Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quarkgames Theros Draft 1/15/14

We did an 8-man THS-THS-THS draft at work today, and I took pictures of each pick decision!  I'll be going over all of my choices and the rationale behind them--follow along and see what you think!

There's a Wingsteed Rider, and a Leafcrown Dryad, and a Horizon Scholar.  But none of them beat Arbor Collosus which is a 6/6 reach for 5 which becomes a 9/9 on the following turn for 6.  Yes please!  I'm expecting the people to my left to be swayed into W or G because of the Wingsteed Rider and the Leafcrown Dryad, so hopefully I can cut green here.
My pick: Arbor Collosus

Ordeal of Heliod, Leafcrown Dryad, and Polis Crusher.  Ordeal isn't as good as the other two, and I'm fine with passing White to my left neighbor so I don't have to fight for it.  So now I'm given the choice between taking Leafcrown Dryad and staying open, or take Polis Crusher, which is definitely the stronger card, but only if I can play R/G.  It's not the kind of card I like to splash, though it's worth noting that it's easier for G to splash things due to Nylea's Presence.  In the end I go for the stronger card--who knows, green might even end up being cut and I'll have to jump ship anyways.
My pick: Polis Crusher

Here's the first really hard decision of the draft.  It's clearly a choice between Fanatic of Mogis and Griptide, as none of the other cards are comparable.  There's a rare and uncommon missing, which doesn't really tell us much.  Normally I would say that Griptide is the stronger card here, so I'm tempted to take it.  It's always a good play, and saves your ass sometimes, whereas Fanatic of Mogis sometimes isn't what you need.  I also don't like red in Theros unless I know it's open, since a lot of the commons are sort of mediocre.  However, I do want to play my Polis Crusher, so I might want to cut the flow of red here for that reason.  And, I know that the person to my right doesn't know the set very well, so I'm guessing he's undervaluing Griptide, and therefore I shouldn't take it as a signal that blue is open.  If anything I'd expect him to like the Fanatic better.  So I'm going to try and stick with red here and see what the next pack brings us.
My pick: Fanatic of Mogis

Aaand this didn't really help us out much.  We're not playing Chained to the Rocks, so it's between Prescient Chimera and Ill-Tempered Cyclops, which I would say are relatively even in power level.  And of course, one is red while one is blue.  Argh!  I decide to stay the course here and go with the Cyclops.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

Phew!  It looks like we made the right choice!  There's nothing notable in blue here, and we have 3 solid red playables!  I don't really like Rage of Purphoros, because it's a bit slow and there's a surprising amount of stuff that it can't hit (Nessian Asp, bestowed creatures, guardians of meletis, keepsake gorgon, etc.), so it's between Borderland Minotaur and Ill-Tempered Cyclops.  Borderland Minotaur is nice, and it gives us extra red devotion for our Fanatic of Mogis, but I'm pretty sure Ill-Tempered Cyclops is the better card, and better at closing out games, so I'm sticking with that.  Also noteworthy is the Satyr Hedonist, but I don't really like that card enough to take it over something solid like the cyclops.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

And now I'm really glad I didn't try to get into blue. :D  There's nothing good here at all, so I just take the Destructive Revelry as a nice sideboard card that might make the maindeck if I'm short on good playables.  Instant speed enchantment removal with upside for 2 mana is not bad at all!
My pick: Destructive Revelry

Uh oh...this is a really late Observant Alseid.  This pack really had me worried, but I was willing to just chalk it up to the other drafters being inexperienced and not realizing the value of the cards here.  The advantage of drafting with people who are inexperienced is that you get to pick up free goodies, but on the flipside it's harder to read signals (though inexperienced drafters also tend to lock into colors much more easily, I feel).  I'm not willing to jump ship to white at this point, so I'm taking the Sedge Scorpion, which is a very solid green card and should tell me that it's still fine to be in green.  Portent of Betrayal is okay, but definitely not worth taking over scorpion.
My pick: Sedge Scorpion

(The black card covered by my hand is a Scouremark)
A pick 8 Observant Alseid???  Now I'm really having some warning symbols go off in my head.  But looking over my packs again, I still can't really justify switching over to white, especially knowing that I've passed a Wingsteed Rider, an Ordeal of Heliod, and a late Observant Alseid.  I actually took the Akroan Crusader here, thinking that I wanted to be really aggro.  In hindsight, I don't think that's quite the right pick as R/G doesn't really have enough early drops to be aggressive right out of the gate like an R/W heroic deck does.  I guess the only other cards worth taking are the Fade into Antiquity for sideboarding, and the Alseid.  Hmm...maybe taking the crusader is right after all, if only to signal that I'm definitely not in white.
My pick: Akroan Crusader

Nothing in this pack.  I could take Spellheart Chimera in case I open some blue bomb or something, but here I'm just going to take Anvilwrought Raptor.  Maybe it'll come in handy if somebody has 4 guardians of meletis or 4 vaporkin or something like that.

More weird stuff going on...There's a God's Willing and a Prescient Chimera here, both of which should not be here this late.  I pick the Gods Willing here...for some reason I thought it was more likely that I'd shift into White if I open some sort of white bomb (fabled hero?) and then build some R/W heroic deck.  Keep in mind that the only green cards I've drafted so far are Arbor Collosus (which I definitely want to try to play), Polis Crusher (same), and Sedge scorpion, so although I really don't -want- to, it's conceivable that I could switch out of green (maybe splash the polis crusher?).  I like pairing white with red much more than blue with red.  Also God's Willing is more scary to play around than Prescient Chimera since it's a combat trick, so I don't mind hating it.
My pick: God's Willing

I'm quite happy to see this Satyr Hedonist here.  I'm not a huge fan of the card, but R/G ramp is a thing and we've already got 2 Ill-Tempered Cyclops that can make good use of the mana ramp we get from him.
My pick: Satyr Hedonist

Pyxis of Pandemonium!  I don't think Setessan Griffin is worth hating, so I'll take the second Destructive Revelry.  Maybe someone will have a crapload of nymphs???
My pick: Destructive Revelry

Wow, almost too good to be true.  I guess no one else is in RG!
My pick: Satyr Hedonist

Okay, sure.
My pick: Fleshmad Steed

Pack 1 recap
Okay, I'm doing very good here.  Those last two picks especially assured me that RG is open and that I should be set up for the next two packs.  I didn't see a lot of good green, so at this point I should be -slightly- worried that I'm being cut from it, but even if so, I should still be hooked up with good green in pack 2 anyways, and red seems open (or the guy to my right just doesn't know what he's doing).  I don't have any ways to interact with my opponent's creatures, so a lightning strike or time to feed would be a priority here.  I also have zero 3-drops right now, so that's also a priority.

And there's the lightning strike I asked for!  But...oh gosh, there's also a sedge scorpion, a Nemesis of Mortals, AND a Boon Satyr here!  Can I just take the whole pack?  Okay, so I don't want the scorpion, as that's the worst of the bunch.  I also don't quite need nemesis of mortals since I already have big stuff (arbor collosus, the two ill-tempered cyclops).  So it's between lightning strike and boon satyr.  I haven't had much experience with Boon Satyr, but it's supposed to be really good according to, plus I do have a big fat hole in my curve at 3 mana right now.  It also goes really well with my cyclopses--turn 4 cyclops into turn 5 bestow boon satyr gives you a 7/5 trampler which is quite awesome.  I'm still not 100% sure of this, but I ended up taking the Boon Satyr here.
My pick: Boon Satyr

I don't need another Ill-Tempered Cyclops at this point, and Spearpoint Oread is meh, so it's between Leafcrown Dryad and Voyaging Satyr, both of which are really good.  This one was tough for me.  In a vacuum I'd pick the Leafcrown Dryad, but I also already have a good number of 4-drops.  On the other hand, maybe I don't need the voyaging satyr because I already have 2 satyr hedonists for ramp.  At this point I was still trying to be "relatively aggressive", especially with the boon satyr I just picked, so I went with the dryad which is a more aggressive play.  I also don't yet have anything to deal with flyers besides the arbor collosus, so it's nice to pick up the dryad for that reason too.  Really this could go either way though, because jumping from 2 to 4 is really nice, especially since I DO have so many 4 drops.  This is a decision I'm still questioning.
My pick: Leafcrown Dryad

Aaaand this pack has all the green goodies in the world.  I don't want the centaur battlemaster, because I basically have no ways to turn it on.  So that leaves Leafcrown Dryad, Voyaging Satyr, and Nylea's Emissary.  I didn't think I needed another Leafcrown Dryad, so it was between getting a fatty bestow, or a ramper.  I ended up picking the Emissary here, hoping that I could make good use of the satyr hedonists to bestow it onto something early, but I think this is the wrong pick and I should have gotten the Voyaging Satyr here for early ramp.  I think I was still in "I want to be aggro mode" and I value the emissary a bit too highly--a 3/3 with trample is no better than the ill-tempered cyclops, and I don't really need another mana sink, as with that mana I could just make a cyclops monstrous instead.  Okay, so this pick was wrong.
My pick: Nylea's Emissary

Dragon Mantle is nice, but Nessian Asp is way better and fits right into our gameplan.  It's also at 5 mana, which is the sweet spot since Satyr Hedonist jumps us from 2 to 5 and we can get an asp out on turn 3, which is amazing.
My pick: Nessian Asp

The only cards here are Agent of Horizons and Deathbellow Raider.  I considered the raider for a while because again, for some reason I was looking to be really aggressive (why?), but in the end I decided it was too high variance, and would get outclassed too quickly.  I also still need to fill in my 3-drop slot, so I took the agent.
My pick: Agent of Horizons

Nothing here for us.  I could hate the Shipwreck Singer, but I took the Traveler's Amulet instead in case I open something worth splashing (sea god's revenge?).
My pick: Traveler's Amulet

Minotaur Skullcleaver is awesome for us, as we want 3-drops.
My pick: Minotaur Skullcleaver

Nessian Courser is even better!  I definitely expect people at this table to undervalue it, as it's "just a vanilla 3/3", but it's actually quite good in this set.  This is also a very late vaporkin...
My pick: Nessian Courser

Sedge Scorpion #2 is fine here; nothing else worth taking, and it'll help us a lot against aggressive decks (unless they have two-headed cerberus).
My pick: Sedge Scorpion

Could I conceivably play a second Akroan Crusader?  Maybe.
My pick: Akroan Crusader

I really don't need Pheres-Band Centaurs, so I'll take Shredding Winds as a fine sideboard option against fliers (wingsteed riders, harpies, or any blue stuff).
My pick: Shredding Winds

Late dragon mantle!  Great goodies for us!
My pick: Dragon Mantle

I'm not going to play Defend the Hearth, so I hate-pick Last Breath instead.  In hindsight, last breath doesn't really target any of my stuff so I should have hate-picked defend the hearth instead.  Whatever...
My pick: Last Breath

My pick: Coastline Chimera
I think one of the lands was a foil here but someone swapped it for a regular?  Whatever, don't mind this as it's all super casual.

Pack 2 recap
We did really good here! (aside from taking Nylea's Emissary over voyaging satyr)  However, we are still lacking any ways to interact with the opponent's creatures, so we REALLY want that in pack 3.

Aaand our wishes are answered!  There's a sweet Karametra's Acolyte here, which I'm very sad to pass, and also a Time to Feed, but we really need this Lightning Strike.
My pick: Lightning Strike

Nylea's Disciple is the clear pick here.  I don't need Savage Surge.
My pick: Nylea's Disciple

And here's a SECOND Nylea's Disciple!  They definitely get better in multiples, so I'm taking that for sure.
My pick: Nylea's Disciple

There's a Centaur Battlemaster here, but checking over my cards, I have not that many ways to trigger it (boon satyr, dryad, emissary, dragon mantle, but emissary is really expensive...), and I'm lacking removal, so I'll take the sub-par Rage here.
My pick: Rage of Purphoros

For the same reasoning here, I'd rather have another Ill-Tempered Cyclops intead of the Staunch-Hearted Warrior.  It goes better with our Hedonist ramp too.
My pick: Ill-Tempered Cyclops

Whoa!  Borderland Minotaur, Dragon Mantle, and Sedge Scorpion are nice, but Karametra's Acolyte is starting to look GREAT now that we have two Nylea's Disciples.  We have PLENTY of uses for all of that mana (emissary, collosus, 3 cyclops, polis crusher, asp), so this is exactly what we want.
My pick: Karametra's Acolyte

Keep the red and green flowing!  Nothing is particularly exciting here except for Stoneshock Giant, which is yet another monstrosity outlet for our mana.  It's also a 5-drop, which is great with the Hedonists.
My pick: Stoneshock Giant

Another Minotaur Skullcleaver to help round out our 3-drop slot a bit more.
My pick: Minotaur Skullcleaver

This Time to Feed is a gift, and will help us out a lot.  Put down a big guy early, then use Time to Feed to remove their threats.  Awesome.
My pick: Time to Feed

I definitely don't want Akroan Crusader anymore, as I'm planning to ramp into big threats, not start with small ones.  It's between Peak Eruption, which I might side in against red as playable land destruction, and Fade into Antiquity, which I'd side in against any gods like Thassa.  I had a hard time deciding this pick because I really don't know how good Peak Eruption is--is it okay to use my 3-drop to not play a creature against an aggressive red deck?  I decided to just go with fade into antiquity instead, as I at least knew what situations I'd need that in.  If I was thinking REALLY awesomely (I wasn't) I would have taken the Peak Eruption because I passed a Chained to the Rocks early on in the draft.
My pick: Fade into Antiquity

Spearpoint Oread isn't that great, but it's certainly awesome to see it this late.  It's not bad in our deck either--gives us yet another mana sink.
My pick: Spearpoint Oread

What to hate here?  Not sable.  I chose to hate Returned Phalanx because it might hinder us early on when all we have are 3/3s.
My pick: Returned Phalanx

I don't want the Staunch-Hearted Warrior, so I pick the Sandals here.  Maybe in case someone has a whole crapload of walls on the ground or something?
My pick: Fleetfeather Sandals

My pick: Bronze Sable

Pack 3 recap
So we got exactly what we needed (lightning strike, time to feed, rage of purphoros), and even more than that (nylea's disciple x2, karametra's acolyte).  Awesome!!!

You can see the deck I built out of the pool and some comments on it here:

Pretty much the only thing I regret is taking the Nylea's Emissary over the Voyaging Satyr.  Satyr would also help me with my double mana costs, and the triple green for the Arbor Collosus.  Going from 2 to 4 would actually help me out a LOT and allow for many more explosive starts for me.  Oh well, so I didn't do perfectly...

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