Owen’s a Win – Reviewing Reid Duke’s M14 Draft

Last week, I covered Ben Stark’s World Championship draft, and I learned a lot about the draft format as I wrote it. It was a little odd criticizing Ben of all people on draft, but I have played a ton of M14, and I’m no slouch of a drafter myself.

This week, I wanted to do another draft review, but it was hard to keep an open mind trying to review someone drafting to the left or the right of Ben, because I know what’s coming and I know exactly what the signals are, or what they should be. Luckily, Reid Duke was on the exact opposite end of the table. Lets see how he drafted.

*: I agree with the pick.

Pack 1, pick 1

[draft]Divine Favor
Angelic Wall
Barrage of Expendables
Bubbling Cauldron
Child of Night
Dark Favor
Fog
Forest
Giant Spider
Gladecover Scout
Quag Sickness
Scavenging Ooze
Seacoast Drake
Solemn Offering
Vampire Warlord[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card]*

What a real treat it must have been for Reid to open this pack. It’s probably the highest stakes draft he’s ever played in, and you sit down and open a [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] which is undoubtedly one of the sickest rares in M14 Limited. Great pick and I’d say Reid is drafting perfect so far. If Ooze were not in the pack I would take [card]Quag Sickness[/card].

Pack 1, pick 2

[draft]Altar’s Reap
Battle Sliver
Dragon Hatchling
Gladecover Scout
Lava Axe
Liturgy of Blood
Merfolk Spy
Path of Bravery
Plains
Sentinel Sliver
Shadowborn Apostle
Vampire Warlord
Verdant Haven
Wring Flesh[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Battle Sliver[/card]*

This is a pick I approve of 100%. To be fair, [card]Liturgy of Blood[/card] is a better card than [card]Battle Sliver[/card], but green pairs horribly with black in this draft format, so I would avoid it like the plague. Green pairs excellently with red, and both have a large number of good, playable Slivers, so it’s a double win.

[card]Path of Bravery[/card] looks nice but in actual game play disappoints. When everything works out it’s a pretty nice card, a [card]Glorious Anthem[/card] that gains some life is wonderful, but sometimes you draw it at 13 life and it’s a brick. It looks like it gives your creatures lifelink, but it doesn’t, it simply allows you to gain 1 life for each attacking creature which is a marginal benefit. Also white is horrible in this set.

Pack 1, pick 3

[draft]Dark Favor
Frost Breath
Giant Spider
Groundshaker Sliver
Minotaur Abomination
Mountain
Plummet
Seismic Stomp
Silence
Staff of the Sun Magus
Tome Scour
Undead Minotaur
Woodborn Behemoth[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Woodborn Behemoth[/card]*

Three for three on picks I agree with. [card]Woodborn Behemoth[/card] is a good reason to be green, a nice solid fatty, and just flat out a more powerful card than the [card]Giant Spider[/card]. I like [card]Giant Spider[/card], but part of the appeal of green is to have large creatures and win the game quickly, which [card]Giant Spider[/card] does not do.

Pack 1, pick 4

[draft]Blur Sliver
Brindle Boar
Capashen Knight
Forest
Mark of the Vampire
Merfolk Spy
Predatory Sliver
Regathan Firecat
Solemn Offering
Undead Minotaur
Volcanic Geyser
Wall of Swords[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Volcanic Geyser[/card]

[card]Volcanic Geyser[/card] is a great card and a nice signal that there probably aren’t any red drafters passing to you, but personally I would have gone with the [card]Predatory Sliver[/card] here.

My Pick: [card]Predatory Sliver[/card]

I understand that taking the Geyser sends a better signal and will probably lead to good red in pack two, but you don’t even know if you’re going to be playing red and you’ll probably be playing green at this point, additionally I think with a [card]Battle Sliver[/card] already there is a high incentive to want to just slam as many [card]Predatory Sliver[/card]s as you can. They make [card]Blur Sliver[/card] much better, which is a card you can get late, and they also lead to more blowout draws, which I like to maximize.

Pack 1, pick 5

[draft]Artificer’s Hex
Blood Bairn
Cancel
Deathgaze Cockatrice
Fog
Nightwing Shade
Pillarfield Ox
Plains
Regathan Firecat
Shimmering Grotto
Wild Ricochet[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Wild Ricochet[/card]

I don’t like this pick very much either, [card]Regathan Firecat[/card] is quite good with burn to back it up.

My Pick: [card]Regathan Firecat[/card]

I have dreams about casting a turn 3 Firecat backed up with [card]Shock[/card]s and [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card]s to clear the path. I would never maindeck and only sometimes sideboard in [card]Wild Richochet[/card]. [card]Deflection[/card] was a good card in draft, redirection effects usually are, the problem I have with [card]Wild Richochet[/card] is it can’t move around stuff like [card]Claustrophobia[/card] or [card]Pacifism[/card], so the card you use against removal spells doesn’t work on all removal spells, which is annoying.

Pack 1, pick 6

[draft]Auramancer
Festering Newt
Messenger Drake
Mountain
Pitchburn Devils
Siege Mastodon
Sliver Construct
Smelt
Staff of the Flame Magus
Thunder Strike[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Pitchburn Devils[/card]*

[card]Pitchburn Devils[/card] is a good card, I like it here better than [card]Sliver Construct[/card]. I value the good Slivers much higher because a Predatory standalone is a [card]Grizzly Bears[/card] that can boost up your other creatures, whereas [card]Sliver Construct[/card] is just a [card]Grey Ogre[/card] that doesn’t do anything. I’m not going to sacrifice card quality for Slivers just because they’re Slivers.

Pack 1, pick 7

[draft]Accorder’s Shield
Blessing
Festering newt
Indestructibility
Island
Pay No Heed
Seismic Stomp
Wild Guess
Wring Flesh[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Festering Newt[/card]*

[card]Seismic Stomp[/card] and [card]Wild Guess[/card] are cards I hope to not be playing in my red decks. [card]Festering Newt[/card] is better than [card]Wring Flesh[/card], so I support this pick. Pretty bad pack overall with weak options in all colors.

Pack 1, pick 8

[draft]Fleshpulper Giant
Frost Breath
Giant Growth
Giant Spider
Glimpse the Future
Shadowborn Apostle
Swamp
Tenacious Dead[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Giant Growth[/card]*

Awesome pick. I have already mentioned how I don’t value [card]Giant Spider[/card] highly in this format because it doesn’t help you beat down like red/green really wants to. [card]Giant Growth[/card] on the other hand is exactly what I’m looking for. It’s a great card that works well with [card]Regathan Firecat[/card]. [card]Giant Growth[/card] is a welcome addition to any red/green deck and it lets you keep turning your creatures sideways.

Pack 1, pick 9

[draft]Divine Favor
Angelic Wall
Dark Favor
Fog
Forest
Giant Spider
Gladecover Scout[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Giant Spider[/card]*

A nice pickup here. It isn’t ideal, but it’s still a fine creature that I will usually put into my deck. Green looks pretty open at this point.

Pack 1, pick 10

[draft]Gladecover Scout
Lava Axe
Merfolk Spy
Plains
Shadowborn Apostle
Verdant Haven[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Lava Axe[/card]*

Good pick. My Gruul decks have absolutely no interest in a [card]Verdant Haven[/card] where [card]Lava Axe[/card] is a card I will sometimes play. [card]Gladecover Scout[/card] is cute with [card]Lightning Talons[/card], but Axe is just more consistent.

Pack 1, pick 11

[draft]Groundshaker Sliver
Mountain
Silence
Staff of the Sun Magus
Tome Scour[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Groundshaker Sliver[/card]*

Not my favorite Sliver, but you can sometimes sideboard him in slow matchups.

Pack 1, pick 12

[draft]Brindle Boar
Forest
Merfolk Spy
Undead Minotaur[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Brindle Boar[/card]*

The green [card]Doom Blade[/card].

Pack 1, pick 13

[draft]Artificer’s Hex
Fog
Plains[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Fog[/card]*

Pack 1, pick 14

[draft]Staff of the Flame Magus
Mountain[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Staff of the Flame Magus[/card]*

Pack 1, pick 15

[draft]Island[/draft]

Pack 2, pick 1

[draft]Bubbling Cauldron
Chandra’s Outrage
Dark Favor
Elvish Mystic
Forest
Goblin Diplomats
Goblin Shortcutter
Hive Stirrings
Mind Rot
Nephalia Seakite
Pitchburn Devils
Scroll Thief
Staff of the Wild Magus
Verdant Haven
Wall of Frost[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card]*

For me the choice here is between [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card] and [card]Goblin Diplomats[/card]. [card]Elvish Mystic[/card] and [card]Pitchburn Devils[/card] are both acceptable playables, but just not as powerful or unique as the first two. [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card] serves as spot removal which is hard to get in red/green, and [card]Goblin Diplomats[/card] is the type of card you will likely never see again in the draft, both because it’s rare and very good.

Here I like the [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card], because it’s very hard to get a card that will as quickly and as cleanly remove the best creature your opponent has in play. [card]Goblin Diplomats[/card] is great and easily my second choice, but while sometimes it is unbeatable, other times it is just a [card]Goblin Piker[/card]. The Outrage is not matchup-dependent and also gives the deck some reach.

Pack 2, pick 2

[draft]Blessing
Charging Griffin
Disperse
Frost Breath
Groundshaker Sliver
Lava Axe
Mountain
Nightwing Shade
Ogre Battledriver
Rumbling Baloth
Seismic Stomp
Shiv’s Embrace
Undead Minotaur
Vial of Poison[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Ogre Battledriver[/card]*

[card]Ogre Battledriver[/card] is a bomb rare and solidifies us in red. A nice gift—and if I were Reid at this point in the draft my feet would be dancing under the table and I’d have a big smile on my face.

Pack 2, pick 3

[draft]Auramancer
Bramblecrush
Disperse
Marauding Maulhorn
Nightwing Shade
Pay No Heed
Regathan Firecat
Sentinel Sliver
Shadowborn Apostle
Sliver Construct
Steelform Sliver
Swamp
Trollhide[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Marauding Maulhorn[/card]*

Very good though obvious pick here. [card]Marauding Maulhorn[/card] is really good in red/green and especially good in a deck with [card]Giant Growth[/card] and [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card]. I like [card]Regathan Firecat[/card] and I think [card]Trollhide[/card] is nice too, but the Maulhorn is in a league of its own in this pack.

Pack 2, pick 4

[draft]Academy Raider
Bramblecrush
Coral Merfolk
Deadly Recluse
Hive Stirrings
Hunt the Weak
Mind Rot
Oath of the Ancient Wood
Pitchburn Devils
Plains
Show of Valor
Vampire Warlord[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Deadly Recluse[/card]*

[card]Deadly Recluse[/card] is awesome here. I like it much more than [card]Pitchburn Devils[/card], [card]Academy Raider[/card], and [card]Hunt the Weak[/card]. We already have one [card]Pitchburn Devils[/card], and it isn’t particularly amazing in red/green. [card]Academy Raider[/card] ranges from fine to atrocious when the opponent can block it, and [card]Hunt the Weak[/card] is a card I like and recognize as good, but as far as green removal goes I would always rather have [card]Deadly Recluse[/card].

Pack 2, pick 5

[draft]Armored Cancrix
Canyon Minotaur
Charging Griffin
Dawnstrike Paladin
Disperse
Divination
Dragon Egg
Festering Newt
Mountain
Nightwing Shade
Seismic Stomp[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Disperse[/card]

This pick doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. I would rather have [card]Seismic Stomp[/card], [card]Canyon Minotaur[/card], or [card]Dragon Egg[/card] as a bad maindeck card or very situational sideboard card. At least taking one of those increases your own chances of winning if only very slightly. If I were to counterdraft a card it would probably be [card]Charging Griffin[/card].

Pack 2, pick 6

[draft]Armored Cancrix
Coral Merfolk
Divine Favor
Elixir of Immortality
Island
Naturalize
Negate
Seacoast Drake
Solemn Offering
Striking Sliver[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Striking Sliver[/card]

Another unfortunate pack, which is strange considering people were passing us [card]Ogre Battledriver[/card]s a moment ago.

My Pick: [card]Naturalize[/card]

If I went the Sliver route with a [card]Predatory Sliver[/card], I wouldn’t mind this pick too much, but with the cards Reid has selected I would take [card]Naturalize[/card].

Pack 2, pick 7

[draft]Altar’s Reap
Dragon Hatchling
Frost Breath
Gladecover Scout
Island
Lightning Talons
Manaweft Sliver
Sentinel Sliver
Trained Condor[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Manaweft Sliver[/card]*

What a delightful gift. [card]Manaweft Sliver[/card] is excellent and we have a couple Slivers already. Do you like turn 3 [card]Marauding Maulhorns[/card]?

Pack 2, pick 8

[draft]Congregate
Disperse
Frost Breath
Pay No Heed
Plummet
Undead Minotaur
Vile Rebirth
forest[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Plummet[/card]*

I absolutely love having access to at least one [card]Plummet[/card] in this format. I would feel lucky to get one this late.

Pack 2, pick 9

[draft]Forest
Goblin Shortcutter
Hive Stirrings
Mind Rot
Pitchburn Devils
Staff of the Wild Magus
Verdant Haven[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Goblin Shortcutter[/card]*

Really good pick, I too would go for aggression and cheaper cost over power here.

Pack 2, pick 10

[draft]Blessing
Groundshaker Sliver
Lava Axe
Mountain
Seismic Stomp
Vial of Poison[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Lava Axe[/card]*

Not Axe-actly going as planned.

Pack 2, pick 11

[draft]Bramblecrush
Pay No Heed
Shadowborn Apostle
Steelform Sliver
Swamp[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Bramblecrush[/card]

[card]Bramblecrush[/card] is all right. I wouldn’t even consider taking [card]Steelform Sliver[/card] here. Three-or-more-color Sliver decks don’t usually work out, and [card]Steelform Sliver[/card] isn’t a great card on it’s own and the effect it grants your Slivers is weak.

Pack 2, pick 12

[draft]Academy Raider
Hive Stirrings
Oath of the Ancient Wood
Plains[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Academy Raider[/card]*

Academy Raider is fine, I maindeck it roughly 75% of the time and usually only when I need playables (which as you can see is often).

Pack 2, pick 13

[draft]Armored Cancrix
Canyon Minotaur
Mountain[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Canyon Minotaur[/card]*

Pack 2, pick 14

[draft]Negate
Island[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Negate[/card]*

Pack 2, pick 15

[draft]Island[/draft]

Pack 3, pick 1

[draft]Air Servant
Angelic Wall
Child of Night
Dark Favor
Demolish
Fog
Guardian of the Ages
Island
Kalonian Tusker
Messenger Drake
Opportunity
Show of Valor
Sliver Construct
Thunder Strike
Verdant Haven[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Kalonian Tusker[/card]*

The only playable red or green card in the pack is [card]Kalonian Tusker[/card] so I guess just take that. Oh, also it’s a totally amazing card that I would want in any green deck. Good Pick.

Pack 3, pick 2

[draft]Advocate of the Beast
Altar’s Reap
Corpse Hauler
Dragon Egg
Dragon Hatchling
Festering Newt
Hive Stirrings
Lava Axe
Millstone
Plains
Scroll Thief
Siege Mastodon
Suntail Hawk
Windreader Sphinx[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Advocate of the Beast[/card]*

One of the staples of the red/green deck in M14 is a fine way to start off pack three and certainly what I would have taken here given that we have a [card]Kalonian Tusker[/card] and a [card]Marauding Maulhorn[/card] already. It is unfortunate that we haven’t been able to pick up any [card]Rumbling Baloth[/card]s. It would pain me deep down to pass this [card]Windreader Sphinx[/card].

Pack 3, pick 3

[draft]Cancel
Capashen Knight
Darksteel Ingot
Forest
Hunt the Weak
Lay of the Land
Minotaur Abomination
Negate
Sensory Deprivation
Spell Blast
Thunder Strike
Vastwood Hydra
Young Pyromancer[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Young Pyromancer[/card]*

With only [card]Volcanic Geyser[/card], [card]Giant Growth[/card], [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card], and sometimes [card]Plummet[/card] as spells this really isn’t the most impressive [card]Young Pyromancer[/card] I’ve ever seen, and it isn’t like there’s a ton of time left in the draft portion to get more [card]Shock[/card]s, so this is roughly as good as it’s going to get.

That said, I still like it here over [card]Vastwood Hydra[/card], which I think is just weak. At almost any cost you’re getting an inefficient creature, as a four-mana 2/2, five-mana 3/3, or six-mana 4/4 it’s pretty marginal. When you factor in that it has modular and it’s a split card for all those creatures at all those costs it gets to be more appealing and just a playable fine card, but it’s nothing special.

Pack 3, pick 4

[draft]Academy Raider
Advocate of the Beast
Darksteel Forge
Demolish
Island
Scroll Thief
Siege Mastodon
Sliver Construct
Soulmender
Staff of the Flame Magus
Verdant Haven
Voracious Wurm[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Advocate of the Beast[/card]*

[card]Voracious Wurm[/card] is fine but not great whereas [card]Advocate of the Beast[/card] is a card I actively want in my deck and is just tough to beat. Wish this deck had more Beasts but it has plenty of rares instead.

Pack 3, pick 5

[draft]Bubbling Cauldron
Divine Favor
Forest
Goblin Shortcutter
Lightning Talons
Nephalia Seakite
Predatory Sliver
Seacoast Drake
Sporemound
Vampire Warlord
Witchstalker[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Witchstalker[/card]*

Ding ding ding! [card]Witchstalker[/card] is incredibly powerful and the correct pick here not close. I would still take [card]Witchstalker[/card] over [card]Predatory Sliver[/card] even if I had taken the previous [card]Predatory Sliver[/card]. Hexproof is a big game and [card]Witchstalker[/card] off a turn 1 [card]Elvish Mystic[/card] is hell on the opponent. I have been on the receiving end of this, and let me say I was not happy.

Pack 3, pick 6

[draft]Act of Treason
Congregate
Deathgaze Cockatrice
Fog
Plains
Shimmering Grotto
Spell Blast
Sporemound
Verdant Haven
Wring Flesh[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Sporemound[/card]*

[card]Act of Treason[/card] is great in a black/red deck and only average in a red/green deck, if I took [card]Act of Treason[/card] here I would not maindeck it. [card]Sporemound[/card] is a welcome addition to my maindeck and a card I like to have. It’s an OK body, but it really helps alleviate mana flood.

Pack 3, pick 7

[draft]Rootwalla
Giant Growth
Island
Pillarfield Ox
Shadowborn Apostle
Staff of the Sun Magus
Thunder Strike
Wild Ricochet
Woodborn Behemoth[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Rootwalla[/card]*

[card]Rootwalla[/card] is a good pick here that I agree with. I’ve spent a good amount of time gushing about how much I like [card]Woodborn Behemoth[/card] and [card]Giant Growth[/card], but [card]Rootwalla[/card] is good too and helps the curve, also it’s good in draft to have a variety of options for curve considerations and so you aren’t easy to play against.

Pack 3, pick 8

[draft]Academy Raider
Duress
Elvish Mystic
Frost Breath
Hive Stirrings
Island
Lava Axe
Mind Rot[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Elvish Mystic[/card]*

A nice late pickup. Things are going well.

Pack 3, pick 9

[draft]Demolish
Fog
Guardian of the Ages
Island
Sliver Construct
Thunder Strike
Verdant Haven[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Thunder Strike[/card]*

Good pick. The Sliver train has left the station and I refuse to touch [card]Guardian of the Ages[/card].

Pack 3, pick 10

[draft]Dragon Hatchling
Hive Stirrings
Lava Axe
Millstone
Plains
Suntail Hawk[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Lava Axe[/card]

With two Axes already I would take the [card]Dragon Hatchling[/card] just to have the option of maybe sideboarding it in.

My Pick: [card]Dragon Hatchling[/card]

You basically never want 3 [card]Lava Axe[/card] anyway.

Pack 3, pick 11

[draft]Forest
Lay of the Land
Minotaur Abomination
Spell Blast
Thunder Strike[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Thunder Strike[/card]

I would take [card]Lay of the Land[/card] here.

My Pick: [card]Lay of the Land[/card]

I have had some good experiences cutting a land for a [card]Lay of the Land[/card] in my red/green decks that feature [card]Young Pyromancer[/card].

Pack 3, pick 12

[draft]Demolish
Island
Soulmender
Staff of the Flame Magus[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Demolish[/card]*

Pack 3, pick 13

[draft]Bubbling Cauldron
Forest
Lightning Talons[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Lightning Talons[/card]*

Pack 3, pick 14

[draft]Fog
Plains[/draft]

Reid’s Choice: [card]Fog[/card]*

Pack 3, pick 15

[draft]Island[/draft]

I love the way Reid drafted and he finished with a 2-1 record, only losing to Ben Stark whom I covered last week. It was a little lucky that he opened [card]Scavenging Ooze[/card] and green happened to be wide open, but he also figured out that red was open and the best card he got passed in the draft, [card]Ogre Battledriver[/card], was red. So kudos to him for that. I hope you enjoyed this style of article again, and let me know in the comments what you think I can do to improve it.

Owen Turtenwald
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