I like Stinger and Cultist and wouldn’t mind first picking them but Akrasan Squire is a little stronger.
Tough tough pick! Maybe the best uncommon in Shards along with a quite good rare when two commons are missing. WG and Esper are probably open which is good news as I love both archetypes. A mono colored pick may seem wiser but I like UW splash Black a little more than WG so I’d rather pick the flyer.
I’m already regretting my previous pick but it’s a little too early to deduce Esper is not coming.
One pack with almost no good Esper may be a misunderstanding but when there is not a single card in the following pack it seems like a little more than a coincidence.
Too bad for the wrong signals I’ve passed earlier WG is definitely a lot more open than Esper.
It is tempting to pick Faerie Mechanist as I know UW cards should be coming but I should better stick to the plan. Even if pack two is not good and I must pass lots of Esper cards I will be rewarded in pack 3. What should I take from Trailblazer Ember Weaver Mystics and Soul’s Majesty?
They are all pretty close but I go for the latter as I suppose my deck will have a lot of creatures which should make it good. I don’t really fear the 2-for-1 as my deck should end up being very aggro so my opponent won’t usually be able to afford to wait for my second main phase to play creature removal.
Don’t you try and tempt me! I’ve already switched!
Am I playing it? Probably not. Would I play a second Bounty? Probably not. Which of those two cards I could play do I mind facing the most? Homunculus.
Sureblade is a fine pick for me but it still hurts a lot to pass Lavalanche. I could try and play it I do have two land cyclers already but I don’t really feel like throwing away all of my deck’s synergy for one single card no matter how good it is.
One of the most underrated rares in ACR. For those who haven’t tried it Finest Hour is about as good as Rafiq.
Recluse is okay too but I did pass a pair of Sigils and at least one of them should wheel.
Coatl is a much better card but I’d like my splash to stick to the minimum.
I have only one 1/1 but a “Hill Giant” is still okay and I don’t even need another fixer that much.
1 Akrasan Squire
2 Naya Hushblade
1 Valeron Outlander
1 Cylian Elf
1 Bant Sureblade
1 Knight of the Skyward Eye
1 Gluttonous Slime
1 Sigil Captain
1 Leonin Armorguard
1 Wild Leotau
1 Aerie Mystics
1 Pale Recluse
1 Outrider of Jhess
3 Violent Outburst
1 Windwright Mage
1 Brilliant Ultimatum
1 Molten Frame
1 Shield of the Righteous
1 Shore Snapper
1 Cathartic Adept
1 Mana Cylix
1 Scattershot Archer
1 Faerie Mechanist
1 Court Homunculus
1 Tower Gargoyle
Card Power: 6
Nothing amazing but the basis is quite solid with some of the best early drops the deck can get and Oblivion Ring.
Mana Curve: 7
Many early drops. I should generally have two spells in the first three turns.
Small guys pump spells and more importantly the combo of Hushblade/Sigil which I should draw once or twice in the draft as I have two of each.
The deck is almost mana-problem-proof but it doesn’t get a highest grade as I miss a pair of creatures. If I can’t make several guys in the early game my good mana is useless.
Round 1: Grixis
He starts with his three basic lands on turn 3 but surprisingly chooses to cycle a Viscera Dragger which would have been a pain as I didn’t have a guy in the first two turns. I supposed therefore that he had many expensive and strong spells in hand but while I was casting a Wild Leotau and attacking with it on every turn he was not doing much despite playing one spell a turn. When he played Tar Fiend on turn 6 I had Resounding Roar then he tried and react by casting Mask of Riddles and Brackwater Elemental but I had some backup. I first cast Pale Recluse and passed and then played Ring on his Elemental which was now a 7/7 as Unscythe had reached the board and equipped the Blue guy. On the following turn he cast Call to Heel to bounce my Leotau and try and survive for another turn but I had Sigil Blessing to finish him.
The second game was much faster as it took him four turns to find a second color while I had opened with the Naya Hushblade/Sigil of the Nayan Gods combo. Four turns later the two-card combo had taken the game and the match.
Round 2: Jund
He opened the first game with a pair of Tukatongue Thallids. As I didn’t have much beside my Valeron Outlander I decide to play Sigil of the Nayan Gods and start swinging. As he doesn’t play a spell on turn 3 I increase the pressure with Leonin Armorguard and swing for another 5. He is already on 12 but my only backup is Resounding Roar. When he plays Rhox Brute on turn 4 I think I’ll have to use it but he surprisingly only chumpblocks the 4/4 and lets the 3/3 go through. On the following turn he plays Shard Convergence searching for Plains Swamp and Mountain. On the next turn he surprisingly takes another three and goes down to 6. He attacks for the third time with his Brute reduces the gap in life totals (8-6) plays Plains and passes. As he kept all his mana opened a Thallid and a Saproling token untapped I have the feeling something bad is probably coming. However as I draw another land I don’t have much of a choice and swing with my guys. He starts tapping his mana and when I think a Bituminous Blast is coming it is actually a Resounding Silence which deals with my pro black guy. Surprising I was more expecting Behemoth Sledge as a splash than Silence in a non Blue deck. And now I’m losing to this… oh wait nevermind his 1/1 didn’t block so I can pump for the win.
My opponent doesn’t seem to master one of the most important basics of Magic: a creature must attack or block. Choosing repeatedly not to block with guys that had not attacked cost him a game he should have won easily.
In the second game I have a very good draw he can’t compete with even though I’m scared of Lavalanche from turn 5 to turn 7. But he didn’t draw (or didn’t play) the bomb I’ve passed and I advanced to the finals.
Finals: Five-Color Control
When your opponent has five colors on turn 5 it’s annoying. When the first two spells he can play are a Borderpost and Exploding Borders about any aggro draw is enough. Even though he is running a lot of removal he can’t do much in game 1 as I have a pair of Naya Hushblades. In the second I have a very aggressive draw (Squire Hushblade Outlander in the first three turns) and I am wondering if I should play a fourth guy on turn 4 as I am afraid of Lavalanche. When he blocks my Outlander with his Naya Battlemage I suppose I’ll play Cylian Elf in second main phase. He decides to make my choice a lot simpler by playing Celestial Purge on my Blade at the end of combat. Then of course he may not have Lavalanche in his deck but his play was still really bad for two reasons.
1 – If I was holding a gold guy and a mono colored guy I would definitely have gone for the gold in second main phase.
2 – You should never give away info to your opponent until the last moment otherwise you’ll help him take the best decision.
Two turns later he had played one removal a turn but Pale Recluse had now joined Akrasan Squire in its beating quest. He was on seven when I drew Sylvan Bounty cycled it for an Island and played my last card in hand: Finest Hour. I attacked with Squire only as he would die with no removal but would have to use his last card in hand to kill Squire otherwise. He played his second Grixis Charm and I attacked again with the Recluse. On the next turn he conceded and I got my first qualifier point. I just hope the event is not the same weekend as an IRL tournament this month!