Shadow of Innistrad Draft/Thoughts
I’ve been back in the US and slowly adjusting to how different life is. I know I’m old because I start off a lot of my sentences at shops with “Back at my old shop…” You know, like Phoebe from The Magic School Bus.
I haven’t posted much despite the life changing events (moving from South Korea to Las Vegas, NV to San Diego, CA) and because I didn’t really feel like an expat. I do, however, loved writing my blogs for the last few years and it has really helped me improve my game even if most of it is just a list of my insights. The other reason was I just hated the entire Battle for Zendikar block. I drafted it constantly and never did get my carrot (aka Expedition) regardless of the drafts or sealed events I was in. The real reason was that the cards didn’t resonate with me at all. Eldrazi back in original Zendikar were ominous threats and while there were a few common/uncommon Eldrazi, they cost at least 8 mana and felt epic. Pint sized eldrazi that has the same power/toughness as a zombie just felt wrong.
Regardless, I’m not going to go over my entire deck, just my thoughts on my last draft.
Angelic Purge is one of my favorite removals in the set. It helps feed delirium (usually I sacrifice a land, but sometimes I sacrifice an Griff’s Boon) and more importantly doesn’t let my opponent reap any reward (ie. Enabling pesky investigate decks or delirium). It was a late pass pack 1, so I happily took it, abandoning red.
Silverstrike was “alright”. I would happily have given up the three life if I got Divine Verdict instead. Many times the game got stuck in a stalemate (due to the nature of G/W) and keeping 4 mana up, always ensured that it would be more grueling. I valued it a bit higher than normal in pack 2, but that was probably because I wanted to make sure I given hard signals that white was dead.
The Apparatus was surprisingly better than what I thought. It helped feed delirium, which was important but gets rid of a lot of problematic X/2’s. Gargoyle, the 2/1 lumberer, and fliers, and deathtouchers. I thought I would side it out if I played against grindier decks, but it sped up delirium and always had a good target.
I was light on removal and rabid bite did what it needed to do. Declaration of Stone was amazing, but it’s a rare and my obvious first pick in pack 2 against mediocre green and white cards.
The Heart of the Cards: Creatures
Baby Tarmogoyf (aka Moldgraf Scavenger) was one of my early green picks after Cathar as red dried up. I wasn’t eager to go into red/white (feels like the Jan Brady of archtypes with vampires and werewolves feeling much more solid), so abandoning ship for green/white felt a lot better.
The Skinner made it around, and always wanted to try this card out. It’s not as great as it would be in green/black, but I felt with the Vessel and the Angelic Purge, I’d be able to enable it into late game (I was wrong as it normally got removed before it hit).
I threw Inquisitors in during the finals (replacing Moorland Drifters), as my opponent had tons of value bears (mainly the 2 drop vampire that comes with built in recursion in the form of tokens). Stopped a lot of attacks as I built my army. The Vessel also fed Unruly Mob if things got worse, but was mainly used as my only evasive creatures.
These weren’t necessarily bombs, but they were all high picks. I knew that I was semi delirium and a 4/4 Trample, hexproof is nothing to scoff at. Combined with the tricks like Survive the Night and Aim High, I never lost it in combat and it always manage to delirium by turn 5.
The Cultivator wasn’t great, but there was nothing I really wanted in the pack. I would be lying if I didn’t also want it for a future standard deck as well. Wait, it has umm… deathtouch, too (sort of). Hermit was great and I was always willing to risk it to a combat trick if it meant I could draw 1 or even 2 cards. A lot of the time, I’d let it flip since not much could get through a 3/5.
Always Watching is an incredible anthem and vigilance makes combat decisions much easier. Also fun against decks with a few copies of Murderous Compulsion. The nontoken part was never really an issue.
Having drafted this set quite a few times on the MTGO prerelease and at my local shops, I can say this is one of the most fun sets I’ve played in, but knowing the archtypes are important as well as knowing how to navigate the likelihood that you’re not going to make the archtype deck you want.
Flexibility is really important and abandoning that bomb or first pick was very crucial to me. Dropping werewolves for a solid signal (Always Watching) helped me a ton. Until next time, thanks for reading!