Drafting with Pugg this week has been a very good time for all parties involved and the forums have been crackling with energy and feedback about each walkthrough. Of course, most of us keep waiting for the other shoe to drop – for Pugg to draft a really sweet deck for all of us to glory in. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

Pack 1


Seizan, Perverter of Truth, Kashi-Tribe Reaver, Reciprocate, Moss Kami, Consuming Vortex, Orochi Leafcaller, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Crushing Pain, Villainous Ogre, Orochi Sustainer, Hisoka’s Guard, Brutal Deceiver, Indomitable Will, Wicked Akuba

Welcome back to the train wreck that is this article series. If you’ll recall yesterday I managed to luck out and be in the right colors at the right time and create a fairly bomb-laden deck that lost in the first round, mostly due to a play mistake or two. It was so much fun, I decided to do it again.

Ah, I’m getting ahead of myself. This pack has quite a few first-pick worthy cards in it across Green, Black, and White. Seizan’s power is undeniable, and though I passed it earlier in the week for some removal, I must give it some consideration here. A powerhouse at 6/5 for a mere five mana, its ability is a double-edged sword. In fact, it’s so much of a double-edged sword that while I’ve played against it at least five or six times, I’ve only lost to it once; that time because I was already low on life when it came out.

Both Moss Kami and Kashi-Tribe Reaver are strong, but neither shouts “first pick” at me. Of the two, I think the Reaver is slightly stronger because it’s cheaper, and Moss Kami has a late-pick common replacement (not nearly on the same power level, but adequate enough that I think Moss Kami’s stock has dropped since the release of Betrayers).

What about Reciprocate? I don’t think it’s nearly as strong as Seizan, but it is cheap removal. Situational, yes, but I’ve never been wont of targets. The other consideration is that this pack signals Black and Green no matter what I pick (Orochi Sustainer is awesome too, and I’ll take it over Elder unless I’m splashing).

Also, I haven’t done White yet, which is the weakest reason of all, but it’s good enough for me. Indomitable Will may even table.

My pick: Reciprocate, tho methinks thy fori doth more favourably chooseth Seizan


Masako, the Humorless, Eerie Procession, Jade Idol, Kami of the Palace Fields, Feral Deceiver, Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Wear Away, Kabuto Moth, Nezumi Ronin, Humble Budoka, Soratami Cloudskater, Uncontrollable Anger, FOIL Kodama’s Might

Hum. There’s a Moth in this pack. There’s also a White Rare that I think is fairly overrated but will probably get picked soon enough. Unfortunate.

There’s also a common missing here. What do you take over Moth, exactly? Glacial Ray? Teller of Tales? I can completely rule out Foil Moth, of course.

Print run analysis (which I didn’t do during the drafts, for various reasons) reveals that the missing cards had to be either Mystic Restraints, Soratami Mirror-Guard, Rend Flesh or Befoul. So likely it was either Rend Flesh or Befoul. Huh. Either way, White appears to be wide open.

My pick: Kabuto Moth


Azami, Lady of Scrolls, Struggle for Sanity, Ghostly Prison, Soratami Rainshaper, Jukai Messenger, Field of Reality, Ember-Fist Zubera, Kami of the Waning Moon, Orochi Ranger, Callous Deceiver, Devouring Rage, Devoted Retainer, Waking Nightmare

Decision time. Do I stay in one color or add a second? Soratami Rainshaper and Azami are both great cards, but I’m not positive either warrants a change when there’s still an excellent card in my color. While the quantity of the White here is a bit unsettling, in the past I think I’ve been too quick to branch out of my color.

My pick: Ghostly Prison

In-draft conversation:

1578: puggy dude are u making draft recensions on star city ^^

Pugg Fuggly: :yucky face:

1578: lol u are so numb

1578: lele good luck ^^

Pugg Fuggly: thanks


Budoka Gardener, Feast of Worms, Horizon Seed, Midnight Covenant, Joyous Respite, Wandering Ones, Soratami Cloudskater, Hearth Kami, Blessed Breath, FOIL Island, Kami of the Hunt, Counsel of the Soratami

I think Blessed Breath’s fallen out of favor lately. In my last few drafts, you’ll notice it comes (and goes, of course, since I’ve been avoiding White like the Phil Samms) pretty damn late.

Budoka Gardener and Kami of the Hunt are both fine cards. I’ve even been able to flip the Gardener more than I probably should. However, I was feeling pretty wussy by this point.

My pick: Blessed Breath


Reweave, Konda’s Hatamoto, Kami of Fire’s Roar, Soulless Revival, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Lifted by Clouds, Unearthly Blizzard, Harsh Deceiver, Waking Nightmare, Kashi-Tribe Warriors, Sift Through Sands

I think this was right about the point that I started to fall apart. You see, I’m crashing at a friend’s house for a few days, and while I’m using my own computer (which needs a new power supply and likes to crash at inopportune times; I think I might as well use his for the next draft) I’m stuck with my buddy’s Lousy Microsoft Ergonomic Wireless keyboard, with features such as Lousy Function Key Placement and Lousy Cat-Chewed Wires. Wireless my ass. The docking thingy has tons of wires.

So I was lagging a bit behind already because of my unfamiliarity with the keyboard. This pack threw me. I could stick with White and take the reasonable Samurai, I could move into Black, which I had pretty much already decided to avoid (possibly foolishly), or I could move into Red and take the arguably strongest card in the pack.

Since the Red had been weak up to this point, and since I had been starting to see fairly strong Green, and since Magic Online was already angrily ticking at me (funny, I thought I had all sounds disabled), I impulsively took the Green card. It wasn’t necessarily a mistake, but I’m not sure I took it for the right reasons.

My pick: Matsu-Tribe Decoy


Then all hell broke loose. Stupid keyboard didn’t grab my print screen. I’ve missed recording picks before (not in this series), but usually it’s been my fault, not the hardware. I don’t remember any specific cards in the pack, but I do recall that there was no playable White. I think there may have been a Kami of the Hunt in it. Regardless, I took the strongest card by far.

My pick: Hanabi Blast


When it rains, it pours. Ditto pretty much everything I said for the last pack, except I don’t think there was a Kami of the Hunt this time, or anything close to it in power.

My pick: Battle-Mad Ronin


Night Dealings, Kumano’s Pupils, Quiet Purity, Ragged Veins, Eye of Nowhere, Yamabushi’s Storm, Devoted Retainer, Commune with Nature

By this point I was frantic. I didn’t want to lose any more drafts, so I wanted to save the .gifs before I clicked on the card.

One printscreen didn’t work, so I had to go back and press it twice, finally, it “took,” but when I came back to take my intended card, it was already on the next pack.

My intended pick: Yamabushi’s Storm

My MODO-assisted goofgrab: Ragged Veins


Orochi Leafcaller, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Crushing Pain, Villainous Ogre, Orochi Sustainer, Hisoka’s Guard, Brutal Deceiver

By now I decided that I might as well just press printscreen three times and then just take the card. It’s probably better to lose a .gif than to have to goofgrab a bad card.

The White’s all gone by now. I think moving into Green at this point would have been more than appropriate (taking Orochi Sustainer, of course), but I was still in panic mode so I made the “safe” pick.

My pick: Brutal Deceiver


Eerie Procession, Jade Idol, Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Wear Away, Humble Budoka

Too many playables for my frantic mind to comprehend. I still hadn’t made the Green switch I should have done ages ago, so I just took the strongest card. Either Wear Away or Humble Budoka make more sense. (I don’t think I’ll ever like Jade Idol, and it seems only a few of you disagree with me about its near-unplayability.)

My pick: Eerie Procession


Struggle for Sanity, Jukai Messenger, Field of Reality, Orochi Ranger, Callous Deceiver

Oh, sure. Now I switch into Green. About time.

My pick: Orochi Ranger


Feast of Worms, Horizon Seed, Midnight Covenant, Wandering Ones

I couldn’t have goofgrabbed this pack?

My pick: Horizon Seed


Lifted by Clouds, Unearthly Blizzard, Kashi-Tribe Warriors

My pick: Unearthly Blizzard


Akki Rockspeaker, Vigilance

My pick: Akki Rockspeaker


Hisoka’s Guard

Pack 2


Ryusei, the Falling Star, Blood Rites, Gale Force, Tenza, Godo’s Maul, Pull Under, Order of the Sacred Bell, Pious Kitsune, Rag Dealer, Orochi Leafcaller, Kitsune Healer, Cruel Deceiver, Venerable Kumo, River Kaijin, Devouring Rage, Call to Glory

Someone will find a way to disagree with this pick. Someone always does.

My pick: Ryusei, the Falling Star


Part the Veil, Hideous Laughter, Cut the Tethers, Brothers Yamazaki, Soratami Mirror-Guard, Yamabushi’s Flame, Unnatural Speed, Pious Kitsune, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Burr Grafter, Counsel of the Soratami, Soul of Magma, Gibbering Kami, Kami of the Hunt

Are you guys okay with the new format? I mean, putting my picks at the end instead of bolding them? Most of my forum buddies pushed for this, but there were a few holdouts, including My Very Good Friend Pale Mage. As much as I fear his wrath, I think I’d personally rather see them afterwards instead of having them shoved in my face if I had to read my own articles. I’m ever so glad I don’t have to.

Hideous Laughter returns from beyond to mock me. I think he’s already created a new forum alias. Since I’ve barely begun to move into Green, I probably might as well have taken it. Somehow, I think I created a mental block long ago in the draft that told me to avoid Black no matter what. Stupid brain.

My pick: Yamabushi’s Flame


Bloodthirsty Ogre, Honor-Worn Shaku, Strength of Cedars, Kitsune Riftwalker, Wandering Ones, Crushing Pain, Ethereal Haze, Unearthly Blizzard, Lantern Kami, Cursed Ronin, Kashi-Tribe Warriors, Floating-Dream Zubera, Lava Spike

I’m as shocked as you are. Do people hate Green that much? All that Green I passed, and Strength of Cedars is still in this pack? I suppose one of the rares could’ve been broken. The Strength isn’t at its best in an evasion-light deck, but I’m not complaining.

My pick: Strength of Cedars


Soratami Savant, Lure, Mothrider Samurai, Peer Through Depths, Battle-Mad Ronin, Terashi’s Cry, Stone Rain, Harsh Deceiver, Cursed Ronin, Burr Grafter, Thoughtbind, Uncontrollable Anger

What I did here was misinterpret the Samurai as a sign that White’s opening up again. The Savant probably flustered me as well. I should have gone ahead and stuck with Green for Burr Grafter. Instead…

My pick: Mothrider Samurai


Eiganjo Castle, Numai Outcast, Cloudcrest Lake, Soulless Revival, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Lifted by Clouds, Floating-Dream Zubera, Stone Rain, Kitsune Healer, Commune with Nature, River Kaijin

This pack’s a bit more reasonable. The Red’s dried up, and the Blue is pretty sweet, but I’m a big fan of the Double D(ecoy)s. At least I’ve finally settled into my colors.

My pick: Matsu-Tribe Decoy



I was actually so incensed when I lost this pick that I forgot what I took! I have literally recorded over one hundred drafts. Never have I ever missed more than one pick. I can blame the keyboard, or the laudanum, but instead I choose to blame the Hugonauts. Those Hugonauts make me so mad.

I can deduce my pick from my cardpool, but I have no memory of what else the pack contained.

My pick: Time of Need

Anyway, that clinches it. For Friday’s draft I’m going to use an alternate method of taking screenshots. Musteval in the forums and ZeroStar by e-mail each suggested a different program for doing so, so I’ll download both and see which I prefer.


Student of Elements, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Field of Reality, Terashi’s Cry, Akki Avalanchers, Kitsune Diviner, Villainous Ogre, Serpent Skin, Reach Through Mists

Serpent Skin is an excellent card to go along with my Matsu-Tribe Decoys. It turns the Decoy into a killing machine. Just make sure you leave a Green up to regenerate it! Only a terrible player or a Hugonaut would ever make that sort of stupid mistake.


tr.v. fore·shad·owed, fore·shad·ow·ing, fore·shad·ows

To present an indication or a suggestion of beforehand; presage.

My pick: Serpent Skin


Waterveil Cavern, Vigilance, Dripping-Tongue Zubera, Distress, Hisoka’s Defiance, Akki Avalanchers, Kami of the Painted Road

I don’t like Dripping-Tongue Zubera in this deck, and it’s not aggressive enough to warrant the Avalanchers, though it still may have been a fine pick. Soulless Revival or Hisoka’s Defiance are the hatedrafts of choice, but I inexplicably took:

My pick: Kami of the Painted Road


Gale Force, Pious Kitsune, Rag Dealer, Orochi Leafcaller, River Kaijin, Devouring Rage, Call to Glory

Ever been wrecked by Gale Force? I have. Ever have it wreck your opponent? I haven’t. Funny how that works.

My pick: Gale Force


Part the Veil, Cut the Tethers, Unnatural Speed, Pious Kitsune, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Counsel of the Soratami

Why would I take a third-of-a-ticket rare when there are so many other perfectly playable options? Pious Kitsune is a house. Cut the Tethers so good I have to consider splashing for it. Counsel of the Soratami spits in Intuition’s face.

Ashen-Skin Zubera is the only reasonably playble card in the pack, but I do hope you’ll forgive me for raredrafting this one.

My pick: Part the Veil


Honor-Worn Shaku, Wandering Ones, Crushing Pain, Unearthly Blizzard, Kashi-Tribe Warriors

You see how late the Shaku comes? It’s because of this I never considered it playable before. However, I could use some more men, and the Warriors isn’t the worst card in the world. Tough call.

My pick: Honor-Worn Shaku


Peer Through Depths, Battle-Mad Ronin, Terashi’s Cry, Stone Rain

My pick: Battle-Mad Ronin


Numai Outcast, Lifted by Clouds, Stone Rain

My pick: Stone Rain


Peer Through Depths, Unnatural Speed

My pick: Unnatural Speed


Field of Reality

Pack 3


Reduce to Dreams, Hired Muscle, Walker of Secret Ways, Mark of the Oni, Uproot, FOIL Torrent of Stone, First Volley, Mending Hands, Bile Urchin, Harbinger of Spring, Teardrop Kami, Goblin Cohort, Waxmane Baku, Psychic Spear, Gnarled Mass

Three cards stand out here. Gnarled Mass, Torrent of Stone, Waxmane Baku. Each is close to the best, if not the best, common of its color.

My deck is primarily Green/Red, with a likely splash of Moth and an unknown other number of White cards. I’m aware of being creature-light, but due to the pace of the draft, I don’t want to stop and count my creatures, even though I should have plenty of time as this is the first pick of the pack.

Removal? I guess.

My pick: Torrent of Stone


Callow Jushi, Akki Raider, Budoka Pupil, Vital Surge, Veil of Secrecy, Akki Blizzard-Herder, Heart of Light, Blessing of Leeches, Mistblade Shinobi, Blademane Baku, Split-Tail Miko, Okiba-Gang Shinobi, Roar of Jukai, Teardrop Kami

Budoka Pupil is arguably the weakest of the Betrayers flip cards, for the simple reason that Green is the color most likely to play the most non-Spirit cards. White too, I guess, but only in the most dedicated Samurai builds do you usually find the non-Spirits outweighing the Spirits. Oh, fine. Every color has the potential to play a ton of non-Spirits. It just seems to happen a lot in Green.

Ichiga’s still a badass.

My pick: Budoka Pupil


Sway of the Stars, Heed the Mists, Toils of Night and Day, Kumano’s Blessing, Silverstorm Samurai, Stir the Grave, Uproot, Goblin Cohort, Hundred-Talon Strike, Skullmane Baku, Scaled Hulk, Ninja of the Deep Hours, Shinka Gatekeeper

I hate having to take what is occasionally a fifteenth pick third. One could argue that I should hatedraft the Ninja, but I’m going to play the Hulk anyway, and there’s a chance I might not see another.

Shinka Gatekeeper and Goblin Cohort are two other very late picks that would nevertheless make my deck. I may have dismissed them too quickly during the draft.

My pick: Scaled Hulk


Splinter, Phantom Wings, First Volley, Takeno’s Cavalry, Blessing of Leeches, Traproot Kami, Harbinger of Spring, Mistblade Shinobi, Frost Ogre, Split-Tail Miko, Skullsnatcher, Roar of Jukai

Let’s examine each possibility in my colors one by one:

Split-Tail Miko: When Betrayers was released, the near-consensus was that she was the second-best White common. Moonlit Strider’s long since surged ahead of her, and I think she’s still dropping. Occasionally broken in some decks, but useless in others, this isn’t what I’m looking for in a splash.

Traproot Kami: I suppose I’d side this in against certain flyer-heavy decks, but I see it maindecked far too often. I’m not even sure it’s the strongest Green card in the pack, and I won’t even bother analyzing the rest of those.

First Volley: I can’t get it out of my head that it’s removal, even though there are certain matchups where it’s one third of a Lava Spike for twice the cost. I don’t think it’s the correct pick.

Frost Ogre: Don’t you mentally add “cannot block” to its nonexistent text box? Hasn’t every other similarly-powered Red card had this drawback? Well, it doesn’t say that, and my deck’s sorely lacking in creatures. Clearly it’s the right pick.

My pick: First Volley

Now you know why I put myself on my blocked list.


Sosuke’s Summons, Heed the Mists, Nezumi Shadow-Watcher, Toils of Night and Day, Ire of Kaminari, Silverstorm Samurai, Crawling Filth, Vital Surge, Skullsnatcher, Child of Thorns, Psychic Spear

I’ve been itching to play Sosuke’s Summons in Limited ever since I read the Betrayers spoiler. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve even ever seen it in a pack before.

So what’s the minimum Snake count where it becomes playable? Or is it always playable as a sorcery-speed Raise the Alarm? Should I have taken it anyway? I really don’t know how to evaluate it.

My pick: Child of Thorns


Twist Allegiance, Gods’-Eye, Gate to the Reikai, Splinter, Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Veil of Secrecy, Kumano’s Blessing, Takeno’s Cavalry, Call for Blood, Scaled Hulk, Kami of False Hope

My motto is: when in doubt, take the rare. At least it was until this week. You guys scare me too much. Twist Allegiance does have “scrub card” written all over it, so nonbasic land it is.

My pick: Matsu-Tribe Sniper


Toshiro Umezawa, Indebted Samurai, Petalmane Baku, Floodbringer, Crack the Earth, Terashi’s Grasp, Call for Blood, Skullmane Baku, Ribbons of the Reikai

That’s the guy who wields the Jitte, right? You wouldn’t believe how close I came to picking him. Then I remembered I had a splash that needed help.

My pick: Petalmane Baku

Then I remembered I left the iron on.

Pack 3, Pick 8

Clash of Realities, Scour, Minamo’s Meddling, Crack the Earth, Heart of Light, Bile Urchin, Quillmane Baku, Sakura-Tribe Springcaller

Yet another rare I have no idea how to value. Close examination of its text reveals in the fine print: “I kill creatures!” Rubbing off some space dust reveals that it actually says “I kill your creatures!”

My pick: Sakura-Tribe Springcaller

Wait, I think there may be even more space dust. “Investigate killers yourselves, creatures!”



Reduce to Dreams, Walker of Secret Ways, Mark of the Oni, Uproot, Mending Hands, Harbinger of Spring, Psychic Spear

The forums have suggested Harbinger of Spring is unplayable, in which case I either hatedraft Psychic Spear, Mark of the Oni, or the ninja here. I could even take the rare if I were inclined to.

I’m not convinced it’s unplayable, but I’m getting there.

My pick: Harbinger of Spring


Vital Surge, Akki Blizzard-Herder, Heart of Light, Blessing of Leeches, Roar of Jukai, Teardrop Kami

You know I gotta give the Roar some more respect after getting trounced by it yesterday. The only other card to consider is Vital Surge, which I’ll admit I’ve boarded in on occasion.

lifegain sux lolz

Who said that?

My pick: Roar of Jukai


Heed the Mists, Toils of Night and Day, Kumano’s Blessing, Stir the Grave, Uproot

My pick: Stir the Grave


Splinter, Takeno’s Cavalry, Blessing of Leeches, Harbinger of Spring

Just because it comes 12th doesn’t mean it’s unplayable. You can’t make me not play it. I want my mommy.

My pick: Harbinger of Spring

Yeah, I may as well have taken Splinter in case I faced a Jitte or the like.


Ire of Kaminari, Crawling Filth, Vital Surge

My pick: Vital Surge


Kumano’s Blessing, Takeno’s Cavalry

My pick: will it kill you if you never find out?


Call for Blood

The deck

To splash or not to splash?

Yeah, why not.


Child of Thorns

Blessed Breath


2 Battle-Mad Ronin

Matsu-Tribe Sniper

Orochi Ranger

Petalmane Baku

First Volley


Budoka Pupil

2 Matsu-Tribe Decoy

Brutal Deceiver

Kabuto Moth

Serpent Skin

Hanabi Blast

Yamabushi’s Flame


Sakura-Tribe Springcaller

Mothrider Samurai

Torrent of Stone


Harbinger of Spring

Strength of Cedars


Scaled Hulk

Ryusei, the Falling Star

8 Forest

7 Mountain

2 Plains

Relevant Sideboard:


Ghostly Prison

Stone Rain

Gale Force

Roar of Jukai

Honor-Worn Shaku

Choices, choices. All of them wrong.

I think I had to play the Harbinger because I was so low on creatures. This build only has 16, and the next playable creature is Kami of the Painted Road.

I might have wanted to add an additional Plains, but I was worried about my Ronin, which I didn’t want to play anyway.

Yeah, I left out my first pick. Whoops. I think while I was toying around with not including the White at all (and later just the Moth), I forgot to put back the Reciprocate and didn’t notice. Certainly it’s better than Blessed Breath here, numerous splice vessels or no.

The game

Yeah, it’s singular again. Sorry about the spoiler, but you should be able to tell by the remaining article length anyway.

Round 1

vs 1783


He mulliganed to six on the play, while I exchanged a five-land hand for a no-land hand for a reasonable five-card hand. He led with Cloudskater, Soratami Rainshaper, and Callow Jushi while I countered with Brutal Deceiver followed by Kabuto Moth (the Plains came on my fourth turn).

Moth held off his force for one turn before it got Restrained. Sakura-Tribe Springcaller was outmatched by Frost Ogre, but the Deceiver held it back. His Hearth Kami then joined my Decoy.

I was still taking three in the air every turn, so I had to attack. My freshly-drawn Hanabi Blast finished off the Ogre after it blocked the Springcaller (discarding Scaled Hulk, the only card left in my hand), and he double-blocked the Decoy with the Lured Kami and Jushi. He let the Deceiver through. My team was mostly gone.

So then I took five. He then played Blue Genju.

Now, I was in a position where I could leave my Deceiver behind to trade with the Jushi and pick off the Rainshaper on my turn. Instead, I went for the Jushi.

Ugh. The Genju and his other flyers finished me off shortly.

I sided in Gale Force and Roar of Jukai for Blessed Breath and Harbinger of Spring. I forgot about the Reciprocate again.

I had to mulligan a one-land hand into six on the play. He kept.

Once again I had an early Battle-Mad Ronin, followed by Matsu-Tribe Decoy. He had Cloudskater and Callow Jushi again (likely he was holding a Rainshaper again but didn’t drop it because of the Decoy. I assume this because of his hesitation in playing the Jushi).

I swung with Ronin, but left my Decoy back, of course. He played Hearth Kami. At his end-of-turn I enchanted the Decoy with Serpent Skin, poised to start taking out his team one by one.

Join me tomorrow when I draft the best deck ever. It’s not like it’s got much competition.

Pugg Fuggly

[email protected]

Wha? Oh, right. Yeah, I forgot to leave a Green up.

de·noue·ment also dé·noue·ment

n. The final resolution or clarification of a dramatic or narrative plot.