Drafting with DeTora, AVR #1
Hello, everyone! Welcome to my first Avacyn Restored Draft walkthrough! I haven’t played Magic Online in a while, and with Grand Prix: Vancouver less than two weeks away, I decided to jump into an 8–4 queue on Magic Online.
The submitted deck and recap follow the draft!
Pack 1, Pick 1:
Spectral Prison, Unhallowed Pact, Midnight Duelist, Geist Trappers, Vigilante Justice, Joint Assault, Fettergeist, Call to Serve, Havengul Skaab, Mountain, Battle Hymn, Butcher Ghoul, Lightning Mauler, Stolen Goods, Angelic Wall
The cards I considered taking in this pack are Fettergeist, Joint Assault, Butcher Ghoul, and Lightning Mauler. Fettergeist is by far the best card in the pack, and blue is a color that I want to be in, so I was happy first-picking the Fettergeist.
Pack 1, Pick 2:
Borderland Ranger, Nettle Swine, Gryff Vanguard, Dread Slaver (FOIL), Banners Raised, Nightshade Peddler, Crypt Creeper, Vessel of Endless Rest, Flowering Lumberknot, Galvanic Alchemist, Plains, Eaten by Spiders, Moonlight Geist, Triumph of Ferocity
That’s a lot of green! I really like the U/G soulbond archetype, and there are six good green cards in this pack. That being said, I don’t think taking a green card here was correct. The people I’m passing to will most likely take green cards, and I’ll be cut off in pack two. Triumph of Ferocity is a very strong card in the archetype, and as much as I wanted to take it, I decided to stay on-color and take the Gryff Vanguard.
Pack 1, Pick 3:
Bone Splinters, Tormentor's Trident, Harvester of Souls, Ghostform, Joint Assault, Lightning Prowess, Kruin Striker, Scroll of Avacyn, Cursebreak, Peel from Reality, Voice of the Provinces, Necrobite, Island
Here, I was given the option of staying on-color and taking Peel from Reality or taking one of the black cards in the pack. Both Bone Splinters and Harvester of Souls are great cards. I think that Bone Splinters is better than Harvester of Souls. I do like sweet rares that draw me cards, but removal is so scarce in this format that you really need to pick it over anything else.
Bone Splinters is among the better removal spells in the format because it can kill anything for 1 mana, and there are a lot of creatures that you don’t mind sacrificing in black, such as undying creatures and Driver of the Dead. Of course, by taking the Bone Splinters, my neighbor will certainly take the Harvester of Souls next, and black is not something I want to fight over. Again, I stayed on-color and took Peel from Reality.
Pack 1, Pick 4:
Thatcher Revolt, Builder's Blessing, Searchlight Geist, Alchemist's Apprentice, Angel's Mercy, Pathbreaker Wurm, Blood Artist, Dangerous Wager, Swamp, Essence Harvest, Descendants' Path, Moonlight Geist
My options here were Searchlight Geist, Alchemist's Apprentice, Pathbreaker Wurm, and Moonlight Geist. I immediately ruled out the Wurm since I already passed too much green. I thought about taking the Alchemist's Apprentice to stay on-color, but I really thought the Blood Artist was too good to pass here. It appeared that black was open, so now seemed like a good time to start taking a second color.
Pack 1, Pick 5:
Hexproof is, in my opinion, a broken mechanic. I’ve done a lot of Drafts in this format, and if I learned anything it’s this: If your opponent plays an Elgaud Shieldmate, you better kill it right away—once it’s paired with a good creature, you will probably lose. That being said, I was happy to take the Shieldmate.
My on-color pick here was Crypt Creeper, a card that I‘m never excited to play in my Draft decks. 2/1 creatures are outclassed very quickly in this format. Cloudshift is an excellent card, and it works well with the blue creatures in the format, so I took that to keep my options open.
Pack 1, Pick 8:
I really like Fleeting Distraction as a combat trick. It’s usually a two-for-one, and at worst, it cycles for
Pack 1, Pick 9:
Spectral Prison is not the best removal spell, but it’s the best card in the pack.
Pack 1, Pick 10:
My blue deck needed some early defense, and at this point, I didn’t know what my second color was going to be yet, so I picked up the Galvanic Alchemist
Pack 1, Pick 11:
Necrobite is a great combat trick. It’s a good answer to large creatures, and most people don’t see it coming.
Pack 1, Pick 12:
Pack 1, Pick 13:
Pack 1, Pick 14:
Pack 1, Pick 15:
After pack one, it was very obvious that I was blue, but my second color was debatable. My options were very open at this point, so I was ready to see what pack two had to offer.
Pack 2, Pick 1:
Thatcher Revolt, Ghoulflesh, Defy Death, Abundant Growth, Geist Snatch, Scrapskin Drake, Angel's Mercy, Divine Deflection, Diregraf Escort, Havengul Vampire, Undead Executioner, Seraph Sanctuary, Forest, Demonic Taskmaster, Narstad Scrapper
Divine Deflection is a bomb. It’s removal, it can save you from lethal damage, and it can net you card advantage. I gladly took it and solidified my second color as white.
Pack 2, Pick 2:
Driver of the Dead, Thunderous Wrath, Midnight Duelist, Leap of Faith, Geist Trappers, Somberwald Vigilante, Blessings of Nature, Wandering Wolf, Favorable Winds, Galvanic Alchemist, Swamp, Battle Hymn, Essence Harvest, Butcher Ghoul
Unfortunately, this pack gave me no good options in blue or white. My deck didn’t need another Galvanic Alchemist, and I was seeing a ton of green cards. Blessings of Nature is a very good card, and it’s even better if you are lucky enough to miracle it early. I took the Blessings of Nature, although it felt that this Draft was starting to go downhill.
Pack 2, Pick 3:
Borderland Ranger, Scalding Devil, Thunderous Wrath, Cloudshift, Spectral Gateguards, Wandering Wolf, Angel's Tomb, Terrifying Presence, Fervent Cathar, Undead Executioner, Scroll of Griselbrand, Mountain, Midvast Protector
This was the moment of truth. I had to make a decision as to what my second color was. There were no blue cards in this pack at all, so it was time to pick a color and stick with it. I knew that I wasn’t going to be black, since I only had the Blood Artist. I decided to take either the Borderland Ranger or the Wandering Wolf, and I ended up choosing the Wolf because I did not have any 2-drops yet, and the Wolf had better synergy with the Blessings of Nature.
Pack 2, Pick 4:
Thraben Valiant, Gryff Vanguard, Guise of Fire, Searchlight Geist, Trusted Forcemage, Stern Mentor, Fervent Cathar, Pathbreaker Wurm, Voice of the Provinces, Swamp, Burn at the Stake, Predator's Gambit
My choice paid off because I was passed one of the best green commons, Trusted Forcemage. I gladly took it over a second Gryff Vanguard because Trusted Forcemage was a better card for the deck I was drafting.
Pack 2, Pick 5:
Pack 2, Pick 6:
There weren’t a lot of good options here. Mass Appeal is decent in U/G because all of the soulbond creatures are Humans, and green has a lot of Humans in general. Snare the Skies and Terrifying Presence are mediocre combat tricks, so even though I didn’t have a lot Humans at the time, I could play Mass Appeal depending on what I picked up in pack three.
Pack 2, Pick 7:
Pack 2, Pick 8:
Pack 2, Pick 9:
Pack 2, Pick 10:
Pack 2, Pick 11:
Pack 2, Pick 12:
Pack 2, Pick 13:
Pack 2, Pick 14:
Pack 2, Pick 15:
Pack 3, Pick 1:
Spectral Prison, Sheltering Word, Dreadwaters, Zealous Strike, Crippling Chill, Tamiyo, the Moon Sage, Seraph of Dawn, Mad Prophet, Cursebreak (FOIL), Vanishment, Vessel of Endless Rest, Raging Poltergeist, Plains, Amass the Components, Bower Passage
After what I thought was a train wreck of a Draft, I was rewarded by opening Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. Not only is it great card, it’s also worth a lot of tickets, so it was a win-win!
Pack 3, Pick 2:
Renegade Demon, Borderland Ranger, Wingcrafter, Cloudshift, Grounded, Hanweir Lancer, Evernight Shade (FOIL), Gang of Devils, Archangel, Galvanic Alchemist, Forest, Lunar Mystic, Polluted Dead, Narstad Scrapper
This pick was pretty difficult for me. Wingcrafter is the perfect card for my deck, but Borderland Ranger can fix my mana and let me splash the Divine Deflection. After agonizing over the pick, I finally decided to take Borderland Ranger, but I still wasn’t sure if it was correct.
Pack 3, Pick 3:
Ghoulflesh, Builder's Blessing, Thunderbolt, Geist Snatch, Kruin Striker, Ghostly Flicker, Cathedral Sanctifier, Marrow Bats, Flowering Lumberknot, Island, Eaten by Spiders, Butcher Ghoul, Malicious Intent
This pack wasn’t very good for me. Flowering Lumberknot is a great card if I had enough soulbond creatures. I only had four, which is nowhere near enough to make the Lumberknot playable. It was still pretty early in the pack, so I took the Lumberknot anyway, with the hope of picking up a few more soulbond creatures.
Pack 3, Pick 4:
Driver of the Dead, Nettle Swine, Banners Raised, Timberland Guide, Farbog Explorer, Vanishment, Slayers' Stronghold, Galvanic Alchemist, Moorland Inquisitor, Forest, Eaten by Spiders, Essence Harvest
My options in this pack were Nettle Swine and Timberland Guide. I really could have used both cards for my deck. Timberland Guide was a 2-drop that I desperately needed, and it would have worked great with the two copies of Wandering Wolf I had. On the other hand, Nettle Swine is very efficiently costed and fit my curve nicely. I went with the Swine because I didn’t have enough fatties.
Pack 3, Pick 5:
My deck was light on creatures at this point, so although I wasn’t happy about it, I had to take Rotcrown Ghoul, and unfortunately, it was probably going to make it into my deck.
Pack 3, Pick 6:
Wildwood Geist was just what my deck was looking for. I didn’t have much in my 5-drop slot, and a 5/5 for 5 mana was just what I needed.
Pack 3, Pick 7:
I was still low on creatures, so the vanilla 7/7 for 6 was a fine card for my deck.
Pack 3, Pick 8:
This Flowering Lumberknot, on the other hand, was not going to make the cut. I wasn’t passed any more soulbond creatures, and four is not enough to run this guy.
Pack 3, Pick 9:
A Ranger's Guile–like combat trick is always playable, and sometimes, the life-gain is relevant, too.
Pack 3, Pick 10:
I didn’t expect Lunar Mystic to table. It is not great but still playable. I had a decent number of instants, so its ability was actually relevant for my deck..
Pack 3, Pick 11:
Pack 3, Pick 12:
Pack 3, Pick 13:
Pack 3, Pick 14:
Pack 3, Pick 15:
This is the deck I built:
"U/G Tamiyo Draft"
I decided to splash the Divine Deflection because I had three ways to find white mana in my deck, so being able to cast it wouldn’t be an issue. I also ran Geist Snatch, a card that I don’t really like in this format. Usually in decks like this, you tap out every turn and never have the 4 mana up for Geist Snatch. With my lack of removal in this deck, I decided to run the counterspell, and it actually worked out really well. I would definitely run it again.
Here’s how my matches played out.
Round 1 – G/W/u
He had a lot of flyers, so I sided in both Snare the Skies and took out Blessings of Nature and Sheltering Word. He had some bounce, which made Blessings a little worse, and giving my creatures reach could be great against him.
Game 2, I again had a good curve, and I played Tamiyo on turn five and started to tap down his guys. He was overwhelmed by the tempo I gained with Tamiyo, and he died.
In the final game, it seemed that I had every answer to his cards. I had Geist Snatch for his Gryff Vanguard, and I had a pump spell every time he double-blocked. Siding in both Snare the Skies worked out very well, and he didn’t expect them at all. I played Tamiyo late in the game and started tapping down his creatures, and then I played a 7/7 that he couldn’t deal with.
Round 2 – R/G Aggro
I had a huge advantage over my opponent this match because R/G can’t deal with huge creatures. Both games, I played Blessings of Nature, and my creatures were so big that he couldn’t trade with them in combat. I won the match in two quick games.
Round 3 – W/U Mill Control
Game 1, I had a sick curve of Wandering Wolf, Trusted Forcemage, Nettle Swine. All he played was a Galvanic Alchemist and a Stern Mentor. He had Defang for my Nettle Swine to stop the bleeding. On turn seven, he tapped out for an Amass the Components and a creature. That gave me the window to cast Blessings of Nature on my Wandering Wolf, making it unblockable and lethal.
Game 2, I played copies of Wandering Wolf on turns two and three, and I played Nettle Swine again on turn four. He again tried to play Defang, but this time, I had the Sheltering Word. He milled me down to three cards in my library with Stern Mentor and Dreadwaters before I killed him.
I think the big mistake that I made while drafting was pack three, pick two, when I was given the choice of Wingcrafter or Borderland Ranger. I think the Wingcrafter was the better pick there. If I had taken that, I could have played one of the Flowering Lumberknots I had, and I wouldn’t have splashed white for Divine Deflection.
Geist Snatch was a card that performed surprisingly well. Countering a creature and making a chump-blocker is very good. Usually, you won’t cast Geist Snatch until turn six or later, and those are the turns when bombs are being played.
I hope you enjoyed following my Draft, and good luck at Grand Prix Vancouver if you’re going! Thanks for reading.
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