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 Duress
1x Servant of Nefarox
2x Murder
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
8x Swamp
8x Plains

3x Sign in Blood
2x Essence Drain
1x Vile Rebirth
1x Mind Rot
1x Zombie Goliath
1x Walking Corpse

1x Jace's Phantasm
1x Archaeomancer
1x Courtly Provocateur
1x Index

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.
In the first match I found myself up against a strong mill deck, much better and more focused than the mill I had last time. It was mono-Blue and was packing 2 Jace's Phantasms, 2 Fog Banks, 3 or 4 Mind Sculpts, and 2 Archaeomancers. Pretty intimidating really. The first game things went off to an interesting start, I got a turn 1 Elixir of Immortality (which brought a groan out of my opponent, it really is the anti-mill card) and spent the next few turns getting a couple of creatures out. On his turn 1, a predictable Jace's Phantasm came out which coupled up with a turn 2 Mind Sculpt and a turn 3 Negate in a nasty way. Still a few Murders and Fog Banks later we were at a bit of a stalemate. I couldn't get an attack in that would hurt him, and he couldn't mill through the 2 elixirs. Then I drew Sands of Delirium which is a devestating mid-late game card. Milling my opponent for 8 cards a turn, things quickly ended with me milling a mill deck. In the second game, my starting hand consisted of an Oblivion Ring, Griffin Protector, 4 Swamps, and Sands of Delirium. I played the hand anyway. My first draw was an elixir and when I had both the elixir and sands out on turn 3 my opponent groaned again. He did Encrust the sands, but the War Priest of Thune fixed that and the game ended with another mill victory due solely to Sands of Delirium. Overall a 2-0 victory by outmilling a dedicated mono-Blue mill deck. A really unexpected win for me, and the strength of my opponents deck showed as he went on to win his next 2 matches flawlessly with no losses. I had planned loosely to defend agaisnt a mill approach with the Elixirs of Immortality and they really paid off.

A complete reversal of fortune in the second match. I get stomped 0-2 by a very coherent and fast white soldier/token deck that had just a splash of black. The first game I was comprehensively outnumbered by a swarm of soldiers, knights, and birds. My removal wasn't enough to slow them down, and my creatures just couldn't stand up to it. At this point I sideboarded out the Rise from the Graves and brought in the Essence Drains to get some more removal going on (a good move, they were really useful from here on out). In the second game I had a weak starting hand, but it did contain Sands of Delirium, hoping for a repeat of match 1, I chose to play. By the end of the game (turn 6) I had 2 lands and had played no cards at all. A bit of mana screw and some unlucky drawing, but these things happen. Regardless, my opponents deck here was very impressive, so many things that interacted well and buffed eachother. He went on to win the evening, suffering not a single defeat!

In the third match I faced off against a Blue/Black deck that had an absolute ton of evasion; Tricks of the Trade on Scroll Thieves, and Harbor Bandits getting pumped. Coupled with some solid Black and Blue control/destroy it was a good deck indeed. The first game was a fairly long back and forth affair, none of my exciting things kicked off and I had a suspicion that most of his didn't either (I was right, a lot more evade appeared later). In the second game, I pulled a 5th turn Sands of Delirium and began applying the mill whilst keeping on top of his creature numbers too. I focused on staying alive, milling 1 or 2 per turn until I was sure I could survive long enough to really turn on the milling machine and win. Before the third game my opponent sideboarded some cards out and in. I learned afterwards that this was in response to Sands of Delirium as he thought I had built a mill deck; I really hadn't intended to! The third game began with a Welkin Tirn flying over and pecking me for 2 each turn, to which I responded with a slew of ground attackers that the Tirn couldn't stop. I comboed a Healer of the Pride with 2 Bloodhunter Bats, and kept throwing out more creatures for the bonus life gain. My opponent started getting lots of unblockable nastiness going on with Scroll Thieves, Tricks of the Trade and a Harbor Bandit. Murders flew in both directions and we eventually get down to him being on 5 life, me on 10 (even despite a ton of life gaining, so many unblockable attackers...), him with 1 strong creature, and me with 4 weak ones. I attack with my weenies and he blocks a Bloodhunter Bat, which then explodes along with my Warclamp Mastiff in order to pump the unblocked Bloodthrone Vampire up to 5/5 for the win. An oversight giving me the win, but he had no cards in hand and his next draw was a land anyway. So in the end, a 2-1 win for me and a very fun set of 3 games, our decks were great matches and good competition for each other.

So yea, 3 out of my 4 game wins were due to Sands of Delirium being incredible, it is able to very simply provide a second win condition to any deck whatsoever. An early 3rd turn drop and you can begin to get the screws on, in the late game with the option to mill 6+ cards per turn it is a killer! Such a simple card that I am pretty sure is going to stop being so undervalued at my draft group now.

Overall I placed 2nd out of the 14 players, the guy that came in first was the one that slaughtered me in the second round. Prizes that I picked up out of the rare pool this time were Akroma's Memorial, Captain of the Watch, Xathrid Gorgon, and a foil Warclamp Mastiff.

Summing up this deck in 3 cards, even though it is not truly the intended theme of the deck I am going to have to pick Sands of Delirium as one of them; it was just that good here. Pretty much I would say that Sands is a bomb in draft (going by the BREAD definitions) for any deck that isn't going for an aggro rush. This deck is meant to offer combo life-gain and the best card to show this is Healer of the Pride; and coupled with Bloodhunter Bat this combos up nicely, giving some instant damage to the opponent, a good chunk of healing, and the bat even has evasion.

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