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Drafting with Richard - M13/M13/M13 #1

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Richard Bland
Richard Bland

About Richard Bland

Richard is an English pro player. He started playing Magic on a foreign exchange trip to Germany in the dark days of Darksteel, and was running sick homebrew Shared Fate decks at FNM while everyone else was playing affinity mirrors. While he has learned better since then, he still retains a soft spot for combo decks of all hues.

  • Platinum Pro Player
  • 98 Lifetime Pro Points
  • 2nd Worlds 2011
  • 2nd GP San Diego 2011
  • 3rd GP Barcelona 2011
  • 3rd GP Madrid 2010
  • 2nd Great Britain Nationals 2010

Drafting with Richard - M13/M13/M13 #1

Hello everyone,

Booster 1 - Magic 2013 Core Set

Pack 1 pick 1:

Kindled Fury Negate Guardians of Akrasa Disentomb Forest Ring of Kalonia Crippling Blight Flames of the Firebrand Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis Tricks of the Trade Vile Rebirth Goblin Battle Jester Wild Guess Timberpack Wolf Clock of Omens

My Pick: Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis

The only real choices here are Flames of the Firebrand and Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis. Flames is a very nice removal spell but Nefarox is in a better color and is a dragon with huge upside. It’s not that close a pick, even with the format being reasonably fast.

Pack 1 pick 2:

Rancor Island Redirect Fire Elemental Crippling Blight Krenko's Command Searing Spear War Falcon Erase Tricks of the Trade Switcheroo Cower in Fear Goblin Battle Jester Spiked Baloth

My Pick: Rancor

Having passed a good red card I don’t expect to get much red in pack 2 so I’m less inclined to take the Searing Spear, Rancor is also an excellent card and so I take a chance on it. Crippling Blight is fine but not worth the drop in card quality for sticking on-color.

Pack 1 pick 3:

Essence Scatter Rewind Centaur Courser Bountiful Harvest Glorious Charge Bladetusk Boar Wit's End Mountain Dragon Hatchling Healer of the Pride Encrust Mark of the Vampire Craterize

My Pick: Centaur Courser

Centaur Courser is probably the best card left in the pack here – he’s just a very efficient guy

Pack 1 pick 4:

Angelic Benediction Sign in Blood Plains Duress Index Ajani's Sunstriker Krenko's Command Knight of Glory Knight of Infamy Erase Goblin Battle Jester Spiked Baloth

My Pick: Knight of Infamy

Knight of Infamy is a pretty efficient 2-drop and is obviously great against white decks, while helping green 3/3’s get past the format’s many X/4’s

Pack 1 pick 5:

Rewind Trumpet Blast Mountain Glorious Charge Phylactery Lich Volcanic Strength Prey Upon Guardian Lions Erase Harbor Bandit Farseek

My Pick: Prey Upon

A fairly empty pack apart from Prey Upon, which is also pretty good with the Exalted cards I already have

Pack 1 pick 6:

Revive Bountiful Harvest Island Evolving Wilds Plummet Volcanic Strength Downpour Augur of Bolas Guardian Lions Farseek

My Pick: Evolving Wilds

Not a great deal I want in this pack – I make a safe neutral pick with Evolving WildsFarseek isn’t really what you want to be doing – the 4-drops in the set aren’t as good as the 2 and 3-drops, relatively speaking, so you’d be better off just curving out, and Plummet isn’t all that necessary for a black/green deck in this format.

Pack 1 pick 7:

Mogg Flunkies Tormod's Crypt Guardians of Akrasa Canyon Minotaur Forest Duress Vastwood Gorger Harbor Serpent Vile Rebirth

My Pick: Vastwood Gorger

Flunkies is actually a decent card, but I might want another big guy and Vastwood Gorger, while not spectacular, is certainly playable.

Pack 1 pick 8:

Trumpet Blast Revive Mountain Duress Yeva's Forcemage Guardian Lions Spiked Baloth Vedalken Entrancer

My Pick: Yeva's Forcemage

The best card left in the pack is again green. A good sign for my color choice.

Pack 1 pick 9:

Kindled Fury Disentomb Forest Vile Rebirth Goblin Battle Jester Wild Guess Clock of Omens

My Pick: Goblin Battle Jester

I don’t want any of these, so I grab the best card left – which might actually be Kindled Fury, as this deck seems aggressive enough to not worry too much about blocking. A possible mispick.

Pack 1 pick 10:

Island Redirect Fire Elemental Erase Tricks of the Trade Goblin Battle Jester

My Pick: Goblin Battle Jester

Same again – Tricks of the Trade isn’t as much of a problem, as I have removal and I’m aggressive.

Pack 1 pick 11:

Bountiful Harvest Glorious Charge Mountain Dragon Hatchling Craterize

My Pick: Glorious Charge

Hating a combat trick

Pack 1 pick 12:

Plains Erase Goblin Battle Jester Spiked Baloth

My Pick: Spiked Baloth

Late playable

Pack 1 pick 13:

Mountain Volcanic Strength Guardian Lions

My Pick: Volcanic Strength

Pack 1 pick 14:

Bountiful Harvest Island

My Pick: Bountiful Harvest

Pack 1 pick 15:

Forest

My Pick: Forest

Booster 2 - Magic 2013 Core Set

Pack 2 pick 1:

Scroll Thief Dark Favor Island Captain's Call Crippling Blight Rummaging Goblin Mindclaw Shaman Griffin Protector Healer of the Pride Fog Bank Vile Rebirth Goblin Battle Jester Timberpack Wolf Ranger's Path Serra Avenger

My Pick: Timberpack Wolf

Early drops are important, especially with Yeva's Battlemages, and Crippling Blight isn’t important enough to take over a card like Timberpack, where you need to take them early to get the most from them.

Pack 2 pick 2:

Essence Drain Oblivion Ring Bountiful Harvest Deadly Recluse Angel's Mercy Goblin Arsonist Tormented Soul Mountain Ring of Thune Duty-Bound Dead Smelt Warclamp Mastiff Battleflight Eagle Arms Dealer

My Pick: Essence Drain

The pick here is between Duty-Bound Dead and Essence Drain. Both are good cards, but Drain is a little more useful for the color combination, as Green decks should have less trouble holding the ground, and be a little lighter on removal. Additionally, we have only a few black cards so far, so it might be possible that we only splash black, making Essence Drain even more clearly the right pick.

Pack 2 pick 3:

Silvercoat Lion Essence Scatter Ravenous Rats Disentomb Fog Swamp Ring of Xathrid Bloodhunter Bat Rummaging Goblin Jace's Phantasm Veilborn Ghoul Craterize Serpent's Gift

My Pick: Bloodhunter Bat

Bloodhunter Bat is the only pick here – not really anything else to think about taking over it.

Pack 2 pick 4:

Mind Rot Negate Unsummon Aven Squire Vastwood Gorger Pillarfield Ox Arbor Elf Plummet Swamp Ring of Valkas Reckless Brute Tricks of the Trade

My Pick: Arbor Elf

A mediocre pack, but Arbor Elf’s a solid addition to the deck. Rancor makes mana elves and the like much less dead a draw, and we have a great 6-drop we want to accelerate into.

Pack 2 pick 5:

Wall of Fire Canyon Minotaur Divination Zombie Goliath Disentomb Forest Kitesail Volcanic Strength Blood Reckoning Wild Guess Farseek

My Pick: Kitesail

In a deck with green, I really don’t envision running Zombie Goliath. Kitesail is slow, but green decks can do with evasion, so this is an option. Not a great 5th pick, though.

Pack 2 pick 6:

Mogg Flunkies Elvish Visionary Trumpet Blast Mark of Mutiny Fog Walking Corpse Swamp Bond Beetle Show of Valor Spelltwine

My Pick: Elvish Visionary

Elvish Visionary gets the nod over Walking Corpse, as we’re heavier green and a card is worth more than +1/+1 of the Walking Corpse.

Pack 2 pick 7:

Divine Verdict Glorious Charge Swamp Tormented Soul Hydrosurge Smelt Bond Beetle Sentinel Spider Craterize

My Pick: Sentinel Spider

7th pick Sentinel Spider is a gift, and one I’m very happy to take. Green seems under-drafted at this table.

Pack 2 pick 8:

Wall of Fire Duress Kraken Hatchling Bladetusk Boar Elixir of Immortality Island Spiked Baloth Fungal Sprouting

My Pick: Fungal Sprouting

With Rancor and Exalted guys in the deck already, Fungal Sprouting could make a lot of tokens, it’s also pretty great with Rancor, so I take a risk on it. I’d rather not run two Spiked Baloths anyway.

Pack 2 pick 9:

Island Captain's Call Crippling Blight Rummaging Goblin Vile Rebirth Goblin Battle Jester Ranger's Path

My Pick: Crippling Blight

A nice late Crippling Blight will make the deck for sure.

Pack 2 pick 10:

Bountiful Harvest Angel's Mercy Tormented Soul Mountain Smelt Warclamp Mastiff

My Pick: Tormented Soul

Nothing to see here, move along.

Pack 2 pick 11:

Disentomb Fog Swamp Craterize Serpent's Gift

My Pick: Fog

Possible sideboard card

Pack 2 pick 12:

Plummet Swamp Ring of Valkas Reckless Brute

My Pick: Plummet

Another sideboard card

Pack 2 pick 13:

Wall of Fire Forest Wild Guess

My Pick: Wall of Fire

Pack 2 pick 14:

Trumpet Blast Swamp

My Pick: Trumpet Blast

Pack 2 pick 15:

Swamp

My Pick: Swamp

Booster 3 - Magic 2013 Core Set

Pack 3 pick 1:

Duskdale Wurm Sign in Blood Sunpetal Grove Merfolk of the Pearl Trident Index Dark Favor Forest Naturalize Captain's Call Chandra's Fury Warclamp Mastiff Wild Guess Flinthoof Boar Primal Clay Vedalken Entrancer

My Pick: Flinthoof Boar

This pack is pretty bare – Flinthoof Boar is the closest thing approaching a playable, and with Evolving Wilds we can consider a splash – and with the red being open in pack one, we might get a Searing Spear to go with it. Primal Clay is fine, but the deck has plenty of 4’s already.

Pack 3 pick 2:

Silvercoat Lion Kindled Fury Canyon Minotaur Zombie Goliath Giant Scorpion Wind Drake Harbor Serpent Phyrexian Hulk Plains War Falcon Prized Elephant Timberpack Wolf Ranger's Path Clone

My Pick: Timberpack Wolf

The value of Timberpack Wolf obviously goes up in multiples, and again there’s not a great deal of other cards to choose from.

Pack 3 pick 3:

Kraken Hatchling Evolving Wilds Bloodthrone Vampire Jayemdae Tome Fire Elemental Divine Favor Prey Upon Island Ajani's Sunstriker Krenko's Command Primal Huntbeast Worldfire Mwonvuli Beast Tracker

My Pick: Prey Upon

Prey Upon is the pick here – Mwonvuli Beast Tracker is fine, but at this point I only have Spiked Baloth and Sentinel Spider to fetch which, while fine, aren’t enough to pass up removal for.

Pack 3 pick 4:

Wall of Fire Centaur Courser Drowned Catacomb Bladetusk Boar Bloodthrone Vampire Merfolk of the Pearl Trident Scroll Thief Plains Searing Spear Primal Huntbeast Griffin Protector Primal Clay

My Pick: Centaur Courser

Another Courser is a good pickup. Searing Spear is good, but I’m not really looking to harm my manabase when I have a really good card in my colors already.

Pack 3 pick 5:

Ravenous Rats Goblin Arsonist Plummet Volcanic Strength War Priest of Thune Swamp Titanic Growth Torch Fiend Downpour Jace's Phantasm Show of Valor

My Pick: Titanic Growth

Titanic Growth is a welcome addition to compliment Spiked Baloth and Prey Upons.

Pack 3 pick 6:

Rancor Pillarfield Ox Merfolk of the Pearl Trident Index Forest Naturalize Mind Sculpt Downpour Crusader of Odric Hellion Crucible

My Pick: Rancor

Another Rancor is again very late, and nothing else to even consider. Hellion Crucible is a nice gift for the red drafter to my left.

Pack 3 pick 7:

Plains Arbor Elf Ring of Valkas Mind Sculpt Servant of Nefarox Reckless Brute Yeva's Forcemage Guardian Lions Farseek

My Pick: Yeva's Forcemage

Servant of Nefarox and Yeva's Forcemage are pretty comparable, but having more cards that support Prey Upon and make the deck’s other 2/2’s more relevant gives the forcemage the edge.

Pack 3 pick 8:

Mind Rot Reliquary Tower Safe Passage Vastwood Gorger Arbor Elf Titanic Growth Plains Reckless Brute

My Pick: Titanic Growth

Another growth is a great pickup for the deck.

Pack 3 pick 9:

Duskdale Wurm Sign in Blood Merfolk of the Pearl Trident Index Forest Naturalize Wild Guess

My Pick: Duskdale Wurm

Sign in Blood isn’t realistically castable, and Duskdale Wurm is a little better than Vastwood Gorger.

Pack 3 pick 10:

Kindled Fury Canyon Minotaur Zombie Goliath Phyrexian Hulk Plains Ranger's Path

My Pick: Zombie Goliath

The slimmest of chances I’d play this.

Pack 3 pick 11:

Kraken Hatchling Bloodthrone Vampire Jayemdae Tome Island Worldfire

My Pick: Bloodthrone Vampire

Potentially playable with Fungal Sprouting.

Pack 3 pick 12:

Wall of Fire Bladetusk Boar Plains Primal Huntbeast

My Pick: Primal Huntbeast

Another playable

Pack 3 pick 13:

Plummet Volcanic Strength Swamp

My Pick: Plummet

Pack 3 pick 14:

Index Forest

My Pick: Forest

Pack 3 pick 15:

Plains

My Pick: Plains

M13/M13/M13 #1 - Gb Aggro

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This deck just seemed a little lacking in quality playables, which may have been in part due to the generally weak packs and especially mediocre first picks in later packs. With so many tricks to pick from I had to cut Kitesail and a few of the high-end creatures to fit everything in.

Round 1 Vs (RGb)

Game 1

I lose the roll and keep a Timberpack Wolf, Centaur Courser five lander, which is a risk, but with this deck I wasn’t likely to mulligan into a much better hand and need to curve out. Unfortunately I draw more land than spells off the top and he stabilizes with a Garruk's Packleader and Krenko's Summons to my pair of 2/2’s. He attacks in with packleader, and knowing I have basically no single card I can draw that will deal with Packleader alone, with me with plenty of mana open and three lands in hand. I’m too low to just keep taking the damage, and I figure he might not have the trick and be trying to bluff one before tapping out for a guy postcombat. The risk doesn’t pay off as he has the Searing Spear when I double block, which kills me.

I decide I need some bigger guys to invalidate his red removal, so I side out a Knight of Infamy for Duskdale Wurm.

Game 2

I get a quick start of Arbor Elf into Timberpack Wolf and Prey Upon his Arbor Elf, followed by a second Timberpack Wolf and Rancor the first to swing for 5 damage on turn 3. This format can be pretty fast if it wants to be! He plays some ineffective guys out and I just keep beating for 8 a turn which finishes him.

Game 3

I keep a hand of 2 Swamps, Crippling Blight, Bloodhunter Bat, Arbor Elf, Centaur Courser and Prey Upon on the draw, with 11 Green sources in my deck to draw by turn three I thought I’d have a good chance of doing well with the hand, and his deck hadn’t been particularly fast in previous games. I fail to draw a Forest until turn 4, and play out Arbor Elf, which is answered by a turn 5 Acidic Slime from my opponent as a double-dagger. Never did Arbor Elf feel like a more inferior version of Llanowar Elves. I bricked on a Forest for another turn and had to discard a Duskdale Wurm, which my opponent promptly claimed with a splashed Rise from the Grave. I play out Bloodhunter Bat, Centaur Courser and Rancor to attempt to trade with the 7/7, but he has Searing Spear again to blow me out and put the match away.

1-2

So not the greatest of finishes, but I think there’s plenty to learn about the speed of the format and the prevalence of removal for X/3’s from this.

My next article will be after the World Magic Cup, so with some luck I’ll have something good to share about the tournament.

Thanks for reading,

Richard

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