With my only experience of Avacyn Restored in sealed so far being at the
Pre-Release, I turned up for my first experience of drafting the set with no real knowledge of the format.
Due to a couple of unreliable people we only had 7 for the draft, including the store owner who joined in the drafting but sat out of the games to avoid anyone else getting byes.
The first pack I opened was pretty awesome, I wanted to take about 5 cards. A lot of strong commons including Cloudshift and Pillar of Flame as well as three solid uncommon cards, one of which was Tandem Lookout. In the end I opted for the bomb rare and took Soul of the Harvest. In the rest of my first round picks I picked up a number of other solid spells across four colours, including a Tandem Lookout and Appetite for Brains.
Pack 2 was significantly weaker, everyone seemed to agree on this. I flushed out my pool with a few Red spells which I was planning to splash at the time, but mainly focused on black. Awesomely, my very last card from pack 2 was Gryff Vanguard. God knows how that managed to go round so many times. Good job it did though…
Pack3 I opened Temporal Mastery; and from there the Blue cards just kept on coming! I was passed no less than three Mist Ravens, as well as grabbing a Vanishment (partly because I like the look of Miracle cards). I also found myself hate-drafting Thunderous Wrath. That was one card I did not want to have to face (also it looks cool with the Miracle frame )
In the end I chose to back up my solid Blue pool with a Black splash rather than Red, the Black removal options I had were more in number and more versatile. Blue brought a lot of flyers and bounce effects. Cutting down to 40 was difficult, I didn’t want to have less than 17 lands as my mana curve had a strong peak at 4.
And so onto the games. Note that once again I elected to draw in every single game, and once again I think this was the right call.
Round 1 I faced a relatively new player. She had only been playing for around a month and it was her first ever draft experience. Her RB deck came out quite aggressively in game 1 as I found myself stalled on 3 lands for some time (after mulligans down to 5 cards to find land in the first place). Fortunately I managed to deter her attackers with a Fettergeist just long enough for me to find more mana. Then from nowhere she found an Archwing Dragon! I got hit with it twice and would have lost the damage race were it not for a well-timed Vanishment.
In game 2 it was my opponent who this time found herself mana screwed, which I felt bad about. My Appetite for Brains ripped the Archwing Dragon from her hand on turn 1 and my flyers did the rest. Its never good to win a game because your opponent is mana screwed and against a new player it feels even worse. Still, after I took the round 2-0 I suggested that we have a look at her pool so I could offer some advice. She actually had a couple of really solid removal spells that she wasn’t playing, such as Bone Splinters and Thunderbolt so those came in. I also offered some playing advice (such as how to best use activated abilities). I just hope I wasn’t giving her too much info all at once!
Round 2 went swiftly. Game 1 my flyers cleared up. In game 2 my opponent bonded a pair of Trusted Forcemage to each other, making them into deadly 5/5′s with a Blessing of Nature! My bounce effects kept them at bay for a while but eventually I just found myself chump blocking each turn as I dug for an answer, only to find land. In game 3 things went drastically the other way again, both my Favorable Winds turned even my Wingcrafter into a serious threat. 2-1 to me.
Round 3 was against a RW human deck. I knew this before beginning since my opponent said that she had tried to draft something similar to her standard deck. Game 1 once again saw me Mulligan to 5, good job I was on the draw! My opponents deck came out rather aggressively, a Lightning Mauler and three Cathedral Sanctifiers. The life-gain I wasn’t worried about. Playing UB Control recently has taught me a lot about your life total being just another resource, and I could deal with that in time. What worried me is that, as I had to mulligan to 5 once again just to find land, I lacked a play until turn 4! I found myself on 6 life rather swiftly but from there I managed to just about stabilise whilst my opponent mana-flooded. Favourable Winds helped my flyers be a match for an opposing Goldnight Redeemer. One thing I must remember is to always check for Soulbonding! Banishing Stroke on one of my creatures (which could have gained Hexproof were I paying attention) almost cost me the game. But my opponent fell just short of lethal damage and I won on the swing-back.
Game 2 was much more relaxed from my point of view. Except for the fact I drew Temporal Mastery on turn 2! My Appetite for Brains once again hit the best target, this time exiling that damn Goldnight Redeemer. I took the round 2-0.
And so going 3-0 overall, I won the draft! I felt happy with my performance, a couple of play errors as usual that I’d like to tighten up on, but the only way to do this is to play more so I’m working on that! Also as a humorous aside I really dislike Temporal Mastery now. 3 times in my opening hand, once drawn as the second card in the turn, and once drawn as the first card but with just one land in play! Very frustrating, heh. Unfortunately there was no prize for winning
With regards to Avacyn Restored itself I feel it was, as expected, a set better when drafted as opposed to playing with sealed pools. I think I drafted fairly loosely right up until pack 3, where the strong blue cards I received were enough to fill out my deck and make it a solid. Were I to draft again I think I’d aim for a similar deck where possible. There seemed to be a lot of competition for Red but very little for Blue. Green can be awesome if you hit the right Soulbond cards but otherwise I think Green is the weakest colour in sealed. With luck I’ll be drafting again on Thursday! Lets hope it goes just as well