Friday, 5:14 p.m. – Drafting with Florian Koch

Posted in Event Coverage on August 12, 2011

By Tobi Henke

Florian Koch was one of the twelve players who sat undefeated on top of the standings after four rounds of Standard.

The winner of last year's GP Lyon stands poised to do well here, but champions are not made on constructed decks alone. In an era of Pro Tours split between Limited and Constructed, owning the draft format is an important skill. How did Florian fare in draft, then?

Opening his first pack, a pleasant surprise stared Florian in the face: Flameblast Dragon. Pacifism and Rampant Growth couldn't come close to this solid first pick. The second pack held no red cards for him, though, so Florian agonized over Cudgel Troll and Griffin Sentinel. He likes red-white more than red-green in M12 draft, but this early in the draft, Florian decided to just take the better card – Cudgel Troll. Next he took Blood Ogre over Oblivion Ring, but Florian saw a fourth booster with Stormfront Pegasus and Goblin Arsonist and decided that white would be open enough to consider taking his preferred color combination. He picked the Pegasus.

The next picks cemented his decision when Florian took Elite Vanguard instead of Goblin Piker or Fiery Hellhound, then Auramancer, Benalish Veteran and Alabaster Mage. Other than a Bonebreaker Giant as eleventh pick no more red came through for Florian.

But of course, that Flameblast Dragon wanted to be played. So when Florian saw Shock, Royal Assassin and Gravedigger in his second booster, he picked the Shock. Red looked okay in this round of pickings, but White did not flow. Small wonder, since he let Oblivion Ring through and someone surely scooped that up. Florian's picks went accordingly: Gorehorn Minotaurs second, then Auramancer over Bangchuckers, as Florian felt that the 2/2 body of the Auramancer would be playable even without targets.

Divine Favor was the only playable card available as fourth pick, and pick five gave him late Gorehorn Minotaurs. Manic Vandal, Elite Vanguard and Kite Shield complemented his deck as picks six to eight. The last six picks gave Florian nothing of notable value.

In the third booster, Florian opened a Frost Titan, but passed it on in favor of Armored Warhorse. In this Swiss-style draft, he wouldn't necessarily have to face the Titan, Florian explained, so hate-drafting it would have essentially wasted a pick. His second pick also proved contentious, as Florian took Stormblood Berserker over Incinerate and Chandra's Outrage. The GP champion had good reason, he said, as good Bloodthirst creatures are more important than Removal in a draft format this fast. Gideon's Lawkeeper joined his pile as third pick over Blood Ogre.

The rest of the booster went by in a blur, giving Florian (in that order) Crimson Mage, Slaughter Cry, Goblin War Paint, Tectonic Rift, Demystify instead of a second Goblin War Paint and Goblin Tunneler.

With the draft done, Florian was content with the result. Auramancer, Divine Favor and Goblin War Paint all made his final deck, not out of desperation, but as playable picks.

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