Over the last two weeks we spent time reviewing the faster tempo archetypes of UR Spells and UW Fliers, where we concentrated on killing the opponent quickly. This week, we go a slower route with UB Cycling:
There has been a lot of talk about how Hour of Devastation is a much faster format than Amonkhet and while I’ve been inclined to agree, I’ve always stressed that I still think the best decks in the format are fast. I will concede that this impressed me, however. The UB Cycling deck was a favorite of mine from Amonkhet, despite being a very mediocre to bad deck without specific rares (Drake Haven and Archfiend of Ifnir). Thankfully, it seems with the slowing down of the format, the cycling deck is given some breathing room and a little time to shine. Cycling is a very powerfully ability. The flexibility added to a card by allowing you to dump it when unneeded for a new card is fantastic at almost any cost.
It’s very deceiving; looking at this archetype over the course of both sets. It wasn’t particularly good in Amonkhet, despite having access to great payoff in cards like Ruthless Sniper, Archfiend, and Haven but it’s solid in Hour of Devastation despite the lack of support. Grisly Survivor and Cunning Survivor are incredibly medium, even in this deck, Vile Manifestation is great but nowhere near the level of a Haven or Fiend, Hollow One is playable, but requires more cycling to be great than you’ll ever get.
The big difference is the speed, as mentioned before. What that means for your draft is that you can evaluate cards from this set a bit more like you would at the start of Amonkhet. A card like River Serpent was originally looked at as being very playable (if not amazing), but dropped off a lot afterwards because of the insane speed of the format; You were stuck cycling it early for answers way too often and when it came down you were already too far behind. With Hour, Striped Riverwinder and River Serpents are much better than before. The original evaluation of that type of card is now correct. Now you have a chance to make a deck that can give you some breathing space and the flexibility of those cards starts to shine a bit more, since it’s far more likely you can actually play a card like Serpent before you’re overwhelmed. Make sure you’re playing to this strength by picking the 0/4 creatures very high. Vile Manifestation is a perfect card for this style of deck; defensive early and offensive late, but don’t underestimate Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs either. You’ll need to stall a bit to get the most out of your top end and Hour still has a lot of aggressive decks running amok.
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What Hour of Devastation draft archetype/stipulation do you want to see?
— Ilyon (@IlyonMTG) August 31, 2017