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By: WShadow, Andrea Bagordo
Oct 03 2011 11:37pm
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What's drafting - Volume 1

Hello everybody! This is Andrea, aka WShadow, writing to you today. In this article, I want to show how my very first M12 Swiss draft went. Actually, I've said a little lie: I did another M12 draft weeks before this one, but it went so bad I wanted to Mental Misstep it from my memory.

Yeah, so this is my first M12 draft. As you might understand, I am not a limited player, which means I am not accustomed with all the draft theories and terms. For example, expressions like "I am cutting blue/black/whatever color" or "I'm staying open" sounds and seems to me like a big wall of Japanese text. Incomprehensible. So, the aim of this article is to be a starting point to improve my skill and to hear from your precious comments what were my errors and what could I've done better; I believe that sharing the experience is the best way to learn.

Let's move onto my picks! Here's the Rare Draft:

And here's the decklist:

After having looked many times at the picks, I can say I could have done way better. For example, Drifting Shade was a bad pick: it requires a lot of mana to power up and it's only a 1/1 flying that costs 4. That's way too much. In that pick, Elite Vanguard or Gravedigger were way more better cards.

Anyway, I was pretty happy with this list. Timely Reinforcements is really good, and I have some bombs, some card advantage tools, some evasion, some removal-tapping outlets. The deck seems fine. Onto the matches!


I am paired up with a R/B bloodthirst player. First misplay in the second turn when playing another Plains instead of the Swamp, making me unable to summon the Onyx Mage. After that though, the game went down fairly easy for me. Timely Reinforcements stopped his aggression, and his Mind Rot favourited me as I discarded Vengeful Pharaoh. Maybe he didn't noticed, in fact he attacked and lost his Bloodrage Vampire. Few turns later he desperately tries a swing stealing my Zombie Goliath with Act of Treason (?!) and the next turn he casts a useless Sengir Vampire. The last swing with all my creatures was more than enough to kill him.



This game was slower than the first. However, after Shocking my Onyx Mage and Doom Bladeing my Assault Griffin, the opponent seemed to have finished his resources. I didn't understand why he attacked with a Brink of Disaster on his Gorehorn Minotaurs, as he could use it as a blocker. Duskhunter Bat literally dripped off his life while Reassembling Skeleton acted as a deathless blocker against that pumped Manic Vandal; a timely Wring Flesh killed his last blocker for my final swing.

2 games won, 0 games lost. Overall, 1-0-0.



I will get my face and back kicked after showing this game. There are HUGE gameplay errors that costed me the game. First of all, why I didn't kill his Goblin Fireslinger with my Wring Flesh when it couldn't tap? Secondly, why didn't I put a priority stop on the "Begin Combat" subphase enabling me to tap Serra Angel? Thirdly, why I didn't block his Fiery Hellhound with my Devouring Swarm? The answer is a mystery, further and deeper than all other mysteries on the entire Earth. In the end, I deserved that Lava Axe: it hit me in my head and in my heart. After that, I promised I would never realize those mistakes again. Boy, I was wrong...



This game was funny as hell. I kept a risky hand with one land after a mulligan, but drew 2 lands immediately after. My opponent started fast with Goblin Tunneler, Goblin Arsonist and Firebreathing: the three of them make a nice little combo: the first make a little creature unblockable, and after that Firebreathing pumps it for some high damage. After some initial damage that brought me to 7 life, I successfully casted Timely Reinforcements. Paired with the card advantage obtained through time by a turn 3 Druidic Satchel and a nice topdeck in the form of Crown of Empires, I locked the board and started beating with my creatures. He concedes later on.



If the previous game has been a lot of fun, this brought me back to sadness. I admit I did (again!) some terrible misplays. However, my opponent was extremely lucky in his draws: he got every answer in his hand, ready to play when needed, and the right number of mountains to pump his beasts in order to beat me in a few turns. The game comments itself alone. He shocked my Duskhunter Bat (which I casted without Bloodthirst, but that's another story...); he Incinerated my Elite Vanguard. When his Goblin Tunneler died, he protected Fiery Hellhound with a promptly Spirit Mantle, making it unblockable again! And that's not enough, because when my Doom Blade got rid of the pesky beast, he had a Peregrine Griffin, a Pacifism for my Assault Griffin, and guess what? A Firebreathing which he could activate for exactly the 5 damage needed for the win. Good game, sir.

3 games won, 2 games lost. Overall, 1-0-1.

I was really raging during and after the last game, and it took a glass of cold, lemon scented tea and a chocolate bar to calm me down. After some minutes, the last round took off...


"Booooooo" for the MTGO client that drank the replay as fast as me when drinking cold tea; the mage I struggled with had a UW fliers and illusion deck. The draft is from two weeks ago, so I don't remember exactly what happened without the help of a replay; I'll try to recollect the pieces in my memory. In this game Gideon's Avenger made his first appearance: the opponent had a lot of fliers on the board, and he attacked me twice before I could take some board advantage with Crown of Empires and with my other creatures. Gideon's Avenger became really huge in this match, helped of course by the little tapping crown. I defeated the player some turns after. The most hilarious play of all time was my Lifelink casted on his Phantasmal Dragon.



I can't really understand what method the client uses when it automatically decides the replays to keep and the replays not to. It's pretty absurd.
However, I should not complain here about the client; there are already infinite rants about it over the web: mine is just another weak voice that joins the chorus.

This has been, by far, the easiest game of the entire draft: the initial threat named Coral Merfolk enchanted by Divine Favor was soon outnumbered and outclassed by my creatures and by my Gideon's Avenger. Sorin's Thirst killed his Phantasmal Dragon; then Doom Blade dealt fine enough against Crumbling Colossus. The next turns, it seemed that my opponent was suffering from a heavy mana flood, while I continued to drop threats on the table (Vengeful Pharaoh, Devouring Swarm and Crown of Empires). Finally luck turned her blinded eyes towards me! Opponent complained about his unlucky draws, mentioning his missing Mind Control, lost among the other 39 cards of his deck. That's bad, dude. I understand you: you should've seen my previous match... 

5 games won, 2 games lost. Overall, 2-0-1.


So, what did I earn at the end of this two hours-long event?

  • 2 Magic 2012 boosters;
  • All the cards I drafted;
  • Improvements in my abilities (since this I ever play with a priority stop on "Begin Combat", I can assure that);
  • Two hours of PURE fun;
  • Five minutes of raging;
  • A glass of ice tea;
  • A chocolate bar;
  • The satisfaction to destroy something with Lifelink.
  • A rare form of phobia against Goblin Tunneler, Fiery Hellhound, Firebreathing and Spirit Mantle.

This is more than enough to state that I have fully enjoyed this draft and that it's worth the tixs spent over it. I am sure I will join other drafts, and who knows? If you like this article, I might decide to write and record videos about them.
Thanks for reading!



I have always had my computer by Alternate at Tue, 10/04/2011 - 16:41
Alternate's picture

I have always had my computer at mute, so I have never heard the music.

So is it weird that it sounds exactly like the original Mario on the Nintendo?

Pledge not to pledge by unspeakable at Wed, 10/05/2011 - 10:08
unspeakable's picture

Not a bad draft, though given some of the cards going late the pod may have been a bit weak. There are two main criticisms I have. First, why do you hate peregrine griffin so much? It's a fine card, yet you passed it by a couple times over weaker picks. Pack 1, pick 5 you took a devouring swarm over it, which makes little sense, since it is very rare to be able to alpha strike with this for the win and a 2/1 flier isn't that great compared to a 2/4 flier with first strike. Pack 2, pick 4 you took a greatsword over it. This is slightly more defensible, as the greatsword can help in the long game, but still I would probably take the griffin since the sword is a bit hard on tempo and the griffin is an excellent common flier and helps cut off white.

The other criticism was your strange love of guardian's pledge. In my opinion, this is really only very useful in a monowhite deck, or one close to that. You took pledge over alabaster mage (alabaster mage is excellent, and much stronger) and also took it over warpath ghoul and siege mastodon, both of which I would prefer to guardian's pledge in your deck, which was more black than white. Given that you passed a call to the grave, you particularly want to watch passing too many zombies like the ghoul. Passing the pledge is not likely to push your neighbor into white.

Finally, as you noted, the real choices in pack 1, p2 were the gravedigger or shock.

Glad your enjoying online drafting and got a couple packs.

Thanks for the feedback! You by WShadow at Wed, 10/05/2011 - 15:26
WShadow's picture

Thanks for the feedback! You are absolutely right: Peregrine Griffin is a good card (and maybe I passed it to the guy who beated me, sigh). About those guardian's pledge... I had fear they could be used against me, so I picked them. Your point convinced me though, I will never make such a mistake again!

I generally try to focus on by Welfare Ninja at Tue, 10/11/2011 - 07:53
Welfare Ninja's picture

I generally try to focus on filling out my deck first before hate drafting the cards that can potentially hurt my deck. The only time I'll reverse this is if I get passed a pack with just a bunch of crap that won't help my deck, even on the sideboard.

Yeah I was screaming SHOCK on by Welfare Ninja at Tue, 10/11/2011 - 07:57
Welfare Ninja's picture

Yeah I was screaming SHOCK on P1 p2 - white/red can be really good. Then I really got depressed after seeing the Volcanic Dragon get passed later on after the jump-to-red boat had already left harbor.

Not a big fan of black/white in general. Too many double-W/B cards in that pairing for my liking. Makes the mana a pain to manage.

Those game noises. by KaraZorEl at Wed, 10/05/2011 - 11:18
KaraZorEl's picture

I forgot just how incredibly annoying those mtgo game noises can be. I turned the sound off in mine and haven't regretted that choice.