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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Dec 18 2017 2:00pm
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When Vintage Masters came out over three years ago now, I was so excited it prompted me to learn how to draft. In fact, Vintage Masters was one of the first sets I ever drafted - talk about jumping in the deep end! In (I think) my second draft, I opened Black Lotus - these were not phantom drafts back then and at the time the thing was on buylists for 280 tix, so I was quite excited. I promptly went 0-3 in that draft but did not really care.

Still, that was three years ago. I had forgotten most of what Vintage Masters was about during that time, but I was able to brush up thanks to stsung's excellent primer article last week. So join me as I take you through every pick of every pack of a Vintage Masters draft.

THE DRAFT

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

I considered a few cards for my first pick. I thought about Soltari Emissary for a white-based aggro deck; I remember Paralyze being decent as a cheap 'removal' spell; and Lake of the Dead in a black-based ramp deck. In the end, I went with Orcish Lumberjack. While this is really a gold card, it is quite a powerful effect and I was happy to pick it up here.


  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

This wasn't a hard pick, even though some of my favourite cards are in the pack. Battle Screech is simply the best common in the set, and I wasn't passing it. If it wasn't in this pack, I would have looked at maybe Kindle, Man-o'-War or Armadillo Cloak - the latter is again a gold card, but it is such a beating and I have fond memories of crushing with it in Invasion sealed tournaments.


  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

This pick was interesting, as I really wasn't sure what I was meant to take. I ended up with Elephant Guide, based on the fact it could go in either a red/green beatdown deck (and go with my first pick) or a green/white Auras deck (to go with my second pick). I did consider High Tide for storm or Fallen Askari for a black/white aggro deck.


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Having taken Elephant Guide before, I considered Armor of Thorns. But I ended up taking Deftblade Elite - this unassuming creature can be really annoying for your opponent, allowing your better creatures to get through. 

I also note that having passed High Tide before, someone I'm passing to could possibly jump into storm with Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual in this pack.


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

At this stage I'm just going to try and force Auras unless something changes, so Grasslands was the pick for me. There are better cards, but they are in black and blue and I'm sure someone I'm passing to will be jumping into storm.


  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Nature's Lore was a consideration here, but I like Blastoderm, even though it can't wear Auras at all. 


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

This wasn't a great pack for me. I thought about Radiant's Judgement but decided against it in favour of Thopter Squadron, which is a very flexible creature.


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Basking Rootwalla is nothing special, but it's a cheap creature than can wear an Aura on turn 2 and pump itself. It's in the set mostly for the


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

I'm not a big fan of Provoke, but I didn't really want another five-mana creature in Thopter Squadron.


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Now this is better. Gaea's Embrace is expensive but effective, with Regeneration helping the creature stick around. This is a pick I was quite happy with.


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:

If Amonkhet block taught us anything, it's the cycling lands are good. I was happy to take Secluded Steppe over what would be a sideboard card in Tribute to the Wild.


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:

Another Aura here, which can also double as a combat trick.


  Pack 1 pick 13:

  My Pick:

Jungle Wurm has never really impressed me; it's just too easy for the opponent to set up a situation where they can kill it without taking many - if any - losses.


  Pack 1 pick 14:

  My Pick:

Tangle will simply be a sideboard card against any aggressive decks.


  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

This pack is disappointing, as it doesn't really contain anything that works towards the goal of my deck. So, I took Benalish Trapper, a handy creature that can tap down the opponents best creature.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

This pick was between Phantom Nomad, a creature that is hard to kill especially when it is enchanted, or Empyrial Armor, a decent Aura. I hadn't yet picked up a lot of creatures that wear Auras well, so I took the Nomad.


  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

I took this for the same reasons as above. However, I also considered Shelter, an important card that allows you to protect your enchanted creatures, and Fyndhorn Elves, which just goes in any green deck.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Krosan Vorine is not a card I'm actively looking to put in my deck, but it was the best of a bad pack for me.


  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

I did consider taking a second Secluded Steppe here, but erred on the side of the creature and took another Deftblade Elite.


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Everything I said about Shelter earlier also applies to Benevolent Bodyguard. It's an important card to protect your other creatures when they are enchanted. It is better than Armor of Thorns at this point in the draft.


  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Another pack with nothing in it for me. I took Null Rod as a sideboard card.


  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Simian Grunts may make the deck if I am short on creatures, plus it can double as a pseudo-removal spell due to having flash. In fact, it performs this role well, due to its high toughness.


  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Mistmoon Griffin is not the best creature, but it can be very handy at times. It was also better than any of the other choices.


  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

I'm not unhappy to see Empyrial Armor come back.


  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:

I'm also pretty happy to pick up a Shelter at this point.


  Pack 2 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Again, there is no way I am passing a Battle Screech. Having said that, Arrogant Wurm goes well with my Rootwalla, but Battle Screech was just too good.


  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

I love me an Armadillo Cloak, and it was an easy pick for me here, with a second Benevolent Bodyguard being my second choice.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Dreampod Druid is actually a key part of the Auras deck. Enchant it, protect it, and create a steady stream of Saproling tokens. Phantom Nomad and Armor of Thorns were also good cards, but I could not go past the Druid.


  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

Again, I considered Arrogant Wurm for a brief second, but I like Soltari Trooper better in my deck. Against some opponents it's simply a 2/2 that is unblockable, and if you add an Aura to it it makes it an often lethal threat.


  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

I thought about Brindle Shoat, but I don't really want creatures dying if I am going to be putting Auras on them. Instead I took Armor of Thorns.


  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Whilst Afterlife is not the greatest removal spell going around, I realised at this point I didn't have any. 


  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

A decent enough creature, Gustcloak Harrier was a pretty easy choice.


  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

A second Empyrial Armor. I'm not sure if I'll play it, and I considered Nature's Lore as well, but ended up settling on the Aura.


  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Very happy to take another Shelter here.


  Pack 3 pick 10:

  My Pick:

Seal of Cleansing is a handy sideboard card, and there was nothing else for me here anyway.


  Pack 3 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 14:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:


THE DECK

This is the deck I ended up playing. I'm reasonably happy with it, and think I can pick up at least a couple of wins. The two copies of Battle Screech make me happy, as does Dreampod Druid and the non Armor of Thorns Auras. 

RESULT

The deck ended up with a 2-1 record (5-3 in games). Both my first and second round opponents were on Astral Slide decks, a card that absolutely wrecks an Aura based deck. I ended up playing Tribute to the Wild and Seal of Cleansing in fully half my games. I lost the first round but did manage to sneak in a win in the second, then won comfortably in the third against a blue/black opponent. Armadillo Cloak on Soltari Trooper won me a number of games, but sadly I never even cast Dreampod Druid once.

Vintage Masters is fun and I hope Wizards bring it back again soon. I enjoy it much more than Modern Masters sets. 

Join me next week when we jump into the Best Format Ever: Vintage Cube! Until then, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.

FIRST PICK, FIRST PACK

Here is a special First Pick First Pack for you - Vintage Masters! Let me know what you would take in the comments below.