Table of Contents
Hey everyone! We’ve reached the finale of the long and arduous journey into The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. By that I mean we’ve reached the end of preview season so we can actually play with all the cool new cards. Today I’ll be dropping my archetypes guide with example skeletons so that you know what to look out for when drafting the format.
For those of you unfamiliar with what an archetype skeleton is, they are an example of what a normal draft deck would look like. Building busted decks doesn’t really help anyone because they basically build themselves during the draft and you’re far less likely to end up with them. Instead we set limitations and build within them to look at an example of a solid deck in each archetype.
The limitations we are working with are one rare, five different uncommons, and not more than two of any common.
The mana bases will also be static during this exercise for the sake of simplicity. We’re just going to do eight of each basic and a Promising Vein. Obviously, this shouldn’t be your default mana base and each draft will demand different decisions on it. I’m mostly writing this part so I don’t wake up to a pile of messages about it.
The Azorius deck is an artifact control deck that wants to overwhelm their opponent in the late game. As you can see this deck has plenty of ways to stay afloat early on with Petrify, Spring-Loaded Sawblades, and Shipwreck Sentry. It then can take over late with Master's Guide-Mural, Thousand Moons Smithy or a flipped Clay-Fired Bricks. It can even just steal games through the air with Waterwind Scout and Oltec Cloud Guard patrolling the skies.
For the rare I went with Thousand Moons Smithy because while it is good in almost any deck, it gets downright absurd in a deck that has a bunch of creatures that generate an additional game piece when they ETB.
The Orzhov deck is about sacrifice. Per usual the vampires are demanding that everyone else sacrifice for “the greater good” and by that they mean their own good. That means that you need as many cards that come with extra game pieces as possible (It’s almost like that’s becoming the theme of modern limited). As you can imagine format all-star Tinker's Tote is making an appearance since that gives you three game pieces for three mana.
For the rare I went with Preacher of the Schism because it can do everything you’re looking to do whether it’s generate extra bodies or draw extra cards.
The intended theme of Boros is to be the tapping midrange deck. It feels more like a normal Boros aggro deck that uses cards like Sunshot Militia to get those last few points across instead of hoping to get there with a combat trick.
I went with Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon for the rare because it floods the board with tokens which let you either ping them out with Sunshot Militia or send a very large army in after you drop Malamet War Scribe. Just remember that it triggers when you attack with a non-gnome creature.
Selesnya is supposed to be “buffs aggro”, but it feels more like it doesn’t really have a great identity. You can get there with some high-quality cards, but it just doesn’t feel that great when you try to force the planned theme. It’s just a normal Selesnya deck that either gets there before it runs out of gas or it doesn’t.
I went with Kellan, Daring Tracker because it’s a good early threat that can possibly draw you some extra cards. It has ten possible hits in the deck so you have a decent chance of scoring a free card.
Dimir is playing descend control where you fill your graveyard before taking over in the late game with card advantage and large threats. I tossed in a small reanimation package with Defossilize and Soulcoil Viper to take advantage of dropping your bigger threats into the graveyard early. There are a ton of different ways to build this one with some focused more on hitting descend eight, but this one just wants to get to four and win with a pile of value.
I was extremely tempted to go with Throne of the Grim Captain since you can get all four creature types in this color combination and it helps fuel your theme. I went with Starving Revenant because it is a solid payoff and enabler that doesn’t require you to pick up all of the right creature types.
Izzet is a spells deck again? It is not! That’s right this time Izzet is the artifacts and pirates deck. Your plan is to come out of the gates hot and fast with Goblin Tomb Raider while Captain Storm, Cosmium Raider provides the back up by buffing their fellow pirates. You have just enough removal to clear the way of problematic creatures.
I went with Breeches, Eager Pillager because while it’s great on its own, you can get all three options pretty easily in this deck.
The Simic deck is an explore (the ability, not the card) based midrange deck that tries to drown the opponent in value. This is a nice change from the normal Simic “ummm…we think its ramp” decks that we are used to. As expected, the interaction isn’t the best so you have a couple cards like Runaway Boulder and Unlucky Drop even though they are normally very cuttable. You also have the Huatli's Final Strike and Poison Dart Frog combo to handle business.
I went with Deepfathom Echo as the rare because it does “the thing” every turn.
The theme of Rakdos is supposed to be a descending beatdown deck. That means that it wants to get triggers off of descending compared to Dimir or Golgari who want to be descended to certain numbers. This still plays like most Rakdos limited decks with cheap creatures and removal. Fanatical Offering lets you both trigger descended as well as squeeze more juice out of cards that already got some value such as Skullcap Snail.
I went with Molten Collapse as the rare because two mana kill anything with easily triggered upside is such an efficient card.
Golgari is a grindy descend deck. It wants to stack the graveyard with permanents to power up the rest of its cards. Of course, it never hurts your chances if you happen to cast Chupacabra Echo a few times per game.
I went with Corpses of the Lost because it will be very easy to trigger it almost every turn.
Gruul is the dinosaur deck. Just picture Jurassic Park after everything breaks down and you have a good idea of what this deck is doing. Large critters destroying everything in sight. You know what you’re doing here, I don’t really need to explain it further.
I went with Palani's Hatcher as the rare because it’s busted anywhere, but particularly insane in the dinosaurs deck.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back later this week with my combos and synergies guide. Until then, stay classy people!
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