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By: toolazy2stand, Josue Ledesma
Oct 17 2011 2:22am
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Limited Sense #11

ISD Draft #1

Hey guys!  After a very long break, I'm back and ready to do some video drafting.  What you're about to see is my first draft ever, and boy was it suuuuuper fun.  The only time I played Innistrad was the day before when I tried my hand at a Pre-released sealed, which I just did terrible at.  Also, I'm trying something different for the written text, so let me know what you guys think about it!  First, the draft!

The Draft!


So I opened up a pack with a Snapcaster Mage…yea..that wasn’t a hard choice.  I stayed on with a few blue cards after seeing a ridiculous black pack; maybe I overvalued some cards, but I chose a strong blue card over a pretty first pickable black card-Dead Weight.  I thought I would be red with a (Skirsdarg Cultist), but the red cards never really came.  What did come was white, in the form of (Midnight Hauntings), which would be pretty awesome with Snappy.  Then I got a few (Intangible Virtues) and thought…what about a token deck?  Cards like Doomed Traveler and Mausoleum Guard were solid and I rounded out the deck with a Skaab Ruinator, which I was able to play more confidently after picking up two (Deranged Assistants).  The rest of the deck was rounded out with other tempo like cards, a Silent Departure, and a Grasp of Phantoms, along with a Smite the Monstrous and Avacynian Priest.  (Butcher’s Cleaver) and Murder of Crows gave me some raw power and I was excited!

For the record, this draft was realllllly weird and so was my second draft (unrecorded).  I imagine it's because a lot of new players and unexperienced drafters (read: me) entered the queue and it made for some pretty strange wheels and interesting late picks.  But I had confidence in my deck, which I almost never have.

Onto the games!

Round 1

Game 1

Opening Hand:  Full of awkwardness.  I had a 4-drop, a 5-drop and lands.  But I kept in hopes that my low curve will come to save me.  It did in the form of Intangible Virtue and Midnight Haunting.

What worked:  Intangible Virtue and even just one Midnight Haunting is pretty awesome.  Once I have an Intangible Virtue out, any number of Midnight Hauntings are sooo good.  Mausoleum Guard creating a damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario when it's on the aggressive path.  Murder of Crows is really, really good, even after it was Bonds of Faith-ed.  Silent Departure used aggressively just to remove blockers and gain tempo.

What didn't work:  I completely missed a kill attack on one turn.  Need to be sharper in my game play.  Chapel Geist made my attacks really awkward, even with pumped up 2/2 fliers.

Game 2

Opening Hand- All white mana, but I had a Mausoleum Guard and a Butcher's Cleaver, and if I drew blue mana early, a Deranged Assistant would power my deck out so much quicker.

What worked:  Mausoleum Guard on defense.  With an Intangible Virtue out, it completely stops a ground offense.  Again, my cards working together eventually overwhelmed his deck.  Intangible Virtue granting Vigilance was also great, I kept forgetting and each time I noticed, it made my position that much better.

What didn't work:  His Ashmouth Hounds work a lot better in play than I thought in paper.  They're aggressively costed at 2 power for 2 mana.  They block for essentially 3 damage and can't be traded for any X/1's.  He even used two of them defensively, meaning any X/2 creatures couldn't attack, stopping a Mausoleum Guard from swinging with a Butcher's Cleaver.  His fliers were also giving me problems, Chapel Geist and Voiceless Spirits also halted my offense.

Round 2

This upcoming match made me think about the speed of the ISD format.  I always wanted to play first, but I definitely think it's faster than I originally thought.

Game 1

Opening Hand: I had the sickness- Deranged Assistant, Intangible Virtue, 2x Midnight Hauntings and three land made me very confident.  Snap keep.

What worked-  Deranged Assistant actually getting aggressive.  Silent Departure always felt like I was getting value.  Usually in limited formats, I almost never play bounce, I didn't value Unsummon nor Vapor Snag as a particularly good card in their respective formats, but I had alright hopes for Silent Departure.  And it delivered, always, definitely going up in my head.

What didn't work-  Urgent Exorcism maindecked, destroying my Intangible Virtue.  It definitely made me feel a little uncomfortable with all these Midnight Hauntings in my deck.  I definitely over-valued them in this draft and really, without Intangible Virtue, it's not that good.

Game 2

Opening Hand:  I had a nice curve of Doomed Traveler (which was awesome all draft! Intangible Virtue or not) into Intangible Virtue, into a possible Slayer of the Wicked.  Easy keep.

What worked:  Trading creatures to a point where I could actually cast a Skaab Ruinator once I found my blue mana, stalling the board.  His deck was super quick too, so having that Doomed Traveler saved me so much life since he didn't want me to upgrade into a 2/2 flier.

What didn't work:  Moon Heron was pretty underwhelming as well.  He traded really early just so I could stay alive and he's vulnerable to Urgent ExorcismUnruly Mob and Elder Cathar on a loaded board was also pretty tough to deal with.  Turn 2 Curse of the Pierced Heart against an aggressive deck also made me play uncomfortably.  I had to not only stabilize, but also win in a timely fashion or else the Heart would get me.

Round 3

Game 1

Opening Hand:  I was very confident with my hand, I had a curve of Deranged Assistant into Midnight Haunting, into Mausoleum Guard, plus Silent Departure for disruption.

What worked:  Mausoleum Guard always impressed me.  Even without an Intangible Virtue in play, people were always scared to kill it.  My deck worked best when all its cards came together, so giving me more time definitely leaned things towards my favor.  Avacynian Priest was also pretty awesome, but that seemed obvious.

What didn't work:  Again, Midnight Haunting and never having an Intangible Virtue made my deck very underpowered.  At any point in the game if I had drawn the virtue, I probably would've won, but since I didn't I lost.  I was also playing too defensively with my Haunting, if I had ambushed a Falkenrath Noble early in the game, things would've worked out a lot better.  Speaking of Falkenrath he will win a game by himself.  This set has a lot of tokens and promotes trading; I couldn't even alpha strike multiple times after having 8 spirits out because each one that died would give him life.  

Game 2

Opening Hand:  I had an Intangible Virtue but no Midnight Hauntings- definitely a better position than having Midnight Hauntings and no Intangible Virtue.  Slayer of the Wicked also made me feel a bit better about his Falkenrath Noble.

What worked:  Having two Intangible Virtues out and finally using Snapcaster Mage to bring back a Midnight Haunting just.felt.great.  Vigilance with a Blazing Torch also worked really well, keeping the pressure on while still being able to kill a Darkthicket Wolf during a complicated combat step.

What didn't work-  Morkrut Banshee isn't too great without its Morbid effect, it just becomes a Bonebreaker Giant.  Also, having a spirit token being dealt with by a Victim of Night feels pretty awesome.  I wasted half a card on a very good, full card of his.

Game 3

Opening Hand:  Average, I had a mix of lands and spells, with a few early drops.  However, I had 3 lands so I figured if I drew one of my Midnight Hauntings, I'd be in a good position.  Unfortunately, I was stuck on 3 lands for too long.

What worked:  Slayer of the Wicked, Bramblecrush being used on a land instead of an Intangible Virtue (though it slowed me down a turn, which was crucial)

What didn't work: Having to play a no-value Snapcaster Mage just to stay alive.  The early mana screw.  Attacking foolishly against Spider Spawning. Him having a second Falkenrath Noble.  Spider Spawning, is very gross by the way. 


That was the draft.  I had a ton of fun and didn't really mind losing to mana screw (at least in the beginning), but it didn't feel good winning only 2 packs after getting into the finals.  Pre-releases should have better prizes.  Oh well.  One thing I did learn though is the strength of synergy in my deck.  I usually play GoodStuff.dec when it comes to draft- the most synergistic decks are either poison (by definition) or aggressive decks, but I'm always about control.  This was the only time I actively sought synergy.  It's an interesting way to draft with major upside, but also some downside if you draw the wrong cards, as I did in Round 3 Game 1.  I did play a GoodStuff.dec in my second draft, which I wish I recorded, because it was also a 4-color amazefest, but I lost second round to having only two lands and dealing with two flipped Delver of Secrets by turn 5.  Oh well, there's always next time, and I'm for sure going to be drafting this set a lot!

Thanks for reading/watching!


Self Mill by shargon14 at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 13:23
shargon14's picture

Great draft. I think you should have been trying to mill yourself a little more than you did (i.e. using Crows when you have no cards in hand, tapping Assistants even without something to cast). You can hit Ruinator and/or cards to exile for it, your flashback spells, targets for Snapcaster. It doesn't hurt your draws (work out the math if you don't believe me), and the only real downside is if you die from it, which never seemed likely in any of those matches. Hope to see some more content!

more by chiznad at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 14:06
chiznad's picture

keep these video drafts coming. though i'm rarely online i draft paper regularly with good results. drafted inn for 1st time last week and got crushed. i could use the draft advice. thanks for the article/help.

Nice draft, but... by jtsalinger at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 19:42
jtsalinger's picture

your pronunciation is killing me!

Cathar: KATH-ahr
Rakish: REY-kish
Heron: HAIR-uhn
Paraselene: PAIR-uh-si-LEE-nee

Nonetheless, you narrate well. Keep it up.

You sure that's not "Pair A by Paul Leicht at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 19:46
Paul Leicht's picture

You sure that's not "Pair A Sail Een"?

Really? by toolazy2stand at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 20:20
toolazy2stand's picture

Anyone else wanna weigh in on this? I'm usually pretty good at pronunciation (though I do admit I fumble sometimes during live narration). These MTGO names are finally starting to catch me...

Otherwise, thanks for the kind words!

Perhaps I should have cited sources... by jtsalinger at Mon, 10/17/2011 - 22:20
jtsalinger's picture will get you what you want to know. I adjusted the pronunciations' written description slightly to make them easier to understand.

Yeah, Magic has some reeeeeeeeally weird words appearing recently. Apparently they've hit the bottom of the barrel >.<