Drafting M12 #5 – Sick Drafts with Laura Dawes

Drafting M12 #2 – Saved by Pack 3 by Laura Dawes


Hello everyone.

It’s been weeks since my last post.  Unfortunately this is because I’ve been ill since the start of the month with the flu then bronchitis.

So I don’t have any live drafts to bring you, I’ve barely left the house at all.  However, I’ve been able to draft a few times on Magic Online, so I thought I would bring you some of the more fun and interesting drafts I’ve done in my more lucid evenings. 

M12 Draft Deck – Stop Fearing Green


I’d been avoiding drafting green as I was convinced it was the weakest colour, but I was often losing to it in drafts due to my love of Islands and things that fly, and green having so many Spiders and Lurking Crocodiles.  In this draft I managed to put my fear of playing with green behind me.  I started out with red cards, first picking [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card] and a [card]Gorehorn Minotaurs[/card], and then I was passed the shiny [card]Garruk’s Horde[/card].  He seemed like something worth ramping into, and a signal that my neighbours are probably not interested in green, so for a change I decided to embrace my green side.

I took the [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] quite early in the 2nd pack, knowing I could splash it fairly trivially, and got the [card]Pentavus[/card] as a late pick.  I did struggle to get enough 2 drops, and in fact in pack 3 I had to pass up [card]Cudgel Troll[/card] as my 5th pick in favour of the 2nd [card]Rampant Growth[/card] to help the deck as a whole.

I think I misbuilt the deck slightly and ended up playing too many lands.  Because I had three 5 drops, a 6 drop and two 7 drops I was scared to go below 17 land, but I also had the 2 [card]Rampant Growth[/card]s and [card]Manalith[/card] – half of my deck being mana sources was probably overkill.  I did mana flood several times, but of course one of the games I lost was because of mana screw ;-).  The relevant sideboard cards for this deck were [card]Plummet[/card], a 2nd [card]Crown of Empires[/card], a 2nd [card]Brindle Boar[/card], [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] and [card]Autumn’s Veil[/card].

I ended up going 2-1 with this deck, and it was fun to play and I didn’t have the hopeless feeling I’d had last time I drafted green.  The game with [card]Pentavus[/card] was very entertaining (mostly because my opponent didn’t seem to realise that he should stop trying to attack me while it was in play).  I didn’t get to play with the [card]Garruk’s Horde[/card] as in the only game where I cast it my opponent conceded on the spot.  I won a couple of games with the [card]Sacred Wolf[/card] + [card]Troll Hide[/card] combo.  Mostly I learnt that green decks can be fun, just make sure the other colour(s) in your deck give you spells that let you interact with the opponent’s permanents.


M12 Draft Deck – Mostly Black Control


This draft was pretty awesome, and had a very difficult 3rd pick decision.  I opened [card]Cemetary Reaper[/card], and then was passed [card]Rune-Scarred Demon[/card] for my 2nd pick.  Sweet!  The 3rd pick offered the dilema of [card]Gravedigger[/card], who is very good, and [card]Oblivion Ring[/card], which can deal with anything that isn’t hexproof, including Planeswalkers.  It is exactly the kind of card I want in a deck with a tutoring Demon, but there is definitely an argument to trying to stay mono black and stop sending signals that black is open (I’d already had to pass [card]Sorin’s Thirst[/card] and [card]Vampire Outcasts[/card]).  And it’s a Zombie, so goes nicely with my [card]Cemetary Reaper[/card].  But I can’t resist really good removal, so ended up taking the [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] – what would you have done?  Let me know in the comments.

For the rest of pack 1 I took artifacts and black cards.  In pack 2 I opened [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card], [card]Consume Spirit[/card], [card]Serra Angel[/card] and [/card]Gideon’s Lawkeeper[/card].  Here I had to make a decision as to how I wanted my deck to look – I already had 1 [card]Drifting Shade[/card] and was fully aware how good almost mono black can be.  After much deliberation I settled on the [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card], as it would help me with keeping white a splash, and is the card advantage type creature a more controlling deck loves to have.  The pack I’d opened as a whole was really deep, with [card]Chandra’s Outrage[/card], [card]Gorehorn Minotaurs[/card] and [card]Aether Adept[/card], and so the [card]Consume Spirit[/card] tabled much to my delight.  White was flowing to me in this direction, I picked up the 2 [card]Pacifism[/card]s, [card]Celestial Purge[/card] and then in the dregs I got [card]Devouring Swarm[/card], [card]Zombie Goliath[/card] and a [card]Buried Ruin[/card] which I suspected would end up in the deck.

Pack 3 rounded the deck out nicely, with 1st pick [card]Doom Blade[/card], 2nd pick [card]Consume Spirit[/card] number 2, another [card]Devouring Swarm[/card], another [card]Drifting Shade[/card], a [card]Deathmark[/card] and the crucial [card]Sorin’s Thirst[/card] (I ended up tutoring for it with my Demon more than once to kill something, give me a life buffer and let me play a 2nd spell in the turn).

This deck also went 2-1.  The 1st round was against a UG deck, and I struggled a little against multiple [card]Acidic Slime[/card]s, it being the deciding factor in game 2 that returned [card]Jade Mage[/card] from under an [card]Oblivion Ring[/card] and I died to exactly lethal damage from saproling tokens after casting my Demon.  I managed to win game 3 though despite the multiple bouncing of poor old [card]Rusted Sentinel[/card].  The 2nd round in which I lost was against a BR deck well suited for attrition with multiple [card]Gravedigger[/card]s.  He also had a [card]Cemetary Reaper[/card], and found it in game 1 and 3.  The 3rd round was against another BR deck, with some more aggressive creatures, but my life gaining removal let me stabilise then take over the games.

My [card]Cemetary Reaper[/card] didn’t come out to play in any games, but I drew my [card]Rune-Scarred Demon[/card] quite a lot.  The [card]Drifting Shade[/card]s also had a habit of dying the moment I cast them.  [card]Buried Ruin[/card] was very useful in this deck as I had 3 artifact creatures to resurrect, and I got to live the dream and return the [card]Solemn Simulacrum[/card] once.  All in all it was a pretty fun draft, only slightly spoiled by my opponent in the 3rd round deciding to disconnect when I had the win on the table in the last game, making us all sit around pointlessly for 10 minutes. 


M12 Draft Deck – Awesome Dudes


This deck was so much fun, so I decided I will do a full report on it (apologies that this makes the article quite long!).  The draft itself was actually very interesting, and started with a first pick [card]Aegis Angel[/card].  Yeah… so how did I end up Red Black?  My 2nd pick was a [card]Stormfront Pegasus[/card], and then in the 3rd pick there were no good white cards available.  I begrudgingly took [card]Gorehorn Minotaurs[/card] – I was worried because I’d already passed [card]Incinerate[/card] followed by [card]Blood Ogre[/card], and this pack I was about to pass along also contained a [card]Volcanic Dragon[/card].  I was setting myself up for a fight in the 2nd pack if I went red, but it seemed to be open to me from the right.  The 4th pick had a tempting [card]Cudgel Troll[/card], but I took a [card]Griffin Rider[/card] in the hopes that white may be open.  I then get passed a 5th pick [card]Incinerate[/card] and decide red is worth the fight with my neighbour (I also passed reasonable blue early, so they may not be my immediate neighbour).  I get a [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card], [card]Bonebreaker Giant[/card], [card]Manic Vandal[/card], [card]Crimson Mage[/card] and a late [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card].

My pack 2, pick 1 seemed to be decidedly unhelpful.  The commons are all unexciting, with only a lonely [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card] being on colour.  Two of the uncommons are very good, but not red or white – [card]Acidic Slime[/card] and [card]Azure Mage[/card].  My rare is [card]Royal Assassin[/card], so I decide to hate draft it.  The next pack contains [card]Overrun[/card], [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card] and [card]Wring Flesh[/card].  I sigh at the [card]Overrun[/card], and look at the [card]Wring Flesh[/card] for a minute – I begin think to myself about how the white cards had seemed to dry up quickly in pack 1, and maybe it was being overdrafted?  I consider abandoning white for black at this point, but I’m hesitant, and take the [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card].  The next pack has no white cards and 3 decent black cards, so the colour switch begins – I take [card]Gravedigger[/card] over [card]Devouring Swarm[/card] and [card]Mind Rot[/card], hoping one of them will come back.  Seeds of doubt are planted as I’m next passed an [card]Assault Griffin[/card], but I take [card]Blood Ogre[/card] over it as I already have lots of bloodthirst enablers.  Through the rest of pack 2 I collect a [card]Lava Axe[/card], [card]Zombie Goliath[/card], [card]Devouring Swarm[/card], [card]Goblin Tunneler[/card] and his friend [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card].

Pack 3 sent my deck over the edge into awesomeness, and rewarded me for paying attention to the signals.  I didn’t open anything special myself – the rare was a dual land, there are no good uncommons, so I take a [card]Gravedigger[/card] from the commons, hoping to wheel [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card], [card]Bloodrage Vampire[/card] or [card]Devouring Swarm[/card].  I proceed to be passed [card]Bloodlord of Vaasgoth[/card], followed by [card]Flameblast Dragon[/card]! (I had to pass a [card]Sengir Vampire[/card] for it – for some reason I only ever see this guy alongside something even bigger and badder).  Wow!  The fun continued as I take [card]Call to the Grave[/card], which seems great with my high creature count, 2 [card]Gravedigger[/card]s and 2 [card]Goblin Arsonists[/card].  I then take [card]Trollhide[/card] and [card]Plummet[/card] out of some packs with no goodies for me, then get [card]Call to the Grave[/card]’s best friend – [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card].  I take a [card]Mind Rot[/card] over [card]Drifting Shade[/card] and [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card] as I’m slightly worried about my lack of removal spells (kind of forgetting several of my creatures have removal attached).  I get the Fireslinger on the wheel that I’d hoped for, a second [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card], a [card]Blood Seeker[/card] and a [card]Slaughter Cry[/card].

Building the deck was fairly straightforward.  The only big decision was between [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] and [card]Lava Axe[/card].  I normally don’t like [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] that much but I was lacking in tricks and I had 19 creatures for it to be used with, so I put it in the main deck over the [card]Lava Axe[/card] as my late game looked quite solid anyway.  Other notable sideboard cards were a 2nd [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] and [card]Manic Vandal[/card]. 

Round 1 – Vs. Black splashing Blue

Game 1 – I win the roll, choose to play and by turn 2 I have 3 creatures in play – 1 [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card] and 2 [card]Goblin Arsonists[/card].  His [card]Child of Night[/card] was not very effective, when he attacked me with it I traded it for an Arsonist. I get some early damage in, make [card]Blood Seeker[/card] and then [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card].  He trades his [card]Devouring Swarm[/card] with Hellhound, and I make [card]Royal Assassin[/card].  Strangely he uses [card]Wring Flesh[/card] to kill the remaining [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card].  His lands so far are all Swamps, so I expect some [card]Drifting Shade[/card]s and [card]Consume Spirit[/card]s to make an appearance eventually. [card]Royal Assassin[/card] goes on the beatdown with the [card]Blood Seeker[/card] while my Goblin pings away at him.  I make a [card]Blood Ogre[/card], and unsurprisingly it’s spirit is consumed.  I make a 2nd [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card] then my following draws are all lands.  He begins to recover with [card]Warpath Ghoul[/card] and 2 [card]Child of Night[/card]s, but they can’t attack because of the [card]Royal Assassin[/card], and between [card]Blood Seeker[/card] triggers and Goblin pings he dies.

Game 2 – I’m wary of combat tricks against black decks (at this point I don’t know he has blue spells too as he didn’t make any Islands in game 1), so I sideboard my [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] for [card]Lava Axe[/card].  He chooses to play.  I make a turn 1 [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card], which he [card]Wring Flesh[/card]es in my end step.  This makes sense when his next 2 plays are [card]Child of Night[/card]s.  My [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card] holds them off however.  On my turn 3 I [card]Mind Rot[/card] away 2 lands from his hand, leaving him with 1 card.  This turns out to be another [card]Wring Flesh[/card] – he kills my Skeleton in my end step and bashes in with the Children.  I don’t draw a 4th land, but do draw an [card]Incinerate[/card].  I leave my mana open, ready to return my skeleton or use the [card]Incinerate[/card] if I have to.  He bashes me for another 4, then makes [card]Drifting Shade[/card] – I decide to dispatch it with the Incinerate as it may get very awkward to do so later (which was a silly mistake – I should have reasemled the skeleton so that he could be a blocker and then used Incinerate on my turn).  I draw my 4th land, so the decision is to either make a [card]Gravedigger[/card] or just return the Skeleton – I decide I can take the hit down to 8 while he goes to 31, and I return my Skeleton in his end step.

I draw a 5th land and for some reason don’t notice the [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card] in my graveyard which would have been a good thing to [card]Gravedigger[/card] up and play, and instead make a [card]Zombie Goliath[/card].  Thankfully he doesn’t draw anything to deal with the Zombie, so I attack with it and make [card]Devouring Swarm[/card] (again the [card]Gravedigger[/card] would’ve been a better play!  So many mistakes, I could easily have lost this game but my deck looked after me and his just gave him lands…).  I draw my [card]Flameblast Dragon[/card], but with only 5 lands I attack with my Swarm and [card]Zombie Goliath[/card], and finally make the [card]Gravedigger[/card] and get back the Arsonist and cast it.  He again doesn’t do anything except make a land drop.  I sacrifice the Arsonist to my Swarm, killing one of his [card]Child of Night[/card], and attack with everything.  He trades his other Child with my [card]Gravedigger[/card], so I play my 2nd [card]Gravedigger[/card] returning the 1st [card]Gravedigger[/card].  My [card]Zombie Goliath[/card] is [card]Consume Spirit[/card]ed, and he makes a [card]Phantasmal Bear[/card].  I draw my 6th land and attack with the Swarm and [card]Gravedigger[/card].  He doesn’t block the [card]Gravedigger[/card] because I will just get it back again with the [card]Gravedigger[/card] he knows is in my hand.  I make my land and play [card]Flameblast Dragon[/card] – I probably would’ve held onto it if I didn’t have [card]Devouring Swarm[/card], but as I did I was protected from [card]Mind Control[/card].  He unluckily draws and plays another land – I attack back, killing the bear with the Dragon’s ability before it can block, put him to 5 then finish him with [card]Lava Axe[/card].

Round 2 – Vs. UW

Round 1 was over pretty quickly, and we were the first to finish.  As each other pair finished, I had a quick look at their replays to spy on what my potential opponents were playing.  So, I knew that I was playing against a UW deck this round.

Game 1 – I get some early damage in, with both [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card]s in play.  He plays a [card]Pride Guardian[/card] then a [card]Timely Reinforcements[/card] to buy time, I make [card]Royal Assassin[/card].  He plays a [card]Siege Mastadon[/card] and then [card]Serra Angel[/card], which could be a problem – but I draw my 5th land for [card]Bloodlord of Vaasgoth[/card] (easily a 6/6 with [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card] support).  He makes [card]Stonehorn Dignitary[/card] and then a strange suicide attack, I wonder if he has [card]Guardian’s Pledge[/card], but I call his bluff, block and kill almost all of his creatures and continue to ping him.  He soon dies to a couple of Bloodlord attacks plus pings.

Game 2 – I don’t change my deck during sideboarding.  I’m on the play and I have to mulligan down to 5 cards due to a lack of land in the previous hands.  My hand is 2 swamps, a [card]Gravedigger[/card], [card]Blood Ogre[/card] and Arsonist.  He starts out very quickly with a turn 1 Phantasmal Bear, but has nothing for turns 2 or 3.  I draw more swamps, and make a [card]Devouring Swarm[/card].  He tries to [card]Ice Cage[/card] it, so I sacrifice it to itself so that I’ll be able to get it back with the [card]Gravedigger[/card].  I draw a 4th swamp, so proceed with the plan, then trade the [card]Gravedigger[/card] with the Bear when he attacks.  He makes a [card]Phantasmal Dragon[/card], so I pray that I draw a Mountain which will enable me to make my [card]Devouring Swarm[/card], [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card], and sacrifice it to kill the [card]Phantasmal Dragon[/card].   He adds an [card]Assault Griffin[/card] to his board, and I fail to draw the Mountain in time.

Game 3 – For this game I decide to sideboard in a second [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] as they are makeshift removal spells against my opponent’s illusions.  I choose to play, and keep a pretty sweet hand with my [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card] + [card]Call to the Grave[/card] combo, [card]Goblin Tunneler[/card], Gorehorn Minotaurs, 2 Swamps and a Mountain.  His turn 1 play of [card]Elite Vanguard[/card] is stopped in it’s tracks by the Skeleton.  My Tunneler allows me to send the Skeleton past his Vanguard and [card]Benalish Veteran[/card], and make a bloodthirsted Minotaur which holds his creatures off.  He plays [card]Divination[/card], and chump blocks my Minotaur with his [card]Elite Vanguard[/card].  I play [card]Call to the Grave[/card] so he has to sacrifice his Veteran in his upkeep.  He made a valiant effort to stay alive, with [card]Stonehorn Dignitary[/card], [card]Aether Adept[/card], two [card]Pacifisms[/card], but I could just sacrifice and rebuy the skeleton, or sacrifice something Pacified and get it back with [card]Gravedigger[/card]s, and he didn’t find a way to get back into the game. 

Round 3 – Vs BG with [card]Grave Titan[/card]

Due to my spying on replays again, I knew my opponent had a [card]Grave Titan[/card] I needed to watch out for.

Game 1 – I win the dice roll and go first.  I make a turn 1 [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card] and he replies with a [card]Llanowar Elves[/card].  I attack on turn 2, and am a little surprised when he blocks with the elf.  I make a [card]Goblin Fireslinger[/card].  Things make sense when he makes a turn 2 [card]Jade Mage[/card].  I make a [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card], and he passes the turn with the 3 mana ready to make a Saproling.  I draw the [card]Jade Mage[/card]’s natural enemy, [card]Blood Seeker[/card].  I attack with my [card]Fiery Hellhound[/card] as I suspect he doesn’t want to trade his Jade Mage for it, and he also doesn’t make a Saproling to chump block with.  I pump the unblocked Hellhound up to 4 power and then make the [card]Blood Seeker[/card], he makes a token while it’s on the stack.  He makes a land and passes back.  I’ve got him down to 12 already and don’t fancy trading my Hellhound with 2 tokens, so I just make Devouring Swarm and pass the turn.  He makes a [card]Cudgel Troll[/card], so attacking on the ground will now be very difficult.  I draw a [card]Gravedigger[/card], play it returning the Arsonist, make my Arsonist and sacrifice it to the [card]Devouring Swarm[/card] and kill the [card]Jade Mage[/card] (I don’t want to die to any Overrun shenanigans, so I can’t let him keep his [card]Jade Mage[/card]), and I attack with the pumped up flier.  He’s down to 7 and makes a strange suicide attack with both tokens and the Troll – I let the Troll through and eat his Saprolings with [card]Gravedigger[/card] and Hellhound.  He then makes his [card]Grave Titan[/card], losing 3 life to my [card]Blood seeker[/card] in the process and then he conceeds as he is dead to my Fireslinger and [card]Devouring Swarm[/card].


Game 2 – Once again, due to my opponent’s black mana and and likelihood to have instant speed removal, I sideboard the [card]Slaughter Cry[/card] out to bring in [card]Lava Axe[/card].  He chooses to play first.  My opening hand is mostly red creatures and 2 swamps, but it also has one of my best black creatures, [card]Royal Assassin[/card], along with the one removal spell I have that handily deals with Trolls – [card]Incinerate[/card].  I will definitely be in the game if I draw a Mountain in 4 draw steps, so I keep it.

He makes a turn 2 [card]Blood Seeker[/card], and I get my Mountain right on time for turn 3, and make [card]Blood Ogre[/card].  He misses his 3rd land drop and passes the turn back, I reply with an attack, and I’ve drawn a 2nd Mountain so I play a Hellhound.  He finds a Forest and spends 2 turns playing [card]Rampant Growth[/card]s, while I attack him and make the [card]Crimson Mage[/card].  On my next attack he blocks the Hellhound with [card]Blood Seeker[/card] and [card]Titanic Growth[/card]s it as I only have 2 Mountains so can’t trade with it.  Unable to resist a 2 for 1, I [card]Incinerate[/card] the [card]Blood Seeker[/card] in response to the [card]Titanic Growth[/card].  I make a [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card] post combat.  On his turn he makes a [card]Sacred Wolf[/card] and a [card]Duskhunter Bat[/card].  I draw a [card]Gravedigger[/card], so I send in my whole team.  He trades the Wolf for the Hound, and the Bat for the Mage.  I [card]Gravedigger[/card] back the [card]Crimson Mage[/card] as he has nothing on the board and I have my other Hellhound in my hand anyway.

He makes a [card]Cudgel Troll[/card] and [card]Jade Mage[/card], tapping out.  I draw my [card]Reassembling Skeleton[/card], which will go nicely with the [card]Call to the Grave[/card] in my hand if the game goes that long.  I attack with the [card]Goblin Arsonist[/card], he can’t block it because then I can kill the [card]Jade Mage[/card].  I play out the [card]Crimson Mage[/card] and Skeleton.  He makes a [card]Manalith[/card] and a Saproling token, and I draw another 5 drop – my [card]Bloodlord of Vaasgoth[/card].  I attack with my Arsonist, who once more gets through, dropping him to 7.  Post combat I make the [card]Royal Assassin[/card], give it haste with the [card]Crimson Mage[/card] and then assassinate my own Arsonist, killing off the [card]Jade Mage[/card].  On his turn he casts [card]Distress[/card], and takes away the Bloodlord, leaving me with [card]Call to Grave[/card] and [card]Lava Axe[/card] – I think my opponent made a mistake there, as if I draw a 5th land the [card]Lava Axe[/card] will guarantee that he dies next turn, which is exactly what happens.

This was one of the most synergistic decks I’ve drafted in a while, I go 3-0 with it and win the draft!   I love it when my decks have pieces that go together well rather than being just a pile of cards, which is often I think why I get frustrated by core set drafts compared to block drafts.  This was one of the fun exceptions.

Hopefully I’ll be back to full health before the Innistrad Prerelease, and my report of it will not be a horror story… Until then, happy drafting!

Laura Dawes


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