Hello again, everyone. Welcome back for another edition of What’s the Pick? Pack 1 Pick 1!
Here are the packs:
As I’ve played this format, I’ve grown to like black-based control decks more and more. 3-mana wrath effects (even though you could argue this actually costs 6+) are very powerful, and Bontu’s Last Reckoning is no exception. Great in any black deck, I’d be happy to first pick this, and I’d always play it. I’ve seen people leave Sweltering Suns in their sideboard, or exclude Fumigate because they were playing aggressive decks, but sweepers are too good in Limited to be left in the sideboard under almost any circumstances.
Honorable Mention: Desert’s Hold.
This is another premium uncommon. Sifter Wurm really gives you a lot of value for 7 mana: a 7/7 trample, scry 3, and some life gain. Sifter Wurm will very often turn a game from a losing position to a winning position all by itself. I’d be happy to take this card first pick out of most packs, and from there I’d lean toward drafting a green ramp deck, but any green deck will do fine. Keep in mind that if you’re able to get a great split card like Commit // Memory, you get to gain life equal to the combination of both sides. In the case of Commit // Memory, that’s 10 life!
Honorable Mention: Sunset Pyramid.
I probably like this card more than most. I don’t first pick it too often, but this is an otherwise weak pack. I think it would be a mistake to take any of the cards other than Sifter Wurm over it here. Sunset Pyramid is a great card in control decks, ramp decks, midrange decks, and it’s even still pretty good in an aggressive deck.
This card has played even better than it looks. It’s a bomb in basically any deck. For 5 mana, you’re often playing a 6/6 that will be an 8/8 by the time it attacks, usually with flying or trample. It’s tough to remove using the red removal spells because they are damage based, and only do up to 5. I’d expect to first pick this card out of any pack.
Honorable Mention: Abrade. Another quality uncommon. This is a nuts-and-bolts-type pick—a cheap and efficient removal spell with the small upside of killing an artifact.
This card was quickly pegged as the best uncommon after the release of Hour of Devastation. This has only been cemented over the month or so since. I had wondered if, as the format developed, it would become too hard to get Deserts for this card to remain at #1. In practice, it hasn’t at all, and this card is clearly the best non-rare in the set.
Honorable Mention: Ominous Sphinx.
Ominous Sphinx packs a big enough punch that I think I prefer it to Nimble Obstructionist. The ability on Ominous Sphinx actually comes up a ton, and even when you’re racing, being able to cycle a couple of cards can turn the race from a loss into a win.
I’ve talked about Ambuscade a bit in this series. You probably all know by now that it’s a really strong card. Some things to note: Ambuscade is strong with deathtouch creatures like Ruin Rat or Wasteland Scorpion to kill any creature. Be careful against blue decks, as bounce spells can be a real blowout: Consign // Oblivion, Unsummon, and Winds of Rebuke are all commonly played cards.
Honorable Mention: Oketra’s Avenger.
This is the best card in the pack after Ambuscade. This is really not a card I like to first pick very often, as I don’t like to draft aggressive decks in general. That being said, Oketra’s Avenger is strong enough as a 2-drop that you can put it in most any white deck, and sometimes a draw with Oketra’s Avenger will accidentally be aggressive enough to make your deck look aggressive.
Thanks everyone for reading. I’ll be back soon with another pack 1 pick 1. As for this edition, let me know in the comments what you think.