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By: MysticLancer, Lance Cothern
Apr 18 2007 7:26am
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Drafting with MysticLancer: 999 Take 3

    Here it is! Another 999 drafting article to help people learn to draft! This week's article teaches a lesson that you may be able to see in my original picks as you go through the draft, and it will be discussed after the draft. If you want a head start, skip HERE to read the lesson, then go through the draft yourself. You can also use this to makes some picks of your own and see how they match up. Drafting definately has a learning curve and I hope I'm making it a little less daunting. This should be my last draft where my original picks will be significantly off from my revised picks. In future articles I will be using drafts that I did after writing these first three articles in which I have learned a lot of valuable information. Now, on to the draft!

    Disclaimer: This is the last draft I did before I started writing, so I had not learned much yet. My original picks are what I actually picked during the draft. These in no way are what I actually should have picked as I hadn't learned my own rules yet and was still getting accustomed to the format and pick orders and such. My revised picks are what I picked when I went through and "drafted" it again when writing this article. I know that what I pass changes what everyone else picks and would greatly affect what gets passed to me, however I do this to show that there were better possibilities out there than what I did. Please keep this in mind. My next article should have much better original picks.
Pack 1:


Pick 1

My Original Pick: Loxodon Warhammer

My Revised Pick: Loxodon Warhammer

As discussed in my last article, Loxodon Warhammer is a complete bomb that can win games all by itself. You have to take this card pretty much any time you see it in 999 drafts.

 

Pick 2

My Original Pick: Emperor Crocodile

My Revised Pick: Emperor Crocodile

Emperor Crocodile is a bomb in my book, not the strongest but still a really solid creature card. Other great cards in this pack are Nantuko Husk, Anaba Shaman, and Leonin Skyhunter.



 

Pick 3

My Original Pick: Suntail Hawk

My Revised Pick: Millstone

Suntail Hawk here was a horrible pick. With normally only 40 cards in a deck Millstone can do wonders toward milling an opponent especially if there is a lock on the board. This could have won me a game in the games I discuss after the article). Definately should have taken the Millstone.

Pick 4

My Original Pick: Zombify

My Revised Pick: Giant Spider
Ok so Zombify is really good, but Giant Spider is an amazing creature because it can 1) block fliers and 2) handle most any creature that comes its way, as 4 toughness is pretty big for a limited creature. Sift and Maro are also good cards in this pack.


 

Pick 5

My Original Pick: Sage Aven

My Revised Pick: Sage Aven

Man this pack is full of a lot of UNPLAYABLE cards. Pretty much the only playable card is Sage Aven so I'll definately take that one up.

Pick 6

My Original Pick: Rootbreaker Wurm

My Revised Pick: Rootbreaker Wurm

We have a couple playable cards in this pack, but I will be taking the Rootbreaker Wurm as I am considering green as one of my colors for sure. It seems pretty strong at this point and I don't see any other super good cards here. Skyhunter Prowler is a nice card, but I prefer the Rootbreaker Wurm since I'm considering green now.


 

Pick 7

My Original Pick: Lightning Elemental

My Revised Pick: Bottle Gnomes

My original pick here was for a good card, Lightning Elemental for this far into the pack, but had I picked Bottle Gnomes, which is also a good card I could stay more neutral in my colors and see what comes up in the next few picks rather than wasting a potential spot to a red card I may not use.

Pick 8

My Original Pick: Firebreathing

My Revised Pick: Dream Prowler

Why did I pick an UNPLAYABLE card over a playable one? Firebreathing is unplayable, while Dream Prowler is playable. Should have taken the playable card.


 

Pick 9

My Original Pick: Goblin Sky Raider

My Revised Pick: Yavimaya Enchantress

Goblin Sky Raider should rarely if ever end up in your final deck, and I really don't know why I picked it when there were three very playable cards here in Foot Soldiers, Veteran Cavalier and Yavimaya Enchantress. I picked the Yavimaya Enchantress because I'm pretty sure I'm going to be playing green this draft.

Pick 10

My Original Pick: Lightning Elemental

My Revised Pick: Crossbow Infantry

While I like both Lightning Elemental and Crossbow Infantry I picked Crossbow Infantry because of its ability.


 

Pick 11

My Original Pick: Demystify

My Revised Pick: Demystify

I picked Demystify here because there weren't any playable cards and if I end up with white as my second color, it'd be nice to have some enchantment removal should I need to sideboard it in.

Pick 12

My Original Pick: Wurm's Tooth

My Revised Pick: Wurm's Tooth

All unplayable cards here so I took the uncommon.

 

Pick 13

My Original Pick: Crafty Pathmage

My Revised Pick: Crafty Pathmage

While both are unplayable (Craty Pathmage) is better than a life gain card.

Pick 14

My Original Pick: Fugitive Wizard

My Revised Pick: Fugitive Wizard

Just picked a common over a land, thats all.

Pick 15

My Original Pick: Swamp

My Revised Pick: Swamp

Mmmmm.... swamp...

 
Summary of Pack 1:
Looking back at my picks in pack 1 I got a nice bomb in my first pick. I then got some solid green cards and should probably stay in green. Blue has a couple good cards and I don't really have much more to go on at this point. I'm pretty sure I'm in green, and blue is a possibility but our options are still open for a second color.
 
Pack 2:
 

Pick 16

My Original Pick: Llanowar Elves

My Revised Pick: Phantom Warrior

While Llanowar Elves and Craw Wurm are both good cards in green Phantom Warrior is much more first pick material. With this card I may consider going into blue if the following packs are nice to me.

Pick 17

My Original Pick: Master Decoy

My Revised Pick: Dehydration

Ok if you haven't noticed by now I had no clue what colors I was going to be in at all in my original draft, and thats a problem, but now I'm thinking green and blue look really good. I'm going to take the Dehydration here as it is good removal.

 

 

Pick 18

My Original Pick: Aven Cloudchaser

My Revised Pick: Azure Drake

Sticking with my new colors I see Azure Drake as the clear winner in this pack. Razortooth Rats is a really good black card though.

Pick 19

My Original Pick: King Cheetah

My Revised Pick: King Cheetah

I got this one right both times. King Cheetah is a creature basically with flash and isn't overly expensive for this added bonus. I'd have to say its the best card in the pack in my new colors of green and blue.



 

Pick 20

My Original Pick: Flowstone Shambler

My Revised Pick: Thieving Magpie

I was all over the place in my first draft, red, green and white it looks like but here Thieving Magpie is an amazing blue card and I'm suprised in made it this far down. I'm definately going to stay in blue now most likely.

Pick 21

My Original Pick: Tree Monkey

My Revised Pick: Levitation

Tree Monkey is highly unlikely to see play in a deck and I have no clue why I picked it first time through. I should have taken Levitation as it could be a potential game winner for me.


 

Pick 22

My Original Pick: Mana Leak

My Revised Pick: Mana Leak

Got this one right too, although I don't think I was planning on using it the first time I picked it. Mana Leak has potential to be very useful in my green and blue deck.

Pick 23

My Original Pick: Elvish Warrior

My Revised Pick: Spirit Link

Elvish Warrior is a good pick for my colors here... but Spirit Link is too good to have gone down this far and I would rather hate pick it than have to play against it, so thats why I pick it here.


 

Pick 24

My Original Pick: Foot Soldiers

My Revised Pick: Horned Turtle

Here Horned Turtle is a good pick for blue. It is a great blocked on the ground and can take care of most of the common creatures that can be thrown at it. Great card for blue to have.

Pick 25

My Original Pick: Seasoned Marshal

My Revised Pick: Boomerang

Seasoned Marshal would have been my pick if I was still in white, but now that I'm not Boomerang is the only card in my colors, and its decent too.


 

Pick 26

My Original Pick: Tree Monkey

My Revised Pick: Sleight of Hand

Sleight of Hand is in my colors and playable, while Tree Monkey is in my colors and unplayable. Always pick the playable card.

Pick 27

My Original Pick: Sea Monster

My Revised Pick: Sea Monster

Sea Monster is the only playable card in the pack, plus its in my new deck's colors.

 

Pick 28

My Original Pick: Angel's Feather

My Revised Pick: Angel's Feather

An uncommon versus a bad common. I'll take the uncommon.

Pick 29

My Original Pick: Fugitive Wizard

My Revised Pick: Fugitive Wizard

Man that Fugitive Wizard always makes it right near the end.

 
 

Pick 30

My Original Pick: Sea's Claim

My Revised Pick: Sea's Claim

This card has been many last picks for me... I wonder how many I own...

 
Summary of Pack 2:
Ok so a bit of a change in plans. We got a lot of good blue cards in this pack, so now its looking like our main color is blue. We still have some really good green cards, so that is definately still a possibility for our other color. Lets see what we get in pack 3.
 
Pack 3:
 

Pick 31

My Original Pick: Thundermare

My Revised Pick: Icy Manipulator

Thundermare is an amazing potential game winner... if I was playing red in my revised draft. Had I been in red I might have picked it but it would have been in contention with Icy Manipulator an AMAZING card in drafts. You can do a lot with this card and I decided it should be my pick the second time around.

Pick 32

My Original Pick: Hill Giant

My Revised Pick: Air Elemental

Air Elemental... a BOMB, and its in my colors! I'm definately taking this. Other cards to mention in this pack are Dark Banishing which will really help whoever gets it (if they're playing black) and Trained Armodon, Highway Robber, and Hill Giant are decent cards.



 

Pick 33

My Original Pick: Kird Ape

My Revised Pick: Sift

Well Kird Ape is good if you're in red and green, which I'm not now, and  my picks here are narrowed to Sift, Time Ebb, and Rewind which are all really good cards. I decided that another good card drawer couldn't hurt so I took Sift.

Pick 34

My Original Pick: Master Decoy

My Revised Pick: Dehydration

Master Decoy is amazing in white, buy Dehydration is amazing in blue so I took it. Scaled Wurm is a really big nice creature but Dehydration trumps it as Dehydration is removal.





Pick 35

My Original Pick: Giant Spider

My Revised Pick: Giant Spider

Giant Spider is picked here because I'm in need of some good creatures at this point. Mana Leak is also good but not this early, and I already have one so far.

Pick 36

My Original Pick: Gravedigger

My Revised Pick: Gravedigger

This is a hate pick. (Counsel of the Sorotami) is a good blue card but I'd rather deprive my opponent of the Gravedigger.


 

Pick 37

My Original Pick: Serra's Blessing

My Revised Pick: Order of the Sacred Bell

While (Dehyrdation) is good, I already have two and I need creatures so I'm going to take Order of the Sacred Bell over the Scaled Wurm because I already have some nice big creatures.

Pick 38

My Original Pick: Tidings

My Revised Pick: Tidings

How Tidings made it this far down in the draft is beyond me, but its an amazing card drawer and I'm not going to pass it up.


 

Pick 39

My Original Pick: Gift of Estates

My Revised Pick: Gift of Estates

Nothing great in my colors here so I'm going to take the uncommon Gift of Estates.

Pick 40

My Original Pick: Elvish Berserker

My Revised Pick: Sea Monster

Well here I picked an unplayable card above a playable card, so I'll rectify that by picking Sea Monster this time around.


 

Pick 41

My Original Pick: Raging Goblin

My Revised Pick: Time Ebb

Once again I picked an unplayable above a playable, so I'll pick the playable card in Time Ebb this time around, which is in my colors and I might even use.

Pick 42

My Original Pick: Honor Guard

My Revised Pick: Cowardice

Hmmmm... Honor Guard shouldn't be played... why didn't I take the rare? I should have taken Cowardice.

 
 

Pick 43

My Original Pick: Firebreathing

My Revised Pick: Treasure Trove

Unplayable common vs. unplayable UNcommon. I'll take the uncommon thanks.

Pick 44

My Original Pick: Norwood Ranger

My Revised Pick: Norwood Ranger

Basic choice of basic land vs common card. Common card please.

 

Pick 45

My Original Pick: Swamp

My Revised Pick: Swamp

Poor neglected basic lands... I wonder who reads the commentary on this pick anyways. (Feel free to let me know on MTGO or if you comment).

 
Summary of Pack 3:
Well, we definately got a ton more of good blue stuff, and another Giant Spider so I think we'll be looking at a mainly blue deck with a splash of green. Icy Manipulator was also a great first pick in this pack. Time to learn some lessons and build a deck!
 
Lesson of the Week: Be Flexible, But Not Too Flexible.
 
     This is a very important lesson, but not the easiest one to demonstrate or learn for that matter. When do you decide what colors your are playing? Well it depends on each different draft. In my original draft, I was flexible for sure, so flexible that I drafted a THREE COLOR DECK in 999. That is NOT good. While some people like that, I try to stick to two colors. With two colors your mana base is easier to manage and you won't get mana screwed as much. Two colors and a splash is even doable, but three equal colors is just too much. As you can see, in my original version of this draft I was very indecisive and just took what I thought looked cool at the time. Now in my revised picks you can see me being flexible. In pack 1, I started with a bomb artifact, then a couple of good green cards, and a couple of blue cards. Artifacts are a good way to stay flexible. The three artifacts I picked I could play in any color deck and allowed me to keep my color options open until I saw pack 2. In pack 2 I saw a lot of good blue cards, so I decided that I was definately playing blue, and that my second color was probably green, but if something better came along in pack 3 that was amazing I could probably move into it. However blue remained strong and my second color looked like it would be green as this pack gave me exactly what I was looking for.

    Now, here is a general rule I would probably stick to. Pack 1 should probably decide one if not both of your colors. You should stick to more of one or two colors and pick up other colors only if you see a lot of really good cards being passed to you too far down in the pack, or just an amazing card in another color that could devistate you. Within the first few picks of pack 2 you should definately be in both of your colors for sure. After that just pick good cards in your colors. Hate draft anything amazing in other colors that could be game stopping, especially if there is nothing good in  your colors. If you see a potentially amazing splash you might want to pick it up, but be careful, because splashing a third color can be VERY tricky and dangerous. This is just a general rule I try to use and it is obviously going to be different in every draft. Artifacts are good for staying neutral, so if you don't see anything amazing, and you see a decent artifact that is playable go ahead and pick it up. It gives you a bit longer to decide.

Back to the Top
 
Deckbuilding:

21 Creatures:
1 Aven Cloudchaser
1 Elvish Warrior
1 Emperor Crocodile
1 Flowstone Shambler
1 Foot Soldiers
1 Giant Spider
1 Goblin Sky Raider
1 Hill Giant
1 King Cheetah
1 Kird Ape
2 Lightning Elemental
1 Llanowar Elves
2 Master Decoy
1 Rootbreaker Wurm
1 Seasoned Marshal
1 Suntail Hawk
1 Thundermare
2 Tree Monkey


3 Other Spells:
1 Serra's Blessing
1 Gift of Estates
1 Loxodon Warhammer

16 Lands:
6 Forest
5 Mountain
5 Plains


Sideboard:
1 Angel's Feather
1 Crafty Pathmage
1 Demystify
1 Elvish Berserker
2 Firebreathing
2 Fugitive Wizard
1 Gravedigger
1 Honor Guard
1 Mana Leak
1 Norwood Ranger
1 Raging Goblin
1 Sage Aven
1 Sea Monster
1 Sea's Claim
2 Swamp
1 Tidings
1 Wurm's Tooth
1 Zombify

    The deck to the left is my original draft and the deck to my right is the revised draft. Lets start with the original deck. We have some major problems here, first, we're basically playing three colors equally, which I should avoid at all costs in 999. Second I'm even playing double mana cost cards in three colors and that is even more problematic. The largest problem is that I am playing cards that are normally pretty unplayable, such as Goblin Sky Raider, Tree Monkey, and Gift of Estates. Let's see how I fixed this in our revised draft.

    In the revised draft our deck looks much better. I have a lot of good creatures and lots of good spells to. I'm not playing as many creatures as normal, but with Sift, Sleight of Hand, and Tidings as card drawers and deck manipulation, we should be fine. I am playing a main color in blue and also playing a little green. Most of my double cost cards are blue, but I also have one double cost card in green, which shouldn't be a huge problem since Rootbreaker Wurm is for the late game anyways. This deck is a bit more expensive with a average mana cost of 3.78, so I'm going to play 17 lands. This would have been a nice deck.

14 Creatures:
1 Air Elemental
1 Azure Drake
1 Bottle Gnomes
1 Dream Prowler
1 Emperor Crocodile
2 Giant Spider
1 King Cheetah
1 Order of the Sacred Bell
1 Phantom Warrior
1 Rootbreaker Wurm
1 Sea Monster
1 Thieving Magpie
1 Yavimaya Enchantress


9 Other Spells:
1 Dehydration
1 Icy Manipulator
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Millstone
1 Mana Leak
1 Sift
1 Sleight of Hand
1 Tidings
1 Time Ebb

17 Lands:
5 Forest

12 Island

Sideboard:
1 Dehydration
1 Demystify
2 Fugitive Wizard
1 Gift of Estates
1 Gravedigger
1 Horned Turtle
1 Levitation
1 Norwood Ranger
1 Sage Aven
1 Sea Monster
1 Sea's Claim
1 Spirit Link
2 Swamp
1 Treasure Trove
1 Wurm's Tooth

 
 The Match:
 
    Yah, thats right, THE match, as in I lost first round. Honestly with my deck I deserved to lose first round. My mana base was too inconsistent and the deck just simply was NOT that good at all. Here is how it went down.
 
Game 1: This was an interesting game, and by far the longest game. My opponent was playing white and blue and had a lot of nice fliers and the Air Elemental that I passed him as well as some card drawing. I got my Loxodon Warhammer out and I thought the game was a lock for me, until he played Temporal Adept and kept bouncing the creature that had the Loxodon Warhammer on it whenever I attacked. My opponent got down to 9 cards in his deck and then he grabbed a couple more creatures than me and won with his fliers. Only if I had that Millstone I probably would have won due to decking.
 
Game 2: Unfortunately this game was not as interesting. I had a horrible beginning hand with NO lands at all, which was a huge problem and had to mulligan down to a decent hand of 6. My opponent got his Air Elemental out earlier this game when I had no answer and won the match in the first two games. I never saw the Loxodon Warhammer which could have saved me. Overall my deck was just too inconsistent to win a game.
 

    Well guys, that is the draft for this week. Don't forget to use all of my lessons at once, because just using one at a time won't help. You can click on my name at the topic of the article to look at my old ones. Now for a couple things I'd like to talk about still. MOST IMPORTANTLY! Your comments are nice to read and help me to try to tailor the articles to my audience. However, if you leave an anonymous comment, I can't tell who it came from and how to contact you. Now here is the new part, while I like the comments and ratings on the overall article here, I think it'd be a lot of fun to debate picks and more specific things than the article as a whole. To do this please register for the PureMTGO forums and go to This Topic to discuss these types of things. If you aren't already registered, its easy to register, just click on the Register link in the top right corner of the page. I also have a poll on whether or not you would like an "Video Article" of a draft. Please vote and let me know what you want.

    Next week in my article I will be discussing a draft I did after I wrote these first three articles. Right now I am doing articles on drafts I did a few weeks ago, but starting next week they will be much more current. This means I can give more detailed coverage on the the matches. Hopefully this will please some people. Special thanks to gmrgirl for giving me the idea of talking about flexibility, and the usual suspects of Gus from MTGO TRADERS, JacsUK, Heath and the gang. Until next time keep draftin' guys!
 
Need packs to draft? MTGO TRADERS has great prices on 9th packs! Check it out here ---> MTGO TRADERS
 
Reponses to comments:
 
Sliver Heir - In response to your first concern, whenever I do a draft article I do the following. First I draft and then I wait a while and put the draft images into the above format. I then make my new picks starting from the first pack without looking at my previous picks. I also don't look ahead in the draft, but just draft like the normal draft, one pack at a time. To your second comment, those types of cards don't always fall into the same area, so its kind of hard to put them in a definate order. Good call pointing that out though.
 
thejitte - Thanks for your comment. I'm not quite comfortable talking about signaling yet because I'm not comfortable with it myself yet. If you'd like to talk to me about it I'm ALWAYS willing to learn, so feel free to message me on MTGO at MysticLancer!
 
Thats a wrap!

Back to Top
 
Back to Pack 1
 
Back to Pack 2
  
Back to Pack 3
 
Back to Lessons
 
Back to Deckbuilding

Back to Matches

4 Comments

Done, and done by thescale99 at Fri, 04/20/2007 - 13:42
thescale99's picture

I read the comment on the swamp - didn't think anyone would, did ya!

Signaling by hamtastic at Thu, 04/19/2007 - 18:23
hamtastic's picture

Just my thoughts, but trying to go into white pack two was possibly not the best idea. You had already passed a few good white cards, like Balista Squad, Aven Flock/Skyhunter, etc... in pack 1, likely putting your neighbor into white. Plus it appears that one of the main people passing to you in pack one was taking the other decent white cards already as you didn't see much good white either.

You also had some questionable picks (like the icy, but you recognized that later). As a matter of fact, I'd rank Icy almost above warhammer. Icy shuts down the warhammer AND the creature it's on and is ridiculously powerful in 999.

but 'grats on the win!

well, I'm still a goober by kolu at Wed, 04/18/2007 - 14:42
kolu's picture

but your articles are making things easier for me in draft. I'm noticing lots of things in what I do and the choices of picks. On the bright side I am not so easy to beat :) I'll be looking for more articles! keep it going, good job dude.

by Lord Erman at Wed, 04/18/2007 - 08:26
Lord Erman's picture

My comment is there, where you want it to be :)))