Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MachineZone DTK/DTK/FRF Draft recap

Did a DTK/DTK/FRF 8-man draft at work!  Here's a recap of what happened, my picks, and my analysis in hindsight.

P1P1 - Necromaster Dragon
Super weak pack, so even though Necromaster Dragon is a gold card, it's definitely the pick.  Strongest card after that would probably be Sandcrafter Mage, and then Dragon-Scarred Bear and Zephyr Scribe.  I expect someone to my left to take Sandcrafter Mage.

P1P2 - Gudul Lurker
Beh!  Another weak pack.  This is between Gudul Lurker, Stormwing Dragon, Ojutai's Breath, Colossodon Yearling, and Glade Watcher.  I like Gudul Lurker because it matches most with our Necromaster Dragon if we go for a UB deck.  Ojutai's Breath is also technically on-color and not a bad card at all but UB doesn't really want tempo cards like that.  Stormwing Dragon is "ok" but not really something I want to spend a P1P2 on, same with the green cards.  I also know that Gudul Lurker is a win-con in UB, and you need to prioritize wincons when you try to draft the UB exploit deck.  I can see an argument for Stormwing Dragon as it's a better card though.  I expect someone to my left to take it.

P1P3 - Gurmag Drowner
A good sign.  Gurmag Drowner is a solid modal creature on its own, and is pretty great for the UB deck.  There is nothing else really here; these packs are really sucky!  The other considerations are Shambling Goblin and Defeat, which are both also on-color, but Defeat is not premium removal as it's too conditional, and Shambling Goblin is much more replaceable than Drowner.  The person to my left might take Artful Maneuver if they are in W, or maybe Conifer Strider or Defeat.

P1P4 - Salt Road Quartermasters
This is sort of tough, as Atarka Efreet is really good, and Dutiful Attendant is really good for the UB deck that I seem to be heading towards.  However, Salt Road Quartermasters is a really good card -- even as a vanilla 3/3 for 2G it's really solid, but it also has upside over that and makes combat difficult for your opponent.  I consider this a signal that green is open so I need to jump onto it.  I am passing on Atarka Efreet to my left.

P1P5 - Marsh Hulk
Aaaaaand here's a pack with basically no green in it.  Ok, well, scratch that idea.  The only cards worth consideration here are Marsh Hulk and Hand of Silumgar, both of which are really great for me, so this is a tough pick.  In the end I decide on Marsh Hulk because I think having a morph that can double as a win condition is going to be more valuable for my value-based grindy UB deck than the 2/1 deathtouch which is mainly just going to serve as a blocker.  This worries me though, as passing Hand of Silumgar this late is going to send the wrong signal to the left.

P1P6 - Dutiful Attendant
Alright, so the UB exploit deck clearly seems to be open, so this seems great.  Anticipate is also decent here.  Damnable Pact is not really efficient despite being an X spell that can draw cards -- at 4 mana it still only draws you 2 and hurts you 2, which sucks...

P1P7 - Hand of Silumgar
Whoa.  Hello Cunning Breezedancer!  I could take that and try to splash it, but Hand of Silumgar is wayyyyy too good to even consider it.  Things are looking great for my UB deck as I've only taken a single off-color card so far (Salt Road Quartermasters), and all of my cards are pretty solid.

P1P8 - Anticipate
Sweet, I even get the Anticipate I wanted, which works perfectly to fill out what I have.  Void Squall I don't think is even that good in a more aggressive deck, and is definitely not what I want in my UB deck.

P1P9 - Custodian of the Trove
It's between this and Negate for the sideboard.  I decide that Custodian of the Trove is more likely to be useful, as there's a chance I get stuck without enough early-game defense.  I think I can pick up a Negate later on in the draft.

P1P10 - Negate
And there it is.  This is a pretty late Colossodon Yearling, but I guess this pack was pretty weak to begin with when we saw it the first time.

P1P11 - Glint
I gave a consideration to hating Display of Dominance but it's not even that good of a card.  I will probably never play Glint in my deck unless I go up against some bonkers all-the-removal deck but I like to try to send good signals at the end of pack 1.

P1P12 - Glint
There is no way this is going in my deck, and if I were hating I would take Lightwalker here, but again, I want to make it clear that I'm not in W.

P1P13 - Servant of the Scale
Servant of the Scale is the more dangerous card if someone has a W/G bolster deck.

P1P14 - Ancestral Statue

P2P1 - Dragonlord Kolaghan
Sweeeeeeeeet.  I open one of the best rares in the set, and I can splash it!
There is actually some tough consideration to be done here between Kolaghan and Flatten.  Is it worth it to take a splash rare over a piece of premium removal?  I'm actually still not sure.  My logic at the time was that I could prioritize BR, BU, or UR lands in the Fate Reforged pack; if I get like 1 dual land I can run something like 8/7/3 which would allow me to cast this pretty often while not suffering in my primary manabase too much.  I ran the calculations later and the chances are indeed pretty good at having at least one red source out of 3 once you hit 6 lands, so I think this is the right choice because Kolaghan just ends the game so so fast.  Really sad to see that Flatten go though.

P2P2 - Palace Familiar
Perfect exploit fodder for my UB deck.  The rare is missing here, so the pack doesn't tell us that much, but Stampeding elk herd, sprinting warbrute, and sabertooth outrider and sandcrafter mage are all still here...=X

P2P3 - Silumgar Butcher
OK, this is a problem.  There aren't very many things you would take over Draconic Roar if you were in red, so this pack tells me that whoever is to my left really isn't interested in Red, which means Red might be wide open from the left.  Is it time to try to pivot?  My options are UR and BR.  UR is really noncohesive and the red cards won't work together with my gurmag drowner and palace familiar/etc.  BR is appealing in that I get to cast Kolaghan reliably, but I'm still just giving up too many cards...looking at the numbers, it's just too late for me to abandon ship.  There are also two perfectly servicable UB cards for me here, so I pick Silumgar Butcher.  Partly because I already have a Drowner, partly because if red KEEPS coming, Silumgar Butcher is a black card, so maybe I can still do BR, and partly because I ned some removal.  Note that it's still possible the person to my left is WG and hence doesn't want red cards, so in that case I'm still perfectly safe to keep on the UB plan.

(Spoiler: Person to the left ended up BR, and they said passing the Draconic Roar to me was probably a mistake)

P2P4 - Ojutai Interceptor
Pretty decent pack here, some good green stuff, and Herald isn't bad either.  This pick is between Ojutai Interceptor and Shambling Goblin for me, which is a tough decision because I really want both.  Shambling Goblin helps me early and provides exploit fodder, but Ojutai Interceptor is a more solid card individually; it's also a win condition (evasion!) and can always just be a 3-mana 2/2 to trade with something too, so that's the pick for me.

P2P5 - Reduce in Stature
Gah!  Another Shambling Goblin that I'm not taking!  This is also kind of tough; I think Shambling Goblin is better overall considering the synergies but Reduce in Stature fills more of a missing need in my deck, which is interacting with their creatures and dealing with their bombs.  Green is wide open here, look at this 5th-pick Epic Confrontation....

P2P6 - Zephyr Scribe
Clearly I am in the right colors because I keep on having to choose from multiple good cards from my deck.  Zephyr Scribe, Ojutai's Summons, and Silumgar Monument are all under consideration here.  I think I'm pretty good on win conditions and lacking in early creatures, though--all I have so far is Palace Familiar, Dutiful Attendant, and some morphs--so I pick the Zephyr Scribe here.  I've heard it's not a =great= card like we once thought it was, but it's still pretty decent.  If I already had an early curve set up, I'd probably pick monument over summons here.

P2P7 - Defeat
Again, filling holes in my deck -- I don't want to get run over by early aggro, so I'm taking the Defeat to have some early interaction.  Dutiful Attendant and Ojutai Interceptor are both great too though.

P2P8 - Updraft Elemental
Perfect; A nice big butt to hold off those aforementioned aggro decks while I get value off of my other cards and ramp into my big value plays.  Also note, green is still wide open...

P2P9 - Negate
Here's that Negate for the sideboard!

P2P10 - Wandering Tombshell
This card is actually great against R/x aggro decks, as it blocks pretty much anything and survives basically all removal.  6 toughness is key.

P2P11 - Gurmag Drowner
Whoaaaaa, rewarded!!!  This is a sweet gift and should not be going this late.

P2P12 - Vial of Dragonfire
I hope to not have to play it but will if I have to.  My deck is still pretty light on removal so if they have lots of evasive threats I can bring this in.

P2P13 - Student of Ojutai
Hate hate hate

P2P14 - Learn from the Past

P3P1 - Sage-Eye Avengers
Regret!!!  Well, first of all, there is a fetchland here, so I guess in most cases I would just take that anyways.  But I didn't feel like money-drafting here, so I actually decided to take a real card.  HOWEVER!  I took the wrong card here.  Sage-Eye Avengers is definitely a bomb and better than Reach of Shadows in a vacuum...however, Reach of Shadows is exactly what my deck needs, and Sage-Eye Avengers is not; I'm already doing OK on the high-end bombs and such; I need removal!  This is pretty much the only real mistake I made navigating this draft...a pretty significant one.  Oh well.  Also, this pack is REALLY GOOD for a Fate Reforged pack, plenty of playables (mistfire adept!)

P3P2 - Brutal Hordechief
...whelp.  I'm probably never going to be able to activate it, but even as a 4-mana 3/3 that drains 1 for every creature that attacks, it's still great.  It's definitely way better for me than enhanced awareness and Will of the Naga, so the only real question is whether I want to pick up the Dismal Backwater here to help me play Kolaghan.  I decided to be more greedy and pick the Hordechief, maybe hoping that the backwater will even wheel to me based on what I've seen out of the draft.  I think the other thing that is weighing my decision here is that I have cards like Gudul Lurker, Ojutai Interceptor, Updraft Elemental that will have no trouble attacking, and adding a 2-point life swing on top of each one of those is huge!  It's basically adding +2/+0 to all of your creatures on offense....even better than that since it helps you stabilize by padding your life total.

P3P3 - Marang River Prowler
It's between this and Jeskai Sage.  Marang River Prowler is better though.  It's worse on defense, but it's another win condition, great with Brutal Hordechief, and probably even better than jeskai sage as exploit fodder because I can just re-cast it from my graveyard!  Sweet!

P3P4 - Douse in Gloom
Perfect, just what I needed--more early game interaction and removal.  I take this over Typhoid Rats because it's much more versatile early on (can do it in response to people's tricks, etc.).  Typhoid Rats is better against 5/4s and 5/5s and such but I think that's OK.

P3P5 - Noxious Dragon
Greedy!!!  I maybe should have taken the Dismal Backwater here, but Noxious Dragon is actually really really good as it doubles as both a win condition and helps you stabilize because it blocks as a 4/4 AND even if they remove it, you're killing something else as part of the deal.  Gurmag Angler is worth considering because of the synergy with my two Gurmag Drowners, but I think Noxious Dragon is going to be more reliable as an evasive win condition, as well as better at stabilizing me.

P3P6 - Ancestral Vengeance
It would be hard to cast, but I could see myself siding this in against a deck that has a lot of targets.

P3P7 - Jeskai Sage
Sweet, something that helps chump early and provides exploit fodder.  It doesn't block as well as Sultai Skullkeeper but I think I'm fine with that.

P3P8 - Write into Being
Continuing to fill out the early part of my curve.  Also, the scry 1 effect is really good for me considering how many bomby cards I have (kolaghan, sage-eye avengers, noxious dragon, brutal hordechief, ...)

P3P9 - Sultai Skullkeeper
I'm probably not maindecking this as I already have enough low drops, but I could see myself siding it in against an aggressive deck just as another blocker.

P3P10 - Dismal Backwater
Hallelujah, the first Dismal Backwater we saw wheeled!  Exactly what we need to finish our deck, and make Kolaghan castable semi-reliably.

P3P11 - Grim Contest
These tend to go late since BG isn't an attractive combination in DTK but this is one of the rewards for it.  Hating it here.

P3P12 - Enhanced Awareness
Should have just hated the other Grim Contest here probably, but maybe Enhanced Awareness could be useful in a grindy matchup or something?  I also have a lot of

(The last 3 picks were uneventful.)

Pretty sweet!  We were clearly in the right colors, although it turned out the guy on my left got pushed into black (nonsurprisingly--we passed some decent black stuff pack 1).  It still worked out though as blue was wide open from the left.  We got really good cards, some sweet bombs, and a good curve.  The only mistake I made was picking sage-eye avengers over reach of shadows, but that's not even that bad.  Overall the deck is lacking solid removal (what I wouldn't give for a flatten or death wind!), but it's not the worst in that department either with Reduce in Stature, Defeat, Douse in Gloom, and Silumgar Butcher as conditional removal spells.  It will be tough to deal with their bombs, but I've got a lot myself.  I wish I had a shambling goblin over the jeskai sage or something, but aside from that everything is pretty solid.

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