Sunday, 8:34 p.m. – Top 8 Drafting with Brad Nelson

Posted in Event Coverage on October 24, 2010

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Brad Nelson needs little introduction to anyone who finds their way to the coverage page to read these words. As he was sitting down to draft for the Top 8 of GP Toronto it was quite possible that he could all but lock up the Player of the Year title if he could select the right 42 cards from the three booster packs in front of him.

Brad opened the first pack and agonized between taking Oxidda Scrapmelter and Necropede -- a pick that had vexed him earlier in the day as well. He ultimately took the red card all the players refer to as the new Flametongue. He followed that with a second pick Leaden Myr over a couple of viable infect cards and then took Golem Artisan with his third pick. Chrome Steed joined Team Nelson before Brad made a pick that might be considered to be at odds with traditional pick orders. He took Sunspear Shikari -- a card that was very good for him in his Sealed Deck pool on Day One.

Brad Nelson's First Pack

"I think that card is like Squadron Hawk in M10 Limited," explained Brad after the draft. "I think if you pick them early they get better because you can build your deck around them."

A late Trigon of Corruption was mildly surprising but not as much as when the Necropede came all the way back around the table.

"This card can go in all seven of the other decks at this table and there were not seven better cards in that opening pack," said a grateful Nelson.

The second set or packs led off with Arc Trail -- a slam dunk pick for him -- and he followed it up with an even more aggressively drafted Sunspear Shikari. For his third pick he flicked back and forth between a Gold Myr and Barrage Ogre before finally taking the artifact.

"I would rather have a Gold Myr and no Barrage Ogre than the other way around," reasoned Nelson.

It didn't actually matter since he was rewarded with a fourth pick Barrage Ogre in the very next pack. Brad had shipped a couple of packs deep in infect cards early in the draft and got paid off for putting multiple players to his left into green-black with seventh and ninth pick Glint Hawks.

Brad kicked off pack three with Contagion Clasp and followed it up with Razor Hippogrif. He could have taken a third Glint Hawk but felt that 3/3 flier was better and that he might get the Glint Hawk to come back around to him -- it would not. Silver Myr was his third pick -- over Snapsail Glider -- and then he got some more late white cards in Myrsmith and Glimmerpoint Stag. One pick that stood out late in the draft was when he passed Rachet Bomb 7th. I have been in many drafts where people have taken that card first and I was surprised to see it going around so late -- and to see Brad pass on it for something like a Spellbomb.

Brad Nelson's Third Pack

"My deck does not have any trouble with the decks that have one or two drops. It has trouble with bomb rares and against expensive bombs that card is not going to help at all."

Brad thought his deck was fine but did not like that he had no way to deal with deck that had any of the premier cards of the format. He had no idea if it called for a happy face or a nervous frown and posed for both shots after deck construction.

Brad Nelson

Brad Nelson

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