To Live Forever or Die Trying

I’ll cut to the chase; although some of you were miffed with my last draft article – which is allowed – I decided to continue on this path. While others with more impressive resumes engaged in the debate of what’s hot and what’s not in the CBS format, I felt that I could still serve a more mundane purpose on the ground, showing what pans out in practice rather than arguing theory.

So. Here we are again.

I’ll cut to the chase; although some of you were miffed with my last draft article – which is allowed – I decided to continue on this path. (Thanks, incidentally, to whomever pointed me at the PrintScreen utility. It’s excellent.) While others with more impressive resumes engaged in the debate of what’s hot and what’s not in the CBS format, I felt that I could still serve a more mundane purpose on the ground, showing what pans out in practice rather than arguing theory.

To be sure, my perspective is less that of a pro and more that of an Everyman. I’ll be the first to admit that, more often than not, my skills lie more on the playing side of the equation that the drafting itself, but I get by. Some days I get by better, and some days worse – as this little tale begins, I am down to my very last online draft set.

To draft this last set was to tempt fate. If I lost, I would have to spend more money at the online store, an action anathema to anyone trying to “make it” in the sometimes cutthroat world of online drafting. But what good is the set if it’s never used? Easy answer: not much at all. One fine afternoon, I gritted my teeth, closed the auction room window and took what could be my final plunge. This is that story.

Champions pack one: Reach Through Mists, Serpent Skin, Villainous Ogre, Kitsune Diviner, Akki Avalanchers, Thoughtbind, Battle-Mad Ronin, Psychic Puppetry, Joyous Respite, Rend Flesh, Mothrider Samurai, Orochi Eggwatcher, Honden of Life’s Web (foil), Pain Kami, Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang

Although Rend Flesh, Pain Kami and Mothrider Samurai are all fine cards, they are overshadowed by the presence of a gigantic freaking sword. It’s not that Tatsumasa is strictly superior to these – after all, it costs nine mana before it actually does anything, and bounce can render it rather ineffectual – but it’s just much more impressive than stock removal or creatures. It also doesn’t commit me to a color, although none of the other options have particularly heavy requirements. I suppose when it comes down to it, I’d prefer the card that does something special, rather than more of what I can get more of in later picks.

What can I say? I’ve never claimed to be immune to the Danger of Cool Things.

My pick: Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang

Pack two: Kami of the Painted Road, Akki Avalanchers, Hisoka’s Defiance, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Distress, Kitsune Diviner, Field of Reality, Jukai Messenger, Midnight Covenant, Soratami Rainshaper, Kodama’s Might, Akki Underminer, Rootrunner, Seshiro the Anointed

KK will not eat them.

Having four good Green cards (although they are of variable quality), and nothing else of note except Soratami Rainshaper makes for an interesting choice. As I write this, Green seems to be the eggs of the Limited world – Is it good for you? Is it bad for you? Should you put ketchup on it? – but I have had notable success with it. I can barely even remember the last time I had a real-life draft deck without Forests in it, although I do get away from it online occasionally.

I suppose conventional wisdom would say to take the Blue card and let the players downstream fight for Green, but this situation isn’t quite conventional. If I don’t take the Rainshaper, the next player certainly will, giving me at least a one-player cushion on the left, so it’s not a bad deal in exchange for the greater depth that Green offers across the block. My comfort level is higher with that color as well (although I’m beginning to wonder if it’s not a crutch), so tree-symbols it is.

Now, of course, I had to think about which Green card to take. “I would look great holding that sssword you’ve got there,” suggested Seshiro as I was pondering my choice.

Well, sure. Anyone would. And anyway, both Tatsumasa and Daddy Snake cost six mana, a slot that can get heavy in any Green deck, even one without any crazy rares.

“I can make your sssnake armies huge, and draw you many cardsss,” Seshiro offered helpfully.

No, I thought. Green’s about spirits now, even more than before. There aren’t many snakes to go around anymore. I had somehow gotten five in a deck the night before, and even a Sosuke’s Summons to go with them, but that many is generally an exception. Probably best to play it safe with Kodama’s Might, especially since cheap pump spells are hard to get nowadays.

“But I’m legendary!”

Dammit. That one gets me every time.

My pick: Seshiro the Anointed

Pack 3: Indomitable Will, Uncontrollable Anger, Soratami Cloudskater, Humble Budoka, Nezumi Ronin, Peer Through Depths, Jukai Messenger, Deathcurse Ogre, Moss Kami, Kami of Lunacy, Kami of Old Stone, Dampen Thought, Night Dealings

This pack doesn’t offer much – even if it weren’t on color, the Moss Kami is only getting competition from the Cloudskater. I don’t like trying to draft splice decks these days, as I feel it’s too risky, and Kami of Old Stone isn’t something I really want to see unless I’m firmly entrenched in a deck that will want him. I have some concerns about taking three six-drops in three picks, but Seshiro can be cast aside if snakes don’t flow.

My pick: Moss Kami

Pack 4: Counsel of the Soratami, Kami of the Hunt, Scuttling Death, Blessed Breath, Hearth Kami, Crushing Pain, Wandering Ones, Wear Away, Mothrider Samurai, Cleanfall, Sideswipe, Shimatsu the Bloodcloaked

Three-drops are always welcome, so Kami of the Hunt looks good, but a Scuttling Death still in the pack at this point indicates Black being fairly free upstream. I have absolutely no qualms with the Black/Green archetype, and I mentally toss out Seshiro in favor of visions of Nightsoil Kamis.

My pick: Scuttling Death

Pack five: Sokenzan Bruiser, Hisoka’s Guard, Serpent Skin, Nezumi Ronin, Brutal Deceiver, Soulless Revival, Vigilance, Desperate Ritual, Feral Deceiver, Squelch, Strange Inversion

Feral D has been getting some bad press lately – or, mediocre press, at least. I think he’s still fine, although I’ll admit I’d rather have a Burr Grafter. Soulless Revival is attractive, but Death Denied still comes very late in Saviors, so it’s not that high on my list. A trick is a good thing to have, but autonomous (sometimes) tramplers rate a little higher than Serpent Skin right now.

My pick: Feral Deceiver

Pack six: Distress, Kami of the Painted Road, Soul of Magma, Humble Budoka, Wicked Akuba, Quiet Purity, Ember-Fist Zubera, Lifted by Clouds, Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro, Eiganjo Castle

And just that quickly, Seshiro jumps back into my mind. Of course, even without Pops, Sachi can power out all manner of Green fatties and turn otherwise-conditional shamen into fonts of mana production. I could take something like Distress, as discard has become more effective, but I’d rather accelerate my own game plan than haphazardly stab at my opponent’s.

My pick: Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

Pack seven: Commune with Nature, Devoted Retainer, Yamabushi’s Storm, Venerable Kumo, Matsu-Tribe Decoy, Soulless Revival, Silent-Chant Zubera, Graceful Adept, Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers

Never have I wanted a legendary land so badly. Two targets already, and Champions isn’t even over yet! Of course, the Decoy is just too important for if I miss out on Shinen of Life’s Roar, one of the cards that really makes the Green engine hum. He also can score bonuses from either of my Legendary snakes, should I continue down that path. I’m having to pass on another Soulless Revival, but with both Death Denied and Stir the Grave still in the offing, I shouldn’t have a problem picking up some form of recursion.

My pick: Matsu-Tribe Decoy

Pack eight: Kami of the Hunt, Soul of Magma, Counsel of the Soratami, Joyous Respite, Midnight Covenant, Terashi’s Cry, Pinecrest Ridge, Bushi Tenderfoot

A quality three-drop this late may indicate that Green is (yet again) underdrafted at the table. That’s actually the only thing worth noting, because this pick is almost the simplest of the draft.

My pick: Kami of the Hunt

Other picks: Serpent Skin, Kami of the Painted Road, Uncontrollable Anger, Sideswipe, Strange Inversion, Soul of Magma, Commune with Nature

The only surprising thing on the lap is the last-pick Commune with Nature, again indicating that Green is probably not getting as much attention as the other colors. Scuttling Death is still my only Black card, so I’m not totally committed should something notable turn up. I don’t have any critters costing less than three mana yet, so a Child of Thorns would be appreciated, and with Seshiro still hanging around on the edge of playability, Scaled Hulks are lower on my list than they would be otherwise.

Betrayers pack one: Gnarled Mass, Skullmane Baku, Waxmane Baku, Frostling, Teardrop Kami, Roar of Jukai, Takeno’s Cavalry, First Volley, Phantom Wings, Vital Surge, Crawling Filth, Scourge of Numai, Body of Jukai, Ogre Recluse, Yomiji, Who Bars the Way (foil)

My options here are simple: stick to Green with Gnarled Mass or dip into red or white for Ogre Recluse or Waxmane Baku, respectively. Considering that a tapper is far more in need alongside Green than another big body, the two spirits are the main contenders. Ultimately, without any mana fixers in the pile yet, taking the Waxmane would probably mean sacrificing Scuttling Death, which I’m not quite prepared to do yet, so the Green card it is.

My pick: Gnarled Mass

Pak two: Okiba-Gang Shinobi, Split-Tail Miko, Blademane Baku, Mistblade Shinobi, Gnarled Mass, Psychic Spear, Silverstorm Samurai, Ire of Kaminari, Toils of Night and Day, Traproot Kami, Call For Blood, Three Tragedies, Kami of the Honored Dead, That Which Was Taken

Well, if I’m intending to stick with Black, here’s a discard ninja to reward me for it. The only other card worth considering is another Gnarled Mass, which would do wonders for my consistency, especially with the Commune there to ensure an on-time powerful three-drop. So here’s a real question: what’s more important to a mostly-Green deck? Being able to overpower defenses, or stripping an opponent’s hand? Honestly, I can’t say. You can win games by one-upping your opponent’s cards in quality or in number – take your pick.

The Shinobi and the Mass are, some might argue, the best commons in their respective colors – I would personally place them both second – and I’m not sure if there’s a “right” pick for a deck looking to be so heavy on Forests (at least ten, if not more). What it came down to for me was that I wanted to keep my options for a second color open and not commit another card to a color I wouldn’t be seeing much good out of in Saviors.

My pick: Gnarled Mass

Pack three: Moonlit Strider, Frost Ogre, Ribbons of the Rekai, Gnarled Mass, Skullmane Baku, Vital Surge, Crawling Filth, Silverstorm Samurai, Ire of Kaminari, Toils of Night and Day, Mark of Sakiko, Ogre Recluse, Chisei, Heart of Oceans

Oh, it’s not done yet. If it’s 3/3s I want, it’s 3/3s I’ll get. I’m certainly not complaining.

My pick: Gnarled Mass

Pack four: Quillmane Baku, Roar of Jukai, Skullsnatcher, Frost Ogre, Mistblade Shinobi, Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Bile Urchin, Heart of Light, Crack the Earth, Minamo’s Meddling, Walker of Secret Ways, Three Tragedies

Although he’s not as efficient as Masses at beating down, the importance of a Matsu-Tribe Sniper in any Green deck cannot be understated. He is Green Creature 1B, the second of the two dudes that every deck sporting Forests desperately wants. (Green Creature 1A is, derf, Shinen of Life’s Roar.) As such, he will enter my deck with remarkable swiftness.

My pick: Matsu-Tribe Sniper

Pack five: Child of Thorns, Skullsnatcher, Ribbons of the Rekai, Heart of Light, Crack the Earth, Minamo’s Meddling, Traproot Kami, Blessing of Leeches, Stream of Consciousness, Shuko, Kitsune Palliator

I asked for a Child before Betrayers began, so I’m happy to see one, but there are other options as well. If ever there were a deck that would be happy to maindeck Traproot Kami, it would be this one, and Ribbons of the Rekai could mean a lot of cards in this deck. Even Shuko could make an argument, as one of the only things better than a turn 3 3/3 is a turn 3 4/3.

Still, I don’t yet have the earlier drops I would want to maximize Shuko, and with such aggressive three-drops, blocking won’t be high on my list of priorities. I’m not sure I think Ribbons would be a better splash than Scuttling Death, and even if I did, I have a good shot at getting one later one anyway.

My pick: Child of Thorns

Pack six: Shinka Gatekeeper, Ninja of the Deep Hours, Scaled Hulk, Skullmane Baku, Petalmane Baku, Crawling Filth, Akki Blizzard-Herder, Minamo’s Meddling, Ward of Piety, Shizuko, Daughter of Autumn

As I mentioned before, Scaled Hulks aren’t too attractive for me right now, so I’ll pass on the big guy. Although Shizuko is sort of tempting (if just for continuity!), she suffers from the Howling Mine problem – your opponent gets to use her first. Anyway, I’d rather patch a spot on my mana curve that actually needs help.

My pick: Petalmane Baku

Pack seven: Psychic Spear, Kami of Tattered Shoji, Goblin Cohort (foil), Skullsnatcher, Traproot Kami, Blessing of Leeches, Takeno’s Cavalry, Phantom Wings, Overblaze

Phantom Wings is actually a card I wouldn’t mind splashing for, although I have remarkably few real fatties to put it on as of yet. My hardest hitters are Moss Kami and the Scuttling Death I probably wouldn’t play alongside the Wings (and, of course, anything wielding Tatsumasa). It also has value as a bounce spell, so it wouldn’t be a bad pick. I decided against it, opting to stay on-color instead, as the potential reward in Saviors for keeping my options open would far outweigh gaining any particular card this late in the Betrayers pack. It’s not that the Wings commit me to Blue, but that another Green card will be useful regardless of what other color I end up with.

My pick: Traproot Kami

Pack eight: Goblin Cohort, Uproot, Stir the Grave, Silverstorm Samurai, Kumano’s Blessing, Toils of Night and Day, Minamo Sightbender, Ward of Piety

I would consider Stir the Grave, Toils or the Sightbender pickable here, although I wouldn’t hold out for either of the Blue cards to make the final cut. I’ve never been as big a fan of Toils as some, and my mana will usually be better spent playing a creature than helping one get through unless the game gets really bogged down. Stir the Grave can restart a Soulshift chain, and although only Scuttling Death is around to participate right now, Saviors will bring Nightsoil Kami, Kami of Empty Graves and Promised Kannushi.

My pick: Stir the Grave

Other picks: Skullmane Baku over Roar of Jukai, Psychic Spear over Traproot Kami, Ribbons of the Rekai, Heart of Light, Ribbons of the Rekai, Crawling Filth, Blessing of Leeches

At this point, I have about fifteen Green playables, and a second color consisting of either Scuttling Death, Skullmane Baku and Stir the Grave or two Ribbons of the Rekai. Of course, if I open something ridiculous in Red or White, like a Kirin, I could just opt for that. My options are largely open-ended, so the packs will probably decide what my second color is, with the default being Black.

Pack one: Oboro Envoy, fourteen other cards

What? Oh, fine. You’re no fun.

Pack one: Sink into Takenuma, Kitsune Loreweaver, Sokenzan Spellblade, Oppressive Will, Fiddlehead Kami, Kami of Empty Graves, Matsu-Tribe Birdstalker, Death of a Thousand Stings, Curtain of Light, Ronin Cavekeeper, Orobo Breezecaller, Footsteps of the Goryo, Onoro Envoy, Inner-Chamber Guard, Iname as One

As you may have already deduced, I’ve opted for the second-best card in the set. That it gives me a flier is almost inconsequential – the fact is that the Envoy can halt armies nearly single-handedly. It vaguely resembles Umezawa’s Jitte in that, yes, you’ll need other creatures to actually win the game, but that almost anything will probably suffice.

My pick: Oboro Envoy

Pack two: Deathmask Nezumi, Cowed by Wisdom, Akki Underling, Shinen of Flight’s Wings, Fiddlehead Kami, Death Denied, Rending Vines, Gnat Miser, Kitsune Bonesetter, Glitterfang, Cut the Earthly Bond, Gaze of Adamaro, Evermind, Homura, Human Ascendant

Had I opened this pack, I’m not sure what I would have chosen. The last thing I need is an off-color, ground-pounding six-drop, but something like Deathmask Nezumi wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome as either a late game failsafe or another overpowering three-drop (for when on the draw). Of course, I’d have probably picked the same 3/3 for five I’ll take now.

My pick: Shinen of Flight’s Wings

Pack three: Freed From the Real, Okina Nightwatch, Raving Oni-Slave, Cowed by Wisdom, Akki Drillmaster, Cut the Earthly Bond, Sakura-Tribe Scout, Kuro’s Taken, Kitsune Bonesetter, Into the Fray, Measure of Wickedness, Presence of the Wise, Ayumi, the Last Visitor

I suppose an argument could be made for Sakura-Tribe Scout here, as even somewhat erratic acceleration is acceptable when it’s powering out large tramplers and massive equipment. It would also fuel the Envoy and be even more ridiculous with Sachi out. However, the depth of Green in Saviors means that the Scouts tend to come very late, so there’s no need to take one third.

The choice is between Ayumi and the Nightwatch, and it’s not really much of a choice when you think about it: In Limited, the difference between a 4/3 and a 7/3 is often negligible, but the difference between a 7/3 and a 7/6 is enormous. Guaranteeing the extra three power means very little if it means giving up the chance at the extra three toughness.

My pick: Okina Nightwatch

Pack four: Shinen of Flight’s Wings, Inner Calm, Outer Strength, Raving Oni-Slave, Torii Watchward, Shinen of Fury’s Fire, Promised Kannushi, Shinen of Fear’s Chill, Curtain of Light, Into the Fray, Dreamcatcher, Hand of Cruelty, Trusted Advisor

I almost thought about taking the Hand, which is a solid ticket, but landing an additional flier or a strong pump spell will do more for my expected value than an unplayable knight. Of course, of the three Shinen in this pack, none are the one I really want, but I suppose I’ll survive. In the end, I can always replace a dead ground-pounder with another rather than save it with pump, but fliers are too precious for me.

My pick: Shinen of Flight’s Wings

I think I ate that guy in Baltimore.

(Food for Thought: Would “Inner Calm” have been better as “Inner Clam?” Seriously, Clamfolk are hilarious!)

Pack five: Kami of Empty Graves, Torii Watchward, Descendant of Soramaro, Dosan’s Oldest Chant, Gnat Miser, Araba Mothrider, Inner Fire, Murmurs from Beyond, Haru-Onna, Captive Flame, Locust Miser

There’s not a lot to see here. Although the Descendant wouldn’t be a bad addition, I’d rather put cards into my hand than just fiddle with them.

My pick: Haru-Onna

Pack six: Death Denied, Akki Drillmaster, Freed From the Real, Sakura-Tribe Scout, Death of a Thousand Stings, Araba Mothrider, Path of Anger’s Flame, Ideas Unbound, Aether Shockwave, Haru-Onna

Another Haru-Onna is here for me, but I’m no longer sure it was the right pick. I mean, it’s not like I’m hurting for ways to spend my mana, and another Onna will tie it up like… er, like something that is often tied up. Sorry, I tried. Anyway, the Sakura-Tribe Scout has a lot of things going for it that I listed above, and it’s possible that the deck would rather have the Scout than a second Onna. I’d be interested to hear other people’s opinions on this one.

My pick: Haru-Onna

Pack seven: Minamo Scrollkeeper, Okina Nightwatch, Kitsune Dawnblade, Promised Kannushi, Deathknell Kami, Spiritual Visit, Inner Fire, Oboro Breezecaller, Sunder from Within

One more solid fattie for less than six mana is always welcome in my book, although once again, I may have overreached. With more than ten spirits already and only a handful of creatures costing less than three, Promised Kannushi would not be bad for me. However, it’s still just a walking Raise Dead at the end of the day, and I’d still rather have the beefy body with the potential to get beefier.

My pick: Okina Nightwatch

Pack eight: Minamo Scrollkeeper, Dosan’s Oldest Chant, Deathknell Kami, Plow Through Reito, Glitterfang, Ideas Unbound, Stampeding Serow, Yuki-Onna

I have absolutely no problem selecting Stampeding Serow here, as I won’t be playing nearly enough Islands to cast Ideas Unbound consistently or to play Scrollkeeper early enough to matter (and it’s not like I want to block much anyway). What’s worth nothing is that the Serow would have made either the Scout or Kannushi a lot better for me than they would have been otherwise, providing easy upkeep fodder rather than having to bounce something that costs three mana. It’s not that I should have expected the Serow, specifically, as it’s a really good uncommon and it probably shouldn’t have lasted this far. It’s just one more way that having a well distributed mana curve is a Good Thing™.

My pick: Stampeding Serow

Other picks: Orobo Breezecaller over Fiddlehead Kami, Cut the Earthly Bond over Fiddlehead Kami, Cut the Earthly Bond, Curtain of Light, Gnat Miser, Ideas Unbound, Inner Fire

With quality spells for every mana slot, this deck turned out very well-rounded. The only thing I could really have asked for is maybe a Consuming Vortex or to have taken that Kodama’s Might over Seshiro, who ended up on the bench. That Phantom Wings in Betrayers would have worked too, but the Trap made the cut as well and will be great fodder for the Serow. My decklist:

Child of Thorns

Traproot Kami

Matsu-Tribe Sniper

Petalmane Baku

Gnarled Mass

Gnarled Mass

Gnarled Mass

Kami of the Hunt

Matsu-Tribe Decoy



Sachi, Daughter of Seshiro

Stampeding Serow

Orobo Envoy

Okina Nightwatch

Okina Nightwatch

Shinen of Flight’s Wings

Shinen of Flight’s Wings

Moss Kami

Commune with Nature

Serpent Skin

Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang

11 Forest

7 Island

Almost-rans: Seshiro, Feral Deciever, Orobo Breezecaller, 2x Ribbons of the Rekai

On to round one!

Game 1: We played some small snakes at each other and Shinen of Flight’s Wings got locked down by Freed From the Real. A Rushing-Tide Zubera put a halt to Okina Nightwatch shenanigans while also sneaking a Ninja of the Deep Hours in for a card as well, while I stalled pre-Tatsumasa. My opponent deployed a few Soratami (the Cloudskating and Mirror-Guarding varieties) and started nicking me for unblockable cards. Tatsumasa finally hit, and I plowed a 7/6 Onna and the Nightwatch in, thinning the ranks of defenders. I added Moss Kami, looking for an 11/11 trampler, but Phantom Wings slowed me up long enough for a Shinen of Life’s Roar to finish me off.

Game 2: I hit Gnarled Masses on turns three and four and Serpent Skin turned a double-block into bad news. I continued to deploy creatures and bash, forcing trades and forcing damage through. My opponent managed to summon Soramaro, First to Dream at seven life, but one more swing took him to one, where it was a mere formality to finish things.

Game 3: My opponent led with small creatures and Callow Jushi, but I brought down Orobo Envoy. I took a few hits from a Jukai Messenger and a Rushing-Tide Zubera when I tapped down for a creature, but the Envoy managed to get control. Soramaro made another appearance, but I found Matsu-Tribe Sniper just as he was powering up. The Envoy negated one eight-point hit, and then the Sniper put Soramaro out of commission. Shinen of Flight’s Wings started bashing in while the Envoy held off the opposing forces, and the spirit finally grabbed the dragon-sword for the killing blow.

We compared some notes at the end of the game – he hadn’t seen a single Sniper, while I had missed out on Green Shinens and Elder Pines. He thought that, had he drawn Phantom Wings, he could have gotten in for lethal damage by using the Green Shinen in his hand – he was about two points short on the board, but pretty much any creature would fill that gap, so it was indeed close.

The first game of Round 2 looked good for a little while, but Michiko Konda, Truth Seeker made me pause on offense, while Sokenzan Spellblade and Frost Ogre prepared to bash my face. I had the Envoy again, and I backpedaled for a little while, but then Fumiko the Lowblood hit. Now, she’s quite good on her own, but backed by Michiko, it gets a little silly, and I just scooped after my first obligatory attack. Game 2 was even less exciting, as I steamrolled a colorscrewed opponent, who could only manage to summon a Split-Tail Miko and put Manriki-Gusari on it without a Mountain in sight.

Game 3, though, was a barn-burner – lots of back and forth, with a Serpent Skinned Moss Kami finally forcing through enough damage for a lethal strike while a Blue Shinen held off an equipped Hundred-Talon Kami. The best/worst part, though, is that I actually almost gave this game away – with my opponent and I at two life apiece, I had the Skinned Moss Kami and Okina Nightwatch against the equipped Akki Drillmaster and Michiko Konda, with one card in my opponent’s hand. That’s lethal on the board, but I held off because I was worried about a Curtain of Light I’d seen in game two. What I forgot was that the Curtain can’t really help against a trampling creature, so I would have either won or killed both creatures. Somewhere in my head, I knew that already, but it just wasn’t processing. I drew another creature the next turn, which meant I was “safe” to kill him, but if that had taken another turn I would have lost to Spiraling Embers. This is a very, very good reason to make sure you know exactly how cards interact.

Now in the finals, I took the proffered split, which I then poured into another draft, where I reached the finals yet again. With that split, I had produced three draft sets where there was so recently one. Of course, anyone can string together two wins. What I asked myself was, “how long can I keep this up?”

Note that the question is not “Can I go infinite,” because, just like in a game of Magic, the concept isn’t real. I was “infinite” for a few years, which is nothing to sneeze at, but no matter how high you soar, you can always crash again. If you play enough, it’s an absolute certainty.  You know how it is; on a long enough timeline and all that.  Of course, you can always prop yourself up with low-risk ventures – like dealing – but I have neither the time, the patience, nor the desire for such things these days.  I’ll take what I can get, when I can get it, but I won’t be “buying 3 for 1” and “selling 2 for 1” any time soon. Eventually I will fail, but until then, at least documenting my efforts might offer many players the practical exposure they might not be able to pursue on their own.

So for as long as I’m still alive in this little game, I’m going to take you, dear readers, along for the ride. You will peer over my shoulder as I stumble, Magoo-like, through the MODO draft room, unwittingly dodging traps and foiling villains. You will sit in every queue, see every pack, and watch every draft until I am destitute once more.

My online product collection is currently three draft sets and three event tickets (plus whatever I can scrounge from my cards), and I will milk those for every game I can get. Enjoy the show!

Signing off,

Andy Clautice

andy dot clautice at gmail dot com