Draft 1: Wise, Hegstad, Rose

Posted in Event Coverage

By Peter Szigeti

In the first Rochester draft, U.S. National Team member Brian Hegstad was 3-3 in the middle of the field along with Pro Tour-London champion Kyle Rose, and Pro Tour-New York champion Gary Wise. While Rose and Wise are seated next to each other, Hegstad is alone by himself at the other side of the table. As the first pack was opened, Tzu-Ching Kuo selected Void, while Rose got an Angel of Mercy, and Wise took a subpar black card showing his appreciation for the color. As the second pack was revealed, Wise started to laugh as he realized what was about to happen. The largely inexperienced players at the table started to make the draft interesting by making many interesting picks.

The nightmare started as the player to the left of Rose took a Scorching Lava over an Urza's Rage, when he should not have even taken a red card. Taking a red card right next to the person who took a Void is usually not a good idea, as it is highly unlikely that Kuo would change his mind and leave it out of his deck. Nonetheless if he wanted to take a red card so badly, he should have at least made the correct decision and taken the Rage. As players set into their colors in the first pack, Rose u-w-r, Wise u-b-x probably green, and Hegstad g-x, the U.S. Team member made some questionable decisions. Usually when drafting green in Invasion-Planeshift-Apocalypse, you don't just splash one or two colors, you splash 4. With the abundant mana fixers all throughout the three sets, you can take off-color cards whenever you want, as early as first pick. Hegstad took some good cards like Kavu Climbers, over great cards like Crosis. At the time Hegstad didn't feel that he would actually play five colors, so he chose to ignore the large Dragon. I felt that inevitably he would end up all five colors, which he did.

Some other scenes from the first pack included a player from Lithuania to Hegstad's left taking a Rout from him, for his black-red deck. A few of the players in the draft besides Kuo, Hegstad, Rose, and Wise, totally switched colors from one end of the wheel to the other. During the first pack, and continuing to the mid-second pack, Kuo received a good card every pick, even on his wheel. After pack 1 his deck included such bombs as Agonizing Demise, Void, and Breath of Darigaaz, while the rest of his deck was made up of efficient creatures such as Ancient Kavus and Phyrexian Slayers, along with a Plague Spores and Tribal Flames. He followed up on his good fortune in pack two with a Magma Burst among others.

Pack two was an interesting one. With the largely inexperienced crowd, cards like Steal-Leaf Paladin were taken over such bombs as Lashknife Barrier. Hegstad again missed out on his inevitable splash, but ended up picking up two Sunscape Battlemages and a solid creature mix, though his color combo was still one of the weakest, green-white. Wise not only picked up three Cavern Harpies, but a Stormscape Battlemage to go with them. Rose picked up two Silver Drakes and two Dromars Charms, which he may not even play if he plays red.

Pack 3 was the moneymaker. Rose picked up a seventh pick Raka Sanctuary, a fifth pick Rakavolver, and two separate wheels of Goblin Legionnaires. Wise picked up two Phyrexian Ragers to go with those three Cavern Harpies, as well as his older brother, the Gargantua. Hegstad's inevitable splash came with an Illuminate, Jilt, and Degavolver, to go with his two Lays of the Lands and multiple Elves. I feel that had he been drafting five colors from the get go, his deck would be vastly superior to what it is.

I predict that Wise will win the table 3-0, although Kuo, Rose, and Hegstad all have a good shot at it, but will probably end up 2-1.

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