Drafting Blue-Red (and Silver) with Eliott Boussaud

Posted in Event Coverage on July 31, 2016

By Tobi Henke

Spirits are blue, fire is red, if they combine, the deck's quite fine … Or something. In any case, the surge in popularity of blue-red had to be one of the biggest changes brought upon by the introduction of Eldritch Moon into the Limited mix.

The theme of instants and sorceries mattering had already been present in Shadows over Innistrad with a few cards like Pyre Hound, Thing in the Ice, and the odd prowess creature. But now the archetype really came into its own. Now, Eldritch Moon gave the strategy some obvious power tools in Mercurial Geists, Docent of Perfection, Bedlam Reveler, Weaver of Lightning, and Curious Homunculus, not to mention more instants and sorceries, specifically card draw and Shreds of Sanity. Even the innocuous looking Thermo-Alchemist made a huge impact.

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Eliott Boussaud didn't set out to draft this color combination. The three-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor who last won GP Prague in 2015 was simply looking for one additional Pro Point. The Frenchman had accumulated 17 points throughout the season, missing one to reach the Pro Club's Silver Level. To get it, he would need at least eleven match wins at this, the final Grand Prix of the season. He began the day with a record of 8-1, thus with a chance to seal the deal right away with a strong performance in the first draft here in Stockholm.

So he didn't set out to draft Blue-Red, but Blue-Red is what he ended up with, and a sweet specimen at that!

The draft began with a choice between Spreading Flames and Scour the Laboratory of which he took the blue card. When I spoke with him later, Boussaud voiced some regrets regarding that decision, taking into account the exact makeup of his final deck. But he still considered Scour the Laboratory the better first pick in a vacuum.

For his second pick, he could have stayed in blue and taken Laboratory Brute or Exultant Cultist or something. But clearly both Galvanic Bombardment as well as Savage Alliance were the superior options here. Boussaud opted for the Alliance.

His third pick was Spreading Flames, but Boussaud also spent some time looking at the Mercurial Geists in the pack. Next came a Vexing Scuttler and an Ingenious Skaab. Then followed a string of unspectacular cards in Enlightened Maniac, Convolute, Exultant Cultist, Enlightened Maniac again, and an off-color Lunarch Mantel.

However, then Boussaud was handed an unexpected gift: Apparently, no one at the table wanted the Mercurial Geists and they returned to Boussaud as his eleventh pick! "At this point, I knew I was in the correct colors," Boussaud later told me.

As such, things should have gone pretty smoothly from here on. But Boussaud didn't get that much from the remainder of Eldritch Moon as one might have expected. He first picked Emrakul, the Promised End out of a weak second pack. The card eventually ended up in his sideboard, but Boussaud mentioned he would bring it in against slower control decks.

To his deck he just added another Ingenious Skaab and another copy of Mercurial Geists (eighth pick!) as well as Curious Homunculus, Spontaneous Mutation, Drag Under, and Fogwalker (13th pick).

Boussaud was maybe low on total cards and could definitely use a few more instants and sorceries. Thankfully, Shadows over Innistrad came through for him: Geistblast, Reduce to Ashes, Silent Observer, and Flameblade Angel were his first four picks here, in this order.

Then came Essence Flux, Dual Shot, Press for Answers, and Jace's Scrutiny. His next two picks were blanks, but for his eleventh pick he got a late Daring Sleuth, followed by a second Dual Shot for his sideboard.

Obviously, some things could have gone better, but Boussaud was definitely happy with his draft and deck and, at time of writing, had already won the first two matches with it. "I can't complain …"

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Eliott Boussaud's Blue-Red

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