Top 8 Draft: Trey van Cleave

Posted in Event Coverage

By Ben Ronaldson

Trey had already made his mark in limited when he won G.P. San Francisco, and he was looking good going into the Top 8 being one of the only three Name players. No stranger to constructed either, he was also ranked number one in the World at extended for a time, after he won grand prix Philadelphia.

Sitting to the left of Christoph Lippert, this is how the draft went for him:

Set 1

( I will list the relevant cards to the boosters)

Booster 1: Nomadic Elf, Probe, Razorfoot Griffin, Rogue Kavu, Recoil, Tsabo Tavoc, Zap, Ordered Migration. Glancing at the good cards in this booster you immediately notice that there are not many good green cards, so a lot of Frenchmen out there might have yearned for the Elf in the hope that everybody else would fight over r/b/u. Trey opted for the strongest card of the lot though and swiped the Probe.

Booster 2: Pincer Spider, Tower Drake, Viashino Grappler, Scorching Lava, Lobotomy, Blurred Mongoose, Vodalian Hypnotist. Taking the best card in his colors he opted for a Tower Drake here. Unfortunately for him, Christoph (having taken a Breath of Darigaaz first pick) chose a second pick Zanam Djinn.

Booster 3: Shackles, Armadillo Cloak, Repulse, Fairy Squadron, Urborg Emissary, Worldly Counsel, Phyrexian Reaper. He chose the Squadron over the Repulse.

Booster 4: Obsidian Acolyte, Shivan Zombie, Quirion Sentinel. There was not much in this booster, but he had to make the choice about whether he might end up splashing white or red here - he chose the Shivan Zombie. Meanwhile, Lippert has moved into black too (as might be expected given that he had blue and red cards) so he was blocking all three of Trey's potential colors now.

Booster 5: Opt, Sapphire Leech, Ravenous Rats. He preferred the Rats.

Booster 6: Moat, Slimy Kavu, Explosive Growth. (Moat)

Booster 7: Phyrexian Battleflies, Dismantling Blow. (Blow)

Booster 8: Tidal Visionary, Aggressive Urge, Drake Skull Cameo. (Visionary)

Booster 9: Spirit Weaver, Zap, Rogue Kavu. This was probably the defining moment for the first set for Trey. With both a playable red and white card, he wisely surmised that Red was being drafted to his right and that white should be his third color, besides, the Shivan Zombie was not exactly begging to be played, and he already had two good white cards. - He took the Weaver.

In the remaining boosters he managed to sweep up a Crimson Acolyte and a Coastal Tower. After this first set Van Cleave was looking very strong with at least 9 cards that he would be happy to play in his main deck.

The distribution of drafted colors was heavy red and heavy black, so the blue and white cards were abundant. Of note is the fact that Daniel Zink was drafting r/b to Trey's left.

Set 2

Booster 1: WHAM! - He opens up a dragon in his own colors! - Dromar the Banisher.

Here are some of the interesting choices Trey made from thereon:

  • Shackles over Galina's Knight
  • Tower Drake over Galina's Knight
  • Sway of Illusion over Worldly Counsel
  • Recover over Alloy Golem and Benalish Lancer (probably because he had a Dragon)
  • Tolarian Emissary over Wings of Hope and Travelers Cloak.

He also picked up a Crimson Acolyte, Metathran Transport, Strength of Unity, Restrain and two Opts.

Set 3 (Planeshift)

Interesting Choices:

  • Samite Pilgrim over Aurora Griffin and Sunscape Battlemage.
  • Voice of All over Ertai the Corrupted - Trey got this back again as a ninth pick!
  • Samite Pilgrim number 2 over Aurora Griffin.

The other cards he picked up in this draft were Cavern Harpy, Hobble, Confound, Death Bomb, Phyrexian Bloodstock and Disciple of Kangee. In the end the black ended up being a splash color.

All in all the American is looking pretty good for the title with this stack. I guess the only problems he might encounter are mana problems, and I'll bet he was seriously happy to get that Coastal Tower.

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