My first Scrub Report post was a little bit more than a month ago. I cobbled together an RW heroic deck that seemed promising, but ultimately fell short. Like Black Friday shopping, I had high expectations but instead spent a lot of time waiting around for things to happen.

Since then, I’ve been scraping together a standard deck and coolly burning through some cash on MODO limited queues. After a weekend of studying, I caught up with some friends last Sunday and make the bitterly cold trek to Redcap’s Corner for a Theros Draft. The store was virtually empty. A Pro Tour Qualifier was held on the same day at the Philadelphia Convention Center. And the weather was less than agreeable. After waiting, we managed to gather enough for a ten-person pod and dove in.

My picks can best be summarized by this photo:


Yep, that’s a first pick Whip of Erebos. During the first pack, I also scoop up a Gray Merchant of Asphodel. I assume that black is wide open and move in like a hungry shopper.

P2P1 was Hero’s Downfall. That was probably the most valuable card I’ve opened so far (I don’t really link to think about the Mutavault I passed a few months ago during one of my first drafts). Not exactly a game-winning bomb, but premium removal is always welcome and getting two-thirds of your draft covered by one card felt pretty nice.

Around this time, I was trying to sniff out a second color. I eventually settled on blue after receiving a double Griptide, Sea Gods Revenge, and a Horizon Scholar. My deck is coming together quite nicely, and I’m fairly certain that none of my neighbors are in my colors. I notice a conspicuous absence of white commons and figure someone to my left is brewing up a heroic variant.

Pack three: I round out my UB deck with two Returned Phalanx, a very sexy foil Read the Bones, and some more very playable commons in the form of Baleful Eidolon and Lash of the Whip. I’m pretty happy with my assemblage of undead warriors, mist people, and flying man-bird-harpy things.

My final deck list:

UB Whip-It

Creatures (11)
Shipwreck Singer
Returned Phalanx
Baleful Eidolon
Insatiable Harpy
Cavern Lampad
Disciple of Phenax
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
Horizon Scholar

Others Spells (12)
Triton Tactics
Flamecast Wheel
Hero’s Downfall
Read the Bones
Whip of Erebos
Lash of the Whip
Sea God’s Revenge
Lands (17)

Sideboard (6)
Read the Bones
Fleshmad Steed
Dark Betrayal
Anvilwrought Raptor


At this point, I would give my deck a B+ . A Voyage’s End or an additional Gary would be killer, but I’m thinking that I have a pretty good chance at taking this draft home. I would rather not be running a Flamecast Wheel but I’ve found that it makes an excellent conversation starter. No one can resist cracking a smile at a turn one Wheel, although there’s a pretty good chance that their amusement is at my own expense. I don’t really remember it doing anything. By the time I had the mana to make it relevant, my enemy creatures had a dozen +1 counters distributed between them. It was moral support, I guess.

But I had a lot of things going for me. Gray Merchant + Whip is a strong combo in Standard and Limited. I have more than enough early blockers. My Phalanx will gum up the ground while Shipwreck Singers complete their task of being absurdly irritating to anyone that tries to attack. Read the Bones is always good. Harpy and Disciple provide ample devotion. My biggest fear is a quick Wx heroic deck, but I’m fairly confident in my ability to hold off their rush while my army slowly materialized.

Match one:


I’m paired up against my friend Kenny, who ran a mean UW heroic deck. We sat deck to each other while drafting. We split blue cards pretty evenly, and he ended up with a lion’s share of Fate Fortold and Voyage’s End.

The first game was back-and-forth. He put counters on his creatures, and I bounced them back. Fate Fortold + Phalanx Leader proved to be a devastating combination. He had card draw and more creatures than my defensive formation could handle.

I succumb when, awkwardly, I have no real way to deal with his  late game Benthic Giant. That creature is absolutely unstoppable after a few Bestow additions. I succumb a few turns after, unable to draw an answer. Crucially, I wasn’t able to draw the Whip or Gary, and I had to blow my Hero’s Downfall early on a Breeching Hippocamp sporting five +1/+1 when I’d rather save it for an enabler.

Game two was a quick defeat. I managed to get a contingent of Phalanxs and Singers into play. But they just hung out as the enemy army across the battlefield slowly amassed their counters. I’m not able to dig up any solutions with Read the Bones and concede.

Match two:


I get paired up to play my friend Steven, a UB mirror match.

This is what happens game one:


Clockwise, those three piles are: my graveyard, cards exiled with Ashiok, and other exiled cards. Note the lack of library.

I draw my last card, play Sea Gods Revenge, and swing in with a flyer to end the game no room to spare. It was a nail-biting finish to an incredibly close game. In order to break a ground stalemate, I end up bouncing my own Gray Merchant to the top of my deck. Fourteen damage over two turns was a nice swing in my favor, even with the threat of eventual mill looming over me.

The next games are absolutely dominated by Ashiok. He gets him onto the field early and manages to mill my Hero’s Downfall on both occasions. We both have a strong contingent of Phalanxs and Singers. At a complete loss, I end up getting milled to death.

I did, however, make more than a few mistakes. I forget to sideboard in my Dark Betrayal, which might have helped push me through the ground war. But bombs are bombs, and there are only so many things you can pull off against them in limited.

So, hopefully your holiday MTG games fare a bit better than this run. But four weeks of non-stop Christmas music and relentless good cheer awaits, which almost makes up for the struggle. And I ended up selling my Hero’s Downfall and putting the money toward my bus ticket for the ride home. Who says I’m not a smart shopper?

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