A Quick Look at Core Set 2019 Color Pairs

by Lee Shi Tian on 20 July 2018, Friday

Lee Shi Tian

A Quick Look at Core Set 2019 Color Pairs

Hello everyone,

Multiple Core Set 2019 Grand Prix are taking place soon. I will be attending GP Chiba and GP Minneapolis myself. Core sets usually have lower power level compared to other expansions, especially after a deep draft set like Dominaria. Today, I would like to take a quick look at the draft archetypes in Core Set 2019 so that we can learn how to draft the set together.

It is not a secret that the multi-colored Uncommons cycle usually point us towards deck archetypes. This is no exception in Core Set 2019. Today, I'll list out the enablers of those archetypes (usually commons) and also list off some payoff cards (uncommons included). This will help you prioritize the cards you need to make the deck work as you encounter them over the course of your booster draft.


Aerial Engineer

Theme: Artifact matters

Enablers: Aviation Pioneer, Explosive Apparatus, Marauder's Axe, Skyscanner, Gearsmith Guardian

Payoff: Trusty Packbeast, Aethershield Artificer, Gearsmith Prodigy, Scholar of Stars, Skilled Animator, Aerial Engineer

We can see that there are 2 types of "artifact matters" decks. Gearsmith Prodigy, Aethershield Artificer, and Skilled Animator are clearly aggro oriented while Trusty Packbeast and Scholar of Stars are card advantage oriented.

I believe the card advantage theme is more comfortable to draft as Trusty Packbeast and Scholar of Stars are relatively low picks. Also, the aggro deck has a higher requirement on mana curve. Core Set 2019 is not a set with high power level two-drops, and it may be difficult to draft an aggressive themed deck unless we receive multiple uncommon payoff cards like Skilled Animator and Aethershield Artificer.


Draconic Disciple

Theme: Ramp

Enablers: Druid of the Cowl, Elvish Rejuvenator, Manalith, Draconic Disciple

Payoff: Colossal Dreadmaw, Colossal Majesty, Thornhide Wolves, Vigilant Baloth, Fire Elemental, Siegebreaker Giant, Sparktongue Dragon, Meteor Golem

Gruul Ramp's can ramp into big fatties to overwhelm your opponents with. There are plenty of big, fat creatures in the format at common and uncommon. Green and red both have at least two big creatures which cost five mana or more. Druid of the Cowl and Elvish Rejuvenator are the best enablers as they can provide value after doing their job of helping us jump the curve.

On the topic of high casting cost creatures, the good thing about drafting this archetype is that other drafters at your table are unable to play so many high-cost cards with mana ramp. This means that you're likely to pick up some of these big creatures later than usual. Once you have the ramp cards, it will be easier to get the big creatures on the wheel.


Enigma Drake

Theme: Spells

Enablers: Anticipate, Divination, Crash Through, Tormenting Voice

Payoff: Aven Wind Mage, Guttersnipe, Salvager of Secrets, Enigma Drake, Psychic Corrosion

Izzet Spell is a deck which shines due to its consistency. The overall power level of the deck may look weak, but you can win many games because you have the right card at the right time, thanks to all the card drawing, card selection, and card advantage.

As I mentioned before, the format is lacking powerful two-drops. Spending time to casting cantrip during early turns is not as punishing because of that. Aven Wind Mage and Guttersnipe can swing games greatly in a rapid fashion.

I put Psychic Corrosion in here as it is a natural fit into the "spells" strategy. Sphinx's Tutelage was a great card during Magic Origins and Psychic Corrosion is alike. It also turns Totally Lost into a hard removal.


Heroic Reinforcements

Theme: Tokens

Enablers: Goblin Instigator, Cavalry Drillmaster, Gallant Cavalry, Rustwing Falcon

Payoff: Angel of the Dawn, Inspired Charge, Make a Stand, Trumpet Blast

Boros is one of the few aggressive color pairs in the format. The game plan is about curving out and pushing damage early. When you push enough damage, your opponent will find it difficult to attack, and you will be able to drag the game to the late game. With any massive pump effect, you can trade your weaker creatures with your opponents' defensive creatures, and also use these pump spells to push the final damage.

If drafters at your table are on midrange strategies, drafting aggressive decks will be advantageous. If you can see Boros being open, you might get a great deck against your draft pod and beat midrange decks before they can stabilize.


Regal Bloodlord

Theme: Life Gain

Enablers: Daybreak Chaplain, Revitalize, Child of Night, Skymarch Bloodletter, Vampire Neonate

Payoff: Ajani's Pridemate, Epicure of Blood, Nightmare's Thirst, Regal Bloodlord

Orzhov Life Gain is a grindy archetype. It, naturally, has a good matchup against aggro decks because of all the life gain effects. You can afford to take more early damage and make optimal combat choices based on value, without worrying about your life total dropping too low since you can always get some back. This also allows you to block less, especially when you feel like you have to make bad blocks.

I found that the archetype is good at stabilizing and stalling the board too. The combination of Vampire Neonate and Epicure of Blood could even give you a non-combat win condition.

Revitalize is relatively weak but it fits into the role of bridging the early game while still being relevant at the late game. If you are able to find some cards like Macabre Waltz, Gravedigger or Blood Divination, you can easily close the game with the card advantage.


Satyr Enchanter

Theme: Auras

Enablers: Knight's Pledge, Oakenform, Talons of Wildwood

Payoff: Daybreak Chaplain, Novice Knight, Rustwing Falcon, Druid of Horns, Greenwood Sentinel, Vine Mare, Satyr Enchanter

Selesnya Auras is a deck type which can be rather hard to draft. You need good low curve creatures so that you have targets for your auras. If all your creatures are expensive, you may not have a body to put your auras on, and that can cause you to lose tempo. That is why you need a balance of a good curve and sufficient auras. Cards like Rustwing Falcon and Novice Knight are bad without enough auras. The uncommon payoff cards are also great, namely Druid of Horns and Satyr Enchanter.

The advantage of this deck is that you can assemble it fairly quickly because the key cards are commons and usually low picks. If you get the payoff cards early, you'll be able to get a very powerful deck.


Anyway, here are the archetypes I've tried so far. The remaining uncommons do not present a solid theme to me so they might not be "build around". Note that draft decks do not need to be "all-in" on themes. It would also be "semi-themed". The most important thing is still to have a solid curve, as well as a creature-to-spell ratio to create a powerful deck. In a low power format as Core Set 2019, synergy can give you the extra edge for winning your draft. I hope this article allows you to identify these synergies. Good luck drafting and have fun!


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