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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Incite Hysteria; Surge of Zeal; Sundering Vitae; Recollect; Wojek Apothecary; Golgari Germination
Recollect and nothing. Easy enough.
Votary of the Conclave; Boros Recruit; Gate Hound; Zephyr Spirit; Stoneshaker Shaman
Pick: Boros Recruit
Quickchange; Infectious Host; Rain of Embers; Golgari Thug
Pick: Rain of Embers
Caregiver; Thoughtpicker Witch; Leashling
Necromantic Thirst; Goblin Fire Fiend
Pick: Goblin Fire Fiend
Pick: Seismic Spike
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.
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.
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.
Pyromatics; Infiltrator’s Magemark; Absolver Thrull; Scab-Clan Mauler; Tin Street Hooligan; Crystal Seer; Silhana Ledgewalker; Restless Bones; Petrahydrox; Cryptwailing; Izzet Guildmage; Ghostway
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.
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.
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.
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.
Beastmaster’s Magemark; Wild Cantor; Poisonbelly Ogre; Guardian’s Magemark; Withstand; Feral Animist; Primeval Light; Parallectric Feedback
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.
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.
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.
Wild Cantor; Cremate; Guardian’s Magemark; Gigadrowse; Leyline of Singularity
Pick: Leyline of Singularity
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.
Cry of Contrition; Skyrider Trainee; Gigadrowse
Pick: Cry of Contrition
Pick: Cry of Contrition
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sandstorm Eidolon; Steeling Stance; Simic Initiate; Vision Skeins; Soulsworn Jury; Stoic Ephemera; Spell Snare
Pick: Sandstorm Eidolon
Street Savvy; Writ of Passage; Vesper Ghoul; Steeling Stance; Brace for Impact; Rain of Gore
Pick: Vesper Ghoul
Slaughterhouse Bouncer; Haazda Exonerator; Delirium Skeins; Kill-Suit Cultist; Ghost Quarter
Pick: Slaughterhouse Bouncer
Demon’s Jester; Utvara Scalper; Vision Skeins; Vigean Intuition
Pick: Demon’s Jester
Taste for Mayhem; Street Savvy; Pain Magnification
Pick: Pain Magnification
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.]