Drafting With Juzam – Journey/Born/Theros Draft #3

Hi! Welcome to Journey/Born/Theros Draft # 3. I did this draft on Magic Online a day or two before the PT, when people started to develop a good idea about what’s good in the format, and I actually played another member of #TeamCFB in the semifinals. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s get started.

Journey into Nyx

Pack 1 pick 1:

My pick: Keranos, God of Storms

I’m not a big fan of U/R in this format and I actually think it’s the worst archetype that hardly ever wins. The cards just don’t work well together. But none of the cards come close to the power level of Keranos, plus it’s probably worth something, so we are going to go with that.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick: Harness by Force

Now here’s something I do like. Getting one of the absolute best cards in the entire set 2nd pick is something that shouldn’t happen very often. For some reason people are still somehow underrating Harness by Force, but after casting it for the first time you’ll realize how good it is. It’s true that there is another card with the same effect in the form of Portent of Betrayal in Theros but being able to steal a second creature (or more when you topdeck it late in the game) is usually lethal. There’s an uncommon missing and the only card I can see being picked over it is Hour of Need or maybe Banishing Light. Normally when the format is solved I’d try to stay away from blue in this spot because I’d expect the person in front of me to had taken the Hour but this being one of the first drafts for most people on Magic Online, we should assume that the more likely case is that they are just not familiar with all the Journey rares yet.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My pick: Bladetusk Boar

Nightmarish End is the best card in the pack but there is no reason to take a non-red card when we can get a solid pick in the form of Bladetusk Boar. Starfish would also be fine in U/R but we don’t know if we are playing blue yet (and I’d prefer not to), and Boar is a better card anyway and goes well with the Harness by Force.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My pick: Akroan Mastiff

Now we are forced to take something from another color and I like the Mastiff more than the Supply-Line Cranes. It’s cheaper and there are a lot of bestow shenanigans going on. At first I thought Consign to Dust was a very high pick, but after playing more I never wanted to have more than one of those effects in my deck and there’s always enough time to get them later in the draft.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My pick: Harvestguard Alseids

No good blue or red cards again. Nyx Infusion usually makes the cut but you are not happy about it. All the green cards are expensive and don’t really go well with what we already have. The choice is between Oppressive Rays and Harvestguard Alseids. While I wouldn’t mind playing the Rays in a very aggressive Boros deck, I think the Alseids is one of the most underrated cards in the format.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My pick: Harvestguard Alseids

Same pack, same pick. If the packs continue to go this way we are looking at a W/R aggro deck and want to start taking some early drops.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My pick: Rouse the Mob

I’d been wanting to try Rouse the Mob for a long time, so let’s see if we can draft a deck that’s aggressive enough for it to be good.

Pack 1 pick 8:

My pick: Interpret the Signs

I’m not really sure what the right pick here is, but if we somehow still end up in U/R, which is unlikely given what we saw in the previous packs (I guess the person in front of us had in fact first-picked the Hour), Interpret the Signs might be a sweet card to have with Keranos.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My pick: Crystalline Nautilus

Now this pack makes me wonder what’s going on because now there are 3 playable blue cards. At this point I don’t think we want to start taking green or black cards so the one we are going to take is Crystalline Nautilus because it’s actually a nice combo with the 2 Harvestguard Alseids that basically works as a Flametongue Kavu for 3UU.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My pick: Nightmarish End

What is going on? The best card in the pack tabled while Aspect of Gorgon and Pharika’s Chosen are gone. In retrospect any of the blue cards would have probably been a better pick because at this point there it really wasn’t very likely that we would end up playing black.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My pick: Font of Fortunes

I’m not sure what I was doing here as Mortal Obstinacy was clearly the right pick.

Pack 1 pick 12:

My pick: Thassa’s Devourer

Pack 1 pick 13:

My pick: Returned Reveler

Taking the card I’d least likely want to face with my 2/3s and 2/1s.

Pack 1 pick 14:

My pick: Kruphix’s Insight

Pack 1 pick 15:

Born of the Gods

Pack 2 pick 1:

My pick: Akroan Conscriptor

Retraction Helix, Kragma Butcher, or Akroan Conscriptor. I think even if we were actually playing blue I would like the Conscriptor better than the bounce spell becuase it either makes combat for your opponent very difficult or it just kills them if you have enough ways to target it.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My pick: Akroan Phalanx

I guess that finally solidifies us in Boros.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My pick: Oreskos Sun Guide

We already have a lot of threes and more expensive creatures so I prefer taking the better of the 2-drops.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My pick: Rise to the Challenge

For a while I considered taking the God-Favored General because with the 2 Harvestguard Alseids we can reasonably attack without fear of it dying, but taking a solid combat trick that also makes our Conscriptor better makes more sense.

Pack 2 pick 5:

My pick: Fall of the Hammer

We only have three creatures with power more than 2 but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Pack 2 pick 6:

My pick: Reckless Reveler

We need to make sure we have enough two-drops.

Pack 2 pick 7:

My pick: Fearsome Temper

And the best thing to put on a two-drop is Fearsome Temper. Mortal’s Ardor is mostly just a good sideboard card for matchups that are all about racing.

Pack 2 pick 8:

My pick: Loyal Pegasus

A few more cards like that and I’ll be happy to play that Rouse the Mob.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My pick: Satyr Firedancer

Not that we would like to play it, but Sunchaser is the correct pick here. Considering 5th pick Hammer, there are two more that are likely coming back to us, so I’m not too worried about it.

Pack 2 pick 10:

My pick: Impetuous Sunchaser

I still like it more than a random 5 that’s way too slow for our deck.

Pack 2 pick 11:

My pick: Reckless Reveler

This should give us enough early drops that we don’t need to take them too highly in the next pack.

Pack 2 pick 12:

My pick: Impetuous Sunchaser

Pack 2 pick 13:

My pick: Hold at Bay

Pack 2 pick 14:

My pick: Epiphany Storm

Pack 2 pick 15:


Pack 3 pick 1:

My pick: Dragon Mantle

Not that this pack offers us much, but Dragon Mantle goes well with the 2 Alseids and Conscriptor, so that makes it an easy pick here.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My pick: Two-Headed Cerberus

Now this is a more interesting pick. We have to consider what our mana base will look like and at this point I don’t think we can reasonably expect to play more than 8 Plains, making the Two-Headed Cerberus a better card for our deck than Wingsteed Rider.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My pick: Dauntless Onslaught

Gods Willing is one of the most powerful white cards but I think our deck needs more power and Dauntless Onslaught is a perfect card for a deck with a bunch of cheap aggressive creatures.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My pick: Wild Celebrants

Pretty bad pack for us considering it’s pick 4, but we passed an Akroan Horse so at least it will be a fine sideboard option.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My pick: Flamespeaker Adept

Not much to choose from here either, I don’t like playing cards like Ray of Dissolution in aggressive decks because you need all your cards to do something and can’t afford drawing a pseudo-removal spell that they have no targets for. Vanquish the Foul is too expensive, so Flamespeaker Adept it is.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My pick: Lagonna-Band Elder

Three-drop with 3 power, I guess it will do.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My pick: Satyr Rambler

Satyr Rambler probably won’t make the cut, but Burnished Hart is the only other option and that’s not something we are interested in.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My pick: Peak Eruption

We don’t want to be playing 0-power creatures in an aggressive deck, so another sideboard card it is.

Pack 3 pick 9:

My pick: Traveling Philosopher

Pack 3 pick 10:

My pick: Bronze Sable

Now we definitely have enough two-drops.

Pack 3 pick 11:

My pick: Spearpoint Oread

Pack 3 pick 12:

My pick: Fleetfeather Sandals

Pack 3 pick 13:

My pick: Spellheart Chimera

Pack 3 pick 14:

My pick: Setessan Battle Priest

Pack 3 pick 15:

RW 3-0 wrapter oreskos nymph 13-5-2014

Relevant cards in the sideboard :

I’m not really sure what was going on in this draft. We were seeing a lot of red cards and eventually a lot of green in pack 3 as well, but at that point we were in red/white and it was too late to do anything about it. I still think our deck ended up all right, with a bomb in Harness by Force, two premium uncommons in Akroan Conscriptor and Dauntless Onslaught, and bunch of aggressive cards that go well together with cheap tricks like Rise to the Challenge or Rouse the Mob. Probably a 2-1 deck on average, but if we get the right draws I wouldn’t be surprised to 3-0 with it.

I chose to play Satyr Rambler and Impetuous Sunchaser over the second Reckless Reveler because you don’t want to be playing too many vanilla 2/1s and the Sunchaser could actually be a relevant threat when combined with Dragon Mantle or Fearsome Temper. It also makes the Loyal Pegasus a little better. We don’t have anything with scry to trigger Flamespeaker Adept, but our opponents don’t know that and it still seems better than any of the other creatures we would have to play over it (most likely Reckless Reveler).

In round 2 I played against Wrapter’s aggressive R/B deck. We split the first two games with the player on the play being able to get the most of his tricks by making blocking almost impossible for the defending player. In game 3 I was stuck on two lands for a long time but managed to trade enough creatures to stay at a healthy life total. A third land allowed me to cast Harvestguard Alseids and start attacking with Oreskos Sun Guide to get some life back. That forced Wrapter to make some more aggressive attacks than he would have liked and when it looked like I was dead on the final turn, still with only 4 lands in play, I managed to attack with my three 2/2s into his one blocker and pump the unblocked ones with Rouse the Mob and Dauntless Onslaught for exactsies.

My finals opponent had a nice BW enchantment deck. I mulliganed to 5 in game 1, but his Master of the Feast let me get back in the game because I managed to follow it up with Akroan Mastiff and tap it every turn. After using his removal possibly a little too early, he couldn’t find a way to deal with the Mastiff, and the card advantage was too much. For game two I boarded inFleetfeather Sandals and it was exactly what I needed against his slow grindy deck with a lot of annoying blockers. When it looked like I was going to die again I stole his Master with Harness by Force, attacked with it and a creature with Sandals on it, and pumped them with Rouse the Mob to kill him.

That’s it for today, I’ll see you next week!

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