Drafting Zendikar Part 1: First Picks October 5, 2009Posted by James in : all, reviews, strategy, tips, limited, draft , trackback
When drafting Zendikar, you will want to decide which colors to play mostly depending on what cards are passed to you. If the rare isn’t extremely powerful, such as a Sorin Markov, you will have to depend on the commons and uncommons, which is 99% of the time. Even if your first pick is a Soren, you need good black cards to be passed to you in order to play him. Here are my 12 favorite common and uncommon first picks found in Zendikar:
12th Place: Punishing Fire
A great card against Vampire decks (because of its life gain) and half-decent removal against everything else. Not exactly what I would want for a first pick, but it might be a good first pick if nothing better is around.
11th Place: Heartstabber Mosquito
7 Mana might be a steep price for destroying a creature, but a 2/2 flier for 4 mana isn’t that bad anyway.
10th Place: Torch Slinger
A weaker version of Heartstabber Mosquito, but less mana intensive.
9th Place: Arrow Volley Trap
A bit pricey for creature removal. I’ve often had it in my hand with no reason to use it, but if you ever do need it and have the mana, it can be a great card.
8th Place: Disfigure
Compatible to Nameless Inversion and Last Gasp. Very decent removal and a great inverse giant growth for combat tricks. Disfigure is the first card on this list that I would really feel is worth taking as a first pick.
7th Place: Pitfall Trap
Not quite as good as Swords to Plowshares, but close enough to be worth taking right away.
6th Place: Hideous End
Great creature removal, but the two black mana makes it significantly worse than Doom Blade.
5th Place: Journey to Nowhere
Creature removal that gets rid of anything for only 2 mana. Will often be better than Oblivion Ring since it’s cheaper to cast. This is where the Zendikar first picks start getting unusually good.
4th Place: Burst Lightning
Way better than Shock. Burst Lightning is worth playing in Standard. Reminds me of Flame Javelin, but it’s not quite as good.
3rd Place: Vampire Nighthawk
Not sure why this “expert set” needs such trivial reminder text, but Vampire Nighthawk is a great card. It must be dealt with.
2nd Place: Living Tsunami
An Air Elemental for only four mana, and the so-called drawback will actually be a lot of help if you make sure to high-pick landfall cards.
1st Place: Marsh Casualties
A possible one-sided Infest. Mash Casualties is the closest thing to an Overrun in the set. It is the perfect combat trick, and it can end up killing the opponent’s entire army for a little more than the price of Wrath of God… And your army will be perfectly fine.
Black has the most first picks, and it appears to have the best removal in the set overall. A mono black deck is also a great idea considering that the vampire theme can be viable. White and red also have a few decent removal cards.
Green is very under-represented in the first picks, but green is a decent color to draft for the mana acceleration, big creatures, and possibly for its allies. Blue appears to be severely lacking in first picks, but it might be worth playing for the cheap fliers.