The Claw Holds Four Winning Draft Decks

So I had an amazing winning streak. What was my secret? Oh, very well, I’ll tell you. Lean closer.

Some two months ago – or could it have been two years? I’m not sure – Magic Online came out of beta, only to be pelted with virtual tomatoes by the legions of Magical card players who wanted more, more, and even more for free. I must admit that I have some fond memories of the beta test period, starting with when a guy I know was invited to join it before anyone else I could possibly know of. Apparently, if you had once filled out a some questionnaire after buying some silly Magic computer game that came with some oversized jaguar thing, and you were a judge, then you were invited to be part of the beta test before the rest of the public were, or something! The problem was this guy…

(Who we shall call Peter Bailey, because it’s his name – and if it’s good enough for his mother to pull out of a hat, then it’s good enough for us too.)

…Didn’t play Magic that much any more, and sure as hell didn’t give two hoots about judging! This irked me a bit, because I judge and still play Magic. I wanted in, dammit! To make matters worse, Pete couldn’t be bothered signing up for himself, and deleted the email before I had a chance to yell:”Peter, you waste of public toilet space, forward me that damn email!”

But then someone leaked the updater thing, and we were all in like Flynn.

Ahhh, beta. Good times. Of course, like some people, I had four accounts. But unlike some, I didn’t have fifty. Thankfully, they sorted out this problem when passing out the complementary”thank you for drafting” vouchers and only gave them to accounts that had actually played a heap of games. (I suspect, however, that some folks still made out like bandits.) So with my voucher and a few pennies from my pocket, I participated in a couple of drafts or three. They didn’t go so well, which was okay – actually, no, it wasn’t, because I couldn’t just wait until the end of the week for when we got our beta test top up. Instead, on the advice of one Allan Barclay, because he gets a kick out of seeing his name in these articles, or some-one liner he made up being ripped off by me, I entered a league.




You don’t have many pingers/much cashola/any beans? Save up and enter a league. You get four weeks of almost endless Sealed deck play, and if you’re like me, you may even mise a pack or two. This kept me happy for several months or years, I’m still not sure, until around the time of the Legions prerelease. I sucked it up and forked out for the entry to a single event, and somehow stumbled upon the top 8 playoff thingy.

(That’s not entirely true. It was with a touch of luck and a smidgen of play skill that I fought my way through the field, fair and square.)

I won the first round versus a guy who was kind enough to be offline while the rest of us drafting, and therefore had a wonderful five-color special blend o’ naughtiness, and then lost to some obnoxious punk of whose name I don’t recall.

(But you had better believe that if you’re an obnoxious punk, and I dooo remember your name, you’re in for a week o’ fame and probably not as much fortune!)

But the upshot is, I won a pile of Legions packs, which were selling for quite a bit at the time. Thus began my trading legacy where I bought and sold packs and cards in an attempt to not ever have to pay for Magic Online again.

It kinda worked.

I certainly didn’t dip into the credit card again, causing a smile to gradually creep back onto Alice’s face, but I was now hesitant to actually play in any events that cost me any tickets, or squandered any of my precious product. Allan harassed me endlessly – but he always did anyway, and a few of the other guys just laughed and called me names. No seriously, it wasn’t in a mean or hurtful way, I think…

You see, Martin – the big one who yells a lot, I think I’ve mentioned him before – watches a massive amount of anime. I’m talking he maxes out his millions of gigabyte limit for his ADSL connection every month on the stuff amounts of anime. One such delightful cartoon he enjoys, and forgive me for not understanding why he actually enjoys it, is called”The Prince Of Tennis” or something as equally ridiculous. Martin thought it would be funny to call me”The Prince Of Trading” because, quite frankly, I seem to do a lot of it, and come out with quite a collection to boot.

Well, it’s not that great, it’s just better than Martin’s… And Digby’s… And Giles’ses… And Disco Dave’s too. It’s definitely better than Allan’s, but he only plays Limited and collects green cards, so he doesn’t count.

(Neener, neener, neener, Barclay! Heh!)

Anyway, strange anime-inspired names aside, I was getting a nice wee collection of virtual bits and bytes on Magic Online. Somehow, I even managed to scrape up a lovely little goblin deck for playing a bit of standard with. Unfortunately, goblins had just gotten quite crap, so I got handed my ass a few times in some non-sanctioned games but still didn’t really care, because I was “The Prince Of Trading!”


I mistakenly entered a sanctioned tournament with the goblin deck, though, because Wizards of the Coast held some free, server testing tournament or something, and my constructed rating left the 1600 mark. And not in a good way. But that was okay; it didn’t cost me anything and the trading was still going well. Sure enough, though, I was left staring at a few tickets and a few booster packs and was starting to feel that itch. You know the one, it’s the same itch that has gnawed at Geordie Tait skull almost non-stop for the last what probably seems like fourteen years for him. I needed to draft…

Doo doot, doopy doo. Into the draft queue. And who do I see? A couple of YMG regulars. Now part of me told me to leg it, but part of me rightfully said”if you’re ever gonna get any better at this game, it’s gonna be losing to Joes like littledarwin and DaHump.” Another small part of me also chimed in with”I leik boobies, teehee!” but I carefully thwapped it upside the head and held on tight to that pro-heavy draft queue.

Much like a top 8 playoff draft, you can tell who your first round opponent is by look directly across the drafting table. I carefully drew my line of sight across the table from my Erhnam avatar to one of those”built out of sticks” things on the other side. The”built out of sticks” things happened to be DaHump, who was being fed by littledarwin.


“Cool, beatings for me, but lessons to learn all round”


Were some of the things that went through my mind, obviously. Somehow, we both drafted G/R and somehow I beat him. I cannot for the life of me remember how in game one, but I do recall game two playing a turn 3 Wirewood Savage, and then next turn playing a Custody Battle on his Wirewood Savage. Yeah, we both had beasts, and he couldn’t afford to lose his land. That said, he was an exceptionally nice guy, and I’d recommend him to my mother in-law and other such gratuitous complements. The following round, it was two mana floods each: Him in game 1, me in game 2, and both of us in game 3. He was smart enough to have drawn a Centaur Glade in that last game however, which was more than happy to be activated three times a turn…

That was it. I once again swore off entering events that cost me valuable tickets and/or product. Not because I was bitter – far from it! I take my beatings like a man – with a smile plastered on his mug. But because wasting my resources is a sure-fire way of needing that credit card again, and Alice is so very pretty when she smiles.


(Like that.)

(Oh, and she’s pretty the rest of the time too, just in case she reads this…)

(Which is unlikely.)

To help stave off my cravings for Limited Magical cardings, I entered another league and opened the most broken pile of shenanigans I have ever seen. It had Sparksmith, burn, numerous 2cc bears, and some great finishers like Gustcloak Savior and Gratuitous Violence. Basically, a fast and nasty draft deck. I can’t however, for the life of me, figure out how I did so, soo badly with it. I really can’t. But I did, and I haven’t entered a league since.

(Still not bitter, honest!)

It’s funny how you don’t crave quite so much after so month of beatings like that, so I instead played a heap of Block Constructed, chatted with friends, and generally traded some more stuff…

…Until a few weeks ago.

For some reason, the craving had begun again. I mean, whoduh thought? But the trader in me managed to at least wait until someone sold me the packs as opposed to forking out for them, or disturbing the layer of dust that had formed on the credit card.

Now some of you are thinking:”Surely waiting for someone to sell them to you is the same as forking out for them!?!” But this is not true. Magic Online has a healthy little market thing going on, which some people, myself included, are happily partaking in. It goes a little something like this: If you need something, you have to pay the price the sellers are asking. If you need to sell something, you have to take the price the sellers are offering. Now this isn’t always true of course, but it’s a good rule of thumb. If I forked out for the packs needed for a draft, I’d be paying four tickets each or at least eleven for a draft set. But if I wait patiently, then someone looking to liquidate their draft/league winnings will sell them to me for three each.

Heh. I can hear the sound of a hundred copies of”magic1.exe” being opened, right now!

But don’t go over board people. In that last scenario, you basically have to wait anywhere between ten minutes and a day to make yourselves what is considered two tickets profit. Not exciting stuff, unless you happen to have the spare time that I have.

(At least until the end of this month, when I start a new and exciting job in a call center.)

(Did I say exciting? Heh…)

But oh, how things have changed since I last drafted! You can no longer see who is in the draft queue with you, and there is a new”kid-friendly” 4/3/2/2 payout draft queue complimenting the regular 8/4 ones. I figure, seeing as I’m a little rusty, I’ll enter the 4/3/2/2 queue and chance it at the”win back your entry fee and the equivalent of two more tickets” game. This time, I manage a win followed by a loss at the hands of some insignificant Brainburst writer.

(If you’re reading this, Michael Thicke, sorry, dude – I don’t really mean it. You know how it is…)

But I win two packs! Oh the joy cannot be described, and so on! But because I’m so cheap and/or poor, I decide to wait a few more weeks before I once again try again.

(Yes, this story does seem to span a very long time frame. This is why I can’t remember how many millennia it is I’ve been playing this freakin’ game!)

(But fear not! We’re now up to last week!!1!1!!eleven!)

For some reason, which may or may not be because I had no job at the time, Alice went in to work on a Sunday morning to do some overtime. What better time for me to partake in another draft! thought I, so I cranked good ol’ WinAmp and entered the 4/3/2/2 queue again. Unfortunately, there was no one at work once Alice got there, so she came straight home again.

“Sorry dear, I’m playing Magic. I’ll be off anytime between 45 minutes and a few hours.” I called out as she came through the door. I explained that if I lost round one, I’d be off in no time, but if I kept winning she was going to have a very boring morning indeed! For once, she seemed okay with this, but it might be the fact she thought she was going to be working and instead she gets to read her book.”Yay”, and so on.

Once again, I manage to draft a R/G deck, much like the ones I’ve failed to have success with before…

Goblin Taskmaster

Skirk Drill Sergeant

2 Wirewood Savage

Serpentine Basilisk

Skirk Outrider

Snarling Undorak

Shaleskin Plower

Crested Craghorn

Barkhide Mauler


Venomspout Brackus

Krosan Tusker

Krosan Groundshaker

Krosan Cloudscraper


2 Vitality Charm

Gempalm Incinerator

Crown of Fury

Erratic Explosion

Lay Waste

(For some reason, I didn’t write down what 18 land I used. Needless to say, there was probably a cycler in there)

… Yes, just like before but with MUCH more fat. The guy I beat in the finals by unmorphing the Cloudscraper in game 1 said:

3:39 XxSkillZxX: LOL

3:39 XxSkillZxX: your joking

3:39 XxSkillZxX: hahaha

3:39 blisterguy: yes i am

3:39 XxSkillZxX: i was wondering where all the green fatties were

3:39 XxSkillZxX: good lord….

(Spot me being vaguely sarcastic in there…)

Unfortunately for him, he kept a three-land hand in game 2, and then promptly cycled one of them and drew no more. I tried to commiserate somewhat:

3:50 blisterguy: that steppe, eh? =(

3:52 XxSkillZxX: 3 mana in hand

3:52 XxSkillZxX: seemed ok to cycle

But then kept my mouth shut, because I believed it was a huge mistake, and didn’t want to rub it in. Seriously, folks, you don’t want to be missing land drops, and your old uncle XxSkillZxX was gonna have to rip several off the top just to be able to keep up. It didn’t help that my draw went something like this:

Turn 2: Cycle Gempalm at his Sledder

Turn 3: Play Morph

Turn 4: Play Outrider

Turn 5: Unmorph Brackus

Yeah, he scooped.

Happy with my win, I then went out with Alice to a second-hand book sale and bought some really cool old copies of things like”War and Peace,” half-a-dozen John Steinbeck books, and an illustrated copy of Enid Blyton’s”The Magic Faraway Tree.” Mise, amiright?

The next day, when Alice was safely back at work, I thought to myself:”what the hell, I’ll do another!” And I did another, 4/3/2/2 draft that is. Rippin’ packs, and draftin’ cards… The Draftering Hillbillies!

(Ding dill diller dill, dill dilldilldill ding dill diller dill dill dill!)

(No wait…)

Anyway, I opened a Glade and not much else. I sighed to myself as I slipped quietly back into R/G. I really wanted to try B/W clerics, or U/R, but the packs just wouldn’t let me!

Goblin Grappler

Wirewood Elf

Stonewood Invoker

2 Battering Craghorn

2 Timberwatch Elf

Snarling Undorak

Skirk Outrider

Krosan Vorine

Charging Slateback

Barkhide Mauler

Spitting Gourna

Towering Baloth


2 Vitality Charm

Crown of Fury

Solar Blast

Explosive Vegetation

Lay Waste

Centaur Glade

Wave of Indifference

(For some reason, probably similar to last time, I didn’t write down what 18 land I used. Needless to say, there was probably a cycler in this one too.)

Seeing as I had failed to drop a draft game at any point so far in the last week, I was noticeably surprised when I actually lost game 1 of the finals in this one. Probably because my opponent played out a 3/3 Canopy Crawler, a Krosan Vorine, and an Aven Redeemer – but whatever. I had mulliganed, but it’s a lame excuse seeing as he did, too. I thought it a nice touch to mulligan in game 2 as well, but he didn’t. But nothing like a challenge, or something! So I did my besterest with a Grappler and a Timberwatch with about quarter of a million other elves in play. He had a 3/3 Crawler again, but I had two Battering Craghorns. Apparently, he thought playing out a Berserk Murlodont was a good idea; my Craghorns could not help but agree with him there.

I ended up with quite a few land in play in game 3, but I tried my darndest without seeing the Centaur Glade anyway. It went a little like this:

Turn 3: Timberwatch (Solar Blasted.)

Turn 4: Explosive Veggies (Up to six land.)

Turn 5: Morph and Lay Waste his lone Plains (Don’t play three-color, kids!)

Turn 6: He swings in with a Murlodont, a Birchlore Rangers, and two 3/3 Canopy Crawlers.

I must admit, it was a tough decision which Canopy Crawler to block – but once I uncrossed my eyes, it turned out there was only one. So I happily put my morph in front of it. If this had been real life, I’m sure he would have eagerly asked:”damage on the stack?” But it wasn’t, so I assume he sat there and silently hoped I’d click okay without doing anything. He probably then wet himself when I tapped seven of my eight lands on unmorphed a Towering Baloth. The following turn, I played another land, a Battering Craghorn, and a Barkhide Mauler.

Remember, all he has in play now is a Birchlore Rangers, and a Berserk Murlodont. I swear that Murlodont looked embarrassed…

It wasn’t particularly nice of me to then play a tenth land and a Stonewood Invoker, I know. But I did it anyway.

Obviously, the thing to here is quit while you’re ahead, or as in my case, up two drafts. This doesn’t really explain why I entered yet another 4/3/2/2 draft the following day though, does it? I guess I figured that if I win round one, I’m in breaking even territory for the last three days, and that can’t be bad. Somehow my brain neglected to consider the option of me losing in the first round and therefore not breaking even. Therein might be the secret actually, because once again I landed in the finals with the following deck:

Goblin Grappler


Wirewood Elf

2 Battering Craghorn

Blade Sliver

Flamewave Invoker

Flamestick Courier

Skirk Marauder

Nantuko Vigilante

Snarling Undorak

Symbiotic Elf

2 Crested Craghorn

Barkhide Mauler

Needleshot Gourna

Krosan Tusker

Shaleskin Bruiser


Lay Waste

Pinpoint Avalanche

Searing Flesh

(For some completely unrelated reason, I didn’t write down what 17 land I used. Needless to say – no, wait. There they are.)

9 Mountain

7 Forest

1 Tranquil Thicket

1 Forgotten Cave

Seriously, I would draft a non-G/R deck if the packs or peeps next to me would allow it, but apparently that’s just not an option. Here are a few interesting facts about the three decks before I tell you about what happened in the finals.

(Although, I bet the Ferrett has already spoiled it for you on the front page.)

(Still, you gotta do whatever it is you gotta do to get you folks to click on me, so *shrug*)

The following cards appeared in two of the three decks, but not necessarily the same one:

Goblin Grappler

Wirewood Elf

Skirk Outrider

Crown of Fury

Lay Waste

Crested Craghorn

Of these cards, I would only play the Elf every time I draft him. The Crown, the Craghorn, the Grappler, and the Outrider I would always consider, but the Lay Waste is easily a card you can leave on the bench. The fact that it made it into two of the decks shows that I was pretty tight for cards. It had nothing to do with the fact that I mistakenly thought I had drafted one in the first deck, and therefore needed my”lucky Lay Waste” in the other two… The Craghorn appeared twice in one deck, which brings me to a couple of cards that always seemed to show up in pairs:

2 Vitality Charm

2 Battering Craghorn

Maybe three of either card may have been too many, but I kinda doubt it. I felt naked in the last draft without the Charm duo, but I was often warmed by the presence of a freshly-drawn Searing Flesh instead, so what are ya gonna do?

(Take 7, probably…)

Somehow, each deck featured exactly one each of these cards:

Snarling Undorak

Barkhide Mauler


I’m not surprised, are you? I would (and probably did) first- or second-pick each one of these cards; some of them may have come third in the second pack. I know that I first-picked the Centaur Glade in pack 1 of the second draft, and felt awful doing it too, by the way, so I probably mised one or two of these cards. And yes, I have a funny feeling that they are pretty much the glue that held each draft together. The Undorak was terrific early and late, and so was the Mauler. But a turn 5 Mauler was almost always game, starting or not. Shock, ehh. Love it.

Anyway – here’s what happened in the finals.

*Connects to that interweb thing, logs onto MODO and goes to check out the replays…*

(Ahhh, MODO. Soooo useful!)

Apparently, I lost the first game, and then mulliganed in the second. Sounds a bit like the last draft, if you ask me. But unlike the other one, it wasn’t about the brokenness. I was simply outcarded – and by that I mean his cards turned out better than mine for the occasion. Does that sound like a copout to you? Am I down playing the fact that maybe I screwed up? *shrug* Well, I watched the replay, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have done anything differently…

He had what must have been a reasonable U/B deck, with at least two Echo Tracers and so on, and he seemed to have the better cards in that game. Perhaps I need to review that game a few more times to see if there wasn’t a way I could have won it or something, just to make myself a better player. But I’ll say this, despite my mulligan in game 2, it was my cards that came out just right. He was color-screwed, admittedly, but still lead with a Wretched Anurid and a couple of morphs followed by a Toxin Sliver. Plenty of good enough for racing, at least. But I just poured on the beats and Fleshed him out.

Well, he did maybe misplay at one point, but I hardly think it mattered. He had the Toxin Sliver as his only defender, and I blatantly attacked into it with a morph. Now, he was at eight, so if all I wanted was to get him into Flesh range, I would have swung with whatever else I had lying around too. But no, it was a single morph. There are no common or uncommon morphs in my colors that would have killed him in this situation, so it’s probably better to let it through, right? Right. Well, there’s no”probably” this time, because from game 1 he knew I had two Battering Craghorms in my deck – the one guy who will knock off that Toxin Sliver in combat and live to tell the tale. But as I said, it didn’t really matter; game 3 was imminent.

(Yeah, he blocked.)

Ooo, I was the tricky, trickster in game 3. I played a morph on turn 3, you know – as you do, and then a face up Craghorn on turn 4. He had to play the odds that the morph was least likely to be Craghorn number 2, which is just a little unfortunate for him really. I kept bringing the pressure and thought it’s in the bag when he went ahead and Echo Tracered a Craghorn during combat, regaining a heap of lost tempo in the process. I replayed the morph as Mr. McTricky again, because while he assumed it was the freshly bounced Craghorn, I knew it was my Skirk Marauder. Two turns later and all he had left was a Nantuko Husk that had to eat more than it bargained for when I flipped the Marauder in response to the Husks initial activation. He played out a few more guys, my Tusker-slash-nail-in-the-coffin got a bit too Complicated for my liking, and it was back to status quo before I knew it. Off the top, it was the Snarling Undorak. The remaining Craghorn sure was glad to see him in my head, because it’s actually only virtual cardboard in real life. Two turns later, I drew a Spurred Wolverine that I somehow thought would be a good sideboard option, and the trio of beasts along with nine land put me over the edge for a third draft in a row. It didn’t hurt that I drew the Shock on the last turn while he was at one life, but I kept hold of it as insurance while I let my pets finish what they had started.

I was a little taken aback after that. I mean, I’ve always thought I was a good player. Not great, but quite good. And I had somehow let that fact stop me from entering drafts online. I was 9-0, I was invincible! More importantly, I was delusional. So I naturally waited a few days before entering another draft.

(I literally just finished watching”The Godfather III,” so I feel the”just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in!” quote to be somewhat appropriate here.)

There was finally no green to be had. My opening pack had a Lavamancer’s Skill, but I wasn’t about to risk trying U/R on that alone, so I instead took a Shock – which is great in any deck even remotely affiliated with mountains anyway. Somebody thought they’d be nice and pass me a Sparksmith, which made me smile a little too. I began to notice that blue was beginning to come through right after I passed a second Skill, so I gambled that I may scoop one of them late and finally got to draft the U/R dream. However, none of the Skills came back. In pack two, it was dilemma time: Sparksmith number 2, or an actual Skill for myself and not whoever else was scooping them up. I hummed and hahhed for a bit, and took the Smith. I’ll go right ahead and say that was the right choice too, in my opinion.

(Throws out the opinion! But then disclaimers it with the good ol'”IMO”… Lamerrrrrrrr!)

I didn’t get any more Skills, but I could safely assume that someone out there had three. It was actually a very difficult deck to make, as the 20th through 23rd cards were very fluid. I could have played a Nameless One, or a Riptide Biologist, but ended up going with Master of the Veil for my Legions morphs, and the fact that he’s a solid wee guy in a pinch:

2 Imagecrafter

2 Sparksmith

2 Skirk Marauder

Echo Tracer

Master of the Veil

Embermage Goblin


Magma Sliver

Ascending Aven

2 Glintwing Invoker

Mistform Mutant

Aven Fateshaper

Slipstream Eel

2 Shock

2 Essence Fracture

Searing Flesh

I was rather proud of how I built this deck, because I’d came out lacking fliers in a big way. I tried to compensate with the fat factor a little, and I think it worked out somehow: Two Shocks, two Sparksmiths, two Marauders, two Fractures… Yeah, they could come in handy too.

(Switching to present tense, because … well, because.)

Round 1, I get to play the guy with all the Skills. Booo. I win the roll, and somehow have no morph on turn 3. Thankfully I have blue mana up, so hopefully he’s suckered into the”No morph? Who does that? He must have Complicate” thing. He’s not fooled in the slightest. But thankfully, I rip the Magma Sliver for the good all round turn 4 Hill Giant drop. His turn 4 play is a Mistform Seaswift, which paled next to my turn 5 Imagecrafter and Embermage Goblin. I draw into enough land that he is waaaaay dead, as in I have the Eel and the Fateshaper in play as well as the other guys, and he’s at ten. I try not to sulk too much about the fact that he seemed to pull a Starstorm for six out of nowhere, pretty much because I have a Flesh in hand, and I know the top two cards of my library are Shock and Skirk Marauder.

I’m sure there’s nothing much worse than that sinking feeling when your opponent Fleshes you and you’re still alive. You untap, and ponder what he can possibly do…”There are like, a million ways to burn a guy out… *panic!*”

(Okay, so I know the are many things much worse than that. Bite me.)

(I once saw Giles Searing Flesh someone while they were at fourteen. Yeah, he kinda did it again the following turn.)

Anyhoo. Game 2, I go the kinda nuts draw of Sparksmith, morph, morph, and Shock yours. He plays nothing else, and I am sooo not fooled by the Starstorm in his hand. I hold back the Fateshaper and a Glintwing, only to see him die to my random joe-moleys. I didn’t get to see any Skills from him, but I’m pretty sure I wasn’t too worried about them between the Tracer and two Essence Fractures. The game ended with this exchange:

2:07 blisterguy: what’s wrong with your hand ? =(

2:07 JHonea: i litereally drew more skills than creatures =)

2:07 blisterguy: yep

2:07 JHonea: gg

2:07 blisterguy: all 3 of them?

2:07 blisterguy: gg

2:07 JHonea: i have 2 skill, meddle, 3 lands

(See me trying to figure out how many Skills he has? I assume he had them all…)

Round 2 was not bad, mostly because I won 2-1. I can’t say for sure that he was that good a player either, but I don’t like to flat out say that because it seems an awfully arrogant thing to do. It’s a bit late now for that, though, as I’ve gone and done it anyway…

Game 1 was straightforward because we played the maths game where he was seven out, if you know what I mean. Game 2 he flipped up a Grinning Demon on turn 4. I figured there was no way what so ever that I could possibly deal with it, but after taking two hits I Master of the Veiled it and Shocked it. Not bad, apart from the fact that I was then at eight. I could conceivably have gained control, but he had the”Piety Charm I saw from game 1 and was just plain hoping he didn’t have” to put me against the ropes. Somehow, I figured I had an out involving activating my Fateshaper during my upkeep to find a Shock for the”fly over for the win” gambit, but neglected to note that he was about to replay a bounced flyer and block, and that more importantly, I had used both Shocks already…


Game 3 awaited me either way. I mulligan into a hand that looks promising: Ascending Aven followed by two Invokers. I began to get desperate when my seventh land off the top for the Fateshaper turned out to be the Searing Flash instead. I finally draw the seventh land a few turns later, and all is not lost. After Deathmark Prelating my Fateshaper, he does an all-out attack with the intent of finishing me the following turn. I attack back into his one untapped Aven Redeemer and fourteen life with two Glintwing Invokers, the Ascending Aven, and an Echo Tracer. He blocks the Ascending Aven and has two choices: Prevent two damage to himself and go to 8, winning the game the following turn because I was at four and he had four other creatures to my seven untapped mana. Or preventing two damage to the Redeemer and going to six in the face of my seven untapped mana…

(Yeah, he took that Searing bullet for the Aven Redeemer…)

Yay! The fourth finals in a row! Wanna hear about a couple of fourth-turn kills? No really! Game 1, I play turn 2 Sparksmith, then a turn 3 morph. His turn 3 involved a Nantuko Husk. On my turn 4, I play an Imagecrafter, leaving three mana open; he untaps, and plays a morph. I respond by flipping over a Skirk Marauder, killing his Husk and leaving me with a Sparksmith ready to shoot the newcomer for two at the end of the turn, and an Imagecrafter ready to sign up for temporary Goblin pants if the need arose.

(Yeah, he scooped.)

Game 2, I play turn 2 Sparksmith, turn 3 Shock your morph, turn 4 Embermage Goblin.

(Yeah, he scooped… again.)

Four drafts, twelve wins. Let’s recap on what was gained and/or lost here: I paid a total of eight tickets, eight Onslaught packs, and four Legions packs. I got in return sixteen Onslaught packs, and four Legions packs which is technically a gain of only eight tickets… But I like to think of it as eight tickets and 4 free drafts, which is actually quite good when each one should really cost me $12. Does that count as a happy ending? Only if I had left it at that and entered no more drafts, but as we all know, I’m not that smart.

No, draft number 5 was probably best left well alone. I received bad signals, and reacted even worse to them. I ended up with enough solid white cards, blue cards, and black cards to build a decent two-color deck in any combination – as long as I played around twenty lands in either build. Had I concentrated more, I could have had an exceptional deck in any of those colors. Instead, I only ended up winning one round and gaining two packs to go with any rares I drafted. Oh yeah, pack one was a Polluted Delta, that’s 40-50% of the draft cost right there, and pack three was a foil Caller of the Claw, so all perhaps was not lost.

(Heh; I jest. I made out quite nicely there…)

And most importantly, I’m definitely stupid enough to try again tomorrow morning!

See you in the draft queues, everyone!