Fabrizio Anteri, currently ranked 10th in the Top 25 Rankings, is, among other things, pretty good at new Limited formats. The last time a new Limited format debuted at a Grand Prix the weekend before a Pro Tour, he won the whole thing!
Here in Barcelona, he went into the second draft with eleven wins and one loss, which meant that he might be able to keep this streak alive.
The draft seating on Anteri's side of the table was as follows: Viktors Kazanskis <- Fabrizio Anteri <- Ferran Vila <- Reid Duke.
Before the draft got underway, everyone held up their double-faced cards for a few seconds for everyone to see. Kazanskis, directly to Anteri's left, revealed Convicted Killer. Anteri himself opened Kindly Stranger. Vila, directly to Anteri's right, showed Duskwatch Recruiter. And Duke held up Heir of Falkenrath.
"Players, pick up your boosters."
|Pick||Anteri's choice||Other options|
|1||Kindly Stranger||Sinister Concoction, Stensia Masquerade, Quilled Wolf|
|2||Bound by Moonsilver||Fiery Temper, Throttle|
|3||Ever After||Dead Weight, Tooth Collector|
|4||Hermit of the Natterknolls||Intrepid Provisioner, Byway Courier|
|5||Watcher in the Web||Stitched Mangler, Sanitarium Skeleton|
|6||Graf Mole||Fork in the Road, Stallion of Ashmouth|
|7||Fork in the Road||Voldaren Duelist, Cathar's Companion|
|8||Sanitarium Skeleton||Grotesque Mutation, Emissary of the Sleepless|
Anteri and the two players to his right all first-picked the double-faced card from their boosters. This meant that (if everyone would stay in those colors) Anteri would be black, would be fed by a green drafter, and would have another black drafter two seats to his right. This configuration also meant that Vila would be crazy to go into black, as he would potentially be sandwiched between two black drafters. This was good news for Anteri because it meant that in the third pack, there were at least two boosters (his own and Vila's) from which he might receive a premium black rare or uncommon.
One pick that I was curious about was Hermit of the Natterknolls, as Anteri knowingly went green while he had another green drafter to his right. "There were only green cards in there, and I think black-green is a good archetype, especially for delirium," Anteri explained afterward. "I would be happy to splash Bound by Moonsilver in such a deck, which is often more controlling and grindy. Even if the player to my right is in green, he might draft a more aggressive version, in which case we wouldn't be fighting over the same green cards."
After the first booster, the packs had indeed led Anteri into a black/green direction. During the review period, I took a look at his neighbors' selections and saw that Kazanskis was drafting red-white, Vila was picking green-white, and Duke was on black-blue.
Once the boosters were opened, everyone again held up the double-faced cards they had. Kazanskis showed Gatstaf Arsonist (which would be passed to Anteri but would be useless for him), Anteri himself opened Hinterland Logger (a decent card, but not something that he would be happy to first-pick), and Vila revealed both Westvale Abbey and Aberrant Researcher (and quickly took Westvale Abbey).
|Pick||Anteri's choice||Other options|
|1||Obsessive Skinner||Hinterland Logger, Twins of Maurer Estate, Nahiri, the Harbinger|
|2||Wild-Field Scarecrow||Macabre Waltz, Kessig Dire Swine|
|3||Ghoulcaller's Accomplice||Crow of Dark Tidings, Veteran Cathar|
|4||Ulvenwald Mysteries||Byway Courier, Wicker Witch|
|5||Quilled Wolf||Kessig Dire Swine|
|6||Macabre Waltz||Might Beyond Reason|
|8||Call the Bloodline||Aberrant Researcher|
|10||Hound of the Farbogs|
|14||Vessel of Paramnesia|
"The boosters in Pack 2 were kind of weak for me," Anteri said. After Pack 2, he had a selection of defensive creatures, removal, reanimation effects, delirium cards, a Call of the Bloodline/Sanitarium Skeleton combo, and a Fork in the Road/Stoic Builder engine.
"My early defense was good enough, but I needed removal and something powerful. The archetype I was drafting was going to grind a lot, so I needed something big to win games, as well as answers to opposing bombs."
Double-faced action for the third time! Anteri opened Gatstaf Arsonists, Vila revealed Abberant Researcher, and Duke held up Kessig Forgemaster.
"Overall, my deck is consistent, and I'm not playing any cards I'm unhappy with, but the power level is low," Anteri told me after the draft. "There are not many synergies. One pick that I really regret is that I didn't take the second Sanitarium Skeleton because there were a second and third Call of the Bloodline in the draft. All in all, it's closer to 1-2 than a 2-1 deck."
After two rounds, Anteri had gone 1-1 with his deck, which meant that he would have to win his last round to have another chance at Top 8 glory …