Dragon’s Maze: Playing to Your Weaknesses – Selesnya and Orzhov
It’s finally here, the last article on uncommons and common cards in limited for Dragon’s Maze! Thanks for being patient with me as I get these out, and I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas for the cards I’ve suggested in the previous articles. Selesnya and Orzhov are the last Guilds on the menu, so let’s not dilly dally and finish this.
It’s no Thragtusk, and it’s no Centaur Healer (RTR), but Alive//Well is a decent card in limited. Pure life gain cards would never get played in limited because it only postpones the inevitable, but if you can attach a 3/3 creature to it now we’re talking. By itself you’ll be getting a 3/3 and 2 life, but if you have a few other creatures it becomes much more powerful. Life gain is important in limited, especially if you have a way to win (which is why I choose cards with lifelink or at least have them waiting in the sideboard against aggressive decks). If you’re playing a token heavy Selesnya deck in draft you’re going to take this as one of your first cards, and if your card pool for sealed is leaning towards GW, it would probably be a good choice in there too. I’d team GW up with Simic or Gruul, but Boros might work well too thanks to tokens helping you to activate Battalion.
Vanilla. Big Guy. Blocks and kills most of the other creatures in this format. Solid card. Use this in your sealed deck if you need some finishers or your deck is a little light on the casting cost. Probably wouldn’t be drafted higher than the 23rd card, but definitely good in sealed.
The Bronzebeak Moa’s are incredibly powerful in populating decks. Flashing in an Eyes in the Sky to put two birds into play after it attacks would make it an 8/8 and kill whatever is blocking it. Even without tokens, you’ll still get a lot of power in sealed because you’ll most likely be playing 13-15 other creatures. Draft would be fairly high if you’re using its colors, and in sealed definitely. Would probably work well in any of Selesnya’s ally colors.
It’s not the best green card out there, but playing with a lot of Guildgates in your deck turns this into a Hero’s Reunion(RTR) with a 2/4 creature attached to it. While not a high pick in draft or in sealed, it’s a good card to round out your 23 choices for a Green/X/X deck. I used this quite a few times in my Simic, Golgari, and Selesnya decks at the pre-release to disgruntled moans from my opponent. Life + a good blocker = solid card.
Trostani’s Summoner is hands down the best green card in limited. Seven mana is high, but in return you get 10 power and 4 creatures. This absolutely amazing and if you have an anthem effect like Collective Blessing or Gruul War Chant, it makes it even better. This card becomes even better if you can return it to your hand or blink it to play it again. Cards like Deputy of Acquittals and Species Gorger are two great cards you’d want to play with this. She gives any G/W/- deck the finishing power it needs so if you’re using these two colors take her! I’d take her first in a draft, and she’d definitely be one of the first choice for a sealed deck as well. Don’t pass up this card!
While I’d take Gift of Orzhova over this any day, it’s still a decent card. Unflinching Courage gives your creature a boost, lifelink, and trample. In sealed playing Gruul’s big creatures in a GWR Naya deck, this is definitely welcome. You still have to watch out for removal like Angelic Edict and Grisly Spectacle when playing this, but I think that’s a risk you’ll have to take. A prime target for this would be on a Ascended Lawmage in an GWU deck. Giving a hexproof, 3/2 flyer trample and lifelink is a sure way to win the game quickly. I’d expect Boros/Gruul to make good use of this card, as well as Simic/Azorius. Not something you’d take incredibly early in draft, but a solid card as long as you have some decent creatures to play it on. Also consider comboing Alpha Authority with this card to give it hexproof before attaching it.
Orzhov seems to be getting darker the longer we use their cards. Look at the art, look at the power . . . Debt to the Deathless is a great finisher in limited. You’ll want to hold onto this in a RWB, GWB, or any other WB deck as a finisher. Once you have around 8+ mana, this card will deal some serious damage to your opponent as well bring you back from the brink. It’s not a card you want to take too early in draft, but if you wait too long it will be taken. I’d take it as my 6th-7th card I think, and in sealed it would definitely be in my deck. Just make sure not to use it too quickly. Just like Mind Grind from Gatecrash, if you mill them for 2 or 3 land, it’s not going to kill them. You have to wait until you can maximize the effectiveness of your spell. Wait until you see 12 mana on the board them mill them for 5 land to kill them. The same is true for Debt. Wait until later in the game when you can make the killing blow, then use it.
Everybody’s been saying how creepy the card art is for Maw of Obzedat and I agree. However, it’s a decent card in limited. The best colors for Maw would have to be GW in a Selesnya/Orzhov deck. Having tokens to sacrifice for the added damage to kill your opponent’s creature or to pump up your team for an attack is well worth it. I’d make it one of my later choices in sealed, but in draft I think it would be a difficult decision to make. He’s not really a bomb, and he’s not really an anthem . . . where does he fit?
Tithe Drinker is another solid card for both draft and sealed. It works well as a creature, trading with two defense early on or just waiting for your opponent to leave themselves open to gain your life back. It also works well on defense, siphoning away your opponent’s life any time you play a spell. It’s low casting cost and power make it great when paired with Boros, Selesnya, and Rakdos. With the right tempo cards, Azorius would be a good match for it as well. Since the Dragon’s Maze sealed meta is going to be a little slower, Tithe Drinker probably isn’t going to be a first pick for your deck. I’m guessing one of the first 10 cards in draft, and a solid 15th choice for your sealed deck.
- Sunspire Gatekeepers – without the gates to activate its ability, it’s not that good, but if you do have them getting two creatures for 4 mana isn’t too bad, especially with 4 power and 6 toughness.
- Profit//Loss – a good card if you can pay for both sides of it, and in sealed you’ll probably be able to use it, but in draft the casting cost makes it a lot more difficult to get decent value from since the format will be a lot faster.
And that’s a Wrap
That’s all for Dragon’s Maze. I hope you got some valuable information from this series and that it helps you to win sealed and drafting events in the future. I’ve definitely improved my deck building and limited skills since I started with Innistrad, and I hope that you can start winning all pre-releases and booster drafts that you go to as well.
I’ll be taking a short break from articles but starting this weekend I’ll be starting my “Bang for your Buck” series again, this time on Dragon’s Maze cards. I’d expect that card prices won’t be affected that much due to DGM being a small set, but there are a few cards that will push prices up/down, such as the reprinting of Shocklands. Interested? Well, then be sure to check back this weekend to see what I think. Thanks again for sticking with me through these series of articles and as always comments are welcome!