9E Limited

Good old triple-Core draft. Notoriously a slow format that plays out with almost a sealed deck-like feel to it. As with most Limited articles, this one will determine colour strength based on the colour's commons, but also briefly mention the very strong uncommons in each colour. I'll give my pick orders since I have always found these to be more useful than an analysis of each card. Note that I will also mention the cards I expect to be over- and under-drafted. However, I fully expect that in the future I will be kicking myself over some of my choices.

Master Decoy
Pegasus Charger
Aven Flock
Zealous Inquisitor
Infantry Veteran *Under-drafted*
This little man is going to be very good. As the only solid one mana white creature, he will always fit perfectly into the mana curve of any deck featuring White.
Aven Cloudchaser
Skyhunter Prowler
Glory Seeker
Crossbow Infantry
Samite Healer
Mending Hands

Soul Warden *Over-drafted*
Sigh. This card is not good enough to even make the pick order. I'll be already thinking about the next round when my opponent's opening play is this card. One must simply expect more out of a card then 1/1 for 1 mana. Just because he might gain you five or more life doesn't change the fact that you are playing a lesser-quality creature. You might be able to justify playing this guy against an aggressive red/black build, but even then I would not be happy playing this card. The fact is that he is very average even if you play him first turn, but becomes downright horrible if you have to cast him 3rd turn or later.

When playing White you are really hope to getting your combat tricks from another colour. If you find that you haven't drafted any useful combat tricks by the third pack then it wouldn't hurt to draft a Mending Hands. Infantry Veteran rates highly because he will always fit so well in your deck, but do not forgot that while his ability is very useful he is still a one mana 1/1 creature. In other words, if you already have two then he moves down in the pick order significantly in favour of evasive creatures like Aven Cloudchaser and Skyhunter Prowler. This same methodology can be applied to Aven Flock as well since you don't want a huge amount of 5 casting cost creatures in your deck.

Uncommons to Watch for:
Angel of Mercy
Ballista Squad
Leonin Skyhunter

Aven Fisher
Wind Drake
Aven Windreader
Thought Courier
Remove Soul *Under-drafted*
Countermagic is not often rated this highly, but for only two mana the ability to counter a creature is excellent. Every colour has powerful late game commons such as Aven Flock, Aven Windreader, Hollow Dogs, Flowstone Crusher, and Craw Wurm. This card will be countering these guys all day.
Mana Leak
Horned Turtle
Sleight of Hand
Sea Monster
Counsel of the Soratami
Wanderguard Sentry
Sage Aven
Dream Prowler *Over-drafted*
While not horrible, you should never be happy to play this card in your deck. It is more than likely to be incorrectly drafted over Horned Turtle.

Despite what I have read about Blue being terrible, I must disagree. Strong fliers, cheap countermagic, large defensive creatures, and even a psuedo-removal spell in Dehydration make Blue pretty good. Your game plan with Blue should be to pick up as many quality fliers as possible and try to stall the ground with high-toughness creatures.

Uncommons to Watch for:
Air Elemental
Azure Drake
Phantom Warrior
Thieving Magpie

Dark Banishing
Consume Spirit
Razortooth Rats
Gravedigger *Under-drafted*
A four mana 2/2 is nothing to smile about, but his ability makes him stellar. Don't be ashamed to draft him first pick. This guy really shines when you can draft multiples allowing you to abuse Highway Robbers.
Hollow Dogs
Highway Robbers
Cruel Edict *Over-drafted*
It is a fine card, but simply has an Annul-like feel to it. You are almost forced to use it on the first acceptable target or else run the risk of it being a huge waste later on, making this card pretty unspectacular in the late game.
Looming Shade
Giant Cockroach
Nantuko Husk
Drudge Skeletons

The noticeable difference from 8th to 9th Edition for Black is that it has much more removal. Take note that cards such as Festering Goblin, Ravenous Rats, Coercion, Mind Rot, and Raise Dead are playable, but you shouldn't be happy having to run them. You should definitely be aware that if it looks as though you will be mono-Black that Consume Spirit becomes a huge bomb and Looming Shade can be drafted over anything other than Consume Spirit as long as you are confident you have enough removal.

Uncommons to Watch for:
Diabolic Tutor
Foul Imp
Gluttonous Zombie

Volcanic Hammer
Flowstone Crusher
Sandstone Warrior
Anaba Shaman *Under-drafted*
Another 4 mana 2/2 with an excellent ability. I fully expect this guy to be making rounds and finding your pile 7th or 8th pick. In fact, I acknowledge that I am likely picking this guy too low as well. He doesn't feel like he should be great, but experience tells me that pingers are always solid in draft.
Hill Giant
Lightning Elemental
Balduvian Barbarians *Over-drafted*
Three mana for 3 power while appealing comes in a nasty double-red casting cost. It is by no means bad, but since Red seems unlikely to have the weight to be a main colour it will likely end up being even slower to cast than Hill Giant. If you find yourself heavy into Red then it is acceptable to draft this guy before Hill Giant.
Lava Axe
Goblin Piker
Goblin Chariot
Flowstone Shambler

Two great removal spells, but a complete lack of evasion. Anarchist should be drafted much higher if you have anything worth getting back (ie. Volcanic Hammer, Blaze), but is completely unplayable if you don't have at least 2 or 3 Sorceries. Sandstone Warrior completely owns the ground and likely should rate much higher, but I am uncertain at this point how much one can commit to Red as their main colour.

Uncommons to Watch for:
If you see Blaze in your pack it should be taken over anything regardless of what colours you are playing. The only exceptions being if you are White you should take Wrath of God and Blinding Angel over it and if you are Red you should take Shard Phoenix over it.
Guerilla Tactics
Orcish Artillery

King Cheetah *Under-drafted*
This guy is amazing. He is the closest thing Green has to non-flying removal. The only way this guy can be bad for you is if you hold him back too long and are too picky choosing the opportune time to play him.
Order of the Sacred Bell
Craw Wurm
Giant Growth
Giant Spider
Llanowar Elves
Trained Armodon *Over-drafted*
Similar story to Balduvian Barbarian. Once again a 3-mana, 3-power creature, but with so many other better creatures you could be playing in green I would stay away from this. If you have the misfortune of being mono-green then this guy becomes great, but having to play mono-green to make this guy valuable is not cool.
Kavu Climber
Elvish Warrior
Zodiac Monkey
Grizzly Bears
Rootbreaker Wurm

Green has many very high quality creatures, but none of them have any form of evasion. You should make sure if you are playing Green that you have at least one of both Giant Growth and Giant Spider. Llanowar Elves should be drafted over everything but King Cheetah in the pick order if you manage to acquire a solid base of 3- and 4-drops in the first two packs. Rootbreaker Wurm is a monster, but I would never run more than one and I would only play it if I had missed my opportunity to draft a Craw Wurm or two.

Uncommons to Watch for:
Green offers a couple of Hill Giant variants with sometimes game breaking abilities (Anaconda, River Bear) as well as some other really solid uncommons, but honestly offers nothing I would consider bomb-like in the uncommon slot.

Final Thoughts
Black and White are really strong with the nod going to White since its creatures are much better. Blue has excellent creatures, but seriously lacks removal. Red has excellent removal, but it is important to be aware that its solid creatures all cost 4 or more mana. Green is loaded with powerful ground creatures that any of the other colours would love to have, but unfortunately it completely lacks removal and really only has Giant Spider to combat flyers. That being said the order of colour power would go something like this




The basic rule of thumb is: Pick removal over everything. Green is the only really weak colour in 9th draft, but it can easily make for a solid base colour with enough removal in the secondary colour. That considered Green/Blue is probably the only colour combination you should really avoid.


Posts Quoted:
Clear All Quotes