Prerelease was this weekend and the set has been up to draft on Magic Online for a day, and I am loving it! Of note, Sealed has been a very different ballgame. Decks can be very clunky there and battlefield stalls are abundant, so fliers are about as good as I've ever seen them in Sealed. As far as my Draft experience so far, I have really enjoyed the blue tempo decks. It's hard to tell if anything stands out above the rest just yet.
For now, we all just have to draft and figure it out. Let's look at a pack!
Pack 1, Pick 1
Pious Interdiction is a solid common, but I think it's going to start being a bit overrated. That being said, I don't mind first-picking it at all, but four mana is a lot for a Pacifism. There are plenty of creatures that this doesn't handle well, and blue has multiple maindeckable commons that easily nullify the card. This is all important to keep in mind, but you should still play it in your decks; just be aware that it's not as good as it looks.
Storm Fleet Arsonist has overperformed. If you've read this column, you know that I prioritize efficiency. There's only so much room for five-drops in Limited decks, but this is a good one. There are a lot of small creatures running around, so this kills a card more often than you would think. Because of the converted mana cost, I'm not happy to first pick it. So I would take Pious Interdiction over it, but I think they're close on power level.
But Perilous Voyage is going to take the cake! On its face, the card looks like a medium bounce spell. Two mana is a lot, and not being able to target your own creatures is a reasonable downside. That being said, this set is lacking in cheap, instant-speed interaction, which makes it better than usual. Additionally, blue is quite tempo-oriented, and this is the best bounce spell available to enable that. And finally, scry 2 is a very good ability that comes up when bounce is at its worset, on a cheap creature, so turning that downside into upside puts it over the top of every common in my opinion.
Now, I'm usually higher on effects like this than most people, so I could see being wrong here. But I have high hopes for Perilous Voyage.
Pack 1, Pick 3
The Picks So Far:
Storm Sculptor is the worst out of the options, but it is the only blue card I can take. While I think the card is good, they get worse in multiples and I'm not a huge fan of picking up cards like that early. So when you add those two facts together, I think it's a safe pass on the unblockable Merfolk.
Firecannon Blast is probably one of the better commons. Three mana to deal three at sorcery speed is pretty mediocre, yet a card that you would play. With Raid it pretty much becomes Murder, and that card would be great. The problem is, without evasive creatures (which red doesn't have much of), the big thing that you have to kill can eat your attacking creature. The card is still solid, and I definitely wouldn't mind taking it here, but I think the other option is an extremely good card.
Merfolk Branchwalker is a card I actively want to first-pick. Two-drops that are Merfolk are going to be premium in this set because so many of the Merfolk cards want you to have one on the battlefield on the early stages of the game. That, and Explore on a cheap creature is phenomenal. About 60% of the time this card is a two-mana 3/2 with scry 1, and the rest of the time it's a two-mana 2/1 that draws a card. Both of those options are phenomenal, and I'm happy to pick it up here!
Of note, Storm Fleet Aerialist may not be a Merfolk, and even helps enable raid for Firecannon Blast, but I think the delta between Merfolk Branchwalker and Firecannon Blast is too large to justify taking the Blast.