Simon Says #50: Going Deep (Rise of the Eldrazi 4-3-2-2 Draft)

Many of you requested a Rise of the Eldrazi draft after my primer on the format. Your wish is my command! You can check out the comprehensive ROE primer by clicking here!

You can follow me on Twitter @simongoertzen,
or check out my Tumblr entitled Strategic Thoughts.

  1. you know, sacificing narcolepsy to crusher rather than a land would be better…

  2. R3G3:
    I could not get behind your reasoning on this one. If you kill Crusher before attacks, he has no extra card and the board state is the same as before (1 Wurm against your two creatures), forcing him to present another threat.
    Also, by using Vendetta on Wurm instead of Crusher you exchange one life for 2 permanents with Magmaw in play. There is nothing in ROE that punishes you to be on 5 life instead of 6 or am I missing something?

  3. Firstly, thanks for the content, was fun to watch.

    I was also wondering why you didn’t even discuss killing crusher before attack. My thoughts were on the lines of “but what if you draw conscription and have no mana to cast it… ” and lo and behold, you drew it with no mana to cast it. =) At that point, you were dead to any combat trick anyway – so having a chance to wait with casting Vendetta was not much of a benefit.

    Awesome to see 3 matches. Having less than that hurts since, unfortunately, SS is only once in 2 weeks. Just to throw an idea out there, perhaps you could record a couple of games from another draft (or anyting you play really), so that each episode has a similar amount of content?

    Also, you are right, out-of-print sets are fun to watch being played and read about even for people like me, who will never play it and weren’t even playing MTG when they were current. Keep up the good work!

  4. Sweet draft & deck, thanks as always. Not killing Crusher in the last game there was indeed an oversight, and it ended up costing you, for reasons philipp explained well in an above post. The basic reasoning is that you’d rather keep your lands & permanents (as magmaw fuel) and lose 1 extra life. Plus if you can avoid it you should try not to kill the wurm because it draws the opponent a card…

  5. Agreed Philipp. I do support sacking the land instead of the Narco though because the likely hood of drawing the ench is very slim and allowing the treespeaker to untap gives him more outs as far as auras and tricks and whatnot. He did happen to hit the ench on the next draw but you can’t be results oriented, the odds where in his favor to draw anything but that card which he could have then cast to help his position.

  6. I thought it was kind of funny that your second opponent commented on the slow roll with eldrazi conscription. I don’t know how that could have backfired, but you are the most thorough person Ive ever watched draft. Most people would slam that. On occasion though, you have called bombs and blowouts correctly, so I guess I see your point.

  7. re: the issue of timing, I for one really enjoy these rise drafts, but in practice I had terrible luck first time around so this time I didn’t even try so its more entertainment then education

  8. Why not vendetta the crusher and double block the pelakka wurm on his next attack? That leaves him with no creatures vs your one creature, and his annihilate doesn’t trigger. That leaves the conscription still as an out.

  9. Video – great.

    Reading the same comment made by different people over and over… not so great.

    I love RotE, thank you Simon for breaking with your normal schedule to bring us a draft of it.

  10. Thanks for the videos. If there is one thing I don’t really get with RoE, it’s how to draft it. I’m a fairly novice drafter. I started in Innistrad and did pretty poorly, and eventually only got good at Avacyn’s Restored. I got to the point there where I won most 8-4s, but that’s because there was really only 1-2 good cards per pack I felt, and I always just grabbed the right cards and stuck to blue-white or blue-green.

    I’ve done okay in RtR, but for this format I really just don’t get it. So I look in a pack and I saw a Guard Duty, a Dawnglare Invoker, and a venerated teacher (for example.) I was aiming for WU levers. I really wasn’t sure to take, but since I had grabbed a Sphinx of the Magosi the pack before, I thought (well maybe I should move more in the direction of control then levelers) so I took the Guard Duty I think. As the draft progressed, I tons of controllish cards (Walls of Omens, Regresses, etc.) and also tons of great levelers cards, and felt very torn between the two. I tried to stray towards control in the end, in the end only taking a few levelers. I also think I overvalued removal/control cards because I ended up with like 3 smites and 2 guard duties and 3 regresses. Anyways, I really don’t understand this format, I’ll open packs and the cards will all just look really terrible, and then I’ll open a pack where I think, well I like “x” (solid creature with ability like invoker) but I can’t pass up this awesome removal card. Then I’ll get ten more removals and I’ll be like, “uhh, so should I play more creatures or more removal or?”

    Anyways, I’m kind of an MTG novice and this was a long paragraph, but if any of you experienced drafters have insight, much appreciated.

  11. @V

    Read Simon’s draft primer from last week if you haven’t already. This isn’t a format where you can just take the best card in your color and have a good deck. If you’re blue/white, you really need to be an aggressive leveler deck, because going control in those colors just isn’t very good. (Note that this is partly because white is the weakest color in Rise- I’d stay away from it in general.)

    In the scenario described above you should probably have taken Dawnglare. It’s very good early and late and is one of the few non-leveler cards that UW wants. Guard duty is fine but it’s power level is going to vary with the amount of evasion in your deck. And Teacher is just not a card you can take over a good card like Dawnglare unless you just have a ton of levelers. You want to be getting that card late because no one else should want it.

    All that said about UW levelers, it’s not even that great of an archetype unless you’re the only drafter in it, mostly because white is so bad. I’d much rather be green-based ramp, where you’re looking to get a good balance of fatties and accelerators, or grixis control where you take tons of removal and value cards.

  12. Guard Duty routinely tabled back in the day. If you are going hard UW levelers, there is no card you want more than Venerated Teacher. If you want to win, you never pass Dawnglare Invoker. For every card that Guard Duty is awesome against, there are tons (Invokers, levelers with a sweet activated ability, the defender deck, Battle Rattle, etc.) that it barely interacts with. The key to ROE is to know when a removal is premium (Corpsehatch, Vendetta, Staggershock, Flameslash) and when it is mediocre situational filler that may come back.

    It’s also important to understand that archetypes are guidelines and never set in stone. Sure RG Eldrazi tokens, Grixis Spells and WU levelers are sweet when it comes together, but forcing an archetype that the people around you are drafting is miserable. While Sphinx goes well in just about any UX deck, it’s activated ability is probably at its worst in a levelers deck that is hungry for mana with little ramp. It is best in a green deck that can accelerate it out by turn four and guarantee that you hit your islands or in a control deck as a finisher whose ability you can use with counterspells and bounce protection.

  13. simon, das war das erste mal dass ich dich einen undiskutierbaren fehler machen sah. also nimm das bitte als hoche lobung an. :) dein einziger “guter zug” ist dir wahrscheinlich auch bekannt.

  14. @Bobo @vis

    Thanks for your comments, some great insight that makes me want to jump back on the horse, so-to-speak. If you’re up for one more question, how did you come by this knowledge? Hard-earned by experience or just watching tons of drafts? I’m trying to soak up as much as I can (por ejemplo I watched Marshall’s drafts of ROE and read the primer before going into the draft) but I feel like there are prolly more knowledge sources out there that I’m not aware of.

  15. “If you’re up for one more question, how did you come by this knowledge? Hard-earned by experience or just watching tons of drafts?”

    Pretty simple for me in that I think it just comes down to the fact that I was drafting Rise a lot when it was current. Also was listening to Limited Resources and watching LSV draft videos, which you can always go back and look at.

    And I’d imagine ROE is just a tough format for someone who wasn’t drafting it when it was current because it’s just a bit different than most formats. For example, take cards like Glory Seeker, a perfectly reasonable 2/2 for 2, or Lagac Lizard, a 3/3 for 3. We play bears and even hill giants all the time, but in ROE those cards are pretty much unplayable. There just aren’t enough creatures like that and as a consequence you’re not going to be able to curve out and just tempo out your opponent with 2/2′s and 3/3′s. It’s a slow format and the power level of cards is really skewed towards the late game, so if you have cards that don’t do much in the late game or that don’t get you to your late game quicker (ramp) you’re going to be in trouble. So your starting point for what makes a good deck in this format is just a bit different than most formats. Another example of this would be that you generally will want 18 lands, and drawing is very often correct (unless you are playing or playing against UW levelers, basically the only aggro deck in the format).

    It really is a fun format though. My final recommendation would be to take sweet, powerful cards – even if they cost 8-10 mana – and then figure out how to cast them. It’s a blast and really it’s usually correct.

  16. Hi guys! As always, thanks for your comments. I am particularly enjoying the later discussion on how to find an entry point into a complex format like ROE. Hopefully my primer and this episode helped/entertained you as well.

    I find it interesting that almost every one of you commented on the timing and targeting of my final Vendetta. It is very possible that casting it on the Crusher earlier would have been better, but despite so many comments I haven’t seen anybody that got what I was trying to accomplish. My play might have been a strategic mistake, but it certainly wasn’t simply an oversight.

    If I Vendetta precombat, the board is him at 14 with Pelakka Wurm, me at 5 Life with a 4/4 Magmaw and the 4/5 Giant. Prophetic Prism fuels Magmaw, and so does Narcolepsy, albeit at a cost. Depending on my opponent’s hand, he has the option of trading Magmaw and Wurm, drawing a card and potentially dropping something else. He only makes this play if he has one or more powerful low toughness creature (which I then likely can’t beat) or another fatty in hand which dominates or creates parity with my 4/5. These are two bad scenarios for me, which put me at a severe disadvantage. At this stage I basically have to hope my opponent is out of gas.

    If my opponent is truly out of gas (best case scenario), the correct play for him is to keep back Pelakka Wurm, as it holds back both of my creatures when on defense rather than trading with one of them on offense. The game develops into a topdeck war with me at a significant life total disadvantage and a board state that is favoring him: additional creatures help him out more than me, and he has the option to attack at any point, which I do not.

    The only way to improve the board state and grim future described above is to lure my opponent into attacking with his Pelakka Wurm, which is certainly correct on his part as long as the Crusher is alive. The cost I have to pay for it is sacrificing a Prophetic Prism and either Land #8 or Narcolepsy. The fact that two of these cards are Magmaw fuel is irrelevant as my opponent can force me to give up Magmaw in combat in either scenario.

    The line I am taking leaves me with a 4/5 and 7 lands against his locked down Treespeaker and the unknown card he draws from the wurm. Except for Eldrazi Conscription (for which I need 1 land), I can cast every card in my deck, including Hartebeest plus a Narcolepsy in the same turn. Sacrificing Narcolepsy to the Annihilate trigger allows me to topdeck into the Conscription, which has a very good chance to win me the game (not against Wurm #2, but that’s another story, just as results-oriented as considering the Conscription topdeck). However, the Treespeaker is a 2/2 on its own that at the least can chump block any of my creatures twice, thus turning the 14-6 race into more of an 22-6 race (or worse).

    I played to win and I was confident that I had a better shot of winning from the board position created by a post-attack Vendetta and sacrificing a land rather than by giving my opponent the chance to outdraw me on a board that slightly favored him rather than me. Like I said, I don’t know if it was correct, but the comments I’ve read so far have all focused on the loss of two permanents only, rather than on the strategic trade-off offered by casting Vendetta sooner rather than later.


  17. Thanks for explaining your reasoning, it is indeed true that the board state you created had more chance of winning you the game than the one created by vendetta-ing the crusher.
    Although, to be fair, most likely you would have had to out-draw your opponent anyway. And other outs you mentioned (such as hartebeest) would have worked just as well with the other play.
    Your opponent being out of big creatures to cast is more likely than you drawing conscription, but in most cases neither would happen.

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