Feature: Decks to Draft, Decks to Avoid

Posted in Event Coverage on June 11, 2011

By Steve Sadin

One of the great things about Limited is the fact that people can succeed with wildly different strategies and archetypes. For example, two players might agree that a format is slow, but disagree on what the best way to attack it is. One player could decide to force the slowest, most controlling decks possible, while his friend might decide to instead draft the most aggressive decks that she can get her hands on.

Want to know what some of the top pros are looking to draft, and what they're looking to avoid in New Phyrexia Limited?

Then read on!

Brad Nelson

The Good: In New Phyrexia Limited, if a deck has synergy, it's going to lose. Having played the format a good amount, I know that I want the clunkiest deck I can get my hands on. I want removal, I want card drawing, and I want Hexplate Golems. Sure you can get blown out from time to time, but if you have the best late-game strategy you're going to win most of your games.

The Bad: Pretty much everything with the keyword "metalcraft" is unplayable at the Pro Tour or Grand Prix level. There are a lot of creatures that are bigger and better than the metal craft creatures. Your plan can get picked apart by a single removal spell. Even if you get an aggressive start with your metalcraft deck, curving into a 4/4 Chrome Steed on turn four, that probably won't be enough as your draw can still get trumped by your opponent's bombs. Metalcraft might be a good deck to draft against relatively inexperienced players, but at a Pro Tour it's just much too vulnerable.

Shuhei Nakamura

The Good: I like to play white control, or white flying beatdown. I try to wait as long as possible before picking my second color. If I open a bomb (in any color other than green), then I'll play that color, but if I don't I'll just wait.

The Bad: I never want to draft infect. Every time I try to draft infect, I go 1-2 or 0-3. It's just so difficult to put together a good infect deck!

Brian Kibler

The Good: This might sound strange, but I actually really like white-blue poison decks. Lost Leonin, Shriek Raptor and Blighted Agent are all really good, and you can get them extremely late. Once you have a couple of Lost Leonins and/or Blighted Agents, Copper Carapace becomes awesome.

Counterspells are pretty good in this format because a lot of players are leaning heavily on their bombs or other expensive spells to win the game. I'm a big fan of Stoic Rebuttal (in any deck) and if I get a couple of good evasion infect creatures, I'll happily play Corrupted Resolve.

I think that overall the format has gotten a bit slower with the introduction of New Phyrexia. Sure, the Phyrexian-mana creatures can speed things up a bit, but they are extremely vulnerable.

The Bad: I pretty much always stay away from metalcraft – the deck has so little upside, and even if you do end up with a good deck, you're just begging to lose to your own draws or get destroyed by a well-timed removal spell.

Michael Jacob

The Good: I really like red-white or white-blue beatdown. In the first pack, I want to get a bunch of Suture Priests and Phyrexian-mana creatures, then I'll round my draft out with whatever decent removal spells and cheap creatures that I see.

If I don't end up with an aggressive white deck, I like to draft removal heavy blue-black-red decks—usually splashing red for something like a Volt Charge and an Arc Trail.

The Bad: I generally try to stay away from green. There aren't that many good green cards in New Phyrexia and the best green cards in the next two packs all have infect. If you don't mind trying to draft an infect deck with only two packs of green infect cards, then by all means go for it. But unless I get a lot of very good infect cards in the first pack, that isn't something that I'm going to try to do.

While I'm fine with playing almost any color combination, I refuse to play white-black. White-black is just the biggest trap because so many of the best cards in white and in black require two colored mana. Yes, your cards will all be good, but your mana is going to be terrible.

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