Practice Makes Perfect: BTT Draft #2

Join Frank as he walks you through a Born of the Gods-Theros-Theros draft to get ready for the upcoming Limited Grand Prix in Philadelphia.

What an exciting time to be a Limited Magic player! Not only is it Limited PTQ season, but Grand Prix Philadelphia is right around the corner. As usual, practice makes perfect, and I’ve been grinding my way through Theros/Born of the Gods Sealed and Draft events in preparation for these tournaments.

Today I’d like to go over one such draft for everyone to dissect.

Pack 1 Pick 1

Warchanter of Mogis Revoke Existence Scouring Sands Charging Badger Floodtide Serpent Felhide Brawler Necrobite Kragma Butcher Loyal Pegasus Elite Skirmisher Aerie Worshippers Springleaf Drum Nessian Demolok Astral Cornucopia Plains

Not the most outstanding opening pack I’d ever seen. The four cards I could justify picking here were Loyal Pegasus, Elite Skirmisher, Kragma Butcher, and Aerie Worshippers. I ended up taking Aerie Worshippers because it’s the most individually powerful card. Its four toughness makes it a lot better than I initially thought it was going to be in this format, and I prefer drafting blue over red and white.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 2

Scouring Sands Chorus of the Tides Felhide Brawler Swordwise Centaur Griffin Dreamfinder Eye Gouge Nyxborn Shieldmate Fall of the Hammer Karametra's Favor Oreskos Sun Guide Odunos River Trawler Spiteful Returned Arbiter of the Ideal Plains

You really can’t ask for more than an on-color bomb rare to follow up your first pick. To be honest, I’m not sure what the player to my right took over Arbiter of the Ideal in the first place—maybe a foil rare or an Ephara’s Enlightenment? The other thing to note from this pack is that I passed a third pick Fall of the Hammer, sending a red signal to my left.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 3

Epiphany Storm Hold at Bay Marshmist Titan Stratus Walk Nyxborn Shieldmate Pheres-Band Tromper Asphyxiate Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass Aerie Worshippers Shrike Harpy Flitterstep Eidolon Chromanticore Forest

It took a lot of willpower not to dive all in on Chromanticore here. If you can make it work, the card is unstoppable and a heck of a lot of fun. In the end, I decided to play it safe and pick up a second Aerie Worshippers. Although Shrike Harpy and Asphyxiate are good, they aren’t good enough to warrant moving into a second color just yet.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 4

Sphinx's Disciple Ephara's Radiance Setessan Starbreaker Forsaken Drifters Excoriate Sudden Storm Aspect of Hydra Claim of Erebos Deepwater Hypnotist God-Favored General Satyr Firedancer Island

Sudden Storm is a card I was really happy to pick up here. With Born of the Gods in the mix, the format has become even more tempo oriented than it was before. Locking down two creatures for two attack steps and getting potential blockers out of the way for Aerie Worshippers is incredible.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 5

Nyxborn Eidolon Mortal's Ardor Eye Gouge Nyxborn Triton Swordwise Centaur Divination Nyxborn Rollicker Karametra's Favor God-Favored General Archetype of Finality Island

Another solid blue card, another easy pick. Nyxborn Triton works perfectly with the Aerie Worshippers plan that was already underway and is more proactive than Divination, which I like.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 6

Pharagax Giant Sphinx's Disciple Ephara's Radiance Setessan Starbreaker Forsaken Drifters Excoriate Claim of Erebos Deepwater Hypnotist Pillar of War Forest

The pick here was between Pillar of War and Deepwater Hypnotist. I didn’t even consider Sphinx’s Disciple. Not only is it a five-mana Wind Drake, but it doesn’t even draw you a card until two turns after it comes into play if you can safely get it through combat. That is way too slow. In the end, I went with Pillar of War because Deepwater Hypnotist is so underwhelming and low impact.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 7

Warchanter of Mogis Forsaken Drifters Revoke Existence Impetuous Sunchaser Crypsis Thunder Brute Ragemonger Astral Cornucopia Island

I could have moved in on Thunder Brute here, but ultimately U/R isn’t the best archetype. I especially didn’t want to move into red after passing a red signal to the left and not picking up any other red cards this pack (red cards are much better in Born of the Gods than Theros.)

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 8

Mortal's Ardor Servant of Tymaret Satyr Wayfinder Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass Necrobite Dawn to Dusk Sanguimancy Forest

Without a blue card in sight, I had no choice but to branch out here. I absolutely love Servant of Tymaret, and if I’m going to take my first black card, it might as well be this one.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 9

Warchanter of Mogis Revoke Existence Scouring Sands Floodtide Serpent Felhide Brawler Necrobite Plains

Floodtide Serpent has a lot of hidden potential. First off, being a 4/4 blocker is nothing to scoff at. Not to mention there are a lot of cantrip enchantments in Theros that can really get the card rolling. It can also reset your bestow creatures once they fall off or simply bounce ones that are already attached to retrigger heroic. Although I wasn’t committed to playing it in my deck at this point, I was happy to pick up a copy.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 10

Felhide Brawler Griffin Dreamfinder Eye Gouge Odunos River Trawler Spiteful Returned Plains

Spiteful Returned is a powerful black uncommon to get this late. I was very open to the idea of moving into black as my second color at this point.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 11

Epiphany Storm Hold at Bay Marshmist Titan Asphyxiate Forest

An eleventh pick Asphyxiate further pushed my suspicion that black might be open.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 12

Ephara's Radiance Forsaken Drifters Claim of Erebos Island

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 13

Nyxborn Eidolon Eye Gouge Island

A thirteenth pick Nyxborn Eidolon confirmed those suspicions.

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 14

Forsaken Drifters Forest

My Pick

Pack 1 Pick 15

My Pick

Coming out of pack 1, I really liked the direction this deck was going in. It had a very strong blue base to build upon in the next two packs, and although it looked like black could be the second color, it wasn’t set in stone. With a bomb rare already in the deck, there’s not much that could have gone better this pack.

Pack 2 Pick 1

Lightning Strike Fleshmad Steed Cavalry Pegasus Commune with the Gods Returned Phalanx Lagonna-Band Elder Lost in a Labyrinth Pharika's Cure Setessan Griffin Triton Shorethief Horizon Chimera Ordeal of Heliod Dauntless Onslaught Purphoros, God of the Forge Swamp

This isn’t exactly how I wanted to start off pack 2. Not opening a decent blue card was unfortunate, but there were a few other options. I didn’t want to jump into red with Lightning Strike (for similar reasons as why I didn’t take Thunder Brute), and I hadn’t seen enough green pack 1 to make me want to scoop up Horizon Chimera. I ended up grabbing Pharika’s Cure to move further down the black rabbit hole.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 2

Mnemonic Wall Viper's Kiss Lightning Strike Breaching Hippocamp Aqueous Form Spearpoint Oread Vulpine Goliath Yoked Ox Shredding Winds Deathbellow Raider Magma Jet Prowler's Helm Reaper of the Wilds Plains

Another ominous pack. Passing on a few more red cards didn’t bother me too much. Packs can be weird that way—just because there are a couple of good cards in one color out of nowhere doesn’t mean that color is as open is it appears. I ended up going with Reaper of the Wilds simply because it is a great card and at the time my head was filled with hair-brained schemes to splash it.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 3

Loathsome Catoblepas Omenspeaker March of the Returned Last Breath Unknown Shores Crackling Triton Portent of Betrayal Sedge Scorpion Boon of Erebos Mogis's Marauder Pharika's Mender Colossus of Akros Island

I could tell you that I wanted Omenspeaker to help smooth out my draws. I could also tell you that I felt like my deck didn’t have enough black symbols to make Mogis’s Marauder playable, and I could tell you that I didn’t want to commit to a green splash by taking Pharika’s Mender. However, the simple truth of the matter is Gerrard Fabiano called me to say hello and ended up yelling at me to take Omenspeaker. You don’t argue with a man that just won a Limited Grand Prix.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 4

Nylea's Disciple Stymied Hopes Nessian Courser Wild Celebrants Silent Artisan Blood-Toll Harpy Akroan Crusader Setessan Griffin Horizon Chimera Sealock Monster Evangel of Heliod Mountain

This is the pick that defined the ultimate direction my deck went in. I could have taken Horizon Chimera and gone for the green splash, but I don’t like splashing a third color without having green as the base color. Missing out on cards like Nylea’s Presence puts too much of a strain on your mana base. Taking the Chimera with intentions to go U/G and possibly splash black was also an option, but I was happy enough with my black cards (a few of which were double black) that I didn’t like that route either. Instead, I took Blood-Toll Harpy, moving the deck in a consistent two-color aggressive/tempo fliers direction.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 5

Scholar of Athreos Nylea's Disciple Commune with the Gods Spark Jolt Returned Phalanx Coastline Chimera Akroan Crusader Rescue from the Underworld Ordeal of Nylea Curse of the Swine Swamp

Looking back on the draft, I definitely undervalued Curse of the Swine. At the time I felt like I wanted to be as proactive as possible, and using the Curse to downgrade my opponent’s creatures didn’t seem like it was going to be worth my mana. Knowing how the games played out, Curse of the Swine would have been a unique and powerful effect that my deck would have been happy to have.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 6

Messenger's Speed Pharika's Cure Defend the Hearth Viper's Kiss Priest of Iroas Read the Bones Opaline Unicorn Gainsay Kragma Warcaller Mountain

This pick was a close call between Read the Bones and Pharika’s Cure. Since I already had one Cure to work with, I decided to go with Read the Bones as a way to make sure I didn’t run out of cards to play in the mid to late game.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 7

Viper's Kiss Dragon Mantle Omenspeaker Crackling Triton Portent of Betrayal Commune with the Gods Returned Phalanx Triton Shorethief Mountain

With Gerrard’s influence long gone, I was able to forgo picking up a second Omenspeaker in favor of grabbing a second Returned Phalanx.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 8

Fleetfeather Sandals Thassa's Bounty Agent of Horizons Fade into Antiquity Ray of Dissolution Karametra's Acolyte Flamecast Wheel Forest

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 9

Fleshmad Steed Commune with the Gods Lagonna-Band Elder Lost in a Labyrinth Setessan Griffin Triton Shorethief Swamp

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 10

Mnemonic Wall Yoked Ox Shredding Winds Deathbellow Raider Prowler's Helm Plains

Gotta get those Aerie Worshippers through somehow.

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 11

Loathsome Catoblepas March of the Returned Crackling Triton Boon of Erebos Island

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 12

Wild Celebrants Silent Artisan Setessan Griffin Mountain

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 13

Scholar of Athreos Commune with the Gods Swamp

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 14

Defend the Hearth Mountain

My Pick

Pack 2 Pick 15

My Pick

Pack 2 was a lot less exciting than pack 1. While I could have tried to make a move on green or red, in hindsight I don’t regret not doing so. Although pack 2 didn’t bring me any ringers, I still picked up some playables, and based on signaling I was set up to get rewarded in pack 3. A lot of times I see drafters panic when a few picks don’t go their way and try to jump into a different color, especially during pack 2. While I’m all for being an open drafter, oftentimes it’s correct to just stick with the colors you started with in the first place and hold out for pack 3.

Pack 3 Pick 1

Lash of the Whip Messenger's Speed Gods Willing Fade into Antiquity Returned Centaur Griptide Commune with the Gods Hopeful Eidolon Traveler's Amulet Shredding Winds Vanquish the Foul Nylea's Emissary Favored Hoplite Temple of Abandon Forest

Finally, a sweet blue card! Griptide is especially potent in a deck that has a proactive strategy. While it is fine in a control deck, aggressive decks are better situated to capitalize on the tempo advantage Griptide creates.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 2

Battlewise Valor Loathsome Catoblepas Omenspeaker March of the Returned Titan's Strength Baleful Eidolon Benthic Giant Annul Triton Shorethief Ordeal of Thassa Shipwreck Singer Sentry of the Underworld Hundred-Handed One Island

This pick came down to the cards I had already drafted. With two copies of Returned Phalanx already in the deck, Shipwreck Singer was poised to be at its best. If I’d had a few one-drop creatures or at least a few heroic triggers, I would have gone for Ordeal of Thassa instead.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 3

Fleetfeather Sandals Demolish Ephara's Warden Scourgemark Satyr Hedonist Satyr Rambler Leonin Snarecaster Savage Surge Setessan Griffin Witches' Eye Triton Tactics Psychic Intrusion Swamp

In general, Triton Tactics is a great combat trick when you’re building your deck to win a damage race. With two Aerie Worshippers and a Servant of Tymaret to inspire at instant speed, it gets even better.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 4

Prescient Chimera Demolish Baleful Eidolon Annul Wild Celebrants Two-Headed Cerberus Wavecrash Triton Keepsake Gorgon Warriors' Lesson Pharika's Mender Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx Swamp

Remember all those great black cards I picked up in pack 1? A fourth pick Keepsake Gorgon was my reward for sticking it out as the black drafter.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 5

Lash of the Whip Minotaur Skullcleaver Chosen by Heliod Leonin Snarecaster Priest of Iroas Read the Bones Thassa's Bounty Lost in a Labyrinth Vaporkin Felhide Minotaur Forest

Vaporkin was just what the doctor ordered. It fit perfectly with the fliers plan and provided another evasive body to throw Auras on. A second Read the Bones isn’t necessary for this deck, and Lash of the Whip is way too clunky and expensive for what the deck is trying to do.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 6

Mnemonic Wall Cavalry Pegasus Loathsome Catoblepas Blood-Toll Harpy Breaching Hippocamp Warriors' Lesson Sedge Scorpion Chronicler of Heroes Decorated Griffin Plains

Another flier in the bag.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 7

Battlewise Valor Spark Jolt Last Breath Scourgemark Shredding Winds Deathbellow Raider Hunt the Hunter Triton Tactics Swamp

This pick was downright stupid of me. Scourgemark is a pet card of mine, and at the time I was hung up on the possibility of playing Floodtide Serpent and Pillar of War. As I said before, Triton Tactics is the perfect card for this deck, and I should have jumped at the opportunity to take a second one.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 8

Fleshmad Steed Fate Foretold Thassa's Bounty Priest of Iroas Disciple of Phenax Horizon Scholar Anvilwrought Raptor Mountain

Horizon Scholar was a great pickup, especially this late. It provided another giant flier to top off the curve of the deck.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 9

Messenger's Speed Fade into Antiquity Returned Centaur Commune with the Gods Shredding Winds Vanquish the Foul Forest

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 10

Loathsome Catoblepas March of the Returned Benthic Giant Annul Triton Shorethief Island

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 11

Fleetfeather Sandals Scourgemark Setessan Griffin Witches' Eye Swamp

The eleventh pick Scourgemark to further dagger me for not taking Triton Tactics.

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 12

Demolish Annul Wild Celebrants Swamp

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 13

Priest of Iroas Lost in a Labyrinth Forest

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 14

Decorated Griffin Plains

My Pick

Pack 3 Pick 15

My Pick

At the end of the draft, I was pleased with how things had gone. Although I ran into a bit of trouble in pack 2, pack 3 rewarded me for sticking it out with U/B. Overall, the deck had a strong cohesive strategy backed by some removal and a few individually powerful cards


This is the final build I went with for the deck. As you can see, Scourgemark, Pillar of War, and Floodtide Serpent all didn’t make it (although they were the last three cuts). In the end, I decided I had enough late game power that I didn’t need Floodtide Serpent, and with two copies of Returned Phalanx, Pillar of War was overkill. Not to mention why would you want to enchant a durdly 3/3 when you could instead enchant your fliers?

If I could resubmit the deck today, the one change I would make would be to take out Boon of Erebos in exchange for a Scourgemark. Although Boon is a good card, it is a lot less exciting when most of your threats have flying and aren’t getting blocked in the first place. Turning Vaporkin or Blood-Toll Harpy into a permanent 3/1 is a lot more impactful. In an ideal world, it would have just been the second Triton Tactics.

Round 1

My round 1 opponent was playing an aggressive R/W deck. While this strategy can be scary, my deck had a great early ground defense, so I felt pretty good about the matchup.


At the start of game 1, this is the hand I was met with on the draw. Even though I didn’t yet know what my opponent was playing, I decided to keep it. It had enough castable spells that even if I missed on drawing an Island for a few turns, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Unfortunately, the only lands I drew were Swamps for the first ten turns of the game.

Luckily, the majority of my opponent’s offense involved making a huge Two-Headed Cerberus, and Servant of Tymaret was able to hold down the fort like no other. Every time I play with the card, I’m impressed at just how good it can be; both the regeneration and few points of life I was able to gain were pivotal in helping me survive until I eventually drew Keepsake Gorgon and an Island to turn things in my favor. One Triton Tactics later and my opponent had successfully suicided all of their creatures into my team.

During sideboarding, I took out Boon of Erebos in favor of Lost in the Labyrinth. Although I said earlier that I should have played Scourgemark over Boon, that is only true in game 1. My opponent’s deck relied heavily on first strike, making Lost in the Labyrinth the perfect card to catch them off guard.

Unfortunately, my opponent started off game 2 with a mulligan to five. I was able to get Nyxborn Eidolon on an Aerie Worshippers before they could get much going, and a mid-combat Triton Tactics to make a Bird token was enough to send my opponent packing.

Round 2

For round 2, my opponent was playing a U/G tempo deck.


To start things off, I was met with this opening hand on the play. As I played my Swamp and passed, I was left agonizing over whether or not I should play Spiteful Returned on turn 2 or save it for its bestow value. As it turned out, a turn 1 Triton Shorethief from my opponent made the decision a lot easier. Over the next couple of turns, my opponent added a couple of Deepwater Hypnotist to the board to further augment his gimp Merfolk army. Take my advice—when you’re looking for a Merfolk to get the job done, always go Nyxborn. I was able to play Nyxborn Triton on turn 3 and completely negate my opponent’s early offense.

As the game progressed, I was able to get a small flying offense going. My opponent eventually played a Prognostic Sphinx and strapped a Nylea’s Emissary on it the following turn to bring the pain. Although he put a second Nylea’s Emissary on it the following turn, which would have been lethal, I was able to use Triton Tactics in conjunction with a Blood-Toll Harpy to not only survive the attack but keep the Sphinx locked down for an extra turn. I was able to close out the game just before it was able to untap.

For this round of sideboarding, I took Boon of Erebos out in favor of Annul. Two copies of Nylea’s Emissary alone would be worth countering, and the Triton Shorethief from my opponent gave me the sneaking suspicion he might have some Ordeals.

Game 2 was nothing if not interesting. My opponent had a turn 4 Bident of Thassa, but luckily their start was slow while I put some early fliers in play. After my opponent played a Prescient Chimera and a Nessian Wilds Ravager, I was able to use Sudden Storm to tap down their team and seemingly secure the win.

As I entered what would have been the lethal combat, my opponent typed "GG" into the chat box, presumably admitting defeat. As I sent my team into the red zone, my opponent quickly tapped an Island to play Triton Tactics and blocked in a way that would put them to one life and leave them with lethal damage on the swing back. Now that’s what we would call BM in the League of Legends world: "bad manners."

Fortunately, justice was served, and one of the creatures that I had attacked with was Servant of Tymaret. A Triton Tactics of my own later and my opponent was left angry and at zero life.

Round 3

For the final round of the draft, my opponent was playing a U/W heroic deck, and man was it excellent.

My opponent’s game 1 curve went like this: turn 2 Vaporkin, turn 3 Wingsteed Rider, turn 4 Ephara’s Enlightenment. Just when it looked like I might be able to get some blocks going with Blood-Toll Harpy and Shipwreck Singer, my opponent had a turn 5 Sudden Storm to seal the deal.

For the third time I sideboarded out Boon of Erebos, this time in exchange for Crypsis. Having an extra way to save a creature from Sudden Storm or win a damage race was likely going to be important in this matchup. If only I had the second Triton Tactics . . .

Game 2 was a lot closer than game one. I was able to come out of the gates early with a turn 2 Omenspeaker into a Blood-Toll Harpy on turn 3 and turn 4. Just when it looked like I was going to win the game without much fuss, my opponent was able to use Sea God’s Revenge to buy some much needed time. After replaying my creatures, I was able to use Sudden Storm to win back the tempo and put myself back in the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, the turn before I was able to close things out, my opponent put a Hopeful Eidolon on an already large Wingsteed Rider and ruined my day.

Overall, I can’t complain with how this draft ended up. While I made a few wrong picks along the way, I know we can learn from them and not make the same errors in the future. Although taking the entire draft down would have been nice, I can confidently say that the better deck won in the finals.