So yes, I'm a bit bored, and I thought, why not make an analysis of the previous Singleton Draft.
This is mainly written as guidance for me, to see which cards will be wanted by other players, and therefore should be picked as high as possible.
I have used the list from the last page of the sticky, and although a few picks are still missing, it should contain enough information to see what each player is playing. I also added some match reports, to see how each deck performed.
The first person to draft was Spiderman, who ended up with the following list:
Library of Alexandria
Swords to Plowshares
Presence of the Master
Rule of Law
Pillar of the Paruns
Caves of Koilos
Spiderman started with some very strong white spells, then added some blue, green and black to the control mix.
His first pick, the Library was not very useful, which is understandable, as we're still talking about a limited format, in which 7 cards in hand is a rarity. He must have been unhappy to see Wrath of God being picked very high, as it would be a nice addition to the deck.
My guess is that he started by drafting a monowhite control deck, switching later on when it became obvious that Ransac was in the same colors. He was quite lucky that Homestar dropped out, as a third player in white could have been devastating. Three players in white is more than I expected, as white isn't a very strong color, with the exception of a few (mass-)removal spells.
This was something to keep in mind, as it forced Spiderman into different colors, and four colors had to be supported by some manafixers. Spiderman picked a total of 9 multicolored lands, which might ensure that he could play his spells most of the time, but also resulted in less spells.
Looking at Spidermans picks showed that lands can be picked quite late (with the exception of utility lands such as the Library), so in the current draft, I'm holding off to see if I can get into the colors I want.
Spiderman started playing DarthFerret, playing GR bigmana.
DF was on the play, and while both players started with some acceleration (mox emerald vs sol ring), the first thing that was played was an Icy Manipulator (by DF, which he clearly got off the top as he would have played it a turn earlier otherwise, and he missed a land drop).
The turn after that it started to get interesting, as DF played the first creature (Cockatrice). Spidey was still unable to find something useful after cycling a Krosan Tusker, meaning he had to discard at the end of his turn.
DF started to apply some more pressure with a doubling season, while tapping the Sol Ring in Spidey's upkeep.
Luckily, Spidey found an answer in Pernicious Deed, discarding Genesis at end of turn. DF got himself a 10/10 Rock Hydra, but then Spidey cleared the board. DF played a forcefield, only having to look at Spidey playing a Deranged Hermit. DF got himself his own token generator with Nemata, Grove Guardian. To my surprise, Spiderman payed the echo cost of the Hermit, but when I looked closer, I saw that he forgot to add Genesis to his graveyard, so I think he had forgotten about it's upkeep ability (it's possible to stack Genesis' ability first, then not paying the echo for the Hermit, then paying 2G to return the Hermit to his hand to play again).
When DF went draw-go, Spiderman used his Recurring Nightmare to switch a squirrel for his Tusker (and here he added Genesis to his GY as well).
After DF spend to turns of making tokens, he made the misplay of attacking before casting Overrun, which is of course a sorcery. He then used a backup plan with Berserk to get some damage through, while killing the Tusker and Nemeta. He kept one token, but went down to only two cards (one of which was Overrun).
When Spiderman nuked the board with Armageddon, following it up with a Land Tax, things weren't looking good for DF.
After a few turns, DF played the first land, allowing Spidey to use the Tax, and after Spiderman used his Recurring Nightmare again to get his Tusker back to play, the game was over pretty fast.
Spidey 1 – DF 0.
Game two started with Spiderman using his Library to the max, drawing a card almost every turn. A Blastoderm from Spiderman got 15 damage through as DF was mainly drawing mountains. Even though he was able to stabilize with Ali from Cairo and Rock Hydra, Spidey had Arcane Laboratory out to prevent DF from playing too many spells, while gaining a lot of life from Ivory Tower and holding the Hydra off with Genesis/Abyssal Gatekeeper recursion.
DF thought he got himself a solution with Cursed Rack, but Spidey had a disenchant ready. With a Swords to Plowshares on the Ali, a Recurring Nightmare on the Hermit proved game.
Spidey 2 – DF 0.
Round two paired Spiderman against Ransac, the other player with white.
Ransac won the flip, and started with a Mother of Runes, followed by a Scroll Rack.
The next few turns Ransac got some damage through with the Mother, while Spiderman played nothing apart from land.
Then Spiderman tapped out for a Genesis, which got Treacheried right away. Spiderman hoped get his pernicious deed out again, which got Remanded. When he played it again Ransac countered it with a Force Spike.
Ransac got some damage through with the Genesis, but then Spidey got a Blastoderm, while Ransac got a Sword of Fire and Ice. Spiderman played an Isochron Sceptre which got countered, after which Spiderman stabilized by disenchanting the Sword (although the Treachery might have been a better target).
The game ended fairly soon after Ransac got an Akroma out, and Spidey failed to find answers.
Spidey 0 – Ransac 1.
Round two started with Spidey playing Sol Ring of Bayou, followed by a Treetop Village, while Ransac got a Mox Sapphire, casting a Voice of All on green after getting 3 damage from the Village.
Spiderman got Genesis again, but his Arcane Laboratory got Absorbed.
Ransac followed it up by casting a Story Circle (also on green), which made it almost impossible for Spiderman to attack. After his disenchant got spellsnared, he cast a Phantom Nishoba, which got through.
Ransac played Sword of Fire and Ice, while leaving two plains open to deal with the damage from the Nishoba and Genesis. Spiderman tried Pernicious Deed, which got Forced, so he played a morphed creature.
The next attack from Voice of All send the face down Exalted Angel to the graveyard, and when Ransac played Orim's Chant Spiderman conceded, as the Angel would prove fatal the next turn.
Spidey 0 – Ransac 2.
The last game Spiderman played with the deck was against Melkor, playing UB control.
Melkor opened with Dark Confidant, when Spiderman tutored for Presence of the Master, Dark confidant revealed a few islands until it attacked in Abyssal Gatekeeper and died.
Melkor used Ancestral Recall to get a swamp for Hymn to Tourach. Spiderman tried to even the hand sizes by playing Balance, which got mana-leaked. Hypnotic Spectre got summoned by Melkor, while Spiderman shuffled some cards back with Gaea's Blessing. The Specter emptied Spidermans hand, and with Masticore joining Melkor's troops, Spiderman got only a Vindicate to take care of the Spectre, but Melkor had a Forbid ready to counter it, so he won game 1.
Spidey 0 – Melkor 1.
Game two started by Spiderman imprinting Enlightened Tutor, while Melkor got Mishra's Workshop into Masticore. Over the next few turns, Masticore attacked Spiderman to zero, as he failed to draw any white mana. I guess this shows that playing too many colors isn't optimal, even with fix.
Spidey 0 – Melkor 2.
Unfortunately, Spiderman went 1-2, both losses can be accounted to the use of counterspells by his opponents, proving that blue is without a doubt the strongest color available.
The next person in line was Oversoul, who drafted the following list:
Culling the Weak
Lion's Eye Diamond
Tendrils of Agony
Elvish Spirit Guide
City of Solitude
In the Eye of Chaos
Another interesting list. Oversoul started out getting some very powerful blue and black cards, while in the end drafting some green spells as well. It seems he got some combo cards as well, however it seemed strange that he was solely relying on a Tendrils finish, lacking big creature finishers. It looked quite decent, a bunch of draw spells, some protection against creatures and some protection against counterspells.
However, since the he had only a few ways of killing his opponent, I'm not too sure if he'll be able to combo out every game, especially with the threat of counters and pressure from creatures.
Again this proves that in the previous draft, manafixers were taking quite late, yet Oversoul took quite a lot as well. 8 manafixers, excluding moxes and lotuses, as they served simply as acceleration and an easy way to create a high stormcount.
It looks like Oversoul took quite a risk by ignoring the more conventional drafting strategies (bombs, removal and evasion), yet his matches will prove how well he did.
In his first round he was matched against Melkor, who he beat game one with some very fast acceleration into a Mind's Desire (please remember, you cannot use the mana-generating ability from Elvish Spirit Guide if you removed it from the game with Mind's Desire, even though it didn't really matter that game).
Oversoul started with a turn one Tinder Wall, followed by Chromatic Sphere, and even though his Land Grant got countered, Mana Crypt and the card drawn from the Sphere gave him the land he needed to play a Mind's Desire for 6, and then he killed Melkor with a Tendrils of Agony with a stormcount of 13.
Oversoul 1 – Melkor 0
Game two he started with a Tinder Wall right away, then got ESG into Mana Vault, then play Time Spiral to get seven new cards, where a Black Lotus and Cabal Ritual combined gave him enough mana to get a Tendrils with stormcount 11.
Oversoul 2 – Melkor 0
Apparently I underestimated Oversouls deck, as these two games proved that he was able to kill on turn 2 and 3 respectively. It's something to keep an eye out for, and if someone tries to draft a similar deck, I will have to make sure I have some answers.
Round two Oversoul was up against Lythand.
Game one was a fairly straightforward fast combo win, not much to say about it.
Oversoul 1 – Lythand 0
Game two was a lot closer when Oversoul failed to find any land, after some Black Lotus/Tinder Wall action, while Lythand set up an infinite mana combo with Grim Monolith and Power Artifact.
Lythand failed to find an X-spell, so Oversoul comboed out with a lot of mana acceleration and a memory jar, ending in a Brain Freeze with storm count 18.
Oversoul 2 – Lythand 0
At this point it's obvious that I misjudged Oversouls deck at the start. It's in fact very powerful and more than able to kill within the first few turns. I took a quick look at the cards drafted so far, and it seems that only one player has got the option of getting a deck similar to this, but as people will have realized how strong Oversouls deck was in the previous draft, I think most of us will get some form of protection against a fast storm kill.
Round three still has to be played, and by the looks of the past few games, it seems that Ransac had, like he stated before, drafted quite a few cards to stop Oversoul. Things like Orim's Chant, Force of Will, Stifle and other counterspells can be devastating with the right timing. If this game is going to be played, it's going to be very challenging, as both players need to be extremely careful. Oversoul can't combo out without some protection such as Xantid Swarm, City of Solitude or Defense Grid. On the other hand, Ransac can't tap out for spells without taking the risk that Oversoul plays his combo without him being able to respond.
With a lot of cheap (or even free) counters I think that Ransac can pull this game by stopping Oversoul's key spells.
Next in line is Ransac, playing UW control, with what looks like a healthy mix of counterspells, mass removal and large angel finishers. Here's his list:
Wrath of God
Force of Will
Voice of All
Mageta, the Lion
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Mother of Runes
Sensei's Divining Top
Maze of Ith
Ertai, Wizard Adept
Decree of Justice
Decree of Silence
Sword of Fire and Ice
Ransac clearly had this deck in mind right from the start, with a very high Wrath of God pick. He had plenty of control elements, with some classic finishers. From the looks of it he managed to get a decent curve, guaranteeing plenty of early game action. The deck seems very strong, with a lot of potential against very different decks.
Ransac played round one versus Turgy, who was playing UB control. The first game was fairly one-sided. Ransac got Mother of Runes, stole Turgy's Shadowmage Infiltrator with a Treachery, then played Sword of Fire and Ice and started the beatdown. Turgy conceded the next turn to save time.
Ransac 1 – Turgy 0.
Game two started with a few turns of draw-go. The first action came from Turgy, playing a Burning Wish, fetching Wheel of Fortune.
Browbeat got Rebounded, causing Ransac to draw a bunch of cards. Ransac's played Scroll Rack, on which Turgy shot a pillage, which got Remanded by Ransac. Turgy then played a black vise and passed the turn again.
Ransac took some damage and played Voice of All on black, and at the end of turn Turgy played Vampiric Tutor. On his turn he played Chainer's Edict, which got countered. After that he tried to play a Gorilla Shaman, which Ransac countered with a Force of Will.
Ransac did got his Sword of Fire and Ice the next turn, equipping the Angel and swinging in for 6.
The next turn Turgy finally played his Wheel, which resolved. He tried to play Shadowmage Infiltrator, which got Force Spiked.
Ransac attacked with his Angel again, and played a Planar Portal, which enabled Turgy to flashback his Edict, finally killing the Angel (and not a turn too soon!).
Ransac got a Paladin En-Vec on the board, and equipped it with the sword, only to have Turgy Obliterate the board the next turn.
On his next turn Ransac played Sensei's Divining Top, while Turgy got a Cursed Scroll. Over the next few turns, Ransac got a Devout Witness and a Phyrexian Processor, while Turgy didn't had anything to keep up, so Ransac won the second game.
Ransac 2 – Turgy 0
Ransac also won his second match against Spiderman (see above) and is still waiting for Oversoul to play the third and final match.
Then we got Melkor, let's have a look at his cardpool:
Stroke of Genius
Fact or Fiction
Hymn to Tourach
Keiga, the Tide Star
Spite // Malice
Muddle the Mixture
Melkor got UB control, relying less on countermagic, and more on cardadvantage. With only three manafixing lands, Melkor had a lot less than the other players, but with only two colors and a lot of artifacts, that shouldn't be a problem. Although he could have problems fighting counters, the large number of draw spells he had gathered ensured that he should be able to apply a lot of pressure.
Another problem I spot here is that he lacks creatures, I only count 10, so he might have some problems stopping the weenie hordes.
I've already covered all of Melkors matches:
Round 1 vs Oversoul (lost)
Round 2 BYE
Round 3 vs Spiderman (won)
This is at least my conclusion after searching for his round 2 opponent.
Now we have a fairly short list, as Homestar dropped during the draft.
Homestar Dropped out of draft - cards below are off-limits
Birds of Paradise
Congregation at Dawn
Yosei the Morning Star
Seal of Cleansing
Homestar was obviously trying to get a GW aggro deck, with some powerful creatures in his 4-slot. With some accelleration he should be able to get a Hierarch/Enforcer/Baloth on the table as fast as turn 3, combined with rancor/armadillo cloak/jitte creating a very fast clock.
These first few picks seem to be an excellent start for a strong deck, the little lifegain in it might even prove enough to get out of tendrils-range.
Because he dropped, Homestar did not play any matches.
DarthFerret on the other hand does have a complete list:
Crucible of Worlds
Stream of Life
Might of Oaks
Heartbeat of Spring
Verdeloth the Ancient
Nemeta, Grove Guardian
Ulasht, The Hate Seed
Ali from Cairo
DarthFerret started drafting a GR Bigmana deck, with some X-spells as finishers. Later he switched to an alternate token/overrun win, although I wonder why he took Earthcraft, but then forgot Squirrel Nest. This deck has absolutely no means of beating Oversouls combo-machine, but has a lot more creatures (and tokens) than most other decks, so it should be able to dominate the redzone later in a game.
I think that Darthferret underestimated some things, and maybe simply forgot some cards, such as a Pandemonium.
It's not a bad deck, even though it mostly consists of expensive creatures, which gives him very little early action.
Round one DF lost to Spiderman, see above.
Round two DF was up against Turgy.
Game one started with Turgy attacking DF's manabase, starting with Blight, Pillage, Sinkhole and Strip Mine. For some reason DF chose not to use his Zuran Orb in response to the destruction. With a near empty hand Turgy dropped Cursed Scroll and hit his Char twice for 4 damage.
Crucible of Worlds from DarthFerret (normally the perfect answer) got annulled, then when he cast a Regrowth to get it back, Turgy played Vampiric Tutor for duress to remove it once more.
Over the next few turns, DF failed to draw any lands, while his life decreased by two per turn from the scroll.
Char did the last few damage, and DF was down a game
DarthFerret 0 - Turgy22 1
The second game in this match still hasn't started yet.
Freed From the Real
Teferi's Puzzle Box
Winds of Change
Lythand started with an infinite mana combo in Grim Monolith and Power Artifact, then probably made the mistake thinking that the X-spells would be available for a while, allowing DF to grab them.
Without them, he focosed on reds most aggressive creatures, which resulted in him having by far the most aggressive deck in the tournament. I'm uncertain why he picked Copy Artifact/Enchantment, as he didn't had anything worth copying yet. If only he had stayed in red, he could afford to run very few land, giving him a powerful Red Deck Wins-like deck.
I'm also surprised why he did not took some direct burn cards such as Lightning Bolt, Chain Lightning etcetera.
Round one Lythand had a bye.
Round two he lost to Oversouls deck, which he had virtually no protection against, and which was a lot slower than his.
Turgy was playing a deck similar to Melkors, UB control:
Wheel of Fortune
Show and Tell
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Beacon of Unrest
Glimpse the Unthinkable
City of Brass
Turgy got a nice start, two pieces of power, followed up by the strongest Tutors available. He was a bit too fast with picking up the Academy, which wasn't of much use to him. He did an excellent job noticing that red was underdrafted, so picked some strong spells to splash.
His deck was also extremely light on creatures, and lacking a lot of removal, this would have been very troublesome.
Playing 40 lands is an excellent choice, and adding two wishes settles him in a nice condition, but I fear he hasn't got enough ways of killing his opponent, even after spells like Obliterate.
Round one Turgy lost to Ransac, whose control deck played the beatdown role flawlessly.
In round two Turgy is 1-0 up against DarthFerret.
Finally we have Zigathon, the other person that dropped before the end of the draft.
Lake of the Dead
Maga Traitor to Mortals
Black Mana Battery
Bond of Agony
Hondon of Night's Reach
Sins of the Past
Choice of Damnations
Braids, Cabal Minnion
Talon of Pain
Zigathon tried to get a monoblack control deck, but missed the most powerful cards for such a deck, such as Nantuko Shade, Phyrexian Negator and Mutilate. With all due respect, this deck seems fairly week to me, as it depends on the Coffers generating a lotof mana, while creatures such as Juzam and Braids simply aren't good enough in a format in which Morphling, Darksteel Colossus and Akroma make an appearance.
A card like Black Mana Battery should not even be considered.
Zigathon dropped before the end of the draft, and did not play any matches.
Please note, I think I covered all matches, but I might have missed some. The match reports are mainly to see which cards proved to be powerful during a game, and therefore might be picked higher in this draft. I wrote this mainly as a guidance to myself, but I thought it would be just as fair if everyone had access to the same amount of information.
Use this text to your own advantage.
Some thoughts in general
The main reason why Oversouls deck was so strong, is that nobody, except for Ransac, realized the danger and took the neccessary precautions. If more people would have drafted some sort of protection (and there should be enough available), Oversoul would have had a much harder time defending his combo.
I'm convinced that the finals, when played, will be won by Ransac, as Oversoul has no alternate win. He will have to go all-in, so Ransac only need one spell to knock him out for a great many turns.
The tournament was not really an enormous success, due to some participants dropping out, which is a shame, as there is no way to tell for sure how the decks of Zigathon and Homestar would have looked like when finished, or how they would have performed.
The decks that were drafted can be divided in these categories:
W Control: 1 (Spiderman)
UW Control: 1 (Ransac)
UB Control: 2 (Melkor, Turgy)
B Control: 1 (Zigathon)
GW Aggro: 1 (Homestar)
GR Aggro: 1 (DarthFerret)
UB Aggro: 1 (Lythand)
Combo: 1 (Oversoul)
Yes, most deck had more colors than stated, but the listed colors were the decks main color(s).
Because the "Aggro" decks weren't as aggressive as they should be, the control decks were most likely stronger than they should be.
So far my analyses of the previous Singleton Draft.
Not it's time to take a look at drafting in general and the current Singleton Draft.
Normally drafting has a much smaller cardpool, and a lot less options to choose from. The Singleton Draft differs mostly in the information that is available to all players. Normally, you have little idea of the deck your opponents are drafting. Sure, you can pick up color-signals, but it's very hard to tell who's drafting exactly what.
When you do have access to this information, reactive drafting becomes a lot easier. Another big difference is the availability of rares and other high-valued cards. If you do not have to worry about a certain card being available, drafting becomes more straightforward. The idea is very simple. Every players wants to get a certain set of cards, and they pick the cards they think other people might want as fast as they can, so they get as many cards from their wishlist as possible.
As soon as I knew my first few picks, I thought of a strategy, and used this to create a large list of cards I want. By looking to the cards other people pick, I try to predict their future choices, then get them before they can. I won't get all the cards I want, but I'll get as many as I can.
The normal draft-priorities of "Bombs, Removal, Evasion" barely apply when the previous draft prooves the ability of decks to kill within two turns. It's important that your deck has an answer to most of the threaths you'll be facing.
For a future draft (or for the current, if you haven't got a strategy yet), here are some idea's I considered. Obviously the strategy that I use is not on this little list
Drafting Slivers is something that won't be expected, and should result in a fun and strong deck. The chances of someone else going to draft slivers are extremely slim, so you can safely pick some lands first (say City of Brass, Thran Quarry, Gemstone Mine, Lairs and maybe duals), then get Sliver Queen in and start drafting all the Slivers you can.
Of course you should get some protection against mass-removal, but a deck consisting of 17 lands, say 5 protection spells and 18 Slivers can really have a devastating effect, especially since the previous draft proves that even control decks will give you a lot of room to build up an army.
Red Deck Wins
A lot of three-damage spells combined with some of the best goblins can easily kill within a few turns. Fast enough to beat even combo, if you're a bit lucky. With plenty of turn 1 plays, from Lackey to Fanatic and from Lightning Bolt to Fireblast, this would be a fast deck. Combined with some red draw-7s, this could be a very fast game.
RDW is extremely aggressive in the early games, and with each card only being available once, there aren't enough counters in the format to stop this deck effectively. Especially cards like Pyroclasm can make the race between this deck and a weenie horde very unfair.
Nobody will be surprised when you pick some strong angels, but when you can pick up stuff like Exhume and Entomb together fast, you'll be deep into reanimation. There aren't many play that can match a turn 1 Akroma, and it's a very fun deck to play with.
In vintage the most broken cards are available - from Bazaar of Baghdad to Animate Dead - ensuring you'll rarely will run out of way to reainmate your fatties.
It's important to notice that your strategy can only be successful if you're the only person competing for the cards. If someone else tries to accomplish the same thing as you, you'll have a conflict, and you'll both end up having a weak deck. Switch to a different strategy if you can, or force the other person to do so.
I've decided against competing for the Ux control cards. First of all I'll have to share these cards with about 3 other people, and second it will be too slow, especially if BPC is able to repeat Oversouls performance. When you want to win in limited, you'll have to get your opponent under as much pressure as you can, which requires a lot of earlygame action. If your manacurve starts at about 4, you'll start your game by trying to stabilize. Once you've committed enough resources to this, you can only hope that you have enough left to execute your own gameplan.
I get the feeling people are treating this draft like a sealed deck competition, which allows a lot more time to develop your board. Even though all the cards are known, it's still a draft. Tempo is very important.
The key part of this draft will be reacting to the picks of other people. Make sure they have nothing they can throw at you without you being able to handle it. Expect the unexpactable!
Good luck to all participants of the Second Singleton Draft.