What a week!
What better way to cap off the week than a draft in which Pugg does well? After all the misclicks, misplays, missteps, misdemeanors, misogyny, and Miss March, wouldn’t it be awesome if I could say: Mission Accomplished?
Heartbeat of Spring, Guardian of Solitude, Bloodthirsty Ogre, Honor-Worn Shaku, Mystic Restraints, FOIL Plains, Joyous Respite, Wandering Ones, Desperate Ritual, Cruel Deceiver, Vine Kami, Sift Through Sands, Stone Rain, Harsh Deceiver, Cursed Ronin
The first thing you should know is that this draft took place in the 8-4 queue. One has to wonder why a player such as myself would even consider wading in there: well, you see, I was shooting for the ultimate victory. Beating six other good players (assuming a split in the finals) is much better than losing to seven awful ones.
No pain, no gain, you know?
My pick: Mystic Restraints [Wow! Worst. Pack. Ever. – Knut]
Takeno, Samurai General, Lantern-Lit Graveyard, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Time of Need, Mothrider Samurai, Rag Dealer, Wear Away, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Callous Deceiver, Devouring Rage, Devoted Retainer, Waking Nightmare, Vine Kami, Floating-Dream Zubera
After a quick vomit session following 101, I found this pack staring me in the face. The best card in my color is Floating-Dream Zubera, and I wasn’t about to second-pick that.
I think we can rule out everything but White pretty easily; I suppose one could make a passionate plea for Waking Nightmare or Time of Need (which would’ve been great had I first-picked something of Kodama or Seshiro caliber). Instead, the choice here has got to be between Takeno, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, and Mothrider Samurai.
I personally dismissed Mothrider first, but it is an excellent card for any White deck. The WW Samurai has some issues (in that it hampers your own Soulshifts and Zubera effects) but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more efficient creature.
Takeno? It’s wrecked me once, but it does cost 6 for being practically of the same power as Nagao. I think the best question to ask is: does passing Takeno cut me off of Samurais for the second pack?
Maybe I should’ve avoided the entire issue and taken the Zubera.
My pick: Samurai of the Pale Curtain
Oni Possession, Orbweaver Kumo, Kami of Fire’s Roar, Cage of Hands, Akki Rockspeaker, Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Kitsune Healer, Devouring Greed, Commune with Nature, River Kaijin, Unearthly Blizzard, Harsh Deceiver
I’ve been told more than once that I must “hate” Kami of Fire’s Roar. Far from it! I love the card; I just don’t know when to pick it. It can’t possibly be a first pick, can it?
I don’t think I need to worry about it here, for even if one argues that Cage of Hands is worse, at least it’s in my color. Also, White seems wide open.
My pick: Cage of Hands
Hisoka, Minamo Sensei, Pinecrest Ridge, Kodama’s Reach, Silent-Chant Zubera, Soulless Revival, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Hisoka’s Defiance, Soul of Magma, Kami of the Painted Road, Distress, Orochi Sustainer, Soratami Cloudskater
“Also, White seems wide open,” a wise man once said. Then the firing squad was given the go-ahead.
Looking back on this pack, I think I may have underestimated the Blue. From the last two packs, it seemed Blue was dead, but Cloudskater and Hisoka’s Defiance aren’t exactly unplayable.
The Green seems to be a notch above, but which is the best card? I went with the traditional pick, but I think the Decoy might have been a better choice.
My pick: Kodama’s Reach
FOIL Vassal’s Duty, Nine-Ringed Bo, Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro, Sideswipe, Psychic Puppetry, Akki Rockspeaker, Vigilance, Hisoka’s Defiance, Akki Avalanchers, Kami of the Painted Road, Venerable Kumo
Every pack it’s the same old thing. List the pack, talk about the pack, name my pick. I’m not going to do that this time. Except the part about naming my pick.
My pick: Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
Akki Underminer, Candle’s Glow, Kitsune Riftwalker, Ragged Veins, Orochi Leafcaller, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Cursed Ronin, Kashi-Tribe Reaver, Lava Spike, Call to Glory
If the last pick had been Sosuke instead of Sachi, I’d start grabbing Snakes like mad (and kicking myself for not taking the Time of Need). Instead, I think the choice is Candles’ Glow versus Kitsune Riftwalker, and White/Green doesn’t often need the brand of combat trick Candles’ Glow provides.
Or am I being dim?
Groan: Kitsune Riftwalker
Godo, Bandit Warlord, Joyous Respite, Psychic Puppetry, Battle-Mad Ronin, Devouring Rage, Call to Glory, Orochi Ranger, Eye of Nowhere, Lava Spike
You know, it’s funny. Takeno didn’t seem all that great until now. Time of Need seemed rather useless as well.
Then all the pieces fit into place.
Since the next best card is Orochi Ranger, which fits but doesn’t exactly bowl me over, I’m gonna have to GODO with GO.
My pick: Godo, Bandit Warlord
Horizon Seed, Samurai Enforcers, Battle-Mad Ronin, Silent-Chant Zubera, Deathcurse Ogre, Kashi-Tribe Warriors, Sift Through Sands, Kitsune Healer
None of the White cards are really all that great, but three of the four aren’t exactly unplayable. Seeing as how Godo is a likely splash, the fatty seems pretty abusable.
My pick: Battle-Mad Ronin
Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s just another one of those classic Pugg “duuuuh?” moments I know you’ve all come to treasure. Now watch me trip over this Ottoman!
Swoop! Splat! “Waugh!”
I think that got him pretty riled up.
FOIL Plains, Joyous Respite, Wandering Ones, Desperate Ritual, Vine Kami, Sift Through Sands, Stone Rain
What? Oh, right, this is that awful pack from 101.
My pick: Stone Rain
Rag Dealer, Wear Away, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Devouring Rage, Devoted Retainer, Vine Kami
I’m not sure if I thought I was abandoning Green. Certainly Wear Away is a fine sideboard card. Guess I’ll take the crappy Samurai instead.
My pick: Devoted Retainer
Heh, if this article were Premium, maybe whoever does the funny little drawings would do one of someone’s retainer with little heart bubbles coming out of it! You know, the kind you put in your mouth, not the kind portrayed in the card!
Oni Possession, Akki Rockspeaker, Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Unearthly Blizzard
My pick: Unearthly Blizzard
Hisoka, Minamo Seer, Pinecrest Ridge, Silent-Chant Zubera, Distress
Don’t you worry. If I had noticed the gold on Hisoka I would’ve grabbed him. I thought it was that stinky Blue uncommon 1/3, not that smelly Blue rare 1/3.
My pick: Silent-Chant Zubera
Psychic Puppetry, Akki Rockspeaker, Vigilance
My pick: Psychic Puppetry
Akki Underminer, Ragged Veins
My pick: Ragged Veins
Moonring Mirror, Mana Seism, Soratami Mirror-Mage, Feast of Worms, Kodama’s Might, Soratami Rainshaper, Pious Kitsune, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Joyous Respite, Kitsune Healer, Devouring Greed, Commune with Nature, River Kaijin, Unearthly Blizzard, Harsh Deceiver
How many Greeds have I passed so far? A lot, which stinks, but it’s not like any deck ever needs three Greeds (anymore).
Moonring Mirror caught my eye, and I know it can be pretty sick at times. However, despite my recent Red leanings, there’s a pretty obvious pick here.
My pick: Kodama’s Might
After yesterday’s debacle (or three), I abandoned my normal printscreen-save-in-Paint method for a dedicated screen-grabbing utility. The one I wound up using (Gadwin Printscreen, because it had a more professional-looking homepage) also had a little bugger of a feature where it would pop up a “congratulations! your screen has been saved, moron” screen after each save. You see, you’ve got to click OK to continue from this screen.
There’s also a bit of a delay from when you hit printscreen and when that window pops up.
I clicked too fast. I saw none of the cards from the pack.
Somehow I got lucky and wound up with a White card.
My “pick”: Kitsune Healer
Imi Statue, Strength of Cedars, Struggle for Sanity, Kitsune Riftwalker, Soulless Revival, Dripping-Tongue Zubera, Lifted by Clouds, Thoughtbind, Uncontrollable Anger, Hundred-Talon Kami, Villainous Ogre, Orochi Sustainer, Hisoka’s Guard
As a robot, one of my subroutines states that whenever I see a Strength of Cedars, I must pick the Strength of Cedars. It’s actually a little more complicated than that, and I barely even know COBOL, so I’ll spare you any further details.
My pick: CRUSH KILL DESTROY
I mean, my pick: Strength of Cedars
Soulblast, Strange Inversion, Squelch, Frostweilder, Kami of Ancient Law, Desperate Ritual, Pious Kitsune, Rag Dealer, Kami of the Hunt, Counsel of the Soratami, Sokenzan Bruiser, Kitsune Diviner
Soulblast is one of those cards I realize isn’t great, but I still hate passing it.
Don’t worry, I passed it.
Frosty is tempting, but he’s not going to happen in a three-color deck. Kitsune Diviner doesn’t compare to Kami of the Hunt or Kami of Ancient Law. If I had more Spirits, the choice might be tougher.
It’s really not tough at all.
My pick: Kami of Ancient Law
Petals of Insight, Kumano’s Pupils, Peer Through Depths, Unnatural Speed, Terashi’s Cry, Devouring Rage, FOIL Devoted Retainer, Devouring Greed, Orochi Ranger, Eye of Nowhere, Lava Spike
Is my fear of Devouring Greed irrational? Is it perfectly un-irrational?
Orochi Ranger is easily the best card for my deck, but do you pass that fourth Greed? The Ranger looks so wimpy compared to it. You wouldn’t believe how close I came to picking it. I even saved a screenshot showing it as the card I selected (I just deleted the paragraph where I talk myself into taking it). My next screenshot shows me making the right call.
My pick: Orochi Ranger
Hana Kami, Graceful Adept, Quiet Purity, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Callous Deceiver, Devouring Rage, Devoted Retainer, Waking Nightmare, Vine Kami
Hana Hana Hana Hana Kami Chameleon…
You come and go, you come and go.
My pick: Matsu-Tribe Decoy
Wait a second! There’s no Chameleon in that card’s name. Why, you…
Shisato, Whispering Hunter, Gale Force, Deathcurse Ogre, Jukai Messenger, Peer Through Depths, Vine Kami, Sift Through Sands, Stone Rain, Harsh Deceiver
The last time I took Gale Force, you guys told me it was the wrong decision. I guess it isn’t all that great. I guess I don’t side it in all that often, but it does have the potential to be devastating to some decks. It’s not like I’m going to take Shisato or something.
I mean, Shisato, Whispering Hunter? The card would more accurately be dubbed Potato, Whimpering Tuber! Am I correct in that assumption?
My pick: Gale Force
Dripping-Tongue Zubera, Peer Through Depths, Battle-Mad Ronin, Yamabushi’s Storm, Devoted Retainer, Kami of the Waning Moon, Commune with Nature, Unearthly Blizzard
What’s up with these packs? I feel like I’ve typed out the same commons fifty times. I guess I have over the course of the week.
I’m sleepy, and Kami of the Waning Moon has no right to still be in this one.
My pick: Battle-Mad Ronin
Mana Seism, Feast of Worms, Pious Kitsune, Commune with Nature, River Kaijin, Unearthly Blizzard
Not much to do here but mumble about River Kaijin still being in the pack and take a card I can play.
Mutter, mutter. Something about River Kaijin still being in the pack. Mutter.
My pick: Commune with Nature
Unnatural Speed, Pious Kitsune, Kashi-Tribe Warriors, Sift Through Sands, Yamabushi’s Storm, Venerable Kumo
So this be that scurvy pack me didn’t get to see anon. What treasures did ye hold? Arr, yer booty be plundered long ago.
My pick: Yamabushi’s Storm
Heh. Long John Silver.
Struggle for Sanity, Dripping-Tongue Zubera, Lifted by Clouds, Uncontrollable Anger, Hisoka’s Guard
My pick: Dripping-Tongue Zubera
Squelch, Desperate Ritual, Pious Kitsune, Rag Dealer
My pick: Pious Kitsune
Peer Through Depths, Unnatural Speed, Terashi’s Cry
I’ll say one thing about 8-4 players. They really know how to trim the fat.
My pick: Terashi’s Cry
Quiet Purity, Devouring Rage
My pick: Devouring Rage
Patron of the Moonfolk, Genju of the Cedars, Blinding Powder, Terashi’s Verdict, Kumano’s Blessing, Takeno’s Cavalry, Call for Blood, Uproot, Floodbringer, Mistblade Shinobi, Blademane Baku, Split-Tail Miko, Okiba-Gang Shinobi, Roar of Jukai, Teardrop Kami
At the very least, in pack two (despite a few randomesque grabs), I’ve firmly cemented myself in Green/White with a possible splash for Godo.
Godo could use some equipment (how ’bout a friggin Jitte over here?), but with Green Genju and Terashi’s Verdict competing with Blinding Powder – which I’ve come to respect far more than I used to over the course of the week – I don’t think I can take the equipment here. Verdict would supply some much-needed removal, but I can’t pass by the raw power of the Genju. Even though I’ve done it before.
My pick: Genju of the Cedars
Kodama of the Center Tree, Mark of the Oni, Unchecked Growth, Heart of Light, Bile Urchin, Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Toils of Night and Day, Kumano’s Blessing, Frostling, Waxmane Baku, Skullmane Baku, Gnarled Mass, Ribbons of the Reikai, Frost Ogre
Gnarled Mass is the first of the many excellent cards in this pack that I ruled out. My deck needs meat, but it’s just not as strong as the other options.
Matsu-Tribe Sniper isn’t aggressive enough, though so far Gale Force is my only other defense against flyers.
Kodama of the Center Tree can be huge, but I have almost no Spirits. I’m not going to skew the entire draft just to make him a little stronger. Even if I had eight or ten Spirits by now, I’m not sure it’s the correct pick.
So it comes down to Waxmane Baku versus Unchecked Growth. Again, my overall lack of Spirits hurts both cards. If I had not already taken Kodama’s Might earlier, I’d probably lean towards the Growth.
My pick: Waxmane Baku
Twist Allegiance, Nezumi Shadow-Watcher, Ward of Piety, Crack the Earth, Terashi’s Grasp, Call for Blood, Traproot Kami, FOIL Hundred-Talon Strike, Hundred-Talon Strike, Scaled Hulk, Quillmane Baku, Blademane Baku, Kami of False Hope
Every pick I make seems to close more doors for me than open them. If I took the Growth last pack, I probably wouldn’t need a combat trick like Hundred-Talon Strike. Especially since it often tables. Kami of False Hope is solid, but I don’t have any Soulshift antics to play with it. Scaled Hulk will rarely ever Scale himself up.
I could use the combat trick, even though I’m almost certain one of the Strikes would table.
My pick: FOIL Hundred-Talon Strike
Sowing Salt, Flames of the Bloodhand, Crack the Earth, Terashi’s Grasp, Call for Blood, Traproot Kami, Toils of Night and Day, Psychic Spear, Harbinger of Spring, Frost Ogre, Split-Tail Miko, Skullsnatcher
If there’s one thing my deck doesn’t need, it’s more defensive cards. If mana weren’t an issue, Frost Ogre would be the easy choice. Otherwise, I’ve got to choose between Traproot and Miko.
My pick: Split-Tail Miko
At least all the other colors were below average.
Clash of Realities, Mark of the Oni, First Volley, Mending Hands, Bile Urchin, Vital Surge, Veil of Secrecy, Frostling, Skullmane Baku, Ribbons of the Reikai, Frost Ogre
Absolutely nothing playable in White or Green. So much Red, but nothing really stands out. Frostling and First Volley both create certain problems for my deck, so I probably should have taken one of the two.
My pick: Frost Ogre
My mana can’t ultimately handle Frost Ogre, so it’s little more than a weak hatedraft, but if this lack of White and Green continues, I may have to consider a much larger splash than I originally intended.
Kentaro, the Smiling Cat, Overblaze, Pus Kami, Silverstorm Samurai, Crawling Filth, Vital Surge, Phantom Wings, Harbinger of Spring, Teardrop Kami, Goblin Cohort
Why’s he smiling? I’m not smiling. I guess he’s (normally) better than Brothers Yamazaki, and that’s not a bad card.
My pick: Kentaro, the Smiling Cat
Tallowisp, FOIL Tallowisp, Akki Blizzard-Herder, Heart of Light, Blessing of Leeches, Floodbringer, Moonlit Strider, Skullsnatcher, Kami of Tattered Shoji
Gah! Two Tallowisps! How many enchant creatures do I have?
My pick: Moonlit Strider
Takeno’s Cavalry, Blessing of Leeches, Minamo’s Blessing, Crack the Earth, Blademane Baku, Split-Tail Miko, Roar of Jukai, Teardrop Kami
A second Miko? I barely wanted the first one!
My pick: Split-Tail Miko
Kumano’s Blessing, Takeno’s Cavalry, Call for Blood, Uproot, Blademane Baku, Split-Tail Miko, Teardrop Kami
Hello. I’m Dr. Greenstein. Pugg will be unable to complete this walkthrough due to his exhibiting various symptoms like foaming at the mouth, excessive sweating, even more excessive diarrhea, vomiting, and early-onset erectile dysfunction.
He managed to scrawl down on a piece of toilet paper his desire that I inform you his pick for this pack was Split-Tail Miko.
Whatever a “miko” is, I can only assume it’s a very bad sign indeed.
Mark of the Oni, Heart of Light, Toils of Night and Day, Skullmane Baku, Ribbons of the Reikai
I’m all better now.
These packs sure aren’t.
My pick: Mark of the Oni
Twist Allegiance, Crack the Earth, Call for Blood, Hundred-Talon Strike, Kami of False Hope
I knew it would table. I wasn’t expecting the Kami to, though. It looks like there’s nobody else in White, but only two out of eight packs are showing it? Is the hatedrafting that rampant?
My pick: Kami of False Hope
Flames of the Blood Hand, Crack the Earth, Call for Blood, Harbinger of Spring
My pick: Flames of the Blood Hand
Mark of the Oni, Vital Surge, Ribbons of the Reikai
My pick: Vital Surge
Overblaze, Silverstorm Samurai
My pick: Silverstorm Samurai
Kami of False Hope
Genju of the Cedars
Commune with Nature
Kami of Ancient Law
Kentaro the Smiling Cat
Samurai of the Pale Curtain
2 Split-Tail Miko
Cage of Hands
Godo, Bandit Warlord
Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro
One of these cards is not like the other.
One of these cards doesn’t belong.
You read that right; Terashi’s Cry is in there. Hear me out. Normally in a deck like this, I’d be likely to play Unearthly Blizzard, right? Except I want to keep my splash as small as possible. Terashi’s Cry is only one more mana.
I mean, I’ve heard of other people playing it. It’s probably not that big a mistake.
Still, it should probably be Sachi instead.
I was rather surprised at how cohesive the deck looks in everything 3cc and under (except for the two Miko). It’s all the stuff above it where the nastiness comes in.
Maybe another alternate build would be to get rid of Reach and Godo and play Dripping-Tongue, Sachi and, I dunno, something like Jukai Messenger and cut it down to 16 lands. Keeping the Cry, of course. That might actually have been better.
I am not going to go into great detail on the games this time around. From what I can tell, this is my least-read section, and anyway, all I really seem to do is list my play mistakes.
I don’t think I made any play mistakes today. There was a misclick near the end of Game 1 (he played Waking Nightmare, and my hand was Forest, Plains, Strength of Cedars), but I had all but lost game one by that point anyway.
See, I had gotten him down to three, but he stabilized with Kiki-Jiki, and eventually used end-of-turn tricks to put three Souls of Magma into play at once. I said goodbye to my team and prepared for game 2.
This is the part where I skip over games two and three. He mulliganed both games, and his hands never had any gas. His deck was strong, but not ridiculously so, and I simply had smoother draws without mulliganing.
I guess there was another White drafter. I never saw him play Takeno, but he did have a Mothrider Samurai, so I have to wonder how far Takeno got.
Basically, his deck was nuts. Two Frostlings and a Honden of Infinite Rage made my 1/1s cry. Glacial Ray and Torrent of Stone made my bigger dudes cry.
The end result made me cry.
He even saw Silverstorm Samurai coming from a mile away game 1. Who does that? I didn’t even think it was playable.
Game two was interesting, at least. My draw seemed excellent, but I quickly became mana flooded. We both had two weak creatures on the board, and he seemed only to draw White mana.
This went on for eight turns.
Then he played White Myojin. I had the Cage of Hands for it, and I had plenty of mana to thwart his Kami of Ancient Law. We stared each other down over the Myojin, neither willing to put any more permanents in play. When I baited him enough with Samurai of the Pale Curtain and Green Zubera, he blew the Myojin.
Then he played five creatures.
My Yamabushi’s Storm killed all of them.
I still lost.
There was one moment right near the end where he was tapped out and I had just created a Kitsune Healer. I had exactly enough lands and mana to play Strength of Cedars splicing Might, then play Might, then play Hundred-Talon Strike for 15 damage, exactly his life total. He ruined that plan by playing Glacial Ray on it in his end of turn phase.
I really wanted to go out with a bang for you guys. This draft was weird, but I’m not sure I drafted incorrectly aside from the pack where I clicked too fast.
The comments I’ve received in the forums, by e-mail and through Magic Online have been wonderful.
Like I said, it’s been fun, but I have a feeling I won’t be drafting again for a while.