Pick Orders for Magic 2013
After fiddling around a while with Magic 2013 on LeBestiare, I have begun to correct my first view of the set: It is not nearly as slow as I thought initially, and consequently the correlation between rarity and power level, while still very noticeable and annoying, isn’t quite as important. I walked into the same mental trap as Till Riffert: I believed that Exalted, the poster mechanic of the set, would set the pace for aggressive decks, making it hard to get an offense going against token swarms, good blockers and removal. However, the actual pacesetter here are aggressive token decks which are much harder to stop; as are cheap, not too small creatures (like Mogg Flunkies or Centaur Courser) and flyers supported by plenty removal and combat tricks. It seems that there are a lot of different archetpyes possible if you get multiples of certain cards (bears and better bears, token producers, exalted creatures, Archaeomancer synergies, manafixing etc.), and this in turn can make a few generally really weak cards (for example Warclamp Mastiff or Glorious Charge) playable in the right deck. It is actually very easy to overload a deck on (by themselves really useful) spells for 5 mana, and it is very well possible to draft decks which do not want to spend more than 4 mana AT ALL. Consequently, the value of more expensive spells is considerably lower than I thought at first. One class of cards which I deem mostly unplayable are (non-Rancor) auras – there is just too much removal and good blockers going around to make putting two eggs in one basket a wise choice. (Also, the auras in this set – other than Rancor – are really bad.)
The following are my tentative pick orders for the commons and uncommons (together) in each color, under the assumptions that these are your very first picks and that you do not yet know which archetype you will be in or even what your secondary color is. Consequently, these pick orders go only to the point where you shouild avoid picking worse cards unless you know why specifically you want them. Black is the most extreme example: The next card in line can either be Walking Corpse, Servant of Nefarox, Giant Scorpion or Public Execution, all of which are mediocre at best if you have to put them in a deck not supporting a certain strategy. A card, which is always very good, but downright broken in the right deck (Griffin Protector), is thus to be valued extremely highly. Note that “spoiler protection” is still an important asset, but speed is always of the essence.
Crusader of Odric
Healer of the Pride
War Priest of Thune
Flames of the Firebrand
Edit, six weeks later: After drafting the set for quite a while, I still stand by my overall assessment of it, although I certainly would switch around a few cards now. However, leaving out Attended Knight was just an oversight – I just came here to see if I had ranked it above or below Captain’s Call (above would have been correct, but I might have underestimated the Knight a little in the beginning) and was shocked not to find it at all!