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Draft 2: Kai Budde

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Kai is 4-0. Big deal.

Even were he to be 7-0, I'm sure no one would be surprised. But 7-0 is the best he can accomplish today, so that's what he's out to do.

He's seated at table 2 between American Gary Talim and Dutchman Kamiel Cornellisen. Directly across the table sits his friend and next-round opponent, Patrick Mello.

Kai's first pack contained Ashen Firebeast, Muscle Burst, Aven Archer, Chatter of the Squirrel, Whispering Shade, and Thermal Blast. He looked long and hard at the Burst, but chose the Aven Flock. "It was the best card in the pack," he said later, "and good white is very powerful." So he had no problem picking a card of the "worst color." Somewhere, Zvi smiled.

Talim, to his right, first-picked an Aven Smokeweaver, passing Kai an Aven Fisher. Kai took the Fisher over Dusk Imp and Chainflinger, showing a strong preference for blue/white. Talim switched into green soon after though, and passed Kai an Aven Windreader.

After taking a Hallowed Healer and a Beloved Chaplain, he was faced with the tough decision of Psychatog or Dreamwinder. He opted for the 4/3, however, citing that he had just picked two white cards, making the 'Tog that much harder to cast. "If I had picked Scrivener and Syncopate instead of the white cards, I would have definitely taken Psychatog," he commented.

The decision to play white paid off when he got a sixth-pick Master Apothecary, and then took two Pilgrims of Justice to help it out.

Talim had switched almost completely into red/green, abandoning blue, and Kamiel took the Psychatog and decided to play black in his blue/green deck.

In pack two, Kai picked a Mystic Zealot over the more versatile Puppeteer. "If you're playing blue/white and have no removal," he explained, "you need really powerful flyers. And toughness-2 creatures always die to random [stuff], like Crippling Fatigue."

After grabbing a Second Thoughts, his third pick was an interesting one: Chainflinger over Aven Cloudchaser. He said the 'Flinger was not a counterdraft, but just another option for him to play. White/blue needs removal, remember, and the 'Flinger can be easily splashed.

Late in the second pack, he was passed Ember Beast and Phantatog. Although he was already considering splashing red, and the Beast is a very good card, he took the Atog, claiming he wanted to have something to do with his extra lands, and discarding them to the 'Tog was good enough. Now that is covering all the bases. He did admit later that allowing Talim to have a ninth-pick Ember Beast was a little absurd, even if it was correct.

Anticipating long games, Kai took Breakthrough and Angel of Retribution with his first two Torment picks. He claimed to be upset having to take the big Angel over Skywing Aven, since the Aven is just a better card. "But sometimes you stall the game and need to race Chainflinger, so the Angel should work out."

The only other interesting pick was Aquamoeba over Teroh's Faithful. The Faithful is generally considered the best white common in Torment, but Kai already had lots of 4-mana plays. "I worry a lot about mana curve," he said. "I needed more 2-drops."

His final deck ended up being white/blue with two Mountains and a Chainflinger. "If I have to face red/green, I'll win for sure." He wasn't quite as confident about the other matchups, but I think he'll pull off a 2-1 and end up in great shape going into day 2.

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