2015 core set logo - Drafting M15

Deep Thoughts… on Drafting M15

by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters


So, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my impressions on M15 based on my experience playing Sealed at a Pre-release.  This week I was fortunate enough to get out to a local game shop and draft on what we call “Cheap Night”.  Usually entrance fees for a draft event is $15 or so…but on “Cheap Night” it is only $10, but does not have any prize support.  It is a perfect spot to get out and draft and really feel what the environment is like and is pretty friendly for newer players because there aren’t any prizes on the line.  I have to say, I really enjoyed drafting M15 and it felt very healthy and diverse with a number of very interesting decks.  Today I wanted to share some of those experiences with you before you head out to your next Draft and to see if they confirmed what I have grown to believe from playing M15 limited.


First off, I went 3-1 and was in contention to go 4-0 right up to the very end, but in my final match I made a couple of major mistakes that ruined all that hard work.  With that said, I felt like I drafted a very solid deck that gave many of my opponents absolute fits because they couldn’t really deal with my deck. My selections were a little more helter skelter than I would have liked, but with a variety of less experienced players at the table I was having a hard time reading the signs coming around the table.  My first pick was a Hushwing Gryff as a very serviceable 2/1 flier for 3 and a solid ability.  My next several picks were all Blue and I looked like I was going on the U/W plan. However, I was a little disappointed that I was being cut off from White so I started to explore Black and Green  a little bit and picked a couple of nice cards from both of those colours.  Pack 2 landed me a Caves of Koilos and then a Preeminent Captain in back to back picks and yielded some more White.  Pack 3 saw me open up Jace, the Living Guildpact and really locked me into Blue.  A couple of more decent White cards came my way including my boy Boonweaver Giant as a finisher and I was well and truly on the U/W Flier plan for sure.  Here’s my deck list.



Some highlights of the games were totally beating down an opponent with Welkin Tern over and over again.  Tern just did good work and brought a huge smile to my face when I’d see it in my opening hand because I really felt I had a solid chance to win.  In Round 2 I was able to live the dream with Jace.  I cast Jace relatively early in the game and immediately started ticking him up to filter my card draw.  I had just enough to run interference and give Jace some breathing room and tied up a few more of his creatures.  When Jace got to the point where I could ultimate him I did and shuffled my hand and graveyard, including Jace, back into my library.  I shuffled my deck up and offered to let my opponent cut the deck and then drew my next 7 cards while my opponent just looked on in dismay.  You would not imagine his look of disgust when I drew, and subsequently cast, Jace all over again.  Needless to say, the game was over in short order with the ridiculous card advantage I had just developed.  Lastly, Triplicate Spirits and Selfless Cathar make for a terrific combination that can quickly bring down the pain.  I finished off my opponent in Game 3 with a trio of Spirits who all got a boost from the Cathar and brought the hammer down.


The low light was in Round 4 where in game 1 I mulled to 6 cards and kept a 1 lander because I had a hand full of gas.  I should have had the sense to toss it back and try again because when I missed my 2nd land drop I knew I was on the ropes…and sure enough I was dead in short order. In Game 2 I did a little better but misplayed Jace when I cast him.  I should have bounced the Paragon my opponent was playing and then used the opening to force combat creating a situation where I had a profitable attack instead of sitting still and passing back the turn.  My hesitation opened the door for my opponent once again and left me reeling and trying to catch up. Needless to say, I never did and I was a little disheartened that I had misplayed those games so badly.


On the whole, I felt I had a pretty good showing and was relatively pleased with my performance. Going 3-0 against some pretty decent players was a good feeling and even if I did blow game 4 it just further re-enforced that I can’t get greedy and should be prepared to mulligan me regularly.  All in all, a fun evening with some solid results and few sweet finds in my draft pool.


Some other deep Thoughts and Observations

Jace, the Living Guildpact

This guy has got a bit of a bad rap since everyone has seen him, but I have to admit, he’s a very solid Planeswalker.  Is he crazy busted and overpowered?  No, but he is pretty versatile and reasonably skill intensive and will make a good piece in many decks when other versions of him rotate out of Standard.  His +1 is an acceptable way to filter your cards, particularly later in the game and he really helped set up some solid draws for me.  I can imagine that in Standard, where your deck is more finely tuned, ensuring that you draw into that perfect card will be pretty crucial.  However, it is timing that -3 ability that is truly vital.  You can really set your opponent back by bouncing something with Jace and I found that more often than not it was this ability that was the most powerful.  It may not say “Kill target creature/planeswalker” but sometimes bouncing it will be just as relevant.  The ultimate, like any ultimate on a Planeswalker, is totally back breaking.  To make your opponent lose his hand and only YOU draw 7 is bananas.  He’s not the best Jace, heck, he’s not even the best Jace in Standard right now, but he’s very solid and will be useful later on, I promise.


The speed of this format feels slow.  There is not an overwhelming number of aggressive 1 and 2 drops running around the format and the beat down plan really only begins when people hit 3 land…and can attack on turn 4.  Even then, there are lots of the 3 drop creatures that really aren’t that scary meaning that you need to get a little creative with your attacks to get early pressure on your opponent or you need to be ready to play a little more of a control route because you can’t get out the gates as quickly.  However, it is important to get creatures down on board because the removal is lousy and you will need to block to buy yourself time.



This is a terrible card.  This was just a dead card for me all night.  When I had it in my hand, I hated seeing it, and if I cast it on a creature I wished it was something else.  Don’t waste your time…it’s a pretty poor aura and not worth the card slot in your draft deck.


Triplicate Spirits

It’s a very good card!  This card did terrific work for me and I was impressed.  I was initially a little down on this card because it’s 6 mana for three 1/1 flying spirits.  However, with the Convoke ability these guys can be cast much sooner and make the casting cost feel much more like 4 mana…and gives you 3 bodies.  This is very useful and they proved to be just terrific for me all evening long.


Paragon of Gathering Mist

Of all the Paragons I think I like this guy the best.  Don’t get me wrong, they are all very good, but the ability to give something flying is just tremendous.  Nothing makes combat feel bad for an opponent than being ambushed by a creature who is suddenly flying and able to handle their flier.  He did good work for me all night and I’ll be sure to look for him again the next time I draft.


Aeronaut Tinkerer

This guy is a trap.  He is a very reasonable 2/3 for 3 mana and can get flying if you have an artifact.  I watched numerous players run this guy with a bunch of Ornithopters and other bad artifacts to try and trigger the Flying ability.  Yes, Yes, I know I ran one too, but I was looking at him as a 2/3 body on the ground because I only had 1 artifact, so if he could fly it was all the better.  However, to purposefully skew your deck to try and live the Ornithopter/Aeronaut Tinkerer game plan seems a bit wonky and not the best line of play.  Draft the Tinkerer, heck, play the Tinkerer and if you have an artifact or two all the better, but don’t go all in on that game plan because the reward just isn’t there.


I have to ask the question, do people actually say the word “Ratchet” outside of a Home Depot?  While I was playing my games they had the radio playing in the back ground and there was a song that came on by the Chain Smokers (“Let me take a Selfie”) which has been playing for months.  However, every time I listen to the girl in the song talk about  “That’s so Ratchet” I’m just left shaking my head.  First off, do people ACTUALLY sound like her?  I hope not…for all of our sakes.  Second, a ratchet is a TOOL…it’s a noun used to describe something to help repair your car or your bike…not an adjective used to describe lord knows what! C’mon…I’m not the language police, but even I have to admit that it sounds ridiculous.  Or maybe I’m just getting old.  One way or the other it sound ridiculous and should probably be stricken from the English language.  Rant over…thank you. [Editor’s Note: Sorry Bruce, but you’re getting old. Pop stars are always using the latest urban slang.  -Greg]


Thanks everyone for reading again this week.  If you have had your experiences drafting M15, let me hear about them.  What did you draft?  Any cool cards?  What did you deck look like?  If we are going to improve at this sort of thing we all need to be prepared to share and learn from our experiences.  I hope some of mine will help you the next time out and help you to steer clear of a few of my pitfalls.


Until Next time keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.


by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter