Feature: Drafting Ravnica

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2005

By Paul Sottosanti

While at first glance it may seem like there are only four possible decks to draft in triple Ravnica, the format is actually much more diverse than that. Here's a rundown of some of the major strategies that players pursued during Thursday's draft portion here at Worlds:


Vedalken Entrancer


Dimir Mill

Key cards:
Vedalken Entrancer
Stinkweed Imp
Tidewater Minion
Induce Paranoia
Tattered Drake

These decks have a distinct goal that doesn't involve dealing 20 damage. They simply want to live long enough to knock the opposing library entirely into the graveyard. Cards like Vedalken Entrancer accelerate this process while others like Stinkweed Imp buy more and more time. This archetype actually has a very deep pool of cards to draw from, since many of the monoblue and monoblack cards in Ravnica lend themselves nicely to this strategy. The archetype's main weakness is a swarm of token creatures, but players have found creative solutions along the lines of Cleansing Beam or Plague Boiler


Dimir Aggro

Key cards:
Halcyon Glaze
Snapping Drake
Roofstalker Wight

This archetype shares the same colors as the previous one but wants entirely different cards. Anything with a decent amount of power plus evasion will find a home here, as well as tempo cards like Remand that can stall opposing players for that last crucial turn. This deck has been growing in popularity recently and some, like Neil Reeves, say it's the best in the format.


Selesnya Convoke

Selesnya Evangel

Key cards:
Fists of Ironwood
Selesnya Evangel
Scatter the Seeds
Siege Wurm
Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi

The best Selesnya decks focus solely on filling the board with early creatures, followed by an early Siege Wurm or Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi. If those can't break through, they sit back and fill the board with tokens until an alpha strike can eventually finish the opponent off. The key to this archetype is filling your deck with one- and two-mana creatures. Anything that costs more than four should probably have Convoke.

Golgari Fat

Key cards:
Golgari Rotwurm
Elves of Deep Shadow
Shambling Shell
Siege Wurm

This archetype combines fat creatures with the inevitability of Dredge to apply constant pressure to enemy players. There are tons of good rare Black and Green creatures, but even the common ones like Siege Wurm and Golgari Rotwurm can easily get the job done. Last Gasp, Putrefy, Brainspoil and Disembowel also give Golgari mages plenty of options for removal.


Boros Rush

Skyknight Legionnaire

Key cards:
Skyknight Legionnaire
Thundersong Trumpeter
Screeching Griffin
Rally the Righteous
Incite Hysteria

Boros rush decks, as seen in Constructed, simply want to deal 20 damage as quickly as possible. Skyknight Legionnaire is the marquee card in the deck and Thundersong Trumpeter is perhaps just as important. When the ground stalls out, cards like Screeching Griffin can continue to push through damage. Incite Hysteria, a card which players seem to undervalue, has the potential to win games out of nowhere.


Boros Control

Key cards:
Faith's Fetters
Thundersong Trumpeter
Conclave Equenaut
Benevolent Ancestor

I haven't personally drafted this archetype much but I've heard claims that it can work. The idea is to use the controlling side of the Boros guild to slow the game down and win with fliers, or perhaps expensive bombs like Razia, Boros Archangel or Blazing Archon. Decent cards like Blockbuster that other decks can't find a home for can be picked up late, while cards like Faith's Fetters and the Thundersong Trumpeter can be snatched up early.

Drake Familiar


Izzet Synergy

Key Cards:
Galvanic Arc
Drake Familiar
Viashino Fangtail
Tidewater Minion

Izzet? Hm? Well, the blue-red Izzet guild hasn't had their chance to shine, but there have been some early appearances in the form of decks that abuse the synergy between Galvanic Arc and Drake Familiar or Viashino Fangtail and Tidewater Minion. Unfortunately, there are no gold cards (as of yet), but fliers plus burn is a time-tested strategy that has worked in the past and still works here today.


Draft Two, Table One

Here's the archetypes and results from Table 1 of the second draft here at Worlds, in seating order:

1. Bas Postema (R/W/g) Boros Control splashing green [1-1-1, 4 points]
2. Katsuhiro Mori (U/B/g) Dimir Mill splashing green [3-0, 9]
3. Tiago Chan (G/W) Selesnya Convoke [0-2-1, 1]
4. Tomohiro Kaji (G/w/b) Ursapine Green [2-1, 6]
5. Akira Asahara (R/W) Boros Control [1-2, 3]
6. Carlos Romao (U/B) Dimir Aggro/Mill [2-1, 6]
7. Frank Karsten (U/B/r) Dimir Izzet Control [2-1, 6]
8. Rasmus Sibast (R/W) Boros Rush [0-3, 0]

The numbers in brackets are the records for the pod and points that the player earned. The Dimir players ran away with it, earning 21 of the 35 points at the table with only three drafters. The winner of the table, Katsuhiro Mori, benefited from the fact that he was drafting it in a sea of Boros and green drafters. Speaking of Boros, a guild that doesn't tend to have the same depth, the fact that three people drafted it meant that they could only muster 7 points between them.

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