Feature: Day Two 3-0 Decks

Posted in Event Coverage on May 16, 2004

By Paul Sottosanti

Throughout Day Two so far there are twenty-nine decks that have managed to post a perfect 3-0 record. Three players-Nicolai Herzog, Aniol Alcaraz, and Mark Herberholz-were able to dominate both drafts and post perfect records throughout the entire day so far.

Herzog went with a Black/Red deck with a small splash of Blue in the first draft and a solid Green/Red build featuring Grab the Reins and Molder Slug in the second. His first deck featured Arcbound Crusher, Somber Hoverguard, Nim Shrieker, and Myr Enforcer as creatures that benefited from his four artifact lands and three Talismans. There were no bombs but just a solid assortment of creatures, removal, and utility artifacts like Talon of Pain and Thunderstaff.

Nicolai Herzog

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Aniol Alcaraz, a relatively unknown Spanish player, took Red and Black cards at his first table and then White and Red at his second. He ended up only playing one of his two Skeleton Shards in his first deck, but double Chittering Rats, Spikeshot Goblin, Shrapnel Blast and other goodies were enough to take the draft regardless. His second deck featured Empyrial Plate, Vulshok Gauntlets, and two Leonin Bolas as equipment along with a nice creature base. Two Pteron Ghosts protected the equipment and a Spikeshot Goblin was ready to smash face. Awe Strike, Shatter and Unforge provided decent options for combat tricks.

Aniol Alcaraz

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Mark Herberholz had two completely different strategies in his perfect drafts: Green/Red in the first one and Blue/Black in the second. The latter included Crystal Shard and Death Cloud as bombs, along with Chittering Rats to provide a possible lock. The former was also quite a sick one. Glissa Sunseeker and Arc-Slogger along with Fireball were the main highlights. Triple Oxidda Golem (and an Echoing Courage) made sure the beats would never stop coming. Add in Deconstruct, Echoing Ruin, and Barbed Lightning and you've got yourself quite a spicy deck.

Mark Herberholz

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Sideboard (3)
1 Molten Rain 1 Brown Ouphe 1 Nourish

The real news, though, is the prevalence of Red in the 3-0 decks. Here are the numbers of decks (out of the 29) that included each color:

Color Decks Percentage
White 12 41.4%
Blue 8 27.6%
Black 9 31.0%
Red 22 75.9%
Green 10 34.5%

It seems like Mike Turian, who has shown a consistent preference for White/Red in this format, is on the right track. My best theory for explaining this is that Red is the only color that has an easy time of answering both creatures and artifacts, so it's more likely to produce a flexible deck that can handle all sorts of opposing threats. Blue/Black decks are often shut down by Viridian Longbow or Icy Manipulator. Green can sometimes get run over by faster, sleeker decks. White can have problems if you take away its toys (i.e. equipment). Red, however, can roll with the punches.

Here are the numbers for all the individual archetypes:

Color Decks
W/R 7
R/G 4
B/R/U 4
U/R 3
W/G 3
B/R/U 2
U/B 2
G/W/R 2
G/B 1
U 1

White/Green wasn't the powerhouse some expected it to be, but it held its own. Little mention has been given recently to White/Red, which may have been a mistake, because the archetype performed admirably here today despite none of the above three players running it. The lone mono-color deck was filled with Islands and was piloted by Gabriel Nassif. Given Blue's relationship with artifacts (not to mention the presence of Spire Golem), that makes a lot of sense, and obviously worked out here.

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