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Ransac's Journal: Second Ultimate Draft Pt. 1
By Mark "Ransac" Wanich
Since MP posted part 1 of his journal, I shall do the same.

What you are about to read is a log/journal of my thought process throughout the entire draft process. The topics may wander. I may focus on 1 topic forever or give it a sentence and be done
with it. Below, you shall read exactly what I'm thinking while the draft goes on. I confess that I don't appear at keen to everyone else's strategies as MP does, but nonetheless I have managed to put together a decent cardpool.

I started this journal in round six or seven, after I had made my first 6 picks. Therefore, I went back later and typed out an analysis of those picks as the first section to my journal. Enjoy!!!

DRAFTED SO FAR: Mox Pearl; Sol Ring; Birds of Paradise; Wrath of God; Thoughtseize; Duress

5-5: I'm inserting this late entry into the beginning of my journal so as to explain my drafting strategy to this point. I've gotten stuck with the blessing/curse position: last pick with a wrap-around. I have the advantage of grabbing two cards at a time, therefore satisfying multiple needs with one “round.” Unfortunately, my first round gets the shaft, as I get the last available mox: Mox Pearl. Since I want to establish some mana-base first and didn't believe that Sol Ring would make it back to me, I decided to employ a “wait-and-see” method to see what colors everyone else was going for before I had to really commit to anything. For my second set of picks, it was obvious that Blue and Black would be heavily fought over, so I took my favorite sorcery (Wrath of God) and another mana boost (BoP). The only color I've really established a want at this point is White, since BoP can help any splash. While I completely forgot about H2T (a horrible mistake), I thought “I could steal two discard cards that no one will expect and still maintain splashability.” Therefore, I grabbed Thoughtseize (which may have been high to take, but I had no reference from a previous draft) and Duress (a 5th round pick from last draft). This left me with G/W/B, each with a pretty decent amount of power. These colors give me a flexibility to draft multiple needs depending on the trends that the rest of the bunch begin to follow.

4-22: turgy22 seems to be going in a different direction than I anticipated. Wheel of Fortune and Masticote show a strong commitment to a control method. That means that I have to worry about the good green control cards.... but not now. Those are typically specialty cards that provide some interest in later rounds. FOR NOW, I expect that Orim's Chant is a good fit in the next round, but what shall be my secondary pick..... I need to establish some win condition..... like Akroma.... or Exalted Angel.... or Akroma..... maybe not Akroma yet. Too committing, she'll stay on the board for a few more rounds for me. Spiritmonger is relatively safe for now, I think. Lemme rethink..... I need to consider the most possible splashable cards in my colors. Pernicious Deed is my obvious next pick. Orim's Chant will shut down most opposing strategies.

DRAFTED: Orim's Chant; Pernicious Deed

4-24: Rather than deleting my previous entry, I'm going to log/journal my thought process in case I happen to forget any ideas or observations. BPC appears to have been dealt serious blows to his current concept of a storm-focused deck. Every Mox (including Diamond, Chrome, and Petal) and the Lotus have all slipped through his fingers. This will put him behind, but more pressing, it will probably hinder me as he goes for some of the more powerful black spells. As for me, I'm glad that I got a hold of the Orim's Chant, not only as my only current defense against an explosive storm deck, but a decent finisher that I took advantage of in the last tourney. H2T was nabbed this past round, but I wonder if it was grabbed in response to me grabbing Duress/Thoughtseize last round. I'm going to pull one more round of Control/Control picks before I start selecting my beaters for my win conditions (given how many beaters there are in my colors, I'm not too worried over the possibility of a few being snagged). I overlooked Damnation from the start, it will have to be my next pick if it's still there. I was about to suggest Extirpate, but all it would do in this format is stop graveyard-based effects on one card. Not incredibly wonderful (plus, Tormod or Foundry would be better). No, Vindicate is a good pick here, as it will help to sway any of the players drafting black from splashing white.
Looking back at my list of cards to watch out for AND at the other players' drafting pools, I fear that my black wishlist will be squandered soon. Only 2 players are not drafting blue (turgy22 and myself) and three other players are drafting black. However, I hope that my concept of importance will give me the edge as everybody goes for their big spells...... I really want to add Yawgmoth's Bargain to my wishlist, but no Ritual hurts me (darn you BPC for picking right when I was going to!). Maybe if it's still there after my next picks I'll reach for it......Big change of thought. I don't want to hold off on Akroma too much longer. If Spidey is drafting what I think he's drafting, then I need to draft her ASAP.
It appears that even though no one is talking about my decklist, I have captured some attention. As soon as I grabbed Orim's Chant, MM took the Scepter. While that would have been a welcome addition to my deck, I just don't believe that it was necessary of a draft pick this high. Mooseman now has the Boomerang/Scepter combo, but this SHOULD mean that the 2cc counters (Arcane Denial/Memory Lapse/etc.) will start to fly off of the board thanks to the other 5 blue players (particularly BB, Spidey, and Melkor, unless my current concept of their decks is wrong). This actually comes to my advantage as some of the black and white spells that I want will remain on the board longer. THANKS, Mooseman!

DRAFTED: Damnation and Akroma, Angel of Wrath

4-29: Everybody seems to be staying on track with what I think they're going for, though BPC had a poor choice with Rite of Flame. I may end up taking Land Grant eventually in an effort to strengthen my mana ratio, thin my deck, but also remove a storm card from his possibilities. I hate having to hose other players... but it's a good card for my deck, too.
ANYWAY, I ended up with Damnation and Akroma. I'm very pleased with my pick, though I almost swapped my Akroma pick for something like Rout to increase my board cleaners to 4. However, I felt that getting some win condition now is best. I may swerve the others and go for SoFI and Scroll Rack next (maybe Land Tax/Scroll Rack, since that has worked well for me in the past). Turgy22 went with D.Top, which concerns me a little (going into the control-based artifacts). Will make more observations AFTER I have finished my recital hearing.
Okay, my recital hearing is done (passed, of course). Since then, turgy22 picked up Sneak Attack and Mooseman got Fork. The only card I'm worried about losing to turgy22 right now is Survival of the Fittest, but it's still early and not a huge loss if I don't get that card. It is now finally a good time to establish the Black/White board if Vindicate comes back to me. Chainer's Edict would be nice if it came back to me, but it won't. If it doesn't come back to me, Troll Ascetic would be a GREAT pick-up here. It'll be unexpected and solidfy my place with green, PLUS give me a cheap creature that's hard to kill.. Lemme go back over my notes to see if I'm missing anything...
Spiritmonger came up, though I think he's still safe. You know, this MAY be a good time to take Survival of the Fittest. Genesis is one of the cards that I would like but I really think that I can do better than that with this pick. Lemme do some more draft and GWB research...
Chainer's Edict was safe in the other draft, but not there are 4 total players looking for it. There will be a total of 6 picks before it comes back to me.... and I think Vindicate is an important pick to shy away others from drafting W/B... it has to be Chainer's Edict. Persecute will come the following round, along with another big beater.
Okay, I've just done a bunch of research on the previous draft AND the Rock deck-type. There will be a lot of good creatures out of the Kamigawa cycle to aid me (Yosei, Kokusho, Ink-eyes), though I think I'll steer clear of Kodama. 3 committed same colors may be a bit much. I may hesitate on Overrun as well. I'm going to be FINE on drafting beaters later on. I don't have to start on my finishers yet. Akroma was a big commitment with the WWW, but it's well worth it. I have overlooked Eternal Witness. I think I need to continue with my plan of drafting control/disruption. Lemme do some more research on disruption cards.
I'd also like to say that I'm very surprised that no one is picking up Stroke of Genius at this point. Melkor is going to have a field day.
Okay, I need to figure out what I how I want to plot out my deck.

4-30: Wow, what a sight to wake up to. Shadowmoor has make its first appearance. Manamorphose, Sapphire Medallion, Copy Artifact, and Thirst for Knowledge all off the board.... AND STROKE OF GENIUS IS STILL THERE. We'll see if my prediction holds true, as Melkor is on the board now. I'm starting to rethink my idea of drafting Chainer's Edict over Persecute.... Persecute could be more important given the way that the draft is turning out, and there aren't many great discard spells left. Cabal Therapy is a typical staple, but it's not wonderful in this format....... I'll think about the Therapy for later....... maybe Eternal Witness....
Well, Melkor did NOT draft an X-Draw spell this round. Instead, he took Brainstorm and the U/B dual land. Good, but interesting picks. Underground Sea establishes his deck, but will probably spark BB to pick up some lands for himself soon. Maybe BPC as well, but he's far enough behind in his Grim Long deck to swerve. So, Stroke and Braingeyser are still on the board, ripe for picking from the rest of the board. These picks will probably garner some interesting attention and probably help out my end.... or maybe not. Modus got Solemn Simulacrum and BB snagged Erratic Portal. I think the portal could've been held off for a while; it's not what I would consider a worthy draft pick for the top half of the draft, but we'll see how he uses it. Maybe he'll look for some of the more powerful CIP creatures...

5/1: Spider picks Iridescent Angel. Not a bad pick, but I think I would've gone with Absorb in this spot. With absorb still out there, it offers the possibility for someone to splash. BUT, Spidey does like Iridescent Angel (he took it with his 13th pick last time when someone else was playing those colors).
Interesting note: The Card of the Day on magicthegathering.com is Survival of the Fittest..... I'm thinking that it's intending me to take it. Still thinking... Can Vindicate wait another round.... I'm thinking yes..... but SotF is still not the card for me.
Researching Shadowmoor cards, I'm looking for a couple of late-round sleepers and have found the following: Gutteral Response (6 players are playing blue), Vexing Shusher (sideboard against the counter), & Oversoul of Dusk (I'm playing w/g and no one is not not playing either R, B, or U). BPC picked Ponder, evidently upset that Brainstorm was picked. Mooseman grabbed Mana Leak and turgy22 grabbed Elvish Spirit Guide.

DRAFTED: Eternal Witness and Eternal Dragon

Okay, SO... I kinda swerved myself. But I realized that I can't allowed myself to get backed into a corner by drafting nothing but powerful black spells. These picks are solid. If Persecute and C. Edict slip by me, I'll be fine with that. Vindicate SHOULD still be there for me next round. Recurring Nightmare would be fantastic as well. Turgy22 picked Simian Spirit Guide and Mooseman picked Fireball. Turgy22 must have picked the Elvish Guide over the Simian first due to the fact that it was in my colors. However, I haven't considered it. I think there could've been better picks than Fireball. Kaervek's Torch would've been great.

5-2: BPC got a steal and picked Yawgmoth's bargain. Again, I would've liked to have had that card in my deck (it was listed as with 1-star in importance), but not without Dark Ritual in my deck or Academy Rector (which I'm not sure if I even want in my deck). Great steal for BPC, but he doesn't have the resources to play it early and his deck really shouldn't live long enough to see it get played. Spidey drafted Absorb, drafting a U/W card for the second turn in a row. Hmm.... randomly searching cards, Hide and Seek would be interesting, just for the Seek half.... Anyway, now that I have Eternal Dragon and Akroma (two amazing late great threats and 1 mana-fixing tool), I need to focus on the early game again. Mana Acceleration would be nice to focus on. Llanowar Elves. Let's see how far they fell in the last draft... and they were not even taken in the last draft. I'm pretty sure that Elves of Deep Shadow will stay for most of the draft, but I can't have my deck ignoring the early game. Lemme consult my draft list to see if anything “cheap” is worth is high on it.... my current Watch/2-Star list in my database contains the following: Call of the Herd, Vindicate, Persecute, Land Tax, Llanowar Elves, Exalted Angel, Phyrexian Arena. I agree with these picks.... though I noticed that my excel file does not have Chainer's Edict currently on it.... I think I'm going to add the edict to my 1-star list. There are many more powerful cards to still draft. Reorganizing draft priority... more research... Hmm! Austere Command looks interesting... Clarifying: more stars in my list mean higher importance.
BigBlue got Power Sink. Counters are starting to come off the board at a more frequent rate. Let's hope this trend continues. Modus just took Platinum Angel. I'm not surprised that it's gone this high. Good pick. Disenchant/Naturalize will have to be added to my deck later in the draft..... unless I end up getting Putrefy and Mortify.
What did I just say? Counters are starting to come off the board. Absorb, Power Sink, Forbid, and Foil have come off the board through 8 picks. Maybe me mentioning the counters kinda lit a fire under some of their butts. Regardless, that was another round where Melkor didn't take black and Spidey didn't venture out of blue. In fact, the last non-blue card drafted was Bargain, and BPC has made it known that he's going to be looking for alternative rituals. This means the only threat drafting before me now is turgy22, who could sneak a powerful green spell right before me before he drafts a big red spell right before Mooseman. Anyway, looking at my field of cards to draft, my black cards are probably safe for the time being. Green needs more focus. It's a good time to go Llanowar Elves AND either Call of the Herd/Land Tax.
BPC took Time Spiral and Mooseman took Incinerate. For the first time since the opening rounds, these players made back-to-back great picks. Time Spiral will definitely help out BPC's deck by hopefully refueling his hand with more storm feeders (and hopefully the winning card), plus untap his mana resources. Mooseman is looking to improve on his 2cc spells for his Scepter, which is a smart way to go. Memory Lapse would be the bomb on that scepter (essentially becoming reusable time walks). Fire/Ice will be great, too. Let's see what turgy22 snags. Yup. He took Sylvan Library.

DRAFTED: Llanowar Elves and Land Tax

Nope, I was half-right. He didn't need to draft a
powerful red spell since BPC spilled the beans on wanting to draft the Academy... causing Mooseman to state that since that card was on his list, he'll draft it right before BPC (there's a lesson! Never reveal what picks you're thinking about!!). Anyway, I have solidified my mana acceleration (Mox, Sol, BoP, and Elves, + Land Tax), I have my “4 Mana Dudes.” I can wait on Viridian Acolyte (mana fixing) or Elves of Deep Shadow until much later rounds, as I'm sure that no one is going is even thinking about drafting them.
The half-right was turgy22 picking up Survival of the Fittest. Truth be told... I'm not too heartbroken about losing it. I figured it would be taken soon, yet when I updated the top of my draft board, I didn't even list it (the current top of my board in no particular order: Vindicate, Recurring Nightmare, Exalted Angel, Call of the Herd, Phyrexian Arena).
Interesting note: I just noticed that Gifts Ungiven and Stroke of Genius are still on the board. I briefly considered a swerve splash to blue (Gifts-Rock!), but I have my hands full trying to design a 3-color deck in this draft as it is. Even if they come back to me, I'll let the others duke it out for them.

5/3: A weekend off of draft is good to reflect on what has happened and what will come. I'm rather pleased with my picks so far.... surprise, surprise. Of course I'm not going to say that my draft has been bad. HOWEVER, let me at least see what I'm not happy with from these first 12 rounds so far. The Tutors would've been nice, but I didn't know I'd be going black at the time they were taken. The Colossus was a hopeful beater for me, but I wasn't going to take it with a top 5/6 pick. Dark Ritual was painful to lose, even though I hadn't taken a black card yet. I can't believe I let Hymn to Tourach slip. It would've been better than Duress. And the Scepter and Survival are the other cards I wanted that I lost, though I'm not too shaken up about them. So, the only two that I'm hurting over are Dark Ritual and H2T. After 12 rounds, losing only two cards isn't too shabby.


In part two, we continue with this in-depth look into the mind of Ransac in draft mode, PLUS a list of common rules AND, dare I say, a confession??....

DRAFTED SO FAR:
1. Mox Pearl 0
2. Sol Ring 1
3. Wrath of God 2WW
4. Birds of Paradise G
5. Thoughtseize B
6. Duress B
7. Orim's Chant W(W)
8. Pernicious Deed 1BG
9. Damnation 2BB
10. Akroma 5WWW
11. Eternal Witness 1GG
12. Eternal Dragon 5WW
13. Llanowar Elves G
14. Land Tax W


Ransac, cpa trash man

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