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By: IYankemDDS, Jeff Nowacki
Feb 18 2014 1:00pm
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Welcome back to Drafting with IYankemDDS. This week we are drafting Triple Theros, most likely for the last time. By the time the second set of a block is released, the first set's draft format generally feels stagnant (not always, but a lot of the time). However, at some point, I usually yearn for that Triple format again, but when it's gone, it's gone. This was certainly true for Return to Ravnica Block. Having said that, I think it's important to enjoy the Triple Theros draft format while we can!

I think for many drafters, one of the most important "level up" moments is understanding that sometimes you have to walk away from your first pick. This can be especially true with a color intensive pick out the first pack. Sometimes we draft a powerful rare and really want to play with it, but if the color is not open, then it's often best to walk away. That is, don't get married to your first pick! In some formats, I feel that you are often at best 50-50 on playing your first pick unless you force it, which is generally not where you want to be. Let's see if we face this type of situation in this week's draft.

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

We open up the first pack and for me it's really not that close. Our friend Ember Swallower worked wonders for us last week and it's hard to not go in that direction again. We could alternatively go with one of the Ordeals or Omenspeaker, but I think the Elemental is too hard to turn away from. The question is whether we'll get enough Red to play him.

  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

We open the next pack and the only Red card is Minotaur Skullcleaver. While a reasonable Magic card, not generally something I want to take this early. I do see a Nemesis of Mortals which is a fine card, but I like to Bestow, so I go with Erebos's Emissary

  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Red doesn't seem much better in the next pack, but I do see a strong Blue card: Bident of Thassa. While I am not going to assume that Blue is open at this point, I do think that this is the beginning of a signal. Meanwhile, Red has not looked very open so far, so the odds of playing Ember Swallower seem to be diminishing.

  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

We open up this pack and see Sea God's Revenge. Now I'm starting to feel pretty good about Blue. I also see Dauntless Onslaught, which is a powerful card, but fits best in the Boros deck and Red is not looking viable at this point.

  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Nothing overwhelming here. I think the best card in the pack is Battlewise Hoplite, and there is a chance that we end up Azorius, so we'll try that.

  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

After this pack, I feel ready to commit to Blue. Sealock Monster looks like the most powerful card here, so I take that. I am still not sure what our secondary color will be (if any).

  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Skipping ahead a few picks, this pack doesn't seem to have any Blue for us, but I do see Read the Bones. I like Dimir decks in this format, and we did pick up Erebos's Emissary earlier, so there is a chance that we'll go in that direction.

  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

We open Pack 2 and I don't see any strong (solid) Blue cards, so I look to a secondary color. The cards that jump out are Horizon Chimera and Insatiable Harpy. Green did not seem very open in the first pack which is a strike against the Chimera, so I go with the Harpy, since it's a good Bestow target and plays well with our Erebos's Emissary. Psychic Intrusion also catches my eye, but not something that I want to pick first out of the pack.

  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

We get the next pack and see another Erebos's Emissary, which is what I'm going to take. At this point I am ready to commit to the Dimir deck. Someone is going to be happy to see that Hammer of Purphoros, but since we were cut out of Red in the first pack, I don't want to jump into Izzet.

  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

The initial pack comes back around and the Psychic Intrusion wheeled, so I am going to take that. This seems like a card that can either be one of the best or one of the worst cards in the deck, but it certainly seems worth taking here.

  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Interesting pick here. I don't mind having a Fate Foretold or Stymied Hopes for the sideboard, but I also see the Opaline Unicorn. I actually go with the Unicorn here in case I open something that I can splash in Pack 3. If I really want one of the other Blue cards, there is a fair chance that I can find one toward the end of the draft.

  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

We open the third pack and are immediately rewarded for taking the fixing earlier. Medomai the Ageless is the perfect splash card for us! In a best case scenario, it even becomes a Turn 5 play. There is otherwise not a ton for us here anyway.

  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

This, on the other hand, is a great pack for us. There is a Voyage's End, a third Erebos's Emissary, and Omenspeaker, and a Keepsake Gorgon. I struggle between the bounce spell and the Gorgon, but go with the Gorgon. The card is just too strong to pass when we're in Black.

  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

The last pick that I want to highlight in the draft portion is the third from the final pack. I narrow things down to Wavecrash Triton and Griptide. While the deck would be happy to have a 1/4 with a frost effect, I decide that I'd rather take the bounce since my deck is a little light on any type of removal.

Let's take a look at the deck. I'm going to run 14 creatures, which is a little low, but since we're looking toward the long game so that we can play Medomai the Ageless, I think that will be okay. I decide to run 17 lands even though we've got our share of 5- and 6-drops, but since I've got the Opaline Unicorn and two copies of Read the Bones, I think we should be okay there. Finally, I decide to main deck Psychic Intrusion, which I'm not sure is correct, but I'll give it a shot.

Round 1 Game 1

It looks like we're up against the mirror in the first round. His deck seems to have a lot of X-1 fliers, so Coastline Chimera is coming in for the rest of the round. We are able to get a step ahead and stay there. We do cast Medomai the Ageless but he has (Lash of the Whip waiting for it). We get his life low enough that we're able to Sea God's Revenge his only creature and get in for lethal damage.

Round 1 Game 2

This game started out a little differently, with our opponent getting off to a quick start with his evasive creature, which included (Mogis's Mauraders), giving his team intimidate. I thought we could stabilize, but our hand was too slow with things like Read the Bones and Griptide. This game showed where our deck was sorely missing a copy or two of Returned Phalanx. We did get an Emissary and Omenspeaker down, but by then our life total was too low and he's able to finish us with Aqueous Form.


Round 1 Game 3

We go into the decisive Game 3 and I feel that our hand is a little better this time. Unfortunately for us, our opponent is able to get on the ol' Turn 1 Baleful Eidolon, Turn 2 Ordeal of Erebos plan.



He eventually pops off the Ordeal and we have to discard so I ditch Sea God's Revenge and a Swamp. I'd love to discard the two lands that I'm holding but I have to make sure that I hit five mana next year so that I can Lash of the Whip his now 4/4 Baleful Eidolon. I'm able to do that and also play Coastline Chimera. I'm down to 7 life but thanks largely to the Chimera, my board is stable, and I play Sealock Monster, who is the biggest guy on the field at this point.

Once we get stable, we're able to Monstrous the Sealock Monster and also get Bident of Thassa down. At this point, our creatures are better than his so we use the Bident to eat his creatures, draw cards, and finish the game. On to the next round!


Round 2 Game 1

Looks like our opponent is Boros this round. He comes out fast and furious and we get stuck on two lands. We're actually dead on Turn 4. Ouch! We're going to sideboard in a lower curve and see if we can stay alive long enough to take over.



Round 2 Game 2

This game goes a bit better. We're able to get some trades in, but our life is still pretty low. I think I get stable and we're both in topdeck mode. He grabs Portent of Betrayal and that's that.

Portent of Betrayal

Round 3 Game 1

We're up against Boros again this round. He actually gets us all the way down to 1 life, but we're able to come back from it after we gain life off Erebos's Emissary Bestowed onto Insatiable Harpy. He does show us Fabled Hero so we need to be ready for that next game.

Erebos's Emissary Insatiable Harpy

Round 3 Game 2

We run about as well as we possibly could in this game. He gets Fabled Hero out and targets a block with Coordinated Assault, but we're ready for it and Lash of the Whip the Hero. From there we bring out Medomai the Ageless, take some extra turns, cast Bident of Thassa, draw a bunch of cards, and Sea God's Revenge his board. We cruise on to victory.

Medomai the Ageless Bident of Thassa Sea God's Revenge

What We Learned

If this draft teaches us anything it's that we shouldn't be afraid to walk away from our first pick. Even when we take a card like Ember Swallower, it may very well be in our best interested to go in a different direction. If we had forced Red after that first pick, our deck would probably not have been very strong. Yes, we would have had the powerful threat, but the support probably would not have been there. Staying open and reading signals is a balancing act, and even those with a lot of experience will make mistakes every once in a while, but we can really improve by getting better at reading those signals.

Specifically, I feel like I should at least mention Psychic Intrusion. While I still believe that the card can be effective in some matches, I think it's better as a sideboard card. If our opponent has a 6- or 7-drop that we are worried about, then it becomes quite strong. We didn't see much of that in this draft, so it would have been better coming off the bench.

Born of the Gods is available for drafting now. I am just as excited as everyone else to start playing with these cards, but I wanted to embrace Triple Theros one last time. I encourage you to do the same! You never know what might be waiting for you...

Elspeth, Sun's Champion


Welcome to the site! I liked by CottonRhetoric at Tue, 02/18/2014 - 18:30
CottonRhetoric's picture

Welcome to the site! I liked this article. Lots of useful tips.

Two suggestions --

Could you make the card images bigger, or perhaps clickable? I can't read those and don't know what all of them do from their images yet.

Also, could you add your win/loss record after each game? Makes things easier to follow.

Thank you! I have gone back by IYankemDDS at Wed, 02/19/2014 - 19:49
IYankemDDS's picture

Thank you! I have gone back and forth on the card images a ilttle bit. The smaller thumbnails are clickable, but much smaller and very difficult to see. The larger images are a little too unruly, so I've been using the images from the Draft Converter. I can get better about adding more text links to my picks so maybe I'll work on that. I can certainly post my record following each game!

Thanks for reading!