The Mana Dork

I’m starting to wonder if I should call these “answers” (especially for the Pack 1 versions of the puzzle). Drafting is open-ended enough that definitively correct picks are always tough to make. Maybe “Jesse’s Picks” instead. We’ll change that up for the Oath of the Gatewatch.

Anyway. Onward!

In Part 1 of the Battle for Zendikar edition of PPPC, I gave you your first pick…

Drana, Liberator of Malakir

and the following piles.




Somebody’s sending some pretty strong signals, I think!

Randy Fyfe picked up on them. From the Facebook post:

I see I’ll probably start primarily grabbing blue cards, because there’s so many, and it’s probably open. Giving up on green, but open to splash black. Not enough red to do much with I think, but white would be another color I would consider.”

Looking at the packs, he’s not wrong. Blue and white are wiiiide open, and moving into those colours early in the draft could be rewarding.

Randy went Plummet, Scatter to the Winds, and Dispel for his picks, going heavy on removal. Looking back at the piece on the BREAD acronym I wrote earlier this year, that’s a very solid route to go, particularly in BFZ. Fliers are at such a premium in this format that Plummet’s great if it’s in your colours (and, as Randy notes, a great hate-draft pick to protect Drana!), and countering things at 3 CMC or less is always handy. He’s setting himself up quite well for a control deck full of fliers with these picks.

I’m going to go in a bit of a different direction—where Randy goes for the removal spells to protect his fliers, I’m going to go straight for those fliers, and other cards that affect the board state.

In the first pile, I’m picking Drana’s Emissary. While the flavour win is nice, having a second 2-power flier for three mana is better, I think. The other strong consideration for me is Spell Shrivel—as we noted earlier, removal for less than three mana is a great thing to have handy.

In the second pile, I’d go for the Kor Entanglers. It’s another ally to go with the Emissary and Drana herself, and tapping down your opponent’s biggest bruiser on a Rally trigger is just spicy. Outside of that, I’d go for Clutch of Currents—while I like Randy’s pick of Scatter to the Winds, it looks like blue might be a splash colour, and it’s easier to splash for Clutch than Scatter thanks to its one fewer blue mana symbol.

Finally, in the third pile, I’m grabbing Gideon’s Reproach. Casting this anywhere reasonably on curve will almost guarantee a kill, and that’s one fewer blocker to deal with. Barring that, Randy’s pick of Dispel is a great choice. What’s that? I can pay one blue mana to counter a combat trick? Heck yes.

That’s it for the Battle For Zendikar edition of Pick A Pack Of Pickled Commons. Next up: Commander 2015! The new pre-constructed decks release on Friday, and I’ll be giving you my take on how they play in the next edition of The Mana Dork!

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Join us every two weeks for The Mana Dork, his column on getting back into Magic.