M14: The enchantments deck

Okay, now that we know how to value Angelic Accord and Path of Bravery, it’s time to get to a post I’ve been wanting to write since I first read the spoiler. White and black have 3 cards that get better if your deck has more enchantments: Auramancer (white common), Blightcaster (black uncommon), and Ajani’s Chosen (white rare). How early should you take these cards?

I believe that white and black also have the best common and uncommon enchantments, such as Pacifism and Quag Sickness, so I will only look at these colors when determining how viable the enchantments deck is. I will evaluate enchantments of other colors in another post in the near future, primarily to determine whether Solemn Offering and Naturalize are worth maindecking. It is worth noting that Auramancer works best with enchantments that are likely to end up in the graveyard (such as Quag Sickness) and Ajani’s Chosen works especially well with Auras that enhance your creatures (but not with removal Auras like Pacifism and Quag Sickness or non-creature Auras like Awaken the Ancient and Verdant Haven), so we will treat each of them a little differently.

This spreadsheet lists all enchantments in M14. Note that I have changed some of my evaluations since I first posted the list:

  • Angelic Accord and Sanguine Bond were TBD. After my last post, I now consider them conditional, since they are playable in the right deck.
  • Blessing: I’d initially evaluated this card as filler, but it’s actually dropped in my estimation since I feel that W/B decks in this format tend to run more swamps than plains, in order to maximize Quag Sickness and Corrupt. Also, it doesn’t confer evasion like Shiv’s Embrace or change the race like Mark of the Vampire can.
  • Quag Sickness: I’d initially evaluated this card as playable, but it’s risen in my estimate, partly since most black decks I’ve seen are W/B with more swamps than plains. This means that Quag Sickness can kill larger creatures than I’d expected, and can be retrieved by Auramancers.

The other table in the spreadsheet shows the enchantments pivoted by color, rarity, and my updated evaluation. Let’s consider the white and black enchantments that are not unplayable (minus Indestructibility, which you’ll only rarely sideboard) to see how well they work with each of the enchantments-matter cards:

  • Divine Favor (white common, playable): enhancing Aura
  • Pacifism (white common, exceptional): somewhat likely to end up in graveyard due to enchantment removal, bounce, or sacrifice effects
  • Angelic Accord (white uncommon, conditional): potentially playable since the lifegain deck is also usually W/B
  • Path of Bravery (white rare, exceptional)
  • Dark Favor (black common, playable): enhancing Aura, but I’d rather put it on a creature with evasion
  • Mark of the Vampire (black common, playable): enhancing Aura, but I’d rather put it on a creature with evasion
  • Quag Sickness (black common, exceptional): likely to end up in graveyard
  • Dark Prophecy (black rare, exceptional)
  • Sanguine Bond (black rare, conditional): potentially playable since the lifegain deck is also usually W/B

So there are 5 common, 1 uncommon, and 3 rare enchantments in W/B that are exceptional/playable/conditional, meaning that an average draft will have about 14 of them. All work well with Blightcaster and Ajani’s Chosen, but Divine Favor works especially well with Ajani’s Chosen (I’m likely to want the other enhancing Auras listed above on creatures with evasion rather than a vanilla 2/2). Auramancer mostly combos with Quag Sickness but can also return Pacifism or one of the 3 enhancing Auras if the enchanted creature dies. All 5 of these are common, so an average draft will have 12 of these cards.

Furthermore, many of these cards are not always high picks so you are likely to be able to get your hands on a fair number of them (Quag Sickness requires heavier black, Angelic Accord/Sanguine Bond are only playable in the W/B lifegain deck, and the enhancing Auras are not usually early picks). This means that it’s possible to pick up the enchantments-matter cards early since you are likely to be able to get enough enchantments to go with them over the course of the draft. Sometimes, of course, this won’t work out. In my most recent draft, I took a Blightcaster pack 1, pick 1, over a Battle Sliver. My final deck also had an Auramancer, but I only had 3 enchantments in my deck: a Quag Sickness, a Mark of the Vampire, and a Dark Favor. (I did see a second Quag Sickness but took a Shadowborn Demon over it, and I passed a Pacifism for a Imposing Sovereign.)

It’s much more difficult to do the opposite, since an average draft will have only about 4 cards that care about enchantments. However, most of the white and black enchantments are playable on their own merits, and if you already have a few of them, you can value the enchantments-matter cards more higher if you see them later in the draft.

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