Although Mirrodin Beseiged came out two weeks ago, it's not quite old news yet. I just played my first draft with it this week (A Scars-Scars-Beseiged draft with three friends who hadn't been keeping up with the spoilers and previews), and I learned a few things:
Infect is still potent. I don't mean that in that it's a strong offensive tool. It is (I was consistently threatening two of the other three players on the board with my Infect/Proliferate deck), but what I mean by that is that there are certain cards which radically change the way the game is played; bombs. Bombs demand an answer and quickly, pushing players into a strong attack (in this context meaning a counter spell or removal) or into a hunkering defense while they try to draw an answer. Once a player hits seven poison (give or take) anything with infect is, essentially, a bomb. That makes a forty-card deck of three-drop infect rats and proliferate something that demands more than a few answers; it demands you simply kill the source. That's why I died first. Okay, indiscriminate poison counter allocation is why I died first, but the underlying cause is the same; poison changes a game significantly.
During the draft, I pulled every piece of creature removal I could get my hands on, only deferring to proliferate cards (or both
We only worked one draft, and it was primarily Scars, but since Mirrodin Beseiged is still a minority in proper drafts, the smattering of battlecry cards we got just weren't enough to be significant. We did a four way multiplayer game, a one on one blowout, and a three player Planechase game. There was only one occasion where someone having a battlecry creature would have been significant, but the only battlecry anyone put in a deck was the mythic red battlecry guy and he never hit the table. Maybe some more drafts would be illuminating.
The Mirran/Phyrexian divides are incredibly natural. Before I knew it, I was drafting Black/Green. Katie did the same. Terry, like Katie, was unaware of the color wheel for the Mirrodin block, but ran a white and red deck. Josh ended up with his pick of the blue cards and pulled a smattering of red to round his selection out. The Black/Green decks deployed very quickly, with the other two (nominally Mirran) decks playing defense against the more agressive of the pair. While the eventual 'Mirrodin Pure' win was only because the deck swung just enough white infect to finish what the other Phyrexian deck started, it played good creatures and good answers while staying one step ahead of the predators lurking at the door. I also want to give a shout-out to the Mirran Crusader. It would have been a strange card in any other block, but here it works, and it works well. If you're a Phyrexian player that forgot put some artifact-based creature removal in your deck, you will get hurt by it.
The draft and the games were legendary. They was a lot of fun, as drafts usually are, and well-balanced. Even our weakest player managed to dazzle and play well. She made the same plays I would have, but simply faced good answers during a few critical moments that ended up costing her the game. The only real complaint isn't about Mirrodin Beseiged, but about Planechase: when are we going to get some planes that work with poison counters? Cliffside Market
This Week's Best Thing Ever
This weeks' best thing ever are Terry's Priests of Norn. Their out-of-left-field, tough, white infectiousness was a real surprise in a lot of games because they don't belong in a Mirran deck. That said, they often served as a point of diversity that allowed the deck to seek alternative win conditions and respond in ways outside of the opponent's expectations. In one game he top decked them and equipped them with a Heavy Arbalest to deliver the final two poison counters to kill Katie and win the game. In the planechase game, I was the one swinging the infect deck, yet I found myself, courtesy of Cliffside Markets and the Priests, facing down two infect creatures and only a lone Darksteel Myr to defend me. I've named the Priests of Norn Forget-Me-Nots because they always seem ready to come over the horizon like a dark horse to win the day because you forgot Terry had them.
Runner up was another Hedron Crab win by Archive of Frustration when the perplexed crustacean milled half of Josh's Two Drink Minimum's graveyard recycling. The match went 1-1 with no possibility of a tie-breaker on account of the epic second game.
The old blue color on the links doesn't work with the background, so I need another color for them. Which one is easiest on your eyes?
Edit: Fixed "plains" to "planes." Derp.