No, No… Walk With ME, Part 2!

Writing about a Magic Online draft sounded like fun, so I gave it a try, hoping the picks would be interesting as opposed to an”I opened two bombs in my colors, got passed seven more, and 3-0ed the draft with ease.” I quickly discovered that there’s probably a reason Nick Eisel only did this twice: It’s a real pain in the ass. And yet I went through the effort of writing down everything I saw and then walking you through a complete draft, where you can debate my picks and I point out things that I may have done wrong.

I’ll spare you the prattle about how I have absolutely no material (well, except for this sentence, of course) as an excuse for this article. What I choose to emphasize is that everyone requests this kind of article, and not too many have been done. If you haven’t figured it out from the title, I am, of course, referring to a Who’s Who of Scandinavian Magic.

No, seriously, I’m talking about a Magic Online draft walkthrough. It sounded like fun, so I gave it a try, hoping the picks would be interesting as opposed to an”I opened two bombs in my colors, got passed seven more, and 3-0ed the draft with ease.”

I quickly discovered that there’s probably a reason Nick Eisel only did this twice (to my recollection): It’s a real pain in the ass. I’m sure you all realize that I had to write down, albeit in shorthand, every relevant card in every pack I saw. This means several things.

First, it’s harder to think about picks, as you have less time for that because you’re doing all that typing. Second, the draft takes longer, and people complain. Third, you never have a chance to review your draft pool. Combined with the fact that you’re focusing on typing while you’re drafting, it isn’t easy to remember everything you have – How many beasts? How many soldiers? How many removal spells? – and this can lead to mistakes. It all can add up to a truly taxing ordeal.

I’ll pause here to give you all a moment to dab that solitary tear that is no doubt dribbling down your cheek because of what I just told you.

That could have been a really masterful sentence, by the way, but I had trouble wrapping it up. At first I had written”on my behalf,” but behalf implies that I derive some sort of benefit – so that’s no good. Then I changed it to”for me,” but that was a little too brief and a little confusing. I know the phrase I was looking for was”on my (something)” or”for my (something)” but it escaped me. So I had to take the easy way out and give a”B-” ending to the sentence, since I shouldn’t be dwelling too much on it, since it’s not the important part of the article…

I’ll pause here while you laugh as you debate whether any part of the article is”important, since no one is reading this anyway. Well, someone might be, since people love draft walkthroughs. I’m not jerking your chain. There is one coming. I’m just not done with the blithering yet.

Speaking of blithering, I’ll get back to where I was going in a second, after which time I’ll jump into the walkthrough, but first I’ll give you some more insight into the process of a talented and successful* internet writer.

When I wrote the word”blithering,” I double-checked that it means what I thought it meant. I was also thinking about throwing the word”blather” in there somewhere if it meant something comparable. I look up”blithering” and it refers me to”blather.””Blather” means”to talk foolishly at length,” which of course mean that I nailed it. High fives all around.

Now let’s see if I can backtrack to the other tributary on this stream of semi-consciousness.

Oh, okay. That only took me like ten seconds. I was going to comment some more on no one reading my articles. Why must I bring that to everyone’s attention every single time I write? Several reasons.

First, it’s what I’m thinking about. I tend to write whatever I’m thinking about at any given moment, even if it is grossly inappropriate, such as wishing that I weren’t alive or random song lyrics. Just moments ago, I messaged poor Gerry Thompson – who must be more than a little sick of me by now – some tasteful Finch lyrics.**

Second, I’m insecure. You know this. It’s a rather elementary principle I’m utilizing here. If you say no one reads your articles, and a few people do, then you make out better than you expected. As long as I lowball myself, I’ll never be disappointed. That’s why pessimism is the way to go, even if it leads to a much shorter life span plagued by rashes and colon cancer***: To quote the Gin Blossoms,”If you don’t expect too much from me, you might not be let down.” Third, if you say no one’s reading something, but people actually are, then irony results.

Wasn’t that fun? I just sat down with no introduction and managed to blather my way through a few paragraphs. As usual, I amused myself mildly, and hope everyone else is either mildly amused themselves or annoyed.

One last note: There was some confusion from last time about the Josh Rider quote. If you’ll recall, I said that the quote was from an e-mail sent to me. I am not yet so pathetic that I’m at the point where I’m e-mailing myself, so this means that I DIDN’T WRITE THAT. I DON’T FIND JOSHR TO BE CUTE, LIKE A POKEMON, OR OTHERWISE. To be honest, the quote wasn’t really from my mailbag, either. It was said to me by someone on IRC, and later repeated by that same person in front of an entire chatroom.

Speaking of”entire,” let’s break down an”entire” draft that I just completed on MODO. (It is currently late in the evening of July 18th.) The card I chose will be in caps lock, or bold, or whatever Ferrett decides to do to distinguish it. Discussion will follow. Take diligent notes.


Pick One: Wellwisher, Erratic Explosion, Riptide Biologist, Vitality Charm, Nantuko Husk, Forgotten Cave, Grassland Crusader, Daru Cavalier, Searing Flesh, Aphetto Alchemist, Frightshroud Courier, Symbiotic Wurm, PACIFISM

This wasn’t a particularly strong pack. On Magic Online these days, it seems like red and green are underdrafted (because everyone recognizes that they are of lesser quality than white or black); this tends to blur any”color preference”-based choice I could make. If I take the Explosion, I perceive that I’ll be less likely to get in a fight, but as I said, the overall quality is lower. There aren’t multiple strong cards in the same color, so I don’t need to worry about signaling at all. Thus, it comes down to pure power level. This rules out everything but Pacifism or Husk. I like Pacifism more, so I take it. I think it’s stronger, but that Husk would also be acceptable.

Pick Two: Riptide Biologist, Aphetto Dredging, Wirewood Pride, Imagecrafter, Spitting Gourna, Elvish Warrior, Festering Goblin, Feeding Frenzy, Joydrop Condor, WIREWOOD SAVAGE

The rare was still present, but it was Words of Wind, so I didn’t list it. If I do this again, I should pay more attention to rarity missing. Anyway, this pack seemed to give a strong green signal. I didn’t really want to be white/green, but my first pick, while nice, was totally abandonable. In retrospect, this might have given a bad signal to the player on my left, resulting in fewer green Legions goodies (read: Timberwatch Elf)… But was there really anything else to take?

Pick Three: Disciple of Grace, Haunted Cadaver, Screeching Buzzard, Secluded Steppe, Grassland Crusader, Goblin Sledder, CRUDE RAMPART

I’m seeing a lot of black, but I’ll keep passing it along in hope for some love in Legions. None of the stuff I’m seeing is worth switching colors over. There are no green cards of note in this pack, so I decide to take a white card.

Grassland Crusader probably would have been a better pick, but there are a few reasons why I didn’t take it. First, I didn’t know if I was going to be white, let alone soldiers; the Crude Rampart could possibly be splashed in a non-white deck if the draft ended up being really weak, since it is a morph. Second, and I’m not going to use this excuse too terribly much more, but since this was my first stab at writing down picks, and since my AIM window popped up, I had little time to deliberate and was somewhat impulsive. It ended up being okay, though, I think.

Pick Four: Dirge of Dread, Daru Cavalier, Vitality Charm, Battlefield Medic, Snapping Thragg, Righteous Cause, Windswept Heath, DARU LANCER

Several months ago, I would have taken the Heath, but it’s just not worth it anymore. It’s down to about three tickets, as opposed to the twelve-ticket Eternal Dragon, which it only makes sense to raredraft on the spot. Battlefield Medic would be strong in a cleric deck – but for my deck, I’m pleased to see the powerful Daru Lancer still in the pack. I’ll make good use of it, and the person to my right probably isn’t white. Good times.

Pick Five: Crown of Fury, Battering Craghorn, Birchlore Rangers, Profane Prayers, Tranquil Thicket, Skittish Valesk, VENOMSPOUT BRACKUS

What a fifth pick! Naturally, I’m leery about green/white, but I know enough about the format to know that it is, in fact, playable. I resolve to get plenty of provokers in pack two as pseudo-removal should I continue down this path. Note the quantity of red playables still in the pack. They aren’t the highest quality – but could red be underdrafted again?!

Pick Six: Battlefield Medic, Lay Waste, Birchlore Rangers, Crowd Favorites, ELVEN RIDERS

For definitely the second pack in a row, and arguably the sixth pack in a row, the best card left in the pack is all mine. A powerful evasion gem in an otherwise weak pack? I’m happy at this point, but still quite leery.

Pick Seven: Screaming Seahawk, Imagecrafter, Gravespawn Sovereign, Taunting Elf, DAUNTING DEFENDER

And yet again, I get the most powerful card. It’s not a soldier, unfortunately, but I’ll deal with it. Thinking back on the Grassland Crusader, it looks even better now that I consider that it can pump elves as well. Naturally, I didn’t have the time or attention span to ponder that during the actual draft.

Would Taunting Elf have been a better pick here? I don’t like to play that card and was still uncertain whether I’d be green (although I was probably solidified into it at this point). Let me know in the forums if you agree, disagree, or if this pick is even debatable. Anyone?

Pick Eight: Disciple of Malice, Crown of Awe, Foothill Guide, Headhunter, CROWN OF SUSPICION

The debate here is between the two Crowns. I wouldn’t maindeck the Awe, but I might splash the Suspicion, so I took it. My thought at the time was that there might be one-toughness creatures I would simply need to remove; looking back on it, most of those”must-kill” creatures (like Sparksmith and Smokespew Invoker) are red or black. As it turned out, both the decks I played against were red/black. Oh well.

In OOL, the pick would probably lean a little more toward the white Crown. While they (ironically) perform the same function, the white one might have been better in a format where decks with either red, black, or both in them are pretty much the rule.

Pick Nine: Daru Cavalier, Searing Flesh, Aphetto Alchemist, Frightshroud Courier, WELLWISHER

I had a few elves for the ‘Wisher, and I remembered Birchlore Rangers in a few other packs, so I took the 1/1. In retrospect, this was good, as it would increase my chances of getting passed a Timberwatch slightly. I did remember that there was another Cavalier out there, but I didn’t anticipate that it would return. Perhaps someone else took it assuming the one in the pack with the Wellwisher would come back around.

Pick Ten: Imagecrafter, Doubtless One, Joydrop Condor, WIREWOOD PRIDE

My deck is coming along nicely…for green/white, that is. Someone could have a very potent Cleric deck, but the Doubtless One certainly isn’t worth hating out of fear of that. It’s a shame I had to pass the NOBLE JOYDROP.


Nothing else notable. In fact, this wasn’t even notable the first time, but it could be a nice sideboard card. It probably won’t even be necessary for that function, given the plentitude (alt. spelling: plenitude) of alternate cards in the coming sets that perform an identical function.

Pick Twelve: Daru Cavalier, RIGHTEOUS CAUSE

If not for the Cause, I would have been rather disappointed that I hadn’t taken the previous Cavalier. As it is, I’m perfectly content. I hate to divulge this secret to the world, but the Cause is insane; it makes racing nearly impossible, especially in conjunction with white’s other defensive cards. Try it out in your next white deck of any kind; you will not be disappointed. MattR says he’s most optimistic when I have either this or Birchlore Rangers in my draft decks. In fact, in a two-on-two in Detroit, I 3-0ed with two of these in my deck. 🙂


(Damon Wayans”In Living Color” voice) Hated it!

Picks Fourteen and Fifteen: nothing noteworthy

I don’t really know what to expect or even hope for in Legions, since I’m so preoccupied. All I can do is prepare to get writing and hope I make a decent pick.


Pick One: Nantuko Vigilante, Skirk Marauder, Wingbeat Warrior, Skirk Outrider, Keeneye Aven, Aven Warhawk, Gempalm Strider, Sunstrike Legionnaire, DARU STINGER

I almost took Gempalm Strider here, as I hadn’t amassed too many soldiers. But I quickly figured out that the only way I could win this draft, besides a healthy amount of Provoke, was drafting Stingers and making them large. So I took the Stinger and set my sights on quality soldiers. In retrospect, this pack was so full of white that I should have flat-out expected to get something nice back. I always hate passing the Marauder, but whatcanyado.

Pick Two: Nantuko Vigilante, Macetail Hystrodon, Embalmed Brawler, Skirk Marauder, Aven Redeemer, Glintwing Invoker, Patron of the Wild, Keeneye Aven, Ridgetop Raptor, Krosan Cloudscraper, DEFTBLADE ELITE

I have to pass another Marauder. That sucks. I hate passing any good cards at all, but that’s one of my least favorite. Anyway, the choice is between Redeemer and Deftblade, two comparably-powered cards with all things considered. Given the fact that the Deftblade helps out the curve, both powers up and combos with Stinger, and gives me the”removal” I know I’ll need for this deck, it’s really no choice at all.

Pick Three: Lowland Tracker, Vile Deacon, Flamewave Invoker, DARU STINGER

What a crappy pack. There may have been a Bloodstoke Howler or something that I forgot, too. However, the fact that Stinger is one of the only playables in this particular pack brings one word to mind:”Yuuuuuuuuuuuuusssss!!!!” The card really is that good. Visit the forums for Eisel’s last article; the people will tell ya.

Pick Four: Starlight Invoker, Berserk Murlodont, Covert Operative, Embalmed Brawler, Skirk Outrider, Sootfeather Flock, AVEN WARHAWK

It flies, it pumps Stinger, it gets pumped by Stinger, and I’m planning on getting a few more soldiers. An obvious choice. Berserk Murlodont is a distant second, as it’s a beast for my Savage.

Pick Five: Gempalm Avenger, Gempalm Polluter, Crested Craghorn, Stonewood Invoker, Daru Sanctifier, Imperial Hellkite, WHITE KNIGHT

Imperial Hellkite is still in the pack??!! Man, oh man, I should have been red. Alas, at this point, it’s no longer the correct pick for me. The window has closed for red, and I wouldn’t splash it. Both the Avenger and the White Knight are attractive options for my deck. So is the Stonewood, but it’s worse than White Knight. As much as I like fueling my amplifiers, I know the Knight is the better card, so I take it. It will help my curve a bit; plus, I simply love it more than words can express.

Look at it. It’s 2/2 with two abilities for only two mana!!! Plus, there are other packs to get soldiers in; I’m picking them up at a reasonable pace now, so passing one won’t be a big deal.

By the way, if I wasn’t doing this draft with the intention of making it public, I might have nabbed the dragon, since I love them so much. I’m glad no one has ever called me Timmy, Power Gamer or something similarly asinine, because it would be a dumb, if applicable, nickname. Either way, to everyone who is reading this with a disapproving glance toward the now-ethereal dragon, thank you for helping to save this draft.

Pick Six: Crypt Sliver, Glowering Rogon, Goblin Turncoat, Voidmage Apprentice, Totem Speaker, Lowland Tracker, GEMPALM AVENGER

I feel even better about pick five now. The Lowland Tracker is an acceptable card, but it’s not as strong as the Avenger. Even if it has the provoke I want, it’s still a 2/2 for five; never mind that it’s a soldier, since the other card in question is as well. The Avenger combos nicely with the amplifiers and the Deftblade.

Pick Seven: Glintwing Invoker, Shaleskin Plower, RIDGETOP RAPTOR

This pack is abysmal. There is really no reason to hate draft any one of these. You have to take something, though.

Pick Eight: Glowering Rogon, Shaleskin Plower, Whipgrass Entangler, DARU SANCTIFIER

I’m not a big Rogon fan, even if I do have a Savage. I don’t have too many beasts, so it’s going to be a mediocre 4/4 for six mana. The Sanctifier morphs, and I like to have one main, as there are many problematic enchantments to murdah.

Look at the Entangler. I said it before – there’s a nice Cleric deck to be had. It could have been me, but I don’t really regret my choice. I sorta wish I were red, though.

Pick Nine: Nantuko Vigilante, Skirk Outrider, Infernal Caretaker, WINGBEAT WARRIOR

How lucky – er, I mean, masterful! How masterful. I knew the Warrior would table! Yeah, that’s it.

Pick Ten: Patron of the Wild, Glintwing Invoker, NANTUKO VIGILANTE

This may have been a slight mistake, as I already had the Sanctifier for my maindeck and a Naturalize for my board. Patron probably would have been a little better.

Pick Eleven: Zombie Brute, HUNDROOG

I once lost to Zombie Brute. A game, not a match. It was 7/6. I hope I don’t have to play the ‘Droog, but I may. I also hope that Ferrett doesn’t comment on it, but that’s much less likely. (Aten! The Ferrett, now Hundroogless)

Picks Twelve through Fifteen: Nothing noteworthy

I’m feeling a little better about my deck. Again, though, I have no time to assess the situation, no time to see how many soldiers I have, and no time to let visions of Eternal Dragons and Decrees of Justice dance in my head. All I can do is get ready to type. Sort of stressful. It could be worse, though. I could be starving on the street and living in a dumpster.


Pick One: Death’s-Head Buzzard, Zealous Inquisitor, Spark Spray, Frozen Solid, Goblin Brigand, Tendrils of Agony, Enrage, SIEGE-GANG COMMANDER

One of the keys to MODO success – and there are many – is knowing when to raredraft. This is clearly one of those times. Nothing else in the pack is exciting, I don’t care to play against the Commander ever, plus it’s worth about five tickets. If something crazy happens, I could even”splash” it. The two biggest factors were its worth and the dearth**** of anything useful to my deck.

Pick Two: Woodcloaker, Carrion Feeder, Accelerated Mutation, Rush of Knowledge, Rock Jockey, Thundercloud Elemental, Edgewalker, NOBLE TEMPLAR

Without the ability to look at my cards or the mental faculties to remember my soldier count, I figure I need this to pump my amplifiers. I was probably correct that the utility gleaned by an extra soldier, particularly one this powerful (and incidentally, one where there’s little controversy over whether to Play or Hold Back), would make it better than Accelerated Mutation or a splashed Rush of Knowledge. This deck would need to win with consistency, among other things.

Pick Three: Mercurial Kite, Frontline Strategist, Titanic Bulvox, Reaping the Graves, Woodcloaker, Aven Liberator, Coast Watcher, Torrent of Fire, Dragonstalker, KROSAN WARCHIEF

This one was a little rough. You’ll know from my last article that the white card I was considering was the Dragonstalker, since it’s a sizable white flying soldier. The Warchief is an excellent card, too; I took it partially because it stands so well on its own and partially because I didn’t want to give up entirely on my Savage yet. Plus, I was hoping one of the nice soldiers would come back around. It wasn’t unthinkable, since I didn’t imagine there were three other white drafters, and the pack was good enough where people shouldn’t have to resort to hating.

Pick Four: Unburden, Dragon Shadow, Goblin Brigand, Extra Arms, Cabal Interrogator, AVEN FARSEER

I should have given more thought to splashing the Arms, as they single-handedly (or should I say”double-handedly,” then commit suicide for being such a huge nerd) won me my most recent draft. Extra Arms is a very good, and presumably very splashable, card. But again, I wanted consistency, I wanted the soldier, I wanted the early drop. Even if I don’t have that many morphs, the Farseer is a fine selection. Obviously, I disregarded the other cards in the pack.

Pick Five: Dragon Shadow, Krosan Drover, Raven Guild Initiate, Unburden, Astral Steel, Fierce Empath, Coast Watcher, HUNTING PACK

This pick is quite debatable. The Pack is the most powerful card, and it fits in my curve just fine since I have a decent early game. Not great, but decent. I have a few six-or-more-drops for Drover, but I opted not to take it for a few reasons: One, it’s very narrow and poor on its own. Two, I don’t necessarily expect to play my large men for their converted mana cost; I’ll cycle them, I’ll morph them, and if I happen to be in a position to cast them, more power to me.

I don’t have enough birds for Initiate. I have plenty of targets for Empath, but none of them is really special enough for me to want to tutor for it. That leaves Astral Steel. Astral Steel is a so-so trick, but I didn’t really have any tricks in my stack at the time. I had several high-end men, although they aren’t as powerful as the Pack. I’ve gotten so used to not playing Steel. Do you think it has a place in my deck? Should I have taken it over the Pack?

Pick Six: Bonethorn Valesk, Spark Spray, Accelerated Mutation, Chartooth Cougar, Wing Shards, Bladewing the Risen, NOBLE TEMPLAR

Look at Bladewing. Oh, how I wanted him. Since I wasn’t in either of the colors, I had no qualms about passing him. I bet he didn’t even end up in either of the red/black decks I faced. Anyway, there are three choices. I took the Templar. I figured, why stop taking soldiers now? I said it before, I’ll say it again: I planned to win this draft with giant Stingers, if I was to win at all.

This deck benefits more from a soldier than Wing Shards in my opinion, even though the Shards may be better overall; heck, I rated it higher than the Templar last week. Cards’ values change depending on what else you have. You all know this by now. If I had a more accurate read on my soldier count (I had nine by this point), I would have given Mutation more consideration. This deck certainly looks like it could use one of those. Agree or disagree with this pick? I stand by this and Hunting Pack unless someone gives me a good argument to the contrary.

Pick Seven: Reaping the Graves, Alpha Status, FRONTLINE STRATEGIST

I pride myself on being a good drafter, but let’s face it – I still prefer the easy decisions to the hard ones. It works very well with my other cards (namely, the soldiers, durr) and is a valuable trick to spring on opponents.

Pick Eight: Death’s-Head Buzzard, Wipe Clean, Astral Steel, Scattershot, Mistform Warchief, ELVISH ABERRATION

The Wipe Clean is much worse and totally unnecessary. The landcycler is so much better than Steel that I didn’t even consider it. As odd as it seems, three mana is clunky for such a trick. As an aside, I still prefer Aberration to Wirewood Guardian, should the pick ever arise. It’s a mana cheaper to cast, which can be important, and believe it or not, its tap ability actually comes into play. Yesterday, my friend”cup of” Joe Jones was able to play a crucial spell with Flamewave Invoker mana open thanks to this. I also used its ability in this very draft.

Pick Nine: Tendrils of Agony, Treetop Scout, Dragon Fangs, Scornful Egotist, ENRAGE

1/1s that only attack and block suck. Dragon Fangs won’t make the cut. So which heartbreaking-win-stealer to hate? Whoever gets the Tendrils probably won’t play it, and it probably won’t deal as much damage as Enrage, so pins and needles, Enrage, nice to know you, goodbyyyyyyyyyyyye.

Pick Ten: Edgewalker, WOODCLOAKER

I lost to someone the other day who went turn 2 Starlight Invoker, turn 3 Edgewalker, turn 4 Cabal Archon and Daru Healer, turn 5 Daunting Defender. Even so, it sucks and Cloaker might make the cut, so more power to the Cleric mage.

Pick Eleven: Mercurial Kite, Woodcloaker, SPROUTING VINES

I haven’t taken a good look at my cards, so I have to leave a splash, possibly even of the Siege-Gang, as an option.

Pick Twelve: Treetop Scout, Daru Spiritualist, UNBURDEN

This pick is irrelevant. In the split second I took to make the choice, all I could think was”Cycling: 2.”

Pick Thirteen: Rock Jockey, GUILTY CONSCIENCE

So… Gift-wrap a perfectly playable card 14th for someone or hate it malevolently? It’s not really good enough to hate, since there’s a potential sideboard card in the pack. I’d hate to side it in, but you do whatcha gotta do in the face of multiple Sparksmiths.

Pick Fourteen: Dragon Wings, BREAK ASUNDER

I’ll take the sideboard card. Does anyone have any Dragon Wings success stories? It seems like it would be good in G/U, but I’ve never found a deck that really wants it.

Pick Fifteen: Irrelevant

As I was writing this, I had to go to the bathroom. While in the bathroom, I glanced in the mirror. For some reason, all I could think was,”Why, why, why did I decline my Feature Match at Detroit? I could have had my official StarCityGames picture updated to something much less embarrassing!” Ferrett coulda taken a new picture of me anyway. Maybe he simply hates me. Who’s to say? (You would have hated whatever picture I took of you then, too – The Ferrett)

I jotted some notes down right before constructing my deck, but I managed to incorporate everything except my prediction into the above discussion.

Prediction: 0-1 or 1-1

The deck didn’t seem too impressive, but I was playing a lowly 1750 the first round, and my deck wasn’t utter crap, so I gave myself the benefit of doubt.

Here’s the deck I ended up with:

Deftblade Elite

Frontline Strategist

Aven Farseer

White Knight

Wingbeat Warrior

Krosan Warchief

Wirewood Savage

Daru Sanctifier

Crude Rampart

Daru Lancer

Venomspout Brackus

2 Daru Stinger

Aven Warhawk

Elven Riders

2 Noble Templar

Gempalm Avenger

Elvish Aberration


Righteous Cause

Hunting Pack

10 Plains

8 Forest

Only three noncreature spells? And one of them makes creatures? Fortunately, they’re good ones, and several of my creatures can act like spells.

Eighteen land seems the norm nowadays. I really don’t think landcyclers affect land count in Limited. They’re very strong creatures, and you’d prefer just to cast them. Naturally, this doesn’t always happen; it may not even happen half the time. I haven’t done the math. But the rule seems to be”cycle when you need to, but hope to cast them.” I chose eight forests, since several of the few green cards I do have require double green. In the end, my land could fluctuate from 11/7 to 9/9 without mattering much at all thanks to the landcyclers.

And now for the”playables” I cut:

Daunting Defender:

Expensive, not a soldier. It’s a fine card on its own, but it really has no place in this deck.

Woodcloaker, Hundroog:

My deck was too good for these turds, thank God.

Wellwisher, Wirewood Pride:

Not enough elves.

Nantuko Vigilante:

The Sanctifier/Vigilante debate does not arise often, since people rarely play green/white. I feel the Sanctifier is better. There aren’t too many problematic artifacts, and the size change on the Sanctifier is more noticeable than that of the Vigilante. You can block a morph with Sanctifier and flip it up with damage on to save it.

And finally, if you’d like to see how the draft went, I’ll include that, too. You know you’re on the edge of your seat.

Round One vs. David Rood (R/B; rating: 1759)

I was going to list these by MODO nicknames, but in case he wants to remain anonymous, I won’t say his. And you’ll never figure it out either, since this account will probably be in the 1900s like his other accounts by the time you try to check. I had to mention that I was playing someone better than his rating to disavow you of the notion I previously had that this match wouldn’t be too hard.

Game One: He plays a morph and Undead Warchief. I answer with Krosan Warchief and 4/4 Stinger. He Torrents the Stinger, and I trade Warchiefs to go to sixteen. I dropped a 4/4 Warhawk and Aberration while he added a Ridgetop Raptor. With us both at sixteen, he dropped a Havoc Demon. I attacked into it with Hawk and he dropped to twelve. Aided by Aberration, I dropped a morphed Wingbeat and Noble Templar (which wouldn’t die if the Demon did).

Demon hit me to eleven, and on my turn, a good combat phase for me (which involved flipping up Wingbeat) killed the rest of his team. Wingbeat stayed home to chump the Demon in case he had Flesh or Torrent #2. He had nothing and scooped.

Game Two: He led off with Carrion Feeder. I had a White Knight, but had to cycle a Templar turn 2 to play it turn 3. He played morph and Smokepew. I dropped Krosan Warchief when I should have played a 3/3 Stinger; I got greedy. He played a land and passed, so I felt comfortable enough with my White Knight and soon-to-arrive Elven Riders to attack with Warchief. I figured he’d kill my Riders, which he did with Skinthinner, but I was a little disappointed that he Exploded away my Knight.

Usually, I’m immune to explosion. They hit for one a lot against me, but he hit for just enough here.

After he cycled Gempalm Polluter, I was down eighteen to nine. My 3/3 Stinger got Clutched, but the Warchief and two mana made him hold his offense back. I dropped Aberration. He attacked with Skinthinner, Aberration blocked, and Torrent finished it off. He forgot to sacrifice to Carrion Feeder since he was playing so quickly, but it didn’t matter; he drew land #8 for Invoker the next turn, and I had to scoop.

Game Three: I sideboarded in Crown and two Swamps (as I said, this wouldn’t hurt my mana base) for one of each land and…I forget. It should have been Hunting Pack, but I don’t think it was.

Anyway, we both mulligan, and he answers my Elite with Feeder. We hit back and forth for 1 for a bit. Over the next few turns, he Carbonizes my Savage, drops a Brigand, and Explodes my 3/3 Stinger, while I add a morphed Sanctifier. I drop Krosan Warchief, and the life totals stand eleven to ten in his favor when he plays Havoc Demon. Oh well. Fun while it lasted. I draw land #5 for Warhawk, which takes down Brigand as I drop to 5. I attack back with everyone but Hawk, killing a morphed Skinthinner with a Deftblade/Avenger cycle. I morph a Strategist, chump Demon, and go to three from Carrion Feeder.

On my next turn, I get quite a topdeck: Righteous Cause. During my ensuing attack, he goes to 1 and I go up to the point where he needs to topdeck a creature to feed to Feeder to kill me. He does – but I flip up Strategist, and he has to sac his Demon to Wrath of God the board. We’re both empty-handed, but I’m up 10 to 1, so I’m feeling good.

I rip Farseer, he draws swamp, and it’s on to round 2.

Round Two vs. Gainsay (R/B; rating: 1834)

I know this to be Andrew Cuneo. His deck doesn’t seem as good as Drood’s, but I fear the Hellkite. (I’d forgotten about the Risen by this point.)

By the way, the MODO playback is a quite useful feature. I’m giving a lot of detail; let me know how much I should tone down the info for next time.

Game One: He plays a Shepherd of Rot, Sprays my Farseer, and cycles Cougar. He drops a Lingering Death on my morphed Sanctifier. I intended to kill the Death before the end of the turn to preserve my Sanctifier, but I drew Brackus. Rather than lose tempo, I chose to morph the Brackus and let the Sanctifier die. Unfortunately, I spent so much time thinking that I’m sure he knew my morph was a goodie. Fortunately, he had nothing and I soon had myself a 5/5.

The turn before I attacked, he Dredged back Cougar; this made me feel confident. He replayed the Cougar (with five mountains in play) and went to eight. I worried when he tapped seven, but it was”only” a Dynamo. With the life totals standing at fourteen to eight, I attacked my Brackus and facedown Rampart into his 1/1 and Dynamo. He blocked both and the 4/5 ate his 4/4. He came across with Crested Craghorn to put me at ten, but Pacifism on his Cougar earned the concession.

Game Two: I answered his 3/3 Brawler and Buzzard with a morphed Rampart and paltry 2/2 Stinger. I had a lot of lands. He attacked me to twelve and played Sootfeather Flock. I dropped Righteous Cause and swung with my Ogres; he chose to block and kill my morph. His only play was Shepherd of Rot after he attacked me down to thirteen with Buzzard. He also cycled a Spark Spray that would have wiped out my team had I double-blocked his 3/3 earlier.

I attacked an Elvish Aberration and 2/2 Stinger into his 3/3; he knew I had the Gempalm, but blocked anyway. His reasoning was, he had Cruel Revival, so he cast it after first strike damage to kill Aberration and save himself a point of damage. He traded Craghorn with an inactive Stinger leaving the board at his Buzzard and Shepherd against my 2/2 Stinger. He dipped to one card in hand to Linger the Stinger, but I was confident because of the Righteous Cause. I topdecked a Brackus and a land, then Templar, Lancer, and White Knight on consecutive turns.

He was drawing creatures too, but they were much smaller, plus I had Righteous Cause out. It didn’t take long for him to scoop.

Round Three vs. Airwalk2 (R/U; rating: 1864)

We ran the traditional intentional draw.

I asked him briefly about his deck after. It turns out he was yet another red player, and it was he who had the Hellkite. He’d gotten it 6th! He also said he had a Lavamancer’s Skill and that his deck was very good.

I was a little surprised that my deck was good enough to take it downtown. Sometimes the large men are too much for decks to handle. I’m a little disappointed that I won; I don’t want to perpetuate the impression that internet writers are infallible, or if you’re less gullible, that they only write about their successes to further their legacies. I’ll try to draft worse and lose next time – I promise! Well, no, I don’t. And I wouldn’t say this draft went swimmingly, even though I made the best of what I received.

Well, hat’s a wrap. Hope you had fun, hope you learned something.

Join me next week when Iain Telfer and I engage in the Two-Headed Dilemma over which Pokemon Josh Rider is as cute as: Pikachu or Jigglypuff.

Also next week:

  • An interview with Farid Meraghni

  • A discussion of the final chapter of Krakauer’s chilling”Into the Wild”

  • A recap of my tea party with David Munk

  • The joy drops again

  • RyanG’s Corner

  • And much much more!!

Tim Aten

The Scum of the Earth

[email protected]

* – Yeah, right.

** – If you actually care, the direct quote is”ssshheeeee BURRRRRRRNNNNSSSSSSSS!ahsksadklskd”

*** – I have neither rashes nor colon cancer at the moment. I appreciate your concern.

**** – I was going to use”dearth” earlier in the article – but as it turns out, it means the exact opposite of what I originally thought. How fortunate that I was still able to work it in. Also, I think I’ll mention here that I like the”four footnote” format. I like footnotes. They’re fun to write and annoying for the reader. But any more than four little asterisks after a word to refer you down here is just ugly ugly ugly. I have standards, you know.