This past Sunday and Monday, thanks to a little travel- and crazy May–induced sickness, I finally got to go really deep on full-block Theros with Journey Into Nyx on Magic Online. Man I love drafting! Especially when I can just run it back, and back, and back. So this post will be a half-dozen or more screenshots of my recent draft decks, with a little discussion about each—how it ran, how much fun it was, and how it performed. Let’s dive in!

First up we’ve actually got a deck from the weekend prior, on Saturday night of GP Atlanta. This deck was really fun (also partially because Carrie and I were a little buzzed from dinner, and were also currently enjoying some room-service whiskey and Budweisers). Our first pack was the foil Temple of Malady, just for value, and then we made our way into UR by way of Stormchaser Chimera. You could maybe make an argument for including Knowledge and Power in this deck, perhaps in place of Starfall, but our ability to scry was perhaps too limited. With this deck, in an 8-4, we went 2-0 before splitting in the finals and hitting the hay. Oh, and this happened:

UR Chimera Sea God's win

Yeah, that’s an eight-point hit FTW with Stormchaser Chimera, thanks to Sea God’s Revenge.

Next up we have a swiss I did last Sunday:

6-1-14 GW bestow

Not a whole lot to see here. I was kind of trying to abuse Kruphix’s Insight and more or less got there, with eight maindeck enchantments, plus a Nemesis of Mortals for value. This was my first time running Chariot of Victory, and I actually kind of liked it—especially that one-mana equip cost. It made my non-bestowed Nyxborn Wolves and Spirespine into serious (and hasty) threats. I went 2-1 with this deck.

Then we have an 8-4 I did after the swiss, also on Sunday:

6-1-14 UB Phenax + Hour of Need deck

Holy lord this deck was fun. I was UG through pack one, and picked up Phenax, God of Deception with my first pick of pack two, thinking that I could splash him. And in fact I was UG throughout the draft, even building UG and trying to decide whether or not to splash Phenax. Then I thought, “Wait—why aren’t I just Ub?” So I built that, it looked amazing, and it was. It helped that I already had some great backbone for Phenax even before I got him, in the form of the 2X Thassa’s Devourer—and of course Hour of Need is the *real* mythic uncommon. I had two very viable routes to victory: bounce everything that moves and lock up the ground with my Devourers until I found Phenax, and promptly mill the fuck out of my opponent, or just mise Hour of Need on three creatures and swing in for a million. Hour of Need is seriously the most busted card ever. I went 3-0 in an 8-4 with this beaut.

Moving to Monday, and my main sick day, we start to hit the skids:

6-2 JOU 8-4 deck #1

This deck doesn’t look terrible, and it’s got a fair bit to do—but it doesn’t have much (or really any, unless you count Pin to the Earth) removal and very little bounce, which is kind of what UR needs to do to survive and get to the point where it can win. I lost in a (close) first round.

Now we come to the fun stuff, in another Monday 8-4:

6-2 JOU 8-4 deck #2

This deck was the balls. I really had wanted to draft Son of Spider Spawning, but hadn’t yet had a chance to do so. When I saw the Nyx Weaver third pick or so, after first-picking a Golden Hind and then maybe a Pin to the Earth, I knew I was all-in. Early in the Born of the Gods pack, I took something over Fated Return, thinking that I had a good chance to wheel the powerful reanimation spell, but unfortunately someone else snapped it up. That said, I got *super* lucky in pack three when I was passed a pair of late Nemesis of Mortals.

My opponent in round one was really nice and very impressed with my deck, saying that he didn’t even know this was an archetype—and I really kind of went off with Nyx Weaver in game one, but unfortunately I maybe pushed the Weaver a bit too hard, milling myself down to like nine cards in my library before popping it. I had both Nemesis of Mortals on the table, and was thinking I had enough time to wipe my opponent’s board and kill him (the monstrosity cost on both creatures was GG by this point), but unfortunately a Sea God’s Revenge on my second-to-last turn of the game set me back too much to get there. I couldn’t get my engine online fast enough in G2 and lost. I really wanted to play with this deck more, and definitely will be looking to draft Son of Spider Spawning again in the near future.

Guess what card I first-picked in this next 8-4:

6-2 JOU 8-4 deck #3

That’s right: Dawnbringer Charioteers. While I really have been shying away from white and heroic, for the same reasons that many have cited—a lack of premium heroic creatures, such as Akroan Skyguard and Wingsteed Rider—I felt like the 2/4 lifelinking heroic flier was as good a reason as any to give it a shot. Long story short, this deck didn’t do well, and I lost in the first round. I just felt like I had to have the perfect mix of creatures and spells in order to win, and that mix was hard to find. The Aerial Formations weren’t great, either. I kind of liked Mortal Obstinancy, though, especially with the Lagonna-Band Trailblazers; the card allowed me to snap off a Whip of Erebos the turn after it came down, in addition to pumping my 0/4.

After an 0-3 skid, I was ready for some power. I got it:

6-2 JOU 8-4 deck #4

Here I first-picked a Golden Hind, took I think a Goldenhide Ox next, and then third-picked a Revel of the Fallen God, which is just such a fun card. So I thought, “Fuck it, I’m all in. Let’s smash face.” And smash face I did. In R1 I just powered out such massive shit, turn after turn, that my opponent was overwhelmed. I kind of like Fleetfeather Sandals in this deck, although I can see the argument that it’s unnecessary, since my guys are naturally going to be bigger (and sometimes hasty) anyway. But I really do think that equipment like the Sandals, or Chariot of Victory, or similar equipments we’ve had in the past are often good includes. Maybe more in sealed than in draft, though … I dunno. In any case, I made it to R2 but lost, to I forget what. I never got to cast Revel, either—BOO.

Last but not least we return to Hour of Need.dek:

6-2 JOU 8-4 deck #5

Believe it or not I think I got shipped Hour of Need, like, pick three. Apparently people haven’t gotten the memo. I’m not sure what else I would take over that card—rare, mythic, or otherwise. I may have even taken it over Spawn of Thraxes, which I think is correct—and then, unbelievably, the dragon (but from a different pack; I’m pretty sure two Spawns were opened) came back around on the wheel. Now this deck, unlike my earlier (solo) UR affair, has it all: bounce, some removal, cheap tricks, high-end bombs, and more. I also decided that I really like Gold-Forged Sentinel, and took it fairly highly in this draft. It’s just super-easy to cast, and (if you take it early) it’s a great way to hedge a high pick: No matter what colors you end up in, you’ll have a strong evasive threat you can jam in there. At any rate, this deck performed as advertised, and I made it to the finals before losing a close series to RW.

Those are my drafts! Overall with the decks above I went 10-6, or a 63% win percentage—not far off from my average with Theros as a whole, which is 61%, with 245 matches played. What do you guys think of the above decks? Have you had success with UR? What, if anything, would you take over Hour of Need? Should W/x heroic be avoided? And how best can you make Son of Spider Spawning work? Until next time, kids!

23/17 is a Hipsters of the Coast column focused on Limited play—primarily draft and sealed, but also cubing, 2HG, and anything else we can come up with. The name refers to the “Golden Ratio” of a Limited deck: 23 spells and 17 lands. Follow Hunter at @hrslaton.

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