Hi again, everyone! I’ve finally had a chance to do booster drafts in real life with Modern Masters cards. So far, the aggressive strategies have seemed a bit underpowered to me, but there’s a lot of room to learn still.
Let’s get to today’s packs:
Noble Hierarch, despite just being a mana creature, is a borderline bomb rare. The fact that it can provide three colors of mana and an exalted trigger makes this a card I’m going to first pick out of almost every pack. Multicolored green decks have seemed very good to me so far, with ramp and mana fixing, and Noble Hierarch provides both. Unlike a lot of cards that fix and ramp, Noble Hierarch, due to its exalted trigger, has at least some utility if drawn in the late game, although, of course, it’s infinitely better on turn one or two.
An all-purpose removal spell that can go into any white deck, Oblivion Ring is a very strong card that I’d never cut. I’ve said it before about Oblivion Ring, but it’s also nice in a format of diverse bombs like Elesh Norn and Karn Liberated to have a versatile removal spell.
A 5-mana 5/5 is a decent card already, and the activated ability on Ant Queen is great. Given that you’ve already paid 5 mana to cast it, you’re probably going to be able to make 3 Insects the following turn. This is very hard to keep up with, and this will make a great addition to any green deck. It is particularly strong in ramp strategies when getting ahead on mana and pumping out Insects very quickly will be even more difficult to overcome.
I’ve written about Lightning Bolt a couple times already, and there really isn’t much else to say. Many of you, like me, have been casting Lightning Bolts for 20 years now. 1 mana for 3 damage at instant speed is as good of a rate as we’re probably ever going to get.
Although UR hasn’t seemed like a very popular or powerful combination to me, Electrolyze is just a ridiculously powerful Magic card. I wouldn’t mind drafting it and playing a 3-color control deck. Electroylze is also a great card in the 5-color green decks, where sometimes you have a ton of 1-fo-1 removal spells, and cards like Raise the Alarm, Scatter the Seeds or Spectral Procession can cause real problems.
Well, Sunlance is not quite a Lightning Bolt, but often it’s just as good. Any card that can kill a creature for only 1 mana is usually going to be a first pick. Sunlance is no exception to this.
I’d be pretty happy to first-pick Wilt-Leaf Liege. There are a reasonable number of token generators in both green and white, and all gain the benefit of Wilf-Leaf Liege’s pump effects. It is worth noting that although Wilt-Leaf Liege is a gold card, it isn’t a traditional gold card in the sense that you can put it in a green deck OR a white deck, although its power level is significantly reduced if it’s only pumping half of your creatures. But in something like a white-heavy creature deck with black support for removal spells, Wilt-Leaf Liege is still very powerful.
So far, the Elemental deck seems pretty difficult to get, since most of the best cards are uncommons. That being said, Spitebellow is reasonable in any red deck, acting as a 3-mana removal spell almost all the time. I would take Spitebellows and look to draft Elementals, but certainly not force them if there was nothing there.
I think Horde of Notions is actually a pretty powerful card. It pairs particularly well with Smokebraider, and if you’re very lucky can be cast as early as turn 3. I would prioritize Smokebraider very highly after taking Horde of Notions here, and hopefully pick up some other powerful Elementals to use in combination with. Horde of Notions is also reasonable in a green ramp/fixing deck with Rampant Growth and Wayfarer’s Bauble, and although it isn’t as good without the Smokebraiders, it’s still worth playing. This is also a weak pack overall, so I’d just take a shot on Horde of Notions.
Tribal Flames is, of course, a card that is going to shine the more colors you have in your deck. Even with only two colors, though, it’s still a fine card. If I first pick a Tribal Flames, my plan would be to draft a 4- or 5-color green deck and get max value out of the card, but if I ended up getting passed something like a red/black bloodthirst deck, I’d be fine drafting it and still playing with Tribal Flames. This is a large part of the reason for wanting to take Horde of Notions here, though—if I’m playing 5 colors anyway, Horde of Notions is way more powerful.
Thanks for reading this edition of Pick 1 Pack 1. As usual, if there’s anything that you all think I missed, got wrong, overlooked, etc., please let me know in the comments.