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M10 Draft Archetypes - Luke Collins (10/4/2009)

M10 doesn't really have a strongest color (despite what you might infer from my card ratings) because the strengths and weaknesses of the colors do a very good job of balancing one another out. This is to be expected, as Wizards has made it clear that from now on they want to have a lot of color parity in the sets so that no one color ends up being over-drafted. I think that the strengths and weaknesses of the colors really do play out well in M10, and I'm glad to see that Wizards did lots of playtesting to ensure that everything came out nicely.

What surprised me as I drafted M10 was that the deck archetypes were also very balanced. Granted some of them (like Mono-Black or Blue/Red) were hard to pull off and very dependent on the uncommons/rares available, but I never really felt that there was a ´´best´´ deck. With the right cards, any one of the decks could easily win the draft, and unless I made very smart card choices even a supposedly strong archetype would come crashing down on me.

Like most core sets, the lack of creatures in a specific type and absence of multicolor means that most of the archetypes are based on color. Artifacts can go in pretty much any one of them, and the two-color-lands go where appropriate. There aren't enough of either to make a difference most of the time, however, so it's more appropriate to look at the focus of each archetype instead.

Mono and Near-Mono Blue - Blue is the ´´weakest´´ of the colors in Limited, with a large number of constructed-only spells and weak creatures. Because of this, it's often passed around a lot, only being picked up by someone who happened to open a bomb like Time Warp
Time Warp
Time WarpSet: Starter 1999
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Target player takes another turn after this one.
. As such, it's often possible to ´´force´´ mono-blue, since you can quickly cut off the person to your left and end up getting lots of good blue out of pack 2, and usually some good stuff out of pack 3 as well. Blue is very shallow and so such a deck necessitates good luck and clear signaling (don't take mono-blue unless you see it being totally ignored) but it CAN be rewarding.

A mono-blue deck will focus on cards like Phantom Warrior
Phantom Warrior
Phantom WarriorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Illusion
Rarity:
U
Number:
85
Artist:
John Matson
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Phantom Warrior is unblockable.
, Air Elemental
Air Elemental
Air ElementalSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
and Wind/Snapping Drake
Snapping Drake
Snapping DrakeSet: Starter 1999
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying
to win through evasion. Lacking good creatures or even creature parity, such a deck is dependent on Wall of Frost
Wall of Frost
Wall of FrostSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
80
Artist:
Mike Bierek
Power:
0
Toughness:
7
Text:
Defender (This creature can't attack.)Whenever Wall of Frost blocks a creature, that creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
and Horned Turtle
Horned Turtle
Horned TurtleSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Turtle
Rarity:
C
Number:
74
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
to hold the ground, as well as careful use of counterspells to prevent bombs from ever coming into play. Mono blue is hard to play and even harder to draft, but if no one else is playing the color to any real extend you will often end up with enough counterspells to make it worthwhile. When splashing another color to make it near-mono blue, you should look to get removal, so red, black and white are best.

Mono and Near-Mono Red - Red isn't as shallow as Blue, but its best cards (Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
chief among them) are extremely splashable and thus hard to get. Red has good early game creatures but there are few truly exceptional ones, as that is more reserved for White. A mono or near mono Red deck is dependent on getting removal such as Seismic Strike
Seismic Strike
Seismic StrikeSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
154
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Seismic Strike deals damage to target creature equal to the number of Mountains you control.
, and it also really wants cards like Fiery Hellhound
Fiery Hellhound
Fiery HellhoundSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental Hound
Rarity:
C
Number:
135
Artist:
Ted Galaday
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
{R}: Fiery Hellhound gets +1/+0 until end of turn.
or Shivan Dragon
Shivan Dragon
Shivan DragonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying, R: +1/+0
to take advantage of all the mountains.

It's harder to build such a deck, but if a lot of lower-grade Red removal like the Strike or Sparkmage are going around, it can be worth it. The point of a red-heavy deck is to make up for inferior creatures by offering superior burn. Strong red creatures like Inferno Elemental
Inferno Elemental
Inferno ElementalSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
142
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Whenever Inferno Elemental blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, Inferno Elemental deals 3 damage to that creature.
are essential for making the deck work, but even small guys like Viashno Spearhunter can be deadly when there's instant-speed burn backing them up. When splashing for another color, I find it best to go with Green, since Red has so few large late-game creatures to smash those last few points in. White and Black can offer some additional early men, but their main value to mostly-red is to bring in additional high quality removal to make up for mediocre creatures.

Mono and near-Mono Green - Green actually does very well standing alone because it has a lot of mana ramping and large dumb creatures to do all the fighting. The problem is that it lacks removal and evasion, forcing it to use size to act as pseudo-removal (forcing trades/chump blocking) and pseudo-evasion (too big to block). Trample becomes invaluable, especially due to its scarcity, and a lack of protection from flying creatures puts Spiders and Windstorm
Windstorm
WindstormSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
205
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
Windstorm deals X damage to each creature with flying.
at a premium.

What really makes Green heavy decks work is Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
. Unless you first pick Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
or get it early, then you should be looking for another color in order to splash for evasion and removal. Green also has the two best combat tricks (Giant Growth
Giant Growth
Giant GrowthSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Target creature gains +3/+3 until end of turn.
and Fog
Fog
FogSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
Creatures attack and block as normal, but none deal any damage or otherwise affect any creature as a result of an attack or block. All attacking creatures are still tapped. Play any time before attack damage is dealt.
) which you will need in abundance, to make up for the fact that your creatures will pretty much always be blocked. If you're splashing, turn to Black, White or Red for removal, since that's the best way to deal with fliers and open up holes for attacking.

Mono and Near-Mono white - White's aggressive casting costs really makes it like running alone, especially since it aggressively pushes a tribe not seen in other colors (Soldiers) and has a lot of mana-commitment cards like White Knight
White Knight
White KnightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black, first strike
and Armored Ascension
Armored Ascension
Armored AscensionSet: Shadowmoor
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
2
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +1/+1 for each Plains you control and has flying.
. With flying, removal and early game, white can pretty much do anything it needs to in terms of limited, and its only real problem is that its best cards are highly splashable and it lacks large late-game creatures other than Angels. Honor of the Pure
Honor of the Pure
Honor of the PureSet: Magic 2010
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
16
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
White creatures you control get +1/+1.
is, of course, the best card for this deck.

Because mono-white is so dependent on really good early and late drops that are Uncommon, Rare or Mythic Rare (Angels, White Knight
White Knight
White KnightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black, first strike
, Vanguard, etc.) it's hard to run, especially since a lot of its best cards will end up being splashed by other players. Still, if it falls into your lap it runs well, and the color will often curve on its own thanks to very good casting costs. When looking to splash with near-mono white, it's a good idea to turn to Green for large end-game creatures or Red/Black for removal.

Mono-Black and near-Mono black - If I had to pick a ´´strongest´´ deck in the set, I'd be inclined to go with this one, although it can easily be short-circuited by what gets opened and what other people draft. Wizards really wants to push that black is selfish and so there are a lot of rewards for playing heavy black (Nightmare
Nightmare
NightmareSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Nightmare
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Flying Nightmare's power and toughness both equal the number of swamps its controller has in play.
, Consume Spirit
Consume Spirit
Consume SpiritSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Artist:
Matt Thompson
Text:
Spend only black mana on X. Consume Spirit deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
) that no one else will care for. However, Black's best commons (Doom Blade
Doom Blade
Doom BladeSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Chippy
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature.
, Child of Night
Child of Night
Child of NightSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
C
Number:
88
Artist:
Ash Wood
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
, Gravedigger
Gravedigger
GravediggerSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
C
Number:
134
Artist:
Dermot Power
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Gravedigger comes into play, you may return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
) are very splashable and so a mono-black deck will often have to rely on inferior creatures to go along with superior, swamp-loving spells.

Mono black is very dependent on Consume Spirit
Consume Spirit
Consume SpiritSet: Mirrodin
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Artist:
Matt Thompson
Text:
Spend only black mana on X. Consume Spirit deals X damage to target creature or player. You gain X life.
and Tendrils of Corruption
Tendrils of Corruption
Tendrils of CorruptionSet: Time Spiral
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
136
Artist:
Mike Dringenberg
Text:
Tendrils of Corruption deals X damage to target creature and you gain X life, where X is the number of Swamps you control.
so if you can't get those easily in pack 1, start looking for a color to pair with. If you can aggressively force black in Pack 1 you may be able to get some goodies later on, but it's a risky strategy. Really the only way you can run mono-black is if you get passed lots of good black in Pack 1 and continue getting it in Pack 2, so that you can start passing up cards you need (Tendrils) for cards you want (Vampire Aristocrat
Vampire Aristocrat
Vampire AristocratSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire Rogue
Rarity:
C
Number:
117
Artist:
Austin Hsu
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Sacrifice a creature: Vampire Aristocrat gets +2/+2 until end of turn.
). When splashing, you should look to fill whatever deficiency your deck has otherwise. If you have high quality cards, go to blue for draw. If you lack an early game, go with White. If you need big dumb guys, go with Green. If you need more removal, Red.

Blue/Red - This deck will either be really strong or really weak. Blue has lots of evasion and Red has a good early game, but neither of them have a lot of depth or creature quality. This deck is dependent on getting a lot of Red removal (especially Lightning Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Lightning BoltSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Lightning Bolt does 3 damage to one target.
) and Blue counterspells in order to work properly and make up for a lack of creature quality. If you get a lot of that to start with, you can run the deck, and don't be afraid to run a lot of mediocre creatures like Coral Merfolk
Coral Merfolk
Coral MerfolkSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
C
Number:
67
Artist:
rk post
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
and Goblin Piker
Goblin Piker
Goblin PikerSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
. So long as you can keep your opponent's bombs off the board you can win even if your creatures are smaller, and make the most of Blue's fliers. Zephyr Sprite
Zephyr Sprite
Zephyr SpriteSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faerie
Rarity:
C
Number:
82
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
and Raging Goblin
Raging Goblin
Raging GoblinSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Number:
200
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Haste (This creature may attack and tap the turn it comes under your control.)
do well here even though they rarely do elsewhere.

Blue/Green - Blue and Green are supposed to be enemy colors, but really, they complement one another and go together very strongly. Green lacks fliers, Blue lacks big guys. Green has good combat tricks, Blue has counterspells. When running a Green/Blue deck you should look to get the best creatures possible and then a few strong spells (ideally Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
, but Mind Control
Mind Control
Mind ControlSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
63
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Enchant creatureYou control enchanted creature.
can also do well) to complement things. Oakenform
Oakenform
OakenformSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
C
Number:
197
Artist:
Wayne Reynolds
Text:
Enchant creatureEnchanted creature gets +3/+3.
suddenly becomes very playable because it can go on Blue's admittedly fragile fliers, and Blue's counterspells become invaluable for protecting Green's big, removal-attracting critters. When making this deck, I usually go with Green's biggest guys backed
up by Blue's fliers and tricks.

Blue/White - The goal of this deck is to put as much stuff in the air as possible. Zephyr Sprite
Zephyr Sprite
Zephyr SpriteSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Faerie
Rarity:
C
Number:
82
Artist:
Kev Walker
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
, Stormfront Pegasus
Stormfront Pegasus
Stormfront PegasusSet: Magic 2010
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Pegasus
Rarity:
C
Number:
35
Artist:
rk post
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
, Wind/Snapping Drake
Snapping Drake
Snapping DrakeSet: Starter 1999
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Drake
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying
, whatever. If it flies, get it in there. These fliers should be backed up by defensive ground-holders (Horned Turtle
Horned Turtle
Horned TurtleSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Turtle
Rarity:
C
Number:
74
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
, walls, Palace Guard
Palace Guard
Palace GuardSet: Magic 2010
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
23
Artist:
Volkan Baga
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
Text:
Palace Guard can block any number of creatures.
, etc.) along with removal and tricks to help you maintain air superiority. Spiders are your biggest enemy since your flying army is so small and fragile, so you'll want to pick White's removal and Blue's bounce very aggressively so you can keep the pressure on. Anti-creature counterspells are also important, so as to keep your fliers coming. This deck tends to either boom or bust depending on its ability to maintain air superiority, but when drafted right, it's really hard to stop since it has so much evasion.

Blue/Black - Blue has few good creatures but Black has a number of them, so usually when playing this deck I find that Blue is there mostly for Counterspell
Counterspell
CounterspellSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Counters target spell as it is being cast.
s and card draw. Black's card quality is very high and so blue cards like Divination
Divination
DivinationSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Text:
Draw two cards.
and Merfolk Looter
Merfolk Looter
Merfolk LooterSet: Exodus
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
C
Number:
39
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Draw a card, then choose and discard a card.
are essential to making this deck run at its best. Black complements with decent small creatures (Child of Night
Child of Night
Child of NightSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
C
Number:
88
Artist:
Ash Wood
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
) and a few fliers (Kelinore Bat
Kelinore Bat
Kelinore BatSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Bat
Rarity:
C
Number:
101
Artist:
Dave Kendall
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
) thus making the two colors very dependent on the early game and evasion. Blue/Black usually ends up winning slowly over time as it doesn't have the power to alpha-strike much, and it is very dependent on playing a bomb or two. Luckily, with lots of card draw, you can usually get your bomb before your opponent gets theirs.

Red/Green - The point of this deck is to ramp up to huge creatures while taking advantage of red's removal and good early game. Green lacks a lot of strong early game contenders, which red can somewhat make up for, but really the point of the Red in the Red/Green is removal. This deck is pretty much like it has been in many core sets (indeed many blocks) before the current one. The large amount of mana produced also means that it's best able to take advantage of Dragons and red's other big guys, and of course Fireball
Fireball
FireballSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Fireball does X damage total, divided evenly (round down) among any number of targets. Pay 1 extra mana for each target beyond the first.
. Every red deck wants Fireball
Fireball
FireballSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Fireball does X damage total, divided evenly (round down) among any number of targets. Pay 1 extra mana for each target beyond the first.
, but Red/Green wants it most due to the mana acceleration. This deck has some trouble with fliers, but a few spiders and well-placed burn spells can usually solve that problem.

Red/White - This deck is all about the early game. White has the best early creatures and Red has the best early removal. They both lack strong mid and late game creatures for the most part (though Inferno Elemental
Inferno Elemental
Inferno ElementalSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Number:
142
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Whenever Inferno Elemental blocks or becomes blocked by a creature, Inferno Elemental deals 3 damage to that creature.
and Angels do help) and the deck is very dependent on a big Dragon or Angel coming through at the end for a win. Still, this deck is by far the most aggressive and comes hard out of the gate with cards like Raging Goblin
Raging Goblin
Raging GoblinSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
C
Number:
200
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Haste (This creature may attack and tap the turn it comes under your control.)
and Elite Vanguard
Elite Vanguard
Elite VanguardSet: Magic 2010
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
9
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
. Red/White decks need to have a low curve capped off by bombs, and due to a lack of card draw to reload are very dependent on good draws and strong removal. Still, the two colors work together very well and with the right pressure early on, a late-game Fireball
Fireball
FireballSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Fireball does X damage total, divided evenly (round down) among any number of targets. Pay 1 extra mana for each target beyond the first.
or Shivan Dragon
Shivan Dragon
Shivan DragonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dragon
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Melissa A. Benson
Power:
5
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying, R: +1/+0
can finish off an opponent still reeling from early drops.

Red/Black - This is all about the removal. This deck is very happy with unimpressive vanilla creatures like Warpath Ghoul
Warpath Ghoul
Warpath GhoulSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Zombie
Rarity:
C
Number:
120
Artist:
rk post
Power:
3
Toughness:
2
and Canyon Minotaur
Canyon Minotaur
Canyon MinotaurSet: Conflux
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Minotaur Warrior
Rarity:
C
Number:
60
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Set/Rarity: C
, because it has access to so many ways to kill enemy creatures. When drafting red/black your goal should be to grab any removal (no matter how small or low quality) and then back it up with whatever creatures happen to fall into your lap. There are very few strictly bad or unplayable creatures in Red/Black in M10, and the fact that they are expensive or of poor quality is usually irrelevant as they are going unopposed. This deck should be played very aggressively, using the heavy removal to keep the board clean while creatures attack constantly. Black's strong discard is also important here, removing threats before they are ever played.

Green/White - Green and white complement one another very well in that Green lacks an early game while White lacks a late game. Green lacks removal, White lacks big guys. Green lacks flying, White lacks pump. Both colors have excellent combat tricks (especially Fog
Fog
FogSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Jesper Myrfors
Text:
Creatures attack and block as normal, but none deal any damage or otherwise affect any creature as a result of an attack or block. All attacking creatures are still tapped. Play any time before attack damage is dealt.
and Safe Passage
Safe Passage
Safe PassageSet: Magic 2010
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
28
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you and creatures you control this turn.
) and have very high quality creatures. When looking to build this deck, you should focus on white's cheaper creatures (Silvermane Lion) and Green's fatties (Craw Wurm
Craw Wurm
Craw WurmSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wurm
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
6
Toughness:
4
) so as to build a deck that ramps hard. I find that when I put mana into the deck I tend to add more white than green to take advantage of the early game, but if I don't get a lot of White Knight
White Knight
White KnightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Knight
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Protection from black, first strike
s or other strong white-commitment early game cards, Rampant Growth
Rampant Growth
Rampant GrowthSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
246
Artist:
Tom Kyffin
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
and Borderland Ranger
Borderland Ranger
Borderland RangerSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Scout
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Jesper Ejsing
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Borderland Ranger enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
get the job done very well. White's removal is also very important here, clearing a path for Green's big guys and keeping them safe from lethal combat.

Green/Black - I find that Green/Black decks tend to skew towards being more one color, and depending on which color is dominant they play and should be drafted differently. A deck slanted towards Green should take advantage of Black's cheap early game cards (especially Child of Night
Child of Night
Child of NightSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Vampire
Rarity:
C
Number:
88
Artist:
Ash Wood
Power:
2
Toughness:
1
Text:
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
) and removal, while focusing on green fatties. A deck slanted towards Black should take advantage of Green's mana-ramping abilities and big creatures, but focus mostly on Black's desire to get aggressive with efficient creatures, small fliers, and aggressive creature kill. This deck can be very strong if drafted well but you have to feel it out and make strong card decisions as you go along, reading other people's picks and deciding what sort of deck you'll end up with.

White/Black - As both of these colors want to run alone, I find that it's sometimes hard to run this deck, especially in terms of the mana base. Without any way of generating both white and black mana early on, it often has trouble taking advantage of the fact that both colors have very strong early drops. Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic ExpanseSet: Time Spiral
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
279
Artist:
Dan Scott
Text:
T, Sacrifice Terramorphic Expanse: Search your library for a basic land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
is at its best here, even though it will hamper some early development since the land it fetches comes into play tapped. Much like Red/Black the point of this deck is to take advantage of all the good removal you can find between the colors, even though you will find White and Black competing for the same resources. This deck is somewhat hard to draft unless it's leaning hard to one color, but it can be exceedingly powerful when done right. After all, how can you stop a deck running both Serra Angel
Serra Angel
Serra AngelSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying Attacking does not cause Serra Angel to tap.
and Doom Blade
Doom Blade
Doom BladeSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
93
Artist:
Chippy
Text:
Destroy target nonblack creature.
?

There are two more eccentric decks I'd like to mention that are not color based so much as they are card based. One of these is very hard to draft (but fun) while the other is easy to draft if the cards come to you.

Green-With-Spots - For years, the core set has left Green as the only real source of mana fixing. M10 is no different outside of Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic ExpanseSet: Time Spiral
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
279
Artist:
Dan Scott
Text:
T, Sacrifice Terramorphic Expanse: Search your library for a basic land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
, thus allowing Green to more easily splash than any of the other colors. Because Green is often under-drafted if big fatties aren't making the rounds, it's sometimes possible to rack up a bunch of Rampant Growth
Rampant Growth
Rampant GrowthSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
246
Artist:
Tom Kyffin
Text:
Search your library for a basic land card and put that card into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
/Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic Expanse
Terramorphic ExpanseSet: Time Spiral
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
C
Number:
279
Artist:
Dan Scott
Text:
T, Sacrifice Terramorphic Expanse: Search your library for a basic land card and put it into play tapped. Then shuffle your library.
/Borderland Ranger
Borderland Ranger
Borderland RangerSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Scout
Rarity:
C
Number:
169
Artist:
Jesper Ejsing
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Borderland Ranger enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you do, shuffle your library.
along with some good splash cards. With enough of these, it's possible to make a ´´Green And...´´ or ´´Green With Spots´´ deck, which is by default mostly Green but splashes heavily to pick up bombs from other colors.

If you find yourself in a card pool where a lot of green mana ramping/fixing is getting passed and a lot of bombs in other colors, it's usually a good sign you can go into this deck. You will need at least five fixers over the course of three packs, and usually, more is better. Once you feel secure in your fixers you should start grabbing bombs regardless of color, only switching back to Green when you can get a decent card or something which will be able to hold the ground until you win. The finished deck should have about 12-14 green cards and 10-12 cards of other colors. Ideally you should have no more than two lands of each non-forest type, though you may need to bump this up if you've drafted a lot of bombs in a particular color.

In general I find that ´´Green With Spots´´ decks end up only splashing two or three decent cards from each color other than green, and they are usually removal. Still, such a deck can easily support cards like Serra Angel
Serra Angel
Serra AngelSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Angel
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying Attacking does not cause Serra Angel to tap.
or Air Elemental
Air Elemental
Air ElementalSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Flying
, and can be very hard to fight against. It takes some practice reading the draws so you know what bombs to go for and when to pick mana fixing over a bomb, but it can come together very well.

The Milling Deck - With Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
and Tome Scour
Tome Scour
Tome ScourSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Text:
Target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
in the set, it is possible to build a milling deck, but ONLY if you get Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
! Generally the way I've ended up making these decks is if I either open Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
or get passed it early on after having a few strong cards. This deck simply will not work without Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
since there is no repeatable milling in M10 (other than the Mythic Rare that is Jace Beleren
Jace Beleren
Jace BelerenSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Jace
Rarity:
R
Number:
71
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
+2: Each player draws a card. -1: Target player draws a card. -10: Target player puts the top twenty cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
) and it's not possible to mill aggressively enough with just Tome Scour
Tome Scour
Tome ScourSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Text:
Target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
, even if you have four or more of them.

The key to drafting this deck is to have lots of counterspells and strong blockers (Wall of Frost
Wall of Frost
Wall of FrostSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Wall
Rarity:
U
Number:
80
Artist:
Mike Bierek
Power:
0
Toughness:
7
Text:
Defender (This creature can't attack.)Whenever Wall of Frost blocks a creature, that creature doesn't untap during its controller's next untap step.
, Horned Turtle
Horned Turtle
Horned TurtleSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Turtle
Rarity:
C
Number:
74
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Power:
1
Toughness:
4
) so that you can prevent your opponent from playing decent threats while minimizing combat. Unsummon
Unsummon
UnsummonSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Return target creature to owner's hand; enchantments on target creature are discarded.
is key here, as are Divination
Divination
DivinationSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
49
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Text:
Draw two cards.
and Merfolk Looter
Merfolk Looter
Merfolk LooterSet: Exodus
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Merfolk
Rarity:
C
Number:
39
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Draw a card, then choose and discard a card.
(so that you can dig for Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
). This deck is slow and requires patience, and also requires that you be willing to work with a lot of sub-optimal Blue cards so you can force your opponent to sit there and do nothing for turn after turn after turn.

This deck really wants Jace Beleren
Jace Beleren
Jace BelerenSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Planeswalker
Sub Type:
Jace
Rarity:
R
Number:
71
Artist:
Aleksi Briclot
Text:
+2: Each player draws a card. -1: Target player draws a card. -10: Target player puts the top twenty cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
as well (in fact, if you have him you can build this deck without Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
since he will mill much more aggessively) and Howling Mine
Howling Mine
Howling MineSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Each player must draw one extra card during the draw phase of each of his or her turns.
(you don't care what they draw). It is also good to have it splash into Black for removal, discard, Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic Tutor
Diabolic TutorSet: Odyssey
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
129
Artist:
Rick Farrell
Text:
Search your library for a card, and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.
(get your Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
) and Sign in Blood
Sign in Blood
Sign in BloodSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
112
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Text:
Target player draws two cards and loses 2 life.
(it can target your opponent). If you can't get into Black, then Red's removal will also work, and Burning Inquiry
Burning Inquiry
Burning InquirySet: Magic 2010
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
128
Artist:
Zoltan Boros & Gabor Szikszai
Text:
Each player draws three cards, then discards three cards at random.
will work as a poor man's Tome Scour
Tome Scour
Tome ScourSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Text:
Target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
. The cards for this deck tend to go very late as they won't work in anything BUT this deck, but you still have to be very committed to this deck in order to make it work, so you should start out trying to build a strong Blue deck then shift into it if you get a Traumatize
Traumatize
TraumatizeSet: Odyssey
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
110
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Target player puts the top half of his or her library, rounded down, into his or her graveyard.
/Jace and see a lot of Tome Scour
Tome Scour
Tome ScourSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
76
Artist:
Steven Belledin
Text:
Target player puts the top five cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
s running around. I think this deck needs at least four, preferably five or six. Seeing as no one else should be picking it, odds are you can get them if you see them lapping, but you should still pick them over off-color or hate draft.

Well that does it for my drafting evaluation of M10, I've covered every card and every major deck archetype, and hopefully I've given my readers everything they need except lots of hands-on experience with the set. Personally I think that M10 is the best core set since Revised, and it's certainly the most balanced and draftable core set ever made. With no ´´bad´´ colors or ´´bad´´ decks, any reasonable deckbuilder can make something strong and playable, and all but the most useless or constructed-geared cards can find a home somewhere. I love M10 and I hope you learned a lot from reading my articles about it!


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