Scent of a Gamer

From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.

A draft oddity

Work, study, and family have left little time for gaming of late, but I managed to squeeze in a Battle for Zendikar draft of Magic Online.

I’ve also used the Magic Flooey online resource so you can view the draft here. If you use Magic Online to draft I recommend this or another similar online resource, as being able to look back over your picks is a great learning tool.

The first pick for this draft was straightforward. Ulamog.

doag_ulamog

At 10 mana, I might not get to play him, but I wasn’t going to pass him. What I did pass though were Herald of Kozilek, and Ruination Guide. These are two excellent cards and I figured I’d be unlikely to move into blue/red colourless.

This is a shame as that deck is the default thought in my mind when I approach as Battle for Zendikar draft. Other colour combinations are fine, but blue/red is my favourite. Still. I made my choice and I passed what I passed.

My second pick was a Ruination Guide. An excellent card, which meant I would probably try for blue/black. Then I fourth picked a Brutal Expulsion and decided to keep my red option open.

When I received my first pack back I realised I would be in blue/red after all:

doag_p1p9

If Herald made it all the way round the table, blue/red had to be open.

Pack 2 had some more gifts for me in the form of a second Herald and a Tide Drifter. On top of the first pick Eldrazi Skyspawner, I felt my deck was coming together. The third pack gave me a Nettle Drone and a Coralhelm Guide, but little else of note.

At this point I has what I felt to be a potent blue/red deck with Ulamog sitting at the top of the curve. Between discounts from my two Heralds and acceleraiton from Kozilek’s Channeler I was confident of being able to cast him.

Matches

The first match lasted exactly 10 minutes before I won as my opponent was a no show. I realised this player must have disconnected or been called away during the draft since the deck presented contained 80 cards. I can only assume the computer built that one. A win is a win, though.

The second match saw me outclassed by a potent green/white deck. The first game went to my opponent quickly, the second went to me just as fast (thanks, Ruin Processor!). The third was a tighter affair with blows traded back and forth. However my opponent won the day with Planar Outburst which let him win with just one card in his library as his land tromped past my only creature, as suddenly sad-faced tapped Ulamog. Close, but a loss is a loss.

doag_ruinationguide

I went to match 3 with a 1-1 record but having won just one game. I wondered whether my deck was as potent as I’d thought. More likely it was the pilot though. I’d wondered if better plays might have won me that second match, and they probably would have. What I needed to do though was focus on this match.

Tide Drifter did good work for me in first game, allowing me to hold back many of my opponent’s creatures. I also managed to get the golden duo of Tide Drifter and Ruin Processor. My opponent had a Ruin Processor too. He was also playing red. Wait, what?

We chatted during the games, especially after the second as again the honours were even at this point. He had been sitting to my immediate left during the draft, and had taken the Ruin Processor I’d passed. In pack 2 he’d passed me a Herald of Kozilek, and he had to face me with both in play at one point.

doag_tidedrifter

In game 3 the combination of Eldrazi Skyspawner x2 and a Ruination Guide won things for me, though my opponent suffered from colour screw in that crucial last game. Never ideal. A win is a win, though. Did I say that already?

In chatting, we both felt our decks were powerful, which is interesting given we were sitting side by side in the same colour combination.

Best cards

Brutal Expulsion was brutal each time I cast it. Easily the most effective card in the deck. Next to that, Ruin Processor and Eldrazi Sykspawner did good work. This was a deck of few surprises. What looked good, was good.

Lessons Learned

This was an odd draft (hence the title). My lessons here are really drawn from the second match. While that player went on to win the draft, it was still a winnable match for me.

Focus on the win, is probably how I should sum up this. Too often I found myself distracted by the creatures my opponent had on board, without thinking about what I had that could counter them. I missed an attack by not realising I had the mana to activate Coralhem Guide, and that is not good enough.

What I have to do when looking at the board is ask ‘how can I win from here?’ to help clarify my best options.

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This entry was posted on October 18, 2015 by in Card Games, Magic the Gathering and tagged , , , , .
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