THS: Summary of archetypes

Here’s a summary of the M14 archetypes I’m aware of, along with some of the key cards for each archetype. (If I’ve missed any archetypes, feel free to post them in the comments.) Archetypes in bold require fewer uncommons/rares or have more substitutes, and are therefore more likely to come together in a draft. These archetypes may also be able to support more than one drafter at an 8-person draft. “+” is used to separate different categories of cards required for the archetype. Italics denote cards that are secondary for this archetype and should usually only be drafted once you have a number of the non-italicized cards listed. [] indicates that a card is rare or mythic.

Aggro decks (usually W/X):

  • W/U heroic: Favored Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, Wingsteed Rider, Battlewise Hoplite, Vaporkin + creatures with bestow + Auras (Ordeals, cantrip Auras, Aqueous Form) + tricks (Gods Willing, Dauntless Onslaught, Triton Tactics) + Divine Verdict/bounce
  • R/W aggro (usually Humans): Favored Hoplite, Phalanx Leader, Wingsteed Rider, Akroan Hoplite, Priest of Iroas + Human Lords (Cavalry Pegasus, [Titan of Eternal Fire]) + creatures with bestow + Auras (Ordeals, cantrip Auras) + tricks (Coordinated Assault, Gods Willing, Dauntless Onslaught, Titan’s Strength) + removal (Divine Verdict, red burn) + finishers (Fanatic of Mogis, Portent of Betrayal)
  • B/R Minotaurs: Minotaur Lords (Kragma Warcaller, [Rageblood Shaman]) + Minotaurs (Fanatic of Mogis, Deathbellow Raider, Minotaur Skullcleaver, Borderland Minotaur) + removal (red burn) + tricks (Coordinated Assault, Boon of Erebos, Titan’s Strength)
  • G/U skies: creatures with evasion (Vaporkin, Nimbus Naiad, Agent of Horizons, Horizon Chimera) + Warriors’ Lesson + defense (Omenspeaker, Sedge Scorpion) + bounce/Dissolve

Control decks (usually B/X):

  • Monoblack: Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Keepsake Gorgon, Disciple of Phenax, Insatiable Harpy + early defense (Baleful Eidolon, Returned Phalanx) + removal (Pharika’s Cure, Sip of Hemlock) + Read the Bones
  • W/B control: monoblack cards + win conditions ([Triad of Fates], Sentry of the Underworld, Evangel of Heliod, Scholar of Athreos) + removal (Last Breath, Divine Verdict)
  • U/B control: monoblack cards + Shipwreck Singer (ideally with Triton Tactics) + bounce/Dissolve + Opaline Unicorn + defense (Omenspeaker, Coastline Chimera) + win conditions (Horizon Scholar, Prescient Chimera)
  • B/G devotion control: monoblack cards + Nemesis of Mortals, Nessian Asp, Pharika’s Mender + defense (Sedge Scorpion, Leafcrown Dryad, Nylea’s Disciple) + mana acceleration (Voyaging Satyr, Burnished Hart, Opaline Unicorn) + Time to Feed
  • B/G graveyard (untested): Nemesis of Mortals, Pharika’s Mender, [Nighthowler], [Whip of Erebos] + Commune with the Gods, Returned Centaur + defense (Sedge Scorpion, Leafcrown Dryad, Nylea’s Disciple)
  • 5-color green (untested): bombs across multiple colors + mana fixing (Burnished Hart, Prized Unicorn, Nylea’s Presence, Traveler’s Amulet, Shimmering Grotto) + defense (Sedge Scorpion, Leafcrown Dryad, Nylea’s Disciple)
  • U/R spells (untested): spells-matter cards (Flamespeaker Adept, [Meletis Charlatan], Spellheart Chimera, Prescient Chimera, Mnemonic Wall) + card advantage ([Steam Augury], Triton Fortune Hunter, Thassa’s Emissary) + bounce/removal/Dissolve + defense (Omenspeaker, Crackling Triton, Wavecrash Triton) + Titan’s Strength

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: The remaining tribal interactions

Other than Minotaurs and Humans, there are only 2 tribal interactions in Theros, both quite minor.

Master of Waves, a mythic, gives Elementals +1/+1. However, there are only 2 Elementals in Theros (aside from those produced by Master of Waves himself):

  • Vaporkin, a blue common
  • Ember Swallower, a red rare

Both of them are very playable on their own merits, and Master of Waves is playable without either of them in your deck. Since neither of them have much impact on the playability of the other, this is not a tribal interaction you need to keep in mind when drafting triple Theros.

Hythonia the Cruel, also a mythic, kills all non-Gorgon creatures. Theros has 4 Gorgons:

  • Hythonia herself
  • Keepsake Gorgon, a black uncommon
  • Pharika’s Mender, a B/G uncommon
  • Reaper of the Wilds, a B/G rare

Hythonia is obviously very powerful if you’re able to hold the fort until you can make her monstrous. In the very unlikely case that you open or are passed a second copy, you will almost certainly draft it. All of the Gorgons are also quite playable on their own merits, and it is more likely that you will have a opportunity to draft one of them after you’ve drafted Hythonia. If you do, you should prioritize them a bit higher than you might otherwise since they do survive Hythonia’s monstrous trigger. Furthermore, all of them cost less than Hythonia and can buy you time to cast her and make her monstrous. If you have enough lands, you can play Keepsake Gorgon on turn 5, Hythonia on turn 6, make Keepsake Gorgon monstrous on turn 7, and make Hythonia monstrous on turn 8, allowing you to make use of your mana very efficiently. Pharika’s Mender also works quite well with Hythonia by buying you time to cast her, or allowing you to Regrow her if she is killed or countered. Finally, Reaper of the Wilds allows you to scry a bunch of times if you do make Hythonia monstrous with a few non-Gorgons in play between both players. However, as soon as you see a card you like enough, it stays on top of your library, so you don’t benefit from any remaining scry triggers.

(While Keepsake Gorgon’s monstrosity trigger is also technically a tribal effect, we won’t consider it here since the scenarios in which it would reward you for playing more Gorgons are extremely unlikely to occur in a triple Theros draft.)

THS: Humans

Other than Minotaurs, the other main tribal interaction in Theros is with Humans: Cavalry Pegasus gives Humans flying if they attack alongside it, and Titan of Eternal Fire gives Humans the ability the ability to tap to do 1 damage to a creature or player. Much of the value of these cards depends on how many Humans you have in your deck, so it helps to know whether Theros has enough playable Humans to make these cards worth taking early.

This spreadsheet lists all 33 Humans in Theros. White has about a third of these and a disproportionate number of the commons, so about 40% of the Humans in a typical draft will be white (this is not a commentary on the racial makeup of the Magic community :)). 1 of the white commons is unplayable and 2 are filler, but white does also have an exceptional Human at common (Wingsteed Rider, although it does not benefit from Cavalry Pegasus since it already flies). White also has 2 exceptional Humans at uncommon (Favored Hoplite and Phalanx Leader) so it will have 4.8 exceptional Humans in a typical 8-person draft, 4 times as many as any of the other colors, and none of which can be played as a splash by non-white players. If you don’t have Titan of Eternal Fire, Wingsteed Rider is not any better than a non-Human since it does not benefit from Cavalry Pegasus, but white will still have 2 times as many exceptional Humans as the other colors in a typical draft. Finally, all the multicolor Humans are also white except for Prophet of Kruphix: 2 are R/W, 2 are W/U, and 1 is W/B. This means that a Humans deck will need to run white as a main color rather than just splashing Cavalry Pegasus as a finisher.

Red and green are next with 5 Humans each, including 2 at common. The commons in both colors are playable, but red has an edge because it has 2 uncommon Humans instead of 1, provides access to 2 multicolor Humans, and has Titan of Eternal Fire. Black has 4 Humans, only 1 of which is a common, and that one is unplayable unless you’re drafting the black devotion deck. On the far end of the spectrum, blue has only 3 Humans, 2 of which are rare, although it does also have 2 of the multicolor Humans.

Let’s also look at Humans that particularly benefit from having the evasion that Cavalry Pegasus grants:

  • Daxos of Meletis (W/U rare): generates card advantage if it deals combat damage to an opponent
  • Favored Hoplite (white uncommon), Soldier of the Pantheon (white rare), and Tormented Hero (black uncommon): can enable aggressive starts with Cavalry Pegasus allowing you to keep up the pressure
  • Fabled Hero (white rare), Staunch-Hearted Warrior (green common), and Akroan Hoplite (R/W uncommon): these creatures can do a lot of damage if they are unblocked
  • Arena Athlete (red uncommon): can prevent opposing flyers/spiders from blocking your creatures

Looking at all of this information in concert, it appears that R/W is the best color for a Humans deck as it has both cards that interact with Humans, the most number of playable Humans, and the most Humans that benefit from the evasion granted by Cavalry Pegasus.

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.

M14: Archetype wheel

Magic 2014 Archetype Wheel

If we take all the archetypes discussed in my last post and plot them on a color wheel, this is what we get. A line between 2 colors indicates that there is an archetype that spans those 2 colors (we’ll ignore the occasional 3- and 5-color decks in M14), and is labeled with the archetype name. A thick line indicates that the archetype that is more likely to come together in a draft because it relies on fewer key cards or requires fewer uncommons/rares; these are the archetypes that were bolded in my last post. Archetypes that rely on specific rares or multiple copies of a common/uncommon in order to function are riskier to attempt and are indicated with thinner lines. If you want to read more about a particular archetype, my last post has a list of the key cards for each archetype and links to more detailed descriptions.

The purpose of the archetype wheel is to help us see visually which colors support the most number of archetypes and, therefore, offer the most flexibility. This can help when choosing between 2 cards of similar power levels in the early stages of a draft. For instance, white and red support the most number of archetypes, so you might take a card in one of those colors slightly higher pack 1, pick 1. White is especially flexible in that it has a likely archetype with each other color. The downside of this is that you’re more likely to be competing with other players for good white cards.

On the other hand, black only pairs well with white, and so offers less flexibility, but you’re also likely to face less competition for good black cards. Also, a good W/B enchantments deck is one of the strongest decks in the format. This does not mean that W/B is the only possible color pair for black, just that it is the only one that offers strong synergies; I have seen good U/B and B/G decks drafted when cards in those colors were flowing.

Note that W/B, U/R, R/G, and R/W each support 2 archetypes, although U/R is the only one that supports 2 archetypes that are likely to come together. While the 2 U/R archetypes are quite different, they both want red burn spells and blue removal/pseudo-removal (Claustrophobia, Time Ebb, Disperse, and Frost Breath), as well as certain uncommons like Young Pyromancer, so it is likely that a table can only support 1 of each. Also, while Slivers can be G/R, G/W, or R/W, an 8-person draft can usually support only 2 Sliver decks.

Let’s look at one more piece of information. This spreadsheet summarizes card quality by color. It shows that white will have the most number of bombs in an average 8-person draft, but also the most number of unplayable cards by far. Black will have the most number of bombs + exceptional cards, and black and green will have the most number of bomb + exceptional + playable cards in a draft. This means that it is more difficult to put together a white deck, since white has fewer playables spread across more archetypes, while it will often be easier to get enough playable black cards since it has more playables spread across fewer archetypes.

Weaving all this information together, we can conclude that a typical draft will likely have:

  • 1 W/U skies deck
  • 2 W/B enchantments decks (which tend to be heavier black), one of which might also have a lifegain subtheme
  • 1 U/R tempo deck
  • 1 U/R control deck
  • 2 Slivers deck: 1 R/G and 1 R/W or G/W
  • Given that there are 4 white decks, 3 blue decks, 2 black decks, 3.5 red decks, and 1.5 green decks, and that black and green also have the most number of playables in the typical draft, the last deck is likely to be B/G or 5-color green

This is the last M14 post I have planned for now, since I’ve run most of the analysis that I’d wanted to. If I missed your favorite archetype, if you’d like me to look at another card more closely, or if you’d like to write a guest post, please email me at sameer underscore (_) merchant at yahoo or leave a comment below.

M14: Summary of archetypes

Here’s a summary of the M14 archetypes we’ve covered, in the order they were discussed. Archetypes in bold require fewer uncommons/rares or have more substitutes, and are therefore more likely to come together in a draft. These archetypes may also be able to support more than one drafter at an 8-person draft. “+” is used to separate different categories of cards required for the archetype. Italics denote cards that are secondary for this archetype and should usually be drafted once you have a number of the non-italicized cards listed. [] indicates that a card is rare or mythic.

  • G/R, G/W, R/W, G/R/W, or 5-color green Slivers: Manaweft Sliver, Predatory Sliver, Battle Sliver, [rare Slivers], Steelform Sliver, [Door of Destinies] + mana fixing if playing 5-color green (Verdant Haven, Shimmering Grotto)
  • G/R Beasts: Beasts (Kalonian Tusker, Rumbling Baloth, Marauding Maulhorn) + Beasts tribal effects (Advocate of the Beast, [Door of Destinies])
  • B/W(/g) lifegain deck: Lifegain-matters cards (Angelic Accord, Sanguine Bond, Voracious Wurm) + lifegain (Mark of the Vampire, Child of Night, Corrupt, Congregate, Bubbling Cauldron, Trading Post, Elixir of Immortality, Brindle Boar)
  • B/W enchantments: Enchantments-matter cards (Blightcaster, [Ajani’s Chosen], Auramancer — if you have Quag Sickness) + enchantments (Quag Sickness, Pacifism, Mark of the Vampire)
  • B/R sacrifice: Act of Treason, Tenacious Dead, [Chandra’s Phoenix], [Dark Prophecy] + sacrifice outlets (Barrage of Expendables, Blood Bairn, Gnawing Zombie, Altar’s Reap, Bubbling Cauldron, Trading Post) + token generators (Young Pyromancer, Molten Birth)
  • U/G mill: [Jace Memory Adept], [Traumatize], [Jace’s Mindseeker], Millstone, Tome Scour + Archaeomancer + stall (Time Ebb, Frost Breath, countermagic + Deadly Spider, Seacoast Drake, Wall of Frost)
  • U/R control: Academy Raider, Archaeomancer + stall (burn, countermagic, Time Ebb, Disperse, Frost Breath) + card advantage (card draw, [Strionic Resonator]) + win conditions
  • U/R tempo: Trained Condor, Goblin Shortcutter + cheap creatures + burn + tempo (Time Ebb, Frost Breath, Disperse) + finishers (Seismic Stomp, Lava Axe). Watch out for Shrivel.
  • W/U skies: Wall of Frost, Seacoast Drake, Angelic Wall + white/blue evasion creatures (especially Warden of Evos Isle, [Seraph of the Sword], [Windreader Sphinx]) + removal (Claustrophobia, Pacifism, Sensory Deprivation, Time Ebb, Disperse, Frost Breath) + creature enhancement (Accorder’s Shield, Fireshieker, Divine Favor)
  • G/B(/x) or 5-color green Gladecover Scout: Gladecover Scout + enhancing Auras (Trollhide, Mark of the Vampire, Dark Favor, Lightning Talons, Illusionary Armor, Divine Favor) + mana fixing if playing 5-color green (Verdant Haven, Shimmering Grotto). Watch out for Celestial Flare.
  • R/W tokens: Young Pyromancer, Molten Birth, Hive Stirrings + Barrage of Expendables, Bubbling Cauldron + Fortify, [Ogre Battledriver], [Path to Bravery]. Watch out for Shrivel.

M14: Follow-up on Door of Destinies

While I had drafted Door of Destinies previously, I’d never had enough creatures of any given creature type to justify playing with it — until yesterday. I was drafting a W/B enchantments deck and opened Door of Destinies in pack 2. Normally, I would have taken the Sengir Vampire from that pack, but this was a very casual draft and I was in the right colors for a Humans deck, so I decided to give it a try, even though I only had 3 Humans at that point. (Only do this at home, kids!)

I ended up with 10 Humans: 4 Auramancers (to go with 3 Quag Sicknesses; yes, it was every bit as sick as it sounds), 3 Corpse Haulers, 2 Masters of Diversion, and 1 Blightcaster. I left a Dawnstrike Paladin and a Soulmender in the sideboard since they aren’t playable on their own merits; I wouldn’t want to draw either of them if I didn’t also have Door of Destinies. I also didn’t have any cards that cared about lifegain, and my card quality was ridiculously high besides; I had Corrupt, Wring Flesh, and Accursed Spirit sitting in my sideboard!

I went 4-1 over the course of the evening, losing only to a monoblack deck with Nightmare (and a Grim Return to get it back), Dark Prophecy, Rachet Bomb, and Corrupt, and a Diabolic Tutor to fetch the most relevant one. The Door of Destinies contributed to 2 game wins, although I might have won one of both of those games anyway. I was rarely unhappy to draw it since it would at least give my next Human +1/+1, and it usually did more. There was often a temptation to try to optimize the casting order (Door of Destinies, then Blightcaster, then Quag Sickness, and then Auramancer) to maximize the utility of the cards involved, but you have to withstand that temptation if your opponent has attackers that you can’t already block effectively; sometimes you have to play Auramancer on turn 3 with no Quag Sickness in the graveyard and a Door of Destinies in your hand.

One interesting combo that I noticed was that with a Corpse Hauler in your graveyard and another in play, you can sacrifice the one in play to get the other one back, and then play that one to add a counter to Door of Destinies. You can rinse and repeat as many times as your mana will allow, so you should probably draft Corpse Haulers a little higher if you’re drafting a W/B Humans deck with Door of Destinies. (Corpse Hauler also allows you to reuse Auramancers, which can be very powerful if you also have a Quag Sickness.) Door of Destinies also would have worked well with the Liliana’s Reaver in my deck if I had named Zombies, but I was never willing to do that since the Door would be useless if they dealt with the Reaver.

I want to emphasize again that this was a very casual draft. While none of the Humans in my deck are high picks (other than Blightcaster), you won’t usually be able to snag the 3 Quag Sicknesses and 3 Pacifisms that made my Auramancers so good. In other words, your mileage might vary. However, I think it is possible to use Door of Destinies in a W/B Humans deck as long as you prioritize picking Humans that are playable on their own merits. Also, Door of Destinies is not usually a good target for Diabolic Tutor since if you cast Diabolic Tutor on turn 4 and Door of Destinies on turn 5, you’re spending a lot of time doing nothing. Unless your opponent isn’t playing anything, save the Tutor for later to fetch a bomb or a removal spell.

M14: Dragons

The only other tribal effect in M14 is Scourge of Valkas, which is a bomb even if it is the only Dragon in your deck, so let’s focus on whether it’s worth trying to draft additional Dragons if you already have a Scourge of Valkas.

M14 has 4 Dragons, 1 at each rarity: Dragon Hatchling at common, Dragon Egg at uncommon (note that it also triggers Scourge of Valkas’s ability when it dies), Shivan Dragon at rare, and Scourge of Valkas at mythic. Obviously, you take all the rare and mythic Dragons you see if you are in red. The uncommon is also great if your deck is not particularly aggressive since it can buy you time to draw and play your rare/mythic Dragon(s), and can serve as a threat if your opponent attacks into it or if you have a sacrifice effect. It is also great in the aggro mirror since it either stops their ground offense or fogs their largest creature for a turn and gives you another threat.

The common is less exciting since it doesn’t do any damage in combat unless you have red mana to spare, and since all the other Dragons in the format (and any creatures enchanted with Shiv’s Embrace) also have firebreathing. Also, every color other than red has multiple flyers or creatures with reach that can trade with it in combat. While it can be scary if enchanted with Lightning Talons, there are several removal spells that can kill 1-toughness creatures, so I consider Dragon Hatchling filler and will only play it if I really need additional creatures or a potential finisher. While it is better if you also draw Scourge of Valkas, I prefer to play creatures that are good on their own even if I don’t draw Scourge of Valkas since I should already be in good shape in most cases where I draw and play a bomb.

While an average 8-person draft will have 4.2 Dragons, 2.4 of those will typically be Dragon Hatchlings and the rare/mythic Dragons are unlikely to get passed very far, so it’s not likely that you will have multiple other Dragons to go with a Scourge of Valkas. But he’s still a bomb so you should draft him and hope you get to kill a Dragon Hatchling on the other side of the table when he comes into play.

M14: Humans

Humans are interesting as a tribe in M14 for 2 reasons: Door of Destinies (dicussed in my last post) and Xathrid Necromancer. While both cards are rare, you want to know if they’re sufficiently powerful in the right deck that they’re worth drafting early as a speculative pick.

Gatherer shows that most of the Humans in M14 are in white and black. Blue and red each have only one Human at common and another at uncommon/rare, and there are no green or artifact Humans. (Before you laugh, Magic actually has 16 artifact Humans, all but one from the Shards of Alara block.)

Of white’s 8 Humans, 5 are common, 1 is uncommon, and 2 are rare. Of black’s 5 Humans, 2 are common, 1 is uncommon, and 2 are rare. This spreadsheet sorts them by mana cost and lists my prior evaluation of them (I’ve changed my evaluation of Capashen Knight from unplayable to filler). Unfortunately, we have yet to determine how good several of the cards are because we have yet to determine how good enchantments and lifegain effects in M14 are. I will get to that in my next few posts. Meanwhile, I’m going to assume that Soulmender and Dawnstrike Paladin are filler, that Auramancer is playable (it works especially well with Quag Sickness, also a common), and that Blightcaster is exceptional (most colors have several good common/uncommon enchantments).

We can see that the common white and black Humans are either playable or filler, with only Shadowborn Apostle being completely unplayable. While you wouldn’t be excited if those were the only creatures in your deck, you’d probably do quite well if you had a couple of the uncommon/rare Humans and some removal. So I believe Xathrid Necromancer is quite playable and worth spending an early pick on. However, I would probably take most white or black removal spells over it since those would be exceptional in any W/B deck and not just a W/B Humans deck. Also, a sizeable amount of the removal in this set is in the form of enchantments, which makes any future Blightcasters, Auramancers, and Ajani’s Chosens you draft better.