Happy Tuesday everyone! It's time, once again, to do a little Core Set 2019 draft to get this day started off right. If you joined me last week , you know I have an affinity for green cards in this set - have you seen Dryad Greenseeker?! But just because I love the unbeatable uncommon doesn't mean that I have the luxury of drafting green every single time. Take this draft for example…
Pack 1 Pick 1
This isn't the most exciting pack to get a Core Set 2019 draft started, but there are plenty of playables here. The Bugler may be a card that Ben Friedman is currently in love with in Humans, but I generally stay away from white cards in this format. I find white to be the weakest color in Core Set 2019, and ignoring a busted white rare (Resplendent Angel, Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants, Leonin Warleader) or a premier uncommon (Herald of Faith or Hieromancer's Cage), you won't find me taking white cards when drafting this format.
That leaves me with the decision between Salvager of Secrets or Skymarch Bloodletter, as I have found Blood Divination to only be good in very specific black decks. I lean towards the Bloodletter here for reasons that may come off as quite boring - you know what you're getting and what you're getting is good. Salvager of Secrets has a higher ceiling but also a lower floor, as the 2/2 Merfolk is at its best in U/B and U/R and is pretty horrible in U/G and U/W. In a sense, taking Salvager of Secrets first overall feels like taking a gold card because it pairs so well with cards in other colors (Lich's Caress, Electrify, etc) so I'll take the Bloodletter and move right along.
Pack 1 Pick 2
This pick was a lot easier than the first for me because I like Dark-Dweller Oracle quite a bit. It's an early play that trades with other early plays, counters removal by allowing you to sacrifice the creature in response for potential gain, embarrasses most enchantment-based removal (take that, Luminous Bonds and Dwindle!), and isn't a card you'll be too upset at drawing at the later stages of a game.
Even though I love green cards, Bristling Boar is a card that I'm never terribly excited about, and my thoughts on taking Salvager of Secrets this early were documented in the previous pack, though if I had two to start my draft, I would put a higher priority on picking up spells to maximize them.
Pack 1 Pick 3
Suspicious Bookcase is a card I love in Sealed and is a card I love in my green decks when drafting, but isn't a card I really care for in non-green color combinations. If I end up R/B, I'm likely to be the Act of Treason sacrifice deck and I've already got a sacrifice outlet in Dark-Dweller Oracle, so naturally I'd like to start heading that way. Bookcase doesn't fit into that style of deck at all, so I'm just not terribly interested.
That leaves me to decide between Goblin Motivator, a card that has overperformed for me in all areas of Core Set 2019, and Aven Wind Mage, a card that has underperformed for me in all areas of Core Set 2019. I opted to select Aven Wind Mage here, but I'm not entirely sure that was correct. My thought process was that I wanted to leave myself the option of moving into any of three color combinations (U/B, U/R, or B/R) because I was so early on in the draft and Goblin Motivator is a card that wheels so much in the format that I didn't need to take one third pick.
Was I right with my pick? I'm not sure and I'm curious what you think.
Pack 1 Pick 4
So this is where tendencies and experience comes into play. Boggart Brute has always been in a pain for me to play against in this format--and previous ones! You'd think that a 3/2 menace for three wouldn't be that big of a deal, but I have been having trouble beating that card for a handful of years now, and it sounds stupid to say, but that negative experience makes me take it higher than I probably should and this is certainly one of those times.
Reclamation Sage isn't a card that's going to make me move colors and while I really do like Dwindle - blue decks need at least one in their deck in this format, especially when playing against green - the idea of getting that B/R Act of Treason deck really consumed me in the early stages of the draft. This may be a leak in my game at this stage of the format, but I have found blue to be the second worst color with white, as I mentioned, being far and away the worst.
Pack 1, Pick 5
We can play pretend that Hired Blade and Macabre Waltz are options here, but if you've drafted this format even a little bit, you know that Hired Blade is a replacement level card and there's no need to take Macabre Waltz fifth pick because it's a common that wheels plenty because black decks only want one.
Essence Scatter is a fantastic card in Core Set 2019 and is a loud single that blue is wide open. But here's the issue - I now have two blue cards, two red cards, and one black card. What deck am I? Where is my draft going? What's my actual gameplan here?
The answer to all of those questions is that I tried to just be as reactive as possible during the draft. I was R/B up until I got a very late Omenspeaker in Pack 2, a clear sign that blue was open, and never really saw any other black cards other than a Murder that I got Pack 3, Pick 2. This U/R deck came together well enough, but it wasn't anything I was excited about. I didn't have enough spells to make Enigma Drake a bomb, my Dark-Dweller Oracle was merely fine instead of being a bomb, and ignoring Spit Flame, the rest of this deck just left me wanting more.
So how'd the draft go? Poorly.
I played against a G/U deck in the first round that had multiple copies of Vine Mare (which my deck can weirdly hang with), but I ultimately lost to Vigilant Baloth and Colossal Dreadmaw because my blue deck didn't have access to a Dwindle.
For me, this draft was a great learning experience. I forced some things I shouldn't have which is a bad thing, I stayed open to give myself the best chance to adjust which is a good thing, and I ended up with a deck that might look good on paper but has very little chance to handle huge green creatures, a strategy I've been preying upon people with.
Ultimately, I deserved to lose this draft and I did. Failure allows me to learn and I felt like I learned a lot. And in the end, my goal is to learn as much as possible so that I'm ready when it matters most - GP Minneapolis this weekend.