Playmat pictured above: rk post's "Unmask"
As I shared earlier this week on the Facebook page, I made arrangements yesterday to go visit the Inked Playmats shop--I work remotely--and then draft at Friday Night Magic in Corvallis. This would be the first draft I have done since M10 (I remember pulling a Baneslayer Angel back then... good times). It had been far too long since I had dipped my toes into the Magic waters, and I was jonesing to get back into the Limited format. Now, let me give a big shout-out to Marshall and Brian over at Limited Resources, as their podcast is a thing of beauty, and it really inspired me to get drafting again.
I had asked for advice from the community on what I should be looking to accomplish during the draft. According to you, the reader, I was to force Red/White, try and go White/Blue because it wins everything, go Blue/Green and unload a bunch of big fatties--especially Nessian Asps, go Red/Green Beats, Build a Voltron Bear and bake BREAD. Lots to do in only one draft! Honestly, though, it gave me a lot to think about, and made me feel like I had many options for building a competitive deck, regardless of what colors I ended up with. Anyway, on to the draft! Please note: this was an 11-person draft, so we didn't really get a chance to wheel any cards.
I wish I would have taken notes on my pick order, but I knew it was going to take me longer than the others to construct my deck, so I didn't want to delay any more than normal. But I will try to provide a little insight as to what I was doing and when.
Pack 1: Opened Flame-Wreathed Phoenix, and figured that was my bomb and Red was a good color to be in. Then I started grabbing this and that from all sorts of colors: three cards from each color except Green, where I only took a single card. Akroan Skyguard, Elite Skirmisher, and Excoriate made me think I was going to be in White. Retraction Helix, Nyxborn Triton, and Sudden Storm made me think Blue was one of my colors. Nyxborn Eidolon kept Black open as a possibility, and while my Phoenix didn't get much help, but a Nyxborn Rollicker and Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass were there just in case I ended up in Red.
Pack 2: Gift of Immortality was my rare in the pack. The ability to keep a creature in play pretty much forever was appealing. I figured even if I went White/Red, putting the Gift on Skyguard or Skirmisher--or even the Phoenix--would give me some staying power on the board. I think that Hundred-Handed One was passed to me in this pack, which really made me consider White as one of my colors. I still was all over the place with regard to a second color, but I was grabbing most white creatures when they came my way. Two Nessian Asps were passed to me, and I took them even though Green wasn't very likely. Just because it was unlikely didn't mean I wouldn't end up in it! Got a Wingsteed Rider and a couple Snarecasters, and started to feel really good about my White.
Pack 3: I opened Thassa, and was all over it--especially for its low cost of 2U. I figured that it could potentially be splashed, and I liked that option. But knowing that most of my opponent interactions were going to come from Blue, I didn't think I would be splashing, but rather playing Blue. Another Wingsteed Rider and a couple more Snarecasters, along with a Favored Hoplite, rounded out my pulls this pack.
1x Favored Hoplite
1x Hopeful Eidolon
4x Leonin Snarecaster
1x Setessan Battle Priest
1x Akroan Skyguard
2x Wingsteed Rider
1x Elite Skirmisher
1x Lagonna-Band Elder
1x Gift of Immortality
1x Ray of Dissolution
1x Hundred-Handed One
1x Retraction Helix
1x Thassa, God of the Sea
1x Nyxborn Triton
1x Breaching Hippocamp
1x Sudden Storm
1x Sea God's Revenge
1x Springleaf Drum
1x Nyxborn Rollicker
1x Deathbellow Raider
1x Cyclops of the One-Eyed Pass
1x Borderland Minotaur
1x Flame-Wreathed Phoenix
1x Graverobber Spider
2x Nessian Asp
1x Crackling Triton
1x Thassa's Bounty
1x Tormented Hero
1x Fellhide Brawler
1x Nyxborn Eidolon
1x Erebos's Emissary
1x Forsaken Drifters
1x Cutthroat Maneuver
1x Flamecast Wheel
1x Anvilwrought Raptor
Match One: 2-0 against Green/White (sadly, I forgot my opponent's name)
Game One: Monstrous Hundred-Handed One with Gift of Immortality kept the overwhelming number of creatures my opponent put out from doing anything, and my flyers whittled him down.
Game Two: On turn three my opponent had Polukranos on the board and things looked grim. Fortunately, I had Excoriate in my hand and was able to exile the World Eater after absorbing a single attack from him. After that, I out-raced him with two Wingsteed Riders, one of which was bestowed with a Hopeful Eidolon.
Match Two: 0-2 against Thomas's White/Blue
Game One: I got flooded (9 lands to 5 playables). The cards I did put out were dealt with swiftly by Thomas, and he raced in for the quick victory.
Game Two: I was in position to win this, but I misplayed. I should have monstroused my Hundred-Handed One and attacked with him only, forcing Thomas to block and sacrifice his last creature (I think it was a 5/5 something or other at that point). Instead, I was thinking of how to get around the creature, and I tried to get too cute by hoping that he would forget I could monstrous my creature. Dumb. He was able to live another turn and take out my stuff, and then eventually pull out the victory. Thomas was kind enough to point out where I lost that game, and how I should have played in order to win.
The worst part about this was that it foiled my chance at posting a picture of him being sad. Goal #2 and #2a failed...
Match Three: 2-1 against Gilbert's Green/Red/Blue
Game One: Lost, as this was a very fast and aggressive deck with a lot of redundancy.
Game Two: Air superiority, FTW! Thassa was about to see the board for the first time, but my opponent countered it. Sad. Breaching Hippocamp saved me by being flashed in, trading with a 3/3 ground attacker and untapping my Wingsteed Rider to block and kill his lone flier. A big swing in my direction, and I continued to dump Snarecasters to keep his creatures tapped while I pushed through.
Game Three: Thassa made my creatures unblockable and I was able to get in on the ground for the victory.
Match Four: 2-0 against Jimmy John's (Andrew) Black/Blue
Game One: Really close game that came down to a big decision where I had to make the perfect play. I don't remember the exact scenario, but I know that I had to chump block with my Hopeful Eidolon in order to gain the 1 life from the Lifelink. Andrew had an Abhorrent Overlord on the board with some Harpies and other stuff, and this play allowed me to win the game. It felt really good to make the play after deliberating it for a while and have Andrew congratulate me and tell me that I made the correct play. What a great opponent!
Game Two: Thassa was making my creatures unblockable, so we were hitting each other back and forth. We were taking turns locking down defenders with Sudden Storm, but eventually I outraced him, especially after his Overlord had to eat himself due to a timely Sea God's Revenge.
So I ended up 3-1 for the night, and won a couple packs!
It was a great experience, and I couldn't have asked for better opponents. They were kind enough to help explain things to me, and were very gracious in both victory and defeat. Thanks to everyone in the community for the prep help, and I look forward to drafting again soon!