6/21/2011 Wizards Asks

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

Pith Driller, but not really for the same reasons as LSV.  I find red doesn't mesh with the type of deck I like to draft in PBS, so I try to steer away from it and send a clear signal to my left that it is open, so I can get gifted in pack 2.  Pith Driller is also a straight up 2-for-1 at common, which is quite rare.  I'm not sure if I'd say it's the best limited common since Mulldrifter, but it is pretty close in a format where about 30% of the creatures are x/1.
Are those *really* the only picks available?

First Pack First Pick, if those are just the best cards in the pack, it's horribly weak pack. It's very tempting to just take the best card in the least represented color, and pass the pack on.

I mean, sure, Volt is going to get rid of something mid range, and Pith is going to stall the game and in some match ups make a small difference... but ugh. I'd rather take a Maul Splicer over these cards. I just hate weak, slow removal.
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Volt Charge is weak? Sure, it's not Enslave, but sheesh! I hope I'm sitting next to you at my next draft.
I guess I'll play the devil's advocate here.  While Pith Driller allows you to stay open, Volt Charge is the stronger card in a vacuum.  With many different ways to deal 1 damage, something heavier is important in the current draft format and it's easy enough to splash in a couple of red cards even if you aren't really playing a red deck.  Since Volt Charge is valuable even in an extremely long game, you really don't need much fixing in order to play it any deck.  The proliferate is really just icing on a very sweet cake and can do wonders for you if you do happen to get a pith driller (or necropede, or a trigon, etc.) later on.  Finally, R/W is by far the strongest archetype in NPH draft and you can gain a lot by cutting it heavily early in a draft.  Make sure that the 2 or 3 guys on your left aren't seeing any red and you'll be glad for it in pack 2.
I'd take Pith Driller.  One, it keeps you open.  Two, it is a creature with a reasonable toughness.  Three, you can kill or weaken another creature when you play it.

Volt charge will generally be a more expensive Lightning Bolt unless you get cards that have counters on them. 
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pith driller, however i'll take the caged sun you forgot to tell me about.
This is a really tough call.  I think I would take the Volt Charge as the 3 damage is a lot in this format where a number of creatures have two or three toughness.  The proliferate in red isn't often much of a bonus unless you end up with some Tumble Magnets or Sphere of the Suns or similar cards.  Also, a single red is easy to splash for so i don't feel the volt charge forces me into red.
Personally I'd take Volt Charge, assuming those are the only choices. 

Instant speed removal is second only to game winning bombs in my book. While Volt Charge is pretty pricey for what it does, it is still instant speed, it kills the majority of regular non-bomb creatures in the format and the proliferate mechanic is one that is almost certain to be useful for you.

Think of all the things with counters on that are powerful almost no brainer picks in this format. Shrine of Loyal legions is obviously a bomb, and burning rage too is no slouch. How about tumble magnet ? All in there is well over 100 cards in the block that involve counters. Not all are awesome of course but chances are you will have a handful of decent cards that make use of them. If you have a couple of infect creatures (which are numerous and span the whole colour spectrum) then Volt Chanrge can easilly become a two for one, burning one creature for 3 and putting on a last -1/-1 counter on something else. 

While Pith Driller doesn't lock you into a colour (kind of), its simply not that good of a card. If it had evasion or infect or something you could build around, then sure, take it. But a 2/4 body that either costs 5 or burns you when you cast it, and the only added value is a single -1/-1 counter... Sure you can drop it into just about any deck, but at best its going to be making up the numbers. 

Pith Driller doesn't commit you to anything, but it also has very very low value. Volt Charge pushes you towards red, but its a decent playable card that anytime you draw you can find a good use for. Yes, you don't want to be locked into anything that early, but you never are unless you try and force the deck to work around a single early card. That's the real problem in drafting, letting an early pick force your other choices. 

Once upon a time, many many moons ago in a Kamigawa draft, I pulled Kokusho first pick, first pack. I was psyched. Then I saw nothing else in black, and won the day with green/red *shrug*. You stay open by thinking open. 


 
Pith Driller. Cause that's what LSV would pick.
LSV's argument is convincing, but I'd still probably go for the Volt Charge. I'd rather have real removal than a 2/4 that kills a myr when the myr is barely relevant anymore. (I mean, Pith Driller is a good card that I'll happily take, but there are a lot of things I'd rather have.)
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I have to chime in here and say the pith driller is pretty unexciting. The volt charge seems pretty good to me as well. The thing is though, a winning deck isn't always that exciting. If you look a LSV's deck from this weekend their isn't anything too flashy about it. It just gets the job done. That's what pith driller does. Any time you can put an ability on a guy that has a decent body, you get card advantage. The 2/4 body is really a good thing size for the format, it stops so much. It is just disguised by other cards that were 2/4s that weren't played that much.... (I'm looking at you, pillarfield ox). I like to think of myself as a good limited player and I would take the volt charge before the driller in a bunch of drafts had it not been for this discussion and really thinking about the choice. Now I have figured out for myself that the driller is the right choice.
pith driller, however i'll take the caged sun you forgot to tell me about.



Yeah what's up with caged sun going like 5th pick?  That card is actually pretty good.  It's like Mirari's Wake but goes into any color.
pith driller, however i'll take the caged sun you forgot to tell me about.



Yeah what's up with caged sun going like 5th pick?  That card is actually pretty good.  It's like Mirari's Wake but goes into any color.


It's overcosted and it's very difficult to build monocolor in limited.  By the time you have 6 mana to cast it with, you don't need the mana ramping.  And while +1/+1 to your creatures of that color is nice, it's awfully expensive for a Glorious Anthem.
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