Hello, friends! As this article goes live, I’ll be celebrating the last vestiges of my birthday, so please forgive this week’s brevity. I’d like to jump right in with a pair of Magic 2015 draft decks. Both were experiments with intended draft strategies and both went a bit off the rails.

UR Artifact-Light

Creatures (18)
Forge Devil
Frenzied Goblin
Altac Bloodseeker
Borderland Marauder
Torch Fiend
Aeronaut Tinkerer
Frost Lynx
Goblin Roughrider
Illusory Angel
Krenko’s Enforcer
Paragon of Gathering Mists
Scrapyard Mongrel

Spells (5)
Peel from Reality
Tyrant’s Machine
Into the Void
Heat Ray

Land (17)
Relevant Sideboard Cards (7)
Foundry Street Denizen
Rummaging Goblin
Scrapyard Mongrel
Nimbus of the Isles
Crowd’s Favor
Circle of Flame
Blastfire Bolt

Yup, that’s right: one artifact in blue-red, the M15 color combination that wants artifacts. Here’s another one:

RG High drops!

Creatures (19)
Elvish Mystic
Forge Devil
Forge Street Denizen
Frenzied Goblin
Altac Bloodseeker
Runeclaw Bear
Satyr Wayfinder
Torch Fiend
Invasive Species
Krenko’s Enforcer
Netcaster Spider
Reclamation Sage
Shaman of Spring
Undergrowth Scavenger
 Will-Forged Golem
Siege Wurm

Spells (5)
Lightning Strike
Obelisk of Urd
Blastfire Bolt

Land (16)
Relevant Sideboard Cards (3)
Hot Soup
Titanic Growth
Chord of Calling

Nothing like four six-drops, two sevens, and 16 lands! And yes, two Obelisk of Urd, when my most prevalent creature types were Elf (4), Devil (4), and Goblin (3)—none of which could ever be more than a 4/4 and most of which were 1/1s and 2/1s.

So… how’d it go?

Frenzied Goblin

Turns out, U/R mono-artifact is still good when it has two copies each of Forge Devil (a fantastic card in the format, particularly against those very strong, pesky white decks), Frenzied Goblin (excellent at getting damage in before the board gets exceptionally cluttered), Borderland Marauder (a good aggressive creature, particularly with Frenzied Goblin), and Frost Lynx (one of blue’s best commons, and arguably blue’s most flexible best common).

The deck was essentially red aggro mixed with blue tempo/skies. Blue provided a reasonably strong late-game with its flyers, and the trio of Aeronaut Tinkerers did work (they’re good blockers and rarely became cheaper Spotted Griffins, a very good creature in this format).

I was very pleased with how U/R played, even though I ended up with zero artifacts other than the Tyrant’s Machine I drafted very highly (people were apparently taking every artifact … and none of the blue/red “artifacts matter” cards). The deck was blisteringly fast and took down the whole draft.

Autochthon Wurm

My R/G convoke deck was less of an experiment gone wrong and more of a real proof of concept: Can a deck full of cheap creatures (many of which are very weak) and expensive convoke spells (many of which may do little to nothing—particularly Obelisk of Urd in a deck of diverse, mostly weak creatures) work?

I committed to the deck hard when I was passed Obelisk of Urd in pack one and prioritized my curve and creature types over everything else. When I realized just how low and creature-full my curve was, I shaved a land (since once I’d hit my third land drop, I’d prefer to be flooding the board with creatures rather than drawing lands). I was low on disruption and accordingly played like I was running a combo deck; I was going to do my own thing and hope that it was stronger than whatever my opponent did.

Accursed Spirit

In the first round, I was paired against arguably the best deck (on paper) in the draft: U/B bombs with plenty of removal, card draw, Soul of Ravnica, and Ob Nixilis, Unshackled. My opponent stumbled on mana while I cast Siege Wurm on turn four. In game two, my deck did something disgusting, like powering out out Obelisk of Urd on turn three off of some Forge Devils.

This happened every round. On turn three or four, I dropped a six- or seven-drop onto the battlefield, then another, and so on until the game ended. Because my creatures were so cheap, I could often deploy them and immediately tap them for convoke effectively for free.

Over the course of the draft, I lost one game. The deck was remarkably consistent, even though its finishers were diverse and inconsistent (Obelisk of Urd was sometimes just a Giant Strength). I often shaved what felt like was my most expensive creature, Invasive Species, because the tempo loss of losing a mana dork (which all of my one-drop creatures were) wasn’t worth the 3/3 body.

I absolutely recommend R/G convoke. Sure, it doesn’t have the power of Triplicate Spirits, Raise the Alarm, or Paragon of New Dawns, but red and green have great one-drop creatures that are worth playing on their own merits (not merely as convoke fodder). Additionally, there’ll be red and green drafters not fighting with you for convoke cards, whereas every white drafter will be looking to pick up token-makers and convoke enablers.

Birthing Pod

That’s all for today. I’ll be out of town until September, but if you’re going to be at PAX Prime, absolutely drop me a line. And, as always, thanks for reading!

—Zachary Barash

twitch.tv/ZennithGP — Join the livestream!

Zachary Barash has been playing Magic on and off since 1994. He loves Limited and drafts every available format (including several that aren’t entirely meant to be drafted). He’s a proud Cube owner and performer, improvising entire musicals every week with his team, Petting Zoo. Zach has an obsession with Indian food that borders on being unhealthy.

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