Hello everyone and welcome back to another edition of The Cardboard Witch. Before we get started I have a couple of confessions to make; first and foremost I'd like to apologize to the many readers who've emailed or messaged me on Twitter to remind me that it's been somewhere around a month since I wrote about Limited. Unfortunately by the end of SoM block I simply wasn't enjoying draft as much as I had been; I personally thought Triple Scars was one of the more interesting formats I'd ever played but with the addition of MBS and a focus on control strategies/6CC bombs I found I wanted to play less than I had before. Naturally I'd hoped this would change when NPH became legal but sadly it was more of the same; except this time both the removal and the disgusting bombs were even *better*. This left me auto-forcing 2-3 color control decks every time I drafted the cycle and after a while I got pretty bored of essentially always adopting the same strategy; even though I was winning a lot. While I certainly wouldn't call myself an "aggro" player in draft I feel that it's very important for any given format to have at least *some* quality aggro strategies to provide variety and balance; as Infect shifted towards control/combo type builds and Metalcraft aggro withered on the vine, what had been an exciting format full of options turned into something entirely less pleasant and more predictable. Simply put I wasn't writing about my drafts because I felt they were repetitive, boring and ultimately of little instructional value; take the bomb, load up on removal spells and play to win on turn 8-10 regardless of your colors isn't exactly a complicated draft strategy. In light of this I decided to focus on writing about Standard for a while and began desperately waiting for the release of M12.
It's not easy being Green: So what happens to a format when you start throwing 3/3 and 4/4 beaters for 3-5 mana in every other color while simultaneously weakening Green's cardbase in response to the reprinting of Overrun? I have absolutely no idea and furthermore no intentions of finding out because I fully intend to avoid drafting Green like the plague in this set folks. Now before you jump all over me please understand that I'm not denying that Green has some pretty good cards in M12; the problem I have is that virtually none of these cards are common. Simply put there is no reasonable way you can expect to win a draft with decks built around cards like Brindle Boar, Stampeding Rhino and Sacred Wolf when your opponents are countering with Blood Ogres, Gorehorn Minotaurs and even the periodic Manic Vandal. A careful look through the spoiler will reveal that virtually every single main-deckable Green common in the set has an equivalently costed better common in another color. I suppose you could argue that cards like Lurking Crocodile and Stampeding Rhino are actually better than some of their W/U/B/R counterparts but even so the difference is pretty marginal compared to say the vast disparity between Llanowar Elf and Gideon's Lawkeeper or Sacred Wolf and Skywinder Drake. What's more even traditional Green Stalwarts like Cudgel Troll and Giant Spider have lost a lot of traction in M12; Incinerate is a splashable common and a 2/4 Spider isn't quite as good with so many 4/4's running around the format. Throw in the loss of Yavimaya Wurm, the absence of flyers, one marginal removal card and a bad Giant Growth and you have a recipe for a lot of 2-2 finishes in draft as far as I can tell. Look any good Green Mage will tell you that the primary reason to play Forests in Limited is because Green critters almost always dominate creature combat; that simply is not true here in M12 and therefore it's pretty hard to justify going into green unless you open the absolute "nuts" or your pretty sure there are no other green drafters at the table. If you have to start running Hexproof Elves , Pigs and 7CC Wurms just to make 22-23 cards you're probably in a whole world of trouble. Finally I suppose I should mention that yes, Overrun is still an awesomely destructive card and quite capable of winning you games because it doesn't care how crappy your creatures on the table are; just that you have a lot of them. The problem remains having to play a bunch of terrible Green creatures to get there but if you draft a couple of Overruns by all means consider forcing Green for the rest of the draft.
Well folks once again that's just about all my fingers can take for the moment; originally I had intended to provide a chart with my M12 pick rankings by color and commonality but unfortunately this article got a little "long" on me pretty fast. M12 is a fascinating format with many subtle and not so subtle differences between M11 drafts and as such I feel like I could go on writing about it for days on end without getting bored in the slightest. As always thanks for reading and I promise to post my pick rankings and a brief explanation of the more controversial choices next time on the blog; maybe even later tonight. Until then gang always remember that there is *never* a good reason to pass a Rune Scarred Demon to take a Garruk's Companion when the whole world is watching. *Nina winks*