Archive for January 2012

Random Card Design #9- Favour of the Blessed   Leave a comment

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Random Card Design #8: No Show   Leave a comment

A cute little Unsummon variant here. I like this as a simple way to give blue some combat tricks that suit the colour. Not a constructed card, but one that I think would have it’s role in limited, perhaps.

Random Card Design #7: Wipe from Existence   Leave a comment

Toying with black exile here- I’ve always liked that Black very rarely gets exile, but when it does- it is to signify cruelty. To not only kill you but wipe away all traces that you ever were and ever took breath. This is what this card tries to achieve. I like the idea of combining the effects of staple cards and trying to repackage them as a whole- and this feels like an unholy marriage of Surgical Extraction and O-Ring. There’s possibly a problem with the wording here, but after delving through the Gatherer I couldn’t find anything that does this, so this is my best shot at it. The card feels rare and should be- you don’t want too many of these running around in limited, after all. I don’t think that it feels Mythic enough to justify that slot, though.

Posted January 19, 2012 by drafterildal in Card Designs, Magic Design

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Random Card Design #6: Circle of Life   Leave a comment

Some top-down design today. Not sure if there’s ever been a card similar to this printed trying to capture “life’s circle” or something, but this card aims to do that. It hopefully feels very green and feels full of  flavour!

Random Card Design #5- Justicar of the Faith   Leave a comment

Sorry to any big Pope fans out there!

ISD Draft #2: Monkey Buisness   Leave a comment

Pack 1 pick 1:

This is quite the pack. We have a mythic for starters- although we’re not taking it. Bizarrely the last draft I wrote up here also started had a Phantasm in the first pack, but as I explained then, I don’t like it enough to take it first due to its fragility and risky ability. We then have a collection of other good cards- Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Geistflame, Spider Spawning, Rage Thrower and Silent Departure. The first two I knocked out were Spawning and Thrower- it seems to me with drafting trends that anything involving Spider Spawning is heavily, heavily over-drafted since the upsurge in popularity for the “double decker, double becker” U/G Self-Mill deck. I also have seen the format get increasingly aggressive- so much that sometimes paying six is just too slow. That leaves Pilgrim, Geistflame and Departure. Departure is probably the best card as the tempo swing is huge- but I feel that passing a blue mythic and Think Twice may give off a bad signal. Between the flame and the pilgrim, I went for my personal preference- I love playing G/W beatdown in this format and Pilgrim is a key card for that so it gets the nod- despite not being the best card in a vacuum.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 2:

Hah! What do I know? There’s a Brimstone Volley here, making me think Geistflame was the correct pick in hindsight. Nothing in this pack touches Volley- although we can hope that Gnaw to the Bone puts someone in the Green-Blue deck. I know that sounds weird when we’ve just taken a green card, but the green that we would want in a Red-Green beats deck is different to the green they’ll be taking- they will be taking Gnaws, Mulches and Boneyard Wurms, which are all cards we’re not overly interested in. I also find recently that people who force that often find it falling apart due to it being overdrafted, so I would be happy to potentially set one of my fellow drafters on a trainwreck.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

Bollocks. I don’t like going into 3 colours with the first three picks- it’s generally a recipe for disaster. However there’s nothing in Green that we can’t pick up later and Harvest Pyre is not a card I like to run in an aggro deck. We’ll keep our options open with Claustrophobia.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

Double bollocks. This is shaping up to be a nightmare. However, Bonds at fourth is an extremely strong signal. Obviously this is a terrible start, but on the brightside we’ve got 3 removal spells- at the very least, we know Bonds and Brimstone are splashable. All we need to do now is read the signals well so we can get in the correct colours.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

The only cards that interest me here are Voiceless Spirit and Villagers of Estwald and seeing both is a good sign for the green-white deck. It’s hard to choose here- the Villagers are more durable and don’t die to things like Geistflame like the spirit does and with Pilgrim we can play them Turn 3 to apply a ton of pressure on an opponent to cast their spells non-optimally to stop them flipping. The spirit however, has evasion and can handle most things in the air outside of Chapel Geist and Murder of Crows- which is why it gets the nod. If we do end up green-white we can expect to pick up some Travel Preperations- and Voiceless Spirit is one of the best targets for that.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 6:

Alright, Green looks open! Hamlet Captain is a fantastic signal for us, as I personally don’t see it go as late as this. Two drops are essential to this deck- we want to be storming out of the blocks early, so it’s by far and away the best pick.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

Even nicer. Nothing else really warrants consideration compared to a second captain- Spider is too slow for what we want to be doing and green-white has very few ways to get Morbid active. With a bit of fortune we could wheel Selfless Cathar, but I doubt we will.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

This is between Sleuth and Lumberknot. I am fond of the Knot as it can provide somewhat of a finishing push in this kind of deck and can be a huge problem for controlling decks that rely on a lot of removal. I prefer it over the Sleuth- a 2/2 for four mana isn’t where we want to be at- even if it is a Human.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

Rage Thrower and Pitchburn Devils wheeling is a very strong indicator that Red may be open. It pains me to pass up on a Rage Thrower- but Cloistered Youth being here makes me think White is also open- it pairs with green better and we haven’t seen a huge amount of white- but I think we can pick some up in pack two.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

Scavenger might be too slow, but I really dislike Sleuth. Scavenger can pull some weight, especially against those pesky Red-Black aggro decks.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

Grizzled Outcasts is actually quite underrated I think. It’s the biggest werewolf going when flipped and can block a lot of stuff even when unflipped. We’ve got two Hamlet Captains to go with that unflipped side and I’m thinking we’ll be able to get another Pilgrim at some point to ramp into it quickly. Its competition here is Blazing Torch, a card that is essential removal…but on turn two this deck either wants to be playing a three mana spell off a Pilgrim or playing a two-drop creature. Don’t get me wrong- I will almost always play one in a deck like this- but creatures are the priority here, especially if human.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

I really don’t like Sleuth. Besides, we have a fair amount of Werewolves already, so prehaps Moonmist will become viable.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Despite the rather calamitous start, we got back on track. We have a lot of good green cards with a small amount of decent white. We also have a Brimstone Volley we can splash, alongside a Bonds of Faith for removal. The plan now is to really jump into Green-WHite. Ideally we want another Pilgrim along with more two and three drops- Villagers of Estwald, Darkthicket Wolf and Gatstaf Shepard being at the top of that list. Naturally we’ll be hopeful of finding some Travel Preparations too.

Pack 2 pick 1:

This is a no-brainer- Geist Honored Monk is one of the best cards in the format, is in our colours and is a perfect finisher. Only Brimstone Volley comes close to its power level in this pack. Monk is still the clear pick though- and if you had any doubt about how good this card is, it’s in more winning decks in 8-4’s than any other card. (According to the MTGO Newsletter)

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

This is a tough one. The cards in consideration are  the Viper, Moment of Heroism and Geistflame. Geistflame is efficient removal that kills a sizeable chunk of the format and we’re already splashing a Brimstone Volley, so it wouldn’t stretch the mana too much. However, Viper is key to this deck- it’s one of the few ways we can deal with huge guys and the flash is key. It means we can flip our werewolves, then play this on the opponents turn so that we’re not wasting our mana. Moment is in the picture too, but probably not the pick- it can swing games against aggro decks (of which we’ll almost certainly see) and can get our guys past big blockers like Stitched Drake- it’s an extremely good card and I always want one in my green-white decks, but I’m going to opt for synergy here- so the Viper gets the nod. Don’t get me wrong- Geistflame is the better card and if this is pack 1, we snap take it. However, I really want to solidify the G/W strategy here so it just misses out.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 3:

The more and more packs I see, the more I think that maybe I should’ve been in red. This is a key point for our draft- do I take a card that is strictly worse but in a colour I’m already fairly in- or the superior card in a colour I’m only splashing? Into The Maw and Hanweir Watchkeep are both better than Feeling of Dread. Feeling of Dread is decent in this deck even if we can’t flash it back- it’s one of those cards you want incase they can survive the early barrages and you need to push through the last few points of damage, so that’s what I picked. If I could go back and redo it, I’d probably take Into the Maw- however as I mentioned last pick- I really wanted to solidify G/W- although it seems I was reading the signals wrong.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

This is an atrocious pack with a bunch of sideboard cards and a trio of playables- thankfully two of which are in Green- and Orchard Spirit gets the nod. The spirit provides evasion and is another early drop that can start the beatdown nice and early. Spidery Grasp and Traveler’s Amulet would both be nice for our deck, but they almost assuredly won’t wheel from this pack.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

Outcasts is the only card we’d be interested in- even if we were in red, Rolling Temblor is counter-intuitive to our deck as it would kill most of our guys.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

Another pack with Into The Maw and Hanweir Watchkeep! I’d be kicking myself if not for the pack also containing one of the cards I was targeting for this deck- Darkthicket Wolf. Dropping this guy on Turn 2 is one of the best things you can be doing in this draft environment, so I am more than happy to pick it up. If we’re lucky, Spectral Rider or Viper might wheel and I might even splash Watchkeep or Into the Maw, if they come back around.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

Okay- maybe Green wasn’t being cut, but the packs were just bad for it. Ulvenwald Mystics is one of the best cards for this deck, so getting it seventh is great news for us and we’ll happily take it.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

As I mentioned earlier, I really want a Moment of Heroism in this deck and with nothing else competing with it here, it’s the clear pick. For what it’s worth I would take Abbey Griffin if Moment were not here. I don’t think that card is as bas as most people make out.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

Green is seemingly wide open as both green cards have wheeled from this pack, with the Darkthicket Wolf in particular being a surprising card to table. This is an absolute gift for us- it’s just a shame that we can’t also take the Smite here as I always like to have one in the board at least.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

Exorcism is a premium sideboard card- it can hit a lot of threats that can cause us some concern- we’ve seen a Burning Venegance go by and we can have some insurance incase somebody has opened Curse of Death’s Hold. Not to mention that there are a lot of spirits in our deck that we don’t want to fall victim to it and we can take out opposing spirits too. Chapel Geist in particular is one that is rather annoying for our deck that we’d like to bring this in against.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

I might just play the Hanweir Watchkeep, despite it going against the aggro strategy a little. We’re really beginning to get a high number of Wolves and Werewolves- so maybe Moonmist shenanigans are in the offing and if they are, we’d love a Watchkeep.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 went fairly well. We got two Darkthicket Wolves, a few cards to fill out the deck and a huge bomb in Geist Honored Monk. Now we just want to pick up 6-7 more solid cards to round out the 40. The main priorities are Travel Preperations and Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Villagers of Estwald would also be appreciated, as would any removal or bombs. I have to admit though that based on what we’ve been seen we’d of been better off in Red than White, but c’est la vie, we’ll just have to deal with that.

Pack 3 pick 1:

There is only one card I would play in our deck that’s in Green or White here- and it’s Prey Upon. We already have Bonds of Faith and Brimstone Volley however, so Prey Upon is not essential. For that reason, I’m taking Instigator Gang as we’re already splashing Red for a Brimstone Volley and Gang is just so good. Even unflipped, it means that you’re getting in for a significantly increased amount of damage and with the deck we have, it’s going to be extremely relevant with our evasion guys like Orchard Spirit. Not to mention that if you flip the Gang, your opponent is going to need something very special to deal with it as the game will usually be over in a swing or two left unchecked.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

Urgh. We would happily play four cards in this pack- Wolf, Geist, TravelPrep and Slayer. I’d love to have them all but I think Slayer is best- he’s a human and he’s removal. It really is a shame to ship the TravelPrep but Slayer can lead to some absurd tempo swings. I hope we can get something to wheel here- but the cards we want are the best in the pack- the only cards I can see being taken over them are Reckless Waif and maybe Feeling of Dread if somebody is W/U tempo.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

For me this is between Mausoleum Guard and our second Ulvenwald Mystics as both are excellent four drops with huge upside. Guard can attack with impunity as you know that when he dies you can cash in for two spirits which is nice enough on it’s own, but combining that with Instigator Gang gets real serious, real quick. However the Mystics attack for more, especially when flipped and I really do think we can moonmist our way through at this point. The other contender is Prey Upon- I’d still like to pick one up, but the focus needs to be getting in heavy beaters.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

As much as I like it, Galvanic is Juggernot the pick here. Midnight Haunting gives us more evasion which I really think we need as again, the Instigator Gang synergy is fantastic with the card. Sadly for us, it’s another pick were we would play a lot of the cards in the pack- Juggernaut, Youth and Spirit would make our deck and Bellringer has a shot at doing so too.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

A fairly late Spider Spawning- I already have two Outcasts and a Moonmist in my deck, so I’m taking that. Not to play it however, as it’s too slow for our deck, but in my experience this card is just game over for us if our opponent can resolve it. If we can even get through the first bunch of spiders, it often buys the opponent enough time to flash it back, often for even more guys- and it’s very hard to come back from that.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

I do love me a Gutter Grime- however, I must abandon my tenedency to go for the card that is stylish and flashy for the card that will get the job done and that card is Villagers of Estwald, a key component of the deck we have.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

So many foxes slinking away from us! Thraben Sentry is a card I’d like at least one of as it gives us a bit more reach in terms of what we can do and despite not being a Wolf of any kind, plays well with Moonmist which means I’m taking it.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

I actually spit some of my drink out when I saw this. I had to make sure that I was actually in an 8-4 draft when I saw this and that I hadn’t accidently entered a Swiss. But nope, was indeed in the 8-4. I really cannot imagine what scenario allowed this to  happen, but I’m not complaining as we will take our eighth pick Volley, do a little jig and wonder how many mountains we want in our manabase.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

Don’t think we would play two copies Feeling of Dread and although I often would play Griffin, we have more than enough playables at this point. Makeshift Mauler can pose us a problem and shut down our attack, so I’ll take it away from somebody.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

We did manage to get one of the cards we wanted out of that pack! I’m very happy to see a Chapel Geist here, a bit of a late gift.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

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Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

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Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

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So, after building, I ended up with this:

(Thumbnailed as not to be giant and in the way.)

In the end I decided that Gang and Watchkeep were both worth running with one Moonmist- the power of being able to EOT flip both, with the ability to then swing in for 16? Absolutely nuts. Obviously that’s the dream scenario but with this many wolves and werewolves, having the one moonmist seems acceptable. I did find myself with too much mana in some games and we do have a fairly low curve so it’s possible I maybe wanted 16 land in return for a Grizzled Outcasts or a second Moonmist.

Match 1:

The first game of this match is one of the stranger ones I’ve had. We’re on the draw and mull to a very nice 6. (Pilgrim, Darkthicket, Mystics, Mountain, Forest, Plains) We drop our Pilgrim turn one after drawing Moment of Heroism, while on turn 2 they play Curse of the Pierced Heart. We draw a plains and get in for one with Pilgrim as we don’t need it to play a 3 drop, then send out our Wolf.  They respond with a Cellar Door, leaving me not quite sure what’s going on with their deck. All I know is that it seems good for us. After drawing a forest, we get in for 3 and don’t pump the wolf in order to play out our Ulvenwald Mystics to try and finish the opponent off before they can get going, which pays off for us when they don’t play a spell, flipping them. We draw another land as they make a Zombie with the door- I get in with all three to go for the jugular as they seem to be struggling to play their spells, using Moment on the Pilgrim to get it through the Zombie.  They then tap out for Traitorous Blood to steal our Mystics and bash us for 5 and then pass with no further play. We just untap and swing in for the last 10 points of damage to take the first game.

I had no idea what to Sideboard against that.,so we went straight to game 2. We are put on on the draw, and we keep a hand of 7. (Plains, Mountain, Forest, Voiceless Spirit, Watchkeep, Volley and Haunting.) They play a Bloodcrazd Neonate on Turn 2, which could be a problem- as bad as that card can be sometimes, on Turn 2 it has a tendency to steal games. Thankfully we draw Hamlet Captain, which I play then next turn use to chump block with. The reason being that we have no humans in our hand and we have plenty of gas, so it seems best not to let the Neonate get to crazy proportions as it’s one of the ways we could lose. On the block though, they use Vampiric Fury to make the Neonate survive. They then EOT play Gruesome Deformity on the Neonate, which I have to admit is a card I’d not had played against me before until this match. We play our Watchkeep and the Neonate has no choice but to suicide into it. They don’t make another play, so Watchkeep flips and then gets in for 5. We follow up by laying down a Chapel Geist. The only other thing we see is Markov Patrician that then has Furor of the Bitten played on it that eats a Brimstone Volley as we eventually chip away for the win. Not too troubling for us- the opponent was very friendly though, so perhaps they’d only just joined MTGO or something as- without meaning to sound like a dick- it is easily the worst deck I’ve played against in the entire time I’ve drafted this set.

Match 2

Sadly, MTGO has a weird bug where sometimes, if a player concedes, it doesn’t save the replay. Not quite as stupid as the “You can’t watch replays if you have a three letter username” bug, but still rather annoying as you can’t control if your opponent concedes or not! So this is from memory and a bit hazy- I apologise. Game 1 we were able to force through a lot of damage early off Darkthicket Wolf and Midnight Haunting tokens, before finishing him off by playing Instigator Gang to get in for exact lethal. They are also Green-White and running a lot of spirits, so we bring in Urgent Exorcism. Game 2 also wasn’t saved for some reason (This is exactly why I joined the beta for the new client) but I remember mulliganing to 6 and having a slowish hand- and his deck punished us under a bevy of Spirit Tokens and Orchard Spirits. After going to Sideboarding in Game 3, it turns out it never registered my sideboard changes so I never had the Exorcism in my deck.

Game 3 did save! We go on the play and keep a 7. (Forest, Plains, Plains, Cloistered Youth, Darkthicket Wolf, Moment of Heroism, Mystics) We turn two Youth and they respond with Avacynian Priest. We bash in for 3 and play a freshly drawn Villagers of Estwald and are rewarded when they don’t play a spell. They have left up 3 mana (GGW) however, so there’s a chance we might get our bell rung, or Rebuked- our opponent could also tap the flipped Villagers too. I decide to ship both in regardless- neither gets tapped and the priest blocks the Youth, then gets Moment of Heroismed. However, we use our own Moment on our Youth to kill the Priest and gain 5 for a pretty huge swing, leaving  his board empty and ours having 9 power. They play Thraben Sentry and pass, as we draw our own Sentry, play it and swing for 9, which they take.  Seemingly desperate to survive, they main phase play Spidery Grasp on their Sentry and then use Prey Upon to get rid of our Sentry, also flipping our Villagers of Estwald back to it’s 2/3 state. At this point our hand still has Midnight Haunting, Ulvenwald Mystics and Darkthicket Wolf. We attack in again as the Sentry can’t block profitably and the opponent only has one untapped land- they take it, going to 4 and as we played nothing, the Villagers reflip. On their turn, we are greeted by Butchers Cleaver being played and equipped on the Thraben Sentry, with the intention of using the Vigilance to  attack and gain 5 life, while still being able to block next turn to gain more life and kill off one of our attackers. Thankfully we have the Midnight Haunting though and use it to double block, taking down the Sentry, although they still gain 5. We attack for 9 again on our turn, then play the Mystics out, bringing the concession.

Match 3 we take the split (not entertaining I know, but I’m poor!) and for what it’s worth, the opponent conceded to me- I went to trade, he took 2 boosters, as you’d imagine, so we get six each. However I’d got it into my head that he was supposed to take 4 and kept pushing him to take 4 (and at one point 6! I was megatired.) but to their credit, they refused and pointed out my error- so a big thanks to Dominaria_navajita for being one of the good guys.

And you know what the weird thing is? In the entire draft I didn’t once play my Bonds of Faith, Geist-Honored Monk or Slayer of the Wicked!

Posted January 17, 2012 by drafterildal in Drafts

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Random Card Design #4- Cleansing Ritual   Leave a comment

Nowhere near as interesting or exciting as the other cards I’ve done (trying to do one for every day for a year, so expect some mundanity!) but I like this card from a simplistic standpoint- it feels like it belongs in a core set. It’s a decent combat trick- you can nab something like Pacifism away, or get rid of an opponents Dark Favor that’s boosting their guy- it’s a neat little sideboard trick that feels very white and is what I would class as a “sideboard common.” Obviously no constructed intentions here, unless there was an enchantment-heavy block running around.

Posted January 16, 2012 by drafterildal in Card Designs, Magic Design

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