Booster Draft Recap

Posted in Event Coverage on May 16, 2015

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.

The first pod was defined by a wild variance between lifetime Booster Draft matches played. While Aleksa Telarov sat at over 13,000 Limited matches played on Magic Online, Daryl Ayers represented the other side of the spectrum with only a little more than 160 Limited matches clocked (the majority of his lifetime matches were in Constructed).

Also showcasing two sides of the spectrum were the featured drafters from Pod 1. While Jasper De Jong stumbled through the draft with a playable White-Blue deck, it was Telarov's White-Blue brew with multiple dragons and Crucible of the Spirit Dragon that seemed the most impressive by the end of the draft.

Walking around the room, it was clear that a few drafts went off the rails. I walked by Hall of Famer Olle Råde's computer to see what he ended up with. Leaning in to get a closer look, I turned to Råde who simply shrugged and shook his head.

"That draft was kind of a train wreck," Råde said. "I started with Ultimate Price and some red cards, but then I got a seventh pick Dromoka's Command."

Olle Råde found himself staring down a desire to 3-0 the draft with a deck that he was less than proud of.

The late green-white card was not ideal; he had already committed a lot of early picks to green and red, and was left making a decision between combinations of colors such as black-green splash red, or black-red splash green. However, he ultimately settled on black-green, splashing some white for the Dromoka's Command and an Enduring Scalelord.

However, despite initial perception on the draft, Råde found himself in an unusual spot once the games started happening. After two rounds, the Hall of Famer was the sole player who was 2-0 in the draft portion, due to the nature of pairings being based on record in the tournament and not record in the pod. The forward momentum put him up against De Jong, who stumbled in the first round of draft against Telarov's white-blue deck, but came back in the next round against Magnus Lantto.

Needless to say, Råde did not expect the draft to go well. In fact, it had him pondering some thoughts on Twitter earlier today.

He received a number of answers, but ultimately found himself thinking that he would be happy to accept 3-0ing today if it meant never 3-0ing again.

After two wins in the first two rounds, he found himself close, and paired against original feature drafter Jasper De Jong, who was sitting at 1-1 with his white-blue deck.

Jasper De Jong attempts to lock in as many wins as he can with his white-blue draft deck.

Game 1 did not go well for Råde, as De Jong had an overwhelming amount of spells and won any semblance of a race that could be mustered by his opponent. It looked as though Game 2 would go against the Hall of Famer as well, however a Glade Watcher turned up at just the right moment to activate Råde's relatively slow hand as well as a Hewed Stone Retainers.

However, it was not to be, and ultimately it was De Jong who denied Råde an undefeated draft. De Jong's win brought him to 9-1, a near lock for Sunday even if De Jong's Standard rounds went poorly.

Råde may not have 3-0'd, but a 2-1 wasn't bad either, and it kept him in good shape for a Top 4 if Standard went well.

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