Saturday, 11 May 2013

First Dragons Maze Draft

Unlike the last set, I actually found time to draft this new set, which I'm happy about as I usually prefer draft over sealed. Due to the numbers at the comic shop, we had a number of smaller pods, so I was drafting with 5 others. 

Opening the first pack (Dragons Maze), I found a Warleader's Helix, but was more interested in the foil Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch, which I took. This sort of set the tone for the draft, and I picked up as many red and black cards as I could. I also like playing green, so took a few late, but also knew that white could work well too, so kept an eye out for those. At the end of the first pack, I had Blood ScrivenerCarnage Gladiator, Punish the Enemy, Ubul Sar Gatekeepers (but no gates...), Riot Piker and Phytoburst, as well as two cluestones. 

In the second pack, first picking a Stomping Ground from a fairly weak pack, I picked up of note a Scorchwalker, a Pit Fight and a Gruul Keyrune. I did also get a Wojek Halberdiers, but didn't really have much white to play, and the card needs to come down early so isn't a great splash. I did know, however, that if I was in black red, and possibly green black, I would have more to choose from in the final pack, where I did pick up a Korozda Guildmage, Electrickery, Giant Growth, Dead Reveler and Gore-House Chainwalker

Building the deck, I did need to include green as I didn't have enough black red cards to stick two colour, which is not entirely unexpected. I did have three mana fixers (four if you include the shock land), but didn't want to add a fourth colour just for two cards, so stuck with three. My curve topped out with one card at 5, so, with the mana artifacts I played 16 lands. 

I won both games of the first round, the set is a fun one to play. Some of the games took a surprisingly long time, considering I was in theory playing a fast deck - the games were very attrition heavy. 

In the second round, I won two of three matches, playing some very close games. One game my opponent tried to get the upper hand in a trade with Weapon Surge, so I played my own one to even things out. In the last game, I narrowly won a race, getting just enough creatures on the battlefield at the end so my opponent couldn't do much about them. 

In the final round, I won a close first match being dead on board next turn. My opponent had played a Sluiceway Scorpion, as the only blocker (a good blocker to have), and to win I drew my second additional green source so I could activate Gruul Keyrune and play Phytoburst on it to trample enough damage through. I was running out of steam at this point, but luckily had done enough early damage that I only had a little more to do to win. 

The second game I faced a turn two Pack Rat. I started racing a bit, but think I should have thought ahead a little more. I saw it in the first game, but killed it with Electrickery before it could do anything, but didn't have anything this time. 

In the final game, I was ahead after my opponents slow start, but they were starting to stabilise. They ended up having a good blocker that they could pump, so I could only profitably attack with a Wasteland Viper, getting in a little bit of extra damage before he played a creature to trade with it. Then, with them on 7 and me on 18, time was called and we had to start 5 extra turns. My opponent calculated that he couldn't win, but by returning a card to give his pumpable creature lifelink, he could get a draw instead. He had to tap out to do this, and I had played out my hand (hoping to get some value out of Blood Scrivener, but it was killed before I could draw). I drew for the turn and attacked with my 2/2 and 2/4. They blocked one so I used the bloodrush from Scorchwalker on the unblocked creature to deal the exact 7 required to win.  Another very close, but fun game. 

I do enjoy this set, hopefully I'll be able to draft it again at some point. There seems to be a lot of scope for many different decks, which looks interesting. Again, playing in the last round made me remember why I prefer drafting over sealed; the final round in sealed is usually the 5th, so including deck construction it is a long time to be concentrating while playing. Drafts are generally 3 rounds, so even though the pre-game part may be longer as it involves the draft and deck building, the draft is finished before I get to the point of starting to lose concentration (like I did at the pre-release, losing only in the final round). 

Plus, this draft I did have Liz and Kaleb there to keep me company.  Kaleb more active than the last draft when I had him on my lap, so I gave him a token card at one point to entertain himself, which he decided would look better folded in half and chewed...