A deck I like
Please take a look at the deck with which Robert Smith won the top 8 draft of GP Seattle (and thus the Grand Prix). For me, this list is a thing of beauty. Why? Because this deck looks so little like it has gone right, and so much like it was done right.
Look at it. There’s just one rare in it, Cackling Counterpart, which is a fine card, but nothing anyone would mention as a bomb or a spoiler rare. There are no kiddie combos winning the game on autopilot, like Invisible Stalker + Butcher’s Cleaver. There are no extreme synergies relying on key cards you can only hope to even see in a draft – this isn’t the kind of deck which pays you off after taking a gamble firstpicking cards which only work in specific archetypes. It is just good card quality on a good curve with a clear focus competently built.
Sometimes you win a draft by getting lucky with bombs. Sometimes you win it by going all-out on a narrow strategy. Sometimes you win without actually understanding why with a deck you weren’t satisfied with at all. This deck, however, looks as if Smith just knew what he was doing and was rewarded for it. Note that, while it has some very strong uncommons, this isn’t the kind of deck you get when you happen to be in two underdrafted colors, just one you get when you are in the right colors and make the right choices – see its selection of commons, which is fine, but not ridiculous. This deck works, because it is crafted correctly, with the right mixture of early defense, moderate but steady card advantage, and unspectacular, but effective means to finish the game. It is the kind of deck which SHOULD win drafts – although bomb-ladden or extremely synergetic decks often do – rewarding skill over luck and the will to gamble.
I just want to note that I would’ve played 9 island 8 swamp in this list. Other than that, this is the kind of deck I might try to draft and be proud if it comes together. If, on the other hand, I win a draft on the back of Bloodline Keeper & Mentor of the Meek showing up often, there’s not quite as much to be proud of (although getting lucky obviously doesn’t necessarily mean little skill).
Not at all unrelated, this deck’s power level also happens to be roughly the power level I shoot for in Next Level Cubes – this is how good decks should look in such an environment: strong cards yes, game-winning bombs no; clear focus and good synergies yes, all-out archetype gambling or combo approach no; good mana curve and card flow yes; a deck winning on autopilot no.
This is draft how I like it.