I recorded a Theros Draft on MTGO and wrote up an analysis of the drafting portion and each of the rounds. I would recommend reading the analysis after watching the videos if you don’t like spoilers.
I decided to draft black green splashing white. In my experience drafting Theros so far, I’ve found that there are two ways to draft a solid black green deck.
One strategy I’ve had success with is evasion centered around Blood-Toll Harpy, Insatiable Harpy, Mogis’ Maurader, and Cavern Lampad in black. Green is a good support color with big creatures to stall up the ground and ramp to help you quickly establish a board position. At first glance, Insatiable Harpy might not be that impressive, but it is very good and an easy first pick in this kind of deck. There are so many ways to build your own Baneslayer Angel in this format.
The deck I decided to draft is a mid-range strategy. Your early defense will consist of Sedge Scorpion, Baleful Eidolon, and Pharika’s Cure to help you make it to the later turns. Nylea’s Disciple and Gray Merchant both help you stabilize the board and gain some of the life lost in the early turns. The end game consists of big green fatties to beat down with. Nylea’s Emissary is a crucial card to look out for in this sort of deck because providing trample will help us end games quickly.
With the mid-range strategy, it’s easy for us to splash a third color for more power. Green has Nylea’s Presence that comes around pretty late to help us splash. I hedged a little bit in pack one, so I was short on playable cards and was forced to splash, but I think it worked out in the end.
Looking back on the draft, green was clearly open, and I wished I picked the first Voyaging Satyr over the Omenspeaker. It’s questionable if I should have been in black in the first place, since it was pretty cut off in pack 1. Besides the Divine Verdicts that were coming around in pack 1, I didn’t see any other reason to be white, so it was probably just unlucky that heroic white cards were flowing in pack 3.
I like playing 18 lands in this format with a non-aggressive deck, especially if you have a lot of scry that can bottom lands in later turns. Sometimes on the draw, I’ll side out a land since we’re more likely to hit our lands with an extra draw step.
In game 1 I made the misplay of playing Disciple after Courser, but I just missed the fact that I could play the Disciple first. It could have been quite relevant since the turn afterwards I could have played the Courser and a Sedge Scorpion and get in for an extra damage each turn, but luckily my opponent had a slow start and wasn’t able to punish me for the mistake. This game also demonstrated the power of Nylea’s Disciple. I was able to make aggressive plays because the two Disciples put me at such a high life total and I wouldn’t risk losing on the back swing.
In game 2, I should have considered casting Hero’s Downfall on my opponent’s Gorgon after he declared blocks. I would have gotten a two for one since my Disciple would have lived. Given that my opponent was at 6 life, I think the plan of draining him with Scholar was fine.
Based on the cards I saw out of my opponent, he probably had the best deck in the draft and I was very lucky to win game 2. If my opponent had any heroic enabling spell, I likely would have lost.
In general, I think playing against the nut heroic deck under the assumption that they don’t have an enabler in their hand is better in the long run, unless of course they obviously telegraph it. There will be the games where you get blown out by God’s Willing but when you’re behind and your opponent has a God’s Willing it’s hard to win even without getting blown out.
This led to my decision in game 2 when I let the Phanlax leader live. I get punished if he has two pump spells, but if he has two enablers, I’m not beating the two Wingsteed Riders anyways, so we have to play our cards based on the hands we think we can beat.
Game 1 demonstrated the power of Scholar of Athreos. The card single-handedly defeated the slower blue-based control deck that my opponent was running. My opponent played two Wavecrash Tritons that were very underwhelming. It might seem like a decent card, since a three mana 1/4 with an upside is very playable, but in this format, creatures get much bigger than four toughness, and you don’t really want to be casting spells on your creature to activate such a low impact ability. If my opponent had almost anything else, I would have probably lost that game. I drew pretty well, but I would say my opponent had equally powerful draws. We both ended up with a similar number of lands in play.
Game 2 my opponent had to mulligan to 5, which usually loses against any reasonable draw from your opponent. One play to note was holding up Pharika’s Cure on turn three. Since my hand was geared toward the late game, I didn’t want to lose to a bestow creature on the Naiad.
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