Week 2 of my getting back into MtG and getting back into draft dawned with a showing of 14 players all formed into a single mega-pod. Unconventional maybe but it was certainly interesting; once you make a pick and pass your pack on you are never going to see it again.
My first pack I was faced with a terrible green rare, some other unexciting cards, and a tough choice between Murder and Oblivion Ring. Both are really good removal cards, but Oblivion Ring just has more uses and only needs 1 on colour mana to cast. By the end of the first round of draft I did also pick up a Murder to go with it along with a nice smattering of black removal/shenanigans and a couple of reasonable white creatures.
Second pack opened up with a Cathedral of War and a ton of blue cards, I'd already pretty much settled on White/Black exalted/control at this point so I simply took the Cathedral. I was well aware that at the end of the first pack I had only 2 creatures and it was time to beef things up a bit. One Healer of the Pride and Ajani's Sunstriker Later I was beginning to plan around some lifegain antics when a Serra Angel pops up and is an immediate pick. More life-gain creature comboing comes along as 2 Bloodhunter Bats, a Captain's Call and an Elixir of Immortality come along.
I was pretty happy going in to the third pack (though I did open it and find another copy of the same terrible green rare). I kept focus on some control style, some stalling life-gain, a few evading creatures, a smattering of exalted when out of nowhere a Sands of Delirium is passed to me. This card is almost an auto-pick for me and there are only a few that I would take above it, amazed to see it come along so late for the second draft in a row! I pick up another Elixir of Immortality by the end of the draft and feel that I have a good selection.
1x Servant of Nefarox
3x Bloodhunter Bat
1x Mark of the Vampire
1x Duty-Bound Dead
1x Bloodthrone Vampire
2x Rise from the Grave
2x Healer of the Pride
2x Griffin Protector
1x Captain's Watch
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Serra Angel
1x War Priest of Thune
1x Warclamp Mastiff
1x Divine Favor
1x Ajani's Sunstriker
1x Guardian's of Akrasa
1x Sands of Delirium
2x Elixir of Immortality
1x Cathedral of War
3x Sign in Blood
2x Essence Drain
1x Vile Rebirth
1x Mind Rot
1x Zombie Goliath
1x Walking Corpse
1x Jace's Phantasm
1x Courtly Provocateur
1x Mwonvuli Beast Tracker
For those keeping score at home, yes, in my entire draft I only picked 2 rares. Still, a much more focused draft that left me with some choices to make as to what Black cards to include. It was a tough pick between Rise from the Grave and Essence Drain; and I even end up swapping them around part-way through the draft matches.
Read past the fold to see match reports, my final standings, and the deck in 3 cards.
Is it too much to expect to go to the cinema, fork out my £10, sit back for a couple of hours, and be entertained? Apparently so if Bourne Legacy is anything to go by, I have never been so bored by a movie as I was last night by this. Disclaimer! I was going in as a newcomer to the franchise with a basic idea of the overall theme and content of the original trilogy. If you are a fan of the series and have watched all the prior movies/read the books then this movie is probably going to be a lot of fun for you.
"Sure" I thought "Watching the other movies first might help... But this is a reboot. I'll get to see the Bourne universe in a way intended for new viewers!". How wrong I was. Constant references were made to the previous movies with characters and situations clearly leading on from earlier events. Now this in itself is fine, if there is at least some explanation to the audience as to what is going on! So many things were keeping me from enjoying what is probably highly entertaining to those that are already 6+ hours invested into the franchise. In the time between sitting in my seat and leaving the cinema (which was about 45 minutes in to the movie) I had the following questions which I knew were never going to be answered as they were assumed knowledge:
What do the pills he is taking do?
Why does he hide the pills in his shoe and then lie to the other guy about losing them?
Who are the two guys sitting in a pub and why do I care about them being friends?
Who is this psychologist woman that I should apparently know already?
What is/was the program and what was it trying to do?
What role does Ed Norton actually play here?
Why am I still sitting here? (I wasn't for much longer)
Has The Dark Knight Rises started in the next screen yet? (Sadly, it had)
Does my partner want to leave too? (Yes, very much so)
Having read another review online I found out that the green pills make him artificially smarter. A fact that the reviewer conveyed in a single sentence. One sentence. One offhand sentence about the medication would have resolved that for me (and probably any other new viewers). Also, how hard would it be for the following dialogue snippet to be included:
Ed Norton "Don't worry about Rachel Weisz, we're sending Dr Franknfurter"
Other character "Her? She's a real <DESCRIPTION>, remember <PAST EVENT>"
Or just anything at all to establish any of the characters before/as they appear on screen!
I wasn't even the first to leave the cinema, 2 other pairs of people gave up with it and left before I did. Foolishly I decided to give the movie a chance and see if it could recover; a chance it squandered.
So yea, time to restart my blog with a new topic, MtG draft! This has the bonus of being a regular enough event that I should be encouraged to actually keep posting about it beyond a couple of weeks. But anyway, enough blather and on with the draft.
This was my first time drafting with this group and I expect there will be many more drafts with them to come. A convenient 16 players were present allowing us to easily split into 8 player pods. The prize pool was set to be a redraft of all the rares and foils from the draft packs so no need to rare draft here. As a side note I must say that I really prefer this prize style; no rare drafting from players generally means there are going to be a lot more consistent and fun to play against decks around the table. Plus you need to try hard to actually build a winning deck in order to keep hold of that foil Ajani you just pulled at the end of the night (or to take it from the other guy who just announced pulling it).
First pack gave me nothing special really, grabbing a fairly average white rare to start I decided to speculate and grabbed a few more white cards. I also picked up a couple of interesting blue and black cards for a touch of variety and to keep my options open in later packs. The only individual card that was really of note from pack 1 was an Elixir of Immortality, a card that lends itself well to stally white/blue shenanigans in draft format. Probably an average/terrible card in constructed, but with a 40 card deck having a strong anti-mill with reasonable lifegain that keeps on repeating is good.
Going through the second pack quite a few interesting mill style blues appeared and I decided to snag a few, 2 Vedalken Entrancers and a Mind Sculpt. I picked up a Scroll Thief along the way which fitted in well with a late pack Master of the Pearl Trident, also making my 1st pack Merfolk of the Pearl Trident more useful. White cards were being thinned out fast and those that I saw were all fairly unexciting so I decided to switch out to drafting blue with a splash of black. I picked up a Murder (always nice) and got a next to last pick Diabolic Revelation.
The third pack delivered for me with some more nice blue, I picked up a second Mind Sculpt (though I really wanted a third too), got a third Vedalken Entrancer, and was ecstatic when I picked up 2 Talrand's Evocations in a row. As the 8th pick came round I was amazed to see Sands of Delirium and didn't hesitate in taking it; it really bolsters mill style in draft (not as much as Planeswalker Jace but still, he'd decided not to show up at this party). As things headed to the end I got a selection of uninteresting dregs and the nice bonus of a Harbor Bandit.
3x Vedalken Entrancer
3x Talrand's Invocation
1x Augur of Bolas
2x Mind Sculpt
2x Scroll Thief
1x Master of the Pearl Trident
1x Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
1x Giant Scorpion
1x Diabolic Revelation
2x Blood Reckoning
1x Vile Rebirth
1x Harbor Bandit
1x Sands of Delirium
1x Elixir of Immortality
1x Tricks of the Trade
1x Harbor Serpent
1x Faerie Invaders
1x Arctic Aven
1x Sign in Blood
1x Veilborn Ghoul
1x Dark Favor
1x Ranger's Path
1x Rootbound Crag
1x Griffin Protector
1x Divine Favor
1x Faith's Reward
1x Aven Squire
1x Prized Elephant
1x Angelic Benediction
1x Volcanic Strength
Things went off to a bad start with a quick 0-2 defeat against a strong red/green deck. These matches can best be summarised by 3 words. Flinthoof Boar, Rancor. We played a 3rd game whilst waiting for other matches to finish which I won by milling and by redirecting Rancor onto a Scroll Thief. Just a pity that win didn't count.
The second round was against an interesting red/black deck; it was red/blue/black with Nicol Bolas in the first round, but it hadn't worked out and the player had decided against trying the same again (much to my dismay, my smattering of islandwalk would have been nice). First match he won with a fairly interesting back and forth game, I
was mana screwed with 4 islands for quite a while but managed to not lose immediately. In the second match my mill all came together wonderfully, 2 Mind Sculpts followed by Elixir of Immortality and a 3rd Mind Sculpt, and all the while Sands of Delirium was hanging around doing its thing. Third match he got out a Ring of Valkas and a Slumbering Dragon, though the ring was kept on creatures that could actually attack rather than rapid pumping the dragon. I built a strong offensive, pulling all 3 Talrand's Invocations (though I only played 2 by game end) along with the Harbor Bandit and the sheer amount of unblockable damage pushed me to win just as the Slumbering Dragon awoke.
The third round was very fun. In the first match things didn't really click for either of us and we got to slowly see what both decks could do. I got a bit of mill, a couple of drakes, and he got a smattering of black action with some decent green creatures. The win was pretty much due to my drakes being negated by his topdecking a Sentinel Spider by using Mwonvuli Beast Tracker. Having seen this, I held on to a Mind Sculpt in the second round and waited to see Mwonvuli Beast Tracker drop again. Sure enough 5 turns in, he played Mwonvuli Beast Tracker and topdecked the Sentinel Spider looking to close out my air again; unfortunately my Mind Sculpt was ready and waiting. From here on he couldn't pull anything big enough to kill me before another 2 Mind Sculpts (1 of which was topdecked by Elixir of Immortality) and the Sands of Delirium finished the job. The third match, he had seen that a slow game wouldn't work and picked up the pace. A first turn Cathedral of War, third turn Vampire Nighthawk, and 3 Bond Beetles meant I as taking 6 a turn from turn 4 and couldn't stop the bleed in time. It was the perfect counter to my deck. So overall a 1-2 loss, but an entertaining loss.
Overall I placed 5th out of 8 in my pod and picked up a Nefarox, Sands of Delirium, and Redirect as prizes. I just couldn't resist taking the last 2 and effectively having my draft deck back again.
If I had to sum up the deck I played in 3 cards I would say:
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