Draft Archetypes in Avacyn Restored, Part 1

Hello, everyone! It's been a few weeks since I've written an article, but I'm back and ready to discuss the new Draft format. So far, drafting Avacyn Restored has been both fun and frustrating. Learning new Draft formats is always fun, but the format is much slower and less synergistic than what we were used to in Innistrad block mostly due to the lack of good 2-drops and removal spells.

I did an extensive number of Drafts in this format in preparation for Pro Tour Avacyn Restored, and I found that there are quite a few powerful archetypes. This week, I'm going to talk about some of the common Draft archetypes, and next week, I'll conclude with some of the more obscure decks of the format.

All decklists below are real Draft decks that either I or one of my teammates drafted.

U/G Soulbond

Druid's Familiar
By far the strongest mechanic in Avacyn Restored Draft, soulbond is one of the most powerful things you can be doing in Limited right now. The soulbond creatures in both blue and green are very strong and work extremely well together. The most important cards you want to look for are Druid's Familiar, Trusted Forcemage, Wingcrafter, Tandem Lookout, and Elgaud Shieldmate. The combination of pumping your guys, flying, and/or hexproof is incredibly strong. Nightshade Peddler, Pathbreaker Wurm, and the other soulbond creatures in those colors are also fine, but they’re not as high picks as the others.

You want to round out the deck with any other creatures, but in particular, Flowering Lumberknot. He looks really bad, but believe me: He is awesome. There is so little removal in this set that it's very easy for the Lumberknot to attack and block. If you are in this archetype, be sure to grab this guy. You really need at least six or seven soulbond creatures to make him work, so be sure to draft them aggressively.

Flowering Lumberknot
Rounding out the deck are the support spells. This deck is all about speed and tempo, so cards like Into the Void, Peel from Reality, Mist Raven, and Joint Assault are very important to the deck. Crippling Chill is another excellent card that looks underwhelming but is actually great in this deck because it stops a creature from blocking for two turns. You also want to pick up some card-draw such as Amass the Components. In addition, all of the soulbond creatures are Humans, so Mass Appeal is another great way to refill your hand.

Another card that is pretty good in this archetype is Ghostly Flicker. You can blink out one of your soulbond creatures, and when it returns to play, it can pair with a different creature if you need it to, making it a decent combat trick. It is also a good way to dodge what little removal there is out there.

Here's an example of one of the better U/G soulbond decks that I've drafted so far:

U/B Loners

Homicidal Seclusion
This control deck is a blast to Draft. It is among the few decks that has access to the removal of the format, and its creatures are super-efficient. This deck is built around one powerful enchantment: Homicidal Seclusion. The card is great because you can have one huge creature in play that gains you life every turn, and if that creature happens to trade in combat or die to removal, you just play another creature. The fact that this card grants the creature lifelink is what makes it so powerful. The card is just impossible to race. The deck also has access to the best flyers of the format: Demonic Taskmaster and Fettergeist. Both of these creatures are obviously great when they are the only creature in play.

Playing black gives you the best removal spell in Avacyn Restored Limited: Death Wind. Barter in Blood is also amazing in this deck because it's very easy to set it up in your favor, and you will rarely have multiple creatures on the battlefield. Bone Splinters is another great card in this deck because you will always want to sacrifice your extra creatures.

Human Frailty
While we're on the subject of removal, one excellent removal spell for any black deck is Human Frailty. While it may look narrow, there is a surprisingly large number of Humans in this set. There are Humans in every color except black, and if you are playing black, there is a good chance that your opponents will have a lot of Humans in their decks. The fact that this card is an instant puts it over the top because there are so few instant-speed removal spells in this set. All of the soulbond creatures are Humans, and breaking up paired creatures at instant speed can be devastating to your opponent.

It's important to draft ways to sacrifice your extra creatures, such as Bloodflow Connoisseur and Corpse Traders. This deck is very vulnerable to enchantments such as Defang and Spectral Prison. Your Demonic Taskmaster will look pretty silly if it can't deal damage in combat. Also, there will be times when you'll need to play blockers to stay alive, and you will need a way to get your creatures off the board when you draw the Homicidal Seclusion.

The great thing about this deck is that you don't need the Homicidal Seclusion in play to win because the deck is very good on its own. However, if you are able to cast the Seclusion, it's very hard for you to lose.

Here is the decklist:

R/W Humans

Goldnight Commander
Not only is this deck fun to draft, it's also among the most synergistic decks in the format. This deck is the fastest aggro deck in Avacyn Restored Limited, and it mainly wins by playing a lot of creatures and pumping them up.

The key cards for the deck are Riot Ringleader, Kruin Striker, and Goldnight Commander. Once you have those, you need to draft as many creatures as possible, preferably Humans, because they will all be pumped by the Ringleader. 2-drops are very important for this deck. R/W is the color combination that has the most 2-drops in the set, so you should be able to pick up quite a few of them. Most of the important cards in this deck cost 2 and 3, so playing only sixteen lands is not uncommon.

The support cards you need for the deck are mostly combat tricks to keep your creatures alive. Vigilante Justice works very well in this deck also. It can be removal or it can finish your opponent off. Cloudshift is another nice card because when the creature returns to play, it triggers Goldnight Commander, Kruin Striker, and Vigilante Justice.

Thatcher Revolt
The other card that makes this deck work is Thatcher Revolt. It is very synergistic with the deck and works well with cards like Riot Ringleader and Goldnight Commander. If there is a Commander in play, the 1/1 Thatcher Revolt tokens are suddenly 4/4 creatures with haste for only 3 mana! Be sure to pick up a few of these if you are drafting this deck.

Surprisingly, this deck doesn't need much removal because the creatures work so well together. Obviously, when drafting any deck, you want removal, so don't pass up a Pillar of Flame for a random 2/2. One of the reasons this deck shines is that removal is so scarce in this set and it's very hard for your opponents to stop the assault that this deck is capable of.

Here's a R/W Humans decklist:

Mono-Black Attrition

Grave Exchange
This deck is pretty hard to draft, especially because most of the removal is black, and players will be fighting over it. However, if you are able to draft this deck, it can be great. This deck is all about card advantage. Most of the creatures and spells set up two-for-ones, such as Driver of the Dead, Undead Executioner, Butcher Ghoul, and Grave Exchange.

The deck finishes off the opponent with a large creature, usually Evernight Shade. A 1/1 for 4 mana doesn't sound very exciting, but in mono-black, it is very hard to trade with. If it dies to a Ghoulflesh or Guise of Fire, it just comes right back as a 2/2. It's an excellent card for this archetype.

Blood Artist
One of the most important support cards in this deck is Blood Artist. He may look small and underwhelming, but with the number of creatures dying, this little guy can do massive damage. I've seen someone gain over 10 life with him! That's an outrageous life swing.

Since this deck is about attrition and grinding your opponent out, it usually can win by just attacking with some small creatures when you can. With all of the removal and card advantage that this deck plays, it's not uncommon to play a Searchlight Geist on turn three and ride it to victory.

Drafting a mono-colored deck is hard. Most of time, you won't be able to draft mono-black. It's perfectly fine to draft this deck and pair it with another color. I've been successful with pairing these black attrition cards with blue for things like bounce and flyers or with green for large creatures. Of course, if you do play a second color, cards such as Evernight Shade become much worse, so build your deck accordingly.

Here's the decklist.

Those are just some of the common decks that you should see while drafting Avacyn Restored. Join me next week for the conclusion of my Draft archetype review, and I'll show you some of the more interesting decks that are possible in this format. As always, thanks for reading. I'll be at Grand Prix Malmo this weekend, so if you're there, feel free to say “Hi.”

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