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A final farewell walkthrough before delving fully into Lorwyn Limited.

One Last Time

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The letter L!orwyn hit the streets a few days ago, but as I write this it's still not available. A sad thing occurs when a new set comes in, and that's that we lose the old set that rotates out. Sometimes we're happy to see it go, maybe because we could never get to grips with it, or maybe it was just flawed or we had drafted it too many times. I decided that this week, I would bring you a farewell to Time Spiral Block.

I'm aware that many people think I draft almost exclusively blue. This is true whenever it is available, and I will talk about why in a later article. So for my last article, I tried really hard to not draft blue. I wanted to bring you guys something cool. For my first draft I forced Slivers from a first-pick Gemhide Sliver—it didn't work out. Then I drafted a sick nearly mono-blue control deck featuring two Foresee, a Careful Consideration, a Fathom Seer, a Mystical Teachings, and a Cryptic Annelid. It splashed black, red and green for various bombs and removal and its mana was fantastic thanks to a Terramorphic Expanse, a Prismatic Lens, and a Dreamscape Artist (a card I still don't like as much as everyone else). Alas, when I went to write about it, I found that the draft file had corrupted and it was not to be.

I went back to the drawing board, still trying to come up with a fun draft deck that didn't involve blue, which I was determined to try really hard to not draft. However, one of the problems with Magic, in my opinion, is that it is very hard to have "fun" without blue or black. They're the tricky colours that let you do degenerate things, things other than just tapping men sideways. Anyhow, here's how it all worked out when I hit a 4-3-2-2 queue.

Pack 1, Pick 1

Pack 1 -- Click to enlarge Deathspore Thallid, Errant Ephemeron, Flowstone Channeler, Herd Gnarr, Trespasser il-Vec, Amrou Scout, Two-Headed Sliver, Clockspinning, Sidewinder Sliver, Fungal Reaches, Krosan Grip, Voidmage Husher, Kher Keep, Dandân, Mountain

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 2

Grapeshot, Scarwood Treefolk, Slipstream Serpent, Gaze of Justice, Strangling Soot, Viscid Lemures, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Two-Headed Sliver, Blazing Blade Askari, Shadow Sliver, Smallpox, Fool's Demise, Magus of the Mirror, Withered Wretch

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 3

Gaze of Justice, Coal Stoker, Durkwood Baloth, Coral Trickster, Ivory Giant, Bogardan Rager, Sangrophage, D'Avenant Healer, Wormwood Dryad, Mystical Teachings, Barbed Shocker, Duskrider Peregrine, Conspiracy

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 4

Terramorphic Expanse, Snapback, Pentarch Ward, Bonesplitter Sliver, Jhoira's Timebug, Jedit's Dragoons, Savage Thallid, Ancient Grudge, Sudden Shock, Thunder Totem, Tectonic Fiend, Trickbind

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 5

Think Twice, Ashcoat Bear, Cloudchaser Kestrel, Thallid Germinator, Pit Keeper, Sage of Epityr, Divine Congregation, Mindlash Sliver, Vampiric Sliver, Gustcloak Cavalier, Defiant Vanguard

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 6

Cancel, Icatian Crier, Sage of Epityr, Ghitu Firebreathing, Greenseeker, Thick-Skinned Goblin, Ghostflame Sliver, Dementia Sliver, Academy Ruins, Dodecapod

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 7

Flamecore Elemental, Feebleness, Ophidian Eye, Watcher Sliver, Thrill of the Hunt, Plunder, Pendelhaven Elder, Saltcrusted Steppe, Faceless Devourer

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 8

Ashcoat Bear, Amrou Seekers, Call to the Netherworld, Drifter il-Dal, Havenwood Wurm, Basal Sliver, Opaline Sliver, Gustcloak Cavalier

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 9

Clockspinning, Sidewinder Sliver, Fungal Reaches, Krosan Grip, Voidmage Husher, Kher Keep, Mountain

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 10

Scarwood Treefolk, Gaze of Justice, Viscid Lemures, Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Blazing Blade Askari, Fool's Demise

Click here.

Pack 1, Pick 11

Gaze of Justice, Bogardan Rager, Sangrophage, D'Avenant Healer, Barbed Shocker
Pick: Bogardan Rager

Pack 1, Pick 12

Pentarch Ward, Jedit's Dragoons, Savage Thallid, Ancient Grudge

Pick: Ancient Grudge

Pack 1, Pick 13

Divine Congregation, Mindlash Sliver, Gustcloak Cavalier

Pick: Mindlash Sliver

Pack 1, Pick 14

Ghitu Firebreathing, Academy Ruins

It is worth noting here that this is obviously a very unusual pick, especially as the Academy Ruins is sometimes even playable. I was brought up by the Sam Gomersall school of Magic Online, which instructs its pupils to take the card with the highest tix value if you don't think anything else in the pack will make your deck. I've been gifted with an infinite account thanks to this column, so for me the Ruins means nothing, but for the guy next to me, it makes a fine gift. Never hurts to be nice.

Pick: Ghitu Firebreathing

Pack 1, Pick 15

Pendelhaven Elder

Pick: Pendelhaven Elder

Alas, we are now looking at the wreck I feared the draft might become. We have a couple of cards in green, a couple in black, a couple in red, and a couple in blue. Each colour is only really one card deep with a bad back up card. Of the four options, blue and black are the best, unsurprisingly, as they contain our first and second pick. It might have been in our interest to go white, had we picked the Duskrider Peregrine.

Now we have to use Planar Chaos to help fix what we have. It will probably be the case that both blue and black will flow from the left as we took most of the playable cards in those colours that came our way, so that is the direction I feel we might head, although I am ready to change my mind if some nice stuff comes my way. The only really certain thing is that we probably won't play white. Even if it does flow from the right, we will not accumulate enough playables to make it worth it from just Future Sight alone (although I am sure we will have to pass some late-pick white cards anyhow).

Pack 2, Pick 1

Pack 2 -- Click to enlarge Mire Boa, Battering Sliver, Aven Riftwatcher, Erratic Mutation, Wistful Thinking, Keldon Marauders, Dash Hopes, Shade of Trokair, Revered Dead, Rathi Trapper, Fa'adiyah Seer, Aether Membrane, Kavu Predator, Riptide Pilferer, Timbermare

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 2

Stingscourger, Synchronous Sliver, Utopia Vow, Dawn Charm, Spitting Sliver, Uktabi Drake, Ghost Tactician, Firefright Mage, Vampiric Link, Skirk Shaman, Healing Leaves, Venarian Glimmer, Treacherous Urge, Keen Sense

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 3

Cradle to Grave, Reflex Sliver, Dreamscape Artist, Poultice Sliver, Vitaspore Thallid, Brain Gorgers, Fury Charm, Merfolk Thaumaturgist, Mana Tithe, Saltblast, Muck Drubb, Shivan Wumpus, Magus of the Tabernacle

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 4

Poultice Sliver, Dreamscape Artist, Ridged Kusite, Pallid Mycoderm, Brain Gorgers, Dust Corona, Gossamer Phantasm, Seal of Primordium, Essence Warden, Sophic Centaur, Dormant Sliver, Serendib Sorcerer

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 5

Veiling Oddity, Ridged Kusite, Needlepeak Spider, Uktabi Drake, Blightspeaker, Aquamorph Entity, Evolution Charm, Primal Plasma, Simian Spirit Guide, Hammerheim Deadeye, Braids, Conjurer Adept

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 6

Veiling Oddity, Midnight Charm, Wistful Thinking, Reality Acid, Citanul Woodreaders, Bog Serpent, Merfolk Thaumaturgist, Psychotrope Thallid, Fungal Behemoth, Cradle to Grave

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 7

Battering Sliver, Mire Boa, Pallid Mycoderm, Keldon Marauders, Dust Corona, Essence Warden, Bog Serpent, Dismal Failure, Kor Dirge

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 8

Cradle to Grave, Vitaspore Thallid, Dash Hopes, Aquamorph Entity, Brute Force, Mana Tithe, Primal Plasma, Mycologist

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 9

Battering Sliver, Wistful Thinking, Keldon Marauders, Dash Hopes, Fa'adiyah Seer, Kavu Predator, Riptide Pilferer

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 10

Uktabi Drake, Firefright Mage, Vampiric Link, Healing Leaves, Venarian Glimmer, Treacherous Urge

Pick: Treacherous Urge

Pack 2, Pick 11

Reflex Sliver, Vitaspore Thallid, Brain Gorgers, Fury Charm, Merfolk Thaumaturgist

Click here.

Pack 2, Pick 12

Brain Gorgers, Dust Corona, Seal of Primordium, Sophic Centaur

Pick: Brain Gorgers

Pack 2, Pick 13

Ridged Kusite, Simian Spirit Guide, Braids, Conjurer Adept

Pick: Ridged Kusite

Pack 2, Pick 14

Wistful Thinking, Reality Acid

Pick: Wistful Thinking

Pack 2, Pick 15

Bog Serpent

Pick: Bog Serpent

I think this pack went quite well. Although the colour problem has not been completely solved, we have at least settled heavily into black. This means that even without the aid of fixers, should we need to, we will be able to splash both blue and red, probably with a heavier leaning towards my favourite colour because of the Sorceror. Unless Future Sight forces us otherwise with significantly more powerful red cards, then I envisage the deck to be black-blue splashing red, probably with an 8-6-4 manabase. We are also light on quality creatures and I would like to pick up some good win conditions. The two late Brain Gorgers and Ridged Kusite might mean that a madness theme could appear, but unless the cards fall together correctly it is nothing I intend to try and make work this late on.

Pack 3, Pick 1

Pack 3 -- Click to enlarge Unblinking Bleb, Lost Hours, Wrap in Vigor, Knight of Sursi, Leaden Fists, Nessian Courser, Blade of the Sixth Pride, Sarcomite Myr, Death Rattle, Homing Sliver, Snake Cult Initiation, Emblem of the Warmind, Imperiosaur, Cloud Key, Tolaria West

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 2

Bogardan Lancer, Knight of Sursi, Grave Peril, Wrap in Vigor, Samite Censer-Bearer, Grave Scrabbler, Henchfiend of Ukor, Whip-Spine Drake, Lymph Sliver, Homing Sliver, Second Wind, Fleshwrither, Bloodshot Trainee, Bitter Ordeal

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 3

Judge Unworthy, Leaden Fists, Quiet Disrepair, Saltskitter, Unblinking Bleb, Vedalken Aethermage, Blade of the Sixth Pride, Sporoloth Ancient, Grinning Ignus, Whip-Spine Drake, Storm Entity, Spellwild Ouphe, Aven Mindcensor

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 4

Putrid Cyclops, Rift Elemental, Llanowar Empath, Marshaling Cry, Grave Scrabbler, Lumithread Field, Mesmeric Sliver, Flowstone Embrace, Nacatl War-Pride, Aven Mindcensor, Arcanum Wings, Emberwilde Augur

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 5

Oblivion Crown, Saltskitter, Cutthroat il-Dal, Fomori Nomad, Logic Knot, Lucent Liminid, Vedalken Aethermage, Cloudseeder, Minions' Murmurs, Llanowar Reborn, Bloodshot Trainee

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 6

Augur il-Vec, Petrified Plating, Bogardan Lancer, Lumithread Field, Grinning Ignus, Deepcavern Imp, Llanowar Mentor, Sliversmith, Dust of Moments, Nix

Pick: Deepcavern Imp

Pack 3, Pick 7

Gift of Granite, Augur of Skulls, Lost Hours, Petrified Plating, Lymph Sliver, Blind Phantasm, Virulent Sliver, Mass of Ghouls, Ramosian Revivalist

Click here.

Pack 3, Pick 8

Llanowar Augur, Samite Censer-Bearer, Frenzy Sliver, Patrician's Scorn, Logic Knot, Char-Rumbler, Utopia Mycon, Goldmeadow Lookout

Pick: Logic Knot

Pack 3, Pick 9

Unblinking Bleb, Lost Hours, Wrap in Vigor, Sarcomite Myr, Homing Sliver, Snake Cult Initiation, Emblem of the Warmind

Pick: Unblinking Bleb

Pack 3, Pick 10

Bogardan Lancer, Wrap in Vigor, Samite Censer-Bearer, Homing Sliver, Bloodshot Trainee, Bitter Ordeal

Pick: Homing Sliver

Pack 3, Pick 11

Quiet Disrepair, Saltskitter, Vedalken Aethermage, Blade of the Sixth Pride, Grinning Ignus

Pick: Vedalken Aethermage

Pack 3, Pick 12

Putrid Cyclops, Rift Elemental, Llanowar Empath, Arcanum Wings

Pick: Llanowar Empath

Pack 3, Pick 13

Oblivion Crown, Saltskitter, Bloodshot Trainee

Pick: Bloodshot Trainee

Pack 3, Pick 14

Bogardan Lancer, Dust of Moments

Pick: Bogardan Lancer

Pack 3, Pick 15

Gift of Granite

Pick: Gift of Granite

Now that the dust has settled, let's see what we're left with. The only three red cards that we have worth playing or being splashed are Stingscourger, Sudden Shock, and Flowstone Embrace. However, do we have enough solid playables within blue and black to need to splash at all, and if we do, should we? Fiddling around during deck construction led to the following:

This is the strongest build for the deck I can see. The cards in the lower right hand corner are our options. We can splash the Red, however, there aren't actually too many cards that we can cut. The deck is light on creatures no matter how we build it, so we cannot really afford to shave any there. This means that the deck's weak links are Treacherous Urge and Logic Knot. The former is the kind of card that shines in bad decks. It has the potential to be a game wrecker. Alternatively, it can miss or be little more than an expensive Ostracize, but I have found that it tends to get there more often than not.

It seems, therefore, in our interest to not splash red. The three on-colour creatures are all worth considering. The Ridged Kusite can be set aside easily because there are only two cards in the deck (the Brain Gorgers) that really want first strike. The Bog Serpent is so almost good enough for the maindeck, given that the deck has little to no defense and it's a great cad to follow one of the Drakes. However, it's just not enough, although it will definitely come in against black decks and decks with lots of ground-pounders. The Cloud Seeder just didn't cut the mustard. It won't have enough impact on the game to be worth it.

For how the draft went, I don't think the deck is as bad as it could have been. I made sacrifices and kept my options open for as long as possible without costing me anything. This deck is definitely the result of the indecisions of the players on my right.

I beat my first opponent quite easily, killing his first few guys with Cradles and finishing him with a Drake and a Gorger according to plan. He took the second game whilst I drew my chaff, and I won the third off the back of an early Pilferer and a timely Treacherous Urge on a Penumbra Spider. In the semis my opponent mana-screwed out of the first game and had no answer to my Drake and Lemures (he was playing black). I lost the second to his better deck. Game 3 I was sure I'd lose, but I stayed in the game with Cradles, finally drew a Bog Serpent to swing things in my favour, and Logic Knotted his Phthisis the turn it would've killed me. Unsurprisingly, I was swiftly crushed in the final by a good player with good cards.

Next week we'll be back on track talking about Lorwyn, and I will actually have some experience with the set thanks to all the three-on-threes I'm playing here in Valencia. Till then,

Q

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