Walk With Me: The Blowout That Might Not Have Been

Watch as Nick goes through a draft, showing you the cards and his draft picks. Once again, Nick opened some ridiculous bombs – but the choices between bombs presented him with some truly astounding strategical decisions. All that, and Nick asks for your feedback!

Well, I’ve been putting off writing an article on deck archetypes for a number of weeks now – though I have my reasons. First, there has always been something better to write about for any given week. Second – and probably most importantly – is that I’m not sure exactly how much I can say that isn’t blatantly obvious. Things like”Lavamancer’s Skill is the best card for Blue/Red,” or”Cabal Archon is best in black white” are not exactly rocket science.

Basically, I’m scared that I’ll have a decent bit to write – but then will run out of good information halfway through and be left with half of an article, which is certainly not a good thing.

Anyway, due to a good amount of email requesting that I cover another one of my drafts, I will again put off the archetype article for another week. However, if you would really like to see an article on archetypes, please don’t hesitate to email me and let me know. If there is enough demand for it, maybe I’ll kick my ass into gear and try to work up enough material.

Regardless, Here we go again…

Pack One

Pack 1

Butcher Orgg, Nantuko Husk, Essence Fracture, Pacifism, Erratic Explosion, Embermage Goblin, Astral Slide, Forgotten Cave, Aphetto Dredging, Daru Cavalier

The right way to start any draft – with a ridiculous bomb! This pack is also good because there’s a pretty good chance I will get something back out of it, as it’s loaded with goods. No real debates on the pick here, because Butcher Orgg is clearly a walking beatstick.

Pack 2

Pinpoint Avalanche, Ascending Aven, Battering Craghorn, Daru Healer, Barren Moor, Tranquil Thicket, Wretched Anurid, Naturalize, Mistform Wall (Grand Melee)

Good removal to go with my red commitment, with the guy feeding me most likely taking a green card – but who really knows with some of the people that draft on Magic Online? Another pretty much no-brainer pick (the interesting picks are coming, I promise!)

Pack 3

Battering Craghorn, Mistform Dreamer, Mistform Wall, Daru Cavalier, Crowd Favorites, Anurid Murkdiver, Symbiotic Elf, Meddle, Wretched Anurid

This pick is indeed highly debatable, as both the Mistform Dreamer and Crowd Favorites are both very good cards and force good archetypes with red. For the time being, though, I felt it was best to just stay red and hopefully cut the guy on my left completely, as well as keeping my options open to see exactly what was happening with the guy on my right – who I’m almost positive is in green.

Pack 4

Forgotten Cave, Slipstream Eel, Mage’s Guile, Taunting Elf, Rummaging Wizard, Crown of Suspicion, Disciple of Grace

Pretty easy pick, as cycling lands always make the cut and there’s not a better”red” card here than the cave. This is one thing many new players need to do more often: Don’t be afraid to pick cycling lands this high, as they are very necessary to a successful draft deck.

Pack 5

Searing Flesh, Wellwisher, Wirewood Elf, Disciple of Malice, Slipstream Eel

The first really interesting pick, as I could clearly take the Wellwisher here and start in on a G/R deck. Flesh is a pretty good card, even if it doesn’t always make the cut, and I’m fine with just completely cutting the red and hopefully getting paid back in pack two. You could definitely say that I should take Wellwisher here – but I’m almost certain the guy feeding me is in green and it seems like a wasted pick to me, but I could be wrong.

Pack 6

Aven Fateshaper, Spined Basher, Vitality Charm, Lonely Sandbar, Riptide Biologist

Wow, this guy is late. He’s a solid card even if you only end up splashing, and certainly a good reason to go into blue. This shouldn’t really happen; even if the Fateshaper isn’t a bomb, he’s still a huge flier with a decent ability. But hey, I’ll take it – as we all know how much I love U/R.

Pack 7

Mistform Dreamer, Spined Basher, Goblin Sledder, Nameless One, Spitfire Handler

Annnndd….Blue/Red it is. Blue is definitely not being drafted if this guy is still in here 7th, and my plan is obviously to pick up and run with it.

Pack 8

Backslide, Cabal Executioner, Tranquil Thicket, Birchlore Rangers

Still an Executioner and Thicket – but I’ve got my sights set now, only turning back for a possible bomb.

On the lap back around, I manage to table an Essence Fracture from my opening pack. The odd thing is that the other cards still in the pack were Aphetto Dredging, Astral Slide, and Forgotten Cave! This right here shows that the drafters are weak overall, as I find myself constantly first-picking Astral Slide.

Now the first ridiculous thing of the draft happens, and both Mistform Walls make it back around. An important thing I learn from one of the packs is that the only blue card missing was the Dreamer, so that means there is only one other potential blue mage at this point – which is exactly what I want to happen. My deck goes from solid to very good when this happens, and I also pick up a Mage’s Guile and prepare for some goods in pack two.

Pack Two

Pack 1

Erratic Explosion, Snarling Undorak, Mistform Dreamer, Wellwisher, Aphetto Vulture, Lay Waste, Swat, Shepherd of Rot, Crude Rampart, Foothill Guide, Battlefield Medic, (Steely Resolve)

A very solid pack – and I’ll take the burn spell, please. The guy feeding me will most likely enjoy his Undorak and who knows after that. So far, the only three green cards I could’ve had were the Wellwisher when I picked Searing Flesh, the Vitality Charm when I picked Fateshaper, and now this Undorak. Just keep that in mind with the upcoming packs.

Pack 2

Skittish Valesk, Charging Slateback, Wirewood Savage, Spitting Gourna, Elvish Riders, Fallen Cleric, Sandskin, Righteous Cause

Well, before you ask, no – I don’t like second-picking a Valesk when I should be getting the hookup on red for my deck. This pack is just loaded with green though, and since my neighbor cut it pretty hard in pack one it only makes sense it would flow though. Here is where I start to question my plan and wonder if I should actually be in green. This brings the Green card count to four, and I would probably take the Savage if I had taken the other three green cards I mentioned.

Pack 3

Sparksmith, Goblin Taskmaster, Snarling Undorak, Lonely Sandbar, Astral Slide, Lay Waste, Airdrop Condor, Head Games, Aphetto Dredging, Disciple of Malice, Piety Charm

Woot! Now this is what I’m talking about. Although, it still probably shouldn’t happen, I’ll take a ‘Smith anytime. The rest of the pack is nuts, with another Undorak and Slide circulating – although I don’t really feel that you can up the Green count here because I will always take Sparksmith over any green common, even the best one. It did leave a mental dent on me, seeing all these Undoraks that I keep having to ship, even if I definitely wouldn’t take it here anyway.

Pack 4

Sparksmith, Snarling Undorak, Wirewood Savage, Riptide Biologist, Crown of Suspicion, Cabal Archon, Lonely Sandbar

Holy lord Batman! Obviously the people to my left are inexperienced to say the least, as this pack is loaded. Another Undorak and Savage. Again, this was bothering me during the draft – but now that I’m typing it out, I don’t feel as bad as I did then. I was getting these really bad feelings that I should be in green, but again I will always take the ‘Smith here so the count is still at four, despite having to pass three Undoraks.

Pack 5

Mistform Wall, Essence Fracture, Wirewood Elf, Dirge of Dread, Charging Slateback

This is an interesting pick in that you have to ask yourself: Do I want two Essence Fractures or a third Wall? In the end, I chose the wall because of the two ‘Smiths, but also because of the Skills I was hoping to get at some point. My deck already had enough high-end stuff with Orgg, Pinpoint, Fracture, and Fateshaper as well, and I figured a second Fracture would most likely just get cycled; I’d rather have the wall.

Pack 6

Goblin Sledder, Screaming Seahawk, Secluded Steppe, Daru Healer, Bloodline Shaman, Crown of Fury, Shade’s Breath

Fuel for Smithy and a good all around creature, especially when you have three Mistform Walls that can be used to save your guys from burn.

Pack 7

Mage’s Guile, Festering Goblin, Searing Flesh, Blackmail, Crown of Suspicion

Another solid cycling spell and can serve as protection for your guys, although you usually just pick it because of the one mana cycling. Arguably I could have counterdrafted here, by taking either the Crown (which is good against my Smiths) or the Festering Goblin which is just a better card in general – but since there are so many playable cards anyway it seems rather pointless to hate when the Guile might make the cut.

Pack 8

Disciple of Malice, Headhunter, Wirewood Pride, Renewed Faith

When all else fails, take the cycling man. I doubt I’ll have to play it, but might as well take it anyway, the only other choice is the off-color morph in Headhunter, and I think in this case I’d rather have the off-color cycling as my three-drop is already bolstered enough.

Lay Waste came back around with Aphetto Vulture still there – which is curious, as he is a solid flier even if he is expensive. I also pick up a Charging Slateback and then a Lonely Sandbar that I take over a Goblin Taskmaster. After that pack, I’m seriously doubting my chances of losing this draft, as my deck is nutso with an entire pack left to draft.

Pack Three

Pack 1

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa, Swat, Glory Seeker, Dive Bomber, Cabal Executioner, Anurid Murkdiver, Symbiotic Elf, Treespring Lorian, Invigorating Boon

Heh. Not a pick for me in this pack, so I think the only logical thing to do is hatedraft a card that I could randomly lose to at some point. There’s no real reason not to hate it, even though the guy on my left is definitely not green, there’s no card at all for my deck, and there’s also no reason to ship it.

Pack 2

Dragon Roost, Lightning Rift, Skirk Commando, Gustcloak Harrier, Sage Aven, Elvish Warrior, Wall of Mulch

Wow. This is probably the hardest pick I’ve had to make in quite some time. I do a few very quick counts on total playables, total cycling, and number of cycling that I would only play if I had the Rift in my deck. At the end of my quick calculations, I determine that the best pick is the Roost for a number of reasons.

First, it’s an overall better card, winning many games that Lightning Rift simply would not do anything in – games where the board is stalled out and there are numbers of creatures larger than 2/2. The important reason, though, is that I only had seven cycling cards at the time (not a low number or anything, but one was Disciple of Malice, one was Lay Waste, and two were Mage’s Guile), and some of them I would only be playing if I had the Rift. This causes for overall loss of card quality – because if I take the Rift, I then have to play all these cycling cards that aren’t as good as the cards I could be playing if I just take the Dragon Roost.

Basically, the Roost doesn’t come with any obligations, and is a much tighter package. How ridiculous that someone passes these cards, though!

Pack 3

Lavamancer’s Skill, Shock, Avarax, Daru Lancer, Symbiotic Elf, Meddle, Riptide Biologist, Disruptive Pitmage, Haunted Cadaver

And, at this point, the only way for me to realistically lose this draft is mana issues. I am absolutely blown away by the quality of my deck, and the quality of the packs I’m seeing. You could argue Shock here, but you’d be wrong: Skill is the best card any blue red deck could ever want. It’s definitely annoying to pass the Shock – but whatever, Skill for me.

Pack 4

Riptide Shapeshifter, Tribal Golem, Ascending Aven, Forgotten Cave, Elvish Warrior, Blackmail

When I saw this pack, I quickly moved my mouse over the Tribal Golem because of how absolutely nuts it is in UR… Then I saw the Shapeshifter though, and I started thinking.

I already had a ton of six-plus casting cost spells – and the Shifter is basically another Butcher Orgg, or to a lesser extent, Fateshaper (or Ascending Aven) – and it costs one less which is important. This is another highly debatable pick, as the Golem is usually a 4/4 Flying, Hasted critter in most Blue decks due to Imagecrafters and Mistforms

Pack 5

Screeching Buzzard over nothing

In a very odd change of pace, the pack contained only one playable card despite having ten total cards. The highlights of the rest of it were Chain of Acid and Break Open among others, and I just took the only playable.

Pack 6

Lavamancer’s Skill, Elvish Riders, Lay Waste, Glory Seeker, Haunted Cadaver

Well, just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get sicker, something like this happens. All I’m gonna say is…That’s the draft, boys!

Pack 7

Ascending Aven, Nantuko Husk, Treespring Lorian, Glory Seeker, Renewed Faith, Feeding Frenzy

Here’s the Aven I was referring to when I made the Shapeshifter pick – and it’s very late indeed! A great addition to any blue deck obviously (as if I really needed it here).

Pack 8

Imagecrafter, Dwarven Blastminer, Dispersing Orb, Tribal Unity, Disciple of Grace

Filling out the deck, all I have to say is why is there still a Tribal Unity in this pack!?

To finish off the draft, I pick up a Meddle and a 12th pick Forgotten Cave.

I’d like to say a few things about Meddle, as I think it is highly overrated: It’s too hard to leave up two mana – and even when you can, it’s just better to have a Mage’s Guile in your deck because it doesn’t sit idle in your hand the whole game waiting for a moment to come around. Meddle was never good in Limited when it was first printed, and it certainly isn’t now, though I’d consider sideboarding it in if they have enough targeted stuff.

Below is the decklist I played, with relevant sideboard cards that could have been maindeck; see what you think.

The Deck

1 Imagecrafter

1 Goblin Sledder

2 Lavamancer’s Skill

1 Mage’s Guile

2 Sparksmith

1 Erratic Explosion

1 Mistform Dreamer

3 Mistform Wall

1 Battering Craghorn

1 Charging Slateback

1 Skittish Valesk

1 Ascending Aven

1 Riptide Shapeshifter

1 Essence Fracture

1 Pinpoint Avalanche

1 Dragon Roost

1 Aven Fateshaper

1 Butcher Orgg

2 Forgotten Cave

8 Mountain

1 Lonely Sandbar

7 Island

Relevant Sideboard:

1 Lay Waste

1 Meddle

1 Mage’s Guile

Not too much to talk about here, as I submitted my deck in the first minute or so, with the last card I cut being the second Mage’s Guile, and I’ve already mentioned my general dislike for Meddle. Lay Waste is a fine card, but usually too slow for draft, and I hardly ever run it on Magic Online because of the huge amount of playables I usually have. This time is lower because of all the hate drafting I did – whee!

I really don’t think it would help much to do any coverage of the actual matches, as they were basically blowouts. The games usually consisted of me getting out one or more ‘Smiths, or some of the bombs, and my opponents really weren’t prepared to deal with them, and I won the draft with ease. I honestly was going to actually just go ahead and write the archetype article after finishing this draft because the deck really was ludicrous and I didn’t think much could be learned. … there are in fact a number of interesting picks I made, so hopefully you can get something out of it.

And maybe that archetype article will be coming next week – who knows?

As a last note, I am not Thatsgameboys on AIM, only on Magic Online. If you want my AIM name you’re gonna hafta email me for it ^.^

Nick Eisel

Team CMU

[email protected]

ThatsGameBoys and Soooooo on MODO