Innistrad Draft (Swiss), 5/1/2012
I was sick of losing so I switched it up to swiss so that I could at least get some games in. This deck felt decent but not amazing. Plenty of removal and some okay early plays, but if I never draw the Skirsdag High Priest then I have no real way to win.
I won the first match against a fairly mediocre blue/white deck, lost the second match by a mile to a very sweet deck with a million werewolves I couldn’t do anything about, and then absolutely crushed my third opponent by combining the High Priest with removal and morbid guys to get a million demons and kill his entire board. That made me feel a little better. Never got to play Devil’s Play despite it being in my hand for the entirety of three separate games and me siding in a second Shimmering Grotto after every game one, which was pretty annoying.
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 3/1/2012
After a very long time playing Skyrim, I decided to get back on the drafting horse in preparation for Dark Ascension. Of course I immediately draft red/green mono-durdles. It started off well with Kessig Cagebreakers and then Brimstone Volley and two Geistflame, but went downhill from there. I really really hate red/green as a colour combination in this format, and I would have splashed just those three removal spells, but I didn’t really see anything in the first pack in the way of green, and the best other colour was black, which was offering me the stellar pickings of Typhoid Rats and like three Manor Skeletons (which I took anyway). I then took a Darkthicket Wolf over a Slayer of the Wicket P2P1, which is maybe wrong given I basically only had Cagebreakers and that’s easy enough to splash. Although I’m not sure my deck would have been too stellar if I had have gone into white, given both of my later opponents were also white/red. Luckily I got passed a Falkenrath Marauders in the next pick (although I had to take it over a Brimstone Volley that I think would have made this deck pretty good). I opened horribly in my third pack, first-picking a Clifftop Retreat despite having no white card to splash because there were legitimately no good cards in the pack. All in all this deck seems pretty sucky. I hate all of the three and four drop creatures, and having to play Rangers Guile and Furor of the Bitten (which are fine cards I guess, but not at their greatest in this deck) through lack of playables is bad, but Marauders and Cagebreakers can just win on their own, and any deck with a semblance of a curve has the potential to get there on the back of a manascrewed opponent.
Match one against a reasonable red/white deck I tried to punt in five different ways, but won on the back of Marauders in game two and Cagebreakers in game three to squeak past. Round two was against a much better version of the same deck. I mulled to five game one and then got stuck on four land with three 5-drops in hand while he murdered me with his Elite Inquisitor that basically shut down my entire deck. Game two started much better, but I again stumbled a little on mana, only having one forest and needing to cast Lumberknot. In the turns I was waiting for a second green, like five creatures died, so it would have been a reasonable force. As it was I never drew the forest and I died a bunch of turns later to his Elite Inquisitor and spirit tokens that I wasn’t able to answer.
Innistrad Draft (4-3-2-2), 13/11/2011
This deck was crazy. It didn’t seem like anyone else at the table wanted werewolves at all, so I picked up a bunch. This could have been insane if I was able to get more Moonmists or some of the really good werewolves, but alas it was not to be. I did pass on the enchantment that pumps werewolves in the middle of pack 1, which I kind of regretted at the end of the draft, but I am not even sure if I would have run it. This deck was a little weird in that there wasn’t much going on after turn three until I got to 7 mana, but I thought it was reasonable enough.
In the first match I played against a black/red semi-aggro deck. Game one I drew a million forests and only one mountain, so I wasn’t able to cast my Kruin Outlaw or Crossway Vampire in my hand until quite late in the game. By then, he had cast and flipped a Screeching Bat, so there wasn’t a whole lot I could do to avoid dying. Game two I played a werewolf on turns 2, 3, and 4, and then turn five attacked with everyone and played Moonmist after he declared blockers to kill his entire board. I won the next turn. Game three I mulliganned a double-Monstrocity hand, and then possibly mulliganned again? In any case he got down Bloodline Keeper on turn three and I died. Boo.
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 12/11/2011
I first-picked Rolling Temblor in a fairly weak pack, and then picked Brimstone Volley over the clearly more powerful Daybreak Ranger in P1P2 in order to keep my colours open. Of course, I then ended up in green/red anyway, which made me feel pretty bad. I got Moldgraf Monstrocity fourth or fifth pick, which seems pretty late considering how great it was for me. Enough aggressive cards were coming that I didn’t even end up running the Rolling Temblor for fear of destroying my own force. I ended up with a decent but not amazing deck, and wasn’t feeling too confident.
Luckily, I ended up running pretty well! Match one was against a black/blue durdle deck, and it just messed around not really doing anything for a few games, so I ran it over. Match two was against a pretty insane red/black aggro deck, with multiple Reckless Waifs and a million removal spells. Game one I curved out pretty well with Stromkirk Noble into Wolf into Spirit, but he just killed them all. Luckily he got stuck on lands and had no creatures to play, so I got a Boar down and hit him a bunch. Eventually he stabilised with some big dude I don’t remember right now, and started hitting me a bunch. We ended up both at less than five or so life, and both just top-decking, with him having a Bump in the Night in his graveyard. I had drawn all but one of my mountains, plus my plains, and only had two forests, with Moldgraf Monstrocity in my hand, which made most of the cards in my deck pretty good. He kept playing dudes, and I drew a dude every turn to trade off with them, until eventually I drew my Traveler’s Amulet, got a forest, slammed the Monstrocity, which he couldn’t answer. I brought in Rolling Temblor for game two. This time he got off to a more aggressive start with Reckless Waif and a bunch of x/2s. I played Hamlet Captain or something to trade, which he used a removal spell on, and so I untapped on turn four and Rolling Temblor to get a 3-for-1. We both hit each other a bunch until we stabilised with Rage Thrower a piece. I flashbacked Rolling Temblor which killed five things, and let us deal 8 damage to each other. We were both again on very low life, which was scary as he hadn’t yet played his Bump in the Night or Geistflame, but the next turn I played Moldgraf Monstrocity which he again couldn’t answer. I think I got pretty lucky in this game because his deck was very nice, but I’ll take it! I split the finals because I wanted to get back at
bashing my head against a wall attempting to learn programming (note: I am very bad at programming).
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 4/11/2011
I first-picked Garruk Relentless, so I figured everything after that was a bit of a free-roll. I took Brimstone Volley and then two Murder of Crows next, and then got excited and took Burning Vengence. The red/blue Burning Vengence deck seems pretty fun to play, and it wants a lot of spells that other decks don’t, so I figured it might be worth a try. Plus, thinkgs like Murder of Crows are crazy good in that kind of a deck. I think took some fixing so I could splash Garruk. Unfortunately, not much in the way of flashback spells were coming around. I picked up some Skaab guys (who also seem good in that kind of deck), but not much else. I did end up seeing a reasonable amount of flashback cards in late pack 2/pack 3, but by then the ship had kind of sailed, and I would rather take some creatures that did something over spells that would only be good if I reached a critical mass. Maybe I just needed more commitment :( Overall though, I thought this deck wasn’t bad. I felt like it had enough dudes to stall them in the early game, and then some great spells to win in the late game.
Unfortunately, match one didn’t go my way. I stumbled on three mana for about three turns in game one, while he got out some Cloistered Youths and started beating down. By the time I was able to draw my fourth land I was already too far behind. Game two went much better, as I got some early dudes out, and then played Ludevic’s Test Subject and just leveled a bunch until I was able to kill him with a 13/13. Game three was pretty close, but unfortunately he played a bunch of flyers along with Silver-Inlaid Dagger. I dealt with most of them, leaving him with a 1/1 spirit, and then played One-Eyed Scarecrow. I just needed to draw my sideboarded Naturalise to take care of his Dagger and I hopefully would have stabilised, but unfortunately a couple of draw steps and a flashbacked Think Twice didn’t get me there. I felt I got a little unlucky in this match, but I got very lucky in my previous draft, so I suppose I can’t be too upset.
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 4/11/2011
I can’t say this is the greatest deck I have ever drafted. I was looking to go into red/black aggro after picking Skirsdag Cultist and Falkenrath Noble as my first two picks, but I don’t think I saw a single playable black card out of my first few picks in each pack. It felt like green was open in pack one, but I wasn’t sure about the other colours. I got a couple of good picks early, but then red kind of dried up, and blue wasn’t good enough for me to want to go into a fifth colour. I ended up with some decent cards (Elder of Laurels, Spider Spawning, and Balefire Dragon), but I have very little removal, and my manabase is terrible. I played so many mountains because I feel it’s important to get the Crossway Vampires online as soon as possible, but the consequence is playing not nearly enough forests to play my green one or two drops, and only playing two swamps means I will likely never get to flashback Sever the Bloodline, and rarely play Falkenrath Noble particularly early.
This deck did surprise me, though! I ran very well in mana, and basically always had the right lands to cast my spells. There were a tonne of cards that worked very well together, including Rakish Heir, Crossway Vampires and Falkenrath Noble, and having Elder of Laurels and Spider Spawning in an 18 creature deck doesn’t hurt, either. I won both of my first rounds 2-1, with each match being very very close. My first opponent had a pretty good blue/white deck with Grimoire of the Dead. Unfortunately most of his white spells kind of worked against him, and weren’t great on the battlefield or in the graveyard. My second opponent was playing a green/black/white deck with Skirsdag High-Priest. Game one he managed to get the High-Priest going, whereas game two I had turn 3 Rakish Heir turn 4 Falkenrath Noble turn 5 Crossway Vampire. In the last game he got the High-Priest going, but I was able to get the Skirsdag Cultist out before he could start making demons. It turned into a race with his flyers against my Rakish Heir that was growing every turn, but luckily I had Spider Spawning to fog for a turn, and then had a Harvest Pire to get rid of his chump blocker and swing for the win. I feel like I was pretty lucky to get to the finals with this deck, but as long as the mana was okay, the deck plays pretty nicely! I split the finals BTW, I didn’t want to push my luck.
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 29/10/2011
Ugh this deck. It really really needed some solid 1-3 drop creatures, but unfortunately they never really came. Everything five-drop and up seemed very good though. In the first round I was paired up with a blue/white flyer deck. Game one he blew me out with a pump spell after I had to double-Blazing Torch his threat, and then he had the white tapping spell to kill me after I stabilised. Game two I had severe mana problems (I drew like three mountains over 20 or so turns in the first and second games combined) and was doing okay until he played Back from the Brink and just replayed all of his threats again. No fun :(
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 29/10/2011
I had a bunch of decent black here, but didn’t get as much red as what I was hoping. Some of the aggro red vampires or red removal spells would have put this deck over the top, I think. As it was all of my red spells were pretty sweet, but the mana base couldn’t really support a turn one Reckless Waif or turn three Kruin Outlaw.
I won game one of the first match fairly comfortably, narrowly lost game two (I got the opponent to five and got down Rage Thrower with a couple of other dudes, but he drew Smite the Monstrous for it and then attacked for the win), and then got mana screwed in game three and lost. I think I kind of punted game three. I had two Bumps in the Night in my hand so I decided to be kind of aggressive and try to get in some early damage, but I traded away too many early creatures and then never drew land to cast my bigger drops. Given I had Reaper from the Abyss in my hand, I may should have just stayed back and tried for the long game. I may have still lost, but it would have given me another couple of turns.
Innistrad Draft (8-4), 24/10/2011
I first-picked a Balefire Dragon, then I think second-picked a Grasp of Phantoms? And the draft pretty much went from there. There were a few shaky moments where I thought I might be getting cut (most of the packs were filled with mediocre green and black cards), and I think p2p1 and p2p2 had literally no cards in my colours, but I managed to scrape something together.
I ended up suuuuper happy with this deck. From watching the replays, it didn’t have quite as much power as some of the other decks, but it was one of the only 2-colour decks in the whole draft, and it was pretty consistent. Although it lacked much removal (hence me having to play things like Sensory Deprivation), once I got to four or five mana and above the quality of my cards were pretty great. I didn’t have many insane bombs, but I had a lot of cards that could pretty happily win the game on their own. Standout performers were the Watchkeep, Grasp of Phantoms, and all of my five-drops. Unfortunately I don’t think I ever even drew the Dragon? So I have no idea how that would have gone, although I found myself getting to 6-8 mana pretty regularly.
I went 2-0 with this, and then split the finals.
Innistrad Draft (Swiss), 23/10/2011
It’s possibly not surprising after only having done two drafts and no sealeds, but I am feeling like I have a terrible grasp of this format. I regularly find myself confronted with packs containing six or so cards that could all be the best pick, and just not being able to evaluate cards properly. It is making it quite hard to determine what colours are open and which I should stay out of. For example, there are a tonne of white creatures that work really well together and with heaps of other cards, but don’t seem all that great on their own, so if I see them fairly late, I’m not all that sure what to make of it. In this case I picked Brimstone Volley and Geistflame early, and then got a bunch of white things. Red seemed to be cut fairly early, but I had a hard time seeing cards in other colours that I was all that interested in. In the end no one cut me off too much from white, and I got some werewolves and the Cultist in pack two to have enough red playables that I didn’t have to splash for green (although I would have, for Spider Spawning and Travel Preparations, if I was able to pick up a Shimmering Grotto or two). I wasn’t sure that my deck was all that good (when the highest power creature in your deck is Night Revelers, things do not bode well), so I decided to draft as aggressive a deck as possible. For this reason I took both my Geistflames over Pitchburn Devils, which probably isn’t right.
This deck ended up playing really well, as it had just the right mix of small disposable dudes I could sacrifice, things that got bigger when other creatures died, and removal and evasion to allow my guys to get through. Despite playing what I feel like is a reasonable number of mountains, I did get stuck on all plains in at least three games in my matches. I ended up winning two of those anyway, though. All-stars in this deck were the Hanweir Watchkeep, Geist-Honored Monk, and Demonmail Hauberk. A large amount of my games involved playing Geist-Honored Monk, then next turn playing the Hauberk, saccing one of the flyers to equip the other one, and in the process growing one of my other dudes that cares about things dying. Midnight Haunting was also totally sweet, and I feel like Unruly Mob was a lot better than I originally gave it credit for (I was thinking of dropping it from the deck in favour of Crossway Vampire, but didn’t because of mana considerations). The Village Ironsmiths and Night Revelers were pretty much the only cards that didn’t work out terribly well, but I kind of knew that would be the case going in, and only picked them because of a lack of other stuff in those packs. I went 3-0 with this, which certainly makes me feel a little better about the format.