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Ransac's Journal: Second Ultimate Draft Pt. 3
By Mark "Ransac" Wanich
Wow! Look who’s lazy! I abandon games for months on end, miss out on extending the Ransac/Monkey campaign for 2008 (though a post-election thread reared its ugly head), and slacked off on typing up this journal. This isn’t the last article on the draft for my part, either. Unfortunately, my slacking off pre-dated the fall and I stopped updating my journal past early June... and haven’t finished the analysis since then. Coming off an intense case of apathy. Best not to jump back into things too much. I’ve patched this part of the journal as best I see. I hope you guys enjoy!

The tournament is under way. Apparently, turgy22, Melkor, Modus, BB, and I have done the best thus far....... actually, it moreso preaches the ineptitude of Spidey and MM’s drafting skills (BPC is excluded since he hasn’t played to prove). I’ll chalk MM’s problem with his self-professed lack of knowledge for the current card pool available. Spidey, on the other hand, was very successful in the prior draft but lost his way this time (so it seems).
Since this is my article (and have no problem with self-flattery at this second), I’ll claim that Spidey noticed how well my U/W concoction in the first draft did and tried to recreate it. He’s always wanted to be just like me and felt that the draft was the best way to show his fanboy-ness. Fortunately, I get this all the time from and knew exactly what to do: leave Spidey to drown in a sea of Blue drafters while I grab lesser-valued colors. This gives lets me keep my individuality. Spidey needs therapy, but I’ll send him an autographed 8x10 to keep his hopes up...

AND, onto the draft!

1/18/09: After re-looking at the journal, I missed a few here.

MM: Kira, Great Glass Spinner: Annoying card, especially for anyone with spot removal. However, MM doesn't pack many creatures in his final deck (11) and not many of those are worth spot removal to begin with. Morphling is hard to touch as it is. Other than than, only Teferi, Ball Lightning, Firecat, and the Guildmage. It may prove cumbersome to some of the others, but my mass removal will be able to take care of this. Overall, I don't think it's a good pick unless MM was planning on picking up some better creatures with more creatures.

BPC: Howling Mine: Number 7 in a 9 pick streak of cards that draw cards. BPC wouldn't have had a problem drawing cards..... maybe that Gargadon that appears to be his only good shot at winning.

5/20: Okay, the board has been very slow to draft, although the following picks HAVE been made:

Spidey: Rethink. Another counter, though not as good as others still out there. Anyway, at least it could alter potential game plans by forcing mana out.

BigBlue: Acquire. The Bribery of artifacts. And why not? There has been a vested interest in powerful artifacts over the past several rounds. Decent pick. Shouldn't be a dead card against any deck.

MP: Forcefield. It took a while for this to get off of the board. This should hurt ME the most, not because I wanted this card, but because I plan on playing more beaters than anyone else. This reaffirms my need to take Krosan Grip.

5/22: Melkorark Confidant and Braingeyser. Bastard took Dark Confidant..... oh well... So, Melkor has Braingeyser AND Stroke of Genius. I have no idea what these other blue players have been thinking, other than “GRAB THE COUNTERS WHILE YOU CAN!!!!”

MP: Covetous Dragon: Considering the direction that MM has been going recently, I think this is a very good pick this late. I'm really starting to like this deck. I asked a friend to look through the draft so far and what he thinks. He called MP's decklist “sick.”

BigBlue: Complicate. Another counter, though with the capability of being uncounterable (excluding Stifle and the like).

Spidey: Convolute: AND another counter. This draft is going to require a City of Solitude at some point. Hmm....... how long should I let THAT hang around.... stupid double green spells...

BPC: Remand: THIS is a sweet counter, MUCH better than the last two. Though I don't know how it helps BPC's deck. He needs to be aggressive, not reactionary.

Mooseman: Thwart: Huh... I thought this was already gone. Shows where MY attention has been. Anyway, this is even BETTER than BPC's Remand pick. Any counterspell with the possibility of being free should be sought after. I think Spidey and BigBlue dropped the ball on this one, since they're the heaviest in the blue category right now.

Okay, now that I can think again, I'm going to think of “newer cards” for the next round. Bitterblossom is just sick and hopefully it will be mine. Garruk is just great. It untaps lands, creates beasts, and helps to swing in for the win. If I have the chance to grab Garruk/Bitterblossom, it would add two cards to my pool that support the “incremental card advantage” concept of The Rock.

5/23: BPC took Meditate. I really like that pick for his deck. What good is taking another turn when all you want to do is draw into your engine, go off, and win the game. Spidey takes Dismiss. Not bad, in fact I think it's better than Complicate. Counter a spell AND I get to replace the card.

BigBlue took Transmute, kind of a poor man's Tinker. The draft is working very odd with the artifact heavy feeling right now.... Anyway, MP took Sphere of Resistance, a card that I've personally never liked. I suppose that he'll couple it with cards like Tinker, getting high cost cards for less while slowing down his opponent. I still don't like it, but I'm sure he's got a purpose for it.

5/24: Melkor grabs Watery Grave (which netted him both of the U/B Island-Swamps) and Soothsaying. Yes, I'm going talk about how much I like Melkor's draft, again. Soothsaying is BY FAR my favorite 1-drop in any blue deck. The ability to stack your deck with as many counters and draw spells as he has is going to win him several games. I wouldn't be surprised if he drafts Counterbalance later in the draft as a possible compliment to this.

MP takes Tangle Wire, one of my favorite artifacts and a staple of one of my favorite decks (Trinity Green). I'd be very surprised if MP or Melkor don't win this entire thing. BigBlue takes Tradewind Rider. Now... I understand the effectiveness of this card.... I've just never been too much of a fan of it. I have to believe that there are more efficient ways to bounce permanents (I like Temporal Adept better). But, a 4-toughness flyer is nothing to overlook, so I won't say it's a bad pick.

5/25: I missed turgy22's and my own drops a while back. Turgy22 took burning wish and GENESIS (stealing my pick.... ), while I took Chainer's Edict and Coalition Relic. Turgy22 looks to thin out his deck by not having to play all potential silver bullets in his deck and the wish will help. He obviously drafted Genesis so he could give it to me. What a great guy!! He'll announce his kind act soon, I imagine. The Relic draft was at the strong urging of a friend of mine as a way to ensure that I can play my mana intensive spells. Since I'm always one to like trying new magic concepts, I thought “eh, why not.” Garruk/Bitterblossom could very well still be my next play (given how successful both of these cards have been this weekend at PT: Hollywood). Turgy22 then picked Burning Wish, which at this point only retrieves three spells. And I don't think he'll be wanting to leave Regrowth, Land Grant or Browbeat out of his deck.

5/27: Spidey went ahead and took Mishra's Factory, the original Man-Land. Not a bad pick, especially for his deck. The ability to get a creature out there while strengthening your mana-base is a great pick-up for his drafting strategy. BPC took Ostracize. Are there really no more good discard spells out there (I know of one more! ) Mooseman took Elemental Mastery. I had to look this one up, since I'd never heard of it before........... and his Intruder Alarm just broke, again. Wow, I hope he takes more things like this. This could end up being a REALLY fun deck!!! turgy22 drafts Channel. The reason why it fell so far was that only he and I are playing green and I have no use for a card like Channel right now. Sure, it would've been helpful, but nothing really that significant I think. Oh, well it's time for me to draft my PT: Hollywood influenced picks!!!!

DRAFTED: Bitterblossom and Garruk Wildspeaker

turgy22 has just drafted Zodiac Dragon. Big.... recurring..... problem. Hmm...... maybe Exile wouldn't be a bad pickup at some point....Mooseman drafts Diplomatic Immunity, the shroud granting enchantment. ...why? I don't get it... there's just not enough in his deck to require this many auras. BPC takes Defense Grid, the best card out there to combat the growing blue instant threat around the entire board.

5/28: Spidey took Blinkmoth Nexus, his second “man-land” in as many picks (though I think that Stalking Stones is a vastly superior pick). Unless MP wants to jump on it, the Stones should be safe for a few more rounds (maybe Mutavault as well). BB takes another “bounce” card in Time Elemental. Nice card. MP struck it big with Sundering Titan, as good an artifact beater as you can find. I really like the way his deck has been coming together the past several rounds. Melkor grabs two Split-second cards on the wrap-around, both of which are decent removal spells (Sudden Death/Wipe Away). This gives me incentive to draft Krosan Grip next round.

MP now takes Duplicant. Decent colorless removal and nets him a creature. Very efficient drafting.
BB takes one of my favorite control artifacts to have hit the game in recent years: Jester's Scepter. I truly love this pick in constructed..... though it won't do anything other than mill 5 cards, seeing as the odds of a player playing duplicates of any spell in this tourney are non-existant. If he wanted to go for a milling strategy, Millstone or Grindstone would've been much better choices than this. Poor pick in my opinion. Whaddya know... Spidey's Stones made it back to him... AND he took them. Let's see if he takes the Vault next turn.

5/29: BPC grabs another solid pick (particularly for his deck) in Street Wraith. Deck-thinning is not a bad concept. Mooseman takes Dragon Mask. I'll be honest... I was COMPLETELY confused by this pick..... UNTIL I NOTICED that if he stacks the EOT abilities of the Mask and Ball lightning, he potentially has a reusable 8/3 trampler. I do have a major concern for his deck, though: He has drafted only 5 creatures (Morphling, Ball, Coretapper, Clone, Kira) and now has drafted 5 cards (6 if you include Intruder Alarm) that require interaction with his creatures. He needs to start drafting more threats. And turgy22 drafts Quagnoth, the untargetable, undiscardable, nearly-uncounterable (anyone gonna draft voidmage apprentice?) beast that may give some players fits. Let's move on to my drafting, shall we. Krosan Grip is a definite.

I just planned a draft strategy for the rest of my picks and at this point, taking a mono-colored creature would be best. SO........ why not another flyer.

DRAFTED: Krosan Grip and Yosei, the Morning Star

6/2: turgy22 takes Anger. His Sneak Attack design is looking pretty good right now. Fortunately, he hasn't drafted any of my potential picks since Genesis. Mooseman took Blistering Firecat.... I'm not sure why... maybe to make the Dragon Mask more effective? BPC took Bound/Determined... to prevent anything from stopping him from “going off.” Another dead card against me. Spidey has Faerie Conclave, yet another Man-land. My guess is that he's going to need to grab some mass-removal soon, and Rout is still ripe for the picking, as is Evacuation. BB takes Rootwater Thief, a welcome addition to his strongly control focused strategy and another deck-stripping card.

6/3: The next dual land has left the board: MP drafts Volcanic Island. He may take Steam Vents on the wrap-around. This could be a huge blow to MM, which would leave him with only Shivan Reef and Caldera Lake as the only U/R lands left (sans the every-color lands, of course). This also helps open the door for MP to draft more red (what was the Goblin Grenade for artifacts?).

6/4: Melkor took his two picks. Gush is solid draw draw, but his next pick is MUCH more impactful: Brain Freeze. Melkor has stripped away a key card for BPC, who must've completely missed this card. MP took Epochrasite, which should prove to be very annoying. I'm not liking my chances against MP's deck. Hopefully, he'll be on the other side of the bracket. Hell's Caretaker?... this pick has me baffled. BigBlue needs to draft more creatures that are worth recursion (or worth saccing) if he wants to make this an effective pick. Spidey takes another Man-land: Forbidding Watchtower.

6/5: BPC takes a fetch-land (Bloodstaind Mire). I'm still concerned with the workability of his deck. Mooseman makes it three lands in a row with Gemstone Caverns. Turgy22 takes Berserk, a decent pick at this point. My outline states that I shall draft...

DRAFTED: Mortify and Putrefy

Removal/Removal. I can now effectively deal with multiple problems that the other decks should throw at me (save for MP's, though). Turgy22 takes Fling (one of my favorite casual spells). Hmm.... Sneak attack Zodiac Dragon, Fling it. Sneak it next turn.... lots of fun there.

Okay, that’s enough for now.... actually, this is where my journal cuts away. We’ll see if I can get back into this again and fill out the journal. ‘till next time!

My Deck So Far:
1. Mox Pearl
2. Sol Ring
3. Wrath of God
4. Birds of Paradise
5. Thoughtseize
6. Duress
7. Orim's Chant
8. Pernicious Deed
9. Damnation
10. Akroma, Angel of Wrath
11. Eternal Witness
12. Eternal Dragon
13. Land Tax
14. Llanowar Elves
15. Recurring Nightmare
16. Phyrexian Arena
17. Vindicate
18. Exalted Angel
19. Scroll Rack
20. Blinding Angel
21. Kokusho, the Evening Star
22. Sword of Fire and Ice
23. Troll Ascetic
24. Tarmogoyf
25. Coalition Relic
26. Chainer’s Edict
27. Bitterblossom
28. Garruk Wildspeaker
29. Krosan Grip
30. Yosei, the Morning Star
31. Mortify
32. Putrefy

Read More Articles by Mark "Ransac" Wanich!

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