Honestly, I'm ready for Amonkhet at this point. I've done a bunch of Modern Masters 2017 drafts and I almost always end up in the same archetype: Esper Control. I think it's fair to say at this point that U/B/x is the best archetype by a large margin. Even though there are so many flavors of it, the format has started to get a little stale, although the gameplay has been spectacular. Some of the best Limited games I have ever seen and/or played have been in the past couple of weeks. Still, for today's article, I wanted to switch it up a bit. I decided to force an aggressive deck.
If you've talked to me about ways to improve at the game and understand a format, one of my first go-tos is to give a restriction. Restrictions breed creativity, and it's good to stretch those muscles. So for this draft I gave myself the following restriction: “If there is a Burning-Tree Emissary in the pack, take it." The reason I decided to do this was because I have found the aggressive decks to be successful when they can commit a ton of power to the battlefield as early as possible, specifically not relying on tokens because of the ever-present Mist Raven. So let's see where this takes us.
Pack 1, Pick 4
The Picks So Far:
Honestly, this was pretty unfortunate. I was hoping my first couple of packs wouldn't have Burning-Tree Emissary so I could take better cards, but hey, I'm embracing the restriction.
Even though aggro decks need a plethora of things to do on turn 2, Dragon Fodder and Gruul Signet just don't compare to the other options here. Yes, Dragon Fodder is a card I will play in R/G aggro, but there are so many other options that I don't feel the need to take it this early. And ramping in aggro is way less relevant, so we can also disregard the Signet.
Ground Assault is a premium removal spell. Although I mentioned in my last article that removal is not as necessary in this format, it is more important in aggro decks in order to facilitate good attacks. So I don't mind picking up Ground Assault early for my R/G decks. But if the main purpose of this pick is to push through damage, I think the last option is more enticing.
Gruul War Chant is one of the main reasons to play an aggro deck. All aggro decks in Modern Masters 2017 Limited have the capability of going wide, and menace is a hell of a keyword. It's not hard to just kill on turn 5 if you cast a turn 4 Gruul War Chant, especially with a bunch of copies of Burning-Tree Emissary. Just watch out for blowouts from cards like Sundering Growth mid-combat. I think this pick is an easy Gruul War Chant.
Pack 1, Pick 6
The Picks So Far:
Pyrewild Shaman is an incredibly inefficient card, but one that R/G really likes to have. It works notably well with Hanweir Lancer when flooding, or just when flooding in general. But overall, it's just another bloodrush card, so it is replaceable.
Now, Dynacharge isn't particularly replaceable. As I've mentioned, these decks tend to go wide, so a strictly better Trumpet Blast is definitely a card I look for when drafting aggro, and usually in multiples. So far this is the frontrunner, and if I take it I'll be looking to pick up more cards like Dragon Fodder and Fists of Ironwood.
I have been unimpressed with Baloth Cage Trap. Although a 4/4 flash with upside seems very good, it just isn't fast enough. Sure, you can get your opponent if they cast an early Signet, but this also means you didn't cast a two-drop, and that is absolutely terrible in R/G aggro. And the body being a token is a pretty big downside for every non-populate deck.
I'm sure we have all played enough against Renegade Freighter, and Hungry Spriggan is not that different of a card (although one less power). Hungry Spriggan is actually one of the most important cards in the R/G bloodrush decks because of, well, bloodrush. Most creatures in this format have three or less power, so Hungry Spriggan ends up getting double blocked some portion of the time, and bloodrush really works well under that circumstance. And it even has trample to boot! I will play as many of these as I can get my hands on, and when you get to curve Avacyn's Pilgrim into this on the play, you just feel dirty.