Argothian Treehouse
Andy Van Zandt



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Argothian Treehouse

with Andy Van Zandt

MMD Draft - Four Color Fun

I say four color, because even in this deck, if you're going five colors,
you're probably being greedy. This is an interesting draft strategy because
it often doesn't end up being more than two colors, or two with a splash.
In that respect, it is much like "reading" the draft, because what you get
passed plays the most important role. It also makes how to draft it and
play it hard to outline, but I'll go on the assumption that the draft feeds
you what could end up as a four-color deck. Mirrodin block not only helps
this strategy by offering a lot of colorless spells to smooth things out,
but also a higher-than-average number of varying color mana producers that
can be included in any deck.

What to Draft:

Simply put? For the first 6 or 7 picks in each of the Mirrodin packs, you
choose the best card in the pack, regardless of color. After that, you
choose mana fixers as they come up, with the odd filler cards as they come.
It's important that you learn to stop grabbing the "good card" and start
grabbing talismans, myr, chromatic spheres, and journey of discovery (gee,
I feel like I say "journey of discovery" in all my mirrodin limited
articles, practically). Does this mean you must play green? Certainly not,
but it rarely hurts, since you'll be playing 4 colors anyway. As you are
picking, you'll probably notice a trend from each direction, i.e. the
"read" from your neighbors... if you get a bunch of blue cards from your
right, odds are no one is drafting blue over there, and consequently, a
large portion of your deck may be that color. This is why it often ends up
-not- a four color deck, as whichever color or colors end up stronger will
often be better played by themselves as a more solid deck. But again, let
us assume that you're being fed adequate strong cards from across the
spectrum, with a couple colors just being slightly more solid than the
others. These stronger colors are the ones you are "allowed" to choose
double-color requirement cards from. Fangren Hunter is a good green card,
but if green is not one of your "strong" colors, you shouldn't choose him
since he requires two green mana to cast. Same with domineer, one of the
best blue cards (in my humble opinion), it may not get played if your other
blue doesn't let you run enough islands to be able to consistently count on
having the two blue mana.

In the Darksteel pack, the rules are much the same, but with a couple of
notable differences. The mana fixers are Darksteel Ingot, Viridian Acolyte,
Reap and Sow, and to a much lesser degree, Vedalken Engineer. Ingot is SO
good in this deck that you may want to spend one of your earlier picks on
it, to ensure that you get 2 or 3. This is exacerbated by the fact that
the two green cards are not as secondarily useful as the mana fixers from
mirrodin; the acolyte doesn't accelerate at all, or replace itself, or
generate card economy... and reap and sow isn't as good at acceleration
(jumping your mana by 1 for turn 3 and on is significantly better than
wasting your fourth turn to increase your mana from turn 4 on, like Reap and
Sow does). Add to that the part where the vedalken, while a very good pick,
doesn't fix the more immediate mana problems of spell casting, and you
really want a couple ingots. The vedalken does do one thing for this deck
that is important, though (aside from letting you activate various color
replica/golems), and that is letting you play some of the darksteel
golems. 4 types of basic land will barely ever let you effectively drop a
nice razor golem on turn 3... but if you've got a couple engineers in your
deck, you can potentially get him into action on turn 3 or 4. Again, don't
choose cards from your "weak" colors that have multiple mana symbols in
their cost, and similarly, remember that things like grimclaw bats are
distinctly less effective with such a sporadic mana base.

After you've got everything, you'll have to determine what your mana fixers
allow you to accomodate, color wise, then select basic lands based on the
number of spells of each color your deck requires. Preferably, you'll be
able to have about 6 land for each of your stronger colors, and 2 for each
of your weaker ones (assuming 2 strong, 2 weak), and your fixers will
handle the rest, but I won't claim there is an actual "normal" setup here.
you may get 2 silver myr and two journey of discovery, and be able to play 1
island for your 4 blue spells, for instance. Hopefully, you figured out
during your draft whether you would end up being a more normal 2 color deck
or a 4 color monstrosity, and don't find out when you're building, since
odds are you could have drafted better, if that's the case. Yet again, here
we're assuming you ended up with what, optimally built, would be a four
color powerhouse.

How to Play:

Well, since this deck has no pre-defined layout, the more important choices
that I can touch on are to understand what you're doing during the drafting
and building steps. Aside from that, I can only say that a little more
thought needs to go into whether you mulligan or not. If you start off with
2 white cards and a fireball, a silver myr, and two forests, you probably
won't have anything during the early game to hold off the beats. Get it?

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an email.


You can reach Andy at:

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