Simon Says #75: Convoke Discussion and Magic 2015 Draft #1

Simon Says returns just in time for Magic 2015. The Pro Tour is in the books, but the format remains largely unexplored. In this episode’s opening discussion, I highlight some of the strategic implications of Convoke, the returning mechanic of Magic 2015.

Check out our web store for Power and other Vintage Masters cards!

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

  1. Great content as always. I always learn something from these drafts.

    Chasm = kasm
    Chieftain = Chief-tin

  2. @Dudebro: It looks like there are two minutes missing from the last video. I’ll see if that can be fixed. My source file seems fine, but I did experience some glitches recording on MTGO V4 that might influence how Youtube processes the files. Sorry about the unintentional cliffhanger :).

    @Fan: Thank you, I appreciate it. Regarding pronunciation, the very first episode in a new format is always the hardest for me. At that point I haven’t been exposed to the card names too much, and most of my attention is on gameplay and strategic commentary.
    The frustrating thing is that in theory, I know how the “Ch” in Chasm is pronounced. But being German, my brain is used to pronounce syllables with the same letters the same way, so if I’m not super alert I will mess up words like Chasm/chastise, Chieftain/pertain, Butcher/but, Archangel/Archbishop.

  3. I think you underrate Spirit Bonds. Every time I have seen the card, it was completely nuts. Basically every creature you cast gives you an extra 1/1 flyer (which can even be used to protect your other creatures). I think that Spirit Bonds is the correct Pick there (though white wasn’t open, bat it would still be a potential splash card).

    Also why even pick up the Chief Engineer? You have not many artifacts that profit from it (the best you could do is probably play both 2/1′s on turn three) while there is the Research Assistant which has a valuable ability (4 mana for looting is quite expensive, but it is a valid lategame option. Convoke without useful artifacts is not – the Meteorite you later picked up could make the Engineer somewhat ok, but still I think the pick was clearly wrong).

    But nice to watch your videos! I can say you are my favorite Draft-Video-producer :)

  4. @Christian: Thanks for your feedback. I assume that you are commenting after having only watched the drafting portion? I also think that I underrated Spirit Bonds and mention exactly that when I face it in round 3. I’m still not sure what the correct FPFP decision is here.
    Picking up a second Research Assistant over Chief Engineer sounds reasonable as well. I’ve had the Chief Engineer be quite good before, but this wasn’t the right shell for him.

  5. Yeah, I hadn’t watched the rounds before. I kinda like to feedback earlier, because otherwise I might forget what I wanted to say ;).

    I just played several drafts with and against the card, and it imo is one of the strongest cards in the set. And it is pretty hard to play against with pretty narrow answers against it. Chasm Stalker is really strong, too, but imo it is much easier to deal with: There are removals that just deal with it without making the tokens (pretty much most white removals, Encrust, bounce, any removal the turn you played it), especially considering that it starts at 1 toughness (e.g. it dies to Forge Devil). It also is just a “big fatty” optimally – which can be jumped easily. I think you didn’t won M3G1 because of Chasm Stalker, but because of the Chieftain. Without the trample your opponent could have jumped for a pretty long amount of time.

    Probably the best cards against Spirit Bond is Negate (which is kinda not easy to use against a 2 mana card that is played as early as possible) and Naturalize – both cards I don’t like to maindeck.

    Every time I played against/with Spirit Bonds, I was really impressed by the card, while I had games against Chasm Stalker where he didn’t do anything that useful in the end (like you maybe have seen in M3G2 with the Pillar of Lights). Yes there are moments Spirit Bonds doesn’t help either, but that is basically only when you have an pretty strong curve anyway (like your opponent M3G1 – though whether it is better to miss out on the spirits I’m not sure on) or if you don’t have any creatures anyway (yes, in that situation Chasm Stalker is better, but a normal draft deck has enough creatures).

    The only reason why I would take the Chasm Stalker over Spirit Bond is when I want to force blue. (And normally I don’t like to force colors)

    The Chieftain is also really powerful (as is the complete cycle imo), but being basically a gold card makes it a much riskier pick and picking either rare is just safer imo.

  6. Since the end of the video hasn’t been posted I’m going to mentally go back a few turns pretend you encrusted the master of predicaments while he was still mana screwed and just beat him down until you won. Either way I’m assuming you took the match.

  7. @Jason: Great news, thanks for the quick resolution!

    @Christian: It’s funny that you mention Negate and Naturalize, because I love to maindeck these cards in core set limited.

    @Junx: I’m not sure how your suggestion of encrusting the Master and beating him down is supposed to work. You are aware that the Master of Predicaments has to be tapped before Encrust does anything? Getting hit by the Master and allowing my opponent a free (white) spell seems counterproductive to my game plan. And even if my plan is to Encrust, I leave the decision if and when to attack with the Master in my opponent’s hands.

  8. Great to have you back. Precise and detailed commenting as always. I wasnt really sold on boarding in the forge devil but it turned out alright.

  9. Hallo, Simon! Thank you for the thoughtful discussion as usual and excellent draft videos. I probably would not have won round 3, while you found winning lines.

    This isn’t 100% related to anything in today’s videos, but a thought I had while watching. I am learning German and always find it interesting how card names get translated (or approximated) in other languages. If you are ever looking for a short trivia section for a video, I know I would be interested in hearing some of your favorite card names in German, either because they are well- or poorly-translated, completely different, funny juxtapositions with the English name, or take on different meanings/humor in German that aren’t present in English. Of course I know that non-German speakers would be less interested in that if it isn’t explained well, but it’s just a thought.

    In any case, thanks for helping me become a better Magic player! :-)

  10. Glad to see you back, Simon. You’re just about my favorite pro to watch videos by. You’re always informative and a pleasure to watch. I’ve even watched all of your Goetzen and Goetzen vids even though I understand only have a smattering of German.

    Please keep putting up vids here, at Star City or whatever. Also think you and Mr. Lybaert on the European side of things are my favorite Commentary announcers (LSV and Randy Beuhler take that place for me here in the US).

    Not to gush, but really wanted to let you know how much pleasure and great info you’ve given me and some of my close friends.

    Best wishes,


  11. New to limited. Just found you. Enjoying success in m15 because of content like yours. Your clear and concise narrative and strategic explanations are incredibly instructive. I look forward to watching and playing more. Please keep these videos coming.

  12. I’ve seen the math done in a lot of places and the results are always the same: with a 40 card deck you never want/need more than 4 counters on Grindclock.

    Assuming a turn 2 Grindclock they will be milled out on turn 11. Fastest possible Grindclock win without other sources of mill or them having other sources of card draw.

  13. @Grindclock: While it might be true that 4 counters are enough – if you don’t lower your clock it is normally better to charge it more, because you lower the risk of giving your opponent free stuff (like milling that Soul or making his Gravedigger better).

    @Negate: Maybe I wanted to make that sentence shorter than it should be. I think Negate is a perfectly fine card and I’m ok with running them main, depending on what other options are available and how the decks operates. But still Negate isn’t that awesome against Spirit Bond – especially if you are on the draw and they cast it on turn 2, then your Negate helps nothing.

    @Naturalize: While there are some targets for it, I think there aren’t enough useful targets to make the card maindeck material normally. Sure there are worse 23rd cards, and if I can loot or something they aren’t dead cards, but if the only target my opponent shows me is a Bronze Sable, that isn’t worth a slot in the deck imo.

  14. Naturalize is in my opinion very maindeckable. There is an aura and artifact theme going around and I always find targets for Naturalize. :)

  15. Of all the draft videos of M15 I’ve seen so far, this was the best. Interesting in the draft portion and masterful in the game portion. Thanks a bundle!

  16. This was a great draft. I really enjoyed the different styles of deck that you were able to beat as well as the different win conditions you used. The explanations were also very clear. Thanks for making it.

  17. Great Video as always,
    I love the additionally commentary you add at the beginning of a new set.