Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Draft Report - Jan 20, 2013

- UR Midrange-Control (Naka) 5-1, 10-4
- BR Aggro (Kam) 4-2, 9-6
- BR Aggro-Midrange (Jão) 3-2, 7-6
- W Aggro-Control (Lula) 2-3, 7-7
- WU Control (Germano) 2-3, 5-7
- WG Control (Mauro) 1-3, 4-7
- WG Midrange (Marcos) 1-4, 4-9

UR Midrange-Control

6 Island
6 Mountain
Shivan Reef
Faerie Conclave
Ghitu Encampment
Shelldock Isle
Mystifying Maze

Mana Leak

Cyclonic Rift

Lightning Bolt
Hammer of Bogardan

Seagate Oracle
Augur of Bolas

Card Drawing
Fact or Fiction

Kiln Fiend
Lighthouse Chronologist
Taurean Mauler
Conundrum Sphinx
Oona, Queen of the Fae
Meloku the Clouded Mirror
Crater Hellion

Chromatic Lantern
Gitaxian Probe

My draft started pretty well when I picked a couple of counterspells and good burn spells during the first pack. Afterwards, I got the other pieces for a UR control deck, but the good counters and burn stopped coming and I had to settle for what I had. With only 2 counters that could protect my finishers, the threat count had to be upped. This created a deck too unstable as control, but beefy like a midrange deck in the long run. The two manlands were invaluable to thicken the threat density when necessary.

The most important section of the deck was the part that controlled the opponent's creatures enough to last the first turns and generate card advantage. Pyroclasm and Crater Hellion were incredible for that. Gitaxian Probe also played a very important role, and its performance made me wonder if the card should not be played more often even outside blue.

Oona, Queen of the Fae was lethal as usual, and Taurean Mauler was either good bait for removal or occasionally a board dominator when backed up by counters. Meloku the Clouded Mirror and Kiln Field didn't do well. The former may be a good finisher for control decks, but underperforms as a threat in a midrange deck. The latter is nearly always a 1/2 - instants aren't as effective in the wrong time - and is probably going to be replaced by something else more interesting in the cube.

BR Aggro

8 Swamp
9 Mountain
Lavaclaw Reaches

Flayer Husk
Rakdos Cackler
Jackal Pup
Genju of the Spires
Nezumi Graverobber
Gore-House Chainwalker
Goblin Furrier
Knight of Infamy
Phyrexian Rager
Splatter Thug

Fire Imp
Flametongue Kavu
Rend Flesh

Goblin Bushwhacker

Card Advantage
Dusk Urchins

Creature Buffing
Lightning Greaves
Loxodon Warhammer


A deck filled with aggressive creatures, with Unleash creatures making their true debut in the cube. Gore-House Chainwalker, Rakdos Cackler and Splatter Thug were great additions for two colors that already tend to be used in beatdown. The deck is about 1, 2 and 3 drops, with the curve stopping at 4 mana, for the gamebreakers Flametongue Kavu and Manabarbs. The aforementioned enchantment was the MVP of this deck, which was so aggressive and its cards so cheap that it's hard to imagine a better home for Manabarbs.

While the creatures used to beat up the opponent weren't all top notch, they were efficient and very potentialized by the supporting spells. Dismember and Rend Flesh, two of the most versatile creature removal spells in the cube, teamed up with Flametongue Kavu and its younger brother Fire Imp as a very efficient removal suite for an aggro deck. Browbeat, Banefire and Goblin Bushwhacker provided reach, and often dealt the killing blow. Skullclamp and Blightning just win games.

This deck did suffer with a matchup that isn't commonly seen: WG Control. It is so loaded with early defense and big creatures that the BR deck's removal can't deal with all of them, causing it to fizzle and get overwhelmend by fatties. Manabarbs does work well in this matchup, but all the rest of the deck doesn't.

BR Aggro-Midrange

8 Swamp
9 Mountain

Grim Lavamancer
Dauthi Horror
Oona's Prowler
Child of Night
Goblin Wardriver
Tuktuk the Explorer
Goblin Ruinblaster
Hero of Oxid Ridge

Tragic Slip
Arc Trail

Pulse of the Forge
Hell's Thunder

Removal or Reach
Magma Jet

Card Advantage
Hypnotic Specter
Phyrexian Arena
Blazing Specter

Creature Buffing
Sword of Light and Shadow

Mox Diamond

Artifact Removal

Note: When we were building decks, I found out I had added Smash to the cube when there was already one copy. Apparently the card is so innocuous that I didn't remember playing or drafting it before.

In this draft, we had a very unusual situation: two deck with the same archetype, BR Aggro. While it's always interesting to check the intersection of two decks of the same archetype to find out what cards are that archetype's cornerstones, this time there is no intersection because they were both on the same draft.

This basic strategy is the same in both decks. Play small creatures quickly, remove blockers and "elves", beat face and then burn what's left of the opponent. The aggressive creatures aren't as numerous in the second deck as in the first one, but the curve is smoother, leaning towards midrange, which is less explosive and more powerful in the long term. Hypnotic Specter, Phyrexian Arena, Blazing Specter and Sword of Light and Shadow dominate opponents that have no answer for them. Hero of Oxid Ridge is a very serious threat and Skinrender consistently turns the game.

The creature curves are:
Deck 1 (Kam): 1-5-4-4-1 (average CMC 1.93)
Deck 2 (Jão): 0-2-4-3-4 (average CMC 2.69)

Which means deck 1 has strong 1-3 turns and deck 2 has strong 2-4 turns. Following the principle of "you want to be either slightly slower or a lot faster than your opponent", deck 2 theoretically had a matchup advantage, which was confirmed by a 2-0 match result.

Comparing removal and reach:
Deck 1: 4 removal spells, 3 reach spells
Deck 2: 4 removal spells, 2 reach spells, 2 removal/reach spells

Not a big difference at all here. Black and red have a lot of redundancy when it comes to these categories.

Comparing card advantage:
Deck 1: Skullclamp, Dusk Urchins, Blightning
Deck 2: Hypnotic Specter, Phyrexian Arena, Blazing Specter

Deck 1 is more about one shot fast effects, while deck 2 can grind opponents down slowly. There is again a significant difference is speed here.

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