Dear Evan Erwin,
If you’re going to ask me to stay up until 4:15 in the morning to post the Richmond videos as they spool straight off of YouTube, please send me an email to let me know you’ve gone home for the night. Otherwise, I might wait up really late for the finals coverage that will never arrive.
Thankfully, I decided to hit the sack after an hour of not hearing from you, but it could have been very bad.
An Exhausted Ferrett
If you were wondering why I had no article last week, it’s because I was up way too late and missed my Sunday draft.
A Still Exhausted Ferrett
Dear MODO 3.0,
I don’t hear good things about you. You do not, as yet, have Shadowmoor. So despite the fact that everyone I run into online and in real life is asking me what I think of MODO 3.0, I am not going to have an opinion up until I have a need for it.
Talk to me when I can do the set I want. We’ll talk then.
A Ferrett Who Misses Leagues
Dear Physical Gaming Store,
I do kind of enjoy the real-life waiting for games. I do enjoy the physical interaction during a draft as we all kibbitz and wonder how this card made it all the way down. I like laughing as I play.
I don’t like waiting around for half an hour between games. Especially when I don’t know anyone well enough to joke around. It’s a little weird.
A Ferrett In The Middle Of A Crushing Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder
So I went to the gaming shop with the intent of drafting Blue/White. I hear it’s pretty good, even though I’m about seven weeks behind the curve, this being my second draft in.
And lo! What do I crack the first pack? Well, it’s a choice between Ashenmoor Liege and a Steel of the Godhead. I think for a moment — I have a multiplayer deck or two I could use to stash the rare – then remember how R/B never ever wins drafts for me, and so I snag the Godhead. Second-pick Prison Term arrives shortly thereafter, then a third-pick Steel (again) cements me in the path of W/U.
Fourth-pick Aethertow? Well, the signaling is clear. And by the time I snag a fifth-pick Turn to Mist, I’m getting a little worried as I’ve seen no creatures. However, I almost certainly won’t have to worry about those dang big enchantments.
I pick up a bunch of U/W dudes, this time picking the Scarecrows much more highly. I thought they were overpriced in my first draft, but at this point I’m vaguely considering maindecking artifact removal because it’s almost always going to be a creature kill in this environment.
The only trick, as always, comes in the third pack when there are literally no U/W cards coming in the first two packs. I know I’ve passed a Power of Fire and a Jaws of Stone, which is ugly, and I get the second Jaws fighting with a much-needed Thistledown Duo.
If I have a problem with drafting — and this is not to say that I’m perfect, but rather that if you could somehow boil down all of the problems I encounter in drafting down to one unlikely list — it’s that I’m never sure when to splash. The Duo was really needed, as I was light on U/W combined creatures to massively abuse the Steel… But at the same time, passing a second Jaws of Stone to the guy on my left means that his deck is going to be crazy.
I’m not thrilled, but I stick to the plan. No guarantee I’m going to face him. And when I have to choose some dumb creature because I’m also low and choose that over hate-drafting the Elsewhere Flask, I’m really hoping that this deck is better than I think.
What I got was a deck that’s definitely not bad, given that as it turned out there were two other people fighting for U/W at the table (and three R/G drafters, leaving one lucky man to pick up almost all the Black):
One of the cards I picked up on the bend was Cauldron of Souls, which I wasn’t sure if I should throw in there. The little dudes didn’t seem to need persist all that much, and I had no way of removing -1/-1 counters, so I reluctantly left it out. I could be wrong.
Inquisitor’s Snare, on the other hand, was golden. Especially when I wound up using the Prismwake and then Snaring, destroying very large creatures all at once.
“Oh, this is going to be a long, tedious game,” my opponent said. And indeed, he was right, because it was the U/W mirror match.
Sadly, I was facing down a guy who’d gone a different route — he had the U/W Millstone deck, which as it turns out was nigh-unbeatable. He had two Memory Sluices, which may not have been the greatest strategy… But between that, several Torpor Dusts and Resplendent Mentors to stall, and the incredible-in-the-mirror power of Drowner Initiate, I wound up getting decked not once but twice.
I did win the middle game as intended, with a quick beats and evasive actions — the Turn to Mist was golden — and I would have won all three creature combats in time, but unfortunately, losing two to four cards every turn between my own creatures and his main phase, I died fairly quickly before I could kill him with damage.
This was the first of three R/G decks, against a gentleman with Runes of the Deus, several smallish creatures, and a Wort, the Raidmother that would allow him to unleash truly massive Giantbaiting onslaughts.
Unfortunately, it was a pretty uninteresting game. He got slightly mana-stalled in the early game after a mulligan, stuck on two lands for the first four turns, and then by the time he managed to crawl out I had gained so much of a board presence that I was able to carefully chip away at the rest of his life.
The second game involved a set of early beatings and a Giantbaiting that took me down to nine by turn 5. However, he got manaflooded while I was awash with tricks, and I won in that truly annoying way that only U/W decks can do — pinging with two in the air every turn, keeping everything carefully back on defense, with a hand full of gas. He looked like he might have had a chance, but really, he didn’t. Alas.
The first game was very sketchy, as I kept a light hand and paid for it. He came on fairly fast, knocking me down to three and blowing many of my guys off the table. But the power of Gnarled Effigy paid off in the long game, knocking his guys down to the point where they couldn’t kill me as I Cursed, Aethertowed, and Snared his biggest dudes. Then, after a lot of very careful maneuvering, I finally managed to land a Steel of the Godhead upon a Thistledown Duo and carefully did not give it flying before attacking repeatedly.
The second game was just silly. Again, he came out with two Raking Canopies to shut me down… But I landed my second Steel of the Godhead on a Thistledown Duo, and he conceded even though I was at nine and he was at fourteen.
Alas, it was the third R/G deck, and I knew I was doomed — for this was Mister Double Jaws of Stone, with a Runes of the Deus, and a Knollspine Dragon. I either had to come out of the gates blazing, or I didn’t.
To make things worse, he was a very nice guy who seemed vaguely amazed that he was on a fifteen-game winning streak in Shadowmoor drafting. Eep.
Remember when I said I wasn’t sure when to splash? Well, he was smart enough to know when to. I might well have won the first game, except that he cast a Biting Tether to steal my freshly-enchanted Thistledown Duo, bristling with a happy Steel of the Godhead which now worked — at least temporarily — for him. That was a surprisingly long game, but he chipped me down and eventually overran me.
The second game went according to plan — he Biting Tethered my enchanted Thistledown again, but this time a Turn to Mist brought it back on my side, the first of two sided-in Put Aways stuffed my Steel back in my deck, which I then drew again and used to win.
The third game? A bit of a disappointment. I kept a light hand on the draw, lest I get something less than four land, and I didn’t draw enough pressure. His Biting Tether, once again, bit, and I was done for when the Knollspine Dragon hit. Yowtch.
I’ll get â€˜em next time.
The Weekly Plug Bug
On My Name Is Might Have Been, a dreadful secret was revealed: The people are starving. That’s right, those lovely rock shows are paid for with dead crops and sticklike women who will die, and they give their blood money to the heroes.
But why do they need this money? Well, now we find out… straight from the King himself.