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According to Webster – Innistrad Draft #3

Pack 1 pick 1:
[draft]Slayer of the Wicked
Nightbird’s Clutches
Cellar Door
Ambush Viper
Stitched Drake
Bonds of Faith
Gatstaf Shepherd
Spare from Evil
Mulch
Rally the Peasants
Dream Twist
Mentor of the Meek
Geistflame
Mountain
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft]

This pack is quite stacked; [card slayer of the wicked]Slayer[/card], [card bonds of faith]Bonds[/card], [card mentor of the meek]Mentor[/card], [card]Stitched Drake[/card], [card]Gatstaf Shepherd[/card], and [card]Geistflame[/card] are all quite good. The two best cards are [card]Slayer of the Wicked[/card] and [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card] because they outperform the normal one-for-one cards; both cards will be at least a two-for-one. [card]Slayer of the Wicked[/card] can kill roughly 1/3 of the creatures in the format and generally creates a significant tempo swing in the game. [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card] takes longer to provide card advantage but has a much higher potential than any of the other options. A case could be made to take [card]Gatstaf Shepherd[/card] because it’s the best non-White card and would set up a potential gold mine for pack two, but the argument is flawed because it’s unknown what the drafters to our right are doing; taking the most powerful card is generally correct during the initial picks of the draft. Furthermore, the Shepherd is considerably weaker than the White options; there would be merit if the cards were very close in terms of power-level.

My pick: [draft]Mentor of the Meek[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 2:
[draft]Smite the Monstrous
Screeching Bat
Fiend Hunter
Moonmist
Bramblecrush
Thraben Purebloods
Selhoff Occultist
Furor of the Bitten
Feeling of Dread
Walking Corpse
Spidery Grasp
Swamp
Maw of the Mire
Bitterheart Witch[/draft]

This pick is much easier. [card]Fiend Hunter[/card] is by far the best card. It’s important to be careful when playing with the Hunter because of potential two-for-ones during combat that can be set up by an opposing removal spell.

My pick: [draft]Fiend Hunter[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 3:
[draft]Into the Maw of Hell
Skirsdag Cultist
Stitched Drake
Village Ironsmith
Makeshift Mauler
Spare from Evil
Orchard Spirit
Ghoulcaller’s Bell
Shimmering Grotto
Intangible Virtue
Forest
Maw of the Mire
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft]

Unfortunately there are multiple good cards in two different non-White colors. The Red options are a bit better than the Blue because they are removal spells. [card]Stitched Drake[/card] and [card]Makeshift Mauler[/card] are both excellent creatures and central to the Blue-based graveyard decks, but they aren’t always going to fit well into a deck. For example, it’s much harder to cast [card]Stitched Drake[/card] in a White deck with a lot of flyers unless you’re milling yourself. [card]Into the Maw of Hell[/card] and [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card] are much easier to use than the Blue options because they aren’t as dependent on an underlying theme. [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card] is actually quite good when combined with White because of cards like [card]Doomed Traveler[/card], [card]Elder Cathar[/card], [card]Thraben Sentry[/card], and various uncommons like [card]Mausoleum Guard[/card]. Between the two Red cards, [card]Into the Maw of Hell[/card] will be able to get you out of trouble against the better uncommons and rares that you’ll face, but the Cultist is going to be better against everything else.

My pick: [draft]Skirsdag Cultist[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 4:
[draft]Ghoulcaller’s Chant
Moonmist
Wooden Stake
Crossway Vampire
Selhoff Occultist
Traitorous Blood
Desperate Ravings
Doomed Traveler
Lost in the Mist
Island
Memory’s Journey
One-Eyed Scarecrow[/draft]

There are still some Blue options open but none good enough to lure us away from either Red or White. [card]Crossway Vampire[/card] is the best option for an aggro deck which is where most non-Blue, Red-based decks tend to be. [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] and [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] are the other two options that work out better with the few cards that we already have. The problem with being Red-based is that the creatures are mostly bad whereas White has much better options and is why [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] is the pick. [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] works quite well with the Cultist and Mentor while keeping us White-based. We can always shift our base later on if the signals are pointing that way.

My pick: [draft]Doomed Traveler[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 5:
[draft]Frightful Delusion
Cobbled Wings
Grizzled Outcasts
Elder Cathar
Moonmist
Vampire Interloper
Grave Bramble
Selhoff Occultist
Traitorous Blood
Mountain
Bloodcrazed Neonate[/draft] [card]Bloodcrazed Neonate[/card] seems like it should be good. If [card]Stromkirk Noble[/card] is good so should the Neonate, right? Wrong. The Neonate takes a lot of work to make optimal and will usually involve a sequence of perfectly-timed tricks including removal and Falter effects that come together more rarely than not while also requiring you to run better than your opponent. [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] isn’t as good as [card]Elder Cathar[/card] because the [card]Threaten[/card] is usually only good in a deck that can take advantage of the tempo or has a lot of sacrifice outlets (most of which are not amazing on their own). On the other hand, [card]Elder Cathar[/card] is fine in most White decks will still having the sac-outlet interaction that [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] has.

My pick: [draft]Elder Cathar[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 6:
[draft]Ghoulraiser
Cellar Door
Bump in the Night
Runic Repetition
Spectral Flight
Grimoire of the Dead
Brain Weevil
Rotting Fensnake
Rotting Fensnake
Plains[/draft]

Unfortunately the options here are very unexciting. [card]Grimoire of the Dead[/card] is usually just so, dead in most games. It’s very slow and only playable against controlling decks (usually a milling deck). The other option is [card]Spectral Flight[/card] which could be good if we end up leaving Red in favor of Blue. [card]Spectral Flight[/card] can be fine with most creatures, although it’s specifically good with [card]Invisible Stalker[/card]. [card]Elder Cathar[/card] is also moderately good with the Stalker. Overall it’s more likely that we end up in Blue than Grimoire being good.

My pick: [draft]Spectral Flight[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 7:
[draft]Feral Ridgewolf
Riot Devils
Skaab Goliath
Delver of Secrets
Stromkirk Patrol
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Full Moon’s Rise
Swamp
Ranger’s Guile[/draft] [card]Skaab Goliath[/card] is usually decent in the graveyard decks, but that’s not where we’re at at the moment. Besides the Goliath, there isn’t a strong indication that Blue is open other than the quantity of options in the pick. The Red options aren’t amazing either and are limited to [card]Riot Devils[/card] and [card]Feral Ridgewolf[/card]. The Ridgewolf is the better of the two in this deck because it can potentially hit for a bunch of damage, although that’s rarely how it works in gameplay.

My pick: [draft]Feral Ridgewolf[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 8:
[draft]Night Revelers
Scourge of Geier Reach
Thraben Purebloods
Furor of the Bitten
Brain Weevil
Ancient Grudge
Dream Twist
Plains[/draft] [card]Scourge of Geier Reach[/card] is usually decent because it will often be able to trade for multiple creatures.

My pick: [draft]Scourge of Geier Reach[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 9:
[draft]Nightbird’s Clutches
Cellar Door
Spare from Evil
Mulch
Dream Twist
Mountain
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft] [card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] is another useful tool against the slower decks but not what you’ll want against another aggro deck because more trading will occur.

My pick: [draft]Nightbird’s Clutches[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 10:
[draft]Moonmist
Bramblecrush
Furor of the Bitten
Feeling of Dread
Swamp
Maw of the Mire[/draft] [card]Feeling of Dread[/card] isn’t great without flashback being an option because you don’t get enough value from the card. [card]Furor of the Bitten[/card] is a very narrow card that’s only good in a very aggressive deck. [card]Feeling of Dread[/card] is more likely to be useful but only if we end up in Blue whereas [card]Furor of the Bitten[/card] could make it into the deck if we end up with a ton of Red creatures that need support.

My pick: [draft]Furor of the Bitten[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 11:
[draft]Spare from Evil
Shimmering Grotto
Forest
Maw of the Mire
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Spare from Evil[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 12:
[draft]Ghoulcaller’s Chant
Wooden Stake
Island
Memory’s Journey[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Wooden Stake[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 13:
[draft]Frightful Delusion
Grave Bramble
Mountain[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Frightful Delusion[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 14:
[draft]Bump in the Night
Plains[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Bump in the Night[/draft]

Pack 1 pick 15:
[draft]Swamp[/draft]

The first pack was moderately hostile because Blue seemed like it was more open towards the end than Red and White. Hopefully that’s not the case for the remainder of the draft, and that we are able to settle into a favorable Red/White seat from here on out. We managed to pick up some good cards like [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card], [card]Fiend Hunter[/card], and [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card], but the quality ends there and we’re left with a bunch of chaff. Hopefully the initial pack doesn’t have too much of a negative impact regarding the amount of White that we see in the second pack, but all we can do is hope.

Pack 2 pick 1:
[draft]Spectral Rider
Bonds of Faith
Grizzled Outcasts
Silver-Inlaid Dagger
Moment of Heroism
Murder of Crows
Stromkirk Noble
Fortress Crab
Traveler’s Amulet
Avacyn’s Pilgrim
Armored Skaab
Spidery Grasp
Forest
Manor Skeleton
One-Eyed Scarecrow[/draft] [card]Stromkirk Noble[/card] is one of those cards that will win games on its own if you’re on the play against a fair number of decks, although its value drops significantly after the first few turns. Meanwhile, [card]Bonds of Faith[/card] is always going to be an excellent removal spell that’s useful at every point in the game. There are decks that want the Noble more and usually involve a low curve, but this isn’t one of them.

My pick: [draft]Bonds of Faith[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 2:
[draft]Harvest Pyre
Frightful Delusion
Selfless Cathar
Delver of Secrets
Gallows Warden
Ashmouth Hound
Claustrophobia
Naturalize
Doomed Traveler
Island
Vampiric Fury
Bitterheart Witch
Paraselene
Typhoid Rats[/draft] [card]Harvest Pyre[/card] is usually very mediocre in a deck without Islands or [card]Mulch[/card] because it can be very difficult to make it deal more than two/three damage. [card]Gallows Warden[/card] is the next best pick although it’s nothing amazing due to its high cost.

My pick: [draft]Gallows Warden[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 3:
[draft]Prey Upon
Cobbled Wings
Woodland Sleuth
Midnight Haunting
Tormented Pariah
Pitchburn Devils
Village Bell-Ringer
Demonmail Hauberk
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Silverchase Fox
Brain Weevil
Curse of Oblivion
Forest[/draft] [card]Pitchburn Devils[/card] causes problems for a lot of color combinations because it will often be a natural two-for-one, although it’s on the slow side which is makes it fall short of being amazing. [card]Midnight Haunting[/card] is the best option because flying creatures are difficult to combat in this set; there aren’t many ways to interact with them short of removal. [card]Midnight Haunting[/card] has a significant upside because the power it provides is divided amongst multiple creatures which can be advantageous with equipment and against removal.

My pick: [draft]Midnight Haunting[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 4:
[draft]Victim of Night
Butcher’s Cleaver
Stitcher’s Apprentice
Skaab Goliath
Markov Patrician
Traitorous Blood
Mulch
Somberwald Spider
Curse of Oblivion
Mountain
Rebuke
Typhoid Rats[/draft] [card]Rebuke[/card] is mediocre because it’s difficult to fit into your curve. In decks with a low curve it’s often dead (because you’re aggro) while being uncastable in slower, more controlling decks (because your spells cost too much). [card]Rebuke[/card] is decent in the aggro mirror or in a deck with a lot of evasion creatures that force the opponent to race. Overall, [card]Rebuke[/card] is more difficult to use than it initially appears and will lead to serious leaks in tempo if you skip a turn to hold mana open to cast it while the opponent plays around it. [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] is the best pick because it’s difficult for aggro to race if you have sufficient humans while making your small creatures match up well against a control deck’s larger creatures.

My pick: [draft]Butcher’s Cleaver[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 5:
[draft]Screeching Bat
Vampire Interloper
Urgent Exorcism
Thraben Purebloods
Desperate Ravings
Dissipate
Dream Twist
Corpse Lunge
Island
Gnaw to the Bone
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft]

Our options are pretty bad here: [card]Urgent Exorcism[/card], [card]Thraben Purebloods[/card], [card]Desperate Ravings[/card], and [card]Curse of the Pierced Heart[/card]. All of these cards hide in the sideboard of most decks with [card]Urgent Exorcism[/card] being the more useful candidate against White/Blue decks because of the concentration of spirits along with aura-based removal ([card bonds of faith]Bonds[/card]/[card]Claustrophobia[/card]/[card]Sensory Deprivation[/card]).

My pick: [draft]Urgent Exorcism[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 6:
[draft]Nightbird’s Clutches
Mask of Avacyn
Makeshift Mauler
Markov Patrician
Stromkirk Patrol
Moment of Heroism
Scourge of Geier Reach
Infernal Plunge
Feeling of Dread
Forest[/draft] [card]Moment of Heroism[/card] is usually pretty good for the same reasons why [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] is good although it doesn’t have the long-term reusability value attached to it. A second [card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] is unnecessary because we aren’t extremely aggressive. [card]Mask of Avacyn[/card] is another card that can be very useful (although it’s very slow) because shroud is another difficult ability to fight against. When combined with a flyer/large creature, the Mask will cause a lot of trouble for the opponent. However, against most decks the Mask is a bit too slow and only useful when combating certain specific cards and/or protecting specific creatures. A second [card]Scourge of Geier Reach[/card] is going to be the best because it requires the least from our deck to be a reasonable creature compared to the other cards.

My pick: [draft]Scourge of Geier Reach[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 7:
[draft]Ghoulcaller’s Chant
Unruly Mob
Village Bell-Ringer
Ashmouth Hound
Caravan Vigil
Infernal Plunge
Lantern Spirit
Plains
Memory’s Journey[/draft] [card]Ashmouth Hound[/card] is fine, but it’s not suited for our deck as well as [card]Village Bell-Ringer[/card]. The deck has a curve that’s higher than normal with no two-drops while also having a [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] and other cards that take advantage of a long game ([card]Mentor of the Meek[/card]).

My pick: [draft]Village Bell-Ringer[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 8:
[draft]Frightful Delusion
Elder Cathar
Forbidden Alchemy
Wooden Stake
Curse of the Nightly Hunt
Hollowhenge Scavenger
Walking Corpse
Plains[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Elder Cathar[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 9:
[draft]Silver-Inlaid Dagger
Moment of Heroism
Fortress Crab
Traveler’s Amulet
Forest
Manor Skeleton
One-Eyed Scarecrow[/draft]

There’s nothing that we want to splash at the moment which makes [card]Traveler’s Amulet[/card] not as attractive as our other options. [card]Silver-Inlaid Dagger[/card] is a reasonable option because most of our small creatures are human and it will make it easier for them to attack through larger opposing creatures. However, our deck won’t need as much help against a control deck compared to an aggro one which is where [card]Moment of Heroism[/card] will perform better than the Dagger; [card]Moment of Heroism[/card] has useful functionality against control decks as well.

My pick: [draft]Moment of Heroism[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 10:
[draft]Frightful Delusion
Delver of Secrets
Island
Vampiric Fury
Bitterheart Witch
Paraselene[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Delver of Secrets[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 11:
[draft]Cobbled Wings
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Brain Weevil
Curse of Oblivion
Forest[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Curse of the Bloody Tome[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 12:
[draft]Traitorous Blood
Mulch
Curse of Oblivion
Mountain[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Traitorous Blood[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 13:
[draft]Thraben Purebloods
Dissipate
Island[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Dissipate[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 14:
[draft]Stromkirk Patrol
Forest[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Forest[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 15:
[draft]Plains[/draft]

The second pack wasn’t exciting, but that was to be expected after we had passed [card]Bonds of Faith[/card] and [card]Slayer of the Wicked[/card] in pack one. However, we still managed to open well enough and pick up some decent cards like [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] and Midnight Haunting. Blue still seems like it could support another drafter but it’s going to be difficult to switch into with only one pack left to go; if we don’t have any good options we should consider moving in.

Pack 3 pick 1:
[draft]Feral Ridgewolf
Avacynian Priest
Stitched Drake
Mask of Avacyn
Altar’s Reap
Instigator Gang
Unburial Rites
Grave Bramble
Intangible Virtue
Plains
Gruesome Deformity
Grimgrin, Corpse-Born
Rolling Temblor
Manor Skeleton
Bloodcrazed Neonate[/draft] [card]Instigator Gang[/card] is quite good because it turns every creature you have into a significant threat. [card]Avacynian Priest[/card] is also good, but it doesn’t dominate the board as well as the Gang.

My pick: [draft]Instigator Gang[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 2:
[draft]Ghoulraiser
Silent Departure
Riot Devils
Grizzled Outcasts
Inquisitor’s Flail
Elder Cathar
Forbidden Alchemy
Altar’s Reap
Moan of the Unhallowed
Endless Ranks of the Dead
Abbey Griffin
Somberwald Spider
Grasp of Phantoms
Plains[/draft]

This pick is far less exciting for us with only a third [card]Elder Cathar[/card] or [card]Abbey Griffin[/card] for us. Alternatively we could take [card]Grasp of Phantoms[/card] or [card]Silent Departure[/card] and try to splash it, but that’s less of an option because we’re heavy White with many of our Red spells being double-colored. [card]Abbey Griffin[/card] is usually not great because it doesn’t defend well in addition to being inferior to the other common flyers ([card]Chapel Geist[/card], [card]Voiceless Spirit[/card], etc.), however we don’t have many flyers at the moment which makes the Griffin slightly more appealing. [card]Elder Cathar[/card] has the added bonus of being human, and thus working better with [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] (and also [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card]). The synergy that the Cathar has with the rest of the deck is going to better than the defensive potential of the Griffin against other flyers.

My pick: [draft]Elder Cathar[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 3:
[draft]Nightbird’s Clutches
Stitcher’s Apprentice
Stitched Drake
Cloistered Youth
Make a Wish
Bump in the Night
Makeshift Mauler
Curiosity
Mulch
Traveler’s Amulet
Runechanter’s Pike
Mountain
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft] [card]Cloistered Youth[/card] is quite good when combined with a non-defensive deck and a few tricks like pump spells because it’s a very cheap threat that’s also moderately large. [card]Cloistered Youth[/card] will be able to beat through most defenses without needing much help.

My pick: [draft]Cloistered Youth[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 4:
[draft]Ghoulraiser
Feral Ridgewolf
Riot Devils
Cloistered Youth
Make a Wish
Altar’s Reap
Kindercatch
Curse of the Bloody Tome
Spectral Flight
Hamlet Captain
Rotting Fensnake
Forest[/draft]

A second [card]Cloistered Youth[/card] is more than welcome especially when considering that it’s helping fill out the low-end of our curve.

My pick: [draft]Cloistered Youth[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 5:
[draft]Silent Departure
Sharpened Pitchfork
Sensory Deprivation
Tormented Pariah
Inquisitor’s Flail
Bump in the Night
Makeshift Mauler
Moment of Heroism
Rooftop Storm
Forest
Night Terrors[/draft] [card]Sharpened Pitchfork[/card] is moderately good in our deck, but it doesn’t help a lot of our creatures attack through four-toughness defenders. [card]Moment of Heroism[/card] is a better choice because not only does it help solve the aforementioned problem, but it also doubles as being an excellent utility spells against other aggro decks.

My pick: [draft]Moment of Heroism[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 6:
[draft]Ghost Quarter
Skeletal Grimace
Unruly Mob
Bump in the Night
Mirror-Mad Phantasm
Ancient Grudge
Ghoulcaller’s Bell
Mountain
Mountain
Gruesome Deformity[/draft] [card]Unruly Mob[/card] isn’t very useful most of the time because it requires a deck with a lot of creatures in addition to being on the Battlefield early. Additionally, the Mob doesn’t attack/block well at all until it has grown to at least a 3/3 and won’t work unless the opponent is being forced to trade a lot and also has small creatures.

My pick: [draft]Mirror-Mad Phantasm[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 7:
[draft]Ghoulraiser
Silent Departure
Riot Devils
Inquisitor’s Flail
Forbidden Alchemy
Altar’s Reap
Somberwald Spider
Grasp of Phantoms
Swamp[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Grasp of Phantoms[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 8:
[draft]Ghoulcaller’s Chant
Trepanation Blade
Wooden Stake
Crossway Vampire
Doomed Traveler
Lost in the Mist
Swamp
Ranger’s Guile[/draft]

It’s unlikely that our deck will be able to effectively utilize the tempo granted by [card]Crossway Vampire[/card] whereas a second [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] is going to be at home with our [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card], [card]Mentor of the Meek[/card], [card]Instigator Gang[/card], and [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card].

My pick: [draft]Doomed Traveler[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 9:
[draft]Feral Ridgewolf
Mask of Avacyn
Grave Bramble
Intangible Virtue
Plains
Gruesome Deformity
Manor Skeleton[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Mask of Avacyn[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 10:
[draft]Riot Devils
Inquisitor’s Flail
Forbidden Alchemy
Altar’s Reap
Endless Ranks of the Dead
Plains[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Forbidden Alchemy[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 11:
[draft]Nightbird’s Clutches
Stitcher’s Apprentice
Bump in the Night
Mountain
Curse of the Pierced Heart[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Nightbird’s Clutches[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 12:
[draft]Feral Ridgewolf
Make a Wish
Spectral Flight
Forest[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Spectral Flight[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 13:
[draft]Tormented Pariah
Bump in the Night
Forest[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Tormented Pariah[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 14:
[draft]Skeletal Grimace
Mountain[/draft]

My pick: [draft]Skeletal Grimace[/draft]

Pack 3 pick 15:
[draft]Swamp[/draft]

The last pack mirrored the first two: mediocre on average along with opening a pretty sweet card. Blue was definitely the color to be in and not Red, although in the beginning the Red cards were pairing better with our White than the Blue would have. From our seat, which was being fed White and Blue, we would have needed to prioritize a way to take advantage of the Blue Zombie creatures that we saw being fed nonstop to us. [card]Stitched Drake[/card], [card]Makeshift Mauler[/card], and [card]Skaab Goliath[/card] are good, but they require cards like [card]Armored Skaab[/card] and [card]Forbidden Alchemy[/card] to work efficiently (and to a lesser extent [card]Deranged Assistant[/card] and [card]Selhoff Occultist[/card]), and it’s difficult to have one group be effective without the other. Without the graveyard enablers we’d be unable to summon our zombies unless we could fill our graveyard via combat. Even though Blue was wide open in pack three (and to a lesser extent pack two), it wasn’t as clear in the first pack when we were still looking for a solid footing; unfortunately we made the wrong choice.

The draft wasn’t a total disaster, but it was quite evident that we passed up what would have been a good Blue deck. Nevertheless, we should be able to manage to scrape together a deck that should be able to 2-1 a normal pod.

We’ve got a few cards that are automatically going to be in our deck; they include the following list of twenty-one (21) cards:

[deck]2 Doomed Traveler
2 Cloistered Youth
3 Elder Cathar
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Village Bell-Ringer
1 Instigator Gang
1 Skirsdag Cultist
1 Tormented Pariah
1 Gallows Warden
2 Scourge of Geier Reach
1 Bonds of Faith
2 Moment of Heroism
1 Butcher’s Cleaver
1 Midnight Haunting[/deck]

The deck will be a bit slow out of the gates if it doesn’t have a [card]Cloistered Youth[/card] on turn two, and as a result that makes [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] a bit better because it will be able to help swing the game tempo into our favor; [card]Moment of Heroism[/card] will also function similarly to [card]Doomed Traveler[/card] but have a broader use overall.

There are thirteen humans in the deck to make [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] awesome, although [card]Cloistered Youth[/card] is non-human once it flips and isn’t very resilient otherwise. However, the Cleaver will still be fine with the two youths excluded.

The remaining slots can are most likely to be filled with utility spells because the only other creature remaining is a [card]Feral Ridgewolf[/card]; the cards include the following:

[deck]1 Feral Ridgewolf
1 Furor of the Bitten
1 Mask of Avacyn
2 Nightbirds Clutches
1 Spare from Evil
1 Urgent Exorcism
1 Wooden Stake
1 Traitorous Blood[/deck]

It’s easy to see that the options aren’t great here. The Ridgewolf is fine, but would be much better if we had something like a [card]Sharpened Pitchfork[/card] to ensure that it doesn’t die in combat. The closest option to a Pitchfork is the [card]Mask of Avacyn[/card] which is fine, but is a bit slow as was mentioned earlier.

[card]Spare from Evil[/card] is better when combined with large creatures, but unfortunately we don’t have any [card]Thraben Sentry[/card] and are solely reliant on the two [card]Scourge of Geier Reach[/card] and [card]Instigator Gang[/card]. Smaller creatures won’t necessarily be able to have sufficient power to kill whatever is blocking them, and as a result [card]Spare from Evil[/card] will lose a lot of its value.

[card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] and [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] are both underwhelming also, the Blood more than the Clutches because the deck lacks sufficient two-drops to create sufficient early pressure to the point of utilize either trick as effectively as possible. [card]Traitorous Blood[/card] is the most out of place of the two because it has less impact on the game; the Clutches can be used in two attacks while the Blood is good for only one. We do have the [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card], but it’s the only sacrifice outlet and isn’t consistent enough to warrant including the Threaten. [card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] is one of the reasonable choices, although mediocre as I already said, because its usefulness will be matchup dependent.

[card]Urgent Exorcism[/card] is almost always a sideboard card baring passing a high number of spirits/enchantments that you’re likely to play against. In most games there are rarely more than two targets it.

The best two choices are [card]Mask of Avacyn[/card] and [card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card]. The equipment will create favorable power/toughness matchups for our creatures while protecting them against tricks while we use our tricks ([card]Elder Cathar[/card]/[card]Moment of Heroism[/card]). The [card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] and two [card]Moment of Heroism[/card]s should give us enough of an advantage in the aggro matchup to the point where we can focus on the control matchup (where [card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] will be the most useful).

Deck:
[deck]2 Doomed Traveler
2 Cloistered Youth
3 Elder Cathar
1 Fiend Hunter
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Village Bell-Ringer
1 Instigator Gang
1 Skirsdag Cultist
1 Tormented Pariah
1 Gallows Warden
2 Scourge of Geier Reach
1 Bonds of Faith
1 Mask of Avacyn
2 Moment of Heroism
1 Nightbird’s Clutches
1 Butcher’s Cleaver
1 Midnight Haunting
7 Mountain
10 Plains
Sideboard:
1 Feral Ridgewolf
1 Furor of the Bitten
1 Nightbird’s Clutches
1 Traitorous Instinct
1 Spare from Evil
1 Urgent Exorcism
1 Wooden Stake
1 Bump in the Night
1 Skeletal Grimace
1 Delver of Secrets
1 Mirror-Mad Phantasm
2 Spectral Flight
1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
1 Forbidden Alchemy
1 Frightful Delusion
1 Dissipate
1 Grasp of Phantoms[/deck]

Unfortunately we met a formidable adversary in the finals and lost round 3 (*shakes fist* soooo many mulligans!) In any case, the deck performed quite well considering what we had to work with.

[card]Doomed Traveler[/card] was quite good because of the incredible synergy with Skirsdag Cultist and Butcher’s Cleaver.

[card]Cloistered Youth[/card] was also quite good, although that may be clear to many of you; two-mana 3/3’s are pretty nice given the right deck shell is built around them.

[card]Mentor of the Meek[/card] was amazing and won all the games that it survived (a few).

[card]Elder Cathar[/card] was only fine and never exceptional. They pumped some other humans at times, but it never felt like I was cheating in any sort of way; it was just fair.

[card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card] was an all-star thanks to its supporting cast of two [card]Doomed Traveler[/card]s, three [card]Elder Cathar[/card]s, and [card]Midnight Haunting[/card]. Without a lot of cheap creatures the Cultist is still quite good, although it’s much easier to run out of gas.

[card]Mask of Avacyn[/card] was only okay. There were some situations where it was used in tandem with [card]Moment of Heroism[/card], and knowing that the possibility of falling victim to a two-for-one had been eliminated certainly played a role in the setup of the play. The Mask definitely has a unique quality to it that’s valuable at times, although it isn’t always for the maindeck.

[card]Nightbird’s Clutches[/card] wasn’t terribly useful. It was still used to setup a game win in one of the rounds, but often it got sideboarded out because it was out of place for the matchup. If the deck had been faster, then the case would be different.

[card]Butcher’s Cleaver[/card] was quite good; it made the small spirits and humans very difficult to combat profitably.

[card]Midnight Haunting[/card] was also quite good; it ambushed many one-toughness flyers and provided a threat that the opponent hadn’t planned to deal with when they decided what their line of play was going to be.

[card]Traitorous Instinct[/card] was the all-star sideboard card that was brought in almost every round. There were a lot of problematic creatures to deal with and some of the games would go on for a while to the point where drawing both the [card]Threaten[/card] and [card]Skirsdag Cultist[/card] became realistic.

Happy Drafting.

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