Simon Says #80: First Steps on Tarkir and and KTK Draft #1

I didn’t get to play as much Khans of Tarkir as I would have liked in the last two weeks, so I had some catching up to do. Thankfully, the Pro Tour highlighted most of the directions you can take on this crazy plane inhabited by gray ogres and three-color monsters. What have your first impressions been?

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  1. Hey Simon,

    I might be wrong, but in my opinion you should reevaluate “Feat of Resistance”. I made very good experience with it and I think it would have had very nice synergy with your outlast-lords.

    Maybe you did not consider it due to misreading “Defiant Strike” though.

    Thanks for the great content!

  2. Definitely agree with neuhier’s thoughts on the Feats – great synergy with the counter lords and much better combat tricks than Defiant Strikes! They are going up in everybody’s pick orders and will be hard to get ahold of soon! Pick them highly!

  3. Since so many people invest so much mana or plan to invest a lot of mana into the morph creatures i think combat tricks are a premium in this set. The two best are Fest of Resistance and Dragonscale Boon due to the pump effect being permanent and the added bonus if you have any outlast creatures in play. There isnt much bounce and not much instant removal thats cheaper then the trick to punish the tricks.
    Do you stream on twitch? Id love to follow more of your matches and drafting insight.

  4. Hi everyone, and thanks for your early comments!

    I completely missed what Defiant Strike does, thinking that it gave first strike in addition to +1/+0 and drawing a card. Might have been the name, the art, or simply the fact that almost all cheap power-boosting white instants give first strike. I agree that Feast of Resistance is far superior, and Byzantium’s comment is pretty spot on regarding the value of persistent combat tricks.

    I irregularly stream on (follow me there and/or on twitter), but haven’t had much time to do so due to real life commitments. I also uploaded my most recent streams to Enjoy!

  5. I’m not a pro or anything, so take this advice with a grain of salt, but here’s what I’ve learned about lands so far:

    Since this is a set that easily supports three colors or more, picking up the fixing is, obviously, very important. However, taking a “life-gate” land is usually not worth it unless you know that you will be running it. The tri-lands are a different matter because they’ll be supported as dual lands (and possible splash choice) in two different clans if you happen to not be in the clan it was made for. The two-color lands are just not going in your deck unless you’re in those two colors, so I would never take them early when I could be taking cards that could at least become sideboard options. The dual lands can never even be that if you’re not running those colors; they’re just slots where you took the pack, tore up one card in it, and passed it along. In my opinion, the spells and creatures are what make me want to take the lands, not the other way around.

    So basically, I’ve been drafting like this:
    -Figure out what two or three colors I want to be in based on first few picks
    -If there’s a life-gate in my colors, take it unless there’s a good spell present
    -Start prioritizing fixing late pack 2 or in pack 3 if you’re short.

    I’ve been consistently running 4-6 fixing lands with relatively even mana bases split across three colors and been relatively fine with mana. Sure, the mana screw still happens from time to time, but usually not much worse than I’ve been in two-color formats.

  6. Congratulation on your PhD thesis! [Not that comparable, but I'm turning in my Diploma thesis in two weeks :-) ]

    I have some drafts under my belt, but I still don’t know how many colors you want. I think the answer could be “as many as you can support”. I think the most important thing is to have a consistent mana basis. A tri-colored deck with 6/6/6 like it was “playable” in Shards of Alara is certainly not the way to go. I settled mostly for 2 main colors with some splash(es), but from what I have seen pretty much anything is possible (I haven’t yet heard of mono-colored decks though).

    On M3G1: Why did you reveal your Watcher of the Roost turn 4? Your opponent had no blockers and you showed him a card you didn’t cast. Wouldn’t it be better to leave him in the dark and unmoprh it later?

    (I also found your evaluation of Defiant Strike strange, but it was later clear that you just misread the card. If it gave also First Strike I think your evaluation would have been correct.)

  7. I would guess you might have been thinking of ‘Guided Strike’, which was a card in either Odyssey Block or Invasion Block that gave +1/+0, first strike, and drew a card. It is kind of confusing for them to name it ‘Defiant Strike’ and have it be so close in effect to the previous card … maybe it was made in homage?

    I would agree with the others on ‘Feat of Resistance’, but I am definitely not an expert in the format.

  8. that round 1 was pure skill, very sweet. I don’t start drafting a format until I watch your guys first couple of videos

  9. 2.1 I was waiting for him to run out act of treason and kill you with your own flyer. He also badly misplayed his tap-down spell – could have gotten an extra turn by tapping your stuff on your turn.

  10. Pleasing to watch you making a lot of ‘bad cards’ work really well. I was so keen to see how that Mastadon would go but you never drew him. I think he is valid for just stonewalling your opponent while you get bigger threats out, preferably evasive ones.
    Glad to see the Banners work out, everyone has bad mouthed them but at the end of the day they fix mana and accelerate you into those big fatties. From what I’ve seen so far people need to draft pretty fantastic decks to run you over super early.

  11. Thank you Simon for another high-quality draft. What are your thoughts about “monopolizing” one color in the beginning?
    I would have picked the Pine Walker instead of the RW tapland and Awaken the Bear instead of Rite of the Serpent. That way Green should really flow in the subsequent packs.