Sunday, 11:03 a.m. – Drafting with Kelvin Chew

Posted in Event Coverage on December 16, 2014

By Noel Neo

Kelvin Chew made his mark with a top 8 at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, but has had a bit of a dry spell since then. Here at Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur, he is sitting on 8-1, very nicely placed for a run at the top 8. How would he fare?

Kelvin was passed a clear signal UG was open in pack 1. However, this also meant he had to pass some strong blue cards himself. This would come back to haunt him in his second pack.

Below lists the key cards Kelvin considered in each pack, with his picks depicted as the leftmost card.

Booster One

1 Nessian Asp, Nimbus Naiad, Shipwreck Singer, Hammer of Purphoros

2 Griptide, Thassa's Emissary, Curse of the Swine, Ordeal of Purphoros

3 Hopeful Eidolon, Purphoros's Emissary

4 Nimbus Naiad, Vaporkin, Returned Phalanx

5 Triton Fortune Hunter, Sedge Scorpion, Boon of Erebos

6 Nessian Courser, Nylea's Disciple, Purphoros's Emissary

7 Nylea's Emissary, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

8 Agent of Horizons

9 Sedge Scorpion

10 Fade into Antiquity

11 Akroan Crusader, Mnemonic Wall

12 Deathbellow Raider

13 Borderland Minotaur

14 Wild Celebrants

By the end of the first booster, Kelvin had solidified his core colour as green, with a few strong blue cards as well as a smattering of red picks. He values Nessian Courser's efficient costing more than Nylea's Disciple life gain.

In pack 2, blue was less forthcoming and his draft strategy somewhat derailed.

Booster Two

1 Sylvan Caryatid, Nemesis of Mortals, Lightning Strike

2 Nylea's Disciple, Magma Jet, Stymied Hopes, Staunch-Hearted Warrior

3 Fabled Hero, Staunch-Hearted Warrior

4 Voyaging Satyr, Prescient Chimera, Gods Willing

5 Temple of Abandon, Coastline Chimera, Favoured Hoplite

6 Horizon Scholar, Sedge Scorpion

7 Traveler's Amulet, Vanquish the Foul

8 Nylea's Presence, Burnished Hart

9 Thassa's Bounty

10 Pharika's Mender

11 Kragma Warcaller

12 Spellheart Chimera

13 Priest of Iroas

14 Demolish

Kelvin did pick up a blue game ender in Horizon Scholar and some mana ramp, but the second booster was otherwise unexciting for him.

He picked Fabled Hero over Staunch-Hearted Warrior because he was still entertaining the possibility of switching secondary colours and he valued ramp over evasive creatures in his fourth pick.

The trio of colour fixers he picked up in the second booster also meant he was more open to possible splashes in pack 3.

Booster Three

1 Fleecemane Lion, Leafcrown Dryad

2 Time to Feed, Nylea's Disciple, Nessian Courser

3 Aqueous Form, Sedge Scorpion, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

4 Aqueous Form, Divine Verdict, Sip of Hemlock

5 Nessian Courser, Lightning Strike

6 Vulpine Goliath, Lash of the Whip

7 Coordinated Assault, Pheres-Band Centaurs

8 Shredding Winds

9 Shredding Winds, Ill-Tempered Cyclops

10 Stymied Hopes

11 Cutthroat Maneuver, Decorated Griffin,

12 Tormented Hero

13 Portent of Betrayal

14 Peak Eruption

Reflecting on the draft, Kelvin lamented passing Hammer of Purphoros in his booster one first pick. The draft would have gone very differently if he had – while red is widely viewed as underpowered in Theros draft, this also means players are prejudiced to the colour and it turned out under drafted. Some very strong red cards had tabled, including a pair of Kragma Warcaller that would have been absolutely brutal in a minotaur deck.


The draft's done and dusted, however, and Kelvin was left with solid green, some powerful blue and white spells, a possible black splash for Pharika's Mender and a smattering of red.

He chose to build his deck around a UG evasion core enhanced by a pair of powerful white creatures. He runs Temple of Abandon simply for the scry ability and cut Thassa's Bounty as he already has sufficient late game spells.

For this strategy to work, his opponents need to be unable to close the game quickly so Kelvin's large evasion creatures can take chucks out of their life totals. He is possibly able to race with the help of Hopeful Eidolon.

Kelvin Chew Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur 2014 - Draft #1

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Good luck, Kelvin!

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