According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #5

Pack 1 pick 1:


Hideous End is the best choice. It’s a versatile removal spell that minimizes its mana cost by helping with the damage race. Guul Draz Specter is only okay because it’s slow and vulnerable to virtually everything. Windborne Charge is another good card. It’s one of the best finisher cards that white has. Goblin Shortcutter is the next best card. However, its power level isn’t quite as high as the other cards.

My pick: Hideous End

Pack 1 pick 2:


This pack is quite good. There is an uncommon missing. Plated Geopede, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and Surrakar Marauder are the best cards. Kor Aeronaut and Heartstabber Mosquito would be comparable to each other. In black/white, awkward mana can often be problematic for curving out. As a result, Kor Aeronaut and other double-color cards become turn four spells depending on what lands are drawn. Because of this, Heartstabber Mosquito becomes slightly better because of its kicker. Between Plated Geopede, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and Surrakar Marauder, the most powerful card is Sphinx of Jwar Isle. It’s a bomb; a large untargetable dragon. Plated Geopede is the best card when curving out undisturbed simply because it does considerable damage and is virtually unblockable in the first few attacks. However, games don’t always go according to plan. They aren’t always one-sided blowouts by someone with an early Adventuring Gear and Steppe Lynx. When two decks have expended their resources and start playing off the top (of their deck), bombs will win.

My pick: Sphinx of Jwar Isle

Pack 1 pick 3:


We’ve hit a roadblock. There aren’t any good black or blue options. Tuktuk Grunts and Magma Rift don’t help stop an early rush. The best card is Oran-Rief Survivalist. Green can stop quick openings with Oran-Rief Survivalist, Nissa’s Chosen, Oran-Rief Recluse, and Grazing Gladehart to get to the point where Sphinx of Jwar Isle would win.

My pick: Oran-Rief Survivalist

Pack 1 pick 4:


Seeing Kor Sanctifiers and (especially) Kor Skyfisher tell us white is open. However, there is a better option: Merfolk Seastalkers. It’s another card that will dominate the late game. Green and white will have significant problems dealing with Merfolk Seastalkers. It’s a good enough card to pass up on the white and continue cutting blue to make sure we can play the Sphinx.

My pick: Merfolk Seastalkers

Pack 1 pick 5:


Joraga Bard is on the verge of too slow. It would be fine in conjunction with Oran-Rief Survivalist, but not on its own. Into the Roil is the best choice. It’s a good utility spell that functions both on offense and defense. It will help get you out of many different situations.

My pick: Into the Roil

Pack 1 pick 6:


There are a few options here. I dislike Aether Figment and Harrow in this situation. They are both fine cards. Aether Figment is on the slow side. Harrow isn’t impressive without other cards that benefit from lands coming into play. As a ‘mana ramp’ card, it’s inferior to Greenweaver Druid unless it’s fixing your colors also. The pick is between Nissa’s Chosen and Greenweaver Druid. The Druid would help accelerate into Sphinx of Jwar Isle and allow us to use Merfolk Seastalkers more efficiently. Nissa’s Chosen would act as a good early creature. Nissa’s Chosen is more difficult to cast but will provide better support. In situations where you have either card, Greenweaver Druid won’t be able to help stave off attackers like Nissa’s Chosen will. The tradeoff is that Greenweaver Druid will allow you to summon bigger creatures sooner and perform the same role that Nissa’s Chosen does. However, there is the problem of drawing the proper mix of spells. Sometimes you don’t draw any expensive spells. Nissa’s Chosen does more by itself, and earlier.

My pick: Nissa’s Chosen

Pack 1 pick 7:


Gomazoa is another sign that blue is open. It’s a good defensive creature that will deal with almost every creature. Additionally, it provides even more use for Into the Roil (bouncing in response to the reshuffle ability).

My pick: Gomazoa

Pack 1 pick 8:


Windrider Eel is the easy choice here.

My pick: Windrider Eel

Pack 1 pick 9:


I certainly didn’t expect Windborne Charge to wheel. Spreading Seas is underrated. I’d say it’s better than Ior Ruin Expedition in most cases because it will randomly hose an opponent, buying you time in the process, and draws a card immediately whereas Ior Ruin Expedition will only provide one extra card at least two turns from the time you play it (barring Harrow, Kor Cartographer, et al). With that said, Reckless Scholar is the best card in the pack. It doesn’t block very well. However, being able to filter draws is still a useful ability, especially past turn five.

My pick: Reckless Scholar

Pack 1 pick 10:


Oran-Rief Recluse is another underrated green card. It’s not just good against flyers. A 1/3 blocks most creatures just fine.

My pick: Oran-Rief Recluse

Pack 1 pick 11:



Cancel and Zendikar Farguide are unlikely to make it to the maindeck. Zendikar Farguide is less applicable than Cancel is as a sideboard option, but is more efficient when it gets brought in. Cancel isn’t good in a deck with a lot of expensive spells because you won’t be able to execute your game plan efficiently. When you have a hand of four spells that cost at least four mana, holding mana up to cast Cancel isn’t a process that you want to repeat many times.

My pick: Zendikar Farguide

Pack 1 pick 12:


Passing the late Windborne Charge was enough of a signal. Hating Brave the Elements is fine. It’s not exactly a card you want to play against.

My pick: Brave the Elements

Pack 1 pick 13:


My pick: Trapmaker’s Snare

Pack 1 pick 14:


My pick: Spreading Seas

Pack 1 pick 15:



Pack one went well considering we got cut off pretty hard from black. Hopefully we can bolster our Ally package with an Umara Raptor and more Oran-Rief Survivalists. I suspect that black may be open during pack two because of how little was passed during pack one.

Pack 2 pick 1:


Living Tsunami is an excellent card. There isn’t much else that compares to it in the pack. Oran-Rief Recluse doesn’t come close. Living Tsunami is efficient, flies, and enables Landfall while being able to use Reckless Scholar to draw into more spells later on.

My pick: Living Tsunami

Pack 2 pick 2:


There are fewer options here than last pack. Umara Raptor is the only option, but still a good one.

My pick: Umara Raptor

Pack 2 pick 3:


Paralyzing Grasp would be fine in this deck. There are enough flyers for it to be good while on offense. Baloth Cage Trap is a bit overrated. It’s usually easy to tell when someone has it and becomes almost comparable to Territorial Baloth. Vines of Vastwood is the last card to consider. It’s similar to Paralyzing Grasp in that it can serve as a removal spell if you can connect with it during combat. Additionally, Vines is more useful on offense because it will hit the opponent for four extra damage, allow you to break through against flyers, or just counter an opponent’s trick.

My pick: Vines of Vastwood

Pack 2 pick 4:


Tajuru Archer would help pump Oran-Rief Survivalist and Umara Raptor, but wouldn’t be useful otherwise. This deck isn’t vulnerable to flyers. Again, there’s the combination of Vines of Vastwood/Paralyzing Grasp. Neither is as good as Windrider Eel because it’s so good on offense. By itself, the Eel should be able to attack through most other creatures. There are enough green creatures/early drops to make Paralyzing Grasp unnecessary (Paralyzing Grasp is the best card of the three when on defense).

My pick: Windrider Eel

Pack 2 pick 5:


Kabira Crossroads is good with Living Tsunami. However, the mana will get awkward in a non-white deck with Nissa’s Chosen and Living Tsunami. Mold Shambler is the next best option. The kicker makes it very useful at times, although a Hill Giant is usually fine as well.

My pick: Mold Shambler

Pack 2 pick 6:


Archive Trap and Summoner’s Bane are both niche cards. Summoner’s Bane is okay (like Cancel) if you can get ahead. Archive Trap is less useful, though more powerful when enough mill cards are opened. When you consider the higher curve of this deck, Archive Trap is the better option despite not having seen any other cards that have synergy with it because the option may be available later on.

My pick: Archive Trap

Pack 2 pick 7:


Kraken Hatchling is a good choice. It will make racing the deck’s flyers difficult. Grappling Hook is expensive to use and would be better suited in a deck with a lower curve. Tanglesap is another underrated card in this archetype. When there isn’t much interaction during combat, fog gets much better.

My pick: Kraken Hatchling

Pack 2 pick 8:


Hedron Crab compliments Archive Trap and potentially gives the deck a plan B.

My pick: Hedron Crab

Pack 2 pick 9:


I already made the comparison of Spreading Seas to Ior Ruin Expedition (pack 1 pick 9).

My pick: Spreading Seas

Pack 2 pick 10:


Tempest Owl can be useful when facing another blue deck with flyers. It will help set up a sequence of attacks that will win the game.

My pick: Tempest Owl

Pack 2 pick 11:


My pick: Trapfinder’s Trick

Pack 2 pick 12:


Soaring Seacliff is useful with Oran-Rief Recluse and Living Tsunami.

My pick: Soaring Seacliff

Pack 2 pick 13:


My pick: Ior Ruin Expedition

Pack 2 pick 14:


My pick: Trapfinder’s Trick

Pack 2 pick 15:



Pack two was good. I expected to see more green. Nissa’s Chosen is going to be more difficult to summon than expected initially. However, there were still enough playable blue cards in the pack to make up for the shortage of green spells.

Pack 3 pick 1:


Gigantiform is another bomb. It’s the best green card. With the help of Vines of Vastwood and the plethora of flying creatures, it should be easy enough to win every time it’s cast.

My pick: Gigantiform

Pack 3 pick 2:


Jeez, this pack is a curveball. Sorin Markov is the best card in the set and we already have a Hideous End from pack one. The green cards that we have that we would play in the main are Nissa’s Chosen, Oran-Rief Survivalist, Oran-Rief Recluse, Mold Shambler, Vines of Vastwood, and Gigantiform. That leaves us with fifteen blue/black cards (excluding Sorin Markov) if we make the jump back into black. If we ignore black and take a blue/green card, the best choice would be Into the Roil because Kraken Hatchling is more likely to wheel when you consider how the first two packs ended up. Sorin Markov and Hideous End are better than the green cards. Even if we don’t get any more black cards, there should be enough blue in pack three to compensate for the shortage.

My pick: Sorin Markov

Pack 3 pick 3:


Surrakar Marauder is good. Grim Discovery, Ior Ruin Expedition, and Bog Tatters are not comparable. They’re less efficient.

My pick: Surrakar Marauder

Pack 3 pick 4:


Guul Draz Vampire is okay in a deck with flyers. It’s comparable to when put into a fast deck with Vampire Lacerators. Surrakar Marauder is better on its own (similar to the Greenweaver Druid/Nissa’s Chosen comparison). It’s not much smaller than a full-fledged Guul Draz Vampire. You won’t always be able to attack as soon as you’d like to. As a result, Guul Draz Vampire will be an underwhelming 1/1. Surrakar Marauder is going to be more consistent because it only requires you to play lands instead of playing other creatures and attacking with them.

My pick: Surrakar Marauder

Pack 3 pick 5:


Green made up most of our defensive creatures. Excluding the two removal spells, we only have Kraken Hatchling and Gomazoa for early defense. With only one Umara Raptor, Stonework Puma becomes much weaker than when we had the Oran-Rief Survivalist. Welkin Tern and Giant Scorpion are the two choices. If we were at the start of the draft, then Welkin Tern would be the better choice because it’s uncertain what the final deck would look like. The format provides more benefits for attacking which is where Welkin Tern is better. However, now that we’ve got a good idea of what the deck can do, taking Giant Scorpion is better. There are already many flyers in addition to cards that win in the late game (Sorin Markov, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and Merfolk Seastalkers).

My pick: Giant Scorpion

Pack 3 pick 6:


There are a “few” options here. Surrakar Marauder, Umara Raptor, and Roil Elemental are the three choices. Surrakar Marauder and Umara Raptor are both similar. They’re cheap evasive creatures. Umara Raptor is more likely to be unblockable because it doesn’t require lands to be. Allies get better in multiples. Roil Elemental isn’t a bomb. It has a powerful effect once you can play your seventh land and start stealing creatures. The main problem with Roil Elemental is its toughness. Two toughness makes it vulnerable to every removal spell and terrible in combat. When a six-mana creature can be killed by anything and can’t block, it isn’t very good. If there weren’t a lot of creatures in the deck that demanded removal (flyers, Merfolk Seastalkers), Roil Elemental would be especially bad. An opposing deck could just trade its creatures for ours and save their removal for the creatures that actually mattered. However, with all the flyers in this deck, trading in combat isn’t as likely which makes Roil Elemental better.

My pick: Roil Elemental

Pack 3 pick 7:


Windrider Eel is much better than Summoner’s Bane because of the mana curve of the deck.

My pick: Windrider Eel

Pack 3 pick 8:


Welkin Tern is the only card to consider here.

My pick: Welkin Tern

Pack 3 pick 9:


Earlier with Zendikar Farguide, I mentioned that an evasive creature is going to be more effective than a counterspell. Considering the amount of flyers/Marauders along with Roil Elemental, Sphinx of Jwar Isle, and Sorin Markov, having a counterspell to protect our bombs will be more useful than Bog Tatters.

My pick: Cancel

Pack 3 pick 10:


Having a triple-color spell in the color with fewer spells makes mana very problematic. We want to be able to play Sorin Markov on turn six if possible. That will require at least eight sources of black mana. Jwar Isle Refuge is going to be more useful than a second Kraken Hatchling.

My pick: Jwar Isle Refuge

Pack 3 pick 11:


My pick: Bog Tatters

Pack 3 pick 12:


Having access to one Lethargy Trap is always useful.

My pick: Lethargy Trap

Pack 3 pick 13:


Blue was obviously the color to be in, especially in all these 4-3-2-2 queues.

My pick: Welkin Tern

Pack 3 pick 14:


My pick:


Pack 3 pick 15:

Graypelt Refuge

The draft went well. What I found interesting (the primary reason why I wrote about this draft) was the shift that the deck went through from BLUE/x to blue/green back to BLUE/black despite having excellent green cards. There are a few choices about the last few cards to play:

1. There is a milling package option. Hedron Crab, Archive Trap, and Trapmaker’s Snare would allow us to win if we were unable to break through. However, Roil Elemental, Sorin Markov, and Merfolk Seastalkers should provide enough support to make the milling cards unnecessary.

2. Spreading Seas is fine against most decks. When we don’t have a Welkin Tern/Surrakar Marauder to play on turn two, Spreading Seas will give us an additional option which should help prevent the opponent from curving out.

3. Cancel will protect our bombs.

4. Lethargy Trap allows us to win the damage race or create a combat situation where multiple Windrider Eels and other 2/2 flyers will not die if they’re forced to block.


Round 1:

Game 1:

We keep seven on the play (Jwar Isle Refuge, Island, Surrakar Marauder, Giant Scorpion, Umara Raptor, Spreading Seas, and Cancel). We play Jwar Isle Refuge [G: 21] while Evil summons Guul Draz Vampire. [d: Sorin Markov] Since we have not drawn a land, we opt to wreak havoc on Evil’s manabase with Spreading Seas [d: Gomazoa]. Evil attacks us [G: 20] and plays a Mountain. [d: Windrider Eel] Our only remaining play is to summon Surrakar Marauder. Evil does not like racing and holds his forces back while playing a Swamp.

[d: Swamp] We attack with Surrakar Marauder. Evil is ready to trade to clear our board, but we are ready with reinforcements. We summon an Umara Raptor, but Evil uses Disfigure to kill it. It would seem that the Spreading Seas is preventing Evil from playing any spells. He plays a second Mountain and passes. [d: Welkin Tern] We summon Gomazoa even though we have the option to summon Giant Scorpion or Welkin Tern. Having the jellyfish active seems better than being able to attack for one with Giant Scorpion. It would be better to wait for five mana and summon Welkin Tern with Cancel back-up.
Evil plays another Mountain and passes again. [d: Into the Roil] We summon Giant Scorpion and pass. Evil plays a fourth Mountain. [d: Island] Giant Scorpion attacks [E: 19] and we summon Windrider Eel. Evil plays a Mountain and summons Murasa Pyromancer, but the Ally is unable to kill anything. [d: Roil Elemental] Giant Scorpion and Windrider Eel attack [E: 16]. It seems like Evil is setting up for his next turn so we choose to wait on summoning Welkin Tern and hold up Cancel or Into the Roil (w/ kicker).

Evil summons Tuktuk Grunts. We let the Ally come into play but use Into the Roil (w/ kicker) [d: Island] to return Murasa Pyromancer to Evil’s hand. [d: Windrider Eel] We play the Island and attack Evil with Giant Scorpion and Windrider Eel [E: 11]. Afterwards, we summon Welkin Tern and wait with Cancel to stop the Murasa Pyromancer from resolving. Evil summons his Pyromancer again, but we are ready with Cancel. Frustrated, he attacks us with Tuktuk Grunts. Gomazoa and the Grunts are shuffled back into our decks, but not before Evil uses Burst Lightning to kill our Windrider Eel.
[d: Sphinx of Jwar Isle] We attack back with Welkin Tern and Giant Scorpion [E: 8]. Then we summon the other Windrider Eel. Evil summons a Giant Scorpion of his own. [d: Island] We play the Island and attack with everything. The Scorpions trade [E: 2] and we summon Sphinx of Jwar Isle (seeing Swamp on top). Evil concedes.

Sideboard: -1 Lethargy Trap; +1 Bog Tatters.

Game 2:

We keep seven on the draw (4 Islands, Kraken Hatchling, Spreading Seas, and Windrider Eel). Evil summons his Guul Draz Vampire on turn one again. [d: Island] We summon Kraken Hatchling to defend ourselves. Evil attacks us with the Vampire but it can’t climb over our wall. Evil summons a Surrakar Marauder afterwards. [d: Swamp] We play Island and use Spreading Seas [d: Welkin Tern] to turn Evil’s Swamp into an Island with the hopes that it will shut him down as much as it did in the first game.
Evil attacks with his Guul Draz Vampire and Surrakar Marauder. Kraken Hatchling blocks the Marauder [G: 19]. Evil plays a Zektar Shrine Expedition. [d: Bog Tatters] We play our Swamp and summon Welkin Tern. Evil finds a Swamp and attacks with both creatures. We can only block the Guul Draz Vampire [G: 17]. Evil has no plays afterwards. [d: Swamp] We attack with Welkin Tern [E: 18] and summon Windrider Eel. Evil is ready with Disfigure to kill the troublesome flyer.

Evil attacks again with Surrakar Marauder and Guul Draz Vampire. However this time he hasn’t played a land so our Kraken Hatchling can block his 2/1 [G: 16]. [d: Living Tsunami] Welkin Tern attacks [E: 16] and we summon Bog Tatters. Evil plays a Mountain and attacks with his Marauder. We don’t want to block with our Bog Tatters [G: 14]. [d: Windrider Eel] Bog Tatters and Welkin Tern counter-attack. Evil can do nothing [E: 10]. Living Tsunami is summoned in the hopes of finishing Evil off next turn. Evil surveys the battlefield and concedes; his hand full of double-black cards.

Round 2:

Game 1:

Evil mulligans to six and we keep seven on the draw (2 Islands, Kraken Hatchling, Umara Raptor, Hideous End, Windrider Eel, and Sphinx of Jwar Isle). Evil forges an Adventuring Gear with a Forest [d: Cancel] while we summon a Kraken Hatchling. “Evil feels silly” and passes the turn with no plays. [d: Swamp] We play the Swamp and pass. Evil has nothing to play for a second turn [d: Welkin Tern] while we summon the Umara Raptor.

Evil finally finds a second Forest and summons Nissa’s Chosen. [d: Jwar Isle Refuge] We attack with Umara Raptor [E: 18], play Jwar Isle Refuge [G: 21], and summon Welkin Tern. Evil plays a Forest and summons an Oran-Rief Recluse. The troublesome spider threatens to obstruct our flyers. However, we have been fortunate to draw two Swamps for Hideous End. [d: Island] Hideous End kills the Oran-Rief Recluse [E: 16] and clears the way for our two flyers to attack [E: 12]. We play an Island afterwards. Evil draws and concedes knowing he can’t come back.

Sideboard: nothing.

Game 2:

We keep seven on the draw (Island, Swamp, Welkin Tern, Spreading Seas, Hideous End, Living Tsunami, and Sorin Markov). Evil plays a Forest and forges a Spidersilk Net. [d: Swamp] We play an Island. Evil plays a Mountain and summons an Oran-Rief Survivalist. [d: Swamp] We answer back by summoning Welkin Tern. Evil suits up his Survivalist with a Goblin War Paint and brings the pain [G: 16]. [d: Island] We attack back [E: 18] and play Hideous End during Evil’s upkeep to destroy his Ally [E: 16].

Evil plays a second Mountain and summons a Timbermaw Larva. [d: Windrider Eel] Welkin Tern attacks again [E: 14] and we summon our Windrider Eel. Evil plays Adventuring Gear and equips it to his Timbermaw Larva. Afterwards, he plays a Mountain and attacks. The monstrous 6/6 hits us hard [G: 10] and is then equipped with the Spidersilk Net. [d: Island] We turn one of Evil’s two Forests into an Island with Spreading Seas [d: Windrider Eel], play the Island, and attack with both creatures [E: 8].

Evil plays a Mountain and attacks with his Timbermaw Larva [G: 5]. He summons Oran-Rief Recluse and equips it with the Spidersilk Net. [d: Into the Roil] We play our Swamp and cast Sorin Markov. The powerful Planeswalker devours the Timbermaw Larva [G: 7]. Evil plays an Expedition Map and passes. [d: Swamp] We play Into the Roil (w/ kicker) to remove Evil’s Oran-Rief Recluse from the battlefield, play our Swamp, and attack [E: 2]. Sorin Markov ends the suffering as he feasts on Evil’s tattered form.

Round 3:

Game 1:

We keep seven on the play (2 Islands, 2 Swamps, Gomazoa, Cancel, and Windrider Eel). We play an Island while Evil shows us a Swamp and forges a Spidersilk Net. [d: Windrider Eel] We play a Swamp. Evil plays a second Swamp and summons a Blood Seeker. [d: Island] We play an Island, summon a Gomazoa, and get drained by the vampire [G: 19]. Evil summons a Vampire Hexmage. [d: Into the Roil] We summon a Windrider Eel and lose a life [G: 18].

Evil plays a Soul Stair Expedition, a third Swamp, and then casts Feast of Blood to destroy our Windrider Eel [E: 24]. [d: Island] We summon our second Windrider Eel but do not play a fifth land. Blood Seeker drains us [G: 17]. Evil equips his Vampire Hexmage with Spidersilk Net. [d: Sphinx of Jwar Isle] We play an Island and attack. Evil plays Vampire’s Bite on his Hexmage before blocking, but we use Cancel to stop it [E: 20].

Evil still doesn’t have a fourth land. He summons Mindless Null. [d: Jwar Isle Refuge] We play an Island and attack with Windrider Eel [E: 16]. Afterwards, we summon the Sphinx and get drained by the Blood Seeker [G: 16]. Evil plays a Swamp and summons a Heartstabber Mosquito. [d: Kraken Hatchling] We play Jwar Isle Refuge [G: 17] and attack with our flyers. Evil blocks Windrider Eel with Vampire Hexmage and the Heartstabber Mosquito. Before damage, we cast Into the Roil (w/ kicker) [d: Merfolk Seastalkers] to bounce the Mosquito and prevent our Eel from dying [E: 11]. We summon the Kraken Hatchling after combat and get pinged for one [G: 16].

Evil replays the Heartstabber Mosquito on his turn. [d: Island] We play the Island and attack with the two flyers. Evil uses his Mosquito to block the Sphinx [E: 7] and we summon the Merfolk Seastalkers [G: 15]. Evil doesn’t draw a land to use let him use his Soul Stair Expedition to get back his flyer. Having no options, he concedes.

Sideboard: -1 Spreading Seas, -1 Hideous End; +1 Bog Tatters, +1 Ior Ruin Expedition.

Game 2:

We keep seven on the draw (Swamp, Island, 2 Surrakar Marauder, Ior Ruin Expedition, Umara Raptor, and Windrider Eel). Evil forges his Spidersilk Net on turn one for the second time and summons a Guul Draz Vampire. [d: Island] We play an Island and pass. Evil wastes no time and attacks with his Vampire after summoning another one [G: 19]. [d: Swamp] We play a Swamp and cast Ior Ruin Expedition. It is better to play the Expedition than the Surrakar Marauder because it’s unlikely that Evil will be able to attack us next turn when we summon our Umara Raptor. Without knowing what we will draw, it is better to ensure that the Expedition will be able to draw cards.

Evil plays a Swamp, equips one of his Guul Draz Vampires and attacks with both [G: 17]. [d: Island] We play an Island and summon the Umara Raptor. Evil summons a Hagra Crocodile. [d: Jwar Isle Refuge] We play a Swamp and summon a Windrider Eel. Evil plays a Swamp, equips his Crocodile with the Spidersilk Net, and attacks. We have no good blocks [G: 12]. Afterwards, Evil re-equips his Guul Draz Vampire. [d: Cancel] We play an Island and sacrifice Ior Ruin Expedition [d: Welkin Tern, Island]. Then we attack with Windrider Eel. Evil can’t block is profitably [E: 16]. Then we summon a Surrakar Marauder. Evil repeats his last turn, playing a land, equipping the Crocodile, and attacking with it. Surrakar Marauder jumps in front of the Crocodile. Evil moves the Net back over to a Guul Draz Vampire.

[d: Roil Elemental] We play Jwar Isle Refuge [G: 13], attack with Windrider Eel [E: 12], and summon our last Surrakar Marauder. Evil plays a Swamp and attacks with his Hagra Crocodile. We block with Umara Raptor and Surrakar Marauder. Evil summons a Heartstabber Mosquito (w/ kicker), but we have Cancel to stop it. [d: Welkin Tern] We summon Roil Elemental and play our Island, taking Evil’s Guul Draz Vampire with Spidersilk Net (this was actually a mistake. It would have been better to take the un-equipped vampire in case Evil had Marsh Casualties). Then we attack Evil with the Windrider Eel [E: 8].

Evil summons a Blood Seeker and plays Quest for the Gravelord without moving his Spidersilk Net over to his other vampire. [d: Reckless Scholar] We attack Evil with everything. His Guul Draz Vampire dies to the one we stole [E: 3]. We summon a Welkin Tern and pass. Evil draws and concedes. We are victorious.

Happy Drafting.

49 thoughts on “According to Webster – Zendikar Draft #5”

  1. “We attack back [E: 18] and play Hideous End during Evil's upkeep to destroy his Ally [E: 16].”

    I’m not sure why you cast this during his upkeep, its not clear if he had a green mana open or not, but if he didn’t don’t you just die to vines? and by letting him untap give him the opportunity to play it

  2. So not to be the perpetual cynic, but I find it hard to believe that any less than 90% of people would find it even remotely difficult to not go 6-0 with that set of forty. However good job on having the foresight to get into blue and not be swayed by the white early on.

  3. “Ah, 4-3-2-2's"¦. why are you playing them, again?”

    Somebody’s sarcasm meter needs calibration…

  4. Honestly I think you got lucky getting this deck. The person to your right passed two, two major bombs. Sphinx of Jwar Isle and Sorin. There aren’t many cards that could possibly be taken over them.

    First pick was an uncommon. The only card I would ever consider is trusty machete. This is understandable.
    Third pack must of been a Burst Lightning. A common is missing. Still, they should of seen the Sorin and done what you just did, switch to black.

    Ah, the joys of playing to the left of a less experienced player =)

  5. Stellar draft. For pack 1, my picks were identical, but several picks in pack 2 were different (possibly because I can’t see the CC curve as I read the article, or … maybe I’m just bad at draft).

    Switching colors for Sorin was simultaneously ‘obvious’ and ballsy.

  6. An interesting pick got aborted by rare cards: P3P1, if the Gigantiform hadn’t been there, would you have picked Tern or Survivalist?

  7. Yet another example of why I love your articles, sir. You ended up with an outstanding deck where I’m pretty sure I would have ended up with a largely inferior deck,due to misreading the flow of the drafts, and my inability to switch colors in a timely fashion. Most draft re-caps just briefly mention their picks, “I took X over Y because I like it more” whereas you analyze everything like some sort of human computer. Keep up your contributions to the best Magic site on the internet, please!

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  9. I really liked your gameplay walk through. It made me feel like i was there drafting with you, well done your writing has improved alot. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  10. Well i would like to see what the opponents actual draft, as this drafts look so “unreal”.

    Its just in Pack 1 the player to the right picked an Uncommon and that can only be Marsh Casualties or Vampire nighthawk, while i would rate only the Nighthawk possible above the Sphinx, so you simply “know” they must be black.

    However the major thing is that nobody seems to draft Green, Black , nor Blue, everyone is Red or White, as theirs way too much stuff in the boosters that they really play the colors, as you can “never” jump to black in Booster 3, getting all the powered stuff for UB than is just a joke.

    And ofcourse the player to the right passes a Sorin, its just unreal and winning with 7 scrubs on the table is really nothing special (while you can ofcourse not change that fact).

    So yes, not your fault, but it just seems that drafting with 7 scrubs isnt going to be challenging at all.

  11. wtf is a player like u playing 4-3-2-2’s, god web had to step down a notch, just kiddin. and by the way MUST BE NICE!!!!!

    getting passed sorin and sphinx is pretty bad i would just pass ’em obviously those colors werent open.

  12. yeah pretty bad draft. I dont see why you’d even put it up here its so ridiculous, pick 13 welkin tern was the icing on the waste of time cake.

    at least show us a draft where you had to make some difficult choices rather than the best card out of each pack that you happen to get passed from a bunch of nuffies.

  13. Ty David for another excellent article.

    Very interesting and I liked it to see the considerations when to make a switch. I am somewhat new when it comes to drafting, so I really would like to see more thoughts about determing which colors your neighbours are playing, passing certain cards and dealing with the consequences of passing those cards in the next drafting rounds.

    In the place where I play some players seem to know which colors everybody is playing and optimizing that knowledge in the draft itself and even when playing. Some thoughts about that kind of next-level thinking (for a beginner like me) would really be nice to see. 😉


  14. you’re very good Web, but I gotta agree with the comment above me: MBN 🙂 don’t know why that guy passed Sorin but I could be u/w and I’m never EVER passing that card

  15. @Josh I wasn’t sure about this either, but I believe if he had vines he would be cut off green for the turn. I don’t know if the green was open at EOT.

    Nice article, but I still don’t understand why you play 4-3-2-2. I just started playing online recently, and I almost find it easier just to play 8-4 because of all the horrible signals you can get in the 4-3-2-2.

  16. There is only 2 uncommons I’d think of taking over Sphinx. Machete and Nighthawk. I’d pass casualties before I pass Sphinx. Since the guy passed you sorin in pack 3, I guess he took machete (or he’s lolbad, i mean, he’s probably lolbad anyways for passing sorin, i’d run the 8 swamp 1 sorin as only black card deck)

  17. I guess my earlier comment wasn’t quite clear enough.

    Guys, c’mon. He’s not actually playing in a 4-3-2-2. That line was a joke referring to the comments of the last article. Some dude last week said he had played in that draft and it was a 4-3-2-2, and of course, instead of believing David when he said that guy was wrong, half the people chose to believe random internet guy and jump all over David for being a scrub.

  18. I find draft walkthroughs like this to be very frustrating. The average draft goes nothing like what you’ve shown us here. It provides very little value to me the reader when I’m shown how you were passed bomb after bomb, and had the good sense to not pass them on to your neighbor. I read another walkthough on another site last week that was much the same. The author of that one was scooping up Timbermaw Larva 11th pick, opened a Gigantiform, and was passed the 6/6 trampler that pumps out 4/4 beast tokens for landfall. These are not hard choices guys. And for the record, I’m not saying this because David keeps posting drafts he’s winning in, he’s a great player, and great players are supposed to win. It’s just frustrating when you continue to see a pattern of this skewed view of reality. Most of us will never be pro players, but as a 1900+ rated player with a decade of experience behind me, I can tell you that the example we see above is not the way things usually go. There is very little that I can learn from the drafting portion of this article. I just wish that we could see some more of the realistic examples where the card pool in your color(s) are not always so deep or free flowing. Every once in a while it would be nice to see a p1p3 where the best card you can take is Welkin Tern or a similar middle of the road card, instead of seeing you getting them consistantly 8th, 9th, or 10th pick. Most of us see pure junk past pick 11. That being said, David continues to give great examples on how you can use the resources you’ve drafted to the most effect. I tend to play much more aggressively(too agressively), and am always amazed at your patience and the thought process behind your play decisions. Thanks again for writing.

  19. I draft in RL so I only get to experience the joys of MODOD when reading these drafts. However it seems that MODO drafts are highly influenced by the recently written articles. When B/R was hot there would be no black or red cards. When green was supposed to be horrible amazing green cards circled the table. Now that Blue is supposed to be the worst color, look what happens. I mean being passed the two Bomb rares was amazing, but a Welkin Tern with three cards in the pack? Unbelieveable.

    So are the drafters at ths table really that bad? Typically weaker player should be rare drafting like mad. Hardly the case here. So maybe they are trying to draft well, but just do not have the experience. How much do you think that because they all read that blue is an awefull color they are avoiding it?

  20. re the Hideous End on upkeep play: Since Evil plays his second Mountain and Timbermaw Larva the next turn, he must have had two Forests and a Mountain before that, and he played Goblin War Paint last turn so he presumably had a Forest open.

    As to whether it’s better to have your Hideous End countered during your third turn and have your opponent have all his mana during turn 4, or have your Hideous End countered during their turn 4 and possibly throw your opponent slightly off tempo (but maybe taking 4 extra damage), I’m not sure which is better.

  21. @ Comment by Josh – December 28, 2009 @ 9:28 pm :
    He had a Forest untapped on my turn, otherwise I would have played Hideous end then.

    @ Comment by Diglett – December 28, 2009 @ 9:47 pm :
    Roil Elemental seemed fine because of the number of creatures we had that would require removal spells to kill instead of just creatures. If the opponent can’t deal with Roil Elemental otherwise, what are they going to do? Will they hold a removal while Windrider Eel beats them to death or will they kill the Eel and lose the the Roil Elemental. I realize that not every situation is that simplistic, but it’s a good example of the effect powerful cards will have on an opponent once they know you have them.

    @ Comment by MH – December 28, 2009 @ 11:37 pm :
    I would have taken the Oran-Rief Survivalist for a few reasons:

    1. If you look back at the packs regarding the way the colors were flowing, you’ll notice that there are more blue cards. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to get both Welkin Tern and Oran-Rief Survivalist. Whichever card you take will make it more likely that you’ll wheel a card from your other color, whether it is Cancel or Baloth Cage Trap.

    2. Allies are only average alone. In multiples they will easily win games.

    @ Comment by WHAT A DICK – December 28, 2009 @ 11:46 pm :
    I didn’t have to think much about taking the Sphinx of Jwar Isle. I was simply playing the Devil’s Advocate and giving you reasons why not to take it.

    @ Comment by SlowRoll – December 29, 2009 @ 8:15 am :
    You’re absolutely right. The power-level/card quality of this draft was above average which was my main concern about posting this one. However, like I mentioned in the article, what made the draft interesting enough to counteract the percieved uselessness (given what was being passed) was the shift that I decided to make during the draft. There aren’t many times when a drafter is going to make a second color switch in pack three.

    @ Comment by grannyspayback – December 29, 2009 @ 8:18 am :
    Players in 8-4 queues are generally better than RL drafters. That’s been my experience.

    The reason (at least a possible one) why blue was being underdrafted is simply because not enough people started in it combined with an above average amount of it. Not enough people switched into blue or chose it as their second color to absorb all the playables.

  22. If there was a common missing in the Sorin pack presumably the person who opened it had a trainwreck and decided to salvage it with a foil fetch or something.

    Always interesting to see a draft with interesting decisions, even if it is to swap to black for Sorin 😉 The question I would ask is – if you weren’t playing online would you be able to remember enough about all your previous picks to know that you had enough blue to make the swap from green to black viable? I guess this the main area I fall down offline – making full use of the review period to understand the composition of the deck I’m drafting rather than just evaluating the cards on an individual basis.

  23. Hello. I was the player sitting to the left. First pick I took Trusty Machete over Sphinx because I believe blue to be a very weak color and I consider Machete to be better overall. I then followed the signals into W/R and at the beginning of the 3rd pack a had a pretty mediocre deck so I decided not to hate draft Sorin and pick Burst Lightning over it instead.

  24. @ ppl flaming me for being a random internet guy and “LIEING” about playing him in the finals of the last draft, it was a 4-3-2-2, we covered that was most likely an accidental mis queue. I am a long time reader here and NOT a forum troll. Jeez I just pointed something out its not like I said he was Drinking baby blood while sitting in a room with 12 pro’s coaching over his shoulder and clicking for him while a better writer edited together the article. That kind of shit is forum trolling. I just stated something, it was most likely unintentional on his part, he made light of it this week, its cool. But I am not just a random Forum troll i have like 3 posts and I read this site every day…

  25. In an 8-4 yesterday I opened p1 p1 a Sorin Markov and a Foil Sorin Markov the rest of the pack was black heavy as well with hideous end and Marauder the non black playables were Adventuring gear Plated Geopede and shieldmates blesssing. The rest of the pack was chaff and sideboard cards. I thought for the full minute I almost took the markov foil for the tix, but I took the geopede as it was the only red card in the pack besides and unstable footing. I figure the next 4 players in a row at least would get a card that would be a signal that black was open and would lead to me getting any and all colors that I might be in in pack 2. Not to mention geopede is a good card as is. What do you do when faced with a similar pack?

    Quick note this is the 2nd time this has happened to me with a mithic foil mithic pack online. I opened p3p1 Foil Iona/reg Iona (not that those were even options as first picks, but its funny to open packs like that twice)

  26. Also I have noticed recently its very popular for rare drafters to join 8-4s since people pass rares more often in them. Do you have a feeling about that? I was in a zzz 8-4 two weeks ago where 2 drafters dropped during deck construction

  27. Personally I prefer Gigantiform over Sorin here, triple black in a splash color is pretty hefty, plus you knew you weren’t getting a lot of black in pack 3. It worked out that you got a free pass in blue, but I think this was extremely greedy.

    I also think roil elemental was a poor pick. You didn’t need bombs, you needed consistency. Anyway, the deck was still very good I think you were just having fun with the draft.

    P.S. Anyone who says they don’t like your walkthroughs can simply stop reading them once they get to that part. I like that they’re a little different than some of the other ones.

  28. “In an 8-4 yesterday I opened p1 p1 a Sorin Markov and a Foil Sorin Markov the rest of the pack was black heavy as well with hideous end and Marauder the non black playables were Adventuring gear Plated Geopede and shieldmates blesssing. The rest of the pack was chaff and sideboard cards. I thought for the full minute I almost took the markov foil for the tix, but I took the geopede as it was the only red card in the pack besides and unstable footing.”


  29. in regards to the double sorin with other good black cards, you basically have three choices, take geopede like you took, take foil sorin and bail or take foil sorin and cut black hard, for a moment let’s disregard that your foil sorin would nearly pay for your draft by itself. you can take sorin and admittedly you probably make a large sacrifice pack two, but as the player on the right of all this other black you have a lot of power you’re passing to these guys two packs and getting passed back 1, I say you take the foil sorin, the regular goes next and 2-3 of the next players dip into black, if you cut black, admittedly this is depending on how much black is in the packs, you and 2 other drafters might be strongly tied to black, black is well known as a strong color so this isn’t too bad all things considered, this is to be expected and some will be smart enough to give up. the sorin player will likely be cut off from two sides and if he doesn’t bail will wither and die. the simple fact you’re the passing player gives you the opportunity to cut black so much so that alot of those good picks will be put to the sideboard as they they have 2-3 black cards after pack1, there’s a good chance many of these players drafts will be just as disoriented as if you passed sorin, and if black doesn’t come then you shift into what’s open take your foil mythic that almost pays for your draft and who knows you still make finals if you’re a good enough drafter. as far as 84s go passing 3-4 tix rares is well worth your while, why take basically one pack when you can set yourself up to win 8, by firts look I see foil sorin at 11 tix and if you go to the right bot I’m sure you’d get more for it. just by taking that card you basically made finals and the drafts a freeroll.

    wow that was long

  30. “The rest of the pack was chaff and sideboard cards. I thought for the full minute I almost took the markov foil for the tix but I took the geopede”

    lol you are burning money if you do stuff like that, the only place to pass sorin is in ptq top8 or higher level event, otherwise its just dumb, the point for online is to get drafts in, and unless you have unlimited funds taking Sorin is massively better(it doesn’t need to be foil) you should almost never pass any card worth 2tix in an 8-4(it better be a Serra/Nighthawk you are picking), and absolutely never anything 4+

  31. “as far as 84s go passing 3-4 tix rares is well worth your while, why take basically one pack when you can set yourself up to win 8”

    well if you are 60% to win every match you win 21.6% of drafts, get 2nd 14.4 for an ev of 2.3 prize packs per draft(and 60% is really good win % in 8/4)

    which equals 9.2tix, taking a 4tix card 1st pick even with absolutely no chance of playing is over 1/3rd of the return you’d get on the draft, no card in your draft deck is ever that crucial, the only cards that are debatable over a 2tix card are machete and nighthawk and a few bomb rares when you open foil rare

    raredrafting is a crucial aspect to being able to draft often and cheaply online

  32. Congratulations on winning the draft! Still I think switching colors in pack 3 is very wrong. I’d do it earlier in the draft if a color seems open, but pack 3 is too late for that, as there arent enough picks left to get enough playables of your “new color”. Besides you already had a bomb in green (Gigantiform) and only 1 black card.

    Also I want to point that when drafting green, it’s very important to pick Harrow and Khalni Heart Expedition over most playable but average commons. Had David done so, he could’ve played a BUG tri-color deck with best cards of each color.

  33. Another enjoyable read, thanks. Much better than the limited info articles on the official mtg website as they never do a draft walkthrough and I find them very dull (maybe someone finds them useful?).

    I don’t get the player passing to you in pack 1 and 3. If they passed the Sphinx pack one I can only envisage they took a Nighthawk or maybe marsh casualties (though I’d have preferred the sphinx). If this is the case why do they pass Sorin in pack 3? That’s just rediculous. Even if I only had a Nighthawk and Sorin I would find a way of fitting them in. I wish I drafted online with people that terrible. To be fair though you can’t pick your opponents and can only take from what you’re passed so can’t fault your picks or the article. I’ve been passed gigantiform a few times in drafts which I don’t get even though green is generally poor as I agree it’s a very good card. Anyway thanks and look forward to your next article.

  34. thanks for posting this, but i stopped reading after finding out it was a 4-3-2-2. is there a reason why you do not cover 8/4s? i think most people would appreciate 8-4; just my 2 cents.

  35. Web, I think this draft was definitely worth posting. I wrote you last week asking about when to be disceplined stick to your guns w/ regard to color and when to jump out of a color you’ve been drafting and into something that looks more open.

    This draft was a perfect post for me as a reader, given the fact that you posted this draft right after one where you chose to stick to your colors. It really helped to demonstrate what situation you DO jump colors in, and I found that to be very valuable as I am still learning limited.

    My girlfriend and I learned to draft from your articles on M10, and we continue to improve (and beat our friends!) thanks to your Zendikar drafts.

    Keep up the great work, and thanks again for posting this one – I found the decision making process w/ respect to going U/x -> u/g -> U/b to be really enlightening.

  36. “Also I want to point that when drafting green, it's very important to pick Harrow and Khalni Heart Expedition over most playable but average commons. Had David done so, he could've played a BUG tri-color deck with best cards of each color.”

    Splashing for mana-fixing is dumb in most formats and suicide in Zendikar limited. How can you be sure you’ll draw your splash cards and your splash lands before your other colors? And if you don’t, why are you splashing for mana-fixing? Instead just play more lands of your important colors, which will increase the chance of drawing them.
    This isn’t a format where you can trade off all early game defense for late game power. Green’s ramp only works — when it does work — accompanied with early game creatures that can defend or trade if need be. And three color decks can’t rely on having early game creatures and the mana to cast them early.

    The only way I would play a three-color deck in a draft where I actually had to play well would be if I had a splash for something really good and no way of expecting to win without splashing.
    But I wouldn’t splash for Sorin in a base UG deck unless I had a complete train-wreck and I had to. It costs 3BBB.

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