Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 3: Magic Draft Simulator

Another week with the Wizard's Draft Simulator!

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Pick 1, Pack 1: Jace’s Mindseeker
The choice is really between Shiv's Embrace [a rare aura that's worth picking because it can end games], and the Jace's Mindseeker. A 4/4 flyer in one of the best colors, that also immediately trades for five of our opponent’s cards is great. We may not hit anything we can instantly cast against them, but we’re getting a chance at making a great trade, even if they instantly kill the Mindseeker. Six mana is expensive though, so we’re hoping to draw some ramp, if we get to stay in blue.

Pick 2, Pack 1: Shock
None of the creatures really excite me, and even though the person on our left may be going into red, Shock is hands down the best card available here, and it still is early. Tome Scour is tempting – but that’ll potentially table, and we’re not committed to Blue yet to think about picking it up.

Pick 3, Pack 1: Chandra’s Outrage
If we don’t completely abandon the Mindseeker, it looks like we’re going to be playing an U/R deck that tries to soften them up with early aggression, then closes out the game with a big threat, like the Mindseeker. We’re probably not going to see much good red in the second pack though, so we want to pick red pretty highly in Pack 1 and 3 if we keep getting fed good red.

Pick 4, Pack 1: Goblin Shortcutter
Not a great card, but it is a body in a color we want. Blue is… dry. We may have to abandon the Mindseeker at this point.

Pick 5, Pack 1: Cancel
We’re not ready to give up on Blue yet though.

Pick 6, Pack 1: Griffin Sentinel
A lot of good White’s been going around, so if we have to abandon Blue, we might as well pick up a solid body in another color.

Pick 7, Pack 1: Coral Merfolk
I will not be happy if we end up running him, but we need bodies, and a lesser Grizzly Bear is still a body.

Pick 8, Pack 1: Dragon Hatchling
In a real draft, I’d take the wishing ring for EDH decks. In this though, let’s take the flyer.

Pick 9, Pack 1: Cyclops Tyrant
Evasion in Red? Sure. We’ll take it.

Pick 10, Pack 1: Act of Treason
This is nowhere as good as the Instant speed ones, but it can seal the game. Let’s take it.

Pick 11, Pack 1: Striking Sliver
If any good red slivers show up in future packs, this will be a great pick. Otherwise, not really.

Pick 12, Pack 1: Soulmender
Just in case we have to move into White.

Pick 13, Pack 1: Vile Rebirth
No reason to just give such a strong black card away.

Pick 14/15: Vile Rebirth, Swamp
Black may be open. We may have made a mistake in our earlier choice to try and force blue, but red has been good to us.

Pick 1, Pack 2: Archaeomancer
A blue body that is going to get us some of our removal back is a great pick. It means we’re passing Cancel, but we’ve already got one. We don’t have a lot of guys though.

Pick 2, Pack 2: Nephalia Skykite
Instant speed creatures are great, especially if we get more instant speed removal, since we can flash him in on our opponent’s end step.

Pick 3, Pack 2: Shock
Another target for our Archaeomancer and another quality removal spell. I don’t expect to see the Seacoast Drake again, but while we’re low on cheap bodies, Shock is so much more flexible.

Pick 4, Pack 2: Disperse
Our high-end curve is pretty expensive, and this nifty trick can turn a double block into a dead enemy creature, and a live one of ours. It can also let us clear a path for victory.

Pick 5, Pack 2: Canyon Minotaur
Our creature curve is a bit high, and a 3/3 is nothing to write home about. But, we’re still low on body counts and Wild Ricochet isn’t getting us anything special in a draft.

Pick 6, Pack 2: Cancel
While the rare Enchantment is appealing, Cancel gets us a second counter and another great target for the Archaeomancer.

Pick 7, Pack 2: Canyon Minotaur
Nothing special here.

Pick 8, Pack 2: Scroll Thief
A 1/3 body is pretty nice, plus if he gets to sneak through, all the better.

Pick 9, Pack 2: Cancel
We have no answers to artifacts or enchantments, except to counter them. A third counter is going to frustrate our opponents to no end.

Pick 10, Pack 2: Suntail Hawk

Pick 11, Pack 2: Zephyr Charge
We may run this, we probably won’t. Unless we end up with a lot of powerful red ground creatures, which is looking like what might happen.

Pick 12/13/14/15, Pack 2: Merfolk Spy, Demolish, Dismiss Into Dream, Swamp
I am incredibly tempted to run Dismiss Into Dream with Zephyr Charge. I didn’t expect to see both, but they synergize so well, and shut down my opponent’s ability to fly in or pump their own creatures that we get some very powerful control elements in our deck. We need bodies now though, so Pack 3 needs to be about efficient, evasive creatures.

Pick 1, Pack 3: Marauding Maulhorn
The double red is troublesome, but a 5/3 demands an answer, and we’ve got plenty of ways to make an opponent unhappy with having to answer that.

Pick 2, Pack 3: Archaeomancer
Again, he’s not cheap, but we have too many good targets not to want a second.

Pick 3, Pack 3: Young Pyromancer
… Well, the synergy is there. I’m not sure how it will play out, but combined with our removal and Archaeomancers, he’s a great pick. And, he’s on curve.

Pick 4, Pack 3: Dragon Hatchling
We already have a Dragon Hatchling, but a second one can give us options, such as swinging with both and pumping the unblocked one for massive damage.

Pick 5, Pack 3: Time Ebb
We may just swap out Disperse for this. Disperse is instant speed, but Time Ebb can give us more tempo.

Pick 6/7/8/9/10, Pack 3: Canyon Minotaur, Dragon Egg, Blur Sliver, Coral Merfolk, Dragon Egg
Our creatures are not looking efficient, at all. The Dragon Eggs are great picks for us, but the Minotaur, Coral Merfolk and Blur Sliver, less so.

Pick 11, Pack 3: Cyclops Tyrant
We already have one, and our curve is too high to really use a second.

Pick 12/13/14/15, Pack 3: Gladecover Scout, Smelt, Tome Scour, Swamp
Sideboard hate and random pull. The Tome Scour is not going to make our main deck, with the counters and removals we have.

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So, our pulls look something like this, ignoring the colors we won’t be playing:

Red Spells (6): Smelt, Shock x2, Act of Treason, Chandra’s Outrage, Demolish
Blue Spells (8): Disperse, Zephyr Charge, Time Ebb, Cancel x3, Dismiss Into Dream

Red Creatures (14): Striking Sliver, Young Pyromancer, Goblin Shortcutter, Dragon Hatchling x2, Blur Sliver, Dragon Egg x2, Canyon Minotaur x3, Marauding Maulhorn, Cyclops Tyrant x2
Blue Creatures (8): Merfolk Spy, Coral Merfolk x2, Scroll Thief, Archaeomancer x2, Nephalia Seakite Jace’s Mindseeker

Now, let’s cut out the sideboard only material and things we’d rather not run. With the creatures, we can pretty much straight up sub out the Dragon Hatchlings for the Dragon Eggs. The Merfolk Spy can go to make room for better creatures, but against a Blue opponent, we’ll trade out a Coral Merfolk for him. We only need two of the Canyon Minotaurs and one of the Cyclops Tyrants. That leaves us with 15 creatures, but two of them “come back,” and two of them have built in card advantage by reviving a spell, and the Mindseeker flat out takes away five cards from the opponent:

Red Creatures (8): Young Pyromancer, Goblin Shortcutter, Dragon Egg x2, Canyon Minotaur x2, Marauding Maulhorn, Cyclops Tyrant
Blue Creatures (7): Coral Merfolk x2, Scroll Thief, Archaeomancer x2, Nephalia Seakite Jace’s Mindseeker

Spells are a bit harder to narrow down. We only have room for eight spells, and I have about 12 I’d like to play. Just looking at them, I’m going to knock off one of the Cancels and the Time Ebb. The Instant speed of Disperse is much, much more powerful for what we want to do. All four of the red spells need to stay [they’re solid removal/can end the game!] That means the last two spells we cut have to come from Blue. We have two default flying creatures, and two eggs that can turn into dragons, and Dismiss Into Dream is 7 mana. Not only that, they’re not targets for the Archaeomancer. Those are both good arguments for cutting Zephyr Charge and Dismiss Into Dream. Our final spell list looks like this:

Red Spells (4): Shock x2, Act of Treason, Chandra’s Outrage
Blue Spells (4): Disperse, Cancel x2

Our curve looks like this (creatures, then spells):

1CC: Shock x2
2CC: Coral Merfolk x2, Young Pyromancer, Goblin Shortcutter | Disperse
3CC: Dragon Egg x2, Scroll Thief | Cancel x2, Act of Treason
4CC: Canyon Minotaur x2, Marauding Maulhorn, Archaeomancer x2, Nephalia Seakite | Chandra’s Outrage
6CC: Cyclops Tyrant, Jace’s Mindseeker

The mana curve is a bit on the high end, but hopefully we can stall out until we can start making our more synergistic plays.

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