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DKA-DKA-DKA Draft 1: Geist Who!   Leave a comment

I know it’s not the most relevant of formats, but I always quite like these small-duration draft formats. It’s good writing practice for me too, in addition to making it easier to build up my Dark Ascension collection and get used to playing with some of the cards and mechanics.

Pack 1 pick 1:

So. Quite a deep and powerful pack here- we’ve got Lingering Souls, Fires of Undeath, Death’s Caress, Skirsdag Flayer, Dungeon Geists and a Mythic. Okay, an unplayable Mythic, but still! My first eliminated card was Death’s Caress- it’s the most expensive and colour committed, which means I’d like to avoid it as my first pick. The next one I ruled out was Skirsdag Flayer- which although good is really at it’s best in a specific archetype, B/W- which if we want to go into, we’re better served taking Lingering Souls than Flayer. Like Caress, it’s good- but I don’t want it first with the other options. The next card I ruled out was Fires of Undeath- although it is great removal, I don’t want to commit to a two-colour card (kind of) first and I feel the same with Lingering Souls, despite its ridiculous power- normally I’d slam it, but we also have Dungeon Geists in the pack. It’s a powerful body, being a 3/3 for 4 as well as being pretty much removal too. Throw that in with being in my favourite colour for DKAx3, Blue- and we have a first pick.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 2:

We’re faced with another tough choice here- for my money the best three cards are Soul Seizer, Elgaud Inquistor and Niblis of the Mist. Elgaud is the biggest body and lifelink is not to be underestimated in this format- there’s a lot of aggressive decks running around, which the Inquistor can act as an effective roadblock against and getting a spirit out of the deal isn’t bad either. Niblis of the Mist is a decent flier too, but the tapping ability isn’t always as good as you want it to be- in a way it’s almost White’s Crossway Vampire. However, we’ve just taken a blue card, so we’re going to stay the course with Soul Seizer- it’s a weak body admittedly, but a mind control is always tough to pass up- so we won’t.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

So we seemingly have the same common run here- or at least some similar ones. Again it comes down to Niblis vs. Inquisitor- with precious little else in the pack. It’s a close one, but I’ve opted for Niblis- hopefully we can develop an aggressive U/W fliers deck. Fliers are particularly strong in triple DKA- no One-Eyed Scarecrows, very few fliers in anything that isn’t U/W and only one specific way to remove fliers in the format, which costs 2G. For that reason, Niblis get the nod- although if this were INN-INN-DKA, I’d go Inquisitor.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

Hm. There’s no playable card in either Blue or White here, which is slightly worrying. There’s some interesting choices- Falkenrath Torturer is good if you can grab a bunch of humans, whereas the other good Black card is the fairly solid Wakedancer. Beast and Wurm are two large bodies that are hard to deal with, with Stromkirk Captain being quite tempting- if it were not in the two colours we’re not. Markov Blademaster is better in the format with no Geistflame- but it’s still very weak, as well as being double red. That ends up with me choosing to go for Dawntreader Elk- it’s a decent beater and if need be, we can use it for fixing if we end up green and wanting to splash our White or Blue.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

Another pack with no Blue, which isn’t an ideal signal to be recieving. Thankfully there’s a good White card here to alleviate that though, in the form of Midnight Guard- which has psuedo-vigilance with a 2/3 body that is fairly difficult to breakthrough, and we’ll be aiming for a low curve too, so he fits in with that.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 6:

Well, this is a great signal- Burden of Guilt coming this late is a good indication White is open, so we’ll snap pick it here. Also encouraging is seeing some decent Blue show up in this pack too, so prehaps the last couple packs were just empty of Blue cards. Also worth noting there’s a Scorned Villager here, so Green might be there as a backup plan if either of our current colours dry up.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

Or

Or maybe it was a false dawn. There’s only one decent card here, and it’s name is Ulvenwald Bear. We already have a Dawntreader Elk, so if Blue totally dies on us, we will at least have the makings of an escape plan.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

Very much worried now. Taking the only playable card.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

The worrying trend of no Blue and White continues. Forge Devil is I should’ve taken here, but I keep looking at it and getting it confused with Torch Fiend, hence overlooking it. Not a great habit to have fallen into. So we end up with a Potato Wolves.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

This will be very good against us. The less there are, the better off we are.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

Took a Saving Grasp here- didn’t think it was playable, but I was willing to have it open to me, just incase.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

Meow.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

So an uneasy start- we have some decent fliers in Blue and White, alongside a couple of cards in Green too- with Blue and White seemingly getting cut. Hopefully pack two gives us some cohesion and a direction to push into, because at the moment everything is quite up in the air and our deck has no real strategy, as it stands.

Pack 2 pick 1:

I don’t really need to say much. It’s a planeswalker in limited (and a very good one at that), being in one of our colours, easily splashed and worth a ton. Sorin it is! Now I really want to try and build a flying team with the next couple packs- Sorin’s emblem ability is just so good if you have evasive creatures that it’s well worth trying to build around a little.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

So naturally we follow up a WB card with…a double Blue card. Right? Again, I want to go fliers, particularly with Sorin’s emblem and Stormbound Geist is just the plain best card (in this format- not a fan of Deranged Outcast in Triple DKA) in the pack. It’s very hard to deal with and having multiples will have an opponent having kittens.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 3:

This is a tough one. I really do love a Seakite due to it’s decent body combined with the large amount of times people will happily just throw things into combat when you’ve got 3U untapped. However, Death’s Caress is unconditional removal- and even if we’re only splashing Black, I want one to deal with opposing bombs.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

This is an easy pick for me here, with it being the Skaabs- although expensive and needing to be skaab-fed, the high mana cost means you’re almost guaranteed to have a dead creature in the yard for it when you get to 5 mana- then you have a 5/5 that gums up the ground well if you need to defend, or can really smash through an opponent’s creatures, with Undying just putting it over the edge. We’re getting a lot of good blue now, which is a relief.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

I still love the Skaabs- but having two might not be too favourable and our curve is beginning to look a tad heavy- so we’ll go for the also excellent Seakite to lower it, even just a fraction. Keeps us on our flier plan too.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

So now it’s White that’s totally dried up on us. Green is still flowing, as seeing a Briarback Alpha this late is frankly, ridiculous. However, it’s also fairly surprising to see a tapper arriving this late too with Nibbler of the Breath, making him the easy choice.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

Another Stormbound Geist? Fantastic. Blue is flowing and our flier plan is getting on track. Undying all night long.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

Maybe I got a bit blinkered at actually having seen a white card here, as I took Loyal Cathar- not the right choice. It makes our mana a considerable amount clunkier, even if it is a good card. Should’ve been Griptide.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

I don’t mind Skillful Lunge, but Chant of the Skifsang is always a handy card to have.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

Already got a Grasp, so Break of Day gets the nod so we have more versatility in our sideboard.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

Nice to pick up a counterspell. On a sdenote- when playing DKA-DKA-DKA, remember that there’s only two counters in the format- this, which only hits creatures; and Counterlash- which is rare and costs 6.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

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Pack 2 pick 13:

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Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

So pack two went fairly well- we got a lot of Blue, some decent fliers…oh. And Sorin. I mean, he can’t be that good, right? (Spoiler: he is.) Now we just want to fill out our curve, lower it slightly and continue to pick up fliers.

Pack 3 pick 1:

Well, this has been made quite easy for us. There’s very little choice for us in the pack which is fine- because Niblis of the Urn is just a huge beating. Although it doesn’t get in for much, being able to tap guys when it attacks is extremely handy- especially in our flier-heavy deck, bceause if someone does have a flier to block our airborne team, we now have another way to deal with it.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

I might have an un-natural amount of love for Loyal Cathar, as it’s really not the pick here as it isn’t as good as Seakite, nor is it great for our manabase. I did consider Helvault for a moment, but in the end, I just decided that it’s probably just too slow for what we want to be doing- and too slow in general.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

(The broken image is Seance.)

Geist is the pick for me here, although in hindsight it’s probably closer than I thought it was- in triple DKA, Thraben Heretic is an absolute monster as it can turn off all your opponents Undying creatures- and because it’s 3 packs of Dark Ascension, there are a lot more Undying creatures than in INN-INN-DKA. Maybe the wrong pick, but another Geist isn’t too bad.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

Another Deranged Hermit running about, which is worth noting- VIllage Survivors is also a huge guy we’d like to avoid. I think even in INN/INN/DKA, it’s quite underrated. Midnight Guard is what we’re taking though as the best creature in our colours. It works well in our deck and like before, is a solid body. Thought Scour doesn’t really fit with our deck too well, so it doesn’t get too much consideration.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

I love an Avacyn’s Collar, but we don’t really have the deck for it- and there’s nothing else in our colours. Jar of Eyeballs is probably too slow for us, but I’ll take it and have the option open to me- it is slow, but it’s deceptively powerful too.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

Blue. Flier. Picked. Shriekgeist is okay if you can get it down early, but otherwise can be a bit underwhelming- however the ability isn’t irrelevant, especially when you have Griptides- return it to the top their library, then mill it away.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

I like this Nibbler of the Mist, so he’s getting the nod- another flier who taps things down is always welcome. Would be nice to get a Ray of Revelation though, as it’s always nice to have those in the board. We have a lot of Undying creatures who opponents will seek to deal with via Enchantments, so we can prepare for that.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

If we’re splashing Sorin and a Caress, we’ll probably want this- as much as I hate passing Griptide.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

A big durdly blocker is always welcome- this guy is Fortress Crab with added oomph. Although after seeing how good Faith’s Shield is, if you offered me this pick again, I’d slam it everytime.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

And here it is! Glad I got this- in the DKA/DKA/DKA drafts I’ve done, this card has been amazing. Can’t wait to try it out in INN/INN/DKA as well.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

May come in handy.

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:

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So that went quite well for us, as we ended up in a good U/W/b Fliers deck with some a lot of good bodies, some removal…and a Sorin. As always, let me preclude that MTGO doesn’t save replays (And I don’t really like tracking what happens during the game, because it breaks my concentration.)

The 40 Played:

Match 1, Game 1 went well for us as we got off to a quick start with our fliers, having multiple Stormbound Geists on board to race what seemed to be a land-stalled start against another Esper deck. We didn’t see much apart from Reap the Seagraf and quickly got the win. Game 2 didn’t go quite as smoothly- with our opponent gumming up the ground with Relentless Skaabs and Geralf’s Mindcrusher. We had a sizeable army holding him off but he could still beatdown. However he dropped us below 5, meaning on his next attack we were able to score a huge blowout with Faith’s Shield that he never really recovered from as Sorin soon arrived to mop up.

Match 2 started well with us taking the first game off a fairly quick start that had Dungeon Geists and Soul Seizer arriving fairly quickly against a slow draw against (another!) U/W deck. However our good fortune ended there- two sketchy keeps in a row followed up by starts involving a lot of White fliers, Burden of Guilts and Lingering Souls put paid to our dreams of winning the draft.

The deck was okay- but mana ended up being a huge problem due to those cathars. Still, I did find that Faith’s Shield is often a huge winner, Thraben Heretic can cause all kinds of problems for an undying deck and that opening Sorin makes me scream in a high-pitched voice.

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ISD Draft #2: Monkey Buisness   Leave a comment

Pack 1 pick 1:

This is quite the pack. We have a mythic for starters- although we’re not taking it. Bizarrely the last draft I wrote up here also started had a Phantasm in the first pack, but as I explained then, I don’t like it enough to take it first due to its fragility and risky ability. We then have a collection of other good cards- Avacyn’s Pilgrim, Geistflame, Spider Spawning, Rage Thrower and Silent Departure. The first two I knocked out were Spawning and Thrower- it seems to me with drafting trends that anything involving Spider Spawning is heavily, heavily over-drafted since the upsurge in popularity for the “double decker, double becker” U/G Self-Mill deck. I also have seen the format get increasingly aggressive- so much that sometimes paying six is just too slow. That leaves Pilgrim, Geistflame and Departure. Departure is probably the best card as the tempo swing is huge- but I feel that passing a blue mythic and Think Twice may give off a bad signal. Between the flame and the pilgrim, I went for my personal preference- I love playing G/W beatdown in this format and Pilgrim is a key card for that so it gets the nod- despite not being the best card in a vacuum.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 2:

Hah! What do I know? There’s a Brimstone Volley here, making me think Geistflame was the correct pick in hindsight. Nothing in this pack touches Volley- although we can hope that Gnaw to the Bone puts someone in the Green-Blue deck. I know that sounds weird when we’ve just taken a green card, but the green that we would want in a Red-Green beats deck is different to the green they’ll be taking- they will be taking Gnaws, Mulches and Boneyard Wurms, which are all cards we’re not overly interested in. I also find recently that people who force that often find it falling apart due to it being overdrafted, so I would be happy to potentially set one of my fellow drafters on a trainwreck.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

Bollocks. I don’t like going into 3 colours with the first three picks- it’s generally a recipe for disaster. However there’s nothing in Green that we can’t pick up later and Harvest Pyre is not a card I like to run in an aggro deck. We’ll keep our options open with Claustrophobia.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

Double bollocks. This is shaping up to be a nightmare. However, Bonds at fourth is an extremely strong signal. Obviously this is a terrible start, but on the brightside we’ve got 3 removal spells- at the very least, we know Bonds and Brimstone are splashable. All we need to do now is read the signals well so we can get in the correct colours.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

The only cards that interest me here are Voiceless Spirit and Villagers of Estwald and seeing both is a good sign for the green-white deck. It’s hard to choose here- the Villagers are more durable and don’t die to things like Geistflame like the spirit does and with Pilgrim we can play them Turn 3 to apply a ton of pressure on an opponent to cast their spells non-optimally to stop them flipping. The spirit however, has evasion and can handle most things in the air outside of Chapel Geist and Murder of Crows- which is why it gets the nod. If we do end up green-white we can expect to pick up some Travel Preperations- and Voiceless Spirit is one of the best targets for that.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 6:

Alright, Green looks open! Hamlet Captain is a fantastic signal for us, as I personally don’t see it go as late as this. Two drops are essential to this deck- we want to be storming out of the blocks early, so it’s by far and away the best pick.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

Even nicer. Nothing else really warrants consideration compared to a second captain- Spider is too slow for what we want to be doing and green-white has very few ways to get Morbid active. With a bit of fortune we could wheel Selfless Cathar, but I doubt we will.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

This is between Sleuth and Lumberknot. I am fond of the Knot as it can provide somewhat of a finishing push in this kind of deck and can be a huge problem for controlling decks that rely on a lot of removal. I prefer it over the Sleuth- a 2/2 for four mana isn’t where we want to be at- even if it is a Human.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

Rage Thrower and Pitchburn Devils wheeling is a very strong indicator that Red may be open. It pains me to pass up on a Rage Thrower- but Cloistered Youth being here makes me think White is also open- it pairs with green better and we haven’t seen a huge amount of white- but I think we can pick some up in pack two.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

Scavenger might be too slow, but I really dislike Sleuth. Scavenger can pull some weight, especially against those pesky Red-Black aggro decks.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

Grizzled Outcasts is actually quite underrated I think. It’s the biggest werewolf going when flipped and can block a lot of stuff even when unflipped. We’ve got two Hamlet Captains to go with that unflipped side and I’m thinking we’ll be able to get another Pilgrim at some point to ramp into it quickly. Its competition here is Blazing Torch, a card that is essential removal…but on turn two this deck either wants to be playing a three mana spell off a Pilgrim or playing a two-drop creature. Don’t get me wrong- I will almost always play one in a deck like this- but creatures are the priority here, especially if human.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

I really don’t like Sleuth. Besides, we have a fair amount of Werewolves already, so prehaps Moonmist will become viable.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Despite the rather calamitous start, we got back on track. We have a lot of good green cards with a small amount of decent white. We also have a Brimstone Volley we can splash, alongside a Bonds of Faith for removal. The plan now is to really jump into Green-WHite. Ideally we want another Pilgrim along with more two and three drops- Villagers of Estwald, Darkthicket Wolf and Gatstaf Shepard being at the top of that list. Naturally we’ll be hopeful of finding some Travel Preparations too.

Pack 2 pick 1:

This is a no-brainer- Geist Honored Monk is one of the best cards in the format, is in our colours and is a perfect finisher. Only Brimstone Volley comes close to its power level in this pack. Monk is still the clear pick though- and if you had any doubt about how good this card is, it’s in more winning decks in 8-4’s than any other card. (According to the MTGO Newsletter)

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

This is a tough one. The cards in consideration are  the Viper, Moment of Heroism and Geistflame. Geistflame is efficient removal that kills a sizeable chunk of the format and we’re already splashing a Brimstone Volley, so it wouldn’t stretch the mana too much. However, Viper is key to this deck- it’s one of the few ways we can deal with huge guys and the flash is key. It means we can flip our werewolves, then play this on the opponents turn so that we’re not wasting our mana. Moment is in the picture too, but probably not the pick- it can swing games against aggro decks (of which we’ll almost certainly see) and can get our guys past big blockers like Stitched Drake- it’s an extremely good card and I always want one in my green-white decks, but I’m going to opt for synergy here- so the Viper gets the nod. Don’t get me wrong- Geistflame is the better card and if this is pack 1, we snap take it. However, I really want to solidify the G/W strategy here so it just misses out.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 3:

The more and more packs I see, the more I think that maybe I should’ve been in red. This is a key point for our draft- do I take a card that is strictly worse but in a colour I’m already fairly in- or the superior card in a colour I’m only splashing? Into The Maw and Hanweir Watchkeep are both better than Feeling of Dread. Feeling of Dread is decent in this deck even if we can’t flash it back- it’s one of those cards you want incase they can survive the early barrages and you need to push through the last few points of damage, so that’s what I picked. If I could go back and redo it, I’d probably take Into the Maw- however as I mentioned last pick- I really wanted to solidify G/W- although it seems I was reading the signals wrong.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

This is an atrocious pack with a bunch of sideboard cards and a trio of playables- thankfully two of which are in Green- and Orchard Spirit gets the nod. The spirit provides evasion and is another early drop that can start the beatdown nice and early. Spidery Grasp and Traveler’s Amulet would both be nice for our deck, but they almost assuredly won’t wheel from this pack.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

Outcasts is the only card we’d be interested in- even if we were in red, Rolling Temblor is counter-intuitive to our deck as it would kill most of our guys.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

Another pack with Into The Maw and Hanweir Watchkeep! I’d be kicking myself if not for the pack also containing one of the cards I was targeting for this deck- Darkthicket Wolf. Dropping this guy on Turn 2 is one of the best things you can be doing in this draft environment, so I am more than happy to pick it up. If we’re lucky, Spectral Rider or Viper might wheel and I might even splash Watchkeep or Into the Maw, if they come back around.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

Okay- maybe Green wasn’t being cut, but the packs were just bad for it. Ulvenwald Mystics is one of the best cards for this deck, so getting it seventh is great news for us and we’ll happily take it.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

As I mentioned earlier, I really want a Moment of Heroism in this deck and with nothing else competing with it here, it’s the clear pick. For what it’s worth I would take Abbey Griffin if Moment were not here. I don’t think that card is as bas as most people make out.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

Green is seemingly wide open as both green cards have wheeled from this pack, with the Darkthicket Wolf in particular being a surprising card to table. This is an absolute gift for us- it’s just a shame that we can’t also take the Smite here as I always like to have one in the board at least.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

Exorcism is a premium sideboard card- it can hit a lot of threats that can cause us some concern- we’ve seen a Burning Venegance go by and we can have some insurance incase somebody has opened Curse of Death’s Hold. Not to mention that there are a lot of spirits in our deck that we don’t want to fall victim to it and we can take out opposing spirits too. Chapel Geist in particular is one that is rather annoying for our deck that we’d like to bring this in against.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

I might just play the Hanweir Watchkeep, despite it going against the aggro strategy a little. We’re really beginning to get a high number of Wolves and Werewolves- so maybe Moonmist shenanigans are in the offing and if they are, we’d love a Watchkeep.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 went fairly well. We got two Darkthicket Wolves, a few cards to fill out the deck and a huge bomb in Geist Honored Monk. Now we just want to pick up 6-7 more solid cards to round out the 40. The main priorities are Travel Preperations and Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Villagers of Estwald would also be appreciated, as would any removal or bombs. I have to admit though that based on what we’ve been seen we’d of been better off in Red than White, but c’est la vie, we’ll just have to deal with that.

Pack 3 pick 1:

There is only one card I would play in our deck that’s in Green or White here- and it’s Prey Upon. We already have Bonds of Faith and Brimstone Volley however, so Prey Upon is not essential. For that reason, I’m taking Instigator Gang as we’re already splashing Red for a Brimstone Volley and Gang is just so good. Even unflipped, it means that you’re getting in for a significantly increased amount of damage and with the deck we have, it’s going to be extremely relevant with our evasion guys like Orchard Spirit. Not to mention that if you flip the Gang, your opponent is going to need something very special to deal with it as the game will usually be over in a swing or two left unchecked.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

Urgh. We would happily play four cards in this pack- Wolf, Geist, TravelPrep and Slayer. I’d love to have them all but I think Slayer is best- he’s a human and he’s removal. It really is a shame to ship the TravelPrep but Slayer can lead to some absurd tempo swings. I hope we can get something to wheel here- but the cards we want are the best in the pack- the only cards I can see being taken over them are Reckless Waif and maybe Feeling of Dread if somebody is W/U tempo.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

For me this is between Mausoleum Guard and our second Ulvenwald Mystics as both are excellent four drops with huge upside. Guard can attack with impunity as you know that when he dies you can cash in for two spirits which is nice enough on it’s own, but combining that with Instigator Gang gets real serious, real quick. However the Mystics attack for more, especially when flipped and I really do think we can moonmist our way through at this point. The other contender is Prey Upon- I’d still like to pick one up, but the focus needs to be getting in heavy beaters.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

As much as I like it, Galvanic is Juggernot the pick here. Midnight Haunting gives us more evasion which I really think we need as again, the Instigator Gang synergy is fantastic with the card. Sadly for us, it’s another pick were we would play a lot of the cards in the pack- Juggernaut, Youth and Spirit would make our deck and Bellringer has a shot at doing so too.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

A fairly late Spider Spawning- I already have two Outcasts and a Moonmist in my deck, so I’m taking that. Not to play it however, as it’s too slow for our deck, but in my experience this card is just game over for us if our opponent can resolve it. If we can even get through the first bunch of spiders, it often buys the opponent enough time to flash it back, often for even more guys- and it’s very hard to come back from that.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

I do love me a Gutter Grime- however, I must abandon my tenedency to go for the card that is stylish and flashy for the card that will get the job done and that card is Villagers of Estwald, a key component of the deck we have.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

So many foxes slinking away from us! Thraben Sentry is a card I’d like at least one of as it gives us a bit more reach in terms of what we can do and despite not being a Wolf of any kind, plays well with Moonmist which means I’m taking it.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

I actually spit some of my drink out when I saw this. I had to make sure that I was actually in an 8-4 draft when I saw this and that I hadn’t accidently entered a Swiss. But nope, was indeed in the 8-4. I really cannot imagine what scenario allowed this to  happen, but I’m not complaining as we will take our eighth pick Volley, do a little jig and wonder how many mountains we want in our manabase.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

Don’t think we would play two copies Feeling of Dread and although I often would play Griffin, we have more than enough playables at this point. Makeshift Mauler can pose us a problem and shut down our attack, so I’ll take it away from somebody.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

We did manage to get one of the cards we wanted out of that pack! I’m very happy to see a Chapel Geist here, a bit of a late gift.

My Pick:

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:

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So, after building, I ended up with this:

(Thumbnailed as not to be giant and in the way.)

In the end I decided that Gang and Watchkeep were both worth running with one Moonmist- the power of being able to EOT flip both, with the ability to then swing in for 16? Absolutely nuts. Obviously that’s the dream scenario but with this many wolves and werewolves, having the one moonmist seems acceptable. I did find myself with too much mana in some games and we do have a fairly low curve so it’s possible I maybe wanted 16 land in return for a Grizzled Outcasts or a second Moonmist.

Match 1:

The first game of this match is one of the stranger ones I’ve had. We’re on the draw and mull to a very nice 6. (Pilgrim, Darkthicket, Mystics, Mountain, Forest, Plains) We drop our Pilgrim turn one after drawing Moment of Heroism, while on turn 2 they play Curse of the Pierced Heart. We draw a plains and get in for one with Pilgrim as we don’t need it to play a 3 drop, then send out our Wolf.  They respond with a Cellar Door, leaving me not quite sure what’s going on with their deck. All I know is that it seems good for us. After drawing a forest, we get in for 3 and don’t pump the wolf in order to play out our Ulvenwald Mystics to try and finish the opponent off before they can get going, which pays off for us when they don’t play a spell, flipping them. We draw another land as they make a Zombie with the door- I get in with all three to go for the jugular as they seem to be struggling to play their spells, using Moment on the Pilgrim to get it through the Zombie.  They then tap out for Traitorous Blood to steal our Mystics and bash us for 5 and then pass with no further play. We just untap and swing in for the last 10 points of damage to take the first game.

I had no idea what to Sideboard against that.,so we went straight to game 2. We are put on on the draw, and we keep a hand of 7. (Plains, Mountain, Forest, Voiceless Spirit, Watchkeep, Volley and Haunting.) They play a Bloodcrazd Neonate on Turn 2, which could be a problem- as bad as that card can be sometimes, on Turn 2 it has a tendency to steal games. Thankfully we draw Hamlet Captain, which I play then next turn use to chump block with. The reason being that we have no humans in our hand and we have plenty of gas, so it seems best not to let the Neonate get to crazy proportions as it’s one of the ways we could lose. On the block though, they use Vampiric Fury to make the Neonate survive. They then EOT play Gruesome Deformity on the Neonate, which I have to admit is a card I’d not had played against me before until this match. We play our Watchkeep and the Neonate has no choice but to suicide into it. They don’t make another play, so Watchkeep flips and then gets in for 5. We follow up by laying down a Chapel Geist. The only other thing we see is Markov Patrician that then has Furor of the Bitten played on it that eats a Brimstone Volley as we eventually chip away for the win. Not too troubling for us- the opponent was very friendly though, so perhaps they’d only just joined MTGO or something as- without meaning to sound like a dick- it is easily the worst deck I’ve played against in the entire time I’ve drafted this set.

Match 2

Sadly, MTGO has a weird bug where sometimes, if a player concedes, it doesn’t save the replay. Not quite as stupid as the “You can’t watch replays if you have a three letter username” bug, but still rather annoying as you can’t control if your opponent concedes or not! So this is from memory and a bit hazy- I apologise. Game 1 we were able to force through a lot of damage early off Darkthicket Wolf and Midnight Haunting tokens, before finishing him off by playing Instigator Gang to get in for exact lethal. They are also Green-White and running a lot of spirits, so we bring in Urgent Exorcism. Game 2 also wasn’t saved for some reason (This is exactly why I joined the beta for the new client) but I remember mulliganing to 6 and having a slowish hand- and his deck punished us under a bevy of Spirit Tokens and Orchard Spirits. After going to Sideboarding in Game 3, it turns out it never registered my sideboard changes so I never had the Exorcism in my deck.

Game 3 did save! We go on the play and keep a 7. (Forest, Plains, Plains, Cloistered Youth, Darkthicket Wolf, Moment of Heroism, Mystics) We turn two Youth and they respond with Avacynian Priest. We bash in for 3 and play a freshly drawn Villagers of Estwald and are rewarded when they don’t play a spell. They have left up 3 mana (GGW) however, so there’s a chance we might get our bell rung, or Rebuked- our opponent could also tap the flipped Villagers too. I decide to ship both in regardless- neither gets tapped and the priest blocks the Youth, then gets Moment of Heroismed. However, we use our own Moment on our Youth to kill the Priest and gain 5 for a pretty huge swing, leaving  his board empty and ours having 9 power. They play Thraben Sentry and pass, as we draw our own Sentry, play it and swing for 9, which they take.  Seemingly desperate to survive, they main phase play Spidery Grasp on their Sentry and then use Prey Upon to get rid of our Sentry, also flipping our Villagers of Estwald back to it’s 2/3 state. At this point our hand still has Midnight Haunting, Ulvenwald Mystics and Darkthicket Wolf. We attack in again as the Sentry can’t block profitably and the opponent only has one untapped land- they take it, going to 4 and as we played nothing, the Villagers reflip. On their turn, we are greeted by Butchers Cleaver being played and equipped on the Thraben Sentry, with the intention of using the Vigilance to  attack and gain 5 life, while still being able to block next turn to gain more life and kill off one of our attackers. Thankfully we have the Midnight Haunting though and use it to double block, taking down the Sentry, although they still gain 5. We attack for 9 again on our turn, then play the Mystics out, bringing the concession.

Match 3 we take the split (not entertaining I know, but I’m poor!) and for what it’s worth, the opponent conceded to me- I went to trade, he took 2 boosters, as you’d imagine, so we get six each. However I’d got it into my head that he was supposed to take 4 and kept pushing him to take 4 (and at one point 6! I was megatired.) but to their credit, they refused and pointed out my error- so a big thanks to Dominaria_navajita for being one of the good guys.

And you know what the weird thing is? In the entire draft I didn’t once play my Bonds of Faith, Geist-Honored Monk or Slayer of the Wicked!

Posted January 17, 2012 by drafterildal in Drafts

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ISD/ISD/ISD Draft #1: In The Christmas Spirit   1 comment

Pack 1 pick 1:

So looking at this pack, the only two cards I’m looking at are the Mirror-Mad Phantasm and Mausoleum Guard- While I do like a good aggressive deck in Innistrad, Reckless Waif.dec isn’t what I want to move in on with the first pick of the draft. I decided to go with the Mausoleum Guard here, as it’s just the best card and has a huge amount of versatitlity. He can block and attack profitably and there are a lot of sacrifice outlets so you can cash him in for two tokens as you wish. Guard’s also in the deepest colour in Innistrad, which is White. Phantasm is a card I try to avoid unless I’ve a very heavy self-mill deck. While it is 5 power in the air, it’s miserable to play this and then have it Geistflamed, Dead Weighted or Prey Uponed before it has a chance to do anything.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 2:

We get the perfect follow up here- Slayer of the Wicked is the same colour as the Guard and is very solid removal on a decent body. No other cards really come close here, although if there was no Slayer in the pack we would probably have a tough choice between Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Geistflame.
My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

Well, this is a pretty miserable pack with the exception of Chapel Geist, Orchard Spirit and Moment of Heroism. Chapel Geist is in our colours and clearly the best card, so that’s the pick.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

Seeing two playable white cards in the Fox and Gallows Warden is a positive sign. Festerhide Boar and Harvest Pyre are good cards but they’re not worth jumping into a second colour for just yet- particularly when Gallows Warden is in the pack- a 3/3 flyer that boosts our Geist and Mausoleum Guard tokens.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

Not much to mull here- we have a minor Spirit theme going already and Chapel Geist is a very solid card. Worth noting that there is a Silent Departure in the pack as we try to discern what other colours are open.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 6:

For me this pick boils down to Makeshift Mauler vs. Abbey Griffin. I do like Mauler, but we’re not in Blue and it really is more suited to a deck where you can fill the graveyard- an ability that doesn’t appear in White at all. Abbey Griffin is unspectacular, but it is another flier. It also will help us in the next pack if we cut off white entirely, which taking Griffin does, so it gets the nod.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

It seems that Blue may be being passed to us and is slightly open here, with a fairly late Think Twice in the pack. However, there is also Silverchase Fox which is a very good card which can nab a lot of problematic cards (Bonds of Faith, Claustrophobia, Heretic’s Punishment) in the bud. Again, this will allow us to give the person next to us no white cards this pack, setting us up for Pack 2 nicely.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

That’s a lot of black cards! However all of them aren’t close to Prey Upon, which might be nice to have incase we can move into the G/W Humans Deck.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

I think this a very clear sign that Blue is open with both the Apprentice and Alchemy wheeling from this pack which I personally would not have expected- now seems the time to move in, although there is a chance we’ve passed enough Blue that it may come too late. Of the two cards, I prefer Alchemy in this deck. I do like Apprentice, but it seems that a 1/2 for 2 is very underwhelming when we have no real way to take advantage of it’s ability yet, except for Mausoleum Guard.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

Spare From Evil cuts white a bit more here and is a decent card- Innistrad tends to have quite a few “locked” board states with nobody being able to get through and Spare From Evil has the ability to just steal games in those spots.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

Taking the best card here.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

Hating the Vampric Fury. Every now and then you’ll play against the B/R Vampire deck and this card goes from unplayable to absurd- and because  it’s seen so rarely, you forget to play around it and can get horribly blown out.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

I’m not entirely sure how the Pitchfork has wheeled here- this card is decent and in a humans deck it is just quite absurd. We don’t have an abundance of humans, but we are in white, so we almost assuredly will find some.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

Love me a foil land.

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 1 went well. We got some good fliers and some other solid white cards- cutting off the colour and solidifying us in it, hopefully to reap the rewards in Pack 2. Blue and Black seemed open the other way, but we need to settle on one quickly so we can start shaping the deck in a more synergistic fashion.

Pack 2 pick 1:

…and we open a bomb that’s multicoloured with the two colours that seemed open apart from White. There’s three options I’m considering here- Grimgrin, as a bomb that can just plain win the game on his own. The Sac ability does not suit our deck overly apart from Mausoleum Guard, though. There’s Galvanic Juggernaut, which is one of the best uncommons in the set and there’s barely a single deck he doesn’t slot into nicely. Then there’s the best removal in the format in Brimstone Volley. All 3 are good for us and our deck- but I feel Grimgrin has the most upside. The colours will stretch us, but everytime I’ve played with him, it’s a case of they either have Bonds of Faith, or they find themselves way behind very quickly.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

Well, now that I’ve somewhat committed myself to playing either Blue or Black and splashing the other, we get a few more options in our packs. There’s no decent white card here so the choice falls between Skaab Goliath and Silent Departure- I don’t even think it’s close.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 3:

Gallows Warden does synergise extremely well with our deck and Spectral Rider is an efficent beater, but I am loathe to pass Victim of Night as it’s very good removal. However I will now be putting more value on Traveler’s Amulets and Shimmering Grottos in order to fix what might become a very messy manabase.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

There’s some decent cards here- but I feel Thraben Sentry is the best pick- it synergises with Mausoleum Guard and Grimgrin and a 5/4 trampler is very difficult for a lot of decks to deal with.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

It’s very obvious what the pick here is in my opinion and getting it this late is a gift- Midnight Haunting is a fantastic card that you can get a lot of value out of when used correctly. No-brainer here and can’t help but feel greedy and hope that Feeling of Dread wheels.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

Blue is definitely seeming open now- Civilised Scholar is a looter, and a looter is always welcome in a deck of mine.When it gets in for 5 or blocks a big guy, that’s just a bonus. It should help deal with the mana issues, too.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

Battleground Geist is a lovely pick up here to go with it’s soulmate, the Gallows Warden. Another flier and one that boosts our Spirits’ power, which is why I usually value it over the Warden- the clock gets so much faster with one of these in our deck.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

We have to pass another Sensory Deprivation here- enough that would even make a Blightsteel Colossus break down and cry. Lantern Spirit however is better for our deck- it’s also just a very solid card for a slower, controlling deck- blocking and returning to hand on their biggest guy will slow down a lot of people- also note that if you have enough mana, you can play it, bounce it and replay it to flip werewolves back.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

Ahhh, Crabby. How many times have you made me smile as all manner of fatties bounce off your shell.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

This is quite nice to get on the wheel, although I don’t really want to play it. Outside of U/x Mill decks, it always seems too unreliable.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

What on earth? Why is this here? Prey Upon wheels so often in bizzare packs- people took Hysterical Blindness and Infernal Plunge over it.

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

So it turns out Blue was the second colour- although strangely we got cut in White a little- makes me think that someone passing to us opened something like Angelic Overseer or Geist-Honored Monk and then cut us hard. Looks like it’s UW/b.

Pack 3 pick 1:

Well, this is almost certainly going to make our mana horrible, but Bloodline Keeper is just too good to pass up here. It’s also the best card by far in a pack that has two mediocre blue cards and only one white card in Thraben Purebloods.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

This pick is almost certainly incorrect in hindsight. Although Cleaver is very powerful in a deck full of fliers, we may be better off taking the more synergistic Thraben Sentry or the psuedo-removal in Blazing Torch. Sadly, I follow this up with a worse pick…

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

I must’ve had blinkers on from the Cleaver pick, as Elder Cathar is not the best card here. It’s probably not even top 3. If I could go back and do it again, I would either take the Apprentice for synergy or the Blazing Torch for utility. Alchemy is also much better than the Cathar here. A horrible pick.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

This is a no brainer- Murder of Crows is fantastic in this deck- another flier that has the added bonus of looting when things die. (Grimgrwinning!) and gives us a finisher. Crows, by the way, can block pretty much anything in the air that isn’t a bomb rare/mythic.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

Can’t complain about having a third geist- although I would like that Grotto to wheel…

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

This is probably quite controversial- but I think Isolated Chapel works for us here- we have no semblance of fixing at the moment and in ISD Draft, if you go three colours, even for a splash- if the mana fails on you, it will condemn you to so many losses that you really want to avoid it where possible.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

As much as I’d like the very solid Occultist or Walking Corpse, Amulet is needed for the aforementioned manafixing.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

Well, it is the season to give. Clearly the people I’m drafting with have taken that too literally- or this was the most insane of insane packs. Even then it seems wrong that this is here.

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

Yeah. Blue’s very much underdrafted and I get to rectify the Cathar pick a little. In the end I plumped for the Apprentice as it just about has the edge due to the small synergy it offers.

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:

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And here’s the deck I settled on:

So how about them two drops, eh?

A few mistakes here- Elder Cathar and Butcher’s Cleaver probably shouldn’t be in and found themselves boarded out often depending on the match up- often for Fortress Crab and Sensory Deprivation.

(MTGO lost most the replays, so going mostly off memory here…)

The Deck ended up going 1-1. The first game was against a WBG deck (Straight three-colours no splash) which we took 2-1. The first game was over when I resolved Grimgin. Game 2 saw him get a wicked chain of events going with Gutter Grime, leaving him with 4 5/5 Oozes. Thankfully though in  Game 3 there was mana stumbling on his part and we soon took over with Geists and Murder of Crows.

The second game was slightly less stellar. Although we took Game 1 off his risky keep of 1 land (Even if he did go Delver, flip delver, Silent Depature your first two plays) we got solidly outplayed and outgunned in Game 2 by Stitched Drake and Mirror-Mad Phantasm as everything we play either gets Silent Departured or Grasp of Phantom’ed. Game 3 proves why Invisible Stalker is such a design horror-show as that + Spectral Flight by Turn 3 leaves us unable to race it.

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