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According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #1

Pack 1 pick 1:

 

Kor Skyfisher, Disfigure, Whiplash Trap, and Blazing Torch stand out. Whiplash Trap and Blazing Torch are the two weaker cards. Blazing Torch is much less impressive than one would initially think. It’s removal, but has many requirements to be used. It’s certainly no Aeolipile. If you’re aggressive, it prevents one of your creatures from attacking for a turn which can be quite hindering if you’re trying to race. Blazing Torch also requires having a creature in play which is unaffected by summoning sickness. Whiplash Trap is an excellent spell that generates significant tempo swings. The main problem with it is that it’s harder to use than Disfigure and Kor Skyfisher. Whiplash Trap is the type of card that I’d look for once I’m in blue, but not a card that would put me into blue in the first place starting from pick one. If this were much later in the pack (like pick five) then it would be a good option and a signal to go into blue. Kor Skyfisher is the best white common creature. I like it more than Kor Hookmaster because for a few reasons. Three toughness is huge in this format. There are so many two-power creatures which is one of the reasons why Vampire Nighthawk is so insane. Kor Skyfisher costing two mana and flying are the other two important factors. It doubles as both an excellent offensive and defensive creature and often allows you to squeeze in another spell to a turn. Disfigure is the best card in the pack. It doesn’t commit you to a certain type of deck (hyper-aggressive, moderate, or controlling), can be splashed easily (especially if paired with green), and is cheap efficient removal. Removal is more important than most other cards. Disfigure also puts you into black which is the best color in Zendikar, though overdrafted.

My pick: Disfigure

Pack 1 pick 2:

 

Sadly I am pretty sure that Vampire Nighthawk was taken out of this pack. Opening hundreds of boxes will engrain certain runs into memory. It’s good to know where the important cards fall. Harrow, Soul Stair Expedition, Hedron Crab, and Torch Slinger are the better cards. I haven’t been impressed with milling strategies yet. They seem to never quite come together, so I wouldn’t take Hedron Crab. Soul Stair Expedition is a good card in sealed where games are longer and attrition wars are more likely to happen. In those games, being able to bring back two creatures will often tip the game in your favor. In draft where the games are faster, Soul Stair Expedition is less useful. It’s a card similar to Whiplash Trap: something that is good to pick up once you’re in the color. Harrow opens up the option of making a multi-color control/Ally/Landfall deck. They can be quite powerful if enough +1/+1 counter Allies/Landfall cards are drafted. Torch Slinger is a decent card. It’s a bit slower/controlling than the red decks I draft aim for, but it’s still fine. Torch Slinger is almost always going to be able to kill a creature because the average creature has two toughness. If I work under the assumption that Vampire Nighthawk was taken to my right, then Soul Stair Expedition should be excluded for sure. Between Hedron Crab, Harrow, and Torch Slinger, the goblin is the most powerful because red is generally a better color than green. Torch Slinger is removal and good on its own whereas Harrow requires other cards to be good. I’m unsure where the deck is heading so taking a card that stands on its own would be better.

My pick:

Torch Slinger 

Pack 1 pick 3:

 

Quest for the Gravelord, Torch Slinger, and Surrakar Marauder are the top three cards. With two decent black cards in the pack, I must question whether my read from last pack regarding Vampire Nighthawk is correct. However, with a rare and common missing, it is entirely possible that this pack was simply laden with black cards. Quest for the Gravelord is okay. It’s a bit overrated in draft compared to sealed deck, where it’s better for reasons similar to Soul Stair Expedition. Surrakar Marauder is an excellent two-drop. It’s evasive which is exactly what black is looking for to help make its Guul Draz Vampires scary. Torch Slinger is still good, albeit much slower than Surrakar Marauder. It’s safer to take the Torch Slinger and be mindful of faster draws than taking the Surrakar Marauder because I am confident about being cut off from black. Normally I would take the Surrakar Marauder because it’s more efficient.

My pick: Torch Slinger

Pack 1 pick 4:

 

Punishing Fire is easily the best card in the pack. Seeing it fourth pick is an indication that red is open. The next best cards are Nissa’s Chosen, Teetering Peeks, and Stonework Puma. They don’t come close to Punishing Fire.

My pick:

 

Pack 1 pick 5:

 

Spire Barrage will often come around much later in the pack than other removal because it requires a much heavier commitment to red to make it excellent. There aren’t any other cards that I’d consider taking over it. Elemental Appeal is decent. It can create significant tempo swings because it generates so much damage out of nowhere. The surprise factor is significant and makes it much better in mono-red than Zektar Shrine Expedition. In the late-game, kicking Elemental Appeal is almost always game over. However, that obviously requires a lot of mana.

My pick: Spire Barrage

Pack 1 pick 6:

 

There aren’t any red cards to take. Black has dried up as well. Grim Discovery sucks. It’s bad unless you’re getting milled by Hedron Crab, have a Reckless Scholar, or a fetchland so you can get back two cards. Mold Shambler is the next best card in the pack. It’s mediocre, but can be useful at times against enchantment/equipment-heavy decks or just as a Hill Giant.

My pick: Mold Shambler

Pack 1 pick 7:

 

Blue should be kept in mind if mono-red can’t be done. Sky Ruin Drake should be gone from the pack by now. Shatterskull Giant and Elemental Appeal are the two options to consider. Elemental Appeal is a swingy card. It really helps finish off the opponent when you’re looking for a way to get those last few points of damage in. When you’re losing, it isn’t so good because it doesn’t help you defensively. Shatterskull Giant is good because it’s so big. It’s a giant, duh. Seriously, Shatterskull Giant is going to set up a lot of two-for-one situations, especially if you have a Slaughter Cry. It hits hard and evades some of the common removal because of its high toughness.

My pick: Shatterskull Giant

Pack 1 pick 8:

 

There are still many good cards left here. I wasn’t expecting to see Heartstabber Mosquito and Adventuring Gear here so late. Tuktuk Grunts is the other card to consider taking. The only card in the pool that is good in a mono-red version is Spire Barrage. All the other cards function well in a multi-color deck. I could take Heartstabber Mosquito with the intention of getting whatever other black cards I’m going to play from pack two. Both Tuktuk Grunts and Heartstabber Mosquito are very expensive which can create problems depending on the speed of the opponent’s deck. The other option is taking Adventuring Gear, a card that varies greatly in the minds of many people. It’s going to set you back a turn in creature development to get it onto a creature which is bad. However, Adventuring Gear helps so much at making blocking impossible for the opponent. If you’re able to trigger it on most turns, Adventuring Gear is going to create significant damage and/or favorable trades in combat. It feels a lot like Suspend in Time Spiral block limited. Suspend cards were insane in your opening hand, but not so much when drawn on turn four. Zendikar is a faster format than average. I think the tradeoff you get in terms of extra damage is well worth the stunt in board development.

My pick: Adventuring Gear

Pack 1 pick 9:

 

Goblin Bushwhacker is another card with high variance. It can generate some very impressive attack phases, but is only a 1/1 once the dust clears. If the attack doesn’t set the opponent back to the point where a 1/1 becomes good, then you’re in trouble. If you’re going to play Goblin Bushwhacker, then it’s also important to have cards that make it better like Adventuring Gear.

My pick:

 

Pack 1 pick 10:

 

Merfolk Wayfinder isn’t that good, especially in a deck with Spire Barrage. Khalni Heart Expedition isn’t that great either. It’s useful when there are many Landfall cards in a deck, but it’s hard to use because it’s a terrible topdeck later on in the game. It’s good for helping trigger other Landfall cards that are drawn much later.

My pick: Khalni Heart Expedition

Pack 1 pick 11:

 

If the deck ends up being blue and I play against a mill deck with the Hedron Crab I passed earlier, then having Quest for Ancient Secrets will help. Otherwise there aren’t any cards that would be played from this pack.

My pick: Quest for Ancient Secrets

Pack 1 pick 12:

 

Savage Silhouette is underrated. Sure, it’s a creature enchantment and opens you up to getting two-for-one’d. However, it’s quite difficult to deal with a regenerator in this format. Savage Silhouette functions well on offense and defense because it’s much harder to profitably attack through a board with a (minimum) 3/3 regenerator.

My pick:

 

Pack 1 pick 13:

 

My pick:

 

Pack 1 pick 14:

 

My pick: Forest

Pack 1 pick 15:

Island

Pack one was a bit light if I’m to consider going mono-red. Seven cards were picked up to go into that archetype (Goblin Bushwhacker, Shatterskull Giant, 2 Torch Slinger, Adventuring Gear, Punishing Fire, and Spire Barrage). All those cards are fine in a red/x deck. The second color options appear to be not white. Black has a Disfigure. Blue doesn’t have anything yet, but there were some late blue cards which suggests that blue will be average for pack two and heavy for pack three if I go into it immediately. Green has Mold Shambler, Khalni Heart Expedition, and Savage Silhouette, all cards I’m not thrilled to play. Hopefully pack two immediately points the right direction to go in.

Pack 2 pick 1:

 

Geyser Glider, Turntimber Basilisk, Vines of Vastwood, and Bala Ged Thief stand out as the better cards. Bala Ged Thief is another card that is better in sealed because games are slower and it’s more likely to be able to get multiple cards with it. There aren’t any Allies in the deck yet which makes it easier to discount Bala Ged Thief as an option. I only saw a Tuktuk Grunts and Stonework Puma in pack one which also makes me less confidant in being able to pick up enough Allies to make Bala Ged Thief as good as I’d want him to be. The green cards require a heavy commitment to green and aren’t very awesome. Turntimber Basilisk and Vines of Vastwood are still good, but not enough to warrant taking over a good red card like Geyser Glider. Geyser Glider is above average. It’s an evasive creature like Bladetusk Boar, but better most of the time because it’s more likely to play against a red deck than a deck that can block a 4/4 flyer well.

My pick: Geyser Glider

Pack 2 pick 2:

 

There aren’t many red cards to take. I don’t like Magma Rift in this deck. There are too many expensive spells. Spire Barrage, Geyser Glider, and two Torch Slingers make it much harder to play Magma Rift early without having to worry about not being able to cast those spells. Welkin Tern and Heartstabber Mosquito are the two cards that stand out the most. Welkin Tern is better with cards like Adventuring Gear but requires a higher number of Islands in the deck than a Heartstabber Mosquito (making Spire Barrage not awesome) because it’s more important to be able to play Welkin Tern on turn two than it is to just be able to cast it (which is usually good enough for Heartstabber Mosquito with six Swamps).

My pick: Heartstabber Mosquito

Pack 2 pick 3:

 

Tuktuk Grunts and Goblin Bushwhacker are the red cards to look at. Goblin War Paint isn’t quite Savage Silhouette, but is still good at making blocking hard. Goblin Bushwhacker is likely to wheel because it did last pack. Tuktuk Grunts is okay but joins an overcrowded five-drop slot. I don’t like the idea of playing Torch Slinger for three mana though it’s always an option. Outside of red there’s Vampire Lacerator and Blood Seeker in black, both of which gravitate the manabase closer towards an even split (and thus make Spire Barrage more of an Essence Drain than a Corrupt). Vampire Lacerator is better than Blood Seeker simply because it can attack and almost always trade with something whereas that isn’t necessarily the case with Blood Seeker. Aether Figment is the other option, but blue. Black would be a better color to build on because I’ve already got some good cards in that color compared to not. Despite having a lot of five-mana spells, Tuktuk Grunts is still the better card to take than Vampire Lacerator. I want to be red-heavy because I don’t anticipate picking up enough black cards to make the even split on mana worth compromising the reach of however many Spire Barrages that end up in the deck.

My pick: Tuktuk Grunts

Pack 2 pick 4:

 

Hellfire Mongrel is underappreciated. I see it go late far too often. It’s similar to Blood Seeker, but can actually attack and is much better in the late game. There isn’t really much of a choice here. Plated Geopede is easily the best card. I actually remember back to a 3v3 I did in Austin where I had the pick between a fourth Journey to Nowhere or a third Plated Geopede in a similar deck. I had a more difficult decision at the time, but now I’d take the Plated Geopede without much thought. Plated Geopede is exactly what every aggressive deck in the format wants: a good two-drop that’s impossible to block.

My pick: Plated Geopede

Pack 2 pick 5:

 

I haven’t played with Grappling Hook yet, but it doesn’t impress me in theory. It’s very expensive to cast and equip which opens you up to getting totally blown out by a trick. Goblin Shortcutter is the card to take. The two-drop slot needs to be filled up. Goblin Shortcutter functions as a Grizzly Bear early and a utility effect later on when combat needs to be simplified (for you).

My pick: Goblin Shortcutter

Pack 2 pick 6:

 

Seismic Shudder is an excellent sideboard card. It can be quite effective against red and black. Guul Draz Vampire is more likely to be played. It’s better late game than it is early. If you’re unable to draft a deck with lots of removal, then it’s unlikely that Guul Draz Vampire is going to be able to attack beyond turn three or four. However, in the late game when Guul Draz Vampire is likely to be a 3/2 Intimidate, then it won’t have any trouble attacking.

My pick: Guul Draz Vampire

Pack 2 pick 7:

 

Again, there’s a late Sky Ruin Drake. Bladetusk Boar is the only card to consider taking. It’s an excellent evasive creature that will end games quickly if left unchecked. It attacks very well, but is vulnerable to nearly every removal spell in the format.

My pick: Bladetusk Boar

Pack 2 pick 8:

 

I don’t like Ruinous Minotaur for reasons similar to Magma Rift. Quest for Pure Flame is hard to use and needs to be in play by turn three to have much hope of being active. It’s a ‘win more’ card that doesn’t always work. Goblin Shortcutter is the best option because a 2/1 body is always relevant in the early game and its ability is always good in the mid/late game.

My pick: Goblin Shortcutter

Pack 2 pick 9:

 

Slaughter Cry is underrated. Pump spells in limited are often frowned upon by people because they open you up to getting two-for-oned. However, when you’re unable to curve out and the opponent is able to survive (for whatever reason) to turn five and start casting Sky Ruin Drakes, then you’re going to need some way to beat through them and win. Slaughter Cry functions well in that regard.

My pick: Slaughter Cry

Pack 2 pick 10:

 

HAUMPH!

My pick: Vampire’s Bite

Pack 2 pick 11:

 

With Guul Draz Vampire and Goblin Bushwhacker in the pack, I can immediately exclude Goblin War Paint. I’d rather have Slaughter Cry than Goblin War Paint in that slot because Slaughter Cry can allow you to get a two-for-one when the opponent double-blocks Shatterskull Giant. Guul Draz Vampire is better in red/black than Goblin Bushwhacker by a fair margin. The level of variance is much lower with the vampire so it’s much easier to gauge exactly how and how well it’s going to perform in games. In a heavy-red deck, Goblin Bushwhacker helps set up attacks where you wouldn’t normally be able to attack profitably through the opponent’s creatures. Once Guul Draz Vampire is a 3/2, it functions in a similar way, but beforehand it’s nearly useless.

My pick: Goblin Bushwhacker

Pack 2 pick 12:

 

My pick: Goblin Bushwhacker

Pack 2 pick 13:

 

 

Pack 2 pick 14:

 

My pick:

 

Pack 2 pick 15:

 

Piranha Marsh 

Pack two was better than pack one. At this point I can head towards mono-red or heavy red with a black splash. There aren’t many reasons to play mono-red yet as there are zero Molten Ravagers and only one Spire Barrage. Overall the deck doesn’t need an exceptional pack three to make a decent deck.

Pack 3 pick 1:

 

This pack is terrible. There aren’t any cards that I would look to put into a red or red/black deck. Khalni Gem is really the only card to take. It fixes the mana for Heartstabber Mosquito while re-enabling Landfall with the lands that are already in play.

My pick: Khalni Gem

Pack 3 pick 2:

 

Between Zektar Shrine Expedition and Slaughter Cry, it’s more likely that Slaughter Cry will wheel. Zektar Shrine Expedition is ok. There aren’t many three-drops yet in the deck which is what the Expedition functions as.

My pick: Zektar Shrine Expedition

Pack 3 pick 3:

 

Spire Barrage is the best option in the pack. It’s going to be much better than Vampire Lacerator in the deck.

My pick: Spire Barrage

Pack 3 pick 4:

 

There should be more red cards and less black cards in these packs. Pack three has been terrible so far. Surrakar Marauder is the only card worth playing. Goblin War Paint won’t make the cut.

My pick: Surrakar Maruader

Pack 3 pick 5:

 

A second Adventuring Gear is exactly what I’m looking for. It gives the deck more staying power and allows Goblin Bushwhacker to attack reasonably well the turn after it comes into play.

My pick: Adventuring Gear

Pack 3 pick 6:

 

Explorer’s Scope would be good with so many low drops, Landfall cards, and Spire Barrages, but Bladetusk Boar is just a better card overall because it is a good evasive creature that functions well on its own.

My pick: Bladetusk Boar

Pack 3 pick 7:

 

Molten Ravager is quite good in a heavy red deck. Spire Barrage is the better choice. The curve is heavy which makes it more likely that there will be cards left in hand to cast than to pump Molten Ravager.

My pick: Spire Barrage

Pack 3 pick 8:

 

There’s only one card here for us: Goblin Bushwhacker.

My pick: Goblin Bushwhacker

Pack 3 pick 9:

 

My pick: Zektar Shrine Expedition

Pack 3 pick 10:

 

 

 

 

Hedron Scrabbler isn’t the best creature in the format. In fact, it’s nowhere near the top. However, sometimes all a deck really wants is a Grizzly Bear to turn sideways.

My pick: Hedron Scrabbler

Pack 3 pick 11:

 

My pick: Soul Stair Expedition

Pack 3 pick 12:

 

My pick: Landbind Ritual

Pack 3 pick 13:

 

My pick: Unstable Footing

Pack 3 pick 14:

 

My pick: Kazandu Refuge

Pack 3 pick 15:

Beast Hunt

Pack three was initially terrible which really hurt the chances of going mono-red. However the picks mid-pack really helped. I’m confident the deck will perform well.

Deck:

 

With the additional two Spire Barrages I got in pack three, I thought it worthwhile to omit the black splash and play mono-red.

Round 1:

Game 1:

We lose the roll and keep a slow hand on the draw after Evil mulligans to six cards (Goblin Shortcutter, Bladetusk Boar, Tuktuk Grunts, Spire Barrage, and 3 Mountains). Evil summons Vampire Lacerator on turn one and we realize we’re probably going to have to play defensively this game. The Lacerator feeds on Evil’s life force (E: 19) before attacking us (G: 18). Evil plays a Plains and passes. We’ve drawn a second Spire Barrage and a Zektar Shrine Expedition. Goblin Shortcutter is summoned and waits in anticipation to trade with the Vampire Lacerator.

Evil’s Lacerator drains him (E: 18) again before trading with our Shortcutter. Giant Scorpion replaces the vicious 2/2. Adventuring Gear is a less-than-stellar draw for us considering our hand is all expensive spells. We cast our shrine; play a land and Adventuring Gear. We’ll need to draw more lands quickly to be in this game. Evil’s attacks us with his Scorpion (G: 17), but that is all he can do.

We play Plated Geopede and equip it with the Adventuring Gear. Our state is as miserable as Evil’s. Evil attacks again with the Scorpion. We can’t block profitably (G: 16). Shepherd of the Lost makes her appearance on Evil’s side. We finally draw a land which puts a second counter on the Zektar Shrine Expedition and makes the Plated Geopede a 5/5. Evil’s angel is suddenly dwarfed by our first-striking 5/5 and doesn’t block (E: 13). Afterwards we summon Bladetusk Boar.

Evil shows no fear and attacks with his Giant Scorpion and Shepherd of the Lost. Considering our hand is Tuktuk Grunts and two Spire Barrages, we are favored for the long game. We are at sixteen life and would increase our time against the Shepherd alone if we block with the Bladetusk Boar and go to thirteen. We consider a few more points and decide to block (G: 13). Evil summons Vampire Nighthawk.

We draw another Mountain which repeats the same triggers as last turn. We aim Spire Barrage at the Shepherd of the Lost, sacrifice the Shrine, and attack Evil for twelve. Evil decides to not defend with his Vampire Nighthawk (E: 1). Evil attacks us with his Nighthawk and plays a kicked Vampire’s Bite. HAUMPH! He is able to reclaim some of the life lost from our attack last turn (G: 8, E: 6). Kor Sanctifiers is summoned as well.

We don’t draw a land to end the game with Spire Barrage. Instead, Geyser Glider joins our five-mana spells. We summon our Tuktuk Grunts and attack. Kor Sanctifiers jumps in front. Evil attacks us again with his Vampire Nighthawk (G: 6, E: 8) and summons Blood Seeker and another Kor Sanctifiers. Spire Barrage kills the Vampire Nighthawk.

Evil summons a Heartstabber Mosquito. We summon a kicked Torch Slinger and kill the Mosquito. Blood Seeker drains us (G: 5). Evil can do nothing and passes. We draw a Mountain, Blood Seeker move Adventuring Gear over to the Torch Slinger, play our land, and attack with all three creatures. Evil double-blocks the Tuktuk Grunts (E: 1). We summon Geyser Glider. Overrun, Evil concedes.

Sideboard: -1 Zektar Shrine Expedition; +1 Unstable Footing.

Game 2:

Evil chooses to play last. We keep a mana-heavy hand (Goblin Shortcutter, Zektar Shrine Expedition, and 5 Mountains). Evil forges Adventuring Gear on turn one while we summon Goblin Shortcutter. Blood Seeker is soon to follow. We draw Adventuring Gear off the top and give it to our Shortcutter before playing our land and attacking (E: 16). Vampire Lacerator feeds on Evil (E: 15). Evil attacks us with his Blood Seeker (G: 17) after playing a Vampire Lacerator.

Zektar Shrine Expedition makes its way into play and gains a counter as we attack again with our Goblin Shortcutter. Vampire Lacerator blocks and is saved when Evil casts Shieldmate’s Blessing. Evil continues his offensive by playing a land and attacking with his Vampires (G: 12). His forces are doubled when he summons Cliff Threader and Kor Skyfisher (returning a Plains).

Lands continue to fuel our Adventuring Gear/Zektar Shrine Expedition. Torch Slinger slays the Cliff Threader while Blood Seeker drains us (G: 11). The Shortcutter attacks unmolested (E: 11). Vampire Lacerator feeds again (E: 10). The Adventuring Gear is moved over to the Kor Skyfisher and it attacks for four (G: 7). Guul Draz Vampire is summoned.

We are running out of time. Blood Seeker is reducing the plays we have left before being eaten alive by voracious vampires. We draw Goblin Bushwhacker, one of our good cards. Looking over the math, we decide to go for it. Evil has one card in hand and an untapped Plains and Swamp. We summon Plated Geopede (G: 6), play a land to trigger the shrine, Adventuring Gear, and Geopede, sacrifice the shrine (G: 5), summon a kicked Bushwhacker (G: 4) and attack for exactsies. Dangerous curves ahead. We are victorious.

Round 2:

Game 1:

Evil wins the roll again and we keep a hand similar to last round’s start (Torch Slinger, Bladetusk Boar, 2 Spire Barrage, and 3 Mountains). All is calm until turn three when Evil summons a Kor Aeronaut. We have drawn our third Spire Barrage so our plan is to not die and Corrupt Evil out. We summon Goblin Shortcutter on turn three and brace for impact. Evil sends his Aeronaut at us (G: 18) and then summons a Windrider Eel. Fortunately for us, the Eel won’t be around for long thanks to Torch Slinger. However, it will be able to attack us once guaranteed.

Goblin Shortcutter begins working on Evil; his Windrider Eel is not worth sacrificing to save some damage so he lets our Goblin through (E: 18); afterwards we summon Bladetusk Boar. Evil plays a land, attacks us in the air for six (G: 12), and removes our crimson swine from the game with Journey to Nowhere. Fortunately, we weren’t relying on Bladetusk Boar for anything other than being a diversion. Kor Sanctifiers is summoned to prevent our Goblin Shortcutter from doing any more harm to Evil.

We are finally able to summon a kicked Torch Slinger. The Flametongue Kavu “upgrade” makes quick work of Evil’s Windrider Eel. Kor Aeronaut attacks us again. We can do nothing to stop it (G: 10). Our plan is underway; with six Mountains in play, we point a Spire Barrage at Evil (E: 12). Evil realizes he is in trouble and attacks with his two Kor. Our goblins double-block his Kor Sanctifiers as they are helpless against the Aeronaut (G: 8). Evil replaces his Sanctifiers with a less aggressive Kraken Hatchling.

A second Spire Barrage halves Evil’s life (E: 6). Using our leftover mana, we summon an unkicked Goblin Bushwhacker with one of each remaining in hand. Kor Aeronaut attacks us (G: 6). Evil can do nothing except hope we don’t have a third Spire Barrage; we do. All is lost”¦. for him.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 2:

Evil plays first. Our hand is much faster than the previous (Plated Geopede, Torch Slinger, Spire Barrage, and 4 Mountains). Kraken Hatchling on turn one trumps our Geopede, which is unfortunate. Evil has a Welkin Tern on turn two. Evil attacks us with the Tern but does nothing else (G: 18). We are constantly attacking into the Kraken Hatchling to no avail. We have not drawn a way to finish it off. Bladetusk Boar will be able to circumvent it. Unfortunately Evil has a Journey to Nowhere to ensure the Boar does no harm. All the while his Welkin Tern continues attacking us (G: 16).

We have reached five mana and summon a kicked Torch Slinger. The goblin shoots down the Welkin Tern. Evil finds a Living Tsunami to replace it. Spire Barrage takes care of the Living Tsunami as our two creatures begin to push through Evil’s Kraken Hatchling. The creature has saved twelve damage from Plated Geopede thus far (E: 18).

Evil’s creatures are becoming less threatening to us. Pillarfield Ox is the next creature he summons. We summon Geyser Glider and wait to finish Evil off in a few turns. Spire Barrage and Punishing Fire wait in our hand along with a seventh Mountain to fuel the Geyser Glider. Evil does nothing on his turn despite having ample mana and three cards in hand.

We draw another Mountain and send Geyser Glider into the air. Evil does nothing to stop the attack (E: 14). All he can muster is a Cliff Threader. We do not care about the land-walker. We send Geyser Glider to the skies again and attack. Evil does nothing to stop it (E: 10). Spire Barrage and Punishing Fire finish him off. We are victorious.

Round 3:

Game 1:

We win the roll and keep our hand of seven on the play (Adventuring Gear, Zektar Shrine Expedition, Punishing Fire, Tuktuk Grunts, and 3 Mountains). We craft Adventuring Gear on turn one and summon a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker on turn two. Evil can do nothing to stop the goblin with a lone Island (E: 18). Evil does nothing on turn two. We play Zektar Shrine Expedition, add a counter to it, equip the Adventuring Gear to the Goblin, and attack (E: 17). Evil finally summons a Hellfire Mongrel.

Another land fuels our Adventuring Gear and Shrine. Evil’s Hellfire Mongrel can’t defend well against the massive Goblin (E: 14). Evil sends his Mongrel into combat (G: 18) and summons a Ruinous Minotaur. We gladly clear a path for our forces next turn and use Punishing Fire to slay the Minotaur. Hellfire Mongrel deals damage to us (G: 16), but it will not matter. A fifth land triggers our landfall cards as we summon Tuktuk Grunts. We sacrifice the Zektar Shrine Expedition and attack Evil for thirteen (E: 1).

Evil is caught off-guard by our maneuvers and can’t attack with his hound. He must keep it on defense along with a Merfolk Seastalkers. We are not worried. The Mongrel deals more damage to us (G: 14). Evil concedes at the sight of a Goblin Shortcutter.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 2:

We keep another slow hand (Adventuring Gear, Zektar Shrine Expedition, Spire Barrage, and 4 Mountains). We make Adventuring Gear on turn one again. Evil summons Aether Figment. Zektar Shrine Expedition is our next play. Evil passes the turn after attacking us with his Figment (G: 19).

Evil uses Arid Mesa to find a Plains, attacks us with his Aether Figment (G: 18), and summons Merfolk Seastalkers. We wait for another mana to summon our kicked Torch Slinger. Evil takes the opportunity to hit us with his creatures (G: 15). We use Spire Barrage to kill the Seastalkers, but Evil uses Cancel to stop us. Evil attacks us again with Aether Figment and Merfolk Seastalkers (G: 12) and summons Hellfire Mongrel.

Torch Slinger is summoned to kill Evil’s Hellfire Mongrel. He taps it with the Seastalkers before starting his turn. Goblin War Paint makes the Aether Figment more threatening as Evil attacks (G: 7). We summon a Bladetusk Boar and a kicked Goblin Bushwhacker. Evil taps Torch Slinger before we can attack so we sacrifice Zektar Shrine Expedition and attempt to hit Evil for thirteen. Alas, Evil has the Whiplash Trap to stop our offensive. We can’t recover and perish to his creatures.

Sideboard: nothing

Game 3:

We play first and keep a fast hand (2 Adventuring Gear, Goblin Bushwhacker, Bladetusk Boar, and 3 Mountains). Goblin Bushwhacker is summoned on turn one. Evil uses his first turn to forge a Blazing Torch. We send the Bushwhacker to attack (E: 19) and play both of our Adventuring Gears. Evil summons a Welkin Tern. Both Adventuring Gears are given to our Goblin as we turn it into a massive creature and attack (E: 14).

Evil plays Seismic Shudder to kill our Goblin Bushwhacker, gives the Blazing Torch to his Welkin Tern, and attacks with it (G: 18). Bladetusk Boar is our next creature. Evil cooks the swine with his Blazing Torch and summons Merfolk Seastalkers. It would seem the game is falling out of our control. We summon a Plated Geopede and equip it.

Evil attacks us with his Welkin Tern and Merfolk Seastalkers (G: 14). We play a land but can’t attack with the Geopede because Evil taps it before. Afterwards we play a Tuktuk Grunts. Welkin Tern continues the attack alone (G: 12). We play a Zektar Shrine Expedition and give the Tuktuk Grunts one Adventuring Gear. Evil taps the Grunts and uses Burst Lightning to kill the Plated Geopede.

Evil attacks us with his Welkin Tern and Merfolk Seastalkers (G: 8). We are running out of time. Evil summons a massive Sphinx of Jwar Isle. A land makes the Grunts a 7/7 as we attack with it. Evil doesn’t block (E: 7). We are finished.

Happy Drafting.

26 thoughts on “According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #1”

  1. I think Unstable Footing is better then a 4th Goblin Bushwacker. The card is always really unexciting for me, although I suppose they do get better in multiples.

  2. I was in this draft, I had a silly ally deck. . . and i died to that hedron crab you passed early on.

  3. I agree with the footing comment Ernest made above. I assume you’re drafting 8-4, which surprises me respecting the availability of red, it being one of the stronger limited colors. Nice report and good deck.

  4. By the way, I just realized that there were a number of negative comments (as usual) about your deeper analysis and mistaken picks, so I wanted to distinguish my post from those by explaining it more. I just meant that you seemed to be less detailed than normal, and there were quite a few typos–many more than I’ve seen from you in the past, so it looks like you might have been out of sorts.

    That said, I still think you write good columns and am still shocked that people always complain about you explaining your thought process as you detail your picks.

  5. I would’ve went G/B with this draft. 1st pick disfigure 2nd pick harrow. All those harrows and khalni heart ramping into mosquitoes and shamblers. After the first mosquito i thought black was open.

  6. I personally think the detailed analysis is what draws me to this column. I also agree with you about Bushwacker over Footing, since it made your explosive turns more likely. Keep it up

  7. Pretty impressive to be able to gues that Vampire Nighthawk is missing from Pack 1. Are you sure that MTGO boosters are created by the same algorithm as those 100 boxes you opened, or are you just kidding us?

    I mean, there are several uncs that would be picked from this unimpressive pack – Baloth Woodcrasher, Living Tsunami, Trusty Machete, Geyser Glider, Shepherd of the Lost, Marsh Casualties, to name a few.

  8. I love bushwhackers and that card is just insane in multiples. The Unstable Footing is just another spire that can only dome.

  9. Detailed analysis is really awesome, and games are described in very attractive manner, you’re one of the best columnists, writing abot limited. I like your style and I know a lot of people who would agree with me

  10. No love for Minotaur! They key for this guy is that you only sac when he connects to your oppoent’s face, making him less dangerous than he might seem. With a ton of fast, cheap, aggressive creatures, this is the perfect deck for him too.

    He might take a little sting off of your Spire Barrages, but for each 1 damage you give up you are dealing 5 to his dome. More often than not he either eats removal or trades, since your opponent isn’t likely to know if the land loss will really effect you or not, and 5 a clip is a scary proposition to just ignore.

    If all else fails and you need your land, he is a very effective blocker.

    It think anyone who doesn’t like this guy is either not playing with him correctly (he is a bit tricky to figure out), or playing with him in the wrong deck.

  11. Goblin Bushwhacker is pretty awesome. At GP Tampa I had a mono red sealed with 3 Bush Whackers and 3 Shrines and swinging for 20 haste damage in limited is pretty hard to deal with.

    Why all the hate?

  12. I think on Pack 3, Pick 5 I’d of taken the Scorpion myself. He’s pretty deadly. But the Adventurer’s Gear was good too.

  13. This is a great column. Not sure why people are complaining but unless they have detailed and specific issues you should just ignore them and keep being awesome

  14. Not sure what’s up with all the hate either. A pretty sound draft, and I especially liked hearing why Ochoa’s reasoning for not taking certain Allies or Lacerators higher. The only potential complaint I’d have is how matter-of-factly everything is stated, as if there’s no room for debate or critical thought.

    There were a few typos, but I imagine they have less to do with the author than the editor letting things slip through. Remember, we ideally see articles after they’ve gone through a pass, and if an editor’s doing his job right you wouldn’t be able to tell which authors make more typos.

  15. This walkthrough was great. The very detailed explanations of picks are really helpful, since it shows all the things a good drafter thinks about (what they already picked, what their deck might look like) rather than just what’s the best in a vacuum out of the current pack.

  16. great article, keep up the good work!

    i especially liked the indepth analysis of WHY you picked certain cards, as most drafts (i.e. ruel’s) dont thoroughly discuss picks. since i’m new to drafting and can only do it bi weekly i like to read up as much as possible

  17. The hate is for writing like:

    “Torch Slinger is a decent card. It's a bit slower/controlling than the red decks I draft aim for, but it's still fine. Torch Slinger is almost always going to be able to kill a creature because the average creature has two toughness.”

  18. The detailed explanation for each pick is excellent. Knowing WHY a pick was made is just as important as making the right pick. I will read EVERY one of these if they continue to be this detailed. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  19. Good article, although I’d have considered myself monored earlier on. The Marauders you took over goblin warpaint was the only relevant pick anyways, and as you had 2 gears in the end, I don’t really think it mattered.

    Why do people hate on him explaining things, however, I don’t get. Not most people are very familiar with limited, so explaining things that seem trivial is just a way to reach them.

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