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Draft Archetypes in Mirrodin Besieged
by Roberto Castro-Mahoney

(Today is the prerelease of Mirrodin Besieged on Magic the Gathering Online.
Take Berto’s advice and find the deck that will take you to flawless victory!)

New sets always add hiccups to existing draft formats – new interactions, new rules, and new plays. Mirrodin Besieged draft provides an entirely new twist. For the first time in Magic history players will be opening the NEW set first. Yes, in case you haven’t been out of your cave recently (or only play on MTGO), the draft order goes one pack of Mirrodin Besieged, followed by the two packs of Scars of Mirrodin. But you may be asking, what are the implications of this? Does it really matter all that much? The answer however, is a resounding yes.

For the first time you can now attempt to draft a “new-pack archetype” without waiting to see if the cards will show for it later on in the draft, letting players try new things without getting bogged down in two packs of the same old decks they’re tired of playing. It’s always been a problem in the old draft formats, wanting to try something new but not knowing whether it would pan out in those later packs. For instance nothing was worse than taking Pandemonium in Time Spiral block draft only to not see any Whitemane Lions or Stonecloakers in the Planar Chaos packs. However you can now draft the archetype-defining uncommons and commons from Besieged and for the first time build around cards from the newest set instead of crossing your fingers and praying to see the fates line up later. So let’s look at some archetypes that got obvious buffs and nerfs and then try to hit the gap and discover new decks.


While this theme obviously envelopes a large pool of cards, the idea is simple: draft lots of artifacts and thus create powerful bonuses to your Metalcraft dudes. The problem is that Razorfield Rhino and other Metalcraft robots are so expensive! I think that Robot strategies have been hit hard. You still have two full packs of Snapsail Glider and Chrome Steed but there is hardly enough support from Mirrodin Besieged. Obviously the Phyrexians are laying a strong siege.  Also note that Steel Sabotage and Quicksilver Geyser can BLOW YOU OUT.  So be very careful with the guys you have on the battlefield and sometimes it may even be right to play your artifacts pre-combat.

How do you draft Metalcraft then? Look for cards like Dross Ripper even if you aren’t playing Black. Sure, as an artifact he’s easier to kill, but a solid 3/3 body goes well in any deck. If you see the uncommon Peace Strider and its nemesis Pierce Strider pick them up. Sphere of the Suns will be a good way to accelerate into the plethora of 4-drops Metalcraft is forced to play. By cutting (passing zero) artifacts HARD you’ll be the only person who can afford to take the Robot Horse (Chrome Steed in packs two and three.  While it’s important to grab some robots in pack 1, know that Concussive Bolt can end games quickly, so keep an eye peeled.


Obviously the archetype has exploded in power. There’s so many good cards in three different colors, not to mention some bombs in Blue like Corrupted Conscience. There’s a new Infect flyer on the block: Tine Shrike. But with all the Phyrexians flying around you are bound to fight up to three other drafters at the table for it. Look to pick up Mirran Mettle, Infect’s new best friend. Untamed Might can still steal games but the Mettle will prove a staple in racing down your opponents. (Note: Unless you are in a pure race with an opponent, sideboard OUT your Mettles when playing against Infect. The temporary pump doesn’t actually save your dudes.)

To combat the excessive Infect armies with your own Phyrexian deck, look to grab Flesh-Eater Imp and the Shrike. The Imp is one of the most underrated cards (and that’s with people calling it a first-pick!) I can’t preach enough how godly this card is. It dodges your opponents creatures, can outbuff a Galvanic Blast, and when push comes to shove, it can sacrifice your team for the lethal swing.

While the flyers are obvious pickups for Infect decks, think about how Priests of Norn can affect your draft table. Against Mirran decks it provides a solid body that will whittle down their team. Against Infect it will 1-shot your opponent’s X/1s and live to block again. For Green check out Rot Wolf and Blightwidow. During the Pre-Release events it was this common tandem that let many Phyrexian decks to scourge the Mirran. The Wolf and sometimes Septic Rats led to the some of the biggest blowouts of the weekend.


Scars of Mirrodin draft seemed to be an eternal struggle between Infect vs. Metalcraft until Grand Prix Nashville (and our forums) unveiled a solid meta-game choice with the best archetype name in the history of Magic: Dinosaurs! Ari Lax played all of his Day 2 drafts and made the finals at the GP by forcing Dinosaurs. Based around beasts like Alpha Tyrannax and Molder Beast, the deck shoved fat creatures in the way of Steed or Cystbearer and lived to swing back next turn. Dodging all the Shatter effects of the format, the Dinos romped the GP and was an instant popular choice on MODO.
Dinosaurs! receives some HUGE buffs in MBS/SOM/SOM. First we’ll look at the obvious bomb rare you can grab in your first pack: Creeping Corrosion. This is an emblematic card of the Dino archetype as it kills virtually none of your guys and maybe all of theirs. Infect also loves this card so, by all means, grab it when you see it. Another huge addition to the archetype is Fangren Marauder. I noticed that this card hardly received the love it deserves and I’m sure you’ll be able to get it too late. Easier to cast than the Tyrannax, and with far-greater impact, the Marauder has won every game I’ve seen it cast against Metalcraft. Even Arrest, the universal kill-all card in White, can’t stop the Marauder from stealing games. Lastly let’s look at Meliras Keepers. At five mana this 4/4 is nothing to scoff at. Apart from single-handedly stifling an entire Infect onslaught, he also cannot be Proliferated to death, touched by a Skinrender, or whittled down by a certain regenerating Blight Mamba.

Suicide Red

I promised to look into the new meta-game breakthrough decks, and here I deliver. Red has strong and synergistic cards in the new set, and paired with some late-picks from Scars (Oxidda Daredevil and Ferrovore) and the unforgettable Furnace Celebration, it should be easy to manufacture a strong Sui-Red deck.
The new guys:

  • Mortarpod- Hugely underrated, this card is an easy first-pick. It provides cheap removal for Myr and Infect flyers, and also pings for Poison damage and is a Metalcraft target. This card goes in every deck.
  • Kuldotha Flamefiend- Bomb. Not just in description but in shear function. This card blows up your enemy’s team and quickly leads to victory.
  • Metallic Mastery- I certainly love this card more than most. Grabbing their robot can sometimes be the surprise Metalcraft your team needed, the extra push into the red-zone, or simply a removal spell when paired with Rusted Slasher or the Scars sacrificers.
  • Rusted Slasher- At four power he’s large enough to take out any Infect creature, while also fighting off Chrome Steed and the Striders. Another bonus: he dodges Arc Trail like a champ.
  • Blightstick Shaman- For three mana this guy is my favorite tempo-play in the format. Come in and kill a Myr, Stinger or Skimmer and then block or swing as needs be. This little-goblin-that-could is the poor-man’s replacement for Spikeshot Elder.

But the mack-daddy of the group and the card I will first-pick every time I see it is Spine of Ish Sah. While the expensive price-tag on this bomb will turn some players away from it, the Spine is a sure-fire way to seal games. Universal Removal for every permanent in the format besides Tel-Jilad Fallen, this Vindicate effect is unparalleled in the format. It kills Dragons, Angels, Demons, Dinosaurs, Robots, Enchantments, and Lions and Tigers and Bears. Not just that, but for every turn afterwards the Spine comes back and ruins some more. Daredevil, Slasher, Ferrovore are just some ways to repeatedly summon this 7-cost death-stick.

I’m sure that we’ll see more and more innovative technology (can anyone else see Proliferate as another sleeper archetype?) as the set matures and players learn to evaluate cards. For now, look at the decks you already know and ride them to victory with the new toys from Mirrodin Besiged. If you derive a totally new deck and want to share it, please comment or visit our forums! (Now cleaned up of porn bots! – Gesualdi) Even if you lose the first round maybe you’ve stumbled onto the best deck in the format, and we’d love to hear about it.

Cool story: there are 77 Phyrexia cards and 77 Mirran cards.  The one non-alligned card?  You guessed it- Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas!

(the faction-opposed rare/uncommons was a localized incident and I don’t believe transcends to your drafts)


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12 Responses to “ Berto’s Beats | Mirrodin Besieged Draft Archetypes ”

  1. Berto
    February 17, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Tonight’s events on MtGO actually involve “War Emblems” that were given to each MtGO account. Part of the entry fee is a War Emblem (not tradeable) and it shows whether you are Mirran or Phyrexian. The format is different! I do not know if an All-Phyrexian, etc. draft is the plan, but it might be.
    A few thoughts:
    -All the Living Weapons are in Phyrexia, and there’s only a couple efficient ways to kill artifacts on Phyrexian side (into the core, viridian corrupter) so if you are in an all-Phyrexian draft, play more artifacts. Also note that cards like Priests of Norn lose value when they can only fight once with an infect dude.
    -Mirran (if 24 packs are opened) will have an average of 8 shriekhorns. To kill by turn 6 you need 14 activations of shriekhorns. aka 5. or add horrifying revelations. NOTE there’s no proliferate on Mirran. IF YOU PLAY AGAINST MILL, they have 0 long-game and no MBS ways to recur repeatedly. Go ahead and sideboard into 47 cards (gives you 10 turns to kill them if they have 5 horns.) Also a Frantic Salvage can beat it.

    Make sure you know what type of event you are enrolling for. It seems they have more choices and some of them are faction-based, some of them are not.

    I will be playing tonight so if you see pRoberto, holler out! Good luck to everyone!

  2. Bertissim0
    February 17, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Keep in mind that there’s many different events posted in MtGO. Some are fation-based and some not. You have a “War Emblem” that shows which delineation you are. Just be careful that you know what type of event you enroll in.

    Also, I was gonna wait til later to spoil it but apparently the news is out: Shriekhorn makes a viable deck archetype. 5 chriekhorns wins a game, or 3 and 2 proliferates. In your first drafts keep track of the Shriekhorns you see pick 1-4 and then if you saw 3, grab every one you see starting with 4th pick. Don’t force the archetype- let it come to you. In pack 2/3 grab up Thrummingbird, Throne of Geth, Steady Progress.
    Playing the deck: Your clock is no faster if you drop Shriekhorn on turn 1 versus turn 4, so don’t unless you have other curve cards to play. Often you are just giving them advance notice of your strategy and targets for early Shatters,etc. Since you are Proliferating, I’d often like to drop a Golme Foundry on turn 3 and then 3 Horns on turn 4. The cards are all “late-picks” as long as you aren’t fighting anyone for the archetype, so look for the interesting sequence of plays that maximizes your potential.
    An ideal list:
    4 shriekhorn
    1 spread the sickness
    1 core prowler
    1 tumble magnet
    3 screeching silcaw
    1 thrummingbird
    2 wall of tanglecord
    1 fuel for the cause
    1 grasp of darkness.
    It’s jsut a sample but I’d take this deck to any 8-4 and expect to win. There’s only 3 high-picks there.

  3. wizmo
    February 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    in theory i like the idea of this mill – strategy. however, i think MBS really made the format alot faster with battlecry and 50 good infect guys. i dont know if i would play this deck, u area left with some bad cards if u cant get a mass of these dudes in pack 1 . i feel this is worse than chapin passing removal for his ichor wellspring deck.

    i think shriekorn is on par with the tome scour deck from m11…. i hear its good but never seen it win

  4. MrMacMan
    February 17, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    made the archetype /faster/ what? really?
    The only myr in the set is an uncommon (plague)
    The only other accel is Sphere of suns (also uncommon)

    /infect/ has become better, but not faster.
    Spread is a 5CC spell.
    Outside of Inkmoth most of the infect guys are just bigger, not faster.

    I’ve yet to see mill as a viable strategy.
    Yes blue and especially proliferate are underdrafted strategies but trying to shoot for 4 copies of any card in a single booster is rather hard.

  5. Bertissim0
    February 17, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    that’s why u see it before u do it. if you see 3 shriekhorns in the first 5 packs, take the one in the 5th pack and every one u see after. u lose little value compared to 5th-picks, and can blow out the draft.

  6. MikeB
    February 18, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Ehm…concerning the last passage – you’re talking about MTGO Boosters there because I just cracked the only sealed booster I had here at home to check if the faction of the Rare is really the opposite of the uncommons – and you are wrong!

    Rare: Myr Turbine (Mirran)
    Uncommons: Relic-Leonide (Mirran), Vedalken Infuser (Mirran) and Core Prowler (Phyrexia)

    Please explain that to me!

  7. Bertissim0
    February 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    If that’s true MikeB then they had different printings. There were multiple reports of faction-opposed packs (not the faction packs).
    Did you happened to notice the common count?

    I went 11-1 in prerelease. hopefully everyone shared same success. I’ll post a report asap.

  8. Bertissim0
    February 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I did some sleuthing and here’s the scoop: there were runs in the first releasing and in faction packs. those faction boxes with 18 stacked faction packs had a rare run. Also the opposing rare/uncommon was a localized mistake. I believe you can count on packs being assorted randomly.

  9. Benjamin Ortlip
    February 19, 2011 at 3:26 am

    Guess what’s going to happen in a besieged-scars-scars draft. People are going to draft those really awesome cards in the first few packs, and then find out everyone is looking for the same cards in the end. Drafting is about building the best deck possible out of a limited and random pool of cards. If you want to try out those awesome new Besieged cards, GO MAKE A CONSTRUCTED DECK! Leave draft alone. The sets are designed and constructed and released so that it makes more sense to draft your most solid set first. That’s why it’s one major set, two minor sets. (Well, in most cases…) Think about how it would have been to draft guildpact-rav-rav. I’ll agree, with some sets, it probably wouldn’t make too much of a difference. You could get away with it in Lorwyn block. Not in Besieged, when most of every pack is going to be flavored with phyrexian ichor.

    I understand the marketing scheme behind it, but this is antithetic to what draft is supposed to be. Building a deck entirely around your 1st pack bombs isn’t any better a strategy than building a deck entirely around your 3rd pack bombs, no matter which order you open them in.

  10. Bertissim0
    February 19, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Benjamin, the taste of change is sometimes bittersweet, I agree. But you have to get used to it- this is not a one-time deal; it’s the official change to draft. I do have mixed feelings about which cards should be seen at what times (Inexorable Tide should be a card you can open, IMO) but here’s the reasoning for it: They want the last pack to have more variance. By closing with the big set it means less ability to ‘know’ the cards that will reach you. e.g. You could jump onto Screeching Silcaws in packs 1/2 because you KNOW there’s 2 shriekhorns in pack 3. Vice versa if you get shriekhorns in pack 1 it’s harder to kno you’ll get silcaws. Same for Furnace Celebrations, Inexorable Tides, Throne of Geths. They’re keeping the ‘engine’ cards in the last packs.

  11. Benjamin Ortlip
    February 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    P.S. – If you want your engine cards drafted last, plan your block so that more of them occur in later sets. Design shouldn’t be taking out their errors in development on the player base.

  12. Ben Ortlip
    February 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    What the hell? Why are my posts being deleted and/or having their timestamps changed?