Constructed Criticism - Drafting With Balefire Liege: M10 #5
This will probably be the last Limited article I write for a while since Zendikar spoilers are starting to fall through the cracks. Hopefully next week I'll have some sick idea for a deck based on Warren Instigator and Fire Whip but that is a bit premature... On to the draft!
To be honest I really just hate drafting Red and would rather take the best White common over one of the best Red uncommons and frankly one of the better Red rares. This also helps me send better signals to my left as there is only one other white card in the entire pack. As for card quality I would rank them (like Olivier):
I could be undervaluing the Efreet but I think his ability is too "random" to be good although you do have a 66% shot at destroying one of their guys every turn. He's fine but I've destroyed enough of my creatures to make me have a sour taste in my mouth from playing him.
Pack 1 pick 2:
I took the best card in the pack but I don't really plan on being Green/White. Hopefully the next pack will contain more playable cards.
Pack 1 pick 3:
I really like being the aggressive White deck and Stormfront Pegasus is one of the best cards for that archetype ending games rather quickly with a little backup. I considered Stampeding Rhino but I think the 2/1 flier is just better overall.
Pack 1 pick 4:
Seeing as this pack contains zero playable for Green or White I decided to take the card that I was most likely to play as well as most likely to be good to hatedraft. If I play Black I'll play Deathmark but I would rather my opponents not have Deathmark if I don't play Black.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Not only are the packs weak but my colors are getting cut off pretty hard. Black looks moderately open so I guess I'll dive in. Weakness is the best card here anyway.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Signal much? This pretty much guarantees that I'm going to be playing Black.
Pack 1 pick 7:
I continue the plan seeing as there are no White playables anywhere in sight and I've passed too much good Green already. Duress was considered here but I figured I could get a few of them if I really wanted to later in the draft and I need some creatures.
Pack 1 pick 8:
This pick was difficult. I almost took Griffin Sentinel because he is both a fine attacker and blocker but I want to make the best out of my Consume Spirit by sticking to Black. Mind Rot is a solid card but I'm not sure if this was the correct decision.
Pack 1 pick 9:
I probably should have passed this Green card to make the guys to my left think its open therefore giving me better cards in the 2nd pack but I'd rather not die to this creature seeing as I have only 2 ways to kill it at the moment including Consume Spirit.
Pack 1 pick 10:
Pack 1 pick 11:
See above except that I have fewer ways to kill this guy.
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
I'd much rather the guy to my left get Raging Goblins late.
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
This pack is mediocre for me but I'm short on creatures so I take the guy with evasion.
Pack 2 pick 2:
Pack 2 pick 3:
Removal? What's that? Oh I have some now! The Inferno Elemental still being in the pack makes me uneasy and hopefully they took something like Lightning Bolt or Shivan Dragon and are in Red. Otherwise I'm probably in a lot of trouble.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Pack 2 pick 5:
Since white was cut off on both sides so far I considered for a moment going into B/g but there was literally nothing for me in this pack so it didn't hurt me at all. I wouldn't play Soul Warden here as it is just a 1/1 that probably won't be able to come down until turn 3-4 which makes it much worse.
Pack 2 pick 6:
A solid guy that gums up the ground. Hopefully I can get some more fliers or creatures with evasion in the next pack to let me actually win the game.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Pack 2 pick 8:
This guy should not be 8th pick. Seeing as I saw no playable Blue cards in pack 1 there is no way I could be in Blue at this point. However hatedrafting him seems fine because I've already passed enough good Blue to keep the guy on my right on track. Plus this guy actually just beats me.
Pack 2 pick 9:
Pack 2 pick 10:
Pack 2 pick 11:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
Pack 3 pick 2:
Still need some creatures. This draft is not going that well and I almost rare-drafted the Great Sable Stag to get a little more out of it. However it is only worth about 2-3 tix on Magic Online so I took the creature most likely to help me win the game. I like Zombie Goliath more than Warpath Ghoul but I already have 3 5-drop creatures so he is unlikely to make the cut. This pack is very rich for all colors.
Pack 3 pick 3:
I wish the White had come a bit more fluidly as Armored Ascension is a sick bomb if you can protect the creature or just catch your opponent tapped out. However I plan on playing about 9-11 Swamps in my deck making it much less potent. Mind Rot and Safe Passage are close here but I plan on disrupting my opponent so that my Baneslayer Angel can go unmolested. She is my only real win condition at this point.
Pack 3 pick 4:
Pikemaster is a solid creature and I'd rather not play 3 Mind Rots if I can help it.
Pack 3 pick 5:
Solid but not exciting.
Pack 3 pick 6:
I definitely like this over the rest of the cards in the pack. Creatures like Merfolk Looter and Prodigal Pyromancer are just awful for me. It also shuts down problematic creatures like Phantom Warrior and Wind Drake.
Pack 3 pick 7:
Pack 3 pick 8:
A solid playable and much better than Wall of Faith for my deck.
Pack 3 pick 9:
I'm glad I ended up getting one of these as it could help me find my bomb(s) or the 2nd plains to cast my Baneslayer Angel. I passed one earlier and almost wish I had 2 tutors.
Pack 3 pick 10:
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
This draft converter created by Benjamin Peebles-Mundy.
Visit the draft converter today!
This draft just seemed like a debacle. I'm not sure exactly what went wrong at what point but it never seemed like any color was flowing freely enough for me to end up with a good deck. Blue came pretty late and I could have been base-Green and splashed Blue. However my deck probably would have ended up worse had I gone in that direction.
As a short note there were only one or two ‘top tier’ removal spells in packs that I saw so I’m hoping the table was just light on them. I only passed a few cards that kill Baneslayer Angel so I should be able to ride her to victory.
Here is what I ended up playing:
1 Blinding Mage
1 Child of Night
1 Drudge Skeletons
1 Stormfront Pegasus
2 Mind Rot
1 Dread Warlock
2 Looming Shade
1 Palace Guard
1 Warpath Ghoul
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Rhox Pikemaster
1 Baneslayer Angel
2 Siege Mastodon
1 Consume Spirit
I decided to maindeck Deathmark seeing how little non-Red removal was in the packs I saw. Fortunately for me I have the best bomb in the format in my deck. Hopefully it'll win me a few games since I don't see myself winning a game without her.
Round 1 against WU Skies
Game 1 is all about three things. I play Weakness on a Merfolk Looter Mind Rot his hand on turn 4 all while he play some dorks and on turn 6 I land Baneslayer Angel after using Diabolic Tutor for a Plains. He can't do anything as he has no hand and no more Looter to dig for an answer. Safe Passage and Excommunicate buy him some valuable time but he has no answer in 4 big swings.
Game 2 I plan a few early blockers and he uses Pacifism on my Rhox Pikemaster trying to get in there with 2 Veteran Swordsmiths. I use Assassinate on one of the Swordsmiths to curb the damage and eventually draw Diabolic Tutor for... you guessed it... Baneslayer Angel. He still can't deal with her and I eventually pull it out after he uses an Excommunicate to get me to 5 life.
Round 2 against Mono-Green.
I saw from the previous round's replays that my opponent has multiple Giant Growths as well as Cudgel Troll and Ant Queen. Hopefully I draw the ol' Baneslayer Angel and just beat him since Green has only one way to deal with Baneslayer excluding pumping a Deadly Recluse.
Game 1 he plays out a Deadly Recluse Borderland Ranger and Curves into Cudgel Troll. I play Baneslayer Angel on turn 5 (obviously) and he passes the turn with 3 cards in hand. I attack for 5 and play some more blockers. He has the Entangling Vines and attacks me with some dudes. I use Diabolic Tutor to get Excommunicate thinking that he has no more ways to actually deal with the Angel and it’s worth setting myself back a draw as long as that draw is a 2nd Baneslayer Angel. I bash him to death shortly afterwards.
Game 2 we go back and forth for a very long time trading blows with my Dread Warlock against his team of fatties. I use Solemn Offering to kill a Magebane Armor and after his premature Alpha Strike I'm left at a healthy 14 life. We both have few creatures left but he has Cudgel Troll as well as a Emerald Oryx. I use Consume Spirit on his Awakener Druid to go back up to 18 life and "stabilize." However he has Oakenform for his Cudgel Troll and things become awkward. I have Siege Mastodon and Looming Shade for racing and put him at low life while he puts me to 2. Post combat I play a Child of Night which will save me from combat as long as he doesn't have a pump effect. This works and he can't attack me with either creature and passes turn. I topdeck another Looming Shade and look to put the nail in the coffin when he topdecks Ant Queen. However I'm much better than him and topdeck Baneslayer Angel on turn 19. He tries to Alpha Strike for a second time but ends up losing most of his squad and gaining me 5 life in the process. I used Baneslayer to block a 1/1 so as not to lose her to a Giant Growth with my opponent being at 3 life. One swing was all it took to end the game on turn 20.
Round 3 against U/r
Game 1 my opponent came out of the gates with Wind Drake and Snapping Drake and used Lightning Bolt and Seismic Strike to destroy my Stormfront Pegasus and Child of Night. I use Diabolic Tutor for Baneslayer Angel only to have it Essence Scattered. I draw nothing of relevance and die to the fliers in short order.
I side out the Deathmark for Disentomb.
Game 2 plays out similarly to game 1 but he plays a turn 3 Goblin Artillery (ding) that just destroys me. I never see Baneslayer or Diabolic Tutor and lose to fliers again. Weakness helped me buy time on a Wind Drake but I was never really in this game. I can't really deal with an active Goblin Artillery backed up with fliers.
As predicted every game I won was a Baneslayer-led victory. Luckily the format is all about bombs and I had one. All the decks I saw excepting my finals opponent seemed pretty weak. Possibly the weak packs made for a strange draft and left most everyone with mediocre decks. Luckily I can draw my bomb and had a way to Tutor it up so I was able to win 4 packs and sell the foil Angel for 40 tix.
This will be the last "Drafting with Balefire Liege" for a while as I really need to focus on Extended once Zendikar is fully spoiled. I'll try to write about upcoming Extended and Standard over the next few weeks. I'm getting married on September 19th but I'll try my best to deliver you guys some good ideas for the coming rotation.
As always thanks for reading.
strong sad on MOL