It’s a big weekend for Alexander Hayne. The Clown Prince of Canada has found himself in a tight race for the Grand Prix Warrior invitation to the upcoming World Championship. Fellow countryman Pascal Maynard has been tearing it up this year, and followed up his Top 4 appearance at Grand Prix Las Vegas with a win at GP Buenos Aires to draw dead even with Hayne. However, here in Montreal fortune favored Hayne. He rattled off an 8-1 Day 1 while Maynard fizzled to fall short of the Day 2 cut. That doesn’t mean Hayne’s work is done. He needs to post at least an 11-4 record to pull ahead.
Hayne fanned his first pack and saw good news staring back at him: Foe-Razer Regent. “It’s a powerful card, and I don’t mind playing green. I think it’s the third best color in Dragons, though it is much worse in Fate Reforged.” He was put to a decision immediately when his second pack contained virtually no green cards. His best options were Sandcrafter Mage and Sprinting Warbrute. “This was an important pick. I like both Green-Red and Green-White, but I went with Sandcrafter Mage. Green-Red decks don’t have trouble getting five-drops, whereas the Mage is a really important card in Green-White.” Next up was an Epic Confrontation out of a pack full of red cards, and then Glade Watcher. “This guy’s actually really important. Stops early aggression and lets you get to your powerful late game.”
He continued to take green cards, including Sandsteppe Scavenger, Conifer Strider and Segmented Krotiq, seeing no strong incentives for other colors. Some green playables came back late, giving him confirmation that green was the place to be. “I kept taking green cards just to keep myself open. I wasn’t set on Green-White.”
Pack two begged to differ. Gleam of Authority was waiting for him. He snatched it up. Next came another pack short on green. “This was a really big decision. I could take Aven Skirmisher, a good card for Green-White, or Draconic Roar, great removal in red. Red seemed somewhat open in the first pack, so I considered switching, but it would be like taking the Roar over Skirmisher AND Gleam. I took the Skirmisher, but I wasn’t sure about the pick.” The next pack offered little for Green-White and a Stormcrag Elemental. Hayne took it. Next he had the option of Ainok Survivalist or Atarka Efreet, but he stayed the course and took the green card.
“Pack two felt like I was getting cut off from green, but there might just have been a shortage of green cards in the draft. The most important thing that happened was Scale Blessing coming back around to me ninth. I think a lot of people underrate this card, and it my deck it’s very good. I have a lot of incidental +1/+1 counters, and even on its own it’s a four-mana instant Bolster 2, which is fine. I was pretty much settled into Green-White after that.”
His first pick in the third pack took no time at all: Dromoka, the Eternal. After that came Hunt the Weak and then a third-pick Temur War Shaman. I asked Hayne how highly he was prioritizing Whisperer of the Wilds at that point. “Very highly, but really any two-drop. I just wanted to fill out my curve, make sure I couldn’t lose the early game.” The rest of the pack was uneventful, giving him Soul Summons, Formless Nurturing, Cached Defenses and Blossoming Sands.
“Looking back at the draft, I feel like Green-White was the right place to be. I didn’t give up too many picks to keep my options open, a Tread Upon I doubt I’d be playing anyways. I do wish I had managed to table the second Pinion Feast. I’m starting one in the main because the deck feels weak to fliers. I think I can definitely win on the ground.” I asked Hayne how he rated his deck. “Well it’s pretty good. I mean, I don’t know how good the other decks at the table are. The packs seemed a little weak, but the people at the other side of the table are seeing totally different cards. I’d rate it about a seven. Though, if I could have a seven every time I’d probably take it.”