Hi again, everyone! I’m back with some more What’s the Pick? with Eldritch Moon. Writing these articles has me pretty excited to draft the set for real and see which of my picks I still agree with. I did enjoy playing the prerelease and although it wasn’t a ton of matches, the set seems good so far.
Tamiyo has a fundamental problem—she is most effective in an aggressive deck, as both her plus and minus abilities are at their best there, and she is 3 colors. 3 colors and aggressive decks tend not to mesh very well because it’s important to cast your spells on curve, and sometimes even to play a lower-than-normal land count. A third color is not conducive to either. Slower decks, on the other hand, take more time to draw a third color of mana, and aren’t punished as severely for not playing exactly on curve. Although Tamiyo is at her best in an aggressive deck, she is still a planeswalker with three very powerful abilities.
In addition, although some Limited decks are “aggressive decks,” it’s also true that many decks are not as clearly defined but are still capable of taking on an aggressive role. Some people will make the argument to take Galvanic Bombardment here, but I disagree. I’ll take Tamiyo based on overall power level and hope for the best. I would certainly prioritize any sort of mana fixing a little higher than normal to be sure you’re able to cast her.
Honorable Mention: Galvanic Bombardment.
As a 1-mana removal spell that gets better in multiples, this won’t be an uncommon card to first pick. Certainly not what you’d choose to open, but it’s the pick here if there were no Tamiyo.
Boon of Emrakul is the best removal spell in the pack and the clear number one pick. The rest of the pack is pretty weak. Boon of Emrakul is a solid removal spell, similar to a sorcery-speed damage spell like Touch of the Void. Occasionally, in a pinch, you’ll be able to put Emrakul’s Boon on a creature with evasion and greater than 3 toughness to deal an extra 3 damage to your opponent and finish them off.
Honorable Mention: Wretched Gryff.
This is a pretty interesting card. You can sacrifice a creature to reduce your cost and cast the Gryff as early as turn 4. The card draw ability means that you are effectively “cycling” the creature you already have in play, cashing it in for a card. In the late game, simply casting this card for 7 mana and drawing a card will be great. The 3/4 stats are pretty good too, as 4-toughness creatures can be difficult to remove.
This isn’t the most exciting first pick, but Nebelgast Herald is a solid card. When you cast it, you prevent a creature from attacking you, and if you have more Spirits in your deck, you can play them before combat on your own turn to tap one of your opponent’s blockers. 2/1 flash and flying for 3 mana is a fine card, so the upside here definitely helps. I wouldn’t expect to be first-picking the Herald all that often.
Honorable Mention: It of the Horrid Swarm.
I had this in one of my prerelease decks and it actually performed a little bit better than I thought it would. This is another card that I wouldn’t expect to first pick a lot of the time, but again, this is a weak pack, and It of the Horrid Swarm can be a very good card in the right deck. I’d keep my eyes open for emerge synergies, but if none came I wouldn’t be married to this pick or even to green as a color.
This is probably the best card in the set and maybe the format. It’s almost impossible to win a game where you draw this early enough to plan any amount of your game around it. In fact, it’s very hard to lose if you draw it at any point. Excess lands turn into removal spells late in the game as long as you have one reasonably high-converted-mana-cost card to discard in addition to your lands. I had this card at the prerelease, and it was completely absurd every time I cast it.
Honorable Mention: Choking Restraints.
This is a very powerful card. It has two major weaknesses: First, it doesn’t stop activated abilities on an annoying creature. Secondly, you’re playing a format with emerge, and putting this kind of enchantment on one of your opponents’s creatures will make it very easy for them to choose a creature to sacrifice. They have effectively gained an additional card by making a play they would have likely made anyway. You can spend 5 mana to exile the creature, though, to mitigate these drawbacks. All the negatives aside, the effect of a Pacifism for 3 mana is still extremely powerful, and I’d be happy to take this card early and play nearly any number in any white deck.
Mirrorwing Dragon is a 4/5 flyer for 5 mana, which is great. I think that what is perceived as a “downside” actually isn’t. Mirrorwing Dragon’s ability protects itself from opposing removal spells, in a sense. If your opponent casts Murder on your Dragon, all of their creatures become targeted by a Murder. The worry, of course, is that your opponent will target your Dragon with a pump spell, such as Woodcutter’s Grit. In that case, all of his or her creatures would receive the benefit, and you would take massive amounts of damage. Although this is a drawback, it is symmetrical. This means that you can do the same thing with combat tricks, and given that you’re first picking Mirrorwing Dragon, you have control over whether you draft combat tricks, and you also have control over whether or not to cast the Dragon in the actual games. I wouldn’t really describe it as a very big drawback at all as you should be able to use it to your advantage more often than it bites you.
Honorable Mention: Certain Death.
Ride Down is also a very good card, but these cards are close enough in power level that I wouldn’t choose the gold card first. Certain Death is great, and the gain 2 life really adds a relevant amount of value to an expensive removal spell.
Thanks again for reading. Only a couple more days until I head to Australia and actually start drafting the set for real with Team Pantheon. I can’t wait! Let me know what you think of this set of packs in the comments. I’ll be back soon!