July 29, 2018

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Going for the Gold: The Best Archetype in Core 19

Welcome back to Going for the Gold!

Last week I kind of left you on a cliffhanger. We went through all of the good commons and uncommons in the set. I showed you why I thought that blue and black were the deepest colours since they had the best commons and uncommons.

So, does that mean that UB is the best archetype?

Definitely not!

UB is very deep, so it can support multiple drafters. Howeverl the archetype that has the best synergy is BW. It's GP Minneapolis, the limited GP before the Pro Tour. Read below and learn how to draft the best archetype in the format before everyone else does.

When determining how to draft an archetype, the first thing to do is identify the top cards that everyone wants. As it relates to BW, these are the cards that everyone will fight you for:


Gravedigger  LichsCaress (1)  LichsCaress  Murder  PlagueMare  SkymarchBloodletter StranglingSpores  VampireSovereign


CleansingNova HeraldOfFaith HieromancersCage KnightlyValor LeoninWarleader LuminousBonds MentorOfTheMeek PegasusCourser ResplendentAngel

All of these cards are ones that people will open and just naturally take if they are in either colour. You can see that while white has better rares, its commons and uncommons are pretty lackluster. When drafting BW you should focus on picking up the most sought after cards first, then the cards for your archetype secondary. For at least the first few weeks, these cards will go around later than usual.

The synergy around BW comes from its inherent ability to drain the opponent of their remaining life points. The busted gold uncommon, Regal Bloodlord, is representative of this plan.


Okay now that we've gone over all the cards that we want, we should plan out how we can end up with an optimal 40 cards that we can take down the drafts with.


LichsCaress  ResplendentAngel LeoninWarleader CleansingNova RegalBloodlord

I would take any of these cards over every other card in the archetype. Since we will almost never be in the position to choose between two rares, you only need to know what you should take over Regal Bloodlord. There's only one card, Resplendent Angel, that I'd ever consider taking over the archetype's matriarch and that's because it makes better token creatures. If you're ever forced to make this decision, life is great!


AjanisPridemate VampireSovereign HeraldOfFaith Murder  HieromancersCage Gravedigger FountainOfRenewal KnightlyValor

All of the above cards are sorted in order of their power level and importance to the archetype. It looks weird to suggest taking a two drop over these great dragons and removal spells, but this two drop (Ajani's Pridemate) will continue to grow to an incredible size since almost every spell will trigger it. Not only that, but black and white is chock full of removal and you can get your hands on enough of them in a typical draft.

Vampire Sovereign is as close to a "dragon" as you get in this format in these colours, and it basically comes into play with vigiliance, lifelink, haste, and unblockable. Herald of Faith is another "dragon" that helps you win races. Then you have two great removal spells, and the classic Gravedigger that will buy us back our stand-out creatures. Fountain of Renewal will gain us some life and can be used in combination with our other cards, and then sacrificed to get back the card once it is no longer relevant. Finally, Knightly Valor doesn't do anything special in our deck, but it is still a good card and can be combined with various lifelinking creatures to create a potent threat.


SkymarchBloodletter  EpicureOfBlood  LuminousBonds StranglingSpores LichsCaress (1)

Skymarch Bloodletter following up an Ajani's Pridemate is an incredible start that will leave your opponents on the back foot as early as turn three. Epicure of Blood makes sure that you can win the game through your evasive threats faster, or finish your opponent off through doming them directly. Let alone, that this is a five mana 4/4 creature which has always been a great rate for a creature even without an ability. Lich's Caress, Luminous Bonds, and Strangling Spores are more of the removal spells that I talked about earlier that are in high abundance in this archetype.

Now when you play at a high level draft, players will constantly take cards from the packs so that you don't just end up with 23 premium cards. Yes, you should be playing 17 lands with this archetype and most draft decks in this format. Usually there is a huge drop off between premium and filler cards in other archetypes. But since we have a plan, we can actually make sure of the other cards that can be cards 15-23 in your deck.

Filler cards that I am happy to play:

DwarvenPriest PegasusCourser ChildOfNight DaybreakChaplain VampireNeonate  AngelOfTheDawn GallantCavalry MacabreWaltz StarCrownedStag MakeAStand ShieldMare PlagueMare NightmaresThirst

As you can see, there are tons of cards that can be played in this deck without feeling like you are playing actual toilet paper. If you start drafting this deck consistently, you'll start to notice where you can jump in with both feet versus being careful and just taking the good cards. The beauty about this archetype is that you can just draft BW, and then add the life-gain archetype as the cards appear. Take it for a spin in the Magic Online queues and let me know what you think.

Comment below on what your favourite archetype is, I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Next week is the team Pro Tour and I have made a decision to take a step back from competitive Magic while I try to figure out things in my life.

Magic has been a great hobby of mine for a very long time so it is tough to skip my favourite type of tournament since every Pro Tour feels incredible because you always walk into the building thinking that you have a chance to come out as a champion. This will be the first Pro Tour in the last three years that I have skipped, but I am excited to see what the big teams will bring to the team constructed format. Canadian Stalwart and former Pro Tour Champion David Rood is making his first return to the Pro Tour since he quit a decade ago, and you would be remiss to not know who he is. I expect to see great things from him.

Have a great weekend,

Sammy T