Archive for October 2011

M12 Draft 1: For Your Judgment   2 comments

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

A pretty sweet pack to start us off here, as the pack has very little bar Day Of Judgment that’s particularly first pick worthy. A nice start. If there’s no DOJ here I’m probably looking at taking Reassembling Skeleton.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

This pick is much, much harder. Not sure what the pick is still between Blood Ogre, Gorehorn Minotaurs with the outside chances of Goblin Arsonist or Assault Griffin. The Griffin would have kept us on-colour, but I felt Ogre and Minotaurs are just stronger. I went for Ogre in the end- it comes down quicker and is very difficult to block or double block because of first strike. Also, with an uncommon missing over all these cards, I can only imagine what was taken over these was along the lines of Mind Control, so it may be a signal that the person passing to me won’t be going for Red.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

There’s nothing stunning in this pack really, a lot of good cards but nothing particularly amazing at 3rd pick. In the end, Veteran is in one of our colours and one of the stronger cards. Admittedly taking two aggro cards after DoJ isn’t optimal, but W/R aggro is just too good in this format to fret about that.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

This seems an easy pick- in our colours and removal.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

With a Drifting Shade and Devouring Swarm (a card I feel is vastly overrated 80% of the time) here, it could be a sign black is open. However, Arbalest Elite is a solid blocker and the ability can often turn games that go attritional, or force through guys when an aggro deck needs to close the game quickly, so it gets the pick.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Wow. I can only assume this pack must’ve have a ton of good quality cards for there still to be Shock, Sorin’s Thirst and a Merfolk Looter. (Plus Giant Spider, although green cards always go late in M12 it seems.) A 6th pick removal spell in Red seems pretty fantastic and it’s shocking to see one so late.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Black must be open with a Wring Flesh here, but I’m worried by this point I’ve missed the boat on Black, and if I ship it it improves my chances of seeing more Red and White. Besides, Armored Warhorse, although being a bit of a problem with manabases, is a very solid 2 drop in Aggro, and a solid blocker if need be too.

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

The only playable card in my colours here. I don’t mind this card too much- if you have enchantments, this quickly becomes a serious threat.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Seems the clear pick here- I value tricks quite highly in this format. Because M12 is a very aggressive format, people look to block a lot, so tricks can come in handy as a nice tempo boost sometimes.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

This was in the very deep pack we had Pick 2, so it’s not too surprising it came around. A good signal and a good pick up, however.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

I always like a Fling in a red deck. With cards I feel we can pick up, like Gorehorn Minotaurs, Crumbling Colossus and Act of Treason, this can easily finish off games.

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Surprised to see this go late. This card I think is a tad underrated, and fits our W/R aggro plan to a tee.

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

DA BEARS.

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:


Pack 1 seemed to go well. DoJ was a nice pickup, although our deck has gone in a completely different direction, and having a Blood Ogre and double Shock is always nice. We picked up good cards for W/R Aggro too, like Benalish Veteran and the War Paint.

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Again, not sure on this pick. Lawkeeper is a tapper, which is never to be turned down easily, but I feel that O-Ring is unconditional removal that we need. Minotaurs is something we have to pass again, but I hope we see some more later on.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Not a card I want to be taking Pick 2, but there’s no other options. Circle of Flame is an okay SB card against certain decks, Lava Axe is playable…but we can always pick up one up later, where as Stave Off is a nice trick that goes late.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

This is a mistake. Admittedly, War Paint, Pledge and Bangchuckers are nowhere near Adept’s level, but it’s unlikely we’d be able to switch to blue so late, and hate-drafting it seems a bit loose when it’s possible to get decent cards for our own deck.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

This is a nice little pick up. Elite Vanguard is a very solid beater, and playing him Turn 1 then following up with War Paint often puts decks on a very quick clock they need to answer sooner rather than later. Aggro is definitely the plan here, so hopefully we wheel the Goblin Tunneler.

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

…or we could just pick one up now! I like this card quite a bit, as sometimes aggro decks just need an evasive guy to finish off the game. With any luck, we’ll pick up a Fiery Hellhound to go with him.

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

I’m fairly sure this shouldn’t be here at Pick 6, but who am I to complain?

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

This could be wrong- we have 3 goblins or so already, with a good chance of picking up more which could make the Grenade very live in our deck, so maybe that would be more optimal. However, the Crown is not to be sniffed at either. Still a decent card, but in hindsight maybe the Grenade would have been better.

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Another Stave Off this late is quite nice, as it’s one of the better tricks in the format.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Er, what? I know the first pack was fairly deep…but there’s no way that this should go ninth, in my opinion. Slaughter Cry isn’t a favourite of mine in aggro decks, as generally at 3 mana you want to be playing guys like Benalish Veteran and Blood Ogre. Hating the Adept here, as it wrecks us quite handily.

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Another trick. Although already having one, maybe Elixir or Wall of Torches (A very underrated SB Card, if you ask me) would have been better.

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

At this point I was looking for more guys and I have the War Paint, so this seemed best. I don’t feel I had enough white creatures to run the Pledge, and I was living in hope of getting the Grenade we saw earlier back.

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Rare draft. Don’t judge me!

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 wasn’t amazing. We did get O-Ring, Lawkeeper and Vanguard, but I can’t help but think at this point our deck needs more solid beaters, or a good finisher like Inferno Titan, Gideon or something along those lines. Even a Serra Angel would suffice.

Pack 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Fairly simple pick here- as much as I’d like another Vanguard, Pegasus is perfect in an aggro deck.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

I don’t like how tough it might make the mana, but the only choice here is Warhorse. It’s also a pretty good card anyway, so I’m not unhappy about this.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

I really do like a Crimson Mage in this format, and in aggressive decks- haste for all your guys for just R is very relevant, as well as it’s ability to get rid of pesky Ice Cages that people tend to bring in.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

It seems we may be getting cut here, so Stave Off is the only option. Not sure if I’ll run three…

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

Goblin Grenade, one time? Either way, Piker is another two drop, which we need.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

This is also most likely wrong. I should’ve gone for the mage here, as there’s not many tribal components in my deck, bar having a few goblins.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Well, the Automaton looks better now….

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Probably should have taken fling instead of hating on the bear.

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

As much as I like a War Paint, Spider isn’t the easiest thing for us to beat, so it seems like the optimal choice to take it away here.

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Again, maybe should have just taken fling.

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

This draft converter created by Benjamin Peebles-Mundy.

So, Pack 3 got us pretty good. We barely got anything out of it, so after the draft was done I was wary. I ended up building it like this:

1 Elite Vanguard

1 Gideon’s Lawkeeper

2 Armored Warhorse

1 Goblin Piker

1 Crimson Mage

2 Goblin Tunneler

1 Stormfront Pegasus

1 Adaptive Automaton

1 Blood Ogre

1 Benalish Veteran

1 Arbalest Elite

2 Shock

2 Stave Off

1 Mighty Leap

1 Fling

1 Goblin War Paint

1 Oblivion Ring

1 Day Of Judgment

1 Crown Of Empires

9 Plains

8 Mountains
SB Cards of Note: Stave Off, Mighty Leap, Demystify, Arbalest Elite, 2x Goblin Bangchuckers

In the end, I decided that 3 Stave Offs would be too many and I’d want to be beating down more, so needed more creatues. With quite a few Goblins and Humans, Automaton got the nod too. In hindsight, maybe DOJ wasn’t the best in this strategy, as it’s only good if I’m way behind and have barely any guys on board. At this point, I wasn’t hopeful for the deck. I felt there wasn’t enough staying power and bad draws would just leave it far too behind. Anyway, to the games!

Game 1, Match 1 (v U/G)

We mulligan to 6 and keep a sketchy hand of Lawkeeper, War Paint and 4 land, on the draw. He goes Turn 1 Phantasmal Bear. I draw a Goblin Piker, play Lawkeeper and go. He plays a forest, smashes in (Us: 18) and passes the turn, allowing us to tap his bear to force the sac. on our turn. (Draw: Mountain) On his turn he Divinates. On our turn we play Piker and get in for 1 with Lawkeeper. (Them: 19) (Draw: Arbalest Elite) He responds with another Phantasmal Bear which at first seemed odd, but then he followed up with Archanus Web on our Lawkeeper. We draw Day of Judgment, which isn’t amazing at this point and play Arbalest Elite, and in hope of just targeting his Bear with it next turn, don’t attack. On his turn he plays Cudgel Troll and passes. Urgh. As we need that Troll gone, or at least blocked out, we play the War Paint on the Arbalest Elite to make it a 4/5, while drawing a land. He’s on 6 land for his turn, plays Azure Mage with 3U up and passes with no attacks. We draw Stave Off and pass. He activates Azure Mage at EOT. Then follows up with Arachnus Spinner, a card we simply cannot beat. He also played a land, so he has G up for the Cudgel Troll regen. At this point, I decide my best line here is to attack with the Elite and Piker, hope he blocks the Arbalest with Troll, regenerates, then wrath the board. Thankfully he goes for it, and we wrath. Leaving us with just Stave Off in hand, him with 2 cards. He tries to rebuild with Bear, but thankfully we draw Benalish Veteran, in hopes of winning the race. His second Arachnus Web (2 and a Spinner? Nice.) aims at Veteran, but we Stave Off. He gets in for two with the bear, we draw our second Stave Off and swing back for 3, leaving us both on 16. The next few turns are just beating down as we just draw land, until we’re both at 10 life and he plays a Stampeding Rhino that we currently have no answer for. Thankfully we draw Mighty Leap. We attack, he blocks with Rhino and we Mighty Leap it. In response he Unsummons. We can’t afford that Tempo loss, so we Stave Off the Veteran and kill the Rhino with our now pro-blue 5/5. Another couple turns of beating down, as we draw Shock and Crimson Mage. (Me at 6, Him at 7). We play Mage and Haste it, he Frost Breath’s in response. I feel that if we leave the Bear, we’ll get killed before we kill him, so I shock it. He plays a Birds of Paradise. As we untap (drawing More lands), we beat down, with him Chump Blocking the Veteran and going to 5. His turn he Aether Adept’s the Veteran. We draw Fling, play Veteran and Haste it, attack with both. He blocks the Crimson Mage. Veteran does 3 and we Fling it at him for the last 2 points.

Game 1, Match 2.

Our opponent mulligans to 6, as we keep a plains, 2 mountain, Vanguard, Pegasus, Stave Off and Shock-  a pretty nice opener. He plays nothing for his first 3 turns, bar Divination, as we develop our board with Vanguard, Pegasus and a freshly-drawn Warhorse. (Also drawing Veteran). Turn 4 he plays his first creature, Phantasmal Bear. Seeing an opportunity to end things quickly before he gets shenanigans like Arachnus Spinner going, we Stave Off the Bear, play Veteran and swing, leaving him at 8, drawing another Warhorse and having Shock in hand. He plays a Stampeding Rhino on his turn, but we draw Mighty Leap, alpha strike and Leap the Veteran for the win.

Game 2, Match 1 (R/G Aggro)

We win the roll and play first, keeping a 7 of 2 Plains, 2 Mountain, War Paint, Stave Off, Piker and Blood Ogre. His turn 1 play is an Arsonist, what I’d least like to see. We play Piker (drawing Plains) and go. We take one off Arsonist and he plays Goblin Tunneler, as realisation dawns on me that this guys probably has the Goblin Grenade we saw. We attack with the Piker and it trades with Tunneler, drawing Shock for the turn and passing. He swings and passes as we draw, and play a Crimson Mage (unhasted). His turn he plays a Greatsword (Personally, a terrible card in most decks, if not all.) We draw Pegasus, haste it and swing him down to 18, same as us. On his turn he swings- maybe this is wrong, but not wanting the Arsonist around to threaten my Pegasus, I block, leaving Stave Off up. I stupidly Stave Off my own Mage so it survives the block, meaning he can just kill the Pegasus, a huge oversight on my part. He opts not to though and goes for me, revealing why when he plays a bloodthirsty Gorehorn Minotaurs. We swing for Pegasus and play our own Bloodthirster that we’ve just drawn, Blood Ogre (Under the guise that next turn we War Paint it, with First Strike fending off his Minotaurs as Pegasus gets in.) He merely equips Greatsword to the Gorehorn and passes. Under the feeling I can race, I do indeed War Paint the Ogre, but choose to attack instead with it and Pegasus- there are no blocks and our opponent drops to 9. On his turn he plays a Rootbound Crag, attacks with Minotaurs (who we block withe Crimson Mage) and plays a Sacred Wolf. We swing back with our team and he blocks the Ogre with the Wolf, going to 7. Instead of racing however, on his turn, he doesn’t attack and simply plays Llanowar Elves and passes. For the second time we top-deck Fling, attack with Pegasus to get him to 5 then Fling our Ogre at him for the win.

Game 2, Match 2.

Our opponent chooses to play first, mulls to 6. We keep a 7 of 2 Mountain, 2 Plains, 1 Warhorse, 1 Shock, 1 Mighty Leap. On turn 2 we both make our first plays- us with Warhorse, him with Circle of Flame- I can only assume they sideboarded this in, and it does get a few of our guys, but I still think in sometimes it’s a stone cold miss- I can imagine the sinking feeling our opponent as we play a Warhorse turn one. He makes no Turn 3 play, so we beat down with Warhorse and play a Pegasus, which thankfully dodges the Circle of Flame treatment due to flying. He plays Giant Spider and passes. We draw Crown of Empires, attack with Warhorse and then Mighty Leap it to kill the spider- It seems best to get it gone, not to mention from what I can tell, he’s kept a slow hand. We play the crown in hope of tapping down and then just beating more with the team. The games ends uneventfully. He Lava Axes us to 15, but we just War Paint a Pegasus and despite an Arachnus Web on the Warhorse, the Pegasus beats him down for the win.

Game 3, Match 1 (U/W Control)

We keep a hand of Plains, 2 Mountain, Stave Off, Piker, Warhorse and Blood Ogre. Our opponent mulligans to 6, but still gets a Lawkeeper on Turn 1, as we elect to play a Piker. After drawing our plains the following turn as he does nothing, we play Warhorse, which promptly gets Aether Adepted. We draw land, Attack with Piker, which draws with Adept (So no Bloodthirsty OGre this time), so we elect to re-play the Warhorse instead. Our opponent plays Stonehorn Diginitary. We pass and get Ice Caged. Deciding not to Stave Off just yet, we let him attack with both Dignitary and Lawkeeper- then Stave Offing to the Ice Cage away to kill off Lawkeeper. We beat down, play a 3/3 Blood Ogre and pass. (Drew an O-Ring). Unfortunately, he Auramancers back his Ice Cage to plonk it on our Ogre. Being held-off by the Digintary for a few turns where nothing happens bar him playing a Phantasmal Bear, we eventually draw Shock, attack and get double blocked by Bear and Diginiary try to finish off the Diginitary he blocks with- but it gets Cancelled. He follows up on his turn with Griffin Sentinel into Griffin Rider. We O-Ring the Sentinel and play a newly-drawn Pegasus. However, it gets Aether Adepted and despite replaying it, we are beaten down to 0 in short order.

Game 3, Match 2

I can’t be sure, but I believe I brought in Mighty Leaps and a Stave Off having seen the Ice Cages and Adepts- I think I brought out one of the Tunnelers and an Arbalest Elite. We mull to a nice 6 of 3  land, Shock, Benalish Veteran and Pegasus- as good as a 6 can get for us, really. He plays nothing Turn 1 and we land a Pegasus. He does nothing but Ponder, so we beat down and play the Veteran, drawing a Stave Off. On his turn he Aether Adept’s the Veteran. We attack and simply replay it, taking him to 16. He plays the Griffin Rider out. Wanting the quick win before his more controlling cards appear, we War Paint the Pegasus and attack with the team to get him to 9.  He taps out for Mind Control on our 4/3 Pegasus, but thankfully we have the mana open to Stave Off and make it fizzle. We attack again, and his Adept chumps the Veteran, taking him to 5. He goes for a Griffin Sentinel- knowing we can’t really handle a 4/4 flier if we want to close it out quickly, I Shock it- and get completely blown out by a Redirect on it, which then kills our Benalish Veteran, leaving him witha  4/4 and a 1/3 against our 4/3 Pegasus. We attack again and he surpisingly takes it, dropping him to 1. We draw Stave Off. The reason he doesn’t block becomes a tad more apparent as he then plays Stonehorn Diginitary, while also Spirit Mantling his Sentinel. We draw nothing but land, as he goes for another Aether Adept and I slightly mis-time this- instead of waiting for him to target the Pegasus, I Stave Off too quickly, so he bounces back his own Dignitary to prevent us having another combat phase later on. He also plays a Lawkeeper and things look bleak. We draw a Tunneler and play it as a chump blocker. He Dignitaries again, taps the Pegasus and swings with his team. We chump with Tunneller, but still go to 2. However, we draw the only card that gets us out of this- Shock! We deal the last point of damage for a last gasp win.

Game 3, Match 3

We keep a poitentially risky 7 of 2 Mountains, 1 Piker, 1 Automaton, 1 Ogre, O-Ring and Shock as our opponent goes to 6. He plays Bear and beats. We draw a Mighty Leap and play out our Piker, which gets Ice Caged, implying either a slow hand that needs time, or a very quick hand that will go for the throat quickly. (Useful analysis, eh?) but my wager is on the Slow Hand. Now, he attacks and I Mighty Leap the Goblin and here, I make a huge punt- he plays Turn to Frog on the Piker, and I (and assumedly them too) forget that Mighty Leap will still leave it as a 3/3. I forget this, and instead of punishing him for his misplay, Shock his bear in response. A horrible mistake. However, as it turns out we get to Turn 5 with him still on two lands, so I beat again with Piker and play the Ogre. (Drawing Benalish Veteran). Another no play from him and I Automaton- and luckily with Piker and Ogre on the field I can name Warrior to pump both. We get him down to 11. Another no play from him, granting the concession and the draft win.

At first I was very surprised that this deck managed to 3-0 the Draft, only dropping the one game. However after some thought, and input by Andreas Pischner on Twitter, I’ve come to realise that even with underwhelming guys, the low curve here really was the advantage. We just took games too quickly for others to stabalise. War Paint was a star here, as were the Stave Offs. We were a bit fortunate in Game 3 with the topdecked Shock and him never getting past two mana, but I’m not one to complain.

See you another time for some NPS action and hopefully in the coming weeks, a lot of Innistrad!

Posted October 12, 2011 by drafterildal in Drafts