Last season, Márcio Carvalho was the person who had the best Limited record at Pro Tours. This secured him a spot at this year's World Championship where he made it all the way to the finals. And he had just 3-0ed his first draft here at Grand Prix London, to stay in contention for what would be the twelfth GP Top 8 of his career. So he was kind of the obvious pick for a player whose second draft might be interesting to watch …
His first pack had Long-Finned Skywhale among lots of green, including Peema Outrider and Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter. Carvalho had told me earlier that he considered blue to be the worst color in the format, so it was no surprise to see him pick up the rare.
For his second pick, he had the option to stay in just one color with either Riparian Tiger, Thriving Rhino, or Snare Thopter, but he opted for Essence Extraction instead. A weaker man (yours truly) may have been tempted to stick to green, especially when the next booster contained yet another energetic duo of Thriving Rhino and Riparian Tiger. Carvalho, however, kept an open mind and chose Kambal, Consul of Allocation, possibly a signal that white-black was more open than green.
And so it was. For his fourth pick, Carvalho could choose between Toolcraft Exemplar, Dhund Operative, and Glint-Sleeve Artisan, while green did indeed dry up. He took Glint-Sleeve Artisan, followed by Thriving Rats, Thriving Ibex, Subtle Strike, Fireforger's Puzzleknot, Dukhara Scavenger, Eager Construct, Mind Rot, Night Market Lookout, and Refurbish.
It was time to open the second booster. Here, Carvalho found Aetherstorm Roc! Next came Visionary Augmenter, taken over Thriving Rats and Ninth Bridge Patrol. The next pack again contained Thriving Rats and Ninth Bridge Patrol, and this time Carvalho took the Rats.
Glint-Sleeve Artisan once again came fourth, followed by Cogworker's Puzzleknot sixth, Impeccable Timing seventh, and Inspired Charge eighth. Carvalho finished off the second round of drafting with, in that order: Ovalchase Daredevil, Lawless Broker, Ninth Bridge Patrol, Acrobatic Marauder, and three off-color cards.
Now, if you think that Carvalho was quite lucky with how this draft had developed, you may be right. And Carvalho would be the first to agree with you, did in fact agree when I talked to him later on. Though, to be fair, he had followed the signals and deserved to reap some rewards.
In any case, all of the previous was nothing compared to what was to follow with the third booster. For example, Carvalho would have probably been fine with first-picking Dhund Operative or Underhanded Designs or another Glint-Sleeve Artisan. Unfortunately he couldn't because he not only opened all of these cards but also Eliminate the Competition.
Next he got an Iron League Steed and a Lawless Broker, and then he once again would have liked to take Dhund Operative but couldn't because of the Restoration Gearsmith which had to be his fourth pick instead. For his fifth pick, he first looked at Inventor's Goggles and Built to Last before he noticed the Essence Extraction that was somehow still in the pack.
Eager Construct would have made for a fine sixth pick, but a second Restoration Gearsmith was definitely preferable. Same with Fortuitous Find which was eclipsed by an Embraal Bruiser. Carvalho's eighth pick was Rush of Vitality, followed by Prakhata Pillar-Bug and a Midnight Oil which made it all the way around the table. He even got a Bastion Mastodon eleventh.
When I joined Carvalho at his deck construction table and asked whether he was happy with how the draft had gone, his voice almost failed him. He croaked a simple, "Yes."
He elaborated, "I got really lucky. The white and black cards just kept coming and coming, and I even opened two rares! Aetherstorm Roc is insane."