Sunday, 4:24 p.m. - Drafting with Alexander Hayne

Posted in Event Coverage on January 19, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

No. 18 Ranked Player Alexander Hayne has recently showed off his Limited prowess with a team victory at Grand Prix Kyoto with teammates Rich Hoaen and Mike Hron. Now, he finds himself in need of a 3-0 record in this Booster Draft in order to add another Grand Prix Top 8 to his record.

Hayne led off the first pack with Lightning Strike, which he took over Horizon Chimera, Fanatic of Mogis, and Ordeal of Nylea. After that, he picked up Pharika's Cure, keeping himself open to archeypes. Nimbus Naiad followed, giving him some leeway on what to take, shipping Horizon Chimera, Wavecrash Triton, and Observant Alseid. Then, when he found a pack with Flamespeaker Adept and Stoneshock Giant, Hayne found himself taking the three mana creature and not looking back.

Following the Adept was a very late Ordeal of Purphoros, and then Coordinated Assault. With three solid red uncommon cards in a row, Hayne continued to stay on the blue-red plan with Crackling Triton, Satyr Rambler, and Aqueous Form. Steam Augery came shortly after, as well as a very late Rage of Purphoros.

No. 18 Ranked Player Alexander Hayne

In the second pack, the plan started out fine, where Hayne took Thassa's Emissary over Griptide and Magma Jet, shipping Anax and Cynede along with it. Temple of Triumph gave him a scry land to go with his Flamespeaker Adept, but then things quickly started drying up. While Hayne got a fourth pick Ordeal of Thassa, the selection Hayne had for his cards was lackluster. Minotaur Skullcleaver gave him a three mana attacker, but when Spellheart Chimera came around around, Hayne was forced to prioritize instants and sorcery cards knowing he would not be able to rely heavily on Aqueous Forms for a win.

However, the second pack could not compare whatsoever to when Hayne opened his third pack and saw virtually nothing staring back at him. Allow me to list which cards he could have taken that were in his colors:


-That's it. Really.

Ouch. "At least I took Thoughtseize," Hayne said after the draft, trying to make the best of a rough situation to be in when playing for the Top 8. And, for whatever it is worth, Hayne did get that Annul when it came back around.

While Hayne was able to follow with some two mana creatures to go with his Ordeals, such as a Vaporkin and Arena Athlete, the third pack left him with few options. His early Pharika's Cure began to look very awkward too when he had to pass not only a sixth pick, but a seventh pick Keepsake Gorgon as well, cards he was no longer able to acquire thanks to his color combination.

After the draft, Hayne spent the majority of the deck-building time trying to figure out the best way to build his 40 cards. I got a chance to catch up with him to discuss the draft, as well as his general preferences. He noted the black cards that came around during that draft.

"I had Pharika's Cure, and then there were a lot of black cards, not good ones, but they were still coming late," he said. Hayne mentioned wanting to stay away from red-black, as both colors tend to be heavy on double-color requirements, and typically specialize in different stages of the game. Red lends itself heavily to an early game, while black's best cards all work towards a late game. And in this draft, the black cards that typically go with a base red deck weren't coming.

Another issue that came from this draft was from Hayne's left neighbor, Aaron Lewis, who was dabbling in aggressive red picks that Hayne was shipping in the first pack due to the high density of powerful options Hayne was seeing. While Lewis did not end up playing red, due to his positioning as the only player taking black cards rewarding him in the third pack with a number of options

"I generally like to stay open," Hayne said, when he was asked about whether he had any preferences or strategies he was looking to force . I prefer blue, especially the bounce spells, but I think everyone likes blue. If I could do it over again, I'd just avoid blue in general," he said. "I think it's gotten to the point where it is just over-drafted."

Take a look at what Hayne rounded out the day with below:

Alexander Hayne Theros Booster Draft – Grand Prix Sacramento 2014

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