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....

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Grand Prix - Ravnica Booster Draft


Date: 4th December

Location: County Hotel

Event: Grand Prix Hasselt Trial (Side Event)

Type: Ravnica Booster Draft

Attending: [1] Me


Got there for just after 4pm, when the side event started, and was the 5th person on the list for the first booster draft. The main event was still being played, but it was die hard Magic players left really, and I recognised at least 3 people from my last Booster Draft, all of them good players, and none I really wanted to play :p

It's odds on really that if you go to a side event at a small tournament, it will be late in the day, all of the 'bad' (and thats not meant to be derogatry in any way) players will be gone, and the first lot of draft players will be good players that had bad (sealed) decks, or players good enough to get to the top 16, but not top 8. So the draft ends up with the bloke I played last time, Rich, a former top player back on the circuit to up his ratings again.

Anyway, after an hour or so after I got there, we started. At 5:20 we had 8 people, and we started off. I opened a booster full of rubbish really, and my rare was on par with Saviours One with Nothing, called Blood Funnel (sacrifice a creature to pay a spell that costs 2 less to play). Faith's Fetters was the first card for me, a card that dosent automatically mark you as white, as its very splashable with all the signets and common duals.

Things didnt get any better for me - I dont remember the next few cards, but did follow Boros colours in red and white. It got more definititive to play those colours when a 4th pick Galvenic Arc came my way, and so I had my colours.

I started to get a little combat trick together (or so I thought) as I picked up 2 Suppression Fields and a Privaledged position (that I could play as white) - thinking I could prevent my creatures being targeted while hampering my opponents, but it buggered up mine as well. Oh well.

The only card I took as a hate draft was a Telling Time - a card that is excellent for a blue player, and there was nothing in the cards that I was given that I wanted, so I took that.

- the deck

So I had Red and White, and had a lot of Boros related cards - I had only one flier, and no Skyknights, but enough cards to go quite quickly, 2 Arcs and 3 Sparksmiths. No bombs at all - as shown below I had 21 common cards.

Land - 16

Creatures - 13

Card of the day - simply one of the best commons in the set

8 x Plains
8 x Mountains

R: Sparkmage Apprentice x 3
R: Goblin Spelunkers x 2
R: Viashino Fangtail
W: Veteran Armourer
W: Screeching Griffin
R/W: Thundersong Trumpter
R/W: Boros Switchblade*
R or W: Boros Recruit x 3

Spells - 11

Art: Boros Signet
Art: Terrarion x 2
W: Faiths Fetters
W: Wojek Siren x 2
R: Galvanic Arc x 2
R: Flash Conscription *
R/W: Rally the Rightousness
G or W: Priviledged Position**

Deck Stats: 40 cards
Colours: Red & White
Breakdown: **Rares: 1, *Uncommons: 2, Commons: 21

- the games

Game One

The games where over quite quickly really, My opponent had a slew of decent rares and a nice few combo cards, and a Woebringer Demon out made me sacrifice any cards I brought out, and I just couldnt do it quick enough. Of course, it wasnt until the last game (it came out twice due to another card that allowed him to search for creatures) that I read it properly to not lay creatures down so it would kill itself.

The first game went badly, and I had lost in about 12 rounds, doing only 5 damage to my opponent. The second game went much better - I had better tempo, started getting damage in early enough, and got him down to 4 life (in fact a Faiths Fetters from my opponent saved him) and then I stalled. He got lots of creatures out, and I went from a position of 26 life to 16, to 11, to 3 to dead in 4 more rounds and I could get past his defenses.

Lost 2 - 0

- hindsight

I sideboarded the Suppression fields out as we started the second game, (not sure what for though) as they hurt me more than my opponent - definatly requires a deck thought around those cards rather than adding them without thinking about the consequences.

I think creature count is important - 13 is too low, 16 is probably a better number, and I think that my more succesful drafts have had a higher creature count. Evasion is VERY important and I should listen to my own advice, Privaledged Position wont kill my opponent but a high casting cost flier will, and a Boros deck with no fliers is pretty poor to be honest.

You really need to play a full 8 person booster to appreciate how tough it is. With the 4 to 6 people that our home grown ones usually are, you have the potential to be the only person in that guild. With 8, its likely to be 2 or 3 people in your guild, and thats tough to make a working deck out of unless each of your next door neighbours are not in your colour. I still dont know how to watch for signals early enough to stay out of my neighbours colour, and with 300+ cards its damm hard to know exactly which common beats which which uncommon which beats which rare, unless you are realy really doing nothing but play Magic all day long and have memorized the entire card list.

If I had the time, I probably could work out what I think is a better card that is missing from a certain slot versus the cards that are left behind, but unless you are playing against 7 top players, you can't factor for the fact that one of the players may be a rare card whore, and doesn't care if he wins or loses, just there to take the most 'valuable' cards. You trying doing that when you have only 30? seconds to work out from 14, 13 or 12 cards which ones could be missing from a pool of 300, and then calculating that you may be better off dropping colours you have chosen as your neighbour could be in the same guild cutting you massively later in the draft. See - bloody difficult....but damm good fun though.....

Magic the Gathering images used without permission, design by me.