||Stuart's MTG Page, or more accurately entitled, "Why am I so bad at sealed deck tournaments?" - Read on to see the painful mistakes or just plain bad luck I have....
Date: 8th October
Location: County Hotel, Russel Square
Event: Ravnica Release Date (Sealed and Booster Draft)
Type: Side event - Booster Draft
Attending: Just me.
Bonus Card: Managed to pick this spiffy looking Dimir Guildmage, an excellent card, and all the better in the way this is foiled. Will fit jolly well in my Dimir deck.
I couldnt make the day's event, but an oppurtunity came up to head over there later in the day to try and get in on a booster draft, so I took it. I had not checked where the event was actually held, which I suppose would have helped me not crash the large and lavish wedding that I did, especially by forcefully opening both doors rather than peeking through one. Cue nearly 100 seated people staring at this rather rude (and hooded - well, it was raining) gatecrasher.
After being helped by the elderly hotel clerk, he told me of the hotel I actually needed, one which was up the road, and so off I trotted, arriving about 8:30pm. The place was a bit sparse people wise at this late hour, and there where maybe 20 people left, and I think that the finals of the main days event was still going on.
Thankfuly finding that 5 people already had their names down for another draft, it took another 20 minutes or so before we got to sit down. The people left where an odd mix of hardened Magic players, and of those, the people that sat down where a mixed bunch - one of which was so drunk he could barely stand, a few on their way to being drunk, and those after cards to bolster their colections. There was also another player drafting while still playing another game, a 13yr kid, and lastly 'Mug' - more on him later.
We sat with boosters, and as the hour was geting late, a few people (Mug being the more vocal) were calling for speed games of 15 seconds per card. I am assuming he meant thats how long you get before you have to pass it on, and in some cases thats all I need, but I would prefer not to rush amongst those present. At least three of them I 'knew' (well, educatingly guessed anyway) where good players, and I am sure the drunk had beaten me very convincingly in a previous tournament - although he was'nt drunk at the time.
Anyway, we started, and with boosters moving round I picked out a Boros card (sorry, even though I am typing this the next day I dont recall the first card). Based on my previous drafts and seeing how quickly the games can go, I had decided before I even got there that I would try and draft the Red/White or Green/White guilds. Dimir (Black/Blue) is too slow for booster in my opinion even though I like the colours and cards, and I have no real experience of Black/Green, although I know there are some nice big cards which can come out with Convoke very quickly, or back from the graveyard with Dredge.
So again Boros was my choice. I think I now have a good knowledge of the common and uncommon cards of the set that can be useful, which did help. It also helped me that not many people seemed to be drafting either of these colours, and my overall selection reflects that. By the end of the first pack the drunkard was struggling with his cards, and Mug, sitting next to me had started to annoy me, along with his little 13 year old mate on my other side, who was constantly saying to him "....do you want this one?" or "...is this worth anything?" and passing cards across me to each other. So I told him to stop in my own special way, a polite version though - with something along the lines of "...you want to sit next to him so you can communicate better?" added in for good measure. For reference, Mug was not 13, he was at least 20.
To explain, 'Hate' and 'Rare' drafting is ok when you are doing it for a reason, ie to prevent an off colour bomb being passed to an opponent who in turn will hammer you with it, but to do it because you are rare whoring or purely to take all the cards that have a potentially high trade value is not on - even more so when doing it openly between 2 people ffs.
Pack two came to me, and I ahem, 'hate' drafted, passing some not bad (ie useable but nothing gamewinning) red and white cards in favour of a Tolsmir Wolfblood, the rare White/Green card that gives other colour friendly creatures bonuses and can churn out little 2/2 legendary wolfs (see - a good reason). Mug makes a few comments about Drunk, and Drunk's mate says dont worry, he will still win - and I dont disbelieve him.
Then came the hiccup - somehow the drunk bloke, who had lots of piles stacked up, mixed up his piles and passed on 2 cards instead of 7. Trouble was, he had a little helper that one of his mates sent away in case other people in the draft thought he was getting extra help, and thus everything went tits up.
The Judge was called, and going through his pile of 25 odd cards, couldnt work out which where off colour, and so decided to randomly take 7 cards from his pile. His mate wanted to confirm with everyone that this was ok, and I asked if their was a better way rather than to potentially take 7 good cards which could destroy the deck before it was started, but the drunk couldnt for definate point out the cards he hadnt taken.
Once sorted, we carried on, and depending on what way you look at things, he passed on loads of crap and all commons, which was fine by me. I continued to get more cards, all helpful, and we moved onto the third pack. Half way through, I looked out the corner of my eye, and it appeared that Mug was looking at the cards in my hand. I had enough at this point, as the pair were still communicating once or twice even after my word earlier. This time, I wasnt polite. "Are you f**king sure? What are you doing? First you are passing stuff across me, now you are looking at my cards. And you and your little mate are still f**king communicating. Are you done now?"
With many repeated "Sorry, sorry..." he shuts up, and the Drunks mate opposite me gives a cheery wink. Draft all done, we move off to sort our decks. In all the cards, I only ended up with 5 off colour cards (nigh on impossible normally) and plus I chose 3 of them. I did well for Rares though, somehow I managed to get the below cards, when normally I never get any rares at all in draft.
Cards not used: Rares: 3, Uncommon: 7, Common: 12 (inc 1 x Foil)
I had some very nice cards come my way. Alot of the common cards with Boros are quick and powerful, with haste, vigalence and first strike and very easily put together. I was very happy to pick up Galvanic Arc, Skynight, Trumpeter and Rally - all of which have been staple cards in my decks to date. I was lucky to have 3 Signets as well to accelerate mana - not that I needed it as not one of my cards had a casting cost of 5 or more. One of my bombs was Concerted Effort - if I my creatures had an ability, then ALL my creatures had the ability. In a deck with Fliers, Haste, Vigalence, and Doublestrike, it would help slightly....
One of the other Boros rares, and potential bomb, Searing Meditation, I had to leave out as I knew it would mostly be left in my hand useless, but a deck worked round it would be a killer. Basically if I gain life, I can pay 2 mana and blast a creature or player for 2 damage, but I only one creature that could give me life.
I made some changes during the games as I removed a Seed Spark (to get rid of artefact or enchantment), replacing it with a Leave No Trace (to remove multiple same colour enchantments) instead, and also added another plains, removing a second Votary, which I only added as I thought I needed more single casting creatures.
Simply an amazing card, especially combined with Double Strike.
Plains x 8
Mountains x 9
R: Wojek Embermage*
R: Viashino Slasher
R: Sparksmith Apprentice
R: War Torch Goblin
W: Courier Hawk x 2
W: Votary of the Conclave
R/W: Skynight Legionnare
R/W: Sunhome Enforcer*
R/W: Thundersong Trumpter x 2
R/W: Boros Swiftblade*
RorW: Boros Recruit
R: Incite Hysteria
R: Breath of Fury**
R: Galvanic Arc
W: Leave No Trace
W: Conclaves Blessing
W: Concerted Effort**
R/W:Rally the Righteousness
Art: Boros Signet x 3
Deck Stats: 40 cards
Breakdown: **Rares: 2, *Uncommons: 3, Commons: 18
Played against the bloke who was drafting while still playing another game with his mate, and he was playing Black/Green.
My first match went badly, by turn 5 I had 3 land and 3 creatures, and on his turn he killed off my Trumpter with a black creature that gave -2/-2 to something when it came into play. His tempo was supurb, and he soon had a 5/5 trampler ready and raring to go. 5 swings from that and the rest if his army took me to zero and I hadnt even touched him.
Game two was better, and I started to ping him slowly to death with a Courier Hawk, then dropped Concerted Effort. With the other creatures I had down, I now had three First Striking, Flying, Vigalance creatures and was gaining life with Sunhome. I was prevented from finishing him off at one point as I only had 1 mountain and no Signets, and with the cards I had, I can only do 10 damage out of the 11 life he has. Luckily I am in no real trouble, and so wait rather than attack for 10 leaving myself open, and two rounds later, he is dead, and I have 22 life.
So down to the wire for game three. He starts to hit me first, and I continue to ping him from the air, and then I manage to get both Trumpters out to prevent his big creatures from attacking. Then Sunhome cames into play again, and I managed to get ahead in the life race, and so he continued to attack with everything he had to try and break down my defences. I dont know if he had a card like Rally, but I never saw one, and once I got Breath of Fire on my one flier, I attacked, untapped everything due to its relentless assualt type effect, attacked again and won.
Result: Won, 2-1
This game was watched by the Judge, and I was playing the Drunks mate (the Drunk, by the way, had beaten his opponent, who happened to be the Mug, which is quite ironic.) Game one went very well for me, Trumpeter out early enough to stop a bigger creature, and I held my Sparksmith and Arc until I could cast them both to remove the attacking 5/4 creature he had out.
A Faith's Fetters buggered my Trumpter for a round until I dispelled it with Leave No Trace, and I continued to hit him with a Courier Hawk, Boros Swiftblade and Viashino Slasher. Stopping his best creature from blocking, my Trumpter receives another Faith's Fetters, and a slightly miscalculated (on my part) Rally on the creatures took him to 1 life from 13. Sacrificing one of his creatures to manipulate my library, he drew 3 cards instead of 2 by mistake, and conceeded rather than play out the next turn.
For game Two I had a lot of land and a couple of little creatures. I then drew nothing but land, attacking with a single creature for 1 a round, but luckily my opponent also had noting on the board. Later I found he had a hand full of 5 casting cost creatures with 3 mana, while I had 8 mana and a Signet on the board with land in my hand. Finally managed to draw some creatures, and Courier Hawks, Skynights, Boros Swiftblade and Thundersong won the game for me.
Result: Won 2-0
It was about 10 past 11, and so we where past the time (11 O'Clock) when the hotel where to kick us out. No Final was played, and so me and the other finalist both got 4 boosters each (normally the winner would get 5, 2nd place getting 3). The other finalist? Yep, you guessed it, Drunk bloke, who coincidently played a Red/White deck. I am glad I didnt play him to be honest, becasue a) he prolly would have beat me anyway, b) a load of my tricks wouldnt work, and c) he would be able to repeat them back against me anyway.
None that I could think of really - loved the cards I drafted, and it would have been better to grab the Helix I saw go by, but Concerted Effort I thought was the better card for me out of the two. I had only a few 1 casting cost creatures, but plenty of two casting costs, so I think my mana was good, and as mentioned, nothing I had was more than 4 anyway.
I was chuffed to bits to win both matches, especially against the last bloke, who during the match was chatting to the judge (who knew him) and revealed (after the game) that he used to be the UK No 1's Limited player. He was halfcut, and possibly had tunnel vision after playing for 10 hrs straight, and in another tournament I probably would have been slaughtered, but I will take my victory with pride thankyou very much.
Missed out on a little combo that I saw as I wrote this page, just adding the +0/+2 for each other creature to the Vishi thing would have been a cheap pumpable creature, and the Relentless assualt card combined with Rally would have been nice as the +2/+0 bonus lasts till end of turn, not just the first attack.
Once again the card sleeves were Summer Blue - looks like my lucky sleeves at the moment.
Got 4 boosters for my wins, and huragh, after the equivalent of 25? boosters that I have gone through in this set, I get my first Dual Land, and quite appropriatly, its the Boros Red and White one. Huzzah!
Magic the Gathering images used without permission, design by me.