Drafting War of the Spark with Pros #3

Jeremy Dezani

Jeremy Dezani

Introduction

Today, we will draft with: War of the Spark

I simulate the 8 first pick of a draft and asked to 4 Hareruya Pros Players what they would pick.

Here are the 4 gentlemen who accepted to participate in this experience:

For more details, please visit here: Hareruya Pros.

It will be interesting to see if they will do the same choices or not.

Pick 1

Feather, the RedeemedDovin, Hand of ControlAngrath's RampageHuatli's RaptorIronclad KrovodCrush DissentTeferi's Time TwistAid the FallenOb Nixilis's CrueltyBurning ProphetHeartfireHonor the God-PharaohNew HorizonsSaheeli's Silverwing

Branco Neirynck

Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

In this format, I don’t mind picking a strong multicolored card over a mono colored one, but Boros decks have really disappointed me so far, so I’d go with the removal.

Sebastian Pozzo

Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

I’d take 《Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty》. I think the rare is very good, but I’m not a fan of Boros in this set and it’s hard to splash. So I rather take this excellent removal.

John Rolf

Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

This is a very strong removal and very splashable. Black is my second favorite color next to blue, so the 《Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty》 just makes perfect sense to me. The fact that it is instant speed and can reach things with five toughness compared to a lot of the other removal in the format puts this over the top.

Dmitriy Butakov

Ob Nixilis's Cruelty

《Feather, the Redeemed》 is the most powerful card in the pack by far, but it’s 2 colors and it belongs to Boros archetype which I don’t like in this draft. The abundance of Planeswalkers makes aggro decks split their attacks between opposing Planeswalkers and the opponent, so the deck loses its focus. 《Ob Nixilis’s Cruelty》 is one of the best removal spells the set has to offer. I think it is a close call, but I’ll make a safe pick of removal.

Pick 2

Role ReversalTeyo, the ShieldmageEvolution SageGod-Pharaoh's StatueWar ScreecherAshiok's SkulkerNaga EternalShriekdiverGoblin Assault TeamSarkhan's CatharsisPrimordial WurmSnarespinnerThundering Ceratok

Branco Neirynck

Evolution Sage

Unfortunately no good black cards. Luckily for us, one of the best uncommons of the set is in the pack. So, it’s an easy pick. 《Teyo, the Shieldmage》 is close to unplayable. 《Role Reversal》 can be good in specific decks. Green pairs pretty well with black (and our first pick).

Sebastian Pozzo

Evolution Sage

I think it’s the best card in the pack by far.

John Rolf

Role Reversal

This pack is pretty weak. I think the pick is between 《Evolution Sage》 and 《Role Reversal》. 《Evolution Sage》 is a strong card and flexible as a second pick. It’s possible it is the objectively right pick. That being said, BG is not my favorite and 《Role Reversal》 has a pretty nice upside. Trading your 1/1s for Gods or Planeswalkers that have been used up is very nice. It’s also is in one of my favorite color combinations. I will take it out of personal preference and speculate.

Dmitriy Butakov

Evolution Sage

The card is just a bomb, and BG has lots of things to Proliferate. For me, other options are not even close.

Pick 3

Rubblebelt RiotersKiora, Behemoth BeckonerBulwark GiantCharmed StrayTeyo's LightshieldKasmina's TransmutationSky Theater StrixTotally LostSpark ReaperVraska's FinisherSarkhan's CatharsisThundering Ceratok

Branco Neirynck

Rubblebelt Rioters

Again no black cards, so at this point it seems likely that we won’t have black as a (main) color. 《Rubblebelt Rioters》 is a strong card and green & red is the best color pair to be aggressive in this format. Honorable mention for 《Teyo’s Lightshield》. The card is a lot better than a 3 mana 1/4 because it puts a counter and thus can be Proliferated on.

Sebastian Pozzo

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

She is better than I thought at first glance, hard to kill, ramps, and draws cards. I also like Sultai grindy decks.

John Rolf

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

This draft format is dominated by Planeswalkers and flyers (to an extent). Even though 《Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner》 isn’t the best, I will take it for synergy purposes. Starting at 7 loyalty is pretty unique and I don’t see much else here that I am thrilled about.

Dmitriy Butakov

Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner

At first 《Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner》 seemed pretty bad, but the more I play the better it performs. Most of the time it’s a 《Wild Growth》 and if you are green there is a lot of expensive spells and mana sinks such as 《Vivien’s Grizzly》. Sometimes it gives you cards, but I’d say it’s usually 1 per game(which is good nonetheless).

Sometimes it draws opponent’s attention from you because he doesn’t know how much beef is in your deck. 《Vraska’s Finisher》 and 《Thundering Ceratok》 are also solid cards.

Pick 4

Gideon's TriumphDovin, Hand of ControlPouncing LynxSky Theater StrixStealth MissionDuskmantle OperativeLazotep BehemothSorin's ThirstDemolishSarkhan's CatharsisCourage in Crisis

Branco Neirynck

Courage in Crisis

Weak pack. I don’t like all these cards, but I would pick the green card to give the signal to my neighbors that green is cut.

Sebastian Pozzo

Courage in Crisis

We have some incentives to go into a Proliferate deck with the 《Evolution Sage》 we took, the other cards don’t look very appealing to me.

John Rolf

Sorin's Thirst

Another weak pack. I will take 《Sorin’s Thirst》. I generally do not like the two mana removal spells like 《Sorin’s Thirst》 and 《Chandra’s Pyrohelix》 in this format because of how important Planeswalkers and flyers are. Often times they can rot in your hand while you are beaten by Planeswalkers.

I will take 《Sorin’s Thirst》 though because the only other option is 《Gideon’s Triumph》 but I’d rather not move into white if I don’t have to. At this point, I’m getting a little concerned about the direction of this draft. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Dmitriy Butakov

Courage in Crisis

The choice here is between 《Sorin’s Thirst》 and 《Courage in Crisis》. 《Sorin’s Thirst》 was a good removal, but in this Limited it’s below average, the life gain effect loses a lot due to aggro decks being an underdog and the damage effect doesn’t kill much. It’s an ok card, but I’d prefer to keep it in the sideboard. I like the Proliferate mechanic a lot, some simple start like 《Lazotep Reaver》 followed by 《Courage in Crisis》 can put a very fast clock.

Pick 5

Cruel CelebrantEnforcer GriffinGideon's SacrificeAshiok's SkulkerVraska's FinisherChainwhip CyclopsGoblin AssailantRaging KronchTurret OgreSteady Aim

Branco Neirynck

Raging Kronch

《Raging Kronch》 is an important card for the GR archetype as it puts a counter on 《Kronch Wrangler》, which we hope to pick up later.

Sebastian Pozzo

Raging Kronch

This is a hard pick. The best card probably is the 《Raging Kronch》 and 《Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner》 goes well with it. However, Proliferate sub-theme is not very good at RG. On our colors, there’s 《Vraska’s Finisher》, but I don’t like this card in BG.

And then we could take the 《Enforcer Griffin》, and stay open for GW. I will take the 《Raging Kronch》 because if I end up with a mediocre deck it’s better if it’s aggro and not midrange.

John Rolf

Raging Kronch

There is nothing else notable here and a 4/3 for 3 is a good rate. Perhaps red will save this draft?

Dmitriy Butakov

Vraska's Finisher

We plan to draft some 《Lazotep Reaver》 to proceed with the Proliferate plan, these 2 make a fine combo.

Pick 6

Storm the CitadelUgin's ConjurantBulwark GiantPouncing LynxTopple the StatueSorin's ThirstGrim InitiateSarkhan's CatharsisPrimordial Wurm

Branco Neirynck

Ugin's Conjurant

This card isn’t the best, but comparing this guy to a 2 drop it’s actually decent: a 2/2 for 2 which can be Proliferated on and can be played later in the game as a bigger dude.

Sebastian Pozzo

Ugin's Conjurant

This is not excellent by itself but will fit our curve and trigger 《Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner》 every time. Also, we already have 2 Proliferate cards. Very happy to pick it here.

John Rolf

Ugin's Conjurant

This is an easy 《Ugin’s Conjurant》. It is always serviceable in any deck and has great upside. It’s even colorless which is nice since we still need to figure out exactly what color combinations we will be. I will take it and be quite pleased.

Dmitriy Butakov

Sorin's Thirst

Like I said I’m not even sure this will end up in the main deck, at worst it would be a solid sideboard card.

Pick 7

Rally of WingsLoxodon SergeantNo EscapeAid the FallenKaya's GhostformBurning ProphetSamut's SprintSaheeli's Silverwing

Branco Neirynck

Burning Prophet

A decent 2 drop. The scry is very important, especially later on in the games where you don’t want to draw lands anymore. The GR deck has a decent amount of spells between pump and removal spells.

Sebastian Pozzo

Burning Prophet

It’s not good in RG but I think it’s the best card in the pack with 《No Escape》 (I don’t think we would end up playing this card).

John Rolf

Burning Prophet

《Burning Prophet》 is a nice two drop. The scry is much better than it looks. It appears red might be slightly open after the last two picks. 《No Escape》 is nice too, but I will take the prophet. I think this card is underrated by many.

Dmitriy Butakov

Aid the Fallen

The card shines in UB Archetype, but we already have a Planeswalker to use the double recover mode.

Pick 8

Gideon's SacrificeNo EscapeTeferi's Time TwistDavriel's ShadowfugueVampire OpportunistGoblin Assault TeamNahiri's Stoneblades

Branco Neirynck

Goblin Assault Team

A filler for the GR deck. Green offers Proliferate and 4 power enables the 《Kronch Wrangler》.

Sebastian Pozzo

Goblin Assault Team

I like this card in RG and it goes well with 《Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner》 and the Proliferate cards we have, so easy pick here.

John Rolf

Goblin Assault Team

Not the best card, but still a playable. It’s good with sacrifice synergies and also good at attacking Planeswalkers. I am leaning to black red at this point anyways where it would be at its best.

I can still be red blue though at this point. Right now we have all cards in the Grixis color combinations and will need to refine that down to a two color base as the draft progresses. Not a great start, these packs have been rough, but at least we have some direction at this point.

Dmitriy Butakov

Vampire Opportunist

This is one of the worst 2 drops available for our colors, but even in a grindy format where 《Mind Rot》 could’ve been good 4 mana is too much for it.

Conclusion

All our Pros here chooses a mono color removal over a multicolor rare at first pick. Staying open with your first pick is very important if a multicolor card has a specific mana cost like 《Feather, the Redeemed》 you most of the time might not play in your deck.

If the format is about 10 different possibles decks (all color combination), you have 1/10 chance to play the card, when you have 4/10 to play the mono color card. Add to this that a mono color card can be splash easily in a 3 color deck and you understand the choice of our Pros. If the card is enough strong it is a risk you can take but here it is not the case.

Jeremy Dezani (Twitter / Twitch)

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Jeremy Dezani

Jeremy Dezani He was the 2013-14 Player of the Year with his crowning achievement taking place at Pro Tour Theros where he won in spectacular fashion with Blue Devotion back in 2013. He has a stunning over 10 Grand Prix Top 8s to his name including 3 wins and Runner-up 4 times. He will also be the first Non-Japanese player to join the ranks of the Hareruya Pros. Read more articles by Jeremy Dezani