6-0 Drafters at Pro Tour Hour of Devastation

Posted in Event Coverage on July 29, 2017

By Chapman Sim

After Round 10 concluded, there were fourteen players who won all five of their matches in the Amonkhet / Hour of Devastation Booster Draft portion. Naturally, we monitored their progress to see how many of them could press on to go 6-0. After Round 11, only seven players managed the feat of strength, going undefeated across both pods, and they did so with the following archetypes:

  • Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Blue-Green & Blue-Red)
  • Sergio Ferrer Rozalen (Red-Green & Black-Red)
  • Jon Finkel (Blue-Red & Four-Color Green)
  • Mike Hron (Blue-Black & Black-Red)
  • Teruya Kakumae (Blue-Green & White-Black)
  • Samuel Pardee (Blue-Green & Red-Green)
  • Adam Ragsdale (White-Black & Blue-Green)

What were some valuable insights we can learn from these esteemed players?

First things first, the Deserts played not only a huge role in Standard, but also Limited. Players were picking Deserts to support format gems such as Wall of Forgotten Pharaohs and Sand Strangler. As a matter of fact, Deserts were so important that it was wise to counter-draft Deserts. As you can see in the Draft Viewer, Shintaro Kurata demonstrated how you can weaken "Desert matters" cards by counterdrafting Deserts.

Kurata passed (7) Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa Sand Strangler in Pack 2, which was an effective card against his Green-White deck. The draft progressed and something interesting happened with the eleventh pick. He could have taken Beneath the Sands to accommodate future splashes (you never know, he might open something like Samut, Voice of Dissent in his Amonkhet booster), or picked God-Pharaoh's Faithful as a sideboard card against aggro decks.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's deck thrived on Deserts, but could function fine without them. His Limited prowess served him well this weekend with a 6-0 across both drafts at the Pro Tour.

Instead, he chose to take Desert of the Fervent, denying Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa this very important land and thus weakening the Sand Strangler that he had passed. In the end, Damo da Rosa only had two Deserts to go along with Sand Strangler, so imagine how much difference a third Desert could have made. However, that didn't stop Damo da Rosa from finishing Round 11 as the sole 11-0 player, and it is likely we will be seeing more of him this coming Sunday.

Jon Finkel, who also made the Top 8 at Grand Prix Kyoto last weekend, was one of the players who went 6-0, and he did so in tremendous fashion! Drafting a green-based four-color deck which included Manalith, Traveler's Amulet, and Beneath the Sands, he was able to defeat fellow Hall of Famer Frank Karsten (who would have been 6-0 had he defeated Finkel) with a splashed Approach of the Second Sun.

Once Finkel got his mana fixed, his deck could support whatever cards came along the way, such as Rags // Riches, Heaven // Earth, Consign // Oblivion, Farm // Market, and even four copies of Obelisk Spider to gum up the board! Indeed, this strategy had been adopted by numerous players, but only Finkel managed the clean sweep.

Pro Tour Geneva 2007 Champion and three-time Team Limited Grand Prix Champion Mike Hron shared some thoughts on how he achieved his perfect run. In particular, he zoned in on a rather interesting blue-black cycling deck which showcased one of the most important mechanics of the Amonkhet block.

"I started out the draft picking Grind // Dust, which is probably the best non-mythic rare in the format," he explained. "And then, I was passed God-Pharaoh's Gift. That card is so good and I won every match that I cast it."

Indeed, with so many cycling cards tearing through his deck, it was understandable that he found his win condition more often than not. In addition, on the topic of Abandoned Sarcophagus, Hron admitted that he never had a chance to use it.

"I don't know how powerful it is really because I never drew it. You can't replay the Deserts you cycled, but if you have enough creatures with cycling, it can be really powerful. All in all, some of the most important cards in the archetype are Vile Manifestation, which is usually a 3/4 or 4/4 for two mana that is extremely difficult to block, Ruthless Sniper, and a lot of one-mana cyclers. It is nice to have Drake Haven, but I think Archfiend of Ifnir is the rare I would really like to open."

After (2) Shota Yasooka, Kentaro Yamamoto, and Yuuki Ichikawa crashed out in Day One, team Musashi pinned its hopes on (4) Yuuya Watanabe, (13) Ken Yukuhiro, and two-time Grand Prix Champion Teruya Kakumae. Trying to maintain their lead, Kakumae forged ahead as his teammates fell behind, winning all six of his Booster Draft matches, and doing so with two vastly different decks.

"I drafted a Blue-Green deck with two River Hoopoes as my most powerful cards, but nothing else really exciting," he said. "It's simply a solid deck with a nice curve, good creatures, and a strong late game. For my White-Black deck, it is a straightforward Zombies deck that is very aggressive."

As you might notice later, there were no rares either of his decks. However, Kakumae professed that rares were excellent, but not the most important, and it was still possible to win even if you're not fortunate enough to open powerful bomb rares.

Teruya Kakumae, one of the few Musashi players remaining in good contention, conquered this weekend's draft format.

"I don't usually decide my color right away. I prefer to read the signals and then move into whichever color is open. I start by drafting a few removal spells, and then I need to decide what archetype to shift to. Understanding the archetypes is very important for selecting the correct card. For example, if I am drafting White-Blue Fliers, Aven of Enduring Hope is one of the most important commons. However, if I am drafting White-Black Zombies, I will always pick Mummy Paramount over that."

With so many well-defined archetypes such as Green-White Exert, White-Black Zombies, White-Blue Fliers, and Red-White Aggro, any given single white card can range from being the deck's MVP, or being utterly unplayable!

As a result of their excellent performance, Damo da Rosa, Ferrer Rozalen, Finkel, Kakumae, Pardee, and Ragsdale move into the Construction portion still in contention for the Top 8. As they battle in the next five rounds, let's take a look at all fourteen 3-0 decklists from our seven 6-0 drafters! Maybe you'll be able to learn a thing or two the next time you experience this amazing format!

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Blue-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa's Blue-Red - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Sergio Ferrer Rozalen's Red-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Sergio Ferrer Rozalen's Black-Red - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Jon Finkel's Blue-Red - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Jon Finkel's 4-Color Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Mike Hron's Blue-Black - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Mike Hron's Black-Red - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Teruya Kakumae's Blue-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Teruya Kakumae's White-Black - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Samuel Pardee's Blue-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Samuel Pardee's Red-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

Adam Ragsdale's White-Black - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 1

Adam Ragsdale's Blue-Green - Pro Tour Hour of Devastation - Draft 2

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