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Second Look (wherein Oversoul copies Ransac)
By Stephen O. Bahl
Ransac wrote an article after his first match in the singleton draft tournament. Since Iím unoriginal and have no desire to spend my time on biology classes, I will now copy him. Of course, the fact that Ransac already explained the basic history and whatnot makes it unnecessary for me to do so. This is the unofficial sequel to Ransacís article. So read the original first, of course.

With that in mind, I intend to focus instead on the decks that were drafted. And maybe Iíll make some pathetic attempt to justify my deck. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Keep in mind that these card pools were drafted with (almost) all Magic cards available. There are some unusual strategic elements at work here. One must draft a pool of cards that can build a powerful deck while avoiding reliance on getting all the optimal picks (because someone is probably going to get a card you really wanted).

Also, this changes with the number of players. Given three players, all of them are going to be able to draft extremely powerful card pools and thereís a good chance they wonít be competing for many of the same cards. With nine players, certain strategies become less viable. Perhaps when this tournament is over, weíll have a good idea of what works and what doesnít.

One obvious option is to go for a blue-heavy control deck with either one other major color or one other major color and a splash color. Another possibility is to draft an aggressive, red-heavy deck of some sort. It might also be viable to draft a combo deck or a nonblue deck, potentially reducing the competition for key cards during the draft. All of these have some representation in our draft. Now how did the card pools work out?

Spidermanís card pool:

Library of Alexandria
Balance
Sol Ring
Swords to Plowshares
Disenchant
Enlightened Tutor
Null Rod
Armageddon
Isochron Scepter
Samite Ministration
Land Tax
Ivory Tower
Iridescent Angel
Hallowed Fountain
Abeyance
Recollect
Gaea's Blessing
Pernicious Deed
Academy Rector
Brushland
Presence of the Master
Exalted Angel
Eternal Dragon
Rule of Law
Mishra's Factory
Treetop Village
Scrubland
Vindicate
Bayou
Llanowar Wastes
Hunting Grounds
Wasteland
Krosan Tusker
Arcane Laboratory
Abyssal Gatekeeper
Pillar of the Paruns
Meteor Crater
Breeding Pool
Caves of Koilos
Deranged Hermit
Recurring Nightmare
Phantom Nishoba
Desolation Angel
Genesis
Blastoderm

By eschewing blue in favor of a relatively polychromatic selection, Spiderman was able to develop a versatile control deck. It appears that many of his opponents wonít be equipped to deal with the kinds of threats Spiderman has. If his first game against DarthFerret was any indication, Spiderman has one of the best decks in the tournament and is a contender at winning the whole thing. It looks like his weaknesses are a lack of card advantage and an overabundance of enchantments.

Oversoulís card pool:

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
Underground River
Memory Jar
Glimmervoid
Gemstone Mine
Feldon's Cane
Blood Pet
Chromatic Sphere
Urza's Bauble
Lion's Eye Diamond
Tendrils of Agony
Mind's Desire
Brain Freeze
Elvish Spirit Guide
Ornithopter
Shield Sphere
Phyrexian Walker
Rebuild
Reflecting Pool
Thran Quarry
Lat-Nam's Legacy
Rootwater Depths
Tropical Island
Land Grant
Meditate
Tinder Wall
Xantid Swarm
Defense Grid
City of Solitude
Goblin Charbelcher
In the Eye of Chaos

I drafted the least resilient and least versatile card pool in the whole group. I started out with the intention of going with a more controlling deck, but when I drafted Tinker and saw my picks so far and my opponentís picks so far, I decided an all-out storm deck would be my best option. Also, Tendrils is one of my favorite archetypes and an opportunity to try it here is worth the beatings Iím likely to take. I feel that my deck relies too much on luck and is inconsistent. On the other hand, I did win my first two games, so maybe Iím wrong. At the very least, my deck has the potential to punish other players for not drafting fast answers.

Interestingly enough, any player in the draft could have stopped me in my tracks. I held off on picking Tendrils of Agony for over 20 rounds of drafting. My intentions must have become increasingly obvious, but if anyone had hatedrafted and taken the Tendrils before I did, Iíd have been at a loss. However, I doubted that anyone at the CPA would use such tactics, and it appears that I was right.

Ransacís card pool:

Mox Sapphire
Timetwister
Wrath of God
Counterspell
Force of Will
Serra Angel
Story Circle
Brainstorm
Braingeyser
Blinding Angel
Voice of All
Evacuation
Absorb
Tundra
Treachery
Orim's Chant
Rout
Capsize
Mageta, the Lion
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Force Spike
Mother of Runes
Paladin en-Vec
Desertion
Sensei's Divining Top
Remand
Rebound
Maze of Ith
Ertai, Wizard Adept
Phyrexian Processor
Devout Witness
Kjeldoran Outpost
Stifle
Planar Portal
Denying Wind
Swift Silence
Battle Screech
Moat
Spell Snare
Savannah Lions
Decree of Justice
Decree of Silence
Scroll Rack
Sword of Fire and Ice
Soltari Priest

Ransac is a bad man. Everyone was grabbing moxes, so that was no surprise. But he took two other powerful cards I wanted: Timetwister and Brainstorm. Also, he has probably the most potent defense against my deck in Force of Will, which can stop me at any turn in the game. As far as his other opponents go, Ransac may have an edge by being one of the only players to draft powerful white cards. He was able to beat Turgy22 in his first two games, so at least we know he can hold his own in long battles. If he has a weakness, it might be against aggressive decks.

Melkorís card pool:

Ancestral Recall
Demonic Tutor
Morphling
Mind Twist
Mana Drain
Stroke of Genius
Fact or Fiction
The Abyss
Masticore
Mana Leak
Hymn to Tourach
Misdirection
Underground Sea
Undermine
Mishra's Workshop
Power Sink
Merchant Scroll
Twincast
Forbid
Soothsaying
Impulse
Hypnotic Specter
Keiga, the Tide Star
Diabolic Edict
Duplicant
Gifts Ungiven
Triskellion
Dark Confidant
Recoil
Psychatog
Boomerang
Salt Marsh
Tainted Isle
Jester's Cap
Trinisphere
Control Magic
Spinning Darkness
Spite // Malice
Tainted Pact
Massacre
Sundering Titan
Rescind
Mindslaver
Powder Keg
Muddle the Mixture

Melkor has something pretty close to the sort of card pool I imagined when I read Turgyís proposal for this draft. Itís blue and black and can control the game pretty forcefully. Or so Iíd imagine. We havenít seen it in action yet. But it looks scary enough, especially with Mana Drain, which might be a game winner against any opponent in the tournament if itís well-placed and Melkor is holding another spell to follow it up. I donít see much in terms of weaknesses here, but the threat density might be a bit low. There are obvious things like Mindslaver, Trinisphere, and Mind Twist that can ruin an opponentís game plan, but if the game drags out and Melkor canít follow those bombs with attackers, he could be in trouble.

Like I said, I havenít seen it in action yet, but if I had to pick one card pool that looked strongest, this would be the one. Itís not the one Iím most afraid of. That honor probably goes to Ransac. But it might be the best equipped to deal with the average opponent in this tournament.

Homestarís card pool:

Mox Pearl
Birds of Paradise
Savannah
Temple Garden
Naturalize
Exploration
Mirari's Wake
Loxodon Heirarch
Mystic Enforcer
Congregation at Dawn
Umezawa's Jitte
Faiths Fetters
Yosei the Morning Star
Rancor
Ravenous Baloth
Armadillo Cloak
Seal of Cleansing

Homestar dropped out of the draft. None of these cards are actually being used. Had he remained, Iím not sure what would have happened. I donít think that this cardpool was shaping up to be anything dominant, but there are some dangerous cards here. This strategy isnít particularly disruptive, which would have made the control decks difficult to fight. And it doesnít seem fast enough to deal with the combo decks.

DarthFerretís card pool:

Mox Emerald
Channel
Berserk
Fastbond
Zuran Orb
Crucible of Worlds
Disintegrate
Blaze
Kaervek's Torch
Lava Burst
Doubling Season
Stream of Life
Hurricane
Rock Hydra
Mana Flare
Regrowth
Might of Oaks
Giant Growth
Balduvian Hydra
Demonfire
Blistering Firecat
Cockatrice
Lure
Heartbeat of Spring
Sporogenesis
Verdeloth the Ancient
Nemeta, Grove Guardian
Overrun
Saproling Burst
Elvish Farmer
Ashnod's Altar
Firecat Blitz
Ulasht, The Hate Seed
Ivy Elemental
New Frontiers
Earthcraft
Chaosphere
Molten Hydra
Raging River
False Orders
Illusionary Mask
Forcefield
Icy Manipulator
Ali from Cairo
Cursed Rack

Some of the card choices seem odd to me. Heís already lost to Spiderman in his first game. But Iím pulling for DarthFerret. This is my favorite card pool in the tournament. While the other decks so far (barring mine) are very control-heavy, DarthFerret opted for a more aggressive deck. This gave him excellent access to red and green bombs almost no one else wanted. The card pool has some lack of focus, which might be considered a weakness. But this property also makes it a lot less vulnerable than mine. It will be difficult to DarthFerret to wade through all the countermagic and if he faces me, his deckís speed will likely be tested. But heís the player Iíd like to see win this whole thing.

Lythandís card pool:

Mox Ruby
Mox Diamond
Grim Monolith
Power Artifact
Fireball
Gamble
Earthquake
Fork
Ball Lightning
Giant Solifuge
Clone
Copy Artifact
Copy Enchantment
Quicken
Mogg Maniac
Steam Vents
Apathy
Curiosity
Prodigal Sorceror
Izzet Guildmage
Tidewater Minion
Freed From the Real
Pyromatics
Bribery
Rootwater Thief
Melt Down
Teferi's Puzzle Box
Skizzik
Anarchy
Arcane Denial
Seething Song
Shivan Dragon
Izzet Boilerworks
Wildfire
Walking Archive
Avalanch Riders
Repeal
Winds of Change
Jade Statue
Willbender
Reminisce
Rising Waters
Juggernaut
Rewind
Foil

Lythand has a multifarious card pool that Iíd label aggro-control. This wasnít one of the archetypes I originally envisioned, but with nine people, I was sure that someone would go with a strategy I hadnít predicted. Lythand has a bit of everything and could potentially beat any player in the tournament, but I have two major concerns for him. One is that he built a deck using all of these cards. None of them were in the sideboard. This meant I had to play more spells in order to deck him with Brain Freeze (and in my second game against him, his deck had me worried for that very reason), but it also meant less chance of drawing his counters and stopping me. It might cause different but related problems against the control decks heíll likely face in future rounds. The other problem is that he seems to have demanding color requirements for spells like Foil and Ball Lightning.

Turgy22ís card pool:

Mox Jet
Time Walk
Vampiric Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Duress
Tolarian Academy
Wheel of Fortune
Black Vise
Show and Tell
Darksteel Colossus
Ancient Tomb
Strip Mine
Volcanic Island
Watery Grave
Sinkhole
Annul
Browbeat
Shivan Reef
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Burning Wish
Cursed Scroll
Shadowmage Infiltrator
Beacon of Unrest
Fabricate
Chainer's Edict
Gorilla Shaman
Perplex
Cunning Wish
Blight
Polluted Delta
Energy Flux
Aura Flux
Glimpse the Unthinkable
City of Brass
Terminate
Badlands
Psionic Blast
Char
Pillage
Obliterate
Army Ants
Blood Crypt
Sulfuric Spring
Tainted Peak
Bloodstained Mire

Turgy is another bad man. He took Wheel of Fortune (which would obviously have been great in my deck) and Darksteel Colossus (the alternate win condition Iíd been wanting to use). He did lose to Ransac twice, but that might have been a bad matchup for him. If other players donít get damage done early and maintain a presence in through Turgyís disruption, they will be in huge trouble.

Zigathonís card pool:

Necropotence
Cabal Coffers
Consume Spirit
Drain Life
Lake of the Dead
Maga Traitor to Mortals
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
Demonic Hordes
Helldozer
Braids, Cabal Minnion
Juzam Djinn
Talon of Pain
Soul Feast
Moonlight Bargain

Zigathon gets 18 more picks when (if) he comes back. Ransac indicated that this might be to his advantage, since Zigathon knows exactly what we have and none of us know what he might pick. But aside from Necropotence, Zigathon was already picking cards no one else seemed to have an interest in. Zigathon is the only player that ended up with zero pieces of the power nine. Aside from a few known bombs like Necropotence and Nevinyrralís Disk, his card pool so far looks relatively innocuous compared to the others. I wonít count him out just yet. Some of his cards could be problematic for the other players. But a slow monoblack deck is a great matchup for me, so at least one person in the tournament isnít worried. Maybe I should be.

And that is my take on the Singleton Everycard Magic draft. Hopefully I win.

Read More Articles by Stephen O. Bahl!

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