Yesterday, 37 players managed to run their respective draft tables. Naturally, we kept tabs on them to see if they could bring it up another (few) notches and repeat the feat. After the dust settled in Round 11, only five players from the entire field completed the home run—in the Limited portion at least. These talented drafters are none other than No. 20-ranked Brad Nelson, No. 15-ranked Reid Duke, Samuel Pardee, Oscar Christensen, and Márcio Carvalho.
What are some insights these players can share about the Eldritch Moon Limited format, and which archetypes did they draft to achieve the unblemished record?
Brad Nelson has a reputation for being a Standard master, but that doesn't mean he can't crush in 40-card formats. As a matter of fact, this weekend's 6-0 performance propels Nelson to a 9-2 record, putting him within realistic reach of his fourth Pro Tour Top 8.
In Draft 1, he scrambled together a Green-White Humans deck "complete with" Equestrian Skill, a card he feels has improved with the addition of Ironclad Slayer in Eldritch Moon. Aside from Lone Rider being a good combo with Lunarch Mantle and Borrowed Grace, the final product was far from exciting. In Draft 2, his red-white deck had a similarly low, sleek curve supported by efficient tricks and quality mana sinks. Aside from Eternal Scourge aka Nessian Courser, Nelson was playing with no rares in either of his decks.
"Oh, Lunarch Mantle is great! In this format, I like to be aggressive, and it is true that this isn't a bomb-oriented format. I mean, there's nothing insane like Wurmcoil Engine and there are many solutions to keep the rares in check. Many times, there are better commons and uncommons in the booster. I really love the design of Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon, and I'm not just saying that because I went 6-0!"
Reid Duke got his revenge when he defeated No. 2-ranked Owen Turtenwald in Round 11.
In Draft 1, Duke's blue-red deck was close to perfect. Double Mercurial Geists and triple Brazen Wolves were the heart and soul of the masterpiece, enhanced further by Elder Deep-Fiend and Flameblade Angel. In addition, two copies of each Pore over the Pages and Press for Answers ensured that the well-oiled engine didn't run out of gas. Then, in Draft 2, he overpowered the insanely stacked table with Distended Mindbender and a pair of Elusive Tormentors in his black-green deck.
Not only was Duke elated to go undefeated in Limited, the victory brings him up to 10-1, while dragging Turtenwald down to 10-1. Both players are first and second in Swiss going into the Constructed rounds, with losses only to each other!
Sam Pardee is in third place in Swiss, right behind Turtenwald and Duke. Despite an average 3-2 record in Standard, he more than made up for it with a 6-0 run at the Limited tables. His first 3-0 deck was black-red, while his second 3-0 deck was green-white topped off with Thalia's Lancers, which could search for the game-winning Odric, Lunarch Marshal. Despite that, white is not a color he felt was great.
"In our testing, we found that black-red as a combination posted the best win rates, while the white decks didn't do so well. I think black is fine as a color individually, and not as bad as the others claim it is. At the end of the day, it is what we learn from playtesting that determines our opinion of a color. White has many playables, I guess, but I'm ranking it as one of the lower-tier colors."
Grand Prix Gothenburg 2013 Champion Oscar Christensen is the fourth of five players to emerge unscathed at the Limited portion. Both of his decks were white, the color that most players would agree contained the most solid pool of commons and uncommons. In Draft 1, he paired evasive creatures such as Tattered Haunter and Nebelgast Herald with a trio of Faithbearer Paladins to come ahead in most races. Double Borrowed Grace offered a way to punch through in the event of a stalemate. In Draft 2, his route to 6-0 was expected largely due to triple Choking Restraints and double Always Watching! All Christensen had to do was to throw in some green creatures for support and let the enchantments do their magic.
Last but most definitely not least, Márcio Carvalho pulled off the clean sweep to secure his spot on the World Championship. For an up-close and personal moment with the freshly-minted Draft Master, zoom over to Marc Calderaro's piece!
Congratulations to all 6-0 drafters!