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Tim Stoltzfus on Magic
Five Saviors Cards You May Not be Drafting High Enough
July 25, 2005

This week, I’ll be taking a look at booster drafting in the Kamigawa block format. Specifically, I’m going to be looking at several cards I feel I are underrated, and you may want to pick higher in your next draft. Keep in mind that Kamigawa block, more than any block I have drafted, is about card interactions and building a cohesive deck that works well together, as opposed to just drafting the most powerful card in every pack. As a result, sometimes a card may get passed simply because the people drafting that color are not playing a strategy that the card in question fits in. It doesn’t mean the card isn’t playable just because it showed up late in your draft.

Deathmask Nezumi. This card has been all over the place on my radar, but I’ve found it to be extremely good in U/B in particular. Early on, it is likely to be at full strength and be a major threat on the board. In a good U/B deck with a few Moonfolk, it is easy to pick up a few lands and get back to seven cards in hand in the mid and late game, and turn this card back into a powerhouse creature. If you are drafting U/B, you can often look forward to this guy as late as 9th pick, as the other combinations don’t have the ability to make this creature powerful in the late game the way U/B does.

Shinen of Life’s Roar. This card, on the other hand, is a card I see late often, but should be a top pick. It is very good in all stages of the game. In the early game, if you want to play a 1/2 and attack, you’ll get some early damage, and it virtually acts as creature removal. Elder Pine of Jukai, Kami of the Waning Moon, Ghost-Lit Stalker, Soratami Cloudskater, and Sakura-Tribe Elder are all examples of creatures you’re happy to see being forced to block the Shinen of Life’s Roar in the early game. Combined with Roar of Jukai or Kodama’s Might, the Shinen can provide a lot of punch and take down some rather hefty creatures. In the middle and late game, the Shinen’s channel ability shines, allowing you to make successful alpha strikes to force through those last few points of damage. If you’re drafting green, don’t be afraid to pick this card in the early stages of the pack.

Kagemaro’s Clutch. How I see this card consistently 5-8th pick mystifies me. This is as good a removal card as I can imagine. It might be better a mana cheaper, but what wouldn’t be? This regularly kills whatever it is put on. Worst case scenario, this card takes down a creature that is 3/3 or 4/4 on turn four to make room for your smaller creatures to get through for more damage. Sometimes it does much more than that, though. In a game the other night, my opponent had only black creatures in play and played Razorjaw Oni. I drew and had five cards in my hand. I played Clutch on the Razorjaw Oni, making it an 0/1 that made it impossible for him to attack. I attacked, played a medium creature that could block his smaller creatures, and went on to win due to his inability to slow me down.

Barrel Down Sokenzan. Another removal spell that I see late for some unknown reason. Generally this is easily at least four damage, in the middle and late game, it can be a LOT more, taking out virtually any creature in the game. It isn’t better than Ghost-Lit Raider or Spiraling Embers, but it is a very, very good removal card that works very well with Sokenzan Spellblade, another excellent red common.

Shinen of Flight’s Wings. Somehow, I often see this card in the 6th-8th pick range, which surprises me. He is a splashable 3/3 flier for 5. Usually you have to pay UU in the casting cost for this kind of body
(Teller of Tales, for example), but in this case the mana restrictions are less, and the offensive power is still formidable.

Next time you’re drafting Kamigawa block, keep an eye out for these cards in late picks, where grabbing them up can be a great boon to your deck!

Now for a quick shout out to everyone, if you have anything you’d like to see me talk about or discuss, please, let me know! I’m open to just about anything, I like exploring all facets of Magic, so send me your suggestions and ideas!

Tim Stoltzfus



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