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GP Atlanta Prep

Written by John Cuvelier on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Limited

Trying to prepare for a limited GP is pretty hard when your favorite game of all time releases the final expansion. Starcraft 2 of course. That’s where my MTGO tag originates from. But alas with a week and a half long vacation starting up I’ve been able to give both my undivided attention. Last week I spoke about getting in to a little more detail about some of the limited archetypes along with a sealed pool. I’ve decided that I’d save the sealed portion for next week and go over the pool I get for the GP. With that said, let’s get cracking with five different draft archetypes.

BG Sacrifice,Go Wide

This is the kind of deck that makes green playable. There are two themes coming to fruition here. The first is the sacrifice theme. Unfortunately I didn’t get any Bone Splinters and is the only card I’m really missing here. Vampiric Rites and Voracious Null are the main outlets with the payoff being Zullaport Cutthroat and Rot Shambler. Having all of those Eyeless Watchers means you’re definitely going to have some random dudes lying around. The Vampiric Rites can help dig to whatever it is you’re looking for and the Voracious Null can get big enough to tussle with Eldrazi if needed. The Zullaport Cutthroat of course is not only good with those two but all of the Eldrazi Scion tokens you make as well.

The second theme here is the “go wide” plan. The Eyeless Watchers works double-time as not only good sac outlets but also provide a lot of bodies. Also having two Call the Scions allows you to have some pretty nice curve outs into the big payoff for this strategy. The four payoff cards I have for going wide in this deck are Swarm Surge, Tajuru Warcaller, Tajuru Beastmaster and Guul Draz Overseer. These all help you push through your opponent and really compliment your Call the Scions and Eyeless Watchers very well. Finally I have a single Plated Crusher at the top end of the deck. This could easily be any Eldrazi if I was to have one. Since you get so many scions there are situations when you don’t have any of your pump effects. In the event this happens it’s good to have a backup plan of big freaking dude that you can cast as early as turn five.

BR Devoid

Next up we have BR Devoid. In this deck you’re looking to get as many devoid cards as you can with the payoff of cards that give you effects for playing devoid cards. A good example of some of those cards in this deck is Vile Aggregate, Nettle Drone, Forerunner of Slaughter and Kozilek’s Sentinel. All of these cards can be good on their own, but each of them gets much better the more devoid cards your deck has. The biggest of all payoff cards I’m missing here is Molten Nursery. That card can get quickly out of hand in a deck full of devoid cards.

This deck thrives on synergies. All of these cards by themselves are okay on the surface but don’t really impress. When you put them together they start to snowball very quickly. Kozilek’s Sentinel gets to play both defense and offense very effectively since four is a lot of toughness and the power on it can range from one to four as well. Nettle Drone is the glue holding most BR devoid decks together. If you can sit behind the toughness of Kozilek’s Sentinel and follow it up with one or multiple Nettle Drones it can really produce a big problem for your opponent. Being able to activate multiple times a turn produces a lot of damage very quickly. You also get access to a lot of very good removal spells that aren’t overly expensive in Touch of the Void and Complete Disregard. The biggest issue I have with decks like these is they’re actually very hard to get to come together because everyone wants those removal spells and other devoid decks want your creatures as well. When all of the moving pieces come together though this type of deck is very powerful.

BW Allies

Here is quite possibly the most powerful and hardest to get of archetypes available. It’s no surprise here that it’s all about the synergies yet again. Kalastria Healer is what you’re looking for to build a BW Ally deck. I was lucky enough to get four here. The main payoff for being a deck like this on top of the obviously powerful Kalastria Healer is cards like Bloodbond Vampire and Kor Entanglers. The vampire combo’s very well with the Healer and the Entanglers helps clear a path to get your smaller Ally creatures through. White has some of the best removal in the format and when you’re playing this deck you will often end up with some of those great cards like Sheer Drop, Stasis Snare and to a lesser extent Smite the Monstrous.

As you can see in the sideboard I had the option of also playing two Resolute Blademaster. It was a tough call to cut them but without any mana fixing I decided to be consistent and just play straight BW. When you end up drafting Allies if you can afford a higher pick Evolving Wilds or a random Battle Land sometimes those can pay big dividends since every color has an Ally or two it can offer. I wasn’t able to pick any up but it’s something to keep in mind when drafting any sort of Ally deck, not necessarily just BW.

GW Tokens

Much like the BG Sacrifice/Go Wide deck GW Tokens is the other variation of that. The key players are the same in Call the Scions and Eyeless Watcher to get a big board presence quickly. The payoff effects in Green are also the same with Tajuru Warcaller and Tajuru Beastcaller. The bonuses you get from White however are much different than Black. Inspired Charge comes late in packs and at instant speed is oftentimes just better than Swarm Surge. If you’re lucky enough you’ll end up with a Retreat to Emeria. This provides both sides of what you’re trying to do in pumping your team or making creatures to later be pumped. Finally there’s also Cliffside Lookout as another way to boost your creatures.

Much like BW Allies there’s a sub-theme in here of Allies that plays pretty well. Also because you’re white in this as well you get to play with a lot of similar removal spells to the BW Ally deck with Sheer Drop and Smite the Monstrous. The only common removal spell missing from both is Gideon’s Reproach which I would gladly play if I had any. I was also lucky enough to get a Veteran Warleader fairly late in pack two. One of the big benefits to being in green since it’s so under drafted is you get very late powerful uncommons and rares. There are so many payoff cards for being a token theme in this set that I really do think since it can branch into either Black or White that it’s one of the better archetypes to draft.

UR Devoid

The last draft deck I have for you today is UR Devoid. This is arguably the most powerful archetype in the format if you get the cards for it. I personally haven’t had huge success with it probably because so many people fight over it. That’s because it has the best common in the set in Eldrazi Skyspawner and the second best available in Clutch of Currents. The Red payoff cards are the same as in the BR devoid deck. You’re looking for Kozilek’s Sentinel, Vile Aggregate and Nettle Drone in Red while you’re looking for Mist Intruder, Eldrazi Skyspawner and Murk Strider in Blue.

The reason why this deck is so powerful is you generally have the best defensive creatures on the ground and some of the cheapest and effective threats in the air. You’re also able to get a lot of tempo plays with cards like Murk Strider and Clutch of Currents or in my case Rush of Ice. Of course not every card in the deck has to be a Devoid card. Oftentimes powerful cards like Rolling Thunder, Stonefury, Outnumber and Dragonmaster Outcast are perfectly fine to play even if they’re not devoid because of their power level. The trick is finding the right balance to fully optimize your Nettle Drones.

There are of course many other archetypes I didn’t go over that I simply haven’t had the opportunity to draft and save. By the time you’re reading this Grand Prix Atlanta is tomorrow and I’ll be ready to make a run. It’s a seven hour drive from my place and the drive will be fun with the company of friends. It’s always good to remember that Grand Prix aren’t just for the magic experience but for good times with friends. I’ll see you next week to go over how I did.

John Cuvelier
Gosu. on MTGO
@JCuvelier on Twitter

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