Sitting as the lone 8-0, there are a lot of eyes on Michael Hetrick entering the weekend's second draft. After acing the draft part of the exam yesterday, he's clearly demonstrated he knows the format inside and out.
That's why you have to believe him when he said his deck didn't turn out well.
"I know exactly what happened, I know what went wrong," he said after the draft. "It feels like nobody switched."
Hetrick was referring to a number of signals that he and others broadcast during the draft, but that no one, himself included, seemed to do anything about.
For example, after starting out the draft with a first pick Akroan Skyguard – more on that in a moment – Hetrick passed a Bolt of Keranos second for another Skyguard only to see another Bolt fourth, passing it up for a Nyxborn Triton.
"That was the first sign I could be in another color," he said, vividly recalling the decision. "But I already had a blue card (Nyxborn Triton) and it costs double red. Since I had Skyguard, it might be difficult to cast, and you don't want your cards to be difficult to cast in aggressive White-Red deck."
Unfortunately, Hetrick didn't see any playable blue cards the rest of the pack. Instead, he was flooded with playable but unexciting white cards and a steady stream of green cards. He thought about changing, but he said he was hoping other people would see the green cards and change instead, giving him a clearer path to the White-Blue Heroic deck he wanted (I said more on that in a moment, so hold on).
Instead, unbeknownst to Hetrick, there was exactly one other big green drafter at the table, and he was sitting on the exact opposite side of the table. And that is how Matthias Hunt ended up with a sixth pick Nylea, God of the Hunt.
At any rate, the second pack was a veritable disaster. Hetrick opened his first pack and saw almost nothing in his colors, instead forced to take a Chosen by Heliod while steadfastly refusing to step out of W/U. He was gifted with a full second pick, choosing Ordeal of Thassa over Hopeful Eidolon and Griptide, but things were nothing but downhill from there. We'll put it this way: he picked a Dark Betrayal fifth.
At that point, Hetrick felt committed and could do little but try and salvage the deck he had and hope that the last pack would make up for it.
Spoiler alert: it didn't.
It started out well enough. He chose a Wingsteed Rider over Daxos of Meletis, Voyage's End and Nimbus Naiad, hoping the gold card might wheel (it didn't), then followed up with a Voyage's End second and a Hopeful Eidolon third over Griptide, Triton Tactics, and Heliod's Emissary. This time, at least the Triton Tactics came back.
"It didn't turn out horrible, but if I don't get one of my heroic creatures, I could sputter out," Hetrick said after the draft.
He estimated there were probably 3-4 blue drafters at the table, and his guess was pretty close. He also guessed there was maybe one green drafter, which was also pretty accurate. All told, he had a good read on the draft.
"You want to build around heroic creatures," Hetrick said, describing his philosophy for this format. "Bestow creatures have the most value, and combat tricks are otherwise the best. The cantrip enchantments are okay, but combat tricks are better. You can't go wrong with a bestow guy."
That typically means Hetrick is going to push for white decks, and while the white half of his deck turned out OK, he certainly got sucked into blue based almost exclusively on Nyxborn Triton and favoring blue over red.
Still, he thought it was good enough to go 2-1, and was counting on several other decks cannibalizing picks from one another, save maybe the Green deck, that the power level of the pod might be low enough for him to keep his run going.
Given his performance so far, don't count him out from doing just that.