Draft Report: Pod 1

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The letter L!ooking for a little analysis to go along with the Draft Viewer? Each coverage reporter shares his thoughts on the player they were watching for the first draft of the 2007 U.S. Nationals.



Seat 1: Osyp Lebedowicz
by Nate Price

Osyp opened his pack and quickly slid a Jolrael, Empress of Beasts and a Looter il-Kor to the front of the pack. After a little though, he added the little blue man to his deck. He was definitely in the right seat for a blue drafter, as the quality blue cards just kept coming around the table including a fifth-pick Riftwing Cloudskate and a seventh-pick Careful Consideration. Early on he had to make a choice to define his second color, either black for Tendrils of Corruption or white for Teferi's Moat. He ended up settling on the powerful enchantment. A few playable white cards in the late packs left Osyp with what was shaping up to be a very good UW deck.

The top draft table was full of undefeated players…but that was in Standard. Who would stay on top after four rounds of draft?

For his second pack, Osyp's first few picks played out like they should for a blue-white deck, but things soon got interesting. He noticed a bunch of quality red cards coming through the player to his left. He started to drift into red with a Dead // Gone and Rough // Tumble in the middle of the pack. After the second pack was through, Osyp ended up adding a few cards to his deck, as well as the potential for a very strong red splash.

The last pack was where Osyp's decision to draft white gave him some additional pause. He was picking up some fairly strong cards such as Infiltrator il-Kor and a few Aven Augurs early in the pack. However, in order to take these he was passing some very strong cards in multiple Ichor Slicks and a Death Rattle. Each time he had to pass one, he shook his head in resignation.

Seat 2: Derek Thompson
by Mike Turian

Derek Thompson, from Indiana, qualified through Regionals. He started the day off 3-0 piloting an Angelfire deck that he has been playing for almost a year. He attributed his strong start to the fact that he was so much more experienced with his deck than his opponent's were with theirs. Derek seemed more wary about drafting as he doesn't have that same edge in experience.

His first pack was weak, seeing him take a Viscerid Deepwalker that didn't even make his final deck. The next pack saw him taking the timeshifted Jolrael, Empress of Beasts passed from Pro Tour champion Osyp Lebedowicz. When a fifth-pick Temporal Isolation came to him, he dipped into white. Throughout the draft he bounced between white, blue and green. He felt that with an early Chromatic Star and late Evolution Charm and Edge of Autumn that he could get away with the three color mix.

Derek was rewarded with a sixth-pick Momentary Blink, along with a solid collection of creatures including Imperiosaur, Aven Augur, and Giant Dustwasp. The only time his indecisiveness of colors cost him was when he let a mid-pick Erratic Mutation go by for a weaker card since he still wasn't sure that he would be playing blue. His deck seemed best set up to stall the game and let Jolrael punish opponents who can't get through his defenses.

Seat 3: Michael Jacob
by Tim Aten

Michael Jacob's first pick in Time Spiral was the late-game bomb Sacred Mesa over a Careful Consideration and little else. His next few picks yielded solid white cards, including the interesting third pick of Ivory Giant over Cavalry Master and Benalish Cavalry. The white continued to flow at a reasonable rate, meaning Jacob was in the color for the long haul right from the beginning.

It looked as though Jacob's second color might be Blue, as he got a Spiketail Drakeling fourth and a Think Twice fifth. However, he soon realized that black was wide open. There was a Tendrils of Corruption in his fifth pack (given more time, he may have chosen the Tendrils; he was still deliberating when he was forced to pass the pack), and he saw and took an Assassinate seventh. There were three reasonable quality black cards in the eighth pack (Gorgon Recluse, Phyrexian Totem, Stupor), further reinforcing the signal. If it hadn't been clear that his neighbors to the right weren't black after pack one, his sixth-pick Death Rattle and fifth- and eighth-pick Ichor Slicks in Future Sight hammered the point home.

Jacob picked up several quality cards early in Planar Chaos (including two Sunlance and a Stonecloaker), but some of the more interesting cards were those he was forced to pass or hate-draft. Jacob got a Sinew Sliver for his fourth pick, but he was forced to pass the quality board sweeper Rough//Tumble. Despite not taking a single green card in pack one, Jacob saw (and cut) Evolution Charm thirteenth and an Uktabi Drake fourteenth. Apparently, the quality of green in the Time Spiral booster didn't induce many drafters to pursue that color.

Jacob is somewhat lacking in mid-game creatures, but with his solid early game and awesome removal suite, he should have little difficulty going 3-1 in this pod.

Seat 4: Jimmy Young
by Tom Fowler

Jimmy chose his color right away, taking Magus of the Scroll from an average-strength pack. His second pack contained the saucy Weatherseed Totem, which could put him into a strong red-green deck. Jimmy opted for Tolarian Sentinel instead. From here, he stayed mostly Red in the first pack, adding cards like Flamecore Elemental and Mogg War Marshal to his pile. He did grab a Dread Return eighth and a Phyrexian Totem ninth.

The second pack brought more of the same, as the red cards kept on coming. A first-pick Stingscourger was followed by Reckless Wurm, Brute Force, Battering Sliver, Blood Knight, Needlepeak Spider, and a pair of Keldon Marauders. Jimmy's mostly red deck was shaping up nicely at this point, as he added few off-color cards in this pack.

The third pack was mediocre, with the best red card being a Bogardan Lancer. Instead of taking the bloodthirsty flanker, though, Jimmy opted for Akroma's Memorial. He snagged more red cards after that, taking a Flowstone Embrace and a Fatal Attraction before dipping back into blue for Infiltrator il-Kor. At pick six, the tempting Shah of Naar Isle proved too captivating for Jimmy to pass up (and, at 6/6, it does go well with Akroma's Memorial). With the ninth pick, the Bogardan Lancer had tabled, but Jimmy chose the cloaked beatings of Zoetic Cavern instead. Late-pick Boldwyr Intimidator and Rift Elemental rounded out the red.

Seat 5: Steve Collett
by Jonathan Becker

Steve Collett began the draft with a powerhouse pack, including Griffin Guide, Teferi Mage of Zhalfir and Riftwing Cloudskate. Collett took the full 35 seconds, flipping between the three, and finally decided to let others fight over the blue, taking the Guide as his first pick. The second pack seemed to be a clear choice given Steve's fist pick-the only white card of note was a good one-Castle Raptors-but Collett opted for Mindstab-maybe the Guide was to be a splash? Collett followed with a Trespasser Il-Vec and a Search for Tomorrow, but returned then to black and white only for the balance of pack one.

Although Steve appeared to have abandoned green, Planar Chaos apparently lured him back in, and Steve added a Timbermare and Harmonize to his stack. Unfortunately, the free flow of green to the left in pack one came back to haunt him, and quality green was nowhere to be had. All was not lost for Collett, as a tight little set of rebels came his way-two Blightspeakers and two Rathi Trappers-which had to ease the pain of his dalliance with forests at the beginning of the pack.

Collett used Future Sight to shore up his mana curve, adding a one- (or four-)drop Knight of Sursi (over a Lucent Liminid), an Augur of Skulls and an evasive Stronghold Rats, but the packs simply lacked powerful black or white options. The scarcity of playables in his colors, however, forced Steve to choose between some unsatisfying options, including a surprisingly early pair of Putrid Cyclops and third-pick Marshalling Cry. For a brief time, it seemed like Steve wished he were the sliver player, as there were at least three powerful Lymph Slivers in the pool, and he had passed earlier options of Poultice and Sinew Slivers in pack two; but Steve had taken another road.

Although I am sure this isn't the deck Steve was thinking about when he sat down to draft, it does have some significant beatdown potential. With at least six two-drops, four three-power three-drops (assuming he can get a little lucky on the Cyclops) and a Griffin Guide, the deck can run over an opponent with a slow start, or a missed land drop. Time for Steve to get aggressive and turn 'em all sideways!

Seat 6: Thomas Drake
by Rich Hoaen

Thomas showed that he had some preplanned strategies coming into this draft. With his first pick he took Sedge Sliver over Call of the Herd, indicating that he wanted to play slivers, and was willing to make some sacrifices to do so. Or maybe he just wanted to make sure Pro Tour-San Diego champion Chris Lachmann, sitting to his left, didn't win another big tournament with slivers.

He took Teferi with his second pick, showing a preference for rares, not necessarily slivers. With powerful early picks like those, one would normally want to make every effort to remain in those colors. Thomas however showed how much he liked White cards by taking Castle Raptors, Fortify and Icatian Crier over solid blue, black, and red cards.

The problem was that he'd already passed a decent amount of white cards, so he didn't get much in pack two, where it's most important. He got a fifth-pick Malach of the Dawn, and some little guys to go with his Fortify, but for the most part, Planar Chaos was very unexciting.

Seat 7: Chris Lachmann
by Brian David-Marshall

"Are there any Might Slivers in these packs?" asked Chris Lachmann as he sat down at seat 6 in Draft Pod 1. There was no Might but there was a choice selection of removal that included Sulfurous Blast, Lightning Axe, and Tendrils of Corruption. Chris briefly considered taking the black card and shipping the next two players into red but decided to take the removal with the biggest blast radius.

His second color seemed determined for him as he got sent mail-order green cards through the rest of the pack, including Call of the Herd, Strength in Numbers, Hunting Moa, and a handful of small green dudes to go along with an Assault//Battery. The green was deep enough that with the help of the passed Lightning Axe he sent the player to his left into the same two colors.

Lachmann started off Planar Chaos with Harmonize but predictably struggled for cards with green-red getting picked off ahead of him. He dipped into white for Stonecloaker and Pallid Mycoderm and rounded out his first run through the pack with an eighth-pick Magus of the Library.

Chris smiled at the Sprout Swarm that greeted him for his first look at Future Sight in this draft and once again green-red ran deep. Chris had his choice seemingly every pick between a good creature or red removal spell. He was happy to see a third-pick Sporoloth Ancient but the one he passed from his opening pack never came back and a potential sixth-pick Ancient was nabbed by the player to his right. Still, he was happy with his deck and looked forward to improving on his 3-0 record.

Seat 8: Thomas Huteson
by Bill Stark

Thomas started the draft relatively solid in the first pack with a Sporesower Thallid and Lightning Axe, but his picks after that didn't stand up to that power level. He wanted to move into green-red but kept an eye on possible splash cards like Jedit's Dragoons and was visibly disappointed he had not gone into blue when a Careful Consideration showed up very late. By the end of the first pack his deck was solidly green but not necessarily very red.

Planar Chaos helped make that case for him as he opened with Dead//Gone, then nabbed a splashable mini-Dragon in the form of Jodah's Avenger. A mediocre third-pick Needlepeak Spider was made up for when a second Dead//Gone made it to him fourth and a Prodigal Pyromancer got through sixth. By the end of the pack he had a solid green-red list going, but was counting on Future Sight to shore up some weak spots and hopefully provide a Sprout Swarm.

An actual dragon made its way into his hands in the form of Scourge of Kher Ridges as his first pick in Future Sight and was followed up by Sporoloth Ancient, which would complement his plethora of Thallids from the first pack. His picks from there were less satisfying but solid nabbing removal in the form of Fatal Attraction and Thornweald Archer as well as shoring up his curve at one point taking Emberwilde Augur over Boldwyr Intimidator.

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