From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
What I thought was a rare-drafting trainwreck turned into my first 3-0 since I started the Draft of a gamer series. The way the games went was interesting in itself, and even without my dream combo I was able to prevail in the final match.
Pack 1, pick 1: Thought-Knot Seer
This twisted little monster was staring at me from a pack that also included Nissa’s Judgement and Stormchaser Mage. I took the money card, in the knowledge that green and blue/red were probably options that looked good to the players on my left.
The deck: Black/white/colourless
Thought-Knot seer was followed in pick 2 by Eldrazi Displacer. Again I took a fun looking rare over Nissa’s Judgement. The player on my left was definitely in green. For me, black and white were looking likely, and so it proved. Being able to table Sifter of Skulls and Vampire Envoy in the same pack meant I felt black was open. Again I took the splashy rare over the more functional card.
My deck had five colourless sources to power cards like Thought-Knot Seer and the Displacer. A Relief Captain meant that there was a potential power combo waiting in my deck, if i could repeatedly flicker the captain.
Time to live the dream!
My first match saw me matched with the player on my right, who had passed me the Displacer. He had drafted effectively a five-colour deck, with every colour except white but also cards that required colourless mana.
In these two games it was my early plays that made the difference, with Slaughter Drone and Felidar Cub doing most of my work. Any blockers he managed to get down were dealt with by Isolation Zone, and so I won two games by simply playing the most aggressive curve I could muster.
The second match I was paired with the player from my left. This deck was far stronger and more focused. Double Nissa’s Judgement for starters.
In the first game I was overwhelmed by a series of creatures that were simply better than mine. Facing down five attackers and with only a Hedron Crawler on my side, I scooped. In the second game I lived the dream. That’s right; Eldrazi Displacer and Relief Captain presented themselves in combo form.
Most of my damage was done with an ever larger Makindi Aeronaut while the Displacer held the ground while still threatening a big swing.
The third game was more even with the advantage swing back and forth between us. I used Isolation Zone on a Hedron Crawler and was happy to do so. That little guy had provided useful acceleration to my opponent in the first games, and struck me as a valid target. What really tipped this game to me was the dream combo appearing once more. Sometimes you get to live the dream so I enjoyed it while it lasted.
The third match started badly for me as my removal-heavy opponent laid a couple of early creatures and proceeded to back me with them while removal every blocker I laid down. No chance of a combo here, even though both cards came to my hand again. In the second game it was my turn to be the beatdown and the game essentially repeated itself, this time with me doing the bashing.
We went into game 3 with honours even, and I think both confident in our decks. This time my opponent had fewer removal cards than I had creatures, but the board was soon reduced to a 2/2 Zulaport Cutthroat on my side (thanks to Expedition Raptor) and a Hedron Crawler on his.
With Eldrazi Displacer exiled and Relief Captain in my graveyard there was no magical combo to get me out of this. My opponent had one card in hand: Desolation Twin. I knew this as it had been used to power the Titan’s Presence which had earlier exiled my Displacer.
However my opponent was at 4 life, with a Hedron Crawler and 8 land. I cast Isolation Zone to take out the crawler, dropping him 2 mana away from his Twin and dropping him to 2 life.
He needed either removal or a blocker to stabilise, and drew the latter. I drew my card for the turn, gave my opponent a look, as cast my second Isolation Zone. I had won the draft, my first triumph in over a year.
After the game my opponent and I chatted and he laid out his removal for me – 10 cards in total including doubles of Oblivion Strike, Touch of the Void, and Stonefury. My creature-heavy deck had been fortunate to outlast the removal.
I felt good about the draft, mainly because I had overcome two good players, each with a good deck. I had mulliganed once in each match, losing those games in the second and third matches, which I think is a function of the deck having more 4 and 5 drops than 3 drops. Some hands simply aren’t playable.
Best cards: I nominate Eldrazi Displacer, Relief Captain, and Isolation Zone as my best cards, which will cause little surprise I am sure.
Don’t fear to dream: Two-card combos generally aren’t something to rely on n draft, but having them work for you is a thing of beauty. You have to take the combo to get the combo.
Hedron Crawler is good: Twice I used Isolation Zone on an opponent’s Hedron Crawler, and each time it felt right to do so. As well as providing what can be a crucial colourless mana source, the Crawler accelerates and this means taking it away fro an opponent deals them a blow.
The deck sorted by converted mana cost (CMC) with lands last.
CMC1: Bone Splinters, Searing Light
CMC2: Felidar Cub, Hedron Crawler, 2x Makindi Aeronaut, Ondu Rising, Slaughter Drone, Zulaport Cutthroat
CMC3: Complete Disregard, Eldrazi Displacer, Makindi Patrol, Seer’s Lantern
CMC4: 2x Isolation Zone, Relief Captain, Sifter of Skulls, Smothering Abomination, Thought-Knot Seer
CMC5: Expedition Raptor, Ghostly Sentinel, Kozilek’s Channeler, Kozilek’s Translator
Land: 2x Crumbling Vestige, Unknown Shores, 8 Plains, 6 Swamp