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Five Ways to Fantastic

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Now that the Swiss draft rounds are complete, the masters have decided to descend and grant their wisdom and basis for their 6-0 draft records to the masses. That means you!

Despite implementing their strategies in a variety of interesting ways, all agree on one core concept: you have to keep yourself open and read signals to be able to get the cards to win. Rise of the Eldrazi, they have concluded, more than most formats, requires you to read what your neighbors are doing. Your deck also needs to have a great deal of synergy.

"There are so many different archetypes, and they hinge on such particular cards, that even if you are the only one at the table, you might still not get the pieces you need," said Sam Black, who drafted two very different decks across the two drafts: a white-blue leveler deck and a black-red Eldrazi Spawn deck. He took first-pick bomb green cards in both drafts—Gelatinous Genesis and Pelakka Wurm—but abandoned the color both times for the good of the deck.

The team from ChannelFireball put Ben Stark and Brad Nelson to the top of the draft standings, both of whom extolled the virtues of green-centered (or really anything-centered) decks that pick up removal in other colors. Stark was particularly adamant about keeping your mind and your plans open about splashing.

"You should always splash," claimed Stark. "It's not a fast format, every deck should be at least three colors, even if it's only for removal. What deck wouldn't get better with an additional Flame Slash or Vendetta?" Nelson concurred, having made a sick double Gelatinous Genesis deck in the first draft, but he also countered with a differing philosophy.

"It's really about finding the cards that beat the table," said Nelson. "Sporecap Spider will be your worst card in five out of six drafts, but in the sixth it'll be the best—because the table had so many of the 4/2 flyer," he said. "In my second draft, my white-black deck didn't seem very good, but I was passing lots of cards for blue-red decks ... and my deck was going to be very good against blue-red decks."

Some of the other 6-0 drafters decided that they wanted to pin down part of their strategy before beginning to read signals and solidifying the rest of their deck. David Sharfman took black-green decks to perfect records twice, and claimed that being green is great in this format. "Yeah, there are so many archetypes that rely on just one card or a few cards, but green doesn't have that problem. It's so deep," he said. He knew he could get in on either a mana-ramping plan or a token swarm plan when he started looking for green cards.

Taisuko Ishii, on the other hand, chose a different base. "I was blue-black, with 12 creatures, and no token producers." He claimed it is very important to look for a way to close out the game, not just to gain advantage over the course of the day. His pick for underrated card: Bloodthrone Vampire.

"I combo-killed Yuuya Watanabe with it and Distortion Strike," he said, smiling.

Sharfman agreed, pointing out his own combo of Mortician Beetle, Bloodthrone Vampire, and Pawn of Ulamog. "The Beetle is really good, and it goes really late. Even if only one out of twenty-four packs in an 8-man draft is opened, you can still get it."

For a more in-depth discussion, check out the video draft tech with Brad Nelson.

Sam Black's White-Blue Levelers
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Sam Black's Black-Red Tokens
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Kotaro Otsuka's White-Blue Splash Red Hartebeest Control
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Kotaro Otsuka's White-Blue Hartebeest Control
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Taisuke Ishii's White-Red Levelers
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Taisuke Ishii's Blue-Black Control
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Brad Nelson's Gelatinous Green
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft



David Sharfman's Black-Green Tokens
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


David Sharfman's Black-Green Tokens
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Ben Stark's Blue-Black Splash Red Leveler Control
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


Ben Stark's Green-Blue Eldrazi with splashes
Rise of the Eldrazi Draft


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