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Drafting With Nico - Zen/Zen/Wwk #1


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 there!

Yay, finally it's Worldwake time, aren’t we all a bit tired of this ZZZ beatdown madness? After gaining some experience with the new draft format while preparing for PT San Diego, I've got a pretty interesting draft for you here, spiked with a lot of interesting pick choices with some discussion potential, and I know, you love discussing picks :-)

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

Drafting With Nico - Zendikar #14


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!

Off we go!

Booster 1 - Zendikar

Pack 1 pick 1:

Noble Vestige Spell Pierce Sejiri Refuge Plains Baloth Woodcrasher Sphinx of Lost Truths Piranha Marsh Sky Ruin Drake Pitfall Trap Expedition Map Tempest Owl Hedron Scrabbler Grazing Gladehart Mindless Null Nimbus Wings

My Pick: Sphinx of Lost Truths

There’s nothing to be discussed here. Although there are two nice green cards in here, and I tend to like Green better with Worldwake, the best card in here is the blue sphinx by far. Blue has been upgraded as well with Worldwake, so I'm glad to settle down in Blue.

Pack 1 pick 2:

Spreading Seas Narrow Escape Pillarfield Ox Disfigure Turntimber Basilisk Timbermaw Larva Guul Draz Vampire Explorer's Scope Lavaball Trap Sky Ruin Drake Goblin Shortcutter Khalni Gem Hedron Crab Mountain

My Pick: Disfigure

Even though I love combining Blue with White for either evasive beatdown or pure control, the black removal spell is just the best thing I can get out of this pack.

Pack 1 pick 3:

Slaughter Cry Tajuru Archer Swamp Mire Blight Hedron Scrabbler Torch Slinger Arrow Volley Trap Graypelt Refuge Oran-Rief Recluse Steppe Lynx Caravan Hurda Scythe Tiger Tempest Owl

My Pick: Torch Slinger

Yeah, well, so much about choosing colors... There's Torch Slinger and the white trap in here. The Trap sure gained some power because people tend to attack into it now that the format has more cards, and I talked about loving Blue/White, but the Torch Slinger still seems to be more powerful. Also, it offers a possible UbR deck with a splash for Black powered by the refuges.

Pack 1 pick 4:

Adventuring Gear Oran-Rief Recluse Mind Sludge Giant Scorpion Reckless Scholar Kor Hookmaster Celestial Mantle Savage Silhouette Forest Spidersilk Net Tuktuk Grunts Hedron Crab

My Pick: Giant Scorpion

Back to Black, as it seems. It would be too greedy to pick Mind Sludge, Giant Scorpion is much better here. Memo to self: Second Hedron Crab being passed.

Pack 1 pick 5:

Ior Ruin Expedition Magma Rift Kor Hookmaster Territorial Baloth Shieldmate's Blessing Bog Tatters Whiplash Trap Summoner's Bane Zendikar Farguide Island Cancel

My Pick: Summoner's Bane

There are a couple of average blue cards in here, Summoner’s Bane being the best of them. I really want to get to play my first pick, so I try to stick with the Blue/Black plan.

Pack 1 pick 6:

Magma Rift Forest Vampire's Bite Scythe Tiger Trapfinder's Trick Needlebite Trap Kor Outfitter Paralyzing Grasp Relic Crush Scythe Tiger

My Pick: Paralyzing Grasp

Paralyzing Grasp is an incredibly mean card when you are playing against Zendikons. Also, it's pretty good in blue control decks since they never keep their guys on defense.

Pack 1 pick 7:

Goblin Bushwhacker Unstable Footing Timbermaw Larva Lethargy Trap Quest for Ancient Secrets Mountain Whiplash Trap Piranha Marsh Vastwood Gorger

My Pick: Whiplash Trap

Another great weapon against Zendikons, as well as a great tempo card.

Pack 1 pick 8:

Pillarfield Ox Trapmaker's Snare Shatterskull Giant Predatory Urge Forest Vampire Lacerator Baloth Woodcrasher Harrow

My Pick: Baloth Woodcrasher

Well, seems like Green is still hated. Vampire Lacerator isn't exactly the card I want in control, and Trapmaker's Snare only makes sense when you get some Archive Traps, which I won't get now that someone has two Hedron Crabs in his pile.

But look at those good green cards. Maybe I can still end up splashing Black and playing Green if it's that underdrafted. Harrow would be fine for splashing, but Baloth Woodcrasher is
one tough guy.

Pack 1 pick 9:

Noble Vestige Spell Pierce Sejiri Refuge Plains Piranha Marsh Expedition Map Mindless Null

My Pick: Sejiri Refuge

Probably not going White, but I don't want the white players to have the opportunity to splash blue for Vapor Snare's. And maybe if I get passed multiple Journey's in pack 2...

Pack 1 pick 10:

Spreading Seas Narrow Escape Pillarfield Ox Turntimber Basilisk Sky Ruin Drake Mountain

My Pick: Turntimber Basilisk

Wow, here's the Green. Double green again, grrr. Still, my 5 mana slot is already full, so I won't play Sky Ruin Drake anyway. It's not optimal regarding signs to pass it that late, but I'll take my chance with the green guys.

Pack 1 pick 11:

Swamp Mire Blight Hedron Scrabbler Caravan Hurda Scythe Tiger

My Pick: Hedron Scrabbler

Pack 1 pick 12:

Mind Sludge Celestial Mantle Savage Silhouette Forest

My Pick: Mind Sludge

Pack 1 pick 13:

Ior Ruin Expedition Zendikar Farguide Island

My Pick: Ior Ruin Expedition

Pack 1 pick 14:

Forest Scythe Tiger

My Pick: Forest

Summary Pack 1

This draft is still pretty open. I'm happy about the late Mind Sludge, because it's really good with all my bounce stuff. But I’ve still no idea if we're going to end up UB, UG or maybe even UR. Or maybe even with white splashes? Blue is set so far, but the rest...

Booster 2 - Zendikar

Pack 2 pick 1:

Vampire Lacerator Plains Vastwood Gorger Into the Roil Kor Hookmaster Armament Master Explorer's Scope Soaring Seacliff Ruinous Minotaur Hideous End Spire Barrage Baloth Cage Trap Bold Defense Brave the Elements Sejiri Refuge

My Pick: Hideous End

No Blue, no Green, so Hideous End it is.

Pack 2 pick 2:

Expedition Map Goblin War Paint Caravan Hurda Territorial Baloth Caller of Gales Quest for the Gravelord Narrow Escape Kraken Hatchling Kor Sanctifiers Frontier Guide Forest Goblin Ruinblaster Seismic Shudder Surrakar Marauder

My Pick: Kraken Hatchling

That’s an interesting pick here. Most of you would probably have picked the Surrakar Marauder out of this pack; that's exactly what I wanted to do first. But then, I realized my curve was pretty high and I'd need some early defense, even more than a good early beater. So I went with the Kraken Hatchling. I know that Surrakar Marauder is a pretty good card, but with all the good blue control stuff in pack 3, I'll better prepare myself to be the slower deck and get the tools to survive an early assault.

Pack 2 pick 3:

Scute Mob Swamp Caravan Hurda Shatterskull Giant Runeflare Trap Hagra Crocodile Caller of Gales Goblin War Paint Savage Silhouette Seismic Shudder Windrider Eel Kor Aeronaut Giant Scorpion

My Pick: Windrider Eel

There’s a Scute Mob in here, but with the other options, I try to abandon the green plan. Giant Scorpion and Windrider Eel are the options- Scorpion is pretty good, but since we still have a shot at getting Calcite Snappers in pack 3, I'm not worried about defensive 3-drops yet. Windrider Eel is one of those evasive finishers that the deck absolutely needs.

Pack 2 pick 4:

Quest for the Holy Relic Crypt Ripper Goblin War Paint Kraken Hatchling Caller of Gales Carnage Altar Soaring Seacliff Expedition Map Blood Seeker Torch Slinger Hagra Diabolist Mountain

My Pick: Kraken Hatchling

Another Kraken Hatchling for me. I’m not black enough for Crypt Ripper, and not allied enough for Hagra Diabolist.

Pack 2 pick 5:

Spire Barrage Spreading Seas Harrow Caravan Hurda Sea Gate Loremaster Seismic Shudder Mountain Guul Draz Vampire Surrakar Marauder Kor Duelist Gomazoa

My Pick: Sea Gate Loremaster

One of those rare gems still going around. This is pretty much a "handle-me-or-die" card in control decks.

Pack 2 pick 6:

Mire Blight Sunspring Expedition Quest for the Holy Relic Joraga Bard Hellfire Mongrel Scythe Tiger Zektar Shrine Expedition Island Slaughter Cry Merfolk Wayfinder

My Pick: Hellfire Mongrel

Nothing for me in here, hatedrafting some nice aggro cards.

Pack 2 pick 7:

Feast of Blood Mindless Null Spell Pierce Island Relic Crush Desecrated Earth Magma Rift Noble Vestige Nimbus Wings

My Pick: Feast of Blood

Ditto. This has become a real nightmare with the vampire aggro forces in Worldwake.

Pack 2 pick 8:

Nimbus Wings Zendikar Farguide Trapfinder's Trick Quest for Ancient Secrets Relic Crush Soaring Seacliff Vampire's Bite Island

My Pick: Soaring Seacliff

Pack 2 pick 9:

Vampire Lacerator Plains Vastwood Gorger Into the Roil Soaring Seacliff Bold Defense Sejiri Refuge

My Pick: Into the Roil

Pack 2 pick 10:

Expedition Map Caravan Hurda Territorial Baloth Caller of Gales Forest Seismic Shudder

My Pick: Territorial Baloth

Pack 2 pick 11:

Swamp Caravan Hurda Runeflare Trap Caller of Gales Seismic Shudder

My Pick: Runeflare Trap

Pack 2 pick 12:

Quest for the Holy Relic Caller of Gales Carnage Altar Mountain

My Pick: Caller of Gales

Pack 2 pick 13:

Spreading Seas Caravan Hurda Mountain

My Pick: Spreading Seas

Pack 2 pick 14:

Mire Blight Island

My Pick: Mire Blight

Pack 2 pick 15:


My Pick: Island

Summary Pack 2

I have still plenty of options after this pack. We got some more blue cards as well as a good curve, but I guess I'd still move into Green for a bomb...

But let's not think about switching colors, let's just open a Jace...

Booster 3 - Worldwake

Pack 3 pick 1:

Surrakar Banisher Selective Memory Arbor Elf Vastwood Zendikon Searing Blaze Claws of Valakut Corrupted Zendikon Mysteries of the Deep Kitesail Apprentice Ricochet Trap Plains Nemesis Trap Quag Vampires Smoldering Spires Deathforge Shaman

My Pick: Mysteries of the Deep

No Jace :-( just a rare picture of him. Some black cards that belong to the aggro players or the sideboards. Mysteries of the Deep is exactly what a control player is looking for, even though the 5 mana slot is pretty crowded at this moment.

Pack 3 pick 2:

Pilgrim's Eye Summit Apes Selective Memory Canopy Cover Gnarlid Pack Bojuka Bog Jagwasp Swarm Mire's Toll AEther Tradewinds Veteran's Reflexes Iona's Judgment Explore Perimeter Captain Plains

My Pick: Jagwasp Swarm

More Jace pics. That's not what I was hoping for when I mentioned Jace, the Mind Sculptor. There’s a Pilgrim's Eye which is not too important, since we will end up playing 19 lands in this deck anyway and we don't have any mana fixing issues right now.

The black Swarm fits perfectly in our mana curve and he's some kind of finisher as well.

Pack 3 pick 3:

Hedron Rover Iona's Judgment Forest Halimar Depths Dread Statuary Bojuka Brigand Twitch Enclave Elite Nature's Claim Quest for Renewal Cosi's Ravager Kitesail Apprentice Urge to Feed

My Pick: Urge to Feed

Removal. With an awkward mana cost, but still: removal! What I like about it: It makes us play more Swamps and therefore improves Mind Sludge.

Pack 3 pick 4:

Jagwasp Swarm Halimar Excavator Join the Ranks Pulse Tracker Quest for the Goblin Lord Veteran's Reflexes Snapping Creeper Roiling Terrain Caustic Crawler Sejiri Steppe Graypelt Hunter Swamp

My Pick: Jagwasp Swarm

If my 5 mana slot wasn’t so crowded, I'd pick the Crawler here, for it's way better than the swarm. But for the sake of my mana curve, it's gonna be the Jagwasp Swarm again.

Pack 3 pick 5:

Bull Rush Perimeter Captain Mountain Ruthless Cullblade Dead Reckoning Calcite Snapper Slavering Nulls Quest for the Nihil Stone Vastwood Zendikon Grappler Spider Twitch

My Pick: Calcite Snapper

There's a cool german song about this guy.

Pack 3 pick 6:

Sejiri Steppe Jagwasp Swarm Pulse Tracker Canopy Cover Graypelt Hunter Bestial Menace Veteran's Reflexes Forest Snapping Creeper Roiling Terrain

My Pick: Jagwasp Swarm

Ugh, why does nobody love the “build-yourself-a-zoo” kit?! It's just too good to get passed that late. But you know, Jagwasp Swarm isn't that bad either.

Pack 3 pick 7:

Smoldering Spires Razor Boomerang Enclave Elite Mire's Toll Summit Apes Forest Grappler Spider Rest for the Weary Treasure Hunt

My Pick: Enclave Elite

Treasure Hunt would be fine if I had a Halimar Depths, but I don't like it too much without it. Elite is a solid sideboard card as well as it combines pretty nicely with Spreading Seas.

Pack 3 pick 8:

Walking Atlas Quag Vampires Quest for the Goblin Lord Fledgling Griffin Ruthless Cullblade Feral Contest Mountain Roiling Terrain

My Pick: Walking Atlas

At and before the Pro Tour, Simon Goertzen (the master) has taught us how good Walking Atlas is. I'll not maindeck it, but it's still a good sideboard option when going second.

Pack 3 pick 9:

Surrakar Banisher Selective Memory Vastwood Zendikon Kitesail Apprentice Ricochet Trap Plains Nemesis Trap

My Pick: Nemesis Trap

Wow, that's some late business. Maybe even maindeck material for this deck.

Pack 3 pick 10:

Selective Memory Canopy Cover Bojuka Bog Mire's Toll Explore Plains

My Pick: Selective Memory

Pack 3 pick 11:

Enclave Elite Nature's Claim Quest for Renewal Cosi's Ravager Kitesail Apprentice

My Pick: Enclave Elite

Pack 3 pick 12:

Pulse Tracker Quest for the Goblin Lord Snapping Creeper Swamp

My Pick: Pulse Tracker

Pack 3 pick 13:

Bull Rush Mountain Vastwood Zendikon

My Pick: Vastwood Zendikon

Pack 3 pick 14:

Pulse Tracker Forest

My Pick: Pulse Tracker

Pack 3 pick 15:


My Pick: Forest

My Deck

Drafting With Nico - Zen/Zen/Wwk #1


This deck forms part of my feature article:

Drafting With Nico - Zen/Zen/Wwk #1

Your rating: None
Average: 3.8 (11 votes)

Deck Comment

The deck looks good, but not too exciting. Which is no problem since the card quality in this draft didn't seem to be too high anyway.

Round 1 - Mizuchi - Blue/Red

Game 1

Mizuchi wins the roll, I keep 3 Islands, Swamp, Kraken Hatchling, Sea Gate Loremaster and Mysteries of the Deep on the draw.

3 Mountains and Zektar Shrine Expedition come down for my opponent, but then, nothing happens for the next few turns. When I tap my five mana and summon Sea Gate Loremaster, Mizuchi conceedes the game after his next draw step.

I board in my Walking Atlas for a Kraken Hatchling.

Game 2

My hand for game 2: 2 Swamp, Island, Jagwasp Swarm, Paralyzing Grasp, Mysteries of the Deep, Whiplash Trap. Soaring Seacliff, Mountain and Halimar Excavator come down for my opponent, and while I'm wondering how one can put Zektar Shrine Expedition and Halimar Excavator in the same deck, Mizuchi adds the next threat in Voyager Drake. I trade it for my Jagwasp Swarm and summon my sphinx to stand a chance against his Living Tsunami. He attacks nevertheless and my blocking Sphinx gets shot down by Spire Barrage. I keep the Tsunami in check with Paralyzing Grasp, draw some more extra cards and handle his guys with Hideous End, Into the Roil and Summoners Bane. Whiplash Trap and Mind Sludge takes care of the rest of his spells, and after soaking up some more damage from Zektar Shrine Expedition and Goblin Shortcutter, I manage to stick a Sea Gate Loremaster on the board, and start drawing into more creatures to win the game.

Round 2 - Boddl - White/Black

Game 1

I win the die roll and keep 2 Kraken Hatchling, Calcite Snapper, Sphinx of Lost Truths, 2 Swamp and Island. Boddl has quite an aggressive start with Steppe Lynx, Sejiri Steppe and Kor Hookmaster. I fail to draw another Island, and when he attacks with his white guys, I make a crucial mistake by playing Nemesis Trap on the 2/3 Steppe Lynx in order to block and kill one of his other attackers, because Steppe Lynx becomes 0/1 again when entering the battlefield on my side of the table. World Queller comes down to punish me for my mistake. I bounce it with an unkicked Into the Roil, and find an Island in my next draw step to play Sphinx. Veteran's Reflexes take care of my blocking Sphinx, and Kor Skyfisher and Cliff Threader follow up. I have to spend Urge to Feed and Disfigure to kill the World Queller, while Calcite Snapper comes down to guard my life total. But Shepherd of the Lost and Brave the Elements are too much for me to handle.

Game 2

I sideboard out Paralyzing Grasp which isn't too good against Sejiri Steppe, Kor Skyfisher, World Queller andBrave the Elements.

I start with 3 Island, 2 Swamp, Urge to Feed and Into the Roil. Urge takes care of his Surrakar Marauder, and after providing me with two additional lands, the shuffler starts to favor me by giving me Jagwasp Swarm and Sphinx of Lost Truths.

Boddl has Vampire Lacerator, but obviously, the fliers kill him before he even gets me close to 10 life - even World Queller doesn't help here...

Game 3

I mulligan a 1-lander and keep a not much better 5-lander with Giant Scorpion. Calcite Snapper and Windrider Eel wait on the top of my deck to improve my hand, while Steppe Lynx and Cliff Threader opt for a fast game. Snapper bars their way. Quest for the Gravelord, Dread Statuary and Kor Hookmaster keep the beats coming, but by keeping his fifth land in his hand, I get the opportunity to Mind Sludge his hand away without my opponent having a fifth land to activate and attack with the manland.


He draws the fifth land from the top and attacks me down to 6 with his team. I return the favor by bashing in for 8 damage with turtle and eel, and add Scorpion and Hatchling to my defenses. Boddl has another land and goes all in again, brining me down to 2, but losing his Hookmaster, fueling his Quest to 2 counters. I attack for 8 again, having 2 blockers ready for his next assault. He doesn't topdeck and falls to the eel the next turn.

Round 3 - Matteso - Red/White

My opponent asks for a prize split, but I decide to play. "You win game 1" is what he tells me, and while I’m asking him why, I notice his library of 80 cards. Looks like he has disconnected while deckbuilding. He concedes game 1 before playing a card.

Magic Online didn't save game 2 and 3 (again :-/ , but I find out how my opponent managed to fight his path to round 3 with an 80 card-deck.

He had several allies with Kazuul Warlord, as well as some equipment, some enchantments and some fast guys for the early game. Both games, the tempo I lose while playing Sea Gate Loremaster is crucial, while he has Journey to Nowhere as well as another beater.

Thanks for reading!


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: 4.5 (11 votes)
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