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Drafting Shards of Alara Part 3: Red-Black October 24, 2008

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback

I have made several decent red-black decks despite having continual bad luck with them so often. I keep getting mana flooded and color screwed. Hopefully this is just a fluke and it will do wonders for you if and when you give it a chance. I will discuss (1) the best red-black cards, (2) analyze the best red-black commons & uncommons, (3) reasons to consider playing red-black, (4) and synergy of red-black decks.

The best red-black cards

bombs

first picks

second picks

other mentionable cards

Cards worth splashing

Analysis of red-black commons & uncommons

Magma spray is one of the best creature removal cards just because it is the only one mana cost instant removal. This allows combat tricks and a quick answer to a problem creature early game.

Resounding thunder is probably the best creature removal in the set because (1) you can kill an opponent with it, (2) its resounding effect is so powerful and uncounterable, (3) it can kill so many creatures, and (4) it is an instant, so it can be used for combat tricks.

Infest is also one of the best creature removal cards because it can destroy a whole army. The main weakness is that there are so many creatures it can’t destroy. It is much better against some decks than others.

Soul’s fire is good creature removal, but it relies on the fact that you have a large creature in play.

Vithian Singer isn’t a first or second pick, but it is worth taking early. I have had to kill this guy before to protect my creature, but then he came back to life to kill a creature anyway.

Blood Cultist isn’t as good as Vithian Stinger, but the more tims the better. If you can get two tims in play, you will probably win the game.

Bone Splinters is the easiest way to destroy a creature, but you do lose a creature. If you play this card, you should put some small creatures in your deck that you won’t mind losing, such as Blister Beetle.

Also a great creature removal card, but it doesn’t work against black creatures. I kept drawing 3 of these against someone who only drew black creatures.

A decent creature removal card, but it might not be quite good enough to be considered to be a second pick. This works well with a deck that has a lot of other creature removal cards, but it is a bit less effective against a weenie deck.

A 3/1 trample creature in this format is pretty fast and dangerous, but this is generally not an early pick. It will probably go all the way around the table unless someone else is playing black-red.

Direct damage and discard. If you know you are in these colors, you should probably take it.

Reasons to consider playing red-black

  1. All three black-red cards are good.
  2. There’s a ton of creature removal available.
  3. Red is one of the best colors, but mono-red is generally not an option.
  4. Many first and second picks are made for red and/or black decks.

Synergy of red-black decks

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