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The Diary of a Pro Player: Final Limited Rankings

I got back from Mexico Monday and I’m currently in Atlanta jamming games all week in preparation for the Pro Tour. A little before Mexico and after, I worked with Jon Stern on ranking Limited cards for an app called Decked Drafter, which helped me get an outside perspective and forced me to discipline myself to have an explanation for every card, even if they were bad.

My Grand Prix didn’t go as well as I would’ve hoped—my Sealed Deck Day 1 was mediocre, I would say a 5 out of 10. I had a UB Control deck that was forced to play a tempo game since I only had one real removal spell in Oblivion Strike—the rest were bounce spells. Two of them were Sweep Away, which I now evaluate much lower than I previously did, as 3 mana for a conditional Time Ebb or Unsummon just isn’t great. I ended up 6-3 and squeezed into Day 2 where, even though I had a poor record, I would at least get two free drafts, yay!

I drafted GW in both of those drafts. The first one was a straight-up support archetype—3 Saddleback Lagac, 1 Relief Captain, and 1 Shoulder to Shoulder. I was trying to curve out and hopefully finish the job with Inspired Charge. I didn’t have as much of a linear game plan in the second draft. Instead, I relied on 2 Nissa’s Judgment, 2 Sheer Drop, and 1 Emeria Shepherd to play a longer game. I still had the lovely Saddleback Lagac, but my curve was higher.

I went 1-2 in both of those drafts which is more than disappointing, yet, I believe that I was on the wrong end of variance that day. Hopefully that is true, because I still think GW is a decent archetype.

Combining my previous drafts, the Grand Prix, and my work for Decked Drafter, I can now rank the cards with more confidence and my results are as follows:

Common/Uncommon Rankings by Color

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Gold

Top 15 Rares & Mythics

  1. Linvala, the Preserver
  2. Nissa, Voice of Zendikar
  3. Chandra, Flamecaller
  4. Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
  5. Reality Smasher
  6. Endbringer
  7. Munda’s Vanguard
  8. Goblin Dark-Dwellers
  9. Eldrazi Displacer
  10. Thought-Knot Seer
  11. Fall of the Titans
  12. Crush of Tentacles
  13. Jori En, Ruin Diver
  14. Matter Reshaper
  15. Bearer of Silence

Going forward, I will be ranking them based on which ones are better than the top common/uncommon in the following list.

Top 15 Commons & Uncommons

  1. Oblivion Strike
  2. Isolation Zone
  3. Grasp of Darkness
  4. Nissa’s Judgment
  5. Boulder Salvo
  6. Relief Captain
  7. Essence Depleter
  8. Immolating Glare
  9. Embodiment of Fury
  10. Devour in Flames
  11. Reflector Mage
  12. Cliffhaven Vampire
  13. Flayer Drone
  14. Spatial Contortion
  15. Roiling Waters

Annnnd the long awaited…

Color Rankings

  1. White
  2. Black
  3. Red
  4. Green
  5. Blue

As a whole, I think the format can be quite punishing to decks that can’t affect the board early. There are multiple archetypes that are straight-up aggressive or tempo-based—all the white and red ones are, at least. White/black can be more durdley with Vampire Envoys and Affa Protectors clogging the board, but they can also quickly swarm you with a bunch of Allies. Most of the 2-drops in this format are actually good and will either trump or trade with 3-drops on a regular basis—Stalking Drone and Slaughter Drone come to mind. Even if they don’t, most of them have abilities that give them a second life (for example, Zada’s Commando and Ondu War Cleric). Support and the abundance of tricks in the format are other solutions to keep your 2-drops alive later in the game.

I prefer these aggressive strategies to any other so far—besides BG midrange, I just want to turn my guys sideways quickly.

My rankings might end up changing a little on the eve of the Pro Tour as my team has a final meeting. I’m looking forward to seeing what could change my mind!

3 thoughts on “The Diary of a Pro Player: Final Limited Rankings”

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