Why is it Always the Bad decks that Win?

Okay, it wasn’t quite as bad as this one. But it was still another train wreck draft, where I couldn’t decide if I was (primarily) Orzhov or Dimir until less than two minutes before the first round started. I really finished my deck with less than 10 seconds on the clock, after oszillating between Black or Blue for secondary color for most of the rest of the time. But if I look at it another way, this time I had at least options, and was not forced to play Prophetic Prism just to fill up the deck. This time, though, I would have needed a prism badly, since I played two and a half colors without any fixing at all – come to think of it, maybe this deck WAS worse…

I have a theory, though: I am, overall, a very competent drafter. When one of my drafts goes really badly, chances are that the reason for that is the card distribution in boosters, making it too hard or even impossible for players to find their colors in time. When that is the case, it’s not just me who fails to draft an adequate deck; it’s everyone. Also, I am really good at troubleshooting when a draft goes badly, so that I might end up with the least bad deck at the table (the one-eyed rules the blind). And, of course, there’s this thing calles variance, and the fact that we notice things which seem to make no sense much more strongly than those which do.

Still, I have a hard time accepting that the two really good decks I drafted before (Gruul & Boros) both lost in the second round (a 4-3-2-2 and an 8-4), and that this THING took me to an 8-4 victory…

8 Swamp
7 Plains
3 Island
1 Dutiful Thrull
1 Thrull Parasite
1 Basilica Screecher
1 Wight of Precinct Six
2 Armored Transport
1 Corpse Blockade
1 Slate Street Ruffian
1 Assault Griffin
1 Zarichi Tiger
2 Syndicate Enforcer
1 Urbis Protector
1 Treasure Thrull
1 Dinrova Horror
1 Death’s Approach
2 Devour Flesh
1 Orzhov Charm
1 Grisly Spectacle
1 Knight Watch
1 Totally Lost

Notable SB:
Shielded Passage, Hold the Gates, Murder Investigation, Cloudfin Raptor, Metropolis Sprite, Sage’s Row Denizen, Simic Fluxmage, Spell Rupture, Way of the Thief, Last Thoughts, Midnight Recovery, 2 Purge of the Profane, Psychic Strike.

I used the Passage once and the Recovery once, and in one match I actually sided into sealed mana (well, it was named such more than a decade ago, I mean 6-6-6 lands), because I played a mirror. My opponents were Orzov + Blue; Orzhov + Blue & Red, and Simic + Red – confirming my theory about a draft gone wrong for everyone (although the Simic-based deck, which I met in the finals, didn’t look too bad). Games were decided either by color screw or in the very late lategame (I won once using Dinrova Horror on my own Urbis Protector), and the finals was especially absurd, with my opponent being unbelievably screwed in the second game and me in the third… but we were both WINNING these games! (In the first game, after he discarded twice, he put down a Simic Manipulator which I couldn’t remove for my life, and in the other he had to rush killing me because he was low on time and walked right into my Horror when I finally drew black mana, and suddenly I was able to just survive against his flooding draw and actually even turn the tide – he went into timeout, but unbelievably as it would sound to anyone who saw me chumpblocking half a dozen times before, I was actually on the verge of winning that game fair and square.

My limited rating is now back up to 1826, and I have actually won more than I invested so far in my Gatecrash drafting, which allows for the comclusion that I can put my drafting skills to good use in that environment, but also the theory that the last days of a dying draft environment might just be a good time to be successful. I don’t know. Since winning is always more fun than losing, and since I sport 16-6 match score so far, if I haven’t miscounted, I have come to like Gatecrash draft a bit better than in the beginning. It still reminds me a bit of Rise of the Eldrazi; but also a bit of Zendikar – and there’s more than a smidge of Alara in it, now I’ve come to think of it (you draft guilds instead of shards, but the point is, in both environments you’re not really multicolored in the way of chosing your colors freely). I’m not sure if I keep drafting Gatecrash a little longer (I still have stuff for nearly 4 drafts, not counting possible winnings), or if I take a break and wait for Dragon’s Maze. In any case I now have some playing experience with these cards and developed likes and dislikes, which will help me decide which cards from that block will go into my limited card pool.

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