Limited Lessons — A Two-Headed Giant Draft Walkthrough
The response in the forums to last week's Two Headed Primer was awesome, and I want to thank everyone who posted for their compliments and opinions. Pretty much every post also indicated that there was plenty of interest in a 2HG Walkthrough.
I'm not one to disappoint, so this week I bring you the first ever 2HG Draft Walkthrough.
If you aren't up to date on how all of this works, I suggest you look at my article from last week first or check out the 2HG rules on the Wizards site. Remember that there are six boosters per team, and that you take two cards with each “pick” in the draft. There are also four teams in the draft and we decided to play single elimination with the top two teams getting to draft rares. My teammate for this draft was my friend Andrew Brown, and it was his first time playing 2HG so I made most of the drafting decisions.
I should also note that the DCI has just changed the rules for the format and teams now start at 30 life instead of 40. This could have some huge implications in terms of aggressive strategies being more effective. This draft was done before the rule change however, and 40 life was the starting total during the games.
Strength in Numbers, Crookclaw Transmuter, Dark Withering, Icatian Crier, Goblin Skycutter, Zealot il-Vec, Thallid Shell-Dweller, Bewilder, Call to the Netherworld, Cyclopean Giant, Paradise Plume, Faceless Devourer, Phantom Wurm, Fungus Sliver, Shadowmage Infiltrator
As I was writing down the contents of this pack (because remember, this was a live draft) I noticed that the pack was pretty weak overall for this format. The top cards we were looking at here were Strength, Transmuter, Withering, Crier, and Phantom Wurm. Shadowmage Infiltrator just sucks in this format, because Fear is rarely if ever relevant.
Of the first five cards I mentioned, there is almost no chance we were going to take either the Crier or the Wurm first pick as neither is very exciting in 2HG. With the decision easily narrowed down to three cards, Strength in Numbers is the only 100% must pick here. Strength is a bomb in this format, and really the only card I was happy to see in the pack. We ended up going with the Withering as well, but I couldn't fault anyone for taking Crookclaw Transmuter. I think overall the removal spell is slightly better but either pick is fine.
Jedit's Dragoons, Psychotic Episode, Gorgon Recluse, Nantuko Shaman, Spiketail Drakeling, Scarwood Treefolk, Slipstream Serpent, Sprout, Foriysian Interceptor, Castle Raptors, Truth or Tale, Durkwood Tracker, Voidmage Husher
How lucky. The team in front of us took the rare and the purple card from this pack!
Spiketail Drakeling is a card that I should've talked more about in my article last week. He gets much better in 2HG, as now you have two opponents who have to play around his ability, and he is also far more likely to counter something strong.
There really aren't too many cards vying for our attention in this booster, and the only one that isn't obvious but is actually a consideration is the Durkwood Tracker. While I have yet to play with this guy in the format, I imagine he's probably pretty good assuming he doesn't get killed immediately. We ended up going with the two fliers from this pack.
Woah. This pack is insane even after four cards have been taken from it.
I should start by saying that creature enchantments (or if you prefer being technical, Auras) are pretty strong in 2HG. The reasoning behind this is that you will always have a good target for the enchantment, and you can put them on your teammate's guys. This doesn't change something like Reflexes from trash to playable, but it certainly means Griffin Guide is still a high pick. In fact, I'd say it's even better in this format because your teammate can be casting huge Green men and you can arm them with the Guide for a very quick clock. In normal Magic, you may not have the luxury of putting it on a Green fatty in your U/W or W/R deck. In 2HG you have access to four and quite often all five colors, which can change some things.
I already talked about how much I love Strength in Numbers so it should be obvious that I took that and the Guide from this booster. With two Strengths so early in the draft, we both decided to try and build around them if we had the chance.
Our Picks : Strength in Numbers, Griffin Guide
Last week I was considering talking about the ideal “setup” for your two decks in this format. I ended up not doing it because I've only done a few drafts, and I'm still not sure if there is a better way to do things. What I do know is that if you build a U/W/r Sliver control deck and have your other deck be some combination of G/R/B with lots of removal, you should do very well. The Sliver deck is especially potent because of combinations like Synchronous Sliver and Poultice Sliver. You also have the secondary benefit of getting these cards late until people play this format enough to realize that these cards are perfectly fine as first picks in the right setup.
This pack offers the start of that Archetype to us along with a couple of considerations. Fallen Ideal seems like it'd be strong in a token deck in this format, and would also combo well with the two Strengths we already have. Thrill of the Hunt is also very strong when you can put it in a deck where it is guaranteed to be flashed back.
We took the Slivers from this pack as both are amazing and we were hoping to get that archetype rolling.
Goblin Skycutter is a card I was thinking about before we started this draft, in terms of something that might get a lot better in 2HG. This is mainly because you are guaranteed to be facing fliers in some form, and even if his ability won't cut the guy down, you should have plenty of good options in terms of blockers. I think you can just evaluate this guy as a removal spell here and pick him way higher than in a normal draft.
The rest of the cards are pretty bad here except for Fungus Sliver which could piggyback our other Sliver abilities. In the end, Brown convinced me that Zealot il-Vec was much more likely to do something and should be able to find targets in most games if he gets through for damage.
Our Picks : Goblin Skycutter, Zealot il-Vec
Sometimes when it gets late in a pack in this format you can still pick up a gem that other people haven't found yet. This doesn't seem to be the case with this pack, though Scarwood Treefolk is great since the drawback is negligible with such a high starting life total and a partner who is also likely casting creatures. And no, just because it's 2HG it doesn't mean it's finally time to start playing Foriysian Interceptor.
While it's unlikely that Voidmage Husher is ever going to do anything, we ended up taking him as our second card. Looking back I guess we should've actually taken Sprout just in case we ended up with multiple Empty the Warrens, as the Sprout would also power up our Strength in Numbers.
Our Picks: Scarwood Treefolk, Voidmage Husher
Goblin Skycutter, Mistform Ultimus, Foriysian Interceptor
This one requires basically no explanation, and if I'm right about the Skycutter, we just lucked into a late pick playable.
Our Picks: Goblin Skycutter, Mistform Ultimus
Pick 8 : Firewake Sliver
Gemhide Sliver, Feebleness, Castle Raptors, Chromatic Star, Tolarian Sentinel, Flowstone Channeler, Ancient Grudge, Flickering Spirit, Call to the Netherworld, Drifter il-Dal, Dread Return, Fool's Demise, Traitor's Clutch, Moonlace, Gaea's Liege
Well, again we opened some hotties in the uncommon, rare, and purple slots. Bleh.
The potentials from this pack are Gemhide Sliver, Feebleness, Castle Raptors, Tolarian Sentinel, and Flowstone Channeler, since it's not a deep pack at all. I suppose Gaea's Liege is also playable in this format, but no way is it first pickable.
The first thing I want to talk about is Gemhide Sliver. If you have a Sliver deck on your team, this guy is freaking awesome. If you don't, it can be a huge liability in this format as it seems playable as mana elf in your Green deck, but could actually just power up your opponents' decks much more than help you. Remember that you have plenty of time to set up and mana acceleration loses some value overall just because of that. My main point is that I wouldn't value the card highly if I didn't plan on having a Sliver deck as one of the two builds.
Tolarian Sentinel suffers from the “you control” clause, just like a number of other cards, but also benefits from the environment being slow. Flowstone Channeler should be great in the format since Mire Boa is huge, and you can also give haste to one of your teammate's creatures. Remember too that opposing teams are likely to have Prodigal Pyromancers if you don't, and Channeler picks those off all day.
When we got down to making a decision, the Castle Raptors was a shoe-in, and the second pick was between Channeler and Gemhide Sliver. At this point we were still aiming for a Sliver theme, so it only made sense to take the Gemhide as we felt we could get a Channeler with a later pick.
Our Picks : Gemhide Sliver, Castle Raptors
Amrou Seekers, Temporal Eddy, Jedit's Dragoons, Aether Web, Errant Doomsayers, Rift Bolt, Sprout, Foriysian Interceptor, Assassinate, Aetherflame Wall, Wipe Away, Durkwood Tracker, Shadowmage Infiltrator
I talked a bit about Split Second last week and it truly is huge in 2HG.
This pack offers another Shadowmage Infiltrator, which is laughable since it should never get played in this format. The choice for us is between Rift Bolt, Wipe Away, and Assassinate. Taking any and all burn spells you can get your hands on is never a bad idea, as you can build critical mass to do the final six to nine damage to the opposing team. While Assassinate is actually very strong as well and will never fear a lack of targets, we opted for the Wipe Away mainly because of Split Second.
Our Picks : Rift Bolt, Wipe Away
I want to take the time now to talk about Temporal Eddy. I like the card in normal Magic, and don't mind running one copy in most decks. In 2HG though, I think it's pretty bad all around.
Some of you may be wondering how I could say that after just taking Wipe Away over Assassinate, but Split Second makes all of the difference in the world, as does being an instant. The problem with Eddy is that you're not even “timewalking,” someone with it because they each get to draw a card for their turn. It's slow, and while I might run one copy, I wouldn't be happy about it. If I did end up having to play the card, it would be with the intention of killing creature enchantments and not just to bounce a guy.
As far as this pick goes, my explanation should help you to narrow it down quite a bit. Amrou Seekers sucks for the same reasons that Shadowmage does (though it is a Rebel). Thunder Totem gets significantly better in this format, since it has time to do its thing and also plays well on defense. Conversely, something like Phyrexian Totem is just plain bad in 2HG because it will almost never get through for damage. The only way I'd even play the card is if I had one or more Wrath effects.
So we took Thunder Totem for sure. Honorable Passage is a huge sleeper in my mind, as these types of effects are strong in multiplayer games and you have the potential of hitting someone with their own Shivan Meteor (wink). Anyway, I think Passage is far better than Aether Web, and we'd also likely have a shot at more Webs since they're common.
Our Picks : Thunder Totem, Honorable Passage
This pack has quite a few options for potential picks.
I had a debate with a few friends about the value of pinging effects in 2HG earlier this week. They were of the opinion that the effects were less valuable since you have a higher life total, and I believe they are still great because of the card advantage they provide. I'm sure the true value of such cards lies somewhere in the middle of our two extremes, and Fire Whip is one of the better “pingers” you can get.
Protection from Color was another thing I failed to mention last week, and I consider it to be very important in this format. Scryb Ranger is an excellent blocker, not to mention a great combo with the Fire Whip we are most likely taking in this pack.
This is the first real dilemma that the draft offered to us, and I'm honestly not sure what the correct two picks are. We decided that the Grip was the least valuable of the four options, as we could get a Molder or something else with a later pick and with two boosters of Time Spiral still to go. As far as the other three go, I'm still unsure.
We went with the Ranger and Fire Whip, but it's possible that we should've just taken the other Bonesplitter here as they are harder to come by than pinging effects.
Our Picks : Scryb Ranger, Fire Whip
This pack sucked when we opened it, and is even worse now on the way back. I don't like Ancient Grudge because there is no sideboarding in 2HG and it's too narrow to play on its own. It would take a special draft with many Totems being passed before I'd play it main. You want to be able to kill enchantments too, which makes Molder much more valuable.
You could say Traitor's Clutch is playable here, but I've seen people try it and was unimpressed with the results. Perhaps now that the life totals start at thirty, it might get better. We took the two best cards in the pack.
Temporal Eddy, Foriysian Interceptor, Amrou Seekers, Sprout, Aetherflame Wall
Aetherflame Wall is always playable in this format as defense against Shadow is rare and welcome. It also doesn't have the unfortunate downside of dying to Crookclaw and Thaumaturgist like the Shell-Dweller does, due to the pump ability.
Our Picks: Temporal Eddy, Aetherflame Wall
Pick 8 : Clockspinning
So, after two packs we still don't really know where we're at in this draft. We have two Raptors and two Strength in Numbers which is a good start, but as far as archetypes go, that much is still up in the air.
Temporal Isolation; Think Twice; Ashcoat Bear; Urborg Syphon-Mage; Cloudchaser Kestrel; Thallid Germinator; Mindlash Sliver; Havenwood Wurm; Chameleon Blur; Flickering Spirit; Duskrider Peregrine; Sulfurous Blast; Assembly Worker; Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder; Desert
Finally a pack with some bombs in it.
When I opened the pack I was pretty sure we were taking the Syphon-Mage until I flipped to the back and saw the goods. Sulfurous Blast deals six damage to each team as well as clearing the board most of the time. So it functions as a Lava Axe and a Wrath which is simply nuts. Endrek Sahr is a bomb in basically every Limited format you could ever play, and also powers up our Strengths.
So this pack is fortunate for us as we pick up two bombs, but unfortunate in that none of the other cards compare enough to even be mentioned as possibilities. Duskrider Peregrine is certainly insane in the format, just not nearly as good as either of these two cards.
Molder, Children of Korlis, Corpulent Corpse, Ironclaw Buzzardiers, Venser's Sliver, Icatian Crier, Sangrophage, Viscerid Deepwalker, Urza's Factory, Fungal Reaches, Conflagrate, Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore, Angel's Grace
Okay, so I hate Corpulent Corpse in normal Magic, so you can imagine how much I dislike it in 2HG.
We are definitely taking the Conflagrate here, but the other pick is up for debate.
The Evil Eye is really annoying to play against because it's hard to kill and nigh impossible to block. If you draft a setup like I talked about earlier, it's likely that your G/R/B build doesn't have that many guys and the Eye can step in there as a finisher. In a previous draft, my teammate and I had a deck set up to kill with the Eye / Mantle of Leadership / Empty the Warrens combo. These decks could also just drop a large Strength in Numbers on the Eye for a quick win.
As good as the Eye is, both of the lands in this pack are also desirable. Urza's Factory because it is a repeated effect that will likely come online in most games as it is rare to see a fast 2HG battle. Fungal Reaches and it's brethren are simply insane in a format where nothing happens for a while and then you do something degenerate.
I could be results oriented here and say we made a mispick by taking the Evil Eye since it didn't make either of our decks, but then I remember that it also didn't make our opponents' decks and kill us, so who knows. The safe pick is probably Urza's Factory since it always makes one of the decks, but Evil Eye has the greatest potential for a game-breaker.
At least we're consistent, right?
Three Castle Raptors is pretty tough to fight through. We also took Assault / Battery here, but you could make a case for Premature Burial over Raptors. I think Raptors is better overall as it is great on offense or defense and will never be a dead draw. Mindstab is also a possibility with this pick that I couldn't fault you for considering.
I think our picks are the most flexible ones, and definitely both making the cut no matter what while we don't have that many Black cards yet and both Evil Eye and Endrek Sahr are splashable (though probably not in the same deck). This is certainly a pick that people should feel free to debate me on in the forums, though I'd pick the same two cards in the same situation if it presented itself again.
Our Picks : Castle Raptors, Assault / Battery
I want to talk about Flanking and aggression in general. While it should be much better now that ten life has been taken off of the starting totals, I don't think it was bad before if you went about it in the right way. The right way to be aggressive in 2HG is through evasion and flanking. The reason basic aggression sucks is because both of your opponents are casting guys. Flanking is mainly effective because it doesn't care much about double blocks. While I don't consider Burning Blade Askari something that'd make my deck with any regularity in this format, Benalish Cavalry is a whole mana cheaper. Just having Flanking isn't enough to make Askari playable, but having it and being a two drop should make Cavalry just fine if you fancy an attack strategy. I'm saying all of this because Brown and I were berated for playing multiple two drops in this draft, all of which were Cavalries and Goblin Skycutters, and I think these cards are worth a second look in 2HG because of their abilities.
The last draft I did in this format, we had three Coral Tricksters and none made the cut in either deck, so that should tell you something. Not that it's a bad card, just underwhelming. Skulking Knight is just plain awful due to the abundance of targeted effects and the fact that he has two opponents working against him.
I haven't played Flamecore Elemental yet, and I'm still unsure about how good he is. He's awful if you're behind, but could be excellent with the new life change and if you're trying to use aggression. We took Cavalry and Flamecore here, but it's possible we should've taken Coral Trickster instead of Flamecore. Both are only okay so I doubt it really matters in the scheme of things, but we already have Sulfurous Blast and Flamecore lives through that so he got the nod.
Desert seems like it should be very strong in 2HG, just like Urza's Factory. Think Twice is also very good, but upon looking through our pile we were somewhat short on Blue cards and didn't even know if we'd end up playing the color. We were certain to be playing White though, due to the large number of Castle Raptors and other good cards we had already, so we went with Flickering Spirit over Think Twice. The Spirit is also better than normal in 2HG, for obvious reasons.
Our Picks : Flickering Spirit, Desert
There's the Molder we were looking for, and not much else. While Fog effects are playable here, Angel's Grace is not a Fog effect. We decided that Buzzardiers is probably better in this format due to the fact that you don't need it to be able to block anyway.
Our Picks: Molder, Ironclaw Buzzardiers
Sidewinder Sliver, Clockspinning, Aspect of the Mongoose
Our Picks: Sidewinder Sliver, Clockspinning
Pick 8 : Gemstone Caverns
Benalish Cavalry, Feebleness, Looter il-Kor, Spinneret Sliver, Keldon Halberdier, Ivory Giant, Psychotic Episode, Jedit's Dragoons, Sprout, Foriysian Interceptor, Haunting Hymn, Barbed Shocker, Wipe Away, Thelonite Hermit, Suq'Ata Lancer
I think we screwed up in this pack.
If you look back over our picks, you'll see that we're not heavy in either Black or Blue at this point. We're obviously taking the Hermit with one pick as it's a bomb, but the other pick is completely open.
The options are Looter, Feebleness, Spinneret, Halberdier, Haunting Hymn, and Wipe Away, and to be frank, I don't like any of them. Oh, and we're never picking Cavalry this high, so that's why he's not on the list. Neither of the Green or Red cards are exciting, and we're unsure on Blue and Black. We opted for the strongest theoretical card in Haunting Hymn, though it's possible we should've just taken Keldon Halberdier here.
Our Picks : Haunting Hymn, Thelonite Hermit
Mystical Teachings; Two-Headed Sliver; Prismatic Lens; Assassinate; Zealot il-Vec; Penumbra Spider; Pentarch Ward; Thallid Germinator; Might of Old Krosa; Tectonic Fiend; Locket of Yesterdays; Knight of the Holy Nimbus; Stonebrow, Krosan Hero
This is much more like it.
I love Penumbra Spider and I think he's awesome in this format. Stonebrow is also a bomb, so that makes for two great cards and two easy picks. I suppose you could make a case for Assassinate here, but the Green cards just seem better in my opinion. The real argument is that because we have three Castle Raptors already, the Spider is somewhat unnecessary and this could sway the correct pick to Assassinate.
So maybe you're right and maybe I should've taken Assassinate last pick. I'm definitely biased towards Spider though, and that weighs on my decisions. This pack again presents some decisions.
We've been away from the Sliver theme for a bit now, passing up on the other Bonesplitter (which admittedly could've been a mistake with two Strength in Numbers), but another copy is present here. There's also another Honorable Passage, as well as Return to Dust.
Again, if we'd taken the other Bonesplitter, we would definitely take Bonesplitter with this pick. Since we didn't, and due to my love for Spider, we took that and Return to Dust, which I think are also acceptable picks.
Looking back over this draft, I believe we could've had better decks if we'd just stuck with the Sliver plan in some way, shape, or form.
Our Picks : Penumbra Spider, Return to Dust
Brown wanted to take Phyrexian Totem with this pick and I had to explain to him why it wasn't optimal in this format. We then had a long debate about Fortify and the “you control” clause before finally deciding it was still good enough to take to power up our air force.
The other pick was again Spiketail Drakeling in the hopes of getting more Blue in the coming packs to be able to actually play the color.
Our Picks : Spiketail Drakeling, Fortify
Flankers it is. Lancer is much better than Blazing Blade, though may still not make the cut in either deck. There aren't any better options available.
Our Picks : Suq'Ata Lancer, Benalish Cavalry
The Bonesplitter issue rears its ugly head again with this late pick Two-Headed, who is amazing in the archetype. Imagine having Bonesplitter, Synchronous, Poultice, and Two-Headed Slivers in play. I know that sounds like a lot, but three of those Slivers are easy to get your hands on, and if you assemble this combination it's nearly impossible for the opposing team to stop it through normal means.
We ended up going with the Might and Nimbus here, though in retrospect we should've taken Pentarch Ward over Nimbus as there was no way the Might was ever making the cut in our already very strong Green deck.
Is Living End ever playable in this format? I can see a situation happening, but it seems very rare. If anyone has experience, please comment in the forums.
Pick 8 : Clockspinning
Okay, so at this point it looks like G/R and U/W with a splash of Endrek Sahr somewhere in there, and possibly Evil Eye, though that is unlikely. The Blue is also thin, and we'll need some real help in Planar Chaos to solidify it.
Saltfield Recluse; Veiling Oddity; Midnight Charm; Shaper Parasite; Battering Sliver; Keldon Marauders; Ghost Tactician; Wistful Thinking; Skirk Shaman; Sinew Sliver; Essence Warden; Shivan Meteor; Psychotrope Thallid; Crovax; Ascendant Hero, Kor Dirge
This is a very strong 2HG pack.
We went with the two bombs, Crovax and Kor Dirge, though we had to pass a lot of really great cards in doing so. Saltfield Recluse is definitely the best White common in PC for this format, by the way, so don't go taking Sunlance over him. I wish this pack was more of a decision, but just like the Endrek / Blast pack earlier, these two cards are so much better than everything else in the pack for 2HG that it's not close at all.
Aven Riftwatcher, Spitting Sliver, Dash Hopes, Aquamorph Entity, Saltfield Recluse, Shade of Trokair, Uktabi Drake, Merfolk Thaumaturgist, Stingscourger, Simian Spirit Guide, Healing Leaves, Timecrafting, Heroes Remembered
Stingscourger is a good bounce spell because it also leaves a 2/2 dork behind, and paying Echo should rarely be a problem. We're also happy to pick up the Recluse here.
I've mentioned it before, but honestly you shouldn't be playing Keldon Marauders or Aven Riftwatcher in this format unless you have some combo with Tolarian Sentinel, or possibly a really good Rebel chain for the Riftwatcher. On their own, neither of these cards is any good in 2HG.
Our Picks : Saltfield Recluse, Stingscourger
It sucks to have to pass a Whitemane Lion here, but Recluse and Ana Battlemage are both amazing. Battlemage is a stone cold bomb, as Mindstab itself is really good in the format, and this is Mindstab on a 2/2 as well as the potential to just kill someone with the Black ability.
It's worth noting that if we'd taken the Bonesplitters, we may take Synchronous here instead of one of these cards just to make sure we got as many of them as possible.
Our Picks : Saltfield Recluse, Ana Battlemage
We had a short debate about Calciderm before deciding that it is probably very good in this. It's unfortunate we didn't get any Dream Stalkers and just had to pass Whitemane Lion so that we couldn't completely abuse the ‘Derm, but I think he's just fine on his own as he packs a strong punch and can't just be killed like other fatties.
Again we'd probably take Synchronous here over Calciderm, and at this point I was kicking myself for passing up on those Bonesplitters. We took Dawn Charm as well here, and it should be evident how good it is in 2HG.
Our Picks : Dawn Charm, Calciderm
This pack really offers nothing for us, and I think Essence Warden is only marginal at best. Yes, four players are casting creatures, but it's very vulnerable as a 1/1 and I'd be surprised if anyone ever cared that you played it. We ended up taking the Sinew and Battering Slivers here, as a hate draft to anyone who was building off of the Bonesplitters and Synchronous that we'd passed.
Our Picks : Sinew Sliver, Battering Sliver
I think Healing Leaves is surprisingly playable in this format and wouldn't be shocked to see it maindeck while other cards that make the cut in normal Magic are left on the sidelines. We took that and Shade of Trokair from this booster, as the pickings are slim.
Our Picks: Shade of Trokair, Healing Leaves
Our Picks: Gossamer Phantasm, Reflex Sliver
Pick 8 : Gossamer Phantasm
So we didn't pick a single Blue card for our decks with the exception of a splashed Ana Battlemage in this booster. At this point brown points out that we could just go G/R/b and mono White if we could pick up another Shade or two in the next set of packs and then just put the Desert in his deck.
Needlepeak Spider, Poultice Sliver, Giant Dustwasp, Dead / Gone, Dash Hopes, Reality Acid, Citanul Woodreaders, Pallid Mycoderm, Bog Serpent, Primal Plasma, Simian Spirit Guide, Mantle of Leadership, Jodah's Avenger, Reckless Wurm, Temporal Extortion
This pack has plenty of cards that we could potentially take as first picks.
We decided on Dead / Gone rather quickly because both modes are great in this format, and the flexibility of being on one card helps a lot.
The candidates for the other pick are Reckless Wurm, Jodah's Avenger, and Citanul Woodreaders in my eyes. The Wurm can be eliminated rather easily as he isn't super exciting here. The other two is a closer decision, with the Avenger being a great evasion guy that can deal a ton of damage when combined with a pump spell.
I'm not even sure that we made the right pick here as we could've planned on building G/R/u splashing for Ana Battlemage and Avenger and W/b splashing for Endrek. We went with the more consistent card in the Woodreaders, which I consider the second best Green common for 2HG behind Mire Boa. Dustwasp is still good in this format, but I believe the card drawing is just better in the slow environment.
Gossamer Phantasm, Riptide Pilferer, Essence Warden, Skirk Shaman, Brain Gorgers, Fury Charm, Wistful Thinking, Citanul Woodreaders, Battering Sliver, Venarian Glimmer, Bog Serpent, Midnight Charm, Shaper Parasite
Nothing much to think about here with Woodreaders and Shaper Parasite, both of which are excellent additions to our pile. The only consideration is the Bog Serpent, who is also much stronger in 2HG, but he still pales in comparison to the other two commons.
Our Picks : Shaper Parasite, Citanul Woodreaders
This pick was definitely wrong due to uncertainty in archetypes.
We took the Anthem and Evolution Charm here, and we should've taken Whitemane Lion instead of Anthem. At this point we were still under the impression that Endrek Sahr belonged in the Green deck, and that the Anthem would be amazing there despite not getting any Empty the Warrens. If I wasn't writing down the contents of each booster I believe I would've had the cards separated better, and figured out that Endrek was likely going into the White deck and we should take Whitemane Lion here instead of Anthem.
So yeah, this one was definitely a mistake.
On another note, I don't like Utopia Vow at all in this format simply because there are tons of ways to negate it without even costing a card, and everyone is also running maindeck artifact/enchantment kill. I don't like Temporal Isolation much either, but I'll actually play it, unlike the Vow.
Riftmarked Knight is insane in 2HG. I don't think I'd ever just cast it either, unless the circumstances were dire. It gives you two creatures with protection from color, all for three mana since the time really isn't an issue. He's definitely a very high pick.
The rest of the pack sucks so we were happy to take Shade of Trokair as well, in case we went with the mono White option.
Our Picks : Shade of Trokair, Riftmarked Knight
I talked about Mantle of Leadership, and the wording on it is definitely favorable for 2HG. It also has Flash, which can sometimes make it a good trick in response to a burn spell (providing you can play a Flash guy or blink your Flickering Spirit as well). I also like Needlepeak Spider more than most, and would rather have it in my deck than Flamecore Elemental so far in this format. I should mention that I'm not excited by Primal Plasma here either.
Our Picks : Mantle of Leadership, Needlepeak Spider
Brain Gorgers, Skirk Shaman, Wistful Thinking, Gossamer Phantasm, Fury Charm
Nothing exciting to wind down the lengthy draft.
Our Picks: Fury Charm, Wistful Thinking
Our Picks: Kavu Predator, Vampiric Link
Pick 8 : Brain Gorgers
Man, that was long. I guess it was essentially like two walkthroughs in one since there were six packs.
I'm of the opinion that deck construction is at least as valuable - if not more so - than actual drafting in this format, and I want to do it proper justice. What this means is that this article is just like one of those annoying TV shows that builds up to an exciting point in the plot and then slaps you with an annoying “To Be Continued...” with an accompanying black screen.
Seriously though, we took a lot of time during deck construction before arriving at our final builds, and I've found that whenever you draft this format for 2HG you rarely end up sticking to the plans you created during the draft, as you can always find new options when building your decks. That's not to say that you should just draft the best card and not have a plan, but it does mean that you should consider every possibility when building and be thorough about it.
So next week I'll be spending a whole article detailing the building process for this draft, and in the meantime I want you to see what two decks you'd build out of the card pool we just drafted. Also, comments on picks are encouraged in the forums as I know there were a number of things we could've done differently in this draft, or possibly even options that I missed. It's a huge format, and the only way to improve at it is to try things and constantly seek the opinions of others. I'll leave you with a list of the card pool we drafted to build your decks, and then I'll show you our thought processes on the subject next week.
Until next time,
Soooooo on MTGO
- 1 Aetherflame Wall
- 1 Ana Battlemage
- 1 Battering Sliver
- 2 Benalish Cavalry
- 1 Bonesplitter Sliver
- 1 Brain Gorgers
- 1 Calciderm
- 3 Castle Raptors
- 2 Citanul Woodreaders
- 1 Evil Eye of Orms-By-Gore
- 1 Firewake Sliver
- 1 Flamecore Elemental
- 1 Flickering Spirit
- 1 Gemhide Sliver
- 2 Goblin Skycutter
- 2 Gossamer Phantasm
- 1 Ironclaw Buzzardiers
- 1 Kavu Predator
- 1 Knight of the Holy Nimbus
- 1 Needlepeak Spider
- 2 Penumbra Spider
- 1 Reflex Sliver
- 1 Riftmarked Knight
- 2 Saltfield Recluse
- 1 Scarwood Treefolk
- 1 Scryb Ranger
- 2 Shade of Trokair
- 1 Shaper Parasite
- 1 Sidewinder Sliver
- 1 Sinew Sliver
- 2 Spiketail Drakeling
- 1 Stingscourger
- 1 Suq'ata Lancer
- 1 Thelonite Hermit
- 1 Viashino Bladescout
- 1 Voidmage Husher
- 1 Watcher Sliver
- 1 Zealot il-Vec
- 1 Crovax, Ascendant Hero
- 1 Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder
- 1 Mistform Ultimus
- 1 Stonebrow, Krosan Hero
- 1 Chromatic Star
- 1 Thunder Totem
- 1 Fire Whip
- 1 Gaea's Anthem
- 1 Griffin Guide
- 1 Mantle of Leadership
- 1 Ophidian Eye
- 1 Vampiric Link
- 3 Clockspinning
- 1 Dark Withering
- 1 Dawn Charm
- 1 Dead / Gone
- 1 Evolution Charm
- 1 Fortify
- 1 Fury Charm
- 1 Haunting Hymn
- 1 Healing Leaves
- 1 Honorable Passage
- 1 Kor Dirge
- 1 Might of Old Krosa
- 1 Molder
- 1 Return to Dust
- 2 Strength in Numbers
- 1 Sulfurous Blast
- 1 Wipe Away
- 1 Assault / Battery
- 1 Conflagrate
- 1 Divine Congregation
- 1 Dread Return
- 1 Rift Bolt
- 1 Temporal Eddy
- 1 Wistful Thinking