Draft 3 Report: Anton Jonsson

Posted in Event Coverage on May 15, 2004

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Anton Jonsson is one of the most highly regarded limited players in the game today. Two of his three Pro Tour Top 8 appearances have come in Limited events. The most recent was a Top 8 at the last individual Limited Pro Tour in Amsterdam. He was in good position to repeat that performance after a 6-0 run to earn himself a seat at the top table after the cut to the ersatz day two.

As the draft began he had Gerard Fabiano to his right and Antoine Ruel to his left. As he thumbed through his first pack he took note of Pewter Golem and Mirror Golem but the Viridian Shaman near the back of the pack is what really caught his attention. To his right Gerard was taking a Loxodon Warhammer and he passed Somber Hoverguard, Shatter, and Creeping Mold to Anton and he promptly took the Shatter.

Viridian Shaman

The next pack though Gerard's hands also had Shatter, Somber Hoverguard, and Creeping Mold and Gerard took the Shatter. Anton ignored the green and blue cards and took Iron Myr. While all of this was going on Ben Seck--one to the right of Gerard--was choosing between Fangren Hunter and Thirst for Knowledge. As the disembodied voice demanded the players make their selection, he reflexively took Thirst for Knowledge over Fangren Hunter and immediately was filled with remorse. His next pick was One Dozen Eyes but the Fangren Hunter put Gerard into green. There were now three green drafters in a row and two of them--Gerard and Anton--were also red. They were the only three green drafters at the table as the two Creeping Molds made their way into Seck's pile as the eighth and ninth picks. Antoine Ruel was happily snapping up Somber Hoverguards and looked to be in a great position.

Anton found green cards understandably in short supply and took a Vulshok Berserker and Clockwork Vorrac. He did get a Copper Myr and Elf Replica which are green-ish. He rounded out the pack with a couple of Tree of Tales and a Vulshok Battlemaster.

His first pick in the second pack featured a tempting array of white cards including Leonin Sun Standard, Skyhunter Patrol, and Blinding Beam. Anton was not lured by their call though and took a Myr Enforcer over Bonesplitter. When the Bonesplitter came to Gerard it was clear that he wanted to go white for the Sun Standard but he could not bring himself to do it and took the Splits. Ben was tempted though and dipped his toe into white for the powerful card.

Anton seemed to sense that the gig was up on green and made a move toward black when he was passed a second pick Betrayal of Flesh. His next pick was Pyrite Spellbomb and then a Goblin Replica. He was definitely looking to go red-black splashing green for Shaman until his sixth pack showed up with Deconstruct and Viridian Shaman ripe for the picking. Antoine Ruel was shaking his head in disbelief as he passed the pack to Jonsson. Anton took the second Shaman and took that as a pretty strong signal to stay green. Gerard was also thinking about abandoning green and took his seventh pick Deconstruct as an indication that he should not.

Anton did get a ninth pick Predator's Strike and a fourteenth pick Tel-Jilad Exile but the third pack was setting up to be a blood bath for Jonsson if he was hoping for any green cards in Darksteel. His opening pack offered only a choice between Echoing Ruin and Vulshok War Boar. Anton thought for a moment and finally took the War Boar. He took a Tel-Jilad Wolf with his second pick over the slim pickings of Unforge and Arcbound Stinger.

Pick three offered only an Essence Drain and he took it to keep his Betrayal of Flesh company. He rolled his eyes as he took Echoing Courage and Drill-Skimmer--Drill-Skimmer!--with his next two picks. Gerard was picking up a couple of tasty numbers like Rebuking Ceremony and Savage Beatdown while Ben Seck was nabbing back to back Oxidizes. The only other green card that found its way to Anton was a ninth pick Echoing Courage.

Essence Drain

As he walked over to register his deck he shook his head at the dearth of green in Darksteel. "I thought I would get something! Gerard must be green--I did not get a pick in Darksteel."

He explained that he was planning on abandoning green until he got the Shaman and the Predator's Strike. When asked about picking Vulshok War Boar over Echoing Ruin he explained, "I already had plenty of artifact removal and almost no fat."

He laid out his deck and it shaped up as a moderately fast red-green deck that touched black for Essence Drain and Betrayal of Flesh. Although he did not have much fat he did have two Echoing Courage and a Predator's Strike. As he laid them out he laughed when he looked over at his fourteenth pick Tel-Jilad Exile. "That was kind of weird as a fourteenth pick. Antoine was probably just giving it to me to be nice."

When asked to assess his chances Anton was hesitant. "I will win one match or two--my deck is not especially good. I would be shocked to go 3-0 but I would also be surprised to go 0-3."

Anton Jonsson

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