Day 55 – the rares of DTK part three

Starting tomorrow, I have a couple of Poetry Slams I really want to be passably good at, so I desperately need to write something new. Not sure that is going to happen, but I am sure that I cannot possibly concentrate on writing something Magic related. So let’s just keep talking about the rares of Dragons of Tarkir for now, because I do have an opinion on them and writing it down is not that hard.

When I started this series, I didn’t think it would take me this long to finish. In the end I never feel like writing more than 2000 words though, and apparently there are quite a few rares.

7,0

I talked about Volcanic Vision before, because I didn’t get why people undervalued it so much. It is not that unusual to see this card come as late as pick eight in the first booster. That is insane. Volcanic Vision may be slightly harder to make work than I initially gave it credit for (which is why it is a 7 and not a 9 as I thought it would be in the beginning), but when it does work (which isn’t hard to achieve if you pick it in pack 1), it is not close to being fair. At it’s heart Volcanic Vision is still a 7 mana plague wind that does not only cantrip – it draws you a relevant card! The deck that really makes this shine – where it is closer to a 9,5 – is UR or some combination of Jeskai control deck. Returning Cunning Strike or Ojutai’s Summons with this is just gross and Fierce Invocation isn’t far behind. I have played it to great success in RW and RB aggro decks as well and only banished it to the sideboard once, where I really couldn’t make it work (but even there sided it in for a match which it single-handedly won). Volcanic Vision is a very powerful card, that might not fit every deck, but when it is good, it is probably the best card in your deck, so taking it early is something I can definitely recommend.

8,0

This is also a card that surprised me with its powerlevel. I mean, yeah, it looks good. It looks very splashable. In reality secure the waists can often be a Plague Wind that leaves behind some amount of tokens. Considering that it can do that at most stages of the game, I certainly would not be ashamed to call this a bona fide bomb. Once you factor in the possibility of just playing this end of turn and then playing a war flare, well, let’s just all agree to take this and to try and move heaven and earth in an effort to make your mana cooperate with putting this into your deck.

Sometimes, when your manabase protests, you will board it out against green Elk decks, but for every one of those where Secure the Waists is very strong but beatable, there is a Goblin Piker deck having a nightmare about Wastes being secured.

3,5

Commune with Lava is another one of those cards where I have difficulties understanding what is going on in other people’s heads. I see this come round to me pick 10 and I just don’t get it. It seems to be ingrained in everybody’s head that this is an unplayable card you should never ever take. The thing is, even if that were true, it would still be a good sideboard card. You should still take it over hating something. As things stand though, I am never unhappy running a Commune with Lava. Playing this on a turn where you don’t have land drop for something like 5, then playing two lands and two spells off it (which is not that unlikely) makes this almost an Opportunity. A red Opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t pick Commune over other good cards, but when I get it gifted late, who am I to refuse?

I need to get back to work, so I’ll have wrap up here already. Wish me luck on actually writing something good for tomorrow!

Love

Iris

Day 54 – drafting five color white dragons in Dragons

As predicted, I didn’t manage to update before our usual store draft yet again. I do have a topic I want to talk about though, which is sweet, because usually I don’t.

Before we really get started, let’s take a look at my 3-1 deck from today:

1 Arashin Cleric

2 Orator of Ojutai

1 Dromoka Warrior

1 Qal Sisma Behemoth

1 Sandcrafter Mage

1 Monastery Loremaster

1 Student of Ojutai

1 Atarka Pummeler

2 Sandstorm Charger

1 Shockmaw Dragon

1 Pristine Skywise

1 Wardscale Dragon

1 Atarka, World Render

1 Ojutai Monument

1 Artful Maneuver

1 Twin Bolt

2 Tail Slash

2 Cunning Strike

8 Plains

6 Mountain

1 Forest

2 Swiftwater Cliffs

1 Thornwood Falls

What looks like a greedy four color mess is actually currently my favorite archetype to draft! Now, I’m not claiming that it isn’t greedy, because, obviously it is. I’m a greedy person though, and when I open a sweet multicolored dragon that’s not in my colors, I have some difficulty accepting that someone else is going to put it into their deck. So, often I just talk myself into picking it, because “who knows how good my fixing is going to be?” – and more often than would be advisable I then proceed to actually play those dragons. Imagine my surprise when I found out, this is actually a very viable tactic. It’s not a tactic you can realistically force, because it depends on some important key cards, but when they come together, these decks are very powerful. I’m going to let you all guess why. Ok, I’ll admit, it wasn’t very hard to guess.

Let’s talk about Orator of Ojutai. This is a card that comes late and even frequently tables, yet in this particular deck, it is clearly the best card. Most people look at Orator, and – reasonably – see an Angelic Wall. Angelic Wall is clearly not a playable card in this format, so nobody really thinks twice about the Orator. Well, let’s try to put on our pink MagicalChristmasLand-Glasses and evaluate this as a flying Wall of Omens. Very aggressive decks would probably still give that a pass, but for everything that isn’t looking to beat down fast and hard Orator just became a pretty sweet value card. The decks that are most interested though, are those that just need to smooth out their draws and buy some time to get to their unbeatable lategame. Like multicolored decks splashing a lot of Dragons? Yes, exactly like multicolored decks splashing a lot of dragons!

Let’s take a look at some more examples

Wurb Orator 3-0

result 3-0

I think this decklist makes it clear, why I call the archetype “five color white dragons”. Usually you have two main colors and then splash one, two or three more, but sometimes you are just white splash the rest. Mindscour Dragon looks pretty greedy here, but this deck really needed a fourth dragon to turn on Orator, and it turned out to be golden. One of my opponents really lost it, when I curved Orator of Ojutai into Lightform, into Thunderbreak Regent into something into Silumgar – and then proceeded to play a very similar game two. The last time someone was so angry at me, I was drafting Elixir Control in M14.

UWgr Orator 3-0

result 3-0

This exemplifies, that while the deck isn’t called “dragons” for nothing, you should obviously also be willing to splash for all kinds of non scaly, but impact-full cards in all sorts of colors. Splashing for Volcanic Visions sounds somewhat crazy, but it won quite a number of my games, and I was very happy to have put it into my deck.

So, when should you draft fivecolor white dragons?

Usually I end up with a deck like this when I open a sweet rare dragon and the color pair ends up not being open, I get a Haven of the Spirit Dragon early or a lot of Orators make it to me late. Getting some sweet rare dragon shipped in Fate is really not that infrequent, and being able to play them no matter which colors they are is pretty awesome.

Which dragons will you play?

all the dragons

I would usually play every morph dragon, at least if you have multiple Orator and until you run 5, and obviously splash for all the rare dragons. I mean, that’s why you are drafting this whole deck! Some of the uncommon dragons in Fate are too heavy on the mana, and you will not be able to play them, but if you can somehow make it work, dragons are dragons, and they do win the game eventually (once you found the correct lands to play them).

And how early should I take Orator of Ojutai?

I wouldn’t be too greedy here. Sure, sometimes they wheel, but this is the best card in your deck. In the first pack you are obviously usually not aiming to draft five color dragons, unless you already have two of the rare dragons (maybe you got shipped an Arashin Sovereign), so taking them incredibly early isn’t necessarily a great idea. In pack two though, when you’re fairly sure you are going into this direction, you should realize that Orator is the best card for your deck hands down, and just pick them, even if there is another good card for you available.

Other cards that are awesome for me?

If you can pick up late monuments, do so. Monuments are awesome, they ramp you, they fix you, they kill your opponent, and they even fit the flavor for your deck! What’s not to love? In fate you basically want to pick dragons and fixing. Evolving Wilds is also insane for you. Random bombs are obviously good, and you will need removal, because sometimes playing a bunch of 0/4s is not enough to stabilize. You are not a control deck though, you are a goodstuff deck. You are the deck your opponent needs removal against. I would, for example, almost always pick Orator over Pacifism, if I’m sure that is what I want to draft.

Drafting four and five color bomb decks is a lot of fun, because you constantly get to cast powerful threats your opponent needs to handle. Also, they get angry, because you “got so lucky with your mana”, which is definitely a plus. Not having to pass sweet cards ever is what really makes me want to draft this all day long, and as long as you get some Orators, it is actually a legitimately good deck.

Thanks for reading

Iris