M14: Maindeck enchantment removal

Now that we have evaluations for all the enchantments in M14, let’s figure out whether it makes sense to run maindeck enchantment removal. Note that this won’t be a complete assessment because all the enchantment removal spells in M14 also destroy artifacts. However, the only scary artifacts in M14 are Door of Destinies (in the right deck) and Haunted Plate Mail, so our conclusion probably won’t change. We’ll evaluate all the remaining TBD artifacts next week (I’m especially interested in analyzing Millstone and Strionic Resonator) and then revisit whether that makes Solemn Offering and Naturalize more playable in the maindeck.

This spreadsheet has the updated evaluations for all the enchantments in M14. Of these, Quag Sickness often kills the enchanted creature and so enchantment removal isn’t usually effective against it, so I will not include it in the analysis. That leaves 10 common, 4 uncommon, 6 rare, and 1 mythic enchantment that are not unplayable. That means that an average 8-person draft will have 31 such enchantments, or about 4 per player. Even if we only consider playable and exceptional enchantments in M14 (I don’t consider any of them bombs), a typical 8-person draft will still have 27 enchantments, or about 3.5 per player.

3.5 – 4 enchantments per player feels somewhat high for a limited environment, but it makes sense given the various enchantments-matter cards in the format. The enchantments deck at the table is likely to have a higher proportion of enchantments, but we can still expect the remaining decks to have about 3 enchantments each. Is that enough to justify running enchantment removal maindeck? My answer would be No, especially since none of the enchantments are bombs, and the exceptional ones are mostly 1-for-1 removal. (Domestication can net a 2-for-1, but there are a lot of answers to it other than enchantment removal, as we determined previously.)

The other thing to look at is whether the enchantments are concentrated in particular colors or color pairs so we know whether to side them in proactively against certain opponents even if we haven’t seen any particularly scary enchantments yet. For instance, most of the playable enchantments in Scars of Mirrodin were in white and blue, so I would sometimes side in an enchantment removal spell against W/U decks in that format, even if I hadn’t seen any enchantments that I was particularly worried about, because I knew that my opponent was likely to have targets. The playable enchantments in M14 are fairly well distributed across colors, with green having slightly fewer than the other colors. However, it might still make sense to side enchantment removal in against W/B decks, especially if you’ve seen some of the enchantments-matter cards and know they’re playing the enchantments deck, since those decks are more likely to play cards like Dark Favor and Mark of the Vampire which can sometimes be problematic.

EDIT: M14 has very few playable artifacts, so Solemn Offering and Naturalize are not any more playable in the maindeck by virtue of being able to destroy artifacts. Also, there are very few cases in M14 where you would want to destroy a land — usually only 5-color green with Verdant Havens or Shimmering Grottos — and the average 8-person draft will only have one planeswalker, so Bramblecrush is essentially a 4-mana sorcery-speed Naturalize. Start it in the sideboard and bring it in for things that Naturalize can’t handle, or if you need multiple enchantment/artifact removal spells, but don’t have enough Naturalizes.

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