SSC Draft #1
Today we bring you the first of many in-depth draft walkthroughs, courtesy of Webster. Now that Alara Reborn is out on Magic Online, the rest should be the full block (SCR) – LSV
Pack 1 pick 1:
This really isn’t the way that I like to start a draft. Woolly Thoctar and Tidehollow Strix are the only good picks. Woolly Thoctar is much more powerful, but harder to incorporate into your deck if Naya is being drafted to your right.
My pick: Woolly Thoctar
Pack 1 pick 2:
There are a lot of Naya cards here. Excommunicate, Druid of the Anima, Mosstodon, and Ranger of Eos are all good picks here. Considering our first pick, I’m leaning towards Druid of the Anima over Ranger of Eos. While Ranger can be made to be quite good if it’s picked up early, having the requisite mana to play our Woolly Thoctar seems a bit better. Hopefully the Excommunicate will wheel. The pack certainly is deep enough.
My pick: Druid of the Anima
Pack 1 pick 3:
Blood Cultist is tempting to take. It’s possible to splash white and black. However, red appears to be being cut off which makes Blood Cultist undesirable. Knight of the Skyward Eye is a much better pick. It’s a very good bear and fits well into a heavy green/white Naya deck which it appears we are well positioned to draft. Resounding Silence won’t be as good as the knight since our opponents are likely to not be attacking us.
My pick: Knight of the Skyward Eye
Pack 1 pick 4:
It’s unfortunate how mediocre these packs have been. Elvish Visionary and Gift of the Gargantuan are the two cards I wouldn’t mind playing. I dislike playing obelisks so I won’t include the Naya one. Gift of the Gargantuan is good in decks with lots of creatures. Even though all three picks have been creatures so far, I still like Elvish Visionary more. If the power-level of the deck is high enough from spells, a random card is going to be better than what gift offers.
My pick: Elvish Visionary
Pack 1 pick 5:
Dragon Fodder, Rip-Clan Crasher, and Elvish Visionary all fit into Naya. Since we’re splashing red, it’s unlikely that we’ll have red mana early which eliminates the red cards. They are only good early in the game which isn’t what is likely to happen.
My pick: Elvish Visionary
Pack 1 pick 6:
Resounding Roar outclasses Welkin Guide, Cylian Elf, Incurable Ogre, Ethersworn Canonist, and Welkin Guide by a fair margin. It’s especially good in the aggressive Naya decks which is what our deck is shaping up to be.
My pick: Resounding Roar
Pack 1 pick 7:
Again, there’s really only one playable in the pack. Rakeclaw Gargantuan isn’t disappointing though.
My pick: Rakeclaw Gargantuan
Pack 1 pick 8:
Dispeller’s Capsule, Godtoucher, and Lightning Talons round out the choices. The capsule is good against Esper decks and Oblivion Ring. Godtoucher and Lightning Talons don’t have as much potential to be good.
My pick: Dispeller’s Capsule
Pack 1 pick 9:
Guardians of Akrasa is pretty mediocre. It’s still better than Godtoucher, Lightning Talons, and Lush Growth.
My pick: Guardians of Akrasa
Pack 1 pick 10:
Already having two Elvish Visionary makes the Thorn-Thrash Viashino look quite appealing. Exuberant Firestoker (which is moderately underrated) functions quite well with more of the other cards we have (Woolly Thoctar, Rakeclaw Gargantuan, and Knight of the Skyward Eye) in higher numbers. The Thorn-Thrash Viashino isn’t going to be very good if we don’t have the Elvish Visionary in play (or even in the deck depending on how the rest of the picks go) and can be usually picked up late which suggests it will be easy to get one next pack if we want.
My pick: Exuberant Firestoker
Pack 1 pick 11:
Sunseed Nurturer can be very good at times just like Exuberant Firestoker. It pairs well with the slower Naya decks that revolve more around five-power creatures than quick beats and combat tricks.
My pick: Sunseed Nurturer
Pack 1 pick 12:
My pick: Dragon’s Herald
Pack 1 pick 13:
My pick: Godtoucher
Pack 1 pick 14:
My pick: Mountain
Pack 1 pick 15:
Pack 2 pick 1:
Spearbreaker Behemoth, Thunder-Thrash Elder, Rakeclaw-Gargantuan, and Bant Panorama can all go into the deck. The Thunder-Thrash Elder and Bant Panorama can be excludes quickly; they aren’t as good as the other two. Spearbreaker Behemoth is better than Rakeclaw by a fair margin once it’s in play. The problem is that it’s seven mana, though only one color. Despite its cost, the Spearbreaker Behemoth is too good to pass up. Depending on the mana fixing that we get from this point on, Rakeclaw Gargantuan is going to be cast on turn six more often than turn five.
My pick: Spearbreaker Behemoth
Pack 2 pick 2:
Resounding Thunder and Vithian Stinger are the two cards to choose between. While Soul’s Fire and Jund Battlemage are also both good, they aren’t on the same level as the aforementioned two. I go back to thinking about Resounding Thunder and Vithian Stinger and how the two compare. I’m still convinced that Vithian Stinger is better overall. It’s still hard to stay behind that decision at times. The board control that Vithian Stinger provides over time is impressive. Resounding Thunder deals with another type of threat: mid-level creatures like Beacon Behemoth, Cloudheath Drake, et al.
My pick: Vithian Stinger
Pack 2 pick 3:
Resounding Roar, Soul’s Fire, Welkin Guide, Bant Panorama, Cavern Thoctar, and Drumhunter are the choices. Soul’s Fire and Drumhunter stand out in front. Soul’s Fire is at its best in a Naya deck; it’s removal, but situational. It’s not very hard to disrupt a player’s ability to resolve Soul’s Fire with a removal spell of their own. Drumhunter is also very good in a Naya deck. Overall, I prefer Drumhunter. I think it’s more effective on average than Soul’s Fire.
My pick: Drumhunter
Pack 2 pick 4:
There aren’t many exciting choices here. Bant Panorama and Rockslide Elemental are the only two that stand out. The only fixing we currently have is Druid of the Anima which makes Bant Panorama a good pick. However, while we have a good number of playable cards, there are quite a few that aren’t very exciting. Rockslide Elemental is better to take for that reason. If the Panorama were Naya, it would definitely be a better pick, but it doesn’t fetch our splash color (red) which is more of a concern now than fixing our two main colors (green/white).
My pick: Rockslide Elemental
Pack 2 pick 5:
Speaking of red mana fixing, here’s a Jund Panorama. Ridge Rannet and Sacellum Godspeaker are not exciting at all. We have quite a few large beasts already. There’s no need for another that costs double red.
My pick: Jund Panorama
Pack 2 pick 6:
Jeez! Bone Splinters, Scavenger Drake, and Corpse Connoisseur are still in the pack with five cards taken. For a minute, I thought I had accidentally joined the 4-3-2-2 queue instead of the 8-4 when I saw this pack. Unfortunately, the cards that go into our deck aren’t nearly as appealing. Cylian Elf and Welkin Guide are the two choices. Cylian Elf isn’t appealing considering we already have to Elvish Visionary (which I like more); I wouldn’t want to play it unless we had at least one more pump spell. Welkin Guide compliments our large men better.
My pick: Welkin Guide
Pack 2 pick 7:
This is a very late Knight of the Skyward Eye; and there’s a Naya Panorama too! While I’d like to take the Naya Panorama, the Knight of the Skyward Eye is just too good to pass up. It has great reach (it’s good early and late in the game) and is a huge improvement to our two-drop slot.
My pick: Knight of the Skyward Eye
Pack 2 pick 8:
Gustrider Exuberant is tempting to take, but I don’t think I’d play him. I’d rather take another Dispeller’s Capsule as a sideboard option.
My pick: Dispeller’s Capsule
Pack 2 pick 9:
My pick: Guardians of Akrasa
Pack 2 pick 10:
My pick: Gift of the Gargantuan
Pack 2 pick 11:
My pick: Welkin Guide
Pack 2 pick 12:
My pick: Spell Snip
Pack 2 pick 13:
My pick: Relic of Progenitus
Pack 2 pick 14:
My pick: Hindering Light
Pack 2 pick 15:
Pack 3 pick 1:
Meglonoth is easily the best card in the pack; it’s miles above Rhox Meditant.
My pick: Meglonoth
Pack 3 pick 2:
Aven Trailblazer and Ember Weaver stand out from the rest. We can ignore the Ember Weaver this time. We have very few red permanents to make it good. Aven Trailblazer is a better card by itself.
My pick: Aven Trailblazer
Pack 3 pick 3:
Valeron Outlander, Armillary Sphere, Paragon of the Amesha, and Aerie Mystics all stand out. Armillary Sphere is the easy choice. It fixes our mana and helps cast our expensive spells like Spearbreaker Behemoth.
My pick: Armillary Sphere
Pack 3 pick 4:
The choice here isn’t as easy as the last few. Rhox Meditant and Sacellum Archers are both good choices here. We can ignore the Paragon of the Amesha. While it is fine as a three-mana 2/2 first strike creature, it’s not as good as the other choices since we can’t easily achieve domain. Sacellum Archers edges out Rhox Meditant because of the board control that it provides. One of the ways that I see this deck losing is to quick exalted beats or flyers. Sacellum Archers is better at stopping that from happening than Rhox Meditant.
My pick: Sacellum Archers
Pack 3 pick 5:
Might of Alara and Matca Rioters are both good. Considering we only have one Resounding Roar as combat tricks and the high number of creatures that we already have, Might of Alara trumps the Matca Rioters.
My pick: Might of Alara
Pack 3 pick 6:
This is a fairly easy pick. While Kranioceros is harder to kill than Beacon Behemoth, it makes us more reliant on our splash color. Beacon Behemoth also has synergy with the rest of our five-power men.
My pick: Beacon Behemoth
Pack 3 pick 7:
It’s too bad that we didn’t go the Esper Route in this draft. There have been a lot of late picks for that shard. There’s nothing here for us so we get the best card in the pack.
My pick: Sludge Strider
Pack 3 pick 8:
In case we get paired against an Esper deck, Nacatl Savage is going to help more than Canyon Minotaur will.
My pick: Nacatl Savage
Pack 3 pick 9:
My pick: Canyon Minotaur
Pack 3 pick 10:
My pick: Sludge Strider
Pack 3 pick 11:
My pick: [card]Sludge Strider[/card]
Pack 3 pick 12:
My pick: Tukatongue Thallid
Pack 3 pick 13:
My pick: [card]Wandering Goblins[/card]
Pack 3 pick 14:
My pick: Lapse of Certainty
Pack 3 pick 15:
Game 1: I win the roll and play first. My hand is: 2 Plains, Forest, Gift of the Gargantuan, Knight of the Skyward Eye, Rakeclaw Gargantuan and Welkin Guide. Welkin Guide and Rakeclaw Gargantuan aren’t the best in my opener but I’m sure that they’ll have an impact on the game. I draw my second Knight of the Skyward Eye on turn two and play my first one. My opponent doesn’t appear to be doing much yet; playing only Forest and Bant Panorama which fetches Plains. On turn three I bash in with my knight (20-18) and play the second one, having drawn a Guardians of Akrasa. My opponent plays a Mountain and Ember Weaver. On turn four I play my fourth land and bash in with two knights. There are no good blocks so he takes four (20-14). I play a post-combat Guardians of Akrasa and ship the turn. A Rhox Meditant begins to gum up the ground. On my turn five, I crack in with just one knight (getting +1/+1 from the guardians) and pump it after he doesn’t block (20-8). Turn five is pretty good for my opponent. He plays a Forest, Ranger of Eos (fetching Wild Nacatl and Akrasan Squire), and Wild Nacatl. It appears that I’ve been successfully stopped on the ground for now.
With the ground cluttered, I decide to start digging for a red source so I can play my Rakeclaw Gargantuan and force my opponent to start trading 2-for-1 with my knights. Eventually, I should be able to break through the ground and finish him off or get him to lose his Ember Weaver so I can kill him with Welkin Guide. I manage to Gift into a Mountain on turn six. My opponent has a full grip and is continuing to play men. He still can’t attack very well due to the life totals (20-8) and because his men aren’t very large. Rakeclaw Gargantuan comes down on turn seven. I’ll start attacking next turn. He answers with a second Rhox Meditant and a Valeron Outlander. My turn eight is productive, as I am able to attack again. I send in one Knight and he blocks with everything but Wild Nacatl (Ember Weaver, 2 Rhox Meditant, Ranger of Eos, and Valeron Outlander). I can pump the Skyward Eye to a 6/6 and give it first strike with the Rakeclaw Gargantuan to kill two of his men, but my knight would still die. As is, I’m content with just pumping and eating his Ranger of Eos and Ember Weaver. Next turn he taps out for Akrasan Squire, Matca Rioters, and Sacellum Godspeaker. I play Welkin Guide, jump my Rakeclaw Gargantuan, and fly in for exactly lethal.
Game 2: There isn’t anything that I want to sideboard. My starting hand is: Plains, Forest, Mountain, Armillary Sphere, Guardians of Akrasa, Beacon Behemoth, and Rakeclaw Gargantuan. This isn’t as fast as my game one hand, but it will do. His deck didn’t appear to have enough low drops and tricks to punish a slower draw. Nothing happens for him in the first two turns except me playing Armillary Sphere. The silence is broken on turn three as he summons his Ember Weaver with consistency. I’ve got a few options here. I have drawn Aven Trailblazer and Spearbreaker Behemoth. I decide to play the Aven Trailblazer over the Guardians of Akrasa because I didn’t see many Red creatures from my opponent game one which would let him attack through with Ember Weaver. Additionally, I only saw the one exalted man (Akrasan Squire) which would also let him attack through my trailblazer. Playing the Aven Trailblazer first followed by the Guardians of Akrasa would also speed up the clock on my opponent allowing me to kill him a turn earlier assuming nothing else happens. Unfortunately, Rhox Charger comes into play opposing me and I am forced to take three from the Ember Weaver (17-20).
I play the last land in my hand and the Sunseed Nurturer that I just drew. I have the feeling that the Nurturer is going to play a major role in winning this game. Once I stabilize, I’ll be able to regain life so I can attack effectively, unlike what happened to my opponent last game. I obviously don’t attack with the Aven Trailblazer since I’m planning for a longer game.
On turn five, my opponent hits me with Rhox Charger (13-20) and plays a Mosstodon. I don’t draw a land on my turn, which is unfortunate. I want to be able to play Spearbreaker Behemoth next turn with the help of the Sunseed Nurturer. I can either play the Beacon Behemoth and miss my land drop or crack the Armillary Sphere and play the Guardians of Akrasa. If I play the Beacon Behemoth, I’ll be able to gain two life from the Sunseed Nurturer (going up to 15 life), but I won’t be able to play the Spearbreaker Behemoth on turn six. If I crack the Armillary Sphere, then I’ll be able to stabilize the board with Spearbreaker Behemoth next turn. With his board position, the opponent is going to attack with either Rhox Charger or Mosstodon alone if he doesn’t have a trick. I’ll have to trade and be in almost the same situation next turn which isn’t too good. If he does have a trick, then he’ll attack with everything. In this case, I’ll probably end up losing any men that I block with and probably be dead as a result. Not playing the Beacon Behemoth seems like a better play to me, so I go that route.
My opponent attacks with everything; that’s not good. I can’t really complain about him having a trick or at least representing one. I have to play into it though. I can’t afford to take more damage than necessary. I put Guardians of Akrasa on his Rhox Charger and Aven Trailblazer on his Ember Weaver. He plays Gleam of Resistance. Even though I’m losing both of my men, I’m not terribly worried. Sigil Blessing would have been a lot worse for me because it would have allowed him to have mana left to play a creature. As is, his combat trick took up his entire turn. My two men die and I take six from his Mosstodon (7-20).
On my turn six, I play Plains, Spearbreaker Behemoth and gain two life with Sunseed Nurturer (9-20). Fortunately, my opponent doesn’t have Excommunicate or Oblivion Ring to blow me out and decides to only play a Rakeclaw Gargantuan. I draw Welkin Guide, decide to save it for a rainy day, and play my Beacon Behemoth which lets me attack in with Spearbreaker Behemoth untapped. Blocking isn’t very good for him with my man being indestructible and all. I again gain two life from the nurturer (11-15). It appears that my opponent is out of tricks and only left with random men. He plays a Rhox Meditant on turn eight and passes the turn without attacking.
I have a few options here on turn eight. I have drawn a Drumhunter, but I still have Welkin Guide and also Rakeclaw Gargantuan. I am working with “only” eight mana which is getting tied up with using my behemoths. I really want to speed up the clock and attack with both behemoths in case my opponent has something to draw out of his situation (like Naya Charm, Oblivion Ring, or a big scary dragon). Attacking with both behemoths only leaves six mana open to play a man and leave up mana to use Spearbreaker Behemoth on his turn. If I play the Rakeclaw Gargantuan, I’ll still have one mana open to use on it or the Beacon Behemoth in the situation where my opponent attacks with lots of men. If I play the Drumhunter I’ll be able to draw a card with it, but will most likely have to use it to block if he attacks with everything. If he doesn’t attack, then it’s better to have the Rakeclaw Gargantuan in play in case he draws Ember Weaver which would protect him from Welkin Guide. In either case I’m losing the creature that I play if he attacks with everything. I use Beacon Behemoth twice and send in my two beasts. He takes it (11-5). I play Rakeclaw Gargantuan, gain two life with Sunseed Nurturer and pass the turn (13-5).
On his turn, the opponent plays Rhox Meditant and attacks with Ember Weaver, Rhox Charger, Mosstodon, and Rakeclaw Gargantuan. Spearbreaker blocks Rakeclaw, Rakeclaw blocks Mosstodon, and Beacon Behemoth blocks Rhox Charger. I take three damage from Ember Weaver (10-5). He plays Resounding Roar on Mosstodon and gives it trample. I save my Rakeclaw and take five (5-5). He passes the turn with two untapped Rhox Meditant. I play Welkin Guide and swing in for the win.
Game 1: I lose the roll and keep: 2 Forest, Plains, Mountain, Elvish Visionary, Gift of the Gargantuan, and Spearbreaker Behemoth. The hand isn’t good, but it’s not bad enough to mulligan. The opponent isn’t doing much of anything, playing only Mountain, Swamp, and Mountain on consecutive turns. I follow suit with Forest, Mountain, Elvish Visionary, Plains, and Guardians of Akrasa. Also on turn three, my elf cracks in for the first two damage of the game (20-18). Turn four is bad for me as I see Island plus Fatestitcher come into play. My turn four consists of attacking for two again with the Elvish Visionary (20-16) as well as playing Plains and Gift of the Gargantuan (for Drumhunter and Plains). If the Drumhunter sticks along with either the Beacon Behemoth or Spearbreaker Behemoth in my hand, I should be able to overcome the Fatesticher.
Turn five yields no land for the opponent, but he is still able to use Fatesticher to twiddle his Island and play Cloudheath Drake. I answer with a Beacon Behemoth. Fate appears to be in on the opponent’s side in every form; he knocks me onto my knees as Skeletonize dispatches my Beacon Behemoth. His new Drudge Skeleton plus Fatesticher means that his Cloudheath Drake is going to deal a significant amount of damage before I’m able to break through. Cloudheath Drake hits me (17-16).
I’m still in the game. I play the Drumhunter on turn six in anticipation of drawing a card with it next turn as I play Spearbreaker Behemoth. Unfortunately, on his next turn, the opponent hits me with Cloudheath Drake (14-16) and plays Cumberstone. I can only answer with a Plains and Spearbreaker Behemoth. On his turn eight, the opponent hits me for a third time with the drake (11-14) and plays a measly Dregscape Zombie. While my 4/5 behemoth isn’t big enough to trigger Drumhunter by itself, it can with the aid of my Guardians of Akrasa. I go to my combat phase unmolested as the opponent chooses not to tap the behemoth. I send it in despite knowing it won’t get through his Skeletonize token. I just want to draw a card. It appears that the Guardians of Akrasa had been overlooked. I play a post-combat Vithian Stinger and a second Guardians of Akrasa. The Spearbreaker Behemoth is targeted with Unsummon while Drumhunter’s trigger on the stack. It appears I am definitely going to lose this game as the opponent hits me with the Cloudheath Drake (8-14) and plays Blood Tyrant. I have no outs and lose.
Game 2: I sideboard out one Guardians of Akrasa and the Sunseed Nurturer for Lapse of Certainty and Dispeller’s Capsule. My hand is fine: 2 Forest, Mountain, Elvish Visionary, Guardians of Akrasa, Armillary Sphere, and Meglanoth. He mulligans down to six. On my second turn I draw Woolly Thoctar. If I draw Plains next turn, I’ll probably win the game (at least I hope). I decide to play Armillary Sphere on turn two instead of Elvish Visionary. I’d rather have the Plains for sure on turn four instead of drawing an extra card with the Elvish Visionary and maybe play the thoctar on turn three. I’d have to draw one of the six Plains in the deck for that to happen. Turn three yields no Plains and I can only play a Forest in anticipation of playing the Woolly Thoctar next turn. Turn four comes around and Woolly Thoctar resolves. Up until this point the opponent has played only Swamp, Jund Panorama (fetching Mountain), Island, and Swamp. On my turn five I swing in with the thoctar (20-15) and play Sacellum Archers along with Elvish Visionary. The opponent finally plays a spell; the Cloudheath Drake that so tediously killed me last game.
On my turn six I have a few options. In my hand I have Might of Alara, Lapse of Certainty, and Meglanoth. I will probably side the lapse out next game if I play it because I’ll be on the draw and it won’t be as good since he’ll play his removal when I’m tapped out. Being on the draw means I’m going to want to play the Lapse of Certainty this game if possible. I really want to play Meglanoth this turn. My options are to attack with Woolly Thoctar alone, attack with Woolly Thoctar and Elvish Visionary leaving back Sacellum Archers to make him not block the elf with his Cloudheath Drake, or to attack with all three. If I attack with all three, he’ll definitely block the archers. He’s too far behind not to. It serves no purpose to attack with the archers because I’ll have to use my Might of Alara to save it. I wouldn’t be able to play Meglonoth, but I’d be able to play Lapse of Certainty on his next play. I decide not show him the Might of Alara and just attack with the Woolly Thoctar and Elvish Visionary. Like I expect, he doesn’t block (20-9). I play Meglanoth and ship the turn.
On his turn six, he taps out for Undead Leotau to go with his Cloudheath Drake. I attack with everything and show him Might of Alara. He dies. While I went back and forth on playing Might of Alara, I could have gambled by dragging the game out for another turn and show him Lapse of Certainty instead of Might of Alara. In the end, I decided that it wasn’t worth it.
Game 3: I keep the deck the way that it is. I think that game three is going to be over rather quickly as the opponent mulligans to six and I have a very strong hand: Mountain, Plains, Forest, Druid of the Anima, Armillary Sphere, Woolly Thoctar, and Drumhunter. Like the previous two games, he has no early plays while I play Forest, Plains Druid of the Anima on turn two, and Mountain plus Woolly Thoctar on turn three (hitting him with the Druid (20-19) after Woolly Thoctar resolves so I don’t walk into Spell Snip).
This is where the game actually starts. Up until now, the opponent has only played Mountain, Island, and Mountain. Turn four he plays Swamp and Yoke of the Damned on my Woolly Thoctar. I’m hoping that he doesn’t have any removal in his hand and has to play a creature and chump with it so that the yoke triggers. I smash in with my team (20-13) and play Drumhunter. Having not played spells for the first few turns means that he probably has a few options. Unfortunately, I wasn’t ready for what he had in store for me. He plays Blister Beetle killing my Druid of the Anima triggering the Yoke of the Damned which kills my Woolly Thoctar. Then, as if that weren’t enough, he plays Island and Resounding Thunder killing my Drumhunter. Just like that I have nothing in play. Granted, I still feel fine because I have drawn Knight of the Skyward Eye, and have Gift of the Gargantuan and Welkin Guide along with the Armillary Sphere and a land.
On turn five I play Knight of the Skyward Eye and Gift of the Gargantuan for a Plains and the second Knight of the Skyward Eye. Everything looks good. Turn six is about the worst turn possible; Flameblast Dragon comes into play “¦ on his side. Ok boys, we have a real game. I like challenges, just not as much when it’s game three and they play the arguably third best rare in the set (1. Broodmate Dragon 2. Elspeth, Knight Errant). I crack in with Knight of the Skyward and pump after he doesn’t block (20-8). The second Knight of the Skyward Eye comes down into play. He attacks back with his Flameblast Dragon, eats a knight (15-8), and passes the turn with one card in hand. I swing in with the Knight of the Skyward Eye. He doesn’t block. I pump it and he kills it in response with Grixis Charm. Flameblast Dragon eats me shortly thereafter.