by Randy Buehler
In the first round of Solomon Draft, Pat Chapin and Brian hacker met in a mirror match of sorts. Chapin was in 2nd place at 5-1 while Hacker was tied for last at 1-5. The race for last place is at least as important to the competitors as the race for first. None of the players seem to have their heart set on winning, but every one of them is adamant that they don't want to finish last. Hacker is actually a veteran at this format -- he went 2-1 in Rio the last time Solomon draft was used at the Invitational. He sat down confident that his Solomon skills could pull him out of the basement. Chapin, on the other hand, assured me that he Solomon drafted once a couple years ago.
Chapin chose to draw first in game 1 and mulliganned his first draw. He then seemed quite happy to keep 6 land. Hacker was also bragging about his own "grip" -- four land, including all three of his colors. Hacker proceeded then to draw 5 consecutive land and keep the game close. At the next table over , Dave Price and Mike Long were trading insults rather loudly. Long asked Price how long he planned to shuffle when Dave mulliganned and Price answered that he was going to take his time and thoroughly randomize his cards. "I've been working on my shuffling technique, Mike."
Meanwhile Chapin played a turn 3 Storm Shaman and enchanted it with Armor of Thorns. Hacker played Deranged Hermit and then after Brian echoed it, Pat used Flare to kill it and shrink the squirrels. Chapin was applying the beats with that Shaman when hacker dropped "Puff Daddy", also known as Cloud Djinn. Chapin looked like he might win the race, but Brian dropped a Jungle Wurm and then both the Wurm and a Maggot Therapy at Pat's Shaman, finally killing it. Hacker dropped a Spike Feeder and Carrion Ants to stabilize the ground and Chapin couldn't come up with any way to stop the 5/4 flier.
Both players traded permanents for a while in game 2 and the game was more of less stalemated when Chapin drew Hammer of Bogardan. Hacker knew he had to go beatdown and try to kill Pat before Pat could destroy him with the Hammer. Hacker moved a Spike Feeder token onto his Bull Hippo, creating a 4/4 creature that Pat couldn't Hammer and he managed to knock to knock Pat down to 1. However, Pat asked his Reckless Embermage to commit suicide and deal 6 damage to Brian, finishing him off and evening the match at 1-1.
Hacker drew a beautiful mix of land and spells in game 3, but Pat's mana was even better. He played turn 2 Rampant Growth and turn 3 Yavimaya Elder. Pat's problem was that he couldn't come up with enough spells to deal with all Hacker's creatures. Chapin did have his Hammer to go with all that mana, but all he could do with it was try to kill Brian. Pat did everything he could to get Brian down to 10 while pat had 10 land, one turn left, and a hurricane in his hand. On that last turn Pat knocked his deck, drew and ... nope, not a land. Pat was unable to escape with a draw.
Chapin 1 (currently 5-2, tied for 2nd)
Hacker 2 (currently 2-5, not last)