Posted in GRAND PRIX PORTLAND 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 11, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Going into the finals was a trio of players that had a terrific 2013-2014 season. No. 3 Ranked Player Reid Duke, along with his friends and teammates No. 2 Ranked Player Owen Turtenwald and No. 4 Ranked Player William Jensen, have managed to add yet another top Grand Prix finish to their already glowing resumes.

However, for Duke as well as Turtenwald, the two were looking to add a third Grand Prix trophy to their walls as well.

That said, Team Draft is an interesting beast. Reading signals can be particularly difficult as hate-drafting, or leading someone next to you into a color before cutting it off (known as "a hook"), is a commonplace and potent strategy. The goal, after all, is to beat the other team in this match. That does not necessarily mean your deck has to be good.

Sometimes, making your opposing team's decks bad is just as good a strategy.

In Duke's case, there was no chance of landing a hook on his left neighbor, Benjamin Weitz, was solidly in green-white after a few picks, with a first-pick Avacyn, Guardian Angel and a slew of reasonable options. He was not biting on any hooks from the lines of his neighbors.

Duke, however, was having some problems evading said hooks. A first-pick Lightning Strike in a red-rich first pick first pack led into Stormtide Leviathan. After that, Flesh to Dust over Covenant of Blood and Borderland Marauder ensured he was uncommitted, but the decisions did not get any easier.

Meanwhile, his right neighbor, Eric Severson, was also dabbling in all three of Duke's potential colors, ultimately settling on black and red.

As players got into pack two, it had become clear that there were no hooks being set. Everyone was just over-drafting red.

With that signal becoming apparent to Duke as a Jorubai Murk Lurker came incredibly late, Duke began to move into blue-black, where he ultimately settled on his two-color combination. This, combined with a first-pick Indulgent Tormentor in the second pack, gave Duke some hope, even if his draft included a number of picks that ultimately would not make it into his deck.

How did this draft pan out for him? See for yourself, as we've got hit pick orders below.

Pack 1
Lightning Strike
Stormtide Leviathan
Flesh to Dust
Gargoyle Sentinel
Evolving Wilds
Torch Fiend
Sign in Blood
Razorfoot Griffin
Necromancer's Assistant
Eternal Thirst
Zof Shade
Tireless Missionaries

Pack 2
Indulgent Tormentor
Inferno Fist
Jorubai Murk Lurker
Peel from Reality
Evolving Wilds
Will-Forged Golem
Evolving Wilds
Rummaging Goblin
Unmake the Graves
Mind Sculpt
Zof Shade
Leeching Sliver

Pack 3
Seraph of the Masses
Covenant of Blood
Jorubai Murk Lurker
Witch's Familiar
Wall of Frost
Hot Soup
Kinsbaile Skirmisher
Charging Rhino
First Response
Mind Sculpt