Grand Prix Sacramento 2014 - Drafting with Reid Duke "Mmm Bacon"

Posted in NEWS on January 19, 2014

Reid Duke is currently ranked third in the Top 25 Pro Rankings. Duke, a platinum pro, recently finished 2nd at the 2013 World Championship. Known for his unique drafting style and methodical gameplay, Duke is the perfect subject for a Draft recap.

No. 3 Ranked Player Reid Duke in his first draft of the day.


Duke's first pack was pretty weak. There were a number of playable, albeit mediocre, creatures, but Duke pulled a strange card to the front of the pack. Curse of the Swine may not seem like a great card to most people, but picking the card up early gave Duke a chance to evaluate creatures differently. Favoring three and four toughness creatures for the remainder of the draft could massively increase the power of the rare instant.

Pack 1 Pick 1: Curse of the Swine

The next pack wasn't quite as shallow as the first. Triton Fortune Hunter was clearly the best Blue card and there didn't seem to be enough strength in any of the non-blue cards for Duke to consider them.

Pack 1 Pick 2: Triton Fortune Hunter

The third pack featured cards like Centaur Battlemaster and Observant Alseid. There was a distinct lack of strength in the Blue cards of the pack. Duke pulled a Temple of Deceit to the front of the pack. The scryland would give Duke more splashing capability, consistency, and allow him to hold off on moving into a second color for the time being.

Pack 1 Pick 3: Temple of Deceit

The next few picks were fairly straightforward. Fate Foretold out of a weak pack combos nicely with Duke's Triton Fortune Hunter and Voyaging Satyr was taken over a Baleful Eidolon.

Pack 1 Pick 4: Fate Foretold

Pack 1 Pick 5: Voyaging Satyr

Duke hadn't found a lot of fat to go with his first pick Curse of the Swine, but the next pack featured a second copy of the rare. It was clear the rest of the table had a different valuation of the card and Duke was happy to take the second copy in an effort to build his deck around the spell.

Pack 1 Pick 6: Curse of the Swine


The remainder of the pack was easy, Duke picked up a few more Heroic enablers in Warrior's Lesson, and a second copy of Fate Foretold. Disciple of Phenax gave Duke the option of moving in on Black if it seemed open in the coming packs.


Pack 1 Pick 7: Disciple of Phenax

Pack 1 Pick 8: Fade into Antiquity

Pack 1 Pick 9: Warriors' Lesson

Pack 1 Pick 10: Fate Foretold

Pack 1 Pick 11: Breaching Hippocamp

Pack 1 Pick 12: Nylea's Presence

Pack 1 Pick 13: Benthic Giant

The first pick of the second pack offered up a difficult decision for duke. Nimbus Naiad is one of the better commons in Theros Limited, but Wavecrash Triton is particularly strong with Duke's heroic enablers and has enough toughness to block the bacon. Duke eventually settled on the Wavecrash Triton.

Pack 2 Pick 1: Wavecrash Triton

Boon Satyr was easily the best card in the next pack and Duke was happy to take the rare and move in on Green.

Pack 2 Pick 2: Boon Satyr

Staunch-Hearted Warrior and Ordeal of Thassa put Duke in a weird spot. Short on creatures, Duke would be happy to pick up the Staunch-Hearted Warrior to combo with his pair of Fate Foretold. Still, Ordeal of Thassa is a tremendously powerful card that has the potential to win the game by itself. Duke settled on taking the Ordeal of Thassa with hopes of picking up some early drops or toughness in the coming picks.

Pack 2 Pick 3: Ordeal of Thassa


The next pack was dry for Duke's interest. Vulpine Goliath seemed like the best maindeckable card for his deck, but, in a perfect world, this card wouldn't make the final cut. Dark Betrayal is a powerful sideboard option and Duke already had a Blue/Black Temple and Nylea's Presence. Duke decided to take the strong sideboard option over the fluffy puppy.


Pack 2 Pick 4: Dark Betrayal

The next pick was an easy one. Nemesis of Mortals was easily the best card in the pack and it worked well with Duke's pair of Curse of the Swine.

Pack 2 Pick 5: Nemesis of Mortals

The next few packs didn't offer many options, but Duke was able to pick up some nice sideboard cards and set himself up for splashability in the third pack with another copy of Nylea's Presence and a Traveler's Amulet. Artisan's Sorrow tabled out of a shallow Green pack and Duke was signaled that Green was likely open.

Pack 2 Pick 6: Shredding Winds

Pack 2 Pick 7: Nylea's Presence

Pack 2 Pick 8: Artisan's Sorrow

Pack 2 Pick 9: Fate Foretold

Pack 2 Pick 10: Traveler's Amulet

Pack 2 Pick 13: Mnemonic Wall

The third pack threw a curveball at Duke. Vaporkin was the best on-color card, but Whip of Erebos gave Duke a late-game bomb that would be difficult for aggressive decks to race and impossible for controlling decks to out-attrition. The multiple copies of Nylea's Presence, a Traveler's Amulet, and a Temple of Deceit meant that casting the bomb rare wouldn't be out of the question for Duke's deck.

Pack 3 Pick 1: Whip of Erebos


The next few picks gave Duke the fat he was looking for. Nylea's Disciple gave Duke some life padding and 3/3 to combo with his pair of Curse of the Swine. Nemesis of Mortals was taken over a second copy of Voyaging Satyr because Duke needed the large body. Baleful Eidolon was taken out of an otherwise lackluster pack.


Pack 3 Pick 2: Nylea's Disciple

Pack 3 Pick 3: Nemesis of Mortals

Pack 3 Pick 4: Baleful Eidolon

The next pack had Nessian Asp and Horizon Chimera. Normally, Horizon Chimera would be the pick for a deck that could cast the top-tier uncommon, but Duke's deck featured two copies of Curse of the Swine and the two-toughness on Horizon Chimera meant that it couldn't brickwall a pig-herding opponent.

Pack 3 Pick 5: Nessian Asp

Duke was able to pick up a few more sideboard cards, but the rest of the pack was very dry. Some fixing came back, and it seemed that duke would be solidly in three colors. Commune with the God's came particularly late as it normally does, and Duke was happy to take the card because of its synergy with his Whip of Erebos.

The Build:

Duke's put together his deck and it seemed quite strong in the abstract. He was playing a lot of powerful cards and card draw with his pair of Curse of the Swine, but his deck lacked early defense or pressure. Luckily, Whip of Erebos and Nylea's Disciple can do a lot in the catching up department, especially in a deck like this one. This is a great example of salvaging a draft when the packs are weak and the signals are strange.

Reid Duke Draft 1 of Grand Prix Sacramento

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