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According to Webster – M11 Draft #5

Pack 1 pick 1:

 

Doom Blade is the best card by a fair margin because it’s premium removal (cheap, instant, and kills most things dead). Armored Ascension is good in an aggressive deck and gets better in a deck as the rest of it gets worse because the card is quite swingy (you with either waste your turn playing it and get two-for-oned by a removal spell or you win the game). Leyline of Anticipation never got popular, and while I never had the chance to play with it, it seems good. If you get to eat one creature for free in combat, then the Leyline breaks even. Once you’re beyond that step, everything else is card advantage and the opponent is never going to be able to attack effectively again. Plus, consider the Leyline in conjunction with Act of Treason; it effectively becomes a defensive Ray of Command. Oh my! With all that being said, Doom Blade is still the best pick.

My pick: Doom Blade

Pack 1 pick 2:

 

Nightwing Shade is the only on-color card, though it’s not the type of card to look for at this point in the pack. The Shade isn’t a premium black card like Doom Blade, though it’s above average for filler. Right now we should be looking for awesome cards and not settling for the mediocre. Crystal Ball is mediocre because it’s so slow. If a deck is trying to grind out the opponent and has a curve that’s low enough to function well while spending one mana each turn to scry, then Crystal Ball has a place in the deck. Birds of Paradise is an option because green and black tend to both be color-intensive (Sign in Blood/Garruk’s Companion), but green is an underpowered color and we shouldn’t go into it unless 1, It’s wide open, or 2, we open a bomb. Squadron Hawk is the last card to consider. The value of Squadron Hawk is dependent on how far into the draft we are. The earlier that it is in the draft, the higher Squadron Hawk should be valued because it’s more likely that you’ll get additional Hawks later on. It’s more likely that a person will take a Hawk if they already passed one because they don’t want them to end up all in one deck. It’s too early to tell what’s open and therefore make a “safe” pick which means that we should take the card that has the most potential.

My pick: Squadron Hawk

Pack 1 pick 3:

 

This pack is rather weak and doesn’t help us much to determine what colors we should be in. Condemn, Sylvan Ranger, and Leyline of Anticipation are the most powerful cards, though the Leyline shouldn’t be included in the analysis because its real value is nowhere in line with how people perceive it. Condemn isn’t a card that goes into the white decks that I like to draft because it’s a really defensive card (unless it’s in an all-flyer deck). Most white decks I draft are aggressive and have a mix of flyers/non-flyers. Even though Condemn wouldn’t function too well in our deck, it’s better to take it because it would be seen as a sign that white is open considering the overall weakness of the pack and would negatively impact our second pack.

My pick: Condemn

Pack 1 pick 4:

 

Sign in Blood would work well with our Doom Blade, though it’s only the second black playable that we’ve seen since the Nightwing Shade from pick two which leads me to believe that black isn’t going to be open. Mana Leak is another good card but should be viewed like the Sign in Blood. Green and red appear to be the options in this pack for our second color. Act of Treason is good in red/white and functions similarly to the way Excommunicate does (temporarily clearing a path for attackers). Wild Griffin is the best choice because it’s the safest pick; it’s on-color and is a decent flyer.

My pick: Wild Griffin

Pack 1 pick 5:

 

This must have been a good pack because there are still many good cards left. Nothing really compares to Blinding Mage.

My pick: Blinding Mage

Pack 1 pick 6:

 

Mind Rot would be fine if the deck ends up not being very aggressive. Even though black was really light in this pack, the next one should be a bit heavier. The only reason to consider black is because of the Doom Blade that we have. As long as we end up with six-seven decent black cards going into the third pack, we should be able to pick up one or two more good cards and have the rest of the deck be white. The selection of green cards hasn’t been impressive and leads me to believe that red is the only other real option. Goblin Piker is a good creature because it’s a Grizzly Bear and having an aggressive curve is important when you’re trying to make cards like Infantry Veteran, Inspired Charge, Act of Treason, and Excommunicate good. Between keeping black as an option and getting a foothold in red, we’ll have more options by taking the Mind Rot because it’s much easier to pick up Silvercoat Lion/Ajani’s Pridemate/War Priest of Thune/Goblin Piker at any point than keep a popular color open.

My pick: Mind Rot

Pack 1 pick 7:

 

Terramorphic Expanse would allow us to abandon black while still allowing us to splash the Doom Blade, while Inspired Charge would fit well into an aggro version of our deck. The problem with splashing a third color in an aggro deck is that it makes the opening draws less consistent. You have to run more off-color lands resulting in more mulligans which are especially painful as the power-level of a deck decreases.

My pick: Inspired Charge

Pack 1 pick 8:

 

Arc Runner can be okay, but it’s often underwhelming without a lot of removal to ensure it gets through. The function of Arc Runner should be similar to Lava Axe in the sense that both cards are the last source of damage that you’re using to kill the opponent, but Arc Runner plays out much differently than the Axe; Arc Runner is much more inconsistent and often just trades with their worst untapped creature. On the other hand, Jinxed Idol is a fine way to force damage through against decks that have a lower number of creatures and/or more expensive creatures. Jinxed Idol provides a way for your smaller creatures to trade with larger ones unless the opponent is willing to take unnecessary damage.

My pick: Jinxed Idol

Pack 1 pick 9:

 

Both Act of Treason and Goblin Piker are important cards to the red/white deck, but there are more cards that can fill the “two-power two-drop” slot than the utility slot that Act of Treason does.

My pick: Act of Treason

Pack 1 pick 10:

 

My pick: Solemn Offering

Pack 1 pick 11:

 

My pick: Armored Cancrix

Pack 1 pick 12:

 

My pick: Berserkers of Blood Ridge

Pack 1 pick 13:

 

My pick: Canyon Minotaur

Pack 1 pick 14:

 

My pick: Demons Horn

Pack 1 pick 15:
Forest

The first pack was pretty rough. Black didn’t pan out, while white was only mediocre on the wheel. There was a moderate amount of red creatures to take, but we unfortunately passed up on a number of Goblin Pikers which would have filled out our curve quite well.

Pack 2 pick 1:

 

Prodigal Pyromancer is similar to Infantry Veteran in the sense that it complicates the opponent’s ability to block, but it doesn’t ensure that the attacking creature is able to survive; it’s also more expensive. However, the Pyromancer has quite a bit of utility beyond the attack phase and can be quite dominating on the Battlefield because of its ability to pick off one-toughness creatures. The only other choice is Assault Griffin, a solid flyer. There are other cards that are also fine (Excommunicate and Vulshok Berserker), but they aren’t of the same caliber. Given that we’re already in red/white, the Pyromancer is the better card because it’s going to make the deck’s low-power bears more useful as the game progresses. However, it’s more likely that we’ll get more playables by taking the Assault Griffin because white is a better color and not necessarily 100% open. Looking back on the first pack there could have been much more white because the color is so deep, whereas red (a shallow color) was flowing nonstop throughout most of the pack (which means only one other person is drafting it). Seeing a Prodigal Pyromancer is going to interest less people than an Assault Griffin will.

My pick: Assault Griffin

Pack 2 pick 2:

 

Ember Hauler is decent, but really strains the manabase of the deck and would be better in a heavy-red version with Fiery Hellhounds and at least eleven Mountains. As is, Blinding Mage is simply a better card because it is able to neutralize a wider range of creatures while also having the benefit of being in our primary color.

My pick: Blinding Mage

Pack 2 pick 3:

 

It’s unlikely that the Silvercoat Lion will wheel while the Goblin Piker will because the popularity of white is much higher. Infantry Veteran is the pick; it’s the cornerstone of the white-based aggro decks because it provides so much value to attackers. Consider this scenario: you have two Goblin Pikers are staring down a [card]Maritime Guard[/card]. If you don’t have an Infantry Veteran you can’t attack while the situation is reversed completely when you do. Infantry Veteran does so much for so little mana.

My pick: Infantry Veteran

Pack 2 pick 4:

 

Chandra’s Outrage is offensive removal (i.e. the type that the deck wants) and won’t rot in our hand like Condemn will.

My pick: Chandras Outrage

Pack 2 pick 5:

 

Just to be clear, Destructive Force is bad; it’s almost never profitable. Wild Griffin is the best card for the deck because it’s an evasive attacker.

My pick: [draft]Wild Griffin[/draft]

Pack 2 pick 6:

 

Warlord’s Axe is good when combined with a bunch of flyers because it’s unlikely that we’ll have to continuously invest in the high equip cost. However, maintaining a low curve is a primary rule of the archetype because taking advantage of slow and awkward starts is one of the easiest ways to victory.

My pick: Elite Vanguard

Pack 2 pick 7:

 

Cloud Crusader doesn’t provide much return on power for a four mana investment, but it is still a flyer. War Priest of Thune is the other option, and while it isn’t as resilient or evasive as the Cloud Crusader, it is going to make the deck more consistent especially when taking the two Blinding Mages and Infantry Veteran into consideration. The War Priest does have a bit of utility as well because it can blow up Ice Cage, Pacifism, Mind Control, Armored Ascension, or Shiv’s Embrace, but that isn’t likely to happen often. The pick seems really close, and I’m not sure if there’s a good default pick in most cases. We don’t have many two drops which favors the Priest, whereas the Crusader is just a better card by itself. Consider that we’re also in red and should be able to pick up most of the Goblin Pikers that we see to compensate for passing any other bears.

My pick: Cloud Crusader

Pack 2 pick 8:

 

Ask and ye shall receive?

My pick: Goblin Piker

Pack 2 pick 9:

 

My pick: Inspired Charge

Pack 2 pick 10:

 

My pick: Arc Runner

Pack 2 pick 11:

 

My pick: Goblin Piker

Pack 2 pick 12:

 

My pick: Goblin Balloon Brigade

Pack 2 pick 13:

 

My pick: Mountain

Pack 2 pick 14:

 

My pick: Dragons Claw

Pack 2 pick 15:
Safe Passage

The second pack was above average though the amount of white that we saw was lower than what I had expected to see; that can likely be attributed to the Armored Ascension that we passed in pack one. Unfortunately we haven’t seen any more Squadron Hawks which is unfortunate considering that we’re perfectly set up with two Inspired Charges to support them.

Pack 3 pick 1:

 

Pacifism is the best card by a fair margin because it’s similar to Doom Blade (premium removal). The only other card that would make it into our deck is Whispersilk Cloak, and while it’s the type of card that makes the opponent’s creatures bad at blocking, Pacifism functions in a similar manner but with a wider range of functionality.

My pick: Pacifism

Pack 3 pick 2:

 

The Doom Blade ship sailed a while ago and has been replaced by Infantry Veteran. There’s not much else to compare the Veteran to and it’s possible that either Lava Axe or Goblin Piker will wheel.

My pick: Infantry Veteran

Pack 3 pick 3:

 

There’s another Condemn here but we don’t have to worry about sending the wrong signals because this is the last pack and we should just take the best card. As I said before, Condemn doesn’t have a place in an aggressive deck that isn’t all flyers because the opponent is very unlikely to be attacking before they’ve stabilized. The best choice for us is Wild Griffin because it’s moderately cheap and evasive.

My pick: Wild Griffin

Pack 3 pick 4:

 

Our deck is skewed towards white, but that could change, in which case Cyclops Gladiator becomes awesome because of its ability to dominate non-green decks. Silvercoat Lion is a more consistent pick because it would better into the deck if we were to construct it with what we have right now, but it’s far less powerful compared to the Gladiator.

My pick: Cyclops Gladiator

Pack 3 pick 5:

 

Finally we see another Squadron Hawk. It’s rather unlikely that we’ll see another, though there’s still a slight possibility.

My pick: Squadron Hawk

Pack 3 pick 6:

 

My pick: Silvercoat Lion

Pack 3 pick 7:

 

Roc Egg is similar to Condemn; it has no place in an aggro deck unless it’s blue/white skies. Thunder Strike is a fine combat trick in our deck because our curve is low enough to play it immediately after the opponent has tapped out to summon a creature to block with and won’t be able to punish us for playing with the pump spell.

My pick: Thunder Strike

Pack 3 pick 8:

 

Huge five mana elephants have no place in an aggro deck whereas Excommunicate is practically a Time Walk and Fireblast all rolled into a tight three-mana package.

My pick: Excommunicate

Pack 3 pick 9:

 

My pick: Wall of Vines

Pack 3 pick 10:

 

My pick: Viscera Seer

Pack 3 pick 11:

 

My pick: Combust

Pack 3 pick 12:

 

My pick: Goblin Tunneler

Pack 3 pick 13:

 

My pick: Incite

Pack 3 pick 14:

 

My pick: Wall of Vines

Pack 3 pick 15:
Mountain

The last pack was mediocre and only slightly better than the first pack. We did manage to get a few good cards (Pacifism, Infantry Veteran, Squadron Hawk, and Cyclops Gladiator), though it’s not entirely clear whether we’ll be able to use all of them. Still, we should be able to make a decent deck and do well with it.

There are a few cards in the deck (Jinxed Idol) and sideboard (Cyclops Gladiator). Jinxed Idol is a bit janky and I’m not entirely the theory behind it is actually true, so here it is:

There are usually a few ways that your creatures will match up against the opponent’s:
1. They’ll be of equal size.
2. The opponent’s will be larger.
3. The opponent’s will be smaller.
Considering that our creatures are 1/1, 2/1, 2/2 on average, it’s not really possible that our creatures will naturally dwarf the opponent’s which means that they’ll either be trading or they won’t.

Our curve is really low which means that in conjunction with our other cards like Infantry Veteran, Blinding Mage, Inspired Charge, Pacifism, and Goblin Tunneler, we’ll be getting through damage with most creatures for a turn or two before they trade with some creature of the opponents. Jinxed Idol won’t be as useful against decks with smaller creatures because they should have almost an equal amount of creatures on the battlefield/in their deck as we do.

Jinxed Idol is much better against the decks with a higher level of creature quality because their creatures tend to cost a lot more and are naturally more resilient to cards like Infantry Veteran. Against those (green) decks, Jinxed Idol provides a way to make our smaller creatures matter again because it forces the opponent to decide whether they can afford taking two damage per turn or sacrifice their Giant Spider to give back the Jinxed Idol that we gave to them by sacrificing an Elite Vanguard.

Jinxed Idol may be better in the sideboard to bring in only against Forests, but it’s worth trying out to see how well it functions against most decks (it’s probably not better than a Lava Axe).

The deck’s manabase is heavy dependant on having white mana early and a lot of it. Many people don’t realize that Blinding Mage is very color intensive because using it while playing other white spells takes a lot of Plains to support. Enter Cyclops Gladiator, a nice creature that we really want to play but can’t really support. The deck only has five red spells compared to seventeen white which means that the split between Mountains and Plains would ideally be six and eleven. However, there are a three red two-drops along with a Chandra’s Outrage which requires more Mountains than the spell split would suggest. Going up to ten Plains and seven Mountains is ideal. The problem with Cyclops Gladiator is that it requires the support of at least nine Mountains which is simply unrealistic for this deck.

Round 1:

Game 1:
Evil wins the roll, chooses to play first, and keeps his hand. Our hand is decent and decide to keep ask well (2 Mountain, 2 Plains, Infantry Veteran, Squadron Hawk, and Assault Griffin).

[T: 1] Evil plays a Mountain while we [d: Cloud Crusader] play a Plains and summon our Infantry Veteran.

[T: 2] Evil plays a second Mountain and summons an Ember Hauler while we [d: Plains] play a second Plains and summon our Squadron Hawk and search for the second one.

[T: 3] Evil doesn’t attack and only decides to play an Island and summon a Cloud Elemental. [d: Elite Vanguard] We’re left with no good attacks and can only summon creatures. After we play a Mountain we summon our second Squadron Hawk and Elite Vanguard.

[T: 4] Evil decides that aggression is now his best plan and suits his Ember Hauler up with a Volcanic Strength before attacking with it and his Cloud Elemental [G: 14]. He plays a second Island afterwards. [d: Pacifism] The Pacifism is going to serve us well, though it would be better to play around Mana Leak this turn and summon one of our creatures instead. If Evil has the Leak, then we’ll still be in good shape whereas we wouldn’t if we played the Pacifism. We attack with everything [E: 15], play a Plains, and summon our Cloud Crusader; it resolves and Evil bounces it in our end phase with Unsummon.

[T: 5] Evil attacks again with his Ember Hauler and Cloud Elemental [G: 8]. Then he summons a Gargoyle Sentinel and passes the turn. [d: Act of Treason] We play our last land (Mountain) and consider our options (In hand: Assault Griffin, Cloud Crusader, Pacifism, and Act of Treason) (Good: 8, Evil 15):

1. We can’t kill Evil with damage this turn even if he lets us take his Ember Hauler with Act of Treason and doesn’t block our Elite Vanguard with his Sentinel; we would only bring him down to four.

2. It’s likely that whatever we do, Evil is going to attack us with all of his creatures next turn because he’s been playing so aggressively.

3. Our two main lines of play in terms of playing spells involve either: A) summoning a flyer, or B) playing Pacifism and Act of Treason. If we summon a flyer, it will most likely be the Assault Griffin because it trades with both Gargoyle Sentinel and Cloud Elemental. If we try to take the Ember Hauler with Act of Treason, Evil will simply throw it at something (most likely Infantry Veteran) which means that we should do it after combat to get more damage through. Pacifism is going to get put on the Cloud Elemental because it will be the most dominating creature on the board and Evil will have to spend most of his mana in order to attack if he wants to do so with his Sentinel (giving us enough time to pull ahead on the board).

4. What do we play around? The obvious cards include: Chandra’s Outrage, Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Lava Axe, Act of Treason, Unsummon, Ice Cage, Aether Adept, and Mind Control. The most cards that we play around, the slower our clock becomes because we’ll be forced to leave more Hawks back to start chump-blocking sooner.

5. We know that Evil has two spells in his hand. Assuming that we trade our Assault Griffin for his Gargoyle Sentinel, how do we think his two spells will stack up to our board plus Cloud Crusader? If we think we’ll be the underdog, then we should try to be more aggressive.

We shouldn’t put ourselves into the situation where we’re dead to any one of the cards that were listed in point four. However, we also shouldn’t try to play around everything because we slow ourselves down too much. If we want to make sure we aren’t dead to one hit from the Sentinel, we should leave at least one Squadron Hawk back to block the Sentinel when he attacks with it next turn.

We decide that there are too many variables to play conservatively and attack with the Elite Vanguard and Squadron Hawk. Evil doesn’t block and we pump the Hawk with our Veteran [E: 11]. After combat we try to steal the Ember Hauler with Act of Treason but Evil uses it to shoot our untapped Hawk. Then we play our Mountain and put Pacifism on the Cloud Elemental.

[T: 6] Evil activates his Gargoyle Sentinel (leaving Island untapped) and attacks with it [G: 5]. [d: Inspired Charge] We are one damage short of killing Evil with the Charge so we attack with everything [E: 7] and summon our Assault Griffin.

[T: 7] Evil kills our Griffin with a Lightning Bolt and taps out to attack with his Sentinel [G: 2]. [d: Mountain] We attack with everything and play Inspired Charge for lethal.

Sideboard: -1 Jinxed Idol; +1 Combust.

Game 2:
Evil chooses to play first again but decides to mulligan; our hand is good enough to keep (Mountain, Plains, Elite Vanguard, Goblin Tunneler, Act of Treason, Excommunicate, and Inspired Charge). Evil takes another mulligan before deciding to keep his hand of five cards.

[T: 1] Evil plays a Mountain while we [d: Plains] play a Plains and summon our Elite Vanguard.

[T: 2] Evil doesn’t have a land to play but is able to kill our Vanguard with a Lightning Bolt. [d: Wild Griffin] We play a Mountain and summon our Goblin Tunneler.

[T: 3] Evil plays a Mountain and summons an Ember Hauler. [d: Plains] We play another Plains and summon our Wild Griffin.

[T: 4] Evil plays a Mountain and puts Volcanic Strength on his Ember Hauler before attacking with it [G: 16]. [d: Infantry Veteran] We attack with our Griffin and Goblin [E: 17] before playing Excommunicate to send the Ember Hauler back to Evil’s deck. Afterwards, we summon our Infantry Veteran.

[T: 5] Evil summons his Ember Hauler again and passes. [d: Plains] We play our Plains and go to attack while thinking about our options. We tank so long that Evil decides to shock our Wild Griffin with his Ember Hauler before we declare attackers. In response we play Inspired Charge and Evil concedes out of shame.

Round 2:

Game 1: This game replay got lost somehow. We did win though. Evil’s deck is green/white ramp with Serra Angel and Cultivate.

Sideboard: nothing

Game 2:
Evil chooses to play last. We keep a decent hand (3 Plains, Blinding Mage, Squadron Hawk, Assault Griffin, and Inspired Charge); Evil keeps his hand also.

[T: 1] We play a Plains while Evil plays a Forest.

[T: 2] [d: Plains] We play another Plains, summon our Squadron Hawk, and search for the second one. Evil kills the Hawk with a Hornet Sting before starting his turn where he plays a Plains and passes.

[T: 3] [d: Mountain] We play another Plains and summon our Squadron Hawk while Evil plays a Plains and summons a Knight Exemplar.

[T: 4] [d: Goblin Piker] We play our last Plains, attack with the Hawk [E: 19], and summon our Assault Griffin. Evil plays a Forest, attacks with his Knight [G: 18], and casts Cultivate (2 Plains).

[T: 5] [d: Plains] We attack with our Hawk and Griffin [E: 15], play a Mountain, and summon our Blinding Mage and Goblin Piker. Evil plays a Plains, destroys our Griffin with a Plummet, attacks with his Knight [G: 16], and summons a Brindle Boar.

[T: 6] [d: Cloud Crusader] We attack with our Hawk and Goblin and Evil blocks with his Boar [E: 14]. Then we summon our Cloud Crusader. Evil summons a Yavimaya Wurm and we tap his Knight before starting our turn.

[T: 7] [d: Chandra’s Outrage] We attack with our two flyers [E: 11] and pass. We tap Evil’s Wurm and he attacks with his Knight [G: 14]. Then he kills our other Squadron Hawk with another Hornet Sting and summons a Serra Angel.

[T: 8] [d: Infantry Veteran] We play our last Plains, summon the Infantry Veteran, and pass. We tap Evil’s Wurm and he attacks with his Serra Angel alone. We figure that Evil doesn’t have Giant Growth and block with our Crusader, using Inspired Charge before first strike damage to kill the Serra Angel. Evil summons a Garruk’s Companion and War Priest of Thune afterwards.

[T: 9] [d: Infantry Veteran] We summon the Veteran and pass. Evil plays a Forest and goes to attack but we tap his Wurm first. He summons a Greater Basilisk and passes (no cards).

[T: 10] [d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and kill the Yavimaya Wurm with Chandra’s Outrage [E: 9] before passing. Evil puts an Armored Ascension on his War Priest and goes to attack but we tap his Priest first. He’s still able to attack with his Basilisk [G: 11].

[T: 11] [d: Mountain] We attack with the Cloud Crusader and pump it twice with our Veterans [E: 5] before passing. Again, we tap the War Priest and Evil attacks with everything [G: 3]. Afterwards he summons an Ajani’s Pridemate.

[T: 12] [d: Blinding Mage] We summon the Mage and pass. Evil goes to attack and we tap his War Priest and he attacks with his Basilisk. We chump with a Veteran and Evil Excommunicates our second Blinding Mage. We’re dead.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 3:
We choose to play first and keep our hand (3 Plains, Elite Vanguard, Blinding Mage, Goblin Piker, and Act of Treason). Evil keeps his hand also.

[T: 1] We play a Plains and summon our Elite Vanguard while Evil plays a Forest and kills our Vanguard with one of his Hornet Stings.

[T: 2] [d: Goblin Piker] We play another Plains and summon our Blinding Mage while Evil plays a Forest.

[T: 3] [d: Mountain] We attack with our Blinding Mage [E: 19], play a Mountain, and summon a Goblin Piker. Evil plays a Forest and casts Cultivate (Forest/Plains), putting a Plains into his hand.

[T: 4] [d: Mountain] We attack with our Mage and Piker [E: 16], play another Mountain, and summon our second Goblin Piker. Evil plays a Plains and summons a Greater Basilisk.

[T: 5] [d: Infantry Veteran] We tap the Basilisk and attack with the two Pikers [E: 12]. Then we play our Plains, summon our Infantry Veteran, and pass. Evil summons a Knight Exemplar and passes.

[T: 6] [d: Mountain] We pass. Evil goes to attack and we let him; he sends his Basilisk in [G: 17]. Afterwards he plays a Plains and summons a Yavimaya Wurm. We tap his Knight before starting our turn.

[T: 7] [d: Mountain] We hope that Evil doesn’t have Hornet Sting and go for the kill by stealing his Wurm with Act of Treason and attacking with everything for exactly lethal. Evil concedes.

Round 3:

Game 1:
We win the roll and choose to play first. Our hand is on the slow side, but we still keep it (Mountain, Plains, 2 Wild Griffin, Cloud Crusader, Excommunicate, and Inspired Charge); Evil keeps his hand also.

[T: 1] We play a Plains while Evil plays an Island and casts Preordain (top/top).

[T: 2] [d: Plains] We play another Plains while Evil plays a Swamp.

[T: 3] [d: Mountain] We play a Mountain and summon a Wild Griffin while Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Barony Vampire.

[T: 4] [d: Inspired Charge] We attack with the Wild Griffin [E: 18], play our last Mountain, and summon the Cloud Crusader. Evil plays an Island and summons a Water Servant.

[T: 5] [d: Silvercoat Lion] We attack with both flyers [E: 14] and Excommunicate the Water Servant. Evil attacks with his Barony Vampire [G: 17], plays a Swamp, and summons a Nightwing Shade.

[T: 6] [d: Goblin Tunneler] We attack with both flyers again and Evil blocks the Wild Griffin; Inspired Charge saves it and Evil takes a bunch of damage [E: 10]. Evil attacks with his Vampire [G: 14] and summons a Black Knight and Child of Night.

[T: 7] [d: Mountain] We attack with the Wild Griffin [E: 8], play the Mountain we drew, and summon our Goblin Tunneler and second Wild Griffin. Evil plays a Swamp, summons a Triskelion, and uses it to kill the Cloud Crusader. Then he attacks with everything and we block his Child of Night with our Tunneler [G: 10, E: 10].

[T: 8] [d: Infantry Veteran] We attack with both Griffins [E: 6] and then summon our Silvercoat Lion and Infantry Veteran. Evil attacks with everything and we block the Triskelion with our Silvercoat Lion [G: 4]. Afterwards Evil puts an Ice Cage on a Wild Griffin.

[T: 9] [d: Plains] We cast Inspired Charge before attacking; it resolves and we attack with everything for lethal.

Sideboard: -1 Jinxed Idol; +1 Combust.

Game 2:
Evil chooses to play first and keeps his hand; we keep our hand also (2 Mountain, 2 Plains, 2 [card]Blinding Mage[/card], and [card]Goblin Tunneler[/card]).

[T: 1] Evil plays a Swamp while we [d: Inspired Charge] play a Plains.

[T: 2] Evil plays an Island while we [d: Excommunicate] play a Mountain and summon a Blinding Mage.

[T: 3] Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Scroll Thief while we [d: Chandra’s Outrage] play a Plains and summon our second Blinding Mage.

[T: 4] We tap the Scroll Thief. Evil plays an Island and summons a Water Servant. [d: Squadron Hawk] We kill the Water Servant with Chandra’s Outrage [E: 18] and attack with a Blinding Mage [E: 17].

[T: 5] Evil attacks with his Scroll Thief and we block; Evil has the Stabbing Pain and passes afterwards. [d: Wild Griffin] We summon our Griffin but Evil has Cancel.

[T: 6] We tap the Thief. Evil casts Foresee (top: 3, bottom; 1) and passes. [d: Squadron Hawk] HID. We summon both Squadron Hawks and pass.

[T: 7] Evil plays Preordain (bottom/top), plays a Swamp, and kills the Blinding Mage with Quag Sickness before attacking with his Scroll Thief [G: 19]. [d: Plains] We attack with both Hawks [E: 15]. Then we play our Plains, Excommunicate the Scroll Thief, and summon our Goblin Tunneler.

[T: 8] Evil summons his Scroll Thief and a Black Knight. [d: Mountain] We attack with both Hawks [E: 13] and pass.

[T: 9] Evil attacks with his Knight and Thief [G: 16]. Then he plays an Island, summons a Nether Horror and an Alluring Siren. [d: Plains] We play a Mountain and attack with everything. Evil doesn’t block and we play Inspired Charge before damage [E: 4].

[T: 10] Evil attacks with everything [G: 8] and summons a Child of Night and Barony Vampire afterwards. [d: Plains] We’re dead.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 3:
This game replay also got lost and unfortunately I don’t remember the exact details with the exception that we won and that the deck played out similarly to how it had in the previous games.

Happy Drafting.

37 thoughts on “According to Webster – M11 Draft #5”

  1. Suprising you ended up white, assuming the guy passing to you in pack 1 took Serra Angel first pick, it’s in the same uncommon print runs as crystal ball if I’m not mistaken. If that’s the case I wonder what he took because condemn and blinding mage are both really strong.

    Thanks for the draft.

  2. I thought the cyclops pick was too greedy. You’re already halfway through pack 3 and red is no more than a splash. I also dont agree with Assault Griffin over Pyromancer. If you already know you’re in W/R, I dont see why you’d ever make this pick as the card quality is not that close imo.

  3. Re: BIlly Bones: “Cyclops in the board say what??”

    Yeah, it’s almost how he exactly addressed that in his extensive comments section about deckbuilding =P. It’s right after he talks about when it’s good to used Jinxed Idol.

  4. Gotta agree with ochoa, hawk over crystal ball. The aggressive decks are king in m11, even LSV knows that.

  5. Even in a deck with red at almost half, I’m loathe to play Mr. Gladiator. If red is dominant, then maybe, but I couldn’t justify playing it with less than ten or eleven Mountains.

  6. @ Ppl wanting to play Gladiator : Playing Gladiator in a 7 mountains deck is just wrong.
    @ Ocho : I can’t believe that you can’t remember more than “we won and that the deck played out similarly to how it had in the previous games.” I didn’t know that you were using the replays that much but it doesn’t seem fair compared to LSV/FFfreak/TSG’s videos because explaining your picks after playing the game seems way easier. It also explains why 75%-85% of your 8-4 are 3-0 which is considerably higher than TSG or even LSV ( not trying to troll, but at least I would suggest taking quick notes on debatable picks/ plays WHILE you draft instead of only going with the replays).
    Just a suggestion …

  7. Squadron Hawks are pretty premium cards in draft, so you gotta take them aggressively if you want a hawk deck. Also, i think all this questioning of a draft winning deck is pretty funny. Obviously, Ochoa made the right choices, even if they were difficult ones.

  8. I think p2p4 taking the condemn and sticking with bw is the best option. I know it isn’t the best archetype, but is going rw really worth throwing away your first pick doom blade?

  9. @ dissapointed

    Hawk over crystal ball, not close. I would take Silvercoat Lion over Crystal Ball, and it is STILL not close. Draft games are so fast in this format, and the only deck that really can abuse the Crystal Ball is the mono-removal RB deck, since the blue decks have real card draw and the w and g decks just want to kill the opponent.

    I’m really not exaggerating; Crystal Ball is borderline unplayable in most draft decks, despite being awesome in sealed.

  10. I’m not 100% sure as the draft happened a while back, but I believe I was the finals opponent in this one. Sadly I no longer have the replay for the final game available either, and I really don’t remember much else than that I felt I got within one turn of getting control of the game but got killed by some form of combat trick (probably one of the Inspired Charges) and that there was some very interesting decision in that game on what to kill with Trike. IIRC I ended up realising I had to kill off a Goblin Tunneler and hope to draw a flying blocker instead of going for the fliers on the table.

    Ocho’s deck was simply a tier faster than mine, rendering my card advantage less useful. As usual with U/B I wish I’d had more Aether Adepts and Child of Nights 🙂 Well drafted / played mr. Ochoa.

  11. Well, game 3 round 2 was a tremendous misplay of your opponent, going to attack with you at 20 and him at 12, knowing that W/R decks have many ways to to clear the path out of nothing (act of treason, chandra’s outrage, bolt, excommunicate, pacifism, …). Anyway, that is what magic is about, to hope your opponent plays less smart than you, or you outdraw them.

    About crystal ball I have another opinion, I think it is a very decent card in the right deck. It never really dissappointed me, although against a fast deck where you need to stabilize it is a dead draw, and I often sideboard it out.
    Even in a fast WU or WR deck it works fine for me, makes sure that after the initial turns where you did a lot of damage you can make sure you never run out of gas. You need to find that inspired charge, might leap, bolt, axe or mind control to finish it off.

    But I am glad if people don’t take the ball high, I will take it and make it to good use.

  12. I dislike crystal ball. It always seems that I could play something better than it, keep the tempo of the game, and in some cases its just a dead draw.

    Not to mention the fact that some decks can swarm you with 1 and 2 toughness guys so fast that the crystal ball never gets to “see” anything but a loss in your future.

    However, I would have tried my best to play cyclops gladiator, because having been utterly destroyed by that card, I think its worth playing in ANY WAY if you can.

  13. I love when people say they stopped reading because they disagreed with a pick. (especially when it was the right pick to begin with!) It’s akin to debating with someone by voicing your opinion and then shoving your fingers in your ears and yelling “la la la” when it is their thurn to speak. Classy.

  14. I’m with the hawk pick.

    Crystal Ball is fine, Ochoa underrates it as a response to it being overrated. The card is not great but not bad. It is -1 card advantage, -tempo, for good card quality.

    If you’re set on forcing white aggro, P1p2 hawk has more potential, because most decks can’t beat 3+ hawks, and you get a shot at that if you get one early enough.

  15. This format is way faster then most people think. The white aggro build needs hawks and it most certainly does not need a Crystal Ball. If you’re tapping down on turn 3/4 (for scry mana up) instead of playing some sort of flier in an aggro build you need to ask yourself if you’re really putting your opponent on the defensive. Granted if you have bombs worth digging to then Crystal Ball gets much better. IE: Baneslayer, Ajani, etc.

  16. Crystal Ball has great utility in games that drag out. In a fast aggressive deck like this one, the Ball is worse than garbage. It’s just a card that doesn’t help your attacks. Of course when the Hawk was picked over Ball, it wasn’t clear that an aggressive white deck was the way to go. But it worked out that way, and the Ball would have been rotting in the sideboard.

  17. You’re a great drafter (certainly better than I am), but I find these articles hard to read.

    Referring to all of your opponents as “Evil” seems rude and lazy to me, especially when you have notes on what their names are.

  18. @Griff: WEB IS THE MAN!! Referring to his opponents as “Evil” & himself as “Good” is one of his trademarks, silly rabbit. It’s hilarious because the Ocho is basically a bald, non-android version of Data. Also a great mentality to have when sparring b/c it reminds you to be wary of your opponent & strike the right balance between playing around cards & just rushing in. Then you can shake hands after you’ve defeated Evil!

    Ocho you must continue onwards – I am eager to see your SOM drafts!!

  19. Ball can be an absolute beast in a few decks, UB control, RB removal heavy decks, or any decks with the right bombs and ability to reach the late game.

    The card is unplayable in most W/x decks. Combos nice with Conundrum Sphynx, but otherwise it can be a tempo killer and I’ve sided it out plenty.

  20. @LSV, your comment to crystal ball is a funny example that shows how much even pros adapt/evolve in their draft strategys … In your set review you wrote sth like “crystal ball is card drawing each turn in most (late) limited games” (too lazy to look it up exactly) now you consider it “borderline playable in most draft decks”…

  21. @fabisco —

    Obviously he is going to change his opinion on some cards from a prerelease preview/review to the end of a format after he has played a ton of games in it.

    Considering that previous core set formats were pretty slow, it was a good bet that a card like crystal ball would be good. It turns out that it just isn’t.

    I really don’t think that anybody that has drafted this set a lot would consider crystal ball to be playable in most decks. There is really no reason to take it early — it is one of those cards that might make it as a 22nd/23rd card if you are short on playables but is pretty worthless the majority of the time.

    It is only relevant in very late-game standstill situations. Assuming your deck and/or your opponents’ decks are good (ie: you are actually playing against high-quality competition), these type of standoffs are going to occur less and less.

  22. It’s kind of funny that ChannelFireball is so known for only playing the best deck in standard tournaments and yet in drafts they keep picking the crappy white deck with infantry veterans. With the exception of the gifted blinding mages this deck would have gotten blown out by any old azure drake played at any time as evidenced by the draft LSV just posted. I understand drafting a theme but playing with crappy cards just to draft a theme is never that great a strategy…

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  24. I know it comes from poker, but I never liked the “evil” designation either. Sounds too negative towards one’s opponents. To me each new player is at bare minimum “my new friend for an hour who has at least one hobby in common with me (Magic)”.

    I think the more you’re playing against other pros, at big tournaments, and in 8-4 queues, the more your experience will be “my opponents draft highly efficient decks, and Crystal Ball is often too slow in that environment”. Whereas if you play at your local FNM, in 4-3-2-2 and Swiss queues, etc. you’ll be up against less skilled players, who draft less efficient, slower decks, and Crystal Ball will more often “be fast enough to be a good card” in that environment.

    So people’s differing evaluations of Crystal Ball aren’t necessarily wrong, in the context they play in. I would personally take it as the lesson “If I play against strong opposition, I should lower my evaluation of Crystal Ball a lot”. I also think it’s worth noting that even against weak players, when your OWN deck is very fast, like W/x aggro as in this draft, the Ball can be diluting the effectiveness of your plan too. Why drop your odds against a weak opponent to 85% if they could be 90%?

    I personally like the Crystal Ball a lot, but I’ll keep an eye towards using it more just for controlling decks than fast aggressive ones I draft. I also probably would have tried to run the Cyclops, maybe going to 8 mountains, as in the games where he sticks he often wins the game. But probably Web’s right and I’m wrong, and he loses you more EV overall than he gains you. Choosing him is basically dropping some consistency in favor of power, and I think the pros do better than us non-pros because they know to value the consistency side of that equation a little higher than the average player.

  25. @eric, my comment was not negative by any means, I just thought it kind of informative to point out. Overall the evaluation of M11 has changed a lot from “basically M10… draft bombs” to “fastest core set ever”. The fact that this affects also the evaluation of cards like crystal ball, I’m well aware of …
    Maybe the lesson of it is, not to judge any set to early…

  26. Just want to say that white aggro doesn’t need hawks. Hawks are just one way of getting card advantage. You can do just as well with a bunch of weenies and bears with a bit of removal and some draw.

    Elite Vanguard, Stormfront Pegasus, random bears (I think War Priest of Thune is underrated), Pacifism, Excommunicate, Foresee and/or Preordain, maybe some bombs like Serra or Clone and you’ll never miss the hawks. Inspired Charge is great sometimes, but it can also be a good choice to board it out.

  27. Man you were really attached to that first pick doom blade. I would have moved into green pick 6 taking the cultivate over the mind rot. Black was almost non existant while the cultivate would let you splash the doom blade anyway.

  28. How good this deck would have been if you force monored, 4 Act of Treason in Pack 1. But i guess not so many people are drafting this deck, altough it was bit popular in the end of M11.
    But you won the draft and had a decent deck (but with monored this would have been an easier win i promise). You ever tried that archetype? I guess yes…but i think it got worse in the end of m11 when ppl started to draft the Act of Treason for the Bloodthorne Vampire deck.

    Good Article!

  29. I’m sorry Webster,

    I know you won the draft but I couldn’t continue reading though after the P2 P1 Assault Griffin. I hope the flyer dominated the whole draft for you but to not take the Pyromancer was soooo counter to what I consider the right way to send signals and draft that I just couldn’t continue…

    Thank You for the time you took to write this though I’m sure others got more out of it than I did…

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