Saturday, May 20, 2006

Color-fixing in Rav-Guild-Diss drafting

Righto, readers,

I just wanna deliver my report of my little draft on Saturday and a few tricks I learnt about how to draft multiple guilds and yet be able to play all the goodies from them.

Today was a Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension booster draft. Now booster draft is significantly different from Sealed Deck. In Sealed Deck you have a huge pool of lovely Limited bombs and your chances of hitting good Ravnica mana fixers like any of the guild Signets or guild two-mana lands (otherwise known as 'Karoos') are high. But in booster draft, no such luck. You'll be vying for signets and such other fixers with fellow drafters, and in the same breath you need to be able to pick quality creatures, quality Auras (the new terminology for local enchantments) and such other stuff.

So in booster draft, the set Ravnica features the Green-White, Green-Black, Blue-Black and Red-White colour pairs, while Guildpact features Black-White, Blue-Red and Green-Red, and finally Dissension wraps up with Blue-Green, Red-Black and Blue-White. With TEN colour pairs stretched across three sets it's obviously impossible you can stick to, say, Green-White alone, or Blue-Red alone. The only logical choice is to go tri-colour or if pushed, quadricolour.

Today, what did I pick??? Among my bombs,

1. Two Streetbreaker Wurms (6/4 creature for 3 colourless mana, 1 Green mana and 1 Red mana, huge beater)
2. Guardian of Vitu-Ghazi (4/7 vigilance for 6 colourless mana, 1 Green mana and 1 White mana)
3. Loxodon Hierarch (4/4 for 2 colourless mana, 1 Green mana and 1 White mana, gains you 4 life when it comes into play and can be sacrificed to regenerate each creature you control)
4. Leafdrake Roost (Aura - enchant land. Enchanted land has GU, Tap: Put a 2/2 Green and Blue Drake token with flying into play)

Now despite all the commitments to different colours (Red, White and Blue) I still managed to cast my bombs consistently and got a draw for one game, a win for another and lost the third game, my opponent 2 victories, myself 1 victory. How did I get all my bombs out consistently??? The answer - look to the colours of the bombs. They all share one common colour - GREEN.

Yes. Green, in Ravnica, Guildpact and Dissension, is one heck of a powerhouse colour, for Draft at any rates. It provides a VERY powerful mana-fixing base. Check out these Green or Green-based mana fixers I got today:

1. Utopia Sprawl (A common aura, enchant Forest. When Utopia Sprawl comes into play, choose a colour. Whenever enchanted land is tapped for mana, add one mana of the chosen colour to your mana pool)
2. Silhana Starfletcher (common creature. 2 colourless mana and 1 Green mana for a 1/3. When Silhana Starfletcher comes into play, choose a colour. Tap: Add one mana of the selected colour to your mana pool)
3. Silkwing Scout (common creature. 2 colourless mana and 1 Blue mana for a 2/1 flying creature. One Green mana to sacrifice it and search your library for a basic land card and put it into play tapped)

There's no denying it - you want to play multiple guilds, you sure as heck better draft Green mana fixers. Don't worry about being stuck with playing only Green-related guilds - heck, think about it. If you take the Gruul Signet (2 colourless mana for an artifact. 1 colourless, tap to produce 1 Green mana and 1 Red mana) and Golgari Signet (the same as the above except it taps to produce 1 Green mana and 1 Black mana), doesn't it open you to the possibilities of the Rakdos guild (the Red-Black guild)??? With Green as your mana base, provided you get enough Green mana diversifiers and fixers (including the ever-useful Signets) literally ANY guild's power cards can be played - heck, you can even go five-colour if it suits your fancy.

So now, I'll end this post with some creatures and spells you should keep an eye out for in Ravnica-Guildpact-Dissension draft (REMINDER: This list does NOT surpass powerhouse creatures or spells. Do NOT draft a colour fixer over a top-notch creature, then blame me for teaching you to do so. Colour fixers rank from 3rd pick to 6th pick and should stay there, but the occasional better-grade ones may pass as 2nd pick or even 1st pick if there's no better options)

General fixers (should be picked in all 3 sets)
The 'Karoo' lands (Simic Growth Chamber, Izzet Boilerworks, Orzhov Basilica, Dimir Aqueduct, etc.)
The Guild Signets (Selesnya Signet, Rakdos Signet, Gruul Signet, etc.)
The Dual lands (Overgrown Tomb, Hallowed Fountain, etc., but then again these are rares, so it's gonna be tough)

Fixers in Ravnica
Civic Wayfinder (excellent bargain - 3 mana for a 2/2 plus finding a land, AND IT'S JUST A COMMON. May qualify for 1st pick if there aren't any particularly powerful creatures)
Farseek (a lovely common, must-pick if you get it from 3rd to 7th. Allows you to play most guild cards with ease)
Birds of Paradise (Best fixer around, but it's rare so don't dream of it - hard to find, hard to draft)
Terrarion (Despite its one-shot nature it gets you a card when you sacrifice it and allows you to cast that totally off-colour bomb you have in hand, so yeah this goes from about 4th-9th pick depending on how many off-colour bombs you have...)
Perilous Forays (umm, this one goes lower, about 9th to 11th pick. Don't draft it unless you've got lots of Saproling production, this is kinda tough to use)

Fixers in Guildpact
Silhana Starfletcher (sorta like Civic Wayfinder, except if this guy gets killed, you lose your mana source. He can qualify for 1st pick but I'd really pick most creatures over him. Only worth his weight in gold as a 3rd-6th pick.)
Wild Cantor (1 mana for a 1/1 that can be sacrificed to add one mana of any colour... kinda like Blood Pet but a bit more potent. Qualifies as a 5th to 9th pick but I don't like its one-shot nature... can be used if you're desperate for fixers though, but watch it, this gal is delicate.)

Fixers in Dissension
Vesper Ghoul (surprise, surprise!!! What is a Black creature doing here??? Nonetheless it is a reliable colour supplier so this can qualify among the 3rd-6th pick range, and may go as high as a 2nd pick if you really need to fix your colours.)
Coiling Oracle (right, this isn't really a 'mana fixer' per se, but it's just wondrous if it happens to reveal a Karoo land or even just a basic land off the top of your library. At any rates it counts as a mana fixer, but if you're playing Green and Blue this can go as high as a 2nd pick for you. For all other colour combinations, 3rd-8th pick)
Utopia Sprawl (Very economical and encourages you to run more Forests to support your diversification. I can pick this as high as 3rd to 5th. It's really quite worth it)
Elemental Resonance (Not really the best, but I suppose could qualify if you're really desperate. 8th-10th pick for me)
Verdant Eidolon (4 mana for a 2/2 that DOESN'T fly is already a bad deal, and in addition I need to spend 1 mana to sacrifice it for 3 mana of ONE COLOUR?!?! I don't get to choose my colour combination?!?! Alright forget it. This is bad if you're seeking tri-colour or quadricolour. 9th-11th pick.)

Yeah so this is my advice to those who wanna play multiple guilds in Ravnica Block booster draft: Pay attention to the Green fixers coming around and pick them, and pick them well - they'll give your consistency in playing multi-colour a great boost.

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