Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

MMD Draft - Black Affinity

Darksteel has sped up the mirrodin limited format considerably, and it has
unfortunately become much more difficult to draft a "control" deck that can
put up an adequate defense fast enough. One of the many good examples of
this is how strong the black "affinity" build has become. Many people would
say that black got the most solid commons out of darksteel, with cards like
echoing decay, dross golem, and chittering rats. Add these in with the
mirrodin Nim cards and you've got a force to be reckoned with. Since the
nim aren't generally defensive creatures, this often ends up being an
excercise in speed.

What to draft:

In the Mirrodin packs, you really need those Nim first and foremost-
shrieker preferably, but lasher and shambler still being very deadly.
After that, your equipment is extremely important. Remember, on top of
the equipment's own bonuses, every nim gets an extra power. This means
slagwurm armor is AMAZING in this deck. +1/+6 to your 4 power lasher makes
a mean monster very early in the game. Bonesplitter, of course being quite
nice as well, plus some scimitars. All of these come down on turn 1 and 2
without slowing down your actual beaters, which is also why hoversail is
good- get those lashers airborn. So snag those early equipment... and
those mid-late tooth and scale of chiss-goria. Seriously. They often come
down for free, and instantly, making them in many cases like a FREE
bonesplitter or scimitar at instant speed. There's some nice uncommon
equipment too, snag those as you see fit (and nightmare lash is optimal-
while empyrial plate in a deck that wants to empty its hand very fast is not
so snazzy, as far as pants go). Then draft as many myrs/talismans and
artifact land as humanly possible (off color doesn't matter), and toss in
some frogmites and enforcers if they come up. Don't forget removal- terror
and irradiate being cheap enough to shove guys out of the way, and consume
spirit being either reasonable removal, a nice burn-style finisher, or
something that will swing a race solidly in your favor with the life gain.
If there's nothing else, even for a splash color, go ahead and grab some
off-color spellbombs/chromatic spheres... they pump your guys early, and
aren't disadvantage when you get slowed down.

In the Darksteel pack, while chittering rats are nice, for speed you
usually want the dross golems and vulshok morningstars beforehand, then
echoing decays/other removal, then grimclaw bats... then rats. There's some
nice artifact land readily available for your mid/late picks here, too.
Arcbound workers, stingers, and hybrids all compliment the deck well (in
roughly that order; 1/1 on the first turn that can nick your opponent for a
couple, and give bonuses to your nim by being cheap artifacts later are very
nice indeed). Whispersilk cloaks, while expensive in the deck, do protect
your 1 toughness guys while letting them swing in for 7+ mid-game. Bolas are
cheap, and let you tap down dudes so your men can get through (most of all,
flying guys to let the shriekers through).

How to play:

Concentrate on getting the creatures down first, you can lay whatever
artifacts you didn't get down during the first two turns -after- your guy
loses his summoning sickness (assuming you didn't snag some greaves, which
are superb for this deck and come down turn 2, almost no matter what).
Dross golem is your turn 4 play, not your turn 3 play (unless you had no
other creature to lay), because that extra turn often means he only costs
you 1 or 2 mana to play, thus optimizing your productivity during those
turns. (dross golem turn 3, nim lasher- swing with 3 power creature turn 4
is not as good as nim lasher turn 3, dross golem, morningstar- swing with
the much bigger powered lasher turn 4). Very often, the most dangerous
thing for this deck is pingers, such as viridian longbow, spikeshot goblin,
and granite shard. These all can put a serious crimp in your team in short
order, so odds are you'll need to be able to handle them with some artifact
kill from a secondary color- green and red offering nice cheap options for
this, along with predator strikes or burn as finishers.

Other than that, remember that you're a beatdown deck. If you're not
attacking more than 1 turn at a time, you're probably losing. Happy

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an email.


You can reach Andy at:

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