Pro Tour-Los Angeles 1999 First Draft Pod: Featuring Dave Price and Mike Long

Posted in NEWS

- Jack Lewis Stanton

In this draft, we feature Dave Price and Mike Long. During the draft, Price sat to the right of Long, choosing first during the first and third packs. Below are the picks they decided to choose (showing in parentheses the order of which they picked for each pack). The first player shown at the top was the first to choose between the two during each pack.

Pod Order of Drafting

1. Dave Price
2. Mike Long
3. Ernst Ruzizka
4. Masami Ibamoto
5. John Yoo
6. Brian Fenwick
7. Gary Wise
8. Adrian Sayers

1st Round of Eight Packs
(Price 1st in order passing to Long 2nd)
Players are choosing cards in clockwise order.

1st Pack 
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Serra's Embrace (1st Pick)     Hush (2nd Pick)
                               Reflexes (15th Pick)

In a bold move, Mike Long picked a Hush second turn over other strong cards (Congregate, Cave Tiger, Path of Peace, Witch Engine, and Phyrexian Ghoul), making a statement that he intended to corner Green during the draft. Price's first pick Serra's Embrace, expected when the cards were shown, could not have made a more amazing impact on the table. When asked about the pick, Long said, "I think it's a key card in the format. There are so many enchantments that will just wreck you in Urza's Saga. I only wish I got two."

2nd Pack 
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Songstitcher (8th Pick)        Viashino Runner (1st Pick)
Elven Lyrist (9th Pick)

Continuing his preference for specific colors, Mike again made his presence known by taking a Viashino Runner over other quality cards. Ernst Ruzizka, sitting to the left of Long, immediately picked up on Mike's color hints and together, both players drafted in sync throughout the rest of the cards.

3rd Pack 
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Befoul (7th Pick)              Argothian Swine (8th Pick)
Seasoned Marshall (10th pick)  War Dance (9th Pick)

4th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Bog Raiders (6th Pick)         Viashino Runner (7th Pick)
RoP: Black (11th Pick)         Power Taint (10th Pick)

5th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Monk Realist (5th Pick)        Wild Dogs (6th Pick)
Power Taint (12th Pick)        Pouncing Jaguar (11th Pick)

Throughout these first few packs, Adrian Sayers (sitting to Price's right), Price, Long, and Ruzizka were working together, passing the other players' colors. This effort was giving all strong picks for their respective decks. However, at this time, an Arc Lightning made it's way on the board and was taken by Sayers. This was the beginning of a pattern that would be played out for the rest of the draft-Sayers taking the Red removal while Long got the good Red or Green creatures. Sayers would a Fault Line and two Arc Lightnings during this time.

6th Pack 
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Pacifism (4th Pick)            Viashino Outrider (5th Pick)
Lingering Mirage (13th Pick)   Dromosaur (12th Pick)

7th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Ravenous Skirge (3rd Pick)     Retromancer (4th Pick)
RoP: Artifacts (14th Pick)     Reflexes (13th Pick)

8th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Pestilence (2nd Pick)          Pouncing Jaguar (3rd Pick)
Headlong Rush (15th Pick)      Serra's Zealot (14th Pick)

2nd Round of Eight Packs
(Long 8th in order passing to Price)
Packs are being passed counter-clockwise.

1st Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Argothian Swine (7th Pick)     Victimize (8th Pick)
Cave Tiger (10th Pick)         Slippery Karst (9th Pick)

An excellent grab for Long. The three players sitting to his left (Ruzizka, Masami Ibamoto, and John Yoo) were staying away from the Red and Green for the most part, allowing Mike to draft strongly during the late picks. Meanwhile, Price was calmly going about drafting a White/Black deck with little or no opposition.

2nd Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Goblin Raider (6th Pick)       Opal Gargoyle (7th Pick)
Congregate (11th Pick)         Opal Acrolith (10 Pick)

3rd Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Fault Line (5th Pick)          Brilliant Halo (6th Pick)
Monk Realist (12th Pick)       Unnerve (11th Pick)

It is situations like this that are the reasons players stay out of their neighbors' colors. With his statement at the beginning of the draft (drafting strong Red early), Mike showed that he was willing to black hole all the Red going to his left, forcing those players in that area to come up with other color options. As they weren't drafting Red at this time (due to Long's hoarding), these players choose to ignore a Fault Line opened by Brian Fenwick on the other side of the table. This card actually made it all the way around to Mike as a fifth pick, an amazingly rare feat. After it was drafted by Long, Sayers looked over and smiled at the gift. Such is the power of a synchronized draft.

4th Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Treetop Ranger (4th Pick)      Sicken (5th Pick)
Headlong Rush (13th Pick)      Disciple of Law (12th Pick)

5th Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Symbiosis (3rd Pick)           Yawgmoth's Will (4th Pick)
Goblin Spelunkers (14th Pick)  Carrion Beetles (13th Pick)

6th Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Gorilla Warrior (2nd Pick)     Angelic Page (3rd Pick)
Exhume (15th Pick)             Priest of Titania (14th Pick)

7th Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
Sanctum Custodian (1st Pick)   Sanguine Guard (2nd Pick)
                               Goblin Lackey (15th Pick)

In what Dave Price thought was a blatant example of hate drafting by Long, Mike took a Sanctum Custodian, passing up a Winding Wurm. This made Sayers extremely happy (as he took the Wurm), but Price had other things to say about it. Still, this was one of the very few times that hate drafting is actually a good strategy. As Long would say about the move, "I wasn't going to use the Winding Wurm (in my deck) and the Custodian would just wreck me." With the players having settled on colors, it would be very improbable that Dave would get a chance to hate draft back, as it would hurt his own deck to do so.

8th Pack
Long's Choices                 Price's Choices
War Dance (8th Pick)           Lurking Evil (1st Pick)
Goblin Raider (9th Pick)

3rd Round of Eight Packs
(Price 1st in order passing to Long 2nd)
Players are choosing cards in clockwise order.

1st Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Corrupt (1st Pick)             Arc Lightning (2nd Pick)
                               Goblin War Buggy (15th Pick)

With the pack opened by Price, Long managed to get the Arc Lightning that Sayers kept taken from him. In keeping with the good faith by both players, Ernst Ruzizka picked a Venomous Fangs over a Goblin War Buggy as a gesture of good will towards Mike. Long happily collected the Buggy as his 15th pick, commenting later that, "The War Buggys are out to prove themselves. Nobody wanted them, so they're looking for some respect!"

2nd Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Disciple of Law (8th Pick)     Viashino Runner (1st Pick)
Rune of Protection: White (9th Pick)

3rd Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Opal Acrolith (7th Pick)       Elvish Herder (8th Pick)
RoP: Black (10th Pick)         Scald (9th Pick)

4th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Monk Realist (6th Pick)        Wild Dogs (7th Pick)
Healing Salve (11th Pick)      Goblin Spelunkers (10th Pick)

5th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Sicken (5th Pick)              Congregate (7th Pick)
Viashino Weaponsmith (12th)    Smoldering Crater (11th Pick)

6th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Corrupt (4th Pick)             Endoskeleton (5th Pick)
Rejuvenate (13th Pick)         Slippery Karst (12th Pick)

7th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Phyrexian Ghoul (3rd Pick)     Symbiosis (4th Pick)
RoP: White (14th Pick)         Goblin War Buggy (13th Pick)

8th Pack
Price's Choices                Long's Choices
Pegasus Charger (2nd Pick)     Cathodion (3rd Pick)
Headlong Rush (15th Pick)      Hawkeater Moth (14th Pick)

Summary

With this draft, the simple fact that there isn't much commentary regarding the third round of packs should say quite a bit. The players at the table were all getting a fair variety of cards in their colors, keeping them out of each other's potential choices. To go against the grain of the draft and fight for a color someone isn't going to give up not only hurts your potential opponents' chances at a good deck, but yours as well.