You may have heard the term “forcing” a draft. What does it mean? Generally, it’s a negative term, as it suggests you’re pushing too hard for a certain type of deck to work instead of following the signals given to you by what is being passed. It doesn’t have to be negative though. Forcing an archetype can be fun! More than that, it can teach some valuable lessons on what types of decks or archetypes work in drafts, which is very important if you’re going to big tournament and want to know what to look for or avoid. In the Full Force series I want to force these archetypes for you, to learn with you what archetypes work (and what don’t!) in the latest limited formats.
This first video series is about one of my favorite types of decks in Shadows over Innistrad, the Blue/Green Clue deck or “Clue Green”. If you’ve ever wanted to try and force this archetype, or know if it’s open, here are the tier 1 cards to look out for: Ulvenwald Mysteries, Ongoing Investigation, Tireless Tracker, Tamiyo’s Journal, and Erdwal Illuminator. These cards are the engine that drives any Clue deck, especially Ulvenwald Mysteries, as they give you a constant stream of clues to continue powering your other strategies. What are those strategies? Welcome to the tier 2 cards!
After you’ve picked up a copy or two of the tier 1 cards, you can start looking to move in on the deck. You’ve got a steady stream of Clues, but what do you do with them? Ulvenwald Mysteries can already give part of that answer, making 1/1s, but there’s a lot more you can use Clues for. When you have an engine card or two, you need to start looking at picking up either Graf Moles or Fleeting Memories. Graf Mole in particular makes you feel almost indestructible .Tacking on 3 life to every clue is an incredible value and not to be underestimated. The 2/4 body will also stall out a lot of aggression on the ground too. Fleeting Memories is totally different, and I’m sure a lot of people will disbelieve me in wanting to take it early and often in Clue decks, but the mill adds up very fast if you have the right engine and being able to attack an opponent through a board stall is exactly the kind of reach that a slow, controlling Clue deck wants. Combine Memories with Graf Mole and you make a board that attacks the opponent in a very non-traditional (and hard to remove) way. There is very little enchantment hate in the format and a lot of the removal focuses on attacking/tapped creatures (Murderous Compulsion, Silverstrike, Puncturing Light) or “Pacifying” them (Sleep Paralysis, Bound by Moonsilver), neither of which you care about when you have Graf Mole, Fleeting Memories, and a string of expendable 1/1s from Ulvenwald Mysteries.
Alright, we have our engine, and we have some unique synergy cards to look out for. What next? What other cards should you be taking? This one is tougher to answer. What’s generating most of your Clues will change a lot of what you want to find here. Have two Ulvenwald Mysteries? You want to just play a lot of creatures to trade and make tokens, but if you have Erdwal Illuminator, you’ll need combat tricks to slow the game down and generate value; Cards like Press the Advantage and Jace’s Scrutiny are much better here than they seem. Have an Ongoing Investigation? You might want some cheap evasive creatures like Niblis of Dusk to hit your opponent. I can’t give you a hard and fast list of every card in order. Think of your Clue engines and adjust accordingly. One card you *should* be on the lookout for all the time is Byway Courier. It’s a well-costed creature that basically guarantees a Clue. It’ll nab you a lot more 2 for 1s than you think, trading across for other creatures and giving you a Clue in the process.
I hope you enjoyed the video and article and good luck cluing in your opponents to the powerful UG draft deck!