Drafting with Simon Görtzen

Posted in Event Coverage on September 13, 2015

By Oliver Gehrmann

"I think my pool was definitely among the worst 20% of the field," the winner of the Pro Tour San Diego 2010, Simon Görtzen, mused at the end of Day 1. He certainly made the most of it as he managed to muster a respectable 7-2 record! Throughout the day, he kept us posted with entertaining stories, for example how his Round 5 opponent forgot to attack with his creatures. According to the German, this was literally the only reason why he remained in competition. Unfortunately, thanks to his abysmal tiebreakers, he was now seated at the very last draft pod.

"One of my biggest problems is that my opponents are always feeling super down after losing to me", Görtzen said with a tongue in his cheek, claiming that this was the reason for his horrible tiebreakers. His opponents were simply not able to recover from the utter domination. He was now hoping to crush some more dreams and tear through the field from the very bottom, keeping his hopes alive for another Grand Prix Top 8.

Pack 1

Görtzen saw Thunderclap Wyvern and Mage-Ring Responder but he also considered Blood-Cursed Knight and Reave Soul. He went with Reave Soul and passed the remaining cards to the left.

The second pack delivered another copy of Reave Soul, Akroan Sergeant, Rhox Maulers, Weight of the Underworld, and Sigil of Valor. He added a second copy of Reave Soul.

Simon Görtzen

The third pick provided Deadbridge Shaman, Guardians of Meletis, Thunderclap Wyvern and Görtzen was thinking about the Wyvern very long. In the end, he instead went with the Shaman and stuck to his black plan.

The next booster offered Timberpack Wolf, Fiery Impulse, as well as Infernal Scarring. The red spell quickly made the cut, so Görtzen had now seemingly chosen a second color.

Ten cards remained, among them Shadows of the Past and Act of Treason. Görtzen picked a Shambling Ghoul.

He then saw Titan's Strength and Read the Bones and without hesitation, he put down Read the Bones.

The following pack sported a variety of cards from different colors; it didn't appear like any particular color was wide open. Prickleboar was the pick.

Shadows of the Past appealed to Görtzen more so than a second copy of Prickleboar.

Six more cards, among them a Thunderclap Wyvern that came round. Görtzen, however, didn't feel like going rogue and instead added yet another black card.

Guardians of Meletis got added next and there were two more red cards in the pack. The German had seemingly chosen his colors wisely.

Macabre Waltz was next.

With just three cards remaining, Görtzen went for Jayemdae Tome.

He then picked Nightsnare over Demolish, he got passed one last card and that concluded the first booster.

After Pack 1

Görtzen had moved into black quickly and he was rewarded with a bag full of tricks. He stated that his first pick was somewhat crucial with the pack offering both Mage-Ring Responder as well as a Reave Soul. He went with the removal, expecting the rest of the table to go for aggressive approaches and he wanted to be able to combat those reliably.

His second color of choice ended up being red, which might allow him to go down a more aggressive path himself. Despite the fact that there were only six players drafting at this table, it appeared like his picks for the first pack were solid enough to build a decent enough curve.

One table was a little behind, which gave the players a welcome 40 second break. Görtzen collected his thoughts, thinking about the slots he still had to fill.

Pack 2

Görtzen opened Demonic Pact, Bonded Construct, Rabid Bloodsucker, and Weight of the Underworld and all of these cards moved to the front. He considered taking Demonic Pact, but in the end, Weight of the Underworld seemed like too good a removal to pass.

Next, Görtzen saw a Deadbridge Shaman, a Magmatic Insight, Fetid Imp, and Unholy Hunger. He picked Unholy Hunger.

The third pick offered Timberpack Wolf, Read the Bones, Titan's Strength, Mage-Ring Bully, Meteorite, and Nissa's Revelation. Görtzen considered taking the green card briefly, before settling on Mage-Ring Bully. This could allow him to add a very aggressive touch to his existing strategy of taking out all of his opposing threats with his many removal spells.

Eleven cards remained in the next booster. A Reave Soul was his fastest pick of the day; he only glanced over the other cards very briefly.

Nightsnare, Fleshbag Marauder, Firefiend Elemental, and Dragon Fodder all got passed to Görtzen. The German went with Fleshbag Marauder, who he had used the day before already.

20 seconds to decide between Cobblebrute, Infectious Bloodlust, Evolutionary Leap, and Aerial Volley. Görtzen wasn't too happy and he went with Infectious Bloodlust.

Read the Bones, Rabid Bloodsucker, and Bonded Construct came round; Cobblebrute made the cut this time.

Seven cards remained in the pack, among them Fetid Imp, Magmatic Insight, as well as Smash to Smithereens. Fetid Imp got added.

Görtzen then saw no cards in his colors. He went with Nissa's Revelation as a hate pick.

He got passed Dark Dabbling, the only black card in a pack with several green cards.

He then picked Llanowar Empath.

He added another Rabid Bloodsucker.

He saw Thornbow Archer and an Aerial Volley. Görtzen went for the black card.

Akroan Jailer got passed.

Pack 3

Last chance for Görtzen to find a few more powerful creatures; he definitely had enough removal to deal with pretty much anything his opponent could throw at him, but he might still need a few more threats of his own.

He opened Eyeblight Assassin and Mage-Ring Bully together with Gold-Forged Sentinel. The rest of the pack didn't seem to spark Görtzen's interest, so he went with a second Mage-Ring Bully before passing the rest of the cards to the left.

He then saw Act of Treason, Firefiend Elemental, Rabid Bloodsucker, and Sigil of Valor. He picked the Elemental.

Next, Acolyte of the Inferno, Veteran's Sidearm, and Undead Servant got passed. He went with the Acolyte of the Inferno, confirming his choice of red to compliment his black core.

Infernal Scarring, Dragon Fodder, Rabid Bloodsucker, Ghirapur Gearcrafter, and Call of the Full Moon got passed. Dragon Fodder was Görtzen's number one choice here. He later explained to me that he considered this pick very carefully and that, athough the Gearcrafter might be better in a vacuum, he went with Dragon Fodder as it would better help him round out his curve. On top of that, it also has a nice synergy with both Fleshbag Marauder as well as the two copies of Mage-Ring Bully.

In just 25 seconds, he had to decide between Pyromancer's Goggles, Titan's Strength, as well as Revenant. He went with the Pyromancer's Goggles.

Nine cards remained in the next booster; Görtzen quickly moved Smash to Smithereens to the front; he also saw Pharika's Disciple and Bellows Lizard. He picked Smash to Smithereens.

He then got passed Gold-Forged Sentinel and Eyeblight Assassin and picked up the latter.

Then, Rabid Bloodsucker came around, together with Sigil of Valor, as well as Llanowar Empath. Görtzen considered hate picking Blood-Cursed Knight but went with Sigil of Valor instead.

He then added Eyeblight Assassin.

Infernal Scarring tabled with another two black cards in the pack; this came as a surprise after the last packs weren't offering a lot of black cards.

Titan's Strength came round, much to Görtzen's own surprise. Red was definitely a great choice for the table.

Bellows Lizard was his favorite card among the last three in the pack.

Tainted Remedy didn't convince him more than Ghirapur Æther Grid.

Macabre Waltz was the last card he got.

After the Draft

I left Görtzen's table quickly, telling him that it's more important for him to end up 3-0 rather than me getting a few more comments on his draft. His minimalistic response, focusing on the "going 3-0 part," was: "That should be doable."

After he finished the deck-building, Görtzen returned to the coverage area and explained to me that the most crucial decision was his first pick between the 7-drop and the removal: "I thought that everyone would go for aggressive decks, so the removal was the better choice in my opinion."

Overall, I think there was plenty to take away from this draft feature. Görtzen gave us several examples of him selecting a card that was a better fit for his deck rather than the "more powerful card in a vacuum."

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