Channel Fireball's resident gourmand, bon vivant and man-about-town, David Ochoa is perhaps better known for his commitment to life's finer pleasures than his resume as a mage. This is baffling, considering he's not only notched a Pro Tour Top 8, but a whopping five Grand Prix Top 8's. I caught up with him after his sleep-in special afforded him time for a delicious (and diligently tweeted) lunch.
After I handed him the cards, Ochoa worked quickly and methodically. He broke off each color, then went through each and cut the unplayables. His first impression was "Well this is blue-white for sure," but that changed once got to the bottom of the stack and started laying out test builds.
First up was Blue-Black, spurred by the gold cards and the Abhorrent Overlord sitting on top of the black pile. Unfortunately, the black wound up underwhelming, and he pushed it to the side. He went back to his first instinct and laid out Blue-White. The powerful creatures that had caught his eye did form a powerful curve, but he found himself short of ways to trigger heroic. He had no Nyxborn creatures, no Eidolons. His combat tricks mostly aimed for the opponent's side of the board. Akroan Skyguard and Triton Fortune Hunter lose most of their luster when they remain Sunchaser Hawk and a not-so Telepathic Spies.
"This is just... underwhelming. A fairly mediocre deck."
Red, like black, was too shallow to be of use. Green, in addition to its big monsters, had plenty of targetting effects, so he tried out a Green-White Heroic deck. The more he looked at it, though, the less he liked it. "Your only way to deal with an opposing creature is one Divine Verdict. If they have something like Hopeful Eidolon, you're going to be in trouble." He tried spicing it up with a splash of Sudden Storm and Voyage's End thanks to Nylea's Presence and Opaline Unicorn, and that was better, but still clunky.
Last up was Blue-Green. This gave him the blue spells he wanted as well as the devastating Hunter's Prowess, but forced him to give up on the aggressive curve that white had provided. I asked him if that made him uneasy. He said it did, but that it was a sacrifice he was willing to make. "This is just a more powerful deck. You have all your best cards and they work well together."
He had nineteen cards he knew he wanted for sure. He had set aside one of the Horizon Scholars, the Nessian Demolok, Triton Fortune Hunter, Setessan Oathsworn, Opaline Unicorn and one of the Mortal's Resolve. "You're going to want four of these. You might switch it up in sideboarding."
His final build: