YOUR 3-0 DRAFT DECKS

Posted in PRO TOUR KHANS OF TARKIR - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 11, 2014

By Corbin Hosler

The Pro Tour is always heavily watched for the latest developments in the Standard Constructed format that features heavily in the event. But one of the more overlooked aspects of the Pro Tour is how it affects the future of the Limited format.

It's an especially interesting question in the world of Khans of Tarkir. Rarely does a Limited format offer such a range of possibilities and questions to be asked. But when the format offers anything from mono-colored to five-color decks. A card that is good in one archetype may be completely useless in another — even if the decks are the same colors — and the possibilities are very nearly endless, all beginning with the first pick of the draft.

Coming into the Pro Tour, the conventional wisdom was that the four or five-color decks were the most powerful, if the most fragile. The upside is that a morph creature on turn 3 can be literally anything in the set, but the downside is that sometimes those creatures are nothing more than 2/2s that you don't have the correct mana to unmorph.

These decks also necessitate picking mana fixing, in the form of the common dual lands (like Bloodfell Caves) or banners (Mardu Banner). That forces players to pass some of the more powerful cards early in the draft, but the payoff is that they can take all the best cards across the color spectrum later on. Of course, there's also the risk that too many players opt for this strategy and you end up with an inconsistent mana base. Because of that, some players in Honolulu prefer to stick to two-color decks or at the maximum play one or two cards to form the three-color clan.

All of which begs the question, what was the best-performing archetype on the first day of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir?

It turns out, on this day at least, that greed is indeed good. Of the 45 draft decks that went 3-0 on Day 1, 11 were four or five-color decks, while just a single 3-0 deck stuck to a strict two-color plan.

Vincent Eich demonstrated just how far the concept can be taken.

Vincent Eich - 3-0

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It's everything you could want from a five-color decks. Six rares and mythics. Planeswalkers, removal, giant creatures. The epitome of the five-color Khans of Tarkir draft.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Peter Steinaa, who managed to draft a black-green deck that avoided the temptation of adding a third color.

Peter Steinaa - 3-0

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He even restrained himself from stretching for the Abzan Guide. That's commitment.

That takes care of the extreme ends of the spectrum. So how did the rest of the clans fare for those who stuck to the "safe" option of playing three colors?

As expected coming in, Mardu was the winner, putting nine decks into the list of undefeated draft decks, undoubtedly using the aggressive approach to punish opponents who stumbled on mana. Abzan had eight as Abzan Guide retained the title of most swingy common morph, and Temur also put up a somewhat-surprising eight copies thanks to the potent combination of removal and large creatures, with otherwise-mediocre cards like Icy Blast becoming incredible in the archetype.

Jeskai and Sultai lagged behind the rest, with four versions of each going undefeated. Moving into a clan in Khans of Tarkir draft is all about finding the right reason to do so, and it seems that the reason to go Jeskai is the same reason players are flocking to it in Standard: Mantis Rider. The do-it-all three-drop was in three of the four undefeated Jeskai decks.

Sultai players got plenty of use from the two commons that make the archetype: Hooting Mandrills and Sultai Scavenger. The two power commons put seven combined copies into the four decks, while all four also contained at least one copy of Abomination of Gudul.

That's how things shook out after one day of drafting. We'll see how players adjust when we come back for Day 2 of Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir.

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