Last week I wrote about my thoughts drafting Core Set 2020, this week I’m going to walk you throw a draft of mine, pick by pick. This draft was done on Magic Online, so it’s not a draft against bots.
Drafting Core Set 2020
Pack 1 pick 1:
My Pick: Loxodon Lifechanter
While this pack is very good. I have to go with the solid rare, Loxodon Lifechanter.
Loxodon Lifechanter is a very strong rare that’s much better than it looked to me at first glance. Most big mopey six-drops without trample don’t provide value immediately aren’t particularly good. Lifechanter does actually provide value as a useful way to gain a fair bit of life, and then threatens lethal unless chump blocked. While I’m not huge on splashing in this format in general, Loxodon Lifechanter is very splashable in some slower green decks that can create board stalls like U/G or G/B. I wouldn’t blame anyone for taking Murder here for color preference, but I do think you give up a bit of equity not taking the Loxodon.
Pack 1 pick 2:
My Pick: Chandra, Novice Pyromancer
Pick one, this would be easy. Pick two after a Loxodon Lifechanter? That’s a bit tougher. Chandra, Novice Pyromancer is the best card in the pack and is either the best or second best uncommon alongside Risen Reef. It’s still tempting to take Pacifism here and lock myself into white. This early in the draft however, I think it’s important to remain flexible and just take the best card given to me. Chandra isn’t exciting in W/R because you don’t get many Elementals, but it’s still a nice to pick off a couple of X/2s. It’s also pick two of the draft and for all I know I get cut out of white and move into an Elemental deck. So while it’s not easy, my pick is Chandra.
Pack 1 pick 3:
My Pick: Pacifism
While Bag of Holding is a fine playable, I’ve found it to be a tad too slow in this format. I already have the Loxodon, and there’s not much else here outside of an Audacious Thiefso I’m just taking the solid, currently on-color removal spell in Pacifism.
Pack 1 pick 4:
My Pick: Moorland Inquisitor
This is another reasonable tough pick. I’m not seeing much red or green, while I do see a Fry and I like to take the color-hoser removal spells fairly highly, I’m not sure I’ll end up red as outside of the Chandra now I haven’t seen much red in packs. This pack still does have all the commons in it so it’s telling me a ton, but I think it’s safer just to take a white two-drop here. Now, if my deck ends up more midrange, I’d much rather have Moorland Inquisitor than Raise the Alarm, but if I end up R/W go-wide with Inspired Charge and such, I’d much rather taking the Raise. It’s looking like I could potentially draft a midrange deck with a decent top end with the Loxodon Lifechanter and Chandra. For this reason, I take Moorland Inquisitor because it does a much better job blocking later in the game as a first striker.
Pack 1 pick 5:
My Pick: Rapacious Dragon
Rapacious Dragon is a solid flier and the Treasures will help me cast and activate the Loxodon. The rest of the pack is quite mediocre, so this is a pretty easy pick here.
Pack 1 pick 6:
My Pick: Gods Willing
This is another fairly easy pick in Gods Willing. I love having Gods Willing to both protect the Loxodon Lifechanter and to push it through in combat for a lethal swing. Gods Willing is always solid, but it of course gets better the better your creatures are.
Pack 1 pick 7:
My Pick: Dawning Angel
This pick was easy as I take a solid five-drop, three-power flier, but I did notice the fairly late Barkhide Troll here. It’s a strong signal that green is potentially open, but it’s also the only strong green card I’ve seen the entire draft outside of my opening pack. I’m assuming this was just a strong pack and the Troll was just left behind, not that green is wide open and I should not take a card of my primary color and move in. If the Dawning Angel was a brick here, I would take the Troll to speculate on green over taking a card like Inspiring Captain.
Pack 1 pick 8:
My Pick: Faerie Miscreant
Interesting pick here. I’ve taken two red cards fairly early and haven’t really seen any others. I could take the Swiftwater Cliffs as it’s in one of my colors already and could potentially open up some splashes later. I could also take Blood Burglar, a solid black two-drop, that would fit right into my deck and give me a lot of lifegain to potentially get some value in B/W Lifegain.
I however, take Faerie Miscreant here. It’s pick 8 and it’s unlikely anyone else has taken a Miscreant yet as we haven’t seen any. Everyone however, has seen this one and by taking it we send a signal to the table that someone is taking them, meaning it’s better to cooperate than fight. Since the cost is incredibly low here, I think it’s a good spot to take it and see if we happen to crack some more next pack. We can peek at the packs early in pack two and if there are some Miscreants we can maybe move towards U/W Fliers and get some high value wheels. If there was a card like Moorland Inquisitor here, a solid two-drop creature that would fill out our curve and we’d play a higher percentage of the time, I’d just take that. But as is, I think this is the best speculative pick with the highest payoff.
Pack 1 pick 9:
My Pick: Pattern Matcher
Speaking of Faerie Miscreant, this is like getting a second copy. Pattern Matcher is a solid value creature when you’re able to double up on a few creatures. It works best with Faerie Miscreants but if you’re consistently getting a second copy of a creature it’s a solid four-drop that I like getting exactly about here on the wheel. We don’t currently have any duplicate creatures, but we can work on that later if we find it worth the investment.
Pack 1 pick 10:
My Pick: Steadfast Sentry
While I could see speculating on Brightwood Tracker here as it’s a card that’s been impressive in slower decks that can gum up the ground, I just take the safer curve filler in Steadfast Sentry. In retrospect I think maybe taking Blightwood Tracker is correct as Steadfast Sentry is just filler and I’d certainly want the Brightwood Tracker in a deck with Loxodon Lifechanter.
Pack 1 pick 11:
My Pick: Brightwood Tracker
Green is pretty deep in what remains of this pack, so maybe the Barkhide Troll was a bit more of a signal than I thought and green was just shallow in the first pack in general. It is a tad bit late to be moving into green at this point as even if it’s open from the right, I’ve already fed it left and there’s no more of pack three to get value out of. We can still very easily be any second color after white.
Pack 1 pick 12:
My Pick: Marauder’s Axe
Easy Marauder’s Axe here as a colorless card that is suitable in any deck with a high creature counter. Not much else here.
Pack 1 pick 13:
My Pick: Octoprophet
Another playable if we end up moving into U/W.
Pack 1 pick 14:
My Pick: Inspired Charge
While we don’t look like we’ll be a go-wide deck right now, it’s nice to get a payoff in case we move more in that direction for free.
Last Pick: Mountain
Picks after pack 1:
Pack 2 pick 1:
Unlike our first pack of the draft, this pack is incredibly weak. The best cards are likely the two blue cards in Sleep Paralysis and Yarok’s Wavecrasher, but neither are a really strong reason to move into blue. Griffin Protector is a fine four-drop flier in our base color so I see no reason to speculate on blue here. There’s no Faerie Miscreant here to wheel making it even less tempting. I just take the Griffin Protector and the next few picks will likely give us direction as far as our second color.
Pack 2 pick 2:
My Pick: Thunderkin Awakener
Yet another mediocre pack. The best card in the pack is Audacious Thief. It’s not all that exciting in my deck with little removal right now, and nothing else really jumps out at me. I could take another Pattern Matcher, but I still don’t have a duplicate of a creature, and I haven’t seen a Faerie Miscreant in either of the first two packs of this pack so it’s unlikely I go down that road. Since the pack doesn’t have much for me, I decided to take Thunderkin Awakener as a card with the highest potential upside. I could get cards like Scampering Scorcher in the next few picks and have a go wide strategy, especially with Chandra, and I honestly won’t miss anything in this pack. Keldon Raider is an option as a playable but it’s one of the worst four-drops in red and Infuriate is easily replaceable and not a card I want to play in high numbers. While I think I’m wasting a pick here a high percentage of the time, there’s just nothing I want to end up in my deck out of this pack all that often so I took the highest upside card. In retrospect the actual correct pick here may just be Pattern Matcher as I’d be happy to play a second copy when my deck does get enough duplicates.
Pack 2 pick 3:
My Pick: Daggersail Aeronaut
The packs have not been kind to me here, but we’re taking Daggersail Aeronaut. Daggersail Aeronaut is a decent sized attacking flier, but not the best blocker. I’m fine playing the Aeronaut, but I was hoping to have some better cards and direction after the first three picks of pack two. As is, it’s looking like we’re a red-white deck with a fair amount of flying creatures and need to work on picking up a couple of removal spells and filling out the curve.
Pack 2 pick 4:
My Pick: Pack Mastiff
This pick is fairly difficult. Masterful Replication is actually quite good, and a good indication that blue is open. In fact, if I had used my Faerie Miscreants and Thunderkin Awakener picks on the two blue dual lands, I likely take the Replication here as it would be a good and easy splash. With that said, I think it’s best to just work on my curve and get my second two-drop creature in Pack Mastiff. I really want to curve out with a R/W deck if I don’t have a lot of removal and working on my curve is extremely important right now. I reluctantly take Pack Mastiff and regret not taking the dual lands.
Pack 2 pick 5:
My Pick: Flame Sweep
I guess that’s a signal. Extremely surprised to see a Murder here, especially after passing one in the first pack. There’s not many cards I take over Murder in this format, especially when I’m black already. That said, I have an interesting choice here. I could take a Temple of Triumph, a scry land that’s in both of my colors which is a huge upgrade in the land slot, or I could take Flame Sweep. Flame Sweep has been quite impressive to me in a lot of decks and I’m actually quite well set up to play it. I currently have only two creatures that die to it, and I’m set up to get some more fliers. This is when it hits me that I could take two-drops like Goblin Bird-Grabber and have a R/W fliers theme. Flame Sweep is high variance, but it’s often the best card in your deck against non-green decks.
Pack 2 pick 6:
My Pick: Griffin Sentinel
Griffin Sentinel isn’t anything special, but it’s another flier that fills out my curve. There’s a Silverback Shaman here and after seeing that and Murder it’s pretty obvious that red probably shouldn’t be my second color, but I didn’t get these strong signals early enough to move out.
Pack 2 pick 7:
My Pick: Disenchant
A little late to be seeing the Miscreant with a Boreal Elemental in the pack. Had I seen this earlier, I would try and set up taking Boreal Elemental and wheeling the Faerie Miscreant, but that’s not possible here so I just take Disenchant for the sideboard. I think it’s unlikely I want to splash Boreal Elemental. I think taking Infuriate is reasonable here, but I just really don’t like combat tricks that much, though with the low amount of removal I have it’s probably worth picking up a combat trick or two in a pinch.
Pack 2 pick 8:
My Pick: Daybreak Chaplain
Ugh. Again, I’m taking one of the worst card in the pack. I’m taking it here in case I need a two-drop in a pinch, and it does survive my Flame Sweep. Sleep Paralysis is quite obviously the best card in the pack and had I began taking blue cards earlier this pack I think my U/W deck ends up much better than red-white. We still have a whole pack 3 to lean on and we barely saw blue in pack one, so hopefully we get paid off for being disciplined come pack 3.
Pack 2 pick 9:
My Pick: Goblin Bird-Grabber
It looks like maybe only one other blue drafter at the table, as our pack was quite weak and the best two cards were blue and one of them tabled. With the number of fliers we have, Goblin Bird-Grabber is actually our preferred common two-drop right now and I’m happy to pick this one up.
Pack 2 pick 10:
My Pick: Inspiring Captain
Inspiring Captain is a fine four-drop, and as you can see I’m very reluctant to play Infuriate, especially in a deck that plans on having a lot of evasive creatures. I think either pick is reasonable here.
Pack 2 pick 11:
My Pick: Infuriate
I don’t really want to play two Marauder’s Axe and if I don’t get any removal pack three I’ll play the combat trick as a way to push through my creatures.
Pack 2 pick 12:
My Pick: Griffin Sentinel
We got a second Griffin Sentinel, and the Marauder’s Axe we do have is looking a lot better now with all of these fliers. It’s also worth noting this is our first duplicate creature to help with the Pattern Matcher, so a third Griffin Sentinel is actually worth a decent amount.
Pack 2 pick 13:
My Pick: Wolfkin Bond
Pack 2 pick 14:
My Pick: Barony Vampire
Last Pick: Island
Picks after Pack Two
After pack two, we’re committed to R/W and have a fliers theme. We’d like to pick up a couple of removal spells and some more fliers to fill out the curve.
Pack 3 pick 1:
My Pick: Aerial Assault
Not a great pack, we see some curve filler creatures and one piece of on-color removal in Aerial Assault. I do have one copy of Pack Mastiff already, and as they do get slightly better in multiples, especially with a Pattern Matcher. Taking Aerial Assault isn’t exciting, but we need removal and it will free up some picks later to take better creatures.
Pack 3 pick 2:
My Pick: Chandra’s Spitefire
Not sure if this was a mispick or not, as I could have taken a second Aerial Assault, but with so many picks to come I take Chandra’s Spitfire as it’s quite solid with my Chandra already and gives me another curve-filling flying creature. I still have a pick or two to get a Chandra’s Outrage or Shock or something to make the Spitfire better, but I think maybe I should just play it safe and take the Aerial Assault here, as it’s pack three. I think Chandra’s Spitfire is probably right in pack two, but here maybe I should just take another piece of mediocre removal.
Pack 3 pick 3:
My Pick: Apostle of Purifying Light
Apostle of Purifying Light is incredibly good when it’s good. Black often uses Sanitarium Skeleton and Soul Salvage. While I could take the Griffin Sentinel here, I’m much happier taking a two-drop as I still need some twos and this one has an incredibly high ceiling.
Pack 3 pick 4:
My Pick: Daggersail Aeronaut
Another hard-hitting flying creature here in Daggersail Aeronaut. My deck is going to need to race well, which means I need some more high-powered creatures. While I briefly consider the Aerial Assault or Reduce to Ashes, again I think I just want to be proactive here. I also now have a second duplicate creature to pair with the Pattern Matcher, though I’d want some more duplicates to make it better than something like Inspiring Captain.
Pack 3 pick 5:
My Pick: Daggersail Aeronaut
I don’t have anywhere near enough duplicate creature types to take Icon of Ancestry, but I’m happy to take another Snapping Drake. While my deck isn’t great, it’s got an effective plan now of curving out with flying creatures.
Pack 3 pick 6:
My Pick: Pack Mastiff
A second Pack Mastiff makes for a third duplicate creature to combine with the Pattern Matcher. It’s not a flying creature, but it’s a two-drop that can trade up with big green creatures later in the game while my fliers race.
Pack 3 pick 7:
My Pick: Goblin Bird-Grabber
Normally in R/W you’d want Fencing Ace, but with all these fliers and a Flame Sweep, Goblin Bird-Grabber is the ideal two-drop for my deck. Really happy to get another one, and at this point Pattern Matcher is just an excellent value creature in my deck.
Pack 3 pick 8:
My Pick: Goblin Bird-Grabber
While I’m confused by the eighth-pick Creeping Trailblazer, another copy of Goblin-Bird Grabber is a great pick here.