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Drafting With Nico - ME3 Draft #1

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About the Author

Nico is a level 5 member of the Pro Players Club, he has 71 lifetime Pro Points and is one of the best Limited players worldwide! Some of Nico’s MTG accomplishments include:

-Winning Grand Prix Torino

-Top 8 at Pro Tour Hollywood
-Winning the team World Championship

Apart from playing high-level tournaments, Nico judges various Magic tournaments. In addition Nico is the original designer of the BW token deck, which performed well in the current Standard format. He was also spotted winning matches with 20/20 avatar tokens (or as he says “Chuck Norris tokens”) from Dark Depths at last year’s Nationals ;-).

If you missed the last episode of "Drafting with Nico" you can find it here:

Drafting With Nico - M10 #5

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Level 5 Pro Player Nico Bohny takes us through an M2010 8-4 draft queue on Magic Online. He shares some comprehensive thoughts about both the picks and the games, and talks us through each step of the way! If you're looking to improve your Limited game, this is the article series for you!

You can even vote and tell Nico which cards you would have picked and if you agree with the Pro Player. You will also see what other users think about the picks.

Don’t miss out on this one!

ME3 Draft

ME3

Last week, a new Masters Edition was released for Magic Online. Though this draft format never was (and never will be) relevant for tournament players, it's still a lot of fun and offers the opportunity to win some additional tix, by just opening one of those money rares (old dual lands, Mana Drain, Bazaar of Baghdad ...). After some drafts, I have a pretty clear opinion about the format. Either you draft a deck as aggressive as possible (mostly Red, Green or Black; 2-colored), or you draft an x-color control deck, as slow as it can get, with as much removal as you can get. There is plenty of removal around in ME 3, but not that much aggro stuff. Most of the time you just fill up your deck with expensive legends - since they are common, you will always get a bunch of them. But imagine if you are the only aggro drafter at the table, or maybe share the aggro cards with only one other player, you will get the nut high of a deck. 

Well, enough talking, enough theory - let's get practical:

Pack 1

Chain Lightning
Versions:
Legends

Pack 1 pick 1:
    Gaea's Touch
    Strategic Planning
    Wu Elite Cavalry
    Wu Longbowman
    Ramirez DePietro
    Shu General
    Elves of Deep Shadow
    Island
    Lesser Werewolf
    Sir Shandlar of Eberyn
    The Wretched
    Bartel Runeaxe
    Grim Tutor
--> Chain Lightning
    Scryb Sprites

My draft starts off with a fairly easy pick. Chain Lightning is a pretty strong card in an aggro deck, but also does it's job as an early removal for your opponents threats in order to protect yourself from early beats in control decks. The blue pinger is not as good as it used to be in older draft sets, since there aren't a lot of 1 toughness creatures around. Still they can get pretty annoying if you manage to get multiples. The blue and white horsemanship guys are solid material, but I would never pick them over removal. Bartel Runeaxe is also a pretty strong card, above all against bBack, where he's kind of deathproof against
the Ghostly Visits and Torments. Grim Tutor is a fine card as well, but I wouldn't pick it highly unless I have some real bombs to search for. And there aren't that in this format...

Pack 1 pick 2:
    Young Wei Recruits
    Brilliant Plan
    D'Avenant Archer
    Sivitri Scarzam
    Freyalise's Winds
    Ivory Guardians
    Lesser Werewolf
    False Defeat
    Forest
--> Chain Lightning
    Disenchant
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Heavy Fog
    Benthic Explorers

That's much more difficult here. We have a Chain Lightning again, as well as the - in my opinion best Common - Brilliant Plan. The Plan is easily splashable and secures you a great advantage in the lategame. If this was my first pick, I surely would have taken the Plan here. But with the Lightning, I still have plenty of options, I can still build a fine aggro deck, or I already have a nice early removal suite for my control deck.

Ghostly Visit

Pack 1 pick 3:
    Shu Cavalry
    Desperate Charge
    Remove Soul
    Gauntlets of Chaos
    Barktooth Warbeard
    Banshee
    Mountain
--> Ghostly Visit
    Crimson Kobolds
    Pavel Maliki
    Demonic Torment
    Infuse
    Scryb Sprites

Another pretty strong pack here. We have the solid Remove Soul - a card I really want to ship since I already passed a Brilliant Plan, in order to keep the signs flowing. If I desperately wanted to force Green/Red aggro, I could take the Scryb Sprites here, since Flying nearly means unblockable in this format where everyone is riding a horse.
But Black seems to be too open to avoid here - with the best black common - Ghostly Visit - still in the pack. I am happy to follow the signs and jump into that color.

Pack 1 pick 4:
    D'Avenant Archer
    Blood Lust
    Spirit Shackle
    Kobold Drill Sergeant
    Disenchant
    Swamp
    Ivory Guardians
--> Wei Elite Companions
    Tuknir Deathlock
    Strategic Planning
    Astrolabe
    Sorrow's Path

Another black goodie here. 3/3 horsemanship cannot be matched by the commons in the format - you really need an uncommon to top this one by size. His color black also proves quite useful when playing against another black deck - protecting your big guys from the ever present Ghostly Visit.

Pack 1 pick 5:
    Lady Caleria
    Ghosts of the Damned
    Kobold Taskmaster
    Spoils of Victory
    Hunting Cheetah
    Frost Giant
    Jedit Ojanen
--> Lesser Werewolf (FOIL)
    Wei Infantry
    Plains
    Benthic Explorers

I see some nice Green cards coming around - Lady Caleria can just win lategames on it's own, Hunting Cheetah is one of the best Green men... uh... cats, and Spoils of Victory helps you fix your mana if you're willing to move into 3 or 4 colors. Still, there are black options in here. Wu Infantry would be the pick if we wanted to go aggro, but I prefer the werewolf here, with his (sometimes quite useful) ability to shrink your opponents blockers - giving him some kind of evasion.

Pack 1 pick 6:
    Young Wei Recruits
    Shu Soldier-Farmers
    Fevered Strength
    Recall
   Mountain
    Forced Retreat
--> Sol Grail
    Anaba Ancestor
    Heavy Fog
    Dance of Many

There's a Young Wei Recruits which you always want to play when aggro, but I guess with all my removal so far, I'm rather looking to fix my mana for incoming fatties in packs 2 and 3. In this format, you can easily splash one or two colors, and with no real interesting option in the pack, I'm willing to keep my options open.

Pack 1 pick 7:
    Astrolabe
    Reincarnation
--> Stangg
    Plains
    Amrou Kithkin
    Fevered Strength
    Coal Golem
    Lightning Blow
    Fire Sprites

And there's the first card I'd be willing to splash. No big options for my colors here, and Stangg just seems to be a nice high-end finisher.

Pack 1 pick 8:
    Desperate Charge (FOIL)
    Sivitri Scarzam
    Spectral Shield
    Forest
    Disenchant
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Heavy Fog
--> Benthic Explorers

No cards for me. If I manage to draft some Brilliant Plans in pack 2, there's a big chance that I will also play the Benthic Explorers.

Pack 1 pick 9:
    Gaea's Touch
    Strategic Planning
    Ramirez DePietro
    Island
    Sir Shandlar of Eberyn
   The Wretched
--> Bartel Runeaxe

And wow, I never would have thought to see this guy wheeling. Looks like we're going to settle down in Green...

Pack 1 pick 10:
    D'Avenant Archer
--> Sivitri Scarzam
    Forest
    Disenchant
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Heavy Fog
 
Pack 1 pick 11:
    Desperate Charge
    Barktooth Warbeard
    Mountain
    Crimson Kobolds
--> Pavel Maliki
 
Pack 1 pick 12:
    D'Avenant Archer
    Spirit Shackle
    Swamp
--> Sorrow's Path
 
Pack 1 pick 13:
--> Ghosts of the Damned
    Kobold Taskmaster
    Plains
 
Pack 1 pick 14:
--> Fevered Strength
    Mountain

Summary Pack 1

I am quite happy so far - I have some decent removal spells, Black seems to be open, red will most likely be shipped to me in the second pack, and I collected some decent splash cards for Green. Seems to be a good pile of cards so far.

Pack 2


Pack 2 pick 1:
    Wu Elite Cavalry
    Strategic Planning
   Wormwood Treefolk
    Wu Longbowman
    Ramirez DePietro
    Shu General
    Elves of Deep Shadow
    Sir Shandlar of Eberyn
    Active Volcano
    Lesser Werewolf
    The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    Island
    Urborg
--> Chain Lightning
    Scryb Sprites

Well, lets continue our draft like we have started it. A rather empty pack, no money rare (although it's a rare land), seems we're going for the rock solid burn spell again.

Willow Satyr

Pack 2 pick 2:
    Remove Soul
    Desperate Charge
    Spiny Starfish
    Demonic Torment
    Infuse
    Scryb Sprites
    Sunastian Falconer
    Ghostly Visit
    Slashing Tiger
    Crimson Kobolds
--> Willow Satyr
    Didgeridoo
    Mountain
    Barktooth Warbeard

I really needed plenty of time to decide in this pack. Ghostly Visit is just a great card, nothing more to add here. But Willow Satyr is a card that just wins you games on its own, if not playing against removal heavy red or black decks. There are so many legends in the format, that your opponent will most likely have to play any to get into the game. Satyr is just a bomb, and wins the game if not dealt with. Have to stock up my Green for that one!

Wei Night Raiders

Pack 2 pick 3:
    Plains (FOIL)
    Shu General
    Heavy Fog
    Shu Soldier-Farmers
    Trip Wire
    Fevered Strength
    Marhault Elsdragon
--> Wei Night Raiders
    Mountain
    Slashing Tiger
    Anaba Ancestor
    Forced Retreat
    Sol Grail

Not quite Hypnotic Specter, but with that much removal already in my deck, this guy will most likely cause your opponent to discard some of his precious cards, if not removed.

Pack 2 pick 4:
    Barktooth Warbeard
    Mountain
    Desperate Charge
    Remove Soul
--> Slashing Tiger
    Crimson Kobolds
    Takklemaggot
    Riven Turnbull
    Princess Lucrezia
    Infuse
    Scryb Sprites
    Shu Cavalry

Nothing spectacular here. Slashing Tiger is a bit too Green in my opinion, but I love tigers, and I love solid material for my deck, so...

Pack 2 pick 5:
    Gaea's Touch
--> Tor Wauki
    Young Wei Recruits
    D'Avenant Archer
    Sivitri Scarzam
    Heavy Fog
    Lesser Werewolf
    Disenchant
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Chromium
    Forest

Wow, how I would love to draft that elder dragon... But I guess even if the format is quite colorful, I'd never get away with that splash :-)
So, there's another nice legend in this pack, no big deal passing the dragon to the next raredrafter.

Pack 2 pick 6:
    Giant Growth
--> Jerrard of the Closed Fist
    Tor Wauki
    Spoils of Victory
    Marhault Elsdragon
    Spirit Shackle
    Island
    Flash Flood
    Anaba Ancestor
    Lightning Blow

There's another shooter in this pack, but here, I prefer the fat guy. Toughness 5 is pretty unstoppable in this format, and with a toughness of 3, you just die to all the massremoval in the format plus the red burn spells.

Pack 2 pick 7:
    Ghosts of the Damned
    Plains
    Amrou Kithkin
    Hunding Gjornersen
    Infuse
    Fire Drake
--> Jungle Lion
    Blood Lust
    Peach Garden Oath

There's my favorite aggro card and a good reason to include green in your fast decks. I Can't imagine to put him in this deck, but at least, no one else will have him.

Pack 2 pick 8:
    Ramses Overdark
    Scryb Sprites (FOIL)
    Force Spike
    Kobold Taskmaster
    Labyrinth Minotaur
    Torsten Von Ursus
    Island
--> Lady Orca

Lady's first - although this one is neither pretty nor anything else...

Pack 2 pick 9:
    Ramirez DePietro
    Sir Shandlar of Eberyn
--> Active Volcano
    Lesser Werewolf
    Island
    Urborg
    Scryb Sprites

Pretty juicy sideboard card.

Pack 2 pick 10:
    Desperate Charge
    Spiny Starfish
    Crimson Kobolds
    Didgeridoo
    Mountain
--> Barktooth Warbeard

Pack 2 pick 11:
    Plains (FOIL)
    Heavy Fog
--> Fevered Strength
    Mountain
    Anaba Ancestor

Pack 2 pick 12:
--> Barktooth Warbeard
    Mountain
    Desperate Charge
    Crimson Kobolds

Pack 2 pick 13:
--> Gaea's Touch
    Heavy Fog
    Forest

Pack 2 pick 14:
--> Spirit Shackle
    Island

Pack 2 pick 15:
--> Plains

Summary Pack 2

I don't like the evolution of this draft. Black is still very open, but Green and Red have been cut from the other side. Somehow I moved to greedily into Green with my pick, and since I haven't seen
that many mana fixers, I am not sure how good I can support those three colors. Also, Red seems to become a splash more and more, which weakens my early defense, because I will not be able to reliably cast my red burn spells in the first few turns.

Pack 3

Pack 3 pick 1:
    Wall of Light
    Forest
    Shu Elite Companions
   Takklemaggot
    Elves of Deep Shadow
    Anaba Spirit Crafter
    Bone Flute
    Brilliant Plan
    Wei Infantry
    Livonya Silone
--> Xira Arien
    Raging Minotaur
    Fellwar Stone
    Wei Night Raiders
    Labyrinth Minotaur

Another pack with plenty of options. There's another Brilliant Plan I could just pick and splash somehow, but since my manafixers aren't that numerous yet, I cannot consider taking the Plan
over the other good cards. Fellwar Stone is a nice accelerator, but just too random on what colors he supports. Also, acceleration isn't as important as in other formats, since you can always handle the expensive guys with cheaper removal. Disharmony is also a strong card, but can be quite situational sometimes - it doesn't trade 2 for 1 very often.

The main question I ask myself here is: Night Raiders or Xira. Both are card advantage machines, Xira grants your card advantage in the late game (where you have plenty of mana to spend anyway), Night Raiders are especially strong in the early game,  when you can really rip the gems out of your opponents hands. Both are vulnerable to the same removal, except for Xira avoiding the black Demonic Torment. Also, Xira doesn't die to Trip Wire and cannot be outclassed by just some bigger rider.
Because my deck has a real shot at ending up in the lategame, I pick the card with more potential there.

Pack 3 pick 2:
    Fellwar Stone
    Spiny Starfish
    Immolation
    Amrou Kithkin
    Plains
    Nebuchadnezzar
    Coal Golem
    Lightning Blow
    Three Visits
--> Ghostly Visit
    Disharmony
    Astrolabe
    Fevered Strength
    Fire Sprites

The good black removal again - pick!

Wei Elite Companions

Pack 3 pick 3:
    Three Visits
    Exorcist
    Hunding Gjornersen
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
--> Wei Elite Companions
    Boomerang
    Peach Garden Oath
    Coal Golem
    Forest
    Desperate Charge
    Fire Drake
    Knowledge Vault
    Loyal Retainers (FOIL)

And another evasion guy - printruns and picks seem to repeat already...

Pack 3 pick 4:
    Astrolabe
    Plains
    Fire Sprites
    Fevered Strength
    Amrou Kithkin
    Coal Golem
    Immolation
    Lightning Blow
    Halfdane
    Urborg
   Lady Caleria
--> Ghostly Visit

I like the Black  I am getting shipped from my right.

Pack 3 pick 5:
    Peach Garden Oath
    Fire Drake
    Jungle Lion
--> Demonic Torment
    Infuse
    Blood Lust
    Ragnar
    Amrou Kithkin
    Misfortune's Gain
    Ghosts of the Damned
    Plains

Dito. Strong card with my fatties and the horsemen.

Pack 3 pick 6:
    Spirit Shackle
    Island
    Wei Strike Force
--> Immolation
    Lightning Blow
    Anaba Ancestor
    Spectral Shield
    Wu Longbowman
   All Hallow's Eve
    Jerrard of the Closed Fist

Removal or big guy? Tough decision, don't know if it's really correct. But my 6-mana slot seems already quite full for Limited, so I try to support my early defense by taking the removal.

Pack 3 pick 7:
    Fire Sprites
    Heal
    Ramses Overdark
    Disenchant (FOIL)
    Evil Presence
--> Living Plane
    Swamp
    Hurloon Minotaur
    Crimson Kobolds

Just another raredraft from an otherwise empty pack.

Pack 3 pick 8:
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Forest (FOIL)
   Desperate Charge
    Mountain
    Boomerang
    Fire Drake
--> Borrowing 100,000 Arrows
    Peach Garden Oath

Pack 3 pick 9:
    Wall of Light
   Forest
    Takklemaggot
    Anaba Spirit Crafter
    Bone Flute
--> Wei Infantry
    Labyrinth Minotaur

Pack 3 pick 10:
    Spiny Starfish
    Amrou Kithkin
    Plains
    Nebuchadnezzar
--> Astrolabe
    Fevered Strength

Pack 3 pick 11:
    Kobolds of Kher Keep
    Peach Garden Oath
    Forest
    Desperate Charge
--> Loyal Retainers (FOIL)

Pack 3 pick 12:
    Plains
    Fevered Strength
    Amrou Kithkin
--> Urborg

Pack 3 pick 13:
    Peach Garden Oath
--> Ghosts of the Damned
    Plains

Pack 3 pick 14:
--> Spirit Shackle
    Island

Pack 3 pick 15:
--> Swamp

Nothing spectacular there...

The Deck

Drafting with Nico - ME3 Draft #1

This is Nico Bohnys draft deck.The decklist forms part of his latest feature article series "Drafting with Nico - ME3 #1".

Drafting With Nico - ME3 Draft #1
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This deck seems quite good, even if pack 2 hasn't offered me that much solid cards. I have eight pieces of decent removal spells, some card advantage potential, and some big dudes to outclass my opponent's guys and finish him off.

Round 1 - RugDoctor - Blue/White

Game 1

Karakas

My opponent wins the (in my opinion very important) die roll and decides to go first (in my opinion a very strange decision since you really need your extra card to set up your rather expensive spells). I keep a fair hand of double Forest, Swamp, Immolation, Trip Wire, Ashes to Ashes and Wei Elite Companions. I draw another Swamp and another Immolation, while the Doctor summons a Spiny Starfish with his three lands - a card I don't care much about, since my guys are mostly riding. Another Starfish appears, and I'm already sure of my victory when I find a Sol Grail for red mana. My Ashes to Ashes gets rid of two creatures on horeses, the Trip Wire of another.

And then, the most unfair spoiler rare of the format hits the board: Karakas. Being able to protect his own legends and bounce mine, I suddenly find myself in a most unpleasant situation here. Still hoping to push some damage through with my non legendary Elite Companions, my hope soon fades when he summons Guan Yu, a massive 3/5 horse riding legend, which blocks my way. A Sun Ce, Young Conqueror later, I pack in my cards for the second game.

Karakas is such an unfair card in this format - you almost can't beat it without an aggro plan. I even sideboard Evil Presence to nullify it's effect.

Game 2

In game 2, I even draw my brutal sideboard card when he slams down the rare land again. Nevertheless, his draw is a pretty fine one - drawing into a bunch of riding soldiers. I am able to stall the board with my Demonic Torments, but then, Sun Ce, Young Conqueror, just hits me with full force again - bouncing his best (tormented) man and playing him again. Even a second Ashes to Ashes is not enough to save me.

How sad, losing to the "as-unfair-as-Umezawa's-Jitte-was-in-Kamigawa-Block" rare. My deck was really fine, and I'm sure it could as well have been a 3-0 deck.

Well, I really hope, I can tell you about a draft I won next week, until then, enjoy your weekend and some funny ME3 drafts. You will like it.

Nico

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