Not much changed with this iteration of the Magic Online Cube—four cards were added—and because of this I won't spend time on it (at least in this article). Instead, I'll jump right into the draft.
Taking Bloodstained Mire over Faithless Looting was pretty questionable since I was already committed to the reanimation/value Grixis plan and there are few ways of dumping things into the graveyard besides Faithless Looting. I did get lucky and get Entomb, Izzet Charm, and Frantic Search later, but that pick was still wrong. I thought I needed to make sure that I had a way to get the dual land and Bloodstained Mire was a way to do so, but that's still very early to jump on that.
Picking Shadowmage Infiltrator without giving Makeshift Mannequin much thought was also incorrect. It happened because I was surprised that Finkel was in the pack so late; it's a good example of objective power level versus what my deck needed. Makeshift Mannequin was better for the deck than Finkel due to wanting to reanimate Griselbrand. Diabolic Servitude not returning from my P1P3 pack also should have been a sign that if I passed this getting additional reanimation cards would be difficult, which ended up being correct.
Would the deck have been more powerful with Faithless Looting and Makeshift Mannequin instead of Bloodstained Mire, Court Hussar (who I likely wouldn't have taken without the additional way of getting a white source), and Shadowmage Infiltrator with the option of Cunning Sparkmage in the sideboard? Probably.
I feel that Sunken Ruins over Siege-Gang Commander was a correct pick, but I can see taking Siege-Gang because of its synergy with Jitte, it helping me to stabilize to get to Griselbrand / Bolas mana, and it not being a bad reanimation target. A land that would help me get to Nicol Bolas, Griselbrand, and Pact of Negation mana also has its merits, which is why I feel that it was the right pick.
That said, I was pretty happy with the deck that I drafted.
- 1 Bogardan Hellkite
- 1 Court Hussar
- 1 Old Man of the Sea
- 1 Shadowmage Infiltrator
- 1 Thundermaw Hellkite
- 1 Griselbrand
As mentioned in the gameplay footage, I had an extremely favorable matchup versus my opponent's ramp deck since I could steal my opponent's big creatures and counter whatever else mattered.
In game 2, I don't know why I didn't just immediately Chain Lightning the opposing Arbor Elf since my game plan was to stymie my opponent's development and take over the game with a Griselbrand. My opponent ramping into Palladium Myr, which they happened to use to ramp into something that I could steal, doesn't excuse that play. Including Wildfire seemed unnecessary; the opponent's large creatures could survive it, and even if I got some mana guys out of the way, my other spells weren't going to be situationally good like Wildfire would have been.
In sideboarding, I mainly brought in Misdirection to pick fights with countermagic so that I could redirect opposing countermagic onto Misdirection to resolve things; more so that than looking for opposing spells with single targets since it didn't seem like there was much of it. Torch Fiend should have come in after seeing the Worn Powerstone because that likely wasn't the only mana rock that the opponent had (it should have come in over something like Ultimate Price, as I hadn't seen many big creatures from my opponent.)
In game 3, there's credence to reanimating Glen Elendra Archmage with Persist on the stack, as the game looked to be one based on countermagic fights (as it turned out in the end). I ended up three-for-oneing to Lava Axe my opponent with a Bogardan Hellkite, which didn't really make much sense for me to do.
I'm not really sure what I was thinking with the end-of-turn Izzet Charm with only Griselbrand in hand later that game. I think it may have been, as Adrian Sullivan refers to it, "EOT-itis" from being on autopilot. Doing so with another card in hand would have ensured I had a better chance of getting my last black source for Griselbrand as well as letting me keep it in my hand. It's unlikely that it would have resolved, but losing a must-counter threat in that matchup was a big mistake.
Like in the last match, bringing in Wildfire didn't make much sense since most of my opponent's threats (Elspeth, Sun Titan, Frost Titan) lived through it and my opponent was probably better equipped to deal with Wildfire than I was. They did have an unlucky mulligan, but my hand was pretty well equipped to deal with their large threats and Nicol Bolas would have been able to deal with big things like Frost/Sun Titan after getting to the appropriate mana.
I hope that you enjoyed this video walkthrough and additional commentary in the article.
May all of your opening packs contain Sol Rings!