Drafting With Brad! NMS #1

If you want to know how Pro Magic player Brad Nelson drafts, here’s your chance! He explains each of his picks, how they shape the outline of his deck, and what happens in the matches afterwards.

Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:

There seems to be a run with Volt Charge and Grim Affliction. These cards are always beside each other in packs, but one is always better than the other. This pack demonstrates this truth, given that Grim Affliction is grouped with so many other great black cards.

This is the important thing to keep in mind with this pack. At least three out of the next four people will be taking black cards starting with Grim Affliction, so the only thing to take away from this pack is that I should probably stay away from black, since it will be difficult to get any great black cards in the next pack.

Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:

The two cards that stand out to me in this pack are Viral Drake and Forced Worship.

Forced Worship is a very efficient removal spell when you intend to attack from different angles than your opponent. The only problem with a card like this is that you have to draft it in the first pack. When you don’t know what types of cards you’ll see, you don’t yet know whether you’ll be on the beatdown or not.

Viral Drake however has the ability to do it all. Four toughness is significant in this format, as well as the ability to keep proliferating. It’s better in a controlling deck, since it’s harder to use the ability in the early game. I like having this card as a win condition, but you don’t want to consider it one. The decks I’ve had in the past that relied on this card to win were usually not that impressive.

Viral Drake is the pick because it’s a bit more flexible. The person to our left is probably going to pick up the other blue cards.

Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:

This pack is pretty weak compared to that last two, but Blinding Souleater is a relatively powerful card. We’re not dedicated to any color yet, since both cards so far are very splashable, and we might wheel Mycosynth Wellspring. Blinding Souleater is also playable in a nonwhite deck. It’s not the type of card I want to be playing, but it’s fine against non-infect decks and amazing against infect.

We’re passing a couple playable green cards as well as a playable black card.

Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:

Mindculling was a very difficult card for me to evaluate right away. I played a couple team drafts before getting into 8-mans, and Mindculling truly shined in those because the decks were a bit clunkier, and card advantage was scarce.

Once I got into real drafts however, the card was a trap. This format can be very fast, and board advantage is important. I’ve also not had much success with controlling blue decks. They’re clunky, and the powerful spells were often used to catch up to the opponent instead of to gain advantage. I’m talking to you, Quicksilver Geyser!

Spined Thopter is the type of card I like to play because it fills many roles in any deck. It’s colorless when it has to be and can be used in either aggressive or defensive strategies. Blocking fliers against the white decks, which don’t have many good ground pounders, tends to be very important also.

Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:

This must have been a very impressive pack. Artillerize and Tezzeret’s Gambit don’t usually make it this far. This also makes me think that both red and blue might be open.

Artillerize is a great removal spell, but I don’t think it is the pick. Assuming blue and red are open, we can afford to ship it, since card advantage is rarer than removal when the people passing to you aren’t taking red cards. We should be able to get similar cards, such as Turn to Slag in pack 3.

Gambit also gives us our third proliferate card, which means that a late Razor Swine or Blighted Agent will have serious value in a deck like this.

Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:

This pick is a test of how well you know the format. We only have one real red card and one real blue card, with everything else playable thanks to Phyrexia mana. We can either play it safe or go down a more powerful road.

The cards I’m talking about are Remember the Fallen and Mycosynth Wellspring. Remember the Fallen is a very powerful card for a deck that has removal and creatures to play all game. It’s much better than people give it credit for and has won me many games in this format.

The Wellspring is safer and adds another way to get three colors into our deck. Given the last few packs, this is the pick.

The people to our right seem to be taking more aggressive spells, which leads us into a midrange deck. I think this push for synergy will make our seat at the table into a heavy removal deck, which means we don’t have to rely as much on trading creatures. Mycosynth Wellspring then lets us cast our spells, whereas Remember the Fallen may cause us to have awkward hands.

Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:

And that is!

Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:

Is this real life?

Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:

The Wellspring did not come back, but seeing Gut Shot here is great after taking two Razor Swines back to back. This helps the creature trade with 3/3s now, a trick most people will not see coming from a nongreen deck.

Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:

It’s removal. Not amazing removal, but it gets the job done.

Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:

Right now we have one real blue card with two that can be cast regardless of what colors we are. We’ve also seen a huge number of green cards go around the table. Very few infect cards were passed to us, and many of the green cards were underpowered, so I don’t think anyone to our left was taking them.

Green is a rare spot right now. A lot of green cards went around, yet they weren’t powerful enough to solidify decks. The people to our left are going to be in black for sure with a good chance of being in blue because of the good cards that we passed.

Viral Drake was a great card to take pick 2, but we didn’t see enough blue to expect more.

Pack 2 will likely be filled with green cards to help us set up a decent G/R infect deck.

Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Don’t usually get pick 13 playables.

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

I sure hope I’m right about this green thing. The only other card that is even in question is Quicksilver Geyser, but as I said, I don’t think blue is a true option.

Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:

It’s always awkward recording drafts and getting into situations like this because I can either take what I would take in a tournament draft given my current information or attempt to learn something by trying something new.

At a Pro Tour, I would take Blightwidow, not close. Since Grand Prix Kansas City is right around the corner however (at least when I wrote this), I should really test the rares I don’t have much practice drafting.

Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:

Tons of crappy cards and Fangren Marauder. I love me this dinosaur!

Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:

Green strategy is working out.

Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:

I don’t love pump spells in slower infect decks, but Razor Swine loves a pump spell.

Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:

Huh?!? !

Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:

Another test pick. I was curious if I would ever board this card in when drafting infect. I did not.

Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:

We already have a ton of artifact hate, but I would rather have too much than a wasted sideboard card anyway.

Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

This is the second pick of the tournament that differs based on where I’m playing. In a serious event, you should take the Galvanic Blast, since this deck could use a bit more non-artifact removal. But on MTGO, it’s idiotic to not take a card worth more than what you’re playing for.

No matter what colors you’re in, you have to take the most expensive card in the set.

Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:

Is Putrefax good in a deck like this? I don’t know, so it’s time to find out!

Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:

I see picks like this screwed up all the time. The curve is three- and four-drop heavy, and people would rather “goldfish” better with a card like Copper Myr instead of having the defensive two-drop.

This is usually incorrect. Having more removal is always a good thing.

Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:

Tel-Jilad Fallen’s role in the format has somewhat changed. It’s no longer the amazing anti-metalcraft spell it once was. It turns Splicers into dead draws. I keep him on “D” much more often nowadays.

Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:

The only time you don’t take the Tangle Angler here is when you accidentally time out from laughing that your deck got even better.

Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:

All of these cards won’t make the cut. I just think the only card we don’t want abused is Rebirth.

Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:

Same with this pick.

Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

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1 Blightwidow
1 Blinding Souleater
1 Fangren Marauder
1 Perilous Myr
1 Phyrexian Hydra
1 Putrefax
2 Razor Swine
1 Spined Drake
1 Tangle Angler
1 Tel-Jilad Fallen
1 Viral Drake
2 Viridian Corrupter

1 Gut Shot
1 Koth of the Hammer
2 Mirran Mettle
1 Mycosynth Wellspring
1 Tezzeret’s Gambit
2 Victorious Destruction
1 Volt Charge

9 Forest
7 Mountain
1 Island

Splashing for Viral Drake seems decent in a deck like this. Not only are we weak to fliers, but it makes our Razor Swines very powerful in the late
game. However, there’s no reason to play more than one Island, even to double activate it.

This deck looks awkward, but the power level is there. The deck should win a decent number of games on the back of its cards; however, it can get run
over if its draws are clunky, so we need to keep hands that interact.

Round One – Comeback_Jack

Jack wins the die roll and elects to draw. I keep Forest, Forest, Mountain, Island, Viridian Corrupter, Razor Swine, and Koth of the Hammer.

Jack leads off with Fume Spitter, which will eat the Razor Swine if we don’t set up a different situation. I draw a land and pass back to Jack while he
has Myrsmith ready for turn 2. I draw yet another land and pass the turn while he attacks me to 16 and plays an off-color Vulshok Replica. Viridian
Corrupter comes down to hold the fort and kill the Replica. Nihil Spellbomb and a Myr token come down for the opposition.

He attacks with the Myrsmith. There are two things to think about with this attack. He may be setting up a trade if he has no artifacts left in his
deck and wants to get some value out of the 2/1. In that case, he wants to attack here if he thinks we’ll be trading creatures.

Trying to recreate his line of thought makes me think he doesn’t have a pump spell, or he’s very good at the game. Most people would attack, play their
trick, and then play Nihil Spellbomb. They wouldn’t show information and then run the guy out there without protection.

I decide to attempt to trade, and he does have the Apostle’s Blessing I saw earlier in the draft.

I untap, draw and play Phyrexian Hydra. Phyrexia Rager comes down, putting him at 17 life thanks to Blessing, and he passes missing a land drop.

I draw Mountain and now only have Koth of the Hammer and Razor Swine in hand for spells. I have 16 life, but the board is very bad for what I’m trying
to accomplish.

B/W decks tend to have a decent number of removal spells, and I feel one coming for my Hydra. Thus, attacking with Hydra just kills off a token. We
sacrifice four life by doing this, since Swine then dies to Fume Spitter.

If we hold back the Hydra, we risk losing five life instead of four if it’s removed, and he’ll still have the Myr token. I decide to attack, and
everything goes as imagined, and I’m now at 12 life. He adds Loxodon Convert to the board.

Drawing another land means I’m in a bad spot; I drop Koth of the Hammer to soak up some damage and hopefully a creature if he does not in fact have

He all-ins at Koth, and I eat up the Myrsmith. He casts Remember the Fallen targeting Nihil Spellbomb and Fume Spitter. He was probably pretty close to
our left, so I should be able to try to put most of the cards in his deck together. He probably has Entomber Exarch as well as the Forced Worship that
were in pack 1 and Razor Hippogriff from pack 3.

I still don’t draw any spells and am overrun once the Hydra dies to his own ability.

Game two.

I put the opponent on the play and keep Mountain, Forest, Forest, Razor Swine, Volt Charge, Victorious Destruction, Tel-Jilad Fallen while he mulligans
to six.

I draw Blightwidow and Fangren Marauder while the only cards on board are the off-color Replica and Razor Swine. Virulent Wound takes out the Razor
Swine, and Flayer Husk gets added to the board before I go to 17.

Blightwidow joins the board and trades with an Vulshok Replica. Jack adds Loxodon Convert to the board. Tel-Jilad Fallen trades with the Elephant
before Jack plays Leonin Skyhunter.

Time for Fangren Marauder to hit the board!

Three points of my life trade for five of his, and an Island off the top allows me to play the Viral Drake I drew. He has the flood this game, and it’s
soon over.

Game three.

I board out Tel-Jilad Fallen for another Mountain, since I think I’ll be on the play, and more lands make a ton of cards more valuable. I keep Forest,
Forest, Forest, Mountain, Wellspring, Koth, Tezzeret’s Gambit on the play.

Perilous Myr off the top helps hold the fort for Koth. Phyrexian Rager is the first card on his board, and he loses one life before Koth takes an
additional four. Perilous Myr trades with the Rager, and the opponent adds Myrsmith and Perilous Myr to the table.

Making the same plays in Limited as Block Constructed is always sweet; I use Tezzeret’s Gambit to make Koth go Ultimate a turn early.

The game continues for seven more turns. Two Mountains hold the fort before I slowly find more, and he concedes after running out of gas and time.

Round 2-Peterhuang

I win the roll and keep Forest, Forest, Mountain, Mountain. Gut Shot, Tel-Jilad Fallen, Victorious Destruction. I drew Viridian Corrupter off the top,
and Peter plays Myr Sire.

Piston Sledge comes down, but Gut Shot saves me four life. A second Victorious Destruction off the top means that I’ll be able to kill a lot of
artifacts this game, so the Myr token will probably be more valuable than the Sledge. Viridian Corrupter takes down the token.

Unfortunately, Glimmerpoint Stag comes down, foiling my line of play and picking up the Sledge. I manage to kill them both using Viridian Corrupter,
use Victorious Destruction on his next spell, and win after poisoning him out.

It seems that my deck is much better than his is, so I board out Putrefax for Crush.

I mulligan 3 Forest, 2 Mountain, Viral Drake, Victorious Destruction and keep Mirran Mettle, Wellspring, Phyrexian Hydra, Viridian Corrupter, Forest,

I draw the second Corrupter so I grab Forest with the Wellspring. He plays a second Plains and drops the fresh Origin Spellbomb he just drew. Corrupter
comes down to get me a fourth land since I’m slightly spell flooded, and my opponent just passes it back with no land drop.

All of my spells in hand are either six0-drops or removal so I have to attack and pass back, letting him draw out of his mana screw with the Spellbomb.

He plays a third land and Myr Sire.

On turn 5, I decide to play the second Corrupter on his token so I can attack and use Mirran Mettle next turn on something bigger. I’ll also be able to
Hydra on that turn. I think electing to not play the Phyrexian Hydra this turn and keeping the pressure on is a much better play.

Ghalma’s Warden comes down, and Mirran Mettle trades with the creature. I play Hydra, and he concedes, staring at all these infectors.

Round 3-Tobey

I mulligan down to five and keep Forest, Forest, Mountain, Drake, Victorious Destruction.

My hand never really develops, and I spend most of my time trying to get to five lands before a growing Bonehoard takes me out.

In game two, yet again I am forced to mulligan on the draw down to Forest, Forest, Mountain, Drake, Mettle. I end up drawing Volt Charge, which kills
off a turn 4 Mortis Dog. Blightwidow off the top lets me get a real creature on the board for the first time in the match.

Two Dross Hoppers on the board are both back on defense. The Blightwidow gets in, and a double block allows me to Mirran Mettle his board. He plays
Bonehoard again as a 3/3. Blightwidow gets in for two, and Phyrexian Hydra comes down.

Necrogen Scudder comes down and watches as both green creatures hit the red zone. The Germ token gets in the way of Hydra.

Scudder grabs hold of Bonehoard and puts me on a two-turn clock, but Victorious Destruction takes him out of the game.

Game 3

The best hand of the draft I keep is Gut Shot, 2 Viridian Corrupter, Tel-Jilad Fallen, 2 Forest, Mountain.

I draw Volt Charge and pass with two lands up. Leaden Myr comes down but obviously does not live for two long. Corrupter takes the Myr out, and
Tel-Jilad Fallen comes down on turn 4.

He lands Impaler Shrike, but the topdecked Mirran Mettle means I take the draft on turn 5.

Phyrexian Hydra was very impressive, and I’m glad I took it over the Blightwidow. Putrefax seemed like a weak pick even though I never cast it. It can
only go in a super aggressive infect deck.

I’m not properly set up to record videos yet. Once that happens, I’ll get back to pumping those out. I did really enjoy doing this, so let me know if
you want me to add this to my weekly routine.

Brad Nelson