Final weekend I used to be given the distinction of doing Twitch commentary alongside Kat Mild for the primary ever RIW Hobbies Prerelease Invitational occasion in Livonia, Michigan. The thought for the occasion was that all the Michigan based mostly execs would collect for a Ravnica Allegiance Draft Camp and all of that testing can be broadcast reside on Twitch.
Not even an epic blizzard might cease Michigan’s best gamers from braving the treacherous freeways to deal with the brand new Restricted format. To be truthful, that is Michigan. Snow is not any stranger to on a regular basis life.
I had a blast doing Twitch protection for the @RIWHobbies #MTGRNA “Prerelease Invitational.” Large turnout and nice time regardless of a blizzard! The Michigan MTG scene is superb and I ❤️ my LGS. pic.twitter.com/0a6XX8MxVL
— Brian DeMars (@BrianDeMars1) January 20, 2019
And sure, I even wore a tie for 11 straight hours of nonstop protection. We had two pods going always and people pods have been stacked: Defending Professional Tour Champion Andrew Elenbogen, Corey Burkhart, Ari Lax, Kyle Boggemes, Max Mcvety, Zach Allen, Adam Hernandez, and Stuart Parnes, simply to call a couple of! The occasion jogged my memory of the Michigan glory days when individuals used to joke that our FNM Prime 8s have been extra stacked than the Professional Tour! On the very least, Michigan MTG is in a terrific place proper now.
I obtained to observe and commentate on six featured drafters, 12 full BO3 matches, and did extra deck techs and matchup analyses than I might hold monitor of. I used to be in a singular place to see issues from many views within the sales space, and at the moment I’d wish to share what I noticed with you all.
I do know I’ve been doing a ton of MTG Area BO1 materials recently however immediately is sweet old style, back-to-basics techniques for if you sit down in an precise eight-person pod and crack some packs. So whether or not you’re heading to CFB’s MagicFest occasion in New Jersey this weekend or trying to destroy your folks at FNM these are the key themes that got here out of the Michigan Professional Draft Camp final weekend.
I’ll have a cheat sheet for drafting towards bots on MTG Area later within the week as soon as I’ve acquired extra knowledge. At this time is all about cracking packs and enjoying Magic in its purest type.
“The format is sluggish and grindy. The video games are likely to go lengthy. Card benefit issues so much.”
However first, some background:
The featured gamers in Saturday’s occasion have been additionally studying the format, the identical as everyone else. I did seven Sealed occasions on Thursday to assist study the playing cards prematurely of protection however was unable to do or watch any Drafts on Friday as a result of it was my spouse’s birthday. It was a bit thoughtless of her to have a birthday on the identical day #MTGRNA Drafts went stay on Area however what are you able to do?
The typical throughout 16 gamers was roughly one Draft and one Sealed occasion every. The outlier was Okay-Boggs, who had achieved 30+ simulations.
Prematurely of the occasion there was plenty of pleasure about aggressive pink and inexperienced decks. I can affirm Gruul was the archetype I performed towards probably the most on Area Sealed. However by Saturday morning my Twitch Discord channel was blowing up with reviews about Esper, Orzhov, and Three-Four shade management decks hitting seven wins on Area. So I used to be ready and open-minded to many prospects unfolding in excessive degree BO3 paper Drafts.
I consider the pod gamers began the day with a predisposition towards eager to favor aggression and curve-based decks. It’s definitely a “enjoying the chances” technique since most Restricted codecs are likely to favor beatdown.
With that being stated, recreation after recreation and spherical after spherical, it appeared that the aggressive decks have been outmatched by the extra controlling ones. Particularly, I cite the afterlife mechanic. The Orzhov playing cards are automated 1.5-for-1s since once they commerce they depart behind 1/1 flying Spirit tokens. It’s additionally value noting how far more related a 1/1 flyer is in comparison with a 1/1 vanilla creature.
Allegiance jogs my memory a variety of RtR, which was outlined by grindy video games, excessive toughness blockers, bombs, and evasive injury. The truth that floor stalls are likely to happen makes the flyers matter, so much.
“Be aggressive, prioritize 2-drops, and punch their face off.” I don’t love this strategy for this set.
The format is sluggish and grindy, and card benefit is king. Dare we take the draw? Sure!
I noticed Tom Ross tweet about how taking the draw is an underutilized tactic in Magic just some days in the past. Properly, it wasn’t underutilized within the video games I watched. Given the choice between taking the play or the draw, gamers selected the draw about 50% of the time. Absurd, however sensible.
I’d wish to current a story that I consider is vital to understanding what number of video games of RNA Restricted play out:
“The matchup is an aggressive 2-color purple or inexperienced deck versus a grindy black or white (probably Three-color) deck. 2C Aggro wins the draw and places itself on the play as a result of it must create and maintain strain, or be unfavored going lengthy. Gruul’s hand has dangerous mana, lacks a 2-drop, or has some drawback the place it will possibly’t curve out and should take a mulligan.
Gruul is now down to 6 making an attempt to attract a functioning hand that may curve out towards a deck filled with 2-for-1s.”
The reverse can also be true. The sluggish decks are additionally badly punished for lacking land drops and need the draw. It’s like you’re taking the draw for the prospect the opponent mulligans and has a non-functional draw. Most arms with most decks usually are not quick sufficient to punish you for being on the draw and so it’s advantageous to “get individuals” once they mulligan on the play and to guard your self towards the identical consequence.
The ethical of the story is that extra video games come right down to who has one thing left on the finish than being beatdown with a lightning quick curve and dying with additional playing cards in hand that you simply didn’t have time to deploy.
At the very least, that was the expertise I observed on the Draft Camp. Afterlife is way and away probably the most highly effective guild mechanic—it provides mages a ton of fabric to play with, and each black and white are deep in removing choices.
Within the final two Drafts of the night time (so those the place gamers have been at peak expertise), straight B/W Orzhov took the Three-Zero banner house each occasions. In a type of Drafts, the finals was an Orzhov mirror!
Right here’s the ultimate Three-Zero of the night time from Kyle Boggemes:
Kyle’s deck was a deal with to observe on digital camera twice. There was one sequence the place he 2-for-1’d an opponent 5 consecutive performs in a row. Gross. Lifeless Revels to rebuy deathtouch and afterlife creatures is nasty towards a good deck.
Talking of deathtouch, let’s speak about that for a second and why it’s massively essential to RNA Restricted.
One more reason why I’ve been so impressed with controlling black decks is as a result of the set is completely saturated with deathtouch at widespread and unusual. The mechanic badly punishes the bigger inexperienced creatures on the battlefield. There are additionally deathtouch and first strike fight tips that belabor the purpose. Give my afterlife token deathtouch and draw a card? Commerce it together with your 6-drop?
It’s a quite common sight to see a 1- or 2-cost deathtouch creature holding again a Four-6 drop monster on the bottom. It’s one more reason why flying and evasion are so essential towards these B/W decks.
Low cost deathtouch creatures additionally present yet one more helpful angle for controlling black decks by enabling spectacle. The identical might be stated for the 1/1 flying afterlife tokens. I noticed many video games the place the defending participant’s creatures have been merely too good to dam a deathtouch creature, which allowed it to push by way of injury and/or set off spectacle.
But one more reason why I really like B/W is as a result of deathtouch and afterlife creatures each look like the perfect methods to allow the black Rakdos spectacle playing cards. You recognize Orzhov is nice when it’s also the perfect Rakdos deck!
Complete Orzhov transfer. Your whole guild associated mechanics belong to us!
Guilds of Ravnica pushed us into enjoying straight 2-color decks. It wasn’t a tough rule, nevertheless it was good guideline. The rationale? The video games have been nasty, brutish, and brief.
Particularly, Boros and Dimir decks have been extraordinarily targeted and environment friendly at constructing to crucial mass, and imposing their will on the sport. In the event you fell behind, God assist you since you probably wanted a uncommon to bail you out towards good commons curving out.
Afterlife modifications this dynamic significantly. Not solely is it the most effective mechanic, however it rewards taking your time, going sluggish, and climbing the tree into greater drops. Keep in mind, it’s the participant with one thing left within the tank or the participant who is ready to go greater who typically wins the sport.
One factor I observed towards the top of the Draft was that the inexperienced and purple decks that carried out properly targeted much less on pure beatdown and tended to department into a 3rd colour to extend their general energy degree.
Regardless of being a format defining archetype, B/W decks don’t win shortly. The truth is, they’re fairly sluggish. It turned clear that getting beneath these decks didn’t work, that each card mattered, and that getting probably the most out of every change was essential in overcoming Orzhov’s Dying of a Thousand Stings strategy.
Having playing cards that put them off stability or required precise focused removing was big. Particularly, the three+ energy flyers that match up nicely towards B/W’s 2/3s and 1/1s in fight. Splashing one other colour to extend the general variety of gold playing cards or maybe add extra huge flyers was a profitable technique.
Whereas B/W was probably the most constant and greatest performing archetype all through the day, I used to be additionally impressed by Three-color inexperienced decks like Bant and Temur, which outperformed Rakdos and Gruul. We noticed Three-Zero Bant, Three-Zero Temur, and Three-Zero Four-Colour (not blue) inexperienced on digital camera. The Four-color deck was “Rares.dec” and included the free win machine:
Absolution is the only greatest card you possibly can have on this format. One more reason why B/W is nice! The cardboard isn’t even a mythic! I’m Zero-7 in video games the place an opponent has forged it towards me on MTG Area. So one other payoff of a Gate-based deck is that you would be able to merely play with a bunch of nice rares that different individuals can’t use! In case you are Gruul and open an Absolution, time to splash!
I appreciated Simic fairly a bit from what I noticed, however was most impressed with it in Three-color shells comparable to Temur or Bant. The flyers, bounce, and card draw are big. Whereas I feel that Orzhov is the default “format defining deck,” I do assume that Simic is the guild that matches up greatest towards it on the battlefield.
Ravnica Allegiance is a very enjoyable and fascinating set for Restricted. Apart from Ethereal Absolution wrecking what would in any other case be actually nice video games of Magic for no cause, I’m actually having fun with exploring and studying concerning the format.
The most important takeaway is that I’d advise a plan that’s ready for Orzhov’s 2-for-1 chains, 1/1 Spirits, and deathtouch clogging up the bottom. Don’t be afraid to make the most of outdoors the field techniques, like prioritizing mana fixing and highly effective multi-color spells, or taking the draw once you win the die roll to attenuate operating out of fuel and stumbling on lands if you mulligan.
The Orzhov afterlife is a candy option to stay. It’s on the opposite guilds to plan a technique that may stand as much as these ghosts who’re wealthy in… nicely… every thing!
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