Draft 1: Rob Dougherty

Posted in Event Coverage on May 8, 2003

By Toby Wachter

Rob Dougherty is considered one of the best deck builders and Constructed players in the world, but he's never had nearly the same amount of success in Limited. The same applies to the rest of Your Move Games, as the team has never come close to achieving the same finishes in draft as they do in Constructed. Is this a matter of a deck building powerhouse having its accomplishments in other formats overshadowed, or is it as simple as concluding that players in black shirts with red dragons on them aren't top level drafters? Dougherty arrived at his draft table today, and saw Michael Pustilnik, Itaru Ishida and Patrick Mello waiting for him, among others. This would not be an easy first pod.

Dougherty opened his first pack, and the potential picks were Death Pulse, Shock, Glory Seeker, Tempting Wurm and Gustcloak Sentinel. He took Shock, passing the powerful Death Pulse but no playable red cards. The second pack offered Dive Bomber, Sunfire Balm, Weathered Wayfarer and Swat. It contained no good red cards, so Dougherty took Dive Bomber, passing the other two white cards. Still, this was fairly safe as Gruber to his left had been passed Death Pulse followed by Swat, and would likely stay out of white. A third pick Pacifism cemented Dougherty into white, and interestingly he took Daunting Defender over another Dive Bomber fourth pick. Fifth pick threw Dougherty off a bit, as it contained Wirewood Savage and Nantuko Husk- two cards that are easily first pick caliber. He took the Savage, which was odd considering that most players avoid drafting green/white at all costs. The odd situation was that he was obviously white, and didn't see much red, but it was still a possibility due to his first pick Shock. The Husk is reasonable, but Dougherty would get cut off in black when the packs went to the right. After taking the Savage, Dougherty went further into green, taking Vitality Charm. A gift came around when he got an eighth pick Pacifism.

The packs now went the other way, and Dougherty's pack only had Pinpoint Avalanche and Gustcloak Harrier as potential picks- he went back into red, taking the removal spell. Second pick had a surprise splashable bomb in Quicksilver Dragon, but Dougherty opted to take a second Shock instead. Embermage Goblin and Sunfire Balm followed, and were solid additions to the deck. Fifth pick presented Grassland Crusader, Charging Slateback and Skittish Valesk, and Dougherty took the Valesk. Goblin Sledder came around seventh, and Goblin Fire Marshall ninth. In Legions he opened and took Defender of the Order, and picked up Aven Redeemer, Goblin Dynamo and Wingbeat Warrior along with a few Shaleskin Plowers.

Sideboard: How do you think it went?
Dougherty: Really, really badly. (Laughs) You picked the wrong guy to watch draft, let me tell ya. You watched the wrong guy to draft, draft isn't my thing, and this was a classic example of why.

Sideboard: Why? Any specific things?
Dougherty: Well, I tend to try to be flexible in draft, and decide late. For example, that late Wirewood Savage. I consider that a first or second pick card, so when it came that late it made me think about moving into green. I considered that a signal, but I didn't get a lot going after that. I had a first pick Shock, which isn't going to force me into that color, but red/white is a color combo I like. White/black is also something I like if I'm using white. But, I chose my Shock over Death Pulse, so it's probably not going to go well for me if I go black on the way back.

Sideboard: Right, that's what I was thinking when you took the Savage. There was a Husk in there too, and I was like "Is he going to go green/white?"
Dougherty: Well the thing is, green/white is fine if...a lot of people don't like it, but it's actually pretty good if you can get these controlling board creatures and provoke with creature enhancement. Provoke is the removal green/white never had, so it actually can be pretty decent. So, I don't mind green/white, but after the Savage the green wasn't really flowing. Although, pack three if I had stuck with the green, I would have had a really good deck. I would have had Timberwatch Elf, and a late Canopy Crawler. My deck would have been a lot better if I had gone in that direction. I don't have a lot of white, so I would have been better off with green/red. I obviously didn't read the draft well enough.

It got to the point in the draft where I decided I had to salvage things with morph creatures, getting more of a mise deck. I was taking things like Shaleskin Plowers, which are morphed to smooth out the curve so I can sometimes get early wins with the Pacifisms, multiple Shocks and fast creatures. Sometimes I can do a couple of land destructions and deal with my opponent that way, and use the Skirk Fire Marshal, it's a lame pick but use it as a power card.

Skirk Fire Marshal
Sideboard: So you're actually going to play that?
Dougherty: Yes. I'm not 100% sure, but it seems likely given the quality of my cards (laughs).

Sideboard: Fourth pick, why take Daunting Defender over Dive Bomber? You had a Dive Bomber already, and most players like Soldiers over Clerics.
Dougherty: That was...yeah, that was a mistake.

Sideboard: There was one pick in the second pack where there was Grassland Crusader, Charging Slateback and Skittish Valesk. Why take the Valesk?
Dougherty: Basically, I like the Valesk. It usually wins the morph tricks. The fact that it swaps back is annoying, but it's a pretty hard card to deal with when you get to morph mana for it.

Sideboard: How do you think you'll do with this deck?
Dougherty: 1-3.

Sideboard: Not very confident?
Dougherty: No. I mean I could get lucky, but like I said this is the classic example of a bad draft deck. We're not going far with this one.

Sideboard: Anything else you want to add?
Dougherty: Umm...don't try this at home.

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