According to Webster – M10 Draft #2

Pack 1 pick 1:


We’re blessed with two awesome picks. Liliana Vess and Air Elemental are both excellent. We shouldn’t consider Safe Passage or Assassinate because they are only “good”. I actually asked several people about this pick and got mixed answers; the two seem rather close. Air Elemental is a solid evasive finisher that is hard to deal with. It doesn’t require anything to be good. The downside is that it’s a creature, and thus vulnerable to the short list of cards that deal with them. Liliana Vess is slightly more powerful. It provides card advantage through discarding, has a powerful “ultimate” effect, gets rid of tricks in the opponent’s hand, and searches for other bombs that you have. The downside is that for Liliana Vess to be at its best, you need to be able to stall your opponent’s board with defensive creatures and/or removal. Right now I prefer Air Elemental because I know exactly what I’m getting.

My pick: Air Elemental

Pack 1 pick 2:


Our first pick pays off. Truthfully, we’d take the Air Elemental regardless of our first pick. Sure, there’s an Overrun. However, blue is such a better color than green. If no one is drafting green, it’s possible to end up with a fine deck, but that’s rarely the case.

My pick: Air Elemental

Pack 1 pick 3:


Prodigal Pyromancer is the best card by a fair margin. Entangling Vines and Stampeding Rhino are the next options, though they are in an undesirable color and significantly worse than Prodigal Pyromancer.

My pick: Prodigal Pyromancer

Pack 1 pick 4:


Gravedigger, Safe Passage, and Dragon Whelp immediately stand out. All three cards are comparable in power. Considering we already have a Prodigal Pyromancer, taking Dragon Whelp over the other two is a good choice instead of branching into a third color. Seeing good red cards 3rd and 4th pick, it’s reasonable to assume red is open and therefore safe to commit to.

My pick: Dragon Whelp

Pack 1 pick 5:


Our options are not good. There’s nothing on-color for us. Serpent of the Endless Sea and Jackal Familiar are almost unplayable. The best option is to branch out to another color in case we are cut off from blue or red. Stormfront Pegasus is the best (and only) white option while black offers Black Knight and Mind Rot. Both black cards are reasonable with Mind Rot being better. If we end up being forced out of blue and move into red/white, it would be better to have a second color that isn’t an intensive as black. Black Knight, Looming Shade, Drudge Skeletons, Tendrils of Corruption, et al. all require lots of swamps to function well. When combined with red, another intensive color, it’s easy to get into situations where we won’t be able to cast all of our spells. White isn’t as color intensive as well as being deeper overall, making Stormfront Pegasus a better pick.

My pick: Stormfront Pegasus

Pack 1 pick 6:


Goblin Chieftain doesn’t fit into decks that I like. Playing cards that make Goblin Piker “good” isn’t the direction I want to head in. Terramorphic Expanse is the best option. It fixes our mana so we can play Dragon Whelp and Air Elemental more easily.

My pick: Terramorphic Expanse

Pack 1 pick 7:


Viashino Spearhunter is mediocre. It can be good defensively, but is often outclassed by some of the more popular cards like green creatures and Veteran Armorsmith. Stone Giant is much more color intensive but is a much better creature. Stone Giant isn’t as useful in this deck (so far) than when compared to a much more aggressive deck that needs cards to force through the final points of damage. However, a 3/4 for four mana is good enough.

My pick: Stone Giant

Pack 1 pick 8:


None of the cards are very interesting. Lava Axe is okay as a finisher. Sage Owl is mediocre when used with shuffling effects like Terramorphic Expanse. Either card is fine.

My pick: Sage Owl

Pack 1 pick 9:


Trumpet Blast is good in an aggressive deck with lots of creatures. Blue doesn’t usually lend itself to being aggressive. Viashino Spearhunter will serve us better. It can help stop opposing fast draws.

My pick: Viashino Spearhunter

Pack 1 pick 10:


Sparkmage Apprentice is a removal spell that reads “R, sorcery. ~This~ deals one damage to target creature or player. Put a 1/1 red wizard into play.” It’s better than Canyon Minotaur when you consider cards like Merfolk Looter, Drudge Skeletons, Looming Shade, and Prodigal Pyromancer.

My pick: Sparkmage Apprentice

Pack 1 pick 11:


My pick: Serpent of the Endless Sea

Pack 1 pick 12:


My pick: Ponder

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Burning Inquiry

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Shatter

Pack 1 pick 15:


Pack 2 pick 1:


Divination and Dragon Whelp are our choices. Fiery Hellhound isn’t impressive. Raw card advantage is hard to come by in M10 making Divination quite desirable. However, above average flyers like Snapping Drake, Dragon Whelp, and Air Elemental are going to win out over it pretty easily.

My pick: Dragon Whelp

Pack 2 pick 2:


Here’s another pick I discussed with people. Djinn of Wishes and Mind Control are both very good. They each get better as the power-level of cards increase. Good creatures on your opponent’s side make Mind Control better. The value of Djinn of Wishes increases with the quality of other spells in your deck. If the djinn remains in play, over time it will provide four cards assuming there aren’t any whiffs (like revealing a Negate with nothing to counter). At least one spell will be revealed with the djinn’s ability requiring the opponent to use at least two spells to deal with the djinn and the revealed spell if it’s a creature. Similarly, Mind Control uses multiple spells from the opponent. One spell is the creature Mind Control steals and the other is whatever is used to neutralize the stolen creature. Multiple spells may be required to stop the stolen creature depending on its power-level. The main difference between Mind Control and Djinn of Wishes is tempo. Mind Control generates a significant tempo swing in your favor because your opponent loses their best creature and you gain it whereas Djinn of Wishes only puts your best creature in play. If the opponent is ahead on the board, a removal spell will put you in a worse position if you played Djinn of Wishes rather than Mind Control.

My pick: Mind Control

Pack 2 pick 3:


There’s no decision here. Snapping Drake is the only card to play, not that we’re complaining.

My pick: Snapping Drake

Pack 2 pick 4:


Countermagic is awesome in M10. If you can set up the board so that only a few cards matter, the opponent will have a hard time beating you if you have Negate, Essence Scatter, and/or Cancel to stop them.

My pick: Negate

Pack 2 pick 5:


Ice Cage isn’t the best removal spell. It’s still alright. Ignite Disorder has the potential to 3-for-1 the opponent, although that isn’t realistic. If the opponent is blue/white, it’s more reasonable that it will be a 2-for-1 if you manage to get a Stormfront Pegasus or Merfolk Looter in addition to a random creature. Wall of Frost is an excellent card. It’s very hard to beat through. As a pseudo-removal spell, Wall of Frost acts similarly to Blinding Mage with ground creatures in the sense that (as far as combat is concerned), it deals with whatever is the most threatening creature. Ice Cage isn’t as flexible in that regard, although it does stop flyers and creatures with activated abilities so long as the opponent doesn’t have a way to break the Ice Cage.

My pick: Wall of Frost

Pack 2 pick 6:


Lightning Elemental isn’t very good. It requires a deck to be able to heavily control the board with removal to ensure it can hit multiple times. Essence Scatter is a much better option. Similar to Negate, it allows you to blank one of the few creatures that you’ll play against that actually matter.

My pick: Essence Scatter

Pack 2 pick 7:


Horned Turtle is good at stalling the board so that you can outrace your opponent in the air while they bounce off your River Kaijins. Divination is going to be slightly better. We should be more likely to pick up Horned Turtles later on than we will Divination. Other creatures can act similarly to Horned Turtle, but usually not at efficiently. On the other hand, there are very few replacements for Divination.

My pick: Divination

Pack 2 pick 8:


Negate is the only choice for us.

My pick: Negate

Pack 2 pick 9:


Divination is the only choice for us (yea, I know, “rough beats”).

My pick: Divination

Pack 2 pick 10:


The third Divination is going to be better than the third Negate. It would be much harder to justify playing three Negates main. We’d always play three Divinations.

My pick: Divination

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Burning Inquiry

Pack 2 pick 12:


My pick: Yawning Fissure

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Disorient

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Firebreathing

Pack 2 pick 15:



Pack 3 pick 1:


This isn’t the type of pack we want to see. Merfolk Sovereign isn’t good. Coral Merfolk and Merfolk Looter are the only beneficiaries of the tribal lord. Cards that make vanilla 2/1 creatures slightly better don’t impress me. We could take Ignite Disorder as a good sideboard option against blue and/or white decks. We could also splash Harm’s Way with our Terramorphic Expanse. Harm’s Way can often lead to 2-for-1 trades. However, with cards like Dragon Whelp and Air Elemental, stretching our manabase to accommodate a third color is unwise. Horned Turtle would help fill out our ground defense along with Wall of Frost. We don’t have many creatures that we actually want to use to block with besides Wall of Frost and Stone Giant. Cancel is the last option. We already have two Negates and one Essence Scatter. We’d definitely play the Cancel if we take it. However, we’d be better off if we take Horned Turtle.

My pick: Horned Turtle

Pack 3 pick 2:


Berserkers of Blood Ridge is large and expensive, but not very impressive. Cancel is a much better option. We’ll be able to pick up more expensive creatures when the packs wheel.

My pick: Cancel

Pack 3 pick 3:


Polymorph isn’t very good. Sure it removes the opponent’s scary monster, but then it gets replaced by something else. Depending on the composition of their deck, it could be another scary monster. If you knew that the opponent had mostly terrible creatures and a Baneslayer Angel, then it would be fine to play Polymorph; otherwise, it wouldn’t. A second Terramorphic Expanse would be good, but it looks like our mana is going to be split almost evenly which minimizes the chances that we’ll need the fixing. Ice Cage is the best option. As a removal spell, it’s fine. It’s not spectacular like Lightning Bolt, but it gets the job done.

My pick: Ice Cage

Pack 3 pick 4:


Most of our creatures fly which makes Levitation unnecessary. Berserkers of Blood Ridge defaults to the only card we’d play.

My pick: Berserkers of Blood Ridge

Pack 3 pick 5:


Flashfreeze shouldn’t be necessary considering we already have four counterspells. Polymorph will be a fine sideboard card if we play against the deck with sixteen Silvercoat Lions and one Baneslayer Angel.

My pick: Polymorph

Pack 3 pick 6:


We could hate the Giant Spider. It’s only problematic for our Snapping Drake. Our other flyers break through it. We wouldn’t play Ponder because we have three copies of Divination. We can’t dedicate spell slots to low-impact cards like Ponder. Viashino Spearhunter is the next option. It’s ok against certain colors, like black.

My pick: Viashino Spearhunter

Pack 3 pick 7:


Unsummon is a fine card against certain situations. Against removal-heavy decks, it saves your creature. It’s decent against problematic auras like Armored Ascension and Mind Control. It’s also good against Ice Cage and Illusionary Servant because its other applications are very relevant opposed to cards like Firebreathing.

My pick: Unsummon

Pack 3 pick 8:

[draft]Sparkmage Apprentice
Wind Drake
Goblin Piker
Merfolk Looter
Wurms Tooth
Tempest of Light

What a pack. Merfolk Looter and Wind Drake are still in it. Merfolk Looter is the better choice by far. Even with three Divinations, the extra card filtering will prove invaluable especially after we have six or seven lands in play.

My pick: Merfolk Looter

Pack 3 pick 9:


Ignite Disorder will be a better sideboard card than Cancel will be in the maindeck. We already have two Negates, one Essence Scatter, and one Cancel. We wouldn’t play much more than that.

My pick: Ignite Disorder

Pack 3 pick 10:


My pick: Berserkers of Blood Ridge

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Goblin Piker

Pack 3 pick 12:


My pick: Levitation

Pack 3 pick 13:



My pick: Burning Inquiry

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick: Fog

Pack 3 pick 15:




Round 1:

Game 1: Evil takes the initiative, choosing to play first. Our hand needs blue mana to stay in the fight. With ten sources left to find it, we are not worried (Berserkers of Blood Ridge, Horned Turtle, Sparkmage Apprentice, Air Elemental, Merfolk Looter, and 2 Mountains). A pristine isle comes into view on our first draw. It is a sign of victory. Plains and Islands compose Evil’s domain. A Coral Merfolk surfaces from the deep blue sea to fight against us. We can summon our Sparkmage Apprentice to shower it with sparks of doom, but such a lowly creature is not worth our attention. Our Horned Turtle is the natural predator of these lowly merfolk. It will protect us from the assault. Our best plan is to summon the only true merfolk: Merfolk Looter; with it we shall find all the cards we need to route Evil.

Evil wastes no time and summons a Wind Drake as his Coral Merfolk impales us with its trident; the razor-sharp tines draw first blood. Our Horned Turtle enters the field of battle, protecting us from the Coral Merfolk. However, its efforts are spoiled. Evil crystallizes the turtle within an Ice Cage. The maneuver leaves us defenseless as we are attacked for four more damage. All the while, our Merfolk Looter is searching the bottom of the sea for answers. We shall soon be able to summon our mighty Air Elemental and quash Evil’s feeble assaults.

Stone Giant picks up the slack where our Horned Turtle failed. The giant can’t reach high enough to stop the Wind Drake as it sails over for another attack. Short on good options, Evil seeks answers with Divination. We take advantage of the sudden break in Evil’s offense. Stone Giant attacks and we summon a Viashino Spearhunter. We have not drawn the mana necessary to play our Air Elemental. The Wind Drake assaults us again. Evil leaves much mana unused as he enlists Veteran Swordsmith. He must have some sort of trick.

Without knowing what kind of trick Evil has, we test the waters with Sparkmage Apprentice. The wizard successfully kills Coral Merfolk. We have suffered enough from the Wind Drake. With the aid of the Stone Giant, our Viashino Spearhunter will be thrown into the air to slay the drake. Evil is ready with Harm’s way; Merfolk Looter is its target. We are not ready to have it die. We use our Negate to stop Harm’s Way. Evil is crafty too and has a Negate of his own. Wind Drake survives the battle and our Merfolk Looter and Viashino Hunter perish. Excommunicate prevents us from drawing a land next turn to cast any of the three cards in our hand: two Air Elemental and Mind Control.

Our Stone Giant is summoned for a second time only to be stolen with Mind Control. The traitorous giant has left us defenseless save for our feeble Sparkmage Apprentice. Veteran Swordsmith and Wind Drake charge at us. We do not defend. The blocking would not be productive. Instead we are beaten down to five life. We finally draw a fifth land and summon our first Air Elemental. Hopefully the airborne behemoth will manage to half Evil’s offense. The hope is short-lived. A second Ice Cage captures the Air Elemental as we are overwhelmed.

Game 2: Our hand is laden with resources and powerful spells (2 Islands, 2 Mountains, Divination, Dragon Whelp, and Mind Control). Hopefully misfortune will not show her face. Once again, Evil is the first to act as he summons his mighty steed: Stormfront Pegasus. We thirst for knowledge and use Divination to draw more cards. Likewise, Merfolk Looter joins Evil’s growing army as his Stormfront Pegasus is issued an order to attack.

The armada in our hand is beginning to be deployed onto the battlefield. Dragon Whelp is the first into the fray. Evil is ready with an Ice Cage that stops the hatchling from defending us against his Stormfront Pegasus. We are not concerned with such a minor setback. Air Elemental is the next creature to help us. Evil tries to buy more time with an Excommunicate as his pegasus continues its attack. We have the same play as on our last turn.

Evil shows his mental power with Mind Control. Our Air Elemental is overcome by the mighty Planeswalker. Stormfront Pegasus attacks us for the fourth time. Evil may possess a sharp wit, but it is not as strong as ours. We take back what is rightfully ours with our own Mind Control. Air Elemental is back on our side. Evil can only use his Merfolk Looter in response to search for yet another answer to our superior forces. He finds a second Ice Cage to continue the back-and-forth dance of death we’re performing.

We find a sixth land to play a second Dragon Whelp and have either Negate or Essence Scatter ready for whatever mischievous plays Evil has in store for us. Evil’s Merfolk Looter betrays its master. We see Harm’s Way discarded at the end of our turn. Evil’s hand must certainly be stocked full of good spells. We see yet another as he tries to send our Dragon Whelp into the Blind Eternities with a Celestial Purge. With only one mana left to use, we know that our Negate will be successful at stopping Evil’s attempt.

With our hands exhausted, a brief respite takes place. Evil seeks answers with Divination, but finds only a Coral Merfolk. We are not as fortuitous and can only play a Horned Turtle. Evil summons a Snapping Drake. We cannot let that resolve and use Essence Scatter to disperse the threatening drake. The time is right to begin our offensive. Dragon Whelp unleashes its pent up rage as it engulfs Evil in a blaze of flame. The Planeswalker suffers five damage. To follow up the attack, we summon a Snapping Drake of our own. Evil can only use his Merfolk Looter to search for an answer. He finds it with Lightwielder Paladin. We must plan our attacks carefully and not let the paladin damage us or else we will lose our dragon whelp.

Our draws have been land and we have no Merfolk Looter to turn them into more useful cards. Evil takes advantage of our situation and attacks us with his Lightwielder Paladin. We consider all possible options and defend with all three of our creatures (Snapping Drake, Horned Turtle, and Dragon Whelp). Evil has no tricks and only Dragon Whelp perishes to slay the knight. We consider ourselves lucky. Evil summons a Wind Drake afterwards as we draw yet another land. Our position has been severely weakened. We cannot defend the skies with Snapping Drake. The ferocious creature is fragile and doesn’t have the toughness of a dragon’s scales.

Evil’s pegasus and drake soar over our Horned Turtle in an attack. We acknowledge the fate of our drake as it blocks his. The two magnificent creatures plummet into the sea, never to be seen again. Merfolk Sovereign surfaces where the two beasts fell. Suddenly Evil’s Coral Merfolk becomes much more of a threat. Our next turn yields an amazing trick: Ignite Disorder. The options available to us are overwhelming. There are so many points to consider. Negate is a trick we’ve seen from Evil. He has not used it yet and has only ten cards left in his deck with an additional two in hand. He may have another trick we haven’t seen yet, but playing around that is not something we can do unless we act on our turn. Our Air Elemental must surely be one of the targets. We will be able to free it from its Ice Cage and possibly ambush the Stormfront Pegasus. If we want to do that, we must wait for Evil to attack. He will have seen two more cards though. If he has the Negate, we will not be able to outrace his evasive Coral Merfolk thanks to the help of Merfolk Sovereign. Assuming that one target is our Air Elemental, we must choose to target his Merfolk Sovereign or Coral Merfolk. We could take two damage from the Coral Merfolk (going to six) and kill the Merfolk Sovereign or take nothing and kill the Coral Merfolk. Merfolk Sovereign seems to be the more threatening creature. We will kill that or at least try to.

Our plan goes through just like we had hoped. Evil doesn’t have Negate to thwart our maneuver. Suddenly the battlefield has been reclaimed. We have freed our Air Elemental and still have a Horned Turtle to defend against Evil’s creatures (Merfolk Looter and Coral Merfolk). Evil finds a Gorgon Flail with his Merfolk Looter and gives it to his Coral Merfolk after attacking.

The time is ours. We need to end the battle now. Our Air Elemental stabs at Evil, sending him reeling in agony. Our second Air Elemental joins us. Evil has few resources left with only four cards left in his deck after using Merfolk Looter and playing Divination. He finds nothing to cast and can only attack with his Coral Merfolk. The poisonous Gorgon Flail cracks the shell of our Horned Turtle as it blocks.

The two Air Elementals are out for blood. They reduce Evil down to three life. Berserkers of Blood Ridge are seen on the horizon as they wander into our camp. Our forces are great. Evil plays a Stormfront Pegasus and Djinn of Wishes as he prepares for the battle on our turn. We have but one option: ATTACK! The mighty Djinn of Wishes collides with one of our elementals as Stormfront Pegasus is run over by the other. Merfolk Looter has outlived its usefulness and shares the fate of the pegasus as it engages the berserkers. Having no follow-up, we are forced to pass the turn. Evil sends his Coral Merfolk into battle one last time before he concedes.

Game 3: Evil begins the final game of our epic battle with a mulligan. Our hand is laden with mana and a few powerful spells (2 Mountains, 2 Islands, Divination, Sparkmage Apprentice, and Mind Control). This time, we take the opportunity to kill Evil’s Coral Merfolk on our second turn. The presence of Merfolk Sovereign lurking somewhere in the depths of Evil’s domain makes the normally irrelevant 2/1 a potential threat. Sure enough, Merfolk Sovereign surfaces on Evil’s third turn. We might have been in trouble had we not been so cunning.

Our Divination is matched by Evil as his sovereign comes over for first blood. We have no creatures to enlist and can only hope that Evil summons Djinn of Wishes next turn so we can Cancel it. He does not have a fifth land and we are left with the option of using our Cancel on a Wind Drake which we accept. The pesky flyer would prove quite deadly if Evil has enough tricks to stop our Mind Control and Air Elemental.

Excommunicate sends our Air Elemental back to the top of our deck as Merfolk sovereign attacks for a third time. We decide to summon our Berserkers of Blood Ridge instead of the Air Elemental again. We’d like the opportunity to find a Negate to save our precious flyer should the situation arise. Unfortunately, Evil has a solution yet again. Celestial Purge exiles our berserkers and Merfolk Sovereign attacks us down to twelve life. We are ready with the Air Elemental. Certainly the majestic creature will be able to finish the race before the sovereign.

Evil matches our Air Elemental with his Djinn of Wishes. We are ready to overpower it with Mind Control as our Air Elemental attacks. Evil is down to twelve life as well. Ice Cage stops any shenanigans from our stolen djinn. Merfolk Sovereign continues its assault as Stormfront Pegasus joins it on the battlefield. We are not impressed by his puny flyers. Air Elemental and Sparkmage Apprentice team up and fight through the pegasus. Our second Air Elemental threatens to end the game.

Evil is not worried about the second Air Elemental. In fact, he is overjoyed to see it as his turn begins and finds himself the will to Mind Control. We are set back considerably by this maneuver. Merfolk Sovereign and Stormfront Pegasus attack. We are bludgeoned to six life. We find Merfolk Looter to help us search for an answer to our predicament. Hopefully it will not take long or else we will surely perish. Our Air Elemental collides in the sky as Merfolk Sovereign takes us down to four. Snapping Drake joins Evil’s forces, threatening to finish us off.

Our Merfolk Looter finds a Dragon Whelp as we freeze the Snapping Drake in an Ice Cage. We are beginning to stabilize. Evil builds his forces up with Merfolk Looter and Horned Turtle. The tribal lord makes the looter even more threatening than it already is. We can do nothing on our turn. We can’t search with Merfolk Looter because our forces are too greatly outnumbered.

Evil uses his sovereign to make his looter unblockable. The evasive merfolk swims deep beneath our forces to bring us close to death at a mere two life. Our Merfolk Looter digs for an answer before our turn starts. We find divination and use it on our turn. The mental boost yields an Ignite Disorder. The trick that was so crucial in our last battle proves its usefulness yet again as we free our stolen Djinn of Wishes from its Ice Cage and kill the Merfolk Looter. Dragon Whelp and the djinn fly into combat. Evil has no choice but to defend with his Stormfront Pegasus. He is down to four life.

Evil sees his position and attacks with his Merfolk Sovereign and Horned Turtle. We fear Harm’s Way and defend with our Sparkmage Apprentice and Merfolk Looter. On our turn we have three opportunities to find a Negate if Evil does indeed have the deadly trick. He doesn’t and falls defeated as we attack. We are victorious.

Round 2:

Game 1: Not only do we lose the die roll, but we also have to mulligan an awkward hand (4 Islands, 1 Mountain, Stone Giant, and Air Elemental) down to five cards (2 Islands, 2 Mountains, and 1 Merfolk Looter). We are the first to act with Merfolk Looter on turn two. Hopefully we’ll be able to use it to dig out of this mulligan hole. Evil is a pure green Planeswalker. He summons an Elvish Archdruid on turn three to help fuel his power. We have drawn Divination and Cancel while we wait for his next play. Cudgel Troll falls into our Cancel trap as we are punished by the Archdruid.

We find a Wall of Frost to defend against the Archdruid. Our hand is not in need of repair so Merfolk Looter’s duties shift to the battlefield. At the sight of the Wall of Frost, Evil can do nothing but play another large monstrous creature. Bramble Creeper lurks into view. Without help, not even it will be able to break through our defenses. We have found time to seek Divination. The sudden burst of knowledge fuels our hand with Prodigal Pyromancer and Air Elemental. If fate is on our side, these powerful spells will ensure we defeat Evil after having taken two mulligans at the start of the battle.

Evil sends his Bramble Creeper to attack. We are not in the position to play around Giant Growth. Wall of Frost defends and Evil does indeed have it. The boost in strength given to the Bramble Creeper is enough to overwhelm the wall, though not without consequence. As strong as the Bramble Creeper may be, it will take an entire turn to untap after colliding with the icy defender. A Stampeding Rhino lumbers out of the foliage to aid Evil’s offense.

We are not in the best of situations. We need help and summon our best creature. Air Elemental joins the ranks of our meager defenses. With the help of the airborne elemental, we shall be able to fend off the Stampeding Rhino. The rhino does indeed crash in against our front lines. We defend with our Air Elemental; the two creatures perish together. Evil wishes to hinder our resources as much as possible and summons an Acidic Slime. The ooze lays waste to one of our pristine Islands. We replace the desolated isle with another land to summon both Horned Turtle and Prodigal Pyromancer.

Not even the use of all our spells is enough to stop the onslaught of the green Planeswalker. Bramble Creeper and Acidic Slime attack us. We have no good blocks and must take seven damage, leaving us at eleven. Evil’s last move requires the help of his Elvish Archdruid. The two chant together with Howl of the Night Pack. The dirge calls forth six wolves. We are overridden with fear and concede.

Game 2: Fortune is on our side. We are able to keep our hand of seven (2 Mountains, Terramorphic Expanse, Divination, Negate, Merfolk Looter, and Viashino Spearhunter). Terramorphic Expanse forms into an Island as we summon Merfolk Looter and Viashino Spearhunter to stop Evil’s Runeclaw Bear. Divination allows us to draw into more cards as we are content with leaving the Viashino Spearhunter on defense. Evil can only summon a Centaur Courser as he fails to find a fourth land.

We have failed to draw a fifth land. However, we have a second Divination to find a land and an Ice Cage for the Centaur Courser. Entangling Vines traps our Merfolk Looter. Its job is done though. The card selection provided by it proved invaluable. We have enough resources to summon our Air Elemental. The game will surely be over soon. We have two Negates to make sure no tricks will stop us.

Evil finds a fifth land and summons a Giant Spider. He is done with his turn as he attempts to lure us into a false sense of security regarding his lack of Giant Growth. We are not concerned about that small issue. Air Elemental soars high to attack, but is entangled in the web of Evil’s Giant Spider. Sure enough, a Giant Growth is attempted. We are ready with Negate to stop Evil’s plan. Essence Scatter takes care of his Cudgel Troll. Furious, Evil curses at us.

We are immune to Evil’s taunts. Coolly, we plan our turn. Our Viashino Spearhunter and Air Elemental begin their assault. Evil chooses to not defend with his Runeclaw Bear. Afterwards, we summon a mighty Dragon Whelp. Evil tries one last desperate attempt to climb back into the game with Howl of the Night Pack. At the sight of our Negate, he concedes.

Game 3: Our hand for the final game isn’t as impressive as the previous one, but it’s good enough to keep (2 Islands, Horned Turtle, Wall of Frost, Mind Control, and 2 Berserkers of Blood Ridge). Deadly Recluse is the first creature summoned. The distant cousin of the Giant Spider is not as dangerous to a Planeswalker. However, its venom is deadly to the creatures they summon. We find Merfolk Looter lurking on the top of our deck for turn two. We thankfully accept the sight of it as a boon of hope. We will be able to filter our draws to ensure we don’t falter.

Again, Evil has Elvish Archdruid on his third turn. The powerful old druid will be crucial for Evil to be able to accelerate his more expensive creatures onto the battlefield. We must not fall behind. Deadly Recluse attacks us without opposition. Wall of Frost solidifies our defense. On his turn, Evil attacks again with his spider. We would rather endure one damage than sacrifice our Wall of Frost. Its survival is crucial to our own. He follows up the attack with Bramble Creeper. This looks disturbingly familiar to the first game. However, we are short on lands this time.

Merfolk Looter continues its search for lands. It finds a Terramorphic Expanse as we begin our turn. Divination fuels the card selection for Merfolk Looter as we can only play the Terramorphic Expanse and pass the turn. At the sight of the massive amounts of cards we’re drawing, Evil launches a full out assault. Everything he controls is sent into combat. We defend against the Bramble Creeper with Wall of Frost and take three from his Elvish Archdruid and Deadly Recluse. Thankfully Evil doesn’t have the Giant Growth this time. He bolsters his forces with a Stampeding Rhino afterwards.

We manage to find a fifth land for our Air Elemental after having missed for some many draws. With his presence on the battlefield, it will be much harder for Evil to break through our forces. Evil attacks with his Deadly Recluse and Stampeding Rhino. Wall of Frost is defending valiantly. We let the spider through but block the rhino. Acidic Slime is summoned from Evil’s hand. The destructive ooze lays waste to our lone Mountain. Suddenly, the two Dragon Whelps in our hand have become almost uncastable.

Merfolk Looter provides a use for our uncastable Dragon Whelps. Divination lets us see more cards, giving us enough resources to play both creatures and countermagic. Evil plays a Borderland Ranger and Centaur Courser after attacking with his two deathtouch creatures. We still can afford to no block. Sacrificing our Air Elemental would be a bad maneuver on our part. We enlist the help of Snapping Drake in preparation of Evil’s next turn.

Evil is unhappy with how the battle is turning out. Frustrated with the superiority of Wall of Frost and Air Elemental to his forces, he attacks with his entire army. The battle is furious. In the end, we lose our Snapping Drake while Evil’s Centaur Courser and Borderland Ranger perish. Our wounds were severe as we were reduced to four life. Thankfully, Evil had no other plays afterwards. Mind Control steals Acidic Slime. We are beginning to stabilize for sure now. Our resources are in much better shape than Evil’s.

We spend our next turn using Merfolk Looter. Unfortunately, we are only drawing Mountains; each one mocks us as we stare at our discarded Dragon Whelps. We are ready for anything that could be thrown at us. We have many spells in hand waiting to be used (Polymorph, Negate, Sparkmage Apprentice, and Essence Scatter). We begin a standoff. Air Elemental cannot attack just yet because of Deadly Recluse. We decide to metamorphose the recluse with Polymorph. The evolutionary change creates a Cudgel Troll. What an ironic outcome. Still, we have Wall of Frost to defend against the troll.

Evil is out for blood. He sends his troll in and uses Giant Growth when we block with Wall of Frost. We use one of the Negates in our hand. Dejected, he can do nothing else. It is time for us to attack. We are getting low on time because our library is low on cards. Our Air Elemental attacks for the first time after having been on the battlefield for eight turns. Sparkmage Apprentice is summoned to ensure we are not overridden. The red wizard deals one damage to Evil.

Giant Spider finds its way to Evil’s side, but we are not happy to see it. Essence Scatter prevents the arachnid from complicating the board. Evil attempts to trap our Air Elemental with Entangling Vines. Fortunately, we have Negate. Furious, Evil curses at us again. Ignoring the Planeswalker’s cries of frustration, we send in Air Elemental to attack once again. The floating behemoth cannot be stopped by Evil’s forces. Stone Giant solidifies our board as we pass the turn.

Evil senses that he is almost out of time. Frantically, he bolsters his Stampeding Rhino with Oakenform. Evil’s four creatures attack (Elvish Archdruid, Stampeding Rhino, Borderland Ranger, and Cudgel Troll). We defend against everything but his Borderland Ranger. Wall of Frost and Acidic Slime block the gigantic rhino, Sparkmage Apprentice sacrifices itself to the Cudgel Troll, and Stone Giant makes a meal out of Elvish Archdruid. Wall of Frost dies and Acidic Slime lives. After the great battle, all Evil has is his Borderland Ranger and Cudgel Troll. We have been dropped to two life, but have Cancel and Ice Cage in hand.

We counterattack with our Stone Giant and Air Elemental. The attack reduces Evil to four life. Afterwards, his Cudgel Troll is frozen alive inside of our Ice Cage. Out of options, Evil makes us wait a pleasant ten minutes before victory is ours. We are victorious.

Round 3:

Game 1: Evil mulligans to six cards after choosing to play first. Our hand is land-heavy, but fine considering his mulligan (3 Mountains, 2 Islands, Viashino Spearhunter, and Snapping Drake). Evil is the first to act with a Black Knight. The knight is a formidable adversary, but not against our Wall of Frost. Evil continues summoning small aggressive creatures. Silvercoat Lion and Relentless Rats team up with his Black Knight, but they cannot beat through our Wall of Frost. We have since formed an offense (Snapping Drake) and added the additional defense of Viashino Spearhunter.

Evil is stuck with only three lands to cast his spells. A second Relentless Rats joins his team. Despite his larger ground army, Evil’s forces are simply outclassed by our superior creatures. Divination is cast and Prodigal Pyromancer deployed to the battlefield. Evil decides the time to attack is right. His four creatures charge at our front lines. Viashino Spearhunter and Wall of Frost defend. A sound can be heard afterwards. Glorious Charge boosts the morale of the attacking army. We can only watch as our Viashino Spearhunter falls in combat to the Silvercoat Lion. Evil uses his will to Duress us after the battle. He sees a Sparkmage Apprentice staring back at him; waiting to team up with our Prodigal Pyromancer. We shall recover quickly and quash the opposition.

Our turn is more productive that Evil’s. Sparkmage Apprentice and Prodigal Pyromancer join together and burn Evil’s Black Knight alive. The smoldering corpse can be seen from far above in the air as our Snapping Drake attacks Evil. Afterwards, the Berserkers of Blood Ridge can be seen coming towards us in aid. Evil does nothing on his turn as he waits in anticipation for our attack. Our berserkers and drake charge forth. Evil uses his Safe Passage to prevent our attack from accomplishing anything. Additionally, his forces become immune to our offense and our berserkers are slain. We replace them with a furious Stone Giant.

Evil has yet to play a fourth land. Like in the previous turn, he has no creatures to summon. Instead, he waits for our attack to play some sort of trick. Sure enough, Harm’s Way is used to deal with our Snapping Drake. We have drawn Air Elemental and are not concerned. The combination of it and Prodigal Pyromancer will ensure our victory. Too soon to speak, we see Pacifism enchant our Air Elemental. We still have Prodigal Pyromancer and are not worried. The wizard is sure to finish him off.

The board is cluttered with irrelevant creatures; Undead Slayer and two Drudge Skeletons join Evil’s forces. He has been brought down to six life by the pyromancer. All is soon over. A Dragon Whelp swoops down from its high aerie nest to slay the Planeswalker. Evil has no solution to the mighty flyer and concedes.

Game 2: We both keep our hands (3 Island, Mountain, Sparkmage Apprentice, and Berserkers of Blood Ridge) as Evil chooses to go first with his aggressive forces. Drudge Skeletons is the first creature out of the gates. Our eyes gleam as we summon Sparkmage Apprentice to deal with the pesky skeleton. Evil replaces it with a Veteran Swordsmith, but it pales tactically with our Viashino Spearhunter. Evil throws a Duress at us, but finds nothing to steal from our mind. He only sees creatures and lands. Soon his forces will have to deal with Wall of Frost and Berserkers of Blood Ridge. He summons a Warpath Ghoul. The wall forms itself on our turn.

Memories of the impassable Wall of Frost haunt Evil and his forces. Elite Vanguard joins the side of darkness as a Doom Blade takes care of the wall. We replace the wall with our Berserkers of Blood Ridge. Evil can’t attack but adds another small creature to his side; Undead Slayer is recruited to fight for Evil’s cause. The berserkers charge into combat. The Undead Slayer and Elite Vanguard trade their lives to disband the attackers. We make use of the Divination we’ve drawn to find more spells. We draw another Divination and another Viashino Spearhunter. Our thirst for knowledge is again satisfied with the second Divination. Snapping Drake and Unsummon will be useful to us.

Evil attacks with his Warpath Ghoul and Veteran Swordsmith. We know he has a trick. We defend against the Veteran Swordsmith with Sparkmage Apprentice and Viashino Spearhunter. We are sure his trick is Glorious Charge and not Safe Passage. Using Safe Passage here would be a waste. Sure enough, the sound of a horn bellows across the battlefield. Glorious Charge emboldens Evil’s forces. However, our forces have maneuvered well and slay his Veteran Swordsmith.

We replace our fallen Viashino Spearhunter with a second one. Cancel is waiting for Evil’s next play, but it is only a Drudge Skeletons. We would rather save our trickery for cards that matter. Our turn yields Air Elemental. At the sight of the mighty beast, Evil recoils in absolute fear. The sky demon is too much of an adversary to combat. Defeated, Evil concedes despite being at full health. Victory is ours.

Happy Drafting.

96 thoughts on “According to Webster – M10 Draft #2”

  1. Dear David:

    I love reading your drafts. You give great insights into what to draft, and when I initially disagree with you, you almost always have a witty commentary that makes me think twice about whether to grab the mind control or the air elemental. You get an A on insight on the drafting stage.

    But I have a problem.

    A huge problem.

    Your game reports are complete and utter trash. They are effectively unreadable. I understand that you have an inordinate love for the 3rd person, and declaring your opponent to be the nemesis to your righteous self, but WTF. It was cute the first few times, but your demented obsession with this tense and antagonist setup has not aged well. Give us a match write-up that isn’t a travesty against our language. Please.

  2. I would have taken the Vess for two reasons:
    – I think black is probably the second best colour.
    – Planeswalkers are so hard to deal with in draft. The board gets choked up quite often and there isnt much removal for them.

    Although I do see your reasons for picking the elemental. I would of ended up in B/U anyway.

  3. Your drafting was much better this time, you didn’t make any weird picks and set yourself up to have a great deck. However, the writing is terrible. Beyond awful. I don’t know if you think it’s funny or clever: it’s not.

  4. I’m going to have to disagree with Kris above, I love the draft report. The third person isn’t hard to understand and the use of “evil” to denote one’s opponent is an old tradition. I enjoy both the play-by-play and the insight into your thought process as you play these games out. I hope to see more draft reports soon!

  5. Wow. I have to completely and utterly disagree with Kris. I find your draft walkthroughs some of the most interesting, in-depth draft Magic reports there are. Simply because you dislike the manner in which he gilds them with vivid description as opposed to merely a play-by-play write up does not make them trash. If you want to not read them, then by all means don’t. There are plenty of other draft walkthroughs on the internet.

  6. I would have rather had the 3rd Air Elemental in the Djinn than Mind Control which you could pack Unsummon or Negates for.

  7. I’ve never commented on your drafts before, but reading the above two comments about it being trash made me change my mind. I have always enjoyed the style of your game reports, in my opinion keep them coming. Reading them, I can imagine the game as if I were actually watching it at a tournament. And the humor that is included is well placed.

    Whatever the case, your reports are definitely not complete and udder dross. That’s just a minorities opinion, I mean, don’t you think more people would have spoken up by now?

    Oh, and on the draft. Your round one was amazing. You guys were just trading blows mortal combat style. Honestly I’ve never thought of U/r as a viable option, but this proved me wrong.

  8. @ Kris: I’m going to have to disagree too. Web’s draft reports are very thorough and definitely more entertaining than the typical “I untapped and looted, then passed the turn.” It is easy enough to follow the overall flow of the games and there is more than enough analysis in the draft walkthrough itself.

  9. I completely disagree with those who criticize your writing; your draft reports are well written and thought out, I see no “travesty against our language”. It’s just a question of preference. Some people want to treat Magic as seriously as they would… I don’t even know, I don’t take anything that seriously. They would rather that we did away with art, gave each card a number instead of a name, and “played” Magic as a purely strategic and numerical “game”. But for those of us who appreciate flavor, your reports are a breath of fresh air in a world that sometimes forgets that we do this for fun. And I am absolutely sure that the majority of your readers fall into that category.

  10. From China with Love

    Dear David:

    I have been following your column for some time, and I love it very much.

    i have to say you did very well in this draft, after seeing your deck, i really didn’t think u can win the draft, but you played nicely, that’s very impressive.

    Please ignore the above annoying guy, we love your way to describe the game. It’s fun and witty, and is different from other draft recaps.

    And I’m sorry your second opponent is such a bitter loser. The cursing and waiting a whole 10 minutes is just so inmature. The down side of playing MTGO is that u met all kinds of people, from nice ones, to complete ass. That sometimes really pissed me off, but u did well, good for u!

    Keep on the good work! Looking forward to see ur next column.

  11. David- please ignore the haters, the writeups are full of color and much more fun to read than a dry play-by-play.

    BTW ‘Kris’ if you are using ‘tense’ as a grammatical term to describe David’s use of 3rd person (rather than as an adjective as in ‘tense situation’; it’s unclear from context) then I’m afraid you’re incorrect. 3rd person is technically a voice, rather than a tense.

    I suggest you brush up on your own grammar before accusing others of a ‘travesty against our language’.

  12. I probably would have taken Liliana as well, and then probably ended up with Djinn + Liliana for a cool combo cause who needs Mind Control?? and lost the draft rd 1 =P

  13. The deck turned out pretty well, but I have a question –

    twice in the game reports it seemed like you had a chance to 3 for 1 with Ignite Disorder, but you didn’t mention it as a possible play, only the 2 for 1.

    Can’t you cast Ignite Disorder targeting your Ice Caged creature, Merfolk Sovereign, and Coral Merfolk, and assign 0 to your creature, 2 to the Soverign, and 1 to the Coral Merfolk, which would end up killing both merfolk while freeing your creature?

  14. Winston — If you have to divide damage, you have to assign at least one to each thing you are dividing it among.

  15. I think your games show pretty clearly why Liliana would have been the better choice p1p1. Creatures are so easy to deal with. Planeswalkers are not. And the “short list” of things that deal with creatures is not that short. Doom blade, ice cage, blinding mage, pacifism, seismic strike, tendrils, syphon life, to name a few. Gorgon flail on any flyer, dragon whelp or deadly recluse can also deal with it. And there are some rares, like earthquake (though that also deals with planeswalkers pretty effectively. The fact is, stalling up the board in m10 is not that difficult, and if it’s reasonably stalled, Vess can win all on her own.
    And I have to agree, your writing style is neither effective nor witty. It makes me cringe.

  16. I love channelfireball and all its articles and especially anything to do with draft. Dont mind Kris, its fine and humorous. I do disagree with your pack 3 first pick?! Horned turtle? He is good but he will come back. Why not a harmsway, cancel or ignite disorder? The harmsway is just a great pick here and I can understand cancel being hard to cast early since your playing dragon whelp but it still seem better than a first pick horned turtle. I dont know thats just me and everyones a critic. Thanks for the article!

  17. I actually like web’s writeup style…its a far cry different from everyone else’s droll, hum-drum descriptions of play-by-play that are beyond boring…

  18. David, could you please give some descripition of your sideboarding? It is also interesting.
    On the topic of your writing style: i like it, it makes your column very unique. i am not a native english-speaker, and i have no any troubles reading.

  19. Yes, you can go to any Magic site and find more straight-forward outlay of a draft. There’s a reason for that. It’s quickly consumable. This, however, was not.

    That being said, I did laugh at the “pleasant 10 minute wait” line.

    Your flowery language did exclude sideboarding, which can be an important aspect to a game that I like to hear the reasons for choices being made.

    Either way, congrats; nice victory.

  20. Please please please stop doing draft reports in that style. It is extremely irritating to try and read something simple cluttered with unnecessary dramatics.

  21. I have never enjoyed reading a draft report as much as the ones that you give. I hope that you continue with your style of report as I find great enjoyment from them.

  22. His unique and flavourful style is mostly why I read every one of his draft reports. Keep it up, don’t listen to those
    lack of fantasy! Respect.

  23. And to preempt the follow up question, Fireball works differently because it divides the damage upon resolution rather than when you cast the spell.

  24. Keep the Draft reports as is, please! It’s awesome the way you do them, they are a great read.

    The only thing I’d suggest is to add what you sideboard (and perhaps a quick ‘here’s why’).
    Other than that, these draft reports are perfect.

  25. I disagree with Kris when he says your match reports are unreadable, I find them witty and much more entertaining then just reading a normal match report.
    Thank you for another great article.

  26. I think you discounted Djinn too early. Even at its worst, its a 4/4 flyer for 5, another air elemental. It just has the ability to drop more stuff into play.

    Yes, while Mind control is the game decider most of the time, The wish may be more important.

    Also Polymorph is much better than you think, especially with a deck with a high number of Ponders/Owls. Stack your deck, Poly a piece of crap into gold. (Or, Poly my Siege gang into my OTHER siege gang… heh fun draft that was) If you know you have better, hit yourself with it.

    Also with the way you were drafting, you could of easily hated more cards that would hurt, further strengthening your position.

  27. Stop whining about the style that David uses to report the games he’s playing. It’s original because not too much other players posting draft walkthru’s go through the trouble of making a cute story out of it.

    If you don’t like it, go read other reports.
    Personally, I’m not a big fan of having to read through the nonsense, but I respect D’s skills and every once in a while I come across something new. That’s why I always read his work and if you want to be a better drafter, you should too.

    Keep up the good work.


  28. I enjoy reading through the draft, although reading the blow by blow account of the following rounds is almost torturous, One has to sift through so many words to find “and he blocked”. Good overall though!

  29. A little part of me died inside when you played a 3 mana Elvish Archers over Ponder.

    I think you vastly underrate Ponder, which is surprising given your well-founded love of Merfolk Looter. Basically, Ponder is a one shot Looter at such a small cost (the greatest cost of Ponder is opportunity cost, and Spearhunter is not that great of an opportunity). There is a decent disparity between your best cards and your worst cards (at least in game), and Ponder is fantastic at helping you find the cards that are strong at that juncture of the game.

    PS The game reports are awesome.

  30. If you don’t like the match writeups, why not just read the draft part and then ask for half of your money back?

  31. I wonder why the fanboys tell David to “ignore” the criticism. To me it’s simply an opinion, and one that I happen to share. You aren’t a very good writer, and thus it becomes rather irksome in the long run. On the other hand I like reading draft reports, and I just tend to read through the flowery speech quickly. Still, the users of the site have the right to come with constructive criticism, so it would be nice if the fanboys could just accept that some people might not enjoy the style, but they still have the right to vocalize this opinion without having to fear being censured by their peers.

  32. This is the ONLY draft walkthrough I actually enjoy reading.

    And I’m not even a native speaker!

    Only suggestion, please include sideboarding choices and surrounding thoughts (as lots of other people suggested).

    Thanx for the articles and keep them coming 🙂

  33. Gosh, what a lot of comments! Chalk another point for ‘fan of the unorthodox match recaps’, in case you’re keeping score – I love ’em.
    I wish I got to choose between Djinn of Wishes and Mind control in P2P2 every once in a while 😛 Excellent draft though – plenty of potential pitfalls correctly avoided, resulting in a deserving 3-0 deck.

  34. I have to agree, the game reports are really painful to read, the 3rd person dialogue is more annoying than entertaining.

  35. Seems like every deck I draft, or every draft deck I hear about is Blue based. Are there any archetypes that aren’t blue, that people find really strong?

  36. Since we’re all commenting this week, chalk another vote up to the “this is totally unreadable” column. As others have stated, it could be said that it was cute the first time, but after the fifth or sixth it just comes across as terrible writing. Sorry.

    Which is a shame as I am sure I would enjoy the match reports if I could get through them.

  37. I don’t agree with your picks but you have very valid reasons behind them so I’m not going to say there wrong.

    I would like many have taken Vess p1p1, your logic is solid but Vess is a power level above and beyond the elemental to be honest and even if elemental works by itself and Vess doesn’t if your in black you will easily find cards to back her up, but it is nice to see someone take the pick that isn’t obvious.

    Also like others I would have taken the Dijn. A card with 3-1 card advantage built in is great. I agree its sucky to hit counter spell but every card has its risks, with mind control your opp could be running unsummon or a number of other things that have become more popular because of ice cage/mind control.

    Plus taking mind control over the Dijn goes against your own logic that you used to pick elemental over Vess. Mind control needs your opps creatures to be good to work where worst comes to worst dijn is a 4/4 flyer that’s hard to deal with.
    Also if you where to use the logic you used about the mind control pick on your first pick you would have a vess in your deck. If you drop air elemental while your opp is ahead its just a body where if you drop Vess at least you find an answer and a lot of the time a “fog”.

    I know that’s being a bit petty tho because I know you want different things at different times for your draft deck.

    Keep up the good work tho seeing your thought process in your picks does help me with mine

    P.S While I don’t enjoy your writing style calling it awful is way over the top!!! I don’t like it that doesn’t mean its bad it just means that’s my preference I’m sure there plenty people out there that love it

  38. pps the more I read the more I like the way you write but I cant read it when im in a serious mood if you know what I mean

  39. I also only read the draft half – after reading game 1 I was too distracted by the language to continue. I commend your patience in writing it, though – must be a ton of work, and as long as people like your style, by all means stick to it.

  40. Great Draft Reports… I love the recaps and laugh every time… very thorough and well done.

    As to your second round opponent and their poor behavior: Threaten to report to WOTC and follow through with the report if they don’t straighten up. We don’t need that waste of time and usually I find the threat works.

  41. I think the recaps are fine; a bit wordy at times, but enjoyable none the less. It’s all a matter of preference, like most written pieces. I find Steven King overly wordy and don’t like his books at all at times, but enjoy Dean Koontz greatly.

    Honestly in P2P2, you have a catch 22. Either you pick up the fairly bombtastic Djinn or the other bombtastic mind control. The Djinn is best used when you can either ponder or sage owl prior to using him, to set up the wish counters. With his deck he could flip up a negate or scatter that would be 100% useless, and then he can’t use it down the road, which proved to be greatly useful for him. Sure, he still has an Air Elemental either way, but I think Mind Control is a much more versatile card in the long run. It can steal very problematic creatures, shift up a cluttered battlefield (which happens often in m10 limited) more in your favor, etc.

    In his case the only things that would good to play off the djinn would be the air eles, or the zerkers, mostly everything else is at or under a 4 CMC anyway, and maybe 10 of those spells would be good to play at instant speed.

  42. Any other site I just read the draft portion, then just skim through to see how the deck did. I like the idea of actually making a story out of it. Seems fitting as Wizards is on their kick of pushing flavor, that we have a draft writer who does also. I always look forward to this column.

  43. Great read, as always. Don’t bother about the comments, there are 10 people who approve of your original style for every hater. I know I still laugh, so please keep it up.

    Strategically, I must admit I was surprised by your choice of Mind Control over Djinn. Without too much thinking, I would have taken the Djinn since, technically, he provides more card advantage. While that may be true, Mind Control provides better card advantage, in that you’re taking their best creature and probably a good removal, whereas Djinn will usually give you one land and sometimes blanks. As you underlined it, the deciding factor then becomes tempo.

    That sure was a good lesson for me.

  44. Personally I’m not a fan of the creative writing style for the draft matches.

    So I skip them. Problem solved. I enjoy the parts that aren’t written like that, and accept the article for what it is.

    I applaud David for the guts it takes to submit creative writing to an MTG audience. As we’ve seen we have very high standards for creative writing. The thing is… this is his article, and his outlet. If he wants to write it in bold wingdings font, so be it.

    I’m not a ‘fanboy’, I have no idea who David is outside of these articles. The write-up for the matches isn’t my style, but it’s not like his style is anything that I have any control over. I appreciate his insight into draft picks and I am still in awe that he has the courage to do creative writing versions of his matches. I don’t think that I would.

    So, to David: write the way you want to write if you’re writing for your own enjoyment. If you’re writing for the strategy needs of others, take a good look at the constructive criticisms posted earlier (length, fantasy-esque, etc) and see if you can modify your style to maybe bridge the gap. Or not. It’s your article, dang it, write what (and how) you love!

  45. If you don’t like hearing criticism of something you enjoy, I suggest you take your own advice and don’t read the criticism.

    Also, what Andreas said.

    I really enjoyed the first “good/evil” writeup, to the point where I was literally chuckling to myself, because it was unexpected and surprising. It’s not anymore; it’s grown tired and predictable, and therefore no longer fun. Plainly, it sucks now. If you want to be an entertaining writer, you need to keep things fresh, not just keep coming back to the same well over and over again. When it comes to writing, the thing that worked for you last time is actually the LEAST likely option to succeed the next.

    The drafts themselves are always excellent, but at this point I usually just stop reading after the decklist, and when I don’t, I wish I had. :<

  46. Awesome draft………..Terrible article! I honestly think Mr. Ochoa called his 10 minions and said “Please go to Channelfireball and post good comments about my article.” My last article was received so terribly that I might lose my writing job.” I mean doesn’t it seem odd that everyone chimed in about how bad the article was last week with very few people defending it, and this week there are magically people here to defend it. If David didn’t have people jump on and comment for him, I would guess he wrote those positive comments himself. Like I said last week…….GIVE THE DRAFTS TO CONLEY OR BRAD! I have seen nothing but good comments about their articles and I am confident people would get more from their drafts.

  47. I find Steven King overly wordy and don't like his books at all at times, but enjoy Dean Koontz greatly.

    Haha, wow, does that sentence speak volumes about how seriously you should take the opinions of the “keep it going” crowd. :///

  48. Everybody saying you dont like his style, just don’t read it! He won’t change it for your own little pleasure, it’s what makes this column so appealing in the
    first place.

    Keep it up!!!

    P.S. Do you ever lose? XD You always seem like you win even when your on verge of defeat.

  49. I´ll side with the ones here who enjoy these reports. Writing in your style should be equally important to drafting in your style. And your style is fun to read. I guess people who dont like it just want the “goods”, draft picks and such, not a story about a draft. Don’t mind them, they are boring. 🙂

    If you bother reading through these comments, I do have a suggestion: it would be instructive and give a slightly better flow to the reports with a comment in between the packs, on where you think you are at and if you have any particular strategical thoughts on how to proceed with the draft. I guess it will mostly be “I’m committed to color x”, but still.

  50. Awesome style is awesome. Makes the draft walkthroughs interesting rather than simply: I drop a guy, he drops a guy and so on.

    Really good deck…… agree with Air Elemental over the walker but I’m not so sure about Mind Control over Dijin of Wishes….. the Jin is so good! But it doesn’t really matter as both picks are insane blue cards.

  51. I don’t personally like Davids writing style, as I begin to tire of it after game 1 of each of his articles. But it is a unique style and something I don’t get to read in any other magic article. Kudos to him for being creative and finding a way to make writing fresh and enjoyable for himself and others.

  52. Oh, and I´d like to add another thing, on the first pick. Im not a good drafter, but in my (very short) experience a planeswalker in a draft is very hard to deal with, but it does come with the very severe downside of requiring an already stable board control to be of any use. if you cant defend it, its no good. Thus, often it is not a good top deck. Air elemental will almost always be a good top deck. This is just one of many points on the pick of course (if nothing else, I´d pick it becuse its fun), but one that many dont seem to take into consideration here.

  53. @ Comment by Winston – August 24, 2009 @ 11:18 pm:
    I am under the impression that you must assign at least one damage to each target with Ignite Disorder. I’ll double-check to make sure.

    @ Comment by chooch – August 24, 2009 @ 11:58 pm :
    Round 1: +1 Ignite Disorder: -1 Berserkers of Blood Ridge
    Round 2: +1 Polymorph, -1 Viashino Spearhunter
    As it turns out, having the first-striker would have been very good in game 3, but overall it seemed ineffective because lots of his creatures had more than 2 toughness.
    Round 3: +1 Viashino Spearhunter, -1 Berserker of Blood Ridge
    His deck was very aggressive. The Viashino Spearhunter was better than most creatures in his deck. Additionally, he had 2 Drudge Skeletons. Berserkers of Blood Ridge aren’t very good against those.

    @ Comment by Adam Prosak – August 25, 2009 @ 2:53 am :
    You’re right, I probably do underrate Ponder. Would you have run it with 3 Divination and Merfolk Looter already in the deck? There’s definately a point where running creatures becomes better because you need to run through their removal and have cards with minimal cost that get you to the point where you can begin to win the game. The spearhunter slot was for a defensive creature. I wasn’t excited with it, but I also wasn’t totally disappointed. I would have run another Horned Turtle if I could have.

    @ Comment by pablofactor – August 25, 2009 @ 5:52 am :
    Blue is just what I tend to draft. I’ve drafted M10 six times now; four times online and two team drafts. I’ve been blue each time. What exactly does that mean? Does that mean that blue is the best color by far? Not necessarily. It just means that for that small sample, I’ve tended to draft blue.

    @ Comment by Lunor – August 25, 2009 @ 1:40 am :
    @ Comment by xtra – August 25, 2009 @ 8:57 am :
    I’ve been considering an analysis when in between packs and sideboarding. Look for it next week.

  54. Interesting picks… Wish my drafts ended up 3-0 more often… The round write-ups have their moments, but sometimes are too wordy. Nothing my eyes can’t skim over with ease though, so keep it up. Not sure I agree with your assessment of Ponder, either… It can turn what would be a disastrous next three turns into gold. But, with so much card drawing already, it’s hard to justify…

  55. definitely ignore anyone saying change your style. A man without enemies is a man without character (and other such quotes about pleasing everyone being a poor and unreasonable goal). =]

  56. Not sure if it would be feasible time wise or anything but how about the best of both? I guess you could do the fantasy section (which I like personally and enjoy reading while I’m at work) and then afterwards put the boring play by play at the end? If not then just the way you have it is fine.

  57. wow. round 1 was pretty epic

    the mind control over djinn of wishes pick was interesting. for your deck, i’d absolutely agree. however, if i didn’t already have 2 air elementals, i think i’d take the djinn. mind control is insane, but a blue/red deck can end up being very threat light. your mind controlled creature may not be able to end the game in 5 swings. but yeah, seeing as you already have 2 game enders, no reason not to pick the best removal spell ever. clone + doomblade in one card is pretty sick.

  58. Love the write up, please don’t change. Those that don’t like don’t have to read. I think your reasoning for each pick is sound, even if Horned turtle first pick sounds really weird.

  59. I enjoyed reading the first game and the pick by pick draft, but i must tell that i coudnt read far beyond that cause it tooks so many time to read the games because of the teatralization of the story.
    Anyway, the first game was really epic 😛

    Thx 4 your time ^^


  60. wanted to point out if another forum poster hasnt already, that the 3 wish jenie and liliana vess work well with ponder. had that actually a draft other day with sleep xD

  61. Looks like most people either love Ochoa’s style or completely despise it. I’m somewhat in the middle. I think he’s been pushing it further and further each week though, and it’s nearing the point of absurd wordiness and I might start hating it if the trend continues. I’m pretty sure if I go back to one of the early Alara drafts the writing would be more subdued; let’s revert to this please?

    Also change the column name; it’s clear half your readers think you’re Emmanuel Lewis. 🙂

  62. I like the draft recap style.

    I was kind of surprised by the Air Elemental over Overrun, but it definitely worked out.

  63. dowjonzechemical

    ‘grats on the win. your deck was insane. I did disagree with some of your picks (re: horned turtle over harm’s way), but your win is enough to shut me up 🙂

    I can’t believe this “change/keep your writing style” debate is straying away from the point of this article, which was a draft walk through.

    If you don’t like the writing style, don’t read and don’t comment. :spam: what a waste of time and energy. This applies to all writers, which is why I don’t read Adrian Sullivan anymore.

  64. In game 1 why shoot the coral merfolk with sparkmage when you can shoot the ice cage off of your turtle?

    Also, I don’t mind these more…flavorful…game recaps, but you need to watch the length of them. You averaged 2000 words each for the first two rounds, much of which was repetitive.

  65. I can see not liking the writing style, but I can’t really understand the claims that he is a bad writer.

    Personally, his draft reports are the only ones where I don’t skip the match reports to find the end result. I love imagining it said in an over-dramatic voice.

    And for those who complain about his articles being too long…that’s just sad.

  66. Enjoyed the draft but had to stop reading when I got to the play by play. I’d prefer the quick and dirty version.

  67. It is always a pleasure to read those game reports from you and I think you invest a great amount in time for them. it is just so more entertaining to read about the epic battle of two mages than the ordinary way.

    @Air Elemental >Liliana Vess p1p1:
    when I read this at first, I realized, that I actually didn’t even see the Air Elemental and my subconsciousness associated PW=most broken stuff in m10 and made the pick for me.
    thinking of it, the flying beater is good all the time, while this PW only shines, when you have already built up a good defense.

    keep on with the good work,

  68. Plus one for unreadable. And I mean that. Every week I try to get farther, but each sentence feels like doing a pullup. Even in the draft section, your voice seems so passive and bored to me.

    So much of your pick commentary is utterly useless, too. “Merfolk Sovereign isn't good. Coral Merfolk and Merfolk Looter are the only beneficiaries of the tribal lord. Cards that make vanilla 2/1 creatures slightly better don't impress me.” Why did you say any of that?

  69. @ Comment by Todd – August 25, 2009 @ 2:12 pm :
    I don’t really care much for Overrun. I like Safe Passage and Negate/Cancel/Essence Scatter more. I’d like the option of choosing what spells my opponents resolve and beat them with my own instead of making it a race to who can cast their bomb. Air Elemental gives me one of the best creatures and outs me into blue, a color which I prefer.

    @ Comment by John – August 25, 2009 @ 2:32 pm :
    I didn’t want to waste the Sparkmage on stopping Coral Merfolk at that point. Up to that part of the game, it would have been better to invalidate Coral Merfolk by just playing more creatures. A non-evasive 2/1 gets bad pretty fast. Had I known from the start that he had Merfolk Sovereign, I would have played the Sparkmage Apprentice on turn two.

  70. @ Comment by ghweiss – August 25, 2009 @ 4:04 pm :
    I talked about Merfolk Sovereign because people think they can draft around it like you would Merrow Reejerey in Lorwyn block which simply isn’t the case. I listed my reasons and general theory about aggressive strategies in M10 limited.

  71. Should’ve Sparkmaged your Ice Caged Horned Turtle instead of Coral Merfolk. Also, you should have Mind Controlled the Deadly Recluse instead of the Acidic Slime. They’re basically the same guy, you take one extra point on the next attack if he all-ins, but you don’t have to Polymorph a two mana guy next turn.

    Other than that, awesome draft, good pick-insights, and a fine read.

  72. To everyone who says that they would pick Vess and end up U/B:
    Not only was they black coming his way shallow at best, but passing the Air elemental would have made it more difficult to pick up the quality blue spells he did. In the abstract, Vess would work better, but given the way things turned out, I say he took a gambe, and it paid off. Having two dragon whelps is more than enough reason to play red, even if the rest of his cards were subpar (whereas Vess would be a bit awkward as his only stellar Black card).
    As for the mind control pick, I’d say it was the right choice considering he already had the 4(!) huge fliers, was light on removal, and the Djinn’s ability wouldn’t provide anything better than Mind Control.

    All in all, keep up the good work!

  73. I was also surprised by Air Elemental > Overrun, but, you know, despite whatever picks I disagree on, I always am able to see your POV and find what validates your decisions. So I never feel outraged by any pick because you are capable of convincing me to your side. 🙂 Which is a great ability in a writer. Keep it up.

    This is partially helped by the fact I totally agree that blue is just the best color in M10 for drafting. It’s not very deep, and it doesn’t have a lot of bombs, but the card advantage aspect goes such a long way that it’s hard to not want to draft it all the time! And I’m not a big fan of green either. Although P1P1 I may have taken the Liliana, as others have said.

    All writers have room to grow, and I think your articles are improving — before, I had problems with the clarity, and the flavor got in the way of what was happening in the game, but now I can see the various transactions in the game clearly. Sometimes it would be nice to see what life totals are at various points in the game, too.

    Maybe this is too much to ask but I think a brief, 2-3 sentence summary for each game would help the people who can’t read your draft reports get the info they’re looking for — maybe stick it at the very end for ppl to scroll and find. Just a friendly suggestion…

    I’ll read any draft report regardless of the writing since I enjoy draft reports so much. If there were more on this site, I’d read them all. Thanks for writing yours.

  74. Really nice to read this extensive thoughts about what to draft.
    But I was wondering.. Is the Zephyr Sprite really that bad? I probably would’ve chosen it above the Beserkers, since you already got a Beserkers and a couple of biggies.

  75. I was curious as to why Unsummon was not in your final decklist nor did it appear to make it in sideboard games. I have found playing against it very frustrating (Mind Controlling their creature or attempting to kill one and then spending one-mana to wreck my big spell.

    I understand you have (2) Negates that partially help that, but was curious as to your rational.

  76. Definitely Djin over Mind Control
    The djins just too god..
    ( he’s air elemental with card advantage.. )

  77. Not liking Ochoa’s writing style is one thing, but calling his articles trash is another thing entirely, and very unwarranted.
    That being said, I must admit that his style does get old. Also, I sometimes feel his writing sounds arrogant, from calling his opponent evil in the first place (contrary to one comment claiming this to be quite common, I haven’t read this anywhere else on the net) to statements like Evil to be no match for his mighty forces or overwhelming wit.

    On the other hand, the draft itself is excellent. I would have gone with Liliana first pick as well, but his reasoning for every pick is very sound.

  78. With the way the draft portion of the article is set up, I can’t tell anything about what’s going on, as card images don’t load on my work computer. I come here solely for the silliness in describing the matches.

    Keep it up, man. You keep me from being insanely bored at work.

  79. good draft, I picked the exact same as you all the way through. It’s always tough to pass overrun, but 2 Negate + Cancel makes that lot less scary.

    I’m in the boat of not liking the game report style though, in fact I skip over it, which is unfortunate because I like to see how the deck played out.

  80. regarding the style of the writing:

    david, if you are compelled to narrate your games as if they are “epic battles”, as you call them, i would ask you really try and hone your writing skills.

    i like the idea of reciting your games with style, it transforms mtg from a emotionless exchange of plays into the imaginative fantasy richard garfield envisioned. really create the world though – forget they are cards and focus the fantasy. you wrote:

    “Again, Evil has Elvish Archdruid on his third turn. The powerful old druid will be crucial for Evil to be able to accelerate his more expensive creatures onto the battlefield. We must not fall behind. Deadly Recluse attacks us without opposition. Wall of Frost solidifies our defense. On his turn, Evil attacks again with his spider. We would rather endure one damage than sacrifice our Wall of Frost. Its survival is crucial to our own. He follows up the attack with Bramble Creeper. This looks disturbingly familiar to the first game. However, we are short on lands this time.”

    but you could do so much more. this could be written something like:

    “The Elvish Archdruid steps up beside the Plansewalker as the forest rustles with excitement. I tremble, and can only fear what awaits the beckoning call from the master of nature.
    From the treetops a Deadly Recluse springs forth and bites. It’s poison runs deep, but I can go on. I hear the roar of laughter echo across the planes from the planeswalker’s mouth as again, the spider leaps and drains me further. I will not summon my icy wall to meet the arachnid. Though I may be able to retain the venom, my wall would surely perish.
    I can hear the slither of vines as the forest floor culminates into a mesh of vines and twigs, the planeswalker has summoned a Bramble Creeper and I am struck with a familiar feeling, that this has happened before. I am weak, and can only wonder why are the forces of water calming when they need to rage?”

    Keep going though, it’s the most interesting draft writing i’ve yet read.

  81. For all the people who dislike the writing style immensely, aka abhor it, it is probably because it is just a change from all the other articles out there.

    I do agree however that the story is getting a bit too wordy and is becoming harder to read, if you could cut back a little on the amount of words used per game that would be appreciated. I also agree with sebot that it would probably be much more interesting if it were written in the style of a short story or other piece of fantasy.

    Just some thoughts, use them if you want.

  82. I enjoy your style, and the walkthroughs. It is extremely nice to not burn through a draft report in less than five minutes because one skims the picks and mostly ignores the report; the change of pace makes makes it actually interesting to read. This includes the first, second, and current (Nth) time I read it.

    p.s. One of these days it’ll be nice to play T1 out in Cali again!

  83. I think the draft recaps should be replaced by videos of larpers, narrated by Michael Clarke Duncan, in a bee costume, and John Madden, as himself. The sideboarding would still be written of course.

    of course.

  84. OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG check out the pages on pages of comments… No such thing as bad publicity, keep it up!

    I’m not a fan of the style per se, but I LOVE PLAY BY PLAY. Keep giving us play by play and readers like me will keep reading.

    ps- I think creatures die easy to doomblade/burn/enchantments, so I would have picked the planeswalker too.

  85. I just discovered your articles, as I’m preparing for a 2010 draft with some friends. I’m enjoying your draft walkthroughs as well as your game reports. Are they great literature? No. Are they fun? Yes. Please keep them coming.


    P.S. Oh, and are Magic players all ignorant about grammar? “We” is 1st person, *not* 3rd, and person is *person*, not voice. Every verb has person, mood, voice, tense, and number. David’s account is written from a 1st person (plural) perspective and his verbs are all generally active voice, indicative mood, and present tense.

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