Some Cards Should be Un-Drafted

We're pleased to welcome Bruce Richard, the Windborn Muse of the Muse Vessel, to the Gathering Magic team! He, alongside his fellow Muses, will contribute to our new Tuesday feature: KiTT or, more formally, Kitchen Table Tuesday! Just like the art and tapestry featured on Vorthos Wednesday, Kitchen Table Tuesdays will always carry a cadre of casual captains covering the angles of kitchen tables!

For those of you who have read my articles at the Muse Vessel, you know I’m a multiplayer-casual kind of guy. I tend to write personal interest stories and strategy, throwing in a smattering of deck-building and other articles just to try to stay well-rounded. That’s generally what you can expect from my articles.

This time, not so much.

Right before Christmas, my group got together for our usual Thursday Night Magic. The usual night generally involves five to ten guys coming together at my house for some multiplayer Magic. We play Commander, Horde, Archenemy (very rarely), and Planechase (really looking forward to this summer’s cards!), and we recently tried a variant called Jerusalem (I’ll likely talk about that in another article), but primarily, we play straight-up sixty-card Chaos Magic. Grab a deck, shuffle up, and go. That night was a little different . . . we did a Draft.

I can hear all of you out there, “Oh boy, the newb casual writer is going to talk about a lame Draft in which he made horrible picks with his group of newb friends.” Before you click on to the next article, consider these wrinkles to our Draft:

  • There were only six of us. (“Oh, great, so it isn’t even a standard eight-man.”)
  • George, the player who bought the box, was keeping all the cards, so no land-drafting. Wait for it . . .
  • We decided we would split the games into two games of three-player Chaos, since six-player Chaos would likely involve a massive ground stall. Wait for it . . .
  • We were drafting Unhinged packs! Oh yeah!

Everything about the evening was a blast. Since it was the last get-together before Christmas, we started out the night doing a Magical Yankee Swap. We set a $10 cap on the gifts, so not surprisingly, there were a number of packs, some cool rares, a deck box or two, a play mat, and an illustrated card box. The festive tone was set and carried on through the entire evening.

The Draft

I am not going to go through the Draft, pick by pick. I’m not going to try to make you better at Unhinged drafting. I am a terrible drafter, and becoming better at Unhinged drafting has a target audience of about two people. What I will say about the Draft was that we did begin to question how randomly the cards were inserted in the packs. Often, we would see the same four commons in three consecutive packs. In the eighteen packs opened, we had seven Wordmails and at least seven Goblin S.W.A.T. Teams (swat the table). There are officially one hundred forty cards in the set (not including the Super Secret Tech (which was pulled and passed by at least three of us!), so I did expect the commons to be quite common seen frequently, but it seemed insane to get the numbers we did on some of the cards while never seeing others. While there may be a Smart Ass or two at my dining room table, there were no copies of the card in the Draft.

My picks included Kill Destroy, Punctuate, Wet Willie of the Damned, Blast from the Past, and Sauté. While having some of these cards would have been a good idea, taking as many as I did was a mistake. I also went after Wordmail, since I knew it made for some big power/toughness boosts. Unfortunately, the best creature I drafted for it was the Carnivorous Death-Parrot, so it proved to be a mistake. Wordmail also sent me into White creatures. I chose the very lame Fascist Art Director and Standing Army.

My Blue cards were limited, but three copies of the Carnivorous Death-Parrot and one Cheatyface could only be good.

The Deck

I had a pretty even mix of everything but Green, so I tried a three-color deck, skipping on Red. I figured I had enough burn in Black, and I wanted White and Blue for the creatures. This was completely wrong, and I should have dumped White entirely. The cards in White just weren’t good enough, even though they made up the largest percentage of my picks. I would not figure this out until after we played. I even changed the deck later on, removing the Black for the Red, not realizing the true problem.

The biggest mistake of the build was including Cheatyface. If you are going to cheat him into play, you don’t want him sitting in your library! My son, Spencer, played my deck for one game and had Cheatyface in his lap to start the game. He stuck it directly under the first land he played and smoothly revealed it and attacked on the next turn. Now that is how you run a Cheatyface!

The Play

It shouldn’t surprise anyone by now to know that I didn’t win a game that night. On the other hand, we are talking about Unhinged cards, so who really cares whether the deck was good? What were the cool plays and fun stuff?

  • Watching a Fascist Art Director hold off two Shoe Trees. At least I remember there being two Shoe Trees. It was hard to tell what was underneath the two size-thirteen boots on the table! Unfortunately, I wasn’t drawing much land, so keeping the mana up for the Art Director meant that I did nothing else.
  • Our Magic night generally starts around 6:30 or 7:00. By the time we finished drafting and deck-building, it was after 8:00. In the middle of Josh’s turn, my grandfather clock chimed 9:00, turning his Elvish House Party from an 8/8 into a 9/9. There was no stalling to make him bigger—it just worked out that way.
  • Josh and I both played Magic when Unhinged first came out. We both remembered Wordmail and Our Market Research Shows That Players Like Really Long Card Names So We Made this Card to Have the Absolute Longest Card Name Ever Elemental. I picked up four Wordmails in the Draft. Josh gathered up the other three. Josh got the only OMRSTPLRLCNSWMtCtHtALCNEE. He got to live the dream in his third game, and he took out both opponents with the combo. It was a beautiful thing.
  • I picked up Who/What/When/Where/Why. Josh had Wordmail in hand and played out Our Market Research Shows That Players Like Really Long Card Names So We Made this Card to Have the Absolute Longest Card Name Ever Elemental. I cast When to counter it. Maybe my dreams aren’t as beautiful, but sometimes one word is all it takes.
  • Form of the Squirrel appears to be an amazing card. At least it looks that way until you play it and realize that the Squirrel has no protection. When Fluffy Bunnies Attack proves that bunnies are more powerful than Squirrels. We determined that the Squirrel token’s name is Squirrel. Josh chose R to kill off the Squirrel and end David’s game. Form of the Squirrel was removed for the next game.
  • Loose Lips by itself is okay. There are very few flyers in the set, and Loose Lips can make things ugly for your opponents. On top of that, you can pick an embarrassing sentence for your opponent to say and get a chuckle whenever your creature hits. Or you can pick up Number Crunch in your Draft and force your opponents to say, “This one time, could you not get Number Crunch?”
  • Goblin S.W.A.T. Team (swat) was featured in the games next to me and was plenty of fun. The most effective way to get the +1/+1 counters was when Dan was talking to me about the Gobling S.W.A.T. Teams that I was not using in my deck. His opponents regularly tuned out of our conversation and paid the price several times (Oh! I missed it!).
  • Gobling S.W.A.T. Team (swat) and Cardpecker. You are either going to let the S.W.A.T Team (swat, just in case saying, “S.W.A.T. Team” [swat] is enough) get big, or Cardpecker is coming back to your hand. This combo was amazing . . . or it would have been if Dan had been playing White. Josh was playing Cardpecker but only managed to use the Gotcha ability once. I was very careful to use my cards in hand to pick up my cards that were on the table once the Cardpecker was in the graveyard.
  • Carnivorous Death-Parrot is a 2/2 flying creature for 2 in a set without many flyers. This thing is a beast for this set. I had three in my deck but only ever saw one of them. Putting a token on your library to remind you to say the flavor text is tech in Unhinged Draft. And yes, attacking fluffy bunnies are more powerful than a CaRnivoRous Death-PaRRot.
  • Togglodyte is a serious pain in the ass1 in a multiplayer game. At least it was for its controller. I picked up three Togglodytes in the Draft and managed to have all three of them out in one game. Tracking when they were off or on was an annoyance to me—nowhere near worth the 4/4 for {3}.2
  • I suck at Pig Latin. Atinlay Igpay seemed like a good card, but I knew I’d never keep him in play, so I passed him by a couple of times in the Draft.
  • I am 6’4”. Man of Measure was always a 3/2 for me, but he never had the First Strike it needed to be effective. Even in an Unhinged Draft, reading is tech.
  • After 9:00 P.M., Red-Hot Hottie was erratad to read, “ . . . unless you scream, ‘Aaah,’ but not so loudly that you wake up Bruce’s wife.” I think it is appropriate that my wife be referenced on a card called Red-Hot Hottie.
  • We probably misplayed S.N.O.T.. David played S.N.O.T. on his first turn, then followed it up with a second more S.N.O.T. on his second turn. He chose to stick them together, then attack. We allowed it, thinking the first S.N.O.T. was simply getting bigger. In fact, it creates a new creature that doesn’t have Haste, so it should not have attacked. The 4/4 David’s S.N.O.T. hit me for 12 points of gooey damage.
  • When a Shoe Tree with two shoes on it attacks and is blocked by an Elvish House Party at 8:00 P.M., the Shoe Tree dies . . . unless you Supersize it! Of course, if you happen to Supersize your Elvish House Party at 8:00 P.M., the Shoe Tree dies, even if it is Supersized.
  • Topsy Turvy was played. It didn’t really combo with anything, but it definitely confused the game.

I want to thank David, John, George, Dan, and Josh for all taking part in the Draft. A big part of casual Magic is playing with the deck you made from your own cards and surprising everyone else at the table with what you have put together. The guys agreed to forsake that for a chance at some wacky drafting. Thanks to George for buying the box and keeping all the cards. Since George was keeping the cards, everyone was free to try the most insane ideas, and many players did just that. Finally, George, Dan, and Josh all sent e-mails, refreshing my memory on some of the cooler plays, particularly in the games I wasn’t in. It is always good to have another pair of eyes on things.



1I can say “ass” in an article talking about Unhinged. Cheap Ass, Smart Ass, Dumb Ass!

2Tracking when everyone plays spells really brought home for me why Werewolf decks just don’t work in multiplayer. If only one opponent needs to play two spells in a turn to flip your Werewolves back into lame Humans, don’t ever expect to be able to attack with them as Werewolves. We now return you to your regularly scheduled article.