Deck of the Week: Reading Signals in Draft


Today’s deck is the one I drafted at FNM last week and took to a 4-0 finish. The games were all very similar, I managed to ramp into big things while trying not to take too much damage then letting my big bombs do the work once they get down. Here’s the deck, I’ll talk you through the draft after the break.

Green Red Blue Ramp by Christopher Cooper

  • 1 Oashra Cultivator
  • 2 Naga Vitalist
  • 1 Bitterblade Warrior
  • 1 Exemplar of Strength
  • 1 Weaver of Currents
  • 2 Khemra Charioteer
  • 2 Hooded Brawler
  • 2 Edifice of Authority
  • 1 Cartouche of Strength
  • 1 Benefaction of Rhonas
  • 1 Spring///Mind
  • 1 Synchronized Strike
  • 1 Bounty of the Luxa
  • 1 Commit///Memory
  • 1 Electrify
  • 1 Deem Worthy
  • 1 Kefnet Monitor
  • 1 Scaled Behemoth
  • 1 Greater Sandwurm
  • 1 Sandwurm Convergence
  • 1 Evolving Wilds
  • 1 Painted Bluffs
  • 8 Forest
  • 3 Island
  • 3 Mountain

Looking at this deck, it might surprise you to hear that my first pick was a Dusk///Dawn. That I then followed that up with a Ruthless Sniper, Gravedigger, Impeccable Timing and Pitiless Vizier will be even more of a surprise when you look at my deck, but the truth is that neither black nor white were open in my seat.

However, a sixth pick Electrify and seventh pick Khemra Charioteer showed me a direction that was, and a late, great Sandwurm helped cement that. Some very strong early picks in pack 2 helped, with a Scaled Behemoth, cartouche, Deem Worthy and two Edifice of Authority making my train wreck into an Untethered Express of a deck.

I also managed to keep my options open further still in this pack by picking up cards like Evolving Wilds and an Oashra Cultivator late as I was aware that I would likely have to play 3 colours. A very late Weaver of Currents was a speculative pick that would then pay off in a big way…

Pack 3 saw me open a Bounty of the Luxa. I knew I wanted to go big with this deck, I had a few fattys but not many ways to get up there. Blue gave me access to the Spring///Mind I had picked up late in pack 2 as well as the aforementioned Weaver of Currents. Going 3 colours in this format is bold but I felt I’d put myself in the place to be able to do so.

I was ultimately rewarded by being able to go really big and draw lots of cards. I repeatedly found myself in the situation of being able to cast the Memory side of Commit///Memory, and still have enough mana to do something else. My excellent fixing meant that there was only one game where I was worried about hitting a red source (I eventually did on turn 8 and managed to cycle Deem Worthy and Electrify something on the same turn thanks to a Naga Vitalist).

Sandwurm Convergence proved itself time and again to be the most bomby of bombs, giving me streams of wurms to throw at my opponent, with the pair of Khemra Charioteers proving incredibly demoralizing when I got the second out once the first had been dealt with.

Despite having only three enchantmentsI felt that the Benefaction of Rhonas was worth it to dig to my good cards. Once I had enough mana to play 2 or 3 spells a turn I needed to be able to find my big fat things and I effectively had 6 very strong hits off it.

This deck was a great lesson for me in terms of resource management: having to work out the sequencing of my ramp, draw and bombs, knowing when to take damage and when to trade off or chump block (I didn’t always get that right either, losing a game to a Trial of Zeal when I could have avoided going to 3 but played around a combat trick I saw in game 1). I was pleased when I managed to get a read on my opponent having a Cancel and not just jamming my Greater Sandwurm into it but patiently waiting, beating down with the board presence I had and waiting for my opponent to hit something else. Eventually they pulled the trigger on my second Hooded Brawler and I slammed down the wurm next turn.

Looking around the decks as we played I felt that I had made the right call. I was one of two green drafters with blue being drafted lightly though red was less open than the early signals suggested. White black had been forced by two people, with three Lord of the Accursed between them and a Wandering Servant each.

When have you switched tactics in Draft and had it pay off for you?

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About Christopher Cooper

Christopher has been playing Magic for over 15 years and has been writing about it for nearly 10. He has played nearly all formats available to him in this time, from Vintage to Draft to Commander-Planechase-Archenemy. He has a young daughter who also plays Magic, and a wife who doesn't. Christopher lives in Gloucester.

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