Well That Sucked

Magic draft tonight. Onslaught block – our first time drafting that block. We had 8 players.

And I had probably the worst draft I ever had. A green/black deck with big creatures and not enough stuff to let me survive to get them out.

I got kinda screwed because the first pack there seemed to be plenty of green and black going around, so I thought I was in great shape. Then the second pack had no black – because the guy on my left was filtering it out – and the green was very mediocre. And the third pack had no black – because the guy on my right was filtering it out – so I ended up with big expensive creatures and not enough removal and no real combat tricks. I got completely run over in both matches I played, so I bailed after that since I wasn’t having any fun playing.

I should have ended up in green/blue, since there was a huge amount of blue going around. But not in the first pack, so I assumed one or both players on my right were in blue. (They were actually in red/black and red/blue.)

I feel like my drafting ability is going backwards – both of my last two drafts have been awful – and I don’t know how to get better at it. It sucks.

5 thoughts on “Well That Sucked”

  1. I didn’t play your deck, but you definitely were hurt by Mark picking up the Zombies and Goblins, and me picking up Clerics and Zombies. (I picked up a couple of Green and Red cards early before realizing that I wasn’t getting any more green or red.)

    It’s never clear to me how much attention to pay to signals in our drafts, since a) we usually don’t get eight b) I at least, and I’ll bet others, don’t signal consistently in the first few packs, and c) we can’t necessarily be counted on to read and respond to signals.

    In tonight’s draft, for example, I did notice a lack of black, but I had four (white) Clerics already and two cool black cards I wanted to play, so you weren’t going to talk me out of black. If Andrew had been downstream of you, he would have noticed and could have drawn the right conclusions, rewarding you by switching into white/blue. Another example from tonight is that Yvette, Andrew and Ziggy were all in white, despite my filtering out white from pick 1 in pack 1 directly in front of them. If your theoretically-dominated neighbor is defying you, there’s not much you can do.

    One mistake that I made was not prioritizing removal highly enough in the first pack, knowing that I wouldn’t get any in the second pack. (I got a little in the third pack, but not enough). On the other hand, opening an Exalted Angel will make up for many sins; your biggest mistake might have been handing me that pack :

  2. Okay, I’ll definitely try to do better when handing you unopened packs. 😀

    I prioritized removal fairly highly, but didn’t see a whole lot of it. Removal is the whole reason I ended up in black, actually.

    What happened, I think, is that I acted on false signals: By my 4th pick of the first pack, I was receiving packs with 0 or 1 blue card, so I inferred that one or both of the players on my right were in blue. I also received a lot of black removal, so I inferred that neither of them were in black. Both inferences were wrong: I conclude that the first pack contained an excess of black and very little blue. This was especially frustrating since I was looking for reasons to be in white or blue, as they’re colors I rarely draft, but I had little reason to go to either color in the first pack.

    What I haven’t figured out is when and how to shift gears after the first pack: It was clear in the second pack that red was wide open to my left, and perhaps that blue was open, too. I should have abandoned black for either red or blue, although I probably would have ended up in red which would have been difficult for me in the third pack.

    So in hindsight it’s clear what I should have done, but all indications were that what I should have done was going to be absolutely the wrong thing. So I conclude that I just got screwed.

    Either that or I conclude that I should stop drafting green. :-/

  3. Given that Josh ended up with pretty much all the blue, it seems pretty clear that someone should have shifted into blue; probably at least one of us, anyway 🙂

  4. okay so I know this is random…but I just stumbled across your blog when I googled redwood city and magic tournaments why it came up who knows and thought I would chime in on this.

    The first pack doesnt always dictate what you should play its easy to change if you start getting passed good stuff in colors that you know will contain things you can use. In draft I have learned that things that seem like good cards in general arent always the best things to pick, the format your playing actually defines whats best and mostly thats removal or creatures with evasion abilites, drafting and constructed are totally different skills…course sometimes you just draft a pile…it happens…

  5. Hi Bob! The joy of the Web, as far as I’m concerned, is what you can stumble across at random, so thanks for chiming in!

    I’m slowly coming to realize that I need to be more flexible in drafting colors as I go on. Especially in the second pack, which often feels very random in the wake of the first pack. I still need to put this philosophy to the test, though! I’m also trying to become less reliant on certain strategies: I keep worrying about mana-fixing and color-fixing, which of course tends to push me towards green.

    I guess what I should do is be more aware when a pack has good cards that are off-color, and consider switching to that color if there’s nothing interesting in the pack in the colors I’ve been drafting so far. It’s a thought, anyway!

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