Friday Night Magic

Although some of our other friends organized a poker game last night, Subrata is closer to my frame of mind and is more interested in playing Magic, and he suggested that we go last night to play the Friday Night Magic booster draft at Superstars (I found a list of their tournaments, although the URL of that page makes it look pretty temporary). Neither of us had gone before, but it was all pretty easy: We showed up around 5:30, signed up for DCI membership, and at 6:00 they seated everyone (18 players) for two drafts and we began. Subrata and I ended up in separate drafts, but that was fine.

The draft was in the Time Spiral block, which I mostly enjoy, although I find Future Sight somewhat disappointing. I had a mediocre draft, partly due to mixed signals I was getting: My first two picks were from mediocre packs, but I ended up solidly in green through the first pack. Planar Chaos – as it often seems to be – was my strongest pack, although I ended up moving into black and then blue during it. Then in Future Sight I didn’t seem to be getting many interesting cards.

Well, there was a reason for all of this: The player to my right was drafting white/blue, and the player to his right was drafting red/green, and the player to my left was drafting black/white. So I did well when there was a surplus of green and blue coming around, but poorly when there wasn’t. I ended up with green/blue deck more heavy in green. I drafted a few good black cards and one good red card which I therefore didn’t use (which was too bad mainly because I always enjoy playing cards like Enslave).

Tarmogoyf.jpgAfter the draft we play three matches as chosen by the store organizers. My first match was against a green/black deck, and other than my getting smoked in the first game, we were pretty evenly matched. In particular, Frozen Aether totally shuts down combat tricks using Flash, or one-shot creatures like Groundbreaker. Unfortunately, my mind had trouble getting into the mechanics of the game, and I could have won the third game had I played slightly differently, but instead I lost 1 game to 2.

(This opponent did point out that the Tarmogoyf I drafted, which is currently selling for over $20 on the secondhand Magic card market, so in theory I could turn around and sell it ad recoup my entry fee for the tournament. How about that?)

The second match I played against a boy who was there with his father, also their first event at the store. (Subrata ended up playing the father in his draft.) I suggested that they should check out the columns on the Wizards web site for tips on drafting and playing. Anyway, he was playing a black/white deck with a number of tricks, and he got some help from one of the observers at the store (which I tried to be a good sport about). I turned out to have just enough answers for his threats (three Utopia Vows saved my bacon a lot) and won 2-0.

The third match was against a green/blue/red deck, and again we were pretty evenly matched, but he ended up with somewhat better draws then I had, and I went down 0-2. He had a lot of green cards that I had really wanted (I still don’t have a Nacatl War-Pride, sigh), so now I know where many of those went in the draft.

So overall I won one match, and it turns out that players get one free booster pack from one of the blocks in current Standard expansions, so I took a Planar Chaos one. Subrata also won one match in his game. We were both fairly competitive, but not among the top players. But we had fun!

The store is actually quite nice to play in, with plenty of tables, and it’s clean and bright (a lot of specialty stores in the gaming and comics areas can tend to be a little dark and dingy, and it’s always nice to visit a store that’s working hard to be pleasant and welcoming). All the other players were nice, too.

I still need to work on my card evaluation, and also getting better at reading which cards are being filtered out to my right. There’s a lot of randomness in the packs, which makes the latter difficult: One pack might make it look like blue is open, while the next make it look like blue is closed. Obviously I’ve got some work to do there.

Plus, now I know I have another outlet for playing Magic when I have the itch!

But I promise not to relate the details of every draft I do. 🙂