Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shards of Alara Draft Saturday

We had a fun ALA draft last Saturday. It was our first draft for the set. A total of 12 players joined the tournament which is quite surprising coz we can’t even complete the minimum eight players for our weekly Standard tournaments. I guess we need to increase our registration fee for them to always join. Lol! I was happy though because the old players are coming back to play again. Hehe…

We were divided into two pods with six players on each pod. I was in this pod. See the pic below.

I had no draft strategy that time but I got a few hints by reading the tournament reports from GP Kansas City and GP Paris. I just stick with the usual strategy with my previous drafts which I called “The First Pick Technique.” It paid off though as my first pick was a Battlegrace Angel. I thought of going into Bant or Naya draft. The succeeding picks though led me into an aggro Naya build with early beaters, late game Fatties and burn finishers like Soul’s Fire. The Gruul spirit was still there. Lol.. Here’s a glimpse of my picks as I forgot to list down my cards. Big thanks to our resident Maniniyot.

The deck creation was pretty difficult as I was deep into a think tank on what cards to include, especially that I’ll be having three colors (Green, Red and White) in the deck. The card arrangement helped a lot though in filtering out the unwanted cards. You should really read each purpose of the card as you will base on it on how you formulate the number of your lands for each color plus your Panoramas, Obelisks and other mana fixers.

Ok now for the matchups, I was paired with Master Mao on the first round. He was piloting a four color Esper based control deck. I considered it as a control because he had a lot of removals, even for my fatties. I got him fast on game one, thanks to a first turn Wild Nacatl. On game two, I almost had him but I had a terrible error as I forgot about the Unearth ability of Vithian Stinger. He was at 4 life, in play was his critters and I got a 3/3 Wild Nacatl. I drew into Soul’s Fire thinking that he was still at one if I used it. What a dumb mistake! Grrr… That haunted me on Game 3. I was still able to aggro him early but that wasn’t enough as I drew land after land and ran out of gas. Wtf… The result was 1-2.

On Round 2, I was against a player in my pod. I forgot the name sorry but he was comeback player. He played in the Time Spiral days and stopped at Shadowmoor. His draft was a Grixis deck with the Traitor King as the bomb. I wasn’t able to remember my plays here but I was able to aggro him game one and three. His Sedris got me in game two. The result was 2-1. I’m at one win and one loss a piece.

In Round 3, my opponent was piloting a somewhat Bant deck. Not sure of what his actual bomb is because he got mana screwed on both games but I saw in his previous match that he drafted a Stoic Angel. Round result was 2-0 and I’m at 2-1.

I was paired with card pool buddy Oliver at the final round. We decided that I will be the winner on this match because of the higher record and it will also benefit our pool by having the higher rank on the rare picks. My final tournament record is 3-1. I got third place and a third pick on the rares. Wooot!

My picks for the rare draft was quite worth it: Hell’s Thunder, Salvage Titan and Feral Hydra. Enough to pay my registration I guess.

To summarize, I was pretty happy with the draft. Drafting and building a favorite type of deck is really worth it. It’s a good thing that I wasn’t in much conflict with my pod in drafting the Naya colors.

My props for the tournament would be:
- Wild Nacatl for always being there in turn one to do much of the damage,
- Sigil Blessing-Soul’s Fire combo for the early finish,
- Battlegrace Angel for the awesome Exalted Lifelink.

The slops would be:
- Mana flooding and mana screw despite the 17 land count. Probably shuffling problems. Grrrr..
- Vithian Stinger’s Unearth ability. Read the damn card Mark!
- Gift of the Gargantuan. I should have included it main deck to deal with the mana probs and creatureless situations.

Oh well, I really still need more practice in drafting. I hope I could do it despite of my hectic schedule at work.

That’s it for now peeps. Till next post... Chow...

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