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By: Felorin, Dr. Cat
Oct 29 2013 10:57am
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This was my second Theros draft, still learning the format. My first draft with red/white weenie aggro didn't go so well, let's see if we can do better.

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

The Gorgon is a sweet removal spell, giving you a decent creature along with it and killing almost anything. Rage of Purphoros is a good spell too, and Bounce like Voyage's End is particularly good in this set, with all the enchantments plus big tempo plays of bouncing in response to someone paying for Monstrous, trading 2 of your mana for a zillion of theirs is a big tempo shift.

  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

I really like the Nessian Asp, it shuts down flying assaults very effectively and is good on the ground as well. I wouldn't mind going black green. On the other hand, I could stay open for a second color and maybe find something that's flowing much more freely. Pharika's Cure is a good removal spell, instant speed removal is important in this set to respond to bestow and/or heroic to keep a little guy from getting too big to handle early on.

  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Disciple of Phenax could take us down the mono-black path. I think I may undervalue this card a little. But blue seems open here, the three Tritons are all quality cards. I decide I'd like the one that draws extra cards. Blue black is often a good control color combo, and I'm glad I waited on green to see if something else would give me more depth of cards available.

  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Nylea's Disciple is quite good, but green doesn't have depth here and we didn't move in on that early. The other two Tritons give me a chance to round out the blue, but Read the Bones is very good and it's in my main color. It's like Devotion on steroids, and sometimes it's getting you down 3 or 4 cards into your deck rather than just 2.

  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

The black is still flowing. I like the harpy fine, but a "kill anything" (except gods) spell is valuable and important in this format of ridiculously huge creatures. 6 mana is even a pretty good price against a monstrous creature they may have spend 10-12 mana on.

  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Now I can have two Monstrous creatures for the late game. Definitely not wanting to get caught having to win early or give up, like I did with my previous draft deck. Again, Disciple of Phenax could have been a reasonable pick here.


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Rewarded for being in black! This guy is the mainstay of a mono-black or heavy black deck, and can easily swing games or finish them. Seeing him this late tells me there's little interest in black from the rest of the table (or the black drafters don't know what they're doing, or maybe one of them took a bomb out of here). I definitely want to keep blue to a secondary color and lean more black to maximize this guy. Perhaps I should have been thinking mono-black here, and have a Phenax or two even by now.

  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

The hippocamp is a stronger card, but this guy keeps me alive to get to Gray and gets me a point of devotion. A lot of green here, but it might be an anomaly.


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

No blue nor anything tempting otherwise, Scourgemark isn't bad but I want creatures & two drops so the Steed gets the nod. Bears are normally poor in this format, but with Gray a little early damage matters, and devotion to black matters, so he gets better.

  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Not only an early blocker, but in my deck he can often attack for three as well. Sweet! 

  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

This thing shuts down Monstrosity and even god abilities, it's not just about killing weenies. And when you're using it on something it doesn't kill, more devotion too. Happy to have one.

  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

Strange that this wheeled. I'll keep anyone else from getting it.

  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

I'll take the blue card. Not sure if Witches Eye is very playable - it might be. Probably depends somewhat on your deck type.

  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

Who put my picture on this card?
  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Nimbus Naiad is a very good card. But we're looking to be more black. The Emisary cycle are also very good cards, at least some of them. I spend a little while looking at this guy. But he's not bomb-class good, so I go with removal. Having instant speed removal is important for responding to stuff, this one's pretty decent.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Ok, let's get serious with this devotion to black theme. Maybe we could lean all the way into mono-black, maybe we'll be splashing blue. We'll see. Mnemonic Wall is quite nice for recurring black removal spells, but it's the wrong dang color. Loathsome Catoblepas, even without green mana, is still a little like a Pitchburn Devils, which is a great card. Maybe I didn't give him enough credit here. Fanatic of Mogis is the equivalent of our Gray for whoever has the red deck.

  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Wouldn't mind another solid two drop, but bouncing three creatures is stupid good. It's an insane tempo swing, especially if you hit some high mana cost critters.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Prescient Chimera is very good, and I want it. But dude, a second Gray Merchant of Asphodel! We are all set! Black, black black, how about some black cards and some more black cards. Kthxbai.

  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

I shoulda taken Catoblepas here, I wasn't paying enough attention to his -3/-3 when he dies. Hippocamp is a fine card too, but we need black permanents! With two Grays we'll often be finishing games that way. Maybe we can even find a third in pack 3!


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Viper's Kiss is ok, but draw three cards are so good in limited!

  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

What, again? Maybe I shoulda taken the 2/1 or the Boon even.

  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Cutthroat Maneuver is a little interesting, but we need creatures, we need black permanents, and this guy's even an alpha strike enabler. Sold!

  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Good, got a Harpy. Wouldn't mind another!

  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

I am still undervaluing Catoblepas here, to my everlasting shame. Wall is great if I go blue/black, if I go mono-black it's a wasted pick.

  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

This is interesting removal.  I might not maindeck it, but it could be a sideboard option against some opponents.

  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick: Returned Phalanx

A nice two-drop for the deck. We don't have a creature base that makes the sandals look exciting right now.

  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:

At least one of these guys wheeled to save me from myself! Could have had 2, not sure the deck needs that many 6 drops though.


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:

Hatedrafting is a tiny bit better than picking basic lands.


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

March of the Returned is juicy with Gray. The other good cards here are things we already have one of and/or they're blue, except Annul. I can rare-draft a nice Mythic god for my collection and my constructed decks without missing anything great here. Yoink!

  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Returned Centaur is a decent blocker and worth another point of devotion, he'll do all right here. I didn't realize at the time how he could be really good in this deck, see below.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

This can get another Gray trigger off if I have a Grey in the yard OR in the battlefield. In Magical Christmas Land, you have one both places and you get Double Trigger Bonus Madness! It also has value with our discard guy and a little with our centaur, since it can recur their comes into play abilities too.

  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Black bears deck for the win!

  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

A second Read the Bones is pretty sweet. This card will get me to the Grays more consistently and just plain help get card advantage over people.

  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

The unicorn is the only thing we could conceivably play in blue/black. I decide to uncommon-draft here for pennies worth of value. Though it would be funny to let a white drafter grab this and have no targets in our deck!

  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

We have enough 2 drop bears, we don't need a 1 drop bear. Drop Bears are Australian anyway. Something that answers Monstrous cards is value, this is pretty late removal!

  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

This is a fun card. Let's not have our opponents gaining life, either! That interferes with our drainy drainy plan.

  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Sweet, more card advantage and more recurring Gray possibilities! I'm glad this wheeled, black is fairly open at this table luckily.

  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

More black deckbuilding options, and hey it is a permanent.

  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:

We can get to mono-black, so this guy's potentially useful. Dropping bears (there's those drop bears again) promises chances to do enough early damage that Gray can become fatal.

  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:

Hate draft. Though actually I love griffins. Whatevs!

  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:

I didn't think it was even possible to say this, but I now officially have WAY too many draw 3 spells!

  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:

I get enough fog working in San Francisco. But thanks anyway.

  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:


This draft converter created by Benjamin Peebles-Mundy. Visit the draft converter today!

While I could have built a black splash blue deck here, I decided to go mono-black for consistency and to maximize my Devotion cards. I did run some Islands so Returned Phalanx could attack. I sided in 3 blue spells for the last game of the finals, but never drew them.

The deck performed very nicely, going 3-0 in the draft. Round 2 I lost the first game by trying to race instead of playing a more controlling game, and one turn before I would have finished things off with Gray he got down the red version, Fanatic of Mogis. It dealt 5 to me and triggered Purphoros for 2 more to dome me for exactsies. But I came back and took games 2 and 3. The finals I took in two straight, just like the first round.

The surprise star of the deck was Returned Centaur. Having two spells that return things from the graveyard, I always used it to mill myself rather than my opponent, sometimes 2 or 3 times when I was able to recur it. I never milled myself out (lowest I went was 7 cards in library), and I never failed to gain value from it. I always either had one of my graveyard return spells or drew one later. I always either milled a creature when I had none, or had weak creatures and milled a stronger more valuable one.

Best play though, came in game 2 of the  finals. I managed to cast both copies of Gray. But my red/white opponent had gotten the ten lifegain ordeal to go off both games, so he still had 16 life, and he had a monstrous cyclops in play as well. Knowing I had THAT spell in hand, when he swung in I chump-blocked with one of my Gray Merchant of Asphodel.  I swung back to know him to 11. End of his next turn I cast Rescue From the Underworld, sacrificing Gray, and targeting other-Gray. So both copies of Gray came back into play together, and WHAM, drain you for 12. Living the dream!

Hope I can get some more Theros drafts in soon, new job at a hot startup is keeping me plenty busy. I did manage to get to Grand Prix Oakland before it started and make day 2, taking down a couple of name pros along the way and keeping my promise to wear the purple wizard costume on day 2. Finished 89th out of 1640 people, 25 spots below the money and pro points but still feeling good about it.

See you all next time!