From the Sideboard—The Flagstaff Draft Report, Ten-Man Edition

I don’t like 10-man drafts. They throw off my rhythm, they change the correct number of rounds, and two cards out of every pack will never wheel back to me. But when ten people show up eager to draft—in this case at Flagstaff, AZ’s own The Geekery, on Saturday, Feb. 16—it sends the wrong message to turn them away. I don’t want any drafting noob to get rebuffed; I may need them to fill out next week’s pool. Strangely enough, the people all seemed to look to me (even though I’m just some guy, you know?) to see if I’d let this travesty occur. I graciously agreed. Let them eat cards!

Pack one was a total disaster. The rare was Whispering Madness, and the only—I swear, the only—playable card in the pack was Zameck Guildmage, which I took. The next pack’s rare was Mind Grind; I took Massive Raid. The rest of pack one was a five-color blur—a Smite, a Skinbrand Goblin, a Disciple of the Old Ways. I felt lost, confused, alone, hoping for a sign in pack two.

As we opened, the guy to my left made a big noise about his rare, saying, “Wow, okay, I guess I gotta take that, okay!” and I would have had to have been blindfolded to not see the engorged mythic mass of Borborygmos Enraged at the front of his fan. Though I felt like a jerk, I took note, and you should too—guard your picks, please! I resolved to take every B or W card that he passed me, hoping that he would be laser-focused on RG. Pick three I nabbed Blind Obedience, and the Orzhov kept flowing—I swear I got Crypt Ghast pick seven! Things were looking very similar to my draft from two weeks ago, though I had fewer extort cards to play with.

Pack three pick one I took Grisly Spectacle rather than hate-draft Gruul Ragebeast. Pick two I stared at Alms Beast for almost 40 seconds, trying to figure out if he was good or bad, before taking him (in retrospect it should have been obvious that he was good; a 6/6 for four would have to have a much worse drawback to be bad). The rest of the pack wasn’t noteworthy. (Listed below, creatures in bold, spells in italics, commons in black, uncommons in silver, rares in gold.)

Jeremy’s Borzhov Skies Deck

  1. Thrull Parasite

    Smite
  2. Basilica Screecher
    Daring Skyjek
    Skinbrand Goblin

    Blind Obedience
    Prophetic Prism
  3. Corpse Blockade
    Kingpin’s Pet
    2X Skynight Legionnaire
    Slate Street Ruffian
  4. Alms Beast
    Assault Griffin
    Balustrade Spy
    Crypt Ghast
    Millennial Gargoyle
    Syndicate Enforcer

    Grisly Spectacle
    One Thousand Lashes
    Purge the Profane
  5. Angelic Edict
    Shadow Slice

Lands
Boros Guildgate
6x Swamp
5x Plains
5x Mountain

NOTES ON THE BUILD

  • As you can see, I ended up with 7.33 fliers (.33 for the Skyjek, dig?) and a mana curve that topped out at five—with no creatures costing more than four. This was important to make the most of my six extort spells.
  • Prophetic Prism, Millennial Gargoyle, and Purge the Profane were included as hedges against mana-screw: The Prism to fix, the artifact Gargoyle in case I couldn’t, and Purge to stall if necessary. I don’t think I’d play Purge in a straight Orzhov build.
  • Similarly, Massive Raid, Homing Lightning, Scorchwalker, and Ripscale Predator stayed in the board due to the RR in their casting (or bloodrush activation) costs.
  • After the tournament I found that the ten decks broke down thusly: Boros, Boros, Boros, Borzhov, Borzhov, Dimorzhov, Gruul, Simic with Gruul, and some four-color noob monstrosity. What the hell? Is Boros so good that even its bad cards pull you irrevocably into its archetype? Or was this pool just particularly weak in other cards?

To the matches!

Round 1 vs Borzhov Ground Assault
This was a mirror match with one difference: my guys in the sky, his on the ground. G1 He got Assemble the Legion online, but my air superiority overwhelmed him. He tried a tricky block with a soldier token, a spirit token, Pit Fight, and Martial Glory, but couldn’t order the triggers in a way that helped him destroy my Alms Beast. It didn’t help that neither of us realized that his soldier tokens were hasty (see note in my Lessons from the Day, below). Shadow Slice on some flier closed it out.

G2 I had mana struggles. I made two land drops and then spent two turns discarding before I could finally cast Millennial Gargoyle. My Purge the Profane hit the Foundry Champion he hadn’t had the mana to cast, but it was too late. His weenies ran me down.

G3 went very long. Ours was the last match going and we each had 12 lands out and almost no creatures to speak of—I had a Legionnaire and he had a Gargoyle. My Balustrade Spy almost milled him out, taking Assemble the Legion to the yard before he hit a land. But, with both of us at around four life, he topdecked, with his second-to-last card, the Foundry Champion. With three other creatures out that was GG. Match result: 1-2

Round 2 vs Boros Equipment (!?)
A quick 2-0 against a very nice guy who had come to the store to test his Boros Standard deck and gotten cajoled into drafting. His first three-drops were Riot Gear, Riot Gear, and Skyblinder Staff.  I won’t belabor this round. Match result: 2-0

Round 3 vs Simic with some Gruul

Game one was a rematch against the guy with 4x Psychic Strike from my previous post. I got a good crew of creatures out fast (ThrullScreecher > Skyjek + extort > Alms Beast), only to have him use Rapid Hybridization on my Alms Beast and Pit Fight on my Skyjek. Frustrating, but my untouched Parasite turned out to be my champion in this match. First of all, the two life cost for his counter-removing ability is not that onerous if you keep hitting with extort, and secondly, my opponent kept forgetting he was there, which cost him three evolve creatures over our two games.In G2 he took a mulligan to five, and his Cloudfin Raptor into Elusive Krasis couldn’t get there against Assault Griffin encoded with Shadow Slice followed by multiple extort triggers per turn. Match result: 2-0

Result after three rounds: 2-1

Prize packs: 2
Prize rares: Frontline Medic, Aurelia’s Fury

LESSONS FROM THE DAY

  • The 1/1 red and white Soldier creature tokens created by both Assemble the Legion and Sunhome Guildmage have haste—even though Wizards neglected to write “Haste” on the tokens that come in booster packs! Now I know that tons of you cool cats out there are too cool for official tokens, and, casting about lazily for something within reach to use instead, are just as apt to use a D6, a Hot Cheeto™, an orange rind, or a clump of lint. You guys probably never forget that your soldiers are hasty. But some of us find it hard to keep track of which of our opponent’s lint clumps are tapped, and will often supply the appropriate, WOTC-printed token from our bags of holding.
  • Prophetic Prism is better than I thought because you draw a card when it ETB. You probably know that already.
  • Boros Reckoner is (as of this writing, anyway) selling for an average of $23, up from $10 a scant two weeks ago!
  • I still love Shadow Slice.

Thanks for reading. I hope something here helps in your next draft!

Jeremy Broomfield came to MTG later than most boys (age 33, sometime during Shadowmoor block), which helped him to avoid a really prolonged Timmy stage. The folks he played Magic with most regularly in Brooklyn were intelligent, capable, hygienic, solvent, and good at playing Magic. They disdained Constructed in favor of Limited, and when he played with them—mostly in booster drafts at someone’s apartment—he was definitely the sucker at the table. When he moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Sedona, AZ, in 2010, his Magic experiences declined in frequency (the mean age of Sedona residents is probably 35 years over the mean age of Magic players, so he must drive for a while to find a draft). He found local communities in the thrall of Standard, and after preaching the gospel of Limited seemingly in vain, he has found a regular draft at The Geekery in Flagstaff. He is happy now. When he’s not playing Magic he teaches oil painting at a boarding school, where he lives with his wife and seven-month-old daughter.

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Comments
3 Responses to “From the Sideboard—The Flagstaff Draft Report, Ten-Man Edition”
  1. thejlina says:

    Yeah, I think it’s really weird that they printed the tokens without haste on them. I guess because it’s a so-called french vanilla ability they didn’t want to confuse people, but the end result is more confusing.

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