Drafting with Siggy: Ravnica Allegiance

Last weekend I participated in #MTGNJ to a bread-and-butter 11-4 finish. I went into the second Draft of Day 2 live for Top 8 with a 10-2 record, and ended up with a mediocre deck that only granted me a single win. In the first game of the second pod, I did make a game-losing mistake due to my unfamiliarity of the format, not playing around a Collision // Colossus from my opponent after trying to figure out a card that cost 2 mana and could deal 5 damage. I couldn’t think of one and made what felt like a safe block that left me dead. This is exactly why I decided to play the event, as there’s not much that can replicate live practice, and learning from your mistakes early will help you remember when the stakes are higher.

That said, I definitely need some work in RNA Limited before the Cleveland Mythic Championship, and I’ve already hit the ground running.

Let’s go over one of my Drafts, pick by pick:

Pack 1 pick 1

Gateway PlazaGrowth SpiralApplied BiomancyFrenzied ArynxGateway PlazaDebtors' TransportExpose to DaylightRampaging RendhornShimmer of PossibilityRubblebelt RecluseRakdos FirewheelerGruul BeastmasterCarnival // CarnageAbsorbSimic Guildgate (257)

My Pick: Rakdos Firewheeler

The best cards in the pack are Frenized Arynx and Rakdos Firewheeler. Gruul Beastmaster is the best single color card, but it’s a step below both of these 4-power 4-drops. While Frenized Arynx is more splashable, I’m not super happy to do that anyway, and Rakdos Firewheeler provides a bit of card advantage. I’m a big fan of diving in on a high power level card even if it’s difficult to cast in this format, and abandoning the pick if the lane isn’t open.

Pack 1 pick 2

HumongulusGateway PlazaRubblebelt RecluseGrowth SpiralThirsting ShadeSyndicate MessengerNoxious GroodionRubble ReadingRakdos TrumpeterRakdos RoustaboutCry of the CarnariumBloodmist InfiltratorFrilled MysticOrzhov Guildgate (252)

My Pick: Frilled Mystic

Cry of the Carnarium is good in some decks but it’s actually at its best against black guilds. Orzhov has low toughness afterlife creatures, and Rakdos has a bunch of low toughness creatures, making it a difficult card to pair with my Rakdos Firewheeler. Rakdos Trumpeter is the best card if I wanted to put a ring on that Rakdos Firewheeler, but Frilled Mystic is the most powerful card in the pack, and since it’s early, I’m going to test the waters a bit.

Pack 1 pick 3

Concordia PegasusNoxious GroodionAxebane BeastFrenzied ArynxOpen the GatesExpose to DaylightTwilight PantherLawmage's BindingQuenchGrasping ThrullMinistrant of ObligationGruul BeastmasterAzorius Guildgate (243)

My Pick: Gruul Beastmaster

Okay, this is getting a bit obnoxious. This pack has great cards in the three guilds I haven’t dipped my toes in yet. With my neighbor taking a rare first pick, and this pack missing a rare and an uncommon, it’s really hard to take any signals from this pack. I ended up taking Gruul Beastmaster because it paired with my Frilled Mystic, and it’s not a huge step below the other cards in the pack, though it is worse than Lawmage’s Binding, Grasping Thrull, Ministrant of Obligation, and Frenzied Arynx. While those cards are better, it’s by a small enough amount that I think staying open is a fine choice here.

Pack 1 pick 4

Simic LocketTitanic BrawlGruul LocketSkewer the CriticsSteeple CreeperConcordia PegasusIll-Gotten InheritanceSenate CourierClear the MindTin Street DodgerBenthic BiomancerRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Skewer the Critics

I briefly considered taking Benthic Biomancer here as it’s a fine early play in Simic, but it’s a cut below Skewer the Critics. Skewer the Critics is the best red common, and it’s a potential signal I’m being sent at this point. By taking the Skewer I’m still open to Gruul, Rakdos, Simic, or even Temur here. It’s still early, and there’s still plenty of time to figure out what’s going on.

Pack 1 pick 5

Territorial BoarSaruli CaretakerNoxious GroodionSyndicate MessengerThirsting ShadeTenth District VeteranPersistent PetitionersSenate CourierRumbling RuinFont of AgoniesRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Rakdos Guildgate

This is a weak pack, and the best cards are Syndicate Messenger, Noxious Groodion, Senate Courier, and my pick, Rakdos Guildgate. With the cycle of CCDD cards, it’s important to pick up a couple of on-color Guildgates to make them easier to cast. Even in a Rakdos deck with all basics, Rakdos Firewheeler can be a tough card to cast on curve. Having enough Guildgates will also leave me open to splash in my Rakdos deck if times get tough. While I’m happy to play Noxious Groodion, it’s usually a card I can live without as well, especially in aggressive Rakdos decks.

Pack 1 pick 6

Burn BrightBurning-Tree VandalGhor-Clan WreckerConcordia PegasusPersistent PetitionersDebtors' TransportStony StrengthSkitter EelClamor ShamanGruul Guildgate (250)

My Pick: Clamor Shaman

Clamor Shaman is great in decks with a low curve that want to push damage with the power on the battlefield. I like Burning-Tree Vandal in Rakdos as well. With removal to back up the Vandal, you can sift through lands. This is a close pick but I usually pick up Burning-Tree Vandal pretty late, and would rather have a split than two Burning-Tree Vandals. Since Clamor Shaman is uncommon I’m going with that here. It’s worth noting that neither card is great, but red does appear to be open.

Pack 1 pick 7

Coral CommandoScuttlegatorBurn BrightImperious OligarchHaazda OfficerThought CollapseCarrion ImpGruul LocketStorm Strike

My Pick: Carrion Imp

Carrion Imp is a fine curve filler and a card I like better in Rakdos than in Orzhov. Flying creatures are hard to come by in Rakdos, and the evasion is a nice way to turn on spectacle costs. Rakdos also tends to race, so the 2 life is often relevant. The best card in the pack is Imperious Oligarch. I’m too far from Orzhov to consider it, but it’s one of the best, if not the best common 2-drop in the set.

Pack 1 pick 8

Goblin GatheringCarrion ImpCatacomb CrocodileProwling CaracalQuenchStony StrengthTower DefenseClear the Stage

My Pick: Clear the Stage

Clear the Stage is incredibly good if you have a 4-power creature and quite bad when you don’t. There are not many ways to generate card advantage in Rakdos, and I already have a Rakdos Firewheeler to turn on the 2-for-1. While Carrion Imp is a serviceable creature I’d much prefer speculate on Clear the Stage in case I end up with another Rakdos Firewheeler and a couple of other 4-power creatures.

Pack 1 pick 9

Gateway PlazaGrowth SpiralDebtors' TransportRampaging RendhornShimmer of PossibilityRubblebelt RecluseSimic Guildgate (257)

My Pick: Rubblebelt Recluse

While hanging out this past week at WotC with the rest of the Magic Pro League, a running joke was how Marcio Carvalho was always calling Debtor’s Transport “Skeletal Vampire.” While I do like me a Debtor’s Transport, I’ve actually been impressed with Rubblebelt Recluse. It’s difficult to block favorably and punish the “must attack” downside. There are a few deathtouch creatures that can do it, but backed up with a removal spell, Rubblebelt Recluse can be quite the force. Rubblebelt Recluse is also a way to turn on my Clear the Stage a bit earlier than Debtor’s Transport.

Pack 1 pick 10

HumongulusThirsting ShadeNoxious GroodionRubble ReadingRakdos RoustaboutCry of the Carnarium

My Pick: Rakdos Roustabout

I already went over how Cry of the Carnarium is more of a sideboard card than a main deck card, and it’s going to be hard to get a lot of value out of it in a Rakdos deck. Noxious Groodion is at its best against green decks, but Rakdos Roustabout allows me to turn on spectacle for sure if I attack with it. I take the Roustabout in hopes I can find some good spectacle payoffs, but this pick is fairly close.

Pack 1 pick 11

Noxious GroodionAxebane BeastExpose to DaylightTwilight PantherAzorius Guildgate (243)

My Pick: Noxious Groodion

Easy pick here. Noxious Groodion is good at trading up on defense, but doesn’t trigger spectacle very well since there’s a strong incentive to trade with it. Happy to pick it up here as a playable.

Pack 1 pick 12

Gruul LocketClear the MindTin Street DodgerRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Rakdos Guildgate

Guildgates are great especially when you have Rakdos Firewheeler. Tin Street Dodger is interesting as it’s a way to easily turn on spectacle and do consistent damage. I may be underrating it, but it seems so low impact that I haven’t played with it much yet. Having to spend a mana to make it “unblockable” makes it much worse at triggering spectacle on curve.

Pack 1 pick 13

Thirsting ShadeRumbling RuinFont of Agonies

My Pick: Rumbling Ruin

Not a fan of Thirsting Shade, and Rumbling Ruin is a big body for 6 mana. It’s unlikely to make my deck but I could see bringing it in against a slower green deck to trump their board.

Pack 1 pick 14

Burn BrightGhor-Clan Wrecker

My Pick: Ghor-Clan Wrecker

Ghor-Clan Wrecker is playable curve filler, but not a high tier 4-drop. It might end up in my deck if I end up low on playables.

Last Pick: Gruul Locket

After pack one my cards are:

Rakdos FirewheelerFrilled MysticGruul BeastmasterSkewer the CriticsRakdos Guildgate (255)Clamor ShamanCarrion ImpClear the StageRubblebelt RecluseRakdos RoustaboutNoxious GroodionRakdos Guildgate (255)Rumbling RuinGhor-Clan WreckerGruul Locket

I’m pretty firmly committed to Rakdos now, but with two Guildgates I could lean into a splash if I need to. I really need to work on the bottom of my curve, if possible.

Pack 2 pick 1

Burning-Tree VandalClear the MindSauroform HybridHumongulusBladebrandBring to TrialStorm StrikeRakdos RoustaboutUndercity ScavengerSage's Row SavantGyre EngineerWall of Lost ThoughtsFlames of the Raze-BoarGruul SpellbreakerRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Flames of the Raze-Boar

When I said I was willing to splash I didn’t mean a 3-drop Gruul creature. Flames of the Raze-Boar is incredible when you have a 4-power creature in play, which is much easier to achieve for a Gruul deck than Rakdos, but as a 6-mana removal spell it’s acceptable as well. In Gruul this card is premium and one of the better uncommons to open. In Rakdos, it’s still quite good. I’ll be slanting my picks a little from here on out to go with my Clear the Stage and Flames of the Raze-Boar. One card that Rakdos gets that’s generally very mediocre is Rafter Demon, but with both of these cards I’ll be looking to take and play those.

Pack 2 pick 2

Prying EyesSphinx's InsightClear the MindApplied BiomancyRakdos RoustaboutUndercity ScavengerSteeple CreeperRubblebelt RecluseConcordia PegasusFootlight FiendScrabbling ClawsGateway SneakBiogenic UpgradeAzorius Guildgate (243)

My Pick: Rubblebelt Recluse

Not much here for me, but I did just pick up the Flames of the Raze-Boar so I’m going to take my second copy of Rubblebelt Recluse. I don’t want to play more than two or three, but it’s a nice card to play the turn before the Flames. Undercity Scavenger is a way to get to 4 power as well, but those often come around quite late and require a bit more setup. Footlight Fiend is playable and gets a lot of value if you have some Bladebrand—block a creature with it, give it deathtouch, and when it dies, kill a second creature. Rubblebelt Recluse fits what I have right now, so I decided to pick one up while I can.

Pack 2 pick 3

Rakdos Guildgate (255)Gift of StrengthRubblebelt RunnerTerritorial BoarBring to TrialSenate GriffinClear the MindKnight of SorrowsBladebrandBloodmist InfiltratorClear the StageLavinia, Azorius RenegadeGruul Guildgate (250)

My Pick: Clear the Stage

I’m not a huge fan of playing two of this card because as I said the setup can be quite difficult. Bladebrand would be interesting if I had a Footlight Fiend or two already, and I already have two Rakdos Guildgate so that’s not a priority here. I’m going to take the Clear the Stage here mostly to see how heavily I can move into this 4-power-or-greater theme.

Pack 2 pick 4

Blade JugglerAzorius Knight-ArbiterNoxious GroodionGhor-Clan WreckerBurn BrightSenate CourierRafter DemonCarrion ImpVizkopa VampireAngelic ExaltationLight Up the StageRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Blade Juggler

Solid pack for me here. Light up the Stage and Blade Juggler are both excellent cards, but I prefer Blade Juggler. Rafter Demon has gone up in value now that I’m looking for 4-power creatures, but Blade Juggler is a premium black common that generates some card advantage while also getting on board early if I’m able to fill out the bottom of my curve. One problem I have with Rakdos is that it’s prone to flood out and stop using its mana. Blade Juggler is a way to draw more cards to make sure Rakdos doesn’t run out of gas early.

Pack 2 pick 5

Act of TreasonSphinx of the GuildpactRakdos LocketDead RevelsScuttlegatorFinal PaymentArrester's ZealAzorius Knight-ArbiterUndercity ScavengerRegenesisDagger Caster

My Pick: Dagger Caster

I like Dead Revels in Rakdos, especially with Rakdos Firewheeler and Blade Juggler as ways to keep creatures on the battlefield after generating value and trading off. Dagger Caster is obscene alongside Bladebrand, a common you tend to pick up quite late. Dagger Caster without Bladebrand is still good, but having the ability to combo off will lead to some easy wins. This is an easy Dagger Caster for me.

Pack 2 pick 6

Azorius LocketNoxious GroodionDefaceRubblebelt RecluseGravel-Hide GoblinSimic LocketFeral MaakaWatchful GiantCindervinesAzorius Guildgate (243)

My Pick: Feral Maaka

I really need to work on the bottom of my curve, and when times are tough, Grizzly Bear will have to do. I briefly considered taking Gravel-Hide Goblin here in case I pick up a Gruul Guildgate or two and splash green—and since I’m very likely to end up with more Feral Maakas—but I’m fairly sure halfway through the Draft with no 2-drops that I’m going to need to play the 2-drop I take here so I go with the “safer” option. I’m not looking for a third Rubblebelt Recluse at the moment, despite wanting to have 4 power on my creatures.

Pack 2 pick 7

ScuttlegatorDebtors' TransportWrecking BeastRubble ReadingUndercity's EmbraceHaazda OfficerShimmer of PossibilityScreaming ShieldRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Rakdos Guildgate

I took Rakdos Guildgate here, and three on-guild Guildgates is my cap in a 2-color deck. It’s possible Undercity’s Embrace could have been the right call here, with Dagger Caster to clean up tokens, and I’m already heavily incentivized to put 4-power creatures in my deck. Debtor’s Transport is a fine pickup here as well if I want it, but with such a high curve already, I’m unlikely to. Rakdos Guildgate is fine here, but not too exciting considering I won’t play another if I get it and there’s still plenty of time left.

Pack 2 pick 8

Saruli CaretakerPrying EyesCivic StalwartClear the MindFeral MaakaApplied BiomancyMacabre MockeryCarnival // Carnage

My Pick: Carnival // Carnage

Carnival // Carnage is a solid early game card to pick off 1-toughness creatures, but it’s also good late to attack an opponent’s hand and life total. Macabre Mockery is a weird card that I like to compare to a split card Lava Axe and Divine Verdict. It’s often useful but occasionally rots in your hand. You can cast it in the opponent’s end step, and still attack with the creature during your own turn, but you will lose the +2/+0 bonus on the attack. But it’s still a reasonable way to get a 4-power creature into play for Clear the Stage and Flames of the Raze-Boar in a pinch.

Pack 2 pick 9

Clear the MindSauroform HybridHumongulusStorm StrikeRakdos RoustaboutUndercity ScavengerRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Undercity Scavenger

I have no cards I really want to sacrifice here, but if I end up with a couple of 2-drops that don’t provide much late game value like Feral Maaka, I can use Undercity Scavenger to turn on Clear the Stage and Flames of the Raze-Boar. It’s much better with a lower curve, however, and at this point I’m a bit panicked about not having 2-drops. Rakdos Roustabout is fine and all, but I want to pick up a Scavenger while I can.

Pack 2 pick 10

Prying EyesClear the MindRakdos RoustaboutUndercity ScavengerConcordia PegasusScrabbling Claws

My Pick: Rakdos Roustabout

Without any fodder to sacrifice yet, I don’t want a second Undercity Scavenger. I make the safe pick this time and take the Rakdos Roustabout I’ll almost assuredly play.

Pack 2 pick 11

Rakdos Guildgate (255)Gift of StrengthClear the MindBloodmist InfiltratorLavinia, Azorius Renegade

My Pick: Bloodmist Infiltrator

Bloodmist Infiltrator is a medium 3-drop that can turn creatures in play into damage much like Fireblade Artist. 1 toughness is a bit awkward in a lot of games with afterlife around so it’s not a card I love, but if I was going to play cards like Act of Treason or Smelt-Ward Ignus it’s a good way to sacrifice my opponent’s creatures. It’s possible it ends up in my deck, but still fairly unlikely since it’s the worst 3-drop I have at the moment.

Pack 2 pick 12

Noxious GroodionBurn BrightRafter DemonCarrion Imp

My Pick: Rafter Demon

Not a great card but it lines up well with the two Clear the Stage and the Flames of the Raze-Boar. Its spectacle cost is a bit too high, which means when it hits a land, the opponent has already developed their battlefield enough and it’s basically not getting any value. It can occasionally get your opponent’s last great card, but the fact it’s a 4- or 5-drop with 2 toughness is really hurting it.

Pack 2 pick 13

Rakdos LocketScuttlegatorArrester's Zeal

My Pick: Rakdos Locket

I could see a world where I play a Locket with a higher curve deck, but Rakdos is rarely that, though this deck is shaping up that way.

Pack 2 pick 14

DefaceSimic Locket

My Pick: Deface

Last Pick: Screaming Shield

So after two packs my pool looks like this:

Rakdos FirewheelerFrilled MysticGruul BeastmasterSkewer the CriticsRakdos Guildgate (255)Clamor ShamanCarrion ImpClear the StageRubblebelt RecluseRakdos RoustaboutNoxious GroodionRakdos Guildgate (255)Rumbling RuinGhor-Clan WreckerGruul Locket

and

Flames of the Raze-BoarRubblebelt RecluseClear the StageBlade JugglerDagger CasterFeral MaakaRakdos Guildgate (255)Carnival // CarnageUndercity ScavengerRakdos RoustaboutBloodmist InfiltratorRafter DemonRakdos LocketDefaceScreaming Shield

Going into pack 3, quality removal like Get the Point and Skewer the Critics are going to be a priority, but even more importantly I need to find some good, cheap creatures. Bladebrand is also a card on my list of wants as I’d like to get some free win potential out of my Dagger Caster. Let’s go to pack 3!

Pack 3 pick 1

Growth SpiralGhor-Clan WreckerTenth District VeteranArrester's ZealSkitter EelSteeple CreeperDebtors' TransportSpikewheel AcrobatRubble SlingerAeromunculusSphinx of the GuildpactTin Street DodgerEnraged CeratokKaya, Orzhov Usurper - FoilSimic Guildgate (257)

My Pick: Spikewheel Acrobat

Ugh. I don’t want anything in the pack, and the best I can come up with here is a Spikewheel Acrobat to help with my Clear the Stages and Flames of the Raze-Boar. While I almost always cut it, this is the deck I’m happy to play it in.

I’d like to pick them up later but there’s nothing else here except for some expensive creatures like Debtor’s Transport and Sphinx of the Guildpact, which my deck isn’t really looking for.

Pack 3 pick 2

ScorchmarkFootlight FiendFrenzied ArynxSpear SpewerOrzhov LocketTerritorial BoarCivic StalwartJusticiar's PortalDrill BitSenate CourierCarnival // CarnageZhur-Taa GoblinRevival // RevengeOrzhov Guildgate (252)

My Pick: Scorchmark

I don’t currently have many spectacle cards, otherwise I really like Spewer. Revival // Revenge is incredibly powerful, and if I had a Orzhov Guildgate or two, and some creatures that actually cost 3 or less, I’d likely take that here. As is, I decide to take Scorchmark because it can help in the early game, and I can potentially bridge to the point in the game where I’m casting 5-mana 6/5s and casting a Clear the Stage as a 2-for-1. Carnival // Carnage is also solid but not quite as effective as Scorchmark at clearing out creatures. This pick might have been a mistake and I should have potentially went with the Spear Spewer in hopes I got more spectacle cards.

Pack 3 pick 3

Goblin GatheringOpen the GatesQuenchTwilight PantherCatacomb CrocodileChillbringerPersistent PetitionersConcordia PegasusGruul LocketScrabbling ClawsCult Guildmage - FoilCollision // ColossusGruul Guildgate (250)

My Pick: Cult Guildmage

This is a 2-drop that can trigger spectacle without attacking. Perfect pickup for me here. Not much for me to wheel, so this is basically a dead pack after but it’s an ideal card for me this time.

Pack 3 pick 4

Growth SpiralWatchful GiantGhor-Clan WreckerSenate CourierBlade JugglerBladebrandCoral CommandoSage's Row SavantUndercity's EmbraceRegenesisScreaming ShieldGutterbones

My Pick: Gutterbones

This is a tough pick between Gutterbones and Blade Juggler. If my curve was where it needed to be, I’d likely take Blade Juggler here as drawing extra cards in Limited is hard to come by, and 2/1 creatures are easy to keep in check. That said, my deck needs some early game, and Gutterbones is close to an ideal, cheap play. If I had taken the Spear Spewer before, this pick would be much closer but I still think I like Gutterbones since I’m so desperate for early plays.

Pack 3 pick 5

Consign to the PitRakdos FirewheelerBlade JugglerScorchmarkArrester's AdmonitionImpassioned OratorShimmer of PossibilitySaruli CaretakerBasilica Bell-HauntSpire ManglerBiogenic Upgrade

My Pick: Rakdos Firewheeler

Blade Juggler is great and all, but Flametongue Kavu Jr. is probably the best Rakdos card at uncommon or common. Add the fact that I have a huge incentive to play 4-power creatures, and this is the best card I could ask for this late.

Pack 3 pick 6

Watchful GiantRubble SlingerPersistent PetitionersSagittars' VolleyBladebrandNoxious GroodionFeral MaakaRakdos TrumpeterCult Guildmage - FoilRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Cult Guildmage

I’d really like a Bladebrand to go with my Dagger Caster, but I’m still pretty desperate for cheap creatures. Rakdos Trumpeter is an excellent 2-drop, but I think Cult Guildmage is better since it has the ability to always damage my opponent, and play a grindy game with its discard ability. With three Rakdos Guildgates my deck is very good at getting both colors of mana early.

Pack 3 pick 7

Gravel-Hide GoblinFootlight FiendSkitter EelRubblebelt RunnerCatacomb CrocodileRakdos RoustaboutBolrac-Clan CrusherRampage of the ClansRakdos Guildgate (255)

My Pick: Footlight Fiend

This is a close pick between Rakdos Roustabout and Footlight Fiend. If I had a Bladebrand already this would be an easy Footlight Fiend as it would fill out the bottom of my curve and add a lot of value to the Bladebrand. I take Footlight Fiend here in hopes that I get to wheel that last Bladebrand, and because it is a cheap creature to turn on spectacle for Blade Juggler and Spikewheel Acrobat early while also being an OK creature to sacrifice to my Undercity Scavenger.

Pack 3 pick 8

Blade JugglerBladebrandRubblebelt RunnerClear the MindPersistent PetitionersProwling CaracalClear the StageSimic Guildgate (257)

My Pick: Blade Juggler

As badly as I want a Bladebrand, Blade Juggler is just too good to pass up. My deck has enough cheap creatures now to cast Blade Juggler on 3 a reasonable amount of the time, but I’m hoping to get one or two more 1- or 2-drops to close out the pack.

Pack 3 pick 9

Growth SpiralGhor-Clan WreckerTenth District VeteranSkitter EelSteeple CreeperRubble SlingerTin Street Dodger

My Pick: Tin Street Dodger

Tin Street Dodger is not a card I’ve played often. In fact, I think I only played it once and it was quite bad, so I didn’t start it again. If my back is against the wall I’ll consider it as my 23rd card. My curve is already full of better 3-drops than Rubble Slinger, and better 4-drops than Ghor-Clan Wrecker so I’ll take the cheap card in case I need it. Rubble Slinger is a fine sideboard card on occasion, so it’s possible I should have taken that if I wasn’t planning on trying the Tin Street Dodger. Spoiler alert: I didn’t.

Pack 3 pick 10

Spear SpewerOrzhov LocketCivic StalwartJusticiar's PortalDrill BitCarnival // Carnage

My Pick: Carnival // Carnage

I think this was a mis-pick in retrospect. I have multiple Cult Guildmages and I thought that somehow made the Spear Spewer worse since I only need 1 damage for spectacle but I didn’t think about just having that consistent source of damage every turn in multiples. Having two Blightning is fine, but there are just not enough 1-toughness creatures to make it a card you want to draw too often in multiples. Spear Spewer is an important card for Rakdos to always have spectacle turned on for 0 mana. Drill Bit is also a card I almost always play, but it’s a step down from both of these cards in this deck.

Pack 3 pick 11

Twilight PantherCatacomb CrocodilePersistent PetitionersGruul LocketScrabbling Claws

My Pick: Catacomb Crocodile

Unlikely to ever come into my deck but it’s worth noting that Catacomb Crocodile is incredibly difficult for red and green decks to manage. It doesn’t have 4 power for Clear the Stage and Flames, making it worse than my Rubblebelt Recluses at 5 mana.

Pack 3 pick 12

Ghor-Clan WreckerBladebrandCoral CommandoUndercity's Embrace

My Pick: Bladebrand

Ding ding ding. Finally got one. I’ve definitely been learning through the last few Drafts I’ve done that this card needs to go up in my pick order if I plan on getting any. It’s an excellent way to trade off afterlife tokens or other small creatures for big creatures at no value loss since you draw a card off of it. That itself makes the card a much higher priority than combat tricks since they require more setup to get a positive exchange.

Pack 3 pick 13

Consign to the PitSaruli CaretakerBiogenic Upgrade

My Pick: Consign to the Pit

I’m not going to play Consign in this deck, but I’m usually pretty happy to play my first. It’s worth noting that Biogenic Upgrade is an incredibly powerful card and I don’t think it should be going this late. Green does have a ton of ways to sink mana with adapt, but this card grants you at least 6 power with haste for 6 mana.

Pack 3 pick 14

Watchful GiantFeral Maaka

My Pick: Feral Maaka

I’m actually happy to get a free Grizzly Bear here as it fills out my curve, and my power level is high enough to not be unhappy playing such an underwhelming card.

Last Pick: Gravel-Hide Goblin

Here’s the build of my pool.

With only five 4+-power creatures in my deck, I decided to only play one Clear the Stage and the Flames of the Raze-Boar. I cut the Clamor Shaman because I didn’t think I had a low enough curve to leverage it, but in retrospect it’s probably better than Rakdos Roustabout. I played Rafter Demon over Spikewheel Acrobat, which is also potentially wrong, but with two Carnival // Carnage I have the ability to get an opponent’s entire hand over time. That said, playing the Acrobat on 3 and an extra power is likely enough upside to not be too cute.

I went 1-1 with this deck, losing to a very good Azorius deck focused on High Alert with multiple Depose // Deploy to keep their life total high. I think I drafted okay, though I did make a few mistakes. I also could have built my deck better with the suggestions above.

This format has been more challenging for me than usual but I’m also enjoying the format quite a bit. The games are usually close and interesting. Drafting feels more like a guessing game than it has in the past, as cards feel closer on power level than usual, but that’s likely a good thing. I look forward to playing a lot more of this format in preparation for the first ever Mythic Championship.

How do you think I drafted? Should I have taken a different lane? What picks would you have made differently? Please, help!

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