DRAFTING WITH HARRY CORVESE

Posted in GRAND PRIX ORLANDO 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 5, 2014

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Harry Corvese is well-known on the Pro circuit. A familiar resident of the top tables late on day two, he has three Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, and a reputation as a very tough opponent to out-think. He came into draft 2 today well in contention to add to his Top 8 collection. Here's how the draft panned out:


Pack 1

Pine Walker set things off, followed by a pair of decent black cards in Bellowing Saddlebrute and Debilitating Injury. Archer's Parapet and Woolly Loxodon cemented the green theme, with a fair-to-middling Kin-Tree Warden coming at a fair-to-middling sixth pick. Things got a little bumpy after that, with a very late Woolly Loxodon the highlight. In the meantime, though, there were meagre pickings. No black, minimal green. He spent his mid-to-late picks on Wind-Scarred Crag, Tranquil Cove, and Dismal Backwater. It's also worth noting that, alongside that 11th pick Woolly Loxodon, there was a Mardu Roughrider. From the outside looking in, this looked like making Mardu all kinds of open.

Pack 2

For the longest time (ie 42 seconds), Corvese looked at Zurgo Helmsmasher in his first pick of pack 2. In the event, he didn't move in, taking an unexceptional, but totally serviceable, Throttle. Ivorytusk Fortress was up next, which should, you would think, have cemented him in Abzan.

Then came Surrak Dragonclaw, which he just couldn't pass up, and that took us into full-on 'take the land' mode, with Scoured Barrens, Jungle Hollow, Wooded Foothills, and Blossoming Sands his next four picks. Two of the next three picks definitively proved that Mardu couldn't have been more open – Mardu Charm pick 8, and Ponyback Brigade pick 10. That still wasn't late enough for all of the lands, with another Blossoming Sands joining the ever-growing pile of non-basics.

So, let's take a moment to review. We started out black and green, but found both of those colors problematic. We've taken a pile of lands, so right now, at the end of pack two, we have access from our eight non-basics to the following sources of mana:

White 5
Blue 2
Black 3
Red 2
Green

At this point, I assumed that Corvese would be full steam ahead on the 'best card in the pack' plan, with his mana essentially sorted. It was payoff time. Wasn't it?

Pack 3

Boom! A second Surrak Dragonclaw. That's exactly why you go five color, to destroy people with golden power, right? Wrong. Abzan Falconer was the pick here. Pick 2 wasn't a strong pack, but Sandsteppe Citadel wasn't exactly a windmill slam. Then he took Swiftwater Cliffs over Ponyback Brigade, and then Bloodfell Caves over both Rite of the Serpent and Mardu Roughrider. Smite the Monstrous and Dragonscale Boon would clearly both make the deck, but then it was back to the lands with Mystic Monastery. The back end of the pack provided some useful Abzan synergies, featuring two Salt Road Patrol, plus an Archers' Parapet, and Mardu Hateblade.

OK, so when all was said and done, Corvese had access to the following sources of mana, just from the cards he'd drafted:

White 7
Blue 4
Black 5
Red 5
Green 5

OK, so, terrific, you get to cast your spells. But what are the spells you're trying to cast? At this point, looking through the complete pick order, I was truly struggling to find even close to 22/23 cards that I'd actually want to play in a draft, and obviously the goal with the five color decks is to out-power your opponents with the devastating card quality of your picks. I don't see this here, so it's probably time for us to show you the entire pool, and see what you would play!

All of the lands – but not necessarily all of the spells to go with them. This format is just incredible.

Harry Corvese – Draft Pool

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