Hi all, apparently I haven't done one of these in a while. Zendikar and Worldwake were truly awful draft formats but I'm not sure why I didn't bother with Rise. Probably because I was having too much fun drafting to spend time writing about it. Zendikar and Worldwake regularly beat be out of tickets and boosters on Magic Online because each time you have exactly a 1/8 chance of winning the draft and those odds are hard to beat. I bought enough tix to do a Rise of the Eldrazi prerelease and have ridden that investment, going infinite for a while. I drafted a lot of Rise and then M11 2-3 times a week before Scars of Mirrodin came along.
This draft format is hard!
But fun. So many options, lots of things to do with your mana on any given turn, and very skill intensive. With Zendikar draft, even the stupidest of opponents couldn't much up happening to have a 1-drop, 2-drop, 3-drop draw but I've seen many opponents throw away games in Scars because there is so much to play around and so much to do.
My going infinite got me down to a mere 10 tix and a booster yesterday, however. I sold off a couple of Mythics I'd got during M11 (Gaea's Revenge has gone up in value ^^) to get me up to 20 and invested in the remaining 2 boosters to fire up an 8-4. Here's how it went:
Pack 1 pick 1:
I was obviously tempted by the rare but he's not very good in draft. The real options were Clasp, Red Trigon and Plague Stinger. These are all good in infect decks but the Clasp is good in any deck so I took it to keep my options here. I love drafting infect as much as the next man but when all 8 players are drafting it, as it seems to be on magic online at the moment, it doesn't often come off. I was, therefore, a little disheartened to be passing a Plague Stinger because this basically guarantees one of the two guys on your left will be in infect, sadface.
Pack 1 pick 2:
I guess I should have taken Glint Hawk Idol here but I was still living the infect dream and Cystbearer is really good. Plus he's fine in a G/X control deck, so fit in many of the same decks as Clasp. The other option is Sylvok Replica, who is really good but puts you mostly in the same Green control deck when you're passing this many infect guys.
Pack 1 pick 3:
*holds onto dream*
Pack 1 pick 4:
*gives up*. Arrest and the other white cards here are a clear sign that White is open on my right. I don't rate Auriok Edgewright at all but since it is the 4th white card it lowers the probability that there were more white cards in here before and so increases the likelihood that white is open. Slam down the Arrest (which I didn't see for a while because the foil Soliton was shiny).
Pack 1 pick 5:
Slice in Twain also should not be this late. Infect is clearly a dead end so I'm prepared to be a Green/X control deck at this point, probably Green-White although I'm not sure what that deck would look like.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Ooh, a rare! This will help with all my mana problems! Yes, that'll do.
Pack 1 pick 7:
I like the Wall a lot. At this point we notice a few blue cards have gone round, the Lumengrid Drake last pack and 2 Invisimancers. The Wall of Tanglecord will definitely go in any colour control deck though and moving in on a 2/1 for 3 isn't amazing. Obv I didn't notice the rare.
Pack 1 pick 8:
Nothing really here except the Trigon which is okay but not amazing. It costs a lot of mana but card advantage is card advantage and it's a better option than the rest of the pack.
Pack 1 pick 9:
Really had no good picks for the rest of the pack.
Pack 1 pick 10:
Oh, except this one was interesting. The Ezuri's Archers are a good sideboard card against Poison decks (well, Plague Stinger decks) but if I do end up control then I need some way to finish the game. The Hellion will be good if I can pick up removal. The Panic Spellbomb is also good but I prefer it when I'm definitely a lot of red, definitely not splashing that one.
Pack 1 pick 11:
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
I heard this guy was passable in a control deck so I drafted him to try him out. You should always try out rares that look okay to get a feel for them. That is to say I am now White based control because this guy is absurd.
Pack 2 pick 2:
White Myr will be very good with the Angel I've just taken. I'm itching for a couple of the other cards but this guy will always make my deck and always be very good. One thing to notice at this point is that infect wasn't an option, but also metalcraft isn't the way this deck is shaping either. I'm willing to be in the market for just good cards if they have a deck strategy at least - control. One way to get ahead here is to go in on fliers and stuff up the ground - this means I might actually go in for blue cards. Blue was open but we don't really have any blue cards yet. We do still have all those green cards, but I'm kind of okay to let them go if I'll get set up for the rest of the draft - at this point I'll be on the lookout for Blue being open from my left as well.
Pack 2 pick 3:
Revoke is a great control card and we pass on Invisimancer #17.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Sky-Eel School is a funny one. It's very good, but it never gets taken. That's because it's just a `good stuff' card. I think that blue mostly just wants to be a good stuff colour (well, it is the best colour in Magic) so we take it but accept that it might not be a signal. Trinket Mage also being in the pack, however, might be.
Pack 2 pick 5:
Control needs counter spells, but this will most likely just be a sideboard card.
Pack 2 pick 6:
Erm, so 4th pick and 6th pick Arrests presumably means I'm the only white drafter. Not sure why the packs have been relatively empty then but I happily take the #1 common removal spell.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Gotta love the fatties. I'm not a big fan of this guy but you need a way to win somehow and he essentially has unblockable because if they have no artifacts they probably have nothing on the table.
Pack 2 pick 8:
Definitely the only white drafter - screw my green cards!
Pack 2 pick 9:
Bad removal is still removal and it gets better when you have more good removal because you don't have to waste your good removal on their less good things.
Pack 2 pick 10:
The jury's still out on this one in draft as he's bad against infect but I need him in this deck.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
This was a bit empty. Part of me wanted to take the Galvanic Blast to keep the green and red splash open but this seemed a bit greedy as I only really had a Shania Twain that I would want to splash in green. I take the mana Myr because I really need a few of those in this sort of deck. I've plenty of removal so I'm on the lookout for 1-2 more mana myr and a few more 4-5 drop fliers at this point, as well as anything else ridiculous the packs happen to offer me.
Pack 3 pick 2:
This guy is a great stalling mechanism in an empty pack. There's a stoic rebuttal here and there was one in the last pack so one will probably come back to me, which is nice.
Pack 3 pick 3:
Mana Myr - check!
Pack 3 pick 4:
Something ridiculous - check!
Pack 3 pick 5:
4-5 drop fliers - check! Getting into a decent shape here.
Pack 3 pick 6:
Didn't need it but wasn't going to play anything else except the remote possibility of Darksteel Myr. Turn to Slag deals with the only ways we have of winning though so I remove it.
Pack 3 pick 7:
The snapsail glider is decent but will mostly be a 2/2 in this deck. There's another 2/2 for 3 in this pack who interacts very favourably with 4 of our 2-drops (3 mana and the perilous Myr) so we take it for a bit of curve and synergy.
Pack 3 pick 8:
I take the Accorder's Shield in case I need to Shield up my ground creatures or fliers in fights but it's unlikely to be great for me.
Pack 3 pick 9:
Pack 3 pick 10:
I take the Certarch in case I need him and the Liquimetal Coating from pick 6 comes back in pick 14 but I don't have enough artifacts here. I'm still missing a good flier so I'm a bit concerned but I do have plenty of removal and a good curve.
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
The rest of the packs don't give me anything to work with so I set about constructing my deck as:
Wall of Tanglecord
2 Revoke Existence
Bonds of Quicksilver
Trigon of Infestation
Trigon of Thought
I don't have replays of my matches but round 1 was against RB poison hybrid (not enough poison guys) and I shut him out on the ground before getting in with some fliers. I didn't even have my Angel this match but a 2-0 win in classic Magic™ fashion was enough.
My opp for round 2 didn't show up, leading me to believe that I'd accidentally clicked on the swiss queue and lost my first round. When I came to my senses I realised I'd been given a bye to the finals, very strange.
The finals was against UGB poison with not enough poison guys. This is the problem with poison at the moment - everyone's scrabbling for the guys and no-one gets enough playables. The best way to capitalise is as I did - solid cards and fliers. Since you have to trade a lot against poison, metalcraft decks struggle to hold onto metalcraft so you may as well play cards which are good anyway. Ways to stop the Plague Stingers are pretty key so Contagion Clasp-a-likes and slightly bigger fliers will blunt the assault very quickly (but don't play Blunt the Assault). When you have them unable to do anything you can pull ahead with your superior cards and card advantage mechanisms.
I now have 10 tix and 8 boosters in my account - guess I'll try to keep going infinite for a while.