Initial Technology – Going to the Sky-Eel School

I’m actually stuck. In 90% of my Scars drafts, I end up Blue-X, and have routinely third-picked such hits as Stoic Rebuttal, Disperse, and even Plated Seastrider. While that may sound ridiculous, there is a method to my madness, and the main reason I keep drafting Blue is that it is always open. The deck I want to draft uses a different set of cards than most decks, and as such is always there for the picking. I suppose I should start by explaining the deck, since 3rd pick Stoic Rebuttal might sound a little odd (just a little).

It may come as no surprise that I love drafting control decks, and that same impulse was my downfall in Zendikar block. However, I’ve found a pretty awesome way of drafting Scars, one which exploits many of the basic tenets of the format. The basic idea here isn’t anything new: removal, card draw, and late game is the name of the game, much like every control deck since Alpha. Removal is the scarce resource, as usual, since everyone wants it, but the card draw and finishers are what go late enough to make the deck awesome. Sky-Eel School is the perfect example; it routinely goes 5th-7th pick, if not later, and it is an incredibly high-quality card. In a “normal” format, a 3/3 flier for 5 that almost draws you a card would be an easy first pick, and I don’t think that should be different here. Other gems that go really late are Trigon of Thought, Stoic Rebuttal, Heavy Arbalest (though people are starting to catch on) and various defensive bodies. It isn’t difficult to get a good mix of the necessary components, and once you do you are able to answer the threats most typical decks will present.

There are a few reasons that this deck is both particularly effective and basically always open.

The first is that it doesn’t rely on artifact synergies much at all. Sure, sometimes you end up metalcraft, but the vast majority of my decks have between 6-10 artifacts, which frees you from having to fight for metalcraft enablers and the metalcraft cards themselves. While other people are third-picking Chrome Steeds and Rusted Relics, you can snap up removal spells, Sky-Eel Schools, and other quality cards. This deck is never in the position of having to take a cheap artifact over a better colored card in order for its cards to function; they do so naturally. This also helps during the games themselves. You have very few situational cards, which leads to a better threat density. A well-timed Stoic Rebuttal, Shatter, or Turn to Slag can reduce opposing Vedalken Certarchs and Chrome Steeds to vanilla 1/1’s and 2/2’s, while your Schools, Solitons, and Darkslick Drakes are all fine on their own. While they are cycling Spellbombs into more land, you have actual good spells in your deck (though you end up with a higher land count than most metalcraft decks). Even opposing Shatter effects aren’t at their best, though you usually have a few targets.

Another reason this is a viable archetype is the abundance of awesome defensive creatures. You generally want 4-5 purely defensive guys, though I’ve played more than that. The defensive guys are (in order of value):


Have you ever tried to kill someone through three of the above creatures? It’s basically impossible. Once I hit 2-3 Wall of Tanglecords, I usually include a couple Forests, and prioritize picking up Copper Myr. If you splash white, Loxodon Wayfarer is a solid addition, though white is not as common as red or black in the deck. Once you get past Necropede on that list, you aren’t talking about high picks, either. People are starting to realize that Wall is awesome, but Seastrider is basically free, and even Neurok Replica goes fairly late. Stopping Chrome Steeds, Cystbearers, even Plague Stingers is all within reach with these guys, and they are almost uniformly lower picks than the cards they end up stopping. When your 5th-10th picks stop their 1st-5th picks, you get a significant advantage.

Lastly, this deck is sweet because it plays a different game than most of the decks in the format. This is a natural conclusion to the first two points, but it is worth mentioning. By playing defensive cards and cards that stand on their own, you can maneuver the game into a place where your deck easily outmatches theirs. Most decks don’t have any cards like Trigon of Thought, Sky-Eel School, or even Heavy Arbalest. By using your cheap defensive cards and removal spells to prolong the game, your awesome lategame cards can give you a huge advantage. The “good” poison or metalcraft decks just don’t have room for clunkers like Trigon, School, or Scrapdiver Serpent, since they need to focus on beatdowns, but you are under no such restrictions. This is also one of the reasons Stoic Rebuttal is so important, and why I always want two. You need a way to handle their bombs, and Rebuttal is the perfect answer. You also often end up a low life total/high poison count before you stabilize, and in those situations there is nothing better than having the counter for their lethal burn spell.

So, what does a successful Sky-Eel School deck look like?


If you are lucky enough to open them, go nuts. One advantage this deck has is its flexibility. Since you are almost always heavy blue, if you open Sunblast Angel or Carnifex Demon pack three, you can often abandon whatever your other color was and just slam the bomb, or slam it and splash 2 Galvanic Blasts anyway. Opening a powerful slow card is a good reason to draft this deck, since it plays very well with cards like Angel, Demon, Wurmcoil, or Steel Hellkite. Yes, I understand those cards are awesome regardless, but this deck certainly makes better use of them than a fast metalcraft deck or a poison deck, neither of which are usually that interested in expensive slow cards.


You obviously want as much removal as possible, and will spend most of your early picks on removal spells or bombs. The removal pick order doesn’t really change from normal decks, though I suppose I’ll go over the general order just for reference.


I haven’t ranted about pick orders much recently, so this seems like good a time as any. Pick orders are only guidelines, and the beauty of draft is that your decks needs are dynamic. The cards you have dictate the cards you need, and any static pick order list is pretty much bound to fail. That being said, the above list is a good pick one pack one reference, though past that there are definite changes that can happen. The most common color combinations are UR and UB, in that order. Black and red just offer the most removal, especially since white’s removal tends to get snapped up extremely quickly. In fact, white itself always seems overdrafted, and white’s non-removal cards aren’t very interesting for this deck. Kemba’s Skyguard and Leonin Shikari are just not what you want to be casting. When I draft this deck, I would say I go UR about 60% of the time, UB about 30%, UW 10% (and UG never). I often splash green for Sylvok Replica and Wall of Tanglecord, but I’ve never managed to actually go base UG.


I listed the defensive cards earlier, though they really are just lower-priority removal. Their only purpose is stopping the opponent’s guys, so they don’t really differ from actual removal. You do want some guys regardless, since you can’t just be all spells, but these are the creatures you pick up after removal runs dry.


Myrs are nice, but aren’t a huge priority. I would say my most common setup is 17 lands and 2 Myrs, though 18 lands and 0-1 Myr happens as well. 16 land and 3-4 Myr isn’t ideal, since this deck tends to have a pretty high curve, and you don’t want to be completely screwed if they decide to go after your Myrs. Plus, I routinely take Sky-Eel School and the like over Myrs, so the other drafters usually end up with most of the Myrs.


If you aren’t lucky enough to see much in the way of bombs, you will need to turn to other means of winning the game. These are the cards that actually seal the deal, though mostly by stabilizing the game and letting your better cards take over.

In rough order (though this changes the most since you are almost never p1p1’ing these, and more using them to fill out your deck):


Soliton/Heavy Arbalest obviously both get better in the presence of the other, though Arbalest is pretty awesome regardless. Golem Artisan is a near-bomb, so it won’t go late, but the rest of the cards you can easily pick up from 5th to 13th, depending. I’ve never seen a Scrapdiver or Hellion not wheel, and Soliton isn’t far behind.

Using this School of Thought

As much as I love me a Sky-Eel School and a Stoic Rebuttal, this draft strategy is perfectly viable without the blue. I find the blue complements the plan the best, and has the most undervalued cards, but there is no reason you couldn’t substitute any other color, even green, and use the same philosophy. Once you stop trying to use metalcraft or any other theme, and just focus on inherent card quality, you can get much better value out of your late picks than the other drafters. Alpha Tyrranax and Molder Beast are respectable guys, and pairing them with removal can be quite effective. At first, I thought this was a two-deck format (metalcraft and infect), but I soon realized that there are a ton of ways to successfully draft Scars. Both those decks are good, and people realize that, but the next step is finding ways to utilize undervalued cards and making the most out of your picks. I feel the Sky-Eel School deck does that, and I’m sure there are more ways to draft it than what I recommend here (though I think this is a good way).

Feel free to share your experiences with off-beat archetypes, and good luck to those who choose to enroll in the School!


57 thoughts on “Initial Technology – Going to the Sky-Eel School”

  1. it seems like every time i draft, blue is always available. thanks for confirming my choice in draft lsv

  2. blue is available because it does not work unless it is a metalcraft support. as we have seen in the last couple drafts from lsv and conley, control strategies dont work well in som

  3. @abdallah so your argument is out of thousands of drafts being played all over the world, 2 ~ 3 drafts that happened to be recorded proves that LSV’s theory is wrong? One doesn’t need to be working for IRS to see that your argument statistically fails.

    Nevermind the fact he just listed all the cards that work well without metalcraft, and the fact that “good stuff” archetype has been advocated by plenty of other pro players, you haven’t presented any counter arguments at all

  4. I’ve found this strategy can be quite powerful since as you pointed out you’re not fighting over the same subset of cards as everyone else, but you really need the removal to get there consistently. Without a handful of Grasp/Blast/Infection/Slag/etc. I find it’s basically impossible to win vs. “good” decks, since infect will tend to wear your defense down quickly and metalcraft will reach critical mass and punch right through it. In either case, you end up with not enough time for your finishers to get there. Still, it’s nice to see respected writers saying many of the same things I have for a while, gives me a bit of validation for dissenting from the majority beyond simply being able to win when the deck comes together.

  5. @mark kelso // Both arc trail / scrap melter technically go 2 for 1 (two guys for one card, or generate a 3/3 body + kill a guy / artifact) all the time.

    The only difference is that it’s typically better to be able to have wider range of target (i.e. arc trail doesnt kill mimic vat / strata scythe / tumble magnet / contagion clasp or engine) and not worry about the toughness of resolved artifact creatures like hellkite / artisan, etc.

    Oh btw, speaking of mimic vat, you can imprint melter to mimic vat xD

  6. My last draft was definitely an example of a non-blue control deck. RG with lots of removal and a couple of big guys to finish them off. I also agree that Heavy Arbalest is pretty awesome even when you don’t have combos with it like Soliton or Myr Galvanizer. I’m also glad that a pro finally agreed that Trigon of Thought can be good after hearing everyone say it was too slow.

  7. My friend was just talking about how LSV was one of the few pros who were yet to rescind their metalcraft/infect stance on the format. Perfect timing for this article.

  8. @andrew // if you build a deck geared towards control, there WILL BE situations where trigon is not just a slow, clunky card that wastes your turn and loses you the game right after resolving it. If you try to use it as actual draw spell in an aggro oriented deck, then ya, it’s not a card.

  9. I’ve drafted the almost mono-green dinosaur deck, and I love the results against metalcraft. They just can’t really do anything to you, and the game is basically over when you drop an alpha tyrranax or molder beast.

    My real beef with the deck, and I guess the format in general, is how much the results are out of your hands. Basically, it comes down to how many people draft poison. If there are only 2 poison drafters at the table, I find a poison deck wins the queue or FNM draft an insane percentage — 90% might be too high, but it’s close. Now, one of the reasons I like this deck is because it has both tons of relevant sideboard cards against infect and has the option of switching into infect, but due to the layout of the packs this isn’t always a viable switch.

    On the other hand, if 3 people draft solidly in poison or everyone does their part and hates a tangle angler, carrion call, and tel-jilad fallen once in a while like I do for the dinosaur deck, things usually go quite a bit better for non-infect drafters. However, relying on everyone else to hate cards is a pretty shitty way to go about things, and even then infect decks often sneak in for wins.

  10. Interesting that Skinrender is valued more highly than Scrapmelter by so many people. Scrapmelter can deal with enormous bomb artifact creatures and non-creature artifacts that Skinrender cannot. I’m not saying Scrapmelter is miles ahead, but if I had a choice between the two p1p1, I’d take Scrapmelter most of the time, depending on what commons are in the pack.

  11. scrapmelter is considerably better then arc trail and lsv’s removal pick order is great

    i havent had much sucess drafting blue in som though

  12. Forcing is always risky, even forcing of presumably underdrafted color/archetype. So P1P1 Sky Eel School is still pretty questionable move, IMO. There’s still a chance that blue will be drafted by 3-4 people out of 8.

  13. @mark kelso

    He’s not kidding, and don’t call him Shirley.

    I actually feel like Arc Trail/Scrapmelter is pretty close; the decks he’s describing do seem like they would want the Arc Trail more, since it will cripple any blazing-fast Metalcraft/Infect start they try to mount against you.

  14. I think LSV is 100% correct with this draft archtype being very good. I went 3-0 with a blue red control deck in day 2 of GP Nashville. It had 2 sky eel school, 2 stoic rebuttal, and a bunch of defensive guys. I have been doing the best in draft when i play decks like this.

  15. Its funny though if i look at my last 5 drafts i ended up in blue. Most people pass things like •Volition Reins and i just barely pass them.

  16. I would take scrapmelter over arc trail too…scrapmelter has the potential to kill a player….arc trail doesnt really…

  17. I think the reason LSV values scrapmelter more than arc trail is becuase he lost 2 games to chimeric mass last draft video when he was holding arc trails 😛

  18. I’d like to see your draft video where you actually pick Darkslick Drake and other blue FLIERS rather than whatever other card catches your eye.

  19. I tend to draft U/R quite often, but I focus more on blue counterspells/disperses and flier/invisimancer beatdown with red for removal and quite a few heartstokers. Works out nicely most of the time, since blue cards and the underdrafted red cards I use for this deck often table.
    Nice article, I will probably try the more controllish route when the opportunity arises.

  20. Yea since the Scars prerelease I’ve been drafting and playing Sky Eel Schools and Trigon of Thought and been happy with them… dam u LSV ur giving my tech away!

  21. funny enough, i played Ur in 2 drafts this Weekend and went X-1!

    After GerryT’s wins at GP, I tried to pick up red removal and good and defensive blue cards.

    Yesterday i ended with:

    1 Galvanic blast (3rd pick)
    2 Shatter (3rd and 2nd pick)
    1 Oxida scrapmelter (1st pick)
    1 Arc Trail (2nd pick)
    1 Turn to slag (4th pick)
    and many blue cards and 1 bomb (myr battlesphere 1st pick)

    i had 3 blue replicas and it was bonkers!!!!

    i can say this works!
    you can pick up removal and bombs and latepick walls and other good-filler!!!

    Great article!

  22. Someone has to tell LSV to stop telling everyone the secrets. My first five draft decks were G-x because I couldn’t fathom why a 4/4 for 5 that gives all your green creatures intimidate or a 5/3 trampler would be going 10th+. Seems good.

  23. ditto chris, I’ve found this to be my favorite archetype too. Pick 4 volitions are not out of the ordinary either. Also, love drafting tower of calamity in this deck. Usually u can get one like pick 7

  24. Blue is definitely often very under drafted, makes it very important to high pick removal if you’re going for this strategy, since you’re solid creatures will come so late.

    I was able to win the MTGO sealed + draft premiere event last night drafting U/b

    Was very light on black cards overall with only skinrender,bleak-coven vamps, grasp of darkness and necrogen scudder(who is awesome with all the other big fliers youll have)

    School and Darkslick drake normally just dominate the air since most other fliers unless mythic or rare are 2/2. While the fliers do their thing neurok replica, seastrider and necropede/perilous myr just gummed up the ground.

  25. I agree with most of what was said here. Recently I went to my local 5k run by another website only to 3v3 “pride draft”. I did not play the main event and managed to get in 7 “pride drafts” on the day. In this format I do not force, I do not have heavy preferences, and I am not LSV and naturally biased toward control decks. if anything I am the opposite and like to be aggressive though I’ll draft whatever comes and make the best deck I can. ANYWAY-

    Somehow, in 6 of these 7 “pride drafts” I ended up blue. I did not think much of it at the time as I was busy concentrating on my matches and again was just trying to make the best deck possible with what came as opposed to forcing anything, but then I thought about it all afterwards and why this may have happened. I came to many of the same conclusions as LSV. For me, I like to stay open and not commit early so an extremely common trend that would happen is that my first 5 picks would be 4 if not 5 artifacts and then picks 6, 7, and 8 I’d get cards like Neurok Replica, Neurok Invisimancer (extremely underrated), Stoic Rebuttal, and Sky Eel School. In the case of the School this just flat out shouldn’t happen, and yet it did over and over again.

    I thought about this afterwards and it made a lot of sense. The blue in SoM is a lot like black was in Darksteel in the sense of the cards are not especially strong but instead they are extremely deep. No one wants to first pick Silver Myr, Neurok Replica, or even Sky Eel School and also people take artifacts for their metalcraft decks and Infect creatures for the Infect deck (obviously) and therefore colored blue cards get passed along. In a 3v3 it is extremely common for a scenario like this to happen-

    Player one opens a pack containing Sky Eel School. There is a solid rare in the pack, say a Precursor Golem (you can change this to pretty much any rare that you would ALWAYS take over Sky Eel School) and of course takes it. Player two now takes one of the uncommons in the pack better than the School such as Skinrender, red or white smith, Scrapmelter, etc. Players 3, 4, 5, and 6 have any of the following reasons for not taking the School- They are infect, they are not blue, they take a Galvanic Blast, Arrest, Shatter, Grasp of Darkness, or any other better common or they just take a mana myr, they take an artifact over it to up their count and to lean more into metalcraft. These are some very common reasons the School gets passed up on and as a result it tables to you and of course you take it. The same exact process then repeats itself with Plated Seastrider, Disperse, Stoic Rebuttal etc etc and you end up in blue and probably with the best deck at the table.

    This is, in a nutshell, what happened in my drafts over and over again and my records were very very good. My team did not lose a single draft. This deck is good and LSV is correct. Try it for yourself.

  26. this articles title is hilarious. 3-way pun.

    so glad people actually like wall of tanglecord now.

  27. I don’t like trying to force anything while drafting, but have ended up with decks similar to this because of how much blue is underdrafted in the format. Looks like with this article it may not be true much longer. 🙂

  28. Yah I go into every scars draft looking for a blue-back non-metalcraft control deck. I love playing it, and its worked amazing for me. . I dunno I just feel like black is superior to RED in this strategy, since RED pairs well with White and X, but the people in black are usually having to balance getting enough infect creatures and that ilk, so it opens up even more great black cards. Also the insane power of -1/-1 counters, with a lil proliferate is just so synergistic, especially since you usually end up drawing a card too.

  29. My personal strat in SoM is to mono brown for as long as possible then see what colours are open from the late picks, doing this often pushes me into blue and when i do it works. My drafts often have a very mixed talent pool though so this may nor work for others.

    Also 100% behind scrap melter over Arc trail. There both 2-1’s and the melter also provides a threat and is super playable with bounce/blink effects.

  30. I’ve been thinking this since the format was released. A 3/3 flier for 5 that can draw you a card is going to be a strong card in every draft format that is ever made. The format would have to be completely degenerate to prevent that. I guess that when Scars came out everyone thought that the format *was* actually that degenerate, probably after someone cast an Untamed Might on a Plague Stinger.

    What I’ve always loved about this format is that you actually don’t need a bomb or an overpowered deck to win. Most of the time you just need a couple of decent defensive cards and then any medium-sized creature. It’s nice to see people coming around on this. I haven’t felt this vindicated since LSV reversed his position on Silvercoat Lion.

  31. I was drafting this type of deck for a long time online, and went on one of my best runs ever, ending up turning 1 draft set into about 50 Scars packs, without selling any of the cards, except ones I already had 4 of.

    Now, I can’t buy a win with this type of deck, and I can’t figure out why. The cards for it are definitely still available, so that’s not the problem. Sky-Eel Schools and Solitons are still available whenever you want, and you will still get 8th pick Volition Reins from time to time.

    Recently, I’ve been having a lot more success with RG “dinosaurs”, as it’s another deck that’s really easy to pick up. You can get quality Green stuff late, like Slice in Twain and Engulfing Slagwurm.

    Still, whenever you draft a deck like this, you’re still vulnerable to the other drafters at the table. If there’s only 2 Poison Drafters, you’re probably boned.

  32. No doubt I question myself before questioning a top pro but here goes:

    You make a good case for this being a valid and potentially very good archtype, but why force it, or even lean heavilly towards it? It seems to me that there are a lot of cards potentially powerful cards that come around late, its just the nature of a format with both metalcraft and infect (both archtypes usually needing a critical mass of a certain type of card, leaving other more traditionally early picks to go later). There is definitely some value in aknowledging archtypes that can make good use of these cards, but I can’t agree that forcing just one of them that uses a small subset of these cards is the answer to the format.

    Setting yourself up to be able to take advantage of underdrafted cards is one thing, but turning it into an archetype and forcing it to the point where you are picking those cards early (as if they weren’t underdrafted) are two totally different things. If you’re going to third pick cards that are likely to be “free” at some point in the draft, why not at least devote your early picks to cards with more potential, and then fall back on blue/x control as the plan B?

    I think the same goes for this dinosaur deck people seem so fond of now. Yes, green fatties come late. Yes, it might be good to factor that in when you draft so that you can potentially take advantage of it. But should greenfatty.dec be an archetype? Probably not.

  33. Wall is boring

    Loxodon is boring

    Seastrider is boring

    Man, people have too much fear of infect. Pick and play that garbage? For me, that´s just sad.

  34. Forced this deck 3x and out in the first round each time 🙁 my precious rating!, blue’s open but I can never seem to pick up enough removal

  35. lsv DOES say at the beginning of the article that he loves drafting control decks. who cares if you think it’s boring, or you wouldn’t force it? just because you wouldn’t want to play this deck, doesn’t mean some people won’t, and that they won’t be successful with it; especially as of now where you can get value picks even late as things like scrapdiver wheel.

  36. is that what that deck is trying to do! i just crushed two of these decks last som 4322, till the comcast cut out.

    infect kills it

  37. Thanks for the tech, LSV. I just employed this draft strategy this evening at my local shop and it housed. Pack two, pick one Carnifex Demon definitely helped. 😀

  38. Just won an 8-4 on mtgo with this deck . . . Got passed Volition Reigns pick 6, Argent Sphinx pick 5, Nuerok / Eel / Seastrider / Wall / Rebuttal / Trinket Mage picks 7 – 12. Pack 2 I opened a Hoard Smelter and managed to pick up a couple Slags / Bolts / Shatters along the way . . .

    LSV is 100% correct in saying Red is the best pair for Blue, simply because it packs the most and the best removal. It’s strange to me because I’ve won a handful of drafts with this archetype, but the decks I made weren’t even that good. It just somehow gets there. It laughs in Metalcraft’s face.

    Though I will point out that a good poison deck will beat a good UR control deck 4 out of 5 times. Hell, a good poison deck beats a great control deck 3 out of 5 times.

    Poison > Sky-Eel School.dec

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  40. @ Aidenn: Almost every deck will win with a hoard smelter dragon.
    @ M_S: yeah, also a Carnifex Demon will usually win the draft

    It is true that expensive good bombs, like Hoardsmelter and Demon, shine in this archtype even more, as you have time to draw them and protect them. But the point is, that this archtype will work with non bombs as well.

    So nice article, but a pity that it is out, as I tend to draft it also on regular basis. But you need to have the removal, or enough disperse / neurok replic / stoic rebuttal to deal with creatures you otherwise cannot handle.
    The true strenght lays indeed in the defensive creatures, and then every decent finisher can do the job. The grindclock is a good finisher for the archtype as well, it put’s them on a relatively fast clock, making the opponent to play suboptimal.

    About P1P1: skinrender above scrapmelter or arc trail, as black is really strong and you still can go into infect, which is quite strong when drafted well
    Pack2 and Pack 3: depends on other cards, the red ones are more splashable. For splashing I like scrapmelter better, if I am in red already, I like arc trail better, as arc trail wins almost games when played early (agains infect or metal craft (3 artifacts out turn 3……arc trail your chrome steed and myr))

  41. I don’t know LSV I almost feel forced to comment due to my last comment. I’m not biased against control but I just don’t believe the majority of strong decks you’ll face in finals for competitive drafts will even bat an eye against control in this format. The tools you speak of are no greater then simply being B/R removal, or B/W good stuff. R/U can be very good though reds got the burn blue needs the keep the field clear and turn to slag which kills everything. Although those red cards go very highly as it is so kinda of a mute point. But why falter from metal craft and give your deck tempo/smith powers and a better clock. Control decks still need a good clock.

    I don’t care what all these people up top are claiming about there amazing U/x control cause the reality is the overall track record of these decks are poor. Having whatever bomb you open win you the game is the natural swingy nature of limited a lot of the time. That’s not conclusive at all with what we’ve seen in your recent draft videos, and doesn’t back up the way you value walls.

    Its not that I haven’t drafted good control type decks before, but control decks in a limited environment where good decks kill you turn 6-7 just really can’t prepare against the field with nothing but sky eel schools. There’s no good wall turtle strategy against these decks, respect them.

    Play blue fine but why not be more aggressive with say lumengrid drakes? these control deck need to be insane to beat a good infect deck. I’m doing well keeping with my play style so I’m fine with it. R/U metal craft can be a great tempo style control deck, I like tempo style versions slow grinders are a grind.

  42. nice one i knew you are up to something, watching you recent drafts. well it is always fun not to be bound by certain archetypes on drafts. i have seen draft train wrecks before (everybody is trying to draft infect and ended up in a very terrible deck and i cant stand watching but laugh)
    blue is almost always open in drafts, that is true. and i think going super aggro with your draft is not rewarding (drafted a very aggressive red black deck once only to be slaughtered by a pair of soliton) unless you are drafting an infect deck (and a very good one that is). there is too much creature with high toughness in this set to make aggro strategies rewarding (being deterred by a random wayward elephant is just irritating) i think i will try to draft dinosaurs (recently i think molder beast is not as bad as i think it was). how about black metalcraft? there is not much black non-infect card but these card are powerful (summon bleak coven vampire 2 times on metalcraft and my opponents just scoop).
    furnace goblin. this wacky archetype need no introduction.
    basically there are tons of ways to build your deck in som without being bound by certain archetype.

  43. I really enjoyed this article and found it very informative. I also agree that U is open in most drafts and have seen really decent cards going later than they should. Green, as we’ve seen, is also usually open. I LSV’s deck is a good plan to have in mind if it’s open, but I don’t think there’s any need to force it like he’s claiming; if it’s open and your preference it just will sorta come together.

    Another strategy I’ve been using is U/G evasion/untamed might. I like this deck a lot and have had success with it, and encourage you to try it out if it’s open. I would Like to see one of the pros try it out, maybe Brad Nelson. It may seem a bit gimmicky, but there are just so many ways it can get there, and it almost always comes together because a lot of the cards you want come around very late:

    -Most infect players will pull the infect creature out of the pack over any Untamed Might hoping to wheel the trick, and so they’re often available later than they should be. That’s good for this deck because they can steal games out of nowhere in a non-infect deck like this as well as in infect.

    -No one likes playing Neurok Invisomancer and it usually comes in when you’re just short playable dudes, but it really shines in this sort of deck. Gives green fatties evasion for a turn and is a great target for a game-ending Untamed Might if you don’t think they have the removal.

    -Molder Beast, Alpha Tyrranax, Acid Web Spider and Bellowing Tanglewurm are all nice green fatties that usually wheel out of stronger packs.

    -In addition to Neurok Invisomancer, you’ll find Lumengrid Drake, Screeching Silcaw, Sky-Eel School, Darkslick Drake, Scrapdiver Serpent and Thrummingbird are all evasion creatures that have been going far later than they should be in most drafts because U is so under-drafted.

    -Sky-Eel School doubles by digging for tricks.

    -Disperse and Neurok Replica are also great for removing blockers and getting in key damage to put away games.

    -Turn Aside is an all-star against removal, which this deck is very weak to, and always comes around. This deck probably wants 2 and always gets them. This card causes a lot of “you’re so lucky you had the Turn Aside”. Well, it’s not luck, I run it for a reason.

    -Tel-Jilad Defiance is better than average in this deck, as well.

    -Stoic Rebuttal, Wall of Tanglecord and Plated Seastrider can have spots in this deck if the curve is higher.

    -Last but not least, power-boosting and evasion equipment cards are very much welcome in this deck.

    The great thing is that this deck can be drafted entirely with picks later than 6 most of the time, so you don’t have to waste your pick ones on Invisomancers over Sylvok Replicas, Shatters, Galvonic Blasts and other great cards. Splashing removal or bombs can be pretty easy if you get a Horizon Spellbomb, and you can always draft this deck as a back-up plan using later picks.

  44. Interesting, as I won my local draft yesterday based on this drafting style. Went 3-0 with a UB deck featuring 2 Grasp, 2 Instill Infection, 1 Contagion Clasp, 1 Flesh Allergy, and 1 Volition Reigns for removal and 2 Darkslick Drakes and a Carnifex Demon (with Barbed Battlegear backup) for finishers. I thought my deck was a pile…but it had a lot of draw and drew the right removal at the right times (Flesh for their T-Rex, Grasp for their Darksteel Sentinel, etc.). Not being dependent on artifacts was quite freeing though.

  45. I am a player who inherently values cards based on exactly the factors mentioned in your article. This runs through to Standard and Limited for me very much. I was the first person around my local store to be running blue white in standard, and in the last four tournaments I have lost two matches total. Ratchet bomb is a two of main, because it wrecks the aggro deck’s draw, while remaining passable against the control decks. I’m running the same list plus or minus like five cards, that I first entered in the new format post rotation, and I typically don’t feel taxed until top four.

    Drafting a control archetype like this was always an option, but now that Luis exposed it, people will be trying it on their own and failing, so watch for the other archetypes of Scars limited to open up very soon.

  46. 3-1 at FNM with this deck:

    2x Skinrender
    2x Neurok Replica
    Turn to Slag
    Galvanic Blast
    2x Sky Eel School
    1x Lumengrid Drake
    2x Bleak-coven Vampires
    1x Iron Myr
    1x Gold Myr
    1x Leaden Myr
    2x Acorder’s Shield
    1x Trinket Mage
    1x Heavy Arbalest
    1x Soliton
    1x Grasp of Darkness
    1x Flight Spellbomb
    1x Darksteel Myr
    7x Swamp
    7x Island
    2x Mountain

    I went 8-5 in games, losing 1 game because I held Grasp, Vampires, and both Skinrenders in hand while drawing all my islands and mountains. I went 0-2 vs some guy who mised Battlesphere both games by turn 5 (killed it game 2, but it wasn’t enough).

    What was really fun was sitting there with two Acorder’s Shielded Sky-Eel Schools, attacking for 6 every turn and having 6 toughness guys on D as well… holding double Skinrender and Volition Reigns in hand. It seemed like every game I won I had answers in my hand for their board (and I even had them for most of the games I lost… just the other guy out topdecked me >.<)

    Oh and Strata Scythe is funny vs Darksteel Myr.

    Unfortunately there was someone at the table gobbling up all the Stoic Rebuttals. Placed 6 of 30 overall…

  47. Also wanted to note that everyone at the FNM was commenting on how much my cards “sucked” and how “bad” my deck was. I even overheard a R/W metalcraft player (who got trounced by me) saying that he should not have lost to a deck like that XD To pull an LSVism, I guess I schooled him ;-D

  48. Pingback: Getting Nassty – Gimmick Decks : Magic: The Gathering – Strategy, Singles, Cards, Decks

  49. Pingback: » Stark Reality – Drafting Scars Archetypes

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