- Erik Lundblad
So I did my first Zendikar draft recently, and it went pretty well. I made some decisions that I’m not sure I would make again, but it worked out this time. I knew going into the draft that Zendikar is a very fast format, which definitely colored the way I drafted.
First pack, first pick, I took Hideous End over Bala Ged Thief. This ended up working very well for my deck, but if black had not been open, I could’ve had problems, whereas the Thief would be splashable in an Allies deck. Given that choice again, I would probably take the Thief. However, I proceeded to pick up Quest for the Gravelord, Guul Draz Vampire, Arrow-Volley Trap (possible second color), Piranha Marsh, Carnage Altar (never drew it, but seems pretty good), Scythe Tiger (another possible second color), Hagra Crocodile, Mountain, Forest(nothing good in the packs), Magma Rift (11th pick removal, I think I’ve found my second color), Blood Seeker, Caller of Gales, Ruinous Minotaur, Slaughter Cry (15th pick combat trick?).
At this point, I’m not extremely pleased with my deck. It has a couple pieces of removal, a few good creatures, but nothing spectacular. Then came pack 2, where my cutting off black (and apparently no one going red) paid off. Murasa Pyromancer made me a little sad that I had not taken the Thief in pack 1. Another Hideous End helped cheer me up again. Nimana Sell-Sword is ok, and I wanted to pick up more allies for my Pyromancer. Punishing Fire, Crypt Ripper, Torch Slinger, Vampire Lacerator, Blood Seeker, Vampire Hexmage, and Plated Geopede (amazing, should not be 10th pick!) are all solid creatures/removal. Ravenous Trap, Soul Stair Expedition, 2nd Piranha Marsh, Beast Hunt and Mountain finish off the pack.
My deck is now looking much better, as I have 19 cards that I would not mind putting in there. Pack 3 finished my deck off nicely, although the first pack was very weak for me, leading me to take a Shepherd of the Lost, never fun to play against. Gatekeeper of Malakir, Disfigure, 2nd Nimana Sell-Sword, Adventuring Gear, 2nd Plated Geopede, Highland Berserker, and Tuktuk Grunts are all good for my deck. Island, Grim Discovery, Kazandu Refuge, Seismic Shudder, Seascape Aerialist, Mire Blight, Mire Blight finishes the draft. 14th and 15th pick Mire Blights was rather surprising. They ended up not making the deck, as I had enough removal, but I had enough first strike that they maybe should have been in there, although I don’t know what I would’ve cut for them.
I ended up with a very solid, all-out aggro deck with fast, efficient creatures and solid removal. The final decklist was as follows
Guul Draz Vampire
2x Plated Geopede
2x Blood Seeker
Gatekeeper of Malakir
2x Nimana Sell-Sword
Soul Stair Expedition
Quest for the Gravelord
2x Hideous End
2x Piranha Marsh
Round 1 vs Red/White Aggro
His deck was very fast and aggressive, but lacking removal, and the creatures were not quite as good as mine. Game 1 was a close race between his Goblin War Painted Steppe Lynx and Slaughter Crys and my Plated Geopedes. At the end, I swung to put him at 2, knowing he needed a land and the Cry to kill me. He had the Cry, but no land, and took me to 1 before I finished him off. Game 2 he got a slower draw and never stood a chance.
Round 2 vs Blue/Red
I only saw a total of 6 cards out of his deck, as it was not fast enough to keep up with mine.
Round 3 vs Blue/Black
Game 1 I made a couple of play mistakes, plus missed a couple of Blood Seeker triggers. It was still a close game, but between my mistakes and his 3 counters (Summoner’s Bane + 2 Cancels), I couldn’t pull it out.
Game 2 I got out to a fast start and slaughtered him.
Game 3 I again got out to a fast start, but he managed to somewhat stabilize at 2 (hovering between 2 and 4 for awhile) thanks to a Vampire Nighthawk that just barely kept me from getting enough damage through to finish him off, and enabled him to occasionally attack so he could get another creature through my Blood Seeker. Also, his Shoal Serpents made a formidable wall, although Plated Geopede equipped with Adventuring Gear took out one before dying to the second (5/5 first striker is really good.) Eventually, I had enough creatures to get one through, and the Gear plus a land made all of them lethal.