The Best Draft Deck Ever? Chris Fennell’s Blue Black Spells

Posted in Event Coverage on April 17, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Chris Fennell has been drafting Magic cards for close to twenty years. In that time, Fennell has established himself as quite the master with eight Grand Prix Top 8s and a Pro Tour Top 8. In fact, many of the game’s best players consider Fennell to be one of the greatest drafters in the game.

With that kind of history, it’s hard to be impressed. Sometimes Fennell has a good Draft, less times a not so good Draft. This morning, in the first Draft at Day 2 of Grand Prix Albuquerque, Fennell has what he describes as perhaps the best deck he’s ever drafted in his two decades of forty card decks.

He sat down this morning on the left of two-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Brandon Nelson. They opened up their first pack; Fennell opened Elusive Tormentor and saw that Nelson opened Kindly Stranger and Thing in the Ice.

Fennell emphatically showed that he was first-picking the Elusive Tormentor in hopes that Nelson would shy away from Black cards and pass Kindly Stranger. Nelson wouldn’t budge, though, and Fennell wasn’t sure where his draft would go from there.

Fennell thinks that the Blue-Red Spells draft archetype is quite good. Seeing that Nelson was taking Black cards on his right made him consider the option and he eventually committed and took Thing in the Ice.

What made the pick more obvious was that there was another Thing in the Ice that had been opened and passed just two more picks away from Fennell. Blue is widely considered the worst color in Shadows Over Innistrad Limited and Fennell knew that by taking Thing in the Ice that he would be encouraging the players around him to stay away from Blue cards.

It worked, and the second copy of Thing in Ice was an easy pick. Fennell finished up the pack by taking a bunch of Blue draws spells and figured he would end up playing a Blue-Red Spells strategy.

The second pack threw him Fennell a loop. Somehow another copy of Elusive Tormentor, one of the best rares in the set, made it to him fourth pick. Now he had two copies of Elusive Tormentor and two copies of Thing in the Ice. Then, his fifth and sixth picks out of the pack were both copies of From Under the Floorboards, another powerful rare.

Fennell wasn’t sure if Blue-Black Spells was a deck, but his cards were strong enough that he was confident he could make it work.

More Blue draw and bounce spells kept coming his way and he even picked up Engulf the Shore late in the third pack.

It seemed like everyone else was avoiding Blue and Fennell was happy to take advantage of the opportunity.

A small crowd gathered in awe as he laid out his deck.

I watched his first match and saw a game where he ended up winning with a pair of Elusive Tormentor still in his hand because he never had a chance to cast them.

“This may be the best deck I’ve ever had in twenty years of drafting! I don’t know how this happened, but I’d rather not look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Will Chris Fennell’s seemingly unstoppable Blue-Black Spells deck live up to the hype? Stay tuned to continuing coverage of Grand Prix Albuquerque for all the action as it unfolds.


Just a moment later, Chris Fennell’s opponent would pick up all his creatures thanks to Engulf the Shore.

Chris Fennell - Blue-Black Spells

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