Cash Turner sat down for the second draft of Day 2 at GP Atlanta as the only remaining undefeated player, just one win away from his first Top 8.
Turner knew he had to take the remaining rounds one game at a time.
“One of the things I noticed I was doing when I would get to these points is that I would drift off into “oh my god, it's gonna happen” and not be present. I would slip on something minor, and you can't slip on any detail.”
“I made it a habit, I do this really simple thing,” Turner said. “If I feel like I'm drifting away, I start counting. I count to 100, just like a kid, and it works. I was doing that in the draft.”
Turner's first pack included a Panharmonicon, a Servant of the Conduit, a Prophetic Prism, and a Welding Sparks. He narrowed his pick down to the mana dork and the Welding Sparks, eventually choosing the removal spell. It was a pick he was still dwelling on when the draft was over.
See, Turner believes in nose-diving. It's his term for committing completely to a color when he's passed a quality card. In this set, that often means the gold rares and uncommons. He's willing to take these cards early, even though it means delving fully into a two-color combination, to keep the other drafters from being able to grab powerful cards as late picks.
“I should have gone with being myself,” he said.
Pick 2 Turner selected an Armorcraft Judge, a solid green uncommon with the potential to be excellent in any fabricate or other counters-based deck. Pick 3 he had the opportunity to be himself and he seized it, taking an Aether Hub out of a weak pack.
By the middle of Pack 1, however, one of Turner's chief Limited fears was in full effect. Turner was seated in what he calls a “power-dry area,” a seat at the table that doesn't see enough impactful cards or hard and fast removal.
In Pack 2 Turner opened an Architect of the Untamed, a Tidy Conclusion, a Thriving Rhino, and another Welding Sparks. He shuffled each card to the front of the pack and then away again, taking the full amount of allotted time to make his choice. In the last few seconds, the Thriving Rhino won against its formidable competition, but Turner remembered how painful it was to pass the removal and rare.
“Knowing that I was going to be all but white I passed a Tidy Conclusion that I really wanted,” Turner said during deck construction. “I was like, ‘why did this happen? I must do this though.' And I took the Rhino over the 2/3 because the Rhino does a real thing right now, whereas I'm never going to get enough energy in my deck for the Architect. It was the right pick but it was a very hard choice. I was definitely stressed about it.”
Dhund Operative was Turner's third pick of Pack 2, and his deck started to shape into a green- and black-centric build. He next chose another Aether Hub, and followed it up with a Malfunction and a Glint-Nest Crane later in the pack, interspersed with a handful of artifacts and middle-of-the-curve green creatures and a late combat trick.
“By the way, Rush of Vitality is not something that should be thirteenth pick,” Turner said.
Pack 3 started with a Wildest Dreams from an otherwise unexciting pack. Pick 2, Turner chose the gold card Unlicensed Disintegration, committing hard to a four-color deck for the sake of the removal spell.
Then, Turner was passed a third-pick Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, a card he called “basically a godsend.” He couldn't be effusive enough about the card and his appreciation for Oviya's work. It was absolutely critical in piecing together a functioning deck.
Despite a difficult draft, Turner's optimism and determination had him smiling by the end of deck building. He was ready to take the next three rounds one game at a time. Sometimes when you're in a power drought, you have to take every good card you see and find a way to craft a deck from them.
“I'm on that find a way plan right now,” he said.
In Round 13 Turner had to face the Servant of the Conduit he passed in Pack 1, as well as another Architect of the Untamed he passed in Pack 3. After a grueling match , including what he called the most difficult games of Magic he's played in months, Turner emerged victorious.
“His deck was incredible and he got very unlucky,” Turner said. “My deck is very bad and I had to work very hard, but it got there.”
His terrible deck has done what he needed it to. Turner's now locked for his first GP Top 8 and has carried his perfect record and positive attitude all the way into the Round 14 of GP Atlanta.