I’m having serious Hour of Devastation limited article withdrawal as Ben Pall is on vacation, so if you can’t read ’em, write ’em (or however that actually goes). Today I’ll be going through some picks in Hour of Devastation, which should be useful for anyone looking to play the format. While I haven’t drafted as much as the pros who are prepping for Pro Tour Hour of Devastation this weekend, I have played enough of this format that I have a pretty good idea of what my overall pick order looks like. Let’s jump in!
Pack 1, Pick 1
This pack has a couple of interesting options. It’s always wise to take a look at the rare in your first pack, especially after Amonkhet, where rares dominated the format. Djeru, With Eyes Open is an odd one, as it’s firmly in the camp of “ok playable” assuming you don’t have a planeswalker. A 4/3 Vigilance for 5 mana is nothing to write home about, but you’d likely play it in some, if not most, of your white decks. In this format, it’s considerably worse with red having an easy answer at both common and uncommon. If you have a planeswalker however, it turns into a very powerful spell that is a 2-for-1 every time you cast it, and can help your planeswalker survive while it’s gaining you card advantage. Djeru, unfortunately, isn’t first pick-able for me.
At uncommon, Sunscourge Champion and Overcome are both excellent cards in their respective colors. Sunscourge Champion is a very medium card in aggressive white decks, but is a valuable member of white midrange and control decks, as a 2/3 will trade for many cards in the format, and the back end is a 4/4 for 4. Discarding a card in the late game is usually not a big deal, and the 6 life it gains you through both halves entering the battlefield is rarely inconsequential. Overcome has seriously impressed me every time I’ve seen it. Green’s weakness in this format is that it relies heavily on big, beefy creatures in a format with good, cheap creatures and removal aplenty. It’s because of this that Overcome isn’t a slam first pick most of the time.
At common, the cards that stand out to me are Khenra Scrapper, Dauntless Aven, and Lethal Sting. Khenra Scrapper is a very solid red creature. Its base stats as a 2/3 Menace for 3 isn’t particularly exciting, but a 4/3 Menace for 3 is. It doesn’t do much more than pushing through damage, however. Dauntless Aven was criminally underrated when first released, but its floor of a 2/1 Vigilance with Flying for 3 mana isn’t bad at all, and with Exert all over the format, it is a valuable inclusion in most decks. Lethal Sting is nearly an unconditional removal spell, and the format tends to have targets to put the -1/-1 counter on.
Pack 1, Pick 2
An uncommon is missing from this pack, and for good reason. Hostile Desert is generally speaking a very situational card, but one that’s not a terrible idea to pick later in the pack. One uncommon, Nissa’s Defeat, is unplayable, but the other, Farm // Market, is a great pickup. The front half is a mostly unconditional removal spell, and is already better than Sandblast, a very solid card in this format. I’ve played this in decks where I can’t cast Market, and have been very happy. It’s also very nice that it’s in the same color as our first pick.
The other cards I’m looking at here are Bitterbow Sharpshooters and Mummy Paramount. Bitterbow has impressed me more than not, as having a creature that holds the air from attackers while attacking itself is very valuable. It’s certainly not a bomb, but it’s very solid. Mummy Paramount loves for you to be aggressive in a zombie-focused deck for obvious reasons, but it’s certainly a fine option in aggressive white decks, even with only a few zombies.
Given our first pick was a more midrange white card, I’m taking Farm // Market, as it fits better with our strategy and is an overall more powerful card. When in doubt, take the removal spell.
Pack 1, Pick 3
An uncommon and a common are missing from this pack, once again for good reason. I haven’t been really impressed with Refuse // Cooperate. The back half is significantly more powerful than the front, despite it being situational. The other two uncommons are potentially interesting. Imaginary Threats has been a little disappointing, as it tends to be situationally powerful and situationally terrible. Unless I’m already solidly in blue, I tend to shy away from it. Inferno Jet is a very solid card, as it gives aggressive red decks that put quick damage on the opponent incredible reach, while having a very good fail state of a 2 mana cycler.
Beyond those, Spellweaver Eternal, Harrier Naga, Mummy Paramount, and Lethal Sting are potential picks. Spellweaver Eternal has been a part of the tempo-oriented blue decks that I’ve liked in this format, as it’s a solid aggressive 2 drop. Harrier Naga is always a 3 mana 3/3. That’s never bad in most formats, and this format is no different. It’s a fairly early pick for me. Mummy Paramount we’ve discussed before, and while it’s a solid card, I won’t take it now for the same reason I didn’t take it before. Lethal Sting is just as powerful now as it was in pick 1. Unconditional removal is always good.
The direction I want to take this deck in doesn’t really want Inferno Jet nor Spellweaver Eternal nor Mummy Paramount. I’m taking Lethal Sting, as unconditional removal spells are never bad, and I’ve liked these styles of decks more and more as the format goes on.
I went on to take a Sandblast in a pretty obvious pick, and then picked up a couple more solid playables. The deck ended up being a fairly reasonable B/W Midrange deck that splashed blue for Market, a Vizier of the Anointed, and a Consign // Oblivion.
I’ve been a really big fan of this format so far, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how different the pros’ evaluations of cards. The Pro Tour is always a very exciting time for both limited and constructed fanatics alike, and I can’t wait to see how this limited format shapes up!
Let me know what you thought of my picks below!
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