Modern Masters 2015: Playing To Your Weaknesses – Multicolor and Land

(NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)

As for my rating system, I’ll merely state if it’s a high, medium, or low pick in draft. A HIGH pick means that you should take it as soon as you see it (if it’s in your colors of course). HIGH picks are bombs that won’t come around the table a second time. MEDIUM picks are cards that have good synergies with other cards and are great at filling your mana curve or acting as role players. These cards might come around a 2nd time if you pass on them, so if there is another card that ranks higher, take that one and wait for this to come back. LOW picks are cards that are the leftovers. Maybe you need a 23rd card for your deck to round things out – THAT’S what a LOW pick is. You can take these ratings to mean the same for sealed as well. )

 

Holy crap! GP Chiba/Vegas/Utrecht is almost here! I can’t believe how quickly that came up on us. I’ll be leaving Friday morning to arrive in Chiba around 2-3pm or so, but before then I WILL get these articles done. Today we’re pushing through the multicolor and land cards. I know I was vocal about getting bounce lands instead of Signets before, but after playing with them a little bit they have really grown on me. Just like last time, I’ll be experimenting with a new point system to give an inherent value to the card instead of just saying it’s a high, medium, or low pick. I’ll use 1 star for a low pick, 2 for a Low/Medium pick, 3 for a Medium pick, 4 for a Medium/High pick, and 5 stars for a high pick. Eventually I might even add in half stars to go even further, but for right now that’s what I’ll be using.

 

Multicolor

 A quick note on multicolor. For the most part, these cards are only good if you are playing their two colors evenly. Most cards can’t be splashed and should be viewed in such a way. They can be great when the synergy matches up, but you shouldn’t force it.

 

Electrolyze

Electrolyze

In the right decks, multicolor cards can be punishing. They are meant to be more powerful, but at the same harder to play unless you’re dedicated to their colors. Electrolyze didn’t really need a reprint in my opinion, but who am I to complain for a burn spell that cantrips? My friend really liked playing straight UR at our booster draft during release weekend, and who wouldn’t want to burn lots of things and draw a ton of cards? This card can fit in a number of decks: UR, Grixis Proliferate/Bloodthirst, and RWU Voltron/Affinity come to mind immediately. It’s a hard card to splash, but if you’re capable of running any of those color combinations this should be a pretty high pick for you.

Worth Splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium to High (4 Stars)

 

Ethercaste Knight

Ethercaste Knight

 

I like Ethercaste Knight for a variety of reasons. First, he’s a 1/3 for 2 mana that becomes a 2/4 when attacking by himself. Next, he’s an artifact creature which means he fits well in any Affinity/Metalcraft deck you put together, and finally his color combination. He works perfectly in UW Affinity, but also splashes well in RWU Voltron decks too. I’d love to slap a Cranial Plating on him in turn 3 and watch him go to down on your opponent for 4 damage. High pick in Affinity and not bad in Esper Proliferate/Spirits or RWU either. Not an all start in those decks, but a strong choice for your two drop spot.

Worth Splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium (3 stars)

 

Glassdust Hulk

Glassdust Hulk

Glassdust Hulk is an absolute beating if your opponent doesn’t remove it. If you curve/ramp into this on/before turn 5, I have no doubt that you’ll be able to drop an artifact each turn if you’re playing a UW Affinity/Metalcraft deck and make him unblockable. The Hulk will be a very real clock for your opponent from that turn onward, as long as you can protect it. I view this as a high pick if you have the artifacts to take advantage of its ability, but even in a regular deck like BWU I think it still has a good body. I have a feeling that most decks will be running an average of 4-5 artifacts (creatures, artifacts, and equipment), so you can still count on random activations of his unblockable ability.

Worth Splashing for?: Maybe

RATING: Medium (3 stars)

 

Pillory of the Sleepless

Pillory of the Sleepless

Pillory of the Sleepless is another Pacifism variant, but unlike Arrest in white which shuts down activated abilities too, Pillory sucks away an opponent’s life turn by turn. It’s not bad as far as removal goes, and sometimes you want something like this or Narcolepsy over hard removal so you don’t have to deal with Persist abilities or somebody’s Ulamog the Infinite Gyre attacking you every turn. Junk tokens/spirits and Esper Proliferate/Spirits would be a good spot for it, as well as BW Spirits naturally. I’d take it high in draft in packs 2 and 3, and even consider taking it early in my first pack if removal is looking rather slim.

Worth Splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium

 

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball is a fun, fun card to play in limited. It kills any creature at instant speed for 4 mana, but it also gives you the choice to disrupt an opponent’s mana fixing. It would be a shame if your opponent only had that one land in their deck to splash for a powerful card outside of their main colors and you took it out. Another strong card in limited that I would take somewhat high in draft. Can’t go wrong playing it in any RBW deck.

Worth Splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium

 

Vengeful Rebirth

Vengeful Rebirth

It’s 6 mana but still worth playing. Not only does it bring back a creature if you want it to, but it can also bring back a planeswalker, artifact, or enchantment. The text says “target card”. Could you imagine bringing a Pelakka back to your hand and dealing 7 damage to a creature or player? This card can be downright mean in the right deck, and will shine in ramp decks. Draft/play big green cards along with it and you’ll have deadly removal and the power to finish games quickly. Would be pretty good in a Jund build alongside some black removal and red burn.

Worth Splashing for?: Yes

RATING: Medium

 

Restless Apparition

Restless Apparition

Hybrid cards are so much better than plain old multicolor cards in limited. Instead of being forced to play both colors, you can choose one color or the other. Restless Apparition can be pretty good lately game when you have lots of mana laying around, and persist ensures that it will be trading twice or eating 2 types of removal to stop it. It’s best deck would be in BW of course, but I think this could shine in GB, UW, or any other two color build sharing one of its colors as well. It’s not inherently strong, but has the potential to be.

Worth splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium  (3 stars)

 

Shrewd Hatchling

Shrewd Hatchling

I’m surprised none of the other Hatchlings showed up. Seemed like they would have made a nice uncommon cycle, but oh well. Hatchling works in both red and blue decks, especially if you have the cantrips and burn spells to help him along with his -1/-1 counters. It’s not really something you want to splash because you need those red and blue spells to make him a 6/6, but it can be pretty strong in a pure UR deck. You don’t necessarily need to play both colors, but if you’re heavy in either blue or red you should play him. Late game he becomes semi-unblockable clock for your opponent.

Worth splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium to High (4 stars).

 

Selesnya Guildmage

Selesnya Guildmage

Selesnya Guildmage is a great late game card. He spits out creatures to overwhelm opponents and can become a mini-anthem effect too. BG sacrifice, BW spirits, or BGW Spirit/sacrifice decks would greatly benefit from having him, but I think he’d even be good in a UW affinity or RW voltron deck with only the white ability available to him. Worth splashing, but only if that third color is to activate either of his abilities.

Worth Splashing for: Yes

RATING: Medium to High (4 stars)

 

Drooling Groodion

Drooling Groodion

Drooling Groodion fits right in with the GB sacrifice deck, and his best friend is Endrek Sahr. If you’re playing with a lot of Eldrazi drones or other token makers, you can let the Groodion sit back and snipe off creatures every turn. His 4/3 body is also tough to kill. If you can throw in a few bounce lands, an Evolving Wilds, or something like Alloy Myr that can make any color mana, I think it worth splashing for him. I could see it becoming great asset in a BW spirit deck with a splash of green and access to cards like Spectral Procession.

Worth Splashing for?: Yes

RATING: Medium to High (4 Stars)

 

Lorescale Coatl

Lorescale Coatl

Low casting cost, high pay off. I would definitely play this card in a UG deck or any other variant such as BUG Proliferate/Graft. Not only does it have great synergy with the proliferate and graft mechanics, but it can quickly become a huge beater with cards like Tezzeret’s Gambit (add 3 counter!). I think it’s worth splashing for, but only if you have the fixing. I don’t know if it would be worth slipping forests or islands into your deck if you were strongly in only one of the colors.

Worth Splashing for?: Maybe

RATING: Medium (3 stars)

 

Agony Warp

Agony Warp

Slightly better than Nameless Inversion, and it could possibly kill 2 creatures. You can block a creature with 2 creatures to kill it and suck away it’s ability to kill yours, and then also take out another creature with 3 toughness. High pick if you’re in blue and black I think since removal is going to be important, especially if you can target 2 creatures for 2 mana.

Worth Splashing for?: No

RATING: Medium to High (4 stars)

 

 

Lands

 

Bounce Lands

Bounce Lands

I had I’d rather have the Signets and some other land cycle instead, but you know what, the bounce lands are fine. After having a chance to play with them a little bit last weekend, I think they are going to be great. I imagine each one will be very high draft choices, especially if they share a color a person needs. As for when you should draft one, I think you’ll only see it one time. If it shares even one color you’re playing I think it’s worth taking, especially in that first pack, but I would also recommend taking them if you are playing ramp or Eldrazi. Can you have too many? Definitely. I would cut off the number in my deck around 3-4.

RATING: High (5 stars)

 

Evolving Wilds

Evolving Wilds

Evolving Wilds isn’t as good as a the bounce lands since it doesn’t ramp you up, but it’s still a good tool if you’re splashing for a 3rd color, playing with a lot of double/triple symbols, or looking to filter out your deck in order to improve your draws. It’s a decent choice around pick 6 or 7 after most of the other good cards have been picked out of a pack, but since it’s common if you don’t get it in one pack there’s a good chance you’ll see it again in packs 2 or 3.

RATING: Medium (3 stars).

 

Other Cards that Might See Play

 

  • Ashenmoor Gouger – Big body for 3 mana that can’t block. Good in aggressive BR Bloodthirst decks.
  • Dimir Guildmage – card draw and discard abilities are good in limited, and not having to spend 2 slots of your deck to do both is worth considering.
  • Hearthfire Hobgoblin – another card that can REALLY dangerous in the right deck. If you’re playing lots of equipment or have multiple pump effects such as Nobilis of War, it can be good.
  • Plaxcaster Frogling – I like the idea of playing my finisher and protecting him with a +1/+1 counter. Worth considering if your opponent has a lot of removal in their deck.
  • Savage Twister – it can be a potential board wipe, but you have to be willing to sacrifice your creatures in order to use it.
  • Sigil Blessing – great in token/spirit decks. Good way to turn a swarm into an army.

 

Coming Up Next

 

Given the right situation multicolor cards can be powerful, but as I said above, don’t feel like you need to jam it in a deck if you can make something more consistent or add more synergy. 

Well, damn. It looks like I won’t be able to get through all of my review before GP Chiba. Really wish I had had more time to work on the thing. I hope this will be enough for those of you participating in either Grand Prix Utrecht, Chiba, or Las Vegas. I’ll be heading out on Friday and won’t be back home until Sunday night, so don’t expect another update until then. If you’d like to keep track of my progress on Twitter, you can do so @yoschwenky. I’ll be trying to take pictures around the place, interview some people, etc. I’m feeling pretty confident about my deck building skills, but I would feel a lot better if I had done some more drafts this week. Thanks for reading again as always, and feel free to leave some comments down below. This article was somewhat rushed so I apologize if the quality is lower than usual.

 

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