2000 Chicago Masters Series: Draft 2

Posted in Event Coverage

By Josh Bennett

The Winningest Man in Magic, Jon Finkel, drafted a Black/red deck, focusing on removal. He dedicated his early picks to black cards: removal like Agonizing Demise and Mourning, as well as high power-to-cost creatures like Hate Weaver and Urborg Phantom. Towards the end of the first pack, he dipped into blue for Metathran Zombies. The second pack was more of the same, with more removal in Soul Burn, Scorching Lava and Reckless Spite, using his late picks for whatever creatures he could, and Maniacal Rages when he couldn't. In his third pack, he opened Ghitu Fire, and was passed Tribal Flames and Cinder Shade. Two words: Ka-Boom!

Ben Rubin sat to his right, sending him all these presents. Rubin first-picked a Thornscape Apprentice, but found that the first pack only developed his white, netting him cards like Glimmering Angel and Wayfaring Giant, as well as a pair of Strength of Unity's and an Ordered Migration. The second pack drove him further towards his eventual W/u/g deck, opening another Thornscape, followed by Glimmering Angel, Stormscape Apprentice, another Angel, and an Obsidian Acolyte, as well as a pair of Cameos. Third pack gave him an Armadillo Cloak and an Exclude, but little else. However, with four tappers and three Angels, you don't need much else.

Shvartsman fed Rubin for the first pack, and favored green early, getting himself quality monsters like Kavu Chameleon and Llanowar Knight. When the draft changed direction, he dipped into blue for some fliers and a pair of Excludes, his best white cards taken by Rubin. In the final pack, he shifted to white, the better to support some of his gold cards. He ended up with a G/W/u deck with many excellent creatures and tricks, but few of that color combination's hallmarks.

Bob Maher Jr. fed Shvartsman, drafting a dedicated B/R deck. Like Finkel, he found himself hip-deep in removal, but for Maher, it was red-based. Starting out drafting black, he touched red for Shivan Zombie (eventually getting three) and Plague Spores, but by the middle of the second pack had found himself three Scorching Lava. He grabbed Pouncing Kavu and Kavu Aggressor as well, and was looking very strong. He looked so much stronger after his third pack had a Void in it. Surprisingly, Maher did not find room for his late-pick Coalition Victory.

Mike Bregoli sat to Maher's right, and was not so pleased with his draft. His first-pick Stalking Assassin came to naught, as he found himself cut off from blue and black. He shifted to green, acquiring a line of quality creatures. He moved into white, a common companion for green, and got the much-hyped Armadillo Cloak. However, in the second pack he was being fed through Shvartsman and Rubin (both drafting White), and Maher (drafting Red), and so didn't get much from either of those colors. He rallied in the third pack, including a third-pick Thornscape Master, Keldon Necropolis and red creatures to round out his deck, but didn't feel he had the best his colors had to offer, relying too much on creatures.

David Williams, who sat at Bregoli's right, was a different story. Considered by many onlookers to have drafted the best deck at the table, his card pool makes a strong argument. He started into blue/black early with Probe, but a fourth-pick Plague Spores suggested he play three colors. He had another before the pack was finished. By the end of the second pack he had accumulated a Tsabo's Assassin, Reckless Spite, another Probe and a Sleeper's Robe, filling with black cards the blue that had dried up. Third pack was the absolute berries. Successive picks of Spite/Malice, Agonizing Demise, Faerie Squadron, Cinder Shade and Tower Drake filling his deck to bursting with good cards. He was all smiles going into deck construction.

Christian Lührs was the reason for blue's scarcity in William's draft. With neither of the players feeding him first pack (Kyle Rose, Jon Finkel) playing blue, he managed quite a haul. Over the course of the draft he picked up three pair: Stormscape Apprentices, Benalish Trappers and Tower Drakes. He grabbed from both allied colors, with white providing the tappers, well as a Benalish Heralds, and black giving him the always exciting Spinal Embrace and the demoralizing Tsabo's Decree. His deck is a monster, with good ground-stall tools, fliers, and a number of bombs.

Kyle Rose's draft doesn't really leap off the page. However, no player within two of him was a dedicated green drafter, and that shows in the consistency of creatures he managed to pick up. Sticking to a G/R strategy, he drafted seven two-power two-drops, as well as three Ancient Kavu, and other solid creatures. Focusing his deck on delivering so many creatures, he had Tribal Flames to clear the way, as well as the downright Savage Offensive. He even had a finisher of sorts, in the form of Keldon Necropolis, providing a path to victory if his opponent locked the ground.

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