Friday was not a normal draft for various reasons. I decided not to go to a new LGS because I didn’t want to drive the two hours home in the middle of the night. Plus, brutal honesty here, I was nursing a pretty wicked hangover that was the result of too many $1 beers and disregarding the fact I am fairly lactose intolerant and eating all the pepper-jack cheese bites and delicious queso dip. Apparently my stomach didn’t like that combination…. Deciding to go to my home LGS was definitely the right choice, but that meant I had to drive straight there, which also meant I didn’t rest or prepare much at all.
Luckily, though, I’d practiced with several M14 draft simulations before I left on my short trip. (If I had gone to a new LGS I wouldn’t have wanted to embarrass myself, after all!) And the prep definitely paid off, at least a little. I was really, really happy with my draft. I opened Jace’s Mindseeker, Scavenging Ooze and Elite Arcanist and got passed a Clone. Four solid rare cards, I thought, especially in draft. The first pack went well and I picked up mostly blue fliers. I was iffy about my second color — I picked up a few black cards and green cards but didn’t see much good red or white. When I opened Scavenging Ooze pack two I was pretty happy to finally pick green. I also picked up Trollhide, two Giant Spiders and an Elvish Mystic, but those were my only green cards I ended up running. So I was nearly mono-blue, with just a little green. I had six fliers, including two Air Servants, the Mindseeker and a Warden of Evos Isle. I also had a Phantom Warrior, so the majority of my creatures had some sort of evasion. I also had a lot of spells — two Essence Scatters, two Cancels and a Disperse — so my plan was to play the tempo game and counter most of my opponent’s spells until I could play my bombs. Unfortunately, I didn’t really have any straight up removal, so once a big creature of my opponent’s hit the board, I had to deal with it. Sometimes that worked, sometimes that didn’t. Despite that, I was fairly confident going into the first round.
My first game went very well. I got my scavenging ooze out, and was able to get it up to an 8/8. My opponent had gotten rid of my Fireshrieker, so that was sad, but turns out Scavenging Ooze is just a solid card on its own. I was also able to cast Elite Arcanist with Cancel underneath it, after I had cast Archaeomancer to get Cancel back from my graveyard. (My opponent had tried to make sacrifice my Ooze with Celestial Flare, so I Canceled that of course…) So I got some great value out of Cancel, and the game ended very quickly from there. He started having to chump block the Ooze, which just made him bigger, and I got a couple fliers out to help as well. It was a fairly easy win. So I was pretty confident going into game two, and I when I had Time Ebb and Elite Arcanist both in my opening hand I thought I had it in the bag. Make him draw the same cards all game? Awesome. Turns out that’s not actually a combo though — the Arcanist can only exile INSTANTS from your hand. Time Ebb is a sorcery. I figured that out when I tried to do that. Unfortunately, that meant I ended up casting the Arcanist as a weenie 1/1 for 4CMC. It put me behind and I had no good plays to make after trying to do that. That one misplay put me on the defense the whole game. I ended up not drawing my counter spells, so I couldn’t take care of his Air Servant or other fliers. Game three was also painful for me. I was able to get the Arcanist on board with Essence Scatter exiled beneath it, but unfortunately, my opponent didn’t allow me to use it. He played Master of Diversion before I was able to actually use it, and would attack first, tap my Arcanist, and then play whatever creature spell he wanted to. When he got Air Servant out, it was pretty much game over for me. I had Giant Spider, so I was able to block it once, and then I attempted to Clone the Spider (not the Air Servant because it could be tapped cause it had flying… only after did I realize I probably should have tried to clone that because I could tap his Air Servant with my Servant, even if it was tapped), but he cast Cancel instead. I think had I Cloned a turn earlier instead of casting my initial Giant Spider he might not have been able to play the Cancel, but I don’t remember if he was tapped out or not. Overall, it was a disappointing match, but I learned some very important lessons that I kept in mind all night.
My second match was against a fairly new player at our store. I actually played him last week, too. He’s very nice and seems to be catching onto the game fairly quickly. Unfortunately, he didn’t get very good draws against me and couldn’t take care of my fliers. The first game was over fairly quickly — I cast my Warden and then Cloned the following turn, which gave me access to all my beefy fliers really early. Game two was a lot closer, but I overran him with fliers again. (Not before he got me down to four, though!)
My third match was pretty close. The first game was over really fast — both of us got evasive creatures out on turn three. I got my Phantom Warrior out and she got a black intimidate creature out. I was able to get Dragon Shrieker on the battlefield, but then she enchanted her guy with Dark Favor, giving her a head start on the huge attacks. She won that race. Game two was definitely in my favor — I got Scavenging Ooze out again, plus some fliers. She got her black staff out, but it didn’t really do much except delay the inevitable. In game three, though, her monoblack deck really shined. I was overwhelming her with fliers, and was at 12 while she was at 4 and she had no way to block my ten flying damage coming at her the next turn. She’d gotten me down to 12 by casting Sanguine Bond — whenever you gain life, your opponent loses that much life — and her black staff, which is actually a solid combo. It’s basically extorting at least once per turn, probably more. On turn six, she was able to cast Corrupt with six swamps out putting me down to six. And because she had her nifty bond enchantment and Corrupt causes her to gain life equal to the life lost she gained 6 life and I lost 6 more… killing me. It was a very sad moment. She felt guilty, but it was the combo she’d built her monoblack deck around. She said she had three Corrupts in her deck, so the chances of her drawing one were pretty good. I was really annoyed though; I was 1-2, and I thought I’d had the match in the bag.
My fourth match was even closer than my third match. In game one, my opponent and I had a straightforward game of attacking and trying to win the race, and then when my opponent stabilized, we hit top-deck mode. Unfortunately for me, I was losing my blockers and needed to get something quick. I pulled a Trollhide, which was OK, but my opponent was at four and had two guys out. I was also at four and needed him to block my guy for me to live another turn (I want to say his creatures were flying, so I couldn’t block). My only creature was a 1/1, however, and the Trollhide put him at a 3/3. I didn’t have and cards in hand, either, so I couldn’t trick him into blocking. I attacked anyway, but he didn’t fall for it and he dropped to one and killed me on the crackback. I honestly don’t remember if his creatures were flying, but if they weren’t it might have been a better idea to hold my guy back and block with him. I don’t remember why I thought the only way to survive was to attack. Game two was similar in that we both got down to four life and entered top deck mode, but this time it ended in my favor. I don’t remember the exact circumstances (gotta take more notes, apparently) , but I do remember casting Jace’s Mindseeker and successfully milling his Chandra, though, which was awesome. We continued on to game three and I thought I had a good chance. The game went rather long and both of us were developing our boards a lot, but neither of us had a favorable attack. I had Trollhide on my Giant Spider, so it locked down the sky pretty well and both of us had creatures we weren’t willing to trade. What turned the game was my opponent casting Act of Treason, stealing my best blocker (the Spider) and then attacking all out. I chump blocked a little, but then instead of just letting me get my Spider back, my opponent cast Liturgy of Blood to kill it. (Had I paid the regeneration cost in response to the Act, I would have gotten it back, but I didn’t think of it.) I didn’t have any good blockers the next turn, so he was able to attack and win. Another sad loss.
I debated going home after that — I was really tired, my head was absolutely killing me and I was just not having a good night. I stuck it out though… I was hoping to at least end the night with a 3-3 record.
My fifth match was a win, but for an unfortunate reason. In the middle of game two (I’d gotten game one), a guy came into the game room and said someone outside was having a seizure. Several people jumped up and ran outside — my opponent was among them. He came back a couple minutes later and apologized, saying he thought it might have been his step-brother. We kept playing, but when the paramedics came in with the head judge, who was getting the name of the guy for them, my opponent heard him say his brother’s name. He left to with the paramedics, and sure enough… it was his brother. (And also the new guy I’d played in round two.) I was very sad and worried. My opponent ended up dropping, so I got the win, but I was not happy about it. It doesn’t feel good to get a win under such circumstances. I just hope the guy is OK.
I was in a terrible mood for my last match. My night had gone pretty horribly, my head was hurting and I was pretty shaken about about the events of the night. I got paired up — I think if my opponent beat me, she would have gotten Top 12. But I kind of dream crushed her. Again, I didn’t take that many notes and I was quite distracted the whole match, so I don’t remember the details, but I got game one decisively. I was able to cast Jace’s Mindseeker and clone it the next turn. With the first mindseeker, I milled a bunch of land and a Mind Rot, so I forced her to discard two cards. She was mana screwed, so milling the land was huge. The second mindseeker also got a bunch of land, and she didn’t draw anything to take care the eight damage coming at her in the air. Game two was a bit closer, but I also won it. Scavenging Ooze came out, and so did my evasion creatures. So I ended on a semi-high note… even if the night was a bit weird.
I’m looking forward to playing with this deck a bit more over the week. I was really happy with it, but things just didn’t pan out. Even though I went 3-3 I still ended up in 20th place, which is a very disappointing finish. I did learn some important things, though: Read the cards, having counterspells doesn’t mean you have removal and, just purely on a personal level, I need to take more notes!
Oh well. Luckily, there is always next week. And besides, it was my first time drafting M14. I should cut myself a little slack…. maybe.
All for now,
Have you drafted M14? How did it go, and what cards do you like/ dislike?