Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #7)

•November 27, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Another awkward draft. Lots of mistakes in this one:

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

I seem to open Gigantiform a lot. Fine, let’s try it again… Boar is probably also a reasonable pick.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

The guy to my right either took a foil or a common. I don’t think I’d take any blue commons over Tsunami, so he probably isn’t blue.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

By far the best card in the pack.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pretty weak pack overall. I wanted to move into the Crab deck but I was too much of a pussy to! But seriously, should I have taken the looter? In ZZZ, I’ve almost never been unhappy drawing lands, so I feel like the looter is not that good. On the other hand, Khalni Heart Expedition isn’t that good either.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Mold Shambler or Whiplash Trap? My deck does not look very fast right now, so I feel that the value of Whiplash Trap goes down slightly.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Two Shamblers is a lot. On the other hand, Spreading Seas can’t hurt, since at worst it cycles at sorcery speed.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

Maybe I should have picked Cancel over this… but I figured that at this point I could splash most white cards with the fixing I’ve picked up so far.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Hmm, those are some decently late Allies.

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Close pick between this and Raptor. My deck isn’t that fast, so I took the Survivalist, but I couldn’t fault anyone for picking Raptor here. Either way, it’s pretty close.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Awkward, looks like this foreshadows my going down the wrong path. Gladeheart should get the nod over Seastalkers here.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

At this point I decided to go for it, but in hindsight I certainly overestimated how good he was. His ability is good if and only if you’re aggressive, which is not what this deck is.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

That’s a lot of awesome cards left for a 5th pick. Does every pack have a Gladeheart or what?

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Yes, as it turns out, every pack does in fact have a Gladeheart.

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

I haven’t had any experience with Predatory Urge, but I feel like it should be bad, except possibly on a deathtouch guy (Basilisk, or better yet, Scorpion, or better still, Nighthawk!). Is this actually true? When else might it be good?

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

I didn’t think I’d be G enough for a turn 2 Chosen; also, there are basically no flying Allies (that I can think of… right?)

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Maybe I should have just taken the Lavaball Trap for raredraftness!

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

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 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

I got a bit carried away with the acceleration. Arrow Volley Trap is definitely the pick here. Yes, looking at this now, even I am confused at how I made this pick.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

With all of my fixing, I should certainly be able to play this at any time.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

Unclear whether I should have taken this over Berserker. I do already have quite a bit of fixing, although Harrow is considerably better than Khalni Heart Expedition. Thoughts?

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

I picked this to protect my key Allies, but perhaps Windborne Charge was the right pick…?

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

I thought for a long time before finally settling on this guy. But I probably don’t need a third Harrow.

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Maybe I should have played Hookmaster; either way, I doubt I’ll play two Whiplash Traps. I’ve noticed that Whiplash Trap tends to be better the more aggressive you are.

Pack 3 pick 10:

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:

An awkward draft. I probably should have stayed UG, but I got sidetracked by Kabira Evangel.

 

Lands
Seriji Refuge
8 Forest
3 Plains
5 Island
1 Swamp

Creatures
1cc:
2cc: Oran-Rief Survivalist, Kazandu Blademaster
3cc: Makindi Shieldmate, Kabira Evangel, Grazing Gladeheart
4cc: Living Tsunami, Mold Shambler, 2 Joraga Bard, Nimana Sell-Sword
5cc: Sea Gate Loremaster, Seascape Aerialist
6cc:

Spells
1cc: Vines of Vastwood
2cc: Khalni Heart Expedition, 2 Into the Roil, Journey to Nowhere
3cc: 2 Harrow, 2 Paralyzing Grasp
4cc:
5cc: Gigantiform, Whiplash Trap
6cc:

In both games in round 1, I ended up with a billion lands in play and nothing to show for it. Didn’t see Gigantiform in either game either. Note to self, next time if you are going to play with acceleration, you can afford to put in a few more expensive spells.

0-1 :(

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #6)

•November 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

Unsatisfied with 0-1ing with an awesome deck, I promptly join another draft:

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

I think Marauder vs Tern is a matter of preference, as both are roughly the same power level. Marauder needs land drops to evade, while Tern can’t block as well. I think I like black better than Blue, hence Marauder.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

Ugh. Should this have been Marauder? Marauder is probably better than Gatekeeper, but I didn’t want to send bad signals. In hindsight I probably should have said screw it and taken the Marauder.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

Um, I haven’t had the greatest of experiences with BW, but Shepherd is so much better than Boar that I almost certainly should have taken Shepherd here. Don’t really know what I was thinking.

Well, I do know what I was thinking, but it was wrong.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pretty dry pack. If I had moved into White I would have taken Threader here.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Unclear if this is better than Scorpion, but 1) it’s an uncommon, 2) Scorpion tends to go later, and 3) again, I didn’t want to send awkward signals. This time I think my pick is justified (whereas Marauder is better than Gatekeeper enough to justify sending weird signals).

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Ruinous Minotaur is probably also fine here. (Where did all the white cards go?)

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Not Ravager, as both of my Gatekeepers need BBB.

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Wow… I’ll take it.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Ha.

 

What? It’s in my colors!

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Sad that I am passing another Blademaster. But confused that the guy to my left didn’t take it! He took a common, so probably some sort of Journey to Nowhere or possibly a second Shepherd of the Lost.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Ugh. Where did all of the black go? I thought I cut it off pretty well in pack 1!

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Monored is looking more and more likely at this point, as I won’t be able to support two (!) Gatekeepers.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

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 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

This makes me sad.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Ha, probably should’ve taken the Archive Trap. This is looking more and more like an 0-1.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

What the hell? Is nobody playing white? Who took the blademasters!?

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Need…. early drops

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

I could have picked up four marauders. But it’s too late now, I’m definitely all-in red.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pretty good with all of the Tuktuk Grunts I picked up.

Pack 3 pick 10:

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:

 

Ugh, what an awkward draft.

Lands:
2 Teetering Peaks
1 Arid Mesa
16 Mountain

Creatures:
1cc:
2cc: Goblin Shortcutter
3cc: Goblin Ruinblaster, 2 Ruinous Minotaur, Molten Ravager, Stonework Puma
4cc: 2 Bladetusk Boar, Shatterskull Giant
5cc: 2 Tuktuk Grunts
6cc: Murasa Pyromancer

Spells:
1cc:
2cc: Goblin War Paint, 2 Zektar Shrine Expedition
3cc: 2 Slaughter Cry, Electropotence
4cc:
5cc: 3 Spire Barrage, Unstable Footing

Relevant Sideboard: Seismic Shudder, Slaughter Cry

Creature base is pretty terrible, and I have an awful curve, but at least I have four at-least-lava-axes, along with the Expeditions.

In round 1 I played against a deck with Gladeheart… great. On the 5th or 6th turn, he is on 19, and I attack with Shortcutter, Minotaur, and Shrine token. He blocks the Shortcutter, goes to 7, and with the sacrifice trigger on the stack, I Unstable Footing him to 2… with Spire Barrage in my hand. I sacrifice a Teetering Peaks and go down to 4 Mountains… and topdeck another Mountain next turn to finish him.

He doesn’t show up for game 2, and I get a free win.

In Round 2, I played against a (probably) unstable UWB deck that somehow managed to have all of his colors in the first three turns, along with an Explorer’s Scope + an early drop. In game 1 I died to a Welkin Tern (U), 2 Windrider Eel (U), and a World Queller (WW). In game 2, instead, he played a turn 1 Scope, Turn 2 Marauder (B), turn 3 Scorpion (B), and then Shepherd of the Lost (W) on turn 5, and THEN Malakir Bloodwitch (BB). So what are this guy’s main color(s) and what are his splash color(s)? Sure as heck beats me. The only fixing I saw in either game was Khalni Gem.

In any case, I can’t beat 2x perfect draws + bomb after bomb, when also trying to fight back from a mulligan to 5 in game 2.

1-1.

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #5)

•November 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

Finally, a good use for this blog! Anyway, some uncertain picks in this draft, but I end up with a decent deck anyway:

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

Hookmaster or Warren Instigator or Vampire Hexmage or Nissa’s Chosen? I was afraid of sending bad signals with all of the red cards in the pack, and the same to some extent with Hexmage and Lacerator in the same pack. On the other hand, Hookmaster is the only reasonable white card in the pack, so that’s what I went with, as uncertain as I was (and still am).

What do you guys think?

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

Ugh, Blademaster or Journey? My gut says Journey, but I also haven’t had a lot of chances to play with Blademaster, so I wanted to try him out.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

Well, white’s open. I’m a little surprised to see Living Tsunami here though…

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Sweet.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

The best card in the pack, although a lot of other cards are fine (Vines, Recluse, Cartographer). I’m not a fan of Cartographer in general, so I passed on this one. Wilson might have something else to say!

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Scope, or Bold Defense? Neither are really that good, they could make the cut. Which is better?

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

He might make it, solely on the basis that I have a Blademaster.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

I like this guy a lot better than Cleric. The lifegain isn’t that important unless you have a lot of Allies (and Clerics in particular), but this guy will hold off a lot of dudes by himself.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Better than Torch Slinger? No idea, it’s close. But he’s an Ally, so I went with him. Still unsure about my second color. White is wide open though.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

or Blazing Torch? Turn 1 Lynx helps a lot, so I went with aggression. It’s still unclear to me which the pick is, though.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

LOL. Well, now I know what my second color is.

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Maybe I should have taken Berserker to help out with the Ally subtheme… but probably not.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

I feel like Cliff Threader is an all around better pick, but I already have a billion 2-drops, so I went with Ruinblaster…

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Demolish might be better here…?

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pretty good for a last pick!

Pack 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Overall, I’ve been impressed by this card. Better than Lynx? It’s unclear. But dudes are replaceable, spells aren’t.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

It pains me to pass the Adventuring Gear, but I don’t really have any choice…

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

Man, this deck is definitely shaping up! I’ve been a bit short on removal.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Probably slightly better than Giant.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

For reals. So good!

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Wow, awfully late for an Arrow Volley Trap.

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:

 

Lands:
11 Plains
7 Mountain

Creatures:
1cc: Steppe Lynx
2cc: Kazandu Blademaster, Kor Skyfisher, Cliff Threader, Plated Geopede, 2 Kor Aeronaut, Kor Outfitter
3cc: 3 Kor Hookmaster, Torch Slinger
4cc: 2 Shatterskull Giant
5cc: Tuktuk Grunts

Spells:
1cc: Burst Lightning, Shieldmate’s Blessing
2cc: Journey to Nowhere
3cc: Slaughter Cry
4cc: Windborne Charge, Inferno Trap
5cc: Arrow Volley Trap

Relevant Sideboard: 2 Nimbus Wings, Arrow Volley Trap, Ondu Cleric, Kor Cartographer, Goblin Ruinblaster, Explorer’s Scope, Makindi Shieldmate.

So… I actually somehow ended up 0-1ing with this deck. I played against the mirror in round 1, sort of. I killed him quickly in game 1; he played turn 2 Luminarch Ascension in game 2 and slowly killed off my creatures one by one with World Queller. The last turn before his Ascension activated, I had Windborne Charge in my hand and only a Blademaster to target, while he was at 6. Terrible.

In game 3, looking back on the replay, I played pretty terribly. On turn 4, he has RW up along with an untapped Lynx, Bushwhacker, and Berserker. I have a Geopede, Blademaster, and Aeronaut, and he’s at 12 (I’m at 20). I draw for the turn, then have Slaughter Cry, Torch Slinger, Shatterskull Giant in hand, with WWWR up.

I should attack with everyone. If he had Burst Lightning he probably would have played it anyway, on his turn, to kill one of my guys. Then Slaughter Cry would wreck his board, and then I should be able to take the game. Instead, I freaked out about tricks he could have, and didn’t attack with Geopede, taking him to 10.

He untaps, draws, and passes, leaving 5 mana up. I read him for an Arrow Volley Trap, and go into the tank after drawing Windborne Charge. If I play it on my two 2/2s, then he’ll Trap and take 4, going to 6. If I play it on Geopede and Blademaster, He’ll kill Aeronaut and Geopede, and I’ll probably die.

Or, I could attack only with Aeronaut. Ultimately, I decide to try not to trade Windborn Charge and a guy for 2 damage and a card. So I attack with Aeronaut, and he has no blocks. At this point, I start to doubt myself, and wonder if I should play Slaughter Cry to deal some extra damage (even though obviously he didn’t even have a chance to play Arrow Volley Trap after blockers yet!). I end up playing it, and of course he has the Arrow Volley Trap. Ugh, terrible.

The next turn he plays Tuktuk Grunts and passes, since I have two first strikers. At this point I should probably use Windborn Charge and get in for 7 while he’s tapped out. Instead, I play Kor Outfitter and pass, hoping to Charge on Outfitter and Blademaster.

He untaps, plays Ondu Cleric, gaining 2 and pumping his Grunts, and then Journey to Nowhere on Blademaster. Fail… things go downhill from there, and I die, even though I did leave myself at least Burst Lightning and possibly a couple of other outs.

Suck gun. 0-1

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #4)

•November 24, 2009 • 2 Comments

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

Easy.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

It’s probably correct to stay in color here to send good signals. Also, I am for sure pushing my neighbor into black, after passing a Disfigure and a Lacerator/Gatekeeper.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

This is probably wrong. At the time, I was thinking that if the guys to my right really disliked black that much, maybe I could move in. But since I’m already pushing the guys to my left into black, I should probably take the Harrow here. Besides working with the Eel, it’ll help me drop Sphinx on turn 5.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Man, these guys definitely aren’t in black.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Akoum Refuge is probably the right pick here, so I can splash any sort of red burn spells I might run into later in the draft.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

These are some late green cards.

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

In the middle of the first pack, I was definitely going to be UB. But then both blue and black dried up towards the end of the pack, while I was able to pick up some pretty reasonable green cards! After the first pack, I was pretty confused. Where did all of my blue cards go?

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Oh most definitely!

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

No blue or black yet again, so I have to go with the green card. Maybe I will be green after all?

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

Despite not having very many blue cards, I wasn’t going to be dissuaded from running Sphinx (along with his little brothers, Windrider Eel and Umara Raptor). Hexmage crossed my mind though, since my deck is a little short on low drops at this point.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

I think by this point (before this pick) I had a Marauder, Scorpion, Mind Sludge, and Soul Stair Expedition in black, while I had Oran-Rief Recluse, Territorial Baloth, Khalni Heart Expedition, Savage Silhouette, and Grazing Gladeheart in green. Which card is best? Help!

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

Nothing in this pack. Spreading Seas or Frontier Guide?

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Over Vastwood Gorger, since I can always pick up some beef later.

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Why is this still here…? The cards that got taken from this pack after I opened it and passed it were:  Highland Berserker, Frontier Guide, Slaughter Cry, Taruju Archer, Goblin Guide, Reckless Scholar, and Savage Silhouette. All of which are worse than Scorpion, except for possibly Goblin Guide. Is nobody playing black??

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

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 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Probably better than Baloth Cage Trap, but also I think I overvalue Harrow (after talking to Wilson).

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

I’m not sure how the curve looks, but writing this, it definitely feels high. Depending on it, Scholar might be better than Shambler (as much as I dislike Scholar).

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

A low drop! What a sight for sore eyes!

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

Amazing, this is pretty much exactly what my deck needs right now!

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

I think normally I would be wondering about whether I should pick Survivalist or Larva, but right now, I am in desperate (less desperate, admittedly, after picking up two Nissa’s Chosen over the last two picks) need of some early drops.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Like a gift from Heaven. A little sad I couldn’t pick up a Larva to replace Mold Shambler.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

A good combo with the green ground fatties, but Khalni Gem might be better so I can abuse landfall. Thoughts?

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Crap rare draft is better than crap common draft? But maybe I should take Seismic Shudder here.

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Just in case.

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Wow. Sorta late, no?

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

Overall, a very confusing draft. What could I have done to avoid this? Perhaps my avoiding black, then half-moving-into it, did the trick. Should try to send better signals next time. Anyway,  this is what I built (again, as far as I can recall):

Lands:
Soaring Seacliff
11 Forest
6 Island

Creatures:
1cc: Scute Mob
2cc: 2 Nissa’s Chosen, Oran-Rief Survivalist, River Boa
3cc: Umara Raptor, 2 Oran-Rief Recluse, Grazing Gladeheart, Greenweaver Druid
4cc: 2 Windrider Eel, Merfolk Seastalkers, Mold Shambler
5cc: Territorial Baloth
6cc: Sphinx of Jwar Isle

Spells:
1cc: Trusty Machete
2cc: Khalni Heart Expedition, Quest for the Gemblades
3cc: Harrow, Savage Silhouette
4cc:
5cc: Whiplash Trap

A bit slow, but pack 3 saved me for sure. My cards are decent, but not spectacular, and I do have a few games to take down the late game. Anyway, I went 2-1 with this deck… in the first round, I played against a decent RB deck, although he did make a few bad attacks (strategically incorrect, instead of tactically incorrect). In game 1 I topdecked an Oran-Rief Recluse to kill his Nighthawk while I was at 3 life to his 16, and pulled it out.

In the second round I played against a deck that was about as good as the first, a few good cards, but also a few questionable choices. I won both games without much trouble.

In the finals, I played against a decent GW deck (slightly better than rounds 1 and 2), and he had Turntimber Ranger, while I didn’t draw Sphinx. The ground was mostly a deadlock for both games, but his Frontier Guide made him a lot of lands. Both games were slow in general, since we both had Gladeheart and lands, but he had removal, and I didn’t. His deck might have been slightly better than mine overall, but it was probably a good matchup for him provided I didn’t draw Sphinx. Otherwise I would have quickly killed him.

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #3)

•November 21, 2009 • 2 Comments

which is actually my 6th draft. But I only found out about the draft recorder three drafts in, so…

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

If this weren’t 12.5 tix, I would’ve for sure taken Journey.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

A little sad I didn’t take Journey-Lynx-Skyfisher.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Nothing else here for me… Ravager requires a bit too much red.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Herro! Should be a sign that green’s open.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Sure, why not…

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

I’ll gladly take the Hatchlings that no one else seems to like to run!

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Unclear whether this is better than Vastwood Gorger. My hunch is that it is, slightly.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

If I somehow get lucky and run into a burst lightning (or two, ahem, like some people)

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Again, I pass up Vastwood Gorger. Since UG has little to no removal, tempo will have to do…

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Now I can splash my second future Burst Lightning!

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Lots of good cards here, and I do have some fixing, but I can’t say no to one of the best fatties green has to offer.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Seastalkers is also pretty good, and it was close for me. But I also feel like I overvalue Seastalkers, and that this pick is much less close than I think it is. Thoughts?

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

Haha, I have no idea why I picked this, I didn’t even run it. Maybe I was thinking about the two landfall guys I had just picked up. But I don’t think this should get picked over Turntimber Basilisk, since UG is dying for ways to kill dudes. I would probably order these

1) Turntimber Basilisk
2) Territorial Baloth
3) Khalni Gem

Fail.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

I auto-picked this, but in hindsight Inferno Trap might be the right card to pick here… thoughts?

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

It’s unclear whether Primal Bellow is better than this or not, but this at least serves as pseudo-removal, and combos well with Into the Roil and Whiplash Trap. I should be able to punish a slow draw pretty well with this card.

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

There we go!

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Again, I probably should’ve gone for the removal with Paralyzing Grasp, although Timbermaw Larva is a beating if he doesn’t die before he gets to attack.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Picking this over Oran-Rief Recluse because 1) I already have one, and 2) I need ways to protect my dudes. Yeah?

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

Combos well with both Baloth Woodcrasher and Oran-Rief Recluse.

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 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Blazing Torch is also possible here… I have no idea which one is better… possibly Blazing Torch (?).

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

Just to be clear, one of these was foil. I waffled a bit on whether to pick Tern or Harrow here… in hindsight, probably Tern, but I’d like some confirmation on this?

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Yikes. Well that’s a freebie.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

I had a decent amount of early drops, so I decided to diversify and go for a late-game card. I wouldn’t blame anyone for taking Nissa’s Chosen though.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

Free Tibet? I’ll take it!

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Because I already have a Hatchling, and also because Hatchling tends to go late. But still, Hatchling might’ve been the right pick here.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

As much as I’d love to run three Sky Ruin Drakes…

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Probably should’ve taken Relic Crush here.

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

I could see myself siding this in for slower matchups.

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

This is what I played (as best that I can recreate):

Lands:
Soaring Seacliff
Kazandu Refuge
Mountain
9 Forest
6 Island

Creatures:
1cc: Kraken Hatchling
2cc: Lotus Cobra, 2 River Boa, Nissa’s Chosen, Welkin Tern
3cc: Grazing Gladeheart, Oran-Rief Recluse, Reckless Scholar
4cc: Timbermaw Larva, Windrider Eel, Living Tsunami, Merfolk Seastalkers
5cc: Sky Ruin Drake
6cc: Baloth Woodcrasher

Spells:
1cc: Vines of Vastwood
2cc: 2 Into the Roil
3cc: Harrow, Magma Rift
4cc: Summoner’s Bane
5cc: Whiplash Trap

I sided in Cancel against slower decks and Sky Ruin Drake in against decks with fliers… and I might have played Baloth Cage Trap maindeck, but I don’t really remember what happened. Anyway, this deck went 1-1 if I recall correctly… sigh, am I drafting wrong, building wrong, or playing wrong? There are a few other drafts (2-1, 0-1, 1-1) still left in the draft report queue. Terrible…

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ 4-3-2-2 #2)

•November 18, 2009 • 1 Comment

Annoyed at losing with that amazing RB deck, I drafted again the next day, looking to avenge my losses. By the way, this was a 4-3-2-2 (which I’m going to continue at until I can beat it regularly).

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

I wanted to pick the Journey, especially since there were no other reasonable white cards, but fine, I guess I’ll go into green and see how the rare plays out…

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

Puma is safe, but it’s probably worth taking the risk with the Eel.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Whoa! What do we have here! Red is probably open, so I’m switching.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

Unsure about this or Nissa’s Chosen… I go with the removal guy.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Again, I’m not sure whether to take this or Oran-Rief, the Vastwood. Making my guys bigger is definitely good, but it could be a tad slow. Maybe I should have tried it out just to see for myself.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Shatterskull Giant is also possible… but green probably provides enough fatties. If I wasn’t green, and was faced with picking between Giant and another card about as good as Vines, I might go for the Giant.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

Please, play those other cards!

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Sorta late, no?

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Incredible, not a single green card, and only a Bushwhacker in red. Taking Bushwhacker might have been the right thing to do, though. Thoughts?

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Yikes, that is some powerful blue.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

A much welcome early drop.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

This pack is pretty weak; it looks like it’s between Greenweaver Druid, Highland Berserker, and Savage Silhouette. Maybe I should’ve taken the Silhouette…

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Sometimes it be like daaaaamn. I considered picking the Basilisk, but I decided to try to splash it off the Harrow.

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Pretty late for that, also pretty late for that Welkin Tern…

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

Man, people must really undervalue this guy. I think he’s great!

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 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Excellent…

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Lots of great cards in this pack. Gladeheart, Slinger, Kazuul Warlord, Harrow (Kazandu Blademaster, Hideous End)?? In hindsight, I would probably order them

1)Kazuul Warlord
2)Grazing Gladeheart
3)Torch Slinger
4)Harrow,

although it is quite close. I have three Allies already (not including the Warlord), so I probably should’ve picked him. The difference between 2) and 3) is less clear, at least to me. Harrow is probably below the others, though.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

Having three Gladehearts is pretty amazing, but I wondered whether I should diversify my portfolio with the Baloth Cage Trap. I could probably also use another fatty or two. What do you guys think?

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Well, there’s one.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

…this is probably correct, although I do like the synergy of Scope with my three Gladehearts.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

Green is sorta slowish, and this would probably blow me out. Steppe Lynx is also annoying, but easier to deal with.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Those are some amazing cards coming late. 7th pick Skyfisher? Aeronaut? Seastalkers? Even Kor Sanctifiers and Into the Roil are pretty decent.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Definitely should’ve taken that Kazuul Warlord…

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

I completely blanked here. I thought, “Hey, I might need to deal with fliers since I don’t have any Oran-Rief Recluses!” and didn’t even think about Magma Rift until right after I made my pick. Unfortunate…

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

I’m not a fan of this guy… maybe I should’ve hatedrafted the Lacerator instead.

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Really, the dudes in the 4-3-2-2s need to realize how good this guy is!

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

I drafted this a few days ago, so I’ll try to reconstruct my decklist from memory. I haven’t gotten into the habit of saving my draft decks before I submit them… I should start.

Lands
11 Forest
7 Mountain

Creatures
1 Scute Mob
1 River Boa
1 Nissa’s Chosen
1 Oran-Rief Survivalist
2 Highland Berserker
1 Plated Geopede
1 Goblin Shortcutter
3 Glazing Gladeheart
1 Turntimber Basilisk
1 Ruinous Minotaur
1 Stonework Puma
1 Torch Slinger
1 Mold Shambler
1 Vastwood Gorger

Spells
1 Primal Bellow
1 Vines of Vastwood
1 Harrow
1 Slaughter Cry
1 Gigantiform

I’m not too sure what happened in round 1, but I definitely remember round 2. I played against another RG deck, and in game 1 I had a decent start, and on turn 5-6 or so he tapped out (creatures and lands), leaving only a forest open. He was at 7, and I had River Boa and Grazing Gladeheart on board, and Gigantiform and Primal Bellow in hand. So I cast Gigantiform on River Boa… only for him to counter with Vines!! Incredible. I went on to lose that one a few turns later, amazingly.

In game 2 I also started out well. I took him down to 1 with a board of River Boa, Stoneworm Puma, Highland Berserker, and Nissa’s Chosen, while he only has Greenweaver Druid and a Beast token (from Baloth Cage Trap which he had played that turn to kill one of my dudes). Postcombat I dropped Scute Mob. He passes his turn, apparently having no removal for it. I untap, attack…. and he plays Cobra Trap for the exact number of blockers he needs! A bit surprised, and not thinking straight, I make a huge punt and forget to regenerate my River Boa… which ends up costing me the game. He plays out some more dudes (chumpers) while I flood out. I also make a strategic mistake of attacking him with the (ridiculously big) Scute Mob, instead of keeping it back on defense. Eventually he can kill me outright with with Zektar Shrine Expedition, but he “punts,” instead keeping it back for defense. It doesn’t matter though, as I continue drawing lands, and die.

1-1, 2 packs.

Suck. At least it was very clear to me that he was good, and well acquainted with the ins and outs of MTGO (the telltale sign is that your opponent plays quickly).

Drafting with Justin (ZZZ #1)

•November 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Hello and welcome to my new Drafting With series! Admittedly, I feel somewhat arrogant for copying the title of the SCG series of the same name, but this is here mostly for my own edification, so I can look back and see what I did, right and wrong, in my drafts. Comments and constructive criticism are more than welcome! I’d love to hear what you think I should’ve done!

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

The pick here is probably Turntimber Ranger, but I wanted to stay out of green.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

I have no problem with black, though!

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

Sort of late for a Journey, so I thought that white was possibly open, and I went for it. Otherwise, Giant Scorpion.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Whoa! With Giant Scorpion and Gatekeeper, black is definitely open, while Shieldmate’s blessing is all white has to offer.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

I wasn’t sure whether to take the Sell-Sword or the Hexmage, but I went with the more aggressive pick… it’s close, but even in hindsight I would give it to the Hexmage.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

I probably like the Scope more than I should, so I hesitated about this pick, but besides that, cutting off black is important.

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Better than Hedron Scrabbler? Unclear, but they’re both pretty bad.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

Again, I wasn’t sure whether to pick Sludge or Vampire’s Bite, and I’m still not sure, but I feel like I see Vampire’s Bite going pretty late a lot of the time (whereas Mind Sludge is uncommon, so I don’t see it as much).

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

I haven’t made up my mind about whether I’m red or white, but certainly I’m not going to play two Mindless Nulls.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

Torch Slinger or Steppe Lynx? White has a lot of color-intensive drops (Kor Outfitter, Kazandu Blademaster), as does black (Vampire Hexmage, Gatekeeper of Malakir), so I decide to go red instead of black.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

Well well… what do we have here?

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

(Clearly, Skyfisher would be the pick if I had gone white.)

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

Definitely glad to see this!

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

I had no idea whether this was better than Goblin Bushwhacker, but I thought I’d give the rare a shot to see if it was any good. It’s a bit weak though, since it does nothing by itself. Bushwhacker might have been the correct pick here. On the other hand, I do have a few Vampires…

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Yikes, a second Steppe Lynx…

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

This pick might be wrong, since Quest does nothing by itself, while Shortcutter helps me push through damage while also being a dude. I guess the control player in me (eschewing early payoffs for larger, later payoffs) couldn’t resist…

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

This card scares me! Mark of mutiny is probably also a reasonable pick. Which one is better though, is unclear…?

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

See what I mean about the Vampire’s Bites going late?

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Just taking cards I’d hate to face.

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Yikes. I have a huge soft spot for this guy, as he’s one of the few creatures in Zendikar that can actually block. Is nobody at the table playing blue?

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

I remember debating this pick for a long time. In hindsight the Hexmage is probably the correct pick, but I wanted to try the rare to see if it was any good.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

That is an incredibly late Disfigure. Again, I take the rare to see how good it is. Both during the draft and now, I feel like I would put Disfigure slightly above Ascension. Under normal circumstances, I’d pick Disfigure over Ascension for sure, but Ascension is probably pretty close in a super aggressive deck like mine.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

I wasn’t sure about Crypt Ripper or Goblin Shortcutter here… I think I wanted to take the Shortcutter but Wilson has been insisting to me lately that Crypt Ripper is good. I still have no idea which one is right, although if I had to guess I’d go with the Shortcutter.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Yikes, another Steppe Lynx…

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

(and another Vampire’s Bite…)

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Huh? Why is this still here…? In general this pack is pretty good for a 10th 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:

I had more than enough playables, and I struggled a bit with the deckbuilding, but this is what I ended up with:

Lands:
1 Teetering Peaks
5 Mountain
12 Swamp

Creatures:
3 Vampire Lacerator
1 Guul Draz Vampire
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Surrakar Marauder
2 Plated Geopede
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Hellfire Mongrel
1 Torch Slinger
1 Vampire Nighthawk
1 Bala Ged Thief
1 Crypt Ripper
1 Guul Draz Specter

Spells:
1 Blade of the Bloodchief
1 Quest for the Gravelord
1 Soul Stair Expedition
1 Bloodchief Ascension
1 Punishing Fire
1 Slaughter Cry
1 Magma Rift

I wasn’t sure about many of the picks, but I ended up completely happy with this deck, expecting to at least 2-1 with it, and probably 3-0 with it.

In round 1 I played a decent red/green deck. In game 1 I got out an early Quest and Ascension and double Lacerator, and gave my opponent the question of which one to activate. I almost died due to being stuck on three lands, but still won due to my fast draw and a few Ascension triggers. I made multiple misplays this game though, including forgetting to play a land (!), and equipping the wrong Lacerator. His deck looked decent until he played a Scythe Tiger a turn or two before he died.

In game 2 he was stuck on two forests, and by the time he found his third land, a ETBT Kazandu Refuge, he was dead on board next turn.

In round 2, game 1, I played a green white deck which I thought was about as good as the one from the first round. I won the die roll, and went turn 1 Lacerator, turn 2 Blade of the Bloodchief equip, while he dropped a Nissa’s Chosen on turn 2. I untapped and cast a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir… and was surprised when I didn’t get any counters on my Lacerator! And then I realized that Nissa’s Chosen goes to the bottom of the library. So I attacked, and my opponent pauses for a while, then asks me “What happened to my elf?” I felt confident in my chances at that point. Unfortunately, after that, I flood out, and then he drops Rampaging Baloths and then kills me.

In game 2, I keep a two swamp, Lacerator hand with otherwise slow cards (Specter, Sludge). While I start out with Lacerator, he answers with Steppe Lynx. On turn 2, I still haven’t seen another land, and I might draw a mountain, so I play my Gatekeeper unkicked (is this correct??). Obviously, I topdeck a swamp. On his turn (he played Khalni Heart Expedition on turn 2), he lives the dream of land, Harrow, sac Expedition, take 10. I die a few turns later to my own Lacerator, still stuck at 3 lands.

1-1. Ugh, so annoying. I’m playing 18 lands in every draft deck I run, yet I seem to always run into mana troubles (screw more often than flood, amusingly enough). In this draft, I had mana troubles in three of the four games I played. What’s up with that! Was this deck really not at least a 2-1 deck? I know anything can happen, but it seemed amazing to me while I was building it. I should also mention that not once did I draw Plated Geopede or Vampire Nighthawk… FML.