Friday, March 02, 2012

It's the Magic: Drafting Dark Ascension

So, I'm living with two other people who play Magic. It's good times because I can occasionally do a draft. If you have seven friends who play Magic and haven't killed yet, kill your friends.

This week's draft was straight Dark Ascension. Technically, it's supposed to be a pack of Dark Ascension plus a pair of Innistrad packs, but we went straight up DA. Katie drafted a White/Green/Blue deck I call 3-Geist, Terry drafted the White/Blue Increasing Spirit, and I cleaned up the Black and Red, adding a splash of Blue in Grixistrad.

Grixistrad managed to consistently beat the other decks out in duels thanks to a combination of Dark Ascension's captains and a number of complementary undying creatures like Geralf's Messenger and Nearheath Stalker. Pumping up tribal creatures and trading with them--twice--was a big advantage that set most opponents back pretty far. Multiplayer was a different story.

Increasing Spirit eliminated at least one of its multiplayer opponents with Increasing Confusion, which just kills in a 40-card draft environment. With Increasing Devotion dropping five to fifteen 1/1 chump blockers in the way of larger creatures, it was 50/50 on most of the three-ways. Once it came down to a two-on-two fight, a trio of Stormbound Geists occasionally put it over the top, but spend most of their time watching lethal damage swing under them.

3-Geist had a melange of creatures, mostly large ones that it couldn't cast, like Hollowhenge Beast and Silverclaw Griffin. It was backed up mostly with classic Blue card advantage and Increasing Savagery. It did well and often found itself in possession of the largest beat-sticks on the board. Sadly, it stalled early in duels and those largest beat-sticks drew a certain amount of negative attention. Most of the time, it managed to remain unmolested early in the game and finished off whoever was left after the first deck dropped out.

The quality of a lot of cards surprised me. Some of them were obviously great from the start, but others came out of left field. 

On Innistrad, even The Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition is depressing.

Reap the Seagraf: A 2/2 for 2B seems bad. A pair for 6UB seems even worse. But somehow, it was really helpful. Probably on account of the Diregraf Captain. Even without him, though, they pulled their weight. Not nearly as good as Wakedancer.

Increasing everything: Confusion, Savagery, and Devotion all totally changed these games. They're powerful in their own right, immediately rocking the board whenever they come down, but the fact that they double their effects when they're flashed back forces everyone else to scramble for some kind of graveyard removal.

Finger-licking good.

Death's Caress: A Doom Blade at 250% of cost as a sorcery doesn't excite anyone, especially when you're the only guy packing Black. Howevercomma it does kill anything, and anything worth killing is worth taking a turn to kill. The life gaining possibilities are simply a nice side-benefit.

Faithless Looting: Anyone who's paying attention knew this card was good when they saw it. Drawing four for four, even when you have to discard four is undeniable. I used it to fix my hand on turn two to get through a landless pocket. I used it again late to get to get removal. It's no Increasing Ambition, but it's a fantastic way to adjust your hand in a slump.

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