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By: kelvinmai, Kelvin Mai
Feb 04 2014 1:00pm
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Hello everybody, you may be wondering why this isn't a typical Brewing on a Budget article that I'm used to writing about. Well the truth is I'm a little burnt out on brewing and this is me trying something new. Why not branch outside of standard? Well many people have asked me that and I'm just not confident in my knowledge of the cardpool of other formats like Modern or Legacy although I try to dip my feet into both of those once in a while. And the other reason is that one of my favorite parts of playing magic is drafting. And drafting is something I haven't been doing a lot of lately so it's a good change of pace to keep me invested. I haven't drafted much of Theros because I don't really like the format but luckily MTGO gives us flashback drafts once in a while. And I'm excited because I'm a relatively new player, jumping into the more hardcore side during the time of Scars/Innistrad standard. So I thought it would be interesting to write a different perspective on the game, from the eyes of someone who has no idea what he is doing.

 Welcome to Zendikar

So let's first establish what I know about this format: Fetchlands are good, Jace, the Mind Sculptor means money. Yup, that's not much but that's all I know going in, I don't even know what mechanics are in here. That being said, BREAD becomes more important now than ever before. For those that don't remember, BREAD is an acronym that reminds the priorities of a draft: Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggression and Dead cards. If you haven't read my article on drafting you could definitely do that, but you could also read or watch anyone else because they probably have much better and more refined information than I. With all that said and done, let's finally head into the draft.

What's the pick? (Pack 2)

Pack 1

Blade of the bloodchief Punishing fire Disfigure Quest for the Gravelord Molten Ravager MIndless Null Bladetusk Boar Hedron Scrabbler Graypelt Refuge Disfigure Ruinous Minotaur  Seismic shudder Mire Blight

First rare I saw was Blade of the Bloodchief so I picked it, probably wasn't smart to blindly pick the rare but I did it but it was foil so I couldn't resist. In this pack I put a lot of priority into removal as seen in Punishing Fire, Disfigure and even Seismic Shudder. The only real bomb I picked was Quest for the Gravelord. I was missing some quality creatures so I knew that was what I had to look for next. I ended up taking Bladetusk Boar and Ruinous Minotaur for a somewhat aggressive deck. I took the green white land a little later when it looked like red black was taken but it must have been two of the packs missing out on those colors because later in the draft there was no dearth of my committed colors.

Pack 2

Kazuul Warlord Plated Geopede Zektar Shrine Expedition Crypt Ripper Nimana Sell-sword Ruinous Minotaur Teetering Peaks Spire Barrage Blood Seeker Cancel Demolish Seismic Shudder Trapfinder's trick Ravenous Trap

Once again I was a victim of rare drafting as I picked up Kazuul Warlord without paying much attention to the rest of the pack, but he was in my colors despite me not going into an ally centered strategy. I was lucky enough to pick up a Plated Geopede as well and my picks became increasingly more aggressive with a second Ruinous Minotaur and a Teetering Peaks

Pack 3

Quag Vampires Bojuka Brigand Lodestone Golem Dread Statuary Dead Reckoning Slavering Nulls Smoldering Spires Crusher Zendikon Quicksand Nemesis Trap Pulse Tracker Quag Vampires Mire's Toll Bull Rush

I thought Lodestone Golem was a really good bomb, in fact I was very surprised that it came out as third pick. I finally got a good amount of creatures in this last pack with the vampires and I was really happy with getting Slavering Nulls. Bojuka Brigand was good in the aggro sense and it was an ally to help my ally count but wasn't a stellar pick in my eyes. But I was pretty happy with my picks. Smoldering Spires somewhat sealed the deal on going aggressive.

The Deck

And this is the deck that I played with! In hindsight the biggest problem with the deck is that it's going two different directions. It has premium removal with Disfigure, Punishing Fire and Dead Reckoning but at the same time the creatures in it were all about attacking. So either I could have gone in a more control-ish type deck with a bigger and better bomb, especially since I was running both Dread Statuary and Lodestone Golem. Or I could have gone with more creatures and less spells to take advantage of the aggressive creatures I was sporting. Also there were too many non-basics and swamps to justify the cost of Spire Barrage which ended up being a Shock most of the time.

I was playing this is a swiss draft because let's be honest, this is my first time playing Zendikar. I didn't know the set or how to draft it and I was sure to lose a few games to more experienced veterans. And I was completely correct and annihilated in two straight matches, and got a bye for the last round so I got that going for me I guess. The first match was against a blue white build, I don't want to give it a name exactly because it looked different in each game. Game one it was a straight control with a counter in one hand and a draw spell in the other, it was the only game I won because he couldn't lay down any threats while getting beaten by a 5/5 giant zombie and a Slavering Nulls emptying his hand. Second game it was a blue white fliers deck and just flew right over my troops and the final game was taken over by the little Hedron Crab that could. The second match was against a red green ramp deck that killed me with a Hellkite Charger attacking me for a lot. I was able to win the second game because of a god hand as well as a well-placed Demolish but there was no chance for me in the last game where once again the dragon came out and devoured me.

Lessons Learned

Hellkite Charger
Hellkite Charger

This format is a lot slower than a usual so I found out an aggressive strategy isn't the ideal deck. Don't get me wrong it can get a blowout if it's a completely dedicated aggro deck like what I should have gone with, something with 15/16 lands and a bunch of 2 and 3 drop creatures. Especially with great aggressive cards like Teetering Peaks and Plated Geopede. But the lifegain from the uncommon dual lands and power of removal like a common disfigure instead of an uncommon doom blade from the core set, which is what I'm used to. And of course lands matter, which is something that I should have expected. This theme of a set brings out the power of such cards like Demolish and Spreading Seas and making them much higher picks than they usually would be in a different set. And because of this whole emphasis on lands, ramp is a great strategy to go with and rocking an insane bomb like Hellkite Charger is not only possible, but very much encouraged. I'm sure all of you are shaking your heads at how obvious all of this is, but these are all informative to someone who hasn't played or drafted Zendikar.

But all in all it was a lot of fun and I would totally play it again with hopefully a better outcome. Hopefully this is an interesting look at a different perspective, one that has never seen an ally in action or ever experienced the horrors of a Hedron Crab first hand. I hope you all enjoyed seeing my fumbles in this set and learned from my mistakes because I sure as hell did. As always thank you for reading this article and you can always check out more here at PureMTGO. Maybe next time you'll see me do better at a draft or go back to what I'm good at which is brewing something new and exciting.