A regular on the Pro Tour before growing weary of globetrotting, Tim Aten put up several respectable finishes at Draft events, including 17th at PT San Diego 2004, 7th at the team PT in Seattle 2004, and 15th at PT London 2005. In addition, he won Grand Prix Chicago 2004 as a member of :B.
Tim Aten’s back, and this time he’s blowin’ s*** up! Not clicking on this article would be the biggest mistake you make this month, and maybe even this year. All your friends are reading this article, so why aren’t you? Don’t be that guy! Click on the link, kick back, and watch as the master of mayhem guides you through his latest Pro Tour: Qualification, plus delivers a heaping helping of the usual randomness, slang bangin’, and music recommendations.
I should have known this would happen. I can hear you all now:”Of course he wins; he opens bomb rares!” Just so you know, I don’t wait for the drafts where I open insane bombs and then start writing. Every draft (all three) I’ve set out to record has become an article, so I’m not giving you an incomplete picture. I don’t open a Pentavus every time, and sometimes I lose even when I have Pentavus. Enough about the integrity of the medium. There are still several”thinker” picks to come, some room for discussion, and some lessons to be learned. And if you’re angry that I opened Pentavus, wait ’til next pick!
Geordie Tait is a little misguided when it comes to rating rares and uncommons as Tier 1 or Tier 2. First, as I covered in the forums of his article on colored rares, his rare appraisals are a little off. More importantly, he seems to be a member of the Loxodon Warhammer cult. He claims that Loxodon Warhammer is head and shoulders above the other most powerful uncommons like Grab the Reins, Icy Manipulator, and Crystal Shard.
Well let me tell you, kids: the Hammer is not the End-all Be-all. It’s a piece of equipment that costs three and three more each time you move it onto something. I’m not arguing that it’s not retarded; what I am arguing is that it isn’t appreciably better than the other insane uncommons, and perhaps not better at all. Man does it pain me to say this, but here it goes… I think Kai was right (eye roll) and Crystal Shard is better than the Hammer. There, I’ve said it.
Mirrodin Black is similar to Onslaught Blue, in that if you’re drafting it, you want to be one of two total people at the table doing so. There isn’t a whole lot of depth and quality for Black this time around.
Before I get into the coveted Pick Orders, I’d like to provide a brief, general strategy for drafting Black in Mirrodin. Black is a control color; aggressive Black decks are condemned to mediocrity. Try to remove as many threats as possible with one-for-ones and two-for-ones before gaining card superiority in the late game with spells like Skeleton Shard and Moriok Scavenger. Trade creatures early and often to squeeze the most out of your removal. A smattering of hard-to-remove creatures such as Pewter Golem will pick up the pieces.
As for where the beef is at, try twenty-five tongue-in-cheek insults for the OMC (Josh Bennett), and some old-time brotherly love.
When people evaluate cards for drafting Mirrodin, they often go astray because they consider the best possible scenario. Broodstar is a prime example of this phenomenon. It is not a 10/10 for two mana; it is not an automatic first pick. It is more likely a 4/4 flier for six mana, even in an artifact heavy deck. Sometimes you’ll scowl at your board of an artifact land and a Yotian Soldier as you play your splashy 2/2 flier; other times you’ll Lightning Greaves up a 14/14 and smash for the win on the sixth turn. Like the Archmage, its usefulness hinges on the number of artifacts at your disposal, so draft accordingly. If you’re Blue, you’ll probably want to snag it.
As usual, one of the internet’s most entertaining writers would like to remind you how horrible he is… Yet somehow he has a 1900+ Limited rating and made Day Two at Grand Prix: Kansas City. He’s going to show you the white picks, explain his finish at the Grand Prix, and discuss his growing loathing of Feature Matches. Listen to him. He’s good.
In the finals, I let Nick”Beverly” Lynn have the slot for $350 and half his box. A more than fair price. Highway robbery, if you ask me. Too late now. If my deck is this sick next time I top 8, my opponent won’t have it so easy. Alas, my low self-esteem continues to plague me in every aspect of life.
Writing about a Magic Online draft sounded like fun, so I gave it a try, hoping the picks would be interesting as opposed to an”I opened two bombs in my colors, got passed seven more, and 3-0ed the draft with ease.” I quickly discovered that there’s probably a reason Nick Eisel only did this twice: It’s a real pain in the ass. And yet I went through the effort of writing down everything I saw and then walking you through a complete draft, where you can debate my picks and I point out things that I may have done wrong.
I would like to highlight some excerpts from my previous articles and compare them to passages from Kai Budde’s writing, which came later. Why am I doing this? Many reasons. Firstly – which I’m pretty sure isn’t a word – I saw some eerie resemblances. Relatedly, which may or may not be a word, these resemblances may imply that I may actually know what I’m talking about. It’s all shameless self-promotion, I swear!
Evidently, two heads are better than one; all your average Joe readers seem to agree on this. What’s better than two heads? If you said three, you’re not”thinking outside the box.” You’re not”ahead of the curve.” A three-headed review would be the next logical progression. But several people may think of that and saturate the market with it, eroding its novelty at record speed. Hence, I present to you… The four-headed Scourge review!
As I finished tying up the loose ends on my list of black cards, I realized the true depth of the color in the set: In Scourge, there are solid playables all the way down to #21! Cut black hard the first pack, and you’ll rarely be disappointed. Speaking of disappointment, I discovered that Jeff Cunningham has a much larger reader base than I do, so I think it’s time to inform you about how he really plays. Fun Fact: One time, when an opponent played Decree of Pain against Jeff Cunningham, he got so mad that he kicked a puppy down a flight of stairs.
While flavor was the primary motivation for Form of the Dragon, and while it did end up being rather flavorful, it’s also ridiculously powerful in Limited. The”non-flying creatures can’t attack you” gives you an excellent way to”not lose,” while the”five to any target each turn” provides you the complimentary way to”win.” In case this is too complex for you all, I’ve enlisted my friend Joey Bags to help round out advanced strategy like this.
Ambush Commander is master of the alpha strike. Instead of throwing all your creatures at your adversary in one last-ditch effort to break through, you’re throwing all your creatures and a good portion of your lands. Both times I’ve seen this in play, it happened to be instant death because its controller also had what amounted to a superpowered Timberwatch Elf; however, the Timberwatch is clearly not necessary to make this card insane. You can even send forests into the red zone if it makes sense from a mathematical perspective.