I’m back for another edition of What’s the Pick? Pack 1, Pick 2 with Battle for Zendikar. Recently, there’s been a shift in the consensus on green in this format. As many of you know, many of my teammates and I have been averse to drafting green for some time. While some opinions have changed, mine really haven’t. I still think the green cards are just way too underpowered to produce consistently winning decks. Tom Martell did win Grand Prix Atlanta with a green-based deck in the Top 8, but it felt to me that he won the tournament on the strength of his other cards, in spite of his green cards, not because of them. That said, let’s get to it.
First pick: Noyan Dar, Roil Shaper
This is not an ideal followup to Noyan Dar at all. I’d much prefer to take virtually any reasonable blue or white card. Unfortunately, this pack doesn’t have any. The decision is between Kalastria Healer and Outnumber. Outnumber is a better card, and also if you end up playing some strange deck splashing a Noyan Dar, you’d rather pair it with Outnumber than with a Kalastria Healer, especially since the best Ally decks tend to be very creature-heavy and don’t have a lot of spells to fuel Noyan.
First pick: Ruinous Path
The pick here is between Incubator Drone and Herald of Kozilek. Herald of Kozilek is a much better card, but Ruinous Path is so good that I’d just opt to stay on color here. Red/black devoid is a very good deck if you can get it, and you’re going to try hard to make sure you get to play your Ruinous Path. Even if you were to take Herald and end up blue/red, it’s likely that you could just have played red/black anyways since the red cards that are good in blue/red tend to also be very good in black/red. Also, because Ruinous Path has BB in the casting cost, it makes it more difficult to play in a 3-color deck.
First pick: Touch of the Void
Vestige of Emrakul.
Sheer Drop and probably Dampening Pulse are both better cards than Vestige of Emrakul. In the case of Sheer Drop, I would just pass, as white/red is only a particularly good deck if you have an Ally theme, and without taking a very good Ally early it’s not something that I want to draft. Dampening Pulse is a very good card, but I don’t think it’s quite good enough to move into a second color over a solid devoid card that would go in any deck with Touch of the Void. Also, I don’t think a third-pick Dampening Pulse sends a signal that blue is definitely open like Eldrazi Skypawner would, so I think if you end up moving into blue anyway, you won’t have to worry too much about having put the player to your left in blue, although that doesn’t matter THAT much anyway.
First pick: Roil Spout
Vile Aggregate is the best card in the pack, but Coastal Discovery is also great. Our first pick was gold, so you’re not looking to move into a third color. Coastal Discovery and Roil Spout actually go really well together too. Having those two cards as your first two picks allows you to draft a UW awaken control deck or maybe a UW awaken deck that intends to be more aggressive with fliers. I like UW quite a bit in BFZ. The one downside is that unless you end up getting rares, the decks seem to never be insane, but are usually very solid. The best nonrare to hope for, especially after these two picks, that could really take your deck to the next level is Halimar Tidecaller.
First pick: Rolling Thunder
Grip of Desolation.
Outnumber is a good card, and it’s the same color of our first pick, but in this case I wouldn’t even consider it. Grip of Desolation is simply too good. It’s easily one of the best uncommons in the set and it’s even better than a lot of good rares. Rolling Thunder and Grip of Desolation are both expensive cards, so while I’d still do my best from this point to try to draft an RB devoid deck, I’d be open to the idea that the deck wouldn’t end up being quite as aggressive as the archetype is normally.
Thanks everyone for reading! As always, please let me know in the comments if there are any picks you strongly disagreed with. I’m currently on a break from Magic tournaments until the end of the year, not really by choice, just because there don’t happen to be any left. Right after New Years, I’ll be heading to Oakland, but I’ll be back in the coverage booth for that one, which I’m really looking forward to. Until then, I’ll be back with some more What’s the Pick. See you soon!