Greetings my Limited brethren! Time for another ZZW draft on MTGO, but this I’m jumping a 4-3-2-2 draft. My first draft article was an 8-4 and those are fine. Heck, most drafts in RL are of the 8-4 variety, but on MTGO we have some options. 8-4 is supposedly where the “sharks” play and the skill level is higher. To some extent, this may be true and if you’re not comfortable with the idea of drafting at a table full of guys like Marin (MTGO Academy Boss man and draft master!) then by all means, jump a 4-3-2-2, or even the new Swiss queue and have some fun! Yes, the EV (expected value) of an 8-4 is much higher than the other 2, if we’re talking only about packs won vs. money spent to play. However, I add in fun and amount of overall play to my EV. Sure, you can go on hot streaks and win 4 or 5 8-4′s in a row and be king of the world, but for us mere mortals, winning Round 1 and getting 2 packs is pretty sweet! I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m on a pretty strict budget when it comes to my Magical cards (the wife gives me an allowance…) and 2 packs plus any money rares I pick pretty much pays for my next draft. Maybe that’s short sighted but for a scrub like me, it’s great. Alright, let’s get to the draft! Make sure you check out my comments because I love hearing feedback.
And here is my deck:
BU ZZW Draft
I like me deck, it’s different from the “what type of aggressive deck am I going to draft this time” type of deck that’s typical for this format. I honestly I think that 70% of winning decks in ZZW are some type of Aggro. Yes, since Worldwake came out, the set has slowed down but not as much as many people think. Enough talk. Let’s get to some game play!
Round 1 vs. SP23
I win the roll and keep my 7 of Swamp, Swamp, Island, Island, Quest for the Gravelord, Reckless Scholar, and ]Sea Gate Loremaster. My opponent unfortunately (for him) had to double mulligan to 5 cards. But he’s on the draw, so I don’t feel too bad. Honestly, I don’t feel bad at all. (Ha! Lucky me!!) At any rate, I play a Swamp and my Quest and pass the turn. SP23 puts down a Mountain and ends his turn. Turn 2 I draw Treasure Hunt and put down an Island and then cast my freshly drawn Treasure Hunt, exchanging it for Bloodchief Ascension. Meh. Treasure Hunt has been pretty terrible for me. I’m just saying. Turn 2 for my opponent was another Mountain and a Kitesail. Kitesail is one of my favorite cards from Worldwake, it can take a nothing 2/2 into a game winning 3/2 flyer. I just hope it doesn’t do that to me. Turn 3 I draw a Swamp and play my Scholar and then end my turn. My opponent plays another Mountain and casts Molten Ravager. Looks like my opponent is mono Red or close to it. Turn 4 I rip Tomb Hex, play a land, kill the Ravager, cast my Ascension and swing for 2! Wow, that was a busy turn, and so many triggers! Turn 4 for SP23 isn’t nearly as exciting as mine because he plays Raging Ravine (guess he’s not mono) and a 2nd Kitesail. Well, he did mully to 5. Me (20) SP23 (18). Turn 5 I draw Spreading Sea, like I planned (chortle-snicker), cast it on his Ravine and draw an Island and swing with Scholar. Me (20) SP23 (16). There was no Turn 5 for my opponent because he scooped after drawing his card and it wasn’t a Forest.
On to game 2!
I keep my 7 of Jwar Isle Refuge, Island, Ascension, Hagra Diabolist, Jagwasp Swarm, Quest for the Gravelord, and Welkin Tern. SP23 chooses to play first and leads with a Mountain and ends his turn. I play Jwar Isle and pass. Turn 2 my opponent plays a Forest and Highland Berserker. On my Turn 2 I draw Halimar Excavator put an Island in play and cast my Tern. I played the flyer instead of the Excavator because at this point of the game, I want to put pressure on my opponent and I don’t have a problem with taking damage for a turn from the Berserker. Turn 3 my opponent plays a Mountain and swings with his Berserker and passes without a play. On my Turn 3 I cast my Quest and SP23 responds by frying my birdie with a Burst Lightning. I thought as much. I then cast my Excavator and mill a Tuktuk Scrapper off the top of my opponent’s deck and pass the turn. Turn 4 my opponent plays his 2nd Forest and swings with his 2/1 into my 1/3. Does he have a trick? I think so and I’m more than happy to trade his trick for my 1/3. He casts a kicked Vines of Vastwood that kills my ally and puts a counter on my quest. All in all, not terrible. On my Turn 4 I draw Bojuka Brigand, play an Island and cast Jagwasp Swarm. That ends my turn. Me (19) SP23 (20). Turn 5 my opponent plays a Forest and taps out to play a Tuktuk Grunts and swings away. I take the 5 because I didn’t want to just lose my flyer to the Grunts first strike. If the Grunts didn’t have first strike I would have traded critters in a heartbeat. For my Turn 5 I draw a Welkin Tern and play my Brigand and the Ascension. I pass the turn without attacking as I feel I’ll have to block with my Wasps next turn. Turn 6 my opponent doesn’t play a land and just swings with both his dudes. I block the Grunts with my Wasps and trade dudes putting 2 more counters on my Quest. At the end of the turn I sac’ the Quest and put a beefy 5/5 Zombie Giant token into play. It’s not just a Zombie or just a Giant, it’s a Zombie Giant! Turn 6 I draw a Swamp and put it into play so I can cast my Diabolist. I see my opponent has 5 mana open and I get a sick read that he’s trying to trap me with the Baloth Cage variety so I only swing with my 5/5. I must be King of the Scrubs because he plays the Trap at the end of my turn. Validation! Me (12) SP23 (13). Turn 7 my opponent taps 4 lands and casts Bladetusk Boar and passes the turn. On my turn I draw my Welkin Tern and attack with my 5/5. I assume he’s going to block with his 4/4 and 3/2 but he does me a favor and allows me to 2 for 1 him by blocking with his 4/4 and 2/1. I’m OK with that. I play my Tern and pass the turn. Turn 8 he swings with his Boar and plays a multikicked Deathforge Shaman putting me to 5. On my turn I draw a Shoreline Salvager and swing with the team. He blocks my Diabolist and we trade dudes. I play my Salvager and pass the turn. Me (5) SP23 (8). Turn 9 SP23 top decks an Oran-Rief Survivalist that allows him to swing with his Boar. Now I need to rip or lose to intimidate next turn. I do indeed rip Permafrost Trap and get a concession in response to me casting it. How Lucky!
That was a good round as I got to see the deck in action and I liked what I saw. I’ve been so bored with all the aggressive decks in ZZW that it was refreshing to play a slightly slower “mid rangy” sort of deck. Let’s see if it holds up in round 2!
Round 2 vs. huntering101
Hunter wins the die roll and keeps and I keep my 7 of Swamp, Island, Bojuka Brigand, Shoreline Salvager, Halimar Excavator, Jagwasp Swarm, and Disfigure. My opponent leads with a Swamp and Vampire Lacerator and passes the turn. I draw an Island, play a Swamp and pass the turn. Turn 2 Hunter plays another Swamp and casts Guul Draz Vampire. I respond with the new vampire on the stack and kill his Lacerator with my Disfigure. On my Turn 2 I draw a Swamp, play an Island and my Brigand and pass. Turn 3 my opponent plays another Swamp and a Giant Scorpion and swings for 1 with his 1/1. My turn I draw another Swamp and play it and Halimar Excavator, pumping my Brigand. I mill 2 saucy cards off the top of Hunters deck in the form of Nemesis Trap and Heartstabber Mosquito. I swing with my Brigand hoping to trade with the Scorpion because I would like my Salvager to be able to draw me some cards in a couple of turns. We trade and I pass the turn. Turn 4 Hunter plays Hagra Crocodile and passes the turn. For my turn I draw Welkin Tern, play an Island and my Shoreline Salvager. I pass the turn. Turn 5 Hunter plays a Quicksand and swings with the Croc. I choose to block because the Quicksand would make my Salvager easy to kill on my counter swing. Trading critters is much better right now. He really should have put the land down after swinging. He passes the turn. I draw a Swamp and play it and my Jagwasp Swarm. I like the Swarm as it’s a great flying body for the cost and hopefully will be a key to me winning. I pass the turn. Turn 5 Hunter swings in with his Scorpion and I take 1, then he plays another Guul Draz Vampire and passes the turn. For my turn I draw Bloodchief Ascension (sweet!), lay down a Swamp and play the Ascension and swing with my Swarm of Wasps. 2nd main I play my Tern and pass. Turn 6 Hunter plays a Swamp and casts a kicked Marsh Casualties (ouch) and then swings in for 3. Okay, time to rip some threats! And rip I did! Another Swarm to take to the skies; I know, how lucky. I play it and my Swamp and pass the turn. Turn 8 Hunter can only manage a wimpy swing with his Scorpion and passes the turn. Hunter (16) me (14). My epic rips continue on my turn when I draw my Goliath Sphinx, unfortunately I’m 1 mana short of casting it. But the way I draw lands, that shouldn’t be a problem. Turn 9 for Hunter is pretty good when he taps 5 Swamps and Mind Sludges away my Goliath (tear streaks down face…) but I’m still winning the race so it’s not the end of the world. The wimpy Scorpion swings continue and he passes the turn. On my turn 9 I draw Reckless Scholar and play it after I swing for 3 in the air. Yea! Ascension is active!! Hunter (10) Me (13). Turn 10 my opponent plays the Swamp he drew and swings again with the scorpion trying desperately to get me to 10 so his vampires can go all Super Saiyan! Turn 10 I draw a Swamp and swing for 3 in the air. I activate my looter and draw another Swamp (joy). I pass the turn. Hunter (7) me (12). Turn 11 Hunter rips and plays a kicked Heartstabber Mosquito, killing my Jagwasp! Oh Nos!! He swings with the Scorpion and passes the turn. Things are not looking good for the hero, folks. On my turn I draw an Island, curse, and pass the turn. Hunter (7) me (11) Turn 12 Hunters, champion like rips continue as he slams down a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir to which I sac’ my 1/3 alley. He swings with the team and I block one of the Vampires with my Scholar and activate his looting ability, drawing a non-blocking Brigand… However, the good news is that the Ascension triggers! On my turn 12 I draw a Welkin Tern, play both the Tern and Brigand and pray. My prayers must have worked because my opponent swings with both vampires and the Heartstabber. I block the Mosquito with my Tern and after all is said, our life totals end up Hunter (3) me (6). I really need some business or all is lost. The Magical gods answer my prayers, yet again, and deliver unto me Hagra Diabolist! There is much rejoicing in the land of Scrubington as I cast the Diabolist and swing with my 3/3 Brigand. I can’t lie, that was pretty ridic and the Ascension was the only reason I won that game. But still, I’m not sold on it and this late in the format means that it’s not all that good. It’s cute and can do silly things like what just happened but, over all, it’s not worth the card slot in most decks.
Game 2 Hunter elects to play first and I have to mully my opening of 2 Swamps and 5 blue cards. My next 6 are fine with Island, Swamp, Disfigure, Tomb Hex and the big 8/7 Sphinx. Granted, with the Sphinx there it’s like I mulled to 5 but I don’t think a new 5 cards would look a lot better. Hunter keeps his 7. Turn 1 Hunter plays a Swamp and passes. I draw a Swamp, play it and play my Quest. Turn 2 Hunter plays another Swamp and Surrakar Marauder and passes. For my turn, I play an Island and pass. Turn 3 Hunter plays Adventuring Gear and attempts to equip it to his Marauder, but I Disfigure in response. For my turn I draw Treasure Hunt, play it and cycle it, yet again, for Welkin Tern. Sigh. I put a Swamp into play and pass. Turn 4 my opponent seems to be stuck on 2 lands because he only taps out for Kalastria Highborn. For my Turn 4 I draw Jwar Isle Refuge, play it and pass the turn hoping to time walk him a bit with Tomb Hex when if he tries to equip the Gear. That’s just what happens but he does activate the Highborns ability so our life totals become Me (18) Hunter (22). I draw Permafrost Trap for my Turn 5 and then tap out to play my 3/2 Wasps and that ends my turn. Turn 6 my opponent plays his 4th Swamps and taps all 4 to play the 3/1 Crocodile. I draw an Island on my Turn 6 and swing with my Wasps making life totals Me (19) Hunter (19) and then play my Tern. I pass the turn after that. On Turn 7 Hunter, thankfully, doesn’t draw a land and only swings for 3 and plays a Guul Draz Vampire and Giant Scorpion. On my Turn 7 I draw a Swamp (just one more land!), play it and swing for 5 in the air. That ends my turn. Turn 8, my opponent equips the Gear to the Vampire and plays a Swamp; I respond with my Trap and tap the Croc and the Vamp. He taps out and plays his own Swarm of Wasps and ends his turn. Turn 8 I do a small fist pump because I draw an Island and will be casting my fatty! But first I swing with my 2 fliers, trade Wasps, play my Island and the Sphinx. My Quest is now active but is sad about the Scorpion on the board so will be sitting on the bench for a while. Turn 9 Hunter has to cast a very defensive Heartstabber and passes the turn. For my Turn 9 I draw one of my Brigands. I swing with my little and big fliers, he chumps the big daddy with his 2/2 and takes 2. Me (16) Hunter (10). I play the Brigand and pass the turn. Turn 10 is when things start not looking good for me. Hunter casts Grim Discovery and then casts his freshly ripped (I assume) Hideous End, killing my Sphinx (tear). At the end of his turn, I sac’ my quest and make a 5/5 token. Need some rips! Turn 10 I draw another Tern. I swing with the team because I want to end this as fast as possible, at least that was the thinking at the time and may have been wrong. Foreshadowing? I play my 2nd Tern and pass. Turn 11 Hunter draws and plays a land and swings for 8 taking out life totals to 6 and 6. He passes the turn without playing his Heartstabber…this is bad for me. He must have a trick. Okay, no land, no land, no land…I draaaw an Island. I swing with the team and have to listen to my wife tell me to stop swearing at the laptop as I watch Hunter tap out for Nemesis Trap. Well, that was a good game at least. On to Game 3!
I choose to play and keep Island, Swamp, Treasure Hunt (it’s gotta hit more than one card this time! Right?! Right?!!), Jagwasp, Sphinx, Soul Stair Expedition, Bojuka Brigand. Hunter mulls to 6. I play Swamp and the Expedition and pass. Hunter goes Swamp/go. Turn 2 I put an Island into play and cast my Brigand and pass. Turn 2, Hunter plays Swamp and Blood Seeker and passes. Turn 3 I draw Tomb Hex and draw… Quest of the Gravelord. How many times did I cast Treasure Hunt this draft? 4? Good grief. I’m not going to say that Hunt is bad but it can be really not great. On the other extreme, I once saw a guy draw 10 cards with it in a paper match. No lie. I swing with my Brigand for 2 and pass the turn. Me (20) Hunter (18). Turn 3 Hunter plays a Swamp, Highborn and Lacerator and then swings for 1 with Bloodseeker. Seems like a solid turn. He then passes the turn. I draw a land but it’s my Refuge (my deck is mocking me), I cast my Quest and swing for 2 with my Brigand. Me (20) Hunter (16). Turn 4 Hunter takes 1 from his Lacerator, puts Quicksand into play, casts Giant Scorpion and swings for 5 with the team. Me (15) Hunter (15). The Magic gods must feel that I have had more than my fair share of good luck this draft so they curse me with Sea Gate Loremaster and not a 4th land. Was my keep of my opening 7 really all the bad? It seemed fine. I swing here because I may have been on tilt a bit. I Hex the Scorpion before damage but I in hindsight I should have not swung and saved the Hex for the Highborn. Turn 5 Hunter plays a Swamp and tries to break my back with a Mind Sludge and if I didn’t have Soul Stair in play, he would have. Now all I need is a land. Hunter swings for 5 again and puts a Spidersilk Net into play. Me (10) Hunter (14). A bit of luck on turn 6 when I draw an Island, play it, sac the Expedition and get back Nimana Sell-Sword and Sea Gate Loremaster. Maybe a little greedy with the Loremaster, but I feel good about ripping another land. I cast the Sell-Sword and swing for 3 with my Brigand. Me (9) Hunter (11). Turn 6 Hunter plays Guul Draz Vampire and equips it with the Net and passes the turn. For my Turn 6 I rip an Island (like a champ!) and play my Sea Gate Loremaster and swing with my Brigand. Honestly, I don’t remember if I did it on purpose wanting to get rid of the Quicksand or if I walked into an “on the board” trick. That would be pretty terrible but at any rate, I basically trade my Brigand for his Quicksand after he blocks with his equipped Vampire. Ultimately it didn’t matter because my opponent ripped the one card he needed to win this turn. Vampires Bite. He swings with the team; I block his 3/4 with my 4/4 and one of his 2/2 with my 1/3. He then casts the Bite and activates the Highborns ability to do the last 2 damage.
Oh well, I had a good time, cursing at the computer and all. And because this was a 4-3-2-2 I get a couple of packs to play with for my next draft. I really liked my deck; it had some synergy and a bit of removal with a strong late game. But I can’t say I’m going to miss drafting this set. If I’m being honest I wasn’t a really big fan of Zendikar Limited after about a month of play and that’s not good because I’m a total homer for Magic Limited over the past 10 years. The only exception being Coldsnap draft…that was just awful.
I’m really looking forward to playing RoE on MTGO soon! I’ve been having a great time with the format for the past month in RL and have a lot to say about it. Come back in a month and check out how The King of the Scrubs did. Did I just refer to myself in the third person as King of the Scrubs? Wow.