I talked last week about how solid Iconic Masters’ Draft format is. Despite playing it only a limited amount, I’ve had a lot of fun drafting it. I thought this week I’d take a dive into one of my Iconic Masters Drafts. Let’s go!
Pack 1 pick 1
My Pick: Austere Command
Like in most packs of Iconic Masters, I’m going to start with a rare, Austere Command. Austere Command is a messed up Limited Magic card. It can be a one-sided sweeper on occasion, and a 6-mana wrath other times. It gives you outs to both artifacts and enchantments as well. I’m pretty happy to start the Draft with an Austere Command.
Pack 1 pick 2
My Pick: Grisly Spectacle
This is a close pick between Mnemonic Wall and Grisly Spectacle for me. Already having a sweeper to bring back with Mnemonic Wall gives me a reason to take the Wall, and I do like blue in my limited experience with the format. Grisly Spectacle might be the best common removal in the set because the incidental mill can help cards like Wight of Precinct Six and Jace’s Phantasm, but also because in multiples it can be a win condition in a control deck, especially against other threat-light decks.
Pack 1 pick 3
My Pick: Star Compass
Star Compass is the best common mana rock in my opinion. Tapping for colored mana is a big deal, and with 2 double-colored cards already, it’s possible that my mana will end up stretched. I already have an Austere Command to ramp into, and with a couple of mana rocks I can have a higher curve and not worry too much about it.
Pack 1 pick 4
My Pick: Mana Leak
This is the first of picks I wasn’t sure about, and went with what I considered the best card in the pack. Mana Leak allows me to go into either U/W or U/B still, and even Esper. Mind Stone was the next closest card, and potentially the correct choice, allowing me to see more of what’s open before making a decision on colors. B/W can be a life gain archetype and Sanguine Bond is a payoff if you go super deep in that direction, but I’m not quite willing to spend a pick on it here.
Pack 1 pick 5
My Pick: Star Compass
There’s not much here in any of my colors. I’m happy to pick up another mana rock here and see what happens. From here on out, I’ll be less inclined to spend picks on mana rocks.
Pack 1 pick 6
My Pick: Blizzard Specter
Blizzard Specter is a strong signal pick 6 that it’s unlikely anyone is in a U/B deck to my right. Selesnya Sanctuary is a reasonable choice here, but it’s much less a signal than the Blizzard Specter and I’d like to stake my claim in U/B right now.
Pack 1 pick 7
My Pick: Selesnya Sanctuary
Well, the blue and black cards in this pack are low value. Moonglove Extract is fine, Child of Night is filler at best, and then it’s a choice between Seeker of the Way or the bounceland, and I decide I’d much rather pick up my first bounceland here with a 6-mana white card already. You may notice later in the Draft that I don’t take bouncelands as highly as other pros. I generally don’t take them highly unless my deck is already high curve or I am on track to have more than enough playables. I’m willing to admit that this may be a small leak.
Pack 1 pick 8
My Pick: Evolving Wilds
There’s not much for me here. Sandstone Oracle is overcosted and I’m unlikely to play any other card in the pack. In a format that’s a bit slower like Iconic Masters, I don’t mind playing Evolving Wilds in 2-color decks, especially when I have double-colored cards and 2 Star Compass already. Evolving Wilds will also allow me to splash something if I want to.
Pack 1 pick 9
My Pick: Frost Lynx
I’m going to take the Frost Lynx here as it looks like I’m going to be U/B. I don’t like Frost Lynx all that much but it can help me connect with Blizzard Specter or a Jhessian Thief. I’m getting concerned that I’m not really seeing anything in blue, black, or even white really, so I’m definitely keeping my options open. Guardian Idol is also a reasonable pick here if you want to remain open.
Pack 1 pick 10
My Pick: Hunting Pack
Hunting Pack has been excellent for me, and I think this is really late for it. With the amount of mana acceleration in this format, it’s very easy to get 2 or 3 Beasts out of Hunting Pack. I’m passing up on Duress, which I think is a solid sideboard card in this format, but I’m going to take the upside on Hunting Pack in case I open or get passed something busted in green. This is a format with a lot of playables, so waffling around in pack 1 is more reasonable than it would be in a format like Ixalan where the card quality drops off fast.
Pack 1 pick 11
My Pick: Angel of Mercy
Angel of Mercy is a solid playable, and I’m happy to play it in most white decks, especially any with a life gain theme. Angel of Mercy provides me with a win condition here, and I’m short on those if I end up in an archetype like U/W.
Pack 1 pick 12
My Pick: Sanguine Bond
Okay, so this pack has four black and white cards left in it, and one is specific to a life gain deck. I’ve never had a true life gain deck, and I don’t really have much life gain yet, but between Doomed Traveler and Child of Night, I feel like I could be passing a really good card in a life gain deck in Sanguine Bond for a card I likely won’t end up playing. I’m not even sure at this point how good Sanguine Bond is even in a life gain deck, but I’m going to speculate on it here just in case.
Pack 1 pick 13
My Pick: Repeal
Repeal is a solid playable in a blue deck and I’d almost never cut the first copy, and will usually play the second. I still haven’t seen much good blue yet, and this is latest signal it may be open.
Pack 1 pick 14
My Pick: Stalwart Aven
Not a great card, but I don’t mind playing a flyer in this format that tends to get gummed up on the ground with walls early.
Last Pick: Infantry Veteran
Hmm, it seems like white is probably open from the last several picks of the Draft.
Pack 2 pick 1
My Pick: Vizkopa Guildmage
This was again a close pick between Mnemonic Wall and Vizkopa Guildmage for me. I’m still undecided on colors, and while early indications were that U/B was open from the right, it seemed more like that was less true as the pack developed. I still think my highest quality cards are in white and black, though I have more blue cards, and I think Vizkopa Guildmage is the highest quality card in the pack. Vizkopa Guildmage gives me another life gain payoff if I decide to go that route, alongside that late Sanguine Bond I picked up.
Pack 2 pick 2
My Pick: Bubbling Cauldron
Well, I found a life gain source for my payoffs in Bubbling Cauldron. I’m not too excited about playing the Cauldron without Angelic Accord, but I could get that later, or potentially the Bogbrew Witch and some Newts later.
Pack 2 pick 3
My Pick: Iona’s Judgment
This is probably the worst pick of the Draft from me, but I was panicking about getting enough playables and that’s likely due to inexperience in the format. I think Azorius Chancery would be the correct pick here—it can enable a blue splash, and my deck might have a high curve with multiple Angel of Mercy or other high-end finishers like Scion of Ugin, as I have no good ways to lose out the game right now. Needless to say, I take the Iona’s Judgment to make sure that I have enough playables, and in a format as slow as Iconic Masters, a 5-mana exile removal spell is still solid.
Pack 2 pick 4
My Pick: Reave Soul
I pick up a quality cheap removal spell in Reave Soul here. I’m starting to feel like I’m in the right colors, as despite not seeing much blue pack 1, I’m still not seeing much of it pack 2 either.
Pack 2 pick 5
My Pick: Guard Duty
This pack has a bunch of mediocre 4-mana 2/3 flyers and some other filler. Guard Duty isn’t excellent but it’s a cheap way to stop an attacker, and if my deck comes to form it will be able to play a long game. It’s worth noting that Guard Duty is also great against unleashed creatures, turning them off completely. Having a sweeper like Austere Command makes Guard Duty much better because it can pick up the slack later in the game, removing the creature from the battlefield entirely.
Pack 2 pick 6
My Pick: Auriok Champion
I’m seeing some more blue now but I’ve already gone down my path. I take Auriok Champion here but I’m not entirely sure this is correct. Auriok Champion can be excellent against some aggressive decks, and basically a brick against control. Phyrexian Rager is likely the better pick, but I’m taking Auriok Champion to see how it plays out. After playing with it some, I’d lean towards taking Phyrexian Rager.
Pack 2 pick 7
My Pick: Phyrexian Rager
This is a close pick between Phyrexian Rager and Noxious Dragon to me. Noxious Dragon as an expensive threat is more easily replaced, and Phyrexian Rager will help me block cheap creatures and also help me hit land drops and find Austere Command. If it were later in the Draft and I had no win conditions yet I’d definitely take Noxious Dragon, but I still feel I have plenty of time to find a couple of win conditions.
Pack 2 pick 8
My Pick: Sustainer of the Realm
Sustainer of the Realm is a serviceable 4-drop that I’m not usually super happy about having in my deck, but I’m not unhappy if it’s one of the last cards either. Sustainer of the Realm at least gives me a flyer to win with now, something my deck is currently missing.
Pack 2 pick 9
My Pick: Phyrexian Rager
Slam-dunk pick here. I’m surprised to wheel a Phyrexian Rager here and I’m pretty happy about it.
Pack 2 pick 10
My Pick: Wight of Precinct Six
I don’t think I’m going to be an aggressive enough deck to play Infantry Veteran, and I do already have one. Wight of Precinct Six goes with my Grisly Spectacle and at the rate I’m wheeling black cards, it’s possible that I wheel the Balustrade Spy I took the Guard Duty over. With more Grisly Spectacles and a Balustrade Spy, I’m not unhappy to play a Wight of Precinct Six if need be.
Pack 2 pick 11
My Pick: Dead Reveler
I’m not playing Dead Reveler unless things go really bad for me later, but there’s nothing else for me here.
Pack 2 pick 12
My Pick: Moonglove Extract
Moonglove Extract has its moments, and I’m not unhappy if I end up with one in my main deck, but I usually sideboard it unless I have prowess and need another spell. I notice that Hunting Pack is still not getting its due respect.
Pack 2 pick 13
My Pick: Balustrade Spy
Pack 2 pick 14
My Pick: Rotfeaster Maggot
Another life gain card if necessary. Not a terribly exciting card but it’s a similar to Angel of Mercy against aggro decks.
Pack 2 pick 15
Last Pick: Dragonlord’s Servant
I’m looking for a win condition or two and maybe a couple of removal spells out of the last pack, but I’m on the right track for a solid deck.
Pack 3 pick 1
My Pick: Vizkopa Guildmage
Vizkopa Guildmage is a great pickup here as it makes Bubbling Cauldron an actual playable card in my deck, and gives me another 2-drop to fill my curve, combined with a mana sink for the late game.
Pack 3 pick 2
My Pick: Bogbrew Witch
I already have a Bubbling Cauldron and if I pick up even 1 Festering Newt I’ll be happy to have all 3. I’m not passing up on much here other than another white bounceland, but I still will play Bogbrew Witch even without any Newts now that I have 2 Vizkopa Guildmage. This isn’t a great win condition but definitely serves as a way to deal the last 8 or so damage.
Pack 3 pick 3
My Pick: Yosei, the Morning Star
Easy pick here. Yosei, the Morning Star is an absurdly good finisher, as even if they kill it, it can give you up to two free turns of tapping them down to close the game out. This is exactly the type of card I needed here and it’s worth noting that I have the Bubbling Cauldron and a Bogbrew Witch to sacrifice Yosei even if it’s dealt with by a card like Claustrophobia or Swords to Plowshares.
Pack 3 pick 4
My Pick: Survival Cache
I’m not quite sure how good Abzan Falconer will be without other creatures to give flying, but I know my deck doesn’t really need a slow win condition like Abzan Falconer. My deck could use a divination type effect like Survival Cache. Survival Cache can be unreliable at times, but in a deck with removal and life gain it’s much easier to keep your life total high enough to keep Survival Cache drawing cards.
Pack 3 pick 5
My Pick: Noxious Dragon
I take a small gamble here and pick up another win condition in Noxious Dragon over taking my first Festering Newt. With as late as I’m getting solid black cards this Draft, I’m fairly confident that I’ll wheel the Festering Newt, and if I don’t it’s not a big deal. My deck still wants another big flyer so I’ll take it here and have a reasonable chance at picking up the Newt on the wheel.
Pack 3 pick 6
My Pick: Indulgent Tormentor
Indulgent Tormentor is the type of card that can win a game on its own if unchecked, and is yet another big flying win condition for my deck. I’ve definitely gotten enough win conditions at this point so I’m mostly looking for another removal spell or two if possible.
Pack 3 pick 7
My Pick: Grisly Spectacle
I have enough win conditions already so I’ll add another premium removal spell to my deck. Gristly Spectacle this late is obviously a signal that I’m potentially the only black drafter at the table.
Pack 3 pick 8
My Pick: Foul-Tongue Invocation
I have a couple of Dragons now with Yosei and Noxious Dragon. I’m not going to play this in the same deck as Guard Duty but I think this is now a small upgrade. If I wasn’t planning on playing Foul-Tongue Invocation, I’d take Disenchant as I think the first one is playable at best and an excellent sideboard card at worst. I have an Austere Command to cover that angle, so I’d likely only sideboard it. I’d rather take the card I plan to play maindeck here.
Pack 3 pick 9
My Pick: Angel of Mercy
My curve is getting kind of high but I still slightly prefer Angel of Mercy to Manakin. The format is slower so mana curve isn’t as important as card quality. I’d still likely take any noncreature mana rock at this point like Guardian Idol, Mind Stone, or Star Compass over Angel of Mercy, but Manakin is the most vulnerable of those, and I’m happy to have another Angel of Mercy to fill out my win conditions, even if my curve is a little high.
Pack 3 pick 10
My Pick: Disenchant
I have enough playables at this point so I’m going to take a solid sideboard card in Disenchant. As I said before, I’m unlikely to main deck it because I have an Austere Command already, but I’d still like to have access to one in my sideboard.
Pack 3 pick 11
My Pick: Benevolent Ancestor
I’m not going to put any of these cards in my deck—I might sideboard the Wall against an aggressive deck, though that’s still unlikely.
Pack 3 pick 12
My Pick: Moonglove Extract
Pack 3 pick 13
My Pick: Festering Newt
As I said, this is a low quality card when you don’t have the Bogbrew Witch and Bubbling Cauldron, so taking the gamble on the Noxious Dragon paid off. I’m happy to play a Festering Newt in my deck as another way to kill a larger creature along with the Witch and the Cauldron.
Pack 3 pick 14
My Pick: Bala Ged Scorpion
Bala Ged Scorpion is excellent in this format. There are a ton of Walls it can kill like Doorkeeper and Wall of Roots, and 1-powered creatures like Jace’s Phantasm, Jhessian Thief, or Manakin. I’m really happy to put the first copy of Bala Ged Scorpion in my black decks. Excellent late pickup here.
Last Pick: Diminish
Here’s how my deck turned out:
In retrospect, I should have likely played a Stalwart Aven or Sustainer of the Realm over Rotfeaster Maggot in the main deck. Other than that, I like how I built the deck.
This Draft was actually a little wonky and I could have done a bunch of things differently. The most important pick of the Draft was definitely pack 2 pick 1 where I decided to possibly abandon blue for Vizkopa Guildmage, thinking that a life gain deck was open after getting a really late Sanguine Bond pack 1. While Sanguine Bond is likely not good in all but the best life gain decks, it signaled to me that no one was going super hard on that archetype at the very least, meaning that it was likely unrepresented at the table.
I’m sure that there are a ton of picks a lot of you would have made differently, and just as I hope you learn from me, I’m also eager to learn from you! Let me know what you would have done in the comments below.