So the first thing you might be wondering (or at least what I wrestled with) is why write about a draft you didn’t enjoy or win at? I believe that ultimately, if my goal is really to improve my game, I need to post-mortem all of my drafts. Ask myself what worked and what didn’t work. I think I have been sort of ignoring this in my better drafts. I mean it’s there if you read between the lines (drafted bombs, made a good deck, mulled when appropriate) but I’m not really calling out what specifically. When I went 1-2 a few weeks ago, I just wanted to go home and not think about the game at all, but now I’ve had some time to mull it over and my conclusion is that it’s worth dissecting where I messed up and get it out of the way – both so that I can avoid the same mistakes in the future and for the benefit of all of you. There’s so much more to be said than “blue sucks” (and experiences since that draft have revealed other ideas) – In any case I think the statement deserves to be examined.
Pack 1 pick 1 – I opened and picked Planar Cleansing. – There were some other decent white cards in the pack I could have taken though that would mess with signaling. I wasn’t holding out hope that I could make a great white deck just from that – white is a heavily drafted color and the three white in the CC isn’t great, but I have hopes for the money value on the card and it IS a wrath.
Pack 1 pick 2 – Stampeding Rhino. Wasn’t a lot in the pack to take – some white guys but Rhino stood out – now I’m thinking I can go W/G. I note a phantom warrior in the pack which is pretty bomb – but I’m not confident enough to go W/U.
Pack 1 pick 3 – Mind Control
Here’s where it all goes wrong. From this I figure two guys to my right haven’t taken it so they are not in blue, even if they were rare drafting, and Mind Control is a pretty ridiculous bomb. So I settle into taking the best of blue (which isn’t much!) trying to get more green to supplement the rhino – in the mean time I’m seeing lots of red but I avoid it, I’m getting nothing in green so I figure I’ll cut off my guys on pack 2 (which works).
In Pack 2 and 3 I open Air Elemental and some other green bomb, but I have to take the Glacial Fortress in pack 1, and Sunpetal Grove in pack 2 over them. I also get passed Open the Vaults, which I take (maybe this was a bad call) and Underworld Dreams, but I’ve already sort of given up on my deck so I just raredraft it.
Here’s the deck, roughly.
What I think is wrong with the deck.
· Not enough creatures. 13 is much too low, and there’s virtually no curve. It’s a bunch of 1’s and 2’s and two 5ccs. I started with Sage Owls to get the count up and it wasn’t worth it. I didn’t start with Divination and so I trade out the Owls for that and Giant Growth.
· No removal – I have an ice cage and the very situational Essence Scatter, but that’s it.
· 2 Evasion oriented cards – Levitation is worth it if I get a big Howl, but otherwise most of my creatures won’t break a stall anyway. Levitation actually worked against me in one game. Whispersilk cloak seemed like a great pick early but I didn’t have anything to equip it to in any of my games.
Match 1 vs. Jonas with W/G/R
Jonas seems like he knows what he’s doing as he just won the last draft– he laments over his deck and I lament over mine. But which deck is worse? Read on to find out!
Jonas drops a turn 1 mold adder. I have a fist full of blue cards. I try to dig for ice cage with double Sage owls but instead I see some lands and both Howls (of course not enough mana to cast it!) Mold Adder gets massive and quickly rolls over my weenies.
Jonas mulls down to four, but has quick land drops and drops a Giant Spider. I have a Rhino to roll past the spider. He drops some blockers for the rhino but I have a Levitation. He drops Armored Ascension on the Spider making it a 5/7, but I Ice Cage it. I drop more dudes for the win but he Windstorms my entire army! I still have a Howl of the wolfpack for 3 wolf tokens and swing for lethal. He attempts to block, but I remind him about my levitation.
I drop a turn one sprite, he drops a bear. I get out coral merfolk and go for the trade but he has a regeneration for his bear. It’s followed by a Giant Spider, I get down a Craw Wurm, and he drops a spider and a Rhino. Attacking into him will lose me a Wurm to the spider and so I trade my Wurm for his Rhino. I have a howl for two wolves, but he eventually takes me out with the spiders. Sprite had no chance.
Match 2 against John playing UW
John is a young pup and doesn’t seem very confident. He shuffles up his deck and starts drawing but I point out I never cut his deck, so we reshuffle and I give him a free mull.
I drop a sprite, a Merfolk, sprite, and get him down to 12 before he drops an illusionary servant and siege mastodon . I cage the servant (it dies), and he drops the 1/3 flying vigilance griffin and I all have are my sprites to block, but he doesn’t attack with it. I keep building up bears – I figure if he attacks me on the board and has any tricks I’ll take the worse end of it, but he holds back. The siege even could have traded well but he doesn’t risk it. Our armies get bigger and bigger. I have an overrun in my hand but (again) no more than 2 forests to cast it. I finally get a levitation rendering all his ground dudes irrelevant, cast a 3 wolf Howl, and Overrun him to break the stall. At this point I don’t care if he has a safe passage, our board is too clogged up. He doesn’t have the passage and dies.
After this I point out to him that his griffin could have been dinging me the whole time, but he insists I had lethal damage in blockers. Considering I have two flyers in my deck that are 1/1, I doubt this. I guess he didn’t realize his Griffin had flying.
I side in Unicorn since I expect another stall. He has ornithopther (?!?!) turn 1, and I get a phantom warrior out – he follows with an illusionary servant and 2/2 flying first strike griffon. I mind control the servant (dead), drop a ranger, and follow up with whispersilk cloak . I get a howl for 2 (this is getting depressing – really. It’s a 7cc card and EVERY TIME I have 2 forests? That’s not even the mana ratio of the deck!) . I follow with levitation for great justice, get in a swing, and he mises Divine Offering the next turn, which buys him some time… but I have enough dudes to outrace him.
Match 3 against Leon with G/R
Leon seems pretty cool, I hung with him and his friends the other night and he seems to know his way around the cards.
I drop deadly recluse and he drops piker. I drop merfolk, and essence scatter his Oryx (the 2/3 forestwalk is bad news for me) – He drops craw wurm and cudgel troll. Recluse drops the wurm, but Troll eventually gets in there and I get nothing but lands.
He has turn 1 elf, turn two 3/3 centaur, turn 3 Cudgel troll. He bolts a blocker and he’s definitely got me on the ropes. I draw into a wolf pack and hold off the troll, and he draws Oryx while I’m at 2 life. I have Overrrun but it’s not enough to alpha strike him, and I couldn’t cast it earlier because I’m on two !@#$% forests. I figure I’ve only got Mind Control or cage to deal with Oryx. I top deck Mind Control and take the oryx. He top decks Pyroclasm which owns everything on the table except his centaur and cudgel troll, and that’s game for me.
Match record: 1-2
Game Record 3-4
What went right:
* Rare drafting. – This seems obvious, but it’s also up to luck. I really can’t take any credit for opening money rares, but It’s worth mentioning that it wasn’t a total loss
* Green bombs. – Since I wasn’t getting any green in turn 1 after that early Rhino, I made it my goal to cut green off from my right hand guys. This was rather pyhrric but I did get the overrun and double howl, which either won me games or kept me from losing it too soon.
* Didn’t make any play mistakes. – Aside from the picks of deck and building the deck itself, I feel like I did really well in the play session – I stayed in a few games quite longer than I originally thought I would be able to.
What went wrong:
* Rare drafting – Of course, passing great playables for dual lands will do that for you some times. I really could have used that air elemental.
* Mind Control – To be honest, going into this draft I had a hankering to draft blue just to see how it played. So when I saw mind control I just bit hook line and sinker and was passing ridiculously good stuff in black and red and just wasn’t rewarded back. It’s not that I don’t think it’s a good color – Actually the uncommon in blue are pretty good – it’s that the color isn’t “deep” – you can maybe have two blue drafters at a table compared to 3 or even 4 white or green players.
* Too few creatures overall – The problem with going blue/green is that you have no removal, which is really bad since there are so many silver bullets in the format. On top of which going main with blue, it’s creatures are neither very aggressive or defensive. Blue really works as a supplementary color that helps out other deep colors like White and Red, and I passed ridiculous red. Mind Control just made me blind to all signaling.
* Didn’t support my green bombs with the land they really needed to work. I played 8 forest since I had far more blue spells, and never had more than 3 on the board at any time (and that took divination or the ranger to pull off). I don’t know what the mana ratio would be to make this work – less blue may have hurt my deck.
* Started with the wrong cards – Sage Owls were awful. Divination was a killer role-player card that powered me into the lands I needed to cast my bombs. The first version of this deck had a singleton swamp and Rise From the Grave, but I quickly realized I had no way to get creatures into the graveyard so it was worthless. So I subbed a forest for the swamp. (see land problems above) Sprites were okay but they really didn’t go very far in many of my games.