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.
This week, you voted for a look at the UR energy and artifacts deck from Kaladesh. Early consensus on the format is that Blue is particularly weak and judging from my experience this is definitely true. It has a lack of depth to the commons, with early front-runners for “best” card being Dukhara Peafowl, Aether Theorist, and Select for Inspection; None of which are particularly enticing when compared to cards in other colours like Revoke Privileges, Welding Sparks, or Tidy Conclusion.
Because of this discrepancy between the colours, you’ll often be leaning on uncommons in Blue, the bane of many of our Full Force decks. Relying on uncommons makes drafting the deck frightfully unreliable. Despite all this, I’m not trying to say that Blue is unplayable. This is not Battle For Zendikar Green all over again, hopefully nothing will ever be that bad again. All it really means is that I wouldn’t recommend forcing decks with Blue as a primary colour and when you are drafting into Blue, you just need to be careful. Pick up good Red or Green cards and once you see Blue open and have a chance to snap up a decent uncommon or rare, then you can jump in. Some of the most powerful decks I’ve played against in the format have been Blue (Whirler Virtuoso and Decoction Module are a very real combo) so it’s still very playable.
We have the pitfalls, so what cards should you look for? Well, I’m not going to include Renegade Freighter, because just like last week you should always play it. It’s the best common in the set and probably goes in every deck. Besides that, the top 5 commons I’m looking for in this archetype are:
1. Welding Sparks
Sparks looks powerful and overperforms. In a format where you will incidentally end up with 2-3 artifacts on board, Welding Sparks is more often a Murder than a Lightning Bolt. It’s one of the best removal spells in the format and the easy best red card.
2. Chandra’s Pyrohelix
Unlike Sparks, Pyrohelix is more often an expensive Shock than a two for one, but that doesn’t mean the card is bad. There are more than enough Thopters and Servos around to pick up value and the option of using it to kill a 2-toughness creature is great.
3. Thriving Grubs
This is a fairly steep drop in comparison to the first two cards, but Thriving Grubs does still have a lot of great uses. If you can clear the way for the card and have any energy it can get out of hand very quickly and it’s a nice early creature to trade off if you have other energy sinks like Whirler Virtuoso.
4. Aether Theorist
Aether Theorist is very close to Thriving Grubs for the third spot in this deck. The consistency from getting a few free scry triggers is great, while probably leaving you with extra energy to power better cards and having enough toughness to defend your life so all the rest actually matters. The biggest factor that will determine if you take a Grubs or a Theorist is probably how aggressive your deck is, as they both fill different roles.
5. Dukhara Peafowl
Fliers have been very important in the drafts I’ve had in Kaladesh and Peafowl has a massive butt to stop an opponent’s aerial aggression or to keep attacking through smaller fliers.
One card that is strong enough to make the list, but should be easy enough to pick up when you need it is Gearseeker Serpent. It is a very powerful beater and one of the only mana-sinks in the format, but it is also a niche card that can’t really be played in every deck. You’ll want at least 6 artifacts for it to be great, or a way to go really late so you can utilize the unblockable ability. Because of that, you’ll find a lot of Serpents going very late despite it’s power.
Next week, we’re going off the rails a little with an attempt at 5-colour! Want to vote on the next archetype I cover? Follow me on Twitter @IlyonMTG to vote in the poll.