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By: draftbetter, Draftbetter
Nov 24 2008 7:15pm
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This article is part of an ongoing series at my site draftbetter.com.  Check it out for even more walkthroughs and other MTGO stuff.

More Shards of Alara goodness coming your way. I've been having fun with this set let's see what kinds of fun there is to get into this time.

Well, for every 8-4 I seem to get into, I have to do one at the 4-3-2-2 as well. I didn't have a bunch of time for this draft so I got in the queue that was guaranteed to fire in a reasonable time. Let the games begin.

Pack One

Pick One:


Looking at the pack there is two possible choices. The flying vigilant 3/4 for four mana or the removal. Honestly, I've been wanting to try out the Bant shard for a while and this seemed like a good excuse to try it out.

Stoic Angel

Pick Two:


Since I've kind of committed myself with my first pick, I will go ahead and stay in the theme for now. I am kind of bummed that I won't be able to take either of the Grixis Charms as they are very decent removal spells.

Bant Battlemage

Pick Three:


Of all the Ultimatum spells, the Bant one is the worst for limited play, I'll go ahead and pass on it taking the very excellent flier.

Waveskimmer Aven

Pick Four:


If I have nothing but fliers, Branching Bolt won't be able to hit as a two-for-one.

Kathari Screecher

Pick Five:


Lot's of good cards, but I like that if I have multiples of this guy out, one can attack for a bunch while another hold down the fort with it's high toughness.

Waveskimmer Aven

Pick Six:


So far, I have tried to cut blue pretty good. Sure I let the Charms through, but they aren't my shard so I should be OK. I don't see a reason to take anything but the Capsule here.

Courier's Capsule

Pick Seven:


Ah, perfect fixing. As much as I like the Filigree Sages, I'm not in the right deck to take advantage of them. I will definitely be able to use this fixing though.

Bant Panorama

Pick Eight:


It's not amazing, but it fits for my deck and maybe lets me get down those Skimmers a turn early.

FOIL Steward of Valeron

Pick Nine:


Not much left from my opening pack. There is a counter spell that I can use, possibly.


Pick Ten:


Is it just me, or does no one like b/r? I personally have had good luck with Jund and Grixis so seeing the Deathraiders this late seems odd to me. There certainly isn't anything else in the pack that I am going to much afraid of.

Goblin Deathraiders

Pick Eleven:


Perfect card at the right time.


Pick Twelve:



Yoked Plowbeast

Pick Thirteen:


Purely cutting.


Pick Fourteen:


Behemoth's Herald

Pick Fifteen:


Pack Two

Pick One:


Decent cards here and that's the first time I have seen this particular Mythic rare. Too bad. I like the Ambusher and the tapper. I figure I'll get more mileage out of the tapper and maybe the Ambusher will come around.


Pick Two:


Knowing how good this guy can be, there is no reason to pass it if I am in green. My opponents removal will just make him better.

Algae Gharial

Pick Three:


I am getting a bit top-heavy, but getting to five mana hopefully won't be a problem and I know if I have more than one of these guys rolling, I should be in good shape.

Waveskimmer Aven

Pick Four:


Just the guy I was looking for. I can combo it with the Capsule I picked up earlier, or maybe one of his brothers that I will hopefully pick up later in the draft.

Sanctum Gargoyle

Pick Five:


OK, so if I stick with my colors so far, I will only get to use one half of his abilities. Maybe it will be relevant anyway and if removed early, could be a Sanctum Gargoyle target.

Esper Battlemage

Pick Six:


I thought about taking a second capsule, but I thought that if I had some exalted stuff going, this guy would hurt badly and it wouldn't take much set up to get it there.

Jhessian Infiltrator

Pick Seven:


I actually was hoping to have this guy in my deck to help stop faster rushes or start fast rushes of my own.

Cylian Elf

Pick Eight:


Also a maybe.

Jungle Weaver

Pick Nine:


Decent sideboard card against an Esper deck.

Steelclad Serpent

Pick Ten:


I re-read the rare again and noticed it was basically an Upheaval that leaves behind a 5/5 body. If it gets cast, it seems likely to win the game. Even if I don't play it, I think I should take it here.

Kederekt Leviathan

Pick Eleven:


I already have the Naturalize so I'll try the counter spell that cycles.

Spell Snip

Pick Twelve:


Coma Veil

Pick Thirteen:



Pick Fourteen:


Volcanic Submersion

Pick Fifteen:


Pack Three

Pick One:


This was a tough pick for me. On one hand, I have a Wrath of God that hits one turn late and is better if I have artifacts on board. Not the best, but not terrible either. Or, I have the always excellent O-Ring. I figured that between the two, the WoG actually won in a battle and decided to give it a try.


Pick Two:


Well, it's removal, something I'm lacking pretty badly right now.

Resounding Silence

Pick Three:


Late stingers, grrr. At least I have some psuedo removal.

Bant Charm

Pick Four:


I have an Exalted sub-theme running plus, this guy will help stop fast rushes.

Guardians of Akrasa

Pick Five:


Two mana guys, and they help with me being somewhat aggro at this point.

Steward of Valeron

Pick Six:


I wanted to take the Kiss of the Amesha here, but figured that this particular battle trick would be good in my deck that is a lot more smallish fast creatures.

Sigil Blessing

Pick Seven:


Another late Grixis Charm. I'll go with the Archers, always good and help my deck in a number of ways.

Court Archers

Pick Eight:


This guy seems like a perfect fit for my deck.

Knight of the Skyward Eye

Pick Nine:


Now we are getting down to it. Not much, but I'll take what I can get.

Sighted-Caste Sorcerer

Pick Ten:


More bleh. I haven't had experience with the Skill Borrower though so maybe I made the wrong choice.

Sunseed Nurturer

Pick Eleven:


Probably not playing, but hard to pass on it now.

Rockcaster Platoon

Pick Twelve:


Way too late for this guy.

Skeletal Kathari

Pick Thirteen:



Pick Fourteen:


Lush Growth

Pick Fifteen:


Final Deck

Final Deck

A metric ton of creatures, at least they are mostly good and I even have some vigilant guys to go with my first pick. If it gets going, it will be hard to stop. I put the 'glass in to reset a board that I let get out of control.


If you've been following the series, you know from my last draft that I got my rating down to 1733. I'll be facing down an opponent rated at 1591 for round one. Here we go:

r1g1 Open

Not good, but hard to mull on the draw. One Forest and I'm rocking hard. I keep on the draw and lucksack into a Forest for turn two. I play out the Infiltrator and start swinging. I get down my other drops including the Gharial for turn four. My opponent's board is not looking good already.

r1g1 Midgame1

He manages to throw up some defenses though and I put him in a bad situation.

r1g1 Midgame2

He does a good job of killing my guys though and it takes me a few turns to get there, but I do get there as he doesn't really have that last answer.

r1g1 End

I sided out the Naturalize as I didn't see a single target for it. I put in the Spell Snip because of it's versatility and it's on to game two where I start like this one:

r1g2 Open1

Not even two colors, it will be hard to cast my two drops let alone my other spells, down to six:

r1g2 Open2

Much nicer mana spread with a nice two-drop and some removal, I'll keep it and just draw more guys as they are so prevelant in this deck. I get in a swing or two with the Knight before he throws down a Kederekt Creeper. I don't want to waste my mana on pumping it just for an exchange so I don't attack into it until I get guys that will fly over.

r1g1 Midgame

I've got all the necessary tools for the win, and when he plays out a Thunder-Thrash Elder devouring all of his creatures to make a 10/10 I show him the bad news that is Bant Charm and it's all over.

r1g2 End

For a mull hand, that turned out alright. It's on to round two now. I got my rating up a few points to 1738 and I will face down a veteran opponent rated at 1763 for round two. Here's my opener:

r2g1 Open

Seems fine to me. I will eventually draw that Island and I will be rocking. I get down some creatures and get in some damage while I get Blightninged on turn three discarding a couple of blue spells as I have yet to draw the Island. I finally do though but my opponent has a pretty decent board presence.

r2g1 Midgame1

I'm not doing too bad though, I swing him down to five mana and demand an answer to my five power of flying. He has it in the form of a cycled Resounding Thunder taking out my Angel and doing me a ton of damage thanks to the crazy ability of that Mythic rare. I still have him dead on the next turn and I have the capsule as well as my next draw to help out if I can get there.

r2g1 Midgame2

He swings with everything and I chump the big guy with my flier and he neglects to pump his green fireball and casts out a flier that is two fliers in one. I still have those three cards coming though thanks to his mis-play, but they are not the kind of cards that help me and I lose.

r2g1 End

Looking back, there was a turn where I could have Unearthed the Screecher and got in a couple more points of damage, but maybe my opponent would have done something differently if I had played differently. I only saw the play looking back on it afterwards.

Let's hope game two goes just a bit better. I start out best yet:

r2g2 Open

I have the Battlemage on turn three and I get Blightninged and I have the Fatestitcher on turn four when I get Blightninged again emptying my hand. I have gas on the board though and my opponent is going to have to come up with something. He does have a bunch of cards in hand to do it. So far, I have drawn OK, but nine land seems a bit much for this early in the game.

r2g2 Midgame

I continue to swing daring him to use removal so that he can grow my Gharial. He pulls another one out of the hat though and puts me in a position where I have to use the Scourglass the turn after I play it just to stay alive. I again get him down one life but I am unable to punch through and he has just the thing to get me down to nothing.

r2g2 End

That was two very tight games that might have gone a different way with just a bit more luck.


Rough loss there. A very mentally draining match that I am sure I gave away looking back on it. But, hindsight is 20/20 as they say and I'm not going to dwell on it now. I end the draft at 1730 losing a few measly points all told. I do get the two packs as prize to help soothe my feelings. I think I could have won that first game if I had slowed down to think it out a little more than I did. I hope this teaches me a lesson. for the next draft.

Until then,



by draftbetter at Thu, 11/27/2008 - 12:06
draftbetter's picture

This article does prove that I have a lot to learn about the Bant shard.  I have been sticking with the shards that actually have removal and will definitely admit that I didn't know what I was doing when I was drafting.  It lead to some sub-par picks.

I did have a few moments in game where I saw the power of the shard and hopefully using everyone's advice and this experience will lead to a better draft if I do it again.

by MadtownLems at Wed, 11/26/2008 - 10:15
MadtownLems's picture

p1p1 Agony Warp is the pick, but whatever, let's evaluate the rest of the draft based on the Angel.
p1p2 should be Druid of the Aenima, but I can accept Squire.  Battlemage is after both of those, sigil blessing, and frankly, about 3 other cards in the pack
p1p4 take the vigilant bear.  Most bant decks willl only splash blue, and you're not very heavily commited yet.  Could easily splash angel with a pair of panoramas, and I'd have the rgw elf here promoting naya anyway
p1p5 just take Mostodon.  it's 5 power for 5 mana, and if the trample is VERY relevant even if you stick in Bant
p1p6 Jungle Weaver. This guy is the nuts and should make your green deck every freakin' time
p1p8 woot. you should have 3 mana elves at this point, looking at a 16 land deck, which will be nice
p1p10 take the cycler - you *should* still be looking at naya

p2p1 Ambusher > fatestitcher
p2p3 mostodon #2.  you should have 3 mana elves and 2 of these guys by now
p2p5 panorama
p2p6 squire.  you should only have 1 blue card you're pumped about at this point, why take a 2 drop with blue in it?
p2p10 cylian elf

p3p1 o-ring o-ring o-ring... not even close
p3p2 skeletonize. you should have mana elf, and look to pick up a naya panorama if you can
p3p3 branching bolt
p3p4 panorama
p3p6 court archers > *
p3p11 jund panorama

Bant drafting by McCombs at Wed, 11/26/2008 - 00:22
McCombs's picture

Draft Better! You know I love your work. I've already commented at your main site on your picks so I will just support your work here and say keep up the great posts and please, please, please give Bant another shot soon! I love this shard!

by solebush(Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 11/25/2008 - 16:55
solebush(Unregistered)'s picture

Great read overall so I hope I don't sound too nitpicky....

You spread yourself out between the 3 colors way too much without valuing the fixers high enough. I think you either need to pass more playables for those fixers or stick closer to 2 colors.

Going into pack 3, you were most concentrated in blue, with a few early drops in green. However, you went heavy on white and white/green for all of pack 3 without taking any fixers. You ended up almost evely spread between the 3 colors, and this resulted in an extremely shaky mana base (as we saw in some of your opening draws). You could have avoided with a few of your picks:

p1p2 - take the mana elf here, even if you don't end up splashing red, fixer for two of your colors + acceleration is great in this format. Much better than the marginally playable battlemage, or any of the other options at this point so early in the draft.

p1p5 - I'd consider visionary or mostodon here, a third tricolour card so early is asking for mana trouble if you dont find the fixers

p1p8 - you've taken enough blue cards taht its clear it will be tough to cast this guy on t2. Take the panorama or the obelisk. With the obelisk and the mana elf from p2, you can almost support a "free" red splash if anything splashworthy comes your way.

p2p5- that panorama had your name all over it, especially since the battlemage loses alot of value without the black.

p2p7 - I know pingers are a concern in this format, but maybe lookout is the more suitable 2-drop for your mana right now.

p3p1 - at this point pretty much all your best spells are blue and you have some early drops that are green. Especially without fixers, oblivion ring is far easier on your mana base than scourglass. They are close enough power wise that i think o-ring is the clear pick.

p3p4 - especially since you haven't taken the fixing earlier in the draft this bant panorama should only be passed for an absolute bomb.

The rest of the way, you keep getting deeper and deeper into both green and white and end up almsot equally into blue white and green. I think if you didn't take the fixing, at least you had to chose either green or white, and make the picks accordingly even if you lost some power.

In the final build you could also have compensated a bit by cutting the blue battlemage and naturalize for an extra plains (i think you absolutely needed 18 lands with these mana requirements) and the green cycler (to try to smooth things out a bit more). I possibly would have cut a couple more blue cards and an island, which is tough because these are your best cards, its jst that I don't see any way of  leaving green or white out of your main colors the way your picks ended up going.

by Xiko(Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 11/25/2008 - 10:22
Xiko(Unregistered)'s picture
P1-P9 - Angelsong is better
P2-P2 - Alghae is better in jund, you already have a  capsule and the gargoyle flyes, go with the gargoyle
P2-P5 - Panorama
P2-p6 - Kiss of Amesha for sure, that cars is very very good in bant
Necrogenesis 14? 4-3-2-2 still amazes me. See the games you played alghae, the gargoyle would do a lot of damage.
I would have mulled that hand without islands, you have 6 ways to get a island in the deck, 33/6 or 18%.
In the last game that algae should have been a gargoyle, returning the capsule and negating blightning.
by Odindusk at Tue, 11/25/2008 - 10:11
Odindusk's picture

I don't have a problem with forcing Bant, because I love that shard in draft.  However I disagree with quite a few of your picks!


P1 P2: this is the pick I most strongly disagree with.  You ALWAYS take the Squire over the extremely subpar Bant Battlemage.  That battlemage is like 6 tiers below all the others and I pump the fist when I see my opponent drop that card into play.  Besides, it will table.  I promise.  Squire is an amazing 1-drop.

P2 P5: Bant Panorama over Esper Battlemage.  I don't think this guy does a whole lot for your deck without black mana.  You're about halfway through the draft.  Time to start fixing that mana or you will pay for it later.  

P2 P6: It's funny to me that you don't even mention taking the Squire here, yet you consider the unblockable guy and the Courier's Capsule, where I would slam the Squire over both of those.  It's a close pick, but I think you vastly underestimate this 1-drop, especially in a Bant deck. 

P3 P1: Would take the O-ring over the Scourglass.  Just preference.  A single white mana being part of the reason.  I would prefer spot removal over board removal.  

P3 P4: You have to consider the Bant Panorama here, but I can't fault you for taking the 3-drop defender.  It's a great card.  


Thanks again for another walkthrough!