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By: MarcosPMA, Marcos Rodriguez
Dec 09 2013 11:54am
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While I happen to do most of my playing online, once a week I'll try and make it out to the LGS to draft Theros.  In fact, draft is the only format I do in real life, I don't own any Standard decks and Modern/Legacy are out of my price range.  I tend to do well in person as opposed to online drafting, and for a while I've been wondering why that is.  For the last 3 weeks I've had very good success drafting, and I kept the decks together so that I could write about them.  In this case, we have the sickest draft deck I've ever had the pleasure in drafting:


Yes, that is indeed FOUR Gray Merchants.  I first picked 1, got the second mid pack, drafted the 3rd one Pack 2 Pick 2, and got last one in Pack 3.  I was close to just going Mono-Black at the point when I got the 3rd Gray Merchant, but a few late Griptides were too much to pass up on.  It also had the small upside of enabling my Returned Phalanx to attack now that I was playing Islands, but that on its own is not enough to play the blue sources.  I was a bit hesitant to start the Rescue, I could have played a Fleshmad Steed over it, but the power level is too big, especially when I can induce a bad block by attacking with a Gray Merchant and then casting Rescue for all the value.  I think in this draft there was just a perfect storm of variables that allowed me to get 4 Gray Merchants: A) No one wanted to be black.  Yes, this was after the Pro Tour (a few weeks afterward) and everybody knew the power of black.  B) I love black in Theros draft.  It's the one color I want to be in unless I open a bomb in another color.

I easily win the draft, although a W/R Heroic deck in the last round gave me cause for concern.  Now online, I try and draft the open color, which is the exact opposite of what I do IRL, I force black and switch if other colors are open.  Perhaps this strategy is better for me online as well?  We'll have to wait for next week to find, I didn't have time to do a draft this week.  With that said, let's open some packs!


Round 1

Round 2*

Round 3*


* = There was construction going on in the background and it was loud enough that it would cover up my words, so no sound.  Sorry!


In Game 1 of Round 2, I noticed I made a mistake that I didn't think was one at the time.  On turn 5, I attack with both Minotaur and Crusher, with enough pump to deal 14 on the spot.  My opponent flashes in a Breaching Hippocamp, and I make the mistake of assuming my Titan's Strength is a Giant Growth and use it when it blocks the Minotaur.  Either it was me thinking I had a Giant Growth, or me thinking the Hippocamp was a 3/3.  Either way, it was mistake for sure and I just threw away a card for nothing.  I meant afterwards to go all in the Crusher to kill him with the Portent assuming he plays a blocker, but I porceed to combat damage and am rewarded when I get to save my Crusher from his Whip.  If I don't throw away my Titan's Strength, I'm able to kill on turn 7 and deny him a draw step to somehow get out of it.  

Game 2 of Round 2 I put the Ordeal on the Crusader since he's going to trade with whatever I put the Ordeal on, and I rather get a 1/1 haste token to deal an additional point of damage than to hold back with the Crusader.  At this point I just want to deal as much damage as possible so that the Nessian Asp in hand is such a large threat that he has to deal with it immediately or lose the game.  I play Borderland Minotaur over the Asp in case he has a Dissolve, which I would rather him use on the Minotaur than the Asp, and if he has Stymied Hopes I want to be able to pay for it.  When he just drops a Prognostic Sphinx I decide to alpha since he'll go to 3 and I have a lot of live draws that win me the game not to mention he's forced to deal with the Asp immediately.

Game 1 Round 3 I probably should have gone to 5.  Both my 7 and 6 don't do much of anything, but my "I hate mulliganing" mentality comes up and I keep on 6.  Of course, we easily win that game if he doesn't have Artisan's Sorrow, or if we manage to draw a 2nd Mountain in time to get 4 devotion so Fanatic of Mogis kills him.  Game 2 I don't play Leafcrown Dryad on turn 2 because I want to bestow it onto my Two-Headed Cerberus on turn 4.  I'm not sure why he doesn't just block with Hippocamp and save some damage.  I imagine he was going for the double block with the Chimera, but me having a Stoneshock Giant just throws that plan away since he has to take an additional 5 to do it and is dead any number of burn/pump spells.

Overall I think I kept the mistakes to a minimum, and we ended up going 3-0 and winning the event!  Again, I do apologize about not having sound for Rounds 2 and 3, the construction was unexpected and I was fortunate that it didn't happen during Round 1.  If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please leave them in the comments section below.

Thank you for reading/watching!