We’re back kids! It’s time to jump into another Ixalan draft! While I have much to say about this format, which you can read about here, draft still excites me, and the one I have for you today is a pretty interesting one. Let’s jump in.

Pack 1, Pick 1

           

This pack is fairly interesting. I haven’t been terribly impressed with Captain Lannery Storm yet. As a red non-Dinosaur creature, it wants to be in either the R/W Aggro deck or a tribal Pirates deck that’s heavy on red. The payoff, an improved 3/2 haste for 3 mana, still doesn’t excite me a lot. In the rest of the pack, I’m really looking at the three removal spells; Pious Interdiction, Firecannon Blast, and Vanquish the Weak. I’ve been impressed with each of these so far, but I’m going to take the Pious Interdiction, as I feel that white is generally underdrafted in this format, and it’s the easiest to splash if we end up wanting to.

Pack 1, Pick 2

         

This pack is a little less interesting, as that Glorifier of Dusk is staring back at us like the beautiful Serra Angel it is. It’s important to note that we’re passing Storm Fleet Spy and Pounce here, two very solid cards in their respective colors that don’t tie you down to an archetype like many of the other strong cards in this format do. I’m taking the Glorifier of Dusk here, pretty satisfied that our draft is off to a good start.

Pack 1, Pick 3

          

I’ve been fairly impressed with Wanted Scoundrels thus far. It has the potential to run away with games, and it either demands a removal spell from the opponent, or gets semi-permanently locked down once it’s not the biggest creature on board, two manageable drawbacks. Ranging Raptors has also been very impressive thus far. It’s stats may not indicate it, but it’s well-sized for this format and the Enrage ability is very relevant. Tilonalli’s Knight is a contextually strong card that I’m not thrilled to pick here, but expect someone later on to be very happy to see. I’m gonna take Territorial Hammerskull here. I think it’s likely the strongest card overall in this pack, and it fits in the same color as our first two picks. This will let us more or less cut white going to our left, so pack 2 we should get a good stream of white.

The rest of the pack went excellently for me, picking up a Shining Aerosaur, Raptor Companion, Vampire’s Zeal, Slash of Talons, followed by another (!) Shining Aerosaur. In the last relevant pick of this pack, I picked up a Fathom Fleet Firebrand, which I was happy to see, as we could end up in red and it’s a very valuable 2 drop for that archetype.

Pack 2, Pick 1

           

This pack is not terribly exciting. I don’t like the rare or any of the uncommons, so we’re really looking at the commons. We could pick up another Fathom Fleet Firebrand and try to go into R/W, but I think Bishop’s Soldier is an overall stronger card, and there’s no need to commit to red yet, especially for a couple of 2 drops.

Pack 2, Pick 2

           

Again, the rare and uncommons don’t excite me. Skittering Heartstopper, Queen’s Commission, Queen’s Bay Soldier, Paladin of the Bloodstained, and Headstrong Brute are the considerations here, and I think they’re all at fairly similar power level. I still see no reason to branch out of white until I get a clear signal, so I’m taking Paladin of the Bloodstained. It’s a very well-positioned 4 drop in this format and has some synergies with what white (and Vampires) tries to do.

Pack 2, Pick 3

          

This pack, in my opinion has the first real signal that we’ve seen so far, and it’s Siren Lookout. The flying pirate is at a premium in this format, as both Merfolk and Pirates want it. It fits into any blue deck and the attitude towards it from players is certainly “the more the merrier.” Seeing it this late could indicate that blue is open in this direction. As I’ve said in previous articles, I think U/W is a good color combination in this format, but one that you don’t see often, due in no small part to the archetype’s need for both of its colors to be underdrafted by the table to be viable. We’ve absolutely seen that white is open, and Siren Lookout is a pretty good indication that blue could be as well, so I’ll hedge here and take it.

Pack 2, Pick 4

         

Watertrap Weaver is another strong signal in this direction. It goes more in Merfolk than it does in Pirates, but it’s viable in pretty much every blue deck. The consideration here is between the Weaver and Raptor Companion. We’re just about 100% going to play Raptor Companion, but I like Weaver in U/W a lot, and took it here because of it. At this point in the draft I’m hoping that more blue gets passed our way and we can pick up a bunch of good tempo cards for U/W.

Pack 2, Pick 5

        

Woah! Speaking of good tempo cards, Depths of Desire is a really nice pickup here. Dive Down is also a consideration here, but I went with the Depths of Desire, as we had already picked up a combat trick that I feel fits better with the U/W strategy overall, Vampire’s Zeal. Depths of Desire is a good tempo card, and is definitely a signal this late in the pack that blue is open for the couple of seats to our left.

The rest of the pack was pretty favorable for us as well, especially in blue. We got, in order, Wind Strider, another Depths of Desire, Storm Sculptor, and Run Aground. Onto pack 3!

Pack 3, Pick 1

           

This pack isn’t terribly exciting for us, and I think it comes down to three cards: Perilous Voyage, Shaper Apprentice, and Paladin of the Bloodstained. I like Shaper Apprentice in this format a lot, but it’s very close to a 2/1 for 2 mana in our deck, which is less than exciting. I’ve already talked about how much I like Paladin of the Bloodstained in this format, but I think that Perilous Voyage is the more upside pick here. It fits well with the U/W deck that we’re building, is interaction in a format where interactive effects are at a premium, and can hit all creatures. I’m taking Perilous Voyage.

Pack 3, Pick 2

          

Emissary of Sunrise looks a lot better than it is, and I’ve found it to be one of the most high variance cards in the entire format. A 2/1 first strike isn’t great on most boards in the mid to late game in this format, but a 3/2 is excellent. I always advocate consistency in limited, and I’m not taking Emissary unless there’s nothing else for us in the pack. Fortunately, there is absolutely something for us here. Storm Fleet Spy is a very solid 3 mana creature that replaces itself, assuming you’re on the board early and attacking with creatures, which we most certainly are. I’m happy to pick up the Spy here.

The rest of the pack had very few decisions or taking points, but I was able to pick up another Pious Interdiction, another Glorifier of Dusk, and a fairly late Wind Strider.

Conclusion

I think this deck turned out quite well! U/W is one of the most powerful archetypes in this format, but it comes around so rarely that you have to grab the bulls by the horns if you see it getting passed to you. I firmly believe that this draft went well because you gain a huge advantage in this format if you wait to find your lane. In a format that’s as defined as this one, with specific archetypes built in that are in every draft pod, finding your lane is crucial, as you want to see a steady stream of synergy-based cards being passed to you. In this draft, I took white cards in pack one as they were fed to me, and waited until I saw what other color was open, even though it was pack 2 pick 3, and wasn’t the most solid of signals. The rest of the draft was pretty much as you would draw it up, with more white and blue cards being passed.

The next Ixalan draft you do, be patient! I promise you’ll get rewarded.

See you next time.

Jonah

Many players have a negative view of Ixalan, both in limited and constructed, but Riccardo Monico is sure that Ixalan will be thought of as one of Magic’s most memorable. You can read why here.

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