According to Webster – Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #5


Pack 1 pick 1:


This is the exact opposite of what you want to start a draft off with because the best options are all quite mediocre; Arrogant Bloodlord and Kor Line-Slinger are unfortunately the only two cards to consider. White is the least desirable color to start in because its themes only overlap strongly with Blue, and if Blue isn’t open then the best you’ll end up with is a deck with “good cards” in it. Themes are quite powerful in Rise limited, and by hindering yourself from the get-go by starting in a color with fewer options than others is undesirable. While a deck with all “good cards” is fine, a deck with synergies is going to be better. Kor Line-Slinger is fine, but it’s not a good enough card to justify starting in White (unlike Gideon Jura, Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Transcendent Master, Deathless Angel, Student of Warfare, and to a lesser extent Mammoth Umbra). Arrogant Bloodlord isn’t exactly a magnificent gem itself, though Black is a better color to start off in because it has more overlapping themes with the other colors and pairs well with Blue, Red, and Green. Arrogant Bloodlord is best in combination with a removal-heavy color that can keep a path clear for it to attack such as Red. The Bloodlord can also be used well in a control deck as a defender because it’s hard to get past. Both Arrogant Bloodlord and Kor Line-Slinger are mediocre, and what the decision comes down to is options. Starting off in Black gives you more options than starting off in White.

My pick: Arrogant Bloodlord

Pack 1 pick 2:


Gloomhunter is similar to Arrogant Bloodlord because it’s only a “fine” card and doesn’t have much synergy with the rest of the format with the exception of being an evasive attacker for a leveler deck. The best card in the pack is easily Flame Slash because it’s such an efficient removal spell. The other notables are Ulamog’s Crusher, Knight of Cliffhaven, and to a lesser extent Champion’s Drake. It’s uncertain where this draft is heading and taking the best card is going to pay out better dividends in the end because it keeps our options open and doesn’t send bad signals for pack two.

My pick: Flame Slash

Pack 1 pick 3:


There are a few options here and it’s important to try and figure out what the people to our right are taking. When you consider the Flame Slash that was passed last pick in addition to the Red in this pick (Spawning Breath, Brimstone Mage, Brood Birthing, and Vent Sentinel), it seems unlikely that Red is being drafted by both players on the right. However, it’s still important to note that the previous suspicion may be incorrect because a rare and uncommon are missing from the pack which makes it more difficult to make a determination than if a common were missing. In addition to that, Vent Sentinel and Brood Birthing aren’t exactly high picks which should also be noted. There’s a modest amount of Blue and Green, little White, and only one Black card (though it’s a good one). The two best cards for us at the moment are Induce Despair and Brimstone Mage (assuming we stay in Black/Red, otherwise Kozilek’s Predator is a strong contender). Between the two, Induce is a better card because it’s more efficient. Brimstone Mage is very slow to Level up which makes your especially susceptible to removal/bounce if you spend time to level him up. If the opponent can’t deal well with creatures and doesn’t have a very fast deck, then Brimstone Mage is going to give you more value because it provides good board control and will win the game on its own eventually. The problem with taking Induce is that our other Black card (Arrogant Bloodlord) isn’t great while our Red card (Flame Slash) is awesome. If we take the Induce, then we’re committing more heavily to Black/Red whereas if we take the Brimstone Mage, our options for a second color are still open. It would be better to take a slightly weaker card between Induce Despair/Brimstone Mage because Flame Slash/Brimstone Mage are better than Arrogant Bloodlord/Induce Despair.

My pick: Brimstone Mage

Pack 1 pick 4:


Seeing Domestication and Staggershock this late in pack one is a definite sign because the other colors aren’t represented nearly as well. Staggershock is the easy pick here.

My pick: Staggershock

Pack 1 pick 5:


Ulamog’s Crusher and Surreal Memoir are the two best options. The Crusher would fit well into our deck if we continue with Red/Black or move out of Black and into Green but maintain a token theme. It’s a good finisher in that archetype that can be summoned consistently on turn six/seven. Surreal Memoir would also work out well if we continued in Black/Red or moved into Red/Blue or Grixis with a moderate suite of instants (removal, counters, and cantrips). Outside of the Kozilek’s Predator that we saw in pick three, we haven’t seen many cards that go into the token deck while we have seen a lot of Blue being passed which makes it seem more likely that we’ll be successful if we take the Surreal Memoir. Potentially going into Blue after passing Domestication and other cards won’t be good for us in pack two, but should be made up for in pack three.

My pick: Surreal Memoir

Pack 1 pick 6:


Lagac Lizard isn’t the type of card we want to be picking this early because it’s so vanilla and doesn’t fit into any deck strategy. Regress is the best option because it works well with Surreal Memoir and is a good card overall. Having outs to stuff like Mammoth Umbra or fully leveled creatures is good.

My pick: Regress

Pack 1 pick 7:


Blue is apparently open as suspected, and we are blessed with three late picks as a result. See Beyond is not a card I am particularly fond of because it’s not good in the early game. Decks are usually too busy leveling up creatures and other stuff that uses up your mana. See Beyond also doesn’t provide actual card advantage, only card quality. Deprive works best with Surreal Memoir, but not with Brimstone Mage and whatever other Level up creatures that we may pick up. In those situations, Deprive becomes similar to See Beyond because it’s bad in the early game. Frostwind Invoker is slightly better than Deprive because it doesn’t interfere with levelers, is a good win condition, and is more difficult to find replacements for than Deprive (ex. Lay Bare).

My pick: Frostwind Invoker

Pack 1 pick 8:


Valakut Fireboar seems appealing at times when you’ve got lots of removal or other cards like Distortion Strike and Goblin Tunneler, but that deck (Kiln Fiend) tends to be inconsistent. See Beyond would normally be a fine pick here, but Vent Sentinel is going to be better because we saw one early in the pack in pick three with a lot of other Red. If we take the Sentinel here and wheel the other one, then we may be able to combine them with any Mnemonic Walls that we can pick up and be on our way to a reasonable control deck.

My pick: Vent Sentinel

Pack 1 pick 9:


Fleeting Distraction is the only card that we would consider playing at the moment. It’s not great, but at least cycles economically as well as interacts with Surreal Memoir.

My pick: Fleeting Distraction

Pack 1 pick 10:


Jwari Scuttler isn’t going to make it near our forty whereas Leaf Arrow will be trouble for our Frostwind Invoker and the other flyers we draft.

My pick: Leaf Arrow

Pack 1 pick 11:


All three Red cards wheeled from this pack. Spawning Breath is fine, though narrow, whereas two Vent Sentinels are better than one.

My pick: Vent Sentinel

Pack 1 pick 12:


My pick: Repel the Darkness

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Shared Discovery

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Fleeting Distraction

Pack 1 pick 15:

Pack one went well enough considering we started off not really knowing where to go. However, that was soon a non-issue after getting passed a bunch of good Red cards. While Vent Sentinel isn’t the most consistent strategy because it’s reliant on one card, starting off with two in pack one is good. As long as we fill out the rest of the deck with controlling cards, then we should be fine. In pack two we should see little Blue but a moderate amount of Red.

Pack 2 pick 1:


Regress is always good to have, but there is a moderate drop-off in its usefulness after the first (in most matchups) unless it’s in a tempo-based deck like Blue/White levelers. Mnemonic Wall would fit very well in the deck, but is more likely to wheel than Brimstone Mage because there is only one Red card (Brimstone Mage) in this pack compared to three decent Blue cards (Regress, Mnemonic Wall, and Gravitational Shift). Both Brimstone Mage and Mnemonic Wall are mana-intensive. Mnemonic Wall does have more synergy with Vent Sentinel and Surreal Memoir, especially considering the fact that we have a Regress to potentially loop the Memoir forever. Brimstone Mage is weaker in terms of the amount of synergy that it has with the deck compared to Mnemonic Wall, but is going to reduce the amount of Red that we see in pack three. It’s reasonable to hope that the Wall will wheel, though somewhat greedy. If there were a more even ratio of Red-to-Blue cards, then the Mnemonic Wall would get the nod instead of the Brimstone Mage.

My pick: Brimstone Mage

Pack 2 pick 2:


This pick is rather easy. One of the easiest ways to win a game is by drawing more cards than the opponent; Enclave Cryptologist does that and fits well into the deck shell.

My pick: Enclave Cryptologist

Pack 2 pick 3:


Explosive Revelation is fine, although it can be fairly inconsistent. When you’re playing Explosive Revelation in a deck with Flame Slash, Enclave Cryptologist, and possibly Fleeting Distraction, you won’t know with certainty that you’ll be able to kill a two-toughness creature. Frankly, that sucks! It’s nice when Explosive Revelation works out because you kill something while getting ahead by one card. However, when it doesn’t work out, you’ve most likely wasted your turn because it costs so much mana. Battle Rampart doesn’t suit the deck well even though it’s a Defender because it has a low impact on the board and the Haste ability doesn’t provide much benefit considering the average game length. Ogre Sentry is likely to wheel for similar reasons. Akoum Boulderfoot in the last option and is slightly better than Explosive Revelation because it provides the minimum damage that Revelation does while giving you a 4/5 body to work with for half the mana.

My pick: Akoum Boulderfoot

Pack 2 pick 4:


Reinforced Bulwark would fit well into this deck, though it would only be mediocre because it is a purely defensive card that is reliant on Vent Sentinel. Eel Umbra would serve the deck better because of the number of creatures that are important to keep in play (Enclave Cryptologist, Brimstone Mage, and Vent Sentinel).

My pick: Eel Umbra

Pack 2 pick 5:


Sphinx-Bone Wand is exactly the type of card this deck wants. It functions well with a high number of Instants/Sorceries and especially so with Rebound.

My pick: Sphinx-Bone Wand

Pack 2 pick 6:


One of the problems that Kiln Fiend has is that it trades with nearly everything unless you’re playing with bad cards like Distortion Strike and Goblin Tunneler. If you waste your removal on clearing a path for the Fiend, then you’re likely to lose if you can’t quickly finish the opponent off or else they’ll play a creature that you’ll have trouble dealing with (and be out of removal). Fortunately, Kiln Fiend becomes much easier to support in conjunction with Fleeting Distraction (which we have two of) because it cycles and allows you to conserve the real removal spells. Lay Bare is the other option, but it’s likely that we’ll be able to pick one up (or a Deprive) later on.

My pick: Kiln Fiend

Pack 2 pick 7:


There’s nothing for us here so we might as well take the only card that will be able to steal games from us.

My pick: Aura Gnarlid

Pack 2 pick 8:


Soulsurge Elemental is almost as underwhelming as Lagac Lizard in this draft archetype.

My pick: Battle Rampart

Pack 2 pick 9:


Phantasmal Abomination is Blue’s defensive Arrogant Bloodlord. Well not quite, but it’s quite hard to get around without wasting a removal spell on for most colors.

My pick: Phantasmal Abomination

Pack 2 pick 10:


Here’s the late Lay Bare that was talked about earlier.

My pick: Lay Bare

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Ogre Sentry

Pack 2 pick 12:


We almost have enough cards to make Crab Umbra moderately playable. Almost!

My pick: Crab Umbra

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Glory Seeker

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Aura Finesse

Pack 2 pick 15:


After the first few picks, pack two was very underwhelming. I had expected us to pick up more Red than we did. Unfortunately the Mnemonic Wall didn’t wheel from our second pick, and our deck will suffer much from that. Pack three will need to be slightly above average for us to get back to the level where we were at after pack one. We should see a lot of good Red in pack three.

Pack 3 pick 1:


This pack is loaded with good cards. Keening Stone is a powerful card but doesn’t get the respect that it should. It would also fit well into our deck, but we’ve already got a _LOT_ of late game as is. Staggershock is going to be more useful for the deck because it pairs well with everything (Surreal Memoir/Sphinx-Bone Wand) and is great removal. This pack is should be good enough for the Vent Sentinel to wheel.

My pick: Staggershock

Pack 3 pick 2:


Dreamstone Hedron is good, but slow. Additionally, we aren’t accelerating into anything with it and using it mainly as a Concentrate. Halimar Wavewatch is also good, but both it and Dreamstone Hedron pale in comparison to Flame Slash which is easily the best card in the pack because it’s such an efficient removal spell.

My pick: Flame Slash

Pack 3 pick 3:


It’s unlikely that we’d play two Lay Bare; they’re just too expensive and one is enough against most decks. Sea Gate Oracle is the best pick; it’s like Battle Rampart but advances your game more effectively.

My pick: Sea Gate Oracle

Pack 3 pick 4:


There aren’t many creatures that benefit from Venerated Teacher (Enclave Cryptologist and two Brimstone Mages). However, the Teacher is still useful in the matchups where our game needs to be accelerated to keep pace with the opponent’s (Blue/White levelers). Summoning a Brimstone Mage on three, leveling it up on four, and then summoning Venerated Teacher on five will allow the deck to stabilize much earlier and steal games against the significantly lower curve of Blue/White levelers. Even though there’s a significant level of variance associated with playing Venerated Teacher with only three Level up creatures, the Teacher will still be better than some of the slower cards like Lay Bare and Sphinx-Bone Wand.

My pick: Venerated Teacher

Pack 3 pick 5:


We’ve already got a lot of removal, and Spawning Breath is weak enough to pass up for a Frostwind Invoker. The Invoker is a solid creature to win the game with.

My pick: Frostwind Invoker

Pack 3 pick 6:


Emrakul’s Hatcher is good, but doesn’t have much synergy with the rest of the deck. It’s also fighting with the Frostwind Invokers for the five-mana slot. Tuktuk is good, especially in a deck that’s going to be on defense more often than not. There’s really not a downside to him in our deck with the exception of being in this pack with the Vent Sentinel, which we really need to take to make our deck more consistent. If we pass up on the Vent Sentinel here and don’t wheel the other one in pick nine, then we’ll be far less likely to play the other two. Winning games will be much harder, and picking up the Tuktuk here doesn’t seem like it’s worth the risk of compromising the deck’s synergy.

My pick: Vent Sentinel

Pack 3 pick 7:


Warmonger’s Chariot is usually a trap. It’s certainly not as good as Vulshok Morningstar was in Ninth Edition draft. The problem with the Chariot is that it’s slow and usually doesn’t flow well with a deck’s theme. While our deck is a Wall deck, it’s mainly a control deck. It will be using most of its time doing other stuff until turn six/seven when it may start using Vent Sentinel. Warmonger’s Chariot doesn’t help this deck stabilize, is dead early on, and puts you into more of an all-in situation when our board consists of only a few creatures. When this deck starts winning, it won’t care about winning slightly faster with a four-power Vent Sentinel that can’t block compared to a two-damage Vent Sentinel that can.

My pick: Warmongers Chariot

Pack 3 pick 8:


I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want my Sphinx-Bone Wand blown up.

My pick: Fissure Vent

Pack 3 pick 9:


And then there were four

My pick: Vent Sentinel

Pack 3 pick 10:


Hedron Matrix usually isn’t good, but can get out of hand sometimes.

My pick: Hedron Matrix

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Hand of Emrakul

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Glory Seeker

Pack 3 pick 13:


I didn’t expect this to wheel especially considering that it was the only Red card in the pack at the time. However, with the way that Red was flowing in this draft, we can’t be too surprised that it came back.

My pick: Spawning Breath

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Gravity Well

Pack 3 pick 15:


Pack three needed to deliver and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There are a number of ways to build this deck depending on how much we want to focus it on Vent Sentinels versus Sphinx-Bone Wand and Instants/Sorceries. Whatever the deck ends up looking like, it shouldn’t have a problem going 3-0.

The auto-includes in the deck are (17):



Once we get past all the sweet cards, we’ve got a few groups with different synergies that will push the deck in a specific direction based on how heavily we dip into each group. There are three groups of cards: Defender cards, Tricky Instant/Sorcery cards for Kiln Fiend/Sphinx-Bone Wand/Surreal Memoir, and “Plain ‘ol good cards”.

Defender Cards:


Tricky Cards:


Good Cards:


It’s important to analyze what the deck is will be susceptible to before deciding on which of the secondary cards are going to have a more important impact before pushing the deck in a specific direction.

The creature curve of the auto-includes is quite high and has no way of defending against a fast start without relying on the removal spells which makes cards like Ogre Sentry/Phantasmal Abomination and to a lesser extent Fleeting Distraction/Eel Umbra look more appealing. Using the last two cards to fend off attackers is going to be more difficult than the two Defenders. Phantasmal Abomination isn’t the most reliable creature to build our defense around because of cards like Umbras, Battle-Rattle Shaman, and Might of the Masses, but it will still cause them fits unless they can immediately deal with it which should give us enough time to effectively set up our board.

If we assume that we will need the support of the Defenders, then it’s less likely that we’ll be playing more aggressive cards like Warmonger’s Chariot, Battle Rampart, and Kiln Fiend for a few reasons. Chariot and Rampart help the deck’s offense, and while they have synergy with the Vent Sentinels that we want to run for sure, they don’t directly help the situations that the deck will commonly be in. The games we play with this deck are going to be grinds and last well into double-digit turns. There isn’t a blow-out draw that will lead to a quick win with this deck because it doesn’t have Skywatcher Adept, Champion’s Drake, or other cards that can deal a significant amount of damage in the first five turns of the game. It’s much more likely that we’re going to be playing defense for much of the game, and by playing cards like Warmonger’s Chariot (a card that only helps us attack), we’re making our deck less efficient at doing so. It’s more likely that we’d get more mileage out of a Fleeting Distraction than Warmonger’s Chariot because it is mana-efficient and helps us not die whereas the Chariot take a lot of mana to simply turn our Vent Sentinel into an Akoum Boulderfoot. The only thing that we need to focus on is playing cards that make it so that we don’t die. Winning is secondary.

Average game length is another factor to consider when determining which cards to play and which not to. A deck that plans on winning every game before turn seven isn’t going to be interested playing sweet expensive cards like Artisan of Kozilek (despite them being very good) because they compromise the consistency of the deck. Similarly, decks that plan on going past turn ten every game need to be more focused on being able to deal with anything because that’s what they’re going to face. With that in mind, it’s important to play with spells that can deal with anything, like Lay Bare.

The remaining slots in the deck should get filled up by the good cards. Frostwind Invoker may be a better card than Akoum Boulderfoot, but it’s far less useful on defense. The Boulderfoot should be able to kill something when summoned, and it’s definitely a better creature to have on defense than the Invoker.




Round 1:

Game 1:

Evil wins the roll and chooses to play first; looks like we won the roll after all. He immediately keeps his hand while we think about ours for a few moments (Island, Enclave Cryptologist, Sea Gate Oracle, Vent Sentinel, Flame Slash, Eel Umbra, and Lay Bare). At first glance many people would throw this hand away, but it’s fine on the draw because we’re more likely to have a land by turn two. Even if we don’t have a land, we won’t have to discard until the next turn. The Flame Slash and Eel Umbra should protect us and the Cryptologist and buy us enough time to win through card advantage. We snap keep.

Evil starts off the game by playing a Forest while [d: Mountain] we play the Island and summon the Cryptologist; sometimes you run well. Evil starts his offense by playing a Swamp and summoning a Beastbreaker of Bala Ged which won’t be a problem for us because of the Flame Slash. Ideally, Evil will spend his next turn leveling up the Beastbreaker. [d: Mountain] We play our Mountain and Level up the Cryptologist (L1) while Evil plays a Forest and does the same with his Beastbreaker (L1). The only difference with Evil’s creature is that he bashes us for four with it [G: 16]. However, we care not because we’re about to draw a boatload of cards and spend only one mana to deal with his guy. We loot at the end of the turn [d: Ogre Sentry] and discard the Lay Bare. Our mana will be tied up for a while (not to mention we don’t have double-Blue up yet) and we won’t have time to keep mana open to counter something.

[d: Brimstone Mage] We Level up the Cryptologist (L2), play our Mountain, and incinerate the Beastbreaker with Flame Slash. Meanwhile, Evil plays another Forest and summons a Nest Invader. We loot before starting our turn [d: Brimstone Mage] and discard the Sea Gate Oracle. [d: Spawning Breath] We level up the Cryptologist (L3) and draw a card [d: Surreal Memoir], but unfortunately have to pass the turn without playing a land. Hopefully Evil can’t deal with the Archivist on his turn.

Evil plays a Forest and attacks with his Nest Invader [G: 14]. Afterwards he summons another Beastbreaker of Bala Ged and levels it up (L1). [d: Island] Had it. We draw with the Cryptologist [d: Island], play the Island, and summon the Ogre Sentry before passing the turn. Evil decides to ignore the Cryptologist and points a Corpsehatch at the Ogre Sentry. We decide to save it with the Eel Umbra. Then Evil attacks with his Beastbreaker [G: 10].

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain, draw again [d: Staggershock], summon one of the Brimstone Mages, and pass. Evil plays a Swamp and levels his Beastbreaker (L2) before attacking with it. He had the mana to level it to four if he sacrificed two of his Eldrazi Spawn tokens, but he opted not to which suggests he may have a trick. We decide to block with the Ogre Sentry and Brimstone Mage. Evil then plays Virulent Swipe to give his Beastbreaker Deathtouch; we’re fine with that trade. Then Evil empties his hand by summoning an Ondu Giant after combat.

[d: Mountain] We play an Island, draw again [d: Island], summon the second Brimstone Mage, and pass. Evil rebounds the Virulent Swipe to pump the Nest Invader and attacks with it and the Ondu Giant. We decide that taking further damage would be a bad thing and use Staggershock to kill the Nest Invader [G: 8]. Evil empties his hand out again by playing a Swamp.

Our Staggershock rebounds and hits the Ondu Giant. [d: Flame Slash] Then we Level up the Brimstone Mage (L1) and use it along with the Spawning Breath to finish the Giant off. Before passing the turn we play an Island. Evil plays a Forest and passes. We draw at the end of his turn [d: Island]. [d: Frostwind Invoker] We play a Mountain and cast Surreal Memoir, but don’t get back Lay Bare. Instead, we get back Spawning Breath. Then we summon the Frostwind Invoker. Evil does nothing on his turn while the Brimstone Mage kills one of his two Eldrazi Spawn and we draw a card [d: Mountain].

The Surreal Memoir Rebounds and we get back Staggershock. [d: Mountain] We play an Island and attack with the Frostwind Invoker [E: 17]. Then we draw again [d: Mountain], summon the Vent Sentinel, and Level up the Brimstone Mage (L2) (thought it would have been better to just Level up the Mage twice) before passing. Evil summons a Wildheart Invoker and passes while the Brimstone Mage shoots his last Eldrazi Spawn.

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain, Level up the Brimstone Mage (L3), and kill the Wildheart Invoker with it. We draw again with the Cryptologist [d: Staggershock #2] and attack with the Frostwind Invoker [E: 14]. Evil plays a Swamp and passes, but not before the Vent Sentinel damages him [E: 13]. [d: Vent Sentinel] We play a Mountain and draw again [d: Vent Sentinel]. Then we attack with the Frostwind Invoker [E: 10] and pass. There’s no need to show Evil more cards. Evil concedes.

Sideboard: -1 Phantasmal Abomination; +1 Frostwind Invoker.

Game 2:

Evil chooses to play first and keeps his hand while we do the same (2 Mountain, Brimstone Mage, 2 Vent Sentinel, Akoum Boulderfoot, and Staggershock). Evil leads off with a Forest [d: Flame Slash] while we play a Mountain. Evil gets his offensive going by summoning a Null Champion after playing a Swamp. [d: Regress] All we do on our turn is play our second Mountain. Evil plays another Forest and levels his Null Champion (L1). Unfortunately we don’t have the Spawning Breath to punish him and we get attacked for four [G: 16].

[d: Island] We play the Island and use Staggershock to kill the Null. Sure, we could wait to see if Evil has an umbra, but we would rather play around a pump spell if he has one. Evil plays another Forest before summoning an Ondu Giant which fetches out a second Swamp. The Staggershock rebounds and we point it at Evil’s face [E: 18] [d: Island] We play the Island and summon one of our two Vent Sentinels. Evil immediately attacks and we call his bluff by blocking. Then he plays a Swamp and casts Growth Spasm to search out another Forest.

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and summon the second Vent Sentinel. Evil skips the attacking, but plays a Forest and summons a Dread Drone. [d: Enclave Cryptologist] We summon the Brimstone Mage and Enclave Cryptologist while Evil plays a Forest and attacks with his Dread Drone. We take the damage because we’ll be able to kill it next turn with the Brimstone Mage [G: 12]. Then Evil casts Essence Feed and drains us for another three [G: 9, E: 21], but only has one card left in hand when he passes the turn.

[d: Sea Gate Oracle] We Level up the Brimstone Mage (L1) and kill the Dread Drone. Evil summons a Nest Invader on his turn and then summons a Jaddi Lifestrider and gains a bunch of life [E: 41]. [d: Vent Sentinel. We summon the Sea Gate Oracle, put an Island into our hand (sending a Mountain to the bottom), and then play the Island. Then we Level up the Cryptologist (L1) and pass the turn. Evil empties his hand by playing a Forest and passes, unable to do anything while the Brimstone Mage begins cleanup duty and pings an Eldrazi token.

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and Level up the Cryptologist twice (L3). Evil only plays a Forest while we draw a card [d: Frostwind Invoker], ping a token with the Brimstone Mage, and use one Vent Sentinel [E: 39]. [d: Island] we play the Island and summon the third Vent Sentinel while Evil summons a Sporecap Spider. At this point we’re just going to burn Evil out. Before starting our turn, we draw [d: Mountain], ping a token, and use two Vent Sentinels [E: 33].

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and pass the turn. Evil plays a Swamp while we draw [d: Brimstone Mage], use three Vent Sentinels [E: 24], and ping a token. [d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and draw again [d: Ogre Sentry]. Then we summon the Ogre Sentry and pass the turn. Evil sees the writing on the wall and concedes.

Round 2:

Game 1:

We win the roll and choose to draw first because Evil’s deck is slow Green/Red/Black with Gigantomancer. Evil keeps his hand as do we (Island, 3 Mountain, Flame Slash, Regress, and Lay Bare). Evil leads off with a Forest while [d: Sea Gate Oracle] we play an Island and pass back. Evil fixes his mana with a Prophetic Prism after playing a Mountain while [d: Mountain] we simply play a Mountain and pass. Evil does nothing on his third turn except for playing a Swamp while [d: Mountain] we play a Mountain and summon the Sea Gate Oracle (taking Phantasmal Abomination and putting Mountain on the bottom), which doesn’t provide much help.

Evil finally starts to build his army on turn four by summoning a Kozilek’s Predator after he plays a Forest. [d: Frostwind Invoker] We can only play a Mountain and pass, holding our Flame Slash for a creature that actually matters. Evil plays a Mountain and attacks with the Predator [G: 17]. Then he summons a Dread Drone. [d: Brimstone Mage] We play another Mountain and summon the Frostwind Invoker.

Evil is hesitant to attack with his Dread Drone, but sends the Predator into combat. We snap block with our Frostwind Invoker. Then Evil plays a Forest and casts a Growth Spasm, allowing him to easily cast any spell in his deck. [d: Island] We play the Island and summon the Brimstone Mage. We’ll have Regress up all the time now which isn’t too obvious. Evil points Explosive Revelation at the Brimstone Mage, but we want to keep him around and save him with Regress. Then Evil plays a Forest and passes with two cards in hand.

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and pass the turn with Lay Bare up. Evil plays a Mountain and attacks with the Drone [G: 13] and we don’t bother throwing away our Oracle. [d: Island] We play the Island and Level up the Brimstone Mage (L1). Then we attack with the Sea Gate Oracle [E: 19] and kill the Dread Drone. Evil plays a second Prophetic Prism, plays a Forest, and then summons another Kozilek’s Predator. After that, he passes the turn with one card left in his hand.

[d: Vent Sentinel] We play our last Mountain and summon the Vent Sentinel. Evil plays a Forest and passes while we kill a Spawn token. [d: Vent Sentinel] We Level up the Brimstone Mage (L2). Evil does nothing on his turn while we use a Vent Sentinel [E: 18] and shoot a token. [d: Akoum Boulderfoot] We Level up the Brimstone Mage (L3) and pass. Evil plays a Mountain and passes while we use a Vent Sentinel [E: 17] and kill the Kozilek’s Predator.

[d: Mountain] We play the Mountain and attack with the Sea Gate Oracle; Evil chumps with a Spawn token. Then we summon the second Vent Sentinel and pass. Evil plays a Swamp and passes while we use a Vent Sentinel and shoot him with the Brimstone Mage [E: 12]. [d: Island] We play the Island and repeat our attack from last turn. Then we pass. Evil plays another Growth Spasm and concedes.

Sideboard: -1 Phantasmal Abomination: +1 Frostwind Invoker.

Game 2:

Evil chooses to play last, but we’ve got an aggressive hand to play with this time and happily keep (Island, 2 Mountain, Enclave Cryptologist, Brimstone Mage, and 2 Flame Slash). Evil keeps his hand as well. We lead off with playing our Island and summoning the Cryptologist while Evil only has a Mountain. We didn’t see much removal from him so our book-on-wheels should be good. [d: Spawning Breath] We play a Mountain and Level up our looter (L1). Evil plays a Forest and passes. We could loot but decide not to. Some people argue that looting is almost always the right play. However, at this point in the game we want all our lands and all our spells are good. If we draw a good spell, then we’ll be forced to discard a good one (Spawning Breath).

[d: Mountain] We play a Mountain, Level up the Cryptologist (L2), and pass the turn. Evil plays another Mountain and casts a Prophetic Prism before passing. We don’t loot again. [d: Island] We play the Island, Level up the Cryptologist (L3), and draw a card [d: Island]. Evil plays a Forest and summons an Ondu Giant which searches for a Swamp. [d: Lay Bare] We draw again [d: Mountain] and Flame Slash the Ondu Giant. Then we play a Mountain and pass. Evil answers back by summoning an Emrakul’s Hatcher which we let resolve.

[d: Vent Sentinel] We draw again [d: Island] and play an Island before passing. Evil attacks with the Hatcher [G: 17] before playing a Forest and summoning an Ulamog’s Crusher. We counter the Crusher with Lay Bare and see [Soulsurge Elemental, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Overgrown Battlement, Gigantomancer, and Artisan of Kozilek]. It looks like we may be in some trouble. [d: Vent Sentinel] We draw again [d: Ogre Sentry], play the Island, and summon the Brimstone Mage and a Vent Sentinel. Evil answers back by playing a Forest and summoning Drana and the Overgrown Battlement.

[d: Mountain] We draw again [d: Mountain] and play a Mountain. Then we kill Drana with our other Flame Slash, Level up the Brimstone Mage to kill Evil’s last Eldrazi Spawn (to keep him off Artisan mana), and summon the Ogre Sentry. Evil plays a Forest and summons his Artisan of Kozilek which puts Drana back into play. [d: Island] We draw again [d: Brimstone Mage] and play a Mountain. Then we summon the Vent Sentinel and Brimstone Mage. Evil attacks with the Artisan (we sacrifice Island and Mountain) and Drana while we block with the (L0) Brimstone Mage, Ogre Sentry, and two Vent Sentinels. Before damage, he uses Drana to kill a Vent Sentinel and pump Drana by eight. We use Spawning Breath to finish off the Artisan [G: 5].

[d: Eel Umbra] We draw again [d: Regress], play an Island, and Level up the Brimstone Mage (L2), and Regress Drana back to Evil’s hand. Evil plays a Forest and attacks with the Emrakul’s Hatcher and we block with Brimstone Mage; before damage we suit it up with Eel Umbra (sacrificing the Spawn token. Afterwards he summons Drana again. [d: Mountain] we draw again [d: Mountain] and concede.

Despite not knowing about Drana and Artisan, there were a few places where we should have played differently. In the first place, we should have ignored the Ondu Giant. Sure, we would have taken maybe six damage from it, but we would have found a Defender to invalidate it or simply a Level one Brimstone Mage (which we had in hand). Secondly, we should have used Spawning Breath to deal one to Drana and then used the Eldrazi token as the last mana needed to Level up the Brimstone Mage twice to deal the last three damage to her. We would have taken a hit from the Artisan and gotten annihilated twice, but it would have been easier to deal with that. The Gigantomancer would have been problematic and we probably would have lost to that, though it’s not a certainty.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 3:

We choose to draw first again. Evil keeps his hand as do we (2 Island, 2 Mountain, Enclave Cryptologist, Sea Gate Oracle, and Spawning Breath). Evil leads off with a Forest while [d: Eel Umbra] we play an Island and summon the Cryptologist. Evil’s deck is firing on all cylinders as he plays a Mountain and summons an Overgrown Battlement. [d: Island] We play a Mountain and begin making our Archivist (L1). Evil continues with his streamlined curve as he plays a Mountain and summons a Kozilek’s Predator. Our hand is rather trashy so we loot before our turn starts [d: Island] and discard an Island.

[d: Surreal Memoir] We play an Island and summon the Sea Gate Oracle which finds us a Frostwind Invoker while putting another land on the bottom. Evil begins his offensive by attacking with the Predator [G: 17]. Then he plays a Swamp and summons an Emrakul’s Hatcher. We loot at the end of his turn [d: Lay Bare] and discard a Mountain. [d: Vent Sentinel] We play an Island and pass. Evil attacks with his two 3/3s and we block the Predator with our Oracle. Before damage we put Eel Umbra on it and use Spawning Breath to kill it [G: 14] Evil plays a Growth Spasm for a Swamp after combat. We don’t bother looting.

[d: Akoum Boulderfoot] We level up the Cryptologist twice (L3) and draw a card [d: Mountain]. Then we play the Mountain and pass. Evil plays a Mountain and another Growth Spasm before passing the turn with one card in hand. [d: Mountain] We draw again [d: Mountain] and play a Mountain before passing back. Evil plays a Mountain and summons another Kozilek’s Predator. [d: Mountain] We play a Mountain and summon the Vent Sentinel. Evil passes the turn while we draw with the Cryptologist [d: Flame Slash].

[d: Vent Sentinel] We play a Mountain and summon the Frostwind Invoker (sacrificing the Eldrazi Spawn leaving four lands untapped). Evil plays a Forest and passes while we draw [d: Island] and use the Vent Sentinel [E: 19]. [d: Brimstone Mage] We play an Island and attack with the Frostwind Invoker [E: 16]. After combat we summon the other Vent Sentinel. Evil finds some action and points Explosive Revelation at the Cryptologist, but it has done its damage already. We draw in response [d: Flame Slash] and let that resolve. The Cryptologist takes eight from an Ulamog’s Crusher and Evil summons it. We use a Vent Sentinel at the end of the turn [E: 14].

We could have used Lay Bare to save it and then cast Surreal Memoir next turn to have a fifty-percent change of getting it back, but at this point in the game there are only a few spells in Evil’s deck that actually matter. The game isn’t going to last for more than two of his turns which makes our play better. If he draws into a blank, then the Lay Bare will cold him. He’ll need to draw two action spells in a row and have the Surreal Memoir miss.

[d: Mountain] We play our Mountain and attack with the Frostwind Invoker [E: 11]. Then we kill the Crusher with two Flame Slashes and pass. Evil summons another Overgrown Battlement and passes, but not before we use two Vent Sentinels [E: 7]. We finish him off on our next turn. We are victorious.

Round 3:

I didn’t have time to play this round so we split. Evil’s deck was Blue/White but not very aggressive. The cards that he had that mattered were Hedron-Field Purists, Drake Umbra, and Mammoth Umbra along with a few fliers. The matchup seemed fine, though we probably would have lost one game to him sticking an Umbra onto a flier. However, with Lay Bare, Regress, and Surreal Memoir, it would have been moderately difficult to get everything to stick. Besides the Purists, we hadn’t seen any answers to Brimstone Mage which would have been problematic for him. Our deck seemed to have the advantage.

I have to say that after watching the replays of this draft, I was amazed at how many times I would have done something differently than what actually happened. I’d go to write that I did when in fact it was . “Why did I do that? seemed obvious.” Normally I just play on auto-pilot going with how my gut feels, but the decision trees in this draft seemed to be more complex and required a bit more thinking than what I normally go with. What is important to take note of is that there’s usually something that is being overlooked, whether it be insignificant and subtle at the time or something obviously important that will bite you in the end. Always making the right play and doing so in a timely manner is an important aspect with high-level Magic. For those of you who play regularly on Magic Online, I advise you to watch your replays regardless of the format to see if you can immediately catch your suboptimal plays and the reasons behind them. Doing so will help you improve your game in the future.

Happy Drafting.

46 thoughts on “According to Webster – Rise of the Eldrazi Draft #5”

  1. I’m starting to appreciate your drafts more and more. Your explanations are more thorough than LSV’s even though I enjoy watching his drafts. Keep it up!

  2. Not sure if the choices in this draft were obvious or what but barring maybe 1 or 2 picks I would have chosen the exact same, which only leaves me more confused. I seem to be on a massive losing streak online for drafts, i think in the last week im about 1-8 in match wins which is obviously costing me a whole lot to do. If im picking the right cards I must be doing something severely wrong in the games, i think im going to have to watch my replays over and over and figure out where the hell im going wrong

  3. So, your plan of attack is to survive long enough to build up mana…so you snapkeep a hand that needs a lucky draw (or 3) in the first 3 turns to have a chance of surviving to midgame? C’mon man, mulligan’s island is a great locale! Didn’t you see how many coconuts there were?!

  4. Magic works in runs, this year I have ranged between 9th, 10th, 11th in PTQs and GPT final to not wining a game in FNM against scrubs. Although the game is highly skills intensive it is also just luck based, and when luck is with you, you can win any game doing crazy things and when it is not your day end up mulliganing every hand. That is what I am currently learning to live with it, how to enjoy the good times and let the bad times roll off me.

    Regarding the draft, I would have gone BRg tokens, it seems like it was open and might have been worth fightning for. That said your picks obviously did do the job and worked well.

  5. @Jotram:

    although he needs a lucky draw, but he gets 3 shots at it. if he just draws a second land, with cryptologist it is almost guaranteed to be able to cast sea-gate shortly after, and with 18 land deck it’s not so unimaginable, (not mentioning after the sea gate dig with 2 more cards the mana would be smooth). With 6-card action to start it it will be almost impossible to lose the game (and there’s even a flame slash to tolerate for 1-2 turns delay).

    Of course, this assumes the opponent didn’t go turn 2 land vendetta/flame slash/spawning breath, but i can see this to have a lot of chance than a random 6.

  6. I don’t understand your reasoning for not looting at all. You say that you want all of your land and all of your spells are good. So, if you loot into a land, you already have all the land you want and you discard a land. Easy. If you loot into a spell, then either it’s better than another spell in your hand, and you discard the worse spell, or it itself is the worst spell and you discard it. No matter what you are improving your hand. I don’t see how “it won’t do much for me” is equivalent to “I shouldn’t do it.” Even if it improves your hand .01% it’s worth it because you get that advantage for free.

    It’s impossible for looting to make your hand worse, because if the card you draw is otherwise the worst card in your hand you just get rid of it. So if it’s impossible to make your hand worse and can sometimes make your hand better, then why not loot? I don’t understand.

  7. My friend and I went through the picks before looking at yours each pack, and we both picked pretty similar decks. While U/R was the mostly obvious choice here, I had a few picks that would have been better in a kiln fiend deck, mostly because I’m biased to that deck. The biggest difference between your deck and ours, was how many vent sentinels we each picked. You: 4, my friend: 3, me: 2.
    Mostly because we both picked valakut fireboar in p1p8, thinking that the kiln fiend tempo deck generally comes together better than the vent sentinel deck does. Also, since we were picking up so much removal early on (we both took induce despair p1p3 also), a 3 turn clock seemed better than a slow pinger at the time.

    However, knowing what came later, that extra vent sentinel for redundancy probably was stronger in your deck. I just think it’s less likely you draft a strong vent sentinel deck, then you draft a strong kiln fiend/tempo deck, so I hedged my bets there. I mean, the fireboar still made our cuts anyway, so there’s something to that.

    Lastly, while I like your logic behind p2p1 brimstone over Mnemonic wall, I just haven’t been impressed enough with brimstone mage to take him there. Sure, he kills spawn tokens, but he doesn’t do much against the creatures you really want to kill. Mnemonic wall just seemed too good with all the removal and surreal memoirs we’d already picked at that point. Plus, I was still open to the idea of going either into a vent sentinel/control deck or kiln fiend deck, and the wall works well enough in either, but I don’t think brimstone mage is very good in the kiln fiend deck.

  8. Your description of your picks is awesome, very analytical and logical reasoning. It has certainly helped me and continually helps me improve. If there is ANY way that you could post videos of your games, even without commentary, it would be so great to see you actually play!

  9. “Round 3:

    I didn't have time to play this round so we split.”

    Love these things Web, but Isn’t playing Magic your job now? Aren’t you “on the clock” while drafting?

    I really wanted Wall.dec to go the distance!

  10. Thanx for another detailed walkthrough. Nice controll deck U built, but I guess
    for me it would’ve been also BR(g) tokens like Brannon wrote earlier.
    It’s great to read about your thoughts and reasons, it also helps me become better.

  11. What was your game plan for not dying to crushers?, you should of taken at least one! Double flame slash was very lucky lucky.

  12. Watching your own replays is a good tip. Mine don’t shock me too much though… because I already knew I was quite bad. :-/

    Out of interest, what are your criteria for selecting which of your drafts to write about?

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  14. “We counter the Crusher with Lay Bare and see [Soulsurge Elemental, Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief, Overgrown Battlement, Gigantomancer, and Artisan of Kozilek]. It looks like we may be in some trouble.”


    I think you really need to get fraps and start doing these LSV style. This is very analytical but I think you can work that in (maybe with video pauses if needed) and show a lot more about how you play.
    This deck looks very fun and it would be nice to see it in action in a video rather than an article.

  15. I was pretty critical of your articles a few months ago, and wrote a long-winded comment detailing what I didn’t like about your writing style.
    I’m happy to say, you’ve improved a lot, and I enjoy reading your pieces very much. Keep up the good work!

  16. Honestly, now, there’s no reason not to draw with archivist right away every turn.

    You’ll NEVER not draw with it. Just do it right away and get the maximum amount of information for your main phase plays.

  17. @alex: the reason not to loot is that although it does sometimes make your immediate hand better and never makes it worse, it can make your hand worse in the near future.

    it’s less relevant in constructed where (probably) all your cards are good, but imagine in draft having lightning bolt in hand, a looter in play, and a library with fireball, chimney imp, chimney imp. granted that after an immediate loot you have a fireball instead of that chumpy lightning bolt, but after two turns you have a fireball and a chimney imp instead of a fireball and a lightning bolt.

  18. Didn’t read the game play-by-play, but this was definitely the best of your draft articles I’ve ever read. Even when I disagreed with your pick, I definitely understood where you were coming from and I could understand your methodology, unlike in previous articles where you’ve been far too cryptic. Very well-written article today, thanks Ocho!

    As for some of the picks I disagreed with:

    P1P3: Looking at it results-oriented, obviously Brimstone Mage was correct since it moved you into red, and black kind of sucked for the entire draft. However, in this format you’re likely to be able to at least hit an x/4 with Induce, and it gets around Umbras which is awesome. For me the pick was close but I probably would have taken Induce, although it would have proven to be wrong.

    P1P11: With only 1 Vent Sentinel in your deck as your only defender, I think taking a second one over a decent spell like Spawning Breath was a bit greedy. Again, in the end, it turned out you were right, but I really like offing Dread Drones and killing most Levelers before they can get in there.

    P2P1: At the end of P1, you said that you should expect to see very little blue, and yet you pass a ridiculously good blue card hoping that it’ll wheel. Based on what you said not 2 sentences earlier, I can’t see how you’d expect it to wheel, and since you already have 1 Brimstone Mage and no Teachers, I’m not sure how good a second Mage would have been at the time. You did mention that Mnemonic Wall probably would have been the pick if there was a shot at the Mage wheeling though.

    P2P3: I can’t stand Akoum Boulderfoot. If you play him fairly (i.e. for 6 mana on turn 6) he’s just outclassed by every guy in every other colour. Yeah, sometimes he’s a 2-for-1, but those chances are few enough and far enough between to make me hate the card. I would have taken Battle Rampart or Ogre Sentry to pump the Vent Sentinels, although I wouldn’t be happy about taking either of them. You would also have wheeled the other wall in pick 11 to make your Sentinels even better.

    P3P5: I value Prophetic Prism way too highly. I know this, and your pick was definitely correct.

    P3P6: I would think there’s a small (incredibly remote but non-zero) shot at wheeling the Vent Sentinel, since you’re probably the only one at the table who wants them (since red is WIDE OPEN and you seem to be the only one drafting the deck). I just think Tuk-Tuk is totally nuts, and while he’s never caused me any real problems, I always start to sweat every time I see him because he makes games so much more awkward.

    Anyway, I really liked this article, and keep up the good explanations for future articles!

  19. I like the Abomination with Cryptologist. Either he completely shuts down their offense while you draw them to death, or they spend a resource to get rid of it, slowing down the offense as well. Even if they blow you out (with, say, a Battle-Rattle), that’s two points you’re not taking and Cryptologist can get you back the card.

    Card draw makes mana-efficiency crucial, and so undercosted creatures become better. Obviously all of the above applies even more with Bloodlord or Sentry.

  20. The deck needed both the first and second round opponents to not cast a “big” card on Turn 5-7 after they put out acceleration cards. Both times the opponent didnt have that big card. Also, if either opponent has a removal spell for the Cryptologist then its probably a loss.

    OK, so good deck or bad one that got lucky?

    Love the pick explanations and play analysis. Its a little tough to follow in text only is my only complaint. When you wrote “Flame Slash on Undo Giant” I was like…oh shit, that will probably cost you the game. Heh.

    Grats on the split.


  21. It’s not possible to think about a hand for a few moments and then “snap” keep…or is this an inside joke?

  22. Looking at the first pack, why did you not even consider Raid Bombardment? That card is the highest reward pick out of the pack, and Bloodlord is extremely mediocre.

  23. I really like your draft walkthroughs, you seem to know what you’re doing drafting and the explanations are great but your writing style is just so annoying and based on the two articles of yours I’ve read it seems like you aren’t so great at knowing when to mulligan. That was not a snap keep and you should be embarrassed that you ever wrote that and more so that you kept that hand.

  24. @Alex: I agree with Mike on this one. Imagine your hand is one Flame Slash. You loot, and the next card is a Flame Slash. You haven’t changed your hand at all, but now you have one less answer in your deck than you did before. It’s a valid strategy to only loot when you have something you know you wouldn’t mind pitching, assuming you’re digging for a specific type of card rather than a randomly good card.

  25. This deck’s big weakness is large creatures, so you were lucky to have the right combination of cards to take down the Eldrazi you faced. I’m pretty sure you beat your Round 1 opponent pretty much all the time, but Round 2 was basically a coin flip or worse that you won.

    Also, I have to say that I think it’s lame to write up a draft you didn’t finish.

  26. @ Mike and Josh G
    While there do exist very specific situations where looting can be bad (like, say, if you have 0 cards in your library), these situations are so few and far between that it’s not worth it to consider them here.

    In the fireball / double chimney imp example, you don’t KNOW that the fireball is on the top. There is a 1/3 chance it’s on the top, given that you know the random top 3 cards of your library (which you don’t). So if you loot here, there is a 1/3 chance that you replace lightning bolt with fireball then draw two chimney imps, and there’s a 2/3 chance that you loot away an imp and you get the fireball and the lightning bolt. If you don’t loot at all, then you end up wasting a draw step by drawing one of the chimney imps, which could have been a more relevant card. Of course if you draw infinity cards and your deck goes to infinity turns then looting is not so good, but that never happens. You need to draw relevant cards in a reasonable time frame. By looting away cards that are less relevant, you increase your chances of winning. That’s why people loot.

    As for the flame slash example, this is still a very biased scenario. If you have 1 card in hand, and it’s one of the best cards in your deck, and you have other really good cards in your deck that you don’t want to loot, then maybe looting is a bad idea. But here the worst card in his hand is a spawning breath, not a flame slash. It is a completely different scenario even though you make it sound the same. Ochoa has a very relevant possibility of increasing the quality of his hand and future draws by looting, unlike the case with the flame slashes or the chimney imps which you two provided.

    Think about it this way – let’s say that the worst case scenario is that you mill the top card of your library when you loot. Is that not the worst case scenario? If your hand is so good that it’s better than anything else you could draw in your deck, then the WORST CASE is that you mill the top card of your library. Now I don’t know about you, but if I was given a free coin flip, heads = I marginally improve the quality of my hand / deck, and tails = I mill the top card of my library, then you bet I would take that coin flip.

  27. Just a heads up, you’ll get banned if you get caught splitting on MODO (and yes I’m completely aware it’s a ridiculous rule).

  28. @Alex: You’re right, I am intentionally creating a biased scenario, because you mentioned that if there was a 0.1% chance that you could improve your hand, you should loot, and I was presenting the counterpoint that these scenarios do exist, and the more information you have about the game state, the more likely it is that, if in the (admittedly rare) situation that this comes up, the better off you are by independently evaluating the game rather than saying, “Oh, I should always loot.”

  29. Sorry, I just realize what an awful run on sentence that was, let me try again =).

    If I am in a situation where I know that every card in my hand will get me there in terms of the current game state, it is NOT worth milling a card in the situation where I would be able to potentially play 2 good cards instead, even if the odds of that happening are low. Depending on my anticipated turn clock, this might change.

  30. the chimney imp/chimney imp/bolt example just goes to show that you SHOULD loot every turn. it is as likely that the top card of your deck is a bolt when you lose as it is that the top card of your deck right now is a bolt. if there is one card in your deck you’d take over any cards in your hand, of course you loot. because there’s a chance you will hit that card. and there’s an even greater chance you won’t and get to discard something that is not that card. it’s the same reason you don’t run a 50 card deck in a draft

  31. Love the draft,

    I know in magic there’s luck involved. But you must have done something right to deserve this much luck.
    You just have 1 enclave cryptologist and nobody seems to be bothered by it and they let it live. Also just one looter but you will have it or draw it from the top every time.
    I would love to have a lucky day like that.

  32. Great draft,

    I dont really like the R/U deck, but u made it work, showing (again) how important synergy is in ROE. Like that u explain so much, like the pick of brimstone over induce despair.
    As said before I would love to see a video, LSV style, maybe he could write a draft Webster style….

    Keep up the good work!

  33. @ Alex

    You make a very good point, but not the best conclusion. The discussion about chimney imps is not the same discussion as the choise webster made, you are very right about that. The discussion is that you don’t mind discarding a spawning breath for an even better card. Where Webster finds spawning breath good enough and decides he already has a winnning hand and does not want to risk missing one of those cards even if he ends up with a better removal in hand that he maybe would have picked up a turn later.

    I think it’s a good call from Webster because he has all the answers he wants and he can better wait knowing for sure he keeps all the answers in his deck and start lootering when not all cards in hand are good answers.

    Mmaybe I can use the mathematics to explain why i think Webster made the right call. You are missing that there is a very big chance of having the same best hand next turn. I think it feels like a much bigger chance having the best hand next turn but it isn’t. The difference is gambling and have the best hand next turn 10 out of 15 games or not gabling and having the best hand next turn 9 out of 15 games and it’s not like you loose 1 out of 15 games more because of that. You end up having the worst case scenario 1 out of 15 games. Worst case scenario gambling is missing out on a quality card 5 out of 15 games, worst case scenario not lootering is having lesser quality removal next turn but the best hand for sure the turn after that 6 out of 15 games.

    In the scenario where you have a lightning bolt in hand. there are 2 chimney imps and 1 fireball in the next 3 cards. If you loot there is 1/3 chance of missing out a game winning card. In the case of taking the risk and lootering into chimney imp means that you will end up having the best hand next turn because if you don’t draw the fireball next turn you can loot into fireball 100 %
    So you risk a 1/3 chance of ruining the best hand next turn.
    Worst case scenario you end up fireball chimney imp missing a lightning bolt.

    But if you don’t loot
    There is a chance of 1/3 you have the game winning draw next turn plus the 1/2 chance of lootering a chimney imp into the fireball. Which totals to a 3/5 chance of having the best hand next turn. The difference is that you don’t take a risk. Instead of the 1/3 chance of discarding the lightning bolt when lootering you take the 2/5 risk of having the fireball a turn later. Worst case scenario is you end up lightning bolt chimney imp and 100% sure best hand next turn lightning imp, fireball, lightning bolt. So depending if you can wait a turn like in David’s game you should choose not to loot. So if you looter there is a 1/15 better chance of having the best hand next turn. For that 1/15 better chance throw away a 100% of having the best hand a turn later.
    I guess in zendikar you should take the risk for that best hand. You can’t wait a turn. And in a slow set like ROE you should not take that risk. You should go for the slower but 100 % chance you get all the quality cards.

  34. He’s not missing out on the fireball just because be loots. It’s equally likely that if you don’t loot, fireball is the top card of the deck when the game ends. If you did lose the game, maybe you could have won it by reaching the fireball if you looted earlier.

    To iterate Alex point. The WORST thing that can happen if you loot is that you mill an unknown card. In 99.??% of games this will not matter at all (in 50ish drafts I have yet to lose a game by running out of cards). So if there is even the slightest chance you can improve your hand you should loot. It’s very clear that if he could exchange the Spawning Breat for any card he wanted in his deck he would do so. This means it’s not the best possible hand and it has a chance to improve. This means he should definitely loot. By not doing so he is decreasing his chances of winning the game, though in this case only with a small percentage.

  35. [Re: Looting]
    @ Comment by alex – June 21, 2010 @ 11:59 pm
    @ Comment by Mike – June 22, 2010 @ 7:48 am
    @ Comment by Josh G – June 22, 2010 @ 9:56 am
    @ Comment by psymunn – June 22, 2010 @ 11:45 pm
    @ Comment by madmatters – June 23, 2010 @ 5:14 am

    Most people are getting bogged down in the wrong reasons behind looting. There are a multiple reasons why looting in that situation was the better choice. Many people have written about endgame examples using two bad cards and one good one, and in those examples they're right. However, they're missing the bigger picture. The point of a looter is different in various stages of a game, various decks, and against opposing decks.

    In the deck that I drafted, the point of the deck was to survive; that is the main idea. There isn't a good reason to aggressively loot and throw away a Spawning Breath in order to keep a Flame Slash because I was going to need every piece of removal for specific creatures at specific points in the game. Games were going to go on for at least twelve turns every time which makes threat-assessment an important task. If my deck played out such that I was going to kill them on turn seven every time, then I'd want to have the best removal possible because the number of creatures that I'd have to kill would have decreased as the game length decreased; having the best removal would increase the likeliness that I'd be able to successfully kill an opposing creature and smash my opponent's face in. Since my deck was slow, the importance of removal increases because it's more likely that at some point the opponent will have a creature that outclasses my own and I'm unable to defend myself. At that point, using removal is appropriate.

    Making my hand as "good" as possible in a vacuum is the wrong idea because the value of cards changes as a game unfolds. Creatures are more important early on than removal and vice versa as the game unfolds. A card like Ogre Sentry is miserable on turn ten, but on turn two it isn't that bad because it's likely to blank a few of the opponent's creatures until they trump it two turns later or use a removal spell.

    @ Comment by Nolan – June 22, 2010 @ 12:17 am
    Like I said in the article, I'm not a big fan of Brimstone Mage, but that doesn't mean that the other people at the table share my opinion. People overvalue him which is why I put so much value on him (since he was in pack two and going to influence my pack three). If I sent a mixed pack of Red/Blue, then it seemed less likely that I'd wheel one of the Blue cards than if I sent a pack overloaded with Blue. I realize that Mnemonic Wall was actually the best card for my deck, but I felt that the gamble of passing it was worth the risk.

    @ Comment by LotusHead – June 22, 2010 @ 12:54 am
    No, I'm not on the clock. I had somewhere to be, and a draft wasn't going to keep me from it. Keep in mind that the most important part of the drafting process is the drafting itself and not the games. The games are just games of limited, and while there is certainly information from the draft that carries over to them (like what tricks were passed, etc), the thought process behind the drafting is what is going to be harder to develop.

    @ Comment by chromatone – June 22, 2010 @ 2:30 am
    My plan against a Crusher was to counter it with my one Lay Bare or suck it up and eat the 4-for-1 which is what happened every time. If by "Double flame slash was very lucky lucky" you mean "having two Flame Slash in hand to kill that Crusher was lucky", then you're wrong because I already had both Flame Slash and the Lay Bare. At that point in the game when Evil didn't have any other cards in hand, still having Lay Bare in hand was better than having two Flame Slash because it would handle any other threats more efficiently (ex. Gelatinous Genesis for five).

    @ Comment by R – June 22, 2010 @ 7:33 am
    You're right about the Archivist. Like I said, I played rather poorly.

    @ Comment by Lyle – June 22, 2010 @ 8:17 am
    Induce v. Brimstone Mage:
    Early on in the draft, being tied only to Red (for Flame Slash and Brimstone Mage) seemed better than committing to Black/Red. If the pick were much later in the draft and we were already Black/Red, then the pick might be different.
    Passing Mnemonic Wall:
    I wouldn't go as far as to call it "a ridiculously good card". A ridiculously good card would be something that is good in any archetype like Narcolepsy whereas Mnemonic Wall, like many other specific niche cards, fits well into only a few archetypes. Yes, the Wall would have been "ridiculously good" in my deck, but I felt there was a reasonable chance to wheel it especially considering the pack demographic.
    Akoum Boulderfoot:
    I don't like him much either, but the Battle Rampart and Ogre Sentry were going to wheel. The pick was between Explosive Revelation and the Boulderfoot. I don't like the Revelation with so many one-CC cards because it's too much of a gamble for five mana

    [Re: Snap Keep]
    @ Comment by Jotram – June 21, 2010 @ 10:07 pm
    Keeping the hand was fine on the draw. The first step is drawing any land in the first two draw steps which is more likely than not so I wouldn't go as far to call that "lucky". Lucky implies that an outcome is more unlikely than not, hence being "lucky" would mean that I was successful at achieving an unlikely outcome. Additionally, I wouldn't say that I was doomed if I missed a land drop or two because of the Flame Slash and Sea Gate Oracle. Realize that this format isn't like Zendikar where games are over on turn six.
    @ Comment by Kesha – June 22, 2010 @ 9:26 am.
    You're right, it's not possible.
    @ Comment by rawr – June 22, 2010 @ 9:46 am
    You're right, I'm a rather mediocre player who knows nothing about sarcasm.

    @ Comment by armlx – June 22, 2010 @ 9:28 am
    Raid Bombardment is unplayable by itself and puts you on track towards a specific archetype whereas the Bloodlord and Kor Line-Slinger are more likely to be played as long as you end up in their color. Also consider that Raid Bombardment consistently wheels much later than the other two. If I did end up in tokens, then picking up Raid Bombardment wouldn't have been a problem.

    @ Comment by Phyrre56 – June 22, 2010 @ 10:55 am
    I wrote about this draft for a few reasons:
    1) The draft started with a difficult position.
    2) The draft archetype isn't something that you normally encounter.
    Yes, some people (you) think that not playing round three is lame which is fine. If I wrote about a draft where I was something vanilla like Blue/White levelers, then I'd be more included to agree; however I wasn't and I don't. Like I said earlier, the actual game play isn't the most important part of the article.

  36. Lay Bare is much underrated.

    As far as looting goes, it’s also important to realise that it’s possible to have cards in your deck that have much greater utility later on than they have right now. If you have an island, a swamp and a mountain, have removal for what’s on the board, a removal spell to spare and a decent creature you have the mana to play (say Halimar Wavewatch or something), there’s little to be gained from looting unless either you fear your spare removal to be inadequate or you can get a better creature that’s playable with the resources you have now. Drawing equally good removal or a bomb like Drana fails to improve your position. Drawing more land is an ugly tradeoff; maybe in three turns time you’ll be glad to have a second island instead of Vendetta, maybe you won’t. Even if you have a 1/20 chance of improving your position in such a situation, you probably have a much greater chance of putting yourself on tilt when your deck is already flowing well and you find yourself discarding a card you’d have gladly seen next turn.

  37. I would love to see this in video format. Listening to you reason some of these picks out in real time would be helpful and entertaining.
    fun draft though, thanks

  38. I think looting is better in this case. I (think I) understand both sides of the argument but I ask myself this question.

    If you lose this game, which is the most likely way to lose it?

    A. you loot and discard spawning breath for a better card. Then you end up in a situation where spawning breath is an important card for you to still have availiable.


    B. the looter gets removed at some point, and you lose the game because you didn’t get to see the extra two cards due to not looting.

    I think B is more probable than A and since if you dont lose you win I wouldv’e looted.

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