Top 8 Draft with Neil Rigby

Posted in Event Coverage on October 10, 2016

By Craig Jones

Sometimes you have to continue the story you started way back at the start of the tournament…

It's become somewhat of a running joke on social media that Neil Rigby posts “Made the Top 8” every time a Grand Prix or Pro Tour rolls around. Technically, he is correct. Rigby has a coverage role of Feature Match Area Manager. He sits in there and makes sure the video coverage is updated with the correct life totals and other important game state information.

I wonder when he posts “Made the Top 8 again!” this time, people will realize this is an actual Top 8, as in a playing Top 8.

It's not actually his first Grand Prix Top 8. He has two previous ones, but we're talking a loooong time ago—GP Birmingham 1998 and GP Manchester in 2000. When I said long, I meant long, as in 16 years long. I don't have the stats at hand, but I wonder if this is a record for length of time between GP Top 8 appearances.

Rigby might spend more time at the major tournaments engaged in coverage duties, but he's definitely no slouch when it comes to Limited play.

The draft opened up with a bang as Rigby found Angel of Invention staring out at him from the first pack. Normally most people would be happy enough to windmill slam the mythic, but Rigby showed some consideration to the Unlicensed Disintegration in the pack. In the end the lure of the powerful white mythic was too strong and that's what he started his draft with.

The next pick allowed Rigby to stay in white as he took a Glint-Sleeve Artisan (over Trusty Companion).

Third pick and he stayed in white with Wispweaver Angel.

It was only in the middle picks, where white dried up, that saw Rigby send some feelers out into other colors. For the 4th pick he showed preference for Aetherborn Marauder over the gold ‘gravedigger' Restoration Gearsmith.

Then he bounced into blue with Aether Theorist.

A Foundry Screecher moved him back into black and he consolidated in that color with a pair of Maulfist Squads on the wheel. The bottom halves of the boosters gave him a Thriving Ibix and a Dukhara Scavenger, and then it was time for the second booster.

The second booster threw up some interesting options. White had two good options in Skywhaler's Shot and the rare, Master Trinketeer. Rigby also pulled a Dhund Operative to the front if he wanted to move more heavily into black.

Again power won out as the rare made it into his draft picks.

An Impeccable Timing was preferred over Visionary Augmenter and followed by a Foundry Inspector and then an Aviary Mechanic.

White-Black was the perfect combination to take advantage of the Restoration Gearsmith that found its way to him 5th pick.

So far, so straightforward, although I had a feeling Rigby would like to see a few more two drops in the third booster.

The third booster gave him another first pick rare—this time a Fleetwheel Cruiser.

After then things were not so rosy. By this time it became fairly obvious that Pip Griffiths to Rigby's right was also in white (and not just Pip, I found out later the player to his right was in white as well).

Black was open, but at this point Rigby was starting to have problems trying to get his mana curve down. The two-drops just weren't there, and this was typified by pick 6 where he took a Consulate Skygate over Tidy Conclusion.

I asked him about the draft afterwards and he said he thought he'd made a mistake in taking the Angel of Invention. Most players would have been happy to take the powerful mythic, but Rigby felt he'd drafted himself into a trap.

“White is really deep, but it's also heavily over-drafted.”

He thought he should have taken the Unlicensed Disintegration or even the Embraal Bruiser.

“Black is always under-drafted. I knew this when I saw the Tidy Conclusions going late. But I had to take the Consulate Skygate just because I needed two-drops.”

Even though he'd been reluctant to start with the strong mythic, it was the presence of no other good white cards in the booster that had swayed him. Despite this he'd ended up fighting with his neighbors for white anyway.

It's strange. Sometimes that bomb mythic you open might just be a trap.

Maybe. Rigby's deck still has a lot of power. Maybe that might be enough.

Neil Rigby's White-Black Top 8 Draft Deck

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