Walk With Mike: The Detonate Dilemma

Nick wanted to follow one of his own drafts, but he couldn’t keep up in real life… So he decided to follow Mike Turian, who’s the man the pros turn to when trying to figure out how to break Limited formats. Walk with Mike Turian, as Nick goes over the picks in detail and talks about what cards are strong in Mirrodin draft!

Once upon a time…

In a land not so far away…


“I’m SOO sick of your lame intros!”

Hey! Don’t interrupt me when I’m tryin’ to talk to you!


Once upo –

“Would it be too much to ask for you to just talk about Magic for once instead of trying to be funny with your pathetic introductions!?”

Fine. Have it your way then, Mr. Serious…

If you recall, I promised you guys a Mirrodin draft walkthrough before it was released on MODO in my last article. I have no intention of disappointing my readers, so the only reasonable way to do this type of analysis was to cover another player’s draft, since it’s too hard to play and take notes at the same time. Hopefully, this is understandable.

So the question then became, who would I use as the pilot for the draft? This question was solved rather quickly. Mike Turian is probably one of the best players to sit in with as he drafts a new format, as he is very good at evaluating new cards and generally uses some unconventional wisdom that can help us all to see things from a different angle. However abnormal his drafting style might be, he has had quite a bit of success with it, as I’m sure you all know – so we aren’t worried about the requisite skill level, but rather the evaluation of many of the close calls that come up in Mirrodin Limited. I’ll also be going through the draft from my point of view, as I wrote down what I would’ve taken as well as what Mike actually took during the draft to see where our perspectives differed.

When you’re looking at the packs, try to put yourself in Mike’s position before reading the commentary and seeing what you’d do.

The Draft

Pack One

Pack 1

Nim Replica, Tel-Jilad Archer, Myr Enforcer, Moriok Scavenger, Slagwurm Armor, Ogre Leadfoot, Lightning Greaves, Detonate, Mind’s Eye, Raise the Alarm

I’m gonna try to be as in-depth as I can here in each pick analysis since this is the first Mirrodin walkthrough and even if the card isn’t a reasonable consideration for selection, I want you to know how I feel about it. This way you can get a stronger grasp on my views of the format as a whole as well as shore up some of your own card ratings if you have any wavering card valuations. While the format is still very new, I’ve personally done close to a hundred and fifty drafts already, and I feel I have a very firm handle on things, so just trust me if you’re unsure on something as I’ve probably already tested it out myself.

Looking at this pack, one thing is immediately evident: We’re starting the draft off on a good foot. This is clearly because of the three very high-quality cards in the pack that we have to choose from as well as a number of other less powerful possibilities. All in all, it’s a rock-solid booster. What are these three exceptional cards you ask? Mind’s Eye, Detonate, and Lightning Greaves. Before we get into making a distinction between those three, I think we should first talk about why they are all better than some of the other good commons in the pack.

First, while Nim Replica, Raise the Alarm, Moriok Scavenger, Slagwurm Armor, Ogre Leadfoot are all playable cards, they are far from first picks. Clearly we have a number of better options here and shouldn’t be worried about any of these cards at this point. For reference, Slagwurm Armor is usually only good in black, and it is very reasonable to take note of the Moriok Scavenger in case we get passed more Myr Enforcers (or other big artifact guys), we can possibly get him on the wheel.

After we peel away the lower-tiered cards, we’re left with Tel-Jilad Archer and Myr Enforcer in addition to the aforementioned trio of power. Both of these creatures are excellent additions to any deck – but the reason they lose out to the first three cards is because Detonate is removal, Lightning Greaves changes the entire way a game is played and speeds up the game, and Mind’s Eye is a bomb if it gets going. While it’s very important to get a reasonably high creature count in this format, neither the Enforcer nor the Archer can stand up to the other three in terms of first pick quality. If I had to make a choice between Enforcer or Archer, though, I’d almost always take the Enforcer because it’s huge and doesn’t commit you to a color.

Hopefully, this makes sense, and I’m trying to be as detailed as possible since I know the experience people have had with this format varies wildly since it has not yet been launched on MODO.

Anyhow, back to the decision at hand. My first instinct is to discount Mind’s Eye in the pick simply because it’s so slow. In a format like Sealed Deck, it’s always going to be a bomb – but draft is much faster and even a card that would normally be good (Tower of Murmurs for example) is just too slow to be used reliably. The Eye also doesn’t do anything when you’re already getting beat down.

So we’re down to two – and they’re both high-quality cards. I shouldn’t really have to explain why Detonate is good in a format full of artifacts (though it is, in fact, worse than Shatter). Lightning Greaves, on the other hand, is unlike anything we’ve seen before in Limited. Having a Greaves in your deck consequently makes your entire deck better if you draw it. It protects your important creatures, gives your whole team the potential for haste, and acts as Equipment for the white cards that require it. Turn 2 Greaves, turn 3 Skyhunter Cub is one of the best openings you can get in the format. So really, the only reasons I can see taking Detonate here is if you really want to force Red (which everyone does since it’s the best color in the set, making it a not so great plan), or you’re really bent on having that removal.

Taking Detonate is a problem, because in my opinion it is simply a worse card than Lightning Greaves, as well as the fact that you have to have some form of red mana in your deck to cast it. I’d rather keep my options open here and have what I consider to be a bomb in the Greaves than take an artifact removal spell.

So what does Mike think?

Mike’s Pick: Detonate

My Pick: Lightning Greaves

Apparently Mike has other ideas, and in this case it’s really tough to determine who’s right. I’m still fairly certain the Greaves is correct here, as you’re taking a more powerful card while also not committing to a color.

Pack 2

Deconstruct, Nim Replica, Bosh, Iron Golem, Nim Shrieker, Leaden Myr, Looming Hoverguard, Yotian Soldier, Battlegrowth, Bottle Gnomes, Wall of Blood

Okay, then…

Bosh seems good, no?

For those of you who don’t know yet, Wall of Blood is a two-card”I Win” combo with Grab the Reins or an unblocked Quicksilver Elemental. Deconstruct is excellent, and better than Creeping Mold in my opinion since it gives you tempo. We all know about Bottle Gnomes and Yotian Soldier, and the Yotian is now very good with Vulshok Gauntlets (as are Goblin War Wagon, Leonin Den-Guard, Goblin Dirigible, etc).

But what’s this Looming Hoverguard creature? Now we’ve got a dilemma on our hands. Honestly, I’d have to say that Bosh and Hoverguard are very close in power level, and it really comes down to the fact that you can always play Bosh and splash red mana while the Hoverguard requires you to move into blue. It’s definitely a close call, but I’m pretty sure Bosh wins out, especially since Mike already first picked Detonate.

Mike’s Pick: Bosh, Iron Golem

My Pick: Bosh, Iron Golem

Pack 3

Skyhunter Cub, Mirror Golem, Hematite Golem, Auriok Bladewarden, Leonin Abunas, Ogre Leadfoot, Isochron Scepter, Inertia Bubble, Frogmite

Dear God. This pack is absolutely ridiculous. So, our choices here are Skyhunter Cub, Hematite Golem, Mirror Golem, Auriok Bladewarden, Leonin Abunas, or Isochron Scepter. That’s a lotta choices for the third pick.

We can first eliminate the Hematite as he is outclassed by all of the other cards. If you wanna stay in Red, may I direct you to Mirror Golem? This guy is definitely a powerhouse, usually gaining protection from artifacts and creatures and ending the game in short order if he’s not handled appropriately. He certainly has potential to be picked here.

I don’t think you can justify taking Isochron Scepter here, as we don’t have any targets yet and it’s a pretty big gamble that we’ll get enough to run it (you need at least three to five, and three is stretching it). The point is, while the Scepter is good, there are plenty of other cards that are as good if not better and don’t require any luck in the future packs. There’s no point in packing your deck with Awe Strikes in hope that you draw that Scepter when you could easily just take Mirror Golem or a power white card that requires no additional baggage.

As for the white cards, and don’t get me wrong, they are all first-pick quality, I personally rank them in this order: Leonin Abunas, Auriok Bladewarden, Skyhunter Cub. While the Abunas is definitely the best of the three, the difference between the Cub and Bladewarden is much less defined, and I just like the fact that while either of them is insane with Equipment, the Bladewarden does a lot more when you don’t draw the Equips. If you want an evasion creature, it’s fine to take Cub over the new Timberwatch Elf.

Judging from that, it seems like the pick comes down to Mirror Golem and Leonin Abunas. This is another one that’s really close, and I think the pick is based on the path you choose to go down, with the Abunas being slightly more powerful in most situations.

Mike’s Pick: Mirror Golem

My Pick: Leonin Abunas

Here, Mike continues with the Red path, with the idea that all of the people downstream will take a white card and get in a fight over it. This is reasonable, though I’m pretty sure I’d always take the Abunas here (especially since I’d have taken Greaves to create the”full lock” by making Abunas untargetable). As you can see, we’ve already disagreed on two picks and it’s only the third pick of the draft, with both of our decks heading in different directions here. I must say though, Bosh is pretty good with haste via Lightning Greaves.

Pack 4

Leonin Scimitar, Bottle Gnomes, Skyhunter Cub, Leonin Den-Guard, Nim Lasher, Malachite Golem

Now we’ve got issues. The powerful white cards keep coming, and the pick here is obviously either Skyhunter Cub or Leonin Scimitar. I think at this point, it’s definitely right for Mike to take the Scimitar and keep shipping the white in hopes that at least two people downstream will fight for it and give him the hookup in pack two. My deck is looking very saucy now, though, as the synergy between the cards I’d have picked is much higher than Mike’s. Not that this is wrong or anything, both paths have a lot of potential, but I’d argue that if I’m getting shipped this much white in pack one, it is also going to come in pack three and my deck will be insane.

Mike’s Pick: Leonin Scimitar

My Pick: Skyhunter Cub

Pack 5

Gold Myr, Goblin War Wagon, Arrest, Second Sunrise, Leaden Myr, Disciple of the Vault, Mindstorm Crown, Awe Strike

Well, this pack has a two good cards in it, War Wagon and Arrest. The Myrs are also fine, but the other two cards are better picks by far at this point. Judging by the way Mike’s been drafting so far, it seems like he’d just take the Wagon here and cement the guy he’s feeding into white with this late Arrest.

Mike’s Pick: Arrest

My Pick: Arrest

Mike decides maybe it’s time to switch into white though (a little late!), or splash the Arrest, which is reasonable.

Pack 6

Titanium Golem, Needlebug, Nim Lasher, Malachite Golem, Golem-Skin Gauntlets, Steel Wall

Here we’re presented with the choice of Needlebug, Titanium Golem, or Golem-Skin Gauntlets. Titanium Golem is a fine card, but it’s leagues worse than Needlebug. The Golem-Skin is also a respectable card, especially in my build of the deck as I have a Cub to put it on and an Abunas to protect it. Hopefully, you can see why Mike just takes the Bug here and I want the Gauntlets.

Mike’s Pick: Needlebug

My Pick: Golem-Skin Gauntlets

Pack 7

Neurok Hoversail, Nim Shrieker, Elf Replica, Soldier Replica, Brown Ouphe

Nim Shrieker is a powerful card in Mirrodin Limited, especially with the abundance of Myrs and Talismans that will allow it to come out on turn three and artifact lands to boost its power. Soldier Replica is also equally powerful and a likely inclusion in any deck running plains. While the pick comes down to the two cards I already mentioned, I’d also like to say that the Hoversail is nuts in Green (especially on Fangren Hunter), and Elf Replica is actually very good considering he can kill Arrest and other annoying cards like Relic Bane or Domineer. He’s won me quite a few matches and shouldn’t be underestimated. The Ouphe is also a decent card if your deck is aggressive, or your opponent has lots of Equipment or Goblin Replica type cards that he can counter.

Back to the pick. It all comes down to Soldier Replica versus Nim Shrieker, and while Mike hasn’t really committed to white yet it seems fine to take Nim Shrieker in his place here. I’m clearly going with the Replica, though.

Mike’s Pick: Nim Shrieker

My Pick: Soldier Replica

Pack 8

Gold Myr, Ancient Den, Quicksilver Fountain, Battlegrowth, Seat of the Synod, Predator’s Strike

Here, we’ve got a Predator’s Strike and Gold Myr as possible considerations, and the Myr seems correct in either of our decks so far since Mike can use it so splash Arrest and it’s in-color for me.

Mike’s Pick: Gold Myr

My Pick: Gold Myr

On the lap back, Mike gets a Raise the Alarm (over Moriok Scavenger), Nim Replica, Auriok Bladewarden (what the…?), and an Awe Strike.

The”Raise the Alarm over Scavenger” pick is particularly interesting considering that Mike refused to go into white when passed a glut of good cards. Moriok Scavenger is likely correct here, as he already has the Shrieker and a Gold Myr to splash the Arrest, and Scavenger has a good target in Bosh, Iron Golem. Raise the Alarm is simply not a good splash card, and Mike has shown us that in this pack that he doesn’t want to go into white.

Luckily, the Bladewarden makes the lap, as someone took Cub over it (which is close, but most likely wrong).

At the end of pack one, I definitely think my strategy is working much more efficiently than Mike’s, though they both look strong going into pack two. The interesting thing is that we both know what we’re doing in this format and yet we still diverge greatly in draft strategies.

Pack Two

Pack 1

Electrostatic Bolt, Pyrite Spellbomb, Leonin Sun Standard, Regress, Tel-Jilad Exile, Wall of Blood, Thirst for Knowledge, Turn to Dust, Silver Myr, Slith Bloodletter

Pack two begins just as the first did, with a busty selection for us to choose from in our opening pick.

The cards for initial contemplation are Electrostatic Bolt, Pyrite Spellbomb, Leonin Sun Standard, and Thirst for Knowledge. We can begin by eliminating the Spellbomb as the Bolt is just a better card, and we’re down to three possible suspects.

For my draft strategy, this pick is quite simple: Take the Sun Standard and ship the pack. Make no mistake, the Sun Standard is a bomb. For Mike, however, the pick requires much more thought as he’s only dipping into white so far and could just take the Bolt and keep his options open or also take the Thirst as a possible splash.

Thirst can be tossed out first because he’s already got potential splashes in white and black, and his core is clearly red. The question then becomes, has Mike had a change of heart in terms of drafting white?

I think he should take the Bolt here simply because he’s already shipped a ton of good white in the first pack and he’s unlikely to get much back in this one.

Mike’s Pick: Leonin Sun Standard

My Pick: Leonin Sun Standard

Well, Mike’s apparently had a change of heart after that Bladewarden made the lap at the end of pack one, and we can only hope this set of packs is also loaded with white so that some sneaks through for him.

Pack 2

Reiver Demon, Titanium Golem, Auriok Transfixer, Hematite Golem, Consume Spirit, Cobalt Golem, Nim Shambler, Flayed Nim, Slagwurm Armor

Before you ask, No, Reiver Demon is not a bomb in this format. In any other format, yes, it certainly would be – but I’ve played with the card twice and while it’s still fine simply because it’s a huge flier, it’s killed a total of two creatures while it’s been cast at least six times.

Since Mike has just shown that he’s willing to attempt to get into white, we can easily count out Reiver Demon here. Another issue is that he’s already got Bosh in the eight-spot and having too many eight-drops can’t be good for your health. The same logic applies for Consume Spirit and Flayed Nim since we can guess that Mike has effectively given up on black for this draft. The actual pick comes down to Transfixer and Hematite Golem.

Both creatures are powerful entities in the format, with Hematite being a good blocker and a powerhouse attacker in the late game, and Transfixer being an underrated cheap tapper that can also get in for a few cheap shots in the early game.

My strategy definitely calls for the cheap tapper, and it’s really up in the air what Turian is going to choose as he’s been sliding into white.

Mike’s Pick: Auriok Transfixer

My Pick: Auriok Transfixer

Seems reasonable enough.

Pack 3

Seat of the Synod, Goblin Replica, Annul, Leonin Den-Guard, Myr Prototype, Copper Myr, Nim Shrieker, Tower of Champions

Well we are again confronted with two solid choices, and I think in Mike’s case he has to go with the Replica here as he only has one Equipment so far (Scimitar), while I’d go with the Den-Guard since I also would have selected the Greaves.

Goblin Replica is another underrated card, which is odd to me because it’s not that much worse than a Shatter. Having it on the board causes your opponent to play differently and hold back good artifacts that they’d otherwise play. This type of interaction can only be good for your game. I shouldn’t have to explain why Den-Guard is ridiculous with Equipment either, though it is slightly worse than the Cub unless you already have multiple Vulshok Gauntlets in your pile.

Mike’s Pick: Goblin Replica

My Pick: Leonin Den-Guard

Pack 4

Gold Myr, Turn to Dust, Rustmouth Ogre, Goblin War Wagon, Terror, Nuisance Engine, Nim Devourer, Leaden Myr

At this point, Mike and I both are heading down the path of RW, and while my deck would be more open to a second color, this seems like a perfect time to decide if I want more Mountains in my deck for Bosh or not.

The decision here is between Rustmouth Ogre, Goblin War Wagon, or Terror.

While Nuisance Engine is a fine card for any deck, and nuts with Nim Shriekers, Bonesplitter, or something like Broodstar, it doesn’t always make the cut like the three cards above. Nim Devourer is also playable – though I’d certainly take Terror over it, and we’re not heading down a heavy black path to begin with. Turn to Dust is more of a sideboard card, though it is maindeckable if you see a lot of Equipment in the draft.

So how do we go about breaking down these three key cards?

War Wagon, as already mentioned, is a perfect three-drop with an added interaction with Vulshok Gauntlets (which we don’t have at the moment). He’s a fine body for any deck. Rustmouth Ogre is spectacular in this format, as there are very few large creatures to get in his way and if he is getting through the game is going to end soon. Terror, as we all know, is good at doing it’s thing, even if it is slightly hampered by all the artifact creatures.

For Mike’s strategy the pick is unquestionably the huge Ogre. For mine though, you could justify taking Terror or the Ogre, but I really wanna have more Mountains for Bosh and having another huge creature seems to be a good reason to do so.

Mike’s Pick: Rustmouth Ogre

My Pick: Rustmouth Ogre

Pack 5

Hematite Golem, Mask of Memory, Skyhunter Cub, Aether Spellbomb, Nim Lasher, Psychic Membrane, Sphere of Purity


Didn’t we pass a lot of good white in the first pack!?

Somehow, Hematite Golem, Mask of Memory, Skyhunter Cub, and Aether Spellbomb are still in the pack fifth.

We can easily toss aside Aether Spellbomb here, and consider the other three cards. I’ve already talked about the Cub, and for my deck the pick comes down to him and Mask of Memory – and I really think I’d like the second Cub, as I can pick up some more Equipment later or in pack three. Mask of Memory is a potent piece addition to any of your creatures, and was even called”Better than Spikeshot Goblin” by Ken Krouner. While I’d definitely take Spikeshot over the Mask every time, it’s still a great card. So Mike could clearly take any these cards here, and I’d guess the best pick for him is the Mask or the Cub.

Mike’s Pick: Skyhunter Cub

My Pick: Skyhunter Cub

Pack 6

Tel-Jilad Exile, Malachite Golem, Vulshok Gauntlets, Predator’s Strike, Great Furnace, Loxodon Mender, Scrabbling Claws

Not much discussion here, as the Gauntlets has finally arrived. It’s really stupid when you can move it onto a Cub, attack for seven, and then move it onto something else. Maybe even Auriok Bladewarden.

Some notes about the other cards in this pack are that I don’t consider the Mender playable, Predator’s Strike is a great trick, and the Exile is also a fine card. I’d definitely take the Strike over the Exile in a green deck unless I was really short on guys.

The pick here, though, is obviously Vulshok Gauntlets for both of us.

Mike’s Pick: Vulshok Gauntlets

My Pick: Vulshok Gauntlets

Pack 7

Krark-Clan Grunt, Talisman of Indulgence (the BR one), Inertia Bubble, Incite War, Neurok Hoversail, Loxodon Mender

We’re entering the chaff end of the draft, and the only reasonable picks for either of our strategies here are Krark-Clan Grunt, Talisman, and Neurok Hoversail.

For Mike’s end I’d probably go with the Hoversail or Talisman here, as I’m not a huge fan of the Grunt and it rarely makes the cut. I’m definitely taking the Hoversail as I have a Den-Guard, and Two Cubs, and it might make the cut if I don’t get any more equipment in pack three. Hoversail is also some good on Rustmouth Ogre or Bosh. On second though, we should both certainly take Hoversail here.

Mike’s Pick: Krark-Clan Grunt

My Pick: Neurok Hoversail

Meh; hopefully it won’t be a big deal, but I think Mike just values the Grunt higher than I do or he’s worried about not getting enough guys.

Pack 8

Soldier Replica, Talisman of Progress (UW), Battlegrowth

Soldier Replica is good and we have very few four-drops in either of our versions of the draft at this point. We also already have a Gold Myr and will probably get another Myr in pack three. Two is certainly enough.

Mike’s Pick: Soldier Replica

My Pick: Soldier Replica

On the lap, Mike grabs a pair of Turn to Dusts, and a Slagwurm Armor. Nothing spectacular here.

As you can see, Mike and I started to agree a lot more throughout this set of packs, as we solidified into the same colors. I still think my deck is better though, simply because of the fact that white kept coming and Mike’s plan of avoiding it didn’t work out.

Pack Three

Pack 1

Nim Devourer, Razor Barrier, Spikeshot Goblin, Nim Shrieker, Elf Replica, Looming Hoverguard, Vulshok Gauntlets, Leonin Scimitar, Slagwurm Armor, Thoughtcast, Mindstorm Crown, Wall of Blood

Mmm, more Devourers. Not going to do us any good, though, and I think we all know who I’ve got my eyes on: Spikeshot Goblin.

Another Looming Hoverguard is in the pack, which is rather annoying considering the guy to our left is going to have two of them now. Some other comments about the pack are that I don’t really consider Mindstorm Crown playable, Razor Barrier is better as a sideboard card, and only makes the cut to my maindeck if I’m lacking tricks (which is rare in this format because of all the equipment). Thoughtcast is also highly overrated and isn’t actually that good in practice. I’ve talked about all of the other cards at some point in this walkthrough, and the pick here is pretty obvious.

Spikeshot, welcome home.

Mike’s Pick: Spikeshot Goblin

My Pick: Spikeshot Goblin

Pack 2

Irradiate, Cobalt Golem, Leonin Scimitar, Raise the Alarm, One Dozen Eyes, Fangren Hunter, Thoughtcast, Leonin Bladetrap

This pack is disappointing, considering the kind of cards we’ve been getting 5th pick. It does provide a needed Equipment card for our arsenal of Spikeshot and White creatures though, in the second copy of Leonin Scimitar.

This pack has lots of good cards, but none of them are in our colors except for Raise the Alarm, which is not nearly as good as the Scimitar. One Dozen Eyes is probably slightly better than Fangren Hunter, though they are both rock-solid. Irradiate is also a fine removal spell as long as you have a decent number of artifacts. Leonin Blade Trap is more a sideboard card against a deck full of Neurok Spies or something that evades and you can’t get rid of. If the Trap damaged flying creatures it’d certainly be maindeck quality, but since it doesn’t its marginal at best.

Mike’s Pick: Leonin Scimitar

My Pick: Leonin Scimitar

Pack 3

Pyrite Spellbomb, Silver Myr, Vermiculos, Annul, Nim Replica, Clockwork Condor, Wurmskin Forger, Loxodon Mender

Another easy pick for us, in the removal Spellbomb.

Clockwork Condor is a decent card, even though it doesn’t always make the cut, and Nim Replica is also fine. Wurmskin Forger is highly underrated (it is actually very good), and Annul is highly overrated since you tap out a lot and it often doesn’t do its job as well as you’d like. What I mean by that is that you’ll draw it late game after your opponent has already played their important threats, or they’ll wait until you tap out on blue to do so. It’s far worse than any of the actual artifact kill spells, so don’t be deceived by the fact that it costs one mana and take it over Deconstruct or Shatter, because you’ll be highly disappointed.

Vermiculos is one of those cards that I’ve wanted to try, but haven’t had the deck for it yet, as I’d assume you’d want at least two Hoversails to help push it through.

Mike’s Pick: Pyrite Spellbomb

My Pick: Pyrite Spellbomb

Pack 4

Yotian Solder, Pewter Golem, Elf Replica, Clockwork Condor, Tel-Jilad Exile, Consume Spirit, Wail of the Nim, Scrabbling Claws, Raise the Alarm

Since we’re nearing the end of the draft, the picks become easier simply because we’re unlikely to switch colors or deviate from our chosen plan. Here our selections are Raise the Alarm and Yotian Soldier unless we decided to splash black for Pewter Golem which seems like a bad idea.

Since we already have the Gauntlets, I’m going to have to pass on another copy of Raise the Alarm in favor of the Yotian. Maybe if we’d gone with Isochron Scepter earlier we could take these Raise the Alarms, but that plan seems like a bad idea if you ask me. Too risky.

Mike’s Pick: Yotian Soldier

My Pick: Yotian Soldier

Pack 5

Vulshok Gauntlets, Leonin Skyhunter, Neurok Hoversail, Reiver Demon, Tel-Jilad Exile, Blinding Beam, Krark-Clan Grunt, Clockwork Vorrac, Pewter Golem

Wow, what’s with fifth picks in this draft? There are always ridiculous cards in the fifth pick!

Here we’ve got another Gauntlets, Leonin Skyhunter, Blinding Beam, and Clockwork Vorrac as possibilities. That’s not to mention the Reiver Demon, Exile, and Pewter Golem still in there for the other drafters.

Some people swear by Blinding Beam as one of the best cards in white. I am not one of those people, as it’s been bad for me as many times as it’s been good. I view it as a fine trick to include, but not pick highly. Here we clearly have two better cards in the Gauntlets and Skyhunter, so Beam is out of the question.

Since we already have enough good Equipment in either of decks already, I think we can clearly call the Skyhunter the right pick here. I’d even go as far to say that the Skyhunter is better than any of the white commons, save possibly Arrest, in any heavy white deck.

Mike’s Pick: Leonin Skyhunter

My Pick: Leonin Skyhunter

Pack 6

Fists of the Anvil, Auriok Transfixer, Vulshok Berserker, Battlegrowth, Titanium Golem, Wall of Blood

More good cards keep coming, and we’re confronted with Transfixer vs. Berserker. I really like the Berserker in this format, and he always seems to turn games in my favor. He is also absolutely unfair when going first. I think in either of our decks, the Berserker is the correct pick here.

Mike’s Pick: Auriok Transfixer

My Pick: Vulshok Berserker

As I said earlier, the Transfixer is underrated. Mike also believes so, but I think he’s taking it a little too far here, as we’re definitely going to need some Mountains in the deck to support Rustmouth Ogre already, and the Berserker is just a better card.

Pack 7

Fangren Hunter, Leonin Den-Guard, Taj-Nar Swordsmith, Vulshok Berserker, Thoughtcast, Malachite Golem

Okay, now I’m confused. How there are still three highly playable cards in this pack is beyond me! Both the Swordsmith and Den-Guard are much better than the Berserker, though.

The decision, then, is simply whether we want more guys who benefit from Equipment, or we want a guy who provides card advantage and finds the Equipment for the guys we already have. This debate seems simple in my eyes as we clearly wanna search up our Equipment as we already have enough guys to abuse it.

Mike’s Pick: Taj-Nar Swordsmith

My Pick: Taj-Nar Swordsmith

Pack 8

Incite War, Talisman of Unity (GW), Leonin Blade Trap, Raise the Alarm, Woebearer

Two cards for contention here – the Talisman and Raise the Alarm. On a side note, there have been a lot of Raise the Alarms in this draft, haven’t there?

I think you could go either way here, but the Talisman seems good for accelerating us to the point where we can drop Bosh or Rustmouth earlier, or have enough mana to abuse the Gauntlets on Spike. We already have a Raise that we got on the wheel in the first pack anyway (that he took over Moriok Scavenger), and one is certainly enough.

Mike’s Pick: Talisman of Unity

My Pick: Talisman of Unity

To round out the draft, Mike gets Mindstorm Crown, Pewter Golem, Wail of the Nim, Loxodon Mender, and Leonin Blade Trap on the wheel. None will be making the maindeck, that’s for sure.

I think the draft ended up going very well from both of our perspectives, and while my deck is slightly more powerful, it wasn’t like Mike was taking bad cards in the first pack when I was taking white ones; his were just slightly lower in power as far as I was concerned.

I’ll list both decks just for the sake of comparison:

Mike’s Deck

2 Auriok Transfixer

Pyrite Spellbomb

2 Leonin Scimitar

Leonin Skyhunter

Vulshok Gauntlets

Leonin Sun Standard

Gold Myr

Raise the Alarm

Auriok Bladewarden

Spikeshot Goblin

Yotian Soldier

Krark-Clan Grunt

Skyhunter Cub

Goblin Replica


Soldier Replica

Taj-Nar Swordsmith

Rustmouth Ogre

Mirror Golem


Bosh, Iron Golem

10 Plains

7 Mountains

Relevant Sideboard:

Needlebug, 2 Turn to Dust, Pewter Golem, Nim Shrieker, Slagwurm Armor, Talisman of Unity, Leonin Blade Trap, Awe Strike, Nim Replica, Loxodon Mender

My Deck

Auriok Transfixer

Pyrite Spellbomb

Leonin Scimitar

Golem-Skin Gauntlets

Leonin Skyhunter

Vulshok Gauntlets

Lightning Greaves

Leonin Sun Standard

Gold Myr

Leonin Den-Guard

Auriok Bladewarden

Spikeshot Goblin

Yotian Soldier

2 Skyhunter Cub


2 Soldier Replica

Vulshok Berserker

Leonin Abunas

Taj-Nar Swordsmith

Rustmouth Ogre

Bosh, Iron Golem

10 Plains

7 Mountains

As you can see, Mike’s deck has game all around, with the two artifact destruction spells in Detonate and Goblin Replica. My deck has a more cohesive functionality in that it is all about the Equipment. I had to cut Raise the Alarm from my build for Golem-Skin Gauntlets, while Mike’s last cut was Needlebug.

As you can see, that Talisman didn’t make the cut, and somehow that Krark-Clan Grunt did for Mike. Maybe it’s just personal opinion, but I don’t like that guy very much and probably would run Needlebug over him.

As for the actual draft, I realized early on that it would be hard to do in-depth coverage like I do for the MODO drafts, simply because of the speed at which CMU players play. It’s too hard to take notes on the game states because they change so quickly. If you watch Mike play in person, you’ll see what I mean.

I did, however, get some notes from the draft, as I watched Mike’s first round and parts of the second and third before my own draft started.

In round one, Mike delivered quite a beating to Nick”Beverly” Lynn. Game one involved a lightning fast draw with Auriok Transfixer, a Scimitar, Spikeshot Goblin, Arrest, and Leonin Sun Standard. Mike killed everything in his way and the game ended on turn 5 or 6. For game two, Mike drew both Scimitars and created a large Krark-Clan Grunt and then a Skyhunter Cub, which finished off Nick’s mana-flooded draw.

A highlight from round two was when Mike had Vulshok Gauntlets on Auriok Bladewarden and used it to pump Bosh. He then moved the Gauntlets onto Bosh and attacked with mana up to also throw Bosh for eight damage. The attack represented twenty-four damage total, but Mike Patnik’s Wall of Blood helped to stave it off and eventually win that game. Turian came back to take the match though, and moved on to the finals.

While I didn’t catch any of the finals, I know that Mike again lost game one and then proceeded to take the final two games and win the draft.

So what can you learn from this walkthrough about the new draft format? There are a lot of close calls in the draft and you can go many directions while still ending up with a good product.

Nick Eisel

[email protected]

Soooooo & ThatsGameBoys on MODO