It was a bit of a shame to only get 12 players for the first ever S/C/A draft in Leeds, and i always find 6 man pods very odd, as im sure everyone does. Either way i was really excited about seeing some alara reborn cards because i was home the weekend of the prerelease, and the only experiance playing i had was a 3 x conflux 3 x alara reborn winston draft i did with Robertas a few days before. (it was retarded too, we each got a martial coup!).
Tonight's event was both good and bad for me, good because i learnt a lot, saw some good cards, and learnt a lot (albeit the wrong way) about the change in card evaluation with Alara Reborn in the picture.....but bad because i 0-3'ed and played like an absolute cockmuncher! (swings and roundabouts i guess)
I never expect to do well because i am always awful at evaluating new sets when they first come out, i was speaking to wagz before the draft and we were talking about how well we adapt to new formats, and i certainly didnt dissapoint on this front.
I apologise for not having my draft picks up here, i completely forgot to note my picks for half the alara reborn booster because i was taking ages (having to read what all the cards actually do and all), but here are some key choices which i think caused a slightly underpowered deck.
Pack 1, pick 1 - branching bolt, naya charm, ranger of eos, tidehollow strix
I knew opening these cards would be my undoing as soon as i fanned them out. The obvious pick here is the tidehollow strix, obviously it is not the same power level as the branching bolt, but the other 2 put the other guys into naya. I wouldnt disagree with anyone taking the charm here either and signalling jund, but its such a risky move.
Also, i had Mick and Rob to my left, and i know both, albeit Rob moreso, have similar draft strategies to myself and tend to draft R/G/x depending on what is open, and i am sure seeing naya charms an ranger would have pushed them this way, despite my best efforts to cut.
Despite this, i took the branching bolt, and it is most definately a pick which i regret, and i am sure i would feel the same had i 3-0'ed with a sick deck.
My next few picks were of average power level, i got a 4th pick rhox charger which was obviously well received, and from here i draft a G/W/r deck.
I felt like my deck was fine, but probably lacked a bomb, and it was stuck between being a fast aggressive naya deck and a 5-power style one (my personal preference), and so was therefore neither successfully.
Another potential mistake i made, although im sure no one would argue with the pick, was picking a dauntless escort in pack 3 over a behemoth sledge. I have obviously heard a few things about the sledge in forums, but seriously this card is the nuts!! The sledge absolutely shits all over loxodon warhammer, and i had only drafted 1 volcanic submersion.
Anyways, i ended up with a fairly solid deck, i would have liked a welkin guide or two to give it a bit more reach, because without a bomb to speak of it was hard to get there if i got ahead and the opponant resisted with anything good, or if i was behind it was hard to get back in front.
Round 1) Wayne Cook - Bant
I knew Wayne liked drafting bant, and it came as no surprise when he revealed his first 2 picks to be rhox war monks, contraversial, but i feel bant is the archetype which is both the best and worst in the current format. You dont want to draft Bant because if you dont get the stone cold nuts your deck is very often an absolute pile, but on the flipside your opponants think this as well and it is often capable to draft the sickest deck ever and take the draft down. Alara reborn helps bant alot with a bucketload of g/w and u/w playables, and obviously being able to support the behemoth sledge is awesome.
Game 1 - Me and Wayne raced for a bit, but i think Wayne got ahead with a couple of guys early so i was already low on life and seeing as the bant archetype is mainly creatures, playing a creature almost every turn was enough to overwhelm me when i started paying my fatties.
Game 2 - I was in this game far more than game 1, where i spent too long landcycling and cracking panorama's, and i though i was in good shape when i had Wayne's board under control. Wayne managed to land a Behemoth sledge and from here i was in big trouble. I had to use premium removal to kill his guys in response to equip to fog for a couple turns, but i didnt have enough time to kill wayne and soon he was gaining too much life for me to do anything.
I didnt think much of it, but Wayne made really good use of sn enchantment which you can sacrifice to give all your creatures flying until end of turn. Its not the most suttle of tricks, but Bant is a deck which can often stall to opposing fat, so its a good way to get the final damage through, much like welkin guide, especially because one time Wayne made his 5/6 guy (7/8 thanks to behemoth sledge, and thats before exalted triggers) flying, which was pretty much game over for me.
So well done to Wayne on a well deserved victory, his deck was great and im really glad that he picked his behemoth sledge over a thought hemorrhage. The card was far more relevent to his deck and im sure won him a few more games on the night. Not to mention the thought hemorrhage got to me and i rare drafted it....
record - 0-1
Round 2) Matt Kitchen - Bears?
This round was probably the most odd iv ever played in any format with shards boosters.
Finks had basically drafted a ton of hastey bears, plus meniacal rage's and other pump spells to try and kill in 5-6 turns, and the result it has to be said was very effective.
I have to admit i chuckled a little when Finks told me he had picked rip-clan crashers 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the first pack, knowing he shipped me a rhox charger in the process, but i can assure you the smile was on the other side of my face when i saw all three of them in the second game i played against him.
Both games against Finks were super quick, especially the second. I feel like i punted the first game slightly when i was down to 2 or 4 and i attacked without reason with an extra creature, rather than just getting in for 1 less point of damage to leave to blockers open, especially considering i know that finks is playing at least 3 haste bears. Obviously finks untaps and plays a jund hackblade, which is a bit annoying!
Game 2 i was never in it, i got triple rip clan crashered, and i think i died on about turn 6.
It was awesome to see Finks draft, but more importantly, be successful with a different strategy that those that are allready widely known. Obviously it is very risky to put your hopes in the hands of a hastey bear for the evening, but you know what, if you have enough of the little buggers there is very little you can do, and barring jund charm or volcanic fallout you can easily take quick games down against the increasingly popular slow, mana intensive decks that are drafted.
Round 3) Mick Edwards - Naya/Jund
So for those of you that watched the abortion of a magic match that i played against Mick to avoid the fiercely contested wooden spoon, i am very sorry.
For some unknown reason i was pretty annoyed at doing badly because i thought my deck was quite good, i hope not woth an 0-3, so i was tilting from the start of this match. I usually dont let results get me down, and sometime i play my best magic when it doesnt matter so much.
Anyway, me and mick played some interesting games, going back and forth untill Mick forced game 3
Games 3 i forgot to pay for the upkeep cost of a wild leatau ( i think thats it), and Colin rightly put it in the bin. From here i left the room and pretty much left my deck in the hands of someone who has never played magic before. I have no reason why but the match between me and Mick seemed far more serious than my other 2 rounds, maybe because i actually had a chance, or just becaue Mick is my arch nemesis, probably the latter.
Either way, anyone who watched may have seen a couple of mistakes on my part in game 3, but either way Mick got there and left me with the pitiful record of 0-3.
S0 0-3 is obviously a pretty bad result. I am not so much annoyed at this as i am the attitude that i had at doing badly when i should have done better, especially because i made a considerable number of play mistakes through the night. I certainly beat myself up when i do badly because i think i am a good player, but i dont want to turn into some Todd Anderson figure, blaming anything but themself, because if your deck isnt good enough in draft you can only blame yourself.
The draft has certainly knocked me down a few pegs, i probably thought of myself as a better player than i actually am, and i probably got a bit complacent in this draft, and it certainly looks bad for me having written thousands of words on how to draft better and then doing this. Hopefully i can sharpen my game up considerably for the next couple of weeks, especially if i am hoping to qualify for nationals.
I am really excited about the new format, and obviously it's something we are all going to have to perfect if we have any hope at Nats. At the moment, im not really sure what the best strategy is for drafting, because taking the 2nd shards booster really does change things, but im not sure whether this changes they way you should draft. I guess this is something only time will tell.
So another successfull WNM at TJ's, im looking forward to next THURSDAY'S standard, although i would love to have a new deck by then. Just as a last thing i would feel that there are some people to be applauded for various things.
1) Obviously, thanks to Colin and Rik for once again T-O'ing and judging, i feel like you two dont get enough thanks for all the work you do so cheers for all the effort you guys put in on a weekly basis. I look forward to you guys playing more regularly too!
2) Cheers to Colin for putting the wild leatau in the bin, ill never make that mistake again! (untill next draft anyway)
3) Congrats to finks on winning the draft (technically), but even moreso for supporting the Team by scooping to Wagz to get him to nationals, it was definately the play and i think it shows a great team spirit, let's hope that others follow this great example of the team spirit among Team Leeds
4) Wayne for picking the behemoth sledge over thought hemorrhage. It was the right pick and you got some deserved victories from it, im sure another day you could have won the draft with your deck.
If anyone is driving down to Birmingham or Leicester this weekend, please get in touch because i would be well up for going to some nats qualifiers. If not i will see everyone next thursday for some standard action, the Type 2 is always fiercely contested at Leeds and im looking to improve on the 2-2 record last week with my jund ramp, which i think im more than capable of after the tweaks i have made, so i will see everyone then!
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