4-way Solomon Draft

Posted in Event Coverage on June 7, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Neil reeves sat down for the Solomon action along with film student Jeff Taylor, Donald “The Governor” Paul, and Top 32 competitor at PT Venice, Michael Musser. As the players pored over the 200 card pool and tried to develop and anticipate strategies they bantered with each other and set the tone for this immensely fun event.

Don Paul: “These cards are not good, I won’t lie to you…”
Neil Reeves: “I’m from Arkansas, originally and you all know who my Governor was. He may have ‘lied’ form time to time…”
Don Paul: “Depends on your definition of lie…”

While the political discussion was taking place, Jeff Taylor was sorting all of the cards by color to make it easier for the other players in the pod to take in the cards. With a sly grin as the cards are passed to him, Neil Reeves is reshuffling the piles. He is concerned that the cards will clump into colors when they are dealt out into 25-card piles, “Way to color sort, gomer!”

Michael Musser was randomly selected to make the first piles and he was clearly flummoxed by the process and decided to spread each color out over all four piles and let someone else make the tough decisions. Neil was choosing first—Musser last—and would be making the next set of piles.

Neil Reeves

Simian Grunts
Aven Redeemer
Molten Influence
Churning Eddy

Don Paul

Pouncing Jaguar
Aven Fisher
Scorching Lava
Wall of Hope
Solidarity
RoP Red
Seafloor Debris

Jeff Taylor

Leaf Dancer
Coastal Drake
Enslaved Dwarf
Multani’s Decree
Metathran Soldier
Organ Grinder

Michael Musser

Pygmy Razorback
Sage Owl
Burning Salvo
Inflame
Gaea’s Bounty
Shieldmage Advocate

Neil separated the next pile of 25 and was faced with a difficult decision and made a small pile with Blinding Angel and Hermetic Study—has he left the Study in another pile he thinks he might have gotten it to come around. Interestingly, The Governor’s first pick was the pile that Neil thought was least impressive.

Don Paul

Gush
Warped Researcher
Lava Zombie
Overload
Insolence
Mageta’s Boon
Mind Extraction

Jeff Taylor

Blinding Angel
Shriek of Dread
Dripping Dead
Hermetic Study

Michael Musser

Sudden Strength
Yavimaya Granger
Hiddon Gibbons
Leery Fogbeast
Fiery Mantle
Rampaging Elephant
Soldevi Machinist

Neil Reeves

Hunted Wumpus
Glowering Rogon
Skyshroud Cutter
Agent of Shaku
Pardic Swordsmith
Mine Bearer
Aven Envoy

Now it was Don Paul’s chance to split with Jeff Taylor taking first. In hindsight, he could have made any pile of cards with Rofellos in it and Jeff might have taken that one, “I needed the Rofellos for a deck this weekend!” he laughed.

Jeff Taylor

Radiant’s Judgement
Skulking Fugitive
Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary
Cephalid Snitch
Arc Mage
Star Compass

Michael Musser

Aven Flock
Giant Cockroach
Illusionary Wings
Dromosaur
Lurking Jackals
?

Neil Reeves

Alter Reality
Fend Off
Goblin Gardener
Mirror Wall
Silk Net
Filth
Wall of Glare

Don Paul

Funeral Pyre
Zombie Boa
Crookshaw Elder
Bloodstoke Howler
Mind Sludge
Off Balance

With his Rofellos secured for a later portion of the tournament it now turned to Jeff to make the pile. He would also make the next set of piles when the draft switched direction. The pick seemed clear for Michael Musser who somehow also picked up a Symbiotic Elf.

Michael Musser

Overrun
Cursed Flesh
Decompose
Symbiotic Elf
Fallen Cleric
Phantasmal Terrain

Neil Reeves

Tangle
Lava Axe
Wormfang Drake
Cabal Therapy
Nantuko Calmer
Bubbling Beebles

Don Paul

Argothian Elder
Angel of Mercy
Destructive Urge
Savage Gorilla
Seedtime
Downhill Charge

Jeff Taylor

Death Bomb
Puppeteer
Kavu Recluse
Irrigation Ditch
Mesmeric Fiend
Sterling Grove
Unhinge

The next batch of cards swung the other way and Jeff could do nothing to keep Don Paul from snatching up a Pestilence while Neil scooped up a pretty spiffy set of cards himself. Somehow the powerful Midsummer Revel found its way to Jeff. Good cards for everyone!

Don Paul

Pestilence
Lacrolith Grunt
Amphibious Kavu
Parallax Dementia
Viashino Sandscout
Escape Routes
Hoodwink

Neil Reeves

Seal of Doom
Jasmine Seer
Quicksilver Dragon
Thornwood Fairies
Catalog

Michael Musser

Spiketail Drake
Kris Mage
Pardic Lancer
Frantic Purification
Whirlpool Rider
Shaleskin Plower
Demoralize

Jeff Taylor

Midsummer Revel
Rat’s Feast
Hypochondria
Soul Charmer
Reviving Dose
Daru Healer

The governor made the piles next and handed a fistful of green to Neil who gladly accepted.

Neil Reeves

Marker Beetles
Forcemage Advocate
Diligent Farmhand
Nantuko Tracer
Soothing Balm
Cabal Trainee

Michael Musser

Gustcloak Harrier
Patrol Hound
Knighthood
Night/Day
Exhume
Bog Gnarr
Muscle Sliver

Jeff Taylor

Planar Despair
Smokespew Invoker
Fog of Gnats
Orim’s Thunder
Flamestick Courrier
Aura Flux

Don Paul

Ascending Aven
Dematerialize
Spiketail Hatchling
Fanatical Devotion
Ghitu War Cry
Mind Swords

Now it was Neil Reeves turn to split and he didn’t understand what was happening when Michael Musser took a pile with Sparkcaster and Nomadic Elf over a pile with Phantom Nishoba, “I could be wrong but I think the Nishoba is the best card there. I could be wrong…but I’m not!”

Micheal Musser

Sparkcaster
Primal Growth
Soulless One
Soul Link
Nomadic Elf
Ixidor’s Will
Hazy Homunculous

Jeff Taylor

Searing Wind
Soul Strings
Thresher Beast
Forgotten Cave
Skirk Prospector
Game Preserve

Don Paul

Grave Defiler
Cateran Brute
Kavu Glider
Astral Slide
Phantom Nishoba
Sneaky Homunculous

Neil Reeves

Ramosian Captain
Flowering Field
Ember Shot
Spitting Spider
Book Burning
Ceremonial Guard

Michael Musser made the last set of piles and split the cards fairly evenly so that each color was represented in a pile.

Jeff Taylor

Terminate
Vine Trellis
Sea Snidd
Lowland Tracker
Latulla’s Orders
Burst of Energy

Don Paul

Slay
Patron of the Wild
Stone Rain
?
Cease Fire
Phyrexian Reaper
Flaring Pain

Neil Reeves

Pinpoint Avalanche
Slinking Skirge
Primal Whisperer
Darting Merfolk
Spirit Flare
Flash of Defiance

Michael Musser

Recover
Gamekeeper
Oraxid
Stoic Champion
Keldon Mantle
Orim’s Chant

When all the cards were drafted no one felt especially proud of their decks. Although there were powerful cards in everyone’s piles it seemed like no one would be able to play only two colors. At the other tables there was far more excitement over decks as two pairs of players chose to use cooperative draft strategies.

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