Drafting Strixhaven: Underclass Hero
Updated: Apr 23, 2021
So with the first week of classes in Strixhaven coming to a close, let's take a moment to discuss first impressions of the premiere draft format on Arena. I have completed four drafts so far this season, mostly because of limited free time, what with spending so much time in the greenhouse and all. WITHERBLOOM FOR LIFE! Ok so, in my four drafts, I had two of them play out to winning records. The first one below, you probably heard about on the podcast. The second one, I actually finished last night and I must say, I'm getting the hang of it pretty quick. Now, you have to put yourself in my mind to draft like I do, and I recently referred to my mindset when playing magic as a dancing maniac, internally rocking out to Rasputin by Boney M. If you can get yourself in that mind set then the rest should come naturally.
Let's break down the composition of my winning decks here and be sure to take notes, or don't, whatever... it's not like I studied or anything.
This deck went 7-1 and I immediately sent it to James, my eternal rival, for bragging and also inspiration. Now first, I want to admit that I don't think anyone in my pod was pushing these colors since some very powerful cards had been late picks, namely Rushed Rebirth and one of the Quandrix Pledgemages. Apprentice and Pledgemage cycles have been relatively powerful for me. The only one I have my doubts about overall is Lorehold Apprentice since spirits has never been something I could build synergy around in any of my drafts so far. But, with only four drafts in, that's not saying much.
The all start for this deck was Infuse with Vitality. I know it may not seem like "absurdly good" but when you use a two mana spell to kill a creature, gain two life, and protect your own creature, you can get absolutely wild in your combat tricks. I was able to push through damage and my blocks were much easier since I could anticipate opposing combat tricks without much worry about my own board.
When a plan comes together
When I started this draft, I had no idea what I was going for, every pick had me scattered and in this particular case, that worked out pretty well. This was the best final product I could come up with.
This deck was fast, consistent, and as flexible a draft deck as I have ever built. I know it wasn't a beautiful 7-0 but it easily could have been since I had a few misplays involving Prismari Pledgemage. Can you find the similarities between this deck and the previous one? WELL DONE CLASS, IT'S MAGECRAFT!!!! Mulligans for this list were a little trickier with three colors but the curve was low enough that it wasn't too much of a draw back in the long run. Mage Duel + Prismari Pledgemage did some pretty good work on underdeveloped boards. Card advantage in the form of "learn" spells like Enthusiastic Study and Pop Quiz made sure I had plenty of gas. Primal Command was of course, very good, especially when I had the option of recurring it with Regrowth or Pillardrop Warden.
Even with all of the spell-slinging synergy this deck offered, the real winner here is Quandrix Apprentice. With low cost combat tricks in Big Play, Mage Duel, and Heated Debate, it made thinning the deck of lands a trivial matter. It was making sure that I was drawing more action than lands and since I didn't have any big creature bombs, it was a huge help in closing out games as quickly as possible. Overall the deck felt very powerful and could have made a better record with a little more attention from the pilot.
In conclusion class, I would suggest considering this as a low curve, spell based format. Powerful early action can cripple the opponents ability to get back in the game. Lorehold and Silverquill have been lackluster so far but having on four drafts in, that's not a very accurate analysis as of yet, just an observation. I'll check in again in a week or so with some fresh takes on what I discover. For now, Magecraft=Good and don't be afraid to take a few early lessons, especially in removal.