From the computer to the tabletop, this is all about games. Updated each week-end.
This story is really about three great matches played against three fantastic opponents. By game 2 in each I knew that, win or lose, the match would be memorable for all the right reasons. Drafting itself is fun, but I can do that online for free. The experience of sitting down and playing an enjoyable game against someone else doing the same is what keeps me coming back.
Pack 1, pick 1: Flameblade Angel
This card, as a 4/4 flyer able to deal more damage to an opponent or their creatures was a good way to start the draft. I passed an Angel of Deliverance to take this foil, on the basis that a six mana angel will be easier to cast than an 8 mana angel.
The deck: Black/red
I had a good draft. I was able to keep a red component enough to justify the angel pick. I was passed a Devils’ Playground and in pack 3 opened Wolf of Devil’s Breach to complete a trio of ‘bomb’ rares in red.
Besides this I was passed three copies of Murderous Compulsion by the players on either side of me, which was useful for my second colour. The deck ended up with mostly black cards at the lower mana cost and with only red cards at the 5 and 6 mana level.
My first opponent was playing an interesting white/blue deck with a strong aerial presence. In the first game I was able to rush through on the ground before he could stabilise for the win. In the second game the attacks were more even before he took me out with a timely Ethereal Guidance. My removal had been blanked by a combination of Always Watching and Spectral Shepherd. We shuffled up for game 3 in the knowledge that either of is could snatch the win from the other.
I kept a hand with two copies of Murderous Compulsion in the hope that Always Watching would not reappear, and with a willingness to spend them early. I used one, and discarded the other to Call the Bloodline without casting it as Always Watching showed up. Flamesblade Angel was countered but Devils’ Playground managed to stick. However it was Wolf of Devil’s Breach that won the game for me, allowing me to discard Gisa’s Bidding to finish off Spectral Shepherd. I gained a new respect for that 2/2 spirit though.
My second match saw me paired against a black/white deck that also played a copy of Call the Bloodline. However it lacked my three copies of Murderous Compulsion (and also lacked Always Watching!), so I was able to win the removal wars.
The first game saw two token armies facing off against each other, but my 2/2 zombies were able to crash through once the devils came down to reinforce them. In the second game I almost threw it all away by not focusing. My opponent was on 8 life, and I would attack with 3 zombies and 2 devils, which I did, reducing my opponent to 1 after blocks… and after combat I cast the Flameblade Angel I had been holding, realising as I did that this card could have won me the game that turn had I only thought to cast it before combat.
Five turns later my opponent was at 10 life and I was at 12. It turns out, Pious Evangel is great in token wars. Only after I removed the Wayward Disciple by casting Murderous Compulsion on my own devil to deal the last point of damage was I able to stabilise and then win. The game actually went to time, but I won on turn 3. Another great, close game.
The final match was against an interesting Grixis deck that had no trouble reaching all three of its colours. The latest this was done was turn 4. However this this match my deck trated me well by delivering the early aggressive creatures in my opening hand. Games 1 and 2 both game me the mountain – Village Messenger start that creates early pressure. In game 1 this was followed by double Vampire Noble, while in game 2 Heir of Falkenrath made a welcome appearance.
This became a fairly straightforward case of ‘swing early, swing often’ and the games were sealed by Devils’ Playground in the first game and Wolf of Devil’s Breach in the second, giving me a 3-0 record.
I would have to name consistency as the key ingredient of this deck. With multiples of Murderous Compulsion and plenty of discard outlets, even creatures as basic as Vampire Noble become threats.
Murderous Compulsion and my trio of red rares were the standout cards.
Focus! That misplay in the second match did not lose the game for me but it could well have. Taking a few extra seconds to look at my hand and consider the board state would have avoided that.
I at least avoided beating myself up mentally for the mistake, and just took the plays as they came. There’s no point distracting yourself with the mistake just made, it’s best to avoid making any more.
CMC1: Sinister Concoction, Village Messenger
CMC2: Call the Bloodline, 2x Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice, Heir of Falkenrath, 3x Murderous Compulsion, Rancid Rats
CMC3: Fiery Temper, 2x Vampire Noble
CMC4: 2x Gisa’s Bidding, Mad Prophet, Stromkirk Mentor, 2x Voldaren Duelist
CMC5: Reduce to Ashes, Wolf of Devil’s Breach
CMC 6: Devil’s Playground, Flameblade Angel
Land: 9 Swamp, 8 Mountain