Ask the Pros:

Posted in Event Coverage on March 28, 2004

By Ted Knutson

Draft Achetypes in Darksteel

With every new set release, the draft values of cards in the previous set change as well. Mirrodin/Darksteel is no different in this respect, as the new set has resulted in some serious changes in color strength, as well as delivering an entirely new mechanic to pay attention to. We asked some of the top Limited minds in attendance about their thoughts on the new set, and this is what they had to say.

Mike Turian: "The Affinity archetype is now a lot harder to get, and even when you do draft it, it is often less impressive. You don't get the extra Myr Enforcers that you used to. White has become a lot better after Darksteel, because the uncommons in White are all insane, and Razor Golem fills a nice creature hole. Because of this, White/Red has become a very solid draft archetype, though it's a little weird, because White still doesn't seem like it should be that good."

"The other major change that Darksteel has brought is Modular, which is something you always keep in mind in your Darksteel pack. I really like the Arcbound guys, as they usually seem to end up trading with one of your opponent's creatures, while not losing any power of creatures yourself. The Arcbound mechanic has also increased the value of flying artifact creatures as well, because when you toss a bunch of +1/+1 counters onto a Spire Golem, it gets pretty scary. I'm playing ten Darksteel cards in my deck right now, so that gives you an idea of how powerful they can be with the right support."

Geordie Tait: "Blue has a whole new archetype where you draft early bomb artifacts and then gobble up all the Vedalken Engineers in Darksteel. Blue/Black has become better in general, but Engineers have had an effect here as well. A turn 3 Pewter Golem is a pretty strong play in a lot of games."

"The top five commons in both White and Green have completely changed. It used to be that Fangren Hunter was considered the best Green common, but there's a pretty strong consensus that Deconstruct is the best these days, and the value of Predator's Strike has gone way up. Of course, Green is also almost unplayable in draft, so if you end up playing heavy Green, you usually aren't too happy."

Vedalken Engineer

"White, on the other hand, has become pretty strong. These days, nobody thinks Skyhunter Cub and Leonin Den-Guard are strong picks, while Blinding Beam, Razor Barrier, Auriok Transfixer and Awe Strike have all gone up in value, and Skyhunter Patrol is clearly the best man that a White drafter can get out of Mirrodin."

"The Arcbound uncommons are both very strong. Arcbound Slith is a Slith that won't manascrew you, and Crusher is great if you get him out early."

Brian Kibler: "Darksteel has changed the format a lot. Black went from being almost unplayable to being a strong primary color. The thing is, almost all of the good Red spells can be splashed, so that makes Red a little overdrafted and cuts down on the color's power. This has allowed Black to step up and become the second-best color in the format, and one that comprises a large portion of more decks."

"The White Equip archetype has definitely dropped off the radar since Darksteel came out. White is still okay, but you can't draft a good deck like that anymore."

"Green is obviously weak, but so many people are avoiding the color that it gives you a chance to get a really good deck. Like, if you get Deconstructs, Tel-Jilad Chosens, Fangren Hunters, and Predator's Strikes out of Mirrodin, you can end up with a good deck, but you get almost nothing good in this color from Darksteel. Tangle Golem is the best Green card, but it's an artifact so…"

"Making a definitive pick order for this format is so hard because every choice is deck dependent. I shipped a first pick Furnace Dragon to my opponent, even though it was in my colors, because I needed a Barbed Lightning to clear my opponent's blockers away. Furnace Dragon is obviously a bomb, but it just didn't fit into my deck. Every deck that gets drafted is like that, so it's made actually writing about Limited a lot harder."

Craig Krempels: "All of the Affinity golems are pretty powerful for their respective colors, and I think they are a welcome addition to most decks. They definitely increase the speed of the format a lot. It also seems like there's a lot more removal running around now, and since I like to draft removal-heavy decks, it works out well for me. I think the overall power of White and Green have both dropped since Darksteel came out too… you can still get some decent decks out of those colors, but it's not very easy."

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