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My local LGS, Mind Games in Metrotown, held a Chaos! Draft on Sunday, February 4th. I have done Chaos drafts only a few times in my life, and rarely for 1-on-1 battles. I picked my packs first, and went with Battlebond for funsies, Dominaria, and then Ravnica Allegiance. The store decided to not include any Masters sets...and has really only newer/Standard sets, so no Lorwyn or anything like that. The deck: I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of the others players take 1 or more Conspiracy (Take the Crown) packs, which made the chaos draft even more fun. There were a lot of crowns being taken back and forth each game. I opened up Battlebond first, and took Noosegraf Mob. It’s an army in a can! My second pick was a Plated Crusher, and then I figured a ramp strategy would be viable. It was apparent, early on, that green was pretty open for me, and I was getting solid black cards. The second pack was Dominaria. The rare was Cabal Stronghold (bleh), so I had a choice between Slimefoot and Settle the Score. I really needed removal, so I took the Settle and prayed nobody else was GB and I could wheel Slimefoot. Luckily, I did wheel Mr. Slimey! I was able to pick up two conspiracies (which help when you have multiples), one that allowed me to make zombies with the Satyr Wayfinders died, and one to give +1/+1 counters to the Entourage of Trests. The third pack was more of the same, with a few small additions to the curve and some sideboard cards. I picked Hallowed Fountain more for the $, and just had a few additions. I did find that I wasn’t getting any more removal, which was a bit concerning. After the draft, I could see why… 5 players in total had black cards in their deck. It was obvious that the packs were deep in black, and each deck splashing had a good # of playables. It also meant I was being cut off from the removal. I know I was passing a lot of good red, and the two players on my left picked red-blue and red-black-green. At least they got those signals. ROUND 1 – I played against that red-green-black player. His deck had a LOT of removal, plus the limited bomb Avatar of Woe. Woe was me, alright. I won game 1 thanks to Noosegraf Mob. Game 2 was tight, but he had resolved Avatar of Woe and I didn’t draw removal for it. Game 3 wasn’t close as I started with 4 lands and drew nothing but lands. His deck was very good, so I needed to draw perfect and I didn’t. He ended up 2-1 and lost in the finals to a UW Control build. ROUND 2 – I played against the UR player I had passed to. He had a lot of tricks, Charmbreaker Devils to get them back, and counterspells. Game 3 was another Noosegraf Mob win, as I had the army out to go wide, plus Plated Crusher to ram through. An FLUNGE! for exactly 12 was the deciding factor. This was his first chaos draft, so he wasn’t sure how he did. I think he drafted a pretty decent deck for his first time. ROUND 3 – He had the Conspiracy that made his creatures deal damage equal to their toughness, which turned his 0/4s into essentially 4/4s. Ouch. This was another tight match, with me winning in 3. Game 1, I had Slimefoot making 2 saprolings a turn, and basically pinging him to death with value. Game 2, he had the Hexproof ‘3/2’ flyer and the 1/3 flyer dealing 3 damage to me each turn. I could not deal with the hexproof guy AT ALL. Game 3, he didn’t get blue mana, which helped me get a good start. His deck was good, and on theme, but his mana base was a bit tough on him. The draft didn’t seem to have much mana fixing. So, a 2-1 record with 3 tough matches. I am fairly happy with how I drafted, and was able to jump on the right colours early, especially green. I just wish I had a bit more removal to go along with the beef I ramped into. Monarch, especially, helped grind out some longer games. *BONUS* The winner got a UMA box topper, and there was a random draw for another. I finished 4th, and my # was drawn. I ended up with a shiny Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
I finally got a chance to do a paper draft of the new Ravnica set, although it was bittersweet as the LGS (Core Games in Richmond, BC) is closing. It isn’t THAT close to me (25-30 mins away), but my friend plays there almost every week. Thanks to rising rents and another LGS pilfering players away, the store is closing as of Feb 1st. 12 of us were there for the final draft, split into two pods of 6. I took Forbidding Spirit (Hey @MTGZuby ) with my first pack, as the rare was rubbish. For most of pack 1, I could not get a clear signal on what was open. I waffled between Orzhov and Simic (seeing both open), but also seeing solid blue spells. It wasn’t until pack 2 when I got the clear signal that Azorius was where I should be. I ended up with this deck, which was a little light on playable dudes. I ended up 2-1 with this deck, despite my first pack basically being wasted. The idea was to utilize some control elements and win via the flyers. Round 1 was against a Rakdos/Orzhov blend. They had 2 of the 3/3 life-drain thrulls, Electrodominance, the spell that makes you sacrifice the highest-power creature (Amazingly good against the Azorius 4/3 flyers), as well as a Rakdos Guildmage and the usual ground pounders. I was trounced in Game 1, especially after he returned 2 thrulls from his graveyard to his hand and slurped my lifeforce. Game 2 was quite close, as I barely got there with the remaining 4/3 flyer that didn’t die, plus the 2/5 unblockable beater. I sided out the Bring to Trial and something else for 2 Quenches. Game 3 wasn’t too close as I curved out with both 4/3 flyers and he draw no removal. Round 2 was against a very good Simic deck. He had Chillbringer, Sharktocrab, the rare druid, plus lots of other beef. He also had the clone spell to copy Chillbringer. Yuck. Although I won the match 2-0, I won both games by the slimmest of margins. Again, the flyers and unblockable did just enough, and Dovin’s Acuity was drawing me enough cards and giving me JUST enough life to get me over the edge. Getting acuity down on Turn 3 pretty much assured that I would keep drawing enough gas. Round 3 was against a brutal Jund deck. He had the mythic dragon, lots of riot creatures, and just enough removal. Giving green haste makes these decks hard to fight, especially if Azorius wants to cast spells on the main phase. I did manage to get the opponent down to 3 life in game 2, but I still felt like I was always on the defense. Once the dragon came down, I had no answer other than Bring to Trial, which was hiding in my library. All in all, I love how balanced this set is for draft. I just wish I had decided on my guild/deck earlier in Pack 1, although the signals were very muddy. If I could watch the draft on replay, maybe I could learn how to pick up things earlier.
On a more personal note, British Columbia is experiencing a second straight year of record #s of wildfires and the air quality is, by far, the worst in North America. Ugh "As of Aug. 14, there were 566 wildfires burning in B.C., with 29 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,050 people (1,521 properties), in addition to 48 evacuation alerts impacting approximately 18,720 people (9,359 properties)." It's hot as balls outside, but we have to keep windows closed, or we end up breathing in smokey air. With each passing summer, I wonder if this is the new normal... dry, hot tinder and not enough rain. Here is a picture of Edmonton. Vancouver is more grey, but you get the idea...