According to Webster – M10 Draft #1

Pack 1 pick 1:


Divine Verdict, Assassinate, Pyroclasm, and Mind Shatter are the better cards. Pyroclasm has the potential to be an X-for-1 if you can set it up properly. However, that’s not always the case. It’s often more even like a 3-for-2 against non-green decks. Being red doesn’t help either. Red is pretty shallow overall and requires a heavy commitment to gain access to its more powerful cards like Seismic Strike and Dragon Whelp. Divine Verdict and Assassinate are both fine. They have the benefit of being in good colors (blue, black, and white). If Mind Shatter weren’t in the pack, then either card would be fine based on preference. Mind Shatter is the best card in the pack. It will be better than Mind Rot most of the time; it’s busted if you make them discard three or more cards.

My pick: Mind Shatter

Pack 1 pick 2:


Diabolic Tutor and Drudge Skeletons are good on-color cards. The value of Diabolic Tutor is dependent on the power-level of your deck. If you have bombs to fetch like Xathrid Demon, then it’s good. However, if you’re spending two turns to get a Dread Warlock, you’d be better off taking Drudge Skeletons. Obviously it’s not really possible to tell what your deck is going to look like so early in the draft. We simply don’t know if we’ll have a bomb or just three Dread Warlock. Giant Spider is an awesome green card. Green as a color is the worst though. Its spells are below average. Spells are much better than creatures. When the best options available are Overrun and Giant Growth, you’re better of looking at other colors. Mind Spring is another bomb. Once a game stalls out around turn seven, Mind Spring will break it wide open. I wouldn’t take Diabolic Tutor just because of Mind Shatter because if you’re spending two turns playing spells that don’t affect the board, then you’re already way ahead and won’t need it. Mind Spring at least allows us to play two bombs or just one if we are forced out of either black or blue.

My pick: Mind Spring

Pack 1 pick 3:


Sign in Blood is quite good. It’s one of the better black spells. Negate is also a good blue spell. However, Air Elemental is way above them (Ha-ha, see what I did there?) in terms of quality. We shouldn’t normally see Air Elemental this late in pack one unless at least one person has chosen to commit to a different color which is good for us.

My pick: Air Elemental

Pack 1 pick 4:


The power-level of this pack is still quite high despite three cards missing from it. Every card is playable. In terms of just blue and black, we’re limited to Illusionary Servant, Kelinore Bats, and Merfolk Looter. Child of Night and Underworld Dreams aren’t as good as the trio of other cards. Both flyers are fine, but Merfolk Looter surpasses them by a fair margin. The lack of card draw in the format makes cards that filter through bad draws quite game-breaking.

My pick: Merfolk Looter

Pack 1 pick 5:


Mind Rot, Child of Night, and Wall of Bone are all options. Seeing Safe Passage still in the pack along with Blinding Mage in the previous one shouldn’t be ignored. If we figure we’re being cut off from a color, white will probably be our best option as an alternate route. Wall of Bone is the best of the three cards followed by Mind Rot and Child of Night in that order. A 1/4 already has the ability to invalidate most of the creatures in the format. Additionally, being black and having regeneration takes care of the other problem creatures like Doom Blade, Berserkers of Blood Ridge, Craw Wurm, Cudgel Troll, et al. Only cards like Pacifism, Mind Control, Entangling Vines, Ice Cage, Celestial Purge, and Blinding Mage can deal with it. By blocking up the ground, we should be able to win easily with whatever flyers we draft.

My pick: Wall of Bone

Pack 1 pick 6:


White continues to be an under-drafted color in pack one. We still have a few options: Ponder and Ice Cage. Ponder is unexciting. If we had a few shuffle effects like Terramorphic Expanse, then its value would increase dramatically; without them, Ponder isn’t very exciting when you see one decent spell and two lands. Ice Cage is a fine card. There are a few cards that really punish it and Illusionary Servant, like Blinding Mage. For the most part, if the opponent is going to break their creature free, they’ll have to use a spell on it; hopefully it’s not an Armored Ascension.

My pick: Ice Cage

Pack 1 pick 7:


There aren’t any on-color picks for us. Soul Warden and Veteran Swordsmith are options we should consider. Soul Warden is good in sealed and against aggressive decks, but has a low value in combat. Veteran Swordsmith can at least trade with another creature and compliments the soldier theme that is so prevalent in white.

My pick: Veteran Swordsmith

Pack 1 pick 8:


This pack ends up being troublesome for me. I don’t know if my pick is right. Divination and Wind Drake are both good. Black is being drafted by more people than blue and white. I don’t want to abandon Mind Shatter and Wall of Bone just yet. We could take Divination or Wind Drake if we want to stay on track with blue/black. Between the two, I don’t know which is better yet (as this is only the second M10 draft I’ve done). I’d probably lean towards Divination because as a flyer, Wind Drake is on the lower end. I’m always a fan of drawing cards. Drawing extra cards is sweet, especially when it’s legal to do it. If we want to consider white at all, we should definitely take Blinding Mage. It’s obvious that white is underdrafted right now. Even though we don’t have any white cards yet that compare to Wall of Bone and Mind Shatter, it seems fair to assume we’ll see more late packs deep with white cards later on. Blinding Mage is the best white common. It’s much better than either of the blue options. If we don’t take one of the blue cards and end up not playing white, not having Divination or Wind Drake shouldn’t hurt us.

My pick: Blinding Mage

Pack 1 pick 9:


Serpent of the Endless Sea is unexciting. We would be better off taking Holy Strength as it doubles for removal against opposing Illusionary Servants and Ice Cages while limiting the cards available to stop ours.

My pick: Holy Strength

Pack 1 pick 10:


If you have the proper board, Alluring Siren can generate card advantage as you force the opponent to attack into your Illusionary Servant and Wall of Bone. That’s not always the case. We may play it, but probably not. It’s much better than a Serpent of the Endless Sea. Unless you’re playing against another blue deck and have at least eleven Islands in your deck, Serpent of the Endless Sea will be a bit underwhelming. Paying five mana for a 3/3 is not a good deal.

My pick: Alluring Siren

Pack 1 pick 11:


With Holy Strength, Lifelink, and Air Elemental, we can build our own Baneslayer Angel with a slight increase in cost. It even battles their Baneslayer Angel and lives. The other option is to just take Lifelink because it functions the same was Holy Strength does with relation to Ice Cage and Illusionary Servant.

My pick: Lifelink

Pack 1 pick 12:


Perhaps I overrate Illusionary Servant. It’s much better than twelfth pick. To be fair, the pack was incredibly deep.

My pick: Illusionary Servant

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Disorient

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Telepathy

Pack 1 pick 15:


Pack 2 pick 1:


This isn’t really close. Mind Control is amazing. Polymorph is okay if you have very little removal and they have an insane monster that you can’t kill with Ice Cage or other removal.

My pick: Mind Control

Pack 2 pick 2:


Here’s another pick that could be discussed for a while. Tendrils of Corruption and Armored Ascension are quite good but require heavy commitments to their respective land types. Rise from the Grave is quite good with and against decks with lots of removal. Divination, Excommunicate, and Divine Verdict are both options as well, although not as powerful. We’re at a juncture point in the draft. I think it’s likely that we’re going to be blue-based which means we’ll have difficulty supporting Armored Ascension and Tendrils of Corruption. If we ignore those two, we’re left with Excommunicate, Divination, Divine Verdict, and Rise from the Grave. Divination is the safe choice. We’ll definitely play it. It’s not as powerful as Rise from the Grave. If we combine Rise from the Grave with Mind Shatter and any Essence Scatter/Cancel we pick up, we’ll be able to support it well enough. Excommunicate and Divine Verdict aren’t as exciting. I still don’t want to abandon black yet.

My pick: Rise from the Grave

Pack 2 pick 3:


This pack is much easier to sort through. Wall of Frost is quite difficult to break through. It’s much better than Horned Turtle. Horned Turtle is still fine, but probably won’t be attacking. Taking that into consideration, a 0/7 is much better than a 1/4.

My pick: Wall of Frost

Pack 2 pick 4:


Another pack that is generally unexciting. Ice Cage is the only card we want to consider.

My pick: Ice Cage

Pack 2 pick 5:


We’ve got two options. We could take the second Blinding Mage and abandon our black spells. The other option is to take Terramorphic Expanse and splash the one Blinding Mage that we already have with the land and two Plains. We haven’t seen much black in either direction. White on the other hand is the opposite. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t make the decision earlier and take different cards. However if we don’t switch now, I fear we’ll end up short on playable cards.

My pick: Blinding Mage

Pack 2 pick 6:


Illusionary Servant is much better than Horned Turtle and Siege Mastodon. It flies and is big.

My pick: Illusionary Servant

Pack 2 pick 7:


Ponder, Zephyr Sprite, and Palace Guard are our options. Ponder and Zephyr Sprite are low-impact spells. Palace Guard is fine. It functions better than Horned Turtle considering we have a Veteran Swordsmith.

My pick: Palace Guard

Pack 2 pick 8:


Sleep is a good card in sealed. In draft, there tends to be fewer games that degenerate into huge board stalls. It’s still okay, but not nearly as good as most people would think. Negate is a solid card. It answers many of the format’s problem cards like Safe Passage, Fireball, Overrun, etc. Overall, Negate is more useful.

My pick: Negate

Pack 2 pick 9:

Siege Mastodon is the only card for us. It stalls out the ground like Palace Guard and Wall of Frost as well as being able to attack.

My pick: Siege Mastodon

Pack 2 pick 10:


Here’s another pick I’m not sure on. I’d like some feedback on this one. Divine Verdict is removal, but expensive. Towards the late game it won’t be as much of an issue. In the early game, it’s a big tempo loss to hold up mana for this card and have the opponent play another creature and not attack. Divination is fine both early in the game when you need to hit land drops and later on when you’re digging for gas. Considering we don’t have much real removal yet, I’m opting towards Divine Verdict.

My pick: Divine Verdict

Pack 2 pick 11:


We aren’t going to play Coral Merfolk. Tempest of Light at least has some narrow applications with Ice Cage, Pacifism, Mind Control, and Armored Ascension.

My pick: Tempest of Light

Pack 2 pick 12:


My pick: Serpent of the Endless Sea

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Lifelink

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Bountiful Harvest

Pack 2 pick 15:


Pack 3 pick 1:


Essence Scatter is a good card. It’s like removal for their best creatures. The mana investment used for Essence Scatter in relation to what you’re countering often leads to tempo boosts. Safe Passage is the other card to take. It is much better than Essence Scatter. It deals with many of the format’s bombs like Fireball and Overrun as well as creates ridiculous trades in combat as the number of creatures involved increases.

My pick: Safe Passage

Pack 3 pick 2:


Ice Cage is only okay in terms of removal. It’s bad if the opponent has cards like Blinding Mage, Prodigal Pyromancer, equipment, etc. Otherwise it’s fine. Essence Scatter is better most of the time. Being able to put an opposing card into the graveyard without having to worry about the aforementioned cards is much better.

My pick: Essence Scatter

Pack 3 pick 3:


Razorfoot Griffin is a solid flyer. It’s superior in combat against all other common flyers with the exception of Illusionary Servant and bouncing off of Griffin Sentinel. Ice Cage and Palace Guard are the other options. Ice Cage is better than Palace Guard, but we don’t want to overload on that type of card. We already have multiple Ice Cage and Illusionary Servant. If we get paired against one of the decks that have multiple Blinding Mage-type cards, we’ll be at a severe disadvantage.

My pick: Razorfoot Griffin

Pack 3 pick 4:


Despite what I just said about multiple Ice Cages/Illusionary Servants, having Celestial Purge as a sideboard card isn’t going to be as good as another Illusionary Servant.

My pick: Illusionary Servant

Pack 3 pick 5:


Siege Mastodon is a fine card. We have a number of more expensive spells that already block up the ground. Stormfront Pegasus is fragile just like our Illusionary Servants, but it’s still going to be better than a second Siege Mastodon.

My pick: Stormfront Pegasus

Pack 3 pick 6:


Divination and Rhox Pikemaster are the two choices. Here’s another pick I am not sure on. I took Rhox Pikemaster because I wanted more creatures in case my Illusionary Servants were bad.

My pick: Rhox Pikemaster

Pack 3 pick 7:


Griffin Sentinel is going to be better than Undead Slayer in every matchup except against a mono-black deck. In that case, the value of Undead Slayer is a variable dependant on the number of creatures you can exile. The consistent flyer is better overall.

My pick: Griffin Sentinel

Pack 3 pick 8:


Cancel is an excellent card. I’d always be happy playing at least one. Being able to stop the opponent’s few spells that matter is important. We could also take Palace Guard, but Cancel is better. If we already had three counters, then I’d consider taking Palace Guard instead.

My pick: Cancel

Pack 3 pick 9:

Sage Owl is similar to Ponder but worse. Instead of drawing a card immediately with the option of shuffling if you see three bad cards, you don’t get to shuffle at all with the trade-off of getting a 1/1 flyer and seeing an additional card. Wall of Faith is not a good card either; however, it helps defend against problematic green creatures like Bramble Creeper and Craw Wurm that we might have problems against if we don’t draw a Blinding Mage, Ice Cage, or Wall of Frost.

My pick: Wall of Faith

Pack 3 pick 10:


Horned Turtle may be the right pick here. At this point I don’t know. Maybe we don’t have enough creatures yet. Ice Cage was more appealing to me at the time because it seemed like I had enough creatures.

My pick: Ice Cage

Pack 3 pick 11:


We don’t really want to play against Ignite Disorder.

My pick: Ignite Disorder

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Glorious Charge

Pack 3 pick 13:


My pick:


Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Yawning Fissure

Pack 3 pick 15:



The manabase requires more Islands than Plains. Considering that, [card]Rhox Pikemaster[/card] was put into the sideboard and [card]Siege Mastodon[/card] was put in its place. In this deck with its lack of soldiers, [card]Siege Mastodon[/card] is better defensively than the [card]Rhox Pikemaster[/card]; it can defend better alone against four-power creatures.

Round 1:

Game 1: We win the die roll and keep a nice opening hand (Mind Spring, Razorfoot Griffin, Illusionary Servant, Plains, and three Islands). If our foe manages to deal with our armada of flying creatures, he’ll still have to deal with our game-breaker: Mind Spring. In formats where card advantage is scarce, spells like Mind Spring often turn the tide of battle.

We have no plays before turn three, but our foe Evil summons a servant of darkness to match his swampy domain; Child of Night lurks forth onto the battlefield. The vampire’s strength pales in comparison to that of our fragile Illusionary Servant. The fleeting illusion holds back Evil’s vampire as he summons a Warpath Ghoul. Our flyers are superior in every way to Evil’s minions. Razorfoot Griffin joins the battle as Illusionary Servant is free to attack without fear.

Evil shows his might as he puts a Deathmark on our defensive griffin and plays Vampire Aristocrat. His maneuver catches us off guard and allows Child of Night to reclaim its master’s precious life force as it and Warpath Ghoul attack us unchallenged. We are not in the mood to race against Evil’s lifelink minion. Stalling the board out will ensure that we have time to cast Mind Spring and break the game open with it. Keeping with that plan in mind, we hold back with Illusionary Servant as we call forth our Siege Mastodon. The enormous elephant will surely ensure we are not overridden by the forces of the night.

Evil can do nothing but watch as our larger forces flow onto the battlefield. With no good plays or attacks, he can only pass the turn. We take advantage of the respite and draw four cards with Mind Spring. The surge of spells available to us will be difficult to overcome. Evil decides our actions must not go unmatched. A Doom Blade slices into the heart of our magnificent Siege Mastodon. The mighty beast collapses without having ever seen the glory of combat.

We summon a second Illusionary Servant and freeze Evil’s Vampire Aristocrat in an Ice Cage. Our first Illusionary Servant flies over the battlefield and attacks Evil, reopening the wounds which Child of Night had so quickly healed. Evil has a strong bond with the countless nosferatu legions. Showing his strength, he summons a second Vampire Aristocrat and uses his will to Consume Spirit our newly-summoned Illusionary Servant. Like before with the Razorfoot Griffin, Evil’s maneuver has left us completely off guard. Evil’s Warpath Ghoul and Child of Night waste no time and march forth in bloody conquest. We have been attacked down to ten life. The leeching Child of Night has brought Evil to a healthy eighteen.

We need to regroup. A Palace Guard will help secure our front on the battlefield as we wait for more troops to arrive. The steadfast sentry will prove difficult to get around. There are many tricks we possess to help stave off Evil’s forces. Negate and Safe Passage will provide pivotal support for our forces. Evil wastes no time. He sends a second Consume Spirit at our Palace Guard. The soldier is crucial to our survival. Negate proves its usefulness and keeps our defenses strong.

Evil goes wild with rage as his spell is foiled. His Vampire Aristocrat surges forth past his other forces. We defend with our Palace Guard and Illusionary Spirit. The vampire consumes its brethren but cannot overcome our Safe Passage. The intertwined fate of the two vampires becomes evident as Evil shows his desire to keep Child of Night and Warpath Ghoul alive.

Our position has greatly improved and we are able to attack again. Blinding Mage joins our team as Evil can only watch as our Illusionary Servant continues its attack. Rise from the Grave reanimates our Siege Mastodon. The elephant’s decomposed body lumbers towards Evil to join his minions. Evil’s forces are growing stronger. He begins his attack and sends a second Doom Blade at our Palace Guard after we have used Blinding Mage to neutralize our traitorous Siege Mastodon. We can do nothing but watch as our work is undone by the Child of Night.

We have been pushed back on the battlefield again, but we still have many options to work with. Stormfront Pegasus flies down from the heavens to join our cause. Ice Cage grips the Siege Mastodon tightly in a glacial coffin; it is unable to escape. Illusionary Servant attacks again. Evil wants to attack, but our Blinding Mage prevents Child of Night from doing any more damage. Alone, his Warpath Ghoul charges forth. Our Pegasus valiantly defends us.

Illusionary Servant’s devotion to combat has taken its toll on Evil as he has been attacked down to five life. Our superior intellect manifests itself with Mind Control. The Child of Night is no match for our sharp wit. Defeated, Evil realizes his fate is sealed after he summons a Prodigal Pyromancer. The only thing Evil can see is the light at the end of the tunnel as Blinding Mage leaves him defenseless against our forces.

Game 2: We have an Island-light hand on the draw, but it is fine. We have many sources rich with Blue mana to ensure we do not falter (Island, 3 Plains, Razorfoot Griffin, Cancel, and Illusionary Servant). Again, Child of Night shows itself on turn two. The vile creature dragged the first game on much longer than we had anticipated. It attacks us as Evil summons a Kelinore Bat. An Illusionary Servant is summoned to halt Evil’s offense.

The battlefield becomes cluttered with the forces of Good and Evil. Vampire Aristocrat is trumped by our Razorfoot Griffin. Evil takes advantage of us being tapped out and sends his Aristocrat into combat. We have no desire to trade. Our creatures are better than his. A Dread Warlock is summoned from the darkness of Evil’s realm. We are tired of waiting for reinforcements. Cancel and Negate protect our defensive Razorfoot Griffin from any tricks as Illusionary Servant begins a counter-assault. We do not want to be in the position of being unable to attack because of being too far behind.

Evil had been waiting for the moment of our aggression. Assassinate is used to disperse our Illusionary Servant. The timid phantasm could not be protected by our countermagic. The elusive Dread Warlock continues its attack against us. We can do nothing as we draw land each turn like Evil. However, his Dread Warlock’s attacks are unopposed. We have been beaten to ten life.

A gleam of hope appears as Stormfront Pegasus allows us to begin rebuilding our forces and mount an offensive. Evil’s plan remains constant. His Dread Warlock is a workhorse slashing at its foe. Illusionary Servant forms in front of our lines as the Stormfront Pegasus and Razorfoot Griffin look onward with grateful eyes. They know we must begin to attack soon or else all will be lost.

Dread Warlock has attacked us for the last time. The warlock is enchanted with an Ice Cage, never to attack again. Evil’s plan for victory has been stopped temporarily. However, the setback of losing his Dread Warlock to the icy prison is but a minor inconvenience. From the far reaches of his domain, Evil calls forth his Prodigal Pyromancer. The ember wizard threatens to demolish our defenses as we control Ice Cage, Illusionary Servant, and Stormfront Pegasus. Such a loss to our position on the battlefield would cripple us beyond the point of recovery. We use our willpower and Cancel Evil’s Prodigal Pyromancer. The other Planeswalker is furious at the sight of what has happened. He commands the return of his wizard with Rise from the Grave. Using our last bit of strength we Negate Evil’s attempt at reanimation.

Our last exchange of spells has left us defenseless with no cards in hand. The same is true regarding Evil. However, he has a better position on the battlefield. Furious, Evil sends his Vampire Aristocrat into combat. There are enough creatures in league with Evil for the vampire to feed on to make him lethal. Therefore we are forced to defend. Together, all of our forces defend against the ravenous vampire. Evil takes the opportunity to trade armies by sacrificing all of his other three creatures to kill ours while leaving him with just his Vampire Aristocrat. The trade is fine for us. We still have powerful spells like Mind Spring, Air Elemental, Mind Control, and Ice Cage left to claim victory with. We also have the benefit of starting to draw before Evil.

Alas the scales of chance are not tipping in our favor. Our first draw yields a land while Evil manages a Warpath Ghoul. Together with his Vampire Aristocrat, the two creatures of the night will be able to slay us before we are able to find a solution. Divine Verdict can only stop one of our assailants. The Vampire Aristocrat is finally dealt with. However, we are beaten to a meager three life as Evil summons a Child of Night. We resign to our fate as we see a land as our draw for the turn.

Game 3: We have a solid hand staring back at us for the final game (2 Plains, Island, Stormfront Pegasus, Palace Guard, Safe Passage, and Mind Spring). Evil decides to mulligan down to six cards. He charges onto the battlefield with an Acolyte of Xathrid. We match his creature with our Stormfront Pegasus. Like lightning, Evil is quick to deal with our flyer. Doom Blade eviscerates the flying steed. We replace our fallen pegasus with a Palace Guard.

Evil’s army of vampires begins to emerge now that the battle is in the twilight hours of the match. An aristocrat leaps out from the dark shadows and threatens to overpower our Palace Guard. We have failed to draw a land and are forced to pass the turn. Child of Night joins in on the feasting as Vampire Aristocrat seeks out the blood of his enemies. We can do nothing to stop him.

Again we take our turn and see another spell we cannot cast. It seems fate is not on our side. How can this be? We are the light. We are good. Such blatant favoritism towards the forces of darkness casts great doubt upon our soul. All will be lost.

Ice Cage is the spell we have drawn. In such gloomy times, there is still a way out. The prison captures Vampire Aristocrat while granting us a brief respite. Evil will have none of that. Finding his last land needed, he sends Tendrils of Corruption at our Palace Guard. The dark bonds of black mana suck the life from him as he falls to the ground dead. Child of Night spots an opening for attack and scurries forward with gleeful anticipation of feeding upon us.

We continue to draw spells we cannot cast and must pass the turn. Evil takes full advantage of our situation by sending his Child of Night again to feed. Prodigal Pyromancer joins his forces and threatens to undo what little work we’ve done to beat back Evil. A Blinding Mage is all we can play, but it is not enough. Evil’s Prodigal Pyromancer thaws the Ice Cage on his Vampire Aristocrat. The two nosferatu bound forward towards us. Blinding Mage’s usefulness is almost non-existent because of its mana requirement. We send our one creature to defend against the aristocrat; the vampire feeds upon Evil’s Acolyte of Xathrid and slays our defender. Gravedigger recovers the fallen Acolyte and is the final nail in our coffin of defeat. We have failed to draw a land in eight draw steps. We have been beaten.

Happy Drafting.

39 thoughts on “According to Webster – M10 Draft #1”

  1. I wouldn’t take Mind Shatter over Mind Rot (or pyroclasm). And I wouldn’t take any blue common over Sleep.

    But I love reading draft recaps, so thank you for posting this.

  2. @Wardo

    You must have never played with or against Mind Shatter. Saying its worse than Mind Rot is absurd, and I would easily take it out of that pack. Shattering them for 3 or 4 is devastating, and even later it can take out slowrolled tricks. Plus, if your opponent is good and has a bunch of card draw, you are almost never unhappy to draw Mind Shatter.

    re: Sleep

    Sleep is overrated. I say that just about every time I write an article, and I will continue to say it. I probably wouldn’t take Negate over it, but I would pretty easily take Merfolk Looter or Snapping Drake over it that late in the draft.

  3. pack one pick 4
    this should have been the important “juncture”.
    the blinding mage was a huge sign and I think that from there you should have started taking white. You would have had 3 mages and several divine verdicts with lots of white flyers and possibly a little soldier theme. i know hind sight is 20/20 but when i was going through the draft for the first time I knew that I would have taken the mage

  4. re: Sleep
    I have drafted Sleep in the last two drafts, once in U/G, once in U/B. I have won every single game in which I cast it. Often snatching a game from under someone that you have no business winning (eg. Cloaked Cudgel Troll beating me down 18-2. Sleep. Attack for 9, attack for 9, GG)

    In U/W I’ld take it in a heartbeat, unless the pack also has other U/W bombs, such as Serra Angel.

  5. How can’t you see white is wide open earlier ?

    I’m ok with you picking some on-color cards p3 & p4 but starting P1p6 u obv have to switch tu U-W
    9th pick Blinding Mage???
    Then p2p2 u take rise from the grave over Ascension…
    it’s a fine card cause u have a good target but it’s way better when you’re heavy black (cause there u have a lot of black spot removal which actually put cards in graveyards) and the signals in pack 1 couldn’t be more clear about white being open…
    “I still don’t want to abandon black yet”: why ?
    you got 1 really good card and one ok card (the wall is really good but turtle and palace guard are fine replacement imo)

    and Sleep might be overrated (especially in U-W, i think it’s really good in U-G if u got no overrrun) it’s still better than negate

  6. I agree with almost every pick, though I probably would have taken a creature over at least 1 of the Ice Cages. I also would have started the Pikemaster over a Cage and not thought twice about it. Is that greedy?

  7. Merfolk Looter may be better than Blinding Mage straight up. P1P4, Looter is correct given the first three picks.

  8. p2p2, I would probably take armored ascension over rise from the grave. I can see taking tendrils, but white is clearly open(8th pick blinding mage…) and armored ascension is solid even when its griffin guide for 4, whereas vicious hunger for 4 isn’t so hot. Furthermore negate over sleep seems reallllll sketchy. Also, I agree with aceben3 on start the pikemaster.

    But yea, good article. I really enjoy your lyrical play by play.

    To digress, It is kind of discouraging that there is another U/W draft article up. Articles like this one and more specifically lsv’s really do have an effect on peoples drafting. Not in that they draft better, but in that they draft the same strategy, in this case U/W. Maybe, if someone puts a non U/W draft log up, things will balance out. But then again, maybe im paranoid. just my 2cp

  9. 3 Ice Cage / Illusionary Servants might be very risky against an early Blinding Mage / Pinger.

    p2p2 Rise from the Grave
    I must agree with those who doubt, that picking the Rise from the Grave p2p2 was the right choice. in the first booster, there were no other black cards for p6+ other than the unplayable Megrim / Underworld Dreams.
    I wouldn’t want to fight over the color, especially when White turned out to be wide open.

    p2p8 negate
    negate is very useful in this format and I would maindeck up to 2 of them without asking, but Sleep is for me in the same category as Save Passage:
    it just wins you games out of nowhere. although UW might be the worst color combination for this kind of spell.

  10. People claiming that Mind Shatter was only the 3d best BLACK card of the pack and suggesting that Sleep is better than any Blue common (specially Negate, and for this deck) clearly haven’t drafted M10 a lot. And by “a lot” I mean 2-3 drafts.

    @David: You pass Divination way too often 🙁

  11. Thanks for posting this draft. Really appreciate your guys by posting not only drafts that has been won. Often a loss is more usefull.

    In your draft, I think I would have taken less ice cages, it is very fragile. Especially with the servants (which are very good of course), 3 ice cages with 3 servants makes you very vulnerable. So for sure p3p10 I would have taken the turtle.

    Safe passage is really a good card, and seeing in the first pack a Blinding mage pick 4 and Safe Passage turn 5, really shows white is (far) open, and I would have taken the passage over the wall of bones.
    In this case the pack3pick1 can be debated as well, and second essence scatter can be good as well in your deck.

    About Sleep I don’t know, is a very good card in the right deck, which is indeed not UW. In GU, in my opinion, Sleep can be regarded as a big bomb, maybe even better than Overrun, as Safe passage can ruin your day, but with Sleep you have a ‘second’ chance.
    In your draft would have taken negate, like you did.

    But thx again, and I like the style of writing.

  12. p1p4 is definitely the “juncture”. When you’re blue in M2010, you know some illusionary servants/ ice cages will wind up in your deck.

    So, why pass blinding mage? aside from it’s normal amazingness, it’s even MORE amazing versus your cards.

    I’d rather cut a finger off than pass blinding mage first pack first few picks. Otoh, I feel the same way about fireball at any pick (at worse a removal, at best a game ender or 2-3 for 1).

  13. Since this isn’t up on the forums I can’t reply there.

    I definitely would have drafted a bit different. Typically picks 1 through 4, Pack 1, I’m going for overall power level and useability. I’ll often end up with 1 unplayable out of the picks because I simply took the “best card”, rather than the “card I want to force.” I don’t believe forcing in M10 Draft is necessary early in Pack 1, because if you end up trying to force and are competing with too many people to your right, you end up with a bad deck.

    Where I diverge is that I would have taken the early Blinding Mage (removal) over the Merfolk Looter. Looter just wins games, I know this, but removal is removal. You don’t get much of it. The white cards you were seeing were above the power level of the Black you were seeing, even that early. Had you seen a 4th pick Tendrils or Consume Spirit, now thats a different story, but Blinding Mage is up there in terms of power level, in my opinion. I’ve shut opponents completely out with that card before. Your next picks would therefore have been (Blinding Mage) Safe Passage (over the Wall), and Razorfoot Griffin (over Ice Cage). P2, P2 would have been Divination or Excommunicate.

    That said, we’re talking about a 4 card difference here. Not something that is going to majorly shift the outcome of the game. (None were bombs.) You’re still one of the best drafters I have seen, and I love following you on this site.


  14. You lost the draft making terrible picks? No way!
    Constant W signals? Forget them. Fireball as an easy splash? Nah.

    And btw, Ice Cage is terrible.

    And your “style” of writing makes it difficult to follow games.

  15. Thanks for posting this David. It’s nice to see that good players lose too… sometimes. Also good to know that you don’t ignore bad results and just re-draft for a better story or to look better.

    Keep it up.

  16. This is a super bad draft…have seen very few worse than this. At some point in time i would have gotten at least two or so divinations, as they help you NOT get mana hosed and get to ur bombs.

    I do love watchin draft recaps/videos so KEEP’EM COMING!

    also, any aggressive deck that drops a sleep is WIN. I’ve drafted it with u/w twice and i got 2x sleeps in a g/u draft…WON VIRTUALLY EVERY GAME WITH SLEEP

    draftin red is hard to do, mostly becuz it’s underpowered in the common department…seismic strike/lightnin bolt, not much else. So if anyone at all on the table is draftin it, you wont see enough red to even make a 40 card deck.

  17. @ W A MacMurdo:
    As much as I’d love to entertain your idea of forcing U/W starting with pick1, I simply can’t take that comment seriously.

    @ Stan:
    Taking Merfolk Looter over Blinding Mage when we already have Mind Spring, Air Elemental, and a black card we want to play is better than branching out to a second secondary color. Merfolk Looter is on-color. Blinding Mage isn’t. If we were blue/white, then it would be different. However, that isn’t the case.

    @ Daiches:
    Sleep gets better as the power and density of creatures in your deck increases. The value of spells has more of an impact on games than creatures which means I’m going to want a lot of spells. If I’m running 12-13 creautures in my deck, of which only a few have more than two power, Sleep isn’t going to be nearly as good when compared to a deck that has 17+ creatures.

    @ AlexD:
    “Pack1 Pick5:
    Seeing Safe Passage still in the pack along with Blinding Mage in the previous one shouldn't be ignored. If we figure we're being cut off from a color, white will probably be our best option as an alternate route.” -Me

    I didn’t want to give up on black yet because I had two good cards that I felt were worth being invested in. You can’t honestly compare Wall of Bone to Palace Guard or Horned Turtle. All three being 1/4 creatures is all they share in common. Wall of Bone doesn’t die to Doom Blade, blocks Dread Warlock, blocks creatures with more than three power, and doesn’t ever die if you play correctly. I passed Armored Ascension because, like I said earlier in the draft recap, it requires a heavy commitment to white which is something I saw not likely to happen considering the amount of blue spells.

    @ aceben3:
    Playing Rhox Pikemaster over Ice Cage #3 would have been better; and no, it wouldn’t be greedy.

    @ Winzzz:
    I lost because I kept a hand of: 2 Plains, Island, Stormfront Pegasus, Palace Guard, Safe Passage, and Mind Spring in game 3 because I never drew a land the entire game.

    I noted the white signals and ended up going into white midway through pack one. How exactly did I ignore them? Why would I want to take Fireball as a splash when I have no fixing, minimal card draw, as well as a super-heavy blue commitment when there are good options in my colors?

    Ice Cage is “fine”. It’s not Doom Blade or Mind Control and I don’t make it out to be.

    You’re right about the writing style I use for the games. If I wanted to give a concise description, these articles would be 20,000 words instead of the 6,500 (on average) they are right now. Watching draft videos is much better for that sort of thing because video is a better medium for communicating the data required to actually learn something substantial. I write the game descriptions for people who aren’t necessarily die-hard drafters bent on having their common-uncommon pick orders and print runs memorized. The target audience for my game recaps is different than that of my draft analysis. Sure, the two groups intersect on some level. I’d rather appeal to multiple groups than just one.

  18. You’re wrong about Armored Ascension Mr. Ochoa. In this removal light format (much of it damaged base) a +2/+2 buff w/flying will often get you there. Ascension is still damn fine even if white is not your primary color.

  19. I enjoyed this article; please do many more like this.

    I do think the Fireball deserved some comment in the analysis.

  20. Firstly, how can anyone say that mind rot is better than mind shatter. 2B for discard 2 is already weaker than 2BB for discard 2 at random. turn 3 is normally a bad turn to play mind rot, so the extra mana hardly matters. you’re either playing it when they have exactly 2 cards in hand, (in which case both cards are the same), or at any other time, where mind shatter is better. However, Mind Shatter is clearly a 5 or 6 CMC card, as making your opponent discard 3+ cards generally just wins the game there and then. It’s weaker than mind spring, sure, and some of the bomb uncommons. However, there are 0 commons in M10 that should be first picked over mind shatter.

    Blinding mage and pegasus in pack 4 is a pretty strong signal. Of course, blinding mage is comparable in power to looter (the two best commons, IMO), so no reason to try for a 3rd colour. as someone else said, if we’d already had a white card, thsi would be more debatable… but we don’t, so take the on colour card. of course, 3 people not taking blinding mage has to tell us something about the cards we’re expecting. (all 3 people not taking merfolk looter tells us is that people don’t realise looter is insane. i never regard late looters as signals).

    Ascension is not that good in a deck where half your creature base dies when you try to enchant them. also, he’s clearly running more island than plains. it’s not exactly bad though. however, the odds of playing black are low. the rise is tempting, but i’d probably take the ascension here. turning palace guard into empyrial archangel is kind of nice.

    also, ice cages are actually better in multiples as they shut down most of the answers to ice cage. equipment and rod of ruin are still annoying though.

    Fireball was NOT the pick in pack 3. With zero fixing why take a card that’s not significantly stronger than an on colour card. is fireball rediculous? yes. is it stronger than safe passage? yes. will adding a splash card win you more games than choosing the on colour card that just straight up blows people out all the time? hells no.

    Also, sleep is officially the most overrated uncommon in M10. it’s good. but it’s not insane. if you’re winning, it ends the game then and there. if you’re losing, it’s 4 mana socery speed fog. It obviously shines in blue/green, but blue/white doesn’t get into board stalls, so the effect is often win more. your guys weren’t going to be blocked anyway. i obviously run it if i have it, but i’d much rather have counterspells, cheap fliers, and walls.

    also… is this format removal light? white has two common removal spells. black has 3 (+ weakness, though that’s not relevant vs ascension). red has 2 (lightning bolt only in response to ascension). blue has counterspells, bounce, and ice cage (gets wrecked by ascension. wrecks ascension). even green has it’s own bad assasinate. it’s not removal heavy, but there are more than a few removal spells, many of which don’t care how fat your creature is.

  21. It seems that a lot of people here are claiming that he should have seena white signal much earlier in the draft. In my opinion looter is the correct pick over blinding mage p1p4 followed by wall of bone. however by the end of pack 1 i would have 2 white cards and 2 black cards in my stack.. I think the most crucial point in the draft however is pick 2 pack 2 where either tendrils devine verdict or armor’d acension are the picks. Personally i favor devine verdict and would go white from here as I dont think a deck with Air Elemntal Mind Control and Mind Spring is going to really need a easily disruptable way to win (doom blade assinate pacifism excomunicate devine verdict unsummon ice cage entangling vines just for “removal light” comment guy).
    That being said the deck ends up being very good and he lost 1 game to not drawing lands and 1 game where he put himself in a race position already behind. all in all the writing style is refreshing because its not the same boring thing repeatedly over over and over again. Also if you pass the 4th pick blinding mage you VERY possibly end up with a completely different pack 2 so all of this is hypothectical to say the least.

    Good article keep them coming and may good vanquish evil in the end.

  22. Good common removal spells that kill ascended siege mastodon even if you play correctly: 1. terror 2. pacifism.

  23. It seems to me that the picks you guys are debating are very close.

    Now my question to all of you is, if the pick is close, then why are you, an average person, debating with David Ochoa, somebody who has won a magic online championship and is a limited pro.

    There’s a reason why everybody posting on these forums isn’t writing articles for channelfireball and Ochoa is, so after hearing well reasoned and thought out explanations on extremely close picks, then you should show some respect and take Ochoa’s word for it.

  24. 3. blinding mage. 4. Ice cage. 5. tendrils potentially. 6. deadly recluse, assasinate, and entangling vines all mean it can only attack once. 7. unsummon from sideboard.

  25. Interesting to follow the discussion about “Sleep” and some of the other difficult to judge cards. Here is a short article talking about some of them….

    I agree – Sleep is overrated. As is Rise from the Grave.*

    *my opinion is base on about 60 M10 drafts in the 8 4 queues on MTGO.

  26. I like discusing this late whispersilk claok i think it it is insane in many decks.
    I also like grenn in m10 so i wold not discard first pick borderland ranger over mindshatter would be probably ending in a nice gren blue deck with splash for fireball.But white blue flyers/walls is also strong.

  27. Agree that’s sleep’s way overrated, but I’m not sure if I’d take negate over it. A flyer or an essence scatter sure, but a negate? That seems iffy.

    I have literally won a grand total of 1 game in all of the 6-8 games I have drawn it. It’s like double fog in a contorlling deck. I think it’s pretty awesome if you’re like U/G or have a lot of big non-evasive dudes. But I’ve never drafted a half decent deck like that in M10 where control>>>>Aggro.

    I STRONGLY disagree with Rise from the Grave over tendrils. Tendrils is a fine card on 3 swamps and not half bad on 2. Simply put, removal is better than renanimation in limited. Additionally, come on! Black is awesome in this format.

  28. I prefer to start my criticisms by pointing out the parts of an article I liked then move in to the items i’d like to see changed. In this case, however, there honestly isn’t much that I liked. The writing style was hard to follow and left me wanting to skip ahead just to see the result of the draft. The picks seemed questionable to me and while i’d sometimes attribute that to the writer possibly having more experience and knowing something I don’t, it’s tough with david Ochoa because I have heard of zero accomplishments by him other then winning the first magic online live series (his picks there were a little odd too). With the caliber of limited players that this site now has (i.e. Conley Woods and FFfreak) I don’t see why we are watching drafts by David Ochoa. No offense to David, as i’m sure he’s a great player and person. But come on….let’s give the drafts to Conley and or Brad and see how things should really be done.

  29. P1P4: I’d probably take the Looter anyway, but you should have considered Blinding Mage, which also came real late. You could easily drop the Shatter and try for UW, the signals aren’t bad since you’ve only passed a Pegasus so far.

    P2P2: I think you held on to your black hopes wayyy too long. A Divination or DV here would have simplified one of your later choices. Also, assuming you’re abandoning black for being overdrafted, doesn’t Undead Slayer become much more valuable?

    P2P4: No love for Swordsmith #2?

    P2P6: Flashfreeze is good enough that it should have been mentioned, even if you ultimately went with something else.

    P2P8: I’d’ve picked Sleep, mainly because it should be pretty easy to find another Negate. Also of note, if you had taken Fashfreeze, I think Negate would be definitely wrong – most of the big bombs you would Negate are red or green, and FF also deals with Shivan, SGC, etc.

    P2P10: I think DV was the right call over Divination. As you said, you’re weak on removal, whereas you already have Mind Spring, although they do different things.

    P3P2: No love for Purge? Sure, it isn’t awesome like it was in SCA, but to not even mention it…

    P3P9: You mean, “creatures we might have trouble with if we don’t draw one of our seven or so Mage/Cage/Wall/Mind Control, and can’t Pikemaster up the ground”? This pick was likely worse than just taking out a red card from your opponents.

  30. Just a quick note to say I enjoyed both the article and the colourful game recap. Also enjoying some of the discussions that you’ve sparked. Keep up the good work!

  31. Pingback: Magic The Gathering as Literature, part 2: The Articles | HTMLGIANT

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