10/12/2010 LI: "It Doesn't Have to Scar You"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Tried to play U/B Proliferate/Infect at last FNM's draft, but ended up with only 5 creatures w/ Infect.
Turns out Proliferate + the Trigons and a couple of Tumble Magnets do the job!
Thus far, I've drafted two BG infect decks, UW metalcraft, two GR decks that played extremely different, and two RW equipment decks. BG and UW seem like to most natural and best combinations available. I initially liked red least of the colors, but I think it has a ton of options and simply requires focus to draft right. Like black, many of the cards only work exceptionally well in specific strategies and recognizing that is important. Favorite deck thus far was centered around the two Furnace Celebrations I drafted. I got mana screwed a few too many games, but it was very fun when it worked.

Also, 16 lands is my standard in this environment thus far. Artifacts, mana-myrs, and spellbombs are only slightly less effective than they were in the original Mirrodin, which had perhaps half a mana less requirement per deck on average.
I've drafted 4 times and I must say, white red always seems to work quite well! First of all, it offers the best removal package in the game. White has the best removal cards in the set (and with quite the variety, exile, arrest or sacrifice depending on the threat) and red burns, of course, as always. Arc trail ravages the early game, where it will usually remove 2 creatures for 2 mana, which is quite insane. (Though I also managed to use it to remove 2 enemy creatures after my attack phase once, to clear the board) Also, the spellbombs of those two colors are the best two and will ALWAYS be useful, either giving a small creature or cancelling a blocker while digging deeper in your library (spellbombs always have 2-3 slots in my draft decks, I consider library digging very important in limited.) I have finished 3rd, 2nd and 1st with white-red, and also miserably failed once, trying to create a green black infect that only had 7 infecters that suffered to arc trail a couple of times too many.
My first place deck was overpowered, actually. I don't remember the list but it contained a Masticore, a Phoenix, a Forgemaster, a Steel Hellkite and was Myr-focused (3 Galvanizers!!) It lacked removal, but was too fast. ;)
Compared to Steve's usual high standard of analysis, I thought that this was uncharacteristically fluffy.

Some 'solid' home truths about drafting generally, a quick summary of the archetypes, all of which have their place, but you seemed to step around making any bolder statements.

I know most pros prefer to draft a couple of thousand times before they truly assess a set's ability, but I'd hoped for something more intuitive from a player like Steve.

My own experience, as in having played this set in sealed ONCE and drafted ONCE, is that poison is very good indeed but you need to get a couple of decent equipments, and by far the most useful seemed to be bladed pinions - evasion AND first strike - and (believe it or not) sylvok lifestaff. The ability to play and equip for , and keep you in the game on life, is not to be underestimated. I also don't think you need to play both infect colors - black-red (with red for removal, black and colorless for infect) worked very well for me (running about 7 or 8 infect creatures, including vector asp, and two contagion clasp). You must, however, have a late game strategy if the board gets stabilized. Proliferate is the most obvious.

I have also found moriok replica to be insanely good and underdrafted. At worse, if black is your splash deck, they're a grey ogre. Again the lifestaff is kind of ideal with them. I literally held onto a game on the last turn against two unblockable creatures by equiping one replica, sacking it for net gain 1 life, drawing another, casting and equiping and sacking it for another net gain 1 life, and that 2 life was all i needed not to die next turn (plus I had recharged my hand by 3 cards).

That particular deck was a blue-red four color deck. For mana management I had two trinket mage to draw into two horizon spellbomb (or i could draw into two sylvok lifestaff). No mana myr - I find them too vulnerable. I ran three moriok replica, two sylvok replica. I was also running furnace celebration[c] and [c]culling dias, heavy balista and soliton, and a couple of vedalken certarch for good measure. Sounds like a bit of a mishmash but it worked, my early game was simply about not edging out card advantage. My late game was very strong - most cards became two-for-one with all the interactions, and the certarchs came online.
I ran an SOM draft for my friends this past weekend, and we all had a blast. The decks we came up with ran the gamut: RDW, Infect, R/W aggro, Artifact control, etc. I crafted a mean U/B midrange metalcraft deck that abused Necrogen Scudder, Trigon of Corruption, Vedalken Certarch, and Bleak Coven Vampires. I even bounced the Vamps with Lumengrid Drake a few times, which was hilarious. One of my more bombastic players announced that he planned to draft Elves (despite the fact that Scars isn't the most hospitable set to this sort of plan). He used Ezuri, Tel-Jilad Fallen, and a playset of Blunt the Freakin' Assault
Steve said :
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you are drafting a metalcraft deck is that you want to end up with at least fourteen (but preferably sixteen, or even eighteen) artifacts to be able to reliably turn on metalcraft and keep it on even in the face of removal spells and combat steps.

I think these numbers are a little too high. Solidifying metalcraft is good, but the thing is, when you're trying to cram in as many artifacts as possible in your 40, thinking you have to reach such a high threshold as 16 to be really safe, you risk ending up choosing mediocre artifacts over much better colored cards, while the real threshold you should reach is probably lower. Also, that threshold varies depending on how much your deck relies on its metalcraft cards and how good those cards are without metalcraft. In my experience, 13-14 is usually enough artifacts to play even cards that are outright bad without metalcraft, such as Auriok Sunchaser. If I have such cards in my deck, I will be willing to include artifacts over stronger colored cards to the point that I reach about 14 artifacts, but not more. I'd be willing to play as few as 11-12 in order to include stronger colored cards if my metalcraft cards are all still reasonably live without metalcraft, such as Ghalma's Warden and Chrome Steed.

Of course, that only applies when the worst colored cards you're considering are clearly better than your worst artifacts. There's no problem in reaching any number of artifacts if those cards are truly better than your colored options. And when an artifact and a colored card look about as good in the abstract, the artifact should usually get the nod.

In-game, when you have just the 3 artifacts on the battlefield but not more, be aware of the instant-speed removal that could trick you and play accordingly. You should be fine.
No mana myr - I find them too vulnerable.

Take my advice as you will, but I think you should really reconsider. The mana myr's vulnerability only really matters against the few removal spells that kill specifically 1-thoughness creatures while giving card advantage, the only common one being Instill Infection. Occasionally, you'll get blown out by Arc Trail, that's true, but it's only one uncommon. Otherwise, if your opponent wastes a real 1-for-1 removal spell on your mana myr, you should be quite happy unless you're mana screwed.

The benefits of playing mana myr far outweighs their vulnerability. Mana acceleration, being an artifact for metalcraft and a body for carrying equipment in the late game is way too god a package to pass on, at least when the produced mana is on-color. They can also help you splash, but it's true that you shouldn't count too much on them for that purpose.
Magic The Gathering DCI Lvl 1 Judge Don't hesitate to post rules question in the Rules Q&A forum for me and other competent advisors to answer : http://community.wizards.com/go/forum/view/75842/134778/Rules_Q38A
Article didn't have much content, but I guess that's to be expected.

The advice of getting as much removal as you can applies to every archetype and every limited format, so that was kind of moot.
Next article will be about the importance of playing creatures in limited.
I've only played draft once and sealed once so far with this set.  My sealed pool was horrible, nothing good by ways of infect, metalcraft, or removal.

Draft however was a completely different story.  I made a U/W half Myr, half Artifact deck.  Was very fun to play with, ended up going 3-0.  Here's meh deck-list

Creatures
3x  Salvage Scout
3x  Perilous Myr
2x  Glint Hawk
1x  Iron Myr
1x  Auriok Reploca
1x  Riddlesmith
1x  Myrsmith
1x  Golem Artisan
1x  Myr Battlesphere
Total: 14

Other Spells
2x  Disperse
2x  Origin Spellbomb
2x  Seize the Initiative
1x  Grafted Exoskeleton
1x  Trigon of Thought
1x  Flight Spellbomb
1x  Fulgent Distraction
1x  Dispense Justice
Total: 11

Lands
9x  Plains
6x  Island

Total Cards: 40


:D  My fave play?  Playing a Battlesphere then next turn playing and equipping Grafted Exoskeleton and swinging for 10 direct poison damage. 

I bought a box & played sealed & draft with the whole thing.

I found that Infect is pretty strong, as is Proliferate + charge counter stuff, if one could pull it off.
seems to be super powerful as well, Metalcraft works wonderfully.
Green seemed kind of lame. Always decent additions, but never a number one color.

I'm really happy with the set though, it's super fun.

Super. 
No mana myr - I find them too vulnerable.

Take my advice as you will, but I think you should really reconsider. The mana myr's vulnerability only really matters against the few removal spells that kill specifically 1-thoughness creatures while giving card advantage, the only common one being Instill Infection. Occasionally, you'll get blown out by Arc Trail, that's true, but it's only one uncommon. Otherwise, if your opponent wastes a real 1-for-1 removal spell on your mana myr, you should be quite happy unless you're mana screwed.

The benefits of playing mana myr far outweighs their vulnerability. Mana acceleration, being an artifact for metalcraft and a body for carrying equipment in the late game is way too god a package to pass on, at least when the produced mana is on-color. They can also help you splash, but it's true that you shouldn't count too much on them for that purpose.





I should probably have said, "I find them too vulnerable as the way to splash an extra color". As an extra source of that color, or a mana accelerant, especially in metalcraft, I agree with you.
I've drafted once. I got Tempered Steel, Argentum Armor, True Conviction, Ezuri's Brigade, 2x Tel-Jilad Fallen, 3x Sylvok Replica (!!!) and a bunch of marginal crap. I went 0-3 despite having this pile of insane cards because there was no plan really: I thought about switching to infect halfway through the draft (hence the Fallen), kept switching colors, had no white cards to speak of besides the bombs, not much metalcraft or anything. Like Rise limited, having a plan and sticking to it is a lot better than just picking the best card you see every time; the synergy matters infinitely more than just the abstract quality of the cards.