SCG Daily – Drafting With Rich

Rich has dispelled his DraftCap demons, and presents a full RGD Draft walkthrough! With commentary on all the pertinent picks, and brief asides from Gabriel Nassif, you too can learn to draft like the best!

Now that I have “DraftCap” working I no longer need to write about the miserable experience that was Day 2 of Grand Prix Toronto. Instead, I have a draft to share with you. For this draft I was discussing my picks with Pro Tour luminaries, and current housemates Johan Sadeghpour, Gabriel Nassif, and Eric Froehlich. This is an example of what can happen when you open a bomb in a color you aren’t currently playing… a situation that is much easier to handle in this format than previous ones.

For a pictorial view of the draft, click here.

Pack 1:

Coalhauler Swine; Dimir Aqueduct; Courier Hawk; Golgari Signet; Boros Fury-Shield; Rally the Righteous; Elvish Skysweeper; Conclave’s Blessing; Galvanic Arc; Selesnya Evangel; Faith’s Fetters; Undercity Shade; Frenzied Goblin; Rolling Spoil; Hunted Phantasm

Pick: Galvanic Arc

This pack offered the choice of Galvanic Arc and Faith’s Fetters. We decided to take the slightly less powerful Galvanic Arc because all of us preferred to have Red over White as one of our base colors, particularly for the exceedingly popular Blue Green Red archetype if it’s available. Before Dissension I would have taken Faith’s Fetters, as it was more likely White would be one of my main colors, and it is a better splash than Galvanic Arc.

Pack 2:

Gaze of the Gorgon; Goblin Spelunkers; Greater Mossdog; Vedalken Entrancer; Incite Hysteria; Lurking Informant; Surge of Zeal; Sundering Vitae; Snapping Drake; Dimir Signet; Recollect; Wojek Apothecary; Golgari Germination; Crown of Convergence

Pick: Snapping Drake

Next I took Snapping Drake out of a weak pack, with only a little consideration given to Greater Mossdog.

Pack 3:

Civic Wayfinder; Votary of the Conclave; Boros Recruit; War-Torch Goblin; Screeching Griffin; Perplex; Gate Hound; Zephyr Spirit; Transluminant; Selesnya Signet; Darkblast; Stoneshaker Shaman; Root-Kin Ally

Pick: Civic Wayfinder

Pack 3 held a nice surprise in Civic Wayfinder, since it meant that Green is likely open and there would be a good chance I’m able to draft Blue Green Red.

Pack 4:

Tattered Drake; Strands of Undeath; Barbarian Riftcutter; Ordruun Commando; Swamp; Quickchange; Infectious Host; Rain of Embers; Sell-Sword Brute; Elves of Deep Shadow; Conclave Equenaut; Golgari Thug

Pick: Elves of Deep Shadow

This pack gave me the options of branching out into other colors for some more powerful cards, but I took Elves of Deep Shadow to both stay in color and give me better options for playing more colors later.

Pack 5:

Stasis Cell; Roofstalker Wight; Benevolent Ancestor; Caregiver; Dizzy Spell; Thoughtpicker Witch; Fiery Conclusion; Boros Signet; Vigor Mortis; Leashling; Hunted Troll

Pick: Fiery Conclusion

The decision in this pack was between Boros Signet and Fiery Conclusion. Nassif insisted on Fiery Conclusion, stating how good it is now that all your creatures get Fettered and Pilloried.

Pack 6:

Convolute; Golgari Rot Farm; Dogpile; Dimir House Guard; Fists of Ironwood; Dimir Infiltrator; Necromantic Thirst; Goblin Fire Fiend; Halcyon Glaze; Life from the Loam

Pick: Golgari Rot Farm

This was quite a powerful pack. So powerful, with so many options, that the four of us each wanted to take a different card. As time ran out I settled on the Golgari Rot Farm, since it would be playable almost no matter what colors I ended up playing.

Pack 7:

Viashino Slasher; Consult the Necrosages; Surveilling Sprite; Clinging Darkness; Seismic Spike; Elvish Skysweeper; Boros Recruit; Carven Caryatid; Festival of the Guildpact

Pick: Carven Caryatid

My fellow drafters got very excited over the Caryatid still being in the pack. I was happy to take it, but I didn’t find it all that exciting. The Caryatid is good, but very rarely does it actually impact the game. I find that most games are won by a team of flying creatures, and the Caryatid merely cycles.

Pack 8:

Votary of the Conclave; Muddle the Mixture; Sparkmage Apprentice; Stone-Seeder Hierophant; Leave No Trace; Drake Familiar; Lore Broker; Three Dreams

Pick: Sparkmage Apprentice

I took Sparkmage Apprentice since it looked like I would be unlikely to have sufficient Auras to find with the Three Dreams, or return with the Drake Familiar.

Pack 9:

Coalhauler Swine; Boros Fury-Shield; Rally the Righteous; Elvish Skysweeper; Conclave’s Blessing; Undercity Shade; Hunted Phantasm

Pick: Elvish Skysweeper

As far as one-drops go, the Skysweeper is pretty good. It can get a few points in early and just destroy some decks all by himself.

Pack 10:

Incite Hysteria; Surge of Zeal; Sundering Vitae; Recollect; Wojek Apothecary; Golgari Germination

Pick: Recollect

Recollect and nothing. Easy enough.

Pack 11:

Votary of the Conclave; Boros Recruit; Gate Hound; Zephyr Spirit; Stoneshaker Shaman

Pick: Boros Recruit

Pack 12:

Quickchange; Infectious Host; Rain of Embers; Golgari Thug

Pick: Rain of Embers

Pack 13:

Caregiver; Thoughtpicker Witch; Leashling

Pick: Leashling

Pack 14:

Necromantic Thirst; Goblin Fire Fiend

Pick: Goblin Fire Fiend

Pack 15:

Seismic Spike

Pick: Seismic Spike

Pack 16:

Castigate; Orzhov Signet; Torch Drake; Shrieking Grotesque; Necromancer’s Magemark; Gruul Scrapper; Fencer’s Magemark; Wee Dragonauts; Skarrgan Pit-Skulk; Lionheart Maverick; Burning-Tree Bloodscale; Vedalken Plotter; Revenant Patriarch; Gelectrode; Skeletal Vampire

Pick: Skeletal Vampire

Here’s where we’re forced to make a decision. We can stay the course and take the Gelectrode, even though we didn’t see any Blue cards after the Snapping Drake in pack one. Or we can take advantage of the Black manafix that we took in pack one and take one of the true game-dominating bombs in the format. As you can see, I decided to try my luck and take the Vampire.

Pack 17:

Burning-Tree Bloodscale; Cremate; Skarrgan Pit-Skulk; Benediction of Moons; Izzet Chronarch; Izzet Boilerworks; Withstand; Ostiary Thrull; Gruul Scrapper; Gruul Signet; Orzhova, the Church of Deals; Skarrgan Skybreaker; Drowned Rusalka; Leyline of Lifeforce

Pick: Gruul Signet

In this pack we are quickly given the decision of whether we want to try to continue playing Blue, or just give up on that and try to get a solid Green Red Black deck. I took the Signet, which leaves both options open and helps a great deal in the Green Red Black decks that often have bad manabases.

Pack 18:

Wild Cantor; Cremate; Gruul Nodorog; Petrahydrox; Guardian’s Magemark; Gigadrowse; Izzet Signet; Ghor-Clan Savage; Bloodscale Prowler; Infiltrator’s Magemark; Souls of the Faultless; Hypervolt Grasp; Leyline of Singularity

Pick: Ghor-Clan Savage

The pick here was between the Savage and Hypervolt Grasp. I took the Savage since we have sufficient good early drops, and no big creatures other than the Vampire, in addition to what should be enough one-damage removal in the Sparkmage Apprentice and potential Pyromatics.

Pack 19:

Pyromatics; Infiltrator’s Magemark; Absolver Thrull; Scab-Clan Mauler; Tin Street Hooligan; Crystal Seer; Silhana Ledgewalker; Restless Bones; Petrahydrox; Cryptwailing; Izzet Guildmage; Ghostway

Pick: Pyromatics

This pack held a Pyromatics and not much else. We aren’t fast enough for the Mauler, not tricky enough for the Guildmage, and Pyromatics is just better than the Hooligan or Ledgewalker.

Pack 20:

Torch Drake; Absolver Thrull; Crystal Seer; Cry of Contrition; Beastmaster’s Magemark; Skyrider Trainee; Gigadrowse; Crash Landing; Thunderheads; Order of the Stars; Siege of Towers

Pick: Torch Drake

Here the pick was between Torch Drake and the FOIL Siege of Towers. I ended up taking the Torch Drake in case I ended up needing to play Blue.

Pack 21:

Wee Dragonauts; Runeboggle; Fencer’s Magemark; Poisonbelly Ogre; Bloodscale Prowler; Repeal; Ghost Warden; Orzhov Euthanist; Aetherplasm; Quicken

Pick: Bloodscale Prowler

This is basically the final decision on whether or not to play Blue. Since it looked like the manabase would be pretty ugly if I took the Repeal, I took the Prowler. It’s good with Graft cards, especially Sporeback Troll.

Pack 22:

Blind Hunter; Orzhov Signet; Skyrider Trainee; Runeboggle; Mourning Thrull; Cry of Contrition; Lionheart Maverick; Predatory Focus; Drowned Rusalka

Pick: Blind Hunter

Blind Hunter was by far the most powerful card in the pack, so we took it out of pure hate.

Pack 23:

Beastmaster’s Magemark; Wild Cantor; Poisonbelly Ogre; Guardian’s Magemark; Withstand; Feral Animist; Primeval Light; Parallectric Feedback

Pick: Withstand

Now that we have a Withstand it looks like there’s a chance we might play White. We took Withstand over the far less powerful Feral Animist.

Pack 24:

Castigate; Necromancer’s Magemark; Fencer’s Magemark; Skarrgan Pit-Skulk; Lionheart Maverick; Vedalken Plotter; Revenant Patriarch

Pick: Vedalken Plotter

Nassif insisted (for some inexplicable reason) that we take “Big papa plots” over the potentially playable Revenant Patriarch.

Pack 25:

Cremate; Skarrgan Pit-Skulk; Benediction of Moons; Orzhova, the Church of Deals; Skarrgan Skybreaker; Leyline of Lifeforce

Pick: Skarrgan Skybreaker

We got pretty lucky to get a Skarrgan Skybreaker back out of this pack, since our deck is lacking a late-game other than the Vampire.

Pack 26:

Wild Cantor; Cremate; Guardian’s Magemark; Gigadrowse; Leyline of Singularity

Pick: Leyline of Singularity


Pack 27:

Crystal Seer; Silhana Ledgewalker; Petrahydrox; Cryptwailing

Pick: Silhana Ledgewalker

This pick was close. I took the full amount of time to decide on the Ledgewalker, since it helps a great deal with both mana curve and Bloodthirst considerations.

Pack 28:

Cry of Contrition; Skyrider Trainee; Gigadrowse

Pick: Cry of Contrition

Pack 29:

Runeboggle; Aetherplasm

Pick: Runeboggle

Pack 30:

Cry of Contrition

Pick: Cry of Contrition

Pack 31:

Freewind Equenaut; Azorius Signet; Seal of Doom; Sandstorm Eidolon; Minister of Impediments; Steeling Stance; Azorius First-Wing; Simic Initiate; Vision Skeins; Riot Spikes; Soulsworn Jury; Plaxcaster Frogling; Stoic Ephemera; Spell Snare; Grand Arbiter Augustin IV

Pick: Seal of Doom

The decision here was between Seal of Doom and Grand Arbiter Augustin IV. After checking the buy prices on the Arbiter, I took the Seal of Doom.

Pack 32:

Street Savvy; Azorius First-Wing; Writ of Passage; Vesper Ghoul; Coiling Oracle; Helium Squirter; Azorius Chancery; Azorius Signet; Simic Ragworm; Steeling Stance; Wrecking Ball; Brace for Impact; Spell Snare; Rain of Gore

Pick: Wrecking Ball

Wrecking Ball and nothing. No complaints here.

Pack 33:

Simic Signet; Slaughterhouse Bouncer; Utopia Sprawl; Writ of Passage; Plumes of Peace; Sporeback Troll; Haazda Exonerator; Delirium Skeins; Kill-Suit Cultist; Ghost Quarter; Paladin of Prahv; Kindle the Carnage; Infernal Tutor

Pick: Sporeback Troll

We have mana, and need creatures. Creature it is, then. It may appear that I’m getting lazy in my writing, but the picks are getting pretty simple at this point since we’ve already decided on our colors and are just trying to fill out the holes in our deck.

Pack 34:

Simic Signet; Ogre Gatecrasher; Demon’s Jester; Aquastrand Spider; Freewind Equenaut; Utvara Scalper; Plumes of Peace; Soulsworn Jury; Vision Skeins; Coiling Oracle; Flaring Flame-Kin; Vigean Intuition

Pick: Ogre Gatecrasher

The Gatecrasher has a solid body and a decent chance of completely blowing people out. Just what we’re looking for.

Pack 35:

Taste for Mayhem; Street Savvy; Beacon Hawk; Enemy of the Guildpact; Riot Spikes; Sandstorm Eidolon; Slaughterhouse Bouncer; Rakdos Carnarium; Vigean Intuition; Pain Magnification; Bound / Determined

Pick: Rakdos Carnarium

Finally, another land, and this time we don’t have to take it over anything playable.

Pack 36:

Carom; Entropic Eidolon; Utopia Sprawl; Taste for Mayhem; Simic Initiate; Nettling Curse; Beacon Hawk; Overrule; Squealing Devil; Novijen, Heart of Progress

Pick: Squealing Devil

The Devil is the most powerful card in the pack, and shouldn’t be too hard to cast, making it a pretty easy pick.

Pack 37:

Delirium Skeins; Sporeback Troll; Valor Made Real; Enigma Eidolon; Whiptail Moloch; Macabre Waltz; Might of the Nephilim; Ignorant Bliss; Aethermage’s Touch

Pick: Sporeback Troll

This time we actually have a decision. Even though we’re lacking tricks, we don’t have enough gold creatures to make the Might of the Nephilim better than a bad Gather Courage, and the Troll can be a pretty tricky man.

Pack 38:

Whiptail Moloch; Thrive; Haazda Exonerator; Psychotic Fury; Verdant Eidolon; Skyscribing; Brain Pry; Hide / Seek

Pick: Verdant Eidolon

Lacking Playables, and with turn 4 Bloodthirsted Skarrgan Skybreakers on the mind I took Verdant Eidolon.

Pack 39:

Sandstorm Eidolon; Steeling Stance; Simic Initiate; Vision Skeins; Soulsworn Jury; Stoic Ephemera; Spell Snare

Pick: Sandstorm Eidolon

Pack 40:

Street Savvy; Writ of Passage; Vesper Ghoul; Steeling Stance; Brace for Impact; Rain of Gore

Pick: Vesper Ghoul

Pack 41:

Slaughterhouse Bouncer; Haazda Exonerator; Delirium Skeins; Kill-Suit Cultist; Ghost Quarter

Pick: Slaughterhouse Bouncer

Pack 42:

Demon’s Jester; Utvara Scalper; Vision Skeins; Vigean Intuition

Pick: Demon’s Jester

Pack 43:

Taste for Mayhem; Street Savvy; Pain Magnification

Pick: Pain Magnification

Pack 44:

Taste for Mayhem; Nettling Curse

Pick: Nettling Curse

Deck construction didn’t offer us many options; all that was left to do was figure out the correct manabase.

[Unfortunately, Rich’s final build was undecipherable in the submitted article, and I was unable to contact him before publication. Check the forums for updates on this issue. — Craig.]

Until tomorrow,