From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
My first Battle for Zendikar draft was a blast, even if I didn’t get the result I wanted. As a first taste of a new set, I enjoyed this one a lot. At first glance there seem to be a lot of different viable decks and strategies to take into the draft, and I’m looking forward to exploring those over the coming weeks.
Pack 1, pick 1: Roil’s Retribution
In hindsight, this was not the correct pick, although five damage to divide as I chose seemed good. The correct pick would have been Ruination Guide.
The deck: red/white
If you are thinking this was an ally deck, then I am going to disappoint you. This deck went heavily into colourless red, with some removal support from white. The mana curve went up sharply, finishing at Desolation Twin. I felt I could manage this, with a trio of Kozilek’s Channeler to get me there, and four Kozilek’s Sentinel holding the ground
My first match was against a red/white deck that was better honed than my own. By the time I had stabilised the board I was low on life and unable to press any advantage. While both games were close, I lost 2-0. Desolation Twin sat in my hand each time, but 9 mana was the most I could generate in either game.
My second match was against a four colour deck that ran every colour except white. At least, I didn’t see a white spell though I did see a Canopy Vista, which was used to power up converge spells. Again I went down 2-0, unable to deal with my opponent’s threats, or take advantage of the six turns he needed to set u his mana. Also, 8 mana was the most I could generate in either game. Clearly, Desolation Twin was not a good call. Also, Kozilek’s Channeler is a creature my opponents were prepared to prioritise removal for. That worked well some them, not so much for me.
Match 3 saw me paired with the other player who’d lost both his matches. His deck was Naya and capable of some fast starts. This time though my Kozilek’s Sentinels held the ground well, even attacking now and then from me casting a colourless spell. Nettle Drone was excellent, and indeed this was clearly my best card. Ultimately I won this 2-0 on the back of a couple of key mistakes by my opponent, the final one being fighting with a creature that was blocking my 6/5 Vile Aggregate. My Kozilek’s Channeler died (again trapping Desolation Twin in my hand!) but with 4 damage marked on the blocker I could trample through for all but one of my opponent’s life. Nettle Drone finished the deal.
So my first draft with the new set had not exactly finished well, but in truth I had enjoyed all six games. I can’t claim to be the fastest learner but the effectiveness of Nettle Drone surprised and impressed me.
Nettle Drone and Vile Aggregate were never less than good, and were often excellent. The colourless strategy is a viable one and works with any colour pair that does not involve white (note to self!).
All colour pairs are viable, but each colour pair needs to choose what it is going to do. Red/white is great for allies, but that wasn’t where I was. Black, Blue or green would have made better partner colours here.
Also the mana acceleration is there, but 8 is probably the safe limit. For Desolation Twin I should have had green rather than white for additional ramp options.
The format is fun!
The deck, sorted by converted mana cost (CMC) with lands last.
CMC 2: 4 Kozilek’s Sentinel
CMC 3: Nettle Drone, Retreat to Valakut, Shadow Glider, Stasis Snare, 2 Valakut Invoker, Vile Aggregate
CMC 4: Belligerent Whiptail, Vestige of Emrakul
CMC 5: 3 Kozilek’s Channeler, Roil’s Retribution
CMC 6: Deathless Behemoth
CMC 7: Scour from Existence
CMC 8: Breaker of Armies, Eldrazi Devatator
CMC 10: Desolation Twin
Land: Blighted Gorge, Sandstone Bridge, 9 Mountain, 7 Plains