SCG Daily: MODO Genuine Draft

Hello once again. So much has happened since yesterday. How about that Pro Tour Player’s club, eh? What about the return of Family Guy, huh? Remember that last article of mine, do you? Me neither, so I’m stalling for time while I reread it. I learned a lot from yesterday’s draft, and especially the kind and not so kind forum responses from the article. Many thanks to all who wrote in and crushed my fragile spirits! In the spirit of the fine forum responses I received, I shall detail the lessons I learned yesterday and use them to guide me in today’s draft.

Hello once again. So much has happened since yesterday. How about that Pro Tour Player’s club, eh? What about the return of Family Guy, huh? Remember that last article of mine, do you? Me neither, so I’m stalling for time while I reread it.

Of course! Yesterday I drafted an average deck and faced below average opponents. I also won three packs, one of which I had to return to its proper owner (thanks, My Good Friend Hork!). Fortunately, I had enough tickets and horrible rares to buy another pack of Champions (at a reduced rate! Thanks, My Good Friend Cybercow! He, by the way, is an operator at #scg, EFnet’s premier unofficial home of Star City Games on IRC.). After a long, hot bath to wash away the stink of failure (which ultimately proved unsuccessful), I was ready to draft again.

I learned a lot from yesterday’s draft, and especially the kind and not so kind forum responses from the article. Many thanks to all who wrote in and crushed my fragile spirits!

Lesson 1: Always take the Dragon.

Lesson 2: Never play Crack the Earth over Befoul.

Lesson 3: Don’t pick Imi Statue when there’s a playable card in your color.

I’m still not convinced Sensei’s Divining Top was bad in my deck, lack of shuffle effects notwithstanding. I’m stubborn that way.


Ryusei, the Falling Star, Eerie Procession, Jade Idol, Kami of the Palace Fields, Kami of Fire’s Roar, Kitsune Blademaster, Ember-Fist Zubera, Quiet Purity, Ragged Veins, Kami of the Painted Road, Distress, FOIL Commune with Nature, Soratami Cloudskater, Hearth Kami, Blessed Breath

In the last draft, I opened a Dragon. I didn’t take it. A mistake? Clearly. This time, I opened a (slightly weaker) Dragon and I took it without hesitation. There’s simply nothing better in the pack, folks.

Now, if you were the poor sod to my left, what would you take out of the remaining cards? Even though whatever card you took first has a huge bearing on what you take second, I think this is still a useful exercise. So what do you take? The strongest remaining cards are Kitsune Blademaster, Kami of Fire’s Roar, Blessed Breath, and Kami of the Palace Fields (I have to include it because even though it’s no match for the others, I’m convinced many overrate it and take it much higher than it deserves). Even though there are three strong White cards in the list, most people will probably take the Blademaster. Even if my “b*tch” doesn’t, I’m probably creating a slew of White drafters down the line anyway. Have fun, “b*tches.”


The Unspeakable, Earthshaker, Oni Possession, Honden of Seeing Winds, Soratami Rainshaper, Orochi Leafcaller, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Crushing Pain, Devouring Rage, Call to Glory, Devouring Greed, Orochi Ranger, Eye of Nowhere, Lava Spike

Earthshaker, at a glance, seems to have quite a bit of synergy with Ryusei. They’re both fatties, they’re both Spirits, and they both have abilities that punish non-fliers. Also they’re both Red. So why didn’t I take it? It’s terrible!

Okay, it’s not terrible. It’s just that I’ve had no luck with the card in the past. If it were coming fourth, I’d probably take it without hesitation, but it doesn’t ever seem to make it that far. That’s fine with me. It’s fat (but not fat enough), it’s slow, and it pretty much kills every other one of your creatures when its ability is invoked. In theory, that tradeoff is fine because you’re still swinging with a 4/5. In practice, you’re swinging with your 4/5 into your Green opponent, who lost none of his creatures to the Shaker’s ability.

Blue Honden, on the other hand, is freakin’ sweet.


Part the Veil, Kumano’s Pupils, Otherworldly Journey, Guardian of Solitude, Peer Through Depths, Battle-Mad Ronin, Terashi’s Cry, Commune with Nature, River Kaijin, Unearthly Blizzard, Harsh Deceiver, Waking Nightmare, Kashi-Tribe Warriors

Yes, Battle-Mad Ronin has become the format-defining common. Haven’t you heard?

I’m only being half-facetious, actually. Conventional Wisdom would probably take the River Kaijin, which stalls the ground while Blue fliers and Red direct damage finish off its opponent. Conventional Wisdom isn’t writing this, though, is it? Even though they come very late, a budding Blue/Red deck really wants a couple copies of the l’il’est Samurai. Why?



Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep, Konda’s Hatamoto, Sire of the Storm, Mystic Restraints, Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Wear Away, Thoughtbind, Uncontrollable Anger, Hundred-Talon Kami, Orochi Sustainer, Hisoka’s Guard

Thank you sir, may I have another? While no other uncommon has as big a bullseye painted on it as the Sire, I still want it. Oh, I want it bad.


Innocence Kami, Nezumi Bone-Reader, Kodama’s Reach, Psychic Puppetry, Battle-Mad Ronin, Silent-Chant Zubera, Serpent Skin, Reach Through Mists, Hearth Kami, Nezumi Ronin, Humble Budoka

Remember all those things I said about the Ronin a few picks ago? Apparently I was lying. ;[

I suppose my plan was to leave myself open to a Green/Blue build splashing Red for Ryusei and any decent Red removal I might pick up. 5th pick is pretty late to see a Reach.


Dosan the Falling Leaf, Thousand-legged Kami, Lantern-Lit Graveyard, Jukai Messenger, Field of Reality, Akki Avalanchers, Kami of the Painted Road, Venerable Kumo, Eye of Nowhere, Yamabushi’s Storm

The Reach must have been a fluke, though. Terrible Green in here. Terrible everything, really. Even though Champions’ 1/1s generally pale in comparison to Betrayers’, I usually play at least one Avalancher in my Red decks. Again, it also helps out with



Feast of Worms, Horizon Seed, Pious Kitsune, Rag Dealer, Orochi Leafcaller, Lava Spike, Call to Glory, Orochi Ranger, Callous Deceiver

Even though I had no spliceable cards at this point, in my colors I’d be sure to pick up a few. No better splice vessel than Lava Spike.

Also, this pack sucked.


Midnight Covenant, Joyous Respite, Wandering Ones, Gibbering Kami, Kami of the Hunt, Reach Through Mists, Brutal Deceiver, Hundred-Talon Kami

If I still had any plans of going Green/Blue with the Red splash, I obviously abandoned them here, as the Kami of the Hunt is the stronger card (though the Deceiver is decent).


Eerie Procession
, Jade Idol, Quiet Purity, Ragged Veins, Kami of the Painted Road, Distress, FOIL Commune with Nature

So the decent Red cards are gone. So are all the decent White cards. Cloudskater was taken before Eerie Procession?! Absurd! Even though the deck can only tutor up a Lava Spike at this point, the Arcane spells are coming. Oh, they’re coming.


Oni Possession, Orochi Leafcaller, Crushing Pain, Devouring Rage, Call to Glory, Eye of Nowhere



Peer Through Depths, Terashi’s Cry, Commune with Nature, Unearthly Blizzard, Kashi-Tribe Warriors


Ethereal Haze, Rag Dealer, Thoughtbind, Hisoka’s Guard


Psychic Puppetry, Battle-Mad Ronin, Silent-Chant Zubera



Jukai Messenger, Field of Reality


Horizon Seed

I’m not sure I did the Devouring Rage enough justice earlier. While it’s rather unwieldy, and while I would never play more than one, the card is at home in Blue/Red. It’s barely playable elsewhere, but here, it’s juicy. It’s a shame it doesn’t interact better with



Seizan, Perverter of Truth, Samurai of the Pale Curtain, Time of Need, FOIL Graceful Adept, Kami of Ancient Law, Rend Flesh, Soulless Revival, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Lifted by Clouds, Kami of the Waning Moon, Commune with Nature, Callous Deceiver, Unearthly Blizzard, Lantern Kami, Cursed Ronin

¡Que horrible! At least it’s splashable and searchable.


Akki Lavarunner, Orbweaver Kumo, Hankyu, Kami of Ancient Law, Pull Under, Ashen-Skin Zubera, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Field of Reality, Cruel Deceiver, Vine Kami, Sift Through Sands, Stone Rain, Harsh Deceiver, Cursed Ronin

Before you get riled up about this pick, consider the facts. There are no other playable cards that fit well in my deck (except for Stone Rain, which comes as late as 15th). Pull Under does complement the Rend Flesh I just drafted, but I don’t even think it’s all that playable even in the best of circumstances.

Now Hankyu is a pretty wimpy card. It’s expensive to equip, and even when you successfully do, it’s slow to accrue a decent kill or two. In short, it’s no Longbow.

Ah, but there’s no Longbow in this format. To put it mildly, I’ve developed a shine toward Hankyu (not for its name, mind you). I’d still cut it if I had another pinger or two, but seriously, it’s got to be one of the most underrated cards in Champions. It even lets me get some use out of otherwise worthless late-drawn Ronin. Stop complaining and try it out once.


Azusa, Lost but Seeking, Blood Rites, Gale Force, Tenza, Godo’s Maul, Kitsune Riftwalker, Unnatural Speed, Pious Kitsune, Indomitable Will, Wicked Akuba, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Thoughtbind, Akki Avalanchers

I know I passed some solid Red early in the draft, but this is ridiculous. I’ve always been underwhelmed by the Maul, but I suppose it must have been Eisel’s comments a while back that made me take it over Blood Rites (which I probably wouldn’t have played anyway).


Konda’s Banner, Cut the Tethers, Brothers Yamazaki, Wandering Ones, Crushing Pain, Ethereal Haze, Kami of the Hunt, Counsel of the Soratami, Sokenzan Bruiser, Kitsune Diviner, Distress, Sakura-Tribe Elder

At least it’s something for the Maul to attach to. I’d still prefer a Houndmaster. Or another Ryusei.


Waterveil Cavern, Petals of Insight, FOIL Island, Akki Rockspeaker, Vigilance, Deathcurse Ogre, Waking Nightmare, Vine Kami, Floating-Dream Zubera, Stone Rain, Kitsune Healer

Not a great pack, but at least it fleshes out the deck a bit. I suppose the Waterveil Cavern could’ve helped out the Black splash, but there’s really no question here. Petals of Insight is likewise unacceptable since I consider it worse than the Honden anyway, and it’s actually known to come 13th-15th.


Kitsune Mystic, Lure, Akki Coalflinger, Jukai Messenger, Peer Through Depths, Unnatural Speed, Uncontrollable Anger, Indomitable Will, Burr Grafter, Counsel of the Soratami

I don’t see what this card has anything to do with Ninjas.

I digress. At least I’m about to. Do any of you want to know the secret of recording drafts? It’s simple, really. Open up MS Paint. If you’re using a Mac, open up your web browser and go to newegg.com and build yourself something that can play Magic Online.

Why MS Paint instead of, say, Photoshop? It’s simple. No, that’s the answer. It’s a simple program. The fact that it can only open one image at a time is a benefit, not a hindrance.

Once you’ve opened Paint, go to Save As… and then get into the directory where you want to save the draft images. (You can even create the directory at this point, which is another nice feature.) Save the blank image as anything; 101.gif, for example. You need to do this so Paint will always be saving in the default directory.

Once the draft starts, decide what card you’re going to take (this is the hard part), then hover your mouse over the card. Then move the pointer away. You see, once you’re hovering, a card information screen quickly pops up and can obscure many of the other cards.

You’ll notice that the card you want is now the large card displayed on the left of the screen. Now hit print screen (or PrntScrn or PrSc or occasionally PTFS), draft the card, and switch to your Paint window. Paste, then Save As… and then you’re ready to go again, often before the next set of cards has arrived. (I save as .gif, because the lower image quality doesn’t really matter and when you record a bunch of drafts for no reason like I do, the space saved really adds up.)

Easy, huh? If you have the problem where the next batch of cards popping up jumps you back to the Magic Online window, you can either save the file before you pick the card or download a nifty utility called TweakUI and turn off the damn thing that lets windows steal focus from other windows.

Now you can record drafts like a pro! If only you could also draft like a pro.


Reweave, Student of Elements, Vigilance, Dripping-Tongue Zubera, Hisoka’s Guard, Sokenzan Bruiser, Blessed Breath, Humble Budoka, Hisoka’s Defiance

At least it’s in my colors. Don’t worry, it’s not like I played it.


Honor-Worn Shaku, Orochi Leafcaller, Kami of Twisted Reflection, Crushing Pain, Yamabushi’s Storm, Venerable Kumo, River Kaijin, Devouring Rage

Every Blue deck loves River Kaijin. Every Blue drafter loves taking it eighth pick.

I guess not every Blue deck loves it. I think mine does.


Time of Need, FOIL Graceful Adept, Lifted by Clouds, Commune with Nature, Callous Deceiver, Unearthly Blizzard, Cursed Ronin

I’ll play it. Why is Time of Need still in here?


Akki Lavarunner
, Orbweaver Kumo, Field of Reality, Vine Kami, Sift Through Sands, Stone Rain



Kitsune Riftwalker, Unnatural Speed, Pious Kitsune, Thoughtbind, Akki Avalanchers



Cut the Tethers
, Wandering Ones, Crushing Pain, Counsel of the Soratami


Vine Kami
, Vigilance, Akki Rockspeaker


Peer Through Depths
, Jukai Messenger


Hisoka’s Guard


Mannachi, the Fevered Dream, Budoka Pupil, Cunning Bandit, Indebted Samurai, Mending Hands, Bile Urchin, Vital Surge, Veil of Secrecy, Akki Blizzard-Herder, FOIL Kami of False Hope, Horobi’s Whisper, Sakura-Tribe Springcaller, Ribbons of the Reikai, Frostling

Excellent cards here in every color except Blue. That’s okay for once; I’ve already got plenty of double-Red anyway.

It’d be really nice if Mannichi tabled, but it’s not too likely. While it’s rather unimpressive to look at, in practice I’ve found it to be quite insane, screwing up all sorts of combat math for your opponent. It’s no Cunning Bandit, though.


Twist Allegiance, Mark of Sakiko, Jetting Glasskite, Kami of the Honored Dead, Silverstorm Samurai, Stir the Grave, Uproot, Minamo’s Meddling, Akki Blizzard-Herder, Skullsnatcher, Child of Thorns, Ninja of the Deep Hours, Kami of Tattered Shoji, Psychic Spear


Aw, I have to take the uncommon bomb instead? What a ripoff.

Every time I’ve managed to cast the Glasskite, I’ve won the game. I can’t even say that about certain Dragons. Gee, I hope I’m not setting myself up for a fall with that statement. I’ve even gone as far as splashing it (in a heavy Green deck with Reaches and Elders). It’s exactly like Pristine Angel, except it can be killed, and it doesn’t untap to block, and it’s Blue, and it’s uncommon.


Yomjii, Who Bars the Way, Splinter, Blinding Powder, Genju of the Falls, Call for Blood, Traproot Kami, Toils of Night and Day, Ire of Kaminari, Scaled Hulk, Quillmane Baku, Blademane Baku, Kami of False Hope, Harbinger of Spring

Hoo boy, I wonder if I made the wrong pick here. I think I’ll cut you guys off at the pass and go ahead and say that I did.

I’m of the mindset that the Genjus are overrated as a whole in Limited, and they probably are – just not enough that taking it wasn’t the correct pick here. It’s not even close, really, especially considering there’s an excellent chance I might pick up another Baku or that this one might even table.

So, I’m sorry. Have mercy. I “fouled” up.


Unchecked Growth, Faithful Squire, Aura Barbs, Heart of Light, Bile Urchin, Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Toils of Night and Day, Kumano’s Blessing, Skullmane Baku, Gnarled Mass, Ribbons of the Reikai, Moonlit Strider

There are no fewer than four cards in here that give my deck nightmares. I should have taken the one that systematically kills all my fliers, or the one that messes up my removal. Or maybe the one that kills me unexpectedly. No, I took the Faithful Squire.


Flames of the Blood Hand, Scour, Ashen Monstrosity, Terashi’s Grasp, Crawling Filth, Petalmane Baku, Phantom Wings, Ire of Kaminari, Harbinger of Spring, Split-Tail Miko, Roar of Jukai


Where the hell are my NINJAS?

The Monstrosity has to be the right call here, because it’s the best card in my colors. Is it any good, though? I usually wind up playing it only because I’m usually short on fatties, but it almost never works out for me. I’m not sure how to value it.


Scour, Minamo Sightbender, Silverstorm Samurai, Vital Surge, FOIL Traproot Kami, Teardrop Kami, Goblin Cohort, Psychic Spear, Mistblade Shinobi

Ninjas. It’s not that Mistblade Shinobi is bad – I think it’s pretty damn underrated, actually. It’s just that it’ll probably be my only ninja, and my deck has too many 1/1s already.


Heed the Mists, Takeno’s Cavalry, Blessing of Leeches, Minamo’s Meddling, Crack the Earth, Blademane Baku, Split-Tail Miko, Roar of Jukai, Teardrop Kami

I love the little guy probably more than I should. It’s best with Soulshifters, but I never mind playing one in a Blue deck. It’s still a Spirit trigger, and it has the potential to steal late wins. Also, there’s that Baku I would (should) have gotten anyway.

Pack 3, Pick 8

Aura Barbs, Heart of Light, Blessing of Leeches, Petalmane Baku, Floodbringer, Crack the Earth, Child of Thorns, Hundred-Talon Strike

Not much to say here except that the Floodbringer’s ability doesn’t get used nearly as often as it should. One time I used it just to get two extra cards in my hand so I could flip Tomoya and deck my opponent. Good times.


Indebted Samurai, Mending Hands, Vital Surge, Veil of Secrecy, Akki Blizzard-Herder, FOIL Kami of False Hope, Ribbons of the Reikai

I shoulda just counterdrafted one of the White cards. Sloppy, sloppy.


Mark of Sakiko, Silverstorm Samurai, Stir the Grave, Uproot, Akki Blizzard-Herder

I forgot that this was the bad six-mana Samurai when I took it. I thought it was the remotely playable one from Champions.


Call for Blood, Toils of Night and Day, Ire of Kaminari, Quillmane Baku, Harbinger of Spring

Toils might be just as good, but my deck’s low enough on fat that I think the Quillmane is correct here.


Heart of Light, Toils of Night and Day, Kumano’s Blessing, Ribbons of the Reikai



Terashi’s Grasp, Ire of Kaminari, Harbinger of Spring


Crawling Filth, Vital Surge


Minamo’s Meddling

The deck


Akki Avalanchers

Teardrop Kami



2 Battle-Mad Ronin

Blademane Baku

Floating-Dream Zubera



Akki Coalflinger

Brothers Yamazaki

Brutal Deceiver

Cunning Bandit

Callous Deceiver

Mistblade Shinobi (really 3cc or 1cc? Somewhere in between?)

River Kaijin

Toils of Night and Day

Tenza, Godo’s Maul


Quillmane Baku

Devouring Rage

Honden of Seeing Winds


Ryusei, the Falling Star

Jetting Glasskite

Sire of the Storm

9 Mountain

8 Island

Relevant Sideboard Cards:


Unearthly Blizzard

Akki Avalanchers

Lava Spike

Ashen Monstrosity

Rend Flesh

Okay, I realize my biggest mistake. I shouldn’t have bothered playing the Maul. I wanted it in there because I have so many one-toughness creatures, but I realize it still isn’t worth it. The only card it’s great on is Brothers Yamazaki, and I suppose making Ryusei 8/8 trample isn’t terrible, but it’s still not very good. I could have played any one of those sideboard cards and the deck would probably have improved. I’m not sure splashing the Flesh would have been the right call, though, but it’d still have been better than the Maul here.

The other card I know will create a stir is Hankyu, but I do think I made the right call there. With 17 lands and no mana smoothers, I have a lot of potential of getting flooded, and Hankyu is great in those cases. Also, I have a ton of 1/1s that can quickly become irrelevant if not for the Wankyou. I like the card. Feel free to disagree (and you will).

The Games

Round 1

Vs. 1704


See? I don’t always play total scrubs.

Game 1 he missed his second land drop. Okay, maybe he’s not so great. Then I forgot to play my Blue Zubera. Okay, maybe I’m not so great.

It actually turned out fortuitous, because I was later able to flip Cunning Bandit a turn earlier. By that time he had played Horobi and was hitting me for four in the air. A Kami of the Waning Moon threatened to destroy my team, so I had to kill it and Horobi with the Bandit, even though I wanted to wait until my turn so I could kill two other creatures and then Horobi if I drew anything that could target.

After this, I stabilized and started to eat away at him with the Bandit/Coalflinger combo, but he eventually got me with Flames of the Blood Hand.

Game 2 he got Horobi again, but I managed to kill it early with Devouring Rage. I had stalled the ground with River Kaijin and started to ping at him with Hankyu. I managed to stave off Waking Nightmare, which wrecked me game 1, by holding on to some weaker cards, protecting my Ryusei and Sire of the Storm. Sire of the Storm was enough, though. I never cast the Ryusei (and he hadn’t seen it yet).

In game 3 he again got Horobi early. This time it comboed with Soul of Magma. Within a few turns, my board was nearly empty, (that combo even cuts through Glasskite like butter), but I refused to concede. I killed Horobi again, but it got Revived back. I kept drawing 1/1s and lands, and he kept killing them off one by one, but I managed to hold onto an Akki Avalanchers for a while, preventing the Soul from attacking for a few turns.

Finally, I drew Ryusei.

Apparently he had run out of gas, because he didn’t target it with anything. I don’t remember why he was at low enough life that he had to block with Horobi right away, but he was. Ryusei wins the game.

Round 2

vs 1639


My notes are sketchy for this game because I was so frustrated. His deck maddeningly had an answer to every single threat I played, and yet he was playing with some terrible, terrible cards. Student of Elements, for example, which flipped with Lifted by Clouds. [Well, one of those is playable, anyway. – Knut]

Shut up.

My Bandit was Caged, my Ryusei Restrained. I couldn’t even use the Bandit effectively to kill his creatures because of Fog Guy. In the end, I died a slow death from Kami of the Palace Fields, which, I’ll remind you, had DOUBLE flying. Double flying! How am I supposed to deal with that?

In game 2 I was defeated with good cards, at least. Moonlit Strider shut down my offensive battalion of 1/1s. Later, Ronin Warclub made a 4/4 flyer out of Hundred-Talon Kami. I killed his Blue Genju (I know. Shut up.) a few times with Hankyu, but I never found a permanent answer to it or the 4/4 Kami. He never had to play another spell beyond those four.

Today’s title is a bit of a pun, but it’s also a reminder that this series is about real drafts I decided to record and write up before I performed them. I’ve made efforts not to leave out my awful mistakes, because people make mistakes. Especially me. I also have other weaknesses; I’m imperfect that way. If I can learn something from you guys, and if you can somehow learn something from my play, then I consider the series a smashing success.

Join me tomorrow when I draft a good deck.

Pugg Fuggly

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