Limited Lessons - A Lorwyn Draft Walkthrough
Magic Online has been really goofy this week which I'm sure you've noticed if you've attempted to draft. Apparently in an attempt to control traffic and decrease lag they are only offering drafts during night hours which makes it hard since most people work during the day and can't stay up super late. Anyway I've managed to spend a few late nights on the computer and I've played a number of drafts (even though most of my play has been Sealed).
This week I want to discuss one of my drafts in detail since I felt it had some interesting decisions.
Consuming Bonfire Boggart Loggers Lys Alana Huntmaster Inner-Flame Acolyte Neck Snap Warren-Scourge Elf Lairwatch Giant Spiderwig Boggart Boggart Forager Ringskipper Wizened Cenn Final Revels Crush Underfoot Dauntless Dourbark Silvergill Adept (foil)
This is one of those packs (and Lorwyn seems to have more of them than sets in the past) where it feels like you can go in any of the possible directions. Lots of tribes have options available here and there is reasonable removal in Neck Snap and Consuming Bonfire. As fun as it may be to think of all of the possible directions you could take with this pack when you're downright honest about it only two cards should really stand out.
Those two cards are Final Revels and Dauntless Dourbark. The majority of the other cards are perfectly playable but none are close to the power level of either of these two and we have no tribal lines to influence the pick otherwise since it's the beginning of the draft. If Treefolk were a better tribe then a case could be made to take the Dourbark here but the few experiences I've had with them suggest that they are mediocre.
In summary I've typed two paragraphs and I could've summed this pick up in a simple sentence by saying “Take the Infest obv.”
My Pick: Final Revels
Moonglove Winnower Kinsbaile Balloonist Inner-Flame Acolyte Peppersmoke Paperfin Rascal Nath's Elite Moonglove Extract Shimmering Grotto Elvish Eulogist Giant's Ire Lairwatch Giant Ceaseless Searblades Familiar's Ruse Boggart Mob
Another easy pick right?
I just took a good Black card with my first pick and now I'm offered the bombtastic Boggart Mob. Not so fast hot shot.
First of all my first pick was Final Revels which is good at killing little men. By taking Boggart Mob I am taking a big step towards being the Goblin drafter at the table without a ton of information that Goblins will even be available. Final Revels will end up killing my whole side most of the time. This may not be the worst thing if I have some Mudbutton Torchrunners in play to magnify the effect of the Revels or if I've simply fallen behind and need to wipe the board. It can also be used as an Overrun type of effect if my opponent is beginning to stabilize but enough guys will be unblocked. So I can find some arguments both for and against taking the Mob here with my second pick.
If you go through this thought process and then still decide to pick the Mob I can't fault you too much because you at least went through the motions. If you just go ahead and slam the Mob into your pile because it's a great card in the right deck then you aren't doing the right thing here. People that do things like this end up then forcing Goblins when it's clear they aren't available and completely throw away a draft that they could've won by simply being more open-minded. Taking Boggart Mob here is a pretty big gamble because sometimes it will work out great and sometimes it will be a wasted pick or end up ruining your draft if you're not careful.
The key thing to realize here is that while the Mob is an acceptable pick there is a better option available in the Moonglove Extract. The Extract doesn't force you into a tribe yet and is colorless removal that will make your deck no matter which direction the draft takes you. Tribal bombs may seem very lucrative but you have to be careful when picking them early in the draft and make sure you're doing it for the right reasons and not just because it's rare or because it's a bomb.
My Pick: Moonglove Extract
Mulldrifter Footbottom Feast Lowland Oaf Weed Strangle Lignify Kithkin Healer Inkfathom Divers Needle Drop Soaring Hope Elvish Branchbender Wellgabber Apothecary Prowess of the Fair Ethereal Whiskergill
We're still open in terms of tribe and this pack does not look like that is going to change. The two best cards in the pack are Mulldrifter and Weed Strangle and coincidentally they are also my best options.
Some people may advocate Weed Strangle here as it keeps the deck one color but I'm not one of them. I will take and splash Mulldrifter in almost any situation and I'm certainly taking it here when I don't even have colors defined yet.
My Pick: Mulldrifter
And so the plot thickens.
Here I see Weed Strangle and Summon the School as the best possible options. Amoeboid Changeling is worth a bit of consideration but I'd take Strangle over that if I wanted to just stay on-color. Here is where you have to really use some deduction and realize that Merfolk is clearly open. I got shipped some good Blue in the earlier packs and Summon the School is an absolute bomb that shouldn't ever go later than 2nd or 3rd especially in the first round of boosters.
I think anyone who takes Weed Strangle here is being too careful and missing the clear writing on the wall to switch into this tribe. As far as whether Final Revels will make the cut or not is uncertain and this is all assuming that I don't somehow get cut from Merfolk later. The potential brokenness of the School is much more desirable than simply staying on color here with Weed Strangle.
My Pick: Summon the School
This pack is a bit weak overall with the best options being Wings of Velis Vel and Paperfin Rascal for me. I haven't had the best experience with the Wings though I will usually still play one copy in most of my Blue decks. It's nice because of the Changeling ability but in practice it's been worse than it seems on paper. On the other hand most people consider Paperfin Rascal mediocre and I've had good experience with him so who knows. I ended up taking the guy with this pick.
My Pick: Paperfin Rascal
Not to toot my own horn here but I feel I have a very good handle on when to move into a tribe and when not to in this format. This draft wasn't overly difficult as Summon the School is unbelievable and should never go as late as 4th pick but I've found that my decisions on when to move in have been very on target lately. Clearly things are working out in this draft with a late pick Aquitects who is one of the most desirable cards in the archetype.
My Pick: Streambed Aquitects
This was the easiest pick of the entire draft and I'm not going to bother embellishing it with two paragraphs of unnecessary text.
My Pick: Silvergill Douser
I considered taking Flamekin Harbinger to search up my Mulldrifter but then I realized I wasn't in Red. Ego Erasure hasn't done a ton for me mainly because Merfolk decks don't get involved in big attack steps unless Silvergill Douser is online anyway. The card is still playable though so if nothing else I'm not sending a Blue signal by taking it.
My Pick: Ego Erasure
On the way back around I got Shimmering Grotto Inkfathom Divers Kithkin Healer and Scattering Stroke as playables in my colors. I also picked up Boggart Loggers. Overall I really like how the first pack went for me and was confident going into the second round of boosters.
Oakgnarl Warrior Goldmeadow Harrier Glimmerdust Nap Warren Pilferers Soulbright Flamekin Kithkin Daggerdare Springjack Knight Heal the Scars Inkfathom Divers Boggart Birth Rite Ingot Chewer Woodland Guidance Giant Harbinger Sentry Oak Incandescent Soulstoke
When I opened this booster I literally stared at it for a whole minute and wasn't happy with my options. Apparently I went temporarily blind or something and didn't see the Goldmeadow Harrier in the pack which ended up making this an easy pick. Just one of those weird moments I guess where part of my brain tuned out.
As a side note I would like to say that I've been very pleased with Sentry Oak in some of the other decks I've drafted. It allows people to make mistakes with clash and is a nice blocker to boot. Most importantly it has allowed me to dig out of bad situations when I felt I had skill or deck advantage against someone and was just flooded or colorscrewed. Clashing every turn is a pretty nice thing and it gets better if you occasionally get to attack with a 5/5.
My Pick: Goldmeadow Harrier
Warren Pilferers Surge of Thoughtweft Kithkin Daggerdare Mulldrifter Weed Strangle Wellgabber Apothecary Gilt-Leaf Seer Boggart Birth Rite Zephyr Net Bog Hoodlums Prowess of the Fair Silvergill Adept Brion Stoutarm Weed Strangle (foil)
Quite the pack if I do say so myself.
Mulldrifter is simply better than Silvergill Adept even though I plan to be Merfolk and the Adept is cheaper. Drawing two cards and having evasion is just very tough to top in terms of card quality. I considered splashing the Stoutarm as well but since the ability requires Red and there are excellent on-color options available I see no reason to go out on a limb. The pack also contains a Pilferers and two Weed Strangles but I'm most likely just going to be U/W anyway with a possible Revels splash.
Mulldrifter is the best pick here though I could see how some players would take the Adept since it's uncommon and a Merfolk. That doesn't make it right; I can just see how some people would make that mistake by trying to stay tribal. Right mindset wrong place to apply it.
My Pick: Mulldrifter
Lash Out Avian Changeling Warren Pilferers Lowland Oaf Aethersnipe Quill-Slinger Boggart Kinsbaile Skirmisher Scarred Vinebreeder Lace with Moonglove Springjack Knight Treefolk Harbinger Boggart Shenanigans Makeshift Mannequin
The Mannequin in particular has special synergy in this deck with two copies of Mulldrifter. As far as on-color options go I think I'd rather have the Avian Changeling than Aethersnipe as it's sleeker and does more of what I'm looking for in this type of controlling Merfolk build.
The pick came down to a choice of splashing Lash Out or Mannequin or taking the on-color Changeling and I almost timed out while making it. I ended up just staying true to form and taking the Avian though it's possible that taking Lash Out to splash or taking Mannequin with the intention of also playing Final Revels would've been a better decision. I'm interested to hear comments on this one in the forums though I think you can't go too far wrong by taking the strong flier that also counts as a Merfolk.
My Pick: Avian Changeling
This set of packs has been absurd.
I don't even know where to start with this pack as again there are good splash options in Briarhorn and Tarfire and also a fine card in Glen Elendra Pranksters. During the actual draft I was having dreams of bouncing Mulldrifters or recurring them. This led me to take the Pranksters though after some rethinking it's possible that I should've just went for the splash here. Honestly I'm not even sure which card is better if I decide to do that but I do know that I was wishing I'd taken Lash Out with the previous pick and then made this pick easily become Tarfire.
This draft is a prime example of another thing that can happen in this format that you need to be very aware of. Just because the Merfolk archetype is usually U/W doesn't mean that it always has to be that way. I could very easily splash Summon the School and be U/R Merfolk which is likely what I should've done in this instance. Don't fall into patterns and always keep your eyes open for new options because there are so many available in this environment.
My Pick: Glen Elendra Pranksters
Since I've been stubborn about staying in U/W I guess it makes sense to stay consistent and take the Neck Snap with this pick. I did give a good amount of consideration to Vivid Creek and would almost definitely be taking it with this pick if I'd taken one of the many splash options available earlier. As it stands I wanted the removal and wasn't sure about Final Revels though I was leaning more and more towards leaving it on the bench.
My Pick: Neck Snap
Ugh. This is a very tough pick and I'm still not sure what is right.
Both Sentinels and Veteran of the Depths are better than the other options available in my current deck and I wanted to take both. I ended up taking the Sentinels since nobody I've played in 8man Queues online seems to be capable of playing around it. It also has evasion which tends to win out when I'm not sure about a pick.
After thinking it over more when the draft was over I still like my Sentinels pick but am interested to see what other people think. Veteran can get out of hand very quickly and I have Goldmeadow Harrier to “power it up” along with Summon the School.
My Pick: Sentinels of Glen Elendra
This is a similar decision from earlier in the draft where I took Paperfin Rascal over Wings. I'd prefer to have one of each though and my playable count is high so I doubt two Rascals would make the cut anyway. This time I'm going with the trick.
My Pick: Wings of Velis Vel
Sigh another easy way to splash some Red burn that I didn't draft. There really isn't another option besides the Mystic in this pack and I'm happy to take him.
My Pick: Tideshaper Mystic
On the lap I got I got lucky and picked up a bunch of gifts. I got another Inkfathom Divers the Makeshift Mannequin I was hoping for as well as Faerie Trickery and Broken Ambitions. The deck was looking great with an entire pack still to go.
Fistful of Force Quill-Slinger Boggart Aethersnipe Surge of Thoughtweft Cloudcrown Oak Tarfire Gilt-Leaf Sear Protective Bubble Ingot Chewer Amoeboid Changeling Spring Cleaning Boggart Harbinger Lammastide Weave Pollen Lullaby Gilt-Leaf Palace
At this point in the draft I was on a bit of tilt after passing up the Red burn earlier. This pack annoyed me even further as I figured it was too late to jump in for a single Tarfire now and I might as well just make the best of a U/W build. Once I decided that the pick was between Changeling and Aethersnipe I decided to go with the Changeling due to the archetype I was drafting. This again could be wrong or based on tilt but the pick sure looks awful on paper now even if my reasoning seemed sound at the time.
I'm sure I'll hear about this one in the forums.
My Pick: Amoeboid Changeling
Surge of Thoughtweft Ponder Tarfire Cloudcrown Oak Wanderer's Twig Silvergill Douser Avian Changeling Bog Hoodlums Protective Bubble Skeletal Changeling Fire-Belly Changeling Veteran of the Depths Hunter of Eyeblights Ethereal Whiskergill
The first thing I saw when this pack popped up on the screen was Tarfire and I was about ready to throw my monitor. Then I saw the Silvergill Douser also in the booster and calmed down quite a bit. None of the cards are even close to Douser in this archetype as I've said many times before. Easy pick.
My Pick: Silvergill Douser
Hornet Harasser Axegrinder Giant Kithkin Greatheart Footbottom Feast Lowland Oaf Blind-Spot Giant Exiled Boggart Heal the Scars Treefolk Harbinger Hearthcage Giant Vivid Creek Ancient Amphitheater Lignify (foil)
I don't have any Giants and I've passed on multiple opportunities to splash Red so the only real card I can take here that isn't a hate draft is the Vivid land.
My Pick: Vivid Creek
Moonglove Winnower Plover Knights Leaf Gilder Adder-Staff Boggart Wispmare Streambed Aquitects Triclopean Sight Nightshade Stinger Faultgrinder Faerie Trickery Veteran of the Depths Gaddock Teeg
The first thing I did was get a price check on Mr. Teeg and found out that he was only worth three tix. Not enough to raredraft.
After that this pick is pretty difficult as I think both Plover Knights and Streambed Aquitects are better than Veteran of the Depths but after that it gets tougher. This is one of those picks where tribal lines end up making the decision for you and while the Knights is definitely the better card in a vacuum the Merfolk is almost certainly the correct pick in this situation. Being able to determine this will have a big impact on your performance in this format. In this particular instance it helps that White is the supporting color and the Knights may be hard to cast.
My Pick: Streambed Aquitects
The Adept seems significantly better than the Balloonist especially in a controlling deck filled with small creatures like this one. He's also better than Broken Ambitions and I already have one of those to boot.
My Pick: Silvergill Adept
My Pick: Stonybrook Angler
This is exactly the card I was looking for to put the finishing touches on this deck. If someone gets Judge and Summon the School online it is very hard to beat. This guy just has synergy with the whole deck.
My Pick: Judge of Currents
An easy pick to round out the draft and make my deck completely ridiculous.
My Pick: Silvergill Adept
I managed to pick up a Veteran of the Depths and Wispmare on the lap to complete the draft. Here's how I built the deck.
2 Inkfathom Divers
Judge of Currents
Sentinels of Glen Elendra
2 Silvergill Adept
2 Silvergill Douser
2 Streambed Aquitects
Summon the School
Veteran of the Depths
Glen Elendra Pranksters
Wings of Velis Vel
This deck wasn't very easy to build and you can see for yourself all of the cards left on the sidelines. I'll provide some brief explanation of my thinking when building this deck.
I didn't play the Grotto or Vivid Creek because I felt the mana was better as all basics. A case can be made for the Creek but drawing it when I need to rip a land on a key turn is probably not worth the slight color improvement. Obviously I decided to not splash the Revels as my card pool was very strong and it was unnecessary to wreck the mana even though I could also splash Makeshift Mannequin. If this deck was going to lose it wasn't going to be because of inconsistent mana issues. I really wanted the Zephyr Net in the main but decided against it and planned to board it in against fatties.
As a side note I talked about Aquitect's Will in my strategy guide for this archetype and there were a few opportunities to pick one up in the draft and I opted not to. This was a non-aggressive version of the deck though I think I'd probably play a Will if I had one or at least sideboard it in the non-Blue matchups just because of the large amount of Islandwalkers I have.
I was extremely confident in this deck and felt I should cruise to the finals but things didn't work out so well in round 1. I won game 1 easily by getting Judge of Currents online and totally dominating the board. In game 2 I started with a turn 2 Judge and then had Summon the School online to create a very favorable board position. Before I could go totally nuts my opponent topdecked Lignify for Judge and was hitting me in the air with two Sentinels of Glen Elendra. I managed to take back control with Silvergill Douser but he again ripped Oblivion Ring to kill that. Eventually his two Dauntless Dourbarks ate me alive with trample. For game 3 I mulliganned to five on the play and stuck at two lands while my opponent walked all over me with his slow four-color deck.
I believe I was a huge favorite in the matchup and bad draws simply got the better of me this time. I look forward to responses in the forums on some of the trickier picks in the draft as well as whether you'd like to see another walkthrough next week or another tribal strategy guide. See you in the forums.
Soooooo & ThatsGameBoys on MTGO