The usual Valencia team of myself + Javier Dominguez needed to be increased. We needed a total of eight members who would willing to play Draft every day for four days in order to learn the set in just one week before the Mythic Championship.
That’s how we recruited Jose Cabezas, a very good Spanish Limited player, and the Portuguese crew, captained by Marcio Carvalho, with Goncalo Pinto, Bernardo Santos, Bernardo Torres, and Joao Andrade.
Learning new Limited sets is great: the new cards, new synergies, and the best color combinations.
War of the Spark Draft playtesting couldn’t be done with normal booster packs like we were used to doing, but since the set wasn’t released yet, we had to print proxies and create a huge Cube Draft to replicate the boosters, which was a new and unique experience for me.
After 10 Drafts from Saturday to Tuesday we sat down for a three-and-a-half-hour long Limited discussion. Today I’m going to show you the results of our testing and what I believe to be the four best archetypes.
Pick Order By Color
Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
Some proxies were printed well, while some others were black and white. I hope you can still identify them all.
The first picture is the pick order divided by colors, and the second one is more chaotic—it involves the multicolor cards, with key commons/uncommons.
The Best Commons
Aven Eternal was the best common in the set for us, despite being worse on power level than Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty and Jaya’s Greeting. Blue is the best color in the set and drives the two best archetypes (U/B and U/R), which pushes it to the top.
Black and red have two very good removal spell each, making them solid colors.
Red, with Burning Prophet and Spellgorger Weird, gives birth to the archetype U/R Spells, which is probably the best one if you can properly draft it. The scry effect on Burning Prophet is phenomenal, and Spellgorger Weird can easily snowball the game.
The existence of amass makes it so that bounce spells like Callous Dismissal and Totally Lost are slightly better than what they’d normally be in a regular format. It also makes tappers like Law-Rune Enforcer not as great as they’d normally be.
Grixis colors were my favorite, mainly because of the following three cards and how much they overperformed:
These three 6-drops are the keys to their archetypes. This format lacks mana sinks, and large 6-drops are exactly what you need. Especially Kiora’s Dambreaker’s 6 toughness—it’s very large and hard to deal with.
I was not a fan of green and white. Our Draft win percentage was pretty low with these colors, with the exception of green-white and red-green. While Trusted Pegasus would be among the top commons in a normal set, it wasn’t as impactful as we thought it would be. All the white commons were mediocre, and white felt like the weakest color by a wide margin.
Let’s now talk about the top 4 archetypes of War of the Spark: U/B, U/R, R/G, and G/W.
This was an ideal U/B Draft deck, and an easy 3-0. It has removal and card draw, as well as a way to get card advantage, early blockers, and bombs. At the Mythic Championship, I ended up blue-black both times, with two very solid decks that I was very happy with.
Auriok’s Skulker was a big favorite of mine. It was able to block in the early game and an evasive mana sink creature later. It killed planeswalkers and gave me a clock once I got ahead.
No Escape was another all-star. It’s a versatile counterspell, easy to cast, and has the added bonus of scry 1.
Blue-Red Spells Matter, with great removal and a great card draw engine, as well as multiple spells-matter creatures.
White-Green Proliferate was the only successful white combination. Every other white deck had a <50% win rate.
Pollenbright Druid is very important, and the fuel of the deck.
Battlefield Promotion is the supreme combat trick, and better than Giant Growth in this specific archetype. It’s very important that you find yourself with creatures with counters in play so that cards like Courage in Crisis, Bloom Hulk, and Wanderer’s Strike can take over the game.
Band Together is needed as a strong 3-mana removal spell to get rid of a large amass token—that was easily one of the ways to beat red-green based decks.
Flood was a problem for a deck like this. That’s why I really like Samut, Tyrant Smasher. Others disagreed, but I found the scry 1 ability to be super important because one of the ways you lose against the blue deck is to lack mana sink or card draw spells.
These are my four favorite archetypes and what I look to draft with War of the Spark. What are yours?