For today, I have decided to do something a little different. Even back in 2003, I was a wacky player, and loved to do different casual events when not preparing for tournaments. This is an article that I had written back on 10/07/2003, fifteen years ago, about my experience running an event called ‘The Superdraft’.
Long before the modern idea of ‘Chaos Drafts,’ I ran a giant booster draft with packs from every set we could get our hands on, and it ended up being a lot of fun.
We had later run a second Superdraft, with packs up to and including Champions of Kamigawa, and I ran the tables with a G/B deck. Sadly, there was never a report on that draft.
Over the last ten years, Darby has slowly been gathering enough packs to set up a third Superdraft later this summer, so for today I wanted to reprint this initial article to show what we’ll be doing.
What was The Superdraft? Read on to find out!
Reposted with permission from starcitygames.com.
You can find the original article here:
In all my years of playing Magic, never did I think that I would be given a chance to play in such an odd event. Two years ago, Jason, a friend of mine had come up with the idea of holding a massive booster draft with a booster from each set we could get ahold of. It would be a draft that no one could adequately prepare for, as it was a format that had never been done. Normally, when players draft, they have certain draft strategies they try to follow… These would have to be thrown out the window, as your strategy would have to shift from pack to pack. Certain sets would be certain to throw you off your strategy.
(For example, you’re drafting W/U, and Apocalypse comes around in all of its enemy-colored glory with no cards in your colors. Do you go three colors, or do you just hate-draft a card you cannot play? Torment, being mostly black, would screw people up as well.)
The better drafters would be able to adapt to this easily, having the know-how to pick which creatures were obviously the best… Or would they? This was the beginnings of what we would call the Superdraft.
Fast-forward to last weekend, where all the players were assembled and the mighty event was to take place. We had decided beforehand that we would roll off for seating, with the high roll being seat one, and the low roll being seat eight. Prior to the actual draft, we would Rochester draft the packs to see what each person would open. After each person had picked his packs, we would then begin to draft the cards normally. Each person would then have to construct a sixty-card minimum deck to play with over seven rounds. The man left standing with the most points would be declared the Superdraft champion!
For this event, Jason and I had managed to pick up the following packs:
Fallen Empires, Ice Age, Alliances, Homelands, Mirage, Visions, Weatherlight, Tempest, Stronghold, Exodus, Urza’s Saga, Urza’s Legacy, Urza’s Destiny, Mercadian Masques, Nemesis, Prophecy, Invasion, Planeshift, Apocalypse, Odyssey, Torment, Judgment, Onslaught, Legions, Scourge, Unglued, 4th Edition, 7th Edition, 8th Edition, Portal, Starter and Portal: Three Kingdoms (which was bought from StarCityGames.com!) I also had two packs of Italian Legends (Leggende!), from which we would add cards to certain packs with less than fifteen cards (namely, Fallen Empires/Homelands had only eight cards in them, so we would add seven cards from Leggende to make fifteen to match the other packs).
Each player would get to open four packs, for a total of sixty cards drafted.
Although we could not say for sure what each of us would draft (as in any regular draft, it would depend on what was opened), each of us had considered the commons of each of these sets and come up with some basic ideas beforehand. We all noticed some key points for each color – some of which are obvious, some not so obvious.
Over the years, white has had a lot of good common white creatures, most of which can fall into three categories. White weenie creatures, such as Order of Leitbur, Soltari Foot Soldier, or Suntail Hawk, would be good in the early game for a beatdown strategy. White healers, such as Hallowed Healer or Troubled Healer, would help keep your creatures in the game. And versatile white creatures, such as Benalish Trapper, Master Decoy, Monk Realist, or Standard Bearer, could help flesh out a deck by giving it many answers to certain problems.
White also has many great common spells to flesh out a draft deck, with a billion Pacifism variants (Path of Peace, Muzzle, Arrest), many combat tricks like Shelter, Temper, or Ward of Lights, and the versatile power of Disenchant. With all of these options, white could either be a strong primary color (a W/x control deck could easily be drafted) or a good secondary color (W/x beatdown could prove especially strong). White looked like a strong choice.
If there was one word that could be used to describe green’s commons from these sets, it would be fat. No other color boasts such huge guys, from Trained Armodon, Winding Wurm, and Pouncing Jaguar to Hundroog (Hundroog! – The Ferrett) or Blastoderm. Wizards has also done a good job in creating green cost-efficient creatures, such as River Boa or Rogue Elephant. Green also pumps creatures up with spells like Giant Growth or Rancor.
A third aspect of green (and one which I knew heading into the event that none of the other players had considered) was that of mana production. With green cards such as Fertile Ground, Yavimaya Elder, or Harrow, drafting 5-color green might not be such a bad idea.
Unfortunately, apart from creatures, pump spells and mana production, there wasn’t a whole lot that green did well. Green has a few utility cards like Naturalize, Break Asunder, or Emerald Charm, but absolutely no creature removal (unless you count Roots). So the final verdict for green for most of the players going into this event was to relegate it to a secondary or splash color. I did like the idea of 4 or 5-color green, though…
I figured going into this draft that if there was going to be an underdrafted color, this would be it. Everyone thought that blue would be too slow to be able to deal with the red or black decks, despite having many counterspells, bounce and flying guys. When I thought about it though, I realized that blue could potentially be quite deep, as it had good card drawing like Deep Analysis, Brainstorm, or Impulse; it had great bounce spells like Repulse and Unsummon; and of course, it had nigh-infinite counterspells and flying guys.
The problem with blue’s creatures was that just about every single one of the common creatures were horribly overcosted or they just plain sucked. There were, of course, a few notable exceptions like Spiketail Hatchling, Rishadan Airship, Merfolk Looter, Coral Merfolk, or even Sage Owl, but for the most part, blue common creatures suck. Blue was looking to be a good splash color – but apart from that, I doubted anyone would draft it.
If blue would end up being the underdrafted color, red and black were my picks for the overdrafted ones – because no matter which set you look at, they have boatloads of removal. Red’s arsenal of burn spells, ranging from Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Disintegrate, and Incinerate to Chain Lightning, Fireblast, Rolling Thunder, and Firebolt, could take out conceivably any creature ever drafted. Another facet of red which Jason and I had discussed was the possibility of drafting land destruction (Stone Rain has been in more sets than you think, and always as a common).
Red’s only lack appeared to be the same as blue’s: Creatures. Almost all of red’s common creatures lack the beef necessary to duke it out with any of green’s creatures. The good red guys were all about speed, from Mogg Fanatic, Kris Mage, or Mogg Flunkies, to Lightning Elemental or Shock Troops. Speed is not a bad thing, but if the green, white or blue players had time to set up, chances are good you’d lose.
Red was looking like a strong choice, either as a main color or a splash. It would seem like the best possible color except for…
“Destroy target nonblack, nonartifact creature. It can’t be regenerated.” Nearly every set has at least one card that does this, and they were all common. And good! (Unless you hit a black-on-black mirror match, of course.) Dark Banishing, Snuff Out, Diabolic Edict, Expunge… The list goes on, and they’re all good.
Black also has great common creatures, from the best in shadow creatures (Dauthi Slayer or Dauthi Horror) to great black weenies such as Carnophage, Order of the Ebon Hand, and Erg Raiders. There are also great mid- to late-game guys like Gravedigger or any of the various Shades (Dungeon Shade being my favorite). With great creatures plus the versatility of its spells, black was my pick to win the whole thing.
So how did the whole thing go down? Well, it went somewhat as I had predicted, although there were a few surprises. We rolled for seating, and I was seat 5.
The first pack grabbed was Apocalypse, which surprised no one given the overall strength of that set. The next one to go was Urza’s Legacy, which was an odd choice unless you consider the fact that Rancor is common (Darby, the guy who took Legacy, loves him some Rancor). After that went Urza’s Saga, followed by 4th Edition (Jason was looking to open a Lightning Bolt or Fireball). Then I had a choice between Tempest, Visions, Alliances or Invasion; I decided to go with the blinding speed of Tempest and hopefully build a speedy deck.
Here is the seating arrangement, and what packs each person picked, in the order they were picked:
Seat one: Dan
1 – Apocalypse
2 – Prophecy
3 – 7th Edition
4 – Exodus
Seat two: Darby
1 – Urza’s Legacy
2 – Onslaught
3 – Unglued
4 – Portal
Seat three: Dave
1 – Urza’s Saga
2 – Scourge
3 – Legions
4 – Weatherlight
Seat four: Jason
1 – 4th Edition
2 – Alliances
3 – Visions
4 – Homelands
Seat five: Mark (me!)
1 – Tempest
2 – Fallen Empires
3 – Torment
4 – Mercadian Masques
Seat six: Chris
1 – Portal Three Kingdoms
2 – 8th Edition
3 – Judgment
4 – Odyssey
Seat seven: Andrew
1 – Ice Age
2 – Mirage
3 – Urza’s Destiny
4 – Starter
Seat eight: Jack
1 – Invasion
2 – Stronghold
3 – Planeshift
4 – Nemesis
I first-picked Tempest for one reason: shadow guys. If there was to be any shadow creatures in this draft, I wanted to know exactly what they were and have first crack at them. Plus Tempest had some of the fastest creatures in the game. My reason behind second-picking Fallen Empires was simple: Hymn to Tourach. I wanted to force black and hopefully draft a speedy black deck. Hopefully I could open a Hymn. This was also the reason I took Torment; it has (supposedly) good black cards.
So we crack open the packs and proceed to draft. I open my Tempest pack only to find Extinction as the rare, laughing at me (no Cursed Scroll for you, chump!) After getting over my disgust at opening such a crappy rare, I see that it turns out there are three shadow creatures in the pack – Dauthi Horror, Soltari Lancer, and Thalakos Sentry – with the next strongest card being a Capsize. The rest of the pack was garbage, so I kept my black speed deck in mind and picked the Horror. Then I get passed the 4th Edition pack, and I wanted to laugh like a little schoolgirl on helium; Jason has passed me a pack with Immolation, Terror, and Fireball in it. I snatched the Terror, inwardly giggling at my good luck and wondering what it was he took first (turns out it was a Strip Mine; he really wanted to draft land destruction).
I get passed Urza’s Saga next, and am faced with a tough decision: Duress or Corrupt? At this point, I am mono-black, and could conceivably stay that way, so the Corrupt would be great. Duress can deal with just about anything, though. After some thought, I took the Duress. My fifth pick was a no-brainer; Phyrexian Reclamation was far, far better than anything else in the pack at that point.
The fifth pack passed to me is Apocalypse and I have to groan; it had no single color cards in it at all, just gold cards. There are three black cards in the pack: Consume Strength, Life / Death, and Putrid Warrior. It takes me a few minutes to think about this one (I could go green/black for fatties and removal, or I could go white/black with weenie creatures and removal). After some thought, I decide to stick with the speedy beatdown idea and grab the Putrid Warrior.
Going white was certainly the right choice, that’s for sure. Invasion and Ice Age are both really good to me, giving up a Shackles and a Dark Banishing, but Portal Three Kingdoms sucked. No black or white cards at all. So I hate-draft a Zodiac Monkey, and it becomes my mascot for the rest of the day.
Black/white proves to be an excellent choice, as I get handed cards through the draft like Wing Shards, Call to the Grave (with four zombies), Hallowed Healer, Retribution of the Meek, two Disenchants, and my MVP for the day: Mind Maggots. (Mind Maggots is busted in limited, by the way). Fun fact: Mind Maggots got passed up by no less than three black players before it got to me.
My second pack, Fallen Empires, failed to yield the Hymn to Tourach I wanted, but I got an Order of the Ebon Hand out of it, so it was okay. My third pack, Torment, kinda sucked, as there were none of the black bombs I wanted (Grotesque Hybrid, Sickening Dreams, and Mind Sludge were the best cards besides Deep Analysis in the pack. I took the Hybrid over the Dreams, because at that point I was kind of creature-light). The following is the deck I drafted:
Relevant sideboard cards included Circle of Protection: Black, two Disenchants, Mind Sludge, Battering Ram (just in case I ran into any of those pesky walls!), Monk Realist, and of course, my mascot for the day, the mighty Zodiac Monkey!
Overall, I was more than happy with the results of my draft. I had stuck with my game plan (draft a fast deck with removal up the wazoo) and had a fair number of decent or great cards (Mind Maggots was underrated by everyone in this draft, including me. Guess what? He’s a house!) We all shuffled up, and it was go time!
There would be seven rounds, with each person playing each other drafter.
Round One: vs. Jack, W/U control
Jack’s draft strategy was simple: Card-drawing. He managed to draft a ridiculous number of card-drawing spells (including Concentrate, the Deep Analysis that I opened, Sleight of Hand, Opt, and Inspiration) plus a lot of flying guys. I was very surprised afterward that he went blue (Andrew on his right was U/W/g and Dan on his left was U/B/r). I disagreed with some of his picks, though; his first pick from Nemesis was a Blastoderm hate-draft. I can understand Jack not wanting this guy running around the draft, but he passed up a Stronghold Biologist for it (the Biologist is ridiculous in Sealed if you’re playing blue, which Jack was).
Another problem I had with his deck was that it was too slow; his creatures started coming out on turn 5, if he was lucky. His plan was to stall, and stall, and stall, until his big flying guys could beat you to death.
Game one: I open with a hand of Mind Maggots, Duress, Swamp, Plains, Swamp, Dauthi Horror, and Highway Robber. I win the dice roll and Duress him, revealing Concentrate, Sleight of Hand, and Miscalculation as his spells, plus a five-casting flier. I decide to go beatdown and rip the Miscalculation out of his hand. He drops an Island and casts Sleight of Hand to draw into some good stuff. I draw a Plains and drop the turn 2 Dauthi Horror, putting Jack on a ten-turn clock. Jack shrugs and casts Opt on his turn to cycle through his deck some more. He drops a Plains and says go.
On my turn, I bash him with the Horror and draw Gustcloak Harrier. I look at my hand for a minute, trying to decide whether to cast the Harrier or pitch it next turn to make the Mind Maggots bigger. I decide to keep it and pass the turn. Jack drops more land and casts Impulse (who draws more cards than this guy?) On my turn, I draw a Terror and chuckle as I play out the Mind Maggots. I pitch the Highway Robber and Harrier to make the Maggots a 6/6, a much bigger clock than the Horror. I figure I can Terror whatever blocker he plays and smash his face with the Maggots.
Jack starts playing out more creatures after that as I hit three land draws in a row. Unfortunately for me, his creatures are all big and flying, and my Maggots (who is looking the part of a big, angry wall right now) can’t touch them. My lone Dauthi Horror is trying his damnedest to play offense, but the fliers are beating me down a lot faster than he can work.
After taking a few hits, I Terror one of the fliers and mise Dark Banishing off the top for the other one (how lucky!) I finally draw into some creatures, ripping Gravedigger (for Gustcloak Harrier) and Soldevi Simulacrum off the top. My team keeps pounding him and after killing Gravedigger, he is forced to keep blocking the 6/6 Maggots with White Knight. All the creatures he plays after this are tiny little guys (Vodalian Merchant and Merfolk Traders… what’s with all the card drawing?) so my team smashes his face. On to game two.
Jack chooses to play first, and opens with an Island and Sleight of Hand. On my turn, I start to curve him out, with a Plains, Jack-in-the-Mox (tapping for black) and Youthful Knights. I play a second-turn Swamp and Putrid Warrior, followed by a Swamp and the mighty third-turn Mind Maggots (pitching my hand of Thrull Surgeon, Foot Soldiers, and Border Patrol to make it 8/8). I figure this opening is pretty good, but Jack proves he’s the man by once again mising White Knight to block my monster.
Stupid White @#$%ing Knight!
I prove I’m pretty good however by drawing three more guys in a row (Highway Robber, Hallowed Healer, and Daru Sanctifier, which I play out as a morph). Jack stalls on four lands and can’t play any of his bigger flying guys, which is fine by me, so I keep bashing him with my team. Once I have the Healer active, his Knight can’t actually kill any of my guys, so blocking sucks for him. Jack draws more cards, but White Knight and Merfolk Traders prove to be the only guys he can cast, so I run him over.
He shows me his hand after the match: Three five-mana fliers and a six-mana flier. Ouch.
At this point, I walk around to get a better feel for what everyone has drafted (all right, I’m scouting). Rumor has it that Chris has drafted a sick, sick R/W deck (he got most of the burn spells at the table, that’s for sure) but his match was over in minutes as he destroys Darby’s G/B deck, so I didn’t get to watch it. Dan, who has drafted a U/B/r deck splashing for Tetsuo Umezawa, puts up a slow, controllish fight against Dave’s midrange U/G deck, but in the end, loses the third game to mana screw. And Jason, who drafted B/R, manages to pull out a win against Andrew’s U/W/g control deck featuring the only Wrath effect in the draft (the little-known Righteous Fury). I did not, unfortunately, learn that Andrew had the Fury until after he and I had played (he wrecked Jason with it in game one, apparently). Jason beats him handily games two and three with a slew of fast guys and the mammoth Orgg. Andrew tried to stall until he could get the Fury, but lost.
Round Two: vs. Darby, G/B fat
Darby’s deck was all about the fat. His first pick was an Eviscerator (no Rancor = big frowns for Darby) so he went G/B. Unfortunately for him, the decks in the room that wrecked him were all about speed (this isn’t Onslaught Limited here). He lacked much real removal, and had very few smaller creatures. Oddly enough, he opted not to take the Jack-in-the-Mox to speed up his deck, which I felt was a bad choice on his part. He was hoping to open a bomb from Onslaught (something along the lines of Visara, the Dreadful or Centaur Glade), but got nothing. I figured I stood a pretty good chance against him game one, and for any other games I could board in Circle of Protection: Black to deal with any black threats, like the Eviscerator.
Game one, my deck gives me one of the slower draws I have all day, with Wing Shards, four land, Foot Soldiers and Mind Maggots. Darby goes first, and has a surprisingly fast draw (for his deck, anyway) with turn 1 mana elf, turn 2 Withered Wretch. I draw Sutured Ghoul followed by Jack-in-the-Mox, which is lucky, because on his third turn, he casts Monstrous Growth on the Wretch and attacks with both his guys… Straight into my Wing Shards for two. I love two-for-one Wing Shards. Then I cast Mind Maggots and pitch my hand to make it 8/8. Darby dies soon after, with all the rest of his creatures being horribly overpriced and him stuck on few land.
I sideboard in CoP: Black. Game two, I start the beatdown with turn 2 Dauthi Horror, turn 3 Gustcloak Harrier, turn 4 Seasoned Marshal. Seasoned Marshal does a number on Darby, making sure he cannot block with any of the few big guys he has played. I get Darby to thirteen life before he drops Eviscerator. I take a moment to read it, and then see the ‘protection from white’ bit. Pro-white? Whaaat? So Seasoned Marshal can’t touch it, and any one of the rest of my guys will die if they run into it.
My board at this point was Dauthi Horror, Gustcloak Harrier, Seasoned Marshal, Thrull Surgeon, and Foot Soldiers. Darby has two untapped guys (Withered Wretch and a random 2/2), eight life, and Eviscerator. I have a Gravedigger in my hand, and enough mana to play it and the Thrull Surgeon should he choose to block and kill it. I figure I’m good to kill him, so I swing in with the team, tapping the Wretch with my Marshal. Being highly annoyed at the Marshal by this point, Darby crushes it with the Eviscerator and blocks my Thrull Surgeon with his 2/2, letting the Foot Soldiers, Horror, and Harrier through for six damage. He goes to two, and I drop the Gravedigger, get back the Surgeon, and play him too. Facing death by either the Harrier, Horror or just by overwhelming numbers, Darby raps on his deck and draws… A six-mana cost guy. He shakes my hand and growls at his deck in disgust.
His next card was Fog Patch. Ouch.
I’ll admit it, Fog Patch could have sucked. If he had drawn that on his turn and I was going for an alpha strike, chances are good I wouldn’t have blocked his attack; so he would have bashed me for nine. I was only at sixteen as it was (I took a few early hits from the Wretch), so he would have put me at seven and my return alpha strike into a surprise Fog Patch would have bought him the turn he needed to kill me. My next card was a land, so I would have had no answers. Whew!
At this point, there are two people at 2-0: Me and Chris. Once again his match with Andrew was over blindingly fast (Righteous Fury costs six; Andrew never had that many lands in play) so I didn’t get to scout his deck. He got to see mine, though, and tells me after my match that he thinks he has a really good chance against me.
Round Three: vs. Andrew, U/W/g control
Andrew’s a bad player. A reeeeeally bad player. So bad, in fact, that he passed Capsize and Concentrate, despite being in those colors. He does, however, have several counters, flying creatures and (though I didn’t know it yet) the one Wrath effect in the draft (he knows enough to realize a Wrath is a good thing). I figure my match against him will be a cakewalk, as my deck is fast and I’m a good player, whereas his deck is slow and he’s a bad player.
Game one, he goes first, but I come crashing out of the gates with a Putrid Warrior turn 2 and a morph guy (Daru Sanctifier, obviously) on turn 3. He tries to match me with a Giant Spider, but it gets ruthlessly Dark Banishinged and my guys keep punishing him. Turn 5, I drop Mind Maggots again and pitch my hand of Ardent Militia, Highway Robber, and Grotesque Hybrid to make it a massive 8/8. He plays a Devoted Hero, a puny little 1/2, so I swing in with the team on my turn. He takes the beating like a man and goes to six.
I figure I have him on the ropes at this point; I have creature superiority (including a beastly 8/8 Maggots) and his only attacker is a Devoted Hero. I am wondering why he chose not to block with the Hero, but I was soon shown why.
On his turn, he calmly untaps and casts Righteous Fury.
Whaaat? (I actually have to read the card, as Starter is not one of those sets I know what all the cards do.) All of a sudden, the only creature on the board is his measly 1/2 and he is sitting at a very comfortable fourteen life. Oh – and I have a land in my hand, whereas he has several cards yet to play. On the other hand, I now have threshold. Mwa ha! I’ll learn him!
His Hero pings me for a few turns as I draw land after land, and is soon joined by a kicked Benalish Lancer. He bashes me yet again and I finally draw a good card: Sutured Ghoul, possibly the best card to draw after a Wrath. The Ghoul comes down as a huge 12/18 trampling monstrosity, and he can draw no answers. Two turns later, the game is mine.
Whoo! After that, I figured my luck was over. On to game two.
As I did against Jack, I side in Mind Sludge and side out Sadistic Glee (do you see a pattern yet?). Andrew chooses to go first and is forced to mull to six, which sucks for him as I have a near-perfect hand. His first creature is Prodigal Sorcerer, which sits, lonely on his side of the board pinging me for a few times as I bring the beats with Abyssal Gatekeeper, Putrid Warrior and a morph guy (guess who?) He said afterward that he didn’t want to ping the Gatekeeper as it would force him to lose his only guy, but I thought he should have taken the chance and pinged it off to kill two of my guys.
I eventually Terror the stupid Tim (provoking him to kill my Gatekeeper and morph guy) and I drop an Order of the Ebon Hand and Youthful Knight. I am smashing him; he is stuck on five land. He needs to draw a Plains to cast the Righteous Fury if he has it (which he does, of course), but I topdeck a Parallax Nexus and rip it out of his hand. He draws the Plains the turn after that and I kill him.
I felt bad for him because of the mana screw, but I feel I would have won anyway (I was holding Phyrexian Reclamation to recur all my guys even if he did cast Fury).
After this grueling match, I am the only 3-0 player. Chris has lost to Dave (which came as a surprise to both of them, as everyone felt Chris had the best deck at the table) so Dave is in second with 2-0-1. Dan is 2-1 with his three color pile and Chris is 2-1.
Round Four: vs. Chris, R/W speed
Chris has drafted the only deck that I figure can actually match mine speed for speed. His deck features double Clergy of the Holy Nimbus, Goblin Legionnaire, Order/Chaos, Excise, and many, many burn spells (not that I knew that when I sat down to play him).
Game one, it is Chris who comes roaring out of the gates with turn 1 Clergy of the Holy Nimbus, turn 2 White Knight. White Knight? Again?! It turns out there was one drafted from 4th Edition, and one from Legions. Regardless, it still sucks for me. My second-turn Order of the Ebon Hand gets burnt to a crisp by Parch, and my third-turn Hallowed Healer follows him into the grave after a Thunderclap. After taking more beats from his team, I Shackles the White Knight but get pounded by the Clergy and a freshly-summoned Lightning Elemental.
I draw a Terror to remove the Lightning Elemental, followed up by a beefy 2/4 Foot Soldier. The Foot Soldier suddenly doesn’t look so beefy when Chris drops an Earth Elemental. Earth Elemental is large and in charge. This is about the point where I decide to read the Chime of Night that’s been in my hand for some time now; I drop it on my Foot Soldiers and suddenly the game is in a stalemate. He doesn’t want to attack and lose the Elemental, or burn my Soldiers and lose the Elemental, and I’m quite content to sit and build up more creatures in hand to feed the soon-to-be massive Mind Maggots in my hand.
Several turns later, I finally drop a 10/10 Maggots and I actually get to go on the offensive. I swing in with the Maggots…
…Right into Order (of Order // Chaos).
To put it mildly, that sucked.
So now we are deadlocked again; he drops some guys, I kill them; I play some guys (Seasoned Marshal and Putrid Warrior) and he burns them. Then I draw Phyrexian Reclamation, and the whole game shifts. I recur my dead guys (including Hallowed Healer) and once the Healer becomes active, he’s screwed. Opal Champion and Soldevi Simulacrum take him down after I draw a Retribution of the Meek for the Earth Elemental.
I don’t sideboard for game two. Mind Sludge is too slow, and I can’t draw the damn thing anyway.
The second game sees Chris go nutty with blinding speed again: turn 1 Clergy, turn 2 Goblin Raider, turn 3 burn spell. Unfortunately for him, I have a really good draw this time, and though he burns my Putrid Warrior and my Defiant Falcon, I get a Hallowed Healer to stick and follow it up by stalling for a bit with Change of Heart with buyback on his guys, and then killing his board with Terror and Wing Shards (take that, Lightning Elemental!) I drop Phyrexian Reclamation on him after that, and figure I’m good to go. I drop a 6/6 Mind Maggots and attack with it, figuring there’s no way he’s drawn the Order/Chaos again, and I’m right…
…but he did draw the Excise and an awful lot of land to go with it, though. Stupid cards that remove my guys from the game!
Despite this, my recurring guys are too much for him and run him over easily.
After this round, I figure nothing can go wrong. I’m 4-0, with the next closest record being Dave at 3-0-1. But more importantly, I’m undefeated in games, so I’m starting to have confidence in my deck. I started to feel invincible. I was the best. I was that damn good. I am the game! Could I be beaten?
Round Five: vs. Dave, U/G midrange deck
Wow, there were an awful lot of blue mages running around this draft. Between Dave, Dan, Jack and Andrew, black and blue actually turned out to be the most overdrafted colors (which, considering blue was a switch from what I thought would happen. Black was not a surprise, though). Dave’s deck features some quick creature beats in the form of Albino Troll, Gaea’s Skyfolk, and Wild Mongrel and many, many late game threats, plus several pump spells, some counters, and some bounce.
His deck was quite versatile, but could prove slow, depending on the draw (as shown in his unintentional draw with Jack in round two). I felt fairly confident that I could smash him the way I was smashing everyone else. Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Game one, he elects to draw, and I lay a Swamp and Duress him. I whiff completely, seeing Island, Forest, Forest, Wild Mongrel, Gaea’s Skyfolk, Wild Elephant, and Winding Wurm. Huh. Suddenly my hand doesn’t look so good (I kept a hand with two creatures and one was Cyclopean Mummy, the other was Ardent Militia). Over the next few turns, he plays the Mongrel and the Skyfolk and commences the beatdown. I try to stabilize by wiping out his guys with Wing Shards after he dropped a Briar Shield on the Mongrel, but he just calmly plays the Elephant. I drop a Hallowed Healer, figuring he’ll be great against U/G, but he gets Slow Motion put on him.
Several turns later, my life is in single digits and the board situation is this: I have Hallowed Healer active (but nowhere near threshold) with Slow Motion on him sucking up my mana, Ardent Militia, Youthful Knight, and Foot Soldier. Dave has Wild Elephant, Winding Wurm, Thalakos Mistfolk, ten mana open, and two cards in hand. He attacks, and I block the Winding Wurm with everything to kill it. I tap the Healer to prevent two to me before damage was put on the stack, which was a mistake.
Rewind was huge. It not only counters my Terror, letting his Wurm live, it also lets him untap the lands he used to cast it so he can play Elvish Fury with buyback on the Wurm again to kill all my guys. A turn later, I draw nothing, so I scoop it up.
I had almost forgotten how powerful buyback could be in draft.
For game two, I side in nothing. I figure Mind Sludge would be too slow, and that I had to kill him before he got his big guys swinging again.
This game sucks. I am forced to double-mulligan, and keep a hand with Wing Shards, Terror, Plains, Swamp, Swamp. He has a turn 2 Mongrel again and I never draw the second white for the Wing Shards. The only guy I cast this game got humbled by Fowl Play (he’s a chicken!). I lose horribly.
That match was a reality check. After that brutal beating, Dave is in first with 4-0-1 and I am second with 4-1-0. Chris is 3-2 and Dan are both 3-2. My confidence is shaken, but I am ready for the next match.
Round Six: vs. Dan, U/B/r
Dan is playing the three-color monstrosity with blue for card drawing such as Mental Discipline and bounce, black for removal, and is splashing red for Tetsuo Umezawa (who is a bomb, believe me!) I comment to Dan before the match about how surprised I am that he wound up with the Capsize, and he agrees.
Going into this match, I was slightly worried about Tetsuo, as none of my removal could really kill him (except for Wing Shards, but Dan’s not stupid enough to attack with him).
Dan:”I swear to God I run Islands!”
Over the next six turns, I manage to draw no land. By the time I finally do draw a third land, Dan has killed the only creature I cast, Putrid Warrior, has six mana and has me in a pseudo-Capsize lock (he’s been bouncing one of my land every turn so I never have more than two mana). I am sorely tempted to concede, but Dan is applying no real pressure yet, so I stay in the game.
And I draw Duress. Heh.
The look on Dan’s face was priceless when I cast the Duress and stripped him of the Capsize. I slowly started to stabilize, neutering Dan’s Gravebane Zombie with a Shackles after he attacked and putting out a few creatures. Dan cycled through his deck with Mental Discipline like mad looking for something. His Marsh Crocodile was held at bay by my Ardent Militia. I began to go beatdown with Dauthi Horror.
And Dan drops Aboshan’s Desire with threshold on the Crocodile, making it a beefy untargetable flier. Not good. After having used Wing Shards on one of his earlier guys, I figure I have so way to deal with it, and while I try to race with my much slower guys, the Crocodile smashes me for four turns in a row down to three life. I pound on my deck, hoping against hope for some lifegain, or something. What I draw is far better.
I slap it down on the table and metally do a little victory dance while giggling like a little schoolgirl. Dan is stunned by the sudden reversal. He thought he had this game won, and now all of a sudden, it is he who is on the defensive as my Dauthi Horror is joined by a Defiant Falcon in the air. I get him to twelve, and figure I’ll be able to wrap up the game in a few turns, when he drops Tetsuo Umezawa – who, believe me, is indeed a bomb. I get one last attack in, and then Tetsuo halts my whole offense. I am sitting with a Terror in my hand, once again unable to kill a guy with it. Stupid Terror.
I am wondering how to break through when I draw Seasoned Marshal. I drop it, and attack with it, the Horror, Ardent Militia and the Falcon the next turn. I choose to target Tetsuo with the Marshal’s ability, and Dan responds by nuking the Horror with Tetsuo’s ability. Dan blocks the Marshal with Wildfire Emissary, the Militia with Imperial Recruiters and takes two from the Horror, dropping him to six . Dan then chuckles as he draws and plays his other splash card: Swirling Sandstorm (with threshold).
Everybody in play dies, and Dan’s Gravebane Zombie goes to the top of his deck. I was tapped out, so I lose Shackles (and likely the game, if I cannot draw a creature). I am at three life, with no cards in hand and seven land in play (to Dan’s fifteen lands, thank you very much). I pound on my deck again…
…And draw Sutured Ghoul. Who is A MONSTER!!!
I cackle maniacally as I lay down the Ghoul, who comes into play as a 25/38 beast. Dan reads the whole card twice, does a double take at the word “trample,” and knowing his next card, scoops it up.
Whoooo! Who survives despite massive manascrew, a bomb, and being Capsize-locked? This guy.
Going in to the final round, Dave was still in first place, at 5-0-1. I was right behind at 5-1-0, and figured if he lost his next round and I won, I would win the whole damn show.
Final round: vs. Jason, R/B
I hate to say it, but despite coming up with the idea for the Superdraft, Jason is a horrible drafter. His deck is low in removal (despite being R/B) since he went for every land destruction spell he could get his hands on. The only card in his deck I’m even worried about is Orgg, which I passed him, and I’m not really worried about that since I have oodles of removal for it.
Game two sees Jason Shock my second-turn Order of the Ebon Hand at the end of my turn, followed by back-to-back Rancid Earth, Stone Rain, and Strip Mine on three of my four lands. Remember what I said about being able to kill Orgg? I couldn’t do it without any mana.
And game three sees me combo Jason out with the only card I haven’t drawn so far today. I lay a second-turn Putrid Warrior, third-turn Dark Banishing his guy, fourth-turn Gravedigger, fifth-turn Grotesque Hybrid and sixth-turn Call to the Grave. Call to the Grave with three zombies! It’s like I’m playing a tribal deck. Jason scoops soon after, with no way to stave off a one-sided The Abyss. (Too bad too, I was saving Sutured Ghoul in case he killed my guys. The Ghoul is a zombie too).
My final record: 6-1-0
Unfortunately, I finish my round with plenty of time to watch Dave smack Andrew around. Andrew attempts to cast Righteous Fury, but Dave has the Rewind for the win. So Dave becomes the Superdraft champion and wins all the cards drafted, with a record of 6-0-1!
So overall, the Superdraft was a fun event that went more or less the way I planned it. I figured a speed deck would be the way to go, and for the most part, I was right. I was right that black would be very strong, with its versatility and ease at removing creatures. I was wrong, however, about blue being the underdrafted color. For either the tournament drafter or the casual player (and we had both), the Superdraft was a blast.