Sun Titan is an obvious pick here. I’ve actually noticed a trend in M11 that the first pick of drafts are usually not very hard. I guess the
density of uncommons and rares that just always get picked is high enough that dilemmas like Doom Blade vs. Pacifism don’t come up that often.
Looking through the pack it seems like the other two white cards should get picked before it gets back to us as well as the two blue and two
green cards and Child of Night. Unless we get lucky and someone picks Nether Horror or Berserkers of Blood Rage or maybe Warlord’s Axe over one of
I can’t bring myself to pick Inspired Charge third pick. It just isn’t powerful enough outside of the really low-curve white deck and we don’t
really seem to be drafting that deck so far. I dismiss Spined Wurm mostly because of passing the Packleader the pack before and Stormtide
Leviathan is just a little too expensive for my taste. It’s a good finisher in an already established slow control deck but I’m hesitant to pick it
up before I know that that’s the deck I’m drafting.
This leaves us with Mana Leak Howling Banshee and Child of Night. While W/B isn’t that exciting I’ve found myself losing to it many times in this
format. I guess solid white creatures and black removal isn’t that bad even though the mana is usually pretty bad. I figured this was a good time
to try out drafting it since the Banshee is just better than Mana Leak and black also has Quag Sickness that goes great with Sun Titan.
Fourth-pick Pacifism is a real gift.
And white keeps coming. As usual green cards are also plentiful but there’s no way I’m jumping on that train after passing the previous green
I’d rather pass everything that isn’t white than hate-draft something that I probably want to play against anyway.
Another nice late gift here. At this point it’s starting to look like I might be able to draft mono-white.
And apparently no one except for me is drafting a low-curve white deck. Getting ninth-pick Lions and eleventh-pick Charge is why you draft this
Doom Blade is a better card than Effigy but the value of staying in white more than makes up for this.
I almost took too long deciding on this pick. The choice is between Whispersilk Cloak and War Priest of Thune and I still don’t know if I picked
the right card. White decks desperately need the low-curve creatures and it’s virtually impossible to have too many. The Cloak is also pretty good
in this kind of deck since you’re often ahead in the race and can use the Cloak to seal the deal. In the end I figured I could get a more
streamlined deck taking the War Priest and hopefully pick up Infantry Veterans Excommunicates and such to break through.
Serra Ascendant isn’t a very exciting card but just playing a creature on turn 1 is pretty powerful in a deck with two Inspired Charges. Also the
other options in white either don’t fit the deck at all (Roc Egg) or they’re cards that’ll wheel anyway.
Another terrible pack for me; I almost picked the Strongbox but it’s just such an awful card for the deck I’m drafting.
At this point it feels like I’m somehow getting cut in white which seems unlikely given the cards passed in pack 1. Not much to do though; I pick
the card that I might play if I have to play black to get enough playables.
Guess we aren’t really getting cut in white after all.
This pack was probably really sick to start out but still getting this choice eighth pick and nothing relevant picks 4-6 is annoying. I like
Stormfront Pegasus much more than Assault Griffin in any deck that isn’t just splashing white.
Like I said before putting a creature into play on turn 1 is really powerful in a deck like this one. I did think about picking the Assault
Griffin to try to wheel the Vanguard but with only those two white cards in the pack I couldn’t see that happening.
1 Assault Griffin
2 Cloud Crusader
1 Elite Vanguard
1 Palace Guard
1 Serra Ascendant
1 Siege Mastodon
1 Silvercoat Lion
2 Stormfront Pegasus
1 Sun Titan
1 War Priest of Thune
1 White Knight
2 Wild Griffin
1 Ajani’s Mantra
2 Holy Strength
1 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Safe Passage
1 Solemn Offering
1 Tireless Missionaries
1 Howling Banshee
2 Stabbing Pain
1 Volcanic Strength
1 Back to Nature
1 Prized Unicorn
1 Yavimaya Wurm
1 Kraken’s Eye
1 Voltaic Key
Not the best example of the mono-white beatdown deck. It felt like the packs were a bit unkind to me or maybe there were more white drafters out
there than I thought there were. I failed to get any Infantry Veterans and had to play a few cards that are pretty bad in this kind of deck (Palace
Guard Siege Mastodon).
Also while Sun Titan is still a ridiculous card it isn’t best in a deck like this one.
I draw Brittle Effigy to take care of a Harbor Serpent which keeps the beatdown going but he finally stabilizes at three life with Air Servant
Wall of Frost and Triskelion. My Overseer is still growing though and Sun Titan gives me a free re-buy of War Priest to take out the second Ice
Cage. Titan gets killed by Diminish + Triskelion but in the end my 7/7 Overseer first kills my opponent’s creatures and then him.
I sideboard in one Holy Strength for Palace Guard as another way to get rid of his Ice Cages. The second game is anticlimactic though since he
mulligans to four and does nothing but play lands against my curve of Silvercoat Lion Wild Griffin Cloud Crusader War Priest and Wild Griffin.
I win the die roll and keep two Plains Wild Griffin Excommunicate Cloud Crusader Inspired Charge and Siege Mastodon. Not the best of hands
but most of my non-land draws are cheap creatures so even if I stall on land I can probably play creatures.
I can attack with Siege Mastodon Wild Griffin and Stormfront Pegasus and then cast Inspired Charge assuming he’ll block the Pegasus with
Spitfire. If he has Lightning Bolt however (which isn’t unlikely given that he just cast Foresee) I’ll get blown out so I go for the safe play –
just attacking with Siege Mastodon and casting a Cloud Crusader.
Next turn my opponent plays his sixth land and Inferno Titan killing my two small fliers. I topdeck Brittle Effigy for the Titan and Siege
Mastodon keeps bringing the beats. I get him down pretty low and he’s forced to trade two creatures for my Mastodon but my board is down to only
Cloud Crusader and Warlord’s Axe when he draws and plays Air Servant with eight mana on the board.
I draw two fliers in a row that keep his mana occupied but I can’t draw spells forever and after drawing some extra cards with Sorcerer’s
Strongbox he adds more creatures including a second Air Servant. Once he starts attacking I soon die.
I keep three Plains Silvercoat Lion Stormfront Pegasus Excommunicate and Assault Griffin on the play. My turn 2 Pegasus is matched (well not
really) by a Goblin Piker and on turn 3 I play Silvercoat Lion. He doesn’t attack with Piker and adds nothing to the board.
On the draw I mulligan three Plains Mighty Leap two Inspired Charge and Siege Mastodon. While this hand does have three lands it just doesn’t
do anything. I can’t allow his deck the time to set up so this was a very easy decision.
I keep four Plains Elite Vanguard and Wild Griffin which also isn’t great but better than a random five-card hand. My Vanguard gets answered by
Maritime Guard and Azure Drake keeps my fliers at bay and he also drops Air Servant.
I draw Warlord’s Axe that almost could’ve made a game out of it by making all my crappy dudes relevant again but he has Combust for the first one
and a combination of Thunder Strike and Diminish to put me so behind that I can’t possibly race. I have a two-turn window to draw Brittle Effigy
but I don’t and that’s the game.
Game 1 of the semifinals was one of those games that it felt like I should’ve won. I did make a judgment call that didn’t work out (not attacking
with everything when he had mana up for Lightning Bolt) but given the information I had I stand by my decision.
When I started doing this series I made a decision that I wouldn’t look at my opponents’ replays between rounds to give a more authentic feeling of
playing against an unknown deck. I guess if I’d looked at my opponent’s replay and seen Inferno Titan I would’ve probably attacked that turn
which would’ve won me the game.
But without that information it seemed very probable that he had Lightning Bolt when he kept two cards on top in that situation. Anyway I lost
the semis to a very good deck whereas my deck needed to have a really good draw. If I gave him enough time his deck should come out on top. I only
managed to do that in 1.49 out of the 3 games and in Magic you really need to have the margins on your side.
As always comments and questions are encouraged and appreciated.