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Owen’s a Win – MOCS Draft

This past weekend I played in a Magic Online Sealed Deck tournament called the Magic Online Championship Series appreciation event. If you had earned 35 or more QPs in a month in which the MOCS was supposed to be run, but was not because of the poor servers crashing all the time, you were invited to this event. It’s a nice gesture by Magic Online to still place some kind of value on QPs. I know I wasn’t out there trying to grind them in the hopes of getting something, but previously I would have at least gotten to play in the MOCS and since that has been discontinued I now get nothing. This was a 159-person Sealed Deck tournament of experienced, high-volume MTGO players—so a high level of competition. I went 7-1 in the Swiss portion with this pool:

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The draft was really weird to say the least, and I don’t know if I drafted absolutely correctly but I tried my best and I liked my final deck.

Journey into Nyx

Pack 1 pick 1:

 

My pick: Feast of Dreams

This pick is relatively straightforward. I think black is great and one of the best colors and I will do everything in my power to be black if I can control it. War-Wing Siren is the next best card in the pack and it is a very good card, but I have had poor experiences with it in any color combination except exactly blue/white. Feast of Dreams is excellent and a great way to start a draft, I have heard some people refer to Feast of Dreams as less like a Terminate and more like a Disenchant, but I am firmly in the Terminate camp. It can be weak but it’s really strong more often than it’s dead and the upside is there.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My pick: Daring Thief

I could see an argument here for Gnarled Scarhide or Nyx Infusion and I could even see an argument against Daring Theif because I have already passed a pack with War-Wing Siren and Hubris, and once I pass this pack I will also be passing a Sigiled Starfish—but Daring Thief is just far too powerful a card to pass this early in a draft. Daring Thief is better than any non-rare card and one of the best rares in the set, additionally it’s worth noting that blue is only mediocre in Born of the Gods while it is insane in Theros so passing good blue doesn’t matter nearly as much as getting passed good blue.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My pick: Magma Spray

This pack is atrocious—just a weak pack with very few good option in any color. I could take Font of Fortunes here and try to stay the blue route but I just don’t like that card very much in draft, I prefer to be as aggressive as possible and have a streamlined, low-curve deck if possible. I took Magma Spray here in the hopes that it was a signal for red to be open and I wasn’t missing out on much to speculate early.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My pick: Launch the Fleet

Another nightmare pack. Not very many quality high picks and there is no card I would be happy to have in a color I am already committed to. I strongly dislike Crystalline Nautilus and I avoid it at all costs. In the end I took Launch the Fleet for similar reasons behind my Magma Spray pick, this draft isn’t going great and there isn’t a clear color for me, so I am taking the best card in the pack in the hopes of soon discovering which colors are the most open and jumping into them. Launch the Fleet isn’t great, but in a dedicated heroic deck it can be sweet and I felt that other players at the table may view it as a great card, if one of the three players to my right was white surely they would have taken it by now.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My pick: Pharika’s Chosen

The best card in this pack is Satyr Grovedancer and it’s the only color I am not. I took Pharika’s Chosen and it wasn’t a very tough decision. This is probably the first pick of the draft about which there can’t be much debate.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My pick: Oreskos Swiftclaw

All right not bad. A solid two-drop in the color I felt had a chance to actually be open. I like Orsekos Swiftclaw more than most and in a Launch the Fleet deck any two-drop is a welcome addition.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My pick: Aspect of Gorgon

Aspect of Gorgon is mediocre but it can be a solid role player in a heroic-based aggressive deck. I will say that when Aspect of Gorgon is unanswered it’s a pretty legitimate threat and I only dislike it for the times your creature is killed and you get 2-fo-1’d. I prefer it to Deserter’s Quarters if I think I end up aggressive even half the time.

Pack 1 pick 8:

My pick: Underworld Coinsmith

Things seem to be shaping up, Underworld Coinsmith is a very good card and it compares reasonably to Scholar of Atheros in its ability to close out the game quickly in a board stall. The ability is less powerful but it has a sweet passive ability and it’s all tacked on a Grizzly Bears so you can curve out in the meantime. At this point I also thought I might end up to be black/white so getting a card like this gave me a little direction.

Pack 1 pick 9:

My pick: Oppressive Rays

Not a great card but if I end up with a constellation theme or with a ton of two-mana creatures it could end up being a fine card.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My pick: Harvestguard Alseids

Extremely late playable and welcome addition to my deck. More cheap white creatures and incentive to play enchantments and trigger constellation.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My pick: Eidolon of Rhetoric

A mediocre card but solidly a card I would consider playing.

Pack 1 pick 12:

My pick: Font of Vigor

Sure.

Pack 1 pick 13:

My pick: Countermand

Pack 1 pick 14:

My pick: Returned Reveler

Pack 1 pick 15:

Born of the Gods

Pack 2 pick 1:

My pick: Bolt of Keranos

This pick was ugly. If I forced myself to take a black or white card here I would have added a God-Favored General to my pile which is barely playable. I took Bolt of Keranos because it’s a very good, first-pickable card, I already had a Magma Spray, and I had reason to be white while not a huge reason to be black. Lastly I passed very little red and the red cards in Born of the Gods are totally insane. If I were going to be passed multiple copies of Bolt of Keranos, Fall of the Hammer, or Kragma Butcher, I would be happy to have those be some of the only red cards in my deck at the end of the draft.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My pick: Vanguard of Brimaz

I knew at this point I was going to be white and Vanguard of Brimaz is great with Launch the Fleet and many other cards I could good. A great two-drop in a white heroic deck which is where I was trying to end up.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My pick: Hold at Bay

This pack made me very sad. I could have taken Ashiok’s Adept or Weight of the Underworld but I didn’t know if I was going to end up playing any of my black card. I could have taken Nyxborn Rollicker, but I wasn’ sure if I would be red. I took Hold at Bay because I think it’s a fine card to have in a white-based heroic deck and I felt that if I would be scraping for playables at least I would get this instead of the possibility of taking a card that would not end up in my deck. When I waffle back and forth like I have been this draft I like to pick my base color and just prioritize cards of that color above all else, so worst case scenario I will have enough cards in one color and only splash a few of another.

Pack 2 pick 4:

My pick: Asphyxiate

4th pick Asphyxiate seems like a pretty nice signal that black may be open. Nyxborn Sheildmate was a consideration but Asphyxiate seemed far too good to pass up and I had a reason to want to play black. Arbiter of the Ideal is a great rare but the blue ship sailed long ago.

Pack 2 pick 5:

My pick: Necrobite

Necrobite is a highly underrated combat trick and a card that makes almost all my black decks unless I’m dedicated to a control strategy. I feel strongly that it is a better pick than Revoke Existence. Ephara’s Enlightenment is a bit of a tease here, blue/white Heroic would have worked out nicely if I had started with the War-Wing Siren but hindsight is 20-20.

Pack 2 pick 6:

My pick: Asphyxiate

Bingo! I think I would always take Asphyxiate over Drown in Sorrow no matter what the other cards in my black deck were. Looks like the black gambit is finally paying off.

Pack 2 pick 7:

My pick: Felhide Brawler

It’s possible I should have taken Revoke Existence here but I don’t usually maindeck enchantment removal in draft if I don’t have to and Felhide Brawler is a reasonable creature if you just need a two-drop. By this point in the draft my deck was extremely low curve and I had tons of good creatures so I felt there was a chance I could play a 16-land beatdown deck. That is a deck that doesn’t mind a Brawler.

Pack 2 pick 8:

My pick: Ghostblade Eidolon

A wonderful late pickup, white seems open after all.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My pick: Temple of Malice

It’s possible I should have taken Eye Gouge here as I did not end up playing with the Temple of Malice. That said my deck needs to be pretty aggressive to want to leave a scry land in the sideboard. In general scry lands are pretty great even when off-color.

Pack 2 pick 10:

My pick: Servant of Tymaret

Servant of Tymaret is so much better than Elite Skirmisher to the point that I will defer to card quality over possible synergy with my deck. Plus passing a Servant of Tymaret this late means possibly getting less black in Theros.

Pack 2 pick 11:

My pick: Warchanter of Mogis

Pack 2 pick 12:

My pick: Dawn to Dusk

A fine reason to not take cards like Revoke Existence high is that you can get similar cards much later, and that’s saying nothing about the fact that occasionally Dawn to Dusk is way better.

Pack 2 pick 13:

My pick: Warchanter of Mogis

Pack 2 pick 14:

My pick: Reckless Reveler

Pack 2 pick 15:

Theros

Pack 3 pick 1:

My pick: Baleful Eidolon

I took Baleful Eidolon here because I felt like my deck needed both more cheap creatures and more ways to trigger heroic. Scholar of Athreos is much better and more powerful, but I knew there was a really strong possibility that it would wheel. I got Underworld Coinsmith 6th pick in the first pack, so it would stand to reason there isn’t someone in the draft playing exactly black and white.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My pick: Wingsteed Rider

Not much to see here as Wingsteed Rider is the best white common and a great card for my deck. Insatiable Harpy is a thought since I have so few ways to trigger heroic but with almost a full booster left to get Ordeals the Wingsteed Rider gets the nod here, as it often does.

Pack 3 pick 3:

My pick: Traveling Philosopher

This pack is pretty bad for me and pretty great for everyone else. With Voyage’s End in blue, Nemesis of Mortals in green, and Lightning Strike in red I get the short end of the stick but I still like Traveling Philosopher for my deck.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My pick: Dauntless Onslaught

Dauntless Onslaught is near bomb territory and even better in a deck craving ways to trigger heroic. I might be doing something correctly by this point in the draft.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My pick: Observant Alseid

Observant Alseid is amazing and a slam dunk pick here. The Battlewise Hoplite would have gone well with the Ephara’s Enlightenment and other great blue/white cards I’ve passed, but I like my deck and I still get a nice card here.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My pick: Wingsteed Rider

I like that!

Pack 3 pick 7:

My pick: Ray of Dissolution

I am a huge fan of Ray of Dissolution which I realize may sound odd after I’ve been saying how much I dislike Revoke Existence. The fact that the Ray is an instant opens up the possibility of it being used as a combat trick, and gaining 3 life is huge.

Pack 3 pick 8:

 

My pick: Vanquish the Foul

Vanquish the Foul is a very nice sideboard card but one I try my best not to put in my maindeck. Six casting cost conditional removal is as weak as it sounds but if your opponent has a card like Forgestoker Dragon it’s going to do the trick all the same.

Pack 3 pick 9:

My pick: Scholar of Athreos

Awesome.

Pack 3 pick 10:

My pick: Disciple of Phenax

I’m a huge fan of Disciple of Phenax and I don’t think it should be in your sideboard ever if you’re base black.

Pack 3 pick 11:

My pick: March of the Returned

Pack 3 pick 12:

My pick: Fleshmad Steed

Last Breath is a fine card but I plan to start this Steed.

Pack 3 pick 13:

My pick: Felhide Minotaur

Pack 3 pick 14:

My pick: Stymied Hopes

Pack 3 pick 15:

My final deck was pretty nice:

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I don’t know if I should have ended up blue/white, but my deck would have been slightly better if I did. This could be the product of multiple good gold cards being opened for that deck or because other blue players were taking cards over all those Sudden Storms I saw, but who knows. I know that I got a 4th and 6th pick Asphyxiate which are insanely good, so at worst I was able to cobble together a fine deck and I did make an effort to go blue by taking the Daring Thief. I just don’t think I saw the right cards early. I ended up going 3-0 with the deck, but this was in large part due to me having a good curve almost every game I played and some timely mana-screws for my opponents—but having a fast good curve does help you best take advantage of it.

So, how did I draft? I’d love to hear in the comment section.

Owen Turtenwald
qazwsxedcrfvtgbyhnuj on Magic Online
OwenTweetenwald on Twitter

P.S.
If you’re going to be at GP Chicago feel free to see me doing a live panel for the show Planes Talkers on Friday at 8 p.m.!

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