oahhhhh! Planar Chaos is crazy! Black Wraths! Green Balls Lightning! Some kinda flaming dudes with pickaxes!
Looks like things will be getting hectic. Remember when seeing white Akroma was a big deal? Now we have Burning Cinder Fury Crimson Chaos Akroma (with morph!)
That pre-release is going to be wild. Too bad it's two whole weeks
In the meantime, triple Time Spiral drafting remains relevant, and dare I say fun? I'll confess that Time Spiral Limited has become one of my favorite formats of all time. Eventually it will shift into TTP, but for now I remain enthralled with the status quo. There are a lot of reasons I'm so fond of this drafting environs. I suppose it boils down to the fact that months and months into it, people are still learning and revising their strategies. The games can be awfully close, where a single misstep can completely turn things around. To me, flexible draft tactics and tense games make for a great format.
Why all this Time Spiral love? In the process of drafting and playing the next two weeks' deck, those factors came into play. The draft itself went in a rare direction, a direction I felt necessary based on a combination of signals and on-the-fly strategy alterations. Of all the drafts covered for this column, this one had the highest quantity of decisions I'd label as “strenuous.” As always, feel free to share points of departure in the forums.
Pack 1, Pick 1
Slipstream Serpent, Nantuko Shaman, Castle Raptors, Gorgon Recluse, Spiketail Drakeling, Scarwood Treefolk, Eternity Snare, Molder, Venser's Sliver, Children of Korlis, Chronatog Totem, Spirit Loop, Weatherseed Totem, Magus of the Mirror, Safe Haven
Pack 1, Pick 2
Viscerid Deepwalker, Ironclaw Buzzardiers, Search for Tomorrow, Icatian Crier, Dark Withering, Goblin Skycutter, Cyclopean Giant, Screeching Sliver, Psychotic Episode, Jedit's Dragoons, Fledgling Mawcor, Aspect of Mongoose, Walk the Aeons, Darkness
Pack 1, Pick 3Errant Doomsayers
, Corpulent Corpse
, Viscerid Deepwalker
, Ironclaw Buzzardiers
, Icatian Crier
, Jhoira's Timebug
, Jedit's Dragoons
, Savage Thallid
, Ancient Grudge
, Return to Dust
, Sarpadian Empires, Vol. VII
, Zealot il-Vec
Pack 1, Pick 4
Flamecore Elemental, Mana Skimmer, Coral Trickster, Feebleness, Molder, Children of Korlis, Viscid Lemures, Ground Rift, Dread Return, Fool's Demise, Urza's Factory, Slipstream Serpent
Pack 1, Pick 5
Scarwood Treefolk, Orcish Cannonade, Amrou Scout, Mana Skimmer, Two-Headed Sliver, Prismatic Lens, Clockspinning, Sidewinder Sliver, Viscid Lemures, Plated Pegasus, Haunting Hymn
Pack 1, Pick 6Cancel
, Pentarch Ward
, Pit Keeper
, Divine Congregation
, Jhoira's Timebug
, Chameleon Blur
, Subterranean Shambler
, Vampiric Sliver
, Chronatog Totem
Pack 1, Pick 7
Pentarch Ward, Zealot il-Vec, Savage Thallid, Screeching Sliver, Ancient Grudge, Dreadship Reef, Ghostflame Sliver, Angel's Grace, Sidewinder Sliver
Pack 1, Pick 8
Gaze of Justice, Shadow Sliver, Bogardan Rager, D'Avenant Healer, Dementia Sliver, Dread Return, Sindbad, Zealot il-Vec
Pack 1, Pick 9
Eternity Snare, Molder, Venser's Sliver, Children of Korlis, Chronatog Totem, Spirit Loop, Safe HavenClick here
Pack 1, Pick 10
Cyclopean Giant, Screeching Sliver, Psychotic Episode, Jedit's Dragoons, Aspect of Mongoose, Darkness
An underrated card, Jedit's Dragoons play particularly well with W/U's mana curve and Momentary Blink.
My pick: Jedit's Dragoons
Pack 1, Pick 11
Jhoira's Timebug, Jedit's Dragoons, Ancient Grudge, Return to Dust, Conspiracy
An opportunity to take another useful sideboard card. Once in a while, one plays against a deck heavily reliant on artifacts and/or enchantments. It's lovely being able to exploit that focus.
My pick: Return to Dust
Pack 1, Pick 12
Molder, Ground Rift, Fool's Demise, Urza's Factory
Both the card I'm most likely to play and the card I want least played against me, this one's easy.
My pick: Urza's Factory
Pack 1, Pick 13
Two-Headed Sliver, Clockspinning, Sidewinder Sliver
Probably should have taken Clockspinning here, a card more likely to be played than Sidewinder Sliver. Was I thinking of Hivestone combos?
My pick: Sidewinder Sliver
Pack 1, Pick 14
Jhoira's Timebug, Chronatog Totem
A random and welcome gift, although one unlikely to be put to use.
My pick: Chronatog Totem
Pack 1, Pick 15
Oh, that's why I took the Sidewinder before.
My pick: Sidewinder Sliver
Things are looking good so far. We've defined our colors well. The cards represent different points on the mana curve, and are internally synergistic. At the moment, the deck looks like a mid-range deck. It can either play the control route with Castle Raptors and Slipstream Serpent, or combo with Zealot and Mawcor pinging. Not bad at all, although getting some actual spells couldn't hurt.
Pack 2, Pick 1
Flamecore Elemental, Gemhide Sliver, Feebleness, Castle Raptors, Chromatic Star, Tolarian Sentinel, Glass Asp, Prismatic Lens, Ground Rift, Eternity Snare, Spirit Loop, Truth or Tale, Premature Burial, Bogardan Hellkite, Wildfire Emissary
Pack 2, Pick 2
Ironclaw Buzzardiers, Temporal Eddy, Tendrils of Corruption, Lightning Axe, Mogg War Marshal, Foriysian Interceptor, Basal Sliver, Drifter il-Dal, Subterranean Shambler, Vampiric Sliver, Thick-Skinned Goblin, Yavimaya Dryad, Greater Gargadon, Vhati il-Dal
Pack 2, Pick 3
Orcish Cannonade, Keldon Halberdier, Durkwood Baloth, Sangrophage, Viashino Bladescout, Mystical Teachings, Thrill of the Hunt, Shadow Sliver, Evil Eye of Urborg, Barbed Shocker, Cavalry Master, Stonewood Invocation, Smallpox
Pack 2, Pick 4
Looter il-Kor, Keldon Halberdier, Ivory Giant, Grapeshot, Wormwood Dryad, Venser's Sliver, Clockspinning, Pendelhaven Elder, Quilled Sliver, Basalt Gargoyle, Ancestral Vision, Bogardan Rager
Pack 2, Pick 5
Crookclaw Transmuter, Strength in Numbers, Zealot il-Vec, Flickering Spirit, Call to the Netherworld, Drifter il-Dal, Havenwood Wurm, Basal Sliver, Volcanic Awakening, Trickbind, Dandan
Pack 2, Pick 6
Amrou Seekers, Temporal Eddy, Mogg War Marshal, Drudge Reavers, Sage of Epityr, Ghitu Firebreathing, Momentary Blink, Thunder Totem, Saltcrusted Steppe, Kher Keep
Pack 2, Pick 7
Chromatic Star, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Two-Headed Sliver, Blazing Blade Askari, Shadow Sliver, Paradox Haze, Firewake Sliver, Pulmonic Sliver, Essence Sliver
Pack 2, Pick 8
Zealot il-Vec, Sprout, Foriysian Interceptor, Aetherflame Wall, Detainment Spell, Thallid Shell-Dweller, Paradise Plume, Valor
Pack 2, Pick 9
Feebleness, Chromatic Star, Tolarian Sentinel, Ground Rift, Eternity Snare, Spirit Loop, Truth or Tale
Pack 2, Pick 10
Ironclaw Buzzardiers, Mogg War Marshal, Foriysian Interceptor, Basal Sliver, Drifter il-Dal, Thick-Skinned Goblin
I could see a hate draft here if there were anything scary. Since there's not, the deck might as well take a card that could theoretically see play.
My pick: Drifter il-Dal
Pack 2, Pick 11
Sangrophage, Mystical Teachings, Thrill of the Hunt, Shadow Sliver, Barbed Shocker
Now here's the perfect opportunity for defensive drafting. No card worth playing, and the option to remove something potentially irritating. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with defensive drafting, people just seem to do it way too often. Well, not you of course.
My pick: Thrill of the Hunt
Pack 2, Pick 12
Ivory Giant, Wormwood Dryad, Venser's Sliver, Clockspinning
Amazing. Mana from heaven, as they say. Considering how close I took this card back at Pack 2 Pick 4, seeing it comin' round the table is a real gift. While the blue results have been mixed, white has definitely been rewarding. Someone probably should have hated this away, but I ain't complaining.
My pick: Ivory Giant
Pack 2, Pick 13
Call to the Netherworld, Drifter il-Dal, Trickbind
Trickbind is a decent card, providing the occasional anti-suspension, anti-Terramorphic Expanse utility. It's a bit too narrow to maindeck for my tastes, but I know people like them. Regardless, it's a vastly stronger pick than a second Drifter il-Dal.
My pick: Trickbind
Pack 2, Pick 14
Ghitu Firebreathing, Saltcrusted Steppe
Cast and re-cast Thrill with one easy tap! Operators are standing by.
My pick: Saltcrusted Steppe
Pack 2, Pick 15
My pick: Paradox Haze
Pack 3, Pick 1
Errant Ephemeron, Flowstone Channeler, Trespasser il-Vec, Amrou Scout, Grapeshot, Children of Korlis, Sangrophage, Viashino Bladescout, Mystical Teachings, Gustcloak Cavalier, Pendelhaven Elder, Might Sliver, Swarmyard, Pandemonium, Phantom Wurm
Pack 3, Pick 2
Crookclaw Transmuter, Strength in Numbers, Errant Doomsayers, Corpulent Corpse, Pit Keeper, Divine Congregation, Jhoira's Timebug, Chameleon Blur, Subterranean Shambler, Telekinetic Sliver, Outrider en-Kor, Conflagrate, Flagstones of Trokair, Arena
Pack 3, Pick 3
Snapback, Aether Web, Cloudchaser Kestrel, Drudge Reavers, Sage of Epityr, Ghitu Firebreathing, Momentary Blink, Careful Consideration, Thunder Totem, Brine Elemental, Norin the Wary, Withered Wretch, Keldon Halberdier
Pack 3, Pick 4
Flowstone Channeler, Trespasser il-Vec, Fortify, Spiketail Drakeling, Skulking Knight, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Viashino Bladescout, Ophidian Eye, Fungal Reaches, Phyrexian Totem, Orgg, Screeching Sliver
Pack 3, Pick 5
Spinneret Sliver, Ivory Giant, Mindstab, Watcher Sliver, Blazing Blade Askari, Glass Asp, Traitor's Clutch, Plunder, Primal Forcemage, Urza's Factory, Kher Keep
Pack 3, Pick 6Aether Web
, Drudge Reavers
, Call to the Netherworld
, Cyclopean Giant
, Brass Gnat
, Unstable Mutation
Pack 3, Pick 7
Mindstab, Nantuko Shaman, Sangrophage, D'Avenant Healer, Wormwood Dryad, Mystical Teachings, Ignite Memories, Paradox Haze, Squire
Pack 3, Pick 8
Mindlash Sliver, Havenwood Wurm, Chameleon Blur, Flickering Spirit, Ghitu Firebreathing, Opaline Sliver, Paradise Plume, Feldon's Cane
Pack 3, Pick 9
Children of Korlis, Sangrophage, Viashino Bladescout, Mystical Teachings, Gustcloak Cavalier, Swarmyard, Pandemonium
Pack 3, Pick 10
Crookclaw Transmuter, Corpulent Corpse, Divine Congregation, Jhoira's Timebug, Chameleon Blur, Subterranean Shambler
Thanks to that erroneous Assembly-Worker pick, I can take the far more relevant Crookclaw Transmuter without any fear. Hmm, these grapes taste like cognitive dissonance.
My pick: Crookclaw Transmuter
Pack 3, Pick 11
Aether Web, Drudge Reavers, Sage of Epityr, Ghitu Firebreathing, Thunder Totem
Aether Web is a fairly relevant card to hate away, certainly more game-affecting than a 2/2 flier with an upkeep cost.
My pick: Aether Web
Pack 3, Pick 12
Skulking Knight, Viashino Bladescout, Ophidian Eye, Screeching Sliver
I should have taken Ophidian Eye here, as I want them playing everything else. Don't worry, this pick does not come back to haunt me.
My pick: Screeching Sliver
Pack 3, Pick 13
Glass Asp, Traitor's Clutch, Plunder
My pick: Traitor's Clutch
Pack 3, Pick 14
Drudge Reavers, Call to the Netherworld
Call to the Netherworld this late? That's madness!
Pick: Call to the Netherworld
Pack 3, Pick 15
The second time this card was fifteenth pick. What are the odds?
My pick: Paradox Haze
A lot of guys, but a few good spells for balance. While the Zealot tangent was the way to go, the deck picked up enough alternative threats to not make wins and losses totally dependent on the little 1/1s. There were a few parts where things could have gone differently, but the white was rock solid the whole time. Blue was less so, but what it did offer was a strong enhancement to those themes, as well as providing critical flexibility and threat diversion. Overall I liked the draft. Here's the final decklist:
U/W Time Spiral Draft Deck
The one card I'm sure is a mistake in there is that Viscerid Deepwalker. With just seven Islands and two Ivory Giants, it's unlikely to come out ASAP or be a strong force once it is in play. The Star was included to add consistency to the deck, even though Lightning Axe didn't make the final build. Were I to do it over, I'd take out Deepwalker and maybe the Star for some combination of Trickbind, Slipstream Serpent, and/or Jedit's Dragoons. In practice, sideboarding looked like exactly that.
So after all those heuristics and debate, how did the deck actually do? A fair question, but you'll have to wait a little longer. As suggested by a number of people, the draft walkthrough was entwined with a game walkthrough. It turned out to be a great choice, as these were some very interesting games. Unfortunately we're out of time for this week, so that will have to be covered at a later point. Enjoy the rest of Planar Chaos previews and thanks for reading.