Welcome back once again to weekly power ratings. It’s been a few weeks. I’ve been deathly sick, swamped at work, and taking classes to renew my teaching license. On top of that, I was also on the road playing in Magic tournaments, and it has just been an insane month. A couple of the weeks, I didn’t even really get to draft, so I felt like putting up a power ratings was lame when I had nothing to change or say, and the other weeks were just so hectic. It’s possible that I’m putting in too much explanation on these things, which makes it harder to just put them together week after week. I don’t know. In any case, they are still here, I’m still planning to do them, but just keep in mind that I’m not going to be perfect at getting these out week after week during the middle of the season.
First off, I’ve made a change to the color rankings. This one is weird, but I’ve moved black up to the top and moved both red and blue down.
Here’s the thing. I still think that in the abstract, if you are coming back to BFZ in five years for a flashback draft for example, that blue and red are both better than black. However, I also think that most players have figured this out and that blue and red are heavily drafted enough that you are often better served by moving in on black. I’ve been in black for several of my recent drafts, and it’s served me quite well. I still like to be in blue whenever I can, but people are snapping up Skyspawners and Clutches so highly that you lose a lot of the value of being in blue.
Again, this reflects a lot of my changing opinions on how blue and red are becoming so heavily drafted. Obviously UR is the strongest deck in the format, but when two to four people are in that deck for every draft, it is just nearly impossible to pick up. RB is one of the main decks that I’ve been falling back on, though I also quite enjoy WU, since it makes use of a lot of the blue cards that other decks don’t want as much.
I’ve also had a lot of success lately with drafting green. I do think that green is the worst color, and by a fair margin, and I actually agree with Owen Turtenwald’s recent assessment of the value of green and that you should avoid the color in most cases. However, draft is definitely self-correcting, and there are times when it is correct to draft green, and it’s come up for me a lot more often lately. This is for two reasons. First, people almost never want to be in green, so they just let the green cards go around the table, and you can often wheel top green uncommons. Second, people are fighting so hard over the other decks that those decks tend to be more diluted than they were two or three weeks ago.
My strategy for drafting green is that I make a note of all the green cards in my first eight packs during pack one. Then I start looking to see which green cards come back on the wheel. If basically all of those cards come back around, letting me know that there is no one else at the table taking green cards, then I will move in on green if I haven’t chosen my second color, if I don’t have a lot other choices in the pack, or if I have a particularly strong reason to be in green. Because this is the second half of the pack, I’m not usually giving up strong cards in the other colors, so I can still abandon green in pack two if I need to, but if I manage to grab some strong green bombs, then I can settle into the color and get all the best cards for the deck, and since everyone else’s decks will be weaker for fighting over colors, I’ll have what comes out as the barely strongest deck at the table.
Hardly any changes here. Guardian moves down simply because blue is drafted so heavily, but it is still an amazing card.
I still think that people are overrating Grip of Desolation and underrating Coastal Discovery, but I decided to switch those cards around this week because of blue being so overdrafted. I sound like a broken record. I moved Drana’s Emissary up because I feel like the WB deck is becoming a much more important alternate deck when people are drafting Grixis devoid decks so highly. Halimar Tidecaller is just so strong; it should have been on this list a long time ago.
Note: Herald of Kozilek fell off the list just because UR is such a hard deck to manage at this point.
I think I’ve finally settled on a commons list that I really like. I’ve moved Incubator Drone down a few slots because blue is harder to get into, but it’s still a fabulous card. The main changes here are the inclusion of Sludge Crawler and Benthic Infiltrator. I think that Infiltrator is a card that most everyone can agree is a fabulous common, and it’s always been a hair’s breadth away from making my top ten list anyway, but I’ve finally just moved Lifespring Druid and Sheer Drop off the list, like they probably should have been from the beginning, and made from for Benthic Infiltrator.
As for Sludge Crawler, it’s a card that has been moving up and up for me since the beginning of the format, and I’ve finally just decided that the card needs a top ten slot, because it overperforms so much for its mana cost and relative to the format. It’s the kind of card that just does everything, coming down early and enabling processors and then being a large threat in the late game. It’s basically never a dead draw, and I’ve just been taking them earlier and earlier.
Thanks for checking out this week’s power ratings. Let me know what you think in the comments!