Everyone is fascinated by a returning legend. Hall of Famer and two-time PT Champion and Nicolai Herzog is here to shatter dreams once again.
In the fourth draft of the event, Nicolai started out strong (well, perhaps too strong) with a booster which contained Imperious Perfect, Mulldrifter and a much-feared Shriekmaw, which he was only too happy to pick. He was then passed Sower of Temptation as a second pick. There aren't so many uncommons you'd take over Control Magic, and Nicolai mentioned later that his neighbor may well have ripped a Shriekmaw too.
Seriously, what would you take over Shriekmaw?
The next pack served up Hostility
, Fodder Launch
and Moonglove Extract
and he went with the unexciting but always dependable "Seal of Fire." He then took a Wizened Cenn
over the Cloudthresher
(having already passed Imperious Perfect
), hoping to keep his options open.
He shook his head as he passed Seedguide Ash and Doran, the Siege Tower, but things were getting out of hand. Blue was clearly starting to dry up and Nicolai practically received nothing of note in the rest of pack 1. Eighth-pick Changeling Titan and tenth-pick Fertile Ground nudged Nicolai into green midpack.
Marsh Flitter joined the pile of cards as the first pick of pack 2. The next three picks were pretty much no-brainers, and he snapped up Briarhorn, Wydwen, the Biting Gale, and Final Revels in succession. Rootgrapple offered Nicolai a way to deal with any pesky planeswalkers if he ever encountered any in his endeavors.
At this point, Herzog seemed like he was solidified in black and green with a splash of blue.
Morningtide provided some much-needed removal in the form of Pack's Disdain as a first pick and Violet Pall as a second. Wolf-Skull Shaman was picked third, but Nicolai didn't have many comrades to generate tokens with. He was passed yet another Wolf-Skull Shaman, but he swiftly scooped up the aptly named Unstoppable Ash. Orchard Warden, Ambassador Oak and a pair of Festercreeps rounded up his draft.
Nicolai Herzog's Draft Deck
He sighed as he mused, "I'm usually quicker at reading the signals." He had the choice between Wizened Cenn and Cloudthresher and clearly regretted passing the powerful Elemental. He was pretty sure his next-door neighbor was in green after that, as he noticed him slam a card right into his pile.
"There wasn't anything else to slam in that pack!"
His deck has a dodgy curve, with nothing in the three-mana slot and an array of four-drops. "This is actually the first time I'm playing with Recross the Paths. It usually not so good, but it fits into the curve."
On playing Wolf-Skull Shaman with only four other cards to trigger kinship with, Nicolai reckons he can get a good trade by not mentioning that to his opponents. "People probably get worried quickly and would be keen to trade with that."
Nicolai practiced with four other Norwegians who are also here and PT–Nice champ Eivind Nitter. Does he choose the colors first or choose the tribes first? "I don't like Merfolk very much, and Faeries have a tendency to be overdrafted. Rogues seem weak and you end up playing with Tier 2 cards. I do try to decide on a tribe as early as possible but sometimes you can draft a deck just to use its powerful cards. I've been blue-white with no specific tribe just to use all the good tappers."
He expects to go 1-2 or 2-1 with this deck, and laments that it's probably going to be 1-2. I'm guessing he can do at least 2-1 on the back of his bombs alone. Between Sower of Temptation, Wydwen, the Biting Gale, Unstoppable Ash, and powerhouse uncommons like Shriekmaw, Marsh Flitter, Final Revels, and Briarhorn, he may just do better than he thinks he will.