The Draft and the Decks
The draft was broken up into two pods, and naturally I ended up seated next to my daughter. My first pick was Hixus, Prison Warden; my second a Patron of the Valiant; and then the White promptly disappeared. Hm. I started drafting Red... and then that dried up as well.
There were Claustrophobias floating around however, and past experience had taught me that Blue is often underdrafted, and so I started dipping my toes into Blue, thinking that I might go Blue-Red.
The second pack had a Disciple of the Ring, which seemed to confirm my choice. But a couple of wheeled Thunderclap Wyverns just confused me even further, and by the end of pack 2 I started thinking... three colors?
My snap pick in the third pack was Liliana, Heretical Healer, but I resisted the urge to taste the rainbow by leaping into Black (despite the Priest of the Blood Rite I had hate-drafted earlier). My third pick in the third pack was a Sentinel of the Eternal Watch, and that was when it became clear that Blue-White was a very viable option.
Yep, I played Disciple of the Ring despite only having three instants and sorceries total. Hey, I thought, it really only needs to trigger once or twice...
Meanwhile, my daughter exhibited her remarkable draft discipline by creating a mono-White deck. And at an age when I would have merrily snapped up every single rare I saw, she had the fortitude to only pick up a single rare, which was in her colors.
The matchups for the first round were announced... and I was startled to learn that players would be matched up across pods, a policy that was foreign to me. But as I constantly tell my daughter, different people do different things and that's perfectly fine.
I don't have many details about this round. I faced a player who had just returned to the game, and beat him quite handily. Meanwhile my daughter got mana-screwed her first game and mana-flooded her second. "It happens," she said, putting on her philosophical face.
- Me: W (2-0)
- My Daughter: L (0-2)
I faced a nightmarish Red-Black deck with 11-12 removal spells, everything from three Fiery Impulse to a couple of the black 5-cost kill spells - and his many Fetid Imps might as well have counted as even more removal. But although he could deal with my early game quite easily, the late game became far more difficult for him, and I eked out the game 1 victory with a Toten-Guide Hartebeest retrieving Knightly Valor.
But in game 2 I was never able to find my footing, and game 3 started out extremely badly for me when he cast Infinite Obliteration to rip out both my Thunderclap Wyverns. Fortunately the rest of the game was a repeat of game 1, and once again I ended up on top.
My daughter won her matches, and ran up to me proudly declaring that "Sigil of Valor is awesome!"
- Me: W (2-1)
- My Daughter: W (2-0)
My opponent this round was also playing a Black-Red deck... except his featured Blazing Hellhound, Enthralling Victor, and Act of Treason. Ugh. Once I realized his game plan, I decided there wasn't much I could do... but attack, attack, and attack some more.
This plan failed in game 2; fortunately it worked out in games 1 and 3 when my opponent didn't draw the cards he needed, and I was able to take the round.
My daughter faced my second round opponent, and much to my surprise, managed to win a game with the help of Heavy Infantry. Sadly for her, in game 3 her opponent used Infinite Obliteration to, well, obliterate her Heavy Infantry.
- Me: W (2-1)
- My Daughter: L (1-2)
My opponent had a Green-Blue control deck, with big blockers and walls and cards like Sphinx's Tutelage, Harbinger of the Tides, and Separatist Voidmage, as well as a Gaea's Revenge to quickly close games out.
Fortunately I was able to maintain a board state in the face of his temporary removal. Both of our games were extremely close, but I won them both by relying on my 5+ cost creatures such as Hixus, Totem-Guide Hartebeest, Disciple of the Ring, and Sentinel of the Eternal Watch.
Meanwhile my daughter played against my first round opponent and quickly ran away with a victory.
- Me: W (2-0)
- My Daughter: W (2-0)
I guess I read the signals correctly this draft, executing a proper course-change near the end of pack 1 and keeping enough options open to finally settle on the Blue-White combination. I don't think my deck has any one overwhelming strategy; instead it has many minor synergies that helped me narrowly win several close games.
The prize was store credit, and I promptly and happily expended it by purchasing a Demonic Pact for myself - I swear that there's a deck that wants that card!
I let my daughter spend much of the rest, and her eye was immediately caught by a tray of custom Magic tokens.
"Hey, that Germ..." I began.
"LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE YOU!" she shrieked, right before launching into a tickle assault on my poor defenseless armpits. Ah well. Such is life.