Drafting UGx in M10

Posted on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 by Pterrus
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Posted in mtg, serious business, strategy

Warning: This article contains language.

Alright, serious time guys, let’s talk about M10. It is very fashionable right now to say that M10 draft is a terrible format. I believe the argument goes a little bit like this:

  1. M10 has a lot of bombs.
  2. ???

If I hear one more person cry about how they were blown out by Overrun or Sleep I’m going to stab them. Yes there are many uncommon blowout cards can decide a match in M10. This means a couple things for those of us real men who want to get better at this format. First, you want to be the one casting the bombs if possible. Second, you want to be able to answer the bombs coming from the other side of the table. Now this may seem like common sense when I write it out like that, but I see people playing terrible aggro decks that cannot beat Giant Spider daily (let alone Sleep) so clearly someone is not getting the memo.

Anyway, I’m having some pretty solid success in this format so I’m going to talk about my very favorite archetype: UG(x). UG has a lot of things going for it. First of all, not only can it play 2 of the most absurd uncommon bombs in the format in Overrun and Sleep, but it is well equipped to make the most out of both, by allowing you to amass a large army of dorks while not allowing the enemy to attack profitably. Second, you get access to blue’s draw technology at common, which lets you regulate your draw better than the average bear. Third, you are playing green so you get easy splash access for bullshit like Fireball and Doom Blade if the situation arises.

Your weakness is that you cannot actually kill things. This is usually okay. As I will get to later, Deadly Recluse is actually a removal spell in disguise, and Entangling Vines does the trick against troubling beaters. Royal Assassin, however, may be a problem unless you are running ICE CAGE. It’s okay though, you are a real man so challenges like that do not deter you. Right?

Okay so let’s talk about some cards:

The Finishers: Overrun/Sleep

These cards are the reason to run UG. If I open one of these cards, I will likely try to draft UG. (If I do not open one of these cards, I will often force UG anyway and hope to grab one later but your mileage may vary.) These are first picks in the archetype, with only a few rares and maybe Mind Control qualifying as better. The idea is to try to craft a board position from which one of these cards wins the game.

How many is too many? I like to have 2 of the above finishers in my deck if I possibly can. Obviously sometimes this is not possible. I will start taking certain other cards over the third, including premium flyers like Air Elemental or even something like Merfolk Looter if I don’t have any yet.

Sometimes you are UG and do not have Overrun or Sleep. This is called UG sadface. It is possible to win with UG sadface but it takes longer. Gogo Phantom Warrior.

The best commons in rough pick order:

Merfolk Looter

Looter is fantastic. He finds your lands, your finisher, your answer, or your gasoline, whichever you need most at the time. He also overruns for 4. I love this little bastard. Perhaps most importantly, Looter makes it very possible to win without a finisher. If you are drawing gas while they are drawing lands for too long, eventually you will get there on sheer card quality. Just believe in the power of the loot.

Deadly Recluse

I got a lot better at this format when I realized that Deadly Recluse is basically a removal spell. He stops their best dude from attacking, and then he overruns for 4. When you think of it that way, he’s almost better than a removal spell in this archetype. I have first picked this guy and you should too.

Stampeding Rhino

The Rhino is a god damn house. He’s offense, he’s defense, he’s pound for pound the best large monster at common for you. PS – Giant Growth yu.

Giant Spider

Giant Spider is such a pain in the ass to get around in this format. He blocks nearly every common without breaking a sweat until you need him to go aggro with a finisher. I’ve played so many games where a single Giant Spider neutralizes 3 or more attackers because they simply cannot attack profitably. Hold up Negate and they can’t even get by him with a trick. Run as many as you can.


Card advantage is hard to come by in this format. Divination gets you the necessary gasoline and draws you closer to your finishers. Pick ‘em high.

Giant Growth

Combat tricks are huge in this format, and growth is one of the better ones. It will solve a lot of problems for you, including ICE CAGE.

Entangling Vines

I would put this higher if you couldn’t count on getting them so late. These are actually key in this archetype as they are your best real removal spell. I recommend playing at least 2 if possible. This should probably go without saying but you want to save them for a creature you can’t otherwise handle if possible; don’t blow them on their turn 3 Warpath Ghoul. Good targets include super evasion creatures like Phantom Warrior and Dread Warlock, huge flyers like Air Elemental, and other pain in the ass creatures like Inferno Elemental.

Centaur Courser

Sam Black said this card is probably a trap and I don’t know what the fuck that means, but when your opponent plays a turn 2 dork and you trump it with Centaur Courser, I suppose it might feel like a trap. Seriously, I love this guy. People are addicted to curve and play all kinds of stuff like Silvercoat Lion and Child of Night, both of which Courser shuts down. Courser is also larger than White/Black Knight, which is occasionally important. Follow your Courser with a turn 4 Giant Spider and start beating down.

Borderland Ranger

This is a good man. He helps you get to UU or GGG all while providing a nice warm body that overruns for 5 or trades with Warpath Ghoul. Also gets a lot better if you’re splashing.


I said it before in the forums and I will say it again: Negate is blowout insurance for the low, low price of 2 mana. Not only do you get to counter the monster finishers like Overrun/Sleep/Fireball, but you also counter the little annoying combat tricks like Harms Way that can occasionally blow open a game. Someone may have told you at some point that Cancel is better but they are lying to you: UU1 is infinitely harder to hold up than 1U.

Essence Scatter

Worse than Negate in my humble opinion, but since you don’t have real creature removal and you often aren’t doing anything important on turn 2, these are nice to have.

Snapping Drake/Wind Drake

Why so low, you may ask? Evasion dudes aren’t particularly critical to your strategy of Overrunning or Sleeping their face off. That, and Giant Spider and Razorfoot Griffin slap these guys with their insectoid and leonine dicks, respectively. Short of Giant Growth, you have no way of solving those problems if one of the above are chilling on D. That said, the drakes are in fact solid men, and are often good for a few swings before they get shut down. They’ll usually make the cut.

Horned Turtle

Respect the Horned Turtle. Seriously, this motherfucker holds it down.


I will take all of the above (and maybe some of the below) first if I need them, but if you can pick up a Ponder or two, they should nearly always make the cut. Just don’t cast it on turn 1 like a cone unless you need to find lands. Value goes up if you draft Djinn of Wishes!

Other commons that you may or may not want in no particular order:

Elvish Visionary

I don’t go out of my way to pick this guy, but if I’m short on 2 drops and have Overrun, this is a fine man.

Llanowar Elves

This guy’s value definitely goes up if you already have Overrun or a lot of Coursers, but I wouldn’t take it too highly otherwise.


Definitely maindeckable in this format, and always nice to have waiting in the board. Try to grab at least one late.


Getting yourself 2 for 1’d with a creature enchantment is no way to win the game with Overrun, son.

Mist Leopard

…is garbage but sometimes he makes the cut anyway. Barf.


I don’t pick them very high but it’s worth noting that they’re better if you have 2 or more Essence Scatters in the deck. Also good to board in if you see creature enchantments and/or lots of Illusionary Servants.

Rampant Growth

There’s nothing really good at 4 to ramp into at common. This gets better if you have Cudgel Troll or a splash color.

ICE CAGE/Illusionary Servant

You either love these cards or hate them. Personally, I like cards that don’t randomly go dead to a Blinding Mage, especially in an archetype without real removal.

Craw Wurm/Enormous Baloth

Yeah I know Baloth is an uncommon, shut up. These enormous expensive dudes are nice as a 1 or 2 of. I wouldn’t play any more than that. Their value goes up if you have a Sleep. Nothing like swinging into an empty board with a Craw Wurm… mmm…

Notable Other Crap:


These are easy splashes and you should first pick them in packs 2 and 3 if you are lucky enough to scoop them up. Grab Terramorphic Expanse, Rampant Growth, and Borderland Ranger higher accordingly.

Doom Blade

I’ve splashed the swamp for multiple Doom Blades a couple times and it’s pretty solid, as they shore up one of the deck’s main weaknesses: the creature removal department. You know, the removal suite. The removal package. Doom Blade would like a word with you.

Air Elemental/Mind Control

Obviously you should pick up these clutch blue uncommons if you get the chance.

Cudgel Troll

Clearly nuts. It’s usually worth waiting to turn 5 him against red or black.

Awakener Druid

+6/+6 from Overrun! 4/5 haste on turn 4! YAY!

Howl of the Night Pack

Yeah this is real good in this deck.

Wall of Frost

Horned Turtle is probably better than this thing because the Turtle can join the Overrun party. Just sayin’.

Natures Spiral

This is a sick card if you have already picked up Gargoyle Castle or Mind Control.

Alluring Siren

Actual flavor text: “Hey there big boy, I think you should impale yourself Giant Spider’s insectoid dick! Come on, it’ll be so fun!”

Sample Draft

Pack 1 pick 1:

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Fuck yeah Sleep over Gargoyle Castle.

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Pump. The. Fist.

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Mind Spring is some good.

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I feel like I misclicked here or something, no idea why I took rod of ruin.

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As you can see, I had a pretty good draft here. Usually I'm capable of a little more early damage (no Coursers!) but the 3 recluses and the howl more than make up for that here. I went with 18 lands because of the multiple Looters and the Mind Spring. Flooding will not be a problem for this deck, to say the least. I ended up 3-0, yay!

I hope you found this article helpful. Now go forth and shred some queues!