Mercadian Masques Draft Ratings
December 31, 1999
by. Gab Tsang
Black is one of the deeper colors in MM draft. What green is to creatures: black is to removal.
1) Snuff Out =the most efficient kill in the environment, an early Snuff Out can give you enough temporal advantage to win the game by itself
2) Vendetta =Really similar to Snuff Out, Vendetta does not give you the flexibility, but for one black it is one of the best.
3) Maggot Therapy =A bit better than Sever Soul because of its vastly lower casting cost. Maggot Therapy can also be used to kill black critters.
4) Sever Soul =Can absolutely dominate a game, creating a gigantic Life swing.
5) Undertaker =When MM first came out this was one of my favorite cards, its stock has dropped quite a bit since then and is inconsistent at times, however, in combination with some creatures he is pretty nutty (Arms Dealer, Shock Troops, Highway Robbers).
6) Cateran Brute =Even though he only searches for one common merc that I consider playable, I have still dominated games with him.
7) Deepwood Ghoul =Two life really seems to be worth the creatures he would trade with.
8) Alley Grifter =Probably the most underrated Black common, I have seen this card still around in packs with five cards left.
9) Highway Robber =Their worth increases if you have graveyard manipulation (Undertaker, Haunted Crossroads) and searchers (all uncommon)
10) Cateran Persuader =One of the cheapest creatures in MM of quality, his worth is high because of the search Mercenaries in the set. When coupled with the Cateran Brute a heavily efficient engine is created. However, BB casting cost could be a problem and 1-toughness creatures seem to be easily removed.
11) Bog Smugglers =This card is dominant if opponent is playing black, crappy if they arent.
12) Wall of Distortion =A good card to begin with, this is even better when you opponents have spellshapers. It is a very inconsistent card though.
13) Skulking Fugitive =Much like Bog Smugglers, the Fugitive is good vs. Black decks, however, against other colors he can be really weak.
14) Misshapen Fiend =Only really strong if you have a Mercenary to search for him and if you opponent has a lot of Thermal Gliders or Rishadian Airships.
15) Specters Wail =I hate this card, it is way to random for me to consider it playable, however, it fills the mana curve well and can win you a game by mana hitching your opponent or taking their most important spell.
16) Rampant Crawler =A terrible card, but it is a Mercenary and can be searched out of free.
17) Rouse =I have never had to put it into a deck, however, Terry Tsang tells me that it is good in race situations and that it can buy some temporal advantage. I am still unsure though.
I suggest you board it
1) Insubordination =Good on walls and spellshapers.
2) Soul Channeling =Sideboard vs. R/G Fatties, the casting cost is still obscenely high.
Dark Ritual =I have never played with it in MM draft, but in a deck with a lot of 3 drops as well as Deepwood Legates and Primeval Shamblers it can be dominant. However, MM seems to be slow enough that the speed aspect may not matter.
1) Bog Witch
Blue is such a strange color, usually I only like to play colors that have deep commons (which Blue does not), However the relative power of the playable commons in Blue seem to be higher than the others in MM. Seems really good with white.
1) Stinging Barrier =I think this is the best common in the set. It can block hill giants (although I do not suggest it) and kills almost all those annoying spellshapers; there are a lot of ways that it can dominate a game.
2) Waterfront Bouncer =Probably the second best common in the set, the bouncer is versatile and can eat a green deck for breakfast. It is really difficult to win a game with him on the table. Can win a game that you have no right of winning.
3) Drake Hatchling =Blocks all the annoying Gliders, but the mana requirements make it a difficult card to splash effectively.
4) Rishadan Airship =This guy can beat down really hard and can win you races because he is grossly efficient. But the one-toughness is easy pickings to Kris Mages, Stinging Barriers and Cloud Sprites.
5) Blockade Runner =In faster limited environments this card would be too slow to be considered good. However, MM is slower than those of the past, So slow that the Runner is a high pick.
6) Dehydration =The only form of kill the color has. Expensive but effective, Dehydration is necessary to stop creatures that Blue has no right in stopping.
7) Saprazzan Outrigger =Really good vs. G/R decks as it stops them cold. However, against quicker rebel decks he seems to be out of place. Can win you a late game by increasing your library size.
8) Counterspell =Counterspells affect on the game in this environment is much the same as its affect on any other, it will rarely win you the game but it is consistent, stopping a threat each and every time it is cast.
9) Gush =Two cards for five mana is a crappy deal, however, it is the alternative casting cost that makes Gush a starter. If cast in the mid-late game one does not really get affected by the time disadvantage of bringing back islands. I really dont think Ive ever not used the Alternate casting cost.
10) Balloon Peddler =his ability isnt that strong in most decks, however, in a G/U deck with a lot of fat this card turns into a large threat, mostly a Grey ogre.
11) Darting Merfolk =Possibly the most underrated common in the set. Darting Merfolk is great at doing his job: that is blocking large creatures.
12) Brainstorm =In most cases, Brainstorm will help you plan the next few turns efficiently, in MM there are many cards that let you shuffle your deck (Catern Brute, Ramosian Sergeant, Silverglade Elemental) and coupled with them an insane engine is created, making an Ancestral Recall effect.
13) Cloud Sprite =Under most circumstances I dont really like this card, as it doesnt affect the game. However if you opponent has a lot of Gliders or Airships this card can make an efficient defense. If you have Coastal Piracy in play, however, he is golden.
14) Tidal Bore =A card that seems really good in theory. Can make a tapped creature a surprise blocker and can tap a potential blocker so you can serve, however, in practice it just doesnt ever seem to work out. I have seen the mighty Potato use this effectively though.
15) Misstep =Usually really weak, but can timewalk an opponent in an all out blitz-type race. Usually unplayable though.
1) Diplomatic Immunity =serious sideboard hate vs. black decks with a lot of kill.
2) Buoyancy =Usually just filler or a sideboard card, I have killed many creatures with it in my G/U decks.
3) Hoodwink =seems to be alright as a sideboard card or maybe even maindeck once in a while, however it really never pans out and Im never really happy drawing it. Maybe Im wrong but it just seems to suck. I have heard stories of U/R Decks comprised with Hoodwinks and Stone Rains that create early timewalks but it sounds too weak and inconsistent to be really effective I think.
1) Port Inspector
2) Rishadan Cutpurse
3) Saprazzan Raider
Green is a great color. It is deep and has strong playable cards.
1) Spidersilk Armor =I was so unsure of what card was the best green common, however, if you have one of these in play your deck gains huge amounts of advantage. I have won many duels on the strength of this card alone.
2) Snorting Gahr =Almost unstoppable when attacking, he usually takes two creatures with him if he is killed.
3) Invigorate =The free aspect is used more than you would think as creatures are saved from red burn for 3 life. Also quite threatening as an offensive card.
4) Silverglade Elemental =Absolutely huge, this can be the most damaging common creature in combat in the set. Unlike other sets, the creatures in MM are smaller and really Grey ogre like. Making the Elemental really dominant.
5) Horned Troll =In many environments this card would be considered too slow and weak. However, in MM the Troll is pretty dominant because of the lack of speed and toughness of its creatures.
6) Giant Caterpillar =It is really surprising how annoying a 1/1 flier can be, plus you will not even gain life from Sever Soul.
7) Rushwood Herbalist =An extremely underrated spellshaper, the Herbalist creates great board position for its controller.
8) Deepwood Drummer =Somehow underrated, this card frustrates opponents and creates opportunities for opponents to make playing errors by making the math impossible.
9) Vine Trellis =Another powerful card, Vine Trellis increases your deck speed and its consistency. Gives you great board advantage in the early parts of a duel.
10) Rushwood Dryad =This card should be so good. Its cheap and can hit hard early, however, he just seems to be ineffective when your opponents are playing a color other than green and the one toughness is terrible with so many common Tims out there (Kris Mage, Stinging Barrier).
11) Tiger Claws =Truly underrated, I have dominated people with this, getting 2-for-1s and making them take gross amounts of trample damage. Lets your green fatties get past those annoying Darting Merfolks and Ghouls.
12) Venomous Dragonfly =People overrate this card saying it is similar to a Cockatrice. But I really do not see that much of a resemblance (except for the obvious) as I think he is sorta weak.
13) Ancestral Mask =Another truly underrated card, the Mask functions a lot like an Embrace of an environment past in the right deck.
14) Howling Wolf =Terrible in singles, this card gets a whole lot better when in multiples.
15) Deadly Insect =the casting cost is too high and the toughness is too low which makes it rather unplayable, however in the right situation it can be beating (War Cadence, vs. Hunted Wumpus)
16) Deepwood Wolverine =I thought it was unplayable, but after a brief stay in Toronto Mike Turian has made me start to open up to it, in the right deck (really aggressive) a few arent so bad.
I suggest you board it
1) Tranquility =Sideboard only, against the right deck this can totally change the complexion of a game.
2) Squall =Sideboard only, really strong vs. Rebel Gliders
Land Grant =Replaces a forest, it weeds out your deck for a cost (Information).
2) Sacred Prey
Red is by far the worst color to draft in the set of MM. Every time I open up a Two-Headed Dragon, Volcanic Winds or Kyren Negotiations (the three best Red cards-IMHO) I begin to feel sick to my stomach, Why is this? It is simply because I know that if I take these cards Ill be drafting a 2-1 deck (at best) and that my red will run out quickly. After countless drafts I have found that drafting red as you main color is really difficult unless you get some really good packs and very few people pick up on the color. If the drafter to your right has also picked up on red, you dont have a chance. However, this being said, red as you splash color can be great, as the best of the red commons are easily cast and are also very efficient.
1) Shock Troops =Because there are many Grey ogre like cards in the set the troops are really strong routinely creating 2-for-1s or killing a large creature like a Silverglade Elemental.
2) Thunderclap =I think it was Olle Rade that once said life advantage is unimportant-board advantage is and this card is better than Lunge just for that reason, it can timewalk opponents in the early or mid-game for the cost of an extra mountain.
3) Lunge =Mike Turian likes this more than I do and I can see it being picked higher if my deck is ultra fast, but otherwise I think it is weaker than the troops and the clap.
4) Kris Mage =Has the tendency to destroy certain decks but is crippled by opposing Stinging Barriers.
5) Wild Joval =Better compared to Lightning Hounds because they are easier to cast and splashable.
6) Lightning Hounds =This looks like a great card, it is efficient and effective, however, it cost double red and in MM having anything RR in your deck requires you to play quite a bit of red to which I am not an advocate of. I consider red to be a splash color.
7) Gerrards Irregular =By themselves these guys are simply over-costed, however when you combine them with some pump-ups (Orims Cure, Flaming Sword) they become pretty vicious. The situation of races comes up once in a while too, and you never lose a race if you have them.
8) Flaming Sword =An underrated card, the sword can create some unstoppable monsters when cast on creatures with high power.
9) Blaster Mage =I have won games with him and I have had him do almost nothing, however, it really doesnt hurt to have one or two of these guys on your side. When he works he can win you a game single-handily.
10) Kyren Sniper =In theory this is such a weak card, however, it allows you to win games that you have no right winning by giving you an alternative to creature combat.
11) Battle Rampart =Surprisingly good, this card has won me games. When paired with green fat you can generate an insane amount of temporal advantage.
12) Tremor =I like this card more and more as it gets me out of Spellshaper problems in huge ways.
13) Kyren Glider =Really doesnt have that much impact on a game, can really combo with Arms dealer, but otherwise one a turn isnt too lethal.
14) Ceremonial Guard =Ive heard some run this and I can see how it can be good vs. a deck of Hill giants but other than that, he sorta stinks.
15) Stone Rain =I hate it, but some swear by it. I can see have in four or five in a draft deck being pretty intense but I am still skeptical.
I suggest you board it
1) Cavern Crawler =I usually only sideboard this card, it can be a wrecking ball if you combo it with pump-ups (Deepwood Drummer, Invigorate).
2) Cave Sense =much like the Crawler this is usually only a sideboard card.
3) Crash =Sideboard only.
The strongest of the colors in MM draft.
1) Nightwind Glider =Cheap and cost effective this is the best bang for the buck you can get, + there should be 1 more black mage at a table than red, its a rebel too.
2) Thermal Glider =less red mages.
3) Ramosian Lieutenant =This is an inconsistent creature to draft, you usually need to use a high pick to get him and he could end up sitting in the board, however, when he works out he dominates the game. If you have 2-3 Gliders he becomes amazing.
4) Alabaster Wall =a very good defensive card. Can shut down combat situations.
5) Cho-Mannos Blessing =This can be such a powerful card and can singlehandly win you a duel. However, it will not always do what it is capable of and is opponent dependant.
6) Ramosian Sergeant =Can set up your entire deck if you have enough rebels but is similar to the lieutenant in inconsistency if you dont have them.
7) Devout Witness =I keep drafting this guy higher and higher to avoid not having one. An important addition to all white decks.
8) Steadfast Guard =these are solid cards on their own, however, if you can search them out of your deck with Sergeants or Lieutenants they become exponentially better.
9) Fresh Volunteers =same story as Steadfast guards.
10) Disenchant =A stable to most white decks it gives a deck defense against defensive cards such as: Muzzle and Dehydration, and is important vs. breakers such as War Cadence and Spidersilk Armor.
11) Muzzle =Muzzle is not a very good card, however, cards like it are really necessary in white deck for they deal with all the problems that white deck have (Kris Mages, Stinging Barriers, Mongers)
12) Crossbow Infantry =Maybe people see something I dont, but this card seems really underrated. I had won many games on the power of these guys and they are good in both defensive stalemates as well as offensive ones.
13) Ramsian Rally =The value of the Rally increases as you have more and more 2/2 rebels.
14) Orims Cure =Another example of the depth of whites defensive cards the Cure can really dominate a game by nullifying an important kill spell or by making a strong offensive beast (Snorting Gahr, Silverglade) live.
15) Charm Peddler =Another very underrated white card that gets passed around the table. This card lets you dismantle red decks by making their damage worthless.
16) Task Force =There are two reasons why this card is playable, the first one is that it is free if you have the various search rebels that can weed it out of your deck. The second reason is that where in combination with creatures with tap abilities an insane blocker is created (Alabaster Wall, Crossbow Infantry even).
17) Inviolability =This card is so good vs. non-black decks and so bad vs. black. It can single-handily shut down a green or red offense but is almost unplayable against the kill spells of black mages
Moment of Silence