Draft 2: Pod 3

Posted in Event Coverage on May 3, 2003

By Mark Wraith

There were three pods of players with perfect records going into the second set of pods. Of these, by far the strongest was pod three. This wouldn't have been out of place at a Grand Prix day two, with only one of the players not having any Pro Tour experience.

Pod 3

  1. Olivier Ruel
  2. Steve Queroub
  3. Nicolas Labarre
  4. Lionel Perrin
  5. Raphael Levy
  6. Christophe Haim
  7. Antoine Menard
  8. Thomas Shaw

Akroma's Vengeance
With players of this standard, the early picks are tremendously important, as once they are set everyone is generally capable of picking the best card in their colors. The first pack was an interesting one in this case. Olivier didn't even hesitate about taking Akroma's Vengeance, with Steve Queroub then taking Shock. Nicolas Labarre took Venomspout Brackus, and Perrin an Ascending Aven. Levy then got to take a Daunting Defender, leaving Pinpoint Avalanche, Snapping Thragg and Erratic Explosion. When Haim took the Pinpoint it's arguable that Antoine Menard should have left the red cards alone and grabbed a Dive Bomber, leaving Shaw to wheel the other red cards. Instead he took the Thragg himself and Thomas took Erratic Explosion, creating three red players in a row. Menard got the Dive Bomber on the way back and Christophe took Aphetto Dredging, still in the realm of playability.

The second pack did little to solidify matters. Steve Queroub opened and took Goblin Machinist where instead he should have possibly taken Infest. By taking the Machinist he puts Nicolas in green-black to his right, and with Olivier to his left probably in blue-white he will struggle to get a second color. After Haim took a Thrashing Mudspawn, Antoine should presumably have chosen Charging Slateback rather than Dirge of Dread. Haim did have a red card and two black cards at that point, so he was unlikely to give up on black, although in fact it did happen later on in the draft.

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa
The next pack was relatively uninteresting with everyone staying in their colors, and did not solve the tension between Haim, Menard and Shaw. Pack five, however, was more important. Perrin opened and took Shock to go with his solid blue-red cards, Levy took a Gustcloak Skirmisher, passing Kamahl to Haim. At this point he didn't have any green cards, but the fact that he was already fighting for black with two people to his right probably encouraged him to branch out and fight them for green as well. The pick seemed correct as in any case the booster had very little to offer him.

Haim gradually moved into red-green, with Antoine settling in black-green. The last person to settle in their colors was Thomas Shaw, who was getting virtually nothing playable. He made a bold gambit to switch into blue, which paid off as he ripped two consecutive Callous Oppressors. One noticeable thing was the lack of red cards in the draft, with only two shocks, zero Solar Blasts, zero Sparksmiths and one Pinpoint Avalanche.

In a way this helped Haim as Menacing Ogre made it's way all the way from seat three to him in seat six going counterclockwise, as well as a sixth pick Lavaborn Muse in Legions. Most of the decks at the table apart from Christophe's ended up mediocre. In seat one Olivier Ruel managed an average soldier deck. Steve Queroub's Black-Red deck is reasonably good, as is Nicolas Labarre's black-green deck. Antoine Menard's and Thomas Shaw's deck's both appear to be very substandard mainly due to the fact they were fighting each other for colors for most of the draft. Levy's soldier deck is also decent, but Haim is the only one who can claim that his deck is genuinely good, especially due to the quality of rares he grabbed – Goblin Sharpshooter, Kamahl, Menacing Ogre, Lavaborn Muse. The relative unknown, Perrin, has a blue-red deck which, while not stunning, may well be the second best at the table.

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