M14: Beasts

Let’s look at another possible tribal deck in M14, namely Beasts. I drafted that deck recently after getting passed a few Advocates of the Beast, but only ended up with 3 Beasts to go with my 5 Advocates (I did pass a 4th Beast for a Chandra’s Outrage since I only had one other removal spell). Are there enough Beasts in M14 that I should have tried to draft that deck? Let’s crunch some numbers.

Gatherer lists 5 cards in M14 that are Beasts or produce them: Garruk’s Horde, Kalonian Tusker, Marauding Maulhorn, Primeval Bounty, and Rumbling Baloth.

  • Garruk’s Horde and Primeval Bounty are rare, so you can’t really expect to get either of them, plus they hit the table sufficiently late in the game that if you don’t already have another Beast before them, your Advocate is just a 2/3 for 3 mana until turn 7.
  • Kalonian Tusker is the best complement to Advocate of the Beast because it gets a counter at the end of turn 3 if you play it on turn 2 followed by Advocate on turn 3. Unfortunately, it’s an uncommon and is likely to be drafted highly by any green player, so you shouldn’t expect to see too many of them.
  • Marauding Maulhorn and Rumbling Baloth are commons, but both cost 4, which means you have to wait an extra turn to get a counter. They are also both quite playable in non-Beast decks, especially Rumbling Baloth, so you should not expect to pick them up late.

With 2 commons, 1 uncommon, and 2 rares, an average 8-person M14 draft will have about 7 Beasts, some of which we expect will be drafted by non-Beast players. So, G/R Beasts is a feasible deck but can only support one player at a table. Moreover, you should draft it only if you are being passed Beasts rather than because you’re being passed Advocates, as I did. Advocates are good in a Beasts deck, but they’ll come around late because non-Beast decks have better commons at 3 mana, such as Rootwalla and Verdant Haven.

Admittedly, I’d already drafted 2 Doors of Destinies, so I was looking to draft a tribal deck. I wanted to draft Slivers, but didn’t see any good Slivers until late in pack 2, although with 2 Doors I could have tried to force Slivers and hoped to reap the rewards in pack 2. In my next post, I’ll examine whether there are any other good tribes in M14 besides Slivers and Beasts that would have allowed me to play the Doors instead of having to leave them in my sideboard.

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