Hi again, everyone! I've been spending a lot of time drafting Hour of Devastation on Magic Online. Often, I'm burnt out after the Pro Tour, but not this time. I've really been enjoying it.
Here are this edition's packs:
Ominous Sphinx is one of the better uncommons. As a 5-mana 4/4 flyer, it is already quite strong, and its ability is effective as well. If you ever cast it with mana up, it will be hard for your opponent to attack, even with a 4-power creature. The ability will also help you bust through opposing flyers, either through double blocking, an Angel of the God-Pharaoh, or Bitterbow Sharpshooters.
Honorable Mention: Torment of Venom.
Torment of Venom is the best black common, and the strongest card in the pack after Ominous Sphinx. Being an instant is nice, and although Torment of Venom can't kill a 4/4 or a 5/5, it can shrink it to the point of irrelevance, still nearly functioning as a removal spell.
Desert's Hold is a great card. An all-purpose removal spell, and a throwback to Arrest with a little bit of upside. I tend to have a lot of Deserts in my deck, as I prioritize them pretty highly, so it feels almost like 3 free life.
Honorable Mention: Ambuscade.
I'm sure plenty of people won't agree with taking Ambuscade over Overcome, but it is what I would do. I have found Overcome very underwhelming. I also think it tends to be better in decks with a lot of creatures and not a lot of spells, which I don't think are particularly strong in this format. Basically, I think that Overcome is a good card in an otherwise average or poor deck, but a bad card in a good deck. For this reason I tend to avoid it, and rarely end up with it. Ambuscade on the other hand, is a very good card in any green deck.
There's not that much to say about Open Fire. I have it as the third best common behind Unquenchable Thirst and Ambuscade. 3 damage for 3 mana at instant speed is a good rate. You'll always play as many as you can get in any red deck. As one of the best commons, you'll sometimes first pick it, but it's nothing to get excited about.
Honorable Mention: Desert of the True.
This is another case of a weak pack where the Desert is higher value above replacement than any of the nonland cards. Taking a Desert first pick is unexciting, but it happens.
This card cannot be beaten, and therefore I would draft it. But seriously, all 3 of the Gods are just completely ridiculous, and I would never pass them.
Honorable Mention: Oasis Ritualist.
Without the bomb mythic, this pack is actually pretty interesting. I think the cards that you could make an argument for are Burning-Fist Minotaur, Sandblast, and Oasis Ritualist. Oasis Ritualist is a strong card, and one of the key enablers to one of the best archetypes in the format, which is 3-, 4-, or 5-color green decks. It also provides a great amount of ramp, single-handedly enabling cards like Sifter Wurm or Greater Sandwurm to be cast as early as the 5th turn of the game.
The premier uncommon in Hour of Devastation, Sand Strangler will nearly always be a first pick. There are few rares that are better, and I'd be very excited to have it as a start to any of my Drafts. I would prioritize Deserts a little higher and make sure I don't end up with zero, even if it requires playing a card like Painted Bluffs or Dunes of the Dead.
Honorable Mention: Tenacious Hunter.
A solid but unexciting first pick, Tenacious Hunter is a 4/4 for 4 mana. There are a fair number of cards that add incidental -1/-1 counters, so sometimes the Hunter will have deathtouch and vigilance, but honestly that doesn't even matter all that much. Tenacious Hunter is not a particularly exciting first pick, but it's enough better than an average card that I'd take it over Khenra Scrapper or one of the Deserts.
Thanks again for drafting with me. Let me know how you think I did in the comments. I'll be back soon!