Top 8 Draft Recap – Drafting a Top 8 Deck with Tom Martell

Posted in Event Coverage on January 19, 2014

Tom Martell is currently ranked 13th in the world on the Top 25 Pro Rankings. This is Martell's fifth Grand Prix Top 8. Coming into the Top 8 Draft here in Sacramento, Martell strongly favored Blue/White Heroic as an archetype. Let's see how things went for the Pro Tour Gatecrash Champion.

The first pack had Triad of Fates, but spending a first pick on a two-color card is a risky proposition. Staunch-Hearted Warrior and Observant Alseid made their way to the front of the pack and Martell eventually settled on Observant Alseid.

Pack 1 Pick 1: Observant Alseid

The next pack had Griptide, Hopeful Eidolon, and God's Willing. Griptide was likely the strongest card in the pack, but taking one of the others would keep Martell's options open. God's Willing ended up being the pick.

Pack 1 Pick 2: Gods Willing

The third pick offered up Whip of Erebos, an absolute bomb. Martell was surprised to see the card this late and the Keepsake Gorgon in the pack led him to believe that Black was very open.

Pack 1 Pick 3: Whip of Erebos

Pack 1 Pick 4: Omenspeaker

Pack 1 Pick 5: Scourgemark

Pack 1 Pick 6: Fleshmad Steed

Pack 1 Pick 7: Gods Willing

Pack 1 Pick 8: Returned Phalanx

Pack 1 Pick 9: Scholar of Athreos

Pack 1 Pick 10: Felhide Minotaur

Pack 1 Pick 11: Traveling Philosopher

Pack 1 Pick 12: Annul

Pack 1 Pick 13: Setessan Battle Priest

The next pack didn't offer up a lot in the way of Black, White, or Blue cards, but Ordeal of Erebos and Sip of Hemlock came to the front of the pack. Martell's aggressive style makes Ordeal of Erebos a very strong card in the decks he likes to draft.

Pack 2 Pick 1: Ordeal of Erebos

Martell's next choice was between a third copy of God's Willing and Insatiable Harpy. Martell decided to pick up the lifelinking flyer that combos nicely with bestow creatures and Scrougemark over a third copy of the one-mana instead.

Pack 2 Pick 2: Insatiable Harpy

Sip of Hemlock, Divine Verdict, and Read the Bones were all reasonable third picks. Martell eventually decided that Sip of Hemlock was the best choice for a deck like his that wanted to be tapping out on most turns.

Pack 2 Pick 3: Sip of Hemlock

Pack 2 Pick 4: Favored Hoplite

Pack 2 Pick 5: Heliod's Emissary

Pack 2 Pick 6: Read the Bones

Pack 2 Pick 7: Battlewise Valor

Pack 2 Pick 8: Lagonna-Band Elder

Pack 2 Pick 9: Deathbellow Raider

Pack 2 Pick 10: Scholar of Athreos

Pack 2 Pick 11: Last Breath

Pack 2 Pick 12: March of the Returned

Pack 2 Pick 13: Scourgemark

Pack 2 Pick 14: Fade into Antiquity

Martell's third pack had exactly the common he was looking for. Wingsteed Rider was an easy pick over Divine Verdict.

Pack 3 Pick 1: Wingsteed Rider

Pack 3 Pick 2: Lagonna-Band Elder

Martell got an absolute gift in the form of Phalanx Leader in his third pick of the third pack.

Pack 3 Pick 3: Phalanx Leader

Pack 3 Pick 4: Griptide

Pack 3 Pick 5: Favored Hoplite

Pack 3 Pick 6: Dauntless Onslaught

Pack 3 Pick 7: Traveling Philosopher

Pack 3 Pick 8: Observant Alseid

Pack 3 Pick 10: Rescue from the Underworld

Pack 3 Pick 11: Aqueous Form

Pack 3 Pick 13: Asphodel Wanderer

Tom Martell may have wanted a Blue/White Heroic deck, but he was passed a very strong Black/White deck with some incredibly aggressive draws. Stay tuned for coverage of Grand Prix Sacramento to find out how Martell and his Black/White deck fare against the rest of the Top 8.

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