Friday, April 27, 2012

Crack-a-Pack #2

You're drafting The Mighty Morphin' Cube. It's pack 1, pick 1 and you open the following cards:

What would you pick?

If I opened these cards, here's what my initial evaluation would be:
  • Talon Sliver, Necrotic Sliver, and Gemhide Sliver - Much like in Crack-a-Pack #1, this turned out to be a sliver heavy pack. (Statistically speaking, there should be exactly 2 slivers per pack, on average.) Unlike the first Crack-a-Pack, both Necrotic Sliver and Gemhide Sliver are both first pickable if you want to dive into the sliver tribe right off the bat. I've taken both of them first in past drafts and they're both very good. But between the two I think I'm slamming down Gemhide Sliver and not feeling too bad about it. There's basically zero chance for the necrotic to wheel, mostly because it's highly splashable in non-sliver decks. But I would rather be able to play all my slivers whenever I draw them and Gemhide Sliver allows this to happen. Even if you're going up against another sliver deck, Gemhide means that you're going to be able to more consistently play more slivers than they will and if they play a Necrotic Sliver against you (giving its ability to all slivers), you have more ammunition to use against them. And there is a net positive in your favor.
  • Seal of Fire, Immolation, and Duress - I've said this before and I'll probably point this out every time, but I almost never take these cards first pick. Unless the pack is complete trash, I pass on these early and go for the early bombs or build-around cards. There are plenty of these to go around.
  • Savannah - Again, it might be wrong to pass on duals early -- especially because there are so few non-basics in the Cube -- but I pass on them all the time in this format. They're nice to have, but there is just so much artifact fixing and so many ways things to dump colorless mana into that fixing mana early isn't an issue a lot of times.
  • Daru Encampment, Starlit Sanctum, and Auntie's Hovel - All of these aren't worth taking unless you already know you're in the correct tribe.
  • Scrap - This might be the last pick of the pack, depending how deep players are into red as they're passed the tail end of the pack.
  • Valley Rannet - This might be the most under-powered of all the landcyclers. He's still a double landcycler and I would still happily play him if I was in the correct colors, but no way is he a first pick.
  • Cursed Scroll - Now we're getting somewhere. Cursed Scroll is repeatable burn and will probably make your deck, no matter what deck you end up with at the end of the draft. "2 damage" matters in this format and Cursed Scroll can deal that amount of damage over and over.
  • Worldgorger Dragon - This is currently one of my favorite build-around cards in the Cube. I like drafting morph strategies and the dragon strongly leads you down that direction, but it's much different than a white based morph archetype. When you draft the dragon, because of the triple red casting cost, you're firmly planting yourself into early heavy burn. Yes, you're going to take other bomby morph creatures that can your way, but you're also going to be giving a higher priority to any burn spells. If you take this, you've basically already made your 1st and 9th picks (if you're playing with 8 players) because you're now counting on taking either Seal of Fire or Immolation when the pack wheels around.
  • Vesuvan Shapeshifter - One of the best morph creatures to go into a UW morph archetype. Blue has so much utility to go around and the shapeshifter just makes everything better.

I narrow it down to 4 possible picks:
  1. Gemhide Sliver
  2. Cursed Scroll
  3. Worldgorger Dragon
  4. Vesuvan Shapeshifter

For me, for what I like to play, I would first cut Vesuvan Shapeshifter off the list. Again, it's a super solid creature that would probably end up being one of the highlights of your deck, but I just think slivers or a red based morph archetype are just more fun. Between Gemhide Sliver and Worldgorger Dragon, I could really see myself going either way, depending on how I felt in the moment. And when all else fails, Cursed Scroll is always there. Cursed Scroll really represents the pick you go for when you don't know what you want to do. It's colorless, it fits into any deck and it keeps your options wide open. If you take the scroll, you're then counting on pack 2 to show you the light and lead you down the right path.

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