Hey everyone! I haven’t had the opportunity to draft any Fate Reforged yet since the prerelease was just last weekend, so you’ll get a look at how I approach these packs cold (albeit with a lot of drafting experience and time with the spoiler under my belt). Let’s take a look at some random packs of Fate Reforged and see what you should take:
My pick: Mardu Strike Leader. This card looks like a near bomb to me. In combination with removal spells, Mardu Strike Leader can get out of control very quickly. Also, he creates Warrior tokens, making him extra powerful with both Chief of the Edge and Chief of the Scale. Chief of the Scale is potentially even better in combination with Mardu Strike Leader, since if played sequentially on turns two and three, there are very few creatures that your opponent can play to profitably block the Strike Leader on your fourth turn when it’s a 3/3.
Honorable Mentions: Aven Surveyor and Reality Shift. Also, Orc Sureshot. Orc Sureshot is a card that I could see actually being extremely good. It looks pretty good, but its hard for me to judge with 100% confidence exactly how good it is in the format without playing with it. In combination with token generators like Ponyback Brigade or Take up Arms you have a very, very powerful card there.
My pick: Wild Slash. This is a close pick. In these situations, I generally like to err on the side of creature removal. In addition, while it may seem obvious that Shock is a good card, it’s worth pointing out how truly great a card like Wild Slash is in a format that revolves around morph creatures. In a large majority of the games, your opponent is going to play a 3-mana 2/2 on their third turn. If you’re on the draw, you Wild Slash, untap, and play your own morph. If you’re on the play, you can cast Wild Slash and a second morph on your fourth turn.
Honorable Mentions: Cloudform and Lightform. Both of these cards are very powerful—essentially 2/2 fliers with either lifelink or hexproof for three mana, which would already be solid. But in addition, they have the added upside of randomly hitting a creature and gaining the ability to create an extremely formidable flying force. Imagine hitting something like Bellowing Saddlebrute, or another powerful 4-drop. It really has the potential to end the game very quickly.
My pick: Shu Yun, the Silent Tempest. I think the upside here is very high. A 3/2 for three mana is a reasonable rate already, and the opportunity to grant double strike, which is one of the most powerful abilities in Magic is extremely relevant and makes blocking extremely difficult for your opponent. Even the simple prowess ability can already cause that kind of distress. Shu Yun and the prowess in general can be a quality mechanic to build decks around.
Honorable Mention: Douse in Gloom. Pretty straightforward here—a 3-mana, conditional removal spell with upside that can you be used to kill a morph or otherwise pesky 2-power creatures.
My pick: Definitely the toughest pick so far, but I think I’d go with Temur Sabertooth—a 4-mana 4/3 with an absolutely absurd ability. With Temur Sabertooth in play, it’s very difficult for your opponent to make profitable attacks or profitable blocks. If they are able to get a much bigger creature into play, you can do things like block with a small creature of your own, bounce it, replay it, and repeat. It also has an interesting interaction with manifest, in that if you manifest one of your quality noncreature cards, you can use the ability of Temur Sabertooth to put it back into your hand. This is a minor point, but definitely relevant.
Honorable Mention: Atarka, World Render. This card is obviously very, very good. That being said, it costs 7 mana, and is two colors as opposed to one, unlike Temur Sabertooth. This means that more often than with the Sabertooth, you will end up taking this guy and leaving it in your sideboard. A flying creature that effectively attacks for 12, with trample, is nothing to scoff at though, so I concede that it’s possible that I’m overreacting to the downsides.
My pick: Wildcall. I really like the look of Wildcall. It effectively fits in to any point on your curve. On turn two, you get a 2/2, turn three you get a 3/3 and so on and so forth. Late-game, you can simply play an 8/8, and no matter which turn you play it you have the upside of hitting a creature with the manifest effect, greatly increasing its power. I’m not sure how Wildcall ranks against some of the top commons and uncommons in the set, but out of this pack it’s the pick.
Honorable Mention: Hunt the Weak. Hunt the Weak has always been a decent removal spell, although it is a little risky. Any sort of removal spell or bounce effect will counter it and net a 2-for-1 for the opponent. That being said, in a format where in almost every game both players put a 2/2 into play on the third turn, this really goes up in value, just not enough to be better than Wildcall.