Saturday, May 30, 2015

Endless Horizons: Drafting Five-Colors in Modern Masters 2015

As I write this, I'm listening to Marshall Sutcliffe as he commentates on a Neal Oliver match at this weekends GP Vegas.  As Oliver's five color deck takes over the game, he notes on how he's becoming more and more convinced that greedy, splash-heavy decks will be common in the tournament, and frequently successful.

Lessons from a sealed format don't always translate over into drafts, however.  Modern masters provides a plenitude of clear-cut, synergistic two-color archetypes.  Can five-color decks compete?  I certainly was hopefully that they would.  Something about the very nature of the play-style of multicolor decks appeals to some part of my personality.  The fixing and ramp cards I see as investments in later, more powerful spells.  An additional element of resource-management is added to the game.  Perhaps, having first learned to draft during ROE, I was uniquely conditioned to enjoy such a style.

So I joined in two local modern masters drafts, both very casual.  No prizes were on the line here; our aims were fun and the chance to play the pack-lottery.  At $30 just for the boosters themselves, few of us were interested in upping the stakes even more.  Part of me didn't want to draft the set at simply, as a thirty dollar draft just feels wrong to me.  I don't buy scratch tickets, and with most of the value in this set pushed into mythic, I didn't want to buy modern masters.  Wizards has been hyping the set an incredible amount, and to buy into it myself would make me a sucker.

However, curiosity and a desire for fun did drive me into the arms of two drafts.  I didn't really open any money (as expected) but I did have a sweet time.  A pack 1 pick 1 wayfarer's bauble out of a very unimpressive pack in the first draft led me into just what I was hoping to be.  Here's the list:

With the baubles, four karoos and a rampant growth, in all three of my rounds I found myself with very little trouble casting my spells.  Additionally, I was able to make some really great use of interactions: the cytoplast in particular was able to help grow my coatl and sunburst creatures.  

Green-red domain is the "official" five color deck, according to wizards, but I think it would be a mistake to put on blinders to other colors being potentially part of the backbone of a domain deck.  Green is essential, because of the solid creatures and rampant growth potential it provides, but red less so.  In this draft, blue felt more open and so I decided to just go with a green-blue domain deck, with red being a bit heavier of a splash than black or white.  This deck went 3-0.

This second draft was a little bit more tricky.  While I didn't feel the fixing was as strong or as good as in the first draft, the deck packed more brute punch.  Savage twister and pelakka wurm were able to compensate for skyreach mantas which were a little less powerful than they would be with better fixing.  This draft, I tried to be more aware of the +1+1 counter and proliferate synergies available, although sadly there just weren't enough good proliferate spells coming around to really "go off."  What good proliferate spells there were, I passed for more straight-forwardly powerful cards like savage twister or dismember.  Heck, I could even proliferate charge counters in this deck to good effect!

This deck went 2-1, losing only to a very good white-black spirits deck.  I lost that particular match 2-1, flooding out one game, and getting swarmed in the other.  Endrek Sahr almost single-handedly made my plan of playing a few solid blockers laughable, as he was able to generate roughly 11 total thrull tokens before the master broodmaker was forced to sacrifice himself.  With either a few less tokens to deal with, or a savage twister, I think I could take that game.

As it was, between two drafts I went five and one, and was happy with the outings.  I'm done drafting modern masters, my curiosity has been sated, and I hopefully look toward a future where you can draft a format that is as fun as this where you can have fun drafting without having to worry about massive amounts of cash that just gets poured into the activity.

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