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Magic 2010 Review Part 2: Second Picks July 8, 2009

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

Second picks are a notch under first picks. They are cards that are sometimes worth taking as a first pick in a draft. It is important to know what cards are considered to be second picks because every card in your deck isn’t going to be a bomb or a first pick when playing in a draft or sealed deck tournament. Taking a close look at the second picks can help you decide what colors to play, and it will help you take the best cards in a draft. I will only discuss the common and uncommon second picks because you can’t count on getting good rares in a limited event.

Just like first picks, these cards tend to be creature removal spells.
Here are the top 15 second picks:

Divine Verdict

neck snap

Same thing as neck snap. (It’s kind of dissapointing that half the set is “new,” but actually exactly the same as another card that already exists.) Yes, Neck Snap (Divine Verdict) is pretty good removal in limited.

Elite Vanguard

elite vanguard

Savannah Lion’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s probably worth second picking.

Excommunicate

excommunicate

Excommunicate isn’t my favorite removal, but it can be a Timewalk in the right circumstances.

Soul Warden

soul warden

Soul Warden is what a one drop should be. A very powerful card on a 1/1 body. Soul Warden has (almost) single-handedly won games in limited events. If you are racing the opponent, the player with the Soul Warden will probably win.

Essence Scatter

remove soul

Remove Soul has returned with a crappy name and it’s taking the slot of a “new card.” But it’s almost as good as counterspell in a limited event, so use it anyway.

Illusionary Servant

Illusionary Servant 1UU

Creature - Illusion

Flying
When Illusionary Servant becomes the target of a spell or ability, sacrifice it.

Illusionary Servant is a great card, put it hates pingers and tappers.

Wall of Frost

wall of frost

Wall of Frost can ruin the game. It doesn’t just ruin one of the opponent’s attackers. It can end up ruining two of them.

Assassinate

assassinate

It’s creature removal.

Howling Banshee

howling banshee

A good flier.

Tendrils of Corruption

tendrils of corruption

If you can play a mono-black deck, this card should be a first pick. However, it’s not as good in a two color deck.

Goblin Artillery

goblin artillery

Creature removal on a stick.

Prodigal Pyromancer

prodigal pyromancer

Prodigal Pyromancer isn’t as good as it used to be, but it is removal on a stick, and it is great in conjunction with other direct damage spells/cards including more Prodigal Pyromancers. This card is especially good considering that some of blue’s best cards doesn’t want creatures to get targeted.

Seismic Strike

Seismic Strike 2R

Instant

Seismic Strike deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control.

Seismic Strike is great in a mono red deck, but not as good in a two color deck. In a two color deck, you hope it can deal two damage by turn four.

Awakener Druid

awakener druid

I would highly consider taking this first pick. A 4/5 creature third turn would have been unthinkable 4 or 5 years ago, but this guy is pretty fragile.

Llanowar Elves

llanowar elves

One of my favorite creatures, one of the only good creatures in Beta, and the best common creature in Magic 2010. This is the perfect card for a mana ramp deck. Play lots of mana accelleration and big creatures and you have a good green deck. Splashing other colors is pretty easy if you get rampant growth.

Conclusion

White has the most second picks, and three of them are commons. All the other colors (except green) got two second pick commons and one uncommon. Green only got two second picks and one of them is a common.

Blue had the best first picks, so white and blue are probably the best colors in limited. All the other colors are pretty evenly matched. Green’s mana ramp strategy is more important than the cards to choose from and will prove to be competitive.

Comments»

1. Alex Cuevas - July 9, 2009

I think you are overvaluing the one drops Soul Warden and Llanowar Elves. I would certainly be happy running both of them, but I would not consider them “second pick.” Keep in mind many if not most of the rares / uncommons are very powerful in M10, unlike Alara where you have stuff like the Heralds and Mindlock Orb running around everywhere. Because of this, I expect uncommons / rares/ common removal to be taken from the pack at least in the first 3-4 picks, leaving more subpar but playable cards like Elves and Warden to be slightly later. I can only envision them being second picked in a really bad pack.

2. James - July 9, 2009

Alex,

Of all the second picks shown here, you might be right that certain removal cards are best (Neck Snap and Assassinate might be the two best in general.) Tendrils of Corruption would easily be a first pick in a mono black deck. I don’t want to say all second picks have an equal value.

I don’t evaluate most one-drop creatures very highly. I think the ones shown here are an exception. Soul Warden in particular proves itself to be game winning. Perhaps Llanowar Elves by itself isn’t the best, but I love mana acceleration, and it is perfect in a mana ramp deck. Elite Vanguard is even better than Savannah Lions because there are so many cards that help soldiers. Giving it first strike would be great.

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[…] I already reviewed the first picks and second picks. Here are the other best commons and uncommons to look for when playing blue: […]

5. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Magic 2010 Part 4: Black - July 30, 2009

[…] I already reviewed the first picks and second picks. Here are the other best commons and uncommons to look for when playing black: […]

6. Recoculous.com: Magic the Gathering Articles » Drafting Magic 2010 Part 5: Red - August 7, 2009

[…] I already reviewed the first picks and second picks. Here are the other best commons and uncommons to look for when playing red: […]