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Ransac's Journal: Second Ultimate Draft Pt. 2
By Mark "Ransac" Wanich
5-5: Happy Cinco de Mayo!! Not so happy for Modus Pwnens and BPC. Modus's computer crashed and HIS journal file became corrupted. So, he has to start over. Like he said he would when BPC blurted out his next pick, Mooseman just took Tolarian Academy (which was also a card that MP noticeably wanted).

I must confess: I feel that I am partially responsible for this turn of events. When BPC seemed down about the draft as far as his prospective card pool shrinking, I sent him a list of cards that I felt would prove useful to his strategy. This list included Time Spiral (which he did pick the previous round), Tolarian Academy (to be coupled with the untapping power of the Spiral), and various ritual-esque cards. I'll state for the record right now that this was in NO WAY a hate-drafting ploy against the other blue players possibly wanting these cards. They were merely a way of helping out a player who obviously seemed less than enthusiastic with the state their pool was currently in (similarly to how MP suggested to help one of the blue-drafting players, Mooseman or BB I think, with a list of cards).

This is a nice time to talk about Ultimate Drafting Etiquette (see! This journal is multi-faceted!).

I'm not going to lie and say that I don't smile a little inside every time I see a player misdraft, but the primary goal of this draft is STILL for us to have fun with each other. All of us are going to try to win this thing, BUT there's no need to be nasty or underhanded about it (not that anyone has been). The following concepts are what I go by to ensure that fun is still had while remaining in the competitive spirit.


  • 1.Recognize that ALL CARDS CAN BE DRAFTED BY ANYONE. It's a fairly straight-forward concept. In fact, it's the simple focus of this draft. If you think that your Grizzly Bears are safe for a few more rounds, but if someone switches gears and splashes green just for that card, it's your own fault for not taking the card earlier. We have the freedom to draft our decks in any way that we want. Even if someone makes it known that they're going to draft a card to “combat another strategy” or because “I think the card won't make it back to me because Member A would probably take it next.” That's the nature of this draft.
  • 2.On the same concept, hate-drafting sucks. HOWEVER, HATE-DRAFTING IS STILL DRAFTING. I'm not condoning the possibility of someone drafting several pieces of someone else's particular deck-build just to throw you off your game, but who's to say that those Grizzly Bears won't benefit someone else's deck, too. Cards don't have to be played in the typical environment in which they always are. It's simply another strategy to draft. Also, by drafting some of Member A's high value cards, maybe it'll force him to think of a different strategy that will open up some other cards that Member B wanted to draft in later rounds.
  • 3.DISCUSSING YOUR DRAFTING STRATEGIES IS FINE, BUT BE PREPARED FOR THE CONSEQUENCES. BPC is a perfect example. He let it be known that his next pick would be a fairly popular land that can fit in any blue deck that runs a number of artifacts. Unfortunately for him, Mooseman had some artifacts in his blue deck and felt that “If he just said he's going to take that card, I better take it now.” This affects two things: BPC doesn't get his card and Mooseman has to alter his drafting strategy for this round. Don't reveal your picks.
  • 4.Lastly, DISCUSSING THE OTHER PLAYERS' DRAFTING IS FINE; JUST BE RESPECTFUL ABOUT IT. Why shouldn't we discuss what we think other players are doing. Their draft-lists are right on the draft page for everyone to see on an open forum. It's obvious that BPC is going storm (which, due to Oversoul's success, caused a lot of typical TEPS cards to fly off the board early) and that multiple players are hoping to thrive in blue (6, to be exact). The talk of blue is very minimal, though (probably since no one wants the others to gain an advantage). I don't talk about too much green (since I have the other green player sandwiching my picks). But, it's still an open forum. Any (clean) conversation should be fine.

OKAY, enough of that. This pick SHOULD entice certain players to start drafting strategy specific cards sooner rather than later (I still think Academy would've been a better pick over the Metalworker. No one would've played Metalworker unless they had that deck concept in mind. It would've been safe several more rounds.).
Okay, now BPC took Frantic Search, Spidey took Desertion and BigBlue took Memory Lapse...... very intriguing. I wonder if Mooseman would've taken Memory Lapse to go with his scepter had BPC not blown his pick..... it appears that the effects of that mistake may have already occurred. OH, and counters are still flying off the board at an alarming rate. Let's see what decent blue counters are left: Daze, Rewind, Force Spike, Last Word, Dismiss, Arcane Denial, Dissipate, Pact of Negation, Spell Snare, Stifle, Thwart, Spell Burst (maybe). 12 decent counters left to share amongst the 6 blue players.... huh...

Modus picked Fire//Ice. This is another blow to Mooseman's deck, as Scepter/Fire//Ice is always a great combo, plus it's in MM's colors. This is ALSO a very good pickup for MP. Not only does he get a draw spell, but he opens up the possibility to start drafting Red, and there are plenty red/blue spells to choose from. Given how non-committed MP has been to any particular color combination (only blue/artifact/land so far), he can really benefit from having no red drafters on his half of the drafting board.
Melkor takes Impulse and STROKE OF GENIUS. There it goes. I'm shocked that it lasted this long. While everyone else is scrambling to pick up counterspells, Melkor (who has three great counters already at this point) takes two great draw spells. Masterful drafting Melkor. Bravo. Once again, you are assembling the deck that scares me the most. Hopefully, you'll get a chance to prove it against me this time.

5-6: Interesting choice. Modus Pwnens has drafted Juggarnaut with his 15th, even though it was taken as Lythand's very last pick in the previous draft. No doubt, 5/3 for 4 is not bad.... but at this point of the draft, I just feel that there are better artifacts and spells.
Let me just prove my point. In the last draft, the 15th rounds picks were the following: Abeyance, Night's Whisper, Treachery, Mishra's Workshop, Ravenous Baloth, Mana Flare, Mogg Maniac, Annul, Sins of the Past.... Okay, my point has been disproven. At this point of the draft, some people were stretching for some cards (Mogg Maniac) while others were getting steals. But I still can help but think that there are better cards for Modus than Juggernaut. Oh well. Maybe he has something interesting in store for us.

BigBlue picks up Doomsday Specter. I don't think I like this pick. BB only has two creatures thus far to gate for the Specter. Unless he picks up some good 187 creatures, I would've liked to have seen Keiga at this pick. SPEAKING of Treachery, Spidey nabs it. I'm thoroughly convinced that he is now trying to build a variant of the deck I ran last draft. Odds are that he's going to try to build it with more control than permission, given that he has to contend with 5 other blue players. Although, he currently has 4 counters, which is a really good start at 15 picks (along with a very nice supporting card pool). He's going to be missing a few white beaters that I'll be taking for my own (particularly Akroma and, hopefully, Blinding Angel). I like his build so far and if he can play the deck well, he'll be a force to be reckoned with. Mooseman gets Miscalculation and turgy22 gets LAND GRANT! Hmm.... that's another card I wanted (though it wasn't ranked in my “star cards” section).

So, a little while ago, I was leafing through an old binder and I noticed Seedborn Muse (which was not drafted last time). I'm wondering if I can get it from turgy22.... I'll hold off on it for now. Now, between Vindicate, CotH, Phyrexian Arena, R. Nightmare, Persecute, and Exalted Angel, I'm a little perplexed. I'm a little hesitant on Vindicate now, given how agressively green turgy22 has been drafting as of late (4 of last 5 picks were green). But... I have an opening in the black spot for the time being. I'm thinking that it needs to be Call of the Herd and either Recurring Nightmare or Phyrexian Arena.

DRAFTED: Recurring Nightmare and Phyrexian Arena

OR.... I'll take advantage of the fact that turgy22 is the only green player around me right now. Besides, after I just considered it, CotH isn't going to make or break me. PLUS, hopefully drafting Black/Black will cause turgy22 to consider the possibility that I'm focused elsewhere, so he can do the same. AND as a result, turgy22 drafts.... Tinder Wall!!! Both of the cards that he drafted were prominently used in Oversoul's Storm deck last draft, so it looks like he turgy22 is going to “make BPC pay” for him stating that he's going to be focusing on rituals. That, or he's going to try to push BPC to start drafting around another way to utilize storm. Brain Freeze has to come off of the board sooner or later. [I PMed turgy22 to express my intrigue in his picks, to which he replied that he only drafted these cards because they were good cheap green cards]. Mooseman drafts Fabricate. He looks to be drafting more artifacts in the future.

5-7: BPC takes Cabal Therapy and Spidey takes Thoughtbind. Thoughtbind brings Spidey's counter total up to 5, while Cabal Therapy just doesn't seem to be a good fit. Sure, it's a great card, but it loses its value in a Singleton format. The reason why I took it off of my draft board COMPLETELY was the lack of card advantage it provides. If you're lucky, the card is will be a 2 for 2 advantage (Therapy plus the creature you sac). Most of the times it will be 1 for 2 or 2 for 3 (depending if he drafts bounce or spells that look at his opponents hand), both of which are horrible. Yes, you can get rid of a silver bullet if need be, but Therapy is simply a bad card in this format. Thoughtbind, on the other hand, works well in the early game when Spidey doesn't intend to play anything, plus it's very splashable with only 1 color committed. Not one of my favorite counters, mind you, but a decent one that should help out Spidey. BigBlue takes another Specter (Blizzard) and Modus takes Gifts Ungiven, taking it due to a comment that Melkor made: “[blue is] the gift that keeps on giving!” Whether this was him making a random statement OR a personal jest over how easy he thought it would be to get another powerful card (and it's been made easy for him), Gifts Ungiven is off the board. On BB's Blizzard Specter, at least he's being consistent, looking for flyers with good abilities.

Melkor drafts Trickbind and Bazaar of Baghdad, two nice little sleeper picks in this draft. Trickbind WILL stop a key ability. I personally don't like Bazaar of Baghdad, but I recognized its ability to find answers when you have none in your hand. Modus takes Pithing Needle. This was a good time to take it as artifacts will probably start going towards Mooseman's way soon. BigBlue takes Reconstruction... I think the card itself doesn't warrant this high of a pick, but the way that artifacts are being targeted I can't blame him for reaching. Spidey picks up his 5th counter in Rewind. Obviously, he doesn't want to get left behind and lose too many counters to the other blue players. Good consistancy, Spidey. This allows me to take the white cards I want now and leave you with SCRAPS!!! :P

BPC takes Stifle. Good pick. GOOD pick. If for no other reason than to have it not be used against him, it's a good pick. Mooseman gets Vedalken Shackles. This gives Mooseman yet another threat in his growing artifact build. Due to MP and MM's newly exposed deck concepts, artifacts are starting to fly off of the shelves..... Maybe, I should bump Scroll Rack and SoFI to the 1-star range.... turgy22 gets Worldly Tutor which WAS ON MY LIST... but didn't have any star rating for me. It sucks that the tutors are running thin, but I'll cope. My turn to draft.

DRAFTED: Vindicate and Exalted Angel

That's right. After putting it off and putting it off, I've finally drafted Vindicate. With the random splashing that I've seen (MP taking a little red), it was time to stake my claim in Black/White. And with Spidey shifting his focus away from white, it was a good opportunity to take one of the best White Beaters in the game. My deck is coming along quite well, now. My last two-star cards are Persecute and Call of the Herd, though I've been wondering if I even want them at all. I'm going to put them on hold while I review the one-star cards: Troll Ascetic, Krosan Grip, Mother of Runes, Blinding Angel, Ravenous Baloth, Spiritmonger, SoFI, Mortify, Putrefy, Scroll Rack. These cards will be at the forethought of my thinking, though random thoughts may shift some priority.

Turgy22 takes Browbeat. Decent card, though I expected him to draft an artifact now since they're starting to fly off the shelves.
Okay, I just looked at my “ideal deck file” that I typed up a while back. Truth be told, I have to readjust my priorities again and get away from my star system as my draft guide right now. Ravenous Baloth shouldn't go on my list, now. I'd like to draw from the advantage of my Angel B/W Build-a-deck by having all of my beaters be big flyers. This means that some other color beaters need to be snatched before others. Kokusho is going to be a good pick soon. Chainer's Edict should enter into discussion at this point, too.

5/7: Some picks have been made, but I have a long day of singing ahead of me. Lesson for my recital next week, outreach performance for the opera program, rehearsal for a choral competition tomorrow. I'll draft my remaining two stars if it comes down to it.

5/8: Still haven't taken the time to “analyze” the most recent picks, though I will point out that Melkor just snatched Memory Jar away from BPC.

5/12: Okay, I'm totally not focused on Magic anything right now. My recital is in two days and that's all I'm going to be thinking about. Looking at my draft list, I feel that Persecute is not a worthy card for this spot AND if someone wants to take it now, let them. CotH is decent card advantage, but I'm now second guessing having them in my 2-star list. I'm going to go with my gut this time and draft two of my favorite cards from the last draft.

DRAFTED: Scroll Rack and Blinding Angel

5/13: Still not totally focused, BUT I'm currently trying to have a stress-free day. Since talking Magic is pretty fun, I'll update the picks. The last card I discusssed thoroughly was turgy22's Browbeat. Since then, we've had the following:
MM: Ball Lightning, Clone, Force Spike; BPC: Chromatic Sphere, Personal Tutor, Intuition; Spidey: Merchant Scroll, Enlightened Tutor, Null Rod; BB: Reality Ripple, Glimpse the Unthinkable, Induce Paranoia; MP: Smokestack, Lotus Bloom, Bribery; Melkor: The Abyss, Memory Jar, Control Magic, Sinkhole; turgy22: Woodfall Primus, Vexing Shusher.

Rather than break down picks by the order being drafted, I'll talk of each drafter's bunch.
Melkor: Continues to draft very powerful cards, though The Abyss always concerns me when placed in a deck with little emphasis on creatures (Melkor doesn't have a creature, yet). I wonder if he'll try a milling strategy (though Glimpse is gone). Had BPC thought of it, Memory Jar would've been a welcome addition to his deck, but oh well. Melkor will certainly abuse this card. Control Magic = just annoying to players like me looking to fill a deck with big flyers. Sinkhole is efficient (it'll hurt a multi-colored deck like mine), but there were better cards. Still, very promising drafting coming from Melkor.

Modus Pwnens: Bribery is a wonderful card and I sure that Melkor would've loved to have had it. Lotus Bloom is also great (Black Lotus is also in this deck) and stymies the storm possibilities of BPC's deck. I've never been a fan of Smokestack OR the Stax concept, but there's no denying it's capabilities.

BigBlue: Reality Ripple, Glimpse the Unthinkable, Induce Paranoia..... the only card I'm happy with being taken here is Glimpse. Ripple has multiple functions, but it would've been safe for several more rounds. The drafting of Induce Paranoia may have stemmed from the recent rush of counters being drafted (which seems to have stalled).

Spiderman: Merchant Scroll was a GREAT pick. I repeat: a GREAT pick. It effectively adds another counter to his hand and thins his deck. Enlightened Tutor was a little bit of a blow to me, I should've taken it sooner. But, I'm still happy with the picks I've made. Good pick-up, Spidey. Null Rod was taken much higher last year, which I think was a reach then. This is a good place. Spidey is finding ways to make consistently good picks even though with 6 blue drafters on the board.

BPC: Chromatic Sphere, Personal Tutor, Intuition. BPC is starting to bounce back by picking up some early steals (Intuition this late?) and still building some storm base with the Sphere. He has also managed to find another tutor at this point. He's starting to recover.

Mooseman: Force Spike is one of my favorite counters in the game. I have nothing negative to say about that pick. Ball Lightning helps to strengthen his quick game, while clone can give ME some problems. Nothing flashy, but some nice drafting.

Turgy22: Woodfall Primus & Vexing Shusher. I never would have guessed that these cards would've gone this high, but they're stout picks. I'm a little mad that I've lost out on the Shusher (CURSE YOU!), while the Primus will give most of these decks fits.

Overall, the past three rounds have been drafted very well. OKAY!!!! Onto my prospects....

5/14: ... OR maybe not. I got sidetracked and never actually LOOKED at my draft prospects. I think I'm considering drafting Gutteral Response, considering that turgy22 has shown that he's willing to take the good Shadowmoor cards this early.... but let's see what's left in the my current “want to draft” pool: Troll Ascetic, Krosan Grip, Mother of Runes, Spiritmonger, SoFI, Mortify, Putrefy, Chainer's Edict. You know... the Monger, Putrefy, and Mortify are pretty safe (I think), so I'm gonna consider some of my swerve picks. Garruk Wildspeaker is going to get drafted soon. I've been thinking more and more about it and I really, REALLY want to try him out in this format. Untapping lands, creating 3/3 tokens, or overrun. It's a very efficient spell. I'm going to grab him next round if turgy doesn't take him.. As for this round... I think another big beater is in store.... along with one of my favorite artifacts from the last draft.

DRAFTED: Kokusho, the Evening Star and Sword of Fire and Ice

I haven't drafted a green card in quite some time. Next picks SHOULD be Krosan Grip and Garruk Wildspeaker.

5/15: Recital is over. I still haven't been focusing on my picks. HOWEVER, I'll take from turgy22's lead and draft a “shroud from my opponents creatures” card... AND another pretty decent cheap creature, too.

DRAFTED: Troll Ascetic and Tarmogoyf

5/16: I have time again.... it's a good thing. That means I can comment again.

Turgy22: Shattering Spree, Plated Slagwurm, Pyroblast, Red Elemental Blast. Turgy22 continues to build a solid deck around the rest of the field. Provided he can play the Slagwurm, it will be a threat and currently only I can deal with (WoG and the like). The Slagwurm inspired me to draft the Troll, as well. Shattering Spree was a great pickup in the light of several good artifacts being drafted. The blue hosers will aid him against everyone.... except me.

MM: Kira, Great Glass-Spinner, Mana Web, Coretapper, Shock. I like the pickups of Kira and Shock. Simple and effective, each of them. Additionally, Mana Web will keep the countering types at bay. Coretapper has me baffled. Lemme check his list again... it currently only works with Jitte... eh. We'll see if he builds more synergy.

BPC: Howling Mine, Internal Contract, Infernal Tutor, Imperial Seal. More card advantage. They won't do him much good. He needs more free spells.

Spiderman: Disrupt, Put Away, Legacy's Allure. Spidey continues to add more counterspells and picks up his third “creature steal” spell. He's going extremely blue heavy right now, having only drafted four cards that aren't blue or artifacts. He needs some board clearers (Upheaval, Rout, Evacuation) and some more win conditions besides the lone angel he has drafted.

BB: Cemetery Puca, Mundungu, Bitter Ordeal. BB mispelled Cemetary on the page. The Puca is going to be very situational. Bitter Ordeal could is a nice addition. I wonder how long 'til he drafts Millstone and Grindstone....

Modus: Goblin Welder, Mindslaver, Voltaic Key. More powerful artifact stuffs. The loss of the Academy continues to prove more evident for MP, but he'll still have a nice artifact deck. I assume he'll get Thran Dynamo towards the end of the draft.

Melkor: Keiga, the Tide Star, Annul. Annul is a good pickup. Keiga is a good pickup. Melkor continues to draft nothing but solid cards. I find it funny that he drafts Keiga immediately after I took Kokusho. He'll never say either way, but I wonder if he was hoping for my black dragon.

Okay, time to revisit the definition of the “Rock” deck to see if I'm missing the mark somewhere... 24 lands, 4 mana-dudes (covered), 32 very powerful spells. The only cards I question as “very powerful” are Blinding Angel (stall ability) and Tarmogoyf (merely a cheap, big beater). Regardless, I can still get powerful spells at this point of the game. I have 7 spells that are 4+cc, and 17 spells that are 3-cc. About a 3:2 ratio for cheaper spells right now. I believe that is a good ratio. I'd like for the final ratio to be something like 3:2 or 5:3. I think I need to draft another big spell this round. With everyone jumping on the “artifact hate” bandwagon, this may be a good time to finally grab Krosan Grip. As for the big spell, I should draft a big spell that isn't mana intensive.... There will be plenty of chances to draft big spells. Maybe I'll take the Chainer's Edict finally.

Next time, more scatter-brained mayhem as Ransac looks to conclude his journal!!!!!!! Until then, enjoy loads of excitement here and don't stop until the ecstasy boils over you!!!!!

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
15. Phyrexian Arena 1BB
16. Recurring Nightmare 2B
17. Vindicate 1WB
18. Exalted Angel 4WW
19. Scroll Rack 2
20. Blinding Angel 3WW
21. Kokusho 4BB
22. Sword of Fire and Ice 3
23. Troll Ascetic 1GG
24. Tarmogoyf 1G

Ransac, cpa trash man

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