Thursday, 24 February 2011

Drafting, and the power of infect

On Tuesday me and Liz headed over to Hemel for drafting the new Magic the Gathering set. The drafting format was Mirrodin Besieged, Mirrodin Besieged, Scars of Mirrodin, and was the first time I had drafted with the new set, and the first time Liz had played with it at all. 

Opening up the first pack of Mirrodin Besieged, I was faced with the choice of Phyrexian Rebirth or Go for the Throat. 
I thought about it for a bit and eventually decided upon Go for the Throat. I don't know if it was the best choice as its a fairly tricky one to make, but was happy with my choice, and even happier when I got a Spread the Sickness second pick. The rest of the pack, I didn't see much infect, so didn't pick any, mainly getting some more black and green cards (including a Fangren Marauder or two), and some artifacts. 

The second pack (still Mirrodin Besieged) had a large range of potential picks, I was tempted by the Myr Turbine, but went with the Blightwidow as its good in an infect and non-infect deck. I was then passed a Phyrexian Vatmother which I took, considering seeing if it was possible to get together some infect cards, as I had two very powerful ones (powerful for limited infect, as they are harder to kill than the X/1's and X/2's), but would not completely commit to drafting infect in case I didn't get a high enough number to make it viable. I did pick up a Phyrexian Juggernaut and Morbid Plunder (a card I really liked from the last time I played (and won a trophy)) in the pack, as well as some decent red cards (Burn the Impure and two Blisterstick Shamans). 

In the third pack, Scars of Mirrodin, I got an early Contagion Clasp and Necropede, and a fairly late Trigon of Corruption and Ichorclaw Myr. I also picked up some generally handy cards, Instill Infection, Wall of Tanglecord, Sylvok Replica and Clone Shell. 

Putting the deck together, I was unsure wither I would 1) actually play the few creatures I had with infect and 2) what colours I would be in. I was almost defiantly in black due to the good removal, but would be able to have another colour, either red or green (with slightly more green cards than red, and almost no white or blue). 

In the end I decided, as it was quite fun to play infect last time I played, I'd have a go at it again. 
This is the build I ended up with (I may have changed one or two cards since the original build, but this is the bulk of the deck). That is only 6 creatures with infect in the deck, not much at all: Blightwidow, Phyrexian Juggernaut, Phyrexian Vatmother, Necropede, Ichorclaw Myr, Flensermite. There was slo Virulent Wound which can give a poison counter, as can Pistus Strike, and two spells with proliferate (Contagion Clasp and Spread the Sickness) to help it along. 

Surprisingly enough, even with the low density of infect creatures, they were powerful enough that I was able to win all the games I played by poison damage. 

As there was an odd number of players, I ended up with the first round bye, so looked through my deck again and wandered around to watch some games. I saw the person on my left play the Phyrexian Rebirth I had passed in the first pack to leave him with an 8/8 artifact creature token (which was then stolen the turn after). 

Into the second round, I was playing a blue deck. One of the games I was stuck on three land for a number of turns, getting down to seriously low life. I had a Viridian Emissary out which, as my luck would have it, was lessening the attacks against with me, to prevent me from blocking with it to get another land. I won that round, and in the third round I was playing another deck with blue in (although not exclusively blue this time). A large onslaught of flyers meant I side boarded in some extra removal for them (this might have been when I put in the Pistus Strike), but I did get to play with proliferate for the first time (I've not really used any proliferate cards before), which was very powerful when I played it (Spread the Sickness killing a creature, adding another -1/-1 counter to another creature to kill that, giving my opponent an extra poison counter and adding a charge counter to my Trigon of Corruption). The last game was very close, I was down to 3 life and close to being beaten by flyers when I got a boost off Fangren Marauder to keep me around another turn or two. Still at low life, I risked playing a Phyrexian Rager to draw an extra card (I was at 5 against a 3/3 flyer, so the one life wouldn't have made the difference), and seemed to have the best luck imaginable when I drew the Go for the Throat. All the games I had played that night were both fun, and very close and exciting. 

In summary, I thought it was fairly clear that infect is very, very powerful, even in small quantities. My first experiences playing with proliferate also saw that it is a very powerful mechanic.