According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #3

Pack 1 pick 1:


Blazing Torch, Welkin Tern, Spire Barrage, and River Boa stand out. Blazing Torch tends to go against aggression because of how it works. It hinders the flow of attacking. Even though it’s colorless removal, and would leave you open to whatever color gets passed, the lack of synergy with the format (always attacking with everything) leaves it lacking. Welkin Tern is excellent even though it’s Blue, a color that many people believe is one of the weaker colors in Zendikar. Spire Barrage begs to be in a mono-Red deck. It is fine in two-color decks, but just isn’t on the same level as a deck with eighteen Mountains. River Boa is the same as Welkin Tern except that it can block. Green is definitely a weaker color, and is usually under-drafted as a result. Welkin Tern gives you the most flexibility, excluding Blazing Torch, because it’s easy to still play it if you get cut out of Blue and only play a few cards. Welkin Tern is good on turn two and also on turn eight.

My pick: Welkin Tern

Pack 1 pick 2:


The rare is missing from this pack. Vampire Nighthawk and Disfigure are still in the pack. You don’t know the skill level of the person passing to you, but it’s safe to assume they took a Black card like Sorin Markov or Malakir Bloodwitch because the format has been talked about for quite a while now. If there were a good Blue card in the pack like Merfolk Seastalkers or Living Tsunami, then I’d take it because you’re likely to get cut from Black in pack one and three as well as pack two because of the Disfigure. However, there isn’t a good Blue card. Paralyzing Grasp isn’t a very good removal spell because it’s slow and situational. It’s bad when you’re on offense unless you’ve got enough flyers to make it such that your opponent can’t block. The best non-Blue/Black card is Bladetusk Boar which doesn’t even compare to Vampire Nighthawk. If you’re going to take a non-Blue card, Nighthawk is the best option. Even if you get cut, you can still play it as the only Black card in your deck along with seven Swamps and still be fine with mana.

My pick: Vampire Nighthawk

Pack 1 pick 3:


Blood Seeker goes well in a deck with a bunch of cheap flyers like Welkin Tern and Vampire Nighthawk. It isn’t very good outside of an aggressive deck. Hagra Crocodile is similar, but more of a filler card because it’s four mana. It attacks pretty well, but doesn’t scream “play me”. Reckless Scholar is not very good because the format is too fast for the card quality to catch up to the opponent. Lands are too good to throw away most of the time. Still, it’s the best option of the three because we need to cut blue to get a good pack two.

My pick: Reckless Scholar

Pack 1 pick 4:


Summoner’s Bane would be better if the format weren’t so fast. Both players are always tapping out to play cheap creatures making Summoner’s Bane harder to use. Explorer’s Scope’s value is dependant on how low your creature curve is as well as what the number of landfall cards in your deck is. In a deck with cheap/evasive creatures, Explorer’s Scope helps you not get flooded, allow you to trigger landfall, and make your land-drops/accelerate you.

My pick: Explorer’s Scope

Pack 1 pick 5:


Gomazoa is a better card than Kraken Hatchling in a vacuum, but in a format with Steppe Lynx, Plated Geopede, and Vampire Lacerator, Kraken Hatchling provides better defense. Gomazoa is going to be better against Blue and Green because it will trade with a Territorial Baloth or a Living Tsunami whereas Kraken Hatchling won’t.

My pick: Kraken Hatchling

Pack 1 pick 6:


Soul Stair Expedition is good in a deck with good creatures. With Vampire Nighthawk already, the enchantment will prove quite helpful. If you’re only getting back Mindless Nulls, then Soul Stair Expedition won’t have as much of an impact. Kor Sanctifiers is the other option, but Vampire Nighthawk plus Soul Stair Expedition is still a better splash.

My pick: Soul Stair Expedition

Pack 1 pick 7:


There’s nothing here except Trapfinder’s Trick. Kor Outfitter is a better choice in case we end up not getting enough blue cards to support a minimal black splash.

My pick: Kor Outfitter

Pack 1 pick 8:


Ior Ruin Expedition isn’t a good card because it has such a low impact and isn’t immediate. Spreading Seas is okay against some Black/White decks because they can have mana problems at times. Summoner’s Bane is the best of the three because it will do more against the average deck than the other two cards.

My pick: Summoner’s Bane

Pack 1 pick 9:


Red was obviously the color to start in. It’s been flowing constantly, although it’s mostly been cards from the higher end of the curve. It would be better to take Spire Barrage and make the Red deck “not insane” rather than taking Pillarfield Ox. Considering the last pack, it’s safe to assume that Blue won’t get cut for the rest of the draft.

My pick: Spire Barrage

Pack 1 pick 10:


A second Explorer’s Scope is unnecessary at the moment. We haven’t drafted any Landfall cards yet. One should be enough. Archive Trap gives us a milling option if we get another one or a Hedron Crab.

My pick: Archive Trap

Pack 1 pick 11:


My pick: Tanglesap

Pack 1 pick 12:


My pick: Mindless Null

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Lethargy Trap

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Trapfinder’s Trick

Pack 1 pick 15:

Trapfinders Trick

Pack one dried up a bit midway through, but still yielded a good start to a Blue/Black deck. The remaining two packs will need to be better. Pack two should be good because we were able to cut off Blue reasonably well from our left.

Pack 2 pick 1:


Sphinx of Jwar Isle is acceptable. Dragons usually are.

My pick: Sphinx of Jwar Isle

Pack 2 pick 2:


Sky Ruin Drake is the only Blue/Black option.

My pick: Sky Ruin Drake

Pack 2 pick 3:


Another Soul Stair Expedition is unnecessary. One is usually enough. Sky Ruin Drake is much better than Tempest Owl and Merfolk Wayfinder.

My pick: Sky Ruin Drake

Pack 2 pick 4:


Grappling Hook is slow and expensive. With Sphinx of Jwar Isle and multiple Sky Ruin Drakes, there won’t be much free mana to use the equipment. Paralyzing Grasp appears that it will be fine in the deck because there aren’t many non-flying attackers in it which means it’ll be useful when we’re on the offense.

My pick: Paralyzing Grasp

Pack 2 pick 5:


Vampire Lacerator will be out of place in the deck. It shifts the manabase towards heavy black which is unappealing. Kraken Hatchling will make it harder for the opponent to race against the flyers.

My pick: Kraken Hatchling

Pack 2 pick 6:


This late Umara Raptor is a welcome addition to the deck.

My pick: Umara Raptor

Pack 2 pick 7:


Having Kraken Hatchling on turn one/two is more important than having a second Paralyzing Grasp. They both have the same function, but Kraken Hatchling costs only one mana and can be used to stop different creatures as their threat-levels change whereas Paralyzing Grasp can’t be moved around to different creatures.

My pick: Kraken Hatchling

Pack 2 pick 8:


Merfolk Wayfinder doesn’t attack very well, but is good in decks with lots of Islands/equipment. Cancel isn’t effective against most draft decks because it’s too slow.

My pick: Merfolk Wayfinder

Pack 2 pick 9:


A second Reckless Scholar is going to be better than a Cancel because it will be a proactive answer to a creature opposed to one that requires you to lose tempo by constantly leaving mana open. There aren’t any Landfall cards in the deck (besides Soul Stair Expedition) which lowers the value of the lands (making Reckless Scholar better).

My pick: Reckless Scholar

Pack 2 pick 10:


My pick: Sejiri Refuge

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Merfolk Wayfinder

Pack 2 pick 12:


My pick: Trapmaker’s Snare

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Caller of Gales

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick:


Pack 2 pick 15:


Pack two was excellent. We got at least eight cards to play (depending on whether Merfolk Wayfinder makes its way into the deck). It will be important to remember the Brave the Elements and Windborne Charge that we passed.

Pack 3 pick 1:


It’s likely that the Archive Trap will wheel since the first one did in pack one. Aether Figment is less likely to wheel and actually does something alone whereas Archive Trap doesn’t do anything by itself. We already have one Archive Trap and a Trapfinder’s Snare along with two Reckless Scholars, but winning with the Traps would require drawing two of the three cards; that seems unlikely in most games.

My pick: Aether Figment

Pack 3 pick 2:


Spreading Seas won’t be useful unless we play against the mono-red deck and it has the Valakut from pack one. Oran-Rief Recluse will be quite good against this deck and isn’t something we’ll want to deal with.

My pick: Oran-Rief Recluse

Pack 3 pick 3:


My pick: Into the Roil

Pack 3 pick 4:


Tajuru Archer is another annoying card to play against, but it’s much harder to shoot down a Vampire Nighthawk or Sky Ruin Drake with it. Spreading Seas is a better card to take to have so we don’t die to Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.

My pick: Spreading Seas

Pack 3 pick 5:


Bog Tatters would be a good sideboard card against black decks. Grim Discovery would also be good with Reckless Scholar because it’ll be able to get back both a land and a creature. Hedron Crab is the best choice for a few reasons. Taking the Hedron Crab makes the Archive Trap much better if it wheels. If your milling plan is secondary to winning by damage, then Hedron Crab poses a different kind of problem to the opponent. If left unchecked, Hedron Crab will win the game on its own which means the opponent will be forced to use a removal spell on it. The problem with using the removal spell on the Hedron Crab is that summoning the Crab costs less mana than what your opponent will use on dealing with it (which gives you an advantage if you’re playing cards like Welkin Tern and Umara Raptor), but doesn’t actually hinder your main game plan (attacking with flyers).

My pick:


Pack 3 pick 6:



Windrider Eel is an excellent late addition. It’s like Hagra Crocodile but better in every single way.

My pick: Windrider Eel

Pack 3 pick 7:


Whiplash Trap is fine and so is Stonework Puma. The question to ask is, “What will this deck lose to?” Intimidate creatures are more likely to be problematic than anything else that the opponent could throw our way. We already have three Kraken Hatchlings and Paralyzing Grasp to help defend against attackers. However, besides Summoner’s Bane and Paralyzing Grasp, there isn’t much defense against cards like Bladetusk Boar.

My pick: Stonework Puma

Pack 3 pick 8:


Kraken Hatchling is the only card left. Four is the most that I’d want to play maindeck.

My pick: Kraken Hatchling

Pack 3 pick 9:


Unfortunately the Archive Trap didn’t wheel. Jwar Isle Refuge is on-color, but not needed in the deck. It would be useful if the deck needed double-Black and double-Blue early, but that isn’t the case. The only double-Black spell is Vampire Nighthawk which doesn’t need to be played on turn three. With two Reckless Scholars, finding the mana necessary to play all the spells in the deck shouldn’t be a problem. Cancel will be a useful sideboard card against slower decks.

My pick: Cancel

Pack 3 pick 10:


We already have a Lethargy Trap; two is one too many. Electropotence is one of the problematic cards (although very slow) for us.

My pick: Electropotence

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Ruinous Minotaur

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Seascape Aerialist

Pack 3 pick 13:


My pick: Demolish

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Feast in Blood

Pack 3 pick 15:


Pack three was similar to pack one: unexciting. However, we still managed to assemble a good deck that should be able to 2-1.


There are a few configurations that the deck can go through. There are a few questions to ask.

1. “Am I playing black (Vampire Nighthawk)?”

Answer: Yes. The card that gets better without black is Merfolk Wayfinder. However, Merfolk Wayfinder doesn’t have much synergy with the other cards in the deck beyond Hedron Crab, Reckless Scholar, and tricks with Explorer’s Scope/Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

2. “Am I playing Hedron Crab and Archive Trap?”

Answer: Hedron Crab is okay by itself and has more impact on a game than Archive Trap will. Archive Trap is questionable. However, the two compliment each other and aren’t dead draws because of the two Reckless Scholars.

3. “How many Kraken Hatchlings is too many?”

Answer: Kraken Hatchling becomes more necessary as the average cost of a deck’s spells increases. Additionally, if a deck is going to attack with only flyers, then it becomes more likely that it’ll be attacked because the opponent won’t have any other option (since his Nissa’s Chosen can’t do anything against our Umara Raptor). The deck has 1 Welkin Tern, 1 Umara Raptor, 1 Vampire Nighthawk, 1 Windrider Eel, 1 Aether Figment, 2 Sky Ruin Drakes, and 1 Sphinx of Jwar Isle for flyers and 1 Hedron Crab, 2 Reckless Scholars, and 1 Stonework Puma for non-flyers (excluding Kraken Hatchling). The non-flyers aren’t going to attack in most situations which makes playing Kraken Hatchling desirable. Another factor of note is that Explorer’s Scope is good with Kraken Hatchling.

Round 1:

Game 1:

Evil mulligans to six and we keep seven (2 Islands, Swamp, Explorer’s Scope, Archive Trap, Sky Ruin Drake, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle) on the draw. Evil casts Expedition Map and Khalni Heart Expedition on his first turns while we cast Explorer’s Scope and equip it to the Kraken Hatchling that we draw on turn two. We’re put into an awkward situation as Evil summons a Turntimber Basilisk. All we can do is summon a Stonework Puma.

Expedition Map finds Kabira Crossroads [E: 22] as our Hatchling is lured by the Basilisk. We don’t want to trade it with our Sky Ruin Drake later on so we give up the two-for-one and trade the Stonework Puma as well. Evil has another Turntimber Basilisk. We summon Sky Ruin Drake and cross our fingers hoping that Evil doesn’t have another land. He doesn’t, and we gladly take two from the Basilisk [G: 18].

Sky Ruin Drake attacks [E: 20] and we summon Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Evil doesn’t draw a land again and can only attack with his Basilisk [G: 16]. We attack back and pass [E: 13]. Evil plays a land and continues to attack [G: 14]. We mill Evil with Archive Trap at the end of the turn to get more information and see Eldrazi Monument, a third Turntimber Basilisk, Welkin Tern, Umara Raptor, and Shieldmate’s Blessing. We attack again with Sky Ruin Drake and Sphinx of Jwar Isle [E: 6]. Evil finds lands with his Khalni Heart Expedition, attacks us [G: 12], plays Cobra Trap (as bait I guess), and summons Welkin Tern. We cast Into the Roil with kicker (Welkin Tern) and Evil concedes.

Sideboard: -2 Kraken Hatchling; +2 Merfolk Wayfinder.

Merfolk Wayfinder may not be the best with only twelve Islands, but at least it doesn’t get eaten alive by Turntimber Basilisk like Kraken Hatchling does.

Game 2:

We keep seven (Island, Swamp, Kraken Hatchling, Explorer’s Scope, Sky Ruin Drake, Vampire Nighthawk, and Reckless Scholar) on the draw. Evil does nothing except play two Forests while we equip the Hatchling with Explorer’s Scope and hit an Island off the top. Unfortunately Evil summons Turntimber Basilisk. We don’t draw a land and summon Umara Raptor as bait. Sure enough Evil lures the Raptor, but summons a second Turntimber Basilisk afterwards.

We still haven’t drawn a fourth land and have added a second Sky Ruin Drake and Reckless Scholar to our hand. We summon a Scholar. Evil uses Expedition Map to find Sejiri Refuge [E: 21] and lures the Scholar. With the path cleared for our Kraken Hatchling, we send it searching for lands, but find none. The second Reckless Scholar is summoned. Evil summons a Welkin Tern.

The Kraken finds a land with Explorer’s Scope. We loot away the Archive Trap, summon Welkin Tern, and equip it. Evil attacks with Welkin Tern [G: 18] and passes again with four cards and six mana. We summon Hedron Crab off the top and hit a land with Welkin Tern [E: 19]. Paralyzing Grasp is put onto Evil’s Welkin Tern. Evil casts Cobra Trap in response, untaps, and plays Eldrazi Monument. His snakes are a bit more deadly now. For some reason he holds one back and only attacks with three of them [G: 12].

The lands start flowing. We loot, play a land, and hit another with the Explorer’s Scope. Evil has sixteen cards left. We summon a Sky Ruin Drake and will be able to play another one along with Vampire Nighthawk on the next turn. Evil sacrifices Welkin Tern and attacks with all four snakes. Sky Ruin Drake blocks one [G: 6]. Kraken Hatchling attacks into a second Cobra Trap. We can’t survive his next attack.

Sideboard: -1 Kraken Hatchling; +1 Lethargy Trap, +1 Trapmaker’s Snare.

Game 3:

We keep seven (4 Islands, Swamp, Explorer’s Scope, Aether Figment, and Sky Ruin Drake) on the play. Evil keeps his hand as well. We play Explorer’s Scope and summon Aether Figment while Evil casts Spreading Seas on our Swamp. The Figment misses on the scope (we see Lethargy Trap) [E: 19]. Evil plays Khalni Heart Expedition as he hits his three-color MTGO manabase on stride. Aether Figment attacks again and this time reveals a land [E: 18].

Evil finds a second Forest and summons Turntimber Basilisk in addition to playing an Expedition Map. We play Into the Roil with kicker to ensure our Sky Ruin Drake is not lured by the Basilisk when we summon it next turn (we draw Merfolk Wayfinder). Aether Figment misses with the Scope again [E: 17] and we summon the Sky Ruin Drake. We play Soul Stair Expedition before attacking. The Scope misses but shows us a useless Stonework Puma [E: 14]. We summon Merfolk Wayfinder and put the Ally on the bottom. One Island is revealed.

Evil uses his Expedition Map to find Kabira Crossroads. He plays a Plains instead and attacks into Merfolk Wayfinder. Afterwards he summons Welkin Tern and Umara Raptor. We attack with Aether Figment and Sky Ruin Drake. The Scope hits and Evil doesn’t block [E: 11]. We play a land, getting a third counter on the Soul Stair Expedition, and summon Vampire Nighthawk. Evil uses his Khalni Heart Expedition at the end of the turn.

Evil plays the Kabira Crossroads [E: 13] and nothing else. We suspect a Cobra Trap. We attack with Aether Figment and Vampire Nighthawk. The scope misses (showing us Kraken Hatchling). Evil doesn’t block [G: 22, E: 10]. We summon the second Merfolk Wayfinder revealing another Island. Evil plays Cobra Trap at the end of the turn.

Evil summons Woodcrasher Baloth and attacks with his four Snakes, Welkin Tern, and Umara Raptor. We block his flyers [G: 18] and counterattack with everything. Explorer’s Scope hits [E: 5]. We use Soul Stair Expedition to get back both Merfolk Wayfinders and summon one of them (revealing an Island). Evil concedes.

Round 2:

Game 1:

We keep seven (3 Swamp, Island, Hedron Crab, Explorer’s Scope, and Aether Figment) on the draw. Evil summons Steppe Lynx on turn one. We answer back with Kraken Hatchling (had it). Evil is not to be outdone and summons a second Steppe Lynx along with playing a Blazing Torch. We summon Hedron Crab, mill Evil for three, and play Explorer’s Scope.

Evil plays a third Plains and attacks his Steppe Lynx into our Kraken Hatckling. Afterwards, he equips his other Steppe Lynx and uses Blazing Torch to kill the Hatchling. We play a land, equip Hedron Crab, and hit with the Explorer’s Scope, milling Evil for six total. He is Red/White with a low curve. Evil has no plays on his turn. We play a fifth land and summon a kicked Aether Figment. We don’t attack this turn to play around Bold Defense. Evil has no fourth land, no red mana, and can do nothing to stop us from curving out. We equip the Aether Figment and attack. The Explorer’s Scope hits again and we summon a Sky Ruin Drake.

Evil finds a Mountain, kills the Sky Ruin Drake with Magma Rift, and attacks with his two Steppe Lynxes [G: 16]. We play another land, equip the Explorer’s Scope to the Hedron Crab and attack with only it. The Scope hits and Evil gets milled for another six on our turn. We summon Kraken Hatchling. Evil has only three cards left in his deck and concedes on his turn seven.

Sideboard: -1 Cancel; +1 Lethargy Trap.

Game 2:

We keep seven (2 Island, Swamp, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, Stonework Puma, Reckless Scholar, and Soul Stair Expedition) on the draw. We play Soul Stair Expedition. Evil has both Red and White mana early on as he summons a Highland Berserker. Teetering Peaks gives the Ally a bigger axe as he cleaves into us [G: 16]. Afterwards he summons a Steppe Lynx. We summon Reckless Scholar and brace for Evil’s next attack.

Evil plays a land and attacks. We trade Reckless Scholar for his Highland Berserker [G: 14]. He has no other plays for the turn. The brief respite allows us to summon a Windrider Eel. Evil attacks again with Steppe Lynx [G: 12] but plays nothing else. We play a land and attack with Windrider Eel [E: 16]. After combat we summon Welkin Tern and Stonework Puma.

Evil plays another Teetering Peaks and attacks with his Steppe Lynx. We block with Stonework Puma and he uses Magma Rift to kill Windrider Eel. We miss on our sixth land to summon Sphinx of Jwar Isle, but hit when we play and equip Explorer’s Scope to our Welkin Tern [E: 14]. We also summon an Umara Raptor. Evil plays a land and summons a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker. He attacks with it and Steppe Lynx. With the Sphinx in hand and active Soul Stair Expedition, we immediately block the Goblin [G: 9].

Our Welkin Tern attacks (showing us Into the Roil) and we summon Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Evil doesn’t have a good attack and can only pass. We attack again with both flyers (hitting a land with Explorer’s Scope) [E: 5] and summon Kraken Hatchling. Evil concedes.

Round 3:

Game 1:

Going into this round we know that our opponent is Black/White with a lot of defensive creatures like Makindi Shieldmate. He doesn’t have very many cards that matter against flying creatures and not many answers to Hedron Crab. We keep seven (Island, Swamp, Hedron Crab, Archive Trap, Sky Ruin Drake, Kraken Hatchling, and Reckless Scholar) on the draw. We summon the Kraken Hatchling on turn one. Evil summons a Kor Skyfisher. We summon the Hedron Crab and begin milling. That’s where the milling stops. After missing land drops for four turns we finally hit one to summon Reckless Scholar, but it isn’t enough. Eventually Evil’s army of Pillarfield Oxen and Giant Scorpions overwhelm us as his Kor Skyfisher gets enchanted with Celestial Mantle.

Sideboard: -2 Kraken Hatchling; +1 Trapfinder’s Trick, +1 Lethargy Trap.

Game 2:

We keep seven (2 Island, 2 Swamp, Kraken Hatchling, Stonework Puma, and Reckless Scholar) on the play. We summon the Kraken on turn one and draw Explorer’s Scope off the top turn two. The Scope hits a land when we send the Hatchling into combat. Evil has only played a Swamp and Plains. We play a Soul Stair Expedition and hit another land with the Explorer’s Scope. We also summon Reckless Scholar. Our land acceleration is halted when Evil summons a Giant Scorpion on turn three.

With the Kraken being stopped the Giant Scorpion, we begin using Reckless Scholar to find a flyer. Finding none (Cancel), we pass. Evil summons a Nimana Sell-Sword. We don’t use Cancel (although in hindsight we probably should have). We loot again and find nothing. Evil summons a kicked Kor Sanctifiers, but we counter it with Cancel. We loot again, but still find no flyer.

Evil summons a Kazandu Blademaster and Makindi Shieldmate. He attacks with his 5/5 Nimana Sell-Sword, but we use Into the Roil to bounce it. Afterwards, he summons a Guul Draz Vampire. We finally draw a flyer and summon it: Windrider Eel. The Eel gets equipped with the Explorer’s Scope and we pass. Evil uses Disfigure to kill the Windrider Eel. He casts and equips Explorer’s Scope to his Giant Scorpion and attacks with it and his Kazandu Blademaster. The Scope misses. He only has one Swamp to play Black spells at the moment. We block his Blademaster [G: 19]. We’ve got Archive Trap in hand and he has twenty-six cards left in his deck with one in his hand. We loot Evil at the end of the turn and he keeps the Nimana Sell-Sword, discarding Trusty Machete.

We sacrifice the Soul Stair Expedition to get back Windrider Eel and Stonework Puma and replay them both. Evil replays the Nimana Sell-Sword and attacks with the Kazandu Blademaster [G: 15]. He then summons a Kor Skyfisher and we loot him in response because he has no cards in hand. He returns his Makindi Shieldmate. We loot him again on his turn. He discards Pitfall Trap. We play a land, equip the Windrider Eel, and attack. The Scope hits a land [E: 14]. We summon Vampire Nighthawk.

Evil summons his Makindi Shieldmate and attacks with the Sell-Sword, Scorpion, and Blademaster. The Scope misses. Kraken Hatchling jumps in front of the Blademaster and the Nighthawk trades with the Sell-Sword [G: 16]. We play a land and attack with the Windrider Eel. The Scope shows us Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Evil doesn’t block [E: 10]. We use Reckless Scholar to draw and summon the Sphinx.

Evil summons a kicked Kor Aeronaut and gives his Blademaster flying. He attacks with the Blademaster and Giant Scorpion. His Explorer’s Scope misses and we don’t block [G: 10]. We draw a land and see Sky Ruin Drake. We draw with Reckless Scholar and see Hedron Crab. Evil has twenty cards left in his deck. We can use Archive Trap and the land in hand to mill Evil for sixteen. If there’s a land in the top two cards of our deck, we will be able to mill Evil out. Attacking through Kor Skyfisher and Kor Aeronaut is going to be much harder so we wait and try to mill Evil.

Evil plays Makindi Shieldmate and attacks with his Kazandu Blademaster. We block with Windrider Eel and mill him with Archive Trap. Umara Raptor is on top. We loot. Swamp! We summon Hedron Crab and mill Evil for the remaining six cards with the last card in our hand and Explorer’s Scope.

Sideboard: -1 Soul Stair Expedition, -1 Vampire Nighthawk, -7 Swamp; +2 Merfolk Wayfinder, +7 Island.

Devout Lightcaster was revealed when Evil’s deck was milled. Combine that with Bog Tatters and Kor Sanctifiers and Black becomes less appealing.

Game 3:

Evil sides up to fourty-nine cards. We keep seven (4 Islands, Paralyzing Grasp, Into the Roil, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle) on the draw. Evil plays a Trusty Machete while we summon a Kraken Hatchling. Evil summons a Noble Vestige while we summon an Umara Raptor. Evil equips his flyer and attacks [G: 17]. We don’t attack back and hope to use Into the Roil to bounce Trusty Machete when Evil attacks again.

Evil doesn’t attack. Instead, he summons Caravan Hurda. We attack with Umara Raptor. Evil doesn’t block and doesn’t prevent damage [E: 18]. We summon Merfolk Wayfinder, put two more Islands into our hand, and reveal a Lethargy Trap that goes to the bottom. Evil attacks with Noble Vestige and Caravan Hurda. We block the Hurda [G: 14, E: 19]. Evil summons Nimana Sell-Sword and Kor Skyfisher. We summon Sphinx of Jwar Isle.

Evil does nothing and passes. We attack with the Sphinx (holding Into the Roil for Trusty Machete if Evil double-blocks). Evil doesn’t block but prevents damage this time [E: 15]. Evil summons a Makindi Shieldmate, equips his Caravan Hurda, and attacks to gain some life [E: 18]. Afterwards, he moves the Machete back to the Noble Vestige. We repeat our attack with the Sphinx [E: 14], put Paralyzing Grasp on the Caravan Hurda, and summon Reckless Scholar. Evil summons an Ondu Cleric [E: 17].

We attack with the Sphinx of Jwar Isle. Evil prevents damage again [E: 13]. Afterwards, we loot with the Scholar. Evil summons a Pillarfield Ox, equips his Nimana Sell-Sword, and attacks with it. We block with Kraken Hatchling. The turn repeats [E: 9] and we summon our second Kraken Hatchling, which blocks the Sell-Sword like the last one. The Sphinx continues to attack. Evil blocks with Noble Vestige. We summon Merfolk Wayfinder (getting one land) and Sky Ruin Drake.

Evil attacks with Nimana Sell-Sword. Reckless Scholar blocks and loots us before damage. Evil summons Kor Aeronaut and Kor Sanctifiers (without kicker). He then equips his Aeronaut and passes. We bounce his Aeronaut with a kicked Into the Roil and attack with everything (Umara Raptor, 2 Merfolk Wayfinders, 2 Sky Ruin Drakes, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle). Evil blocks the Sphinx with Kor Skyfisher [1]. Evil counter-attacks with everything but can do nothing to stop me from playing Trapmaker’s Snare to find and cast Lethargy Trap. Evil concedes to my attack.

Happy Drafting.

47 thoughts on “According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #3”

  1. As LSV once said, “There is nothing better than swinging with an Explorer’s Scope on a Kraken Hatchling.”

    I think I got the quote right anyways.

  2. u say he took a rare over the nighthawk, but it was a common since archive trap was in that pack(unless it was foil?)

  3. Pack 1 Pick 2: Archive Trap is rare and still in the pack, any foils in that pack? your logic fails otherwise since you based it on the rare being gone. If a common is missing instead, the only thing I can think of is burst lightning, but then you take nighthawk still none the less.

  4. Already having one archive trap and the trapmaker’s snare, I think I would have taken the second trap. It’s a high risk / high reward type of pick, but you already have several kraken hatchings to stall the game, and several evasive creatures, making figment less necessary. Although, seeing as you did win, it’s hard to really second guess you.

  5. Grim discovery is really good with 2 looters, u might want to consider it over crab, the jwar isle refuge would really help cast your black spells id probably take it over aether figment and while i do not love mauraders in this deck i like it better then hate drafting

  6. I probably would have taken the Archive Trap too. Aether figment isn’t exactly a really exciting card. With the looters you had, plus Trapmakers Snare, the double Archive Trap plan seemed like it would be a very viable win condition.

  7. Also, I love Hedron Crab. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve won games by dropping him on turn 1 and won by hitting a land drop every turn and chump blocking a couple times.

  8. Pack 1 pick 1 you take 2/1 flyer and you are already committed to blue? Pick3 taking Reckless Scholar?? Dont get it.

  9. Pack 3 pick 2 I instantly take the Marauder. It gives you a better early game and a good target for the Scope. With insufficient playables I do not understand the hatepick at all.

    I would have picked the Refuge over the cancel. Cancel is so-so and we already have a Summoners bane. Refuge is perfect for your deck.

  10. pack 1 pick 2: as some pointed out, the rare is there. But say it wasn’t, shouldn’t you consider it also likely that a fetch land has been rare drafted?

  11. This was a 4-3-2-2 I was your last round opponent, and I was just raredrafting. If you want to write about drafts, 8-4s are a better way to go

  12. Really weak packs overall, these are the kind of packs that disgust me about ZZZ. I think it’s more likely someone took value over nighthawk (I assume the archive trap is foil), I’d take a cobra or a lesser bomb that’s worth a few tix like sorin over any uncommon

    P3P2: Hate over taking marauder? Even if you’re light black marauder is very good, like you said, a 2/1 evasion is pretty good even on turn 8…

  13. Round 1 Game 1: Dubious hand… you have a bomb but 2 semi-dead cards and a 5 drop, I’d mull this. Out of your next 6 draws or so you need 3 lands and 3 spells that can hold off early pressure. Drawing hatchling is about as good as you can hope for. Chump attacking hatchling into basilisk for the land off scope is probably good as well, evil’s most likely not getting stuck on 3 and even if he does he’ll just eat your hatchling when he topdecks a land.

  14. I think this draft presented some opportunity for some nonstandard drafting. Once we open the second Archive Trap, it opens up a mill plan that plays well with our current deck. Kraken Hatchling becomes even better when you’re rarely going to attack your opponent. In addition, we already have a Trapmaker’s Snare, and we would be able to treat any future copies of the normally unplayable common as a bomb. Ditto Hedron Crab.

    As it turns out, we could have had a nice Snare package (Whiplash, Lethargy in addition to the 2x Archive) as well as another bomb in Hedron Crab (fueled by 2x Wayfinder). Instead, our singular Archive Trap and singular Hedron Crab are included as borderline unplayables, only good in combination with each other.

    We even have a nice backup plan against the Quest for Ancient Secrets in the draft – the Sphinx. As it turned out, that was basically your plan A – I don’t think you really could win without it. Your 6 game wins involved 5 dominating Sphinx and a manascrewed opponent.

    I think it is important to realize what types of non-standard decks you can draft in case you get a draft like this where the packs do not cooperate. This includes not forcing our opening picks. Valakut and Torch Slinger were definitely the best cards in the pack p1p4 and p1p5, yet they were ignored at the expense of our first three picks. I can’t help but imagine what kind of a train wreck this draft would have been had we taken a black card first overall or had we not opened Sphinx to cover up the rest of our mistakes.

  15. Probably should’ve taken the second Archive trap. The odds of it wheeling seem low, since everyone saw the first.

    These packs were absurdly weak, though you might’ve been able to draft a strong mono-red deck.

  16. I think it’s weird a world top16 or such competitor does 4-3-2-2 queue’s but otoh to each their own. Awesome to read Adam Prosak’s comments, and the walkthrough was nice and detailed too. Thanks.

  17. Excellent and enjoyable article. Nice to read about a blue draft that gained some wins rather than a heavy black or red draft. Thanks.

  18. completely agree with adam prosak.
    Also I think blue is the weakest color, it has so many slow cards and the low cards are very conditional. For example kraken hatchling can be great at times but flyers, guys with intimidate, deathtouch or something like a adventuring gear can completely screw them over. I usually only end up blue when it’s completely open, i open a bomb (one of the sphinxes or living tsunami) or you somehow end up getting the mill package for free later. Green is way stronger then blue i think for example and pick 1 i had definately taken the river boa.
    Green wasnt open so blue turned out alright but to me the color is just always disapointing.

  19. While reading I thought:”Why are his opponents so bad? I do 4-3-2-2 and the people are better than this.” I guess that explains it.
    The other day I drafted 2 nighthawks and 4 burst Lightnings and still lost round one. You win with what appears to be a horrible pile. I guess I’m just terrible.

  20. If this was a 4-3-2-2, my guess is it was entered as it was the next to fire. As even top world competitors have time restraints in the real world and can’t just sit around waiting for 8-4’s to fire off all the time.

  21. I think, in some of your sideboarding notes, you’re confusing Trapfinder’s Trick with Trapmaker’s Snare.

  22. 4-3-2-2, huh? Anyone else feel lied to? Especially when the article straight up says it’s an 8-4?

    As for substantive commentary, it felt like you committed to blue far, far too early with the Scholar pick and stuck to your BU guns way beyond what should have been easy notice that black wasn’t open and blue wasn’t worth it.

    However, given that you stuck to those particular guns, not taking the 2nd Archive Trap over an Aether Figment – fine but unexciting card (you realize it’s basically Zendikar Farguide with all-landwalk, right? Unkicked it’s pretty lame) was basically terrible. Especially since you were already taking every Kraken Hatchling you could get your hands on.

  23. Likely a miscommunication between Zaiem (or whoever wrote the blurb) and Ochoa. You’ll notice that it never states 8-4 in the article itself…

    Also note that we have one random guy on the internet citing this as a 4-3-2-2, without any particular corroboration.

  24. “I was his first round opponent and I had my 1 year old banging the keys to make my picks.”

    Seriously people, one person says something and you all believe it? It’s on the internet so it must be true!

    The lack of rebuttal doesn’t help though I will admit…

  25. @ Comment by fRoD[A] – December 14, 2009 @ 9:34 pm :
    @ Comment by Chet M – December 14, 2009 @ 9:45 pm :
    The Archive Trap was foil. I should have made a note of that since it turns out to actually be important.

    @ Comment by Dank – December 14, 2009 @ 9:53 pm :
    I thought that the Archive Trap had a reasonable chance of wheeling since it was so early in pack 3 (pick 1). Also, the fact that I won doesn’t make me more right.

    @ Comment by Kevin H – December 14, 2009 @ 9:59 pm :
    Yes, I was saving Archive Trap (round 1, game 1) to loot away if I drew one. I played it because I was going to win and hadn’t seen many spells that actually mattered up to that point.

    @ Comment by BenS – December 14, 2009 @ 11:05 pm :
    I think Grim Discovery is worse than Hedron Crab in the deck. Considering the Archive Trap from pack 1, the Soul Stair Expedition, and the pack 3 that I opened (which had another Grim Discovery and Archive Trap), the Hedron Crab was a better pick.

    @ Comment by Jim Varney – December 14, 2009 @ 11:26 pm :
    Aether Figment is fine. It’s not Sky Ruin Drake (on defense), but overall it’s a better card. Between Archive Trap and Aether Figment, I’ve seen the trap wheel MUCH more. I gambled with my guess. The Trap didn’t wheel, but I still think it was more likely to.

    @ Comment by fizyk – December 15, 2009 @ 12:12 am :
    Pick 1 Welkin Tern doesn’t commit me to blue, but unless I see cards of equal value around pick 4, I’m not going to shift out of blue. Pick three, the actual “best” card is Makindi Shieldmate. However, Reckless Scholar is still good enough to keep my money with Welkin Tern. I _HAVE_ to assume that I’m playing Vampire Nighthawk plus “another color”. I don’t see a better option than Reckless Scholar at that point.

    @ Comment by Gaby – December 15, 2009 @ 12:19 am :
    I didn’t take Surrakar Marauder because I’m not going to play it early on average. Also, I was fairly confident that it wouldn’t have been better than 50/50 unblockable against a random deck in the pod due to the amount of black that I saw.

    I didn’t see Refuge making a big enough impact to take it over Cancel. Refuges get better in decks that play multiple types of double-mana spells in the early game like Nissa’s Chosen and Kor Outfitter. My deck didn’t have any of that.

    @ Comment by round 1 – December 15, 2009 @ 1:27 am :
    You’re mistaken.

    @ Comment by Sizz – December 15, 2009 @ 12:01 am :
    @ Comment by Someguy – December 15, 2009 @ 5:15 am :
    @ Comment by LP – December 15, 2009 @ 7:22 am :
    @ Comment by Dosa – December 15, 2009 @ 8:49 am :
    There’s no way that I would subject myself to anything less than an 8-4. They’re the only queues that I play in.

    I’m “glad” that you all believe some Joe Random crying wolf. “This was a 4-3-2-2…. RAWR.. Look at me. I’m a Troll”

    Honestly, give me a bit of credit.

    @ Comment by ehk – December 15, 2009 @ 2:17 am :
    You can’t compare Surrakar Marauder to Welkin Tern on turn 8. You’re down to virtually no hand and will need to play spells at that point. If you’ve got a Reckless Scholar at that point, spells will be what you’re searching for baring a non-typical draw.

    The hand in game 1 is fine. Sphinx is a really good card and it’s not like every deck you play against is going to curve out with Steppe Lynx into Plated Geopede.

    Attacking into the Basilisk didn’t seem worth it for a few reasons. You’re only about 50/50 going to hit a land and you don’t know what the opponent can do on his turn.

    Summoner’s Bane is not Cancel; it’s actually not even close.

    @ Comment by Adam Prosak – December 15, 2009 @ 2:48 am :
    Trapmaker’s Snare is uncommon. You’re thinking of Trapfinder’s Trick.

    I don’t think it’s fair to say that “had I taken a black card p1p1, then my draft would have fallen apart” because it would be more likely that I would just start taking red cards when I saw the Valakut.

    The Sphinx could have been replaced by a number of cards and still functioned the same way (I mean… “covered up the rest of my mistakes”).

    @ Comment by Blake – December 15, 2009 @ 8:35 am :
    Kraken Hatchling functions the same way with the “attack you with flyers” and “mill you” plans.

  26. I guess some people better play constructed.

    I don’t care if the draft is 4322 or 84 as it’s horrible either way. Pack 4 and 5 with Magma Rift and Bushwhacker and Flametongue Goblin showed that red was open but instead you draft semigood blue cards and the bad explorer’s scope ( it’s ok sometimes, but usually a gamble card ). When both red cards tabled you finally realized it lol.

    Pretty bad performance, sorry sir. I’d like to hear about constructed again from you but stop showing us drafts like these :/

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  28. @ web: “The Sphinx could have been replaced by a number of cards and still functioned the same way ” ….such as two Archive Trap? i realize that there are plenty of bombs you could have opened to make the Kraken Hatchling deck function. Sometimes you have to make your own bombs (ally decks have quite a few bombs to themselves, for example). When you have so many cards that can’t really contribute to an offense, you need bombs to carry your offense, Chris Johnson style.

    Apologies for the Snare/Trap confusion. The Trap still makes the uncommon Snare another bomb.

    I’m glad to see that you would take the Valakut with only black cards in your stack. The majority of people I know/read about wouldn’t.

  29. Although David has already answered it, I figured I would reiterate that he really only does draft 8-4s, and the random guy who claimed otherwise is, well, a random guy. I considered not approving that comment, but I figured that people would give David the benefit of the doubt and I didn’t see a reason to edit even a spurious claim.

  30. LSV You are a guy i respect a ton, and are hands down my fav author and player on the tour now, but I have the replay on modo and could post it to youtube if you want. I wasnt hating on him and before now he didnt say it was an 8-4, but he prolly misclicked when he entered or something. Im not hating on him, but it was a 4-3-2-2

  31. To reiterate it was prolly just a mistake on his part, i was just giving a reason for the low player quality in his matches. Not saying the 8 was intentionally misleading everyone, it was most likely an honest mistake

  32. If it happened, it happened. I wasn’t there, obviously, but its certainly possible web drafted in a 4322 on accident, although I have never seen him willingly enter one.

  33. great article. While i might not agree with every pick, the analysis is very through and informative.

    As for the whole 8-4 / 4-3-2-2 deal, it doesn’t actually change the quality of the draft after the fact. Would this draft somehow become worse if it was a 4-3-2-2? 8-4 might increase the chance of a good draft, but after the fact it makes 0 difference how the people were paid.

    P.S. really like the website and all the hard work you put in to it. One suggestion on how to improve it is to add thumbs up/down to comments, so we can “bury” the random spam that makes its way here from time to time.

  34. ^^^^ Whether it’s 8-4 or 4-3-2-2 does matter though regarding the quality of the draft…People expect the authors of these articles like these to be playing against GOOD players (ie the ppl who participate in 8-4). Before or after the fact doesn’t matter, the bottom line is that 8-4 drafts are “harder” than 4-3-2-2, and so he should be playing in 8-4 drafts for them to be most beneficial to the readers.

    That being said, I’ll take Webster’s word that it is an 8-4, but I wouldn’t go so far as calling the guy a “troll”… he could have just been mistaken.

  35. round 1:

    The writer isn’t lsv, it’s David Ochoa. Perhaps you played lsv in a draft not featured here.

    As for some of the other comments, I dunno why people have to be such jerks… I love it when people are able to make more difficult decks work. While reading this I was thinking that this was going to be a pretty horrible draft because pack 1 was pretty brutal. Pack 2 was a lot better, but in the end I was very interested to see how the deck would work and it looked like it worked very well. There are quite a few interesting synergies in the deck that you make use of that I probably wouldn’t have even thought about (eg, seeing something useless with explorers scope and basically cycling it away with Merfolk Wayfinder).

    Other things I liked about the draft was the creative use of Reckless Scholar to work on the milling side of things in a pretty tough Round 3, Game 2. Finally, some aggressive sideboarding before R3G3 after checking the mill contents (something worth remembering) All in all, this was actually probably one of my favorite drafts I’ve ready because of the difficulty of putting together a deck like this and making it win, as well as some excellent piloting that will certainly give me something to think about in future drafts. Thanks!

  36. round 1: Sorry, didn’t see that lsv was responding here and didn’t realize your comment was directed at him, not Ochoa. Either way, I don’t really care… this was one of the more interesting drafts that I’ve read about.

  37. doesn’t matter if this was an 8-4 or a 4-3-2-2, the fact is that this draft had all the makings of a complete trainwreck and web salvaged it. imo the fact that he got any packs out of it is absurd.

    and it’s pretty easy to say that you should have taken valakut and torch slinger when you know the full 45 – if his second pack goes sphinx, raptor, raptor, tern, tern due to his sticking with his guns, then i get the feeling a lot of you would be singing a very different tune. but hey, since he ended up having to scrabble it out with merfolk wayfinders because he made a judgment call, let’s all jeer from the peanut gallery – it’s easy, fun, and (most importantly on the internet) never has to be backed up with results.

  38. @Ochoa

    You hated a recluse over marauder. Marauder’s never a bad card in a deck with 7 swamps, if anything you should’ve hated it since you have like 3 outs to a turn 2 marauder. It has evasion 50%+ of the time even on turn 8, and you can play it turn 2 with 7 swamps easily. HATING a 6-8th pick for a good card is just wrong.

    I don’t know of any format where playing no relevant cards until turn 5 on the draw against an aggro deck is going to win you the game, especially if you still need to draw lands and your stabilizer is a flying 2/5. Explorer’s scope is almost dead here, and archive trap does nothing to defend or even race. This isn’t the type of hand that loses to lynx geopede geopede, it’s the kind of hand that loses to pass/bear/bear. Removal? GG. Pump? GG. Bounce or hookmaster? GG. Adventuring gear? GG. I don’t mull a lot either but a 6 card hand is far better than this.

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