Constructed Criticism - Drafting With Balefire Liege: M10 #3
This week I wanted to do a little more than just draft so keep reading after the coverage for a tidbit about Standard and a "new" deck for your viewing pleasure!
This pack was rather weak other than Cudgel Troll.
Pack 1 pick 2:
This pack is pretty close between Borderland Ranger Prodigal Pyromancer and Assassinate. All 3 are perfectly respectable but I love Borderland Ranger and he keeps me in a single color until I can decide what colors are most heavily coming my way. Plus he is one of Green's valuable sources of card advantage. The fact that he also enables splashing and consistently casting bombs in this power-driven format is another plus.
Pack 1 pick 3:
I almost took Essence Scatter here as I love playing GU. However the pack didn't offer any great Blue cards worth delving into another color yet so I figured taking the 6/4 was fine. Bog Wraith is probably the best overall card because he is great against Black archetypes yet still a solid creature against all others. Sad to say but 3/3s are ‘huge’ in this format.
Pack 1 pick 4:
And here is what we were waiting for! 4th pick Pacifism is a great signal that White is open especially since 2 of the uncommons are still in the pack.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Seismic Strike is probably the best card still in the pack but I really hate playing Red for a card that requires you to actually play a decent number of Mountains. Safe Passage is one of the best combat tricks in the format and will protect us from opposing bombs like Fireball and Overrun. Deadly Recluse is a close second pick for us but I rather enjoy blowing my opponent out.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Pack 1 pick 7:
Entangling Vines is not the greatest card in the world but Green has virtually no removal. Entangling Vines can lock down your opponent's fliers and keep you from getting run over by any non-vigilance bomb. In previous Core Set Limited formats Dehydration was always an okay pick and Entangling Vines is a functional reprint albeit in a different color.
Pack 1 pick 8:
This tabling is a good sign for us. Excommunicate is one of those cards that is very good when you're ahead on board and decent when you're behind. GW has the greatest potential to blow out your opponent with Excommunicate and I wouldn't mind playing a few.
Pack 1 pick 9:
And another one tables! Recently I've been getting these very late and I'm not entirely sure why. I think people really undervalue it.
Pack 1 pick 10:
A mediocre combat trick but something GW can use nonetheless especially if I am short on playables at the end. However Green and White have the most playables out of any of the other colors so that shouldn't be a problem.
Pack 1 pick 11:
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
Wow. I'm not happy to pass either bomb flier but I don't have very many creatures and I would love to be able to take a playable from this pack. Visionary isn't the greatest card but he's fine and can smooth out your draws in the early game. I didn't see a lot of Black in pack 1 so passing Tendrils should probably make some person on my right very happy.
Pack 2 pick 2:
Again we have another weak pack for me. However both Elvish Piper and Rampant Growth are decent picks. I'm not the hugest fan of a 1/1 for 3G and don't have any super expensive creatures to put into play yet so I took the Rampant Growth as it is guaranteed acceleration and mana-fixing. It could also help me cast a splashed Fireball or something should I get one in the next pack.
Pack 2 pick 3:
I really wish this pack had been mixed in with the last two. There are some great picks here for my deck but I think Acidic Slime is the best. Killing a land is fine but killing Gorgon Flail or Pacifism is better.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Pack 2 pick 5:
I don't mind playing 2 Safe Passage and don't have any other combat tricks like Giant Growth yet so it is fine. I considered hate-drafting the Inferno Elemental or Wall of Frost but felt like Safe Passage could really help me in a Green mirror or against a deck with a lot of Red removal.
Pack 2 pick 6:
At this point I'm really short on guys and might actually have to end up playing Soul Warden both as a creature and also as a way to stall until I can get my larger threats into play.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Short on guys and this might unfortunately make the cut.
Pack 2 pick 8:
Pack 2 pick 9:
Mist Leopard is a decent guy and can really put a beating to those Red or Black based control decks that rely on removal to take control of the game. If it weren’t for his two-toughness that trades with everything in a b/r deck. Meh.
Pack 2 pick 10:
I should have hatedrafted the Flashfreeze here but I clicked too fast since there wasn't anything for my deck.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Wow this pack is still great and Divine Verdict is a welcome removal spell for my deck.
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
I waffled for a minute over this pick as Gargoyle Castle is essentially a six-mana 3/4 Flier that counts as a land early on in the game. However I have won and lost my fair share of games on the back of Whispersilk Cloak and this deck is the kind that really wants to have an unblockable creature. My creatures lack evasion and this can end the game quickly when attached to a Craw Wurm or even a lowly Bramble Elemental.
Pack 3 pick 2:
Hurray! I finally get an early pick that I'm happy with.
Pack 3 pick 3:
I didn't much like the idea of playing three Craw Wurms and Rhox Pikemaster is a huge body with First Strike. I also didn't want any of my opponents to get a sick Soldier for their mono-white aggro deck.
Pack 3 pick 4:
A genuine bomb and should win me (at the very least) a few games.
Pack 3 pick 5:
The manafixer here is desperately needed. I also want a bit of balance between Plains and Forests since I have a spell that requires WW but also a spell that wants as many Forests in play as possible. The only other relevant pick is Silvercoat Lion but I'd rather not play a "harder to cast" Runeclaw Bear.
Pack 3 pick 6:
An accelerator is always welcome when my deck is packing six-drops.
Pack 3 pick 7:
I don't like playing 2 Entangling Vines but I might have to. Otherwise Pacifism and Divine Verdict are going to be my only removal spells. That is one reason I really dislike playing Green and White together since neither color is really stacked with removal.
Pack 3 pick 8:
A good sideboard card.
Pack 3 pick 9:
I don't really like this card but I have played it before in both sealed and draft and been relatively happy with it. Most of the time it is a sideboard card against Red-based decks with a lot of burn-based removal. It is pretty horrible against Black and White as their Doom Blades and Pacifisms can wreck you and is even worse without evasive creatures.
Pack 3 pick 10:
Not making the same mistake twice.
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
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Here is how I ended up building my deck:
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Rampant Growth
1 Blinding Mage
1 Elvish Visionary
1 Whispersilk Cloak
2 Safe Passage
1 Borderland Ranger
1 Awakener Druid
1 Divine Verdict
2 Entangling Vines
1 Cudgel Troll
1 Mist Leopard
1 Rhox Pikemaster
1 Acidic Slime
1 Bramble Creeper
2 Craw Wurm
1 Howl of the Night Pack
Round 1: UB
Game 1 is a drawn out affair where I knock him to 1 life in quick fashion. Turn 2 Rampant Growth is followed by turn 3 Awakener Druid with an attack. Next turn I Pacifism his Wall of Frost and follow up with Elvish Visionary. He plays Doom Blade on my 4/5 land and I play the Craw Wurm shortly after. He Duresses me and takes one of my two Excommunicates in hand and plays Wind Drake. I put his Drake on top with Excommunicate and on the next turn he plays a second Wall of Frost and Warpath Ghoul. I can't profitably attack so I pass the turn. I draw safe Passage and Cudgel Troll but stall by drawing lands while he stops playing them at 7. He plays out about 5-6 more creatures but they are all Black dorks without evasion and I'm still sitting at 20. Eventually he plays Air Elemental but I have the Entangling Vines to shut it down after a single attack. However he has Negate. Luckily I have drawn the second Entangling Vines to keep from dying. We both stare at each other for a while and I get to a point where I have 16 cards left in my deck and only four of them are lands. He topdecks Liliana Vess so I know I have very little time before I need to win the game. My outs are Howl of the Night Pack and Whispersilk Cloak assuming he doesn't have an answer for either. I draw Borderland Ranger and get one of the last 3 lands out of my deck and finally topdeck Howl of the Night Pack. Luckily his ultimate on Liliana only returns 3 creatures and he doesn't have enough blockers to survive an Alpha Strike from my Team Wolf.
Game 2 I Rampant Growth and play Borderland Ranger. He leads with Alluring Siren and Wall of Frost making for awkward times. However I draw Blinding Mage and play it while also Excommunicating the Wall of Frost to buy some more time. I use Blinding Mage to tap his wall down while I attack him with a few more dorks played out of hand. I topdeck Whispersilk Cloak a short time later and put it on a Bramble Creeper and he dies.
Round 2: GB
Game 1 is all about Cudgel Troll. He has a few early Fliers like Kelinore Bats to put pressure on me but my creatures are large. I play a turn 3 Cudgel Troll and he is forced to begin chump blocking when I apply enough pressure. At one point he double blocks a Bramble Creeper and gets blown out by Divine Verdict and he can't keep up after that.
Game 2 is a bit closer as he has Kelinore Bats on turn 3 followed by Gorgon Flail a turn later. He plays Dread Warlock and Birds of Paradise while my Blinding Mage and Elvish Visionary sit there. My hand is pretty gas though containing Excommunicate Entangling Vines Safe Passage Mist Leopard and Borderland Ranger with 4 lands. Instead of casting those spells I cast the topdecked Cudgel Troll. The same thing as game 1 starts to happen where I apply pressure via Cudgel Troll and use Blinding Mage to keep him from having any profitable blocks. An Excommunicate later and he is packing it in.
Round 3: WUr
This game is pretty awkward as his deck is 80 cards large... I ask why and he replies that his deck is amazing but he forgot to submit. Fortunately for me his game 1 plays are Cancel Essence Scatter Stormfront Pegasus Levitation and Open the Vaults. He's gotten this far so I assume his game 2 and 3 are going to be much worse for me (obviously).
Game 2 he is on the play and leads with Elite Vanguard White Knight and Silvercoat Lion plus a second Elite Vanguard on turn 3. I don't think there is any draw I can have to win this game and I don't. I'm virtually dead on turn 4.
Game 3 I'm on the play and his draw is a little slower. However he still has Silvercoat Lion Veteran Swordsmith Lightning Bolt for my blocker followed by White Knight on turn 4. I play Borderland Ranger and Rampant Growth preparing to stabilize with Craw Wurm on the next turn but my dreams are foiled when he plays Mind Control.
After getting a free game 1 I feel pretty bad about losing in the finals. My deck wasn't great so I'm happy just to have gotten this far. His deck was amazing after he cut it down from 80 to 40 cards or at least just too fast for my deck to handle. Both games he won I was pretty much dead by turn 5. Overall I enjoyed playing the deck but I would much rather not play GW again. It felt like I was playing too many creatures and not enough removal spells and card draw.
And now a bit of Constructed for your viewing pleasure!
Last week I worked on a deck for my fiancee to play at the PTQ in Birmingham. Here is what I ended up with:
This deck is well-positioned in today's metagame. Five-Color Control is still dominant and you have all the tools to make it much easier than before. Sygg is a tough threat for them to easily deal with and can lead to very one-sided games if he gets active while they're playing Vivids on turns 1-4. Anathemancer and Blightning just punish them in the late game and usually keep them from being able to recover. On top of having a good matchup against Five-Color this deck also crushes Faeries. You have creatures like Putrid Leech early to apply pressure and can finish them off in the late game with a well-timed Bituminous Blast for their Mistbind Clique or just dome them with Lightning Bolts Volcanic Fallouts and Anathemancers.
Your bad matchups are Kithkin and Merfolk and you should not play this deck if you expect those two decks to run rampant at your local tournament. If you still want to play this deck in a hostile metagame with White-based aggro decks then I would suggest playing Maelstrom Pulse over Doom Blades and possibly more Maelstrom Pulses over a Bituminous Blast or Blightning. The Doom Blades are there to help protect against Mistbind Cliques as well as helping your curve since you have an absurd number of three-drops in the deck.
You could also add something like Chaotic Backlash to the sideboard as an instantaneous "I win" card but Kithkin is almost unheard of on Magic Online at the moment. They have such bad matchups against Five-Color control that they have been slowly whittled away. However tournaments like PTQs generally put monetary or deck constraints on participants so expect the unexpected! Kali ended up going 5-2 and dropping after the 7th round since the PTQ was incredibly crowded and lacked air conditioning.
Overall Jund generally has favorable matchups against a lot of the metagame. If you still have a PTQ to go to then this might be the deck for you! You can change cards depending on what you expect to play against but there isn't a chance of recovering from Sygg into turn 3 Blightning followed by removal or Bloodbraid Elf.
I hoped you enjoyed the draft and keep this deck in mind if you are battling in a tournament this week. If you decide to play it let me know how you do in the forums! Thanks for reading.
strong sad on MOL