As you may have heard if you read my last article, Web recently won the first of the Magic Online Live! Championships at Pro Tour Honolulu. Check out his article next week as he goes over how he put his draft skill into action! – LSV
SCR Draft #2:
Pack 1 pick 1:
It’s hard to pass up Rhox War Monk. Scavenger Drake, Hissing Iguanar, and Viscera Dragger are more conservative alternatives, but not nearly as good. While any of the other three cards will be easier to fit into the deck we end up drafting, they lack the punch that Rhox War Monk delivers.
My pick: Rhox War Monk
Pack 1 pick 2:
Bull Cerodon is quite a powerful card, but so are Stoic Angel and Resounding Silence. Given the first pick, it’s better to pass the Bull Cerodon. Between Stoic Angel and Resounding Silence, I prefer the angel. The decision can go either way depending on your draft style.
My pick: Stoic Angel
Pack 1 pick 3:
Resounding Silence is much better than Waveskimmer Aven. There’s not much of a comparison between the two. None of the other cards are interesting.
My pick: Resounding Silence
Pack 1 pick 4:
At this point, a decision of whether we’re going to try to draft a green/white base and splash blue or a blue/white base and splash green needs to be made. If we’re concerned about mana fixing and are going with splashing green, we can take the Naya Panorama; otherwise, the choice is between Naya Battlemage and Jhessian Infiltrator. In a more aggressive deck, Jhessian Infiltrator is better. Naya Battlemage is still good, but is more of a mana sink. Naya Battlemage is the pick here because it’s still too early to tell which way we’re going. Jhessian Infiltrator’s mana cost is also annoying. Often, it won’t be cast on turn two.
My pick: Naya Battlemage
Pack 1 pick 5:
Elvish Visionary and Waveskimmer Aven are the two choices. I don’t like Cavern Thoctar here because it’s just a big dork; those are easier to get than the aforementioned two. Elvish Visionary is a fine card; Waveskimmer Aven is better by itself when you look at what has been drafted so far.
My pick: Waveskimmer Aven
Pack 1 pick 6:
Akrasan Squire is much better than Ethersworn Canonist in our non-artifact deck.
My pick: Akrasan Squire
Pack 1 pick 7:
Naturalize is a good sideboard card. None of the other cards would ever make it into the deck.
My pick: Naturalize
Pack 1 pick 8:
That’s a very late Drumhunter. Green will surely be wide open for pack three.
My pick: Drumhunter
Pack 1 pick 9:
We can push the people to left further out of our colors by taking the Steelclad Serpent and passing the red and black cards. It’ll be slightly more likely that we get passed an Esper Cormorants this way.
My pick: Steelclad Serpent
Pack 1 pick 10:
While this pack was a bit deeper for green cards than the one with Drumhunter, seeing the Jungle Weaver here is a good indication that we won’t be short in picks in pack three.
My pick: Jungle Weaver
Pack 1 pick 11:
Coma Veil is the only card to be considered over Guardians of Akrasa. Coma Veil is not a very efficient card. Guardians of Akrasa is at least playable, but also unexciting.
My pick: Guardians of Akrasa
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Resounding Scream
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Behemoths Herald
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Godtoucher
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
Armillary Sphere, Aven Trailblazer, Manaforce Mace, and Skyward Eye Prophets are cards we can pick from here. Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker isn’t worth much online so we can exclude that pick. Even though it’s a very powerful card, it’s less likely that we’ll play against it than not. Also, by passing the Planeswalker, we send a signal that sets us up better for pack three. Manaforce Mace and Skyward Eye Prophets are both solid late game cards. Aven Trailblazer is only good. However, Armillary Sphere is better than the other choices. Not only is Armillary Sphere the choice mana fixing card in the set, it’s also the first one we’d have which is definitely something we need considering our Rhox War Monk, Stoic Angel, and Resounding Silence.
My pick: Armillary Sphere
Pack 2 pick 2:
Nacatl Hunt-Pride is another decent late game card. Aven Squire would compliment the Akrasan Squire quite well. Vedalken Outlander would be a good sideboard card. I prefer Wild Leotau to the other three creatures; he’s just so efficiently costed.
My pick: Wild Leotau
Pack 2 pick 3:
Celestial Purge is usually good enough to play maindeck, especially when you throw in Alara Reborn into the mix with its plethora of hybrid gold cards. There should be targets in every deck. I still prefer Wild Leotau here. Rupture Spire shouldn’t be excluded from the choices also. There are enough good cards here that we should take one of the spells first.
My pick: Wild Leotau
Pack 2 pick 4:
To be fair, it’s probably right to take the Celestial Purge here. However, I took the Wild Leotau because I wanted another undercosted beater. We already have a decent amount of men and only one removal spell (Resounding Silence). About half the cards in Alara Reborn can be blown up with Celestial Purge; that seems good enough to me.
My pick: Wild Leotau
Pack 2 pick 5:
Nacatl Savage won’t be as good as Gleam of Resistance. It’s a fine card by itself and is an additional mana fixer that we need to pick up.
My pick: Gleam of Resistance
Pack 2 pick 6:
Apparently I took Shard Convergence here. I definitely wanted to take the Nacatl Hunt-Pride. Shard Convergence is pretty slow as a mana fixer. Nacatl Hunt-Pride can at least take care of problematic creatures sometimes.
My pick: Shard Convergence
Pack 2 pick 7:
We have a lot of late game action. Aven Trailblazer will help stave off heavy flyer decks so that our Wild Leotau and other assorted monsters win on the ground. Additionally, in two picks, our original pack with Aven Trailblazer and Skyward Eye Prophets will come back. Given the choice, it would be better to have either two Aven Trailblazer or one Aven Trailblazer and one Skyward Eye Prophets than two Skyward Eye Prophets which is why it’s better to take Aven Trailblazer out of this pack and be happy with whatever wheels in pick nine.
My pick: Aven Trailblazer
Pack 2 pick 8:
Rhox Meditant is a fine card. Unsummon doesn’t do much for us.
My pick: Rhox Meditant
Pack 2 pick 9:
Brackwater Elemental is going to be more annoying than passing Knotvine Mystic. No one is going to suddenly go into a green/white base if they see a late Knotvine Mystic.
My pick: Brackwater Elemental
Pack 2 pick 10:
My pick: Jhessian Balmgiver
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Frontline Sage
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Lapse of Certainty
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Valiant Guard
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Grixis Illusionist
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
Bant Sureblade, Ethercaste Knight, and Vedalken Heretic lend themselves well to an aggressive deck. Bant Sureblade is the best of the three. Enlisted Wurm is the best card in the pack. It’ll be better than the three other cards. Cards with cascade that are good on their own are awesome.
My pick: Enlisted Wurm
Pack 3 pick 2:
There’s no decision here. Behemoth Sledge is by far the best. Wall of Denial, Ethercaste Knight, and Bant Sureblade don’t come close to it.
My pick: Behemoth Sledge (must be nice – LSV)
Pack 3 pick 3:
One of the problems with our deck is the lack of mana acceleration. Fast decks can easily take advantage of clunky starts and punish us. Trace of Abundance helps remedy the problem. Not only does it accelerate our plays, it fixes our mana. I’m sure many people would take Knight of New Alara here, but it’s a four-mana spell in a deck that has a lot of them and needs acceleration.
My pick: Trace of Abundance
Pack 3 pick 4:
Sanctum Plowbeast, Bant Sojourners, and Esper Stormblade are the choices. Bant Sojourners can be excluded immediately. Our fixing includes Armillary Sphere, Gleam of Resistance, and Trace of Abundance. Combine those three with whatever number of Islands we end up running (probably three), and it would be alright to pass the Sanctum Plowbeast in favor of the Esper Stormblade.
My pick: Esper Stormblade
Pack 3 pick 5:
Talon Trooper and Winged Coatl aren’t going to do anything for the deck when compared with what the second Trace of Abundance has to offer.
My pick: Trace of Abundance
Pack 3 pick 6:
Mayael’s Aria seems cute. I haven’t actually played with it yet. I don’t think we’d be in the position of casting it and not be winning already. Having a Deadshot Minotaur as a sideboard option seems better.
My pick: Deadshot Minotaur
Pack 3 pick 7:
Unbender Tine can be good in weird situations with Stoic Angel and multiple other creatures attacking or with Naya Battlemage. Again, if we’re in either of those situations, we’re probably winning already. Sigiled Behemoth is going to be better.
My pick: Sigiled Behemoth
Pack 3 pick 8:
Pale Recluse is going to be much better than Stormcaller’s Boon. There’s actually not much of a comparison. The spider is just better.
My pick: Pale Recluse
Pack 3 pick 9:
Glassdust Hulk, Etherium Abomination, Skyclaw Trash, and Breath of Malfegor can all be trouble for us in theory. Glassdust Hulk is going to be the hardest to stop. We’ve got spiders, other flyers, and some lifelink to deal with the rest.
My pick: Glassdust Hulk
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Glassdust Hulk
Pack 3 pick 11:
Against aggressive decks, Grizzled Leotau will provide enough time to start our meat factory tour and start churning out the fatties.
My pick: Grizzled Leotau
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Sigil of the Nayan Gods
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: Grizzled Leotau
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Sigil of the Nayan Gods
Pack 3 pick 15:
There aren’t many cards that are in our sideboard that we’d want in our preboard maindeck. The two Grizzled Leotau will come in against the aggressive decks. Naturalize and Deadshot Minotaur will come in against Esper decks. Jhessian Balmgiver will come in against other weird stuff including the quad-laser Kathari Remnant deck.
Our opener isn’t terribly exciting; three Plains, Island, Stoic Angel, Armillary Sphere, and Naya Battlemage. It would be a lot better with a Leotau. What’s better than attacking with a giant lion? Evil, our Grixis opponent, plays a turn three Lich Lord of Unx which we aren’t terribly worried about. We answer with our own rare; Miss Bant herself: Stoic Angel. Soul Manipulation (returning nothing) counters our Aven Trailblazer. The aven was a dear friend to Miss Bant. We give her Behemoth Sledge to help in her quest for vengeance. Unfortunately, Evil has the Drag Down to finish her off after putting Sangrite Backlash on her, Jeez. He had both! How lucky. One thing that green/white can do is bring out the fatties easier than Sizzler on a Friday night. Our Naya Battlemage trumps Evil’s Kederekt Creeper as a trampling duo of Jungle Weaver and Giant Leotau mop up.
We keep a pretty slow hand because his deck doesn’t appear to do anything. A turn three Kederekt Creeper hits us three times as we play turn four Drumhunter and turn five Sigiled Behemoth. The Drumhunter didn’t die after Evil does nothing on our turn four with all four mana open and on his turn five as well. Something clearly is afoot. BLAM! Double Negative counters the Sigiled Behemoth. Oh well. We’ve still got gas in the tank; and by gas, I mean useless lands in hand. We manage to chain Rhox Meditant into Trace of Abundance to unlock the Esper Stormblade that we couldn’t cast. Now we are getting somewhere. Evil plays Mind Funeral, yes, that’s right folks; we’re playing against a masterpiece here. We get hit for fifteen of the twenty-six cards in our deck. Hmmmm, Okay, I guess we can’t go crazy with Drumhunter forever. Evil attempts to set up a clever trap by putting Yoke of the Damned on our Esper Stormblade, attacks in with his Kederekt Creeper (hitting us down to nine), and passes the turn. Evil has no untapped men so we swing in with our team. What’s this? A trick from Evil you say? WE DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING! Evil tries to Agony Warp toughness on Drumhunter and power on Rhox Meditant. The problem with this little “plan” is that we are Good. We have “Hero Status” and therefore cannot die. Evil isn’t dealing with some random Red Shirt here. He’s dealing with James T. Kirk. The Gleam of Resistance from our opener proves useful in this situation as it blows him out. He dies shortly thereafter to the Esper Stormblade and freshly summoned Stoic Angel.
See folks, the problem is sometimes people try to get too tricky. If Evil had played the Agony Warp on his turn while we were tapped out and not attacked with the Kederekt Creeper, he would have been in a much better position. Our Drumhunter and Esper Stormblade would have died leaving us with only a Rhox Meditant against his Kederekt Creeper. To further reinforce this point, Evil had more cards in his hand than we did. Letting someone untap with multiple cards in hand and lots of green and white mana is just begging for trouble; and trouble he got.
This is the blowout game that good stories are made of. Our hand is: 2 Forest, Trace of Abundance, Armillary Sphere, Drumhunter, Rhox Meditant, and Sigiled Behemoth. We obviously win the roll, play first, and draw Plains on turn two. Some people are just blessed. Evil’s Esper guise summons Windwright Mage on turn three. Not to be outclassed by any form of Evil, we respond by playing our freshly drawn Enlisted Wurm on turn four (yes folks, I know it’s six mana), cascading into Esper Stormblade, and draw a card at end of turn with Drumhunter. Not even Bull Cerodon and Enigma Sphinx can solve the riddle that would save Evil from his demise. This game is a certified beating.
We sideboard in Naturalize, Deadshot Minotaur, and a Mountain. Thankfully, not every game is as one-sided as the previous because that would get boring pretty quickly (at least for the reader at home). We have a more reasonable draw including troning basics on turn three to make a hearty 2/3 Aven Trailblazer. Evil’s Esperzoa doesn’t really care about our flyer though and is bashing us. We’re down to ten from a combination of the giant flying Jellyfish and a Vedalken Outlander. It is turn four and that means Drumhunter must come into play. Evil is a bit short on mana and only has blue and white on top of that which means his board is underdeveloped thanks to Esperzoa. Drumhunter gets sucked into an Oblivion Ring. While Evil is screwing around with his Esperzoa (which he finally begins to combo off with using a Faerie Mechanist (revealing nothing and then Obelisk of Grixis)), we are playing large men including Wild Leotau, Waveskimmer Aven, Pale Recluse, and Sigiled Behemoth. Our two exalted sources means blocking is a bad proposition for him. After several two-for-ones, we alpha-strike and crush him.
Fate is cruel to us. We mulligan to six. Then our opponent asks if we want to split. I “NO SIR!” him for you, the reader, because I strive my hardest to bring to you a nicely polished product. This tale would not be epic if it ended with a split. Our six-card hand is not exactly a masterpiece, but it has a lot to work with; it includes: Gleam of Resistance, Wild Leotau, Resounding Silence, Plains, Trace of Abundance, and Jungle Weaver. We miss our land drop on turn two but draw Rhox War Monk; that’s good I guess. He is red/black and makes some Dragon Fodder. We ecstatically play Plains on turn three to start assembling our manabase. Gleam cycles for a Forest which casts Trace of Abundance. Next turn we play Wild Leotau as bait. Rhox War Monk would serve us better if his linebacker friend clears a land and absorbs the removal spell. Evil isn’t doing much of anything which leads us to believe he has many tricks or green/blue spells stuck in his hand. Wild Leotau cracks in and eats the two Dragon Fodder tokens and Dark Temper (seems good to me). Turn six confirms our suspicions as he plays Forest and Bloodbraid Elf that cascades into a useless Magma Spray. Our engine is fully online as we begin churning out fatties: Guardians of Akrasa, Rhox War Monk, and Enlisted Wurm (cascading into Naya Battlemage). The Rhox War Monk proves too much for Evil’s plan of “EOT Soul’s Fire you. Untap, Breath of Malfegor you. Hmmm you’re at five now and have a Rhox War Monk in play? Ok, I probably lose now”. The Naya Battlemage clears the path of blockers as our men go to town.
We sideboard in both Grizzled Leotau. Evil plays Dragon Fodder on turn two again. He doesn’t have land on turn three which forces him to swampcycle his Igneous Pouncer. The stumbling created by his mana gives us a brief respite and we are able to play Aven Trailblazer. The heat continues as Hissing Iguanar joins the fray. We answer with the first of our twenty Wild Leotau, and then we throw the game. That’s right folks. We attack with Aven Trailblazer. Immediately afterwards I think to myself, “OMG, what am I doing?” Evil kills our lion with Terminate and hits us for six total (Hissing Iguanar trigger plus five from Hissing Iguanar and Dragon Fodder tokens in combat). We drop to twelve life. We really had no good reason to attack with the Aven Trailblazer. Our hand was: Island, Pale Recluse, Guardians of Akrasa, and Wild Leotau with an Armillary Sphere also in play. We could just drag out the game a bit and win because of our superior creature quality. The free swing that Evil got because we attacked with the Aven Trailblazer dropped us low enough to where Hissing Iguanar was able to finish us off before we could assemble enough attackers and/or find our Rhox War Monk/Behemoth Sledge with [card]Drumhunter[/card]. Breath of Malfegor finishes us off the turn before we are going to win.
Evil mulligans to five cards. We would give him a fresh seven if we could. Our hand is good; it is: Rhox War Monk, Drumhunter, Gleam of Resistance, Enlisted Wurm, Armillary Sphere, Forest, and Plains. We don’t draw a Trace of Abundance or Island on turn two so we decided to cycle Gleam of Resistance instead of playing Armillary Sphere so we can drop the Rhox War Monk on turn three. Evil appears to have transformed into a Naya deck as he plays Forest, Forest, Cylian Sunsinger on turns one and two. Guardians of Akrasa eliminates Drag Down as an out for him to use with the Cylian Sunsinger as we crash in for four with the Rhox War Monk. His mana screw doesn’t last long as he uses Igneous Pouncer to find a Mountain at end of turn. Marisi’s Twinclaws stops our attack, so we invite Naya Battlemage to the party and help complicate his blocking. We manage to get in there with the Rhox War Monk one more time before Evil can reinforce his board. Rhox Brute joins the team. It appears that the fate of Rhox War Monk and Marisi’s Twinclaws are intertwined. We upgrade our board with Enlisted Wurm and his cascade friend Trace of Abundance (look Ma, a Silverglade Elemental). An unimpressive Dragon Fodder is Evil’s response. The theme of this game is lifelink. With our Rhox War Monk gone, it’s only fair to you that we keep the tradition alive for your entertainment. Behemoth Sledge is drawn, played, and promptly equipped. Dark Temper creates a brief intermission in our lifelink broadcasting. Fear not, it was only for a brief moment. While of the topic of “brief moments”, that would excellently describe how much longer Evil was alive for before getting his cranium smashed open by Esper Stormblade.