All-Star Commons in Limited
Limited formats mean that you'll be forced to use the Commons of the set, so we're breaking down some of the most valuable Common (and Uncommon, I suppose) cards of the set, which will help you win big at the pre-release. You might want to check out the mechanics article as well!
Justin says:This mechanic will be pretty familiar to those who've seen the various illusions before. Normally this is pretty bad, but I think Frost Walker has some huge potential in draft - more so than say Phantasmal Bear since 4/1 is just huge. There are very few spells or cards that actually punish you. Either their using a proper removal spell or opting to turn a combat trick into a removal spell, either way you're still trading for a card. Your opponent can't even use the cantrip spells favorably, because if you target it with say Defiant Strike then Frost Walker gets sacrificed before it resolves and fizzles the spell. There's actually just not that many Ice Feather Aven type cards that really punish you. A lot of times this is just trading for their morph, but any game that you have the means to push through damage is going to end quick.
Literally Anything With Bolster
Josh says: In a world full of sub-par creatures and desperate efforts to trade up in combat, the Bolster mechanic is king. Bolster being available on a variety of commons, including some Instant-speed combat trickery, like Abzan Advantage, makes it particularly valuable in Limited formats, where you can't simply opt to run all of the most efficient creatures available. You've got Abzan Skycaptain, which also has an amazingly cool name.
While Bolster doesn't seem to be prevalent enough to plan and/or base your strategy around, the value it creates is undeniable, and definitely warrants considering including White in your final color scheme.
Justin says:This cycle is awesome. Worst case, you're still getting reasonable bodies for their casting cost, and you're not ever getting blown out by removal spells since it's still the one card effectively. The double strike one is a little worse if you can't flip it, but Wind Drake with upside is certainly a playable card on its own. The real fun with these is that a little less than 50% of the time, usually your 15-17 creatures in a 40 card deck, you're going to be able to flip over a creature still attached to the aura and make a monster. Anything 3/3 or bigger is just insane. "Oops, guess I've got a 4 power flyer with lifelink now."
Josh says: "Cantrip" is fairly common Magic terminology for a spell that replaces itself when you cast it, typically with the last line of text on the spell being "Draw a card." Cantrips often find themselves as staples in various formats, and Jeskai Ascendancy has only further boosted the power level of cheap spells that do something, and then let you draw.
Pressure Point just taps down a creature, but since it also allows you to draw a card, it's definitely going to be valuable. During your opponent's Upkeep, you can simply tap down their best attacker or blocker, or anything with a tap ability for that matter. Get your card, and move on with your life.
Finally, there's the notably more expensive Cunning Strike, which, despite its casting cost, I still expect will see a lot of Limited play. Dealing 2 damage to a creature and another 2 damage to a player, plus drawing you a card, all at Instant speed is fairly impressive. The five-mana cost is a little much, but given the slower Limited formats, it's certainly not out of the range of reasonable value.
Common Cycle Harsh Sustenance, Cunning Strike, Grim Contest, War Flare, Ethereal Ambush.
Justin says:While it's a little painful needing to take these two color cards in Pack One for draft, because the format will be Fate Khans Khans, the average power level of the cycle is really high. It is worth noting that these are the ideal color pairings since they can each go in two different clans. You have to jump through some hoops for some of them, but you're generally getting either efficient removal, which is pretty lacking in Khans, or a lot of value. A big upside is that the whole cycle is instant speed, letting you hold up these spells and other actions like morphs - giving you more flexibility to respond to what your opponent does.
That's it for us! Are you planning to hit the pre-release this weekend? What are you hoping to crack? Let us know in the comments!