Feature: What to Do When There's a Daybreak Ranger Next to You

Posted in Event Coverage on November 18, 2011

By Steve Sadin

Double-faced cards have an interesting impact on drafting. At the Pro Tour, after each pack is opened, all the players at a draft table hold up their double-faced cards and get a chance to look around and see what's been opened. This can have a big impact on how players draft.

At the start of the second draft, Pro Tour Hall of Famer Raphael Levy glanced around the table at the double-faced cards that had been opened, and saw a bunch of the usual suspects: the Tormented Pariahs and Grizzled Outcasts that seem to populate almost every draft but rarely have that big of an impact. But there was one double-faced card that really stood out to Levy: the Daybreak Ranger that was opened directly to his right by Jun'ya Iyanaga.

When Levy looked through his opening pack in his second draft, he found an Avacynian Priest, a Burning Vengeance, a Voiceless Spirit, a Nephalia Drownyard, and an unimpressive five-drop in almost every color.

There's certainly a small subsection of players who are not only willing but actively excited to first-pick a Burning Vengeance, because they love drafting around the card. Levy just isn't one of those players...

However, that Daybreak Ranger in Iyanaga's pack forced Levy to examine his options in a very different light than he would normally.

Most of the time players will shy away from a card that requires you to build your entire deck around it (such as Burning Vengeance) until they've gotten a ways into the draft. If a player feels confident that the pieces necessary to make the deck work will come together, or if there isn't anything else of note in the pack, then Burning Vengeance can be a very worthwhile pick.

Knowing that Iyanaga was (almost certainly) going to take the Daybreak Ranger – Levy didn't want to take a green card, because then he would have to fight with Iyanaga over green.

Raphael Levy: a man with a plan.

But the Daybreak Ranger did more than keep Levy out of green; it also kept him out of white. When I talked to Levy after the draft, he explained to me that he figured that Iyanaga would go green-white. There weren't enough exciting Werewolves in the first set of packs, Levy explained, so it was very unlikely that Iyanaga would try to draft red-green Werewolves. That meant that the Voiceless Spirit would also be a dangerous pick.

Consequently, the French Hall of Famer realized that he would be able to draft a blue-based mill-yourself deck without any interference from Iyanaga. That's why he took the Burning Vengeance, and ultimately put together a white-red-blue mill-yourself deck.

Want to see how the rest of Levy's draft picks, as well as the picks of the other seven players in his pod? Then follow along with the draft viewer to find out!

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