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By: CalmLittleBuddy, Christopher M. Dansereau
Jul 29 2015 11:00am
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So, Friday Night rolls around. I'm not that guy what goes out on Friday Night, be it to FNM or a bar or to the choo choo museum. My wife is a homebody as well, but as fate (reforged) would have it, she was invited to box seats at a Red Sox game. Normally, I might have a twinge of jealousy, but the Sox suck this year. My thoughts naturally went elsewhere. What's a guy like me do on a Friday Night when the wife is not around?

Magic Online Prerelease Draft!!!

I really wanted to play some sealed, but I couldn't bring myself to pay for the stupid $5 sealed token. At least not right away. I needed some feet wetting in this new format. Draft is a bit tougher in an unknown format, and boy was it an unknown to me. I'd done very very very very little research. Enough to know the ideas. Enough to know the simple synergies. Enough to know to take this first pick:

Dadadada!

Well I did it! I opened a pack 1 pick 1 Nissa. It doesn't get much sweeter than that. I made my money back fo sho! I ended up in Abzan Creatures with "that enchantment" (I will explain in a bit) and only a tiny bit o' ramp.

"But but but BUDDY... You can't play 3 colors in this draft format!"

Shut it, or I'll spit on your skateboard.

Draft 1
Abzan Stuff
Creatures
3 Nantuko Husk
1 Guardians of Meletis
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Valeron Wardens
1 Cleric of the Forward Order
1 Shaman of the Pack
1 Hitchclaw Recluse
2 Stalwart Aven
1 Reave Soul
2 Celestial Flare
1 Ampryn Tactician
1 Pharika's Disciple
3 Enshrouding Mist
1 Zendikar's Roil
1 Nissa's Pilgrimage
2 Mantle of Webs
2 cards
Lands
6 Forest
6 Plains
1 Rogue's Passage
3 Swamp
1 Llanowar Wastes
17 cards

forest

 

I had creatures. Some big, some small. A halfway decent curve.  I had just two real tricks (and there's a lot of tricks in the format). Aven did some work. Had some enchantments to give reach. Had the Pharika's Disciple. Death touch is pretty sweet. This format is (supposedly) fast, so I wanted to get out of the gate early, but have the turn 3 creature that could block the 2 power renown kiddies on the block, and some late game spice. Basically, I wanted a deck that could do a bit of everything while I learned the format.

Nickname: "That Enchantment"

This was my top end. And when I drew it early it rocked.

Round 1 - Opponent played a Green Red Do Nothing deck. He drew a lot of lands. He had that Sword. I kept waiting for the bomb to drop but nothing came. I eventually ran him over. I'm pretty sure flying is important in this format. He had no air blockers and no reach. He also had too many lands.

Game 1- Mulligan to 6 cards. Luckily, it was basically a 2 damage vs 1 damage race until I finally got an aven to stick. Then I had that Rogue land and a Nantuko Husk for a big kill if necessary. It didn't matter. He drew land after land, revealing 4 lands left over when he conceded.

Game 2 - Mull to six. Again. I got "that enchantment" that makes elementals when you play lands, you know Zendikar's Boils or whatever, a Nissa's Pilgrimage, and then drew a Nissa herself with 5 lands in play and "that enchantment" already on the board. Drop land, make elemental, drop Nissa, get 7th land for next turn... you can predict the rest. Actually, you can't!  He killed my Nissa after only one activation. At that point I had many elementals, creatures and was drawing cards for every creature that went renown.

It felt good to start 2 and 0. Very good. I knew there was a ton of work ahead. My deck, as you can see, was not very good. I wasn't going to be let off that easy next round.

Round 2 - Oh boy. What went wrong with this match? Opponent played Red White Aggro. Everything was designed to punish a slow start. It may as well have been a constructed deck like Atarka Red. I'm sort of afraid of what aggro can do now. Languish is going to be extra popular.

Game 1 - Another Mulligan. I didn't have time to get my creatures out. He was on the play and I was always 1 creature behind. He had burn to go with it. Now it was my turn to be the 'Do Nothing" deck. I had nothing but bad blocks. Pharika's Disciple is a trap card. It costs too much in this format. Or I'm just mad at it. I never got white mana, so no Celestial Flare either.

Game 2 - Mull to 6. I could really use that new scry rule! Even on the play, he was 1 creature ahead of me with plenty of ways of boosting his army. I couldn't cast my Reave Soul. I had one Fog I boarded in but forgot to throw in my Prism Ring. This game made me very sad as it ended on turn 4. Or at least it felt like that.

It felt really bad to go 0 and 2. Really bad. But at least I my match record was still a mediocre 1 - 1. I still owned 1 Magic Origins Booster Pack. I still had a Nissa. Okay, I think it'll be alright now. It will be okay! No QP this round but at least I didn't...

Match 3 I lost. Again. Wow.

Game 1 - mulled to 4 and never drew a land. I should have stuck with the 7 all land hand. Or the 6 all land hand. Or the FIVE all land hand. I kid you not. That really happened. What I realized later was that my deck could operate off the top if I had lands. It could not depend on drawing lands with all spells in hand. Me is play good.

Game 2 - mull to 6. Generally, my mulls have actually made sense and looked a lot better than my initial 7. This was no different. It looked okay. Then I drew pretty much all lands for 8 turns, hitting "that enchantment" (see above) after I had 12 lands already played. I could have easily won this match had a drawn 1 spell. Seriously, I wanted to cry.

Second draft looked like a pretty sweet copter deck with some artifact synergies. I might as well have tossed $15 into a burning homeless man's britches.

Draft 2
UR Thopter
Creatures
1 Sigiled Starfish
2 Maritime Guard
1 Guardians of Meletis
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Whirler Rogue
1 Ghirapur Gearcrafter
1 Reclusive Artificer
1 Akroan Sergeant
1 Artificer's Epiphany
1 Fiery Impulse
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Flameshadow Conjuring
2 Separatist Voidmage
1 Chief of the Foundry
2 Bonded Construct
1 Clash of Wills
2 Aspiring Aeronaut
1 Negate
2 Disperse
1 Chief of the Foundry
3 cards
Lands
6 Mountain
10 Island
16 cards

island

 

I really thought I had a 3-0 deck here. Circumstances and other players proved that to be wrrrrr... wrrrrr rrrr rrr wrong.

Match 1

Game 1 - I was interrupted by an emergency call from work. I'm not even on call this week! The person who was asked me to babysit the line for 'a little while'. Three hours later I'm still in charge and the call comes. I was trying to play while talking on the phone and switching back and forth between the game and the fix. I almost won, except for the fact that at key moments I lost my mind and got blown out.

My memory gets hazy and my notes are missing for this period of time so here's my quick summary:  I lose game 1, win game 2, lose game 3. I should have won all 3 games (well, if I'd won the first two I'd have been fine not having to play the third). I was on tilt pretty much the whole time after blowing game 1 due to distractions. I'm shocked I won a game at all.

Match 2

Game 1 - I won very quickly but didn't see the opponent's deck, as he got mana humped. I was certainly not prepared for game 2.

Game 2 -I got milled out.

TILT!

If you don't know how this works, basically when folks have a 40 card deck, you play this, draw cards and win by milling your opponent.

Hooray.

Nothing feels worse than losing to a mill deck. I fell 1 turn and 1 point of damage short. Had I known my opponent's plan he/she would have been double dead a full 3 turns earlier. Had I known I was the beat down, I would have dropped threats and slashed. Unfortunately, game 1 only showed me his aggro plan. It was 5 turns in before I saw the Sphinx's Tutelage. I had held back to play my counters for the first few turns, then tapped out just before he dropped it in. I'm a sucker. The rest of the game was a nail biting fiasco, which still almost worked out.

After that I could have been goldfishing against a slice of bread and lost. I was totally tilted out.

I swear to God of that deck shows up in every freaking draft pod I will NEVER draft this format after prerelease. It's not fun to play against. And I am afraid it's really easy to assemble in most drafts. Wizards may have made a huge mistake. There's enough draw cards/mill your opponent effects to make this deck a pretty sleazy... I mean easy win. And it's not tough to pilot either.

Let me just tell you something mister, if you draft this format and even slightly go out of your way to draft a mill deck, you are scum. I said it. A scum bot with scummy hands. Go away.

Game 3 - Gotta give the opponent props, they boarded in some fatties and held back a little on the mill plan. I came close, but close only counts with stalking.

Round 3. I don't remember. Leave me alone.

Draft 3. I got smart(er) and drafted the fastest Red White Creature deck I could with a few decent combat tricks. If folks were beating me with weenies, I was going to run that out a bit for myself.

Draft 3
RW Aggro
Creatures
1 Charging Griffin
1 Charging Griffin
2 Bellows Lizard
4 cards

Other Spells
1 Topan Freeblade
1 Iroas's Champion
1 Mage-Ring Bully
1 Valor in Akros
1 Stalwart Aven
2 Akroan Jailer
1 Sword of the Animist
1 Ampryn Tactician
2 Dragon Fodder
1 Enshrouding Mist
1 Firefiend Elemental
1 Fiery Impulse
1 Knight of the Pilgrim's Road
1 Grasp of the Hieromancer
1 Acolyte of the Inferno
1 Angel's Tomb
1 Aven Battle Priest
1 Kytheon's Tactics
3 cards
Lands
6 Mountain
9 Plains
1 Mountain
16 cards

Plains

 

I had many effects for creatures entering the battlefield, a lot of +1/1 stuff, some renown and haste and 16 lands. Almost went to 15 but I had some double White spells and a couple of Bellows Lizards to sink mana into. I had a few viable configurations with higher end, even some removal and enchantment hate. I was fairly confident.

Match 1 game 1. I lose due to another of my classic two land draws. Beginning to think something shady is going down. Opponent is faster than I am with Red Blue. He's got 6 lands to my 2. It's very hurtful, Magic. Very hurtful when you do this!!!!

Game 2. Okay, now we're talking. I get a quick draw and drop Valor in Akros and crush with a bunch of +1/1 doods. His deck is looking a lot slower. Thank goodness. Maybe I'm actually getting the hang of this? Valor in Akros is no joke. I's not a snap pick, but definitely worth taking for your white deck.

Game 3. Great game. Equal footing for a while. I get a ton of weenies, he gets one big creature. I just keep attacking, drop Valor in Akros then Ampryn Tactician and even though he's eating up my attackers, I still manage to get lethal out on him. Whew. Hey, back in the race!

Match 2 

I have no notes on this match but I won it. It was close. I tried watching the replay but of course it's missing. The client was so buggy during this match I had to restart twice. Anyways, this deck is kicking butt! I can 3-0 I know it!

Match 3 here we go!

Game 1 - Wow! I win again. In fact I crush! Opponent is on that Red Green with Rhox Maulers. That card is beefcake. Rock almonds in limited. It's one win a match guaranteed.

Hup! Hup! Hup! Hup!

Game 2 - Opponent pulls out a close one. I'm seeing that he is going huge versus my wide strategy. Game 3 is going to be a dooz!!!

Game 3 - wife causes loss in game 3... I will swear now. (swears). Okay so, the game gets into a tight spot where I can just barely detect a winning line. Ever have that happen? You can't quite math it out, but it's there. So, you stop. You look. You look again. You look until it glows red hot at you. Or your wife calls and wants to know if the game is more important than she is... well, it is the final game of the draft for some decent cake. It is my first chance at 3 and 0 in this format. It is right at a critical juncture. It's midnight and I've been playing for 5 hours at least. She's tired and driving home from the Sox game and hasn't seen me all day.

Moo. Moo moo. Moo moo moo moo moo. *cries* My opponent saw me go from dangerous threat across the table to simpering dullard in 3 turns. They even commented two turns before I actually conceded "Uh ggs, I guess????" Hey, it's all good right? There will be other chances.

For now let's consider what we've gained and what we've learned.

What We Learned About Drafting Magic Origins

I kept drafting for the majority of the weekend. I never did get my 3-0 but overall I has some fun and didn't lose any tickets in the process. So, what did I learn?

Magic Origins is an okay draft format. It's fast. Green, Red and White are great primary colors to be in and each pairs nicely with any of the other colors. Don't getme wrong, you can draft any two colors and make a decent deck. You can even splash a third color lightly. I just believe those three colors are very strong and have enough good cards that drafting them is easier.

Think fast. Get out oft he gate early and be prepared for your opponent to start quick. Having a turn 2 or 3 creature that can block and live is important. Also make sure you have at least some reliable card draw. Once you fall behind it will take multiple cards to claw back. There just isn't enough cards that can turn the corner all by themselves, including the bombs.

Speaking of bombs, don't count on drafting any truly busted cards. There are too few true bombs in the set. This format is about curving out, being efficient and putting together cards that are force multipliers when played together. I am talking about bunches of cards that make each other better, not just one or two nice pieces.

Flyers are good, but staying low and dumping lots of pounders works just as well. There aren't a lot of sweepers, so having lots of threats with 2 toughness or greater is safe against any color besides black. Artifact synergies and enchantment synergies are real. Keep your eye out for cards that play well with them. Here are some artifacts and enchantments that I found over performed for me.

Great with thopters! Tons of artifact creatures to give the plus to. If you have any attacking artifacts, or thopter makers, but it. 

Hey! That's not an artifact or enchantment!!! Shut up. I say it is. Because I need an excuse to bring this card up.

This card is a to z! That means it's all the letters. All of them. If you don't know, preventing all damage at instant speed and getting +1/1 is amazing. If you can get renown on a creature, you can even untap it for shock value. All for 1 White mana i a fast format of combat tricks. Oh wait! I wanted to tell you: EVERYONE HAS A COMBAT TRICK IN THEIR HAND IN THIS FORMAT! Don't take it lightly. Some will even have 3 in hand. You've been warned. This format has more combat tricks that than those escorts that are actually ninjas.

Great enchantment. If you've got any synergies with enchantments in your deck, grab this at some point. Does serious work. Looks expensive but you'll get there. This thing is crazy town if you have Valor in Akros on the board already!

I passed on this many times. I no longer pass on this when I'm in a pack that doesn't have something super sweet. It's a great pick up. Cheap to play and equip. Great with thopters and weenies. That sound kinky.

You probably already know about this one. If you don't, it's another great enchantment, but can be in any White deck you draft. Do it.

Please please please draft this at least once. You will see its power. It's pump and ramp smooshed together. Is that kinkier than thopter weenies or what?

So cheap. Scry is HUGE. Anything that scries is going to save you a ton of headaches. With hardly any mana fixing, you need to get all the consistency you can. The life drain ability is pretty sweet at the end of a close game.

Okay, there are many other shockingly good bargain cards to be drafted, and we don't have time to go over everything, but if I had to give you one piece of advice I would say don't look for instant win conditions. Build the most efficient deck you can and take more 1, 2 and 3 drops than 4 drops. That may sound obvious but every 4 drop looks so good you will want to take more than is good for you. Get a curve and be brutal about sticking to it. You need late game plays but having a deck that feeds you turn 1 and 2 plays is critical.

Anywho.

I didn't gain any ground on MOCS doing this, but I did learn the format. Better yet, I got back into draft and sealed which I will need come fall to crank out some QPs. Plus I did raise my stamina level and my ability to ignore crap got a little better as well. I'm not as concerned as I was about if I'd have the resources to chase MOCS because there's somethin on the horizon...

Horizon Scholar

No don't look at that...

Look at this!!!

Have you heard about the new changes to prizes for Constructed Events on MtGO? Take a very deep breath. Clear your mind and try to not over react. NOW read this.

Surprise Deployment

You got me!

I had to check the calendar. Is it the 1st of April? This is a joke, right? So, now instead of getting prizes we can (kind of) monetize, we get another form of imaginary currency. Basically, MOST prizes for constructed events are now Phantom- I MEAN PLAYER POINTS. I realize that the value of boosters is at an all-time low and boosters can kinda suck as a payout, but I'm not sure giving us essentially nothing of value is the right answer.

What can you do with Player Points? Play more events! Okay, that's fun and all, but what do I do when I want to cash out and buy cards with my prize proceeds? Draft? Play Sealed? It essentially means to play Constructed, you have to pay real world money if you want to buy new cards. Less boosters being awarded will drive up card prices, as rares and mythics will opened less. Give it a second. You're now rolling Player Points over, getting less packs to sell to the drafters of the secondary market. Maybe, maybe this entices more players to enter draft formats given that they will have more player points than they know what to do with. I dunno.

Am I mad? Heck no! I'm chasing MOCS! I'm going to be ramping up to playing more events, and so winning Player Points will let me roll right into the next event. All I care about is keeping costs down, making entering events quicker and earning Qualifying Points. This new system seems to be right up my street! I can keep playing and earning Player Points to join more events to have a better shot at earning QPs.

It looks like player points will not be so hard to earn. Looks like a 55% or better record will let you play mostly for free in Constructed queues. So, bring on the cake! I wanna dance with it!

Speaking of cake, I have to go now. My wife baked me a cake. Or, it's another trap. Either way, I can't risk waiting here any longer.

Until next time.

CLB

2 Comments

Darn I thought I was doing by bdgp009 at Wed, 07/29/2015 - 18:25
bdgp009's picture

Darn I thought I was doing badly in draft and then i read your article. I also tried to draft while at work. lol. Not a good idea luckily I got a foil Woodland Bellower to get my tix back. Good Article. Keep it up.

Technically I wasn't at work by CalmLittleBuddy at Thu, 07/30/2015 - 05:31
CalmLittleBuddy's picture

Technically I wasn't at work or even supposed to be on call. I wouldn't have minded if it had been during the first draft. That deck wasn't great. But that blue red deck would have been good had I not lost my mind. I went 0 and 3 with. Deck I should have gone 3 and 0 and had fun doing it. Had I not been interrupted and then went on tilt I could have won all three matches.

But that's why they play the matches. God knows what distractions my opponents had to overcome. Crocodiles? Rabid bunnies? Obnoxious '60s surf movies on full volume? So in fairness the obstacle course of everyday life is part of playing the game online. I just wish I had one time where I got to play competitive Magic without a major distraction running me off course.

Then again maybe this makes me a better player because I'm learning to play rough distractions. Or maybe it just sucks eggs.