Draft 1, Table 1

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

At 9am Thursday morning, it was time to find out if the guys who mastered the Standard format knew how to draft. Interestingly, seven different countries were represented at table 1. The only duplicate? The Netherlands.

  1. Tom van de Logt (Netherlands)
  2. Johnson Wan (Hong Kong)
  3. Tommi Hovi (Finland)
  4. Jan Tomcani (Slovak Republic)
  5. Joost Vollebregt (Netherlands)
  6. Gert Coeckelbergh (Belgium)
  7. Brian Selden (USA)
  8. Antoine Ruel (France)

This article contains pretty much every important pick from the entire draft, along with pack by pack commentary. The star (*) marks the person who opened the pack and the draft order moves down the page (looping and horseshoeing in the obvious way).

Invasion

Clever Caption

 

*vdL Benalish Trapper  
JW Phyrexian Slayer  
TH Quirion Elves  
JT Hooded Kavu  
JV Lightning Dart  
GC Worldly Counsel Capashen Unicorn
BS Quirion Trailblazer Wallop
AR Addle Breaking Wave

I thought this pack was fascinating. Tommi Hovi sent an incredibly loud signal to the entire table with his 3rd pick Quirion Elf, screaming "I AM FIVE COLOR MAN, HEAR ME ROAR." Brian Selden positioned himself to ride Hovi's coattails by taking the other 5-color green card from the pack. I thought Selden had the best position at the table at this point. Hovi looked more than willing to do all the work of forcing his neighbors out of green and then Selden could scoop up all the other green cards. Many drafters dislike drafting in the 7 or 8 seat at a Rochester table, but I actually prefer it because it allows you time to read a table and make exactly this kind of positioning move. When the 3-seat is throwing his weight around, there's no better place to be than directly across the table from him, sitting 7th. Selden and Hovi were also by far the most experienced players at the table, with three PT wins between them.

Oh by the way, Dutch national champion Tom van de Logt (who made Top 8 at Worlds last year and had the Netherlands in 3rd in the team competition after round 6) got by far the best card from this pack: the Trapper.

 

vdL Angelic Shield Tidal Visionary
*JW Stormscape Master  
TH Tribal Flames  
JT Kavu Runner  
JV Shoreline Raider  
GC Glimmering Angel Reviving Vapors
BS Fertile Ground Recover
AR Vodalian Serpent Metathran Zombie

Wan took the rare Stormscape Master first, putting himself squarely in black-blue, a reasonable place to be with white on one side of him and green on the other. Tribal Flames looked perfect for Hovi's 5-color deck and Hovi still had seats 4, 5, and 6 scared so Fertile Ground fell to Selden, the perfect pick for him at this point. It allowed him to signal his intentions and pick up a solid mana fixer without having to "waste" a high pick. Van de Logt had to be happy with 8th pick Angelic Shield as it meant that neither of the players feeding him wanted to fight for blue-white.

 

vdL Glimmering Angel Opt
JW Shivan Zombie Obsidian Acolyte
*TH Harrow  
JT Urza's Rage  
JV Zanam Djinn  
GC Faerie Squadron  
BS Ordered Migration Quirion Sentinel
AR Ancient Kavu Viashino Grappler

Hovi had some great cards to choose from in his own first pack, but he felt he had to take Harrow. Many pros feel that 5-color green is only worth it if you get the mana fixers late and get to spend all your early picks drafting the best available card. Hovi didn't really know at this point what his mana fixer situation would be, it was only the 3rd pack of the draft, but he obviously values Harrow really highly. Zanam Djinn, Ordered Migration, or Urza's Rage could have gone straight into his deck. Selden had to be delighted to get Migration 5th at a table that only seemed to have 2 green drafters and Van de Logt's 7th pick Glimmering Angel was a sign as to how high the quality of this pack was.

The end of this pack was also quite interesting: when it came time for Antoine Ruel's second pick, Selden turned at stared at him. When Ruel took the Grappler, passing Selden the Quirion Sentinel that Selden wanted, Selden nodded and smiled.

 

vdL Sunscape Apprentice  
JW Thunderscape Apprentice  
TH Llanowar Cavalry Reviving Vapors
*JT Pyre Zombie  
JV Breath of Darigaaz  
GC Galina's Knight  
BS Exotic Curse  
AR Kavu Aggressor  

Pyre Zombie or Breath of Darigaaz? With Hooded Kavu, Kavu Runner, and Urza's Rage already in his pile, this was precisely the question that Jan Tomcani was hoping he'd get to ask himself. His answer was Pyre Zombie and Joost Vollebregt continued to fight him for red, but no one could really blame him for taking the Breath.

 

vdL Crimson Acolyte  
JW Marauding Knight Addle
TH Quirion Sentinel Strength of Unity
JT Firescreamer Nightscape Apprentice
*JV Duskwalker  
GC Benalish Heralds  
BS Serpentine Kavu  
AR Plague Spores  

Vollebregt had two good blue cards and two good red cards in his deck so far, so he made the obvious foray into black in this pack, drafting Duskwalker first. Coeckelbergh had been quietly drafting the beginnings of a solid blue-white deck, so he was delighted to get the Heralds. Selden took Serpentine Kavu, giving Plague Spores to Ruel.

 

vdL Glimmering Angel
JW Phyrexian Slayer
TH Recover
JT Obsidian Acolyte
JV Metathran Zombie
*GC Repulse
BS Kavu Climber
AR Urza's Rage

Coeckelbergh's Repulse was an easy pick. Selden's was harder. He decided to play politics, taking a solid card for his own deck (Kavu Climber) while passing a card that a lot of people think is better (Urza's Rage) to Ruel. If Selden had taken the Rage, there would have been nothing for Ruel, who might then have been tempted to fight for green. In addition, Selden wanted to make sure that Ruel knew how nice he was being so Selden turned toward Ruel until he could catch his eye, and then nodded at him, sending the "Planeshift is coming - hook me up there and I'll keep returning the favor in Apocalypse" signal with his eyes. The table judge came over after this episode and warned both players, demanding "no more communication between you to." There wasn't any more after that.

 

vdL Repulse  
JW Cinder Shade  
TH Pincher Spider  
JT Halam Djinn Tangle
JV Tower Drake  
GC Dream Thrush  
*BS Armadillo Cloak  
AR Scorching Lava  

These picks all seemed pretty straight-forward as everyone had settled down into colors by now. Tomcani's Tangle was interesting as it meant either he was considering fighting Hovi for green or he was hate drafting him.

 

vdL Benalish Trapper  
JW Trench Wurm  
TH Recover  
JT Yavimaya Barbarian  
JV Phyrexian Slayer  
GC Sunscape Apprentice Wax/Wane
BS Quirion Elves Explosive Growth
*AR Crypt Angel  

Selden never did get a Harrow for his 5-color green deck - Hovi first picked the only one that got opened. Still, with two Quirion Elves, a Trailblazer, and a Fertile Ground, he had options.

Planeshift

 

*AR Caldera Kavu  
BS Quirion Explorer  
GC Silver Drake  
JV Nightscape Battlemage  
JT Darigaaz's Charm  
TH Rith's Grove  
JW Mire Kavu Stone Kavu
vdL Stormscape Familiar Pollen Remedy

Selden made a bold statement here - taking Quirion Explorer over Rith's Grove and Darigaaz's Charm. Hovi probably wasn't disappointed to get a 6th-pick Rith's Grove, but watching Tomcani take Darigaaz's Charm had to hurt. Now Tomcani was definitely adding green to what was previously a black-red deck and thus Hovi had to fight for green despite using a 3rd pick on Quirion Elves in an effort to scare out his neighbors.

 

AR Terminal Moraine Pygmy Kavu
*BS Bog Down  
GC Hunting Drake  
JV Nightscape Familiar  
JT Horned Kavu  
TH Sea Snidd  
JW Planeswalker's Scorn  
vdL Sawtooth Loon Disciple of Kange

1st pick Bog Down when you're playing all 5 colors is bad.

 

AR Morgue Toad  
BS Stone Kavu Thornscape Familiar
*GC Rushing River  
JV Mire Kavu  
JT Thornscape Apprentice  
TH Fleetfoot Panther  
JW Stormscape Familiar  
vdL Pollen Remed  

Selden's wheel in this pack was probably worth more than either of his early picks from the previous two packs.

 

AR Caldera Kavu Kavu Recluse
BS Horned Kavu Primal Growth
GC Samite Pilgrim Aurora Griffin
*JV Terminate  
JT Sparkcaster  
TH Ancient Spider  
JW Death Bomb  
vdL Lashknife Barrie  

After those first few, the Planeshift packs took a noticeable upswing in quality. Here Lashknife Barrier goes 5th. Van de Logt always seems to be on the receiving end of these gifts, too.

 

AR Volcano Imp Primal Growth
BS Horned Kavu Caldera Kavu
GC Samite Pilgrim Aurora Griffin
JV Death Bomb Crosis's Catacombs
*JT Terminate  
TH Stormscape Battlemage  
JW Crosis's Charm  
vdL Waterspout Elementa  

Here's Terminate #2, along with two other "banishings" and a big flier for van de Logt.

 

AR Lava Zombie Root Greevil
BS Quirion Explorer Singe
GC Pollen Remedy Mana Cylix
JV Morgue Toad Ertai's Trickery
JT Thunderscape Familiar Gerrard's Command
*TH Flametongue Kavu  
JW Hunting Drake  
vdL Dominaria's Judgmen  

Hovi's 5-color deck did a lot better with its early picks than Selden's. Whereas Selden took Bog Down and Quirion Explorer 1-2, Hovi got to take Stormscape Terror-mage and Flametongue Kavu. Selden got yet another elf from this pack.

 

AR Nightscape Familiar
BS Slingshot Goblin
GC Phyrexian Bloodstock
JV Dralnu's Pet
JT Caldera Kavu
TH Dromar's Cavern
*JW Crosis's Charm
vdL Hobbl

Here's the 2nd Crosis's Charm for Hong Kong player Johnson Wan. Hovi wound up with his second triple-land, a perfect 8th pick for him.

 

AR Terminate
BS Horned Kavu
GC Stormscape Familiar
JV Crosis's Charm
JT Stone Kavu
TH Nightscape Familiar
JW Slingshot Goblin
*vdL Rushing Rive

The last 5 Planeshift packs were just plain better than the first 3. Selden could have taken Crosis's Charm from this pack, but he opted for aggression over power, taking Horned Kavu instead. He may have been trying to keep his colors down to just 3 at his point (his only blue card was Ordered Migration and his only white was the Migration plus a Cloak). Red-green beats with black for removal plus a Cloak? It seemed unlikely to me that he could stay that focused during Apocalypse so I was surprised by this pick.

Apocalypse

 

*vdL Iluminate  
JW Dead Ringers  
TH Temporal Spring  
JT Dodecapod  
JV Quicksilver Dagger  
GC Spectral Lynx  
BS Evasive Action Urborg Elf
AR Raka Disciple Strength of Night

If you scroll back through the packs so far and look at all the cards that follow Tom van de Logt's initials, you see a very impressive trend. With the exception of a lone Sunscape Apprentice, his first selection from each and every pack is a solid main deck card that's either blue or white. Not only did he have outstanding card quality, but he managed to make it to his first Apocalypse pack without committing to a 3rd color. That meant he could just let the pack tell him, which it did. Illuminate meant blue-white touch red, one of the best archetypes available even when you don't open Illuminate.

 

vdL Temporal Spring
*JW Living Airship
TH Savage Gorilla
JT Phyrexian Rager
JV Coalition Honor Guard
GC Whirlpool Warrior
BS Consume Strength
AR Night/Da

The most interesting thing here was that Hovi preferred Savage Gorilla over both Coalition Honor Guard and Consume Strength.

 

vdL  
JW  
*TH Jungle Barrier
JT Llanowar Wastes
JV Razorfin Hunter
GC Manacles of Decay
BS Dead Ringers
AR  

Tomcani seemed happy here as he got to fix his mana and take home a $10 card. Vollebregt further muddied his colors with the Hunter.

 

vdL  
JW  
TH  
*JT Phyrexian Gargantua
JV Urborg Uprising
GC Coastal Drake
BS Fervent Charge
AR Goblin Legionnaire

Selden was going to take a card with white mana in the cost here one way or the other. He preferred the rare enchantment that gives all your attackers +2/+2.

 

vdL Razorfin Hunter  
JW Haunted Angel  
TH Manacles of Decay Orim's Thunder
JT Llanowar Dead Gerrard's Verdict
*JV Jilt  
GC Mystic Snake  
BS Ana Disciple  
AR Zombie Boa  

Selden took a one-drop, still thinking about those three Horned Kavus. Van de Logt added another great red splash card to his deck.

 

vdL  
JW  
TH Kavu Howler
JT  
JV  
*GC Jungle Barrier
BS Lay of the Land
AR Goblin Legionnaire

Ruel also made it into Apocalypse without a well-defined third color. He had started out in blue but got scared away because there were so many other blue drafters at the table and Selden kept hooking him up with black and red cards anyway. In Apocalypse, Goblin Legionnaires kept dropping into his lap because white his splash.

 

vdL Gerrard Capashen
JW  
TH Lay of the Land
JT  
JV  
GC  
*BS Captain's Maneuver
AR Goblin Legionnaire

Selden takes another white card here. He wound up playing all five colors in the end. Ruel gets yet another Legionnaire and van de Logt gets yet another amazing blue-white card.

 

vdL Jilt  
JW Urborg Uprising  
TH Dodecapod  
JT Goblin Legionnaire  
JV    
GC    
BS Tranquil Path Tundra Kavu
*AR Illuminate  

Van de Logt finishes off with a third spectacular red card for his splash. His deck seemed like the best deck at a table where everyone wound up with a good one. Selden had nice position early, but the packs didn't cooperate with him and he wound up with what he described as "a deck that could beat anyone at the table but it could also lose to anyone at the table. It all depends on my draws." Hovi's 5-color looks full of bombs, Ruel's black-red splash white seems good, Coeckelbergh's blue-white is fine, Wan has good cards, Tomcani seemed to draft a bit erratically and I wouldn't have dipped into green in his seat, but it's hard to go wrong when you have Pyre Zombie, and his deck is the most aggressive at the table - that might be just the ticket against all the bombs that are getting played.

Basically, everyone has a good deck. I wouldn't have expected anything less from table 1 at the World Championships.

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