox Pikemaster get Essence Scattered. Evil Ponders and doesn’t shuffle (he plays a second Island). Zephyr Sprite hits us (G: 15). We crack back with our Mage and Armorsmith (E: 15) then tap out for Siege Mastodon. Evil’s last card is Essence Scatter. Evil retaliates with his two creatures (G: 13) and plays Looming Shade.
Griffin Sentinel is summoned to our side of the battlefield. Evil can’t attack through our creatures and Blinding Mage is tapping his Looming Shade. Armored Ascension turns Veteran Armorsmith into Mahamoti Djinn. Evil’s Zephyr Sprite, having completed its life expectancy of five damage, sacrifices itself while Griffin Sentinel gets in there for one (E: 14). Evil has no plays and we repeat the same attack (E: 8). A second Blinding Mage resolves and Evil concedes on his turn.
We’ve got a nice hand on the play (Veteran Armorsmith, Stormfront Pegasus, Prodigal Pyromancer, Lightning Bolt, 2 Plains, and Mountain). Stormfront Pegasus attacks on turn three (E: 18) and we summon a Prodigal Pyromancer. Evil has a Griffin Sentinel. Stormfront Pegasus attacks into the sentinel, but Evil doesn’t block (E: 16). Rhox Pikemaster joins the party.
Evil doesn’t attack with his Griffin; he only plays a Silvercoat Lion. Something is afoul. If Evil was mana screwed, he would have traded his Griffin for the Pegasus and Pyromancer activation. The fact that he didn’t suggests that he has a trick like Righteousness. Prodigal Pyromancer stings Evil at the end of his turn (E: 15). We play Veteran Armorsmith before attacking and send in the pegasus and pikemaster. Griffin Sentinel block and Evil tries to make it big with Righteousness. We decide it’s worth using Lightning Bolt to save our creature (E: 12).
Evil plays Guardian Seraph and we don’t shoot him with Pyromancer in response (frown town). Sometimes we click too quickly. We hadn’t seen the Seraph in any replays which is unfortunate. If we had known about it, then we would have saved the Lightning Bolt and just let the Stormfront Pegasus die. Our board of pyromancer, armorsmith, and pikemaster would be sufficient to beat through Evil’s creatures. As is, we’re in for a much longer game than anticipated.
The game obviously stalls. Evil gets hit by the Pikemaster (E: 10), and afterwards we play around Divine Verdict for a few turns. Evil has Captain of the Watch and Whispersilk Cloak while we have a second Stormfront Pegasus and Blinding Mage. The Mage starts tapping down the Guardian Seraph while both Pegasi attack. Evil kills one with Divine Verdict. Whispersilk Cloak and Veteran Swordsmith turn the Captain of the Watch into a fast clock. Razorfoot Griffin means we can’t attack in the air profitably anymore. Evil plays White Knight, two Palace Guard, and Siege Mastodon while we get our own Siege Mastodon and second Blinding Mage.
Evil refuses to commit his team to an attack, possibly for fear of Safe Passage. We’re down to two life and Evil is still high at nine. We draw Armored Ascension to make our Rhox Pikemaster very big and flying. We’ve got exactly lethal and Evil has only one mana open. However, he has the Harm’s Way to kill us.
We have another decent hand (Blinding Mage, Griffin Sentinel, Rhox Pikemaster, 2 Plains, and Mountain). Veteran Armorsmith makes his debut on turn two. He crashes in (E: 18) and we play Griffin Sentinel, which gets matched by Evil. Our Sentinel gets past his because his is busy fighting our Armorsmith (E: 17). Rhox Pikemaster joins the party.
Evil summons his champion again: Guardian Seraph. We’re ready to plow through his defense with Armored Ascension. The now larger Pikemaster hits Evil (E: 11). Unfortunately, he is ready with Pacifism. Blinding Mage allows us to start making Evil’s board less difficult to battle through.
Evil goes on the offensive, attacking with Guardian Seraph (G: 17). Afterwards he plays Soul Warden and Palace Guard (E: 12). On our upkeep, Evil plays Silence, limiting our plays to Mountain or Plains in our two card hand. What a play! Evil enchants his Griffin Sentinel with Lifelink and attacks us (Blinding Mage is always tapping his Seraph). The two Griffins bounce off each other, netting Evil one life (E: 13). His last card is Wall of Faith (E: 14). The sequence repeats next turn (E: 15) and the following after Evil plays Silvercoat Lion (E: 17).
We finally draw a spell: Excommunicate. Griffin Sentinel has gained its last life. Soul Warden hasn’t (E: 18). Armored Ascension makes Veteran Armorsmith a 9/10 as we retrace our footsteps undone by the Soul Warden (E: 10). Evil can only play a Razorfoot Griffin (E: 11). The Griffin Sentinel cashes its life in to save Evil eight points of damage while we play a Prodigal Pyromancer (E: 12).
Siege Mastodon joins the growing ground army on Evil’s side (E: 13). He should be attacking more aggressively but doesn’t understand his position well enough to do so. Our Veteran Armorsmith has turned into The Abyss on wheels. Razorfoot Griffin blocks it. Prodigal Pyromancer ends the life of Soul Warden. However, its damage (so to speak) has already been done. Stormfront Pegasus bolsters our airborne forces.
Evil taunts us, “Good Game.”
We attack with the Armorsmith, but Evil has drawn Divine Verdict. What a trickster! We replace our large flyer with Dragon Whelp. The Dragon and Pegasus hit Evil (E: 8) and we play our last card: Siege Mastodon. Safe Passage prevents Evil from taking damage on his next turn. We both play a Veteran Armorsmith. Evil has Harm’s Way on our next attack, but the spell is misused. Two damage from the Dragon Whelp is redirected to Dragon Whelp (E: 4) (Maybe he should have read Riki’s articles – LSV). Evil is out of tricks on his turn and resigns to his fate.
Our hand is a bit slow (Lightning Bolt, Mountain, Rhox Pikemaster, Armored Ascension, Siege Mastodon, Plains, and Pacifism); apparently, so is Evil’s. He plays Mesa Enchantress on turn three and nothing on turn four. We have to assume he has Pacifism, but we don’t have any bad creatures to play so we run out the Pikemaster. Sure enough, a drooling expression forms on the Pikemaster’s face as Evil draws a card with Mesa Enchantress from Pacifism. We aren’t concerned because Evil hasn’t played anything to pressure us.
Siege Mastodon is the next monster that we summon to the battlefield. Evil matches our play in anticipation of blocking. However, his wishes are far from reality. Armored Ascension lifts the white elephant to the skies as it flies in for six (E: 14). Pacifism of our own neutralizes Evil’s Siege Mastodon. Evil passes the turn without playing anything. Five cards in hand you say? We don’t attack on our turn, but play a second Siege Mastodon.
Evil only plays a White Knight while leaving Divine Verdict mana open again. We don’t want to play into it and only attack with our non-flying elephant. Evil cashes in his Mesa Enchantress instead of taking the damage. Veteran Swordsmith joins Evil’s cause but is stopped by our second Pacifism. White Knight declines to block our elephant (E: 11).
Evil plays a Blinding Mage, trying to regain control of the board. We use Lightning Bolt to kill it at the end of his turn, but Evil uses Safe Passage to save it. Our snare was successful. We draw the second Armored Ascension and give it to our smaller Siege Mastodon. The two elephants fly over their opposition and slay Evil. We didn’t even need to use the Fireball in our hand.
We’ve got a nice hand (Mountain, Veteran Armorsmith, Lightning Bolt, Stormfront Pegasus, Armored Ascension, and 2 Plains) on the draw. Veteran Armorsmith is summoned on our second turn and answered by Borderland Ranger (fetching Mountain, Evil is G/R/b). The Armorsmith has no problems attacking through the ranger (E: 18); we follow up with a Stormfront Pegasus. Our draw threatens to end the game quickly if Evil has but mediocre cards.
Borderland Ranger isn’t good at blocking so it attacks (G: 18). Evil makes a better defense with Giant Spider. Our creatures can’t attack through the spider’s intricately-spun web without aid. Armored Ascension transforms our Pegasus into a flying Fire Elemental. Evil is wary of blocking (E: 13) and we soon find out why. Assassinate ends the life of the pegasus. A Runeclaw Bears is also summoned, but Evil has no profitable attacks while we have Veteran Armorsmith in play.
Siege Mastodon complicates the board. Evil can only answer back with a Berserkers of Blood Ridge. Veteran Armorsmith dons the second Armored Ascension and charges in to battle. Again, Evil is wary of throwing away his Giant Spider (E: 8). Berserkers of Blood Ridge attack us alone. Siege Mastodon waits in anticipation for a trick to finish it off as it defends us. Sure enough, Seismic Strike kills the elephant. With the turn passed, Evil is at our mercy. Eight life separate us from victory. Lightning Bolt at the end of Evil’s turn and Lava Axe on ours ends Evil’s hopes at winning the game as we burn him alive.
We’ve got another decent hand, though not as good as the first game (Siege Mastodon, Veteran Armorsmith, Excommunicate, Rhox Pikemaster, and 3 Plains). Again, Veteran Armorsmith is our play on turn two. The trusty Elvish Warrior is sure to help end the game quickly. Evil responds with a Fiery Hellhound. The Hellhound is not a match for Veteran Armorsmith yet. We play a second one and attack (E: 18).
Evil is quick to attack back with his Hellhound (G: 18). Viashino Spearhunter is summoned next to aid in the race. Confident that our ace will live, we summon Rhox Pikemaster. Our army of soldiers has united; together they form an unbreakable phalanx. Evil can’t defend against them as our two Armorsmiths attack (E: 14). Neither of Evil’s minions can break through the pikemaster. Evil must summon a Berserkers of Blood Ridge in the hopes that next turn will be more fruitful.
Evil is doomed to repeat his previous turn. Excommunicate sends the Berserkers of Blood Ridge back to the top of his deck. Our three soldiers attack in; Evil is helpless against them (E: 7). Entangling Vines snares the Rhox Pikemaster. It is helpless as it becomes covered in overgrowth. Evil counterattacks with his Spearhunter and Hellhound (G: 13). With Lava Axe in hand but no Mountain, we send in only one Veteran Armorsmith (E: 5) while holding the other on defense to stave off Evil’s forces.
Evil begins to stabilize and plays a Giant Spider. We know that the Berserkers of Blood Ridge still lurk in his hand. A fifth Plains lets us summon Siege Mastodon. We still have no good attacks though. Evil replays his berserkers and we play Pacifism on his Giant Spider in anticipation of drawing Armored Ascension. Our two first-strikers wait to slaughter the horde of Berserkers when they attack next turn.
Evil uses Seismic Strike and Sparkmage Apprentice to kill off one Veteran Armorsmith. Slowly, our army is being disassembled one piece at a time. Berserkers of Blood Ridge gets teamed up by our other armorsmith and Siege Mastodon. We are down to three uncastable red cards: Fireball, Lava Axe, and Dragon Whelp in our hand. Pacifism removes Fiery Hellhound from battle. Siege Mastodon tramples onto the battlefield to finish what our army of soldiers started. Without fear, Evil doesn’t block (E: 2).
Magma Phoenix is summoned to Evil’s side; his Sparkmage Apprentice remains on defense to block our Siege Mastodon as the Viashino Spearhunter tries to close the gap in life totals (G: 11). We draw our last Pacifism and leave only Magma Phoenix to block. Faced with defeat from every angle, Evil’s demise is at the hands of his own creature. We are victorious.