This week I had a bye for the TDL so I won’t be going over how the Longhostface Killah’s stuck swords through our opponents navels. I will however explain the different types of archetypes that can be drafted in this new format. Huey wrote a great article on the pick orders, which is something you should definitely check out at some point here The pick order is very important, but I think with some archetypes lower cards on their spectrum will be more sought after for the right kind of deck.

With FRF being the last pack drafted in this format there is almost no pay off to try and draft enemy colors. The exception to this is Harsh Sustenance. This card is great and it goes into the first archetype that I will go over: BW Warriors. The strategy for this deck is quite simple, in general draft warriors. Cards like Dragon Hunter and Dromoka Warrior are higher picks in this type of deck, Champion of Arashin while usually lackluster goes up in this deck well. The bigger non-rare draws to this deck are Blood-Chin Rager which is incredible. It makes all of your small dorks into unblockable threats, keep in mind that he needs to attack for this to happen so you can’t just send the team without him. Pack three is the real treat with this deck since you are going to most if not all of the Harsh Sustenance. Since you will have a ton of weenies you will be able to fire this off a big blocker or send it to the face if you are in a board stall.

RG Formidable is another deck that can be drafted in this format. If you want to cast big green and red creatures than this is the deck for you. Glade Watcher‘s value goes up greatly in this deck since it is 1/3 of what you need to turn on formidable, is a great blocker, and can start the beatdown sooner in this type of deck. Qal Sisma Behemoth was a card I was very unimpressed with when I first saw it, I thought it was borderline unplayable.  It turns out that I was wrong. A 3 mana 5/5 is nothing to sneeze and it should be picked high. Sabertooth Outrider, Atarka Efreet, and Summit Prowler are all great additions. The Efreet is a beater that can sometimes take care of troublesome death touchers. The Outrider is basically unblockable because of the first strike. Speaking of unblockable Magmatic Chasm is the perfect card for this deck, with nothing but big ground creatures you will tend to board stall a lot, but with the Chasm you can finish them off.

RB Dash is the next archetype. This deck is a typical BR beater deck that uses the dash ability to great effect. You can make your creatures killable to only instants with dash which gives them quasi hexproof. An advantage of this deck is its speed though, dash isn’t just a clever name. An opponent who isn’t cautious is likely to die to a barrage of dashed creatures. Kolaghan Forerunners is extremely good here, in some cases it will trade and trample over for some damage, but in the best case it will be close to a recurring fireball. Warbringer is a card that is a hill giant in any deck but in this one it makes all of your creatures 1-casting cost. Since no one will want it you will get it in the later picks. Ambuscade Shaman is insane in this deck, it makes your dudes bigger then theirs and creates a significant clock. Unfortunately, this card is pretty good elsewhere so you won’t be getting it as late as the Warbringer.

UB Exploit is another viable archetype. Your exploit creatures will have greater value when you sacrifice Palace Familiar, Youthful Scholar and Jeskai Sage, so those are going to be cards you will want to prioritize. An incredible card for this deck is Rakshasa Gravecaller. This card is almost a Grave Titan and if you sacrifice something like the Scholar you just bought yourself a ticket to value town. Thinking about doing that is making me giddy. The problem with this deck is that people can take advantage of the exploit ability if they kill the creature with exploit on the stack (they don’t have to sacrifice the creature, but then it will leave them with a little dork). When drafting this deck you shouldn’t be trying to build a control deck since I think the format is too fast for that, instead focus on what UB does best: kill creatures, draw cards, and attack your opponent with evasion.

UW Prowess/Rebound is our 5th archetype. I know prowess doesn’t really exist in this time stream but saying “UW when you cast a non-creature spell to give your creature a bonus” is too wordy. Cards that really shine in this deck are Elusive Spellfist and Ojutai’s Summons. A 1/3 for 2 mana is a decent blocker, but with a deck that can pump it and make it unblockable turn after turn with rebound makes it a serious threat. Ojutai’s Summons is great in this deck since it not only turns on prowess twice, but it also provides two threats. Pump spells like Artful Maneuver and Taigam’s Strike are key cards in this deck.  The strike is normally not very good, but it gives this deck reach for some of the smaller creatures in this color combination. Student of Ojutai is a terrific card in this deck as well. Not only does it blocks well, but the life gain gives you time to put all of your pieces for this deck together.

The final archetype in my option is GW dudes. This deck is all about having a good creature curve and pump spells. Scale Blessing, Artful Maneuver, Assault Formation, Tread Upon, Dromoka’s Gift, and Press the Advantage make your swarm of creatures big time operators. Atarka Beastbreaker, Dragon-Scarred Bear and Lightwalker are all cards you are going to want for this deck. Enduring Victory is also something that you want since it not only kills their blockers but it grows your dudes or even turns on Lightwalker, sometimes you can get a 2 for 1 with it as a bonus too.

This is my take on the format. Let me know if you think I’m wrong or missed something.

Andrew Longo has been playing Magic: The Gathering at a mediocre level since 1994. He managed to get lucky on the backs of his teammates to win Grand Prix Providence. When not playing Magic he runs a D&D campaign, plays video games, and reads comics (a real triple threat for the ladies).

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