Thursday, February 21, 2013

Casual Gatecrash Draft - Orzhov 'Till the Sun Comes Up!

In the spirit of continued casual Magicking, the crew from the recent Gatecrash bender got together last night to draft the set again.  There were only 7 people this time around, so there was a good chance that the guild of your choice wouldn't get nabbed by somebody else.  Unsurprisingly, nobody really went for Dimir, but whatever.

The rare in my first pack was Immortal Servitude.  Not exactly the bomb I was hoping to set the tone of my draft, but it gave me something worth using.  I was then passed a copy of Ooze Flux, which I grabbed in the hopes of shifting into a Simic deck (because I'd been so successful with Simic during our last draft).  I've been hoping to use Ooze Flux as a sort of perpetual-oozing machine, so I wanted to try to make that work.  Throughout the rest of that first pack, though, it became clear that both green and blue were being sucked up, so I pulled as many Extort creatures as I could.

In my second pack, the rare was Fathom Mage.  At this point, I was still hoping for Simic, so I got a couple more Evolvers, but it just wasn't sustainable.  I reluctantly shifted my focus to black and white... again.  This time it stuck, though, as I was able to get a fair number of Extort creatures and a decent amount of removal.  Whenever possible, I tried to get low-costing spells so I would have more Extort options, always prioritizing permanents with Extort over everything else.

Pack three brought a Watery Grave, which I would have rare drafted (for better or worse) even if it hadn't shared colors with some of what I'd accumulated to that point.  Fortunately, it gave me a nice option to splash blue for some of the Simic cards I'd hastily drafted, so it wasn't a terrible pick anyway.

In the end, I constructed a deck with just about everything I took that were black and/or white.  Despite not having anything particularly sexy, my deck did pretty well (confirming in my mind that Extort can be brutal).  Here's what it was:

Thrull Parasite
Death's Approach
Basilica Screecher
Gutter Skulk
Devour Flesh
Slate Street Ruffian
Deathcult Rogue

Dutiful Thrull
Shielded Passage
Syndic of Tithes
Court Street Denizen
Righteous Charge

Beckon Apparition
Vizkopa Guildmage
Kingpin's Pet
Immortal Servitude
Purge the Profane

8 Plains
8 Swamp

Since my basic strategy was to stall until I could Extort my opponent to death, I would always mulligan if my starting hand didn't have both an Extorter and the appropriate mana to play it.  I started most of my games with 6 cards in hand, but I was always able to start extorting by turn 3.  From that point on, the goal was just to stay alive; block with my non-Extort creatures and burn as much mana on Extort as I could.

With this modest little deck, I was able to win three best-of-threes, with a game record of 6-1 for the night.  My performance confirmed that Orzhov has a powerful limited presence, but I'm still not sure how it'll work in constructed matches.  I imagine that the slower, stalling play style will get obliterated by aggressive decks or decent removal, but I'm going to build a deck and what happens.

As a side bonus, we played a couple best-of-three Two-Headed Giant matches.  My team won both matches (we switched partners for the second), and it's pretty clear that Extort is God Mode for multiplayer-  draining life from each opponent hits twice in Two-Headed Giant, and coupling that with the Vizkopa Guildmage's second ability (any time you gain life this turn, each opponent loses that much life), a single Extort suddenly becomes an 8 life swing.  That's a pretty big deal.

Although Simic is still my favorite of the Gatecrash guilds, I think Orzhov just became a close second.

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