Simon Says #57: Theros Draft Dynamics (THS 8-4)

Revisiting a feature of Simon Says #25, this episode showcases the early picks in Pod 33 of the first Draft at Pro Tour Theros. The Draft Viewer is a great tool to learn more about a new limited format after high-level events!

You can click here to check out the text coverage of Pro Tour Theros, find the Pod 33 (Draft 1) Draft Viewer by clicking here, and watch the Youtube video of Ben Stark’s Pro Tour Theros draft, featuring hosts Zac Hill and Marshall Sutcliffe, by clicking here.

You can follow me on Twitter @simongoertzen,
or check out my Tumblr entitled Strategic Thoughts.

 
  1. Love the videos. Keep them coming! I learn more from your videos than any others. I love the great explanations you give when you’re drafting and playing, and the intro video is awesome. Thank you!

  2. Great idea – love the analysis of top level events and your comments make them even more enjoyable.
    Thanks for your effort, you are one of the reasons I consider MTGO Academy a “must visit” content site.

  3. Very good analysis of the PT-Draft. I saw it live, it was very disappointing to see ben stark drafting such a strange deck. In general it was a very strange draft ;)
    Maybe it would be interesting to see the 4 first-picks of booster 2 and 3. I know I can watch them in the draft-viewer. Your overview of all Packs and Player is really nice, almost better than wizards draft-viewer.
    Thanks for your videos!

  4. Probably should have 2 for 1 yourself to kill the Nemesis with Time to Feed when he was tapped out. With 2 Rescues in the hand getting back the 5/5 wasn’t far away.

  5. You mention that only 3 green cards are chosen in the first 4 picks, but you ignored the number of blue?

  6. Two recommendations on this type of intro video. At the end of the video, after discussing the picks, it would be nice to have 2 more pieces of information. 1) the colors the pro ended up in at the end of the draft. (to see if they abandoned their first few picks or stuck to their colors from the start) and 2) Their overall record in the draft, which had winning or losing records, etc. I looked these up myself afterwards, and found it interesting.

  7. I think u definitely could’ve been more aggressive m3g1 with whip and 2 rescues in hand ;/ slamming the whip and offering the trade while he’s tapped out w/ polukranos is great for u in so many ways because ur using up all of ur (very limited) mana, it gets nemesis off of the table if he blocks, and if he doesnt block, u gain 5 life and punch through 5 damage. Furthermore, a whip on the table makes it virtually impossible for him to race u so it should actually discourage him from attacking back the following turn, which would buy u time to hit ur lands. It was unfortunate that u missed the land drops there but again, w/ 2 rescues waiting in hand i would have taken the more aggressive line for sure in that situation >.<

    that being said, i greatly respect the way u draft and play the game so keep up the great work :)

  8. This is high quality advanced content! The teacher in me thinks you do a great job bringing your point across and the Magic player in me loves that you don’t shy away from the hard subjects.

    I would have loved to see you explain how the rest of that draft went. Just how badly was Pierre Dagen’s draft affected by his decision to move into the same colors as Ben Stark who was feeding him? How did the Green drafter do? Did anyone jump ship later in the draft? I’ll have to check out the Draft Viewer myself to answer these questions.

    From what I can tell, Ben Stark keeps taking fairly good cards for the rest of pack 1 while Pierre Dagen experiences a significant drop in quality. Pack 2 pick 1, Ben surprisingly takes Nimbus Naiad over Celestial Archon and in fact continues to spread his picks between three colors for the rest of the draft.

    I am also interested in the conclusion you draw from the analysis of the first four picks. Did this part of the draft simply illustrate that pros like to keep their options open? Did strategy and preference play a larger part here than what happened to be in the packs? Is analyzing only the first four picks enough to get a read on the draft?

  9. The big question is; can we trust the draft viewer to be correct ? WotC has a history with bugs/misinformation etc.

  10. m3g1 you shouldve just eaten the nemesis with polukranos while he was tapped out. it wouldve grown to 6/6 then fought. that should have been an easy game.

  11. Thanks for the long opening discussion again Simon! I’m always looking forward to the educational nature of your drafts and as of yet there is still no other pro able to achieve that level of scientific approach!

  12. Just want to say thank you for your commentary work on PT drafts. It opened the window for me. Appreciate it.

  13. Hello,

    First of all, thank you for your great content, Mr. Goertzen.

    Then: Could anyone tell me where to get the tool that was used to order that pro tour draft and make the red lines?

  14. Thanks again for the videos. In this format I’ve said more times than any other, “That deck is sick!” Your deck was very sick.

    The most interesting line imo:

    Polukranos + Time to Feed vs Nemesis of Mortals (5:20 in video 3)

    Because his new creature (the tapper) just dies to a monstrous activation, he has the pump spell there almost every time, as there is no value in bluffing one that I can see. You said the play from your opponent didn’t make sense. From the opponent’s point of view: When you draw land and activate your World Eater for two, his tapper dies. Then you attack into his 5/5 with your 7/7, and trade with his pump spell. It seems like your opponent has resigned himself to getting 3-for-1′d there much of the time. Or perhaps your opponent wants his tapper to die, making the 10/10 activation cheaper. He’ll take a hit or two from Polukranos and then he will have the biggest creature. If these are the results when you draw land, your opponent is making a bad play. But when you don’t draw land, your opponent taps your Voyaging Satyr and keeps you off of mana long enough to dominate the board with his 10/10. Overall, is this a good or bad play from the opponent? It’s certainly an aggressive one. He gets destroyed if you draw land but he seems to be cramping your play severely if you don’t draw land.

    An alternative line for you is to attack into his Nemesis with your Polukranos. If the opponent does not have the pump spell, you trade and then Time To Feed away his tapper. If your opponent has the pump spell, you 3-for-1 yourself using your other creature to Time To Feed away his Nemesis. The advantage of that line is that you have two copies of Rescue From The Underworld in your hand and a 3-mana 3/3 in your hand to stabilize the board. The disadvantage of that line is that your opponent will be restricting your mana with his tapper.

    Lots to think about and I’m sure I didn’t think of everything in that line. Good stuff!

  15. Hi Simon, great content as always! The chart you did in the intro was really interesting and kind of shows everything happening in the draft in one picture. Definitely a good way to analyze how things went.
    One comment about the matches – at the end of last round in first match you seemed waaaaay too passive for someone at 27 life facing a guy at 4. For example, you could have bestow-ed the Eidolon on your Merchant and attacked away. I agree that you were probably not losing either way, but imo you gave your opponent too much time to find answers.

  16. I probably would have picked Commune over Phalanx. An early 3/3 is great (and still a solid pick), and does work with Time to Feed, however, Commune lets you dig for your bombs (Polukranos, Bow, Whip, etc.) and also fills up your graveyard. The latter isn’t that bad in a deck that already has access to one March of the Returned and one Rescue from the Underworld with stuff like double Gray Merchant, and you picked up a second Rescue shortly after. Not to mention you did have the deathtouch Eidolons to hold things down as well. I do see and understand the reasoning for the Phalanx, though, I just disagree.

    Also, I would have probably hate-drafted the Omenspeaker pack 3 over the Asphodel Wanderer, but maybe that’s because Marshall has drilled into my head that the Wanderer is bad. :P

  17. Great opening discussion too, by the way, although I noticed you didn’t touch much upon the player opening Ashen Rider forcing BW when the pack had three strong White cards that were picked after that. You mentioned that black was being heavily drafted, but failed to mention that forcing BW when you’re passing 3+ White cards may not be great, especially since even just splashing White for an 8-drop using double-W seems difficult. I mean, he’s the one at the Pro Tour, so I’m sure he knew what he was doing and maybe I’m wrong here. <_<

  18. Just stumbled on your site from googling “mtgo draft videos”, and am blown away. Your intro to this draft was 30min of Wow! I really appreciate your ability to help people look at drafts on another level. Thanks!

  19. Amazing analysis of the first 4 picks of stark’s draft. I watched the coverage and wondered who in the world was screwing up the draft but laying it out like you did makes it really clear – extremely informative!

  20. pretty much a clusterfuck. I can see why you were bnucniog colors around, the signals were loose, but the p1p3 was the one i have a legitimate question about. While sphere is obviously awesome after you take fangaren maruader, isn’t pierce strider just way better? that card is really good.Pack 2, you took a volition reins pick 2 over a magnet, not sure if i like that, you hadn’t taken any amazing blue cards yet, and if you’re goign to be forcing a CCC card, i’d rather force that wurm than the reins. I think the magnet would have been better here. The next pick you take bounce-replica over a golem artisan. I really like bounce-replica, but i’ve found most people like it more than i do. Golemn artisan sometimes just wins on his own.

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