The choice here concerns two cards: Trusty Machete and Burst Lightning. It’s rather tempting to pick the Machete and stay open but as Red is the color with which I’m having success I decide to go for the removal. Also Machete’s level totally depends on the colors you end up drafting. I think the card’s level goes like this:
White Machete > Black Machete > Burst Lighting > Red Machete > Giant Scorpion > Blue Machete > Green Machete
Shatterskull Giant is one of the most underrated cards in the format. It is able to deal with almost any relevant grounder and it is both a good attacking and defensive card. Grazing Gladehart is only better by a little and I love being mono Red.
Talking about underrated cards I like Kor Hookmaster more every single time I see it. Usually it would be the wise pick as the other two good cards are Black. But I don’t mind passing the Marauder; Gatekeeper will be if I manage to make it work better than each of my first two picks. Also even though the rare is missing there are not many Black cards I would pick over the Vampire meaning Black should be open.
Geyser Glider would be in theory at least as good as the Mosquito. However having one Nekrataal-style guy already I see the flyer as an opportunity to make cards like Soul Stair Expedition very good for my deck.
It shouldn’t be good enough to make the cut. However with the two Nekrataal guys it would make a decent filler.
Quite good with so many removal spells already.
Due to the last few picks it appears I should most likely end up Black dominant in which Crypt Ripper should be a more viable winning condition than Shatterskull Giant. The 4/3 may be better in the early game but its power becomes useless if I can’t gather two Mountains by turn 4.
Blade of the Bloodchief is excellent if you can have many creature removal spells alongside many vampires. As it seems I should be able to gather the most difficult part (the removal) I pick the equipment over the Mongrel as I am pretty sure I should be able to make a very nice.
I open the booster pack and find a Vampire Nighthawk one of the top 3 or 4 cards I could have opened. And then I notice standing a little further down the actual best card for my deck!
Even though I’m unhappy with this pick I’m not sure what I should have taken. My manabase will probably be either 11 Swamp and 7 Mountain or 10/8. If I’m running 11 Mind Sludge is probably the strongest spell. Then regardless of what I’m running Bladetusk Boar is definitely the best card but I’d rather have creatures which have a defence potential such as Shatterskull Giant Dross Scorpion or any good two-drop. Eventually unsatisfied with the Boar and desiring to pick a guy I end up picking the Mosquito for its potential to make card advantage. I still have the feeling I should be able to get those “normal” guys at some point.
Goblin Guide is good for me but let’s be clear: it is only a blocker. My deck should be able to deal with my opponents’ guys and win through card advantage and Sorin.
Very very very bad pick. I was too excited by that whole “removal and card advantage deck” thing and I picked the sexy card over the usually worse but much better card for my deck: Ruinous Minotaur.
Pack 2 pick 8:
Kalitas would be great in the deck if I didn’t have so many expensive spells already (Mosquitos Trap). Here Burst Lightning is a lot more useful.
Pack 3 pick 5:
Excellent with the 4 Nekrataals.
Pack 3 pick 8:
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1 Akoum Refuge
1 Goblin Guide
1 Vampire Hexmage
1 Gatekeeper of Malakir
1 Molten Ravager
1 Giant Scorpion
3 Heartstabber Mosquito
1 Crypt Ripper
1 Shatterskull Giant
1 Bog Tatters
1 Tuktuk Grunts
1 Blade of the Bloodchief
1 Quest for the Gravelord
1 Soul Stair Expedition
3 Burst Lightning
1 Punishing Fire
1 Lavaball Trap
1 Sorin Markov
1 Soaring Seacliff
1 Grim Discovery
1 Desecrated Earth
1 Landbind Ritual
1 Bog Tatters
1 Kor Skyfisher
1 Spreading Seas
1 Spidersilk Net
1 Cliff Threader
3 Turntimber Grove
2 Ior Ruin Expedition
1 Jwar Isle Refuge
1 Mindless Null
1 Kor Outfitter
1 Nissa’s Chosen
1 Graypelt Refuge
1 Explorer’s Scope
The deck is good but I’m not sure how good. The problem is that it’s missing guys and in particular early drops. And I could figure my deck’s limit in the first round of my draft.
In the first game I missed a land drop on turn 3. I then drew four straight and was able to cast Sorin Markov but I would not recover from the tempo loss and by the time my planeswalker touched the board he already had Kor Skyfisher and Sky Ruin Drake in play. Not only did they end up killing Sorin he also cast Celestial Mantle on his 2/3 and kept me from having any chance to recover.
I kept the following opening hand in game 2: Blade of the Bloodchief Disfigure Vampire Hexmage and 4 lands. My next 5 draws had no impact on the game: Soul Stair Expedition Quest for the Gravelord and three lands. By then he already had expanded and I would not be able to draw enough active spells to ever make good use of either of my enchantments. I eventually died without having the impression I could have done a thing.
I then did something I usually don’t do: I started complaining to my opponent saying it was frustrating to lose with such a good deck.
He answered that he hadn’t seen a card which wasn’t a mulligan in the match and he couldn’t see why my deck was any good. Even though I did draw pretty badly his comments were meaningful. This type of game should remind me that a pile of great cards doesn’t necessarily make a great deck. My deck was surely good but it was missing too many guys and had too much difficulty handling flyers to be the nuts I thought it could have been.