Draft 3 Report: Antoine Ruel

Posted in Event Coverage on May 15, 2004

By Paul Sottosanti

Antoine Ruel has been a fixture on the Pro Tour for some time now. He and his brother Olivier both have a number of strong finishes to their name. He's currently sitting pretty at the top table at 6-0 along with seven other undefeated players. Here's the seating order:

1 Salvin, Jean Charles [FRA]
2 Haim, Christopher [FRA]
3 Oiso, Masashi [JPN]
4 Seck, Ben [AUS]
5 Fabiano, Gerard [USA]
6 Jonsson, Anton [SWE]
7 Ruel, Antoine [FRA]
8 Spaulding, Ian [USA]

Antoine's first pack presented an easy decision--Shrapnel Blast was clearly better than Raise the Alarm, Consume Spirit, Fireshrieker, Fatespinner and Tel-Jilad Chosen. His next pack offered him a choice of golems; Mirror Golem and Pewter Golem were the only real options. He selected the Mirror Golem as it's a better card and doesn't represent a commitment. Ian Spaulding, sitting to Antoine's left, pretty much had to take the Pewter Golem (he had taken Fatespinner from the previous pack) so this helped set up some good picks in pack two.

Barbed Lightning

In the next pack he had the choice between Iron Myr, Pyrite Spellbomb, Somber Hoverguard, Chromatic Sphere, Irradiate, and Creeping Mold. The Spellbomb was slightly tempting but he chose to slide into an Affinity deck by selecting the Hoverguard. He was then rewarded with a second Somber Hoverguard, a Thoughtcast, a Cobalt Golem and a Seat of the Synod, all solid cards for his deck. It helped that the three drafters to his right all ended up in Green, with both of them to his immediate right in Green/Red. Talk about heaven for a Blue mage.

The rest of the first round was uneventful. He picked up a couple White cards as a possible splash and also a Tree of Tales (over Chromatic Sphere), but he was still solidly intending to be Blue/Red. Meanwhile, Ian to his right was solidly in Blue/Black, as there were four drafters in a row (including Antoine) that were avoiding the Black cards.

Antoine's second pack presented an interesting option: stay true by taking Neurok Spy or splash a little bit with Betrayal of Flesh. He chose to stick with the original plan and drafted the Phantom Warrior. He then picked up an Electrostatic Bolt, a Silver Myr (over Goblin Replica), and a second Neurok Spy from a pack that gave Ian a Looming Hoverguard. Ian was shaking his head as he passed the next pack to Antoine. It included both Viridian Shaman and Deconstruct (Ian had taken a Somber Hoverguard). Antoine was tempted by the Shaman but ended up taking a badly needed Iron Myr instead. Anton and Gerard happily snapped up the Green cards.

In the very next pack Antoine picked up a Copper Myr, making him regret the decision to pass on the Shaman, and then got a Rust Elemental, Great Furnace and Stalking Stones to round out the second round of packs.

Antoine's Darksteel pack gave him a Barbed Lightning (over Purge) and he then received an Echoing Ruin after Anton took Vulshok War Boar. Then the Blue faucet opened, with double Spire Golem, Vedalken Engineer, and Neurok Prodigy all flowing into his stack. Darksteel Ingot and Pendant rounded out the deck along with a late-pick Echoing Truth that had earlier made it through the Blue mages to his left.

His deck ended up quite solid, with a strong Blue creature base and great removal in Red. Antoine hoped to 2-1 with the deck, although he felt 1-2 was also a possibility if his draws weren't strong. Basically the plan was to just "take it and see what happens."

Antoine Ruel

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