Texas Flood

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Adrian Sullivan

Even before the first draft of the day had started, Jeff Clark was confident. "I'm going to do well here," he said.

At the end of Day One, one of the most remarkable success stories comes out of Texas. A tight Austin draft group and one of their other friends from Texas finished with an insane 25-3 record (25-2 if you don't count one player's loss from overly worn cards). What did they discover that gave them an edge?

The Austin group includes Adrian Sayers, Jeff Clark, and Jonathon "Sigmund" Pechon with their roommate from Dallas, Ben Romig. The Austin group drafts together regularly, from between 3 to 6 drafts a week. Preparations began in earnest for Grand Prix Dallas, with a bit of "hometown" pride on line for the Texas players, and it continued for Grand Prix New Orleans. By Pro Tour, the group had plenty of experience under their belt.

"Sayers came up with a lot of the draft strategies for us. He kept trying all kinds of strategies and exploring the format so much that we felt like we had a good idea of what could be good," said Sayers' teammate Pechon. "But really, the most important thing we learned was just to be comfortable with the draft, and not get skittish. We might have come to prefer certain particular strategies, but we became flexible enough to know what might belong in most any deck."

All of the players had particular strategies that they were most comfortable with, Green/White being a particular favorite, but they weren't able to always get into what they want. Sayers, for example, wanted to try to push towards a heavier green creature base, but ended up winning his table with a 9 creature deck in Black/Blue. Pechon's Green/White hopes were successful in his 3-0 table, but he still pulled out a 3-1 with White/Blue.

"It was practice and it was attitude," he said. "We all came here confident and relaxed."

Things haven't come together for the Texas crowd on Day 2. They cited a combination of factors, from bad table position and bad luck with mana, to the highly increased quality of competition. The biggest factor, it seemed was the flexibility of the successful pro players.

"The best players for this format have to be open to almost anything. Yesterday, it seemed like the pros stayed away from Green like mad. Today, though, almost everyone had gained a healthy respect for the colors we were able to dominate before."

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