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Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14


About Nico Bohny

Nico Bohny
Nico Bohny

Nico is a level 4 member of the Pro Players Club, he has 79 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. He was also spotted winning matches with 20/20 avatar tokens (or as he says “Chuck Norris tokens”) from Dark Depths at Nationals ;-).

Hi everybody!

It's time for another draft, this time without whisky!

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

Drafting with Nico - Zendikar #13


Level 4 pro player Nico Bohny takes us through a Zendikar 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!

Booster 1 - Zendikar

Pack 1 pick 1:

Guul Draz Vampire Surrakar Marauder Unstable Footing Goblin War Paint Makindi Shieldmate Island Ob Nixilis, the Fallen Heartstabber Mosquito Turntimber Basilisk Piranha Marsh Spreading Seas Oran-Rief Recluse Quest for Ancient Secrets Plated Geopede Tanglesap

My Pick: Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

This horned gentleman is not only a $5 bill on legs, it's also a very fine black card - not a true spoiler in my opinion, but a card worth picking over most commons and uncommons.

Pack 1 pick 2:

Mark of Mutiny Nimbus Wings Khalni Heart Expedition Trapfinder's Trick Shieldmate's Blessing Vines of Vastwood Nimana Sell-Sword Soul Stair Expedition Zendikar Farguide Mountain Shatterskull Giant Sejiri Refuge Bold Defense Brave the Elements

My Pick: Nimana Sell-Sword

More vile guys, that’s what our demon lord is asking for - and since there's no other option, we'll gladly fulfill his wish.

Pack 1 pick 3:

Devout Lightcaster Kor Cartographer Expedition Map Vampire's Bite Spell Pierce Zektar Shrine Expedition Relic Crush Bog Tatters Forest Demolish Feast of Blood Kor Duelist Spire Barrage

My Pick: Feast of Blood

This one is a bit trickier. I'm not willing to jump into Red for mediocre cards like Zektar Shrine Expedition while having passed Plated Geopede in pack 1, nor am I willing to hatedraft the Devout Lightcaster which will be a pretty good sideboard card against me. So is Bog Tatters, and Vampire's Bite is even ok in the maindeck, but the card with the most potential is Feast of Blood. I know, I have no vampire support yet, but if I get it, I'll be really happy having picked Feast of Blood here. And if not, I won’t cry about losing picks such as Bog Tatters and Vampire’s Bite.

Pack 1 pick 4:

Tanglesap Seismic Shudder Seascape Aerialist Swamp Ior Ruin Expedition Kraken Hatchling Turntimber Grove Caravan Hurda Makindi Shieldmate Graypelt Refuge Crypt Ripper Oran-Rief Recluse

My Pick: Crypt Ripper

This one, on the other hand, is more of an autopilot pick...

Pack 1 pick 5:

Kazandu Refuge Ruinous Minotaur Beast Hunt Bog Tatters Bold Defense Brave the Elements Cancel Island Slaughter Cry Kor Outfitter Tajuru Archer

My Pick: Bog Tatters

Ok, now Bog Tatters will be my pick here.

Pack 1 pick 6:

Turntimber Grove Torch Slinger Quest for the Gravelord Desecrated Earth Goblin Ruinblaster Kraken Hatchling Island Spidersilk Net Makindi Shieldmate Caller of Gales

My Pick: Torch Slinger

Phew, that's a late Torch Slinger. Quest for the Gravelord is a good card when you have removal, and the only removal I have so far is one that doesn't work without vampires, and since I don't have vampires... you get the point!

Torch Slinger for me, it's just the best card in here.

Pack 1 pick 7:

Molten Ravager Grim Discovery Cobra Trap Shoal Serpent Demolish Beast Hunt Ravenous Trap Spidersilk Net Forest

My Pick: Molten Ravager

Molten Ravager has a nice defensive body to delay the game until Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and the kicker guys arrive.

Pack 1 pick 8:

Grim Discovery Soul Stair Expedition Highland Berserker Arrow Volley Trap Beast Hunt Shieldmate's Blessing Shoal Serpent Plains

My Pick: Highland Berserker

And that’s a late two-drop - pretty cool. It pairs up well with my Nimana-Sell Sword.

Pack 1 pick 9:

Unstable Footing Goblin War Paint Island Piranha Marsh Oran-Rief Recluse Quest for Ancient Secrets Tanglesap

My Pick: Goblin War Paint

Pack 1 pick 10:

Khalni Heart Expedition Trapfinder's Trick Shieldmate's Blessing Zendikar Farguide Mountain Brave the Elements

My Pick: Brave the Elements

Pack 1 pick 11:

Expedition Map Vampire's Bite Spell Pierce Forest Demolish

My Pick: Vampire's Bite

Pack 1 pick 12:

Tanglesap Swamp Turntimber Grove Caravan Hurda

My Pick: Turntimber Grove

Pack 1 pick 13:

Beast Hunt Island Slaughter Cry

My Pick: Slaughter Cry

Pack 1 pick 14:

Desecrated Earth Island

My Pick: Desecrated Earth

Pack 1 pick 15:

Beast Hunt

My Pick: Beast Hunt

Summary Pack 1

We have nothing spectacular here, although it feels strange having jumped into Red after all the stuff we've passed. On the other hand, we've cut almost every black card we saw, so we'll probably get rewarded for that in pack 2. And in pack 3, again, we'll probably get some more Red.

Booster 2 - Zendikar

Pack 2 pick 1:

Spreading Seas Merfolk Seastalkers Caravan Hurda Island Umara Raptor Guul Draz Vampire Heartstabber Mosquito Seismic Shudder Nissa's Chosen Emeria, the Sky Ruin Quest for the Gravelord Tuktuk Grunts Oran-Rief Recluse Whiplash Trap Greenweaver Druid

My Pick: Heartstabber Mosquito

Tuktuk Grunts is an ally, which is ok so far with two others, but not exactly what we're looking for. I’m still lacking removal to support Quest for the Gravelord still. Heartstabber Mosquito is fine since we have some defensive tools to help us get to the lategame.

Pack 2 pick 2:

Relic Crush Needlebite Trap Teetering Peaks Hagra Crocodile Nimbus Wings Windrider Eel Mindless Null Kazandu Refuge Mountain Mold Shambler Murasa Pyromancer Kabira Crossroads Magma Rift Spell Pierce

My Pick: Murasa Pyromancer

This ally has more potential than the previous one. In addition, Red/Black has some decent allies to increase the ally count. I like this one in our deck!

Pack 2 pick 3:

Bog Tatters Spell Pierce Territorial Baloth Vampire Lacerator Demolish Relic Crush Plains Grim Discovery Living Tsunami Hagra Diabolist Kor Sanctifiers Primal Bellow Kor Outfitter

My Pick: Hagra Diabolist

Well, that's not exactly the solid ally I was talking about, but he's ok as well. I'm not looking to play an aggro deck, so even with Feast of Blood, Vampire Lacerator is no option here. And it's too late to switch to Blue and take the Living Tsunami.

Pack 2 pick 4:

Adventuring Gear Journey to Nowhere Mindless Null Sunspring Expedition Tempest Owl Highland Berserker Windborne Charge Feast of Blood Mountain Joraga Bard Noble Vestige Soul Stair Expedition

My Pick: Highland Berserker

More allies, excellent!

Pack 2 pick 5:

Living Tsunami Savage Silhouette Seismic Shudder Plains Goblin War Paint Cliff Threader Caravan Hurda Trailblazer's Boots Giant Scorpion Reckless Scholar Landbind Ritual

My Pick: Giant Scorpion

What? Another Living Tsunami! I hope I don't have to play against this monster of a blue deck. Giant Scorpion is a fine pick for me, it holds the ground and helps me get to the lategame.

Pack 2 pick 6:

Quest for Ancient Secrets Pillarfield Ox Vines of Vastwood Ruinous Minotaur Paralyzing Grasp Goblin Bushwhacker Desecrated Earth Cobra Trap Lethargy Trap Island

My Pick: Ruinous Minotaur

A 5/2 wall is better than a 1/1 wall.

Pack 2 pick 7:

Slaughter Cry Swamp Vampire's Bite Expedition Map Scythe Tiger Vampire Hexmage Trapmaker's Snare Trapfinder's Trick Beast Hunt

My Pick: Vampire Hexmage

It feels good to finally get some black cards. I almost thought someone took them away from me.

Pack 2 pick 8:

Kabira Crossroads Vampire Lacerator Highland Berserker Whiplash Trap Swamp Quest for Pure Flame Mold Shambler Baloth Cage Trap

My Pick: Highland Berserker

And another ally. It looks like our deck's getting a sub-theme here.

Pack 2 pick 9:

Spreading Seas Caravan Hurda Island Seismic Shudder Nissa's Chosen Emeria, the Sky Ruin Greenweaver Druid

My Pick: Seismic Shudder

Pack 2 pick 10:

Relic Crush Nimbus Wings Mindless Null Mountain Kabira Crossroads Spell Pierce

My Pick: Kabira Crossroads

Pack 2 pick 11:

Spell Pierce Demolish Relic Crush Plains Kor Outfitter

My Pick: Kor Outfitter

Pack 2 pick 12:

Sunspring Expedition Mountain Noble Vestige Soul Stair Expedition

My Pick: Soul Stair Expedition

Pack 2 pick 13:

Plains Trailblazer's Boots Landbind Ritual

My Pick: Trailblazer's Boots

Pack 2 pick 14:

Quest for Ancient Secrets Desecrated Earth

My Pick: Desecrated Earth

Pack 2 pick 15:

Trapfinder's Trick

My Pick: Trapfinder's Trick

Summary Pack 2

Although my plan of getting rewarded with black cards didn't really work out, I got some nice allies. If this trend continues in pack 3, I'll end up with a solid midrange deck.

Booster 3 - Zendikar

Pack 3 pick 1:

Adventuring Gear Blood Tribute Scythe Tiger Nimbus Wings Inferno Trap Forest Trapfinder's Trick Vampire Nighthawk Cliff Threader Relic Crush Bloodghast Vampire's Bite Burst Lightning Sejiri Refuge Magma Rift

My Pick: Vampire Nighthawk

I know Bloodghast is worth around 3 tix, but hey, even a devoted rare-drafter like me can’t despise the power of the best uncommon in the set.

Pack 3 pick 2:

Giant Scorpion Tanglesap Shatterskull Giant Graypelt Refuge Vines of Vastwood Sphinx of Jwar Isle Geyser Glider Goblin Shortcutter Plains Ondu Cleric Windrider Eel Lethargy Trap Paralyzing Grasp Gatekeeper of Malakir

My Pick: Gatekeeper of Malakir

You know, Black has some other decent uncommons in this set...

Pack 3 pick 3:

Grazing Gladehart Inferno Trap Mountain Bold Defense Into the Roil Nimana Sell-Sword Hideous End Kor Cartographer Shatterskull Giant Spidersilk Net Jwar Isle Refuge Marsh Casualties Crypt Ripper

My Pick: Marsh Casualties

Like... uhm... this one as well...

Pack 3 pick 4:

Sunspring Expedition Savage Silhouette Teetering Peaks Mountain Shoal Serpent Stonework Puma Quest for the Gemblades Joraga Bard Hagra Crocodile Grim Discovery Slaughter Cry Kor Outfitter

My Pick: Stonework Puma

No more unfair bombs for me :-(
Ok, let's move to the ally theme again.

Pack 3 pick 5:

Swamp Ravenous Trap Caravan Hurda Soaring Seacliff Caller of Gales Lullmage Mentor Goblin War Paint Gomazoa Narrow Escape Kraken Hatchling Seismic Shudder

My Pick: Seismic Shudder

No one shall be able to stop my triple berserker draws...

Pack 3 pick 6:

Trailblazer's Boots Explorer's Scope Goblin Bushwhacker Lethargy Trap Quest for Pure Flame Plains Sky Ruin Drake Pillarfield Ox Hedron Scrabbler Shieldmate's Blessing

My Pick: Explorer's Scope

Empty pack - won't be playing the Explorer’s Scope I guess...

Pack 3 pick 7:

Swamp Vampire Lacerator Goblin War Paint Ior Ruin Expedition Kraken Hatchling Ondu Cleric Blood Seeker Trapmaker's Snare Caller of Gales

My Pick: Vampire Lacerator

More vampires... I mean with the uncommons I have, I could even sideboard in the Feast of Blood against the Living Tsunami deck.

Pack 3 pick 8:

Caravan Hurda Forest Zendikar Farguide Vines of Vastwood Nimbus Wings Pillarfield Ox Trapfinder's Trick Kor Duelist

My Pick: Kor Duelist

Pack 3 pick 9:

Scythe Tiger Nimbus Wings Forest Trapfinder's Trick Relic Crush Vampire's Bite Magma Rift

My Pick: Magma Rift

Pack 3 pick 10:

Giant Scorpion Tanglesap Graypelt Refuge Geyser Glider Plains Lethargy Trap

My Pick: Geyser Glider

Pack 3 pick 11:

Mountain Bold Defense Shatterskull Giant Spidersilk Net Jwar Isle Refuge

My Pick: Shatterskull Giant

Pack 3 pick 12:

Sunspring Expedition Mountain Grim Discovery Slaughter Cry

My Pick: Grim Discovery

Pack 3 pick 13:

Swamp Ravenous Trap Caller of Gales

My Pick: Ravenous Trap

Pack 3 pick 14:

Lethargy Trap Plains

My Pick: Lethargy Trap

Pack 3 pick 15:

Caller of Gales

My Pick: Caller of Gales


Summary Pack 3

Thank God for those three uncommons. That's a great deck I got here!

My Deck

Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14


This deck forms part of my feature article:

Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14

Your rating: None
Average: 4.4 (10 votes)

Round 1 - JerschOr - Red/Green

Game 1

I win the die roll and am looking at a 1-land-hand - mulligan to 6. Those 6 look better, not a lot, but they do: 2 Swamp, Vampire Hexmage, Giant Scorpion, Hagra Diabolist, Magma Rift.

Burst Lightning kills my Vampire Hexmage, but my draws prove to be just fine - Mountain and Vampire Nighthawk for turn 3. JerschOr seems to have no answer but an unkicked Goblin Ruinblaster.

Vampire Nighthawk does his dirty work and takes my opponent down to 8 before he can kill it with Spire Barrage for the full 5. Too late, it seems, as Magma Rift takes down his blocker and I bash in for the remaining 8.

Game 2

We both keep our hands for game 2: 2 Swamps, Mountain, 2 Highland Berserkers, Ruinous Minotaur, Torch Slinger.

JerschOr starts with a Forest (so that's what screwed him in game 1) and Adventuring Gear, as well as Oran-Rief Recluse. He starts to race with his equipped spider, killing my Ruinous Minotaur and then pumping his guy with Gigantiform.

Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14 - 1

Fortunately, Gatekeeper of Malakir comes to the rescue and provides a huge game swing. Together with Soul Stair Expedition, he appears again on the battlefield, taking out my opponent's last hope to mount a comeback.

Round 2 - Goatfishing - Black/Red

Game 1

I win the roll and start with a promising hand: 2 Swamps, Soul Stair Expedition, Vampire Nighthawk, Vampire Hexmage, Giant Scorpion and Molten Ravager.

Goat starts with Vampire Lacerator and Goblin War Paint. Giant Scorpion and Vampire Nighthawk are very welcome to slow down the game, even though Vampire Nighthawk is taken down by Inferno Trap. Still, the Vampire Lacerator who didn't want to trade for Giant Scorpion continues nibbling at goat's life total. When Molten Ravager is killed by Hideous End, I use Soul Stair Expedition to return my 2 guys to my hand, and replay the Vampire Nighthawk.

After some hits, he's able to kill it again with Burst Lightning, but the vampire gave me back some needed lifepoints. I start trading my guys for his, and in the end, he loses the race due to the life swings provided by his Vampire Lacerator and my Vampire Nighthawk.

Game 2

Goat mulligans down to 5, while I keep Swamp, Mountain, Vampire Hexmage, Marsh Casualties, Shatterskull Giant, Heartstabber Mosquito, Murasa Pyromancer. I draw into a Swamp, to deal with his Guul Draz Vampire and Plated Geopede through Marsh Casualties.
This is just too much card disadvantage for him to handle - we continue to trade some guys, but I eventually overwhelm him with my creatures.

Round 3 - shamsleep - Blue/Green

Game 1

Magic Online didn't save game 1, but I remember him stabilizing after my turn 3 Gatekeeper of Malakir with River Boa and Grazing Gladehart and then he wins with dudes and Adventuring Gear.

Game 2

I expect him to have the Living Tsunamis and sideboard Feast of Blood and Vampire Lacerator.

I have to mulligan a 6-land-hand and keep Swamp, Mountain, Marsh Casualties, Vampire Hexmage, Highland Berserker, Crypt Ripper on the play.

I have double Highland Berserker and Vamprie Hexmage to start with. He stops my assault with Mold Shambler, but I have Crypt Ripper to follow up. He plays Turntimber Basilisk and Welkin Tern, but together with Marsh Casualties and another Berserker, I bring him low enough to kill him next turn.

Game 3

Game 3 is a nail-biter. I keep 2 Mountains, 2 Swamps, Highland Berserker, Heartstabber Mosquito and Vampire Hexmage, and draw into Vampire Lacerator. shamsleep has double Welkin Tern and Merfolk Seastalkers, but I have Feast of Blood to kill the Stalkers and bring him down to 8. 

Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14 - 2

Territorial Baloth stops me, but I attack into it, to bring him down to 4, and play Heartstabber Mosquito without kicker. I'm able to bring him down to 2, but then I start drawing lands and more lands and just die to his beasts. When I look at the top card of my deck, I see that Ob Nixilis, the Fallen would have been waiting. Never look at the top card of your deck when losing or taking a mulligan – it’s just frustrating. :-)

Thanks for reading. I’m already on my way to California. Wish me luck at PT San Diego and see you soon!


Deck Analysis and Ask the Pro

Make sure to bid on my latest auction and submit your questions for the next installment of Ask the Pro:

Announcing “Ask the Pro” and Introducing Nico Bohny


Ask the Pro Logo

I would like to announce the amazing new feature called "Ask the Pro", as well as introduce you to Pro Player Nico Bohny who is joining Blackborder.com as a feature writer!
I want to provide you with some details about him as well as explain to you the "Ask the Pro" feature.

Ask the Pro

As promised, Blackborder.com is continually adding more amazing features to the site. The latest feature is our upcoming “Ask the Pro” column, where Pro Player Nico Bohny will answer user submitted questions concerning Magic the Gathering, the Pro Players lifestyle, the Pro Tour, deckbuilding and anything else you want to ask him!

You can already send all your questions to Nico, using the contact form (use the "Ask the Pro" setting to reach him). Make sure to include your name and location.
(Note: This feature isn’t intended for rules-related questions. You dont have to limit yourself to one question a week. You can send in all the questions that come to your mind at anytime.)

Nico will then pick the most interesting questions and answer them each week in a feature article on Blackborder.com. He will also try to answer as many questions as possible individually, if he has the time to do so. In order for a question to have a good chance of being featured in the "Ask the Pro" column, you should write the question in correct English and give as many details as possible.

All the users whose questions are chosen by Nico and answered in his feature article will receive 250 Blackborder points!

Nico Bohny
Nico Bohny at Pro Tour Hollywood

About Nico Bohny

A level 4 member of the Pro Players Club, Nico is uniquely positioned to answer your questions about the life of the professional Magic Player, share stories about travelling the world and talk about the role Magic plays in his life. Nico has currently 74 lifetime Pro points! Some of Nico’s MTG accomplishments include:

  • Winning Grand Prix Torino
  • Top 8 at Pro Tour Hollywood
  • Winning the team World Championships

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 Nationals ;-).

Nico on Blackborder.com

“I am excited to write for Blackborder.com and I am looking forward to all your questions! I will try to answer as many questions as possible.
I also want to thank Blackborder.com for providing me with this opportunity!

I am looking forward to the amazing times ahead of us. Feel free to send me any questions, suggestions or ideas using the contact form.

Above all, have fun!

Nico Bohny
Feature Writer

Thank you Nico. Welcome to Blackborder.com, and we look forward to your contributions!

Keep your browser tuned to Blackborder.com, send your questions to Nico using the “Ask the Pro” contact form and invite your friends to join the rapidly growing interactive Magic the Gathering portal that Blackborder.com is!

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Average: 4.6 (16 votes)
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