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By: MysticLancer, Lance Cothern
May 16 2007 8:59am
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Drafting with MysticLancer: Bruised
 
    Welcome to the last 999 draft I am doing, at least for now. This week has a really neat lesson for newer drafters, so make sure to stick around until the end. I've started to get my feet wet in TTP, but that is the subject of next week's article. The title has a double meaning, both of which you should be able to figure out by the end, but if you can't figured out what "Bruised" means in relation to my article feel free to contact me on MTGO. Anyways enough of that, let's go on to the draft!
   
Disclaimer for every article:
First, if you don't know what a card does, right click on it and click view image. Second, the original picks I made were what I picked during the draft. I picked the revised picks after the draft, but not looking at my original picks. I paste the pictures in and then pick pack by pack like a normal draft. My picks could potentially change what other people at the table would have taken and therefore affected what I got passed. These articles are for learning, so while the revised picks may not be what I actually would have gotten, it helps people learn what the best cards are based on a certain strategy. Ok, thats it, enjoy the draft.
Pack 1:


Pick 1

My Original Pick: Nekrataal

My Revised Pick: Nekrataal

After looking at the pack there are basically two choices for your first pick. Tidings a card that will greatly alter the tempo of any game, or Nekrataal a 2 power first strike creature that when played is basically a Dark Banishing. In my opinion, the Nekrataal is superior because its a Dark Banishing AND a creature that isn't half bad. Tidings is also a really good card but I'd rather start my draft with removal and a nice creature rather than card draw.

 

Pick 2

My Original Pick: Aven Windreader

My Revised Pick: Aven Windreader

Analyzing the pack, the person who passed this took a common.  There isn't much more we can learn from this unless we know the common print runs, which I haven't bothered to look into. The cards in this pack worth looking at are Aven Windreader and Anaconda. If I picked Hunted Wumpus last time, I may take the Anaconda, but the Aven Windreader is amazing. It has a more solid type of evasion, has the same power and toughness, costs 1 colored mana more, but also has a nice ability. I also like blue more than green in general, so the Windreader is my choice here.





Pick 3

My Original Pick: Pegasus Charger

My Revised Pick: Pegasus Charger

Here we have a rare and an uncommon gone, so not much help there for me. Cards that I'm looking at for this pick are Pegasus Charger, Llanowar Elves, Balduvian Barbarians, Boomerang, Blessed Orator and Giant Growth. Out of these I narrowed it down to Pegasus Charger, Blessed Orator and Llanowar Elves. At this point, I'm going to take the Charger because I've already passed too much good green and evasion is probably better this early.

Pick 4

My Original Pick: Wind Drake

My Revised Pick: Wind Drake

Here I have a dilemma between Wind Drake and Razortooth Rats. They both cost the same, but the Rats have fear and one less toughness, while the Drake flies and has one more toughness. I pick the Drake here because I like flying better than fear in most cases, and the extra toughness never hurts because it can block 1/Xs.





Pick 5

My Original Pick: Hollow Dogs

My Revised Pick: Hollow Dogs

This pick comes down to Hollow Dogs, Balduvian Barbarians or Boomerang. The Barbarians are worse than Hollow Dogs in my opinion, and Boomerang only stalls for one turn, or destorys an enchant creature that most likely shouldn't have been played in the first place. The Dogs are my pick here.

Pick 6

My Original Pick: Scathe Zombies

My Revised Pick: Glory Seeker

I'm not sure on my colors yet, most likely I'll be blue and black, but white is still a possibility. I originally picked the Scathe Zombies to stay in black, but Glory Seeker is strictly better, and that is why I revised this pick.


 

Pick 7

My Original Pick: Time Ebb

My Revised Pick: Time Ebb

Hmmmm I'm pretty sure I'm going to play blue, over a possible white, so I pick the Time Ebb here. I overvalue the Ebb sometimes but I think it was the right pick here.

Pick 8

My Original Pick: Serpent Warrior

My Revised Pick: Serpent Warrior

Nothing really in this pick, so I pick the Serpent Warrior.


 

Pick 9

My Original Pick: Enfeeblement

My Revised Pick: Enfeeblement

Looking back, 2 red, 2 blue and 3 green cards have left this pack since I picked. That hopefully means black is pretty open, which is good for me. The blue cards were pretty good, so I can see why they left the pack. From what is left here I take the Enfeeblement as removal to strengthen my black, and with this I pretty much commit to black and blue.

Pick 10

My Original Pick: Bog Imp

My Revised Pick: Bog Imp

Notable cards that are gone include Soul Feast which means someone else is interested in black, Anaconda showing someone is green, and Sleight of Hand which is of couse blue. From whats left I'd pick the Bog Imp as it is the most playable of these not likely to be played cards.


Pick 11

My Original Pick: Suntail Hawk

My Revised Pick: Balduvian Barbarians

All of the good cards but the Balduvian Barbarians were taken.

Pick 12

My Original Pick: Scathe Zombies

My Revised Pick: Scathe Zombies

Scathe Zombies are pretty close to unplayable, but I pick them just in case I'm desparate later on. I really wanted the Urza's Mine though.

 

Pick 13

My Original Pick: Suntail Hawk

My Revised Pick: Suntail Hawk

Playable > Unplayable.

Pick 14

My Original Pick: Kraken's Eye

My Revised Pick: Kraken's Eye

Mmmmm transparent floating eyeball... Emerson anyone? *Gags*

Pick 15

My Original Pick: Swamp

My Revised Pick: Swamp

 
Summary of Pack 1:
     The first two picks were really good and pretty much had me set in black and blue, although white is still a possibility. Early pack two should set me in my colors pretty fast.
Pack 2:


Pick 16

My Original Pick: Confiscate

My Revised Pick: Confiscate

There is nothing in this pack first pick worthy in black, but there is in blue in Confiscate, white in Oracle's Attendants or Zealous Inquisitor, and Volcanic Hammer in red.

Pick 17

My Original Pick: Dark Banishing

My Revised Pick: Dark Banishing

The best card in this pack is probably Dark Banishing regardless of my colors. It is just way too good to pass if you're playing black unless something more amazing pops up. While there are many playable cards, the only other possible contender would be Anaba Shaman.



 

Pick 18

My Original Pick: Enfeeblement

My Revised Pick: Enfeeblement

This was a tough pick. The best card in the pack was probably Elvish Bard. I like Imaginary Pet but I don't expect my hand to be empty a lot in a black and blue deck (which is what I'm looking at right now). Enfeeblement is probably the best card in my colors, but Mana Leak is still a decent playable card.

Pick 19

My Original Pick: Drudge Skeletons

My Revised Pick: Pacifism

Man right now I wish I was in white. Pacifism is just too good to pass. It is possible that I could splash white for it but we will have to wait and see. There was nothing of that caliber or anywhere near it in black or blue so I really had to pick the Pacifism.



 

Pick 20

My Original Pick: Bog Wraith

My Revised Pick: Temporal Adept

My original pick Bog Wraith is a really good and playable card, but Temporal Adept is just amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm in blue, but I'm not sure I'm that heavy. However if this hits and I have 3 blue it is amazing. It should be possible later in the game when it would be needed.

Pick 21

My Original Pick: Aven Windreader

My Revised Pick: Aven Windreader

This pack was a very clear choice. Aven Windreader is normally a 1-3 pick I think because it is a 3/3 flier and there aren't many of those. I also like its ability and being the 6th pick in the pack I have to take it.



Pick 22

My Original Pick: Spineless Thug

My Revised Pick: Spineless Thug

There is nothing amazing in this pack regardless of color. Goblin Chariot is probably the best main deck card here, but I'm picking Spineless Thug because it is in my colors.

Pick 23

My Original Pick: Looming Shade

My Revised Pick: Looming Shade

Looming Shade is really good in a black heavy deck and OK is half black decks as well. I believe my deck will be at least half black so I pick it here. Lumengrid Warden is playable, and nice to have a kinda cheap small blocker, and Exhaustion is ok but really dependent on finding the right time to play it.


 

Pick 24

My Original Pick: Hollow Dogs

My Revised Pick: Hollow Dogs

Hollow Dogs is the best card in the pack. While it is more expensive it had 3 toughness which avoids cards like Shock and Pyroclasm and it gets 5 power when it attacks, which can kill most blockers.

Pick 25

My Original Pick: Lumengrid Warden

My Revised Pick: Lumengrid Warden

Best card in the pack here, a nice cheaper blocker.


 

Pick 26

My Original Pick: Urza's Tower

My Revised Pick: Urza's Tower

I love my urzatron!

Pick 27

My Original Pick: Samite Healer

My Revised Pick: Samite Healer

Playables over unplayables.

Pick 28

My Original Pick: Fugitive Wizard

My Revised Pick: Fugitive Wizard

Junk

Pick 29

My Original Pick: Sea Monster

My Revised Pick: Sea Monster

This is actually nice for me, a big blocker and if my opponent has an Island a nice attacker too, and I didn't waste a pick on it.

Pick 30

My Original Pick: Swamp

My Revised Pick: Swamp

 
Summary of Pack 2:
    This pack definately kept me in black and blue with Confiscate and Dark Banishing as the first two picks. The Pacifism still gives me the option of splashing white if I want to and feel the need to.
Pack 3:
 

Pick 31

My Original Pick: Grave Pact

My Revised Pick: Grave Pact

I really thought about taking the Time Ebb here because it is just too good to pass up... JUST KIDDING! Grave Pact is a bomb and I should be able to support it. No other possible pick here already being in black.

Pick 32

My Original Pick: Dark Banishing

My Revised Pick: Dark Banishing

Dark Banishing is some of the best removal in 9th edition. The only other card in this pack that would possibly even be considered is Sift, because it is nice card advantage, but removal is king.



 

Pick 33

My Original Pick: Sift

My Revised Pick: Sift

Here is that Sift I wanted in this last pack. In my colors it is the only outstanding card.

Pick 34

My Original Pick: Hollow Dogs

My Revised Pick: Festering Goblin

Normally I would take the Hollow Dogs here (as I did in the original draft), if I didn't already have four 5CC creatures. My deck is looking expensive so I probably should take the Festering Goblin. The goblin is a lot better than it looks because of all of the nifty tricks you can do with its ability.



 

Pick 35

My Original Pick: Aven Windreader

My Revised Pick: Aven Windreader

Speaking of expensive creatures Aven Windreader is just too good to pass up. Zombify is also good, but it won't win you games without good creatures in your graveyard that probably shouldn't have gotten there in the first place.

Pick 36

My Original Pick: Gravedigger

My Revised Pick: Gravedigger

And then there was Gravedigger which was a close call between that and the really good Gluttonous Zombie which was too expensive. Plus, Gravedigger can resurrect one of those creatures that should never make it to the graveyard (except by removal of course).



Pick 37

My Original Pick: Dehydration

My Revised Pick: Dehydration

Nothing really good in this pack, but the (Dehyrdation) could potentially prove useful, at least moreso than anything else in this pack.

Pick 38

My Original Pick: Diabolic Tutor

My Revised Pick: Diabolic Tutor

Diabolic Tutor is really nice as it can fetch anything you need at the time. Read about my games for a truely interesting use of it.


 

Pick 39

My Original Pick: Plague Beetle

My Revised Pick: Plague Beetle

Yuck, nothing useful here. Plague Beetle is playable in dire circumstances, other than that Goblin Brigand is the only other playable card.

Pick 40

My Original Pick: Kami of Old Stone

My Revised Pick: Kami of Old Stone

I don't want that thing blocking me when I attack, and nothing else here is amazing.


Pick 41

My Original Pick: Contaminated Bond

My Revised Pick: Contaminated Bond

In dire circumstances only should this card make a deck.

Pick 42

My Original Pick: Storm Crow

My Revised Pick: Storm Crow

Read last pick

 

Pick 43

My Original Pick: Ley Druid

My Revised Pick: Ley Druid

Oooo uncommon.

Pick 44

My Original Pick: Fugitive Wizard

My Revised Pick: Fugitive Wizard

The land is gone. That is what happens when an 1800+ is sitting two seats away from you.

Pick 45

My Original Pick: Honor Guard

My Revised Pick: Honor Guard

Once again...

 
Summary of Pack 3:
    Starting the pack with the bomb Grave Pact followed by Dark Banishing and several other good cards definately made the black and blue choice pay off. I probably have enough good cards to not have to splash white, because that would diminish my mana base more than I like in 999.
Deck-buildling:

14 Creatures:
3 Aven Windreader
1 Bog Wraith
1 Drudge Skeletons
1 Gravedigger
2 Hollow Dogs
1 Looming Shade
1 Lumengrid Warden
1 Nekrataal
1 Sea Monster
1 Serpent Warrior
1 Wind Drake

8 Other Spells:
1 Confiscate
2 Dark Banishing
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Enfeeblement
1 Grave Pact
1 Sift
1 Time Ebb

18 Lands:
10 Swamp
8 Island

Sideboard:

1 Bog Imp
1 Contaminated Bond
1 Dehydration
1 Enfeeblement
2 Fugitive Wizard
1 Hollow Dogs
1 Honor Guard
1 Kami of Old Stone
1 Kraken's Eye
1 Ley Druid
1 Pegasus Charger
1 Plague Beetle
1 Samite Healer
2 Scathe Zombies
1 Spineless Thug
1 Storm Crow
2 Suntail Hawk
2 Swamp
1 Urza's Tower
     I really liked my deck except for the fact it was a bit on the expensive side with 7 cards of a 5CC or higher. A lot of my cards also had double mana costs, and thats why I decided to run 18 lands. Overall my deck was amazing with 4 good fliers (3 being the amazing Aven Windreader) and some nice ground creatures with Bog Wraith, Gravedigger, 2 Hollow Dogs, Looming Shade, and Nekrataal. The spells were also high quality, with all of them being exceptional, except maybe Enfeeblement which is more along the lines of ordinary. The Grave Pact and 2 Dark Banishings were amazing removal, with Confiscate and Time Ebb doing generally the same thing.
     The changes I made were mostly because picks changed. Bog Wraith was replaced with Temporal Adept, and Drudge Skeletons was replaced by Storm Crow. This made me have to switch to an even mana base of 9 Islands and 9 Swamps. My revised deck is about the same power level, but if the Temporal Adept gets going it is definately a lot stronger. II'd rather have the Drudge Skeletons but hate picking Pacifism was more important in my opinion. Overall both decks were good, but a bit too mana intensive, the only change I would make would be to have more quality cheaper cards.

14 Creatures:
3 Aven Windreader
1 Temporal Adept
1 Gravedigger
2 Hollow Dogs
1 Looming Shade
1 Lumengrid Warden
1 Nekrataal
1 Sea Monster
1 Serpent Warrior
1 Storm Crow
1 Wind Drake

8 Other Spells:
1 Confiscate
2 Dark Banishing
1 Diabolic Tutor
1 Enfeeblement
1 Grave Pact
1 Sift
1 Time Ebb

 

18 Lands:
9 Island
9 Swamp

Sideboard:

1 Bog Imp
1 Contaminated Bond
1 Dehydration
1 Enfeeblement
2 Fugitive Wizard
1 Hollow Dogs
1 Honor Guard
1 Kami of Old Stone
1 Kraken's Eye
1 Ley Druid
1 Llanowar Elves
1 Plague Beetle
1 Samite Healer
1 Glory Seeker
1 Scathe Zombies
1 Spineless Thug
1 Balduvian Barbarians
1 Suntail Hawk
2 Swamp
1 Urza's Tower
1 Pacifism
 
The Match(es):

Match 1
Game 1: My opponent is playing a white and blue deck. We start off the game and he has a Samite Healer, Infantry Veteran and Pegasus Charger out by the end of his 3rd turn, while I have nothing but 3 lands out. On my 4th turn I Enfeeblement his Pegasus Charger and pass. He continues attacking me with his 1/1s and plays an Aven Fisher on his 4th turn. On my 5th turn I play Aven Windreader, but cannot block his Aven Fisher that he attacks with on his next turn due to his combat trick creatures. Next turn I swing for 2 (he uses his Samite Healer) and then he attacks and I use Dark Banishing on his Aven Fisher. He plays Aven Flock and on my next turn I Confiscate it. The life is 13 me 18 him. I swing for 2 bringing him down to 16, and then on his next turn he Boomerang's his Aven Flock to his hand and plays a Master Decoy. Meanwhile I am getting completely manaflooded and use Sift which gives me 3 lands. By turn 11 I have 11 land and my opponent has too many fliers for me to deal with as he managed to use combat tricks to kill my two Aven Windreaders. My opponent wins game 1.

Game 2: I start off with an expensive hand, the cheapest card being Diabolic Tutor and having only 2 lands. However, by turn 4 I have 4 lands in play, and use the Diabolic Tutor to find a Swamp. Yah, that is a crazy use for a tutor, but wait until you hear about my hand, which has 2 Aven Windreaders, Confiscate, Sea Monster (my opponent has an Island out) and Enfeeblement. I manage to draw my 3rd Windreader and a Time Ebb and use the Ebb to get rid of my opponent's Aven Flock and use Enfeeblement on his Crossbow Infantry which could cause major havoc. I end up Confiscating one of his 2 Aven Flocks. I end up playing a Sea Monster which makes my opponent use his Aven Flock to block it every turn while I get 5 through in the air each turn. I win this game and the match goes 1-1.

Game 3: This game starts out well because I have a Grave Pact and three Swamps in my hand. However, my opponent got out a bunch of creatures early again (one of the things that beats my high costing deck), and uses Pacifism on my first creature, Hollow Dogs. He then managed to pull out an Icy Manipulator and Master Decoy. The game was over at this point, he could tap anything that wasn't already Pacified, and my Grave Pact was utterly useless. My opponent definately had a nice draft and had the stuff that could ruin pretty much any deck. He wins the match.
 

Lesson of the Week: The Colors of Ninth Edition 
 
Well, this is, I think, my last 999 article (for a while at least). Because of this I'm going to give an overview of all the colors of 9th Edition and what they're supposed to do.

White - White wins by fliers and combat tricks, along with the bombs Wrath of God and Worship and its amazing removal spell Pacifism. White has a lot of really good fliers, some rares Serra Angel, and Blinding Angel, some uncommons Angel of Mercy and Leonin Skyhunter, and a lot of commons. Their are plenty of combat tricks as well, such as Zealous Inquisitor, Infantry Veteran, Crossbow Infantry and the various damage prevention creatures.

Blue - Blue wins by card advantage, fliers, and a couple tricks. Card advantage is obvious through amazing cards such as Tidings, Archivist, Sift, and other card drawing such as (Counsel of the Sorotami). Its fliers are amazing, like (Mahomati Djinn), Air Elemental, Aven Windreader and (Theiving Magpie) just to name a few. It also has some nice tricks with cards such as Confiscate, Puppeteer, some counterspells, and other cards such as Time Ebb and (Dehyrdation).

Black - How does black win? Fliers... just kidding, black doesn't have fliers really. They win with removal, but you knew that. Black is the king of removal. While it also has discard, 999 draft is too slow for it to be really effective, but some discard, such as Coercion and Hypnotic Specter are still good. Its removal is numerous, from Grave Pact and Dark Banishing to Nekrataal and Festering Goblin. Black normally can't win on its own, but if it does the fear creatures of Gluttonous Zombie and Razortooth Rats will most likely have been a part of the win.

Red - Red also wins with removal, but like black, it is hard for red to win on its own. Its creatures do not support red for the most part, but the removal is amazing. Blaze, Wildfire, Shock, Volcanic Hammer, Pyroclasm, and Guerrilla Tactics are just some of the good removal spells red has. It also has haste, but it is extremely short sighted. If you don't win early with red, and you don't have a supporting color, you probably won't win at all.

Green - Green wins simply by size. Huge creatures are what you need to win, and you have to be able to keep your opponent busy while you get up to the larger stuff. It has acceleration in cards like Llanowar Elves and Rampant Growth that lead up to the big guys. These big guys are Force of Nature, Verdant Force, Ancient Silverback, Hunted Wumpus, Craw Wurm and other creature like this. It also has a couple combat tricks in Giant Growth and Might of Oaks, and one of the few enchant creatures I would play, in Treetop Bracers.

Combinations - The key to what I have just written is not the colors by themselves, but how you combine them. Take one color's weakness and pair it with a color that strengthens that weakness or take a color that is good at something, and then pick another color that makes it that much better. A couple of examples include my favorite blue and white, which allows for massive evasion, combat tricks, card advantage, and a little bit of removal, and blue and black, which allows for nice evasion, good removal and card advantage. A combination that I don't like is red and black, because both colors are short sighted and don't have any really good creature support. Use these to your advantage and pick color combinations that work well together, and avoid those that don't.


Well, that is the end of my stint as your 999 draft guide. If you ever want some help with your 999 drafts feel free to contact me and if I have some free time I'll do my best to help you out. Next week is TTP, and then possible one more, and after that we're into Future Sight. I might go into a FFF draft during the release week and after that I'll start with TPF. After some TPF who knows where I will go, but you guys just let me know what you want to see. Thanks to Heath, JacsUK, Gus from MTGO TRADERS, Zahori and everyone else who helps to make this series possible. Until next week, that's a wrap.

Need packs? Check out MTGOTRADERS for good prices on 999 packs! Just click here!

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0 Comments

by Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.206.193.206 (not verified) at Thu, 05/17/2007 - 01:43
Anonymous (Unregistered) 24.206.193.206's picture

You got pretty lucky with what you opened and were passed, so its a shame you didnt even win the first round.

by dragonmage65 at Thu, 05/17/2007 - 08:47
dragonmage65's picture

I'm inclined to agree. It seems like you were possibly the only black drafter within 20 miles of your draft, and clearly 3-4 people were squabbling over white and green.

by khirareq at Wed, 05/16/2007 - 12:34
khirareq's picture

I'm pretty sure Tidings is the pick over Nekrataal. Nekrataal is very good, but Tidings is insane. From there my second color probably doesn't seem to become clear until the last pack. The blue here was so strong. I'm going to miss 999; hopefully TPF will be just as good!

by Gloinoin at Wed, 05/16/2007 - 13:09
Gloinoin's picture

Passing Tidings Pack 1 Pick 1, is in my opinion flatout wrong when its passed for any non bomb rare. Card Advantage wins games in slower draft formats and there are few slower than core set limited. Then going into blue after passing Tidings seems dodgy and Pack 2 did seem to lack depth to the blue that came your way, soul feast would have been my pick if I'd taken Nekraatal, but taking Tidings first would have allowed you to completely cut blue pack 1 and then reap the benefits.

Great article! by McCombs at Wed, 05/16/2007 - 09:33
McCombs's picture

Hey Lancer,
Keep up the good work. I love draft articles and yours is top notch. I always learn a lot. I am a piss poor drafter myself so I love seeing people break down their picks like this. If nothing else, it helps me see what kinds of things I need to be thinking about when I am making my own picks.