By David Price
I always seem to be on the side of the table where things go wrong. Maybe it's the Invasion draft format, that encourages people to play three or more colors and that makes it very difficult to avoid the colors of your neighbors. But every once in a while I see two players who cooperate and don't fight with each other, and they seem to do well. This doesn't happen that often, however.
I was watching Trevor Blackwell, Dan Clegg, and Peter Leiher in the draft. Dan Clegg was sitting to the left of Peter Leiher and Trevor Blackwell was to Dan Clegg's left. Trevor was opening first and he drafted a Thornscape Apprentice, signalling that he was drafting Green and White, since the Red ability of that Apprentice isn't nearly as good as the white one. Peter Leiher, for his seventh pick takes a Quirion Sentinel and Dan Clegg, instead of trying to encourage Leiher to play green, wheels an Elvish Champion and a Frenzied Tilling. Then Peter Leiher takes an Aura Shards. So here we have three players in a row who have drafted five cards and they are ALL GREEN. That doesn't look like a recipe for victory. Good luck, gentlemen.
Apparently, I wasn't the only one who noticed a problem with this. While Trevor Blackwell stuck to his guns and continued to draft Red/Green/White (aside from a 9th pick Recover, which he could've given to Dan Clegg to encourage him to play a different color), Dan Clegg and Peter Leiher both decided to switch into Black/Blue simultaneously. Peter Leiher started drafting Black, Blue, and Red cards by picking up a Vodalion Hypnotist, a Shivan Zombie, a Tribal Flames, and an Exclude. Meanwhile, Dan Clegg drafted a Ravenous Rats, a Mourning, an Urborg Skeleton, and a Distorting Wake. On the plus side, some of them figured out that all three of them probably shouldn't draft Green in a row if they wanted to have a hope of winning the Grand Prix. On the down side, Dan Clegg and Peter Leiher stepped all over each other's toes in the process of escaping Green. Dan Clegg finally settled into Black/Blue/White and Peter Leiher drafted mostly Black/Blue with the occasionally red card for the rest of the draft. So who got the best of it? Peter Leiher ended up with some slightly stronger cards than Dan Clegg, but his creature base was awful, with only ten creatures, at least four of which were 1/1. He did have two Recoils, a Repulse, a Sleeper's Robe, an Agonizing Demise, and a Soul Burn, but that might not be enough to carry the rest of the deck. Dan Clegg might've ended up with a stronger overall deck than Peter Leiher, despite the fact that Leiher was feeding him, but both of them were clearly hurt by the fighting. Clegg did have a few potential gamebreakers, like Benalish Herald and Nightscape Master, that if they lived could pose quite a problem to his opponents. In the end, Trevor Blackwell ended up with the best deck of the three, with a fairly solid Red/Green/White deck with a touch of Blue, including two Fertile Grounds and a Nomadic Elf, for Treva the Renewer.