By Mick Edwards
Today's guest article is from Pro Mick :D
It's no secret that the power level of many of the cards in Shards Block is pretty high and it's hard to get a draft where there aren't high powered bombs being passed around. The trick is to grab them all, run a janky mana-base and hope everything falls into place.
As Mtgo v3 has a draft recorder, and since jim has been making this stuff look easy, I decided to join an 8-4 draft and attempt to write about it.
Pack 1 pick 1:
Over Kederekt Creeper, Savage Hunger, Ridge Rannet, Courier's Capsule, Akrasan Squire,Bone Splinters, Steward of Valeron, Mosstodon, Goblin Mountaineer, Sanctum Gargoyle, Crumbling Necropolis,Drumhunter, Thoughtcutter Agent
Whenever I open my 1st pack I always try to pick out the best 8 cards so I can see what I expect to table, I was clearly taking the bomb Feral Hydra, but there are a lot of other strong cards in the pack. The weakest 6 cards that I expected to table were Kederekt Creeper, Savage Hunger, Ridge Rannet, Goblin Mountaineer, Thoughtcutter Agent and what I think is the 9th best card here - Steward of Valeron. Turns out I was very wrong as you will find out below.
Pack 1 pick 2:
Over Angelic Benediction, Steward of Valeron, Sighted-Caste Sorcerer, Naya Panorama, Blister Beetle
Big fat creature that fits my 1st pick fine out of an otherwise pretty weak second pack.
Pack 1 pick 3
Over Jhessian Infiltrator, Blood Cultist, Rip-Clan Crasher, Cavern Thoctar, Blister Beetle
Although I believe the Cultist and maybe the infiltrator are stronger, Topan Ascetic is very good too and goes better with my previous two picks as I'm not commited to a shard yet.
Pack 1 pick 4:
Over Steward of Valeron, Kathari Screecher, Esper Panorama, Grixis Panorama, Bant Battlemage
Jungle shrine is one of the best mana fixers around and the pack was pretty weak which helped me make what I think is the right pick here.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Over Bant Panorama, Obelisk of Esper, Jhessian Infiltrator, Quietus Spike
Too boring, too awkward to cast and too slow are my thoughts on the other cards I was happy to take some removal that fit with my Naya plan.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Over Scavenger Drake, Resounding Silence, Court Archers, Deft Duelist
6th pick board sweepers are pretty great, I can only assume this was a very strong pack with no-one wanting to commit to Jund this early, but im happy to take this even if I have to splash for it or it doesn't make my deck. The effect it has in a deck is too good to pass at this point.
Pack 1 pick 7:
Over Volcanic Submersion, Call to Heel, Cylian Elf
Volcanic Submersion is a solid card that is never bad and is amazing vs Esper but I was still leaving my options open so took the mana fixer.
Pack 1 pick 8:
Over Carrion Thrash, Dregscape Zombie, Call to Heel, Cylian Elf, Esper Charm
A good sign that Esper is probably open, but taking a mana fixer when you are unsure what to do is often a good safe option this early in the draft.
Pack 1 pick 9:
Over Courier's Capsule, Kederekt Creeper
A clear sign that Esper is wide open. I was very surprsed to see the capsule and the gargoyle still in the pack instead of the steward and the Ridge Rannet
late picks included a Jund Obelisk which I could use to splash the Jund Charm maybe.
------ ALA ------
Pack 2 pick 1:
Kresh the Bloodbraided
Over Jungle Shrine, Rockslide Elemental, Blightning, Ridge Rannet, Druid of the Anima, Sigil Blessing
A Very nice Bomb rare to go with my Jund charm, I thought about maybe going Jund splash white but eventually gave up on the whole Esper idea.
Pack 2 pick 2:
Over Necrogenesis, Cavern Thoctar, Blister Beetle, Druid of the Anima, Viscera Dragger
I often 1st/2nd pick Necrogenesis, but Vein Drinker is the better bomb here in my opinion
Pack 2 pick 3:
Over Corpse Connoisseur, Scavenger Drake, Cloudheath Drake, Carrion Thrash, Dragon Fodder
Sanctum Gargoyle, Rip-Clan Crasher, Mosstodon
With the amount of good flyers added by Conflux this card is even more insane, almost always a 2 for 1 often cancelling out their last two turns of board development.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Over Grixis Charm, Grixis Battlemage, Viscera Dragger, Akrasan Squire, Rockcaster Platoon
Probably a very debateable pick as this pack was very strong, I value pump spells very highly and stick by this being the right pick here.
Pack 2 pick 5:
Pack 2 pick 6:
Over Gift of the Gargantuan
Im not a huge fan of the Gift as I hate having to stick removal spells on the bottom of my library.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Pack 2 pick 8:
Over Carrion Thrash, Esper Charm, Wild Nacatl, Rip-Clan Crasher
The Wild Nacatl was the most tempting here but in the end I went for the pseudo-removal spell I think this might have been a mistake, but still a good pick. Its amazing how strong some Shards packs are to have 5 strong cards left by the 8th pick!
I also got a 9th pick Ridge Rannet (he's good I tell you!) and an 11th pick rip-clan crasher - perfect I thought as I was lacking in early drops at this point.
------ CON ------
Pack 3 pick 1:
Pretty much the best card I could have hoped for here!
Pack 3 pick 2:
Over Scarland Thrinax, Wild Leotau, Ignite Disorder,
I figured the Paleolth was the better fatty, I cant abuse the thrinax much and I have plenty of removal.
Pack 3 pick 3:
I was very surprised to see this as i'd figured my neighbour was in red as I saw little pack 1.
Pack 3 pick 4:
Pack 3 pick 5:
Over Sylvan Bounty
The slaughtmaster is one of my fav. cards in this set. That might be because I rate pump spells highly and swinging in for 14 with a double-pumped slaughtmaster can finish things very fast.
Pack 3 pick 6:
Another one of my fav. cards from conflux its a one drop, it kills stuff, no-one ever wants to block it even if i dont have a green creature they wold rather play it safe in case I flash in an ooze or something.
Pack 3 pick 7,8,9:
Yoke of the Damned
a 2 drop, fixing/burn and removal all late, all of these made my deck and are fairly underated I guess.
late picks included double faerie mechanist (told ya esper was open!) and another toxic ignuanar, I really love the iguanar and in one game it held off a rhox war monk while my feral hydra beat in, that said I probably wouldn't run 2.
Rounds 1 and 2 were pretty much a walkover and in the final my oponent was running cards like gustrider exuberant to go with his multiple kraniocerious. I finished the final game with a 29/29 kresh. One interesting game in round 2 I was holding volcanic fallout and not playing waiting for him to play a second creature so I could get a 2 for 1 killing his aven squire... but he didnt play another spell until turn 6 so the squire got in for 6 while I waited doing nothing! I wondered if he sensed the sweeper or if he was just colour screwed. Oh well, thats my attempt at a limited article, cya Thursday!