Monday, October 11, 2010

Draft Report - Oct 9, 2010

8 people this Saturday, with the new batch of cards in the cube! I was afraid control was too strong in the cube because of the last metagames, but this draft was dominated by aggro. The balance from 2nd to 6th place was also remarkable.

- WU Aggro (6-0, 12-2)
- UB Aggro Control (3-3, 9-8)
- BR Aggro (3-3, 7-7)
- UG(b)(r) Control (3-3, 6-7)
- UBG Aggro Reanimator (2-3, 5-7)
- WR Aggro (2-4, 5-8)
- WU Control (1-2-1, 3-5)
- RG Midrange (0-2-1, 2-5)

An aggro intensive metagame was definitely more fun than a control one, probably because of the intensity of the matches, races and tight plays. The balance between aggro and control seems hard to maintain, but it's important for greater deck diversity.

WU Aggro
9 Plains
5 Island
Shelldock Isle
Faerie Conclave
Sejiri Refuge

Soul Warden
Suntail Hawk
Ajani's Pridemate
Azorius Guildmage
Noggle Bandit
Aether Adept
Aven Mindcensor
Mangara of Corondor
Emeria Angel
Grand Arbiter Augustin IV
Sky Hussar

Journey to Nowhere
Sword of Light and Shadow
Loxodon Warhammer
Paralyzing Grasp
Prison Term
Faith's Fetters
Mind Spring

I drafted a WU Aggro that I was happy with. Actually, at the time I was putting it together I realized I could either go Aggro or Midrange, but opted for Aggro because I'd already played Midrange two weeks ago.

Really, the deck has a mediocre creature suite up to 3 mana, but the deck's all-stars are the 4 mana creatures Spitemare, Emeria Angel, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV and the equipments Bonesplitter, Sword of Light and Shadow and Loxodon Warhammer. The rest were basically equipment bearers and creature removal. The deck aimed to always apply pressure by swinging early and remove blockers and nasty creatures in general. I was impressed with Azorius Guildmage, which was always useful with her abilities, locking Kiku's, Meloku's abilities, tapping blockers and attackers and ruining the opponent's plans in general. In particular I liked Mind Spring in this deck, which was a very welcome injection of gas if the opponent was stabilizing.

To transform this aggressive build midrange, I just needed to switch 5 cards: Soul Warden, Suntail Hawk, Bonesplitter, Noggle Bandit and Ajani's Pridemate for Draining Whelk, Oona, Queen of the Fae, Confiscate, Legacy's Allure and Ith, High Arcanist. I didn't sideboard into midrange, however, because I was doing well as aggro.

UB Aggro Control
8 Island
8 Swamp
Gemstone Caverns

Flying Men
Dauthi Horror
Dimir Guildmage
Rakdos Guildmage
Kiku, Night's Flower
Dauthi Marauder
Stinkweed Imp
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Smoldering Butcher
Meloku the Clouded Mirror

Wind Zendikon
Inquisition of Kozilek
Pendrell Flux
Doom Blade
Last Gasp
Mana Leak
Scythe of the Wretched
Control Magic

This was Kamila's deck, against whom I played my hardest match. This deck deploys nasty small threats like Kiku, Night's Flower, Dauthi Marauder and Shadowmage Infiltrator, follows with protection for them in the form of discard (Stupor and Inquisition of Kozilek) and counterspells (Mana Leak and Counterspell). Blockers and threats can be dealt with by using Control Magic, Doom Blade and Pendrell Flux. She realized my equipments were the strongest threats I had, so after losing to them game 1, she took care of them with discard in game 2 and counterspells in game 3, although in the latter I managed to Mind Spring into a lot of gas just after she stabilized, and took the match.

BR Aggro
9 Mountain
6 Swamp
Tresserhorn Sinks
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle

Odious Trow
Child of Night
Nezumi Cutthroat
Stigma Lasher
Manic Vandal
Suk'Ata Lancer
Hypnotic Specter
Flame Elemental

Lightning Bolt
Flame Slash
Seal of Fire
Genju of the Spires
Night's Whisper
Chainer's Edict
Acidic Soil
Phyrexian Processor
Lightning Blast

As close to a Red Deck Wins as we've seen with this cube, this deck aims to play uber-aggressively by burning down the opponent quickly. Genju of the Spires was the MVP, taking a lot of matches almost by itself. The burn suite is very strong and Manabarbs is incredibly effective here. What I consider the weakness of this deck is the inclusion of a few cards: Odious Trow, which is a defensive creature, Phyrexian Processor, which seems too slow for this list and maybe Bedlam, because the deck does not have creatures enough for it to be abused. It's a scary deck to see at the other side of the table, weak against life gain and very good against control.

UBG Aggro Reanimator
6 Swamp
6 Forest
4 Island

Wild Mongrel
Vinelasher Kudzu
Quirion Elves
Bone Shredder
Phantom Tiger
Doomed Necromancer
Lorescale Coatl
Plague Fractius
Throat Slitter
Extractor Demon
Arcanis the Omnipotent

Animate Dead
Elephant Guide
Rend Flesh
Frantic Search
Compulsive Research
Phyrexian Arena
Defense of the Heart
Diabolic Tutor
Living Death

The most original deck of the day, an Aggro deck that pressures with Wild Mongrel, Phantom Tiger and Karstoderm, or sets up big threats with the reanimator enablers Compulsive Research, Frantic Search and Psychatog to put them into play early in the game. Living Death does its share of being an out for nearly unwinnable games, fetched by Diabolic Tutor. Defense of the Heart also steals some games without bothering with reanimation. Lorescale Coatl works especially well with the {2U} filters. In all, a very cohesive and fun deck to play.

The UG(g)(r) Control deck has this weird denomination because its lineup varied wildly from match to match, sometimes including black, sometimes including red, others just using blue and green. It was a ramp deck with control elements like Moment's Peace, Psionic Blast and Voidslime to buy time and make big threats. The ramp cards were numerous (Harrow, Rampant Growth, Bird of Paradise, Arbor Elf among others) and the big threats too few, but still it performed decently.

The WR Aggro deck did not work very well, as the overall card quality was low, and despite having a lot of removal, there were not good small threats to be successful as Aggro or late game threats to work as Midrange. The mana curve was weird as well - a huge spike at 3cc, meaning mana was wasted often.

The WU Control deck was played by a friend that had not played Magic in almost 10 years, but got decent results. It was a bit slow, but the finishers were great - Jareth, Leonin Titan, Djinn of Wishes, Eternal Dragon et al. There was a good amount of defense and two board sweepers (Wrath of God and Myojin of Cleansing Fire) to control the game.

I helped the RG Midrange player to put her deck together, and was impressed with how well she had drafted - we ended up with a very competitive deck, featuring burn to hold the beatdown in the first few turns and a good number of 5-7cc creatures, topped by Overwhelming Stampede. She played incredibly well given we taught Magic to her one hour before the draft.

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