According to Webster – Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #4


Pack 1 pick 1:


The best cards here are Vendetta, Forked Bolt, and Halimar Wavewatch, in that order. Vendetta is far ahead of the others in terms of power because it’s so efficient and versatile. Unfortunately the pack is rather shallow and it’s unlikely that we’ll wheel anything as a result.

My pick: Vendetta

Pack 1 pick 2:


If the Staggershock weren’t here, this pack would be rather interesting because of the high number of archetypes in ROE draft. Mnemonic Wall and Sea Gate Oracle would be good in a U/B/R control deck; Lavafume Invoker and Pennon Blade would be good in a B/R tokens deck; Caravan Escort, Mammoth Umbra, Cadaver Imp, and Null Champion would be good in a “normal” B/W deck; and so on. Since we don’t know what we’re doing yet, it’s best to just take Staggershock because it’s the most powerful card available next to Mammoth Umbra. It’s unclear what colors are open and which are not, and we should figure that out before jumping into a specific deck archetype because it will result in a better draft overall.

My pick: Staggershock

Pack 1 pick 3:


Joraga Treespeaker and Ulamog’s Crusher are the two options. The Crusher would be a good finisher if we end up in B/R tokens; it’s not unreasonable to expect to be summoning a Crusher on turn six in that archetype. Joraga Treespeaker is more powerful than Ulamog’s Crusher and is an integral part to the G/x Ramp archetype. Many people compare the Treespeaker to Sol Ring, and if you’re ever summoned him on turn one and had him stick, you’d probably agree. It’s reasonable to assume that either A) green is open _OR_ B) This pack had a better card for the green drafter to the right. If we see the Treespeaker as a sign that green is open, then it would be best to go into it now because the Treespeaker is such a good card and green combines very well with black and/or red (due to overlapping themes). If we end up getting cut and are forced out of green, then not having an Ulamog’s Crusher isn’t going to be as bad as being in green without a Treespeaker. It’s not difficult to find finisher cards for a B/R tokens deck whether it be Bloodthrone Vampire, Lavafume Invoker, Ulamog’s Crusher, et al.

My pick: Joraga Treespeaker

Pack 1 pick 4:


It’s become clear that black is the color to be in. Corpsehatch is an awesome card, and when you factor in the other playable black cards (Zulaport Enforcer and Bala Ged Scorpion) it becomes easy to see that we should be in black. [card]Growth Spasm[/card] is also in the pack, but we should not take it. If we take Growth Spasm, we’re passing up a removal spell that fits well into a green-based archetype for it. Growth Spasm helps ramp, and even more importantly helps splash Staggershock. We’re unsure yet if green is open for sure, though it seems as open as red. However, we do know that black is more open than the other two colors and we should stick to a black base when possible. By sticking to black, not only will we get better cards in pack one, but we’ll also be sending a better signal for pack two. Whether we end up in red or green doesn’t matter right now. There’s a clear sign that black is safe for pack one, and seeing what develops will ensure a more successful draft.

My pick: Corpsehatch

Pack 1 pick 5:


This pack is similar to pick three (Joraga Treespeaker v Ulamog’s Crusher) because there’s a good card in a new color along with a bunch of other random “stuff”. However, this time, there’s no good card to compete with the Enclave Cryptologist. Pathrazer of Ulamog is almost uncastable; Perish the Thought is “fine”, but nowhere on the level of Enclave Cryptologist; Lagac Lizard is the same. As was the case with the Joraga Treespeaker, seeing the Enclave Cryptologist this late should interpreted as a sign. Besides black, we aren’t married to any of the other colors, and going into blue for the Cryptologist still leaves us open to splashing Staggershock is we go into a Grixis Control archetype. The other cards in the pack are significantly worse and don’t provide as much potential as taking the looter.

My pick: Enclave Cryptologist

Pack 1 pick 6:


Raid Bombardment needs a heavy token theme to be effective, and neither green nor red appears to be open enough to warrant taking it. Perish the Thought is the best of the mediocre cards because it goes into our base color and is more playable than Skeletal Wurm. The problem with the Wurm is that it’s too expensive most of the time, and is generally mediocre whereas Perish the Thought is good against some decks and problematic cards that a deck might have trouble dealing with like Conquering Manticore, Lust for War, or Deprive.

My pick: Perish the Thought

Pack 1 pick 7:


Red seems to be out of the picture because we haven’t seen any good cards except for the Staggershock that we got second pick out of the pack with the rare missing. Green also doesn’t appear to be open (despite Might of the Masses and Prey’s Vengeance still in this pack, though Prey’s Vengeance isn’t as good as it seems) whereas blue and white appear like they’re more open that the aforementioned two. There’s no reason to go into white here whereas Deprive is a solid blue card and good in nearly every blue deck.

My pick: Deprive

Pack 1 pick 8:


Black seems like it’s taking a break for now while being replaced with blue and white. Frostwind Invoker is hands down the best card in the pack.

My pick: Frostwind Invoker

Pack 1 pick 9:


The draft pays for itself; +.06 THANKSSSSSS!

My pick: Baneful Omen

Pack 1 pick 10:


Sea Gate Oracle works well in a controlling deck that’s setting up for some sort of end-game inevitability whereas Null Champion is better in the other decks whether it be beatdown in the form of blue/black levelers or just a “blue/black” deck. Since we don’t know for sure which direction the deck is heading, it’s better to take the Null Champion; it’s more powerful by itself and doesn’t rely on the power-level of the other cards in the deck.

My pick: Null Champion

Pack 1 pick 11:


My pick: Jwari Scuttler

Pack 1 pick 12:


My pick: Deprive

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Forest

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Aura Finesse

Pack 1 pick 15:


Pack one went well despite traveling on the scenic route for a few picks. The power level of our cards was quite high throughout the pack, and despite stretching through four colors we were able to read the signals and adjust accordingly. Even though a few of our picks appear to be not playable at the moment (Treespeaker/Staggershock), the power-level of our remaining cards is high enough to compensate for wasting those picks.

Pack 2 pick 1:


There are a lot of options in this pack, at least that’s what the people who haven’t played with Coralhelm Commander are thinking; that card is absurd.

My pick: Coralhelm Commander

Pack 2 pick 2:


Hada Spy Patrol is the only option because it fits well into what this deck appears to be turning into; a blue/black leveler deck. Lay Bare is the next best option, though unnecessary because of the two Deprives that we already have.

My pick: Hada Spy Patrol

Pack 2 pick 3:


Bala Ged Scorpion would be better suited if we had taken the Sea Gate Oracle and were trying to make a more controlling deck. However, since we ended up with the Null Champion and got a few more levelers in addition to it, the Venerated Teacher is going to have more synergy with what the deck is trying to do.

My pick: Venerated Teacher

Pack 2 pick 4:


Evolving Wilds makes the option of splashing [card]Staggershock[/card] a bit more feasible.

My pick: Evolving Wilds

Pack 2 pick 5:


Pawn of Ulamog doesn’t provide much for a leveler deck because the synergies between token decks and leveler decks don’t intertwine. In hindsight, Lust for War would have been a better pick because it helps race which is what leveler decks are generally trying to do.

My pick: Pawn of Ulamog

Pack 2 pick 6:


Go fish.

My pick: Phantasmal Abomination

Pack 2 pick 7:


Frostwind Invoker is better by itself and against decks with removal, but Champion’s Drake has more synergy with the rest of the deck. I keep mentioning synergy because ROE is a highly synergetic format similar to Onslaught and Lorwyn. It’s possible to draft “normal” decks with good cards, but it’s more beneficial to draft decks with cards that have intertwining synergies because the synergetic draws are going to overpower the non-synergetic draws almost all of the time.

My pick: Champions Drake

Pack 2 pick 8:


Shrivel will be a good sideboard card against any token-based decks we encounter.

My pick: Shrivel

Pack 2 pick 9:


My pick: Dread Drone

Pack 2 pick 10:


My pick: Distortion Strike

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Lagac Lizard

Pack 2 pick 12:


My pick: Jwari Scuttler

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Contaminated Ground

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Death Cultist

Pack 2 pick 15:


Overall, this pack was less exciting than pack one. While we did open a Coralhelm Commander and get a few other leveler cards (Hada Spy Patrol, Venerated Teacher, and Champion’s Drake), the rest of the pack was a bust. Sure, we’ll play with cards like Dread Drone, but we’re not happy about it.

Pack 3 pick 1:


This is an easy pick. E-M-R-A-K I mean, Vendetta is the obvious choice.

My pick: Vendetta

Pack 3 pick 2:


Enablers are generally better than support cards because they make the support cards more consistent. In most cases it’s better to take a leveler than a card that benefits them/from them because a leveler is going to be better on its own than a support card. Venerated Teacher and Champion’s Drake are both very powerful when there are lots of levelers in play, but sub-par without. As the ratio of levelers to support cards comes closer to one-to-one, the variance of the deck increases. Between Zulaport Enforcer and Skywatcher Adept, the Adept is a better card for two reasons 1) It’s evasive sooner. 2) Its Level up cost is lower.

My pick: Skywatcher Adept

Pack 3 pick 3:


It’s hard to pass another Skywatcher Adept, but Narcolepsy is just a better card. We don’t have too much removal.

My pick: Narcolepsy

Pack 3 pick 4:


Cadaver Imp is a good card because it helps the leveler decks against removal-heavy draws which is one of the deck’s weaknesses. However, Drake Umbra is also good against removal if played properly in addition to being awesome against most other decks. A lot of decks will simply lose to a Drake Umbra.

My pick: Drake Umbra

Pack 3 pick 5:


Escaped Null is another “fine” card, though not exactly what a leveler deck is looking for. There’s nothing else to take except Nighthaze which won’t make it into the deck. We could hate Spider Umbra or Demystify because they’re good against our flyers and [card]Drake Umbra[/card]/[card]Narcolepsy[/card] respectively. However, Escaped Null is good enough to take.

My pick: Escaped Null

Pack 3 pick 6:


We only have five level up creatures and would benefit more from having a sixth to make the Venerated Teacher/Champion’s Drake that we already have more consistent.

My pick: Zulaport Enforcer

Pack 3 pick 7:

 Mnemonic Wall

would work well with the two Vendetta, Corpsehatch, Staggershock (if we splash), and two Deprive, but doesn’t fit into the beatdown nature of the leveler deck whereas Bala Ged Scorpion does. A leveler deck needs to be mana-efficient which is what the Scorpion provides; a threat and removal in one for four mana compared to Mnemonic Wall which is at least six mana for a non-threat.

My pick: Bala Ged Scorpion

Pack 3 pick 8:


Sphinx Bone-Wand can be powerful, but the deck is not set up properly to take advantage of it. Bloodthrone Vampire is a better option because of the Pawn of Ulamog and Dread Drone that we already have in addition to it being more of a beatdown card.

My pick: Bloodthrone Vampire

Pack 3 pick 9:


My pick: Dread Drone

Pack 3 pick 10:


Inquisition of Kozilek is a fine card, but we already have a Perish the Thought. While Inquisition is more mana-efficient (although more narrow) than Perish, See Beyond offers more the deck more consistency in terms of finding levelers to go with support cards and vice versa.

My pick: See Beyond

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Unified Will

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Nighthaze

Pack 3 pick 13:


My pick: Contaminated Ground

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Death Cultist

Pack 3 pick 15:


Pack three was close enough to what we needed to make the deck good. While we didn’t get enough levelers to suit my preference, we still got enough “good cards” to slap together a deck and battle.

The one major decision in building is whether or not we want to splash Staggershock. We have an Evolving Wilds to help facilitate the splash, but there are a few points to consider before jumping to a conclusion:

1) What are we playing over Staggershock and how does it interact with the rest of the deck?

The last few slots in the deck are being filled up by: 18th land, Escaped Null, Bloodthrone Vampire, Pawn of Ulamog, Deprive #2, See Beyond, and Dread Drone.

Admittedly, the Bloodthrone Vampire and Pawn of Ulamog aren’t going to be in the deck unless they’re both in there as well as the two Dread Drones. Pawn of Ulamog and Bloodthrone Vampire don’t interact much with Skywatcher Adept and Venerated Teacher because we don’t want to sacrifice many of the creatures we’re playing. However, the Pawn’s tokens do provide additional mana to accelerate leveling creatures and the Vampire does provide a way to make blocking difficult for the opponent when we’ve drawn other random creatures like Dread Drone/Venerated Teacher.

I tend to like eighteen lands in leveler decks despite their “low curve” because they’re so mana hungry.

Deprive is both good and bad in a leveler deck. A leveler deck’s initial curve is generally lower than any other deck which makes counterspells good. However, it’s easy to tell when a leveler deck has a Deprive or some other trick like Regress. “Oops, I forgot to Level up my [card]Skywatcher Adept[/card]! *SIGH* Go.” Knowing that the opponent has Deprive weakens it.

2) Does Staggershock make the manabase too unstable?

Leveler decks need to not stumble on mana early because they generally play out as aggro or aggro/control decks. A leveler deck wants to win before green can take advantage of ramping up to some huge monster or before a tokens deck can hit for a million with Lavafume Invoker. If a leveler deck stumbles on mana, then it’s fighting an uphill battle. Our deck has cards like [card]Coralhelm Commander[/card], which creates the necessity of having perfect mana and makes a splash less appealing.



I decided to splash Staggershock, and in hindsight wish I had not. The mana was too much of an issue. Playing the Bloodthrone Vampire and Pawn of Ulamog over the Staggershock and Escaped Null would have streamlined the deck, increasing its stability and making it more synergistic.

Round 1:

Game 1:
We win the die roll and choose to draw first. Evil keeps his hand and we follow suit with one that needs some Swamps to get going (2 Island, Null Champion, Venerated Teacher, Bala Ged Scorpion, Vendetta, and Staggershock). Evil leads off with a Swamp which is not what we want to see considering the Vendetta in our hand. [d: Island] We play an Island and pass while Evil does the same after playing a second Swamp. [d: Corpsehatch] Hmmm, maybe we should have mulliganed. Na! The hand was borderline, but we had plenty of action to draw into that would have made it fine. Most of the blue spells and any of the eight black sources make the hand playable. Back to the game, we continue to play draw/go after playing our third Island.

Evil plays a third Swamp and breaks the standstill by summoning a Pawn of Ulamog. [d: Hada Spy Patrol] Had it. We summon the leveler and pass. Evil plays a Mountain and summons a Bala Ged Scorpion after attacking with the Pawn [G: 18]. This game couldn’t be going any worse. We drew the Spy Patrol a turn too late; Evil’s creatures blank our removal; and we’re stuck on one color. [d: Deprive] We summon the Venerated Teacher and pass.

Evil attacks us with the murderous Bala Ged Scorpion [G: 16] and then summons a Lagac Lizard. Yes folks, we’ve got a team of all-stars here. [d: Swamp] Finally! We play the Swamp and pass. “No tricks here sir! None at all.” Evil points Last Kiss at our Teacher, but we use Deprive to keep the Gray Ogre around for a while. Then Evil attacks with his Lizard and Scorpion, but we conserve some life points (technically) by killing the Lizard with Vendetta [G: 11]. The Pawn creates an Eldrazi Spawn token and Evil plays Brood Birthing after combat.

[d: Coralhelm Commander] We replay the Island that we returned with Deprive, summon the Commander, and level it twice to a 3/3 flyer. Unfortunately Evil is ready with a Heat Ray and sends his Scorpion into combat again [G: 9]. [d: Frostwind Invoker] We summon a [card]Bala Ged Scorpion[/card] of our own to kill off one of Evil’s Spawn, a trade that isn’t as good as what his Scorpion got, but we’ll take it considering the road block ours creates. Evil proves he is not to be outdone by casting Sarkhan the Mad which upgrades one of his Spawn into a 5/5 flying dragon. [d: [card]Enclave Cryptologist[/card]] That won’t get it done. We lose.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 2:
We choose to draw again. Evil keeps his hand as do we, though we can cast all of our spells this time (3 Island, Evolving Wilds, Champion’s Drake, Dread Drone, and Narcolepsy). Evil leads off with a Swamp again [d: Drake Umbra] while we play the Evolving Wilds. Evil continues with his draw/go routine after playing a second Swamp. Before our turn starts, we crack the Wilds to fetch out a Swamp. [d: Venerated Teacher] We play an Island and summon the Champion’s Drake. Evil simply plays a third Swamp and passes. [d: Swamp] We punish Evil for doing nothing and hit him with our Drake, leaping way ahead in the damage race [E: 19]. Afterwards, we summon a Venerated Teacher.

Evil plays a Mountain and summons his Bala Ged Scorpion which kills off our Drake. [d: Island] The Scorpion has created an impasse so we simply play a Swamp and pass. Evil attacks us with the Scorpion [G: 18], after which he plays a Swamp and summons a Lagac Lizard. [d: Swamp] We answer back by playing an Island and suiting up our Venerated Teacher with Drake Umbra. Sure he could have Vendetta, but not every game is a walk in the park. The Umbra connects and we send our Venerated Teacher into combat as he soars into the air [E: 14].

Evil summons a Battle-Rattle Shaman but clicks past his attack. Don’t try this at home folks! [d: Zulaport Enforcer] We play a Swamp and attack with the Venerated Teacher [E: 9]. Then we summon the Dread Drone and Zulaport Enforcer. In hindsight, playing the Narcolepsy on the Lagac Lizard would have been a better play because of the amount of removal we were playing against. Evil uses Last Kiss to kill off the Dread Drone [E: 11]. The Battle-Rattle pumps the Scorpion and Evil crashes into the red zone for nine. An Eldrazi Spawn jumps in front of the Scorpion [G: 13].

[d: Swamp] We level up the Zulaport Enforcer, but Evil is ready with his Heat Ray to kill it off. Then we attack with the Venerated Teacher [E: 6] and put the Narcolepsy on the Lagac Lizard. A second Bala Ged Scorpion kills off the last Eldrazi Spawn, clearing a path for Evil’s two creatures [G: 7] [d: Frostwind Invoker] We summon the Invoker and pass. Evil has three cards in hand. If any is a removal spell, then we will lose.

Evil summons a Cadaver Imp (returning nothing) and passes. [d: Hada Spy Patrol] We summon the Patrol and level it once. Then we play the last card in our hand, Swamp, and level it up again. Evil passes. [d: Island] We level up the Patrol and the ability resolves. It looks like Evil didn’t have any removal. We attack with the fully-leveled Spy Patrol [E: 3]. Evil draws and concedes.

Sideboard: Nothing.

Game 3:
Evil chooses to play first with his black/red removal deck despite our reverse choice in the previous two games. He keeps his hand as we stare back at one similar to game one (3 Swamp, Coralhelm Commander, Null Champion, Escaped Null, and Staggershock); we keep as well. Evil plays a Swamp and passes while [d: Hada Spy Patrol] we do the same. Evil plays a Mountain and passes [d: Swamp] while we play a second Swamp and summon the Null Champion. Evil plays another Mountain and passes back again. [d: Swamp] We play a Swamp and level up the Champion. Evil is ready with Last Kiss [E: 22].

Evil continues his game plan of draw/go and passes after playing a Swamp. [d: Drake Umbra] We play a fourth Swamp and summon the Escaped Null. Hopefully Evil doesn’t have a Scorpion and we draw an Island to suit up the Null with the Drake Umbra. Evil plays a Mountain and starts tapping his lands quickly. Looks like we’re in trouble! Thankfully Evil isn’t casting Sarkhan the Mad or Bala Ged Scorpion. Dread Drone comes into play on his side and creates some tokens. [d: Vendetta] That isn’t an Island. We play our last Swamp and pass.

Evil plays a Swamp and now summons one of his Scorpions. Sigh. Nice Vendetta. Nice ten blue sources. Oh well. Evil attacks with the Dread Drone [G: 16] and passes. [d: Enclave Cryptologist] We can do nothing except pass back. Evil attacks with his two creatures [G: 10] and passes. [d: Skywatcher Adept] “Okay, we’re done here.” We have been defeated.

Happy Drafting.

48 thoughts on “According to Webster – Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #4”

  1. I haven’t read how the matches played out yet, but pack 2 pick 1 I would have gone for the heat ray instead of Champion. If you did that, then you would have been blessed with 2 lust for wars in the next few pics.

    Love these articles, Web!

  2. So the draft in which we played round 2 didn’t become an article. Too bad, would’ve been interested to see the match from your perspective.

  3. Please review your mulligan decisions.

    Every mulligan article every printed talks about how bad it is to keep those type of hands. It’s not like you had the perfect hand without the lands, so I just feel like you’re afraid to give up a card.

  4. Yea splashing for 1 card was for sure a mistake. Would of also taken the heat ray also instead of champion. Also, not trying to be too critical but you need to learn to mulligan better. And does the scorpian destroy the escaped null even when its enchanted, its power is no longer 1 right?

  5. Ahh you never drew an island to put the aura on him. Yea should have been an auto mulligan!!

  6. Yea, as previously stated by others, should definitely have mulligan some of those hands (maybe both, not quite sure). And this is not even hindsight.
    Also not sideboarding in Perish the Thought after seeing Sarkhan was interesting, but I guess 2 Deprive might be enough.

  7. Thx for the article. Always good to see both wins and losses. I think staggershock is valued so highly now that it alters ones perception of what’s best for the deck. Sure, it’s a good card, but it really didn’t belong in a deck of this archtype, and probably shouldn’t be auto-splashed in every deck you build. I’d usually splash staggershock 95% of the time if I had an extra, but now I’m going to think twice for the sake of consistency.

  8. impedingaction

    I don’t like the splash either, but you already said that.

    The first hand is a mulligan, for reasons that are pretty obvious. If you think otherwise in hindsight I would like to hear why. The third hand I would probably have kept and just cursed my luck.

    Mostly it just seems like you got a bit greedy AND a bit unlucky, which is a combination that is hard to overcome.

    And he had lotsa removal…

    Big fan of the articles, keep ’em coming.

  9. Heat Ray over Coralhelm Commander, are you guys nuts???

    Especially after seeing how open blue is? That pick is not even close.

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  11. Coralhelm is indeed much better. I’ve lost games against levellers with heat ray in my hand… especially on the draw. It’s a good card, but Coralhelm is such a beating

  12. Nice writeup.
    I like how you tend to stay open a bit early on and really read signals and don´t fear to waste a good card (joraga treespeaker). Also acknowledging a mistake of playing the staggershock is good to see, though it´s hard not to fault yourself after being colorscrewed a couple times.
    Funny how this deck was quite good but lost straight away where LSV´s deck in his draft was basically the reverse.

    I find it weird that the channelfireball crew likes to draw first against a random deck. The leveler deck is quite tempo oriented and doesn´t really on card advantage as much, afterall you tend to have ways to spend your mana anyway, so I think playing is better against a unknown opponent.
    After you know you play against a high removal deck drawing is a good choice as then your levelers tend to die, but overall playing is better as against many decks like the ramp deck, lust for war deck, the leveler mirror etc. the game comes down to a race and tempo is more important then the extra card. Also by choosing to play you are much more likely to avoid getting hit hard by certain cards, ie. you can level up that skywatcher adept before he gets to play his bala ged scorpion etc. I always chose to play in this format except when i´m playing a high removal deck or when I know i´m playing against one and with the popularity of removal I generally opt to play against a unknown deck.

  13. ^ Drawing first is better with Lust For War, as often it will be your only 3-drop in hand, and you want to make sure there’s a target to cast it on. In some kind of ramp/control matchup, drawing is just clearly better as well, and that’s what a lot of decks are. If one deck is aggro enough, it’s possible playing is correct, but I really think it would only be correct if both decks are aggro.

    This format doesn’t make it obvious like other formats in the past, but I think drawing first must be correct about 80% of the time.

  14. I just think most matchups come down to a race at some point in ROE limited because there are still plenty of evasive guys and lots of creatures do favor attacking. For example the ramp decks often have a crusher or artisan at the top end and it really matters alot if they get to attack with those half a turn earlier.
    Playing or drawing doesn´t depend on the speed of the format, it depends on the fact wether card advantage or tempo is more important. Most games in the format are won by tempo as the result from some sort of race where little games really come down to one player just exhausting the other play by winning because of more threats. As a result im quite sure playing is generally the better play, in fact lust for war is more a reason to play then to draw as it puts a clock on the game. A lust for war usually starts a race where the guy that got his creature lust for warred tries to outrace it, playing makes it more likely to win that race. Not having a play turn 3 with lust is much less likely as there is a big chance you will either have a 3 drop yourself or he played a 1 or 2 drop.

  15. Thanx for the article. I would probably have taken the Wurm p1p6 over Perish, because the ramp deck was still an option, but otherwise I agree with your picks.
    Concerning mulligans, enough has been said. I also would have boarded out 1 Vendetta against your opponent’s black-heavy deck for the Perish.

  16. Holy card quality batman… those packs were unreal-good. 5th pick Cryptologist, seriously?

  17. Good article. In my opinion, you navigated the draft well. The only pick I would have changed, and you mentioned it, was passing that Lust for War P2.5. Not a huge deal though and certainly not a pick that cost you anything.

    Deck building — It was a complicated pile and those last few cuts were very difficult. If you give that pool to 5 people, I’m sure you get 5 slightly different decks back.

    I get the feeling from your writeup that you were really frustrated with this match. Your draws were unfavorable, no doubt about it. I just hope you’re not the kind of guy who is all happy / confident when you’re winning, and outwardly sarcastic / cruel when things don’t break your way. You were writing like you were on tilt!

    I’m guessing you just adopted that tone for this article though because there truly was a good deal of bad luck working against you. It was jarring because your writing is usually so measured and in control.

  18. People are still not reading lust for war and reality spasm apparently….

    also mulliganing is tech.

  19. drone over wall with 2 vendetta, corpsehatch, 2 deprive is a mistake imo. you had a drone already. they are ok in a UB leveler deck, but hardly exciting. I think I would have played 18 lands and no staggershock too, the deck is very good as it is, got enough removal and the colored mana requirements with t1/t2 black levelers + vendetta, cryptologist + coralhelm commander + deprive are already quite demanding.
    I’d run 18 lands in such decks always as well.

    But nice drafting and nice maneouvering through the colors. Was very tempting to end up with the wrong colors looking at your picks 2 + 3 but you dodged the bullets nicely. A lot of people would have just been set on Gx ramp and end up with a muuuch worse deck. Although opening an on-color rare always helps, of course. 🙂

  20. Interesting how some of you guys are trying to teach the guy how to mulligan and question his decisions. May I remind you he finished 12th at a Pro Tour recently? Not so many readers can say they did as good ever. There is a lot of reasoning coming from Ocho for each pick. And I would also have splashed the staggershock as much of the leveling abilities were requiring colorless mana anyway. I like the fact that Ocho points out it’s not as automatic as it looks like.

    Thanks Ocho for a great read, I appreciate the lessons I get from your articles and keep up the good work.

  21. Drafted pretty much the same picks i would have, including the treespeaker and probably splashing staggershock too. You just got some bad draws. Alot of teacher without a leveller, or just mana issues, and he always had worse quality removal where your removal blanked vs all his black stuff.

    Just unlucky, those hands were all keeps on the draw. The champions drake and teacher picks were kinda sketchy (over Frostwind Invoker and Bala Ged Scorpion) just because they dont really do anything without levellers around, and levellers are good on their own.

    I’m starting to loathe champions drake, because you invest so much in the leveller, then they kill it and chump the drake, or leave you with a 1/1 dork. Keep it coming cheers Web!

  22. Pick 5 Enclave Cryptologist is really only a single card, indicating that blue could be open but that could just as easily be a card that people in this particular draft undervalue. Corpse Hatch is clearly a great card and I would say is an obvious signal.

    Then Pick 8 you get Frostwind Invoker, which solidified your belief that Blue is open…But I’d really debate that “it was clear Blue was wide open” and that the clear pick one pack two is the Merfolk.

    Lets look at it from another angle:
    You have a clear indication that black is wide open with a late corpse hatch. You are definately playing black.
    You have one good green and red card and two good blue ones and no clear theme yet.
    The blue guy costs UU to cast, closing a lot of options on where to take the deck (As in you are now moving towards heavy Blue and heavy Black).
    The red card, which is reasonably close in power, costs R to cast and leaves a lot of options open on where to take the deck.

    Hindsight from pack 3 makes everyone say you made a great draft choice, and the deck is OK as is, but I wouldnt say its so far out of whack that it was clearly right to take the Merfolk.

    Its important since taking the merfolk guided the rest of the deck and you ended up with what I would consider is a mediocre UB leveller deck.

    Just my 2-cent.


  23. Ultimately, it seems like a bit of bad luck on the draws, and a strong deck/draw from the opponent provided an early exit from the event. This deck definitely would have easily beaten at least 4 or 5 of the other decks at the table.

    Also, note that you never drew the mountain or the staggershock, so judging the correctness of the red splash from just these 3 games seems bad.

    @westy: sure, the mulligan articles you reference are written by pros, but ochoa is a pro as well. This means that he will make the right decision more often than most of us, and also that he might have his own perspective on mulligan criteria. TBH, i think i would have kept both of those questionable hands. Some plays were available, and with a ~30% chance of drawing an island with each draw, it could easily have taken a different path with better topdecks.

    The thing is, it’s very easy to become results-oriented with mulligans. It is very easy for us as readers to claim “bad decision” when a game loss ensues, but if he had drawn some blue mana and went on to win the game we would say “great keep.” Furthermore, going down a card vs a heavy 1-1 removal deck is usually not a great plan unless your deck contains some card advantage, which in this deck was only staggershock, see beyond, and cryptologist.

  24. @Metalman Ochoa not even knowing the printrun picked up prettty quickly that blue was open, and was mostly correct as it was open from his right from what I’ve deduced. Sadly, I don’t know if black was, since the corpse hatch pack had a vendetta and staggershock in it when it was openened.

    @ Ochoa

    (Making these as I go along if it’s not obvious)

    P1P3: seems like a foil (or contaminated grounds) and bala gad scorpion were taken. So tree speaker seems good.

    P1P4: Staggershock + vendetta missing, which are reasonable over corpse hatch so it’s really hatch vs rare as the black signal.

    P1P6: Crusher, and (unless you think Evil took eland umbra) Nest invader + bloodthorn vampire are missing. uh oh let hope you get out of those colours.

    P1P7: besides the staggershock in pack 4, before now there wasn’t any good red to see, unless you like hypothetical fissure vents.

    P1P8: Yeah you’re right about black. Nest Invader, Narcolepsy, Dread Drone, Ondu Giant are missing. I’d guess there’s one other blue drafter 4+ seats to you right or someone just took narc for the splash.

    nice switch 😀

    p2p5: Teacher missing. also likely sporecap spider+deprive but not 100% on those two.

    p2p6: Evil cut another teacher. The Evil on the other side of you must be levelers too I guess.

    I don’t think you’re drafting poorly, it definitely seems like all the good cards are being taken by evil before they get to you. (ie uncommons and the 1 or 2 common playable)

    P3P3: someone took last kiss over narc, you can be sure they aren’t BU I guess.

    Glad pack three had more powerful packs to fill out your deck. It’s just a shame Evil was taking all the good cards in the first pack.

  25. This was a great read. I enjoyed how you interpreted reading signals while evaluating pics in relation to different archetypes. This really helped take my understanding of Roe drafts to another level. You just need some lessons from LSV in how to top deck like a champion (like in his draft videos). I also appreciate the writeup on a “loosing” deck. It’s nice to know that even the pros draft a deck which has game and still loose out game one.

  26. @Metalman: Forget the Invoker. 10th pick Sea Gate Oracle? 12th pick Deprive? You see those and don’t believe blue is wide open? He had 4 solid blue cards and only one red card, and didn’t see any red the entire pack, so how could you argue that he should pick the obviously inferior Heat Ray (no, they are not close in power)? You’d need some Mnemonic Walls or a Drana for that pick to be correct.

  27. First hand could go either way,but I visibly grimaced when you kept a hand with all swamps (in a mainly U deck), a UU guy and one decent, fragile leveler against a deck full of instant removal, you were just asking to get blown out. Nevermind the one splashed card which is totally dead (wilds is gonna need to get an island, and a mountain doesnt reply help your mana) I realize you can’t win em all and you always need help from your draws, butthat hand is such an easy mull I think. A little dissapointing considering your normal quality of play, but none of us are perfect, keep the drafts coming!

  28. Wow, those were some horrible keeps. That game 1 keep, even on the draw, was awful. I seem to recall reading an article a while ago discussing how many mulligans are in your hand based on how many cards you are unable to use (if you draw a card you can’t use, you may as well have not drawn the card). As I read it, that hand was 3 cards and a QUADRUPLE MULLIGAN. Seriously? You’re keeping a hand with a QUADRUPLE MULLIGAN? No wonder you got blown out. Even if 1 swamp would have done the deal, if you don’t draw a swamp it’s like you’re starting the game after mulling to 3. I’ve been blown out so many times by doing sketchy things like that that it’s not even funny. (By the way, for those about to say that Ochoa is a pro and I’m a noob, when I did sketchy things like Ochoa did my rating was around 1580 and steady. Once I stopped doing sketchy things my rating went up to 1720. 140 points of rating can’t be wrong)

    The hand in game 3 was a bit better since it only had a double mulligan in it (Escaped Null works off any 4th land, and since you don’t need runner-runner to hit it it’s decent). I probably would still have mulled though. You need runner-runner to hit Coralhelm Commander, and with only 2 red sources for Staggershock you’re not playing it anytime soon. It’s a reasonable keep, but I think it was probably wrong.

    And that’s another thing: Only 2 red sources in the deck? The deck doesn’t seem that colour-hungry. Only 2 cards in the deck have a CC mana cost, so you could definitely afford to play a couple more Mountains. As it is, your chances of playing Staggershock in any given game are very low, so you may as well not be playing it with only 2 red sources. Another thing I learned in becoming less of a sketchy player.

  29. Wow, 3 lust for wars going around pack 2. Like LSV says, people don’t know how good it is. That’s quite a quick clock with all the chump blockers available if you needed them.

    This format though you have to be extremely focused, so I don’t fault you for not switching your deck mid draft. It’s really diverse, tons of archtypes and it really rewards specific focused strategies

  30. You passed
    3 Lust for war
    1 heat ray
    2 rapacious one

    You lost to a deck with lagac lizard
    It sucked cause you wanted it to

  31. @whatisfgh: You got a link to the print runs? Been too lazy to compile them myself and can’t find them with a cursory look.

  32. @seeker
    1) I’m not sure about cf’s link rules, since they are technically a business.
    2) I didn’t upload the raw print runs like I did for Zen and M10.

  33. There are 2 things i would have done differently this draft, not that I’m saying your picks are wrong but I’ll give you my logic.

    p1p3 Ulamogs crusher over Treespeaker, although the eldrazi are technically not artifacts it amazes me how many experinced drafters seem to have forgotten that colourless spells have alot more value early on in the draft. Almost any deck is going to be happy playing an ulamogs crusher. Also i think maybe at the PT you could take the tree speaker as a signal green is open but on modo even 8-4 i think your giving a bit to much respect to the players around you, any noob can hop in the que and play.

    p3p2 With the staggershock already that I really want to splash, as its an amazing card and no card I’m really excited about in the pack the adept, cost to much to level for my tastes.

    I would take the prophetic prism, if your going to splash cards in this format in my opinion you should be taking these highly now, as they just dont wheel anymore. It also makes tokens better too, you can hide your vendetta with a prism out and a token, leave one blue mana open, oh look he cant vendetta me now time to cast that mammoth umbra, or they’ll assume you do not have it when you do. I once deprived a transcedant master off 2 prisms and 2 eldrazi spawn.

    Case in point look at thoose marginal hands you kept games 1 and 2 take a card away from them and put a prophetic prism in your hand. The card just makes all thoose 2 land same colour hands you should be mulling keepable.

  34. @Markwerf You mentioned the importance of attacking first if you’re the green ramp deck, and your top end is Crusher or Artisan. I agree. Here’s the question: Are you more likely to get to 8-9 mana by playing first, or seeing an extra card? How many times have you played the ramp deck and been stalled out on 7 mana with Ulamog in hand? How many times did you get that 8th mana source out and not have an Ulamog to cast?

    The point the CF-ballers are making is that, even with a single extra card, your draws are a lot smoother. In a vacuum, they tend to make that choice, but when playing as or against a known agressive deck (like Auras or Levelers), they change it up.

  35. There were a few picks in here in which you had the choice of the 2/1 Merfolk Observer over some irrelevant card, and you picked the irrelevant card.

    Why? You have the tribal commander and so the value of every card with that tribe just goes up a great deal.

    Secondly, not picking reality spasm was probably a mistake. You’re not trying to beat through with a skeletal wurm (Who’s value is in the fact it’s an 8 cost black spell to power up induce despair and explosive revalation type effects), but rather over power your opponent’s defenses. Reality spasm can mise out some wins, and can produce infinite mana with Echo Mage (if you opened or were passed one pack 3). I believe the possibility of at least one echo mage being opened each draft is like 50%, and you possibly could get one as late as 4th.

    I think one of the major hold overs I still see in drafters is that they don’t take into account that Rares aren’t Rare anymore. The set size is smaller, and you can make moderate expectations of certain cards being opened. This is why Wizards decision to put Drana in the starter deck breaks the balance of the format. Her power level is on Mythic, and yet she shows up every other draft. She’s the 5th ‘best’ first pick, competing with narcolepsy, which appears 14(?) times as often.

    While it didn’t matter this draft, it is important to recognize in each archetype the most powerful rares you can draft, and the cards which turn those rares on.

    Finally, you needed to sideboard both games. Nighthaze, Shrivel, and Perish are probably better in this matchup then staggershock and escaped null, or the second vendetta / corpse hatch. You are the beat down and you lost game 1 due to tempo and poor mulliganing, and his defense plans are to create lots of small dudes to choke up the ground. Shrivel is always good against his deck, Corpse Hatch is not.

  36. 140 points CANNOT be wrong. I think I know who our next star author is going to be! We already have a column name too!

  37. I really like how you make commentary in the middle of the draft, alongside each pick. What’s really standout is that you keep it up even for some of the later picks – a lot of draftcaps will just stop saying anything after pick 7, assuming the pick is ‘obvious’.

  38. Thanks very much. Apparently I have been missing a lot watching LSV’s videos but not reading your draft recaps! 😛

    (notably, draft mistakes realized in hindsight, descriptions in greater detail, broader explanations of possible scenarios)

    Possibly the only place I would have differed is picking Mnemonic Wall over 2nd Drone. But then I think I’m still not seeing the value of Bloodthrone Vamp – just not the kind of card I like to play. I’d rather get to play a removal spell twice. Not saying it’s right, but that’s probably what I would’ve done.

  39. it’s funny that in P1P1 you dont even mention Killn Fiend. It’s very close to Vendetta in power level, I’ve seen Killn Fiend decks consistently kill on turn 5. Sure removal is good but Vendetta can often be blank as black is most popular color

  40. @cloudsabacc
    Being on the Pro Tour does not make one infallible, nor does it guarantee perfect play at all times. For example, anyone remember a certain block made on a certain first striking creature of Jon Finkel’s in the TOP EIGHT of Pro Tour Kuala Lampur? Please get your head out of Ocho’s lap and we can welcome you back to the world where everyone makes mistakes, and can learn from them.

  41. “I haven't read how the matches played out yet, but pack 2 pick 1 I would have gone for the heat ray instead of Champion. If you did that, then you would have been blessed with 2 lust for wars in the next few pics.”
    Then you have never played with Coralhelm Commander. Unanswered T2, he is an absolute beating. Not to mention that blue overflows with decent Merfolk to play, like Skywatcher Adept, Merfolk Skyscout, and Frostwind Invoker.

    Yeah, I had a similar situation happen to me in a FNM draft when I opened a Foil Gideon P2P1 after drafting BG. I tried to fit in W to play the Gideon with some other cards, but the mana just crapped on itself, despite Gideon winning me several games (usually on T5).

  42. First, regarding the fact that he finished 12th at a pro-tour. I don’t follow the pro-tour, so I can’t comment… but was it constructed or limited? The 2 are very different….

    Second, I found many of his draft choices and his reasoning questionable. I am not going to go back and do a play-by-play after having read through, but one that sticks out in my mind was when he took distortion strike over reality spasm… Reality spasm is more versatile, can be used offensively, defensively, or both… *shrug

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