Friday, 4:30 p.m.: Draft One – Gettin' Sidetracked

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2011

By Marc Calderaro

Right now, there are about two and a half pods worth of undefeated players. Going into the first draft, there are a good amount of people sitting at 4-0. Though it's easy to look at the first pod – at Brad Nelson and Luis Scott-Vargas – and call them the frontrunners, there's virtually no difference between Pod 1 and Pod 3. I hovered around the first table to see what Brad and his surrounding drafters had going on in the first M12 draft of the weekend. But as you'll see, I got a little sidetracked.

Brad started strong with a first pick Sorin's Vengeance. He backed that pick up with a Gravedigger and other solid black. But Alex Smith to his right, also ventured into black from his first couple blue picks and cut some nice black picks from Nelson. Smith went black because to his right, Ali Aintrazi started snaking his blue after starting out in white. Brad didn't mind too much, there were still some good darkly colored pickings in Reassembling Skeleton and the like, and soon Nelson ventured into his own second color, green. After a couple Arachnus Webs, and Rampant Growths Nelson's solid second color was stealing from the person on his right with an aggressive Green-White aggro deck.

So pretty much, all the players were drafting one color from their neighbor on the left, and one color from the neighbor to their right. It oddly worked out for all of them, and everyone wound up with pretty good – though not really remarkable – decks.

Brad tried a red splash in pack three with a first-pick Flameblast Dragon and a second-pick Shock, but ultimately decided against it in deck-building because of a late Cudgel Troll, Sutured Ghoul and Overrun obviating the need for a third color.

Aintrazi wound up with a good U/W deck with seemingly infinite good five-drops: three Chasm Drake, a Djinn of Wishes and a Belltower Sphinx. Wesley Wise, a couple seats down (sitting next to Aintrazi), ended with a good black and red deck that curved out nicely. A couple Child of Night, Duskhunter (along with the appropriate one-drops), two Gorehorn Minotaurs, a Royal Assassin, a Vengeful Pharaoh and a Flameblast Dragon of his own.

I started to survey Alex Smith's final list. It looked pretty good with a Cemetery Reaper, some Ice Cages, but then I got sidetracked. Sitting next to Smith during deckbuilding was Alex Bertoncini. He started poking me saying, "Hey, hey. Check it out." So, like a good journalist, I checked it out.

Bertoncini had drafted two Rune-Scarred Demons and two Diabolic Tutors. He smiled sinisterly and said, "I mean I'm going to get tired from all the searching I'll be doing. It's a good thing I have two Fireballs to search for!" I scoured his cards. The pile he'd put together looked totally awesome, but fact-checking showed he didn't have two Fireballs, though. It was a Fireball and a Consume Spirit. See? Good journalist.

Alex Bertoncini

"I wish I could play this though." Bertoncini frowned as he showed the Sphinx of Uthuun in his sideboard. What a fun, ridiculous deck. It was totally cooler than these other decks I was looking at. But I'm a good journalist, right? I can stay on track. Stay on target; Stay on target. I was about to get back on the straight and narrow, then I ran into Nate Pease. And all hope was lost. Any semblance of these other standard, solid, if kinda-blah decks swiftly left my brain.

About Nate Pease's deck: So when you draft Black-Red Bloodthirst, what are you hoping for? Some solid one drops, right? How's three Goblin Fireslingers, two Goblin Arsonists and a Tormented Soul ? Now those are all well and good, but they're actually pretty bad cards if your curve stumbles after that. You need at least a few great two-drops with hopefully one Stormblood Berserker. How about three?! Yup, three highly sought-after uncommons in the two-drop slot (along with two Blood Seekers). And it doesn't stop after that. Pease continues to curve out perfectly with three Bloodrage Vampire, a Blood Ogre, a Vampire Outcast and two Gorehorn Minotaurs. He even grabbed a Doom Blade and some other sweet removal. Pease's last cut was the very solid Bonebreaker Giant for a measly Goblin Piker.

"I needed to. The giant's too slow."

Nate Pease

I swear guys, just because I ditched all the players at the first table to ogle Nate's and Alex's decks doesn't mean I have a short attention span. It just means I know a good story when I see one – like a good journalist. Right?

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