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Enter the Whitemoon: Episode 1



Introduction to Enter the Whitemoon

Enter the Whitemoon is Kryptik Gaming's way to provide Arena content regularly for the Mythgard Community. Erobert, our expert arena player, will explain his thought process through an entire draft and then let us know how the deck did at the end. This first Episode will include a short Arena Primer by erobert as well.


Arena Primer

Hey everyone, erobert here! Arena in Mythgard plays pretty similarly to Limited in other games, simulating a Booster Draft with packs of cards that follow both the “signals” you send in drafting, giving you a slight bias toward colors you have already selected. The packs themselves are made up of six cards, like normal packs you open for your collection, but unlike those packs, the distribution of rarity is determined by the round you are selecting, not fixed for each pack. The rounds progress as follows:

  • Round 1: Paths and Powers

  • Round 2: Rares and Mythics

  • Rounds 3-5: Uncommons

  • Round 6: Boosts and Culls

  • Rounds 7-10: Commons

  • Round 11: Rares and Mythics

  • Round 12: Rares and Boosts

  • Rounds 13-15: Uncommons

  • Rounds 16-19: Commons

  • Round 20: Rares and Mythics

  • Rounds 21-23: Uncommons

  • Rounds 24-27: Commons


While the algorithm for generating packs makes some bias toward Colors you have already drafted, the Boosts and Culls, which can be found in other rounds but which are concentrated in rounds 6 and 12, give you even more control over what kinds of Colors you will be given. They become critical when you notice the Rare and Mythic Rounds which come after the initial opportunity to Boost your colors, but the first round is where most of the decision-making and gambling takes place. Making the most of these Rares and Mythics can often make it worthwhile to dump picks at Uncommon and Common until your Boosts are in place. Limited in Mythgard follows a lot of concepts that are common to most games, maybe most especially Magic Formats before the invention is specific synergies and schemes in highly synergized later sets.[1] Powerful cards in Constructed, like Sapo, The Devourer, will translate well to Arena and the general focus on board-based play and snowballing on the back of advantageous trades and combat tricks is reasonably similar to a lot of midrange strategies in Constructed play. In this way Evasion[2] is perhaps more useful than other categories as control of the board with Minions will generally dominate play, and the recursion available in Paths, especially Journey of Souls, mean that boards will frequently have facing minions all over the board looking for any edge or seam.


[1] for further reading I recommend Jesse Mason’s description of Dampen Thought in Champions of Kamigawi as a point of origin for highly synergistic strategies in Limited formats for Magic: here.

[2] Though considered rudimentary by some, the classic Magic mnemonic of BREAD: Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro, Duds, has plenty of value as a term, even though it confuses “aggro” with “beatdown” concepts which will require MUCH more work in the future.


Enter the Whitemoon Episode 1

Round 2

Not the most electrifying start, with Splicing Lab and Fey Plagiarist immediately not making the cut. Misanthropia is both gem intensive, meaning I need to commit immediately to Yellow but also the kind of defensive card that does more work in Constructed formats than Limited ones. Extract Life isn’t the most exciting bomb in the game, but provides removal and life gain, and it is easier to commit to Red at this point than Yellow. Terpsichore Muse is cute but ultimately is not something I expect to build around, even with Impel, and Dead Man’s Eyes can provide a lot of value over the course of a grinding Arena match. Extract Life and Dead Man’s Eyes


Round 3

We’ve already committed to red and, even as serviceable removal, Forked Lightning is less than exciting, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel (!) here, and both of these cards are more than serviceable. Melpomene Muse can do decent damage, trade up, and even when dispatched, gets a card back. Hekate’s Wheel will disable the occasional bomb Enchantment, and even outside of that, can provide a handy protection for your own bomb Minions. Melpomene Muse and Hekate’s Wheel


Round 4

While the previous packs didn’t require branching out, this one is our first chance to branch out and I have a clear interest in Green! Ravenous She is a durable Minion that can block effectively without even taking damage, thus generating tons of value in a format with less removal generally. Ved’ma Flamespar even more excitingly can quickly take over a game all on it its own, letting you sink mana into either clearing the board or just dealing damage to finish off an opponent.

Ravenous She and Ved’ma Flamespare


Round 5

While Led Astray is a pretty decent option in terms of soft removal, I find Strigoi Reaver and other Alpha Strike Minions to be irresistible. Again, because removal is in shorter supply in Limited formats, many minions will only be managed by combat, in which case Alpha Strike becomes very powerful. This is paired tantalizingly with Red Carnival which can obviously generate a LOT of utility with frenzy and lifetap. Arena matches tend to be rather grinding, due to limited removal options, and frequently boards of minions lined up for trades can convert into a ton of triggers for Red Carnival.

Strigoi Reaver and Red Carnival


Round 6

Well this seems fortuitous. The Boost and Cull system augments the existing algorithms which try to simulate signaling in booster drafts. While the first five rounds of drafting may give you some off-Color cards that won’t make it into a final deck, by round six, you will have this option to at least Cull unwanted colors if not Boost your primary Colors.

Red and Green Boost


Round 7

Forlorn Spirit doesn’t really make the cut when we have a more exciting option in Ironbelly Wyvern. It would be a much more exciting choice if we had access to Journey of Souls, but since we do not, Raid the Tombs will be a perfect way to turn cards in the Boneyard into cards in hand, so Raid the Tombs is a great pick here. Ironbelly Wyvern and Raid the Tombs


Round 8

The packet here isn’t super exciting but it’s in the right color and Troikasekt isn’t a terrible option in terms of soft removal. The Red Boost I definitely value more than the Ironflesh Performer, as Arena matches tend to reward consistency in mid and late game over early minion, and we can see that even with one level of Boost, we’re still getting plenty of off-Color cards.

Mothmara Packet and Red Boost


Round 9

The Boost is still struggling to keep these blue cards at bay! Pretty easy choices on Color but the Pack Trooper likely won’t make the cut unless we draft a LOT more Canines (which we will not).

Ironbelly Wyvern and Pack Trooper


Round 10

The Red combat tricks are a little tempting, but we are still pretty light on actually playable Minions at this point (cards like Mothmara and Pack Trooper will likely not make the cut) so getting even a vanilla midrange minion like Chloe is appealing at this point. Some more drafting consistency from the Green Boost sounds pretty good right now too, so I will go ahead and complete our Boosts in Color.

Green Boost and Chloe Sunshine


Round 11

Speaking of Minions! One of the real hazards of the format without setting the Boosts early is that these critical Rare/Mythic rounds will not have decent cards in Color. Shopworn Bull and Leshy Greene are more than adequate minions that will be useful played on curve and stay useful if they are drawn later, filtering your deck and providing an inexpensive stat stick, respectively.

Shopworn Bull and Leshy Greene


Round 12

Ho Hum. The Born Again is a nice reliable chump blocker, but doesn’t do a ton on offense so doesn’t always generate the value we want in Limited, whereas in Constructed it can buy time while setting up elaborate control strategies. On the other hand, having access to Disk of Circadia makes this a more exciting option. The Red Minions on the other hand are too niche for me to be particularly excited about, so culling Blue or Orange seems more useful at this point in the draft, as we will have other opportunities to pick up higher quality Minions.

Born Again and Blue Cull


Round 13

This is a good example of some of the more exciting packets you will see, especially as you increase the odds that any given pick will be in Color. These Canines probably still won’t make the cut, but they are nice to have as an option if Minions dry up later, and Volkov Pointman I would happily select on its own. Giving Minions Overrun and a boost to Strength is a fantastic tool to manage late game stalemates and crowded boards. Crimson Pact is very tempting here, but given how aggressive we have been with drafting Minions like Ironbelly Wyvern, I’m pretty interested in Panic Raider as a way to get in damage while also keeping our hand full. Red Carnival similarly can make a lot out of Rush Minions, so that’s where I’m drawn, though it would be hard to say that picking Crimson Pact is a bad choice.

Canine Packet and Panic Raider


Round 14

While the Green packet isn’t super exciting, solid two-drops, especially one like Mavka which can be used to block late game monsters, for the price of one pick is well worth it. We are offered another thoroughly interesting Red Enchantment in Mistwalker Gate. We can send minions around the board to where they can do the most damage and make the best trades available. Playing a Minion on an existing Mistwalker Gate also lets us shape the board as any Minion which challenges the Mistwalker Gate will be left behind an replaced with whatever Minion you play that turn.

Mistwalker Gate and Green Packet


Round 15

This is what you get for Boosting early; so many choices worth considering! As I’ve suggested before, maintaining board is my preference in drafting, so Ichor Feast, while tempting, seems like it will sacrifice a lot of tempo for potential value, which in turn is a dicey prospect in Limited because the quality of your average card is lower[3]. Cyclopean Giant hits hard and can survive a great deal of damage, I’m a big fan. The real choice for me is whether we want the imposing defensive minion, Ravenous She, or the more offensive tool in Duskwing Angel. While Duskwing Angel is less competent to fight off large Minions, it can sneak in damage while also gaining life, enabling your aggressive minions to race more effectively. Combined with our Red Carnival, it can also gain tremendous buffs and attack around blockers with Agile!

Cyclopean Giant and Duskwing Angel


[3] This is similarly why I like Disk of Circadia in Limited as you are likely to have more cards in hand that you are willing to dump to get the first flip out of the way.


Round 16

Well they can’t all be like last round. The Mothmara packet has less exciting spells than usual, so I will steer clear of that, especially when there is a more useful spell in Overkill. Powerful Minions like Cyclopean Giant can run right over chump blockers and it will replace itself in your hand, which seems worthwhile. I’m not high on the combat trick in Amnesia or Ironflesh Performer, so I’m happy to opt into the Yellow Cull and just cement our Colors.

Overkill and Yellow Cull


Round 17

Whew. Once again the Red Boosts have paid off. I feel like we’re doing well on Minion density and without Journey of Souls, DaringTrapezist feels a little underwhelming. The Chloe Packet offers the most generically useful minion, even if Minitaur likely doesn’t make the cut. Where we are getting even more interest is in one of the few Minion enhancement spells that sees regular play in Constructed. Lamia’s Kiss, like any such spell presents a hazard of Card Disadvantage[4], but the effect is powerful enough that it is probably worthwhile. Even if you only get a swing or two before they trade into the enhanced minion, you’ve gotten a large life swing and snuck damage past a blocker. Even better, if an opponent attempts to cleverly block Cyclopean Giant obliquely, you get a cool 14 point life swing in one turn! Lamia’s Kiss and Red Packet


[4] Comparable to Auras in Magic, a common trap for inexperienced players in terms of Card Disadvantage; a topic for another time.


Round 18

Ankle Biter definitely does not make the cut, but Raid the Tombs is more than fine in our color and sure, why not throw a late Cull onto the pile just for good measure.

Raid the Tombs and Cull Orange


Round 19

Despite how desperately this draft wants me to play Red one-drops, I will not yield! Chloe Sunshine is still a passable midrange unit that can be backed by our aggressive minions on two and three. Matryoshka is a fantastic value engine to grab now as we’re well on track with Minion density at this point in the draft. Indeed with Minions like Chloe Sunshine at five Health, the ability to attach these buffs mean we can stretch out this midrange value even longer against opposing dorks.

Chloe Sunshine and Matryoshka


Round 20

Once again having our choice of Red and Green Rares and Mythics pays off! The Red Rares are lackluster but the Green ones have a ton to offer. Samosek, The Living Sword is a bit defensive for this deck, so I am happy to focus on an aggressive Minion in Skyranger that maintains value in late game, especially if it can be buffed by Red Carnival and Matryoshka. Indrik Beast may not seem overly aggressive, but as I’ve suggested, games tend to go long in Arena so having a giant monster on the high end can come in very handy, and as with any expensive card in Mythgard, if you draw it too early, you can simply burn it.

Ved’ma Skyranger and Indrik Beast


Round 21

These Green cards are definitely not making the cut, and I will happily take these two as duplicates of cards I was already happy to see! Another exciting consequence of focusing on Boosts is that you are more likely to have consistency within your colors and make a more focused deck, even in Limited.

Duskwing and Carnival


Round 22

Oh boy. Culling at this point seems pretty pointless and if any card is going to beat Isle of Buyan for undesirability in Green, it is Dora, so let’s just bask in our second Ved’ma Flamespar and move on.

Isle of Buyan and Flamespar


Round 23

This on the other hand is a much more difficult decision! Serenity Seawitch is a legitimate bomb with enough Green Gems but for this two color deck that focuses pretty sincerely on Red, I think I am happier to consolidate our Agile minions that have plenty of added value, and Gamayun fits the bill maybe even better than Duskwing!

Gamayun and Duskwing


Round 24

The value engine in Matryoshka gets even more exciting in multiples so that’s a slam dunk. We already have an Overkill if we really feel like we need it, and the Daring Trapezist offers more value on its own, much less when packaged with a generically useful Enchantment. Even if these red cards don’t make the cut, I’m still comfortable with them over another opportunity to enhance one Minion.

Matryoshka and Red Packet


Round 25

After the arias I have presented on the value of mid game stat stick, it should be no surprise that my highest interest in this pack by far is Wendish Giant which will take up space, swing for damage, soak up chumps and even potentially get Agile or Overrun! None of the Green one-drops is likely to make the cut, but my preferred choice out of these three is Sweet Spinnerette which may disrupt an opponent’s use of Journey of Souls? It is very unlikely that this pick will matter and compared to Wendish Giant I don’t care much.

Wendish Giant and Sweet Spinnerette


Round 26

I guess the algorithm heard me say “stat stick” and decided to really go for it! As with other instances, Mister Snuggles is just a pain to deal with in a format where hard removal is uncommon. Once you give it Agile and/or Life Tap, Mister Snuggles can end the game on its own. More Matryoshka merely cements the value you will have access to and your ability to snowball over opponents as you lay down escalating threats.

Matryoshka and Mister Snuggles


Round 27

A bit anti-climactic, but if any one-drop is going to make the cut, it is going to be Strigoi Pup, which is well worth playing on turn one, requiring attention before it creates a dramatic life swing over many turns, and which can serve as a blocker late game that gains some free Life. Wake the Bones is even better than it seems for resurrecting your stat sticks and offensive minions, especially as you don’t have access to Journey of Souls.

Wake the Bones and Strigoi Pup


Finale

The deck itself follows the paradigms suggested above, keeping a pretty healthy curve in the middle of the game and the ability to lay down increasingly threatening Minions which can snowball over opposing blockers, especially with Matryohska’s help, or attack around them with Agile. While the deck is light on removal, it has plenty of opportunities to supplement the Minions on board with Ved’ma Flamespar shots, combat tricks from Red Enchantments, and even a few rush Minions. Having a balanced offensive attack, especially with Disk of Circadia and Smite giving the deck something to do if it doesn’t have two-drops handy on Turn Two, builds toward potent Rush Minions like Ironbelly Wyvern or setting up value engines like Matryoshka or Ved’ma Flamespar. This deck cruised to a cool 9-0 record on the strength of this offensive force and especially the flexible two-way play from Agile minions, access to Life Tap, and especially Disk as a tool for drawing cards while dealing Smite damage.

 
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