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SCG Talent Search – Mirrodin Besieged – Notes from the Asylum

Thursday, January 27 – Just in time for the Prerelease, Tom Reeve covers Scars drafting now that faction packs have been introduced and pack orders have been switched. Vote for him in the Talent Search!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I’m through! After writing what I thought was a decent article on Commander in a jet-lag and sickness-induced haze (translation — it
probably wasn’t anything like as good as I thought), I’ve muddled through to the Top 6, and it’s time to step my game back up. After
a couple of more experimental articles, I need to get back to basics. What convinced the judges to let me into this thing in the first place? Writing
about draft. What’s provoked the most positive comments from the judges during the rest of the competition? Writing about draft. Time to stop
fighting it! Draft it is. And my next article will be going up… two days before the Prerelease?

Ding!

Drafting at Prereleases (always at The Games Club in London, run by the irreplaceable Jason
Howlett) is one of my favourite Magic-playing experiences. It is, in my opinion, the best way bar none to completely immerse yourself in a new set.
While some will swear by Sealed Deck, either single tournaments or shorter flights, I love that draft lets you try out such a dizzying array of
variously interesting and ridiculous strategies in such a short time. You get exposed to more of the cards; you can try out more fringe strategies and
experiment more with color combinations and archetypes. You get to pass Tarmogoyf knowing it will table because no one has worked out it’s good
yet. So I can write a draft primer for Mirrodin Besieged! It’ll be just in time for the Prerelease; it’ll play to my strengths, and with
any luck, people will find it useful.

I’ve made a plan. Now to follow through.


Monday, 24 January 2011

This was a terrible idea. Awful. Atrocious. You see, in the past I’ve often thought about writing an article like this one when a
Prerelease was looming, but one vital piece of the puzzle was missing from my daydreams — deadlines. It’s all very well having gotten a
decent handle on a shiny new draft format on the Thursday or Friday night before the Prerelease, but apparently articles don’t just get to spring
fully formed from my email account to the front page of StarCityGames.com (who knew!). As I write this introduction, it’s Monday night. Around
80% of the set is spoiled but only just over half of the commons. The usual ‘obnoxious riddles’ approach to the spoiling of cards seems to
have given way to ‘fuzzy pictures of piles of cards with virtually no text visible,’ and for a spoiler junkie, this is not a welcome
change. So how to start? Well, let’s identify the task ahead.

And to make matters even more confusing, it turns out that the Mirrodin Besieged Prerelease will use a draft format that’s unique in multiple ways
— the drafts will be Mirrodin Besieged / Mirrodin Besieged / Scars of Mirrodin (henceforth B/B/S), using the newly-reversed pack orders and two
packs of the new set. But more than that… Prerelease drafts will use the Mirran and Phyrexian ‘Faction packs!’ Now, while I think the
idea of the Faction packs is a great one and think they make for a fantastic twist on Sealed Deck, I have seriously mixed feelings about their use in
booster drafts.

Why? Because if you choose a Faction that’s in a serious minority, your choice effectively just got overridden by the rest of the draft. Worst
case? You love infect and sit down excitedly to draft with your Phyrexian Faction packs? Sorry, there’s only one other Phyrexian drafter, and
he’s cutting you. Best case? There’s an even split, and you don’t really notice the Faction pack thing at all, or you luck out and
get to draft Phyrexian on a table full of other Phyrexians.

The thing that made all this even more infuriating of course is that I only found out about this change at approximately the last minute it was still
possible to revise this article. And as of Tuesday night UK time, it seems that even some US PTOs running Regional Prereleases aren’t aware that
there is only one Official Prerelease Draft Format and that this is it. So if you’re going to be attending a Prerelease and you’re hoping
to put any of this into practice, I recommend checking your TO’s website to make sure he’s on the right page!

Of course, with a format that’s inherently unpredictable, it’s even more important than usual to have a good handle on the possibilities of the
format. What do you draft in a Mirran-dominated draft? A Phyrexian-dominated draft? A balanced draft?

Whatever happens though? I need commons. Time to find out if it’s possible to sleep with my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Man. Sometimes sleeping on a problem really is all you need, huh? Obnoxious riddles have given way to ginormous, high-res pictures of most of the
unspoiled commons, and we’re half a dozen cards away from a full spoiler. So let’s take a look at what we’re working with here. First
of all, I’ll work through the colors and take note of interactions and possible strategies that suggest themselves (assuming balanced Factions.)
After that run-through, I’ll give an overview and some specific advice on how to work with Faction-unbalanced tables.

White

There are six white common creatures (counting Master’s Call) in the set, of which two have infect — Priests of Norn (2W, 1/4, vigilance,
infect) and Tine Shrike (3W, 2/1, flying, infect). Ardent Recruit is a 1/1 for W that gets +2/+2 when you have metalcraft; Leonin Skyhunter is a 2/2
flier for WW, and Loxodon Partisan is a 3/4 for 4W with battle cry. And although white has now moved partially into the Phyrexian sphere of influence,
with only two infect commons and nothing (yet, at least) at higher rarities, it’s very much an oddity rather than a core strategy, particularly
with a Scars booster with no white infect.

Adding to the problems of potential white infect drafters is that Priests of Norn is a stupendous defensive creature for any deck, particularly one
that’s looking to actually win in the air — just the existence of Priest in the set makes me immediately start thinking U/W, with defensive
ground creatures of both colors supporting aggressive fliers.

Further supporting that aerial assault is Banishment Decree (3WW, Instant, Put target artifact, creature or enchantment on top of its owner’s
library) — cards like Repel and Consign to Dream were great at keeping your opponent on the back foot once he’s there, and Decree’s
flexible targeting options mean that you can use it for other purposes too — denying metalcraft, stripping Equipment from attacking or blocking
creatures, and in a pinch blanking a Volition Reins or Arrest on one of your own bombs. White also gets a super-Shatter in the form of a Divine
Offering, and a potentially huge boost for metalcraft decks (and assorted Smiths, Barrage Ogres, Furnace Celebrations etc) in the form of a Footbottom
Feast for artifacts (Frantic Salvage) costed at 3W.

Blue

Well, we have our 4-drop flier — Serum Raker (2UU, 3/2, flying, both players discard when it goes to the graveyard). We have a 3-drop flier,
although it’s on the anemic side — Mirran Spy (2U, 1/3, flying, whenever you cast an artifact spell, untap target creature). We have one
weird little guy — Oculus (1U, 1/1, draw a card when he goes to the graveyard) and one giant metalcraft monster — Spire Serpent (4U, 3/5,
defender, metalcraft — gets +2/+2 and loses defender). If our hypothetical U/W skies deck is going to exploit blue’s commons to the full,
it’s probably going to want to be able to achieve metalcraft in the late game to let Serpent switch roles, as ‘late game’ implies
that our flying offense has been contained. At this point, a 5/7 ground-pounder crashing across the battlefield might be just what the doctor ordered.

Blue’s common spells are a solid bunch — a great, efficient, anti-artifact card that’s likely going to be living in constructed 75s
for some time (U, Instant, Choose one – counter target artifact spell; or return target artifact to its owner’s hand.), a solid Limited counterspell
(2UU, Instant, counter target spell and proliferate), a card-drawing spell (Vivisection, 3U, Sorcery, Sacrifice a creature as an additional cost, draw
3 cards) that forms something of a mini-engine with Oculus and an anti-swarm Fog-ish thing (1U, Instant, Creatures your opponents control get -2/-0
until end of turn) that’s probably too marginal to happily maindeck but could be worth picking up for the board against decks heavy on battle cry
and/or full of small infect creatures.

But possibly above all of those, there’s Quicksilver Geyser. Much like Whiplash Trap before it (but in a slower format better suited to its mana
cost), Quicksilver Geyser will be responsible for some legendary blowouts. The list of horrible things that will happen to those on the wrong side of
Quicksilver Geysers begins with Grafted Exoskeleton, takes detours through the more expensive living weapons (bouncing the Germ token and your other
creature, enjoy your equip: 6), completely ruins metalcraft attacks and ends with making julienne fries.

After looking at blue, it looks like two entirely different UW decks are supported in B/B/S — an aggressive strategy focused around Leonin
Skyhunter and Serum Raker (with the potentially awkward manabase that a WW 2-drop and a 2UU 4-drop bring in a format with virtually no fixing) and a
more controlling build with some really substantial card advantage and recursion. Multiple strong defensive creatures, Oculus/Vivisection and Frantic
Salvage to refuel multiple times over the course of a game, and the near-inevitability of giant Serpent beats later on spell a control deck with a
solid plan for each phase of the game.

Black

Ah, black. Are we going to have a real infect deck here? The common creature curve doesn’t start well, with Flensermite. Who knew that Vector
Asp’s crown as Most Underwhelming Infect Creature was going to be so hotly contested by the ascendant Phyrexian invasion force of Mirrodin
Besieged? All I know is that I don’t think a 1/1 with infect and lifelink is going to be setting anyone’s heart a-flutter. Is it playable?
Grudgingly, I would have to say yes. It does have infect, it does cost 2, and this set has a decent amount of power-boosting equipment to make
Flensermite less embarrassing. But compared to every Scars infect 2-drop, it’s pretty sad.

The other infect creature at common, Scourge Servant, is, well, a Snidd. It’s on the expensive side, and there are 3/4s, 4/4s and bigger at
common in Besieged. With no supporting abilities and weighing in at five mana, Servant may well need equipment to get anywhere. As for non-infect
creatures, Phyrexian Rager is as top-notch now as it was in Apocalypse and Caustic Hound (5B, 4/4, each player loses 4 life when it goes to the
graveyard) seems distinctly unimpressive. Six mana is a lot, and Hound is pretty comprehensively outclassed at every turn — green has a
5/5 for six, blue has a 5/7 for five when it has metalcraft, red has a 5/4 for six, and everyone gets a metalcraft artifact 6/6 for six and a 5/7 for
seven. Oh, I guess there’s white. This guy might not be a complete embarrassment against a white deck, I guess? The fact that after all that, the
Hound’s ability is double-edged is just a slap in the face.

So uh, black sucks, right? Well, maybe. It has two nice removal spells, one cheap (B, Instant, Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature. When that
creature is put into the graveyard from the battlefield this turn, its controller gets a poison counter.) and one expensive (4B, Sorcery, Destroy
target creature, then proliferate). One problem I can see is that artifact-heavy non-black two-colour decks are going to look at Spread the Sickness
(the Sorcery) and think ‘hard, unconditional removal? I’d splash that for a dollar’.One side effect of the common infect
creatures being so marginal is that B/B/S actually looks like being a slower format than triple Scars of Mirrodin. The one black common spell
that’s a serious draw to being heavily black is Morbid Plunder, a double Raise Dead for 1BB at Sorcery speed, which is not only black’s
second true card advantage common, but interacts very nicely with the first (Phyrexian Rager.)

There are better infect creatures in black at uncommon, thankfully — Flesh-Eater Imp is a 2/2 flier for 3B that can sacrifice a creature to get
+1/+1 until the end of the turn (hello again, Oculus) while Septic Rats is a 2/2 for 2B that gets +1/+1 when it attacks a player with one or more
poison counters (sadly a triggered ability, so no sneakily giving your opponent a poison counter with an instant after he blocks with a 2/2.)

Of course, as with everything in Magic, there is a balance to be struck — the worse the general perception of infect, the easier it is to scoop
up those stronger uncommons. Sadly for infect drafters, the flagship rare infect creatures are likely to be high picks even in non-infect decks as one
has tons of general utility — Phyrexian Crusader, with two protection abilities and the hugely infect-friendly first strike, and Phyrexian
Vatmother which, like a weaker Skithiryx, is just enormous and an existential threat on its own. I’m really not sure what to suggest you do with
black in B/B/S draft, other than looking out for opportunities to be one of a small number of infect drafters and prioritising equipment to get your
guys out of the doldrums.

Red

Red is in an unusual position in Besieged — its commons lean waaay towards the ‘beef’ end of the scale, away from its more
stereotypical weenie roots. It’s all ogres and dinosaurs, with the cheapest common creatures being a pair of 3-drops. Blisterstick Shaman, a 2/1
for 2R that deals a point of damage to target creature or player when it enters the battlefield, is light on good targets. It kills Flensermite and
Tine Shrike (another blow against a hypothetical BW infect deck) but not much else — this is a card you should definitely be keeping in mind when
your opponent makes odd attacks, however, as it can finish off already-damaged larger creatures just fine.

Koth’s Courier is a 2/3 forestwalker for 1RR, and from then on up it’s all beef — a 4/3 for 2RR, 4/4 battle cry that must attack for
4R, and a 5/4 for 4RR that can sacrifice an artifact to gain trample until the end of the turn. Add a metalcraft combination Falter/Lava Axe, a 3 point
burn spell for 1R, and an instant that gives your team first strike and +1/+0 for 2R (and a non-creature Shatter for R) and we have the most focused
colour so far — make thing, attack with thing, crush face.

Oh, and on that 4/3 for 2RR — those seem to me like some great stats for that cost for this format. It eats or trades with every white creature,
including one more expensive than itself, it eats every cheaper black creature and trades with the more expensive ones, it trades up with the more
expensive red creatures, and only suffers next to Spire Serpent and a couple of the largest green and artifact creatures.

And if it seems like I’m talking about red less than say, black, that’s actually a good thing for red — it knows what it wants, the
cards are focused towards a specific goal, and they look efficient at achieving it.

Green

Speaking of beef, that larger green creature I was talking about? Yeah, that guy sure is something. With infect seemingly deprecated in B/B/S, a 5/5
for six that gains you five life whenever an artifact goes to the graveyard seems absurd, even with the format lacking Spellbombs to really put it over
the top. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Green’s common curve is, in my opinion at least, great. It starts at 1G for a 2/1 that casts
Rampant Growth when it dies. It continues on three mana with a 1GG mountainwalking 2/3 and one of the stronger infect commons, Rot Wolf. A 2/2 for 2G
that lets you draw a card when a creature it damages is put into a graveyard, the Wolf is a rare overtly aggressive infect creature in Besieged, a 3/4
trampler for 2GG, a Giant Spider with infect (Blightwidow), then skips up to Fangren Marauder, the aforementioned lifegain engine.

As for spells, green, like red, keeps it simple — two flavours of pump (G, Instant, target creature gets +1/+1 and trample until end of turn and
G, Instant, +2/+2 until end of turn, or +4/+4 with metalcraft) and a 2G Instant removal spell for fliers (poor Tine Shrike…) that gives the
controlling player a poison counter.

Artifacts

Ok, for a quick run-down;

Myr Sire is a two mana 1/1 that generates a 1/1 token when it dies, which is both fuel for creature- or artifact-sacrificing effects and great at
retaining metalcraft, while Gust Skimmer is the first in a cycle of artifact creatures with coloured activated abilities, a la Hematite Golem
and friends from Mirrodin. Skimmer is a 2/1 that can gain flying for the turn for U, Spin Engine is a 3/1 for three that can prevent creatures blocking
it for R each, Bladed Sentinel is a 2/4 that gains vigilance for W, Dross Ripper is a 3/3 for four that can pay 2B for +1/+1 and Tangle Hulk is the Big
Daddy of the group, a 5/3 for five that can regenerate for 2G.

Moving on, we have our token infect creature… a 2/1 for three with no other text. Woo. It kind of feels like the Phyrexians aren’t even
trying at this point. Is the Blightsteel Colossus giving all the common infect creatures some kind of performance anxiety? Also at three mana is
Training Drone, a 4/4 that needs to be equipped to attack or block. Thankfully, there are two common and half a dozen uncommon equipment in Mirrodin
Besieged, along with plenty in Scars so this isn’t the hardest condition to meet. This guy takes the ‘vulnerable to artifact removal’
drawbacks of metalcraft creatures to new extremes, however. Rusted Slasher is a 4/1 for four mana that can sacrifice artifacts to regenerate,
Razorfield Rhino is Chrome Steed’s hulking older brother at six mana and 4/4 or 6/6 with metalcraft, and Hexplate Golem rounds out the team as a
5/7 for seven, and wins the ‘Most Inappropriately Named Card’ award for having ‘Hex’ in the name of a creature featuring the
numbers 5, 7 and 7. And yes, I know they probably meant the other kind of hex, but it still feels awkward.

That common equipment I mentioned does give hope to some of the more feeble infect creatures — Copper Carapace costs one mana, equips for three,
gives +2/+2 and stops the creature in question from blocking. Notably, it fits well into a curve with the otherwise-poor Flensermite. Flayer Husk is
the only common Living Weapon, costing one mana, equipping for two, and giving the equipped creature +1/+1. Shriekhorn is the Tome Scour of the set,
this time with added proliferate synergy that might well lure more people into screwing around with it. A single Shriekhorn, unaided, will mill six
cards over three turns, and with an average of four in each draft, the card will need some weird circumstances to cut it as a win condition.

And then there’s Ichor Wellspring, which is a really nice little design. Remember Courier’s Capsule? Wish you didn’t have to pay mana
twice? Like puzzles? Boy is this the card for you. Ichor Wellspring costs 2 mana, and draws a card when it enters the battlefield or is put into the
graveyard from the battlefield. That’s it. (It also makes Time Sieve players giggle like little children, but that’s not really relevant
for draft analysis.) On its own, paying 2 to draw a card and put an artifact into play isn’t bad for decks with metalcraft effects. To get full
value out of it, you want to be able to sacrifice it or make it enter the battlefield multiple times. Nothing else to do with your Leonin Relic-Warder?
How about removing your Wellspring so you can draw a card when your bear dies? Want to give your Gnathosaur trample? Why not draw a card at the same
time! The same with Rusted Slasher — regenerating and drawing a card seems like a good deal. Wellspring has even more support in Scars, from
Glint Hawk to Kuldotha Rebirth to Throne of Geth, and I can see Wellspring being a neat little engine that can be planned into a lot of draft decks..

Overview for Besieged/Besieged/Scars with Factions

So that was a lot to take in, and it makes sense to give a brief summary of the main points so far when it comes to Mirrodin Besieged / Mirrodin
Besieged / Scars of Mirrodin draft (with Faction packs);

1)   Infect is relatively marginal as an offensive ability at common in Mirrodin Besieged. Two of the best infect creatures, Priests of Norn
and Blightwidow, are likely to be snapped up early by any deck in those colours with any interest in defensive creatures, and the same can probably be
said of Plague Myr. If infect decks are going to succeed in B/B/S, it will be off the back of a) power-boosting Equipment like Piston Sledge, Copper
Carapace and Viridian Claw and b) the non-common creatures. Or, I guess ‘c) forcing really hard and hoping the Scars booster pays off’ This
strategy seems… high-risk.

In general, infect as a strategy with the addition of Besieged seems more vulnerable to artifact removal on key equipment than infect in Scars, with
more relatively fragile infect creatures with virtually no evasion. White does not seem viable as an offensive infect colour, given the extreme
vulnerability of Tine Shrike to both removal and blocking and the likely cannibalisation of Priests of Norn. Infect decks in B/B/S will, I think, be
more likely to have to stick to black/green. The existence of Phyresis does make me consider black/red thanks to Spin Engine, the larger red creatures
in general, and Gnathosaur’s trample in particular, with Concussive Bolt’s Falter effect also noteworthy (although paying 3RR for a Falter
when you don’t care about the 4 damage seems somewhat miserable.)

2)   There are a good range of both offensive and defensive higher drops, but little in the way of aggressive weenies in Besieged. Most
‘aggressive’ decks in B/B/S are going to look more like midrange decks, with red/green being an unsurprisingly effective-looking pairing
thanks to Viridian Emissary, Ogre Resister, Tangle Mantis and the fat above four mana. A red/white deck with a predominantly white creature base may be
the best hope for a ‘true’ aggro deck, with Ardent Recruit being enabled by Master’s Call, Master’s Call being assisted by red
and white battle cry creatures, Leonin Skyhunter going over the top and Rally the Force and Concussive Bolt to push damage through turtles and spiders.
Cards like Glint Hawk and Kuldotha Rebirth in the Scars pack should encourage red/white drafters to pick up cheap artifacts and this, along with
Master’s Call, should go some way towards finding a home for Auriok Sunchaser.

3)   It looks like there’s the potential for a real control deck, with access to surprisingly substantial card-advantage and the
ability to close the game out quickly later on with enormous metalcraft creatures (Spire Serpent and Razorfield Rhino.) As to what colour to pair with
your blue, I would suggest looking towards black or green. The possibility of curving Oculus into Phyrexian Rager in a deck with both Vivisection and
Morbid Plunder is actually pretty exciting, while the metalcraft threats and Dross Ripper stop you caring too much about the otherwise unexciting black
common creatures. As for green, you lose out on some of the potential for assembling card advantage engines (and removal), but you gain greatly
increased creature quality. You should still be able to splash for Spread the Sickness with the help of Viridian Emissary, but Morbid Plunder is right
out.

4)   Whatever you’re doing in B/B/S, you need to be able to handle high-toughness creatures. If you’re flying, you need to be
able to handle Blightwidow. How you do this will vary, but do not sit down and draft a deck full of Leonin Skyhunters, Gust Skimmers and Serum Rakers
without multiple ways to permanently deal with, or attack through, a Blightwidow. If you’re attacking on the ground, you want to have plans for
dealing with even bigger creatures, potentially pretty early in the game. Between Myr, Viridian Emissary and the less-likely Sphere of the Suns, Spire
Serpents are going to come down on turn 4, and they are going to be metalcrafted. Whether it be equipment, pump spells, or removal, know what
you’re looking for going in and pick it highly. Just to reinforce the point, there’s even a living armor Equipment at uncommon that gives
+2/+4 and reach. You have been warned.

Thoughts on Unbalanced Drafts (Phyrexian-dominated or Mirran-dominated)

A number of the suggested draft strategies above will only really function in the Prerelease draft format if a reasonably balanced pool of Phyrexian
and Mirran cards is available. If your draft is unbalanced one way or the other, certain strategies become more challenging to draft, while others
become more available. By dominated, I’m particularly referring to 6-2 or 7-1 splits, although even with a 5-3 split you could be sat in the
middle of a cluster of a single Faction, making these points more applicable.

1)           Mirran-dominated drafts;

This is a great time to draft the red/white aggressive deck mentioned above. More Mirran packs means more Leonin Skyhunters, more Master’s Calls,
more Concussive Bolts, more battle cry. It also means fewer Blightwidows and Priests of Norn getting in the way!

Another possibility in Mirran-dominated drafts — there will be, on average, approximately two thirds of a Shriekhorn for each Mirran drafter. Do
with that information what you will.

Black is virtually nonexistent in Mirran faction packs — at the time of writing, Go for the Throat is, as far as I can tell, the only Mirran
non-rare. The obvious way to take advantage of this is to draft a deck that is dominated by a single colour in Besieged, picking up what few good black
cards you see, then taking advantage of the suddenly-unwanted removal like Grasp of Darkness, Instill Infection and Fume Spitter in Scars.

2)           Phyrexian-dominated drafts;

In a Phyrexian-dominated draft, it’s going to be difficult to avoid running at least some infect creatures, and it’s probably best not to
try to fight the tide too hard. This time, it’s red that barely exists, and unlike Go for the Throat in Mirran packs, Into the Core and Metallic
Mastery (2RR, Instant, Exile two target artifacts, and Threaten for Artifacts) don’t really encourage a splash.

In these drafts, however, there are still ways to give yourself an edge in the poison fights. With a number of Besieged infect creatures boasting only
a single point of toughness, some of the few Phyrexian white cards become quite appealing — Choking Fumes (2W, Instant, Put a -1/-1 counter on
each attacking creature) and Gore Vassal (2W, 2/1, Sacrifice Gore Vassal: Put a -1/-1 counter on target creature and regenerate it) — as do
Vedalken Anatomist (not that the Anatomist needs much help) and Myr Sire. Rusted Slasher becomes almost entirely useless, its regeneration rendered
near-pointless by the prevalence of -1/-1 counters. Tangle Hulk suddenly becomes worthy of consideration even off-colour, as its regeneration becomes
less important and its substantial base stats more important (for example, being able to trade with monsters like Phyrexian Juggernaut.)


Wednesday, 26 January 2011, 06:01am

Well, this has been quite the epic undertaking. I feel like I can probably recite the entire spoiler by rote with my eyes closed at this point (which,
I will point out, is one of the great advantages of doing this kind of analysis of any new set) and I hope you’ve found some of the things
I’ve had to say helpful. While there are certainly things that don’t impress me looking at the set for draft, overall there is plenty to
get your teeth into. And when I look forward to the more traditional Besieged / Scars / Scars format, I’m even more optimistic — there are
some interesting cards to pick up on in Besieged and then exploit in Scars, and other cards that plug significant holes (like the infect and living
weapon Giant Spider) in the Scars armory. If I’m really lucky, I’ll even still be here to write about it!

And despite my doubts about the Faction pack draft, you know what? I’m still going to love it. I’m going to sit down at that table,
I’m going to slap down the packs that proclaim that I, like Shuhei
Nakamura
, will be having the temptation of evil, and I’m going to grin like a tiny child as I sink my teeth into a new Magic set for
the first time. I am going to raise my hand with a look of complete innocence on my face as one of the Judges I know asks if there’s anyone at
the table who hasn’t drafted before. I’m going to bore at least one person in that room rigid with tales of the ridiculous things I did to
some hapless victim.

So if you’re going to be at the London Prerelease, say hi! Otherwise you can always find
me in the forums, where I look forward to any questions you might have, any disagreements you want to flesh out, or any cool tricks I might have
missed.

Tom Reeve

P.S.   Oh, and one more thing? If I ever say I’m going to do this again, please punch me in the face. Unless you’re my editor,
and I’ve managed to convince you to give me a deadline of say, Wednesday night, or Thursday morning.