By Jeremy Broomfield

I showed up to The Geekery an hour later than usual, with three students in tow, panicking that we might have missed our chance to draft. I need not have worried—a large number of the local player group were in Vegas for some sort of very exciting tournament or something, which was showing on the big flatscreen TV. And before I could start to panic about the other possibility—not enough people to draft—we were sitting around a table with packs in front of us.

Before I report on the draft, I must mention that somewhere in the middle of deckbuilding someone called from behind the counter “Hey, you’re Jeremy, right?” When I said yes, she asked: “Hipsters of the Coast? You wrote this awesome post!”

FAME! Thou glittering bauble! After basking momentarily in the palpably raised esteem of my fellow drafters, I told her that though I had written two reports, I was neither a founder of nor official contributor to this site. I asked how she found out about it, and she said she googled the name of the store regularly, just to see what was up (she’s one of the owners, and I’m going to go out on a limb and say her name is Cindy. I hope that’s right because she’s really nice). We talked about how to build community interest in drafting, and I offered to host a drafting clinic some week. We’ll see what happens. I preach the gospel of draft, my children! Gather ’round!


I do not go into a Gatecrash draft hoping for good Boros cards. I just hope for strong signals. So what did I peep in pack one pick one but Firemane Avenger. P1P2:  Foundry Champion. Seems, as they say, good. P1P3: Truefire Paladin. All right already! I get the hint. As it was in my first GTC draft, it seemed like an impossibly good number of Boros cards were flowing to and through me—several packs had ridiculous bundles like:

  • Boros Charm
  • Righteous Charge
  • Wojek Halberdiers
  • Naturalize
  • Mugging
  • Skyknight Legionnaire
  • Sage’s Row Denizen
  • Boros Guildgate

…which made me wonder what the hell everyone else was drafting.

Here’s my deck (creatures in bold, spells in italics, commons in black, uncommons in silver, rares in gold):

Boros Elite
3X Foundry Street Denizen (I’d heard reports of pros including 4X in their draft decks and thought I’d give it a try)
2X Mugging

Burning-Tree Emissary
2X Daring Skyjek
Truefire Paladin
Wojek Halberdiers
Boros Charm
Martial Glory
Pit Fight

Court Street Denizen (after Hunter’s glowing evaluation of this in his GP report, I picked him over Skynight Legionnaire)
Skyknight Legionnaire
Warmind Infantry
Act of Treason
Righteous Charge

Assault Griffin
Firemane Avenger

Foundry Champion

9 Mountain
8 Plains

My sideboard remained untouched for the duration of the tourney, but it included: Aerial Maneuver, Debtor’s Pulpit, Dutiful Thrull, 2X Ember Beast, Furious Resistance, 2X Massive Raid, Nav Squad Commandos, Scorchwalker, Shielded Passage, Skinbrand Goblin, Towering Thuderfist, 2X Warmind Infantry, and Zarichi Tiger.

The other decks in the draft turned out to be: Simic, Simic, Boros, Orzhov, Dimirzhov, Orzhov, and … Golgari?!

Round 1: vs Simic

My opponent was a student of mine, a 9th grader I’ll call D. He took a mulligan to six after drawing all land on the play. When I killed him on G1 T5, he had an Elusive Krasis to my team of: Foundry Street Denizen, Wojek Halberdiers, Court Street Denizen, Skyknight Legionnaire. You know what’s cool? When the Skyknight triggers two different Denizens.

G2 he got stuck on three land, while I pulled my nut opener: Boros Elite, Truefire Paladin, Skyknight Legionnaire, Mountain Mountain, Plains, Plains. Not much he could do against that. One thing he overlooked was how to use Zameck Guildmage to turn his Cloudfin Raptor‘s +1/+1 counters into cards. After the round I asked to look at his build (because I’ve been trying to teach my guys some better deckbuilding habits) and it was solid, really: low curve, good creature/spell ratio, 17 lands, 40 cards. I’m gonna have to go to the next-level lessons (sleeves, shuffling, mulligans). Match result: 2-0

Round 2: vs Simic

Another round against one of my guys, another freshman I’ll call A. I must admit that this round is a little blurry to me, five days later. According to my notes, I mulliganed to six on the draw and kept a hand with only one land, and soon found myself stuck at three mana. But the beauty of my deck was that I really didn’t need more than that. I usually get in trouble in tournaments for playing too slowly—a bad habit born of an all-consuming dread of making easy play mistakes: losing track of on-board effects, forgetting about the particular removal represented by my opponent’s open mana, forgetting to cast spells during my opponent’s end step, trying to play a sorcery during my opponent’s turn, etc. But this round whizzed by. Match result: 2-0

Round 3: vs Orzhov

G1 was a lengthy grind against a store employee called into service to fill out the draft, an experienced player named Kelly who had a Cartel Aristocrat wearing a Gift of Orzhova; he kept playing and sac’ing creatures to give her protection from red, which meant I wouldn’t attack into her with my Truefire Paladin and she could survive a Mugging, Pit Fight (except from a couple of my dudes), and/or Act of Treason. But you can’t sac a creature every turn against Boros, and all that lifelinked life drains away pretty fast when the Legion rides herd. Or whatever. Match result: 2-0

Tournament result: 3-0.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone undefeated in a sanctioned booster draft. One time, in a Scars block draft at some dude’s house in Cottonwood, I think I might have gotten there with a GW beast. But man, it felt good! For some strange reason, the draft had been paired Swiss-style, or round-robin style, instead of a normal tournament bracket. This meant that instead of pitting the winners against the winners, with only one player capable of winning three matches, there were two players with three match wins! Most peculiar. I still won because the other guy—my third student!—lost one game along the way.

Lessons from the Day

  • I don’t like Pit Fight in a straight Boros deck. I almost never want to trade dudes, I’m usually not chump-blocking, and none of my dudes have the toughness to survive. I probably should have swapped it for Massive Raid, which frequently would have hit for four or five. Next time, I may draft the Pit Fights to keep you from having them, but I won’t run ’em.
  • Ask about the prize pool before the match begins, and try to confirm it’s bracketed, like Wimbledon, or the NCAA.

Balance Sheet

I’m going to start keeping a balance sheet for each draft that shows what I paid to play versus what I can reasonably expect to get by selling my draft and prize-pack rares on the secondary market. The first price is the “mid” price on TCGplayer, and the second is what I expect to net after selling at 80% of the mid price and subtracting $2 for shipping and listing fees (I no longer ship without tracking numbers, and that costs $1.64 per shipment).

Master Biomancer—$11.02 / $8.00
Stomping Ground—$14.50 / $10.00
Aurelia’s Fury—$14.50 / $10.00

Since the draft cost $15, I’m up $13 on the day—almost enough to pay for next week’s draft!

BONUS: Magic Pronunciation Tip of the Day
The card Rancor, like the word rancor, is pronounced RANK-ǝr and rhymes with anchor, banker, canker, danker, hanker, lanker, tanker, or wanker. It is not pronounced RANG-KOR like… well, like nothing except Angkor Wat.

See you next time! Remember—the foily land stays in the pack!

Jeremy Broomfield came to MTG later than most boys (age 33, sometime during Shadowmoor block), which helped him to avoid a really prolonged Timmy stage. The folks he played Magic with most regularly in Brooklyn were intelligent, capable, hygienic, solvent, and good at playing Magic. They disdained Constructed in favor of Limited, and when he played with them—mostly in booster drafts at someone’s apartment—he was definitely the sucker at the table. When he moved from Brooklyn, NY, to Sedona, AZ, in 2010, his Magic experiences declined in frequency (the mean age of Sedona residents is probably 35 years over the mean age of Magic players, so he must drive for a while to find a draft). He found local communities in the thrall of Standard, and after preaching the gospel of Limited seemingly in vain, he has found a regular draft at The Geekery in Flagstaff. He is happy now. When he’s not playing Magic he teaches oil painting at a boarding school, where he lives with his wife and seven-month-old daughter.

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