06/07/2011 LI: "Take What You're Given"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Limited Information, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.

I never knew that you can use less than 40 cards (39 in this case) to make a deck in drafting, no wonder he got 1st place.
Beware !!!! There are Zombies even in Spaces !!!
seriously I thought it was required of you to have at least 40 cards in limited, or is there some loophole I do not know about.
I assume a land was ommitted from the list somehow, 18 lands in a ramp deck isn't all that uncommon if you have a lot of high quality high cost spells.
Hell yeah, <1% advantage!
More like 2.5% advantage, but it's most likely just a copying error, anyway.
For me, this article was a good place to start but went nowhere near the analysis I'd have hoped and ended up making the same point as the opening couple of paragraphs for the rest of the article.

Most frustratingly in this no-walkthrough feature was an absence of probing questions in the cited deck. Goodbey is obviously a solid player, but why take that second maul splicer P1P8 when the top end is already starting to feel heavy and you are being passed an on-color mass removal spell which assists your weakest flank (air assault). As it turned out, Goodbey had a maul splicer too many in the end.

And whilst I take the point that a dinosaur strategy is capable of out performing a bomb-heavy deck, that doesn't mean you should pass a darksteel plate, which can protect your big creatures from tempo-busting spot removal, over an average lumengrid gargoyle, particular when P2P4 Goodbey has little in the way of acceleration.

Also in pack 2, with all these fatties, would you have hated a courier pick 9 over unnatural predation? Not only is trample a significant win-factor for fatties, but it is a relevant combat trick against double blocking.

How about some comment about the curve? No good having creatures which don't come down until turn 5 if your opponent is running a fast poison deck. By P2P10 Goodbey has several six drops, a couple of seven drops and a five drop. I'd only be putting more in the five mana+ camp if I would definitely run that card, and to be honest I wouldn't run the hulk. I'd have gone for early defence in bladed sentinel.

Sorry, but the article was a little too cursory for my liking and I can't help feeling that getting a pick 9 better shatter to complement his viridian corrupter, and a 'dream run' in the scars pack, starting with a first-pick on-strategy bomb, P3 and P4 artifact removal and P5 arguably the best mana accelerator in the format, and a P8 on-color myr had much more to contribute to the deck's performance than Steve's article would have you believe. To be honest, the deck was seriously lacking mana acceleration until Scars, and Goodbey had to pass one of the best five drop lizards to grab a myr that the deck couldn't really do without.

More detail please!
For me, this article was a good place to start but went nowhere near the analysis I'd have hoped and ended up making the same point as the opening couple of paragraphs for the rest of the article

I agree with most about what you said and I still can't believe that 6 months in after a new years resolution for more walkthroughs we still haven't had one.  There needs to be much more detail about strength of picks and choices made by players. 

The only point I disagree with you about is this

And whilst I take the point that a dinosaur strategy is capable of out performing a bomb-heavy deck, that doesn't mean you should pass a darksteel plate, which can protect your big creatures from tempo-busting spot removal, over an average lumengrid gargoyle, particular when P2P4 Goodbey has little in the way of acceleration.

The gargoyle is one of the best uncommon creatures in the set.  A 4/4 flyer it is absolutely a dream card and will always make my deck whereas I have never played (and never would play) a Darksteel Plate.
Thanks Highwayman for a bit more in-depth info.

It seems to me more and more that Steve is writing his articles for people new to drafting, the sort of people who might have heard "signalling" mentioned a few times, have a vague idea about it, but who don't really know what it means. Or something roughly like that. No problem with that, but I rarely feel I have gotten much insight out of these articles. Or, well, last week I protested against picking Suture Priest high, and others said I was wrong. And I think I stand corrected after the last FNM in which I saw it was an ok card (not fantastic, but worth playing certainly). So not completely void of information then... But the interesting stuff is sparse.

I also agree with Falcon that Lumengrid Gargoyle is clearly stronger than a Darksteel Plate. The first is a ok even as a first pick, the second rarely worth including in a deck. The Plate doesn't protect from blowouts. If they have the removal, they can remove in response to the equipping, making for an even greater blowout. Anyway, you are unlikely to be able to cast the fatty and equip in the same turn. Even if you do, you've still spent a card and 5 mana doing, well, almost nothing relevant. Ok, so perhaps the Gargoyle is competing with other late drops, so you would ideally want something for the early game if you have already drafted a lot of late drops, but I don't think it is wrong to take it and leave another, worse late drop in the sideboard. Other than that, I think you made good comments Highwayman.
Appreciate the feedback guys - and I think I probably did overstate the value of darksteel plate and undervalue the gargoyle. What I would say, however, is that the gargoyle arguably has less value when it is competing with a lot of other 6 or even 5 drops. This isn't simply because it competes with those other creatures for sheer threat-level, but also because you don't have as many 3 or 4 drops soaking up the spot removal: an annoying hill giant may well warrant that shatter when it stands between your opponent's pair of bears and you, leaving your gargoyle with less to worry about when you do cast it, but if you have to wait until turn 6 to play such a threat you can bet whatever answers your opponent is holding will be directed at it.

But what is clear to me is that this feature has lacked the debate that we are having now, and that I think is a shame.
These online drafts always seem so unrealistic to me.
If we're making the point that "Acceleration makes your game breaking spells better", why on earth did we compare it to a deck with more acceleration (the Red/Black deck had one more mana-myr) and better gamebreaking spells? Did I miss something?
As the person who came in second (FoundOmega), I feel obligated to criticize this article on multiple levels.  If you had watched the finals matches, you would have seen that the way the two games went:
Game 1: Steel Hellkite got killed by Spread the Sickness.  He Razor Hippogriffed it back.  I couldn't find another answer to the bomb rare and lost to it after having a rather commanding board position (and not having my own bombs).  Steel Hellkite won that game.  To say that it didn't significantly altered the game plan is an understatement at best and downright deceitful at worst.
Game 2:  I mulliganed to 6 and kept a hand with 3 Mountains and little action.  I kept it.  Should I have mulliganed to 5?  In hindsight, probably, but I'm not sure.  His deck wasn't nearly as blisteringly fast as you seem to think it was.  After something like 8 turns, I still had a chance to come back if I had ripped a second Swamp, but I didn't, and he was able to top a Brutalizer Exarch for my first Swamp instead.  I'm not quite sure I call that blisteringly fast.

As much as I can appreciate wanting to point out that bomb rares aren't everything (because frankly, I think my deck was REALLY good), the reasons you give are factually incorrect.  And as one of the users posted, I actually had more acceleration that goodbey.  He drew better.  If you want to point out that his deck had a better game plan than mine, then do so.  If anything, talking about taking what you get passed, the fact that I got a 3rd-pick Carnifex Demon means I was reading the right signals and taking advantage of colors the guys to my right weren't in.  But you brush that off.  Why?
In my opinion, I think the Author missed the game plan from pack 1. Goodbey wasn't paying attention to signals. He knew exactly what he wanted to draft out of the box. I know, because I've tried to force the same thing. Goodbey was out to draft Splicers. It's the whole reason for p1p2.  Spinebitter is arguably the stronger pick after the bad start, and it would have been unstoppable with the Darksteel Armor later in the draft. Even with just a Copper Carapace, it would have rocked. No, the reason to pick Master Splicer is because you are playing golems.

In my opinion,  Brutalizer Exarch was a sign that he wasn't maintaining focus, not that it was a signal to go into green. If he was really paying attention to the game plan, the Pick should have been Phyrexian Hulk. Maybe he didn't realize it was the only Non-Splicer Golem in NPH, but that plus a Maul Splicer (And I am sure he was gambling on a Maul Splicer) would have been brutal. Never mind that it eventually tabled, it was not a sure thing that it would have.

I disagree on with Highwayman on p2p4. I would have gone with the Loxodon Partisan. It adds to the Midrange creatures, and acts as another boosts to the Golems. It keeps him in W/G, all you really need is a strong ground force, which with 3 Maul Splicers, is easily gained. In the end, it would have netted him two Partisans, and that isn't horrible.

Actually, the question I have is why Trine Shrike over Adrent Recruit (p2p8)? I understand Trine has evasion, but he was going to have the artifacts. Ardent Recruit becomes the beefier creature at that point, and I think that really is a misplay.

Honestly, I think Goodbey just lost focus by the third pack. He should have been grabbing all the mana acceleration, on color or no, that he could. However, I don't think Goodbey really cared at that point what he was drafting.

The only tweek to his final deck I would have made, is leaving Rotted Hystrix home and bring along the Phyrexian Hulk to rocking the house.
I'm pretty disappointed in this article.  Omega's deck looks clearly better to me.  If I had to pick a deck to play, I would definitely pick his.  He has the bombs, the accelartion, the removal and he didn't need to dip into a 3rd color needlessly.  I use to love limited information, but I have to admit most of the time I feel like Steve is coasting... turning his articles each week w/o any real work.  I don't think its his focus, and it makes this article not worth reading much any more.  It would also explain the lack of walk throughs even though he promised them.

This last article, though vague, is good advice I just don't feel like the decks reflected it.  I went through the walk through when it came up and thought "Omega must have drawn horrible."

Okay, I really feel the need to comment on this, because usually Steve's articles are pretty good introductory material, but this was horrid.

The guy that won drafted a horrible, horrible deck.  He has 3 pieces of acceleration, and 2 5 drops, 4 6 drops, and 2 7 drops.  He is splashing for a throughly mediocre removal spell.  He went into the worst possible color combination into the format.  These are all things you don't want to do when you draft, and this is an example of why Magic sucks sometimes.  This guy did not draft skillfully, yet still won.  That's the worst part of variance for you.