A Magic: the Gathering blog by and for the janky combo casual players alienated in a world of netdecking millionaires.

I value inexpensive (kinda) decks outside of the meta because I am cheap and easily bored.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Magic: The Mathering - Drafting Dragon's Maze

Dragons Maze Drafting - DGM, GTC, RTR

Hello, hello!

Yesterday I took part in friendly 8 player draft of Dragon's Maze. I won in style with a trio of 2-0 victories and the deck didn't break a sweat. Here are my thoughts and speculations on the drafting of this varied and interesting set along with my thinking around why I took the cards I did.

I ended up with a regular old boring boros zerg rush deck and because every game was against an opponent with 3 colours and a mana curve that didn't average south of 2.5 like mine did I was well placed sweeping to three very quick victories. 

The temptation is, with all the guildgate and cluestones and keyrunes and hybrid mana costs to pick a guild and splash a third colour and really that's what I should have done if my gatecrash packs weren't so amazingly good.

Boros is still powerful and in a slower format, as a I believe DGM is, speed will win you a lot of games. I think Azorious and Rakdos have potential too. But Boros is probably the best of both worlds. Where Azorious can be too passive and get zerg rushed before answers arrive and Rakdos can suffer from a lack of blockers and be too one dimensional, ripe for sideboarding against. Boros is the middle ground, controlled aggression, with life gain if you need it.

Pack one - Dragon's Maze

Going into the game I wanted force Borhzdos (pronounced borz-dos) (or red white black if you prefer) I had success with Boros previously and the extort ability seemed powerful in what would likely be a very slow format. That said I wouldn't object to Azorious and Rakdos if the cards fell that way. So with that in mind I crinkled open the first pack..

Lightning Helix's bigger brother. Awesome
Warleader's Helix - Big fan of Lightning Helix and this format is slow enough to allow you to get away with a 4 mana, this is a fatter, less efficient version but ultimately a very good removal/game ending spell. Passed over Renounce the Guilds.

Tithe Drinker - Lifelink, check. Extort, check. I picked this common second because if played early and unanswered it will set the tempo very quickly. Turn two drinker into a turn three extort and a swing for 2 damage is a 6 point swing in life totals your 23 life vs their 17. Excellent card.

Warleader's Helix - Again? Even if I'd wanted to go elsewhere these first three options were screaming Borhzdos. A word I will continue to use until it catches on.

Warleader's Helix - Seriously? If people want to pass me another I'll run a playset in a 40 card deck, quite happily.

This card is very good in drafting
if you plan to go W/B
Hired Torturer - A decent toughness three defender with a nice ability to pay 3B and make opponents lose life. The fact he can tap your opponents down for two life a turn means he needs an answer.

Sinister Possession - With the theory that high tempo decks would give W/B extort a headache I picked this 1 drop in order to slow them down, or at least make them think about it.

Punish the Enemy - I was slightly worried in taking this in this pick as it meant I was at two creatures and five spells. Three to the face and three to a potential blocker versus an average creature. The fact this can was instant speed was just too good to turn down and ended up as my choice.

Steeple Roc - A flying 3/1 first striker. Good. Five mana, bad. Needed creatures though and this was my best option. Susceptible to removal as it is. But still a power 3 flyer, something would still need to be done about it.

He looks a bit like my old maths teacher
Orzhov Cluestone - I made a resolution not to draft too many gates and cluestones. This was in colour though and surrounded by blue and green creatures. Took it without too much stress.

Maze Sentinel - With only one multicolour creature I hesitated before picking this one. It was my only Borhzov choice though. I didn't think the other cards in the pack were worth taking to deny the other players and so mindful of the multicoloured nature of the packs still to open I added him to the pile.

Dimir Guildgate - "But Lee!" I hear you cry. "What about your resolution not draft gates and stones? Yet here you sit, picks 8 and 10 with both a gate and a stone, what gives?" Yes well you are right to call me on that. But judging on the cards coming to me, the least drafted colours were green and blue. The dimir guildgate had the best chance to sticking my thumb in everyone else's pie and ruining their three colour ambitions.

Rakdos Cluestone - "But Lee!" Yeah, yeah I know. Red Black fits into my Borhzdos colours at least but there was nothing else honestly.

Restore the Peace  - Returning creatures was good but requiring them to deal damage first is pretty poor. Zero cards in my colours but this one was likely the most annoying to play against.

Pilfered Plans - Cost effective and a good hand filler, couldn't see mill being a very successful deck but taken to stop other people drawing two cards.

Nivix Cyclops - If I was playing any sort of Izzet this guy is in. That ability with the right cards and acceleration is a turn three win, well, not in draft but constructed absolutely.  This card as the last pick also tells me no-one is playing izzet and that I am mostly safe from blue cards and I should draft red less aggressively than I did in this pack favouring white and black.

Pack 2 - Gatecrash

Time to force the creatures, I will have to leave some good cards behind to increase my count. In drafts I prefer to run 17 lands, 14 creatures and then ideally 9 creature removal spells and/or combat tricks. Time to see if my Borhzdos strategy is going to pay off.

Gordon's Alive?!
Daring Skyjek - 2 mana, three power. Battalions into a flyer. First pick

Bomber Corps - 2 mana for a 1/2 but with a nice battalion ability to do 1 damage to target creature or player.

Daring Skyjek - Will pick this card all day.

Firefist Striker - My lucky day, no-one is picking these battalion boros cards it seems. Another solid 2 drop, 2/1 with a battalion that makes target creature unable to block.

Skyknight Legionnaire - Wow, this made it past four other people. Nobody is playing white red over that side of the table it seems.

Foundry Street Denizen - Again wow. Nobody is taking these red cards. Snaffled right away for a great 1 drop.

I dislike nothing about this card
Foundry Champion - Hello, what's this? Pick seven. Foundry champion. Taken with surprise and pleasure, start to feel that maybe a two colour deck is on the cards and black can be dropped.

Boros Keyrune - Sold. Screw it, I have enough cards now to run a very good Boros zerg rush deck. At this point I shift my draft strategy to picking attacking fast creatures. 1/1 double striking mana fixing mana acceleration? I like cards like this.

Towering Thunderfist - He got passed the first time because he was 5 mana rather than the 2 of the skyjek. I don't pass him over a second time.  

Mugging - More removal doesn't hurt, can also nullify blockers. Taken without much thought. Good flavour text too.

Rarrrrrrrrgh I bite-a your face!
Assault Griffin - Now that I'm not using the first two creatures I drafted (tithe drinker and hired torturer) and now I'm also only likely to be using one multicoloured creature (foundry champ over there) I still needed some creatures to get me to that 14 mark. This one was a very good choice. 4 mana for a 3/2 flyer demands an answer

Boros Guildgate - "But Lee!" ENOUGH! OK, I said not to draft too many, not draft none at all. Now Orzhov is out of the reckoning I wanted that 17th land to be a Boros Guildgate and then I could split 8/8 on mountains and plains.

Mugging - Another surprise pass, very happy to see it though.

Midnight Recovery - Returning creatures is very nice in limited. Amazed this made it round. But still, black and therefore not red/white.

 Pack Three - Return to Ravnica

At this stage I had 10 creatures and thanks to my double mugging and triple(!) Warleader's Helix I had a host of removal too. I also had the keyrune, acting as a creature and mana fixer. Ideally I'd snag about 4 red or white creatures and 3 utility spells and I'd be well on my way to running a two colour deck in an era of heavy 3 colour splashes. Lets see...

Man on wire has resorted to a very
aggressive marketing strategy.
Gore-House Chainwalker - Holy trees with dicks! How did I forget about the mono-red unleash series in Ravnica? If I wasn't going two colour before I was now. Detention sphere gets passed left as I snaffled the common creature that for 2 mana when unleashed is a 3/2 that can't block. Rapid

Splatter Thug - a 3 drop, when unleashed is a 3/3 first striking creature. Good choice in the 3 slot.

Gore-House Chainwalker - It's on! Two colour deck 100% confirmed with these three picks. Feeling good about my chances.

Precinct Captain - My second rare of the day 2 mana for a 2/2 first striker that gives me additional token when he damages an opponent. Don't think I'd have many preferred 4th picks in this booster.

Blistercoil Weird - Solid one drop even if the other hybrid is blue rather than white.

Witty captions are hard work. But uhh,
nice mask, Freddy and/or Jason. I guess.
Street Spasm - Incredible, there must only be at least one other person playing red, and there had to, somehow, be a better card in there. Solid kill spell.

Tablet of the Guilds - Middling pick, low priority, but fits casting many small spells quite well if I was going to sideboard it in. Also taking it stops Orzhov players taking it and gaining too much life.

Rootborn Defences - Indestructible creatures is a good thing. But on the other side of that I have a large portion of the kill spells. Nice sideboard option.

 Righteous Authority - Huh, I was not expecting this to make it around everyone either. Situational +1/+1 or +2/+2 for most of the time but the extra card draw is well worth it. Keep your hand until your post combat main phase and cast out then? Taken because my deck is pretty much built by now, that will go into a different deck of mine.

Drop this turn two and your opponent
has about three turns to deal with it.

Giant Growth - Not playing green. Didn't want to get my creatures surprised by it.

Deviant Glee - Perfect if I hadn't dropped black. But I did. Taken to stop Rakdos Cacklers and the like zerg rushing me.

Chorus of Might - By this point green and blue were the only cards left. This card is good for Selesnya, but not Boros.

Downsize - Overloading it can be the same as fog. Mostly a terrible fog proxy.

Downsize - :pokerface:


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