Long Time No Draft

Since I recently introduced my cow-orker Sean to our Monday night Magic group, I decided to take him up on his suggestion to go with him for a Magic 2011 draft yesterday afternoon. Sean goes to Legends of Comics & Games, a store in Vallco Mall which somehow has survived and even thrived as that mall has come near to death and then slowly come back to life. (Oddly, the store seems to lack both a web site and a Facebook page.)

I’ve done drafts at a couple other places in the area, and this one seems like the friendliest and lowest-pressure among them, so I’ll probably go back just for that reason. It would be nice to draft once a month or so, if Debbi is willing to sacrifice part of a weekend every so often for me to go off and do so. 🙂

This week’s draft was Magic 2011, and it’s my first draft on about two years, since Shadowmoor. Despite visions of first-picking a Grave Titan, in fact my first pack was not very exciting, and I decided to take Corrupt and see if I could force mono-black. In fact, the black poured in from the right, and I did indeed end up mono-black, only taking other colors when there was no black left in a pack. My one big decision came in deciding whether to take a second Corrupt, or a Nantuko Shade. Others agreed it was a tough choice, and felt the Shade (which is what I took) was defensible because if I actually dropped it on turn 2 it would be hard for any decks to deal with. In fact as things played out Corrupt would have helped more, but that was purely situational.

My deck seemed so-so, in particular it felt light on creatures. But I did have a Demon of Death’s Gate, which I looked forward to playing. I also had a pair of Duress.

I won’t detail the games greatly; I lost my first match 1-2 against a blue/white deck; in the deciding game I double-mulliganed, got him on the ropes anyway, then stalled out and finally lost. The second match I won 2-1 in three lightning-fast games against a red/blue deck. My big lesson from the first two games was learning how effective Quag Sickness is in mono-black.

The third match was the most interesting, against a green/white deck which was nearly all creatures. So after the first game I sideboarded out Duress in favor of a pair of Deathmarks (woo-hoo!). We split the first two games, and played the decider. I got out three creatures, but he was starting to build up defense, so I played my Demon of Death’s Gate, which put him on a 2-turn clock. He winced, said he wasn’t sure how he’d get out of this, drew for his next turn – and Pacified my demon. Ugh. Then we each started building up creatures (I sacrificed my Demon to a Viscera Seer, hoping I could bring it back with Rise from the Grave), and were in a stalemate. I was at 5 life, he was at 11, and I started just drawing land. Oddly he decided not to attack – I think he could have won if he started applying pressure – and I observed that the dam was going to burst soon. As I was drawing, he remarked that I could draw the right removal and break the deadlock. I looked at my card and said, “Or I can Corrupt you for 12.” He put his head in his hand and we shook hands.

I was slightly amused that I was quite a bit older than most of the players – I played against two high schoolers and a 20-year-old. Though there were a couple of people older than me, there. It was also an object lesson in, well, financial means, since most of the younger folks were interested in trading cards (imagine that, trading trading cards!) whereas I tend to just buy most of the cards I want (except for the most expensive ones). Still, as with any game, once you sit down to play you’re on equal footing.

So I had a lot of fun, and won a free pack of M11 for my efforts. By the next time I draft, Scars of Mirrodin might be out, and that ought to be a completely different experience.