Drafting Pick By Pick: Nekrium/Uterra

Greeting Forgeborn and welcome to another Drafting Pick By Pick. After several Weekend Warriors I figured I’d go for a regular draft this week (plus I’ve really been struggling with the 6 Card Heroic drafts- nothing past a 2-2 out of three drafts). Now normally I go in with an idea or two of what I would like to draft, but today I’m going in completely happy to fly by the seat of my pants and see what happens. So with that, let’s get to it!

The Draft

P1P1: Scout Drone, Bornean Mystic, Sonic Pulse, Progeny of Xith, Forge Guardian Gamma, Phytobomb – Wow. I don’t think I’ve seen such an unimpressive pack 1 for quite some time. Nothing here is really standout. I think the pick is the Progeny for the potential synergies and maybe try and push NU.

P1P2: Metamind Operator, Magma Hound, Metamind Adept, Fell Walker, Spiritleash – Still not blown away here; may as well continue in the same way as Pick 1 and take the Walker for the “I like to blow up my own creature” synergies.

P1P3: Swampmoss Lurker, Brighttusk Sower, Palladium Pulsemage, Tanglesprout – Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Plenty of Uterra to choose from, and all reasonable. Based on previous drafts I will pick the token spawner (the number of times I’ve passed them in the early draft then panicked half-way through because I don’t have enough yet…) There’s still plenty of time for the underdrops.

P1P4: Harbinger of Spring, Experian Wartusk, Weirwood Ranger – And here’s the payoff. Harbinger #1 in the bag.

P1P5: Zombie Infantry, Dissolve – Only one way this pack could go.

P2P1: Grapplevine, Grave Pact, Undying Legacy, Group Meal, Blight Walker, Corpse Crawler – And this time we have too many good picks. Mass buff and debuff in one is massive, Legacy makes any one creature sticky, Walker is a removal on legs, Crawler is really big legs, and ‘Vine stops their mobility from being mobile. But in the end free removal at level 3 was the pick.

P2P2: Corpse Crawler, Spiritbloom Dryad, Brambleaxe Warrior, Scavenger Scorpion, Fangwood Ravager – On level it’s a beast and as an underdrop it is one of the best options at common.

P2P3: Corpse Crawler, Bitterfrost Totem, Stranglevine Hydra, Poisoncoil – But you don’t want too many without more sacrifice creatures. And as removal, Poisoncoil is very effective.

P2P4: Scatterspore Tiller, Fell Walker, Grapplevine – Repeatable tokens? Sign me up!

P2P5: Experian Wartusk, Scavenger Scorpion – There’s other rares I would rather see in multiple packs, but the Wartusk scales well, and never underestimate the power of breakthrough.

P3P1: Fell Walker, Deepwood Bear Rider, Verdant Sphere, Spiritleash, Poisoncoil, Scatterspore Tiller – Again, a no brainer.

P3P2: Sorrow Harvester, Abyssal Maw, Charnel Titan, Victory Rush, Byzerak Drake – A tough one here; I haven’t seen enough pump, but Maws are brutal with enough other Aboms. I think it’s early enough, so I will add an Abomination subtheme as well.

P3P3: Festering Ooze, Scavenger Scorpion, Dissolve, Dendrify – After the last pick I almost took the Scorpion, but Dendrify is just too good.

P3P4: Corpse Crawler, Abyssal Brute, Sorrow Harvester – I will pick Brute very highly, regardless of faction pairing.

P3P5: Stouthide Stegadon, Gemhide Basher – Stouthide is the comparative best here.

P4P1: Charnel Titan, Stag of Lys, Spiritleash, Necroslime, Swampmoss Lurker, Uterradon Mauler – Necroslime is also a consideration here; however, at this point I need an underdrop more than I need another bomb.

P4P2: Witherfrost Banshee, Zombie Infantry, Oxidon Spitter, Spiritbloom Dryad, Cull the Weak – Hmmm… Not a particularly good pack here. I think that Cull is the pick just for some extra removal, but it may be that Dryad is a better call. Hard to say until I actually play.

P4P3: Blightskull Phantasm, Swampmoss Lurker, Fell Walker, Rot Wanderer – Came down to either the underdrop or the sticky creature; I have loads of spawn/sticky, so time for another underdrop.

P4P4: Oxidon Spitter, Grapplevine, Lysian Rain – Being able to stop my opponent’s mobility is never a bad, and the ‘Vine does have a suitably big butt. The other two are just kinda meh.

P4P5: Fangwood Ravager, Scavenger Scorpion – The Ravager levels much better, but the Scorpion is an Abomination and I still don’t have very many of them.

P5P1: Victory Rush, Charnel Titan, Gemhide Basher, Mimicleaf, Scavenger Scorpion, Uterradon Mauler – This one’s a bit more of a gamble; given the opportunity, the Mimicleaf can be an absolute ass to get rid of, but it is definitely on the smaller side and dies to a lot of removal. It came down to this or Victory Rush for some much needed pump. Not my most confident pick here…

P5P2: Zombie Infantry, Shardplate Delver, Graveborn Glutton, Death Seeker, Hive Empress – Ooh- a tricky call here, between the Glutton and the Empress. Both are very good cards, and both will work well with this deck. I think I’ll take the Empress now and hope for a Glutton later.

P5P3: Vyric’s Embrace, Ruthless Wanderers, Stouthide Stegadon, Victory Rush – And finally the Rush is the pick.

P5P4: Tanglesprout, Bitterfrost Totem, Brighttusk Sower – Any of the three could work here, but I think I’ll go with more token spam (it’s been a little while…)

P5P5: Sorrow Harvester, Grapplevine – Another ‘Vine is tempting, but we do have enough other Aboms that the Harvester may be worth it. Plus it scales more aggressively.

P6P1: Witherfrost Banshee, Zombie Infantry, Grove Matriarch, Nyrali Ooze, Rot Wanderer, Roaming Warclaw – Ooze is a not-so-good Matriarch substitute, so we can rule that one out, bringing it down to Matriarch or Warclaw. And Warclaw is a dinosaur. I’m a big kid; so sue me…

P6P2: Spiritbloom Dryad, Scavenger Scorpion, Venomfang, Fangwood Ravager, Vyric’s Embrace – Poison and an okay body make the snake the pick.

P6P3: Crypt Wail, Verdant Sphere, Rot Wanderer, Charnel Titan – Well, I guess it’s Titan and hope for the proc. Wanderer is a close second here, but neither are stellar. Still miles better than the spells though.

P6P4: Stranglevine Hydra, Tanglesprout, Fangwood Ravager – I think the Hydra is the pick, but again nothing is particularly standout.

P6P5: Tigrin Nomad, Verdant Grace – The Nomad has a body. The only deciding factor here, really.

And we’re done. On the whole I’m relatively okay with the deck; the NU Grow Wide is one of the staples. I’m concerned by the lack of mass pump that normally pushes this deck to better levels, and a spot more removal would make me feel more comfortable (at the very least a second Grave Pact). It’s also disappointing to not pull more Abyssal Maws or Harbingers, as either can really make a deck. We’ll just have to see how it performs.

The Games

Game 1: First up was an NT Mobility/Control type deck, with Spite Hydra and Arc Wurm along with numerous “move my creatures” cards like Borean Mystic and Uranti Elementalist. My opponent got a lot of value out of his Hydra, especially once we hit Rank 3 and I really struggled to get rid of them. I managed to fill the board several times but just couldn’t really do much when I had. I eventually lost in early Rank 4. Well played to dorkchop.

Game 2: Unfortunately game 2 was a drop-without-playing-anything. A quick win, but unsatisfying. Oh well, it happens.

Game 3: Next up was another NU deck, but where I went wide, he went tall. I took the early lead and managed to keep going wide, but again (like game 1) once I got there I just couldn’t really do anything. Once we hit Rank 3, his creatures really hit their stride- Necroslime, Torrent Soldier, Weirwood Ranger and Grove Huntress just crushed anything that I could play and the lead I got vanished really fast. I managed to stabilize somewhat going into Rank 4, but quickly lost it again. I ended up conceding in mid Rank 4. Well played indeed to superschiere.

That was a very disappointing draft. It turns out that my fears were extremely well founded: I was able to go wide and fill the board, but what I filled it with was so underwhelming. The almost total lack of pump was a serious mistake, and the one-ofs of Harbinger, Maw and Grave Pact had pretty much no impact on the games.

The main lesson to take away here is to be careful when you are drafting and make sure that you are paying close attention to the whole deck, not just one or two parts. Also, don’t let yourself get sidetracked by irrelevant stuff; the whole Abomination subtheme that I had hoped for really wasn’t a thing after all. And finally, I have always discounted the Borean Mystic but having actually seen it in use I may just have to rethink that and maybe give it a try. Is there a card that you’ve discounted without playing with it? Maybe you should give it a try next time and see if you are right. Who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Regardless of my performance, a big thank you to my opponents and again very well played to both dorkchop and superschiere; my hat’s off to you both. And thank you all for reading and I hope to see you all in the queues!

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