Dragon's Maze Draft 4!

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Ral Zarek

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Ral Zarek, even though I still dislike drafting with Izzet somehow.
Man, I hate packs without a clear cut first pick. Not that we have that situation here...

Ral Zarek.

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Ral Zarek is always the pick in his pack.
Ral
Ral, don't bother looking at the rest.
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Ral Zarek

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Ral.
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Ralph
Clicked on thread, thinking "I'm going to vote for the best Izzet card." Was not disappointed.
Punish

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

I want the Sphinx, but Punish is good too.
I've had good luck sticking to 2 colors in pack 1. For that I think the pick is Punish.
I don't like picking Punish so early, but this is a pretty unremarkable pack (for trying to stay in Ral's colors at least).  It's a very close pick with the Sphinx, that and Ral are both splashable cards that share a color, but having Ral as first pick puts Punish just slightly ahead.
Jelenn sphinx by a mile! That card is insane, nothing can get through it and it attacks with VIG pumping your team.

WAY, WAY too early to be only looking at cards that only match Ral's colors. We might not even be in Izzet, depending on what gets passed.

Let's do a smart draft, we haven't had one in a long time.

For reference Sphinx is roughly a 4.0 and Punish is about a 2.5-3.0 (warleader's helix being more in that awesome 3.5 burn spell range).
bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Objectively Punish is a 3.0 and Jelenn Sphinx is in the 3.5-4.0 range. Ral Zarek on the other hand is a 4.5 at the minimum. Picking cards that exist entirely within for pack 1 should be a solid strategy.
I really like the Sphinx, but I am afraid that it will make us draft 2 RTR guilds (izzet & azorius) because I never get boros going, which can get a bit troublesome in p3. I'd go for punish too, even though punish has been really unexciting for me the last few drafts (it's hardly ever better then a 2.5 for me).
Yup, Sphinx is a house.
I really like the Sphinx, but I am afraid that it will make us draft 2 RTR guilds (izzet & azorius) because I never get boros going, which can get a bit troublesome in p3. I'd go for punish too, even though punish has been really unexciting for me the last few drafts (it's hardly ever better then a 2.5 for me).



I feel the same way about Punish, it always feels like a 2.5 card. We don't need to get Boros going, we are only on Pick two, if you can pick up a 4.5 and a 4.0 that share a color you're doing well. We might be splash white or we might be splash red, you never know after two picks.

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Objectively Punish is a 3.0 and Jelenn Sphinx is in the 3.5-4.0 range. Ral Zarek on the other hand is a 4.5 at the minimum. Picking cards that exist entirely within for pack 1 should be a solid strategy.



Picking only red/blue cards is NOT a solid strategy, that's called chasing your rare and hoping for the best. We'll play Ral but I'd like to play this Sphinx if at all possible.

On a secondary note Ral is a straight 4.5, not minimum 4.5.

bulletd Guidelines: 5.0: I will take this card no matter what. Creature 1 or playable 1 or hate 1.Archangel of Thune 4.5: Bomb and splashable. Creature 1-2, playable 1-2, removal 1. Jace, Memory Adept 4.0: Excellent first pick first pack, will sway me into same colors. Creatures 1-4, removal 1. Haunted Plate Mail 3.5: Excellent first pack pick two, will confirm colors or possibly sway into second color. Doom Blade 3.0: Good in-color addition, or splashable removal/creature. Creatures 3-9, removal 1-3. wall of Frost 2.5: Solid pick in-color; creatures 5-12, removal 3-5. Dark Favor 2.0: Creatures 10-16; removal 6-7. Elvish Mystic 1.5: My 23rd or 22nd card, depending on removal. Act of Treason 1.0: 23rd card if I don't maindeck an additional land. Lay of the Land 0.5: This card will sometimes be sideboarded in. Brave the Elements 0.0: I will shred this card for counters. Darksteel Forge
Jelenn Sphinx.

If that wasn't there, I'd pick Breaking // Entering. Time enough to get the unexciting things like Punish later.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

There is so little removal in this block -- especially outside of black -- I lean towards punish here.    This format is hard enough to draft without immediatly flopping into 3 colors.   If we take the sphynx now, we can pretty much rule out playing G or B at all, it kinda locks us into U as well.
And I am not ready to do that for the marginal gain of sphynx over punish.   I will say that if this was P1P1 with a crap rare I would take the sphynx.



 
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
Jelenn Sphinx.

If that wasn't there, I'd pick Breaking // Entering. Time enough to get the unexciting things like Punish later.



This! Why are people in love with Punish that card is over-priced crap and you want to pass a flier that pretty much board controls for defense and then helps win on offense??

The main thing I've learned from some of the good drafters here is that they don't hunker down on pick 2-3, they get some strong card quiality and then make kick ass decks. We tried this forcing nonsense last draft and we ended up with a pile of junk.

Sphinx! The sealed dude has spoken...

There is a lot of removal in this block. Some of the best (Smite, Angelic Edict, Arrest) is white. Punish is actually second-tier removal, more a mopping-up card than a way to get rid of problem critters. If we want that kind of mana cost, we can pick a Blast of Genius.

Go draft, young man, go draft!

There is not a lot of strong removal in the block... there is a lot of questionable removal but usable. Since we're no longer drafting things in triplicate you pretty much have to outline your draft in a way to receive 4-6 good spot removals. This means grabbing at least 1 per pack. Punish is a very serviceable removal spell and I'm not sad to take it at times... at all. This is all simply to say we're being a little tough on Punish.... and if someone's got personal preference for it and want to jump it pick 2 while it might be a smidge off the map, so be it.

All of that aside, I think our 1/5 vigilant flyer is the take and we hope to get firmed up in America by pick 4... bad news would be to see blue or red dry up... so its nice to re-affirm that sweet p1 by cutting one of the colors as best as possible when we can.

Jelenn Sphinx please.

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2011 States Top 4
Multiple 2013 IQ Top 4/8 Finishes
Designer of Top 8 States finishing MBC decks in 2011, 2010, and 2009 
Standard Forum - Iron Deck Builder Season One Champ

Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Passing Punish after passing Carnage Gladiator or Rubblebelt Maaka is a good way to help red dry up pack 2. Taking it now means one or two blue playables, in the form of the gate or the gatekeeper, will probably wheel. I'd rather hone in on a single guild's colors pack 1 and branch out from there, as that strategy has yet to fail me.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Whichever way we go, this is at least a good discussion on a pretty tough choice.

 
rstnme: "Everything looks good when your opponent passes 4 turns in a row."
Sphinx

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Sphinx. 

I like drafting the best card in the first 3 picks, and the seeing what the packs are telling me - too early to fix colors imo.

In any case, Ralph's also fine as an Azorius with red splash, so you are not completely abandoning Ralph.

 
I like Punish a lot, but let's try the B. Wong strategy of taking the best card the first two packs and then think about settling when we see what's in the third.

I'll go on board with the Sphinx.
Of course J. Sphinx is the pick. As a point of reference Punish the Enemy should be anywhere between picks 4-8 depending on what your table is drafting. It's not a bad card, it just doesn't match the power level that's staring us in the face right now. If we end up not playing one of our first two picks no biggie. We just want to give ourselves the opportunity to have a very powerful deck. NOT "seeing red" that's a method of picking what ever card best matches your first pick, this is a very basic drafting error and seen mostly by mediocre players, also on the PT we used to call this "paint by numbers".

1.Sphinx
2.Breaking/Entering
3.Punish the enemy

I like drafting the best card in the first 3 picks, and the seeing what the packs are telling me - too early to fix colors imo.
 


In general I agree with this, but I find it very hard to trust signals in this format.  By the time I figure out what's actually open, my draft might be a train wreck that I can't come back from.  I've found that I do much better if I pick a color early (not necessarily a guild) and stay with it as long as it doesn't get majorly cut.  Taking red here leaves us the ability to take any of four guilds while still playing Ral, and we've got time to decide which one it is.  Sphinx either puts us into one specific color combination if we want to play both cards, or we take it with the expectation of not playing one of our first two picks (and likely two of our best cards), neither of which is something I like to do.  RWU is a particularly hard combination to draft since you have to rely on two guilds being open on your right in pack three, which you can't really do anything about, and the Boros in pack two is mostly a different strategy than you want to play.  I agree that Sphinx is hands-down the stronger card, but I feel like picking Punish will give us the better draft overall.
Of course J. Sphinx is the pick. As a point of reference Punish the Enemy should be anywhere between picks 4-8 depending on what your table is drafting. It's not a bad card, it just doesn't match the power level that's staring us in the face right now. If we end up not playing one of our first two picks no biggie. We just want to give ourselves the opportunity to have a very powerful deck. NOT "seeing red" that's a method of picking what ever card best matches your first pick, this is a very basic drafting error and seen mostly by mediocre players, also on the PT we used to call this "paint by numbers".

1.Sphinx
2.Breaking/Entering
3.Punish the enemy


I agree on the 'basic drafting error' when it comes to most blocks, but in this particular format I feel like it's almost the opposite of this. Everything feels so random in this format (I can't read the opponents and what's going to be in the next packs feels more like roulette than anything else) that just trying to be conservative in your picks and not braching out too much into other colors usually results in a better deck for me.

But then again, I am not a pro-level player, so I might be totally wrong here (which is why I am here, to learn), so feel free to educate me on this one in this format. 
Of course J. Sphinx is the pick. As a point of reference Punish the Enemy should be anywhere between picks 4-8 depending on what your table is drafting. It's not a bad card, it just doesn't match the power level that's staring us in the face right now. If we end up not playing one of our first two picks no biggie. We just want to give ourselves the opportunity to have a very powerful deck. NOT "seeing red" that's a method of picking what ever card best matches your first pick, this is a very basic drafting error and seen mostly by mediocre players, also on the PT we used to call this "paint by numbers".

1.Sphinx
2.Breaking/Entering
3.Punish the enemy


I agree on the 'basic drafting error' when it comes to most blocks, but in this particular format I feel like it's almost the opposite of this. Everything feels so random in this format (I can't read the opponents and what's going to be in the next packs feels more like roulette than anything else) that just trying to be conservative in your picks and not braching out too much into other colors usually results in a better deck for me.

But then again, I am not a pro-level player, so I might be totally wrong here (which is why I am here, to learn), so feel free to educate me on this one in this format. 



I'd like everyone to keep in mind that even if we take the Shpinx and don't get much white than this part is perfectly spalshable. It's a 5 drop that can save youand/or turn the tide in your favor. Picking one white mana symbol on pick two isn't a big deal. This conservative style of drafting can't get you to the next level. In a big GP you have to take a few chances because MANY people will make a "safe deck". The power level will be much lower and they will lose out to the guys that made the bombs work.

Again we are talking about picking a card that shares blue with our first pick and the only difference is a white mana symbol. Be more confident in drafting. I had to sit out most of the last draft because it became a conservatively picked monstrosity that a ten year old child could have drafted.

"Now Timmy, if your first pick is red/blue ONLY pick red/blue like a good little boy, pay no attention to that powerful sphinx..."

There is not a lot of strong removal in the block... there is a lot of questionable removal but usable. Since we're no longer drafting things in triplicate you pretty much have to outline your draft in a way to receive 4-6 good spot removals. This means grabbing at least 1 per pack. Punish is a very serviceable removal spell and I'm not sad to take it at times... at all. This is all simply to say we're being a little tough on Punish.... and if someone's got personal preference for it and want to jump it pick 2 while it might be a smidge off the map, so be it.

All of that aside, I think our 1/5 vigilant flyer is the take and we hope to get firmed up in America by pick 4... bad news would be to see blue or red dry up... so its nice to re-affirm that sweet p1 by cutting one of the colors as best as possible when we can.

Jelenn Sphinx please.



Triple dragon's maze has very spotty removal but it doesn't necassarily matter as creatures seem to often be trumping removal in the last few months. How strongly do you rate the Sphinx? In a deck which caters to his abilities that is.

We're Jelenn !

Of course J. Sphinx is the pick. As a point of reference Punish the Enemy should be anywhere between picks 4-8 depending on what your table is drafting. It's not a bad card, it just doesn't match the power level that's staring us in the face right now. If we end up not playing one of our first two picks no biggie. We just want to give ourselves the opportunity to have a very powerful deck. NOT "seeing red" that's a method of picking what ever card best matches your first pick, this is a very basic drafting error and seen mostly by mediocre players, also on the PT we used to call this "paint by numbers".

1.Sphinx
2.Breaking/Entering
3.Punish the enemy



Just out of curiousity, would you care to share which Pro Tours you've played in, and perhaps your DCI number?

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Multiple 2013 IQ Top 4/8 Finishes
Designer of Top 8 States finishing MBC decks in 2011, 2010, and 2009 
Standard Forum - Iron Deck Builder Season One Champ

Favorite Quotes

"Against logic there is no armor like ignorance." - Laurence J. Peter 
"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Breaking / Entering over Punish.
Preparing for the M14 Prerelease - New article up! IN THE TANK - my very own blog for rambling about Magic!
Of course J. Sphinx is the pick. As a point of reference Punish the Enemy should be anywhere between picks 4-8 depending on what your table is drafting. It's not a bad card, it just doesn't match the power level that's staring us in the face right now. If we end up not playing one of our first two picks no biggie. We just want to give ourselves the opportunity to have a very powerful deck. NOT "seeing red" that's a method of picking what ever card best matches your first pick, this is a very basic drafting error and seen mostly by mediocre players, also on the PT we used to call this "paint by numbers".

1.Sphinx
2.Breaking/Entering
3.Punish the enemy



Just out of curiousity, would you care to share which Pro Tours you've played in, and perhaps your DCI number?



Second this. What block are you talking about?

I'm pretty sure mediocre limited players are the ones solely jamming goodstuff decks, ie looking at cards in a vacuum and not in the context of the picks they've passed/seen and the deck they're building.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

While I find the Punish v. Sphinx conversation instructive, it's hard to appreciate some of the tone going on (e.g., Can we do a smart draft for once?  Calling everyone a "Timmy", things like that).
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