From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
In essence the surprise was that I had a playable deck after some poor drafting decisions stemming from a silly first pick.
Pack 1, pick 1: Cliffhaven Vampire
True, the vampire had impressed me when I used it last. Also true, the vampire combos with other cards including Essence Depleter and Vampire Envoy. However my first pick came down to this versus Oath of Chandra. I took the vampire when I should have taken the Oath.
Later on in a draft this might be the right pick, but starting off with a reasonable red card that isn’t difficult to cast and affects the board is going to be better than committing to black/white from the first card.
The deck: Mardu
After Cliffhaven Vampire I found white to be quite open. Later on after seeing my second Reality Hemorrhage I realised red was open too, but still kept my eyes open for black cards, picking up a Vampire Envoy.
By pack 3 I knew I was in trouble and Evolving Wilds became a high pick. Overall this deck was the equivalent of punching myself in the gut.
My first match was against a player from the opposite end of the draft table, who had gone green and white. In the first game my removal made the difference, or rather my removal advantage. My opponent certainly had a better mix of creatures, but I was able to remove the troublesome ones and win the first game.
The second game did not go my way as it took too long to get the mana I needed to cast my creatures. By this time my opponent had Linvala, Gladehart Cavalry, and a sea of creatures with counters on them. Press into Service was not going to steal the game for me, so I scooped.
I changed my mana base for the third game, swapping out a swamp for a mountain. This turned out to be a good decision, and I was able to take the match and deal with Linvala when she came down.
One issue with winning is that you play someone else who won. This means your matches get harder as you progress, presumably until you meet decks of your own level. This did not take long for me. My second match opponent had a red and colorless deck that was able to slice through mine with ease. Press Into Service took a massive chunk of his life away, but left me open to the retaliation, which turned out to include Eldrazi Obligator.
On to match 3, where my Kor Sky Climber made its first appearance of the draft, and impressed both me and my opponent. I took the first game handily as the skies were undefended except for an outclassed Mist Intruder.
In the second game my opponent was able to hold me off, however I simply moved into the plan of combining Cliffhaven Vampire with Vampire Envoy. Zada’s Commando meant I didn’t need to attack to set the combo off. My opponent played Endbringer, which made me glad I’d held on to Immolating Glare. Victory allowed my to finish in the top half, getting a prize pack (Sea Gate Wreckage, since you ask).
I have to give this to my removal, Reality Hemorrhage and Immolating Glare. Also Pilgrim’s Eye was extremely helpful to my three-colour ‘strategy’.
Draft less poorly. Sounds trite, but really, Cliffhaven Vampire first pick?
Removal is still king. I won the matches where I had more removal than my opponent, and lost the match where I didn’t. Regardless of creature quality, this is what it came down to. if you want to soar to the top, do it on the back of your removal.
CMC1: Unnatural Endurance
CMC2: Grasp of Darkness, Immolating Glare, Kor Bladewhirl, Kor Castigator, Makindi Aeronaut, 2xReality Hemorrage, Zada’s Commando
CMC3: Kor Scythemaster, 2x Kor Sky Climber, Pilgrim’s Eye, Tunneling Geopede, Vampire Envoy
CMC4: Cliffhaven Vampire, Spawnbinder Mage
CMC5: Hero of Goma Fada, Malakir Soothsayer, 2xPress Into Service
CMCx: Rolling Thunder
Land: Blighted Fen, 2xCinder Barrens, Evolving Wilds, 8xPlains, 4xMountain, 2xSwamp