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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Home Booster Draft

Date: 28th October

Location: My House

Event: Booster Draft

Type: Time Spiral Booster Draft

Attending: [5] Me, Mike, Rob, Keith, Dave H,

This draft was different to the others, in the fact that we where keeping all of the cards we drafted, rather than the spare cards going to the winners. We all paid £10, and the extra cash left over from buying the boosters bought a few prizes in the form of a few boosters as well as the contents of a fat pack to divide out.

Unfortunatley, we could'nt get a sixth person, so we all splashed a few extra quid buying the remaining boosters (from Keith who had thankfully supplied the funds for most people to pay in the first place) to have more prizes instead. We had the prizes *woohoo!* listed below, as well as having 5 boosters to play another game (detailed below).

  • Game One Prizes: Fat Pack boxes, dividers and land or 2 x TS Boosters
  • Game Two Prizes: TS Book, Dice, Coldsnap Common set or 2 x TS Boosters

There was no rolling for the table seating this time as people just plonked themselves down (after eating a fine mess of chips from the local chipshop) and after rolling to see who picked the first of their three booster packs, the rest where picked clockwise until we all had three each.

For the pairings, I found Magic cards that started with an 'A', a 'B' etc, and dealt them out, and that gave a random pairing for the matches, as well as seeing who had the first bye.

Table Seating
Pairings
Dave >
Mike >
< Rob
A) Stuart, B) Rob, C) Mike

D) David, E) Keith

< Keith
< Stuart
- the design

My opening first pack was terrible. I had a Nicolas Bolas as my Time Shifted, and a Squall Line as my Rare, and nothing very over whelming as the rest of the picks in the pack. So I took the Crookclaw Transmuter. A Flying 3/1 for 4 mana that can kill most of the wall type creatures as it comes into play is admitidly not a bad start. My better second Pick was the Lightning Bolt type Lightning Rift, and then for the rest of the pack I was sent a ton of black removal.

The way we are currently playing makes a huge difference to drafting, really examining every card to measure its own merits within a set. For example Assassinate, a 3cc black card that kills a tapped creature. If you think of older sets, this costs far too much, as if I had a Royal Assassin, I could do it every round! But this is a common card, targets black (which black removal cannot always do) and doesn't care about power or toughness requirements. More or less my next 5 or 6 picks for the pack all where black removal or red burn, and so I settled happily into red and black splashing blue, taking another blue flier along the way as I finished the first pack.

My next pack start was again not that strong, and I went with the blue flier that could boost my other fliers - well, the other two I had at that time. Keith then passed my pack 2 pick 2 cards, and I was more than happy to take a Sengir Nostferatu to join my team. Later I found that he had the Sengir and a foil Nether shadow to choose from, and he just knew that I would grab the other Black rare (despite him not knowing I was playing Black, but it was not that hard to guess) but the lure of the spangle card was too strong. Little did he know of the trouble the Sengir would cause him later :p

The pack finished off with more creatures to join my already strong picks.

Pack Three, I started with Ignite memories. I like the Storm Mechanic very much, and hoped I could make good use of the fact that most people get mana screwed, and have high casting cost creatures and spells waiting in their hands. Pack two once more I am sent a jolly nice card indeed in the form of a Plague Sliver, giving me an aggressively 4cc 5/5 creature that shuts down other slivers. To his credit, Rob did take an on pick card, Children of Kolis, which when used correctly, can swing life totals nicely in your favour.

I had no real dilemma's in any card choices so far, and most packs went very well indeed, but I know I passed some good cards including the blue 4/4 flying suspend, and a Urborg Syphon Mage (a potential game winner in 2HG that we where possibly going to play later) in favour of more removal and strong creatures. While others at the table joked about poor picks or unsure how their decks where going to fair, I was very happy, even after being in three colours after my first three picks.

There where a few cards that I took ‘deliberately' with no intention of playing in this game, including such gems as Flagstones of Trokair and Mystic Snake, but both came round as 5th or 6th picks in their respective packs, and I did not lessen my own deck strength in taking them. Yes, I am a Rare Whore and proud of it!

Note: The below deckist is what it looked like after the 4th pack (see below)

- the deck
Land - 17 Creatures - 15

Toss up between Ignite, which won me three games I played, or Sengir Nosferatu, who just produced a groan from my opponent :)

 

  • Island x 4
  • Swamp x 5
  • Mountain x 6
  • Molten Slagheap
  • Terramorphic Expanse
  • [Blue]
  • Looter il Kor
  • Crookclaw Transmuter
  • Fledging Mawcor
  • Sage of Epityr
  • Errant Ephemron
  • [Red]
  • Keldon Halberdier x 3
  • [Black]
  • Plague Silver
  • Sengir Nosferatu
  • Shadow Guildmage
  • Urborg Syphon-Mage
  • Trespasser il-Vec
  • Corpulent Corpse x 2
Spells - 12
  • [Art]
  • Serrated Arrows
  • [Black]
  • Assassinate x 2
  • Premature burial x 2
  • [Red]
  • Conflagrate
  • Sudden Shock
  • Lightning Axe x 2
  • Rift Bolt x 2
  • Ignite Memories
Deck Stats: 44 cards
Colours: Red/Black splashing Blue
- the games

Game One - Rob

Rob was playing Black, Green and White, with Rebels and Eyes. He would search for more rebels and put them into play, and then let his pair of Eyes move in and kill anything I would put in their way. Unfortunately for him, I hardly ever blocked, and Lightning Rifts, Lightning Axes, and Assassinates killed the Eyes and anything else that came my way.

Both Games were close (I was at 9 life at the end of each game) but my deck worked very well.

Won 2-0

Game Two - Mike

In the first game, I never managed to draw anything that helped me, and Mike, playing White fliers and Green Fat quickly took me down with a pair of white fliers. I managed to get a few hits in, but he bolstered his life and ended the first game with 17 life to my zero.

Match Two went better for me, and we traded a few hits here and there, but Mike could not get through, and so Squalled the board away for 7. We then both drew nothing but land for a good 5 turns, until I get a small creature down to start nibbling away at Mike, before I hit him with a Stormed Ignite Memories for two. He reveals the only two cards he has, Tromp the Domains and another high cc spell, and loses.

Match Three was far more one sided to me. Anything he laid was removed by black or red, my creatures start hurting him very quickly, and when he was down to 7 life, I double Stormed an Ignite Memories again. He reveals two Tromp the Domains, swears loudly, and loses.

Won 2-1

Game Three - David

In the first game, David starts off strong, and lays creatures and the black artefact mana/creature. I sit on a full hand and no small creatures, and pick off a creature here and there, waiting for him to attack with the artefact creature (a 5/5 trampler, but with a severe drawback of sacrificing perminants equal to the damage dealt to it.) He does, walks straight into a Lightning Axe and sacrifices all his permanents...

I start to lay down my creatures, and over the next few rounds attack as he discards due to no mana.

Daves second game was not good either. He muliganed to 5 cards, but managed to claw things back with his Brass Gnats and the Swarmyard as regenerator. This was not enough, and with some of my bigger and more evasive creatures, he dies shortly afterwards.

Won 2-0

Game Four - Keith

My notes for this first game are simply "mana screwed and overwhelmed quickly." Keith had more suspend blokes than I did at this point, and with white fliers and green fat took just 5 attacks to kill me off.

The second game was very close indeed, as although I took only a few swings to get him down to 6, he had already worn me down with little creatures to 7 life - admittidly I had taken 4 damage from my own Sliver at this point, and with a suspend 4/4 flier due next turn, I caught up in the damage race and then overtook, getting the last damage I needed to win.

Game Three was slow for both of us, as we sat behind lands and no creatures until one by one we started to lay cards to progress the game. With Keith at 15 life, and me at 14, he launches a 14 point Squall, but I have a grapeshot in hand, and we drawn the match.

Game Four. Even less written from me, a mere squiggle of a sad face being my notes. Keith had 20 life still as well, so I would imagine he went turn one, suspend green fat, turn two suspend green fat, turn three suspend blue flier, turn four two suspend white fliers, a few turns later as Stuart looks at the nothing he has on the board or in hand, dead. I cant complain about the way he rolled over me, as I did this myself to a few people, and I suspect that Suspend cards will be placed more highly by people next time.

Lost 2-1

- the final

With Myself, Keith and Mike all winning 4 out of 5 games, we had a multiplayer final. As time was pressing, it was decided that we would play just one game, and the first out would be placed third, the second at second obviously, and the Winner....you get the idea.

I wont bore you with the details of the first 10 minutes of the game, as a certain person was absolutely hammered for mana, sulked like a small child, and was just plain embarrased at being kept alive as he was of no threat whatsoever. Once I was out, I started recording the play:

Keith with Green and white creatures in play has one flier, and attacks with all his creatures.

Mike re-assigns damage and blocks well, flashing in the 2 headed blocker, taking 2 damage and losing no creatures.

Mike casts Tromp the Domains and attacks with creatures including the Fungus bolstered by the Fungus Legend, and Keith takes his first damage of the game.

Keith attacks just with his 2/2 flier

Mike Tromps the Domains again, with a now 12/12 trampling Fungus and another creature, and Keith goes to 5.

Keith has been tapping down creatures with his rebel to stop them from attacking, and attacks with a forest walker and the 2/2 flier, putting Mike on 8.

Mike 5 point Squalls the win.

Mike racks up another three points and takes the fat pack boxes, while Keith coming second, chooses two boosters for his prize.

- hindsight

I am obviously going to lead off by saying the only games that I lost where down to mana problems, which is true, but is a bit cocky. And seeing as how I cant attribute mana 'all the time' as a source of my failing due to luck, I will have to look back at the cards. I had more than 40 in my deck, and it was'nt as tight mana wise as the decklist above looks.

Read on and see how David did after I (with some nodding from Keith) removed a massive amount of cards and colours from his towering deck. I even sideboarded a card or two per person, but mostly against Keith, as I knew he had fat, and my little -1/-1 card tricks where no good. I think I changed at least 5 cards before I played him and still lost (curse that Squall!) so maybe I should have left well enough alone.

- other player comments

For information on peoples first picks out of their packs, and any other info I could squeeze out of them, please check this page.

- game two 'aka Match Six'

4th Booster

I started with the Keld, and as before I was continually passed removal, mostly because people would have been looking to bolster colours they are already playing rather than divert to new colours or tactics. My only major dilemma came in pick 3 or 4, as I was looking at a couple of very nice cards indeed, including the black fungus (-1 counters) or the blue suspend flier. Both cards I had reluctantly passed in the previous draft, and I really struggled with what to take. I currently like Suspend, simply because seeing whats hitting the table makes your opponent nervous as they see the beatings they will shortly take. With the Keld I first picked, the few suspend cards I had already, I decided the blue 4/4 was the one to pick.

By the end of this pack, I had 3 more suspend creatures (taking my total to 7?) one of each of three colours giving those colours abilities (Fear, First Strike, and Flying), as well as yet more removal.

From my deck that got me to third in the last match, I removed:

  • 1 x Screeching Sliver
  • 1 x Tolan Sentinel
  • 1 x Spirit Noble
  • 1 x Mana Skimmer
  • 1 x Smallpox
  • 1 x Swamp

And I added:

  • 1 x Lightning Axe
  • 1 x Corpulent Corpse
  • 1 x Urborg Syphon Mage
  • 1 x Kelden Halberdier
  • 1 x Errant Ephemeron
  • 1 x Island
- the games

Won 2-1 vs Mike: The first game I lost to Tromp the Domains and the Giant Growth card +4/+4 in your turn. Game two was more even, but then I managed to get through with all my evasive creatures. Game three was one sided as I had all the cards at the right time and kept discarding to my 3/1 shadow to get the early damage in.

Won 2-1 vs Keith: Nothing written, but I imagine as per our earlier games, he would lay large creatures, and I would remove them, and when I couldnt he would stomple me.

Won 2-0 vs Rob: My army of suspend blokes decimated him. I had a bit of trouble with my Plague Sliver and Robs suspend Psthissssisss (loss of life based on p/t of a creature) and so rather than take 10, I assassinated my own creature the turn before it came into play, and his only targets where a couple of my 1/1 lads.

Won 2-1 vs Dave: I took Daves cards and cut a huge amount out for him earlier, and it showed. He stormed out with the little creatures in the first game, and I lost to a Gnat. Yep, with all my removal, I count get enough to stop the two or three gnats he had with his Swarmyard, and I embarissingly died from gnat bites. Made up for it in the next few games and swamped him with removal burn and evasive creatures.

- the final

With it approaching 4:30am, we called it a night. There was a very clear path for the leader board, as I had 15 points, Dave H and his nicely trimmed pack had 12, and Mike ended with 9 points.

Dave had a major weapon up his sleeve, the little red theif. With this in play against Keith, who had no way of dealing with a 1/1 creature that would not attack, he simply conceeded whenever it came out, and in his games vs Dave he had to try and crush him before he could morph it. Suddenly he went from losing nearly all his games to winning them all (bar me) and picked up some valuable points for the board.

I took the last two boosters, and Dave took the book, dice and a Coldsnap common set.

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