Looking at my card pool, it was tricky to build a deck. I had some powerful cards, but not enough and what I had was somewhat lacking in synergy. If decks were only thirty cards, I would have had a very good U/W deck – but as it was, I was a number of playables short. Basically I had two choices. Firstly, I could play my best twenty-three U/W cards along with seventy land, giving me a deck with decent mana but with some bad cards and capable of very indifferent starts. Alternatively, I could go the U/W/r route and have a deck of mostly powerful cards that lacked synergy, all held together by a shaky mana base. Eventually, I decided on the latter, figuring that this deck was going to be nothing special either way so I may as well put my fate in the hands of Grog the Shuffler Demon and try to win some games due to stupid draws. Here is the deck I registered:
2 Glory Seeker
2 Aven Liberator
2 Mistform Seaswift
Raven Guild Initiate
2 Frozen Solid
As you can see, I have a lot of powerful cards here and the deck could get off to some stupidly good starts with a lot of luck. However, as U/W decks go it was not aggressive enough. I figured that some games I would just have to play the controlling game with Lavamancer’s Skill or Glintwing Invoker. Here’s what happened….
Round 1 Vs Mats (1753) – B/R
Game one was very close. I won the roll and kept a starting hand of Glintwing Invoker, Lavamancer’s Skill, Frozen Solid, Mercurial Kite, Mountain, Plains, Island. Very friendly on my wobbly mana base, but short on early threats.
He came out fast with a Goblin Grappler and a Carrion Feeder while I had nothing before a turn 3 Glory Seeker. He then played a Morph, which I traded for my Seeker and then rolled out a Mercurial Kite. He started beating down with the Feeder and then played out a Goblin Goon, putting me firmly on the ropes.
I topdecked Raven Guild Initiate, giving me a good Skill target for the following turn. He started applying beats with the Goon, taking me down to eleven – and, unable to find my fifth land, I had to settle for another Glory Seeker along with the Skill on the Initiate. He played a Goblin Brigand, so I couldn’t get his creature count level with mine and swung using a Cycled Dirge of Dread on his Carrion Feeder. Unable to fall further behind on creature count, I allowed him to hit me for eight damage, taking me to a precarious three. In my turn, I played a Gustcloak Harrier and he replied with a Morph. However, I now had control of the game with Lavamancer’s Skill and he was unable to keep any small creatures on the table. Eventually, he only had his Goon and Carrion Feeder left, neither of which could block and so died to an alpha strike.
Game 2, we both came out slowly. I couldn’t find a Plains to play my turn 2 Glory Seeker but still had the first play when I played a turn 3 Raven Guild Initiate. He could only manage a turn 4 Skirk Outrider, which I trumped with Ascending Aven, the last non-white card in my hand. He played a Crested Craghorn, which he traded for my Guild Initiate (he probably feared Skill) and I took four from the Outrider. I finally managed to draw a Plains, which brought out Glory Seeker and I began beating down with my Aven. Our 2/2s traded on his turn and he added a Goblin Machinist to his side. Machinist is a good card, but not that useful against my flyers.
Rather than play another Seeker on my turn, I chose to put Crown of Awe on my Aven providing him with a very definite six-turn clock. Chartooth Cougar and Carrion Feeder soon joined his team, while I churned out a morphed Wingbeat Warrior and another Seeker. I took a risk by unmorphing and swinging with Wingbeat Warrior to speed up the clock, leaving myself at the mercy of lucky Machinist draws. Fortunately, his draws were typical of his low cc deck and I won the following turn.
I consider myself pretty lucky this round, as both games could have gone either way. However, it gave me a bit of confidence in the deck, having beaten a decent player with it.
Semi-Final Vs Cursedscroll12 (1795) – R/G
I won the roll and kept a decent opening hand with all three colors of mana. He came out with a turn 1 Wirewood Symbiote, while I got off the mark with a Gustcloak Harrier. When he then played a Timberwatch, I realized I would have to race, so I rolled a Mistform Seaswift off the production line. His turn 4 was more intimidating, though, when he played Fierce Empath fetching a Kilnmouth Dragon. I swung, played a Liberator, and did some math. Even if he made all his land drops to seven, I could race him – providing he didn’t kill any of my flyers. Unfortunately, he hard-cast a Spitting Gourna and a Needleshot Gourna in the next two turns, destroying any chance I had of winning. I conceded with the Kilnmouth Dragon still in his hand.
In Game 2 I kept a decent hand and we both played bears on turn two. I then morphed an Echo Tracer on my turn, trying to out-tempo him before his Gournas dominated the board. He replied with his own Morph which I traded for my Seeker. He swung for two and played another morph, which I Tracered off the table. I swung with the Tracer and played Covert Operative, setting up a clock. He played Spitting Gourna and I added Glintwing Invoker to the table, then began taking three-point chunks out of his life total with the Operative. He added a Taunting Elf and a Timberwatch, setting up a lethal attack but lost when I flipped a Liberator in my turn – and he realized to his dismay that all his creatures were green, which allowed my Invoker to join the Operative and the Liberator in a lethal attack.
I kept a dubious hand containing Ascending Aven, Wingbeat Warrior, Mistform Seaswift, Glory Seeker, and three Plains. I would be in good shape if I could find an Island quickly, but might be in trouble otherwise. I opened my account with the Seeker and he replied with a morph. I found another Plains, but still no Island, so I played a face up Wingbeat Warrior to try and inflict as much damage as possible before Mr. and Mrs. Gourna came out to play.
Bad times followed for me when his morph turned out to be a Hystrodon. I knew that playing defense would be suicide, so I continued to beat while letting him draw cards off the spiky card advantage machine. I just had to hope he draw the wrong cards. Unfortunately this didn’t work as a couple of turns later he played a Patron of the Wild, returned it to his hand with Wirewood Symbiote, played it again and then played Scattershot, decimating my team. Still without an Island to unmorph my Aven, Tracer and Seaswift I slowly died to Hystrodon beats as I could only topdeck blue cards.
So that was that. Some may argue that in the end I lost to color screw – but in reality, I was lucky to get this far without having color problems given my mana base. I imagine I would have lost anyway as it was only a matter of time before he drew some flying defense.
Ironically, it’s quite likely that the Needleshot Gourna that helped beat me in game one was the one that I failed to hate draft. I’m not saying that I would have won the match had I hate drafted it but it certainly goes to show how small mistakes can come back to haunt you. I will certainly be more careful of such things in the future.
All in all, this was a good learning experience for me – and I hope for some of you too. I didn’t get to win the draft and look good, but I think this walkthrough would have been far less useful if I did. Hopefully, when presented with similar situations in your own drafts you can avoid making some of the same mistakes I did.
Until next time, have fun.