THS: Follow-up on Minotaurs

I managed to pull off a Minotaurs deck in a recent draft. I was already in red and was passed a Kragma Warcaller pack 1, pick 4 (the other good card in that pack was Wingsteed Rider). I committed myself to a Minotaurs deck shortly thereafter and was rewarded with another Kragma Warcaller in pack 3. My deck also had 6 other Minotaurs: 3 Fellhide Minotaur, 2 Minotaur Skullcleaver, and 1 Borderland Minotaur.

The supporting cast included some aggressive early drops (Tormented Hero, Firedrinker Satyr, Akroan Crusader, Arena Athlete, Blood-Toll Harpy), some removal (2 Lightning Strike, 2 Ordeal of Purphoros, 2 Lash of the Whip), and some finishers (Portent of Betrayal, Ember Swallower, Cavern Lampad). The pair of Kragma Warcallers were the lynchpins of the deck and even led to a U/G opponent scooping immediately when the second one hit the table (he had no way to deal with them permanently).

The main thing the deck lacked was 2-drops. In particular, I would have loved to pick up a couple of Deathbellow Raiders, but I never saw one. Also, Fanatic of Mogis would have been a great finisher for this deck, but I managed to go undefeated even without it.

THS: Minotaurs

Theros is unusual in having 2 lords for a single tribe: Rageblood Shaman and Kragma Warcaller. How good are they in triple Theros drafts? Let’s figure it out.

Theros has 7 Minotaurs, including the 2 lords. There are 4 commons, 2 uncommons, and 1 rare, so the average 8-person draft will have 12.3 Minotaurs, including 1.6 Minotaur lords. The Minotaurs are listed below, along with my prior evaluation of them:

  • Common: Deathbellow Raider (2cc, good), Minotaur Skullcleaver (3cc, filler/conditional), Fellhide Minotaur (3cc, filler/conditional), Borderland Minotaur (4cc, good)
  • Uncommon: Fanatic of Mogis (4cc, exceptional), Kragma Warcaller (5cc, TBD)
  • Rare: Rageblood Shaman (3cc, TBD)

The Minotaurs are spread reasonably well across the mana curve, which is good. All are in either red or black. While the black Minotaur is not particularly strong, Kragma Warcaller is, and Deathbellow Raider requires black mana for regeneration, so a Minotaur deck is likely to be R/B or R/b (red splashing black).

Many of the Minotaurs are playable on their own merits, even without a lord: Borderland Minotaur, Fanatic of Mogis, and Kragma Warcaller. Deathbellow Raider and Minotaur Skullcleaver are also playable in a sufficiently aggressive red deck. Other than Fanatic of Mogis, however, none of these cards are likely to be taken highly by non-Minotaur players. So it is likely that a player drafting Minotaurs can expect to pick up about 8 Minotaurs over the course of the draft if no one else is drafting the same deck. (I say 8 instead of 12 because some Minotaurs will get drafted by other players, because you will have to pass Minotaurs for removal, and because Fellhide Minotaur isn’t worth playing unless you have multiple Minotaur lords.)

What does this mean for the playability of the Minotaur lords? Kragma Warcaller is good on its own merits as a 4/3 haste creature for 5 manas, so it’s worth drafting highly if you’re in those colors, even if you don’t have many Minotaurs. Rageblood Shaman is more conditional, but is very playable in a deck with about 8 Minotaurs, so it is a reasonable early pick that you can try to craft a deck around.