Flashback Drafts return to Lorwyn, a world ruled by eight creature races that define the set's flavor and mechanics. Harnessing the synergy within these creature types is the driving force behind the limited environment, so getting into a tribe is the key to a successful draft. Each tribe encompasses multiple colors, with multiples tribes being included in each color, so drafting isn't just a matter of taking the best card in your color in each pack, it's taking the best card for your tribe. Today I'll provide a recap of Lorwyn's eight tribes, along with some key cards you want to be on the lookout for. I'll run down the tribes in descending order of effectiveness and recommendation, but keep in mind that successful drafting means finding the tribe that other players are passing.
The Elf deck is centered around creating Elf tokens and overwhelming the opponent with cards like Lys Alana Huntmaster, Gilt-Leaf Ambush, Elvish Promenade, and Imperious Perfect. Black fills various support roles, like supplying removal spells with Eyeblight's Ending or a way to pump tokens with Final Revels. It's a straightforward and powerful tribe.
The Faerie deck is based around flying creatures, some of which, like Thieving Sprite and Spellstutter Sprite, create value based around their synergy with other Faeries. There is also a flash theme centered on making the most of Dreamspoiler Witches, which is done by casting cards like Peppersmoke on the opponent's turn. Faeries is not the most powerful tribe, but blue and black are the most powerful colors, so that also means taking advantage of other great cards like Nameless Inversion, Mulldrifter, and Aethersnipe. Opponents have a hard time blocking Faeries, so the best decks are aggressive and seek to end the game before the opponent's more powerful synergies come together.
The Merfolk deck is based around tapping and untapping cards to create value, exemplified by payoffs like Judge of Currents, Veteran of the Depths, and Fallowsage. These creatures aren't great at attacking, so making the most of them requires enablers, which is where cards like Drowner of Secrets, Summon the School, Stonybrook Angler, and even Springleaf Drum come into play. The most important Merfolk common might be Silvergill Douser, which makes combat math very difficult for the opponent. Merfolk decks tend to be slow and controlling.
Goblin's in Lorwyn aren't as aggressive as usual, and are instead based around sacrificing creatures for value. Cards like Tar Pitcher, Fodder Launch, and Boggart Shenanigans are example of big payoffs for sacrificing creatures, while Mudbutton Torchrunner begs to be sacrificed. A great card for the deck is Warren Pilferers, which helps to maintain a supply of cannon fodder.
Giants are a straightforward tribe, based around playing big creatures that dominate the opponent's in combat, and supporting them with removal spells. The key card in the archetype is Thundercloud Shaman, which will wipe the battlefield of the small creatures that populate the other tribes, leaving Giants free to rumble over to victory. Giants tend to be expensive, so Stinkdrinker Daredevil helps make their costs more manageable and get them into play sooner. Blind-Spot Giant is the deck's bread and butter and helps it get on the board early, but it's important to play a wealth of Giants, including Changelings, to turn it on.
Elementals are focused in Red, but other Elementals can be found across colors. A mono-red Elemental deck is possible, but typically Elementals will dip into another color or more for access to the best Elementals Lorwyn has to offer. Smokebraider is the key card, providing mana acceleration as well as fixing to help splashes. Not only does this help with access to non-red cards like Aethersnipe and Briarhorn, it also helps ramp into massive Elementals like Faultgrinder. Ceaseless Searblade can enable aggressive Elemental decks in combination with cards like Soulbright Flamekin, while Glarewielder can push through defenders.
Treefolk are based around getting Forests into play, which super-charges cards like Battlewand Oak and Elvish Branchbender. Seedguide Ash can help, and big creatures like Oakgnarl Warrior can go over the top of other tribes. The focus on Forests means wanting to stay in green, but cards like Thorntooth Witch and Sentry Oak can draw the deck into Black or White.
Lorwyn's most aggressive tribe uses cards like Cenn's Heir and Surge of Thoughtweft to take advantage of tribal synergies and pressure the opponent. Goldmeadow Harrier and Oblivion Ring contain opposing threats. Cards like Cloudgoat Ranger and Wizened Cenn will give the deck a large dose of power.
Make sure not to ignore Changeling cards, unique for including all creature types, which are a fit into any tribal deck in their colors. Take them early and take them often, and use them to pad the numbers in your tribal decks.
Pay special attention to the cycle of Harbinger creatures, one in each tribe, which search the deck for another member of that tribe. The Harbingers aren't especially powerful by themselves, but their ability to search for your best cards, including Changelings, makes them high picks, particularly when you already have something excellent to find.
What is your perspective of the Lorwyn-Lorwyn-Lorwyn draft environment? Have any questions? Share in the comments section!