First Picks with Jake Mondello

Posted in Event Coverage on July 31, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

Few things in Magic are more fun that cracking open a booster pack. And when it comes to drafting, players have perfected the art of the “crack-a-pack,” or opening a booster to debate what the best card to take with your first pick of the draft is. And with the release of Eldritch Moon and its premier play debut at Grand Prix Montreal, there was no better time to play everyone's favorite pack-opening exercise.

For some expert advice we turned to Jake Mondello, a two-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor who has plenty of experience with breaking down new Limited formats.

Pack 1        
Midnight Scavengers Take Inventory Tattered Haunter Borrowed Grace Wolfkin Bond
Succumb to Temptation Field Creeper Spectral Reserves Laboratory Brute Prophetic Ravings
Shreds of Sanity Vexing Scuttler Clear Shot Bedlam Reveler  


Mondello: “Clear Shot is a really good card, but the ceiling is higher on Bedlam Reveler, which is something you want to look for early in a draft. In this case, red is the best color in Eldritch Moon by far, so I'd want to take the Bedlam Reveler here.”

Pack 2        
Wretched Gryff Galvanic Bombardment Grapple with the Past Steadfast Cathar Strange Augmentation
Crossroads Consecrator Thraben Foulbloods Convolute Make Mischief Tangleclaw Werewolf
Long Road Home Ruthless Disposal Deranged Whelp Stromkirk Occultist  

Mondello: “I think you have to take the rare because the upside on Stromkirk Occultist is higher, but Galvanic Bombardment is really good. It's the best common in the best color, and I would take it over most things. After that the next best card is Ruthless Disposal. It's harder to evaluate but I've been happy with it so far. The final card to consider is Wretched Gryff, but it's not on the same level. In this case I'm not worried about taking a red card and passing another really good one, because it's going to your left and you can just take the good cards away.”

Pack 3        
Otherworldly Outburst Woodcutter's Grit Repel the Abominable Prophetic Ravings Cathar's Shield
Thraben Standard Bearer Borrowed Malevolence Borrowed Hostility Scour the Laboratory Exultant Cultist
Foul Emissary Vildin-Pack Outcast Prey Upon Selfless Spirit  

Mondello: “This one is hard because there's a lot of good cards. Selfless Spirit is definitely the hardest to play against, which makes me want to take it because it's always at the worst a 2/1 flyer for two. Foul Emissary is also really good, though it needs to be something like a black-green deck rather than red-green. In the end I would take the Selfless Spirit because it has the highest ceiling, but it's very close with Prey Upon.”

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