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First Look at the CPA Ultimate Singleton Draft
By Mark "Ransac" Wanich
On May 4, 2006, nearly a year ago, Eric Turgeon (better known by his moniker "turgy22") offered an enormous feat to the active members of the Casual Players Alliance. With all of the active games going on, including the then-popular "Build-a-Deck" concept, he suggested that members of the CPA participate in a Draft. Sounds simple enough? Okay, the draft would be Singleton.... and it would include EVERY card (with little restriction) to draft from. Support was garnered from the usual lot (plus some new faces), and within a few days we had eight.... or NINE, as it turns out. The drafters included turgy22, CPA Administrative Assistant Spiderman, Oversoul, DarthFerret, Lythand (who had just recently returned from a long CPA hiatus), Melkor, new member Homestar, and yours truly...... and then Zigathon at the last minute.

[NOTE- you can read up on the history of this draft here]

Even though 9 players would supposedly "mess up" the fluidity of an 8-man, it was felt that when Ziggy asked to join, there was no reason to say no. The draft hadn't begun and it was for casual players anyway.

After a little bit of discussion, I gathered the rules as follows:

1. You may select from any Vintage Legal card. Banned Vintage Cards: Chaos Orb, Falling Star, Any Ante Cards.

2. All sets are legal EXCEPT: Unglued and Unhinged. This means the Portal sets are legal.

3. Once a card has been drafted, it may not be drafted by anybody else.

4. Once the draft is over, you may use as many basic lands as you choose.

So, the draft was on... and it didn't take long to figure out that there would be a few snags. For starters, people would leave town for several days without internet access during their turns. As result, a time limit rule for a week (that was later reduced) was put in into effect, last changed as:

5. If it has been three days since the player before you has drafted, you turn may be skipped. If you are skipped, you may make up your pick at the end of the regular draft.

This rule was enforced constantly, with only two draftees making through the regular draft not having been skipped. Additionally, new sets were introduced and a question of fairness was brought up: When a new set is released, how could we draft from it. It seemed unfair if cards with the potential to be more powerful than those already drafted were suddenly introduced to the cardpool. So, the following rule was adopted:

The initial draft includes Alpha through Dissension (the most recently released set). Later sets may be drafted a year after they have been released.

Well, a heck lot of good THAT specification made. The next set was Coldsnap and it hasn't even been a year since THAT came out.

Anyway, the draft lasted 326 days when, in late March, the last make-up picks were completed.... almost. You see we lost 1 1/2 players. 1 player = Homestar. He had begun to draft a G/W build that mirrored decks from the Kamigawa/Ravnica standard. However, he found less and less time to get online and ultimately informed Oversoul (I think) that he had to give up Magic for the time being.

SO the draft continued.... until Zigathon hit a snag. He's not out of the draft, but he's currently not able to get online at a consistent basis. We've reserved his cards for him and he has 18 make-up picks to make, which I'll touch on later.

We're already knee-deep into the first round, which looks like this:

1)Spiderman vs. DarthFerret (Currently in Game 1)
2) Oversoul vs. Lythand (Oversoul leads 1-0)
3) Ransac vs. Turgy22 (Ransac wins 2-0)
4) Melkor vs. Zigathon (waiting on Zigathon)

You can read up on the matches yourself, but now it's time it introduce the decks!!!!

Spiderman U/W/G, splash B

Creatures (11)
Iridescent Angel
Academy Rector
Exalted Angel
Eternal Dragon
Krosan Tusker
Phantom Nishoba
Desolation Angel
Genesis
Blastoderm
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Deranged Hermit

Spells: (21)
Balance
Sol Ring
Swords to Plowshares
Disenchant
Enlightened Tutor
Null Rod
Armageddon
Isochron Scepter
Samite Ministration
Land Tax
Ivory Tower
Abeyance
Recollect
Gaea's Blessing
Pernicious Deed
Presence of the Master
Rule of Law
Vindicate
Hunting Grounds
Recurring Nightmare
Arcane Laboratory

Lands (13):
Library of Alexandria
Hallowed Fountain
Brushland
Mishra's Factory
Treetop Village
Scrubland
Bayou
Llanowar Wastes
Wasteland
Pillar of the Paruns
Meteor Crater
Breeding Pool
Caves of Koilos

Spidey worried me from the get-go, mainly because he was drafting powerful white spells that I sought and he eventually dipped into U/W spells/lands that forced me to alter my priorities in drafting. Spidey has 11 creatures in his deck, most of them capable of doing some serious damage. On top of that, an earlier than anticipated drafting of Isochron gives him a scary amount of answers to most of the draftees strategies. His Academy Rector can also cause fits, as it gives him the ability of pulling out game changing enchantments such as Pernicious Deed and Hunting Grounds. However, with a scarcity of early game answers and board clearers to accompany the cards that he's drafting, I wonder if he'll be easily overwhelmed by the players with agressive decks, like Lythand and DarthFerret (who he's playing now)

Oversoul

Creatures: (7)
Blood Pet
Elvish Spirit Guide
Ornithopter
Shield Sphere
Phyrexian Walker
Tinder Wall
Xantid Swarm

Spells: (31)
Black Lotus
Yawgmoth's Bargain
Dark Ritual
Tinker
Mana Crypt
Yawgmoth's Will
Windfall
Chrome Mox
Lotus Petal
Frantic Search
Mana Vault
Time Spiral
Cabal Ritual
Culling the Weak
Night's Whisper
Memory Jar
Feldon's Cane
Chromatic Sphere
Urza's Bauble
Lion's Eye Diamond
Tendrils of Agony
Mind's Desire
Brain Freeze
Rebuild
Lat-Nam's Legacy
Land Grant
Meditate
Defense Grid
City of Solitude
Goblin Charbelcher
In the Eye of Chaos

Lands: (7)
Underground River
Glimmervoid
Gemstone Mine
Reflecting Pool
Thran Quarry
Rootwater Depths
Tropical Island

An interesting thing to point out with Oversoul's deck is that his first 15 draft picks were spells. additionally, with the few creatures that he's drafted, you can't expect him to win games through force. HOWEVER, he never considered the thought of attacking to win as he's spent this entire draft working on the theme of Storm-Based forms of destruction, like Tendrils of Agony, Brain Freeze, and Mind's Desire. He already heartily trounced an unsuspecting Lythand in their first game, so it's safe to say that the deck works. Oversoul once stated that he was worried about my deck, though I feel that Oversoul has a distinct advantage over the majority of the decks in this tournament.


Ransac

Creatures: (11)
Serra Angel
Blinding Angel
Voice of All
Mageta, the Lion
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Mother of Runes
Paladin en-Vec
Ertai, Wizard Adept
Devout Witness
Savannah Lions
Soltari Priest

Spells: (31)
Mox Sapphire
Timetwister
Wrath of God
Counterspell
Force of Will
Story Circle
Brainstorm
Braingeyser
Evacuation
Absorb
Treachery
Orim's Chant
Rout
Capsize
Force Spike
Desertion
Sensei's Divining Top
Remand
Rebound
Phyrexian Processor
Stifle
Planar Portal
Denying Wind
Swift Silence
Battle Screech
Moat
Spell Snare
Decree of Justice
Decree of Silence
Scroll Rack
Sword of Fire and Ice

Lands:
Tundra
Maze of Ith
Kjeldoran Outpost

I won't comment on my own deck, other than I feel that it so far works out the way I intended it to.


Melkor-

Creatures: (9)
Morphling
Masticore
Hypnotic Specter
Keiga, the Tide Star
Duplicant
Sundering Titan
Triskellion
Dark Confidant
Psychatog

Spells: (32)
Ancestral Recall
Demonic Tutor
Mind Twist
Mana Drain
Stroke of Genius
Fact or Fiction
The Abyss
Mana Leak
Hymn to Tourach
Misdirection
Undermine
Power Sink
Merchant Scroll
Twincast
Forbid
Soothsaying
Impulse
Diabolic Edict
Gifts Ungiven
Recoil
Boomerang
Jester's Cap
Trinisphere
Control Magic
Spinning Darkness
Spite // Malice
Tainted Pact
Massacre
Rescind
Mindslaver
Powder Keg
Muddle the Mixture

Lands: (4)
Underground Sea
Mishra's Workshop
Salt Marsh
Tainted Isle

I believe that Melkor went with a similar drafting style as me, with the huge exception that he went U/B over U/W. He has a nice counter base, drafted a number of silver bullets, and has a few decent beaters as well. This includes the very first creature drafted: Morphling.


DarthFerret- R/G

Creatures: (11)
Rock Hydra
Balduvian Hydra
Blistering Firecat
Cockatrice
Verdeloth the Ancient
Nemeta, Grove Guardian
Elvish Farmer
Ulasht, The Hate Seed
Ivy Elemental
Molten Hydra
Ali from Cairo

Spells: (34)
Mox Emerald
Channel
Berserk
Fastbond
Zuran Orb
Crucible of Worlds
Disintegrate
Blaze
Kaervek's Torch
Lava Burst
Doubling Season
Stream of Life
Hurricane
Mana Flare
Regrowth
Might of Oaks
Giant Growth
Demonfire
Lure
Heartbeat of Spring
Sporogenesis
Overrun
Saproling Burst
Ashnod's Altar
Firecat Blitz
Raging River
False Orders
Illusionary Mask
Forcefield
Icy Manipulator
New Frontiers
Earthcraft
Chaosphere
Cursed Rack

Lands: (0)

Darthferret took advantage of the fact that the four players drafting before him were all going for control of some kind by drafting a very agressive deck with more than one way to win. In addition to his battalion of beefy creatures, he drafted a fair amount of burn that should allow him to draw into it consistently. To couple that, he has Mana Flare AND Heartbeat of Spring to speed up the potential of his X spells. On TOP of that, he started his draft by drafting the Zuran Orb/Fastbond/Crucible of World combo. I can see him causing a lot of headaches for the unprepared control players.

Lythand: U/R

Creatures:
Ball Lightning
Giant Solifuge
Clone
Mogg Maniac
Prodigal Sorceror
Izzet Guildmage
Tidewater Minion
Rootwater Thief
Skizzik
Shivan Dragon
Juggernaut
Walking Archive
Avalanch Riders
Willbender

Spells:
Mox Ruby
Mox Diamond
Grim Monolith
Power Artifact
Fireball
Gamble
Earthquake
Fork
Copy Artifact
Copy Enchantment
Quicken
Apathy
Curiosity
Freed From the Real
Pyromatics
Bribery
Melt Down
Teferi's Puzzle Box
Anarchy
Arcane Denial
Seething Song
Wildfire
Repeal
Winds of Change
Jade Statue
Reminisce
Rising Waters
Rewind
Foil

Lands:
Steam Vents
Izzet Boilerworks

Lythand also jumped on the lack of red being drafted by the far end of the table by picking up speedy creatures like Ball Lightning, Giant Solifuge, and Skizzik. Like DarthFerret, he also started off his drafted by picking up an infinite combo in Power Artifact/Grim Monolith. A fair number of his cards involve thievery (Copy Artifact/Enchantment, Bribery) and trickery (Gamble, Teferi's Puzzle Box). It will be interesting to see how Lythand intends to play his deck.


turgy22 - U/B/R

Creatures: (5)
Darksteel Colossus
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Gorilla Shaman
Army Ants

Spells: (27)
Mox Jet
Time Walk
Vampiric Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Duress
Wheel of Fortune
Black Vise
Show and Tell
Sinkhole
Annul
Browbeat
Burning Wish
Cursed Scroll
Beacon of Unrest
Fabricate
Chainer's Edict
Perplex
Cunning Wish
Blight
Energy Flux
Aura Flux
Glimpse the Unthinkable
Terminate
Psionic Blast
Char
Pillage
Obliterate

Lands: (13)
Tolarian Academy
Blood Crypt
Sulfuric Spring
Tainted Peak
Bloodstained Mire
Ancient Tomb
Strip Mine
Volcanic Island
Watery Grave
Shivan Reef
Polluted Delta
City of Brass
Badlands

turgy22 drafted a good number of manipulation cards to ensure that he gets the answers that he desires. However, in my experience in playing against him in the first round, he doesn't have enough win conditions. Black Vise proved to be a winner in our extra game, but the deck doesn't have a large number of threats, though the ones he has (Kokusho, Darksteel Colosuss [through tinker]) are solid by themselves. Hopefully, he'll run into better luck in the coming rounds.


Zigathon- Currently Mono-Black

Creatures: (5)
Maga Traitor to Mortals
Demonic Hordes
Helldozer
Braids, Cabal Minnion
Juzam Djinn

Spells: (19)
Necropotence
Consume Spirit
Drain Life
Black Mana Battery
Underworld Dreams
Bond of Agony
Nevinyrral's Disk
Soul Burn
Phyrexian Arena
Hondon of Night's Reach
Necrogen Mists
Sins of the Past
Choice of Damnations
Death Cloud
Persecute
Subversion
Talon of Pain
Soul Feast
Moonlight Bargain

Lands: (2)
Cabal Coffers
Lake of the Dead

Since his deck isn't finished, I'll only mention that the fact that he has 18 picks to take when/if he returns can be a huge advantage. He can add a new color or incorporate a new theme with combos without worrying if someone else will wise up to it and draft a crucial piece.


So, there you have it. Hopefully, more articles will be posted as this tournament goes on. There is another Ultimate suggesting (by yours truly), but this time in Garbage format. You can check it out here


Until next time,

Mark "Ransac" Wanich

Read More Articles by Mark "Ransac" Wanich!

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