Hi everyone! Welcome back for another edition of Pack 1, Pick 1. Hopefully we’ll have some interesting choices this time around. Without further adieu, let’s get to the packs:

Pack #1

My Pick

Alhammarret, High Arbiter.

7 mana is a bit expensive, but our opponent needs to have two removal spells in hand to have any reasonable chance of beating this card. It’s important to note that the ability happens AS the High Arbiter comes into play, and thus does not use the stack, and cannot be responded to. That’s why one removal spell isn’t enough. In the case where your opponent has no removal spells, you can even stop them from casting their best creature, a combat trick, or chump blocker. I’d be happy to first pick Alhammarret.

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Honorable Mention

Claustrophobia.

A blue removal spell that deals with any creature for only 3 mana. The drawback, of course, is that Claustrophobia is susceptible to enchantment removal or a bounce effect. Still a great card that I could often see first picking out of packs without great uncommons or rares.

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Pack #2

My Pick

Possessed Skaab.

This pack is pretty weak. Possessed Skaab is the best card. I don’t like to take a multicolored card first pick in a format that isn’t heavy on fixing, but I think the disparity in power level here makes it worth it.

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Honorable Mention

Ringwarden Owl.

There have been formats in which 5-mana 3/3 fliers are among the best commons, and others where they’ve been unplayable. Again, this pack is weak, and in this case Ringwarden Owl also has prowess which helps its case. I would take it here, but after getting a better understanding of the format, it could turn out to be worse than it looks.

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Pack #3

My Pick

Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy // Jace, Telepath Unbound

I’m going to take the could-be planeswalker here, but I’m not even certain this is the correct pick. I actually had Jace in my deck at the prerelease, and while he was great, I would have preferred him to just stay in play as a looter most of the time. To be fair, I didn’t have a lot of ways to abuse the minus ability in my deck, so he didn’t shine as much as he could. Of all the flippable planeswalkers, Jace is probably the best before he flips (the only other contender being Gideon) and it’s very hard to lose games where you play Jace on turn 2 and he survives.

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Honorable Mention

Whirler Rogue.

My downplaying of Jace isn’t because I’m anti-Jace really, but more so because I’m very pro Whirler Rogue. This card is absurd. I’ve written about taking this card in another article, but I’ll say again, 4 power and 4 toughness spread out over three different creatures is just so much value for one card.

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Pack #4

My Pick

Hixus, Prison Warden.

5-mana 4/4 flash is decent. But you’re paying 5 mana for a 4/4 flash Banisher Priest a lot of the time. The downside of course is that you actually have to take damage from the creature. The major, major upside is that Hixus can imprison multiple creatures at once. I think this card will be a real bomb that I’d always be happy to first pick. After drafting Hixus, I would be more likely to draft and play a card to protect him, or counter something that would remove him, like Enshrouding Mist or Negate.

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Honorable Mention

Unholy Hunger.

Not much to say here, really. A 5-mana instant removal spell with the upside of occasionally gaining 2 life. I would take this pretty highly and put it in all my black decks.

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Pack #5

My Pick

Cruel Revival.

This card is incredible. When it was first printed in Onslaught, is was probably even better. The format was almost definitely slower and a high percentage of the black creatures were Zombies. But now, even with fewer Zombies, the removal tends to cost more in general, and you’re almost always happy to play a card that kills a creature for 5 mana anyway. The fact that you sometimes get to also return a creature from your graveyard to your hand is really just icing on the cake.

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Honorable Mention

Separatist Voidmage.

Not what I’d like to first pick in draft, but a good card that I would take here out of an otherwise very weak pack. It’s possible that I’m overlooking Blood-Cursed Knight, but taking a gold card first, and one that causes your deck to rely on enchantments, seems like going too deep to me.

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Thanks for reading this edition of Pack 1, Pick 1. It’s almost time for Pro Tour Origins and I really can’t wait. As always, let me know what you think I was wrong about in the comments. See you next time!