First Impressions on Crimson Vow Limited

Crimson Vow is upon us. While I haven’t played as much as I normally would at this point, I’ve dipped my toes into the format and was pleasantly surprised with the game play thus far. I was worried from the rumblings I’ve heard, but this format has a lot of interesting decisions. 

 

The rares can be overwhelming, and the games grindy. The new take on disturb where we get slightly better rare creatures with auras of varying potency is quite nice. Between Disturb, Blood Tokens, Exploit, and good old-fashioned value, I rarely find myself running out of stuff to do

 

                                       

 

The format has a ton of interaction. One-mana removal such as Flame-Blessed Bolt and Gift of Fangs at common, along with Abrade at common make the early game quite interactive. Rares and value start to take over almost every time when the games begin to develop. I’m able to leverage my early tempo with activated abilities or stop the flood with blood tokens even against and with my more aggressive decks. 

 

                                       

 

At least early in formats like this, I tend to focus on blue strategies if viable. This set has Syncopate, Scattered Thoughts, and Fear of Death to create a solid package at common for blue decks that tend to control the game. These types of decks have a tendency to get run over early without an early defense to protect while you pull ahead on cards, and I’ve been finding this defense in Steelclad Spirit. While it ends up attacking only once or twice, it does a great job at protecting the life total early and then trading up late. 

 

                   

 

Black has seemed strong yet again. Between Gift of Fangs and the four-mana, instant-speed, exile effect common in Bleed Dry, I’ve found it’s best supported with colors that provide more value to it in the late game. Blue and red fit the bill nicely, as red has its own card advantage in common. Reckless Impulse is much better than it looks and going way too late at the moment from my experiences. If you keep your curve tight and sequence it on later turns, it’s a two-mana Divination at common. 

 

 

One factor I dislike about the format is that many cards and mechanics are influenced too heavily by being on the play/draw. Being on the play is huge in this format if you’re trying to train, exploit, and connect with creatures when they can provide value. Even cards like Skulking Killer are absurd with a removal spell in the opening hand on the play and less effective on the draw. 

 

White is finally not the worst color from my early estimation. That trophy goes to green. Green has a bit of an identity crisis with wolves and self-mill, and toughness matters is rolled up with inefficient removal at common in Wolf-Strike. While you can draft a winning green deck, it likely requires rares because the commons are weak. 

 

                   

 

Overall the format’s card quality is higher than usual. The commons are mostly playable, and nothing stands out as a superstar like Organ Hoarder from the last set. Abrade is my current best common, but I’m sure that could change. I’ve been most impressed with Scattered Thoughts relative to where I’m picking up. I often get them on the wheel and sometimes with two or three cards in the pack. The same goes for Reckless Impulse. I don’t think this will continue as players get more comfortable. 

 

THE FIRST FEW DECKS I DRAFTED

 

Here’s my first deck of the format, a simple Izzet Tempo control deck. 

 

I managed seven wins with just a lean curve, some solid rate removal and card draw, a plan to get my opponent low early, and then grind out the last few points of damage. Syncopate was medium, but in retrospect I would still build the same.

 

 

Mike Sigrist - VOW Draft - UR Tempo

Export to:
Creature (12)
1
Lantern Bearer
1
Kessig Wolfrider
1
Steelclad Spirit
2
Stormchaser Drake
2
Binding Geist
2
Gutter Skulker
1
Wandering Mind
1
Repository Skaab
1
Lambholt Raconteur
Instant (10)
1
Flame-Blessed Bolt
2
Syncopate
1
Lunar Rejection
2
Abrade
2
Thirst for Discovery
1
Rending Flame
1
Scattered Thoughts
Enchantment (1)
1
Fear of Death
Land (17)
1
Evolving Wilds
9
Island
7
Mountain
Cards 40

 

This Izzet deck landed me a 7-2 record

 

Next up is my sweetest deck drafted yet, B/R Vampires

 

This deck was challenging to build as I had tons of playable options. Strensia Uprising was absurdly good and having two didn’t hurt. I got both passed to me in pack three and was in the perfect archetype to manipulate how many permanents I’d have. I was able to use it to kill the opponent on three occasions. While Vampires may traditionally be more aggressive, this was a control deck that leaned on the value of the enchantments and Reckless Impulses, but flood mitigation with Blood Tokens was also huge. Voldaren Estate was much better than I anticipated as the games were often grindy.

 

 

Mike Sigrist - VOW Draft - BR Vampires

Export to:
Creature (11)
1
Persistent Specimen
1
Voldaren Bloodcaster
1
Voltaic Visionary
1
Bloodtithe Harvester
1
Fell Stinger
2
Gluttonous Guest
1
Belligerent Guest
1
Bloodcrazed Socialite
1
Skulking Killer
1
Falkenrath Celebrants
Sorcery (4)
2
Reckless Impulse
1
Edgar's Awakening
1
Grisly Ritual
Instant (5)
1
Flame-Blessed Bolt
1
Parasitic Grasp
1
Abrade
1
Vampires' Vengeance
1
Bleed Dry
Enchantment (3)
1
Gift of Fangs
2
Stensia Uprising
Land (17)
1
Voldaren Estate
8
Mountain
8
Swamp
Cards 40

 

This deck was a clean 7-0. I did have plenty of close games. 

 

Lastly, a deck I’m currently still battling with, B/G Self-Mill.

 

 

Mike Sigrist - VOW Draft - BG Self-Mill

Export to:
Creature (15)
2
Reclusive Taxidermist
1
Toxic Scorpion
1
Catapult Fodder
1
Gluttonous Guest
1
Apprentice Sharpshooter
3
Spore Crawler
1
Skulking Killer
1
Innocent Traveler
1
Ancient Lumberknot
1
Infestation Expert
2
Moldgraf Millipede
Sorcery (4)
2
Mulch
2
Retrieve
Instant (2)
1
Parasitic Grasp
1
Hero's Downfall
Artifact (1)
1
Boarded Window
Enchantment (1)
1
Curse of Hospitality
Land (17)
1
Evolving Wilds
1
Mountain
7
Swamp
8
Forest
Cards 40

 

I’m not sure this is built correctly, but I wanted to try a few of the cards in my pool, namely Curse of Hospitality and Boarded Window. Boarded WIndow is not the kind of card I’d play in every deck, but this is a deck that drags the game out and takes advantage of Retrieve. I may want to put Flourishing Hunter in my deck for more late games, but I’ll try it like this for now. Wedding Invitation as a free noncreature permanent for Retrieve is also a consideration. 

 

                                       

 

So far I’m 2-0 and the deck has felt worse than it looks, as the Moldgraf Millipedes don’t play out as well as I’d hoped. With multiple Mulches and Taxidermists, I can likely cut a land from this deck, but with up to three double black spells, I found it hard to pull the trigger. If I cut the red Splash, I’d assuredly play 16 lands. My deck was looking for a card like Gift of Fangs to bring back with Retrieve. I didn’t end up getting there, which is fine. Fear of Death is also a potential Splash and likely better than Curse of Hospitality, as it’s nice to have Retrievable removal. I don’t expect to get to seven wins with this, and I’d feel lucky to get to five. 

 

All in all this format has been surprisingly fun. I noticed tons of sneaky lines in gameplay, but the drafts have been relatively straightforward. I’m about six drafts in, which isn’t a big enough sample to have formed concrete opinions, but I suspect you’ll enjoy drafting it for a little while

 

With the draft open around the corner, it’s a great idea to get in the queue and get to work. If I do poorly enough at the set championships, I may see you there.

 

Until next week!

 

Image Copyright: (c) 1995-2020 Wizards of the Coast LLC, All Rights Reserved

 

1 thought on “First Impressions on Crimson Vow Limited

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Card image cap