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U.S. Nationals 1999 Reports

Draft Coverage: David Williams and Dennis Bentley

There were several very interesting draft tables to watch, and table two was particularly impressive. The following players are all undefeated to date and were seated in this order:

  • David Williams - qualified at the very last meatgrinder, at 4am yesterday
  • Mark Justice of team PCL fame, 1996 U.S. National Champion.
  • Jon Finkel - PT player of the year
  • Mark Le Pine - 2nd, GP DC
  • Mike Bregoli - top Boston area player
  • Brian Selden - World champion
  • David Lewis
  • Dennis Bentley - 1997 U.S. National Champion

I elected to watch David Williams and Dennis Bentley. Williams has an established reputation as an excellent drafter and Bentley has recently made a comeback, doing well at the tournaments he chose to attend.

Williams was the first seed in the draft. Bentley, to his right, was 8th.

Urzas Saga

Picks Williams Bentley
1 Corrupt Goblin Raider
2 Absolute Law Priest of Titania
3 Wall of Junk Drifting Medaow
4 Looming Shade Vebulid
5 COP Black Goblin Spelunkers
6 Cathodian Horseshoe Crab
7 Dark Ritual Pendrell Drake
8 Blood Vassal Endless Wurm
9 Parasitic Bond Bull Hippo
10 Blood Vassal Spire Owl
11 Power Taint Veiled Serpent
12 Bog Raiders Symbiosis
13 Hidden Herd Thran Turbine
14 Phyrexian Ghoul Venomous Fangs
15 Cloak of Mists Blanchwood Armor

Williams opened excellent red cards in his pack - Shiv's Embrace, Heat Ray and Steam Blast. Taking one of those would lead to possibly having to fight for the color with Mark Justice sitting to his left. Williams drafted a Corrupt instead, the only black card in that pack.

Williams did not get many choice cards in Saga, but he did pick up some decent creatures and left himself open to potentially switching his second color, having drafted few white cards.

Bentley had the luxury of just taking what came as the 8th seed. He let most of the players around him choose their colors and went heavily into green. Blue wasn't as easy, Bentley had to fight for this color with David Lewis sitting to his left. Having drafted several creature enhancements as well as a few very solid green creatures, Bentley commited heavily to this color but his second color was yet ot be finalized as well.

Urza's Legacy

Picks Williams Bentley
1 Expendable Troops Rancor
2 Defender of Law Treefolk Mystic
3 Snap Silk Net
4 Engineered Plague Intervene
5 Plague Beetle Repopulate
6 Radiant's Judgement Cloud of Faeries
7 Martyr's Cause Bouncing Beebles
8 Hope and Glory Rancor
9 Crawlspace Aura Flux
10 Sick and Tired Weatherseed Faeries
11 Iron Maiden Crop Rotation
12 Phyrexian Broodlings Cloud of Faeries
13 Burst of Energy Multani's Presence
14 Phyrexian Plaguelord Yavimaya Scion
15 ? Plague Beetle

The Legacy pack was really good to Bentley. The pack he opened presented a choice between Rancor and Might of Oaks (Bentley correctly chose Rancor) and another Rancor showed up later in the draft. Although Bentley would need to draft some more creatures in Destiny, his deck was looking solid already.

Williams picked up a first-pick quality Plaguelord (taking it over Radiant's Dragoons) and some removal. He too, would need a solid Destiny pack to have a good draft.

Urza's Destiny

Picks Williams Bentley
1 Voice of Reason Multani's Decree
2 Chime of Night Illuminated Wings
3 Fend Off Covetous Dragon
4 Capashen Templar Mental Discipline
5 Soul Feast Goliath beetle
6 Relinquiry Monk Bubbling Beebles
7 Braidwood Cup Plow Under
8 CapashenTemplar Fledgling Osprey
9 Taunting Elf Heart Warden
10 Tormented Angel Fatigue
11 Storage Matrix Plated Spider
12 Scent of Nightshade Rescue
13 Fledgling Osprey Plated Spider
14 Field Surgeon Metathran Soldier
15 Fatigue Kingfisher

Williams' draft ended up being decent, but not great. He did get some solid fliers but he would also probably end up playing with several weaker cards like Blood Vassal. Bentley managed to draft some of the much needed creatures. His deck is powerful but lacks direct removal to deal with creatures like Field Surgeon or Weatherseed Elf. He will have to rely on raw power to punch through.

Mike Bregoli drafted what may be the best deck at the table. His Green-Black strategy benefted from being passed cards like Deranged Hermit and Might of Oaks.

In an update to a previous draft report, Mark Justice defeated Andrew Cuneo in the final match of the first draft. His gamble paid off with the Sligh-like strategy sweeping the draft.

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