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By: draftbetter, Draftbetter
Nov 13 2008 8:16am
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This article is part of an ongoing series on my site: http://draftbetter.com.  Check it out for even more draft recaps and other stuff.

For being rated over 1700, I sure can't seem to get into a 8-4 queue that will actually fire. I again had to jump in the 4-3-2-2 queue due to time constraints. Of course, it's the Shards of Alara queue.

Pack One

Pick One:


Besides the fact that it's worth about nine tickets, it's the most powerful card in the pack and a pretty easy pick. If I want to play it, I do have to consider that I will probably be in Naya or Jund again.

Sarkhan Vol

Pick Two:


Well, with my first pick in, I'm going to try and stay a bit open to what is coming and hope to get a clear signal as to which shard I should be in. The tri-land helps me stay open.

Jungle Shrine

Pick Three:


No better way to stay open than to continue to pick cards that don't commit me to any other colors than what I have. This is a pretty easy choice.

Magma Spray

Pick Four:


Same thinking as above. It's still a pretty easy choice out of this pack.

Hissing Iguanar

Pick Five:


At pick five, the capsule is late and probably the signal I was looking for to branch out.

(Executioners Capsule)

Pick Six:


If I end up with a token generator, I will wan this card over any of the others in this pack.

Bone Splinters

Pick Seven:


Now that I have two of them, I will be actively looking for Saproling or other generators that I can use.

Bone Splinters

Pick Eight:


Why thank you, I do believe I will. Although it was close with the Viscera Dragger.

(Executioners Capsule)

Pick Nine:


Well, a good first eight and a dry ninth pick. Nothing in here that I want or would be afraid to see.

Protomatter Powder

Pick Ten:


I might not want to see this one played against me.

Esper Charm

Pick Eleven:


Sangrite Surge

Pick Twelve:


Probably playing at least one card like this. Plus, it can be a decent with the earlier Bone Splinters that I picked up.


Pick Thirteen:


Late, too late, I'm cutting.

Call to Heel

Pick Fourteen:


I will actually probably play this late gift. The Unearth just gives it enough value to be the top end of my curve.

Undead Leotau

Pick Fifteen:


Pack Two

Pick One:


Well, at least I get a premier removal spell in my opening. Most times I have to settle for something sub-par these days. Easy pick here.

Resounding Thunder

Pick Two:


I didn't get a ton of really playable creatures in the first pack, so I am going to make them a priority. Plus, with the Sarkhan Vol in my pile, I want smallish creatures that can start a rush.

Goblin Deathraiders

Pick Three:


I like this guy a ton, way more than the Blightning.

Rockslide Elemental

Pick Four:


I like it more than the 4-drop flier and I'm pretty sure I won't be playing two of the Leotaus

Goblin Deathraiders

Pick Five:


I was going to counterdraft the Agony Warp or the Esper Battlemageuntil I saw the rare and figured it would be pretty decent.


Pick Six:


There is not much here that I like. I suppose I could take the Cavern Thoctar, but I figured it might be time think about branching into Grixis as there is so many decent cards with blue mana symbols floating by.

Fire-Field Ogre

Pick Seven:


Not much here. I do consider the cycler to be extremely playable and will definitely include him maindeck.

Ridge Rannet

Pick Eight:


Wow, talk about squadoosh. I think I should have counterdrafted the Steelclad Serpent but ended up taking a card I knew would not be in my deck.

Bloodthorn Taunter

Pick Nine:


This is a suprise. Of the cards in the pack, I didn't think this one had a chance of getting back to me. Great with Devour and the Bone Splinters.

Blister Beetle

Pick Ten:


Fantastic! Easy pick.

Carrion Thrash

Pick Eleven:


Not playing two, but there is nothing else in the pack that will harm me.


Pick Twelve:


Wow, these are going late. No one wants to be in black I guess. I'm telling you, these things have value.

Undead Leotau

Pick Thirteen:


Windwright Mage

Pick Fourteen:



Pick Fifteen:


Pack Three

Pick One:


Well, it's not as good as Resounding Thunder, but it does have the possiblity of generating fast starts with a (Goblin Deathraider)

(Souls Fire)

Pick Two:


At this point, I wasn't able to pick up a good token generator, but this guy is good even without them. I still hope to come up with a throw-away creature as well.

Fleshbag Marauder

Pick Three:


This might fit the bill with my previous pick. Plenty of synergy with my deck to have the Thrinax in my pile. This is one of those damned if you do, damned if you don't cards that really ups the creature quality in my my deck.

Sprouting Thrinax

Pick Four:


I had this guy in my last draft, but never had him stick around so that I could untap with him. Also plenty of synergy with my deck so far.

Scavenger Drake

Pick Five:


I actually wish I had more of these, plenty of good used for him.

(Dredgescape Zombie)

Pick Six:


Back to nothing, and so early in the pack. I'll cut a card.

Qasali Ambusher

Pick Seven:


In case I don't get any more fixing or feel that I need it, I'll take the Obelisk over the Goblet

Obelisk of Jund

Pick Eight:


I do have some Devour-able creatures. Not sure if it's maindeckable or not, but in case I do need it, I've got it.

Thorn-Thrash Viashino

Pick Nine:


Wish the tokens didn't require blue mana to generate. I'm pretty firmly committed to not playing with islands at this point. I'll cut again.

Vectis Silencers

Pick Ten:


A late Goblet. Not sure about two of them in my deck at this point, but they are quality.

Onyx Goblet

Pick Eleven:


Wow, that came all the way around. Easy pick and auto-include in my deck even with only half of his abilities playable.

Grixis Battlemage

Pick Twelve:


Welll, at least no one else is playing them against me.

Onyx Goblet

Pick Thirteen:


Coma Veil

Pick Fourteen:


Marble Chalice

Pick Fifteen:


Final Deck

Final Deck

Looking at it now makes me think I should have tried to find a way to have the (Bonesplinters), maybe over the (Ridge Rannet{/card]? I don't know. I do know that I like my deck.


After another pretty bad result in the last draft, I'm hoping to get off of my losing streak. I'm starting at 1718 for this draft and my opponent won't be making my life easy rated at 1783. At least I didn't have to face the 1800+ in the 4-3-2-2 queue this round. Here we go:

r1g1 Open

Two colors, a one-drop and removal. If I get the red mana before too long, I'll have a nice start. I keep and my opponent appears to be playing Grixis and a very controlling version of it. I drop the Deathgreeter on turn one and he gets in for about five damage before I even draw a mountain.


r1g1 Midgame1


I finally do though and take out one of his creatures and put another one down. He then casts Infest wiping the board. I get down the Thrinax and get in a few hits before he kills it and casts another Infest taking out the tokens. He has traded away his removal for my creatures until we are both low on cards and I have my topdecked one creature on the board. Yeah, that didn't work out so well.

r1g1 Midgame2

I do topdeck a creature or two, but his card advantage is too much to overcome and I die to his late creatures.

r1g1 End

Not a very auspicious start. let's see about chaning that around. I side out the Onyx Goblet for a Bone Splinters an in the other Leotau for something that I forget. Here's my game two opener:

r1g2 Open

Not terrible, I hope to have swamps before too long, but I can cycyle the Rannet and I have removal as well. He again has a very slow start and I topdeck and play the Sarkhan vol onto an empty board since I haven't yet drawn a swamp. Now any creature that I draw will be boosted and hasted.

r1g1 Midgame

Unfortunately, I don't draw anything I can play and use the ability again on an empty board. My opponent uses his turn to bounce the Sarkhan back to my hand. I replay him next turn and again use the ability on an empty board. He plays out a (Kederkt Creeper). I finally get a swamp and play out the Thrinax with mana up for Resounding thunder. I use Sarkhan's ability to haste up my guy and will happily trade for the Creeper. Plus if he doesn't trade, I can just kill it and I'm one turn away from firing off the ultimate ability.

He again has bounce for my Sarkhan and taps out for a Hissing Iguanar. I replay the Sarkhan for the third time and play out the Blister Beetle taking out his Iguanar. One Sarkhan activation later and I hit him down to ten life.

He taps out on his next turn for a Steelclad Serpent and I topdeck my sideboarded Bone Splinters and go for the win by Devouring my Thrinax and Beetle then using one of the tokens with the Splinters to take out his Serpent. After Sarkhan does his thing, it's on to game three.

r1g2 End

That was a fortunate draw for me, but maybe I deserved it? Ya, let's go with that. Game three now:

r1g3 Open

This one looks just fine, I keep. I get the Deathraider down and get in a swing before he goes one-for-one with the Infest. I don't have a play on turn four until he taps out to play out a Skeletal Kathari on his fifth turn and I hit it with the Thunder. I get down a freshly drawn Sprouting Thrinax and one attack in before he kills it with an Agony Warp. Instead of letting him Infest them away, I use the (SkullMullcher) to draw three cards and get me a 6/6 all for five mana. Plus, I stll have the Capsule on the board and the Capsule in reserve.

r1g3 Midgame1

I make a kind of big mistake here in playing out some lands when I didn't need to and not playing a creature. I did use the capsule on the board to get through with two attacks before I have to sacrifice it to the Cruel Ultimatum.

r1g3 Midgame2

I discard the land, one of the Leotaus and the Marauder I then draw the Carrion Thrash and choose to play it instead of the other Leotau as I have plenty of mana up in case he kills it. He doesn't and I get to swing with it and an Unearth Leotau into his freshly cast Kederekt Creeper and his retrieved Skeletal Kathari. He chooses to let the Leotau through and I pump it to six power and the Creeper kills the Thrash which I use to get the Sprouting Thrinax back. He then Blightnings me and I have to rediscard it along with the other Leotau.

I draw for my next turn, play out the freshly drawn Goblin Deathraiders and Unearth the other Leotau which is blocked by his second Skeletal Kathari and it dies. He swings me down to six life and plays a Master of Etherium. On my next turn, I kill it with the Capsule and swing in. I figure that if he had removal, he would not have let himself get hit down to one life so he must not have the removal and I gamble with my freshly drawn (Souls Fire). He doesn't have a solution and I pull the match out.

r1g3 End

I have to say that winning that match felt really good. No time to waste though as round two is starting. I've gotten my rating up to 1727 and my opponent for round two has a rating of 1722. Here is my opener in all it's glory:

r2g1 Open

Talk about synergy, an instant keeper. I play the Capsule and the Rockslide Elemental. I then use the the Fleshbag Marauder to take out one of his creatures and himself netting the Elemental two tokens and I swing in for three. On the next turn, I walk right into a Resounding Silence and there goes the Elemental. I play out a Hissing Iguanar leaving mana open to activate the Capsule which I use on his Cloudheath Drake netting me a point of damage.

I get in with a swing from the Iguanar and cast the Carrion Thrash. He answers with a Fatestitcher and I swing in with both creatures. He trades his Akrasan Squire for my Iquanar taking five damge in total and I use the Skullmulcher devouring the Thrash drawing a (Souls Fire) and getting back the Iquanar. I play it out next turn after he taps down the 'mulcher and use the Soul's Fire to kill the Fatestitcher netting me another point of damage from the Iguanar.

He plays a Ranger of Eos fetching another Akrasan Squire and plays it along with another Knight of the Skyward Eye. I attack alone with the 'mulcher and he double blocks and all three creatures die and the Iguanar has now done nine damage all by itself even if it only attacked for three of those. I play out my Goblin Deathraiders and swing into his team with everything killing two of his creatures while all of mine die hitting for three more damage with the Iguanar. Unfortunately, I'm empty handed and he has a full board. I'm going to need one of three different cards that will win this game for me on this draw. It's slightly worse than 6:1 chance. I got there.

r2g1 End

I could have also drawn the Ridge Rannet for another chance at one of those three, but that's a runner-runner situation, not very likely. Game three anyone?

r2g2 Open

Another fine opener, as long as I draw a mountain before too long. My first draw is a mountain and it's off to the races. I put out the turn two Deathraiders and on turn three, before I attack, I put out the Rockslide Elemental. I attack into his Akrasan Squire, happy to trade and deal him two damage as well as put two counters onto the Elemental. His next play is a Ranger of Eos fetching two more Akrasan Squires. I use the Souls Fire to kill the Ranger befor it can attack me putting another counter on the Elemental. I swing for four and play out the newly drawn Carrion Thrash.

He plays out another four drop after his last turn four drop of Outrider of Jhess. I swing with both of my 4/4's and he lets them through and I do the final three damage with a Resounding Thunder.

r2g2 End

That went extremely well, maybe as good as I could ask for. On to the finals where my rating is now sitting at 1735 and my opponent is rated at 1648. I start like this:

r3g1 Open

Hard to throw it back with removal, all my colors and a bonafide bomb, I keep. On turn three, I topdeck a Sprouting Thrinax, but that's after he already has a Steward of Valeron and an Elvish Visionary. His turn four is used to get down an early (Mycolyth). This is going to hurt.

r3g1 Midgame1

I use the Fleshbag Marauder to net myself some serious advantage and swing for three. He put down his Cylian Elf and I put down Sarkhan Vol and the Deathgreeter. I use his ability and swing in for six more damage which goes unblocked. I'm tapped out though and he uses his turn to put a Lightning Talons on his elf and swings in for the kill on Sarkhan. No sweat, I swing back for four damage and he's practically dead.

r3g1 Midgame2

He mounts a good offensive and defensive with a Naya Charm, a Magma Spray and a (Gustrider Exubarant) and manages to swing me down to one life before I can pull the game out.

r3g1 End

Another close one with me on the right side because of cards like the Goblet. On to game two with this opener:

r3g2 Open

It's close, but I have a one and two drop. I will just have to draw the mountain before too long. He manages a very fast start with a Wild Nacatl and a Steward of Valeron. My turn two play of Dregscape Zombie gets Excommunicated and I'm way behind. I use the capsule to kill the Nacatl before I die but it's his turn for an amazingly fast kill as his Mosstodon tramples over for an armload with me still sitting on three land.

r3g2 End

I don't mind being here though. One game win away from winning the whole thing is always a nice place to be. My game three opener:

r3g3 Open1

All my colors, an early drop and removal, easy keeper. I play out the Zombie on turn two and swing. He doesn't block with his Druid of the Anima. I suppose I should have killed it right then as he probably needed it for one reason or the other. I chose to save my removal for his later creatures though. He uses his next turn to play a Metallurgeon and I swing again unblocked. I have now drawn the Magma Spray and I have what amounts to three removal spells in hand.

I use the Resounding Thunder on his Mosstodon and when he attempts to regen his Metallurgeon, I take it out with the Magma spray, all why exchanging my Zombie for his Druid.

I draw my Sprouting Thrinax and swing in for four unblocked damge while he plays out his Gustrider. On the next turn he attacks and cycles Resounding Roar targetting his flier with the triggered abiity, but has practially given me the game as all of his creatures and land are tapped out to get me down to seven life. I swing him down to five on my next attack and afterwards play the (Fleshmbag Marauder) sacrificing the Thrinax generating me three 1/1 tokens and I still have the Carrion Thrash on the board to his 1/2 flier. Oh and I have back up in the Capsule. He plays his Elvish Visionary and concedes by mana burning himself down to nothing.

r3g3 End

I drew a few cards before snapping the endgame picture, but I would have drawn the Iguanar on the next turn and I didn't even need it.


This deck felt pretty good. I was able to come back after a Cruel Ultimatum and win, that's a good sign. Even in the last match where I got low on life, my opponent had to go to extreme measures to get me low at the expense of his own life total, I didn't feel that I was really in danger.

I finish the draft at 1741 with the four packs as prize, plus a nine ticket rare that by the time of this writing, I have already traded away for eight tickets. Not too shabby of a draft. Won't be long for the next one.

Until next time,



by Anonymous(Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 17:26
Anonymous(Unregistered)'s picture

Yes you are right, I should have squeezed in at least one of the Bonesplinters and I probably could have taken out the Goble for it.  Don't just discount the Goblet though, it has it's uses and it worked pretty decent for me this draft.  I have seen it steal seven life points which is significant if you have burn and fast creatures.  But yea, should have had the Bonesplinters in there.

More information by Simon(Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 13:40
Simon(Unregistered)'s picture

I would love it if you gave more information about certain picks. To be honest I suck at drafting and I would never think of drafting a land as my 2nd pick, but now I understand your desire to stay open.

But why would you not pick blightning? What makes it worth less than the 1/1 first striker?

I think it would be great if you elaborated a bit more on some picks, it helps us get more information about what's good!

Bone Splinters by spg at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 14:23
spg's picture

I have to second the Bone Splinters love here.

by draftbetter at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 17:23
draftbetter's picture

Here's the deal with cards like Blightning vs. creatures.  Now do understand, I don't think Blightning is a bad card.  Blightning just doesn't require an answer, it's not a threat and doesn't affect the board.  Sure, you get two cards and three damage, but you lose a card as well.  The Jund cycle of +1/+1 creatures on creature death however, each one of them says "Deal with me or I will kill you."

 As to the lands.  They help you to be more consistant without dropping any power from your deck as they are not spells.  Much more powerful than they look at first glance.

by Francisco(Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 08:48
Francisco(Unregistered)'s picture

This is a nice series.
It seems you are just getting good cards instead of making a deck at P3 P1. The zombie is a lot better for your deck missing creatures and with the splinters.



by Odindusk at Thu, 11/13/2008 - 10:24
Odindusk's picture

Onyx Goblet over Bonesplinters?  Seriously?

Nice deck though, you seem to be at a point where you understand the format for the most part.