Hi again, everyone! It’s time for some more Pack 1 Pick 1 with Ixalan! Let’s jump straight to the packs:
Kinjalli’s Sunwing is a great card in any white deck. A 2/3 flyer for only 3 mana is already a decent card. The upside of all of your opponent’s creatures coming into play tapped is absurd, though. It gives you a one-turn head start on attacking with all your creatures, and in combination with a card like Territorial Hammerskull, it will be almost impossible to lose games where you get a good jump on your opponent.
Honorable Mention: River Heralds’ Boon.
Without the rare, this is a very weak pack. River Heralds’ Boon is close to, but not completely, a U/G gold card. It is the best common for a Merfolk deck, though, so at least you’re starting with a high power card. I’d take the Boon here and hope that Merfolk is open. I wouldn’t be married to this pick out of a pack like this, though, and would definitely switch quickly if I wasn’t seeing Merfolk cards.
Imperial Aerosaur is one of the premium uncommons in the set. A great, aggressive, Dinosaur, that is powerful enough to go in any white deck, Dinosaur or otherwise. This card almost reads: 3W 3/3 flying. When Imperial Aerosaur enters the battlefield, deal 4 damage to target opponent. And sometimes it’s even better than that! I’d be happy to start a draft with Imperial Aerosaur, and it’s the clear pick here.
Honorable Mention: Contract Killing.
The rare is okay here, but I have a strong preference to avoid green, except in the case of dedicated Merfolk. Contract Killing goes into more decks, and I’d rather have it to start a Draft. One mistake I’ve seen people make consistently in this format is to hang on too tightly to their Treasures. A good rule of thumb is to use your Treasures as soon as possible if they allow you to cast multiple spells in a turn. This is not all-purpose advice, of course, but I think it’s better to err in that direction than to hold on for them too long and not get enough benefit.
Air Elemental is also one of the premium uncommons in Ixalan Draft. Elementals aren’t a tribe in the set, but Air Elemental is powerful enough that it doesn’t even matter. Air Elemental is a great top of the curve in any blue deck, be it aggro or control, Pirates or Merfolk. I’d be happy to start a Draft with it, and would not have a tribe preference just based on this pick.
Honorable Mention: Contract Killing.
As I said above, Contract Killing is a good card that goes into all of your black decks. It’s not the best way to start a Draft, but it will happen occasionally. I think all of the black decks are very good: B/W Vampires, U/B, or R/B Pirates. I think Contract Killing is a bit better in Vampire decks than Pirate decks, but I wouldn’t use that for anything more than a tiebreaker because it’s close enough across the board.
I really like the aggressive decks in this format. In terms of card quality, Fathom Fleet Firebrand is probably only the second-best card in the pack behind Sky Terror. Sky Terror is a gold card, of course, so it’s a bit riskier of a first pick. Fathom Fleet Firebrand is not a card I’d first pick very often, but here I’d take it. Ideally, I’d look to be an aggressive Pirate deck, but really Fathom Fleet Firebrand is powerful enough as a 2-drop that I’d play it in any red deck.
Honorable Mention: Sky Terror.
Without the Firebrand in the pack, the Sky Terror is too far ahead of the non-gold cards in terms of power. There’s an argument for Ranging Raptors but as I’ve said before, I really don’t like the green Dinosaur decks very much. Maybe I’m underrating them, though.
This is a ridiculous bomb rare level card. I would take this first over any uncommon or common, and I’d try very hard to end up in a W/B Vampire deck. Most of the removal, with the exception of Vanquish the Weak, will cost more than 4 mana to remove Sanctum Seeker, which makes it close to unbeatable with a good curve on the play. Also, Pious Interdiction won’t turn off the Seeker’s passive ability. This is a card you should be happy to first pick.
Honorable Mention: Vanquish the Weak.
Vanquish is marginally better than Firecannon Blast. I also think that black is marginally better than red. Vanquish being an instant is really big. The format as a whole has very little instant interaction, so I’d slightly prefer to gobble up some while I have the chance. I wouldn’t fault anyone with a preference for red choosing the Firecannon Blast here, though.
What did you think about my picks this time around? Am I underrating green? Overrating other colors? Let me know in the comments. I’ve got a couple more weeks of drafting and playing Constructed before heading to Phoenix to do coverage, and then on to Albuquerque for Pro Tour Ixalan. Hopefully I’ll see some of you there!