Sunday, February 16, 2014

BNG Pack 1 Pick 1 Exercises

So last friday night I went 2-2 with a very solid black/green deck which started out 2-0 and then lost a couple of close ones, the final round against Anthony, once again. My first pick was fanatic of Xenagos, a very solid uncommon card, but color committing.  I tried to grab red cards, as BNG has made red better, and to get a red/green beatdown deck seems a bit better in this format than in triple theros, but red was just dry.  My hunch seemed correct, as I faced Anthony's 3-0 G/R beatdown deck in round 4 (he was the last undefeated and I got paired up).  Ultimately, the fanatic of xenagos sat in the board, taunting me with its beatdown excellence.  Still, I regret nothing: the Silent Sentinel I passed up wouldn't have made the deck anyway, although it might have steered me in a radically different direction.

It hasn't all been mediocre results, though.  A couple of weeks ago, at a small BNG prerelease I went 2-0, splitting the finals with the other undefeated player (thankfully so, his removal-heavy B/R deck crushed me 2-0!).  I ended up with seven packs, and lacking a better way to use them, it seems like they might provide good examples for how a BNG-THR-THR draft might start.

Pack 1: 
Tier 1 Cards:
Drown in Sorrow
Akroan Skyguard
Hunter's Prowess?

Tier 2 Cards:
Nyxborn Wolf
Snake of the Golden grove
cyclops of one-eyed pass
revoke existence

Tier 3 Cards: 
Archetype of Endurance
Reckless Reveler
Epiphany Storm 
Evanescent Intellect
Forsaken Drifters
Black Oak of Odunos

As we flip through a pack, the first thing most of us do is sort into categories: those we like a lot, those we are fine with, and those we just don't value highly (aka: it'll wheel).  In this pack, only drown in sorrow and akroan skyguard really strike me as having a huge impact on the potential quality of my final deck, if they end up being a part of it: hunter's prowess just seems so incredibly risky to me.  I do like big burly green creatures, and hunter's prowess can prove effective with one of them against a tapped out opponent but... one voyage's end, or heavens to murgatroyd a griptide and you're effectively out of the game.  Drown in sorrow has played well for me so far, and had I drawn it in round three or four of my most recent draft it could very well have swung the tide in my favor.  My pick: drown in sorrow.  I still don't like white.

Pack 2:
Tier 1 cards: 
Pinnacle of Rage
Pain Seer
Stormcaller of Keranos

Tier 2:
Vortex Elemental
Loyal Pegasus
Weight of the Underworld

Tier 3:
Setessan Starbreaker?
Grisly Transformation
Nyxborn Rollicker
Sudden Storm
Hold at Bay
Fearsome Temper
Evanescent Intellect
Aspect of Hydra

A question mark lingers over setessan starbreaker.  It could be that auras end up being so important in this new format that it becomes a higher pick.  As it is, the weak body and conditional effect make me leery.  This pack seems weaker than the last, with the standout card being pinnacle of rage.  In a red/blue deck, stormcaller of keranos seems incredibly powerful, but not powerful enough to warrant taking over a single color spell pack one pick one.  Pain seer is a pretty mediocre bear, but like fleshmad steed adds to your black devotion, and if it gets in there even once, you'll be happy.  Getting better grizzly bears is valuable in limited, especially as Theros block hasn't provided us black drafters with a gutter skulk.  I think the correct pick here is the pinnacle, as it seems fairly easy to get a two-for-one with it, but given how much I like black I might be tempted by the pain seer.

It's worth noting that the card quality drops off pretty significantly in this pack, even more so than in the previous (fairly unexciting) pack.  I wouldn't expect to wheel a playable from this pack, and I find this happening with some frequency with born of the gods.  As a limited-focused player, it's hard to get excited by this expansion when it seems so many of its commons are limited-weak.  Of course, if I start performing better, this attitude will probably change!

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