Wow a first-pick rare in a post-TPF draft format? That never happens. I should probably just hold off the walkthrough until next draft; they're practically handing me this one on a silver platter.
Pack 1 pick 2:
The important part of Angel is that it's a 4/4 flier for five; the recursion ability only warrants consideration during the draft as a tiebreaker between two otherwise close picks. Since I was leaning toward white anyway Unburial Rites is an easy pick. If it weren't in the pack I could see either Into the Maw of Hell or Moon Heron.
Pack 1 pick 3:
As usual I'm not setting myself up to be super-aggressive so Interloper doesn't interest me. Battleground Geist isn't worth shifting gears for—and it's probably worse than Mausoleum Guard in general—but a lot of people think it's about as worthwhile as an off-color basic land so there's no need for me to disparage it further.
Pack 1 pick 4:
Should be smooth sailing from here right?
Pack 1 pick 5:
As is often the case past pick 2 Silent Departure is the best card in the pack. Also blue is obviously the best color for loading my 'yard with reanimation targets. On the other hand it's not clear how much of a signal the Departure is as three of the missing cards are the rare the flip card and an uncommon. The Departure is tempting but my B/W start is strong enough to keep me from wavering. I would hope not to switch colors and I'm on track to have enough raw power that I won't want to compromise my mana base by splashing.
Pack 1 pick 6:
I'm not generally much of a Silver-Inlaid Dagger fan as it doesn't make the equipped creature any harder to kill or trade with and takes up a slot that could be used for removal or a trick. It's still gotta be better than that Abbey Griffin though. I must've been on "Dagger is lame" autopilot. I do appreciate the appearance of Feeling of Dread to mock my previous pick for what it's worth.
Pack 1 pick 7:
Demonmail Hauberk may be at its best in B/W thanks to Doomed Traveler Thraben Sentry Falkenrath Noble black morbid stuff etc. The Skaab would have been good if I were still considering blue but it's not worth haphazardly about-facing for here. A Silent Departure or a Forbidden Alchemy might have been sufficiently attractive.
Pack 1 pick 8:
Pack 1 pick 9:
Now that I think about it I haven't been seeing much black...
Pack 1 pick 10:
Wasn't this one of the better cards the first time I saw this pack? Amateur hour.
Pack 1 pick 11:
Technically I should have taken Lost in the Mist here since Manor Skeleton is a complete blank. It's unlikely that I'll both end up blue and have room/desire to play the clumsy counter but it is downright impossible that it will be correct to play the Skeleton. It's even worse than a five-mana 3/3 flier if you can imagine.
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
Alright fine. I'm playing blue. Are you happy? It's not clear why I draft at all when my instincts are this poor. Regardless the rest of the draft promises to be another misadventure in figuring out how much I'll be playing of each color.
Pack 2 pick 2:
Pack 2 pick 3:
At this point blue could still be a small splash whereas white will most likely be a main color. I'm not sure whether this pick makes me more or less upset about messing up and passing that Dagger earlier. On the one hand I'm less tempted to take the card that edges me unnecessarily closer to making blue a main color. On the other I'm sure the forums will be absolutely lousy with people who "stopped reading as soon as you passed Invisible Stalker" and who question whether I know how to draft and/or have read Invisible Stalker and who regret their decision to pay for StarCityGames.com Premium instead of purchasing another "Genius by Birth Slacker by Choice" t-shirt—people who don't even read my pick explanations and why would they when they already know far more about drafting than I do?
Pack 2 pick 4:
Pack 2 pick 5:
Well despite my best efforts it looks like I'm firmly in blue.
Pack 2 pick 6:
I don't even want to talk about it.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Occasionally the Rig will just be an overcosted Blanchwood Treefolk but its potential upside is still greater than that of Armored Skaab especially if I can Unbury it.
Pack 2 pick 8:
I stand by this pack's pick 3 by the way. If I'd had the Dagger I would have probably leaned toward taking the Stalker. With each new pick however regardless of whether your previous picks were optimal you must make the best decisions based on what you do have not what you could have had. Even if I had gone down the more Stalkery path the 1/1s are unimpressive unless I've also drawn an enhancer and Curiosity is pretty mediocre on anything but one of those.
Pack 2 pick 9:
Pack 2 pick 10:
So in other words black still might be a main color. That's a relief. I would have hated to have my general color scheme mapped out before pack 3.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
Blue seemed to be flowing more than black in pack 1 and Murder is the best card in the pack anyway.
Pack 3 pick 2:
I'm not thrilled to be taking the Jason Ford Invitational card this early but at least it isn't over anything I'll miss.
Pack 3 pick 3:
I would have been fine with the Assistant if the Noble weren't in the pack or if I weren't planning on splashing black. The Noble is one of the best uncommons in the set though and really how much worse is splashing four cards than three?
Pack 3 pick 4:
Pack 3 pick 5:
Pack 3 pick 6:
Pack 3 pick 7:
Somehow this was one of those close picks that could be swayed by Angel of Flight Alabaster. I could certainly have used another fixer and I already had three strong five-drops; the Angel was just enough to tip the scales from consistency to power in this decision. In retrospect I wish I had taken the Amulet. Two Esper Panoramas would have been much better than one especially with my ample splash.
Pack 3 pick 8:
It's nice to have a couple of non-creatures in Limited decks.
Pack 3 pick 9:
Pack 3 pick 10:
I love a Fortress Crab far far more than the next man but I already have more than enough superior four-drops.
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
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2 Silverchase Fox
2 Selhoff Occultist
2 Murder of Crows
Angel of Flight Alabaster
Feeling of Dread
2 Unburial Rites
The last cut was One-Eyed Scarecrow. I really wanted to play it since it's great at stalling to the mid-to-late game but I already had a couple three-mana 2/3s and there just wasn't anything reasonable to cut for it. Because of my color requirements Crows and Rites it was an easy call to play eighteen lands.
Round 1 vs. W/R
Game 1: On the play I kept Plains two Islands Stitched Drake Fiend Hunter Evil Twin and Murder of Crows. It's the kind of hand that could get me into real trouble on the draw and I'm not thrilled with it on the play but going first mitigates the damage if my first play is on turn 4 or so. My opponent opened with Doomed Traveler Bloodcrazed Neonate and Silver-Inlaid Dagger; luckily I drew Stitcher's Apprentice and Plains. After our 2-drops traded I had Makeshift Mauler to hold off his 4/1. Murder of Crows landed soon after and while my opponent was able to start tossing out more dudes I had Feeling of Dread to keep them at bay.
Game 2: I kept Fox Falkenrath Noble Rig Heron two Swamps Plains. My opponent quickly had a pair of tappers and Dagger to my Fox and I blew the first half of Feeling of Dread on turn 3 since I had nothing to do with my mana anyway. I soon got Heron and Angel into play while my opponent's next contribution to the board was a turn 6 Neonate. When he attacked with his 4/2 tapper and 2/1 I blocked with a 2/2 and a 2/3 and he had Spare from Evil and Moment of Heroism to keep his guys alive. One of the cards I milled with Occultist was Battleground Geist which returned to my hand and for the next few turns I left my attackers back out of respect for his tappers while I developed my board. My opponent saw the Feeling of Dread in the 'yard and felt the writing was on the wall.
Round 2 vs. G/B
Game 1: I mulled five lands Feeling Unburial Rites into an unimpressive hand of Fiend Hunter Rites Amulet two Islands Swamp. I drew almost all Islands and Swamps and lost to Orchard Spirit and Galvanic Juggernaut.
Game 2: My opener featured some lands and some Murders. He played a Skirsdag High Priest and a Markov Patrician but I bounced the latter and started playing Crows. He killed the first Crow with Spidery Grasp and I Unburied it. When he suicided his Patrician into my two Crows to make a Demon token with his two Orchard Spirits I bounced the Demon. Still stuck on three lands my opponent played a Diregraf Ghoul and Dead Weighted it to make another Demon. I sent the Crows in and used Rig to finish the 5/5 off while his High Priest was tapped. We both played Falkenrath Nobles then I had Stitched Drake and he had a Garruk to off my Noble. All my Crow-looting had paid off though as I found Feeling of Dread to end it—this seems to be a recurring theme.
Game 3: I brought in Invisible Stalker for a Fox to try and keep Garruk honest. I kept two Islands Stitcher's Apprentice Drake Mauler Departure and Angel. On turn two he played a Walking Corpse and I topdecked...Invisible Stalker. Great. Fortunately he Torched my Stitcher's Apprentice so I was able to play a turn 3 Drake anyway. When he ate the Drake with Spidery Grasp I replaced it with Mauler. We were both stuck on four lands for a bit and when I drew my fifth land he had Victim of Night for my Angel but nothing for Murder of Crows. A Geistcatcher's Rig blasted his Falkenrath Noble and he emptied his hand of Abattoir Ghoul Tribute to Hunger (getting rid of Invisible Stalker) and Dead Weight (to shrink Murder). He 2-for-1ed himself blocking the Rig with Patrician and Walking Corpse and he was on the back foot for the rest of the game.
Round 3 vs. G/W
Game 1: My opponent led off with a couple Darkthicket Wolfs and I led off with a couple Selhoff Occultists. Twice my opponent neither pumped nor did anything else with his mana but when he played Travel Preparations I didn't think his carelessness was going to matter. I drew into Evil Twin though and after a couple turns of chump blocking and activating the Twin I had cleared his side of the board and stabilized at five. He played out the rest of his hand—Pilgrim Thraben Sentry Ulvenwald Mystics—and my Angel started attacking and returning stuff. I was annoyed when he topdecked a Slayer of the Wicked to kill Falkenrath Noble and even more so when he drew Selfless Cathar to flip his Sentry the next turn. I had to sacrifice most of my board including semi-chumping his flipped Sentry with Murder of Crows to stay alive at 1 life. The Crow did a fair bit of filtering though so I had Fiend Hunter Feeling of Dread and a topdecked Silent Departure to keep things under total control while the Angel finished the job.
I took out Geistcatcher's Rig for Moment of Heroism.
Game 2: My opponent played Darkthicket Wolf Elder Cathar and two Thraben Sentries; I had assorted ground Eeyores. He attacked with first just the Cathar then just the Wolf but obviously I wasn't about to let his creatures go to the graveyard. With the ground relatively stable I played Moon Heron Battleground Geist and Evil Twin on the Geist to try to get damage in before the Sentries could flip. On his last turn he had Selfless Cathar again but his alpha strike left him a couple damage short.
So what did we learn this week? Absolutely nothing! Good good. I'll see you next week maybe.