10/26/2010 LI: "Commitment Issues"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Okay, good.  Now I don't feel that bad for going 0-X the previous draft.  I took a theme, stuck with it, and the cards just didn't flow.  I had to make up for it with sub-par cards.
Okay, some nice theory about deciding which strategy to pick, but the article felt a bit light on genuine commentary.

I think the problem is this...

That means that a lot of the card valuations—and even the archetype valuations are still up in the air

Is Steve holding back so he doesn't tip off his fellow pros?
Hi Steve - something I've been missing from Limited Information for a while is discussions of actual desk archetypes in the current block. 

For example, I think there are a few approaches to drafting poison decks that might be worth talking about.  I've managed to draft the creature swarm version - get as many 2-drops good and Vector Asps as you can, get Carrion Call and the green Trigon so you get an overlap of creatures, then fill out with removal and +X/+X to finish.  But I've seen others try the board controlling version with Tangle Angler, or the attrition version with Corpse Cur, and valuing equipment highly or not (to make poisoners bigger/hastier/evading) and valuing Proliferate highly or not to do the last few poison counters depending on what's available.  And then of course some just play their 4/4 flying infect bomb as a one-of and otherwise work with normal damage.

So beyond mere generalities, maybe you could tell us what you think works in draft for this block?
Not a great article but some quite interesting points. 

I guess it is too much to ask for a walkthrough after a month of the new set?
Best article from Steve on SoM draft so far, and I'm sure they will get better and better. The issue of commitment is a major characteristic of this format, and while the answers given are mostly not definitive, for the simple reason that they cannot be (the right call depening on too many factors, in no small part sheer luck in regards to what your neighbors choose to do), they are very good guidelines. The strongest point I get from this is Eric Froehlich's assessment that you want to pick artifacts that are strong in any deck for the first 2-3 picks if possible, and then commit to the archetype that looks open. Of course, that does not mean that you should pass an early bomb that requires commitment such as a planeswalker 1st pick; Conley Woods probably made the right call there. But if you do pick such a card, you must not fall into the trap of staying commited to that card when the signals tell you that you should abandon it.

I fell into that trap this very morning in a 8-4 draft on MTGO. My first pick was True Conviction, a legitimate bomb in my favorite archetype, heavy white metalcraft aggro. Second pick, I got a Revoke Existence, which made the trap harder to get out of, similar to Conley's Turn to Slag. Then, Infect cards started flowing, but I have sort of an irrational bias against it at the moment, so I stayed away from it and kept trying to go metalcraft while good artifacts and white cards were obviously cut. Needless to say I ended up with a 3-color monstrosity that lost the 1st round. I'll keep my mind open next time­.

Back to the article, I must say I really like how Steve fetched quotes and coverage to back up his point. As I said in last weak's thread, I felt that up until then, he lacked experience in the format to be an authority on it. Here, he made up for it by looking up what the pros were doing and saying. Some might say that the content thus wasn't his, but he still chose his points, structured them well, and presented them as the great theroricist writer we all know and love. And by the way, you do not get better at this game (or at anything!) by not paying attention to what other people that are good at it are saying.  Kuddos!
I guess it is too much to ask for a walkthrough after a month of the new set?

I'll just copy and paste what I said last week. I think I should put this in a text doc for easy access...

"Steve does not do draft walkthroughs. He has done one in two years and it sucked. He hates them and he's bad at them. You can ask all you want, he won't do it."

Let him stick to what he's good at, Limited theory. There are plenty of draft walkthroughs from pros out there for your viewing pleasure. If you don't want to pay for them, try Blackborder.com and Channelfireball.com. If you can afford to pay a small fee, Starcitygames.com's premium section has some good stuff there too, with less ads since you're paying.
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

Am I underestimating chrome steed?  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a decent card in metalcraft and I'll play them if I'm playing metalcraft, but I wouldn't 3rd pick it.  Maybe it's just my whole playgroup that undervalues it, but they usually go mid pack.  So in my opinion, cystbearer is a little stronger than the steed.
Add that to the fact that contagion clasp is typically much stronger in infect (or at least, easier to get the most out of it) and it seems to me like the clear pick, if you aren't forcing metalcraft, is cystbearer.

i think people are undervaluing infect in a non-poison deck.  give me some ichorclaw myrs in any archetype any day of the week.  people seem very hesitant to attack into withering chumpers.  pick up some accorder's shields and they are very nice little creatures to have around.  they help out metalcraft, too, as well as most any other deck.
i think people are undervaluing infect in a non-poison deck.  give me some ichorclaw myrs in any archetype any day of the week.  people seem very hesitant to attack into withering chumpers.  pick up some accorder's shields and they are very nice little creatures to have around.  they help out metalcraft, too, as well as most any other deck.


I played a single Ichorclaw Myr in my prerelease winning sealed pool as almost strictly a removal target...and it worked.  People freaked out at seeing it hit the board turn two and used top-class removal on it ASAP...and then I beat them down with normal guys.  It was hilarious.

One opponent played his only copy of Revoke Existence on the Myr on turn 3...meanwhile, I held my single copy for over 6 turns...and played it on his Prototype Portal with something under it.

"When did you get the Revoke?," he asked.

"I always had it."

"But didn't play it?"

"Why would I?  All you had were little things."

"And I used my on your Myr...you weren't going to poison me were you?"

"Nope."

Am I underestimating chrome steed?  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a decent card in metalcraft and I'll play them if I'm playing metalcraft, but I wouldn't 3rd pick it.  Maybe it's just my whole playgroup that undervalues it, but they usually go mid pack.  So in my opinion, cystbearer is a little stronger than the steed.
Add that to the fact that contagion clasp is typically much stronger in infect (or at least, easier to get the most out of it) and it seems to me like the clear pick, if you aren't forcing metalcraft, is cystbearer.


You are definitely underestimating the Steed. That card is a big part of the glue that holds Metalcraft decks together.  A 4/4 for 4 mana is a fantastic body in aggressive and control decks alike, and it's an artifact not only for its own Metalcraft count but also for everything else in your deck that cares. Cystbearer is in my opinion the equivalent at common for the Infect deck, which is why Steve's comparison here is spot on. I would agree that the Clasp pushes you slightly more towards Infect here, but it's good in any deck. Also, you have to consider that some flavor of Metalcraft makes for a way, way easier deck to assemble than Infect; the Infect theme cannot support more than three drafters at a table (and they need to be slightly different if there are three, with one playing blue for proliferate), while all the other players but one or two can be some sort of Metalcraft easily, the last one(s) being non-artifact-based aggro. Cystbearer is thus more of a risky pick. Really, it's not as clear as you think.

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

Am I underestimating chrome steed?  I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a decent card in metalcraft and I'll play them if I'm playing metalcraft, but I wouldn't 3rd pick it.  Maybe it's just my whole playgroup that undervalues it, but they usually go mid pack.  So in my opinion, cystbearer is a little stronger than the steed.
Add that to the fact that contagion clasp is typically much stronger in infect (or at least, easier to get the most out of it) and it seems to me like the clear pick, if you aren't forcing metalcraft, is cystbearer.


You are definitely underestimating the Steed. That card is a big part of the glue that holds Metalcraft decks together.


After my last draft, I'll admit, I was underestimating the steed, it's much more solid than I thought.