1800 or Bust: Football is Good. Cory is Bad. Luck Sucks.
I have two statements to make in this article. Football is the hardest sport to understand and play well, and you must be smart to do well at it. Luck sucks.
These will both be explained as you read.
There are times when you cannot do a thing about your luck. You get cancer, get chemotherapy for it, fall into remission, get chemo a second time, get it cured, and then when you leave the hospital, you get hit by a bus, fall on a used needle, catch AIDS, and die. Playing cards is obviously not as serious as that joke, but as I've been unable to win a damn thing lately, I'm starting to compete with Tim Aten and Geordie Tait as the most bitter men who, coincidentally, all hang out in #mtgwacky on IRC and write for this website. There are times, however, when you can try and work around your shortfalls in the eyes of the Fates.
I mumbled and grumbled about my infinite mulligans at the last PTQ I played in. Perhaps I should have built the mana base differently? I shouldn't have gone with such a rogue deck for the sake of some fun and a few laughs in such a competitive environment, that's for certain. I shouldn't have done this or that, but what about when your mistakes or shortcomings aren't as easy to spot? I honestly don't have the answer to this other than having either/both a really good sense of introspection or to have a lot of people surrounding you to offer constructive criticism.
I just finished watching one of the more interesting Superbowls we've had the privilege to watch in the past few years. As a very serious football fan (I played back in college and coached for a local high school team during the 2002 season), I truly enjoyed seeing two very good defenses slugging at it in the first half while the coaching staff and offenses worked out the kinks for the last two quarters. The Carolina defensive line has been hailed as the best pass-rushing front four we've seen since the old NY Jets Sack Exchange of Abdul Salaam, Marty Lyons, Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko (father of current Patriot Dan Klecko).
They didn't put up the gaudy numbers (nearly four sacks a game) that those guys did back in the early '80s, but as a defensive line, I think the only team close to the pressure they can put on the quarterback by themselves is perhaps the Buccaneers when they're in good form. The Ravens back when they won their Superbowl were comparable, but they had large support from a fantastic linebacking corps. These guys are all so big and fast and have such excellent hand and footwork that it's a horrendous task to single block any one of them well on a pass rush.
Having said that, the Patriots exploited their weakness perfectly. It was not luck that they won the Superbowl - although they had plenty of it happen near the end of the game (who kicks the ball out of bounds on he kickoff? You'd think Kasay played for the Giants), but a well designed game plan that went beyond what they normally do. The Pats haven't lost in their last fifteen games mostly due to a very good short passing game and solid defense. Instead, their production came mostly on the run and on down the field passes. Antowain Smith and Kevin Faulk rushed for a surprising 125 yards while Tom Brady threw for an eye-popping 354 yards while completing two-thirds of his passes and getting over eleven yards a completion. This is from a rushing duo that averaged a paltry 80 yards a game and a quarterback that averaged a mediocre 219 yards each contest.
Why were they able to do this? Did they get lucky? Well part of every competition is luck, but in this case, extreme planning went into this designed attack. As good as the Panthers are at rushing the passer (most notably Julius Peppers) they're merely above average against the run. So the Patriots spent the first half throwing their guys into the teeth of a solid overall defense to make them focus on the run - then they opened up the playbook and were able to use ball fakes and play-action passes to throw the ball for moderate and longer gains.
They found a weakness and exploited it. On the other side of the ball you had another very good defense using the schemes of quite possibly the best defensive coach since Buddy Ryan in Bill Belichick. They held the normally superb tandem of Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster to 80 yards - 37 yards off of their normal pace. It also bears mentioning that Foster only saw significant action in six of the sixteen games this year. Through the first twenty-five minutes of the game, the Panthers had barely covered the length of a good sized front yard. Jake Delhomme completed one pass in his first eight attempts. Receivers weren't making plays and the running game was stuck in the mud. The NE defense, which most people couldn't name more than three starters on, used an effective mix of stunts, blitzes and varied coverages to keep Carolina out of synch for nearly half of the game.
If you haven't tuned me out yet, then you're either very interested in some combination of tactics, football, statistics or masochism. Bear with me a bit longer and I promise to talk about Magic.
Football is a ridiculously hard mental game to play. Moreso than any other sport you can think of. Why don't eggheads love football? Because the sport is too intellectual.
Say what?! Football is intellectual? This is the same sport full of meatheads and people who look like they can barely do math without using their fingers? Not true. At the Division One (highest) level of college football, you have a higher graduation rate of football players, both Black and White, than in any other major NCAA sport. Why is it that highbrows don't love this mentally taxing sport?
Perhaps they object to the violence of the sport. I've played both rugby and football, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that the punishment is a lot worse playing football. So maybe they shy away from the contact and collisions. Yet, writers from Hemingway to Joyce Carrol Oates have written admiringly of both boxing and bull-fighting - both of which are far more violent than football, so that can't be the reason. Here's a secret - football is too complicated for eggheads; they don't understand it.
Baseball has a cordial grace any thoughtful person ought to find appealing. The sport also offers something else: its action is easy to understand, especially to highbrow types unlikely themselves to have played sports at a competitive level. There is this common misconception that baseball is full of these byzantine strategies that only the most sophisticated observer can grasp. Baseball is laughably simple compared to football.
During most of a baseball game, only two or three players are in motion. Much of what they do is dictated by tactics that vary little among teams and almost not at all from game to game. Football is the antithesis of baseball. Throughout the action, every one of the twenty-two players is in rapid motion. Individual teams have dramatically different approaches to offense and defense, and change tactics from game to game. Why do quarterbacks wear those wristbands imprinted with play-calling terminology? Because the typical football team goes into a game with dozens of plays run from multiple formations. Most sports have few choreographed plays at all, let alone new ones for each game.*
Baseball is sufficiently straightforward that the casual enthusiast can expound on basics such as fielding alignments or batting order. In contrast, many football writers would be hard pressed to explain the two-deep rotation zone defense or be able to diagram the difference between the West Coast Offense and, for example, the Timing and Slant patterns that the Dallas Cowboys used in their Smith/Aikman/Irvin heyday of the early and mid 90's.
The complexities of football make it almost impossible to bluff an understanding of the game. And if there's one thing intellectuals hate, it's not being able to bluff their way to apparent mastery of something. This is true everywhere - not just in sports, but everywhere in life. Motivational speakers, politicians, writers and philosophers can all fall in this category very easily.
Magic is somewhat similar to football - especially Limited. Your deck changes radically every tournament and the strategies employed by different players of wildly varying skill levels requires one to alter your play constantly. It has over 6,000 cards in it and near innumerable possibilities. The Magic rulebook is so complicated that maybe four people know it by heart. The game is fairly easy to play, and hard to master, but to know it inside and out is neigh impossible. Let's put it this way, if Ken Burns did a"Football" series for PBS, nearly half of it would have to be devoted to play-chart diagrams about as comprehensible as the route structure of United Airlines. If he did one for"Magic", it would have the double groinshot that it doesn't even feature athletes in good shape (insert random rant about out of shape MTG'ers here) and would be akin to watching paint dry.
I'm going to stop talking about football and intellectualism now and attempt to tie these in to a central point. We are all arrogant and think we know a good deal. When we come across something we don't know, most people venture a guess, theory, or solution to something that they don't really know. Some people will obviously ask for assistance if someone is there to yield it, but others will stubbornly follow their own path; right or wrong. A fairly strong example of this can be found by looking at current politics. The Weapons of Mass Destruction that the U.S. government was convinced were in Iraq have failed to materialize. Meanwhile, North Korea, Libya and Iran have all done much with their WMD programs unbeknownst to the same intelligence analysts and their political bosses. The Bush presidency slanted reports to fit their own point of view and acted upon this.
Do I do the same thing? Are my losses based upon faulty information that I interpret to my own point of view? I am clearly not at the same level as people like Osyp, G Fabiano and Zvi. They've won thousands of dollars in cash at this game while I have never made top 8 at anything. Anything. Not States, not Regionals, no PTQ's... not even a Grand Prix Trial. I may have scored a victory here and there in casual games versus them, but what do preseason games count for? Nothing. I'm fairly sure that my decisions are the right ones, but what do I know? I have no winning record to back me up.
I can certainly trace some losses to luck of the draw - ten lands and two spells and then two lands and eleven spells in the next game are nearly impossible wins for anyone, much less someone who isn't the top skilled person at this game. I can open Oblivion Stone and Loxodon Warhammer, but what good are these game-altering cards if I don't draw them?
But what about the less obvious? Did I play my spells in the right order? Should I have waited to use my Aether Spellbomb to bounce his creature? Would I have gotten in more damage? Would the simple fact that it was on the board affect how both he and I played? These are the introspective looks that I'm striving for with this series and I'm hoping that at the very least, the fact that I'm addressing them will make me think more about these situations and help me reach the correct conclusion. Your feedback is also key to this, so if you have something constructive to say (even if its negative) post in the forums, please.
So enough about that. Lets look at a draft I did and attempt to see what went right and wrong.
This is my first attempt at a draft walkthrough, so there are a few times when I missed a picture due to an untimely ctrl + C or randomly held the mouse over the card long enough that the text box popped up, obscuring a few cards. Fumbling aside, I did get nearly all of the picks down and drafted a fairly ridiculous deck.
Pack 1, Pick 1: Gate to the Aether, Atog, Leonin Bladetrap, Slith Predator, Goblin Striker, Cloudpost, Sphere of Purity, Slagwurm Armor, Irradiate, Wurmskin Forger, Thoughtcast, Spikeshot Goblin, Chromatic Sphere, Great Furnace, Skyhunter Patrol.
C'mon. It's Spikeshot. It is one of the top cards in the entire set. The Atog is a possibility, as he is very good in the right deck (Disciple of the Vault), Irradiate, Forger, Thoughtcast and Patrol are all playable, but none are ones I want to take. I also generally avoid Plains as if they had a contagious disease, so I barely glance at Patrol regardless.
P1, P2: Grim Reminder, Lightning Greaves, Leonin Skyhunter, Looming Hoverguard, Frogmite, Seething Song, Tel-Jilad Exile, Dross Scorpion, Neurok Hoversail, Neurok Spy, Aether Spellbomb, Nim Replica, Copper Myr, Annul.
Sheesh what a ridiculous pack. I really want to go Blue and take either Spy or the Hoverguard, but it would be utterly impossible to send a signal in that color, and as there was a fantastic artifact, I could take it and keep my colors open. At least I should get something playable when this comes back again - even if it is only a Nim Replica or an Annul.
How lucky - another first pick. The pack is missing a rare and an uncommon, so I can assume that someone either got greedy, got money, or got bombs. I'm still not complaining though.
P1, P4: Lumengrid Sentinel, Shrapnel Blast, Loxodon Mender, Necrogen Spellbomb, Fists of the Anvil, Leonin Den-Guard, Steel Wall, Krark-Clan Grunt, Hematite Golem, Auriok Transfixer, Leaden Myr, Gold Myr.
What in the world... I can't think of a single common I pick over this card, and its pretty hard to find a rare and an uncommon in the same pack better than this. I'm assuming that there must be at least one or two buffoons feeding me, but this usually makes for good times.
Hot diggity - another busty common. I'm passing a really good White deck now, so I'm pretty happy that someone in pack two will be taking cards out of this color and passing me good cards that don't require me to play white mana.
I was very tempted to take Barter, but Black can be very dicey, and that puts me in a fairly heavy commitment. I'm more than happy staying in mono-Red and getting the best Replica.
Gauntlets and March were the only cards I considered taking over the Hemi. GSG were a thought because I had a Spikeshot, but I should be able to pick up better Equipment, or at least a Tooth of Chiss-Goria. March is really only worth about a ticket, so the raredraft wouldn't really be worth it. HemaTIGHT it is.
P1, P8: The first of my screw ups. I ended up taking a Consume Spirit, but I have no other information on the pack.
P1, P9: Leonin Bladetrap, Goblin Striker, Cloudpost, Sphere of Purity, Wurmskin Forger, Chromatic Sphere, Great Furnace.
Meh. Not thrilled with this, and I could have branched out into something else, but you never know when an Atog, Myr Enforcer or KC Grunt will make its way into your deck.
P1, P10: Seething Song, Dross Scorpion, Neurok Hoversail, Neurok Spy, Nim Replica, Copper Myr.
"At least I should get something playable when this comes back again - even if it is only a Nim Replica or an Annul."
How. F'ing. Lucky. A tenth pick Spy. I guess I'm in Blue after all.
P1, P11: Disarm, Omega Myr, Lumengrid Warden, Great Furnace, Moriok Scavenger.
See pack nine.
P1, P12: Lumengrid Sentinel, Necrogen Spellbomb, Steel Wall, Gold Myr.
Ah, the hookups. This guy is very good as a mini-Opposition and I've already got 6 playable artifacts. What was that about random Artifact Lands?
P1, P13: Contaminated Bond, Incite War, Razor Barrier.
Why give someone a playable combat trick when I won't use anything in the pack?
P1, P14: Cloudpost, Dross Prowler.
Multiple Cloudposts can be insane. Multiple Dross Prowlers make me frown.
P1, P15: Wrench Mind.
Pack 2, Pick 1: Confusion in the Ranks, Fabricate, Myr Mindservant, Something hidden by the stupid card text, Viridian Joiner, Leonin Elder, Wail of the Nim, Viridian Longbow, Pewter Golem, Disciple of the Vault, Neurok Hoversail, Alpha Myr, Wizard Replica, Arrest.
How disgusting. There are a few playables in here, but none that I want as my first pick. I took Replica as I only had five creatures by this time, and as he has flying, he's a fantastic guy to hold a Bonesplitter.
P2, P2: Nim Shambler, Sun Droplet, Pearl Shard, Wrench Mind, Galvanic Key, Tooth of Chiss-Goria, Regress, Krark-Clan Shaman, Razor Barrier, Elf Replica, Nim Shrieker, Goblin Replica, Silver Myr, Moriok Scavenger.
This is debatable, but I truly love this card. It is such a huge tempo boost, allowing you to race, keeping you alive, and being a nuisance in general.
P2, P3: Ornithopter, Heartwood Shard, Chimney Imp, Vorrac Battlehorns, Turn to Dust, Vulshok Gauntlets, Battlegrowth, Override, Cobalt Golem, Consume Spirit, Ancient Den, Seat of the Synod, Somber Hoverguard.
Ah, how nice. I wasn't expecting many good Blue cards in pack two, but I'm very happy with the Big Sombrero - especially as I had two on-color Artifact Lands.
P2, P4: Dead-Iron Sledge, Rust Elemental, Blinding Beam, Myr Adapter, Chimney Imp, Fists of the Anvil, Lifespark Spellbomb, Leonin Den-Guard, Krark-Clan Grunt, Skyhunter Cub, Seat of the Synod, Electrostatic Bolt.
Ting! Nothing like great removal in your colors. Shame I had to pass a Grunt, but I have no grounds to complain at all. I'm a bit concerned that there are three good white cards still in the pack, however.
I'm very confused by seeing this fifth pick. While I wouldn't mind the Wagon or even the Shrieker, I'd rather not have this played versus me at all.
Man is this guy annoying. It utterly wrecks tempo, screws with board position and is, in general, a huge pain in the ass to play against. I'm very glad when he's on my side and not my opponents.
Loyalty can be quite solid, but Scale can be pretty solid itself. Debatable, but meh.
P2, P9: Confusion in the Ranks, Myr Mindservant, Viridian Joiner, Leonin Elder, Wail of the Nim, Disciple of the Vault, Alpha Myr.
Even if I don't play him, which I doubt, as I was getting a lot of decent Black late in pack one, this guy is very frustrating to play against as he provides your opponent with free damage.
P2, P10: Nim Shambler, Pearl Shard, Wrench Mind, Galvanic Key, Regress, Razor Barrier.
@*$&@#! Why is a good White card still in here?! My plan has failed.
P2, P11: Heartwood Shard, Chimney Imp, Vorrac Battlehorns, Battlegrowth, Override.
A fair hatedraft.
P2, P12: Rust Elemental, Chimney Imp, Fists of the Anvil, Lifespark Spellbomb.
This guy can be surprisingly good in the right deck. A 4/4 flyer for four? When you have Disciple out? Hey now.
P2, P13: Tempest of Light, Clockwork Beetle, Neurok Familiar.
Why not. He sees play from time to time.
P2, P14: Bloodscent, Leonin Elder.
P2, P15: Tanglebloom.
Pack 3, Pick 1: Confusion in the Ranks, Two uncommons hidden by card text, Viridian Shaman, Groffskithur, Vorrac Battlehorns, Lifespark Spellbomb, Leonin Den-Guard, Nim Lasher, Predator's Strike, Neurok Hoversail, Neurok Spy, Tel-Jilad Archers, Nim Replica, Copper Myr.
Not the best card to first pick, but still pretty tight, especially as it's the second one I have.
I'll say what they are in a second, but gaddamn, do I hate seeing two first picks. I take Shard as it is slightly better than the six-mana Triscuit, but man, some lucksack gets a third-pick cracker. [Hope Mousseau isn't reading this. -Knut]
It is at this point that the gentleman I play in round one says"Three Broodstars I seen go by."
Hold on here. A) the card is, at the very least, four tickets. Not to mention It's a huge frickin bomb! How the hell do you pass not one, not two, but three?!
There is a bunch of chatter as the drafters on that side of the table proclaim what they've seen, as if a great crime had occurred.
Assuming I'm in seat A, and my opponent is seat E (going clockwise), the following statements have happened.
Seat D: I saw two.
Seat E: 3x Broodstars go by.
Seat F: I'm right after you and I've only seen one...
Seat G: I never saw any
Seat H: None.
So there is clearly something fishy going on here. The numbers do not add up that he has shipped three, unless he passed one in the first set of packs, one of them in the 2nd round of packs and seat D either opened one or was shipped one from C.
Regardless, I'm now a bit perturbed by the fact that there are confirmed reports of at least two very large flying men floating around.
Now this is a very tough pick, but as I had both Goblin and Wizard Replica plus a plethora of other juicy artifacts that would be targets for removal, I took this for the nutty synergy it gives me.
A few people start saying how many Broodstars they've seen and its fairly easy to deduce that the other side of the table has at least two or three people fighting for Affinity. Kind of makes me wish I had more Shatters.
Hi. I'm big, fat and cheap. Play me... Sure, don't mind if I do. Scimitar was a possible pick, but good men are hard to find, so said the whore.
P3, P5: Tar-Naj Swordsmith, Goblin Striker, Necrogen Spellbomb, Sphere of Purity, Steel Wall, Raise the Alarm, Irradiate, Pewter Golem, Alpha Myr, Tree of Tales, Arrest.
A very good pack. But I can still use men and Golem is a fine guy.
Trips Spy. How lucky. I have no idea what three very good cards are doing still in the pack, but I am not happy about still passing good cards this late.
What was that about passing good cards?
P3, P8: Dross Harvester, Wall of Blood, Omega Myr, Dream's Grip, Ogre Leadfoot, Raise the Alarm, Tel-Jilad Chosen, Iron Myr.
On-color Myr are the hotness. Omega Myr are not.
P3, P9: Confusion in the Ranks, Groffskithur, Vorrac Battlehorns, Lifespark Spellbomb, Nim Lasher, Nim Replica, Copper Myr.
Meh, the Myr may have been better, but Replica's with both a Skeleton Shard and a Disciple of the Vault are fine.
P3, P10: Mourner's Shield, Disarm, Lumengrid Warden, Welding Jar, Inertia Bubble, Terror.
Why, thank you. An answer to Broodstar tenth pick.
P3, P11: Power Conduit, Omega Myr, Dream's Grip, Krark-Clan Shaman, Chromatic Sphere.
Not much to say here.
P3, P12: Relic Bane, Cloudpost, Nim Lasher, Disciple of the Vault.
Bane is good, but multiple Disciples are better.
P3, P13: Necrogen Spellbomb, Sphere of Purity, Alpha Myr.
I may actually play the spellbomb now that I have dubs Disciple.
P3, P14: Dross Prowler, Galvanic Key.
Not making the cut.
P3, P15: Dross Prowler.
Still not making the cut.
My round 1 opponent who claims to have seen three Broodstars go by is Man0warr. However, I need to ask, as curiosity won't let me just say zero.
9:13 Lackey: so tell me
9:14 Lackey: what in the world possesses you to pass 3x broodstar?
9:14 Man0warr: i only passed 1 :)
Ah ha! The mystery is partially solved.
I play Neurok Spy on both turn 3 and 4 and proceed to get the following comment:
9:15 Man0warr: i never see spies
9:15 Lackey: you saw at least two
9:15 Man0warr: maybe but were better cards
Well duh. Broodstar may or may not be better than Spy. Someone needs to post on the forums to tell me this one (end sarcasm here). Electrostatic Bolt takes out a large Nim Shrieker, and my Spies are joined by a Sombrero. He taps out for a Broodstar (sneaky, sneaky), and I get nice and lucky and rip a Crystal Shard and swing for lethal damage on turn 8.
In game two, he plays Equipment for the first two turns, but misses his third land drop. My first action is a Spikeshot Goblin on turn 3, followed by Goblin Replica. I've yet to draw a non-Red source of mana, but Lightning Greaves comes off the top. He Terrors my Spikeshot, but the Goblin Replica becomes untargetable. He casts Sculpting Steel making it a copy of the Greaves (no idea why he doesn't make it Replica, as now his only non-land permanents are Neurok Hoversail, Mask of Memory, and Lightning Greaves).
Myr Enforcer comes in and decides to be all swift and untargetable for four uncontested points of damage. He plays a Myr Retriever and a Nim Shrieker, and beats me back for four. I have the chance to Crystal Shard and bounce his Retriever to get in six, but I decide that a hasty Pewter Golem is a better play. He plays Leaden Myr, Wall of Blood, and Frogmite on the following turn and gets in a point with Mask of Memory on the Myr to draw a couple extra cards.
He is, however, tapped out, so I play Crystal Shard and bounce the Nim. My attack phase gets him to one, and I play Fatespinner. He is able to get out both Pewter Golem and Somber Hoverguard, but this leaves him tapped out again, so I Shard and win.
The second round is against Vital1 playing mono-Green. The only Red mana I get is a Great Furnace, which he is kind enough to Viridian Shaman on his third turn. I'm stuck holding Bolt, Spikeshot, and Shatter and don't draw another Red source until turn 7. The Red mana is spent on the fantastic play of Shatter'ing a Lucksack Warhammer. He then draws an Empyrial Plate, but I Bolt his Stalking Stones as he attempts to equip the it. Plate gets put on other creatures and their ginormousness is more than I can deal with.
In game two, I get Neurok Spy on turn 3 and Crystal Shard on turn 4. He is followed soon by another Spy, and although my Shard gets Deconstructed and Dragon Blood starts to make Fangren Hunter even bigger, I'm able to match him with large creatures in Pewter Golem, Rustmouth Ogre, and Myr Enforcer. The four unblockable points each turn are far too much for him to get around.
Game three sees me get a Spy on the third turn again (having three in your deck helps you with that) to one up his Vulshok Battlegear. He has nothing on turn 4, perhaps playing around Crystal Shard, and plays a Tel-Jilad Exile. I swing in with Neurok Spy, and he casts Turn to Dust on his own Battlegear so he can block with his Exile. I dislike this happening, so I Terror his Exile before blockers are declared. I just went three-for-one and made him take a mana burn from the TtD. He still has very little action, and appears to be getting mana flooded. I keep the pressure on with Sombrero, Goblin Replica and Disciple of the Vault. He is able to stall a bit with Bottle Gnomes and Stalking Stones, but its pretty much over as Skeleton Shard gives me a recurring Shatter. He scoops.
My finals opponent is the gentleman to my left in the draft and also the only other player in the draft with a high rating, Cavedan. He is playing B/W and has the first action with a Slith Ascendant that gets very afraid when he meets Terror. I miss some mana drops, but get out Neurok Spy. He doesn't and plays the third pick Triskelion that I shipped him. He kills my Spy with a couple pings, but I get another one out. His Soldier Replica meets an Electrostatic Bolt, and my Spy holds an axe to get +2/+0. We duel back and forth with spells, but my men are reduced to Somber Hoverguard and Myr Enforcer. Barter in Blood suddenly changes that, and he plays Moriok Scavenger to bring back the Triscuit.
However, I get Skeleton Shard to start bringing back Myr Enforcer, and that and the combination of Greaves and a topdecked Crystal Shard make it all bad for him. He made one possibly questionable play, but in the end it didn't really matter.
10:09 Lackey: i'm surprised u took out fatespinner instead of spy with trisk
10:09 cavedan: eh, the spinner eliminates any chance of a comeback
10:09 cavedan: ah screw it lets go to game 2
10:09 cavedan: this one is hopeless
He got a very aggressive draw, but I ripped a second Island to play out a third turn Fatespinner to prevent his Alpha Myr and Leonin Den-Guard from smashing me while a fourth turn Spikeshot Goblin makes my board look a lot better. Neurok Spy and Bonesplitter tag in and the board is suddenly ridiculous. Barter in Blood is barely enough to slow me down as I lose Fatespinner and Spy to keep Pewter Golem and Spikeshot. He misses a number of mana drops and dies on turn ten with nothing but five lands in play.
This ended up being one of the last drafts I would win in a long time. I've been on a looong losing streak at the moment. My rating has dropped to a paltry 1669 and I've made it to the second round once since that draft took place (on January 27th). A recent loss was in an 8th Ed. draft where I describe the following events.
[+KrmtDfrog] i am completely unable to win a game on modo
[+KrmtDfrog] even in 8th draft
[+KrmtDfrog] [psamms] thats cuz u are teh sux
[+KrmtDfrog] caman, its been 3 minutes
[+psamms] yeah yeah.
[+KrmtDfrog] don't keep a man in suspense.
[+psamms] how can you possibly be so bad :(
[+psamms] i mean, f**k.
[+psamms] IT'S MODO.
[+KrmtDfrog] beats me
[+KrmtDfrog] i lost to a 15/15 Nightmare
[+psamms] how on earth
[+KrmtDfrog] I armageddon'd myself to kill it with Spitting Spider
[+psamms] does a game ever progress to a point
[+KrmtDfrog] and he played Gravedigger
[+psamms] where your opponent has a 15/15 creature.
[+KrmtDfrog] he was monoblack, so my dubs dark banishing got sided out for janky men like giant cackroach and yavimaya enchantress
[+KrmtDfrog] carrion wall, nekrataal, and drudge skeletons on his side of the board
[+KrmtDfrog] spitting spider, moss monster and various other guys
Or perhaps in the MMM draft where I'm running seventeen lands and board in two Wail of the Nim, as I saw three Myr, Neurok Familiar, and Nim Shrieker. I keep a two lander with Granite Shard, Wail of the Nim, and two lands. Seven turns later, I die with two lands in play. No, he did not play any land destruction spells. He did, however, play five creatures during the course of the game. They all had a toughness of one.
How. &^!*@%'ing. Lucky.
Clearly, my play skill was not up to par in this match.
Keep on plugging away I guess. Magic Online can't bend me over every draft I ever compete in, right?
Time to find out.
* - Many thanks to Gregg Easterbrook for writing a fantastic article for Newsweek years ago that I took much of this from.