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.

My Pick:


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.

My Pick:

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.

My Pick:

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.

My Pick:

Blood Artist

Pack 1, Pick 5:

Elgaud Shieldmate, Ghoulflesh, Abundant Growth, Outwit, Hunted Ghoul, Angelic Armaments, Kruin Striker, Dangerous Wager, Wildwood Geist, Island, Predator's Gambit

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 Pick:

Elgaud Shieldmate

Pack 1, Pick 6:
Cloudshift, Grounded, Havengul Skaab, Crypt Creeper, Archangel, Flowering Lumberknot, Forest, Battle Hymn, Predator's Gambit, Angelic Wall

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.

My Pick:


Pack 1, Pick 7:
Ghostform, Joint Assault, Havengul Skaab, Pathbreaker Wurm, Cursebreak, Soulcage Fiend, Dangerous Wager, Mountain, Devout Chaplain

This was another pack that just didn’t excite me. I could have taken my second black card, Soulcage Fiend, but seeing a Joint Assault and a Pathbreaker Wurm this late had to mean something.

My Pick:

Joint Assault

Pack 1, Pick 8:

Bladed Bracers, Leap of Faith, Demolish, Natural End, Fleeting Distraction, Swamp, Polluted Dead, Appetite for Brains

I really like Fleeting Distraction as a combat trick. It’s usually a two-for-one, and at worst, it cycles for {U} mana.

My Pick:

Fleeting Distraction

Pack 1, Pick 9:

Spectral Prison, Unhallowed Pact, Call to Serve, Havengul Skaab, Mountain, Battle Hymn, Angelic Wall

Spectral Prison is not the best removal spell, but it’s the best card in the pack.

My Pick:

Spectral Prison

Pack 1, Pick 10:

Banners Raised, Crypt Creeper, Vessel of Endless Rest, Flowering Lumberknot, Galvanic Alchemist, Plains

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

My Pick:

Galvanic Alchemist

Pack 1, Pick 11:

Ghostform, Scroll of Avacyn, Cursebreak, Necrobite, Island

Necrobite is a great combat trick. It’s a good answer to large creatures, and most people don’t see it coming.

My Pick:


Pack 1, Pick 12:

Builder's Blessing, Angel's Mercy, Dangerous Wager, Swamp

My Pick:

Dangerous Wager

Pack 1, Pick 13:

Dangerous Wager, Island, Predator's Gambit

My Pick:

Dangerous Wager

Pack 1, Pick 14:

Grounded, Forest

My Pick:


Pack 1, Pick 15:


My Pick:


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.

My Pick:

Divine Deflection

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.

My Pick:

Blessings of Nature

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.

My Pick:

Wandering Wolf

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.

My Pick:

Trusted Forcemage

Pack 2, Pick 5:

Borderland Ranger, Alchemist's Apprentice, Wandering Wolf, Lightning Prowess, Havengul Skaab, Uncanny Speed, Soulcage Fiend, Dangerous Wager, Mountain, Essence Harvest, Moonlight Geist

Wandering Wolf can be very difficult to block, especially if you miracle a Blessings of Nature or pair it with a Trusted Forcemage on turn three, so this was an easy pick.

My Pick:

Wandering Wolf

Pack 2, Pick 6:

Unhallowed Pact, Terrifying Presence, Mass Appeal, Ghostly Flicker, Scroll of Avacyn, Kessig Malcontents, Cursebreak, Island, Snare the Skies, Aggravate

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.

My Pick:

Mass Appeal

Pack 2, Pick 7:

Ghostform, Abundant Growth, Defang, Cursebreak, Voice of the Provinces, Raging Poltergeist, Plains, Aggravate, Narstad Scrapper

Abundant Growth was the perfect card for my deck because it gave me the option of splashing the Divine Deflection that I had.

My Pick:

Abundant Growth

Pack 2, Pick 8:

Spectral Prison, Havengul Skaab, Uncanny Speed, Soulcage Fiend, Rush of Blood, Forest, Snare the Skies, Lair Delve

My Pick:

Snare the Skies

Pack 2, Pick 9:

Thatcher Revolt, Ghoulflesh, Angel's Mercy, Diregraf Escort, Seraph Sanctuary, Forest, Narstad Scrapper

My Pick:


Pack 2, Pick 10:

Driver of the Dead, Leap of Faith, Somberwald Vigilante, Swamp, Battle Hymn, Essence Harvest

My Pick:

Driver of the Dead

Pack 2, Pick 11:

Cloudshift, Terrifying Presence, Undead Executioner, Scroll of Griselbrand, Mountain

My Pick:

Terrifying Presence

Pack 2, Pick 12:

Thraben Valiant, Pathbreaker Wurm, Swamp, Predator's Gambit

My Pick:

Pathbreaker Wurm

Pack 2, Pick 13:

Havengul Skaab, Uncanny Speed, Mountain

My Pick:

Havengul Skaab

Pack 2, Pick 14:

Island, Snare the Skies

My Pick:

Snare the Skies

Pack 2, Pick 15:


My Pick:


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!

My Pick:

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage

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.

My Pick:

Borderland Ranger

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.

My Pick:

Flowering Lumberknot

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.

My Pick:

Nettle Swine

Pack 3, Pick 5:

Mental Agony, Ghostform, Banners Raised, Rotcrown Ghoul, Soulcage Fiend, Archangel, Plains, Snare the Skies, Lair Delve, Tyrant of Discord, Ghostly Touch

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.

My Pick:

Rotcrown Ghoul

Pack 3, Pick 6:

Searchlight Geist, Spectral Gateguards, Natural End, Fleeting Distraction, Wildwood Geist, Moorland Inquisitor, Swamp, Amass the Components, Battle Hymn, Grave Exchange

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.

My Pick:

Wildwood Geist

Pack 3, Pick 7:

Ghostform, Sheltering Word (FOIL), Spectral Gateguards, Terrifying Presence, Mad Prophet, Cursebreak, Scroll of Griselbrand, Swamp, Vorstclaw

My Pick:


I was still low on creatures, so the vanilla 7/7 for 6 was a fine card for my deck.

Pack 3, Pick 8:

Grounded, Havengul Skaab, Crypt Creeper, Flowering Lumberknot, Mountain, Battle Hymn, Predator's Gambit, Commander's Authority

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.

My Pick:

Flowering Lumberknot

Pack 3, Pick 9:

Sheltering Word, Dreadwaters, Zealous Strike, Cursebreak (FOIL), Raging Poltergeist, Plains, Bower Passage

My Pick:

Sheltering Word

A Ranger's Guile–like combat trick is always playable, and sometimes, the life-gain is relevant, too.

Pack 3, Pick 10:

Renegade Demon, Grounded, Forest, Lunar Mystic, Polluted Dead, Narstad Scrapper

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..

My Pick:

Lunar Mystic

Pack 3, Pick 11:

Ghoulflesh, Builder's Blessing, Geist Snatch, Island, Malicious Intent

My Pick:

Geist Snatch

Pack 3, Pick 12:

Driver of the Dead, Banners Raised, Forest, Essence Harvest

My Pick:

Driver of the Dead

Pack 3, Pick 13:

Plains, Lair Delve, Ghostly Touch

My Pick:

Lair Delve

Pack 3, Pick 14:

Swamp, Battle Hymn

My Pick:

Battle Hymn

Pack 3, Pick 15:


My Pick:


This is the deck I built:

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.

I didn’t play the Snare the Skies because +1/+1 is usually not that relevant, and I already had a Joint Assault. I could always board it in against a deck with a lot of flyers.

Here’s how my matches played out.

Round 1 – G/W/u

Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Game 1, I had a great start of turn-two Wandering Wolf, turn-three Trusted Forcemage, and I beat my opponent down to 8 before he stabilized. He then played Cathars' Crusade, followed by a Voice of the Provinces, and then a Cloudshift on the Voice of the Provinces. Suddenly, all of his creatures were huge! He cast Into the Void on my stuff and overwhelmed me quickly.

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.


Divine Deflection
Overall, the Draft was very successful, although I was never able to cast the Divine Deflection in any of my games. Every time I drew the Divine Deflection, I didn’t have the white mana for it. It was probably still worth splashing; I just wish I could have cast it.

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.

Melissa DeTora
@AllWeDoIsWinMTG on Twitter