Draft Digest: A Gift Appears!

You know, Ross could use a mundane pack this week, but since it’s almost Christmas, it stands to reason he should use a good one! And this is, in fact, a good one…

Happy holidays! ‘Tis the season for giving so today’s draft has a little extra spice to brighten everyone’s mood and get us all in the holiday spirit. I could be the strict parent and make you wait until the appropriate time to open your present, but just this once, let’s tear into it like a wild animal. After all, I’m in a charitable mood.

Pack 1, Pick 1

The pack:

The pick:

A bomb rare! How lucky! I never would’ve predicted that. Every draft begins with the hope of opening a sweet rare, and most of the time those hopes are dashed. As such, it may be tempting to simply slam the rare when given a chance, but it’s important to look at the rest of the pack and make an informed pick.

In this case, the Skyship Stalker is rivaled by two powerful uncommons in Arborback Stomper and Unlicensed Disintegration. The latter is fairly easy to eliminate as a first pick because there’s no appreciable gain in power level to justify committing to a second color so early.

Arborback Stomper is not to be underestimated and I would be happy to first-pick one in any draft. It’s certainly better than Skyship Stalker when behind because the life cushion is so important then, but without any evasion, it’s the much easier threat to contain. Ultimately I’ll side with the aggressive threat that can win a game when left unanswered, although I could see an argument for the uncommon if someone particularly prefers green or defensive decks. Why anyone would prefer blocking to attacking is another story.

Pack 2, Pick 1

Take a minute to review the first pack of picks before opening your second pack (see, I told you tearing into your present was a one-time deal).

You’ll see we have a pretty nice little R/G deck brewing, with the option to shift into blue should the need arise.

The next pack:

The next pick:

With that in mind, there are several good options in this pack, most of which are very synergy-oriented. Fabrication Module, Armorcraft Judge, and Panharmonicon all exploit the energy and +1/+1 counter synergies in the set, and we have the option of Thriving Rhino as a safe choice.

I’m inclined to take a risk here, since our deck looks to be shaping up to exploit one of the first three options, but the question is which one. Fabrication Module and Panharmonicon have the highest upside, but both are significant tempo sinks, since it takes a while for them to significantly affect the battlefield.

Tempo being more important in Draft than Sealed, I’m leaning toward the Armorcraft Judge as a reasonable body that could easily draw one, two, or even three cards. The card is basically Santa Claus, judging how nice you’ve been to your creatures and rewarding you accordingly. And you can’t pass on a flavor win like that.