This past weekend my wife was out of town visiting her brand-new niece and nephew (twins!), so on Saturday I had the boys over for a good old-fashioned draftathon.

What’s a draftahon, you say? It’s when you stack drafts on drafts on drafts, duh.

When I lived in my place alone, I used to have folks over fairly regular to play cards. But it is a pretty small one-bedroom, and I don’t want my wife to feel like she has to get out of the house while we take over the living room (and, honestly, the kitchen, too), so I really haven’t done it in a few years. But this weekend I (quite literally) dusted off the six-foot folding table under my couch, and set start time for four different team drafts of 10am, 1pm, 4pm, and (perhaps an overly optimistic) 7pm.

The formats we settled on were M15, Journey Into Nyx/Born of the Gods/Theros, Chaos, and people’s choice. But we had a late-breaking and awesome change to the formats when Hipsters’ own Zach Barash offered to host an eight-man OG Ravnica block draft!

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First off, though, we had some more current formats to get through. For M15, I ended up mono-blue with an incredible five Frost Lynxes. I lost to Austin’s Big GW deck and then lost to Richard Tan’s crazy Military Intelligence deck, featuring Fugitive Wizard. I beat Hugh’s BG Graveyard deck in the finals to avoid the dreaded 0-3, and asked Hugh what he thought of my deck.

“I think you could have added another color,” he said.

It’s probably true, though it wasn’t necessarily true of the cards in my sideboard; I honestly only had two or three of each other color that I could have played, and none of them really justified it. But early in pack two I got passed a second- or third-pick Soul of Innistrad. I think I should have taken it, and moved in on UB. But there may have been another tempting Frost Lynx in the pack, which I may have taken (I don’t exactly remember).

Nevertheless, I let the mono-blue dream sway me, and passed the Soul to Hugh.

How “worth it” is going mono? It’s a hard question to answer. It’s certainly tempting to never have to worry about getting color-screwed, and the cleanliness of a mono-colored deck is aesthetically pleasing—but Hugh’s right: Certain colors do certain things, and other colors don’t—and when you limit yourself to just one color, you’re kind of putting all your eggs in one attack-axis basket.

Next draft was even worse. I drafted a really fun GB deck featuring Nyx Weaver, one of my favorite cards in Theros block, and two Nemesis of Mortals, but everybody else was faster, and I lost three in a row. Well, somebody’s got to go 0-3. Of course I don’t like to lose, and it bums me out a little bit, but I try to stay philosophical and non-tilty about it. It might take me 20 seconds or so after the match, but I always tell my opponents—friends or no—”good games” and shake their hands.

Now a couple more dudes came over (we had been playing six-man team drafts) for the main event, full-block Ravnica! Guildpact (Ravnica block’s second set) was the set I came back into the game on after a long, post-Ice Age absence, so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for it. For those who haven’t played it, I highly recommend trying to seek out a game, whether in paper or online (do they do Flashback Ravnica drafts?). It’s just a beautiful, super-complex, sprawling set, as befits the city that is its setting.

And, though of course this wasn’t the point, I managed to finish the day on an upswing with Ravnica, too.

I opened the draft by first-picking an Ursapine, which I’d never played with before but seemed good—3GG for a 3/3 with the ability G: Target creature gets +1/+1—and followed up with a Scatter the Seeds (aka “Shitty Sprout Swarm”) and a Civic Wayfinder over Farseek. By the end of pack one I had pretty firmly positioned myself in Abzan, aka Junk, aka WBG—which, old Ravnica hands will know, isn’t a great spot to be in, because after Orzhov in pack two (Guildpack), you’re kind of guildless in pack three.

I was rewarded in pack three, though, by kind of the perfect card for my deck, at least in terms of mana costs: the split card Crime//Punishment, whose wrath effect I never used, but whose reanimate effect I used to great effect in my match again Dom in R1 when I reanimated his Poisonbelly Ogre, put a counter on it by grafting from my Sporeback Troll, and allowed me to block Dom’s otherwise lethal 4/4 Ratcatcher, allowing me to crack back on the next turn for the win.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I also drafted the following sweet combo, one card after another, and *badly* wanted to get it off in a game, if only for style points:

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I was one mana away from doing just that in my match again Dustin, which would have been a three-for-one (if not more), but I missed my seventh mana and Dustin started swinging in, thus lessening the importance of my one-sided wrath combo. Here’s my full deck, including sideboard:

OG Rav-block Junk

Creatures (14)
Ursapine
Civic Wayfinder
Conclave Equenaut
Dryad Sophisticate
Freewind Equenaut
Enemy of the Guildpact
Ostiary Thrull
Guardian of the Guildpact
Mortipede
Oathsworn Giant
Sporeback Troll
Silhana Ledgewalker
Skyrider Trainee

Spells (9)
Crime
Orzhov Signet
Sinstriker's Will
Guardian's Magemark
Scatter the Seeds
Seal of Doom
Riot Spikes
Selesnya Signet
Gaze of the Gorgon
Lands (17)
Forest
Plains
Swamp

Sideboard (22)
Shielding Plax
Sundering Vitae
Restless Bones
Smogsteed Rider
Simic Signet
Woodwraith Strangler
Gatherer of Graces
Thrive
Guardian's Magemark
Withstand
Wojek Siren
Conclave's Blessing
Steam Vents
Gruul Turf
Coalhauler Swine
Steeling Stance
Light of Sanction
Wreak Havoc
Street Savvy
Nettling Curse

As you can see, I snagged a decent money card in the form of an OG Steam Vents. There were no Bobs in the draft, but Dustin did pull a foil Remand. So sweet.

And I ended up going 2-1, finishing the day on a winning note. Then me and a few of the boys (Sean, Sam, and Dom) watched some of #GPSLC, cheering on our teammate Brendan “BMac” McNamara, who sadly took his third loss in R8 to miss Day Two, and then went over to Trophy Bar, just around the corner from my place, for a much needed burger and a beer.

We were all sitting around out back, in Trophy Bar’s garden, shooting the shit and talking about girls, Magic, and mutual friends, and I felt really good. It’s good to have friends, and great to be able to share an awesome game like Magic with them. Thanks to everyone for coming over and making the draftathon happen, and especially to Zach B. for supplying a (very reasonably) priced and super-fun Ravnica block draft!

Oh, P.S.—Then on Sunday I drafted online and won from the following utterly insane board state:

Screenshot (4)

Guess how? (Answer: I decked my opponent, my Avacyn, Guardian Angel totally blanking his billion hornets. He cast Hornet Queen three times! (Once after bringing it and a Siege Wurm back from the graveyard with Unmake the Graves; twice after I Ulcerated Mama Hornet and then bringing it back with Gravedigger; and a third time after bouncing it with Invasive Species.) I went on to 3-0 the draft, proving that there is, in fact, justice in the universe.

3/17 is a Hipsters of the Coast column focused on Limited play—primarily draft and sealed, but also cubing, 2HG, and anything else we can come up with. The name refers to the “Golden Ratio” of a Limited deck: 23 spells and 17 lands. Follow Hunter at @hrslaton.

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