ISD Draft Analysis #2

First, the new theme is downright ugly. However, it does allow for easier reading of drafts since there are only 3 rows of cards now instead of like five, so for now I’m sticking with it until I find something more appealing. Second, this draft is from a few days ago, so I won’t have much in the way of how the matches played out. The method and thought process by which I drafted the deck is the important part here anyway. Lastly, I still would like to eventually post video drafts, even though it somewhat defeats the point of doing this, which is to keep writing during a semester where I have no writing classes. If anyone would has experience with creating video drafts like the ones you find on the major sites, please contact me via Facebook and we’ll talk. No advice is too obvious on this, since I am a total idiot when it comes to this sort of thing. Onto the draft!
Pack 1 pick 1:

My Pick:
Despite not liking drafting Black, this is an easy pick. This card is pretty much the only removal in the format that has zero conditions on it. Yes, things like Protection from Black or Hexproof still work against it, but really this is as good as it gets. Also, it provides advantage later when you flash it back! Other than the Sever, Drake, Crossway, and Mystics are acceptable choices if this bomb wasn’t around. Spider Spawning is a perfect build around me card, and I probably would take it over everything else sans Sever since I’m a sucker for a graveyard deck. You’d be surprised how often the U/G/b mill deck gets there.
Pack 1 pick 2:

My Pick:
Morkrut Banshee is a bitch to morbid sometimes since it’s cost is prohibitive, though in the last 24 hours I’ve seen two decks rocking the Brain Weevil for the turn five blowout Banshee, so it isn’t all bad. Playing it as Durkwood Banshee is obviously fine too if you need a body. Goliath is my finisher of choice in Blue decks. By the time you land him an opponent is usually spent from trying to break through your defenses. The other option is the Assistant, and though I love that guy, he doesn’t do anything by himself, so we can’t take him yet over a premium finisher. I don’t like Juggernaut in anything but the most aggressive decks. He is weak to both Victim of Night and Bonds of Faith(sort of a rarity for a dude in this set), and the White cards are ok, but I favor Blue when I can since it’s just so awesome.
Pack 1 pick 3:

My Pick:
Most pros would take the Torch or the Lantern Spirit, and those are fine choices. I play for the long game though, and the inclusion of a solid blocker that provides advantage via flashback spells or enables Drakes and Goliaths goes well with my first two picks. There is a second Spider Spawning there too, which could be a juicy wheel in a pack like this if the cards fall in our favor.
Pack 1 pick 4:

My Pick:
No one likes this card, and I can’t say I blame them, but it gets the job done most of the time, and does so affordably. Diregraf Ghoul is great in a deck that likes to swing, but I despise drawing that guy late in the game more than I hate ripping Reckless Waif. I’d hate to be light on removal in the end, so Deprivation gets the call.
Pack 1 pick 5:

My Pick:
Pack with nothing for what we want to do, and although I’m not thrilled about a second Goliath since we passed an Assistant to get the first, it’s better than the Grotto, which is the only other card I would even think about unless we are abandoning our strategy.
Pack 1 pick 6:

My Pick:
Removal that pairs badly with Blue(Deprivation, Claustrophobia) and White(Bonds of Faith). It is still removal though, and we don’t give up anything to take it here except Brain Weevil.
Pack 1 pick 7:

My Pick:
Though the format is rather fast, having a counterspell can save your bacon. It is also rather well disguised by the fact it costs the same as a popular common instant in Forbidden Alchemy. After a game where you play a few instants, your opponent will have to guess what you’re sitting on. Lastly, all we lose out on is a cheap blocker that is mana hungry, something this deck cannot really afford.
Pack 1 pick 8:

My Pick:
Considering this only the second solid Green man we’ve seen, the color could remain open in pack two if we want to make a move. Our two black spells are fine as a splash(Sever suffers a bit if you can’t play it twice, but its still fine), and we have two potential Spider Spawnings wheeling around, which would change the complexion of our deck drastically.Taking Unburial Rites seals us in U/B/w, and if we get a Spawning then, we wasted a pick. Sometimes hedging your bets is a great idea, but here it’s not. I didn’t like the Villagers at first, but they have really grown on me.
Pack 1 pick 9:

My Pick:
Well we whiffed on one, but two Black cards came back, and the one Black spell missing is Village Cannibals, an oddity in itself. The Rats are exactly what a control deck wants. Cheap, effective, can even swing once in a while, and once it does it’s job it becomes fodder for a Goliath or other beast.
Pack 1 pick 10:

My Pick:
Ooo, piece of candy! A good sign that although someone may be Blue, they are taking fliers or other non bin-centric cards.
Pack 1 pick 11:

My Pick:
Well we didn’t get either Spwaning back, but we got the Assistant. I can’t quite explain that, but it’s a gift nonetheless. It keeps us somewhat open, even after the two Black creatures we got out of the last three picks. We can still walk away from Black as a main color since we have plenty of solid picks from pack one already, and if we don’t, we are way ahead.
Pack 1 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 1 pick 14:

My Pick:

A 14th pick sideboard option against a slow, bomby deck. Woo!
Pack 1 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 1:

My Pick:

My gut reaction was to slam(click real hard?) Kessig Wolf Run since it’s just an unstoppable card most of the time, but it leaves us out in the cold on picks. We cut Blue heavily, and it’s clearly open. Green might be open, but Red will not be. Someone directly on our left could have ten decent Red cards already and be totally committed to being at least Red. That leaves us with splashing a Mountain, which also means picking up a Caravan Vigil, Grotto, or Amulet, preferably two. However, to ensure we turn on the Wolf Run we have to take the fixer whenever we can, likely costing us a good pick. Combining all this with Black certainly being open from both sides as well makes me abandon the bomb and just stay on course. It is far too large a risk, even for a payoff like that. Plus, we know we will get a Black card back from this pack since it’s stuffed with them.
Pack 2 pick 2:

My Pick:
I love me some Ghoul, but early pressure is early pressure. Taking the Assistant ensures a Black card to wheel, but the last time we passed a good Blue spell, it also came back. Might as well roll the dice again, and if we fail this time, the Interloper is hardly a consolation prize.
Pack 2 pick 3:

My Pick:
Free value off our mill effects, and gets us closer to establishing control via real card advantage.
Pack 2 pick 4:

My Pick:
I’ve decided this is the best Black uncommon. Yes, a set like this has many variables that affect a cards worth, but even if you never plan on having seven mana to replay this, or mill it, or give a crap how many zombies you have in play, this card is still great. Four power for four mana that requires two removal spells to effectively remove it. Also, almost certainly you WILL either mill it, or get to seven mana, or care about zombies, making it good no matter what flavor of Black you’re in.
Pack 2 pick 5:

My Pick:
Our choice about the Wolf Run is starting to pay off. Black is steadily flowing, much more readily than Green or Blue.
Pack 2 pick 6:

My Pick:
I’m not playing any of these cards. I don’t like Selhoff Occultist anymore, the Scarecrow is sorta weak, and I love me some Ravings. Too bad it’s too late to get a Burning Vengeance.
Pack 2 pick 7:

My Pick:
Green decks can’t win without this card. Giving up a Fensnake is fine since I don’t have any Ghoulcallers or Raise Dead for zombies. Also, in the back of my mind, I’m seeing the Blue was cut off pretty hard or just was not there this pack. G/B/u could still happen, but if not I took away the most annoying common removal spell I could face.
Pack 2 pick 8:

My Pick:
Another good sign I’m on the right track, and somewhat dispels my fears about someone moving into a graveyard deck. I wouldn’t have minded the Rats as an alternative though.
Pack 2 pick 9:

My Pick:
Better than the Rats in this deck. Deals with evasive threats, and is a trick at times. It can also take down a large man since occasionally a big guy will get milled.
Pack 2 pick 10:

My Pick:
More candy, but might not play it. Depends on the number of mill effects/extra zombies we get. Again, no opportunity cost, so hooray!
Pack 2 pick 11:

My Pick:
I think I love Green as much as I love Blue in this format. Prey Upon and Darkthicket Wolf are just so awesome.
Pack 2 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 13:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 2 pick 15:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 1:

My Pick:

With two Assistants and a Skaab Turtle already, the removal spell is an easy pick, one that should probably be made even if the deck was lacking mill effects. Dead Weight is a premium pick, without a doubt, and it’s already been shown that in this draft, the mill deck enablers do table.
Pack 3 pick 2:

My Pick:
I probably should just take Slayer of the Wicked here so I don’t have to deal with it(and maybe play it) since Deprivation is actually not very good with our two Tribute to Hunger. Oh well, I got removal happy.
Pack 3 pick 3:

My Pick:
Despite my want of taking the Sulfur Falls and getting to play Desperate Raving, another Skaab Turtle is exactly what the deck wants now; consistency. A third Goliath is excessive, and might be hard to cast, even for this deck.
Pack 3 pick 4:

My Pick:
In almost any other Blue deck, I’d take Silent Departure, since it’s excellent in almost any spot. This deck wants to grind though, and Departure does not generate true card advantage(but excellent tempo and mana efficiency), so Grasp wins out.
Pack 3 pick 5:

My Pick:
Stitcher’s Apprentice is a card I always want to take and use, but I never have the deck for it(and barely know what kind of deck I’d really want it in anyway). Patrician buys time and likes to get binned for all sorts of reasons, and is far better than Fensnake, even with a potential Ghoulcaller’s Bell in the deck.
Pack 3 pick 6:

My Pick:
Noble is an evasive threat that makes trading just terrible for your opponent. I’d love another Dead Weight, but I need a few more ways to win at this point, and we’re running out of packs.
Pack 3 pick 7:

My Pick:
Yes sir! Three of these might almost be too much, but I really don’t care. I love having a full graveyard.
Pack 3 pick 8:

My Pick:
A few picks different and we would have a pretty cool reanimator deck, splashing White for Slayer and the flashback on two Unburial Rites. Either way would have been fine, but the Esper option was slightly riskier. See the ‘Drafting with Anton #2’ for a good example of how that deck looks and plays, though he was more committed to zombies than I would think you want to be. If you can’t read it, just buy a premium account at SCG. If you’re willing to take the time to read my stuff for free, paying a pittance to read the thoughts of some of the best is good value.
Pack 3 pick 9:

My Pick:
Ok four IS too many, but we appreciate the gesture.
Pack 3 pick 10:

My Pick:
A tad short on men, so Vampire Goliath wins over Altar’s Reap, a normally fine card.
Pack 3 pick 11:

My Pick:
With all the Skaabing going on, we probably don’t need this, but w/e.
Pack 3 pick 12:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 13:

My Pick:

We got one anyway.
Pack 3 pick 14:

My Pick:

Pack 3 pick 15:

My Pick:

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  • Skaab Goliath x2
  • Armored Skaab x3
  • Deranged Assistant x2
  • Walking Corpse
  • Moan of the Unhallowed
  • Rotting Fensnake
  • Falkenrath Noble
  • Vampire Interloper x2
  • Grasp of Phantoms
  • Dissipate
  • Think Twice
  • Silent Departure
  • Sever the Bloodline
  • Tribute to Hunger x2
  • Corpse Lunge
  •  Ghoulcaller’s Chant
  • Dead Weight
  • Island x8
  • Swamp x9
Notable sideboard cards included A Typhoid Rats, some more big butted blockers, two Sensory Deprivations, and a Patrician.
I won the draft rather easily. I had some tight spots, but the advantage provided by my mill effects always pulled me through. Sever the Bloodline is a total back breaker, and I wouldn’t hesitate to take it over a better card next time. I’d talk more about the games themselves, but I don’t have the replays for some reason. MTGO seems to save somewhat random games, usually unexciting ones that don’t have any value.
Till next time!


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2 responses to “ISD Draft Analysis #2

  1. mike

    well bro i love reading over drafts, actually better then watching as i like to think about the pick as if i was the one picking. i do thing in pack/pick order.

    1/1 i am not a fan of a 4 mana kill one guy card. which is what this card usally is, i personally like the mystics and would have snatched them up.
    1/2 i like what you said but in all my experience this guy is usally in my opening hand and that is not wherey ou want him. i like the juggernaut cause it is a 4 drop 5/5 which is very powerful. i agree to the weaknesses you stated but every creature has weakness. that does not make it better or worse in anyway (*yeh listen to me here, lol*)
    1/3 i consider this card just downright unplayable. he will mill ur goliath away everytime, atleast it did to me. the torch is a much better pick in my book.
    1/4 hopefully not the sleeve.
    1/5 yeh we cannot play 2 of these.
    1/8 nice reasoning, as i would have grabbed the unburial.
    1/10 piece of rotten stale outa date candy yes. i understand why you want to play this card but it sucks when it gets both goliaths.
    2/1 i think the bat or the unburial are both better. tribute seems like bad removal in my book. it says “please sac ur worst guy thankyou.
    2/2 not sure he always seems like a bad stormfront pegasus to me and i never thought they could make such a thing.
    2/8 i hope you have good luck with this, i do not want to sound like a whiner or something but i must restate this. It will 100% of the time put ur goliaths into the yard for you. and 2% of the time a flashback card, which only gives you half value for them. for a 1 mana ramp this is hardly worth it.
    2/9 how do u plan on this? u got 2 goliaths, maybe you plan on having them milled, then i can agree with this then as its 3 mana 6 damage.
    3/3 why would you play ravings? you desire good cards in yard that badly?? i thkn the victum or the juggernaut are both better here. over another unplayable.
    3/7 1 of these is too much.

  2. theolentangy

    I don’t like list style responses to responses, but I’ll just follow your format since the comments are from all over the draft.
    1/1: Mystics is a fine card, but it’s just a Hill Giant much of the time, which isn’t terrible in and of itself, but I want more from a p1p1. When I take a card like Sever first, I keep in mind that to get full value, I want to play it twice, or mill it into the yard. Both methods involve slower decks, which I usually like to draft anyway. Don’t underestimate this card Mike. It is a powerhouse.

    1/2: Mostly I just don’t like not having the option to block. Sure, he’s probably a more powerful card overall, but by taking a Blue card I cut down on Blue drafters to my left by only passing a single playable Blue card, and one Black card I really don’t even like.

    1/3: There is nothing wrong with taking Blazing Torch here at all. Armored Skaab ‘combos’ with both of my first picks by enabling both my other spells and stretching the game. Travis Woo posted a long draft on ChannelFireball yesterday, and although it’s long, everyone should watch it. He talks about pick orders, and how so many people wait for a card to wheel to move into a certain archetype, but if you just force it, it will happen. A bold statement, and I don’t think Travis even played all that great during the matches, but he had some really, really excellent insight into Limited theory. I was very impressed with his midset. As it turns out, I was following his advice here before I even heard it. Just force what you want; it typically comes together.

    1/4: This was a bit early. A Diregraf Ghoul is a safer pick, but again, I want a control deck, and I’m forcing my deck to be as such.

    1/5: It is the only Blue or Black card, so even if I didn’t play two I would pick it here to seal off those colors for pack two.

    1/8: Unburial Rites is powerful to be sure. I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking it, since we don’t actually KNOW either Spawning is coming back.

    1/10: You seem to have a terrible paranoia of milling your ‘good’ cards. First, playing a card like Ghoulraiser or Ghoulcaller’s Bell makes milling your big men not as painful. Second, the cards you mill were never in your hand, so you never actually ‘lost’ them. Third, your chances of milling a particular card is very, very low, while milling a land or chaff you don’t really want is generally over 50%.

    2/1: The Bat might be at least as good, but a removal spell that gains you life is a worthy pick, even if being paired with Blue weakens this spell somewhat due to ground guys nulling creatures and enchantment removal spells like Claustrophobia and Deprivation.

    2/2: I don’t think I’ve ever actually wanted to block with a Stormfront Pegasus, so it’s pretty much the same card.

    2/8: For your claim of 2% to actually be true, your deck would have to contain a single card you actually WANT to mill, and your deck must have 50 cards in it when you activate the Deranged Assistant. I think we have found the root of your dislike for self milling decks. 😛

    2/9: The choice was based on being able to deal with a creature the Rats can’t block. I already had the ground well gummed up, and a Rats doesn’t do much to change it. Usually dealing two with the card is enough, and all I expect to do most of the time, but really the pick was based on it being less restrictive removal.

    3/3: The Ravings thing was kinda a joke. I LOVE Desperate Ravings, but as said the reality of it was that the Armored Skaab performs a similar duty, and holds up ground creatures while providing fuel for my other spells.

    3/7: Meh, if you look at the actual deck I did only play three instead of the four I could have had. Once your deck gets around a dozen cards, your ability to predict your draw starts to become better, especially if you don’t need one particular card. At a dozen cards you should know every card left in your deck. It’s easier to formulate a plan to win when you know what you’re going to draw!

    Mike I think you should try Blue more often. It’s insane. That or make sure to sit to my right in drafts. 🙂

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