Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.
In my original UG Emerge article, we talked about how Emerge was a popular, powerful archetype. I had trouble forcing the deck as the most powerful and relevant Emerge cards are almost all uncommon. Unfortunately this remains true, but don’t take it as a negative against the deck as an archetype. Forcing a deck is an interesting way to learn a format, but is by no means the way you should normally draft.
The key then to getting a good Emerge deck is to read the signals well. If you wheel a card like Lashweed Lurker, you should sit up and take note. Lurker is a strong enough card that splashing it is very viable; If it comes around the table, jumping ship to Emerge has to be on your mind, at least.
I broke down my top commons for the archetype in the first article and now I’m going to update and break down the list as there are a good number of lessons to learn about the deck from what cards are good.
I won’t make as many changes to this list as the WR deck last week, as I think we were fairly right in the original overview. The list I’d put out now goes like this:
Let’s break the list down:
1. Prey Upon
Removal is tough to come by in UG. You can splash a bit of black to cover this deficit sometimes, but picking up good removal when you can is even more important than normal; You’ll find yourself playing Sleep Paralysis and other mediocre removal more often than normal. Prey Upon operates very well in Emerge as well, because of the relative size of the Emerge creatures.
2. Wretched Gryff
Knocking Captive out of the #2 slot is this powerhouse. This change speaks less to Captive’s being overrated than to Gryff being underrated (Yes, at #3, I was underrating it). At this point in the format, with the right deck, I wouldn’t even be upset to play Gryff with no blue mana, as a 7-mana flyer. It has a big butt that lets it dodge a lot of removal (Boon of Emrakul, Fiery Temper, Incendiary Flow, etc.) and guaranteeing a replacement card even if countered is huge. This should be the card you build your Emerge decks around more than any other and it’s a big reason the deck is good.
3. Ulvenwald Captive
Captive moves down the rankings here, but it’s power is not to be underestimated. It’s a great card that’s arguably at it’s best in this archetype as the ramp can be very relevant and sacrificing it to power an early Emerge is just icing on the cake (Turn 3 Wretched Gryff will end a lot of games). It’s good early as ramp, it’s good late as a 4/6 beater.
4. Ingenious Skaab
This card feels so out of place on the list. It fills no particular role in the Emerge deck like Prey Upon, Captive or Gryff. There are other 3 drop creatures that have synergy with Emerge as an archetype, like Exultant Cultist. So why is it on the list? Power. Ingenious Skaab is just a straight-up baller. It is ridiculously hard to interact with in combat. It trades up by pumping it’s power, but on top of that, your opponent can never be certain you don’t have a spell to trigger prowess. I’ve never been blown out in the format so badly as when my opponent combined Skaab with a Clear Shot.
5. Spontaneous Mutation
I dumped Drag Under from this slot, but they fill similar roles and I’d suggest that you split your picks between them, especially if you have no graveyard interaction for Mutation. Mutation and Drag Under fill in the same gap in the Emerge deck that makes Prey Upon such a big signal and high pick, the lack of solid removal spells. I underestimated Mutation a lot when the format first came out, but I’m coming around to it being one of the better blue removals. Even if it only ends up giving -1 or -2 when you first play it, that’s often all it needs, especially when you often need to use it on evasive creatures like flyers that have less power. It combos particularly well with a lot of green cards as well, like Vessel of Nascency and Grapple with the Past. Don’t expect them to wheel either. I’ve been doing that a lot and other players are picking up on how good they are so it’s been progressively harder to get them late as the format goes on.
So how good is the Emerge deck? I think it has the potential to be the best archetype in the format. The depth Green has is pretty amazing and the good Emerge creatures are really absurd on curve. I’ve definitely had it hammered into me to not force this archetype though. Don’t grab a bunch of enablers in pack one and consider it a signal. Cards like Foul Emissary and Enlightened Maniac aren’t bad on their own, but they’re not amazing either and if you can’t Emerge anything with them your deck is suffering. I’ve almost never been sad Emerging off of non-enabler early creatures either, like Woodland Patrol or Niblis of Dusk. The Emerge creatures are you’re real goal so if you see a late Lashweed Lurker or Drownyard Behemoth that’s the signal you’re looking for.
Next week we revisit the White/Black value deck and see if it still holds up!