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Feature: Drafting with Antonino De Rosa

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"Hehe, I'm so smart" Ant, '05

Well, if skills at Magic: The Gathering have any bearing on actual intelligence, it seems that Antonino De Rosa is the smartest guy in the room, as he is the sole undefeated player at the end of Day One sitting on sweet record of 6-0-1. After playing a UrzaTron deck to 2-0-1 in Constructed, he blitzed his first draft 4-0 on pod 3, and now we'll see if he can repeat this feat on pod 1 and almost lock up his first Top 8 at U.S. Nationals.

De Rosa wanted to cut blue in the first pack.

De Rosa's picks in all caps, other key cards shown.

Pack 1

1st pick: KABUTO MOTH, Hideous Laughter, Moss Kami, Mystic Restraints, Gibbering Kami, Kami of the Hunt
2nd pick: SORATAMI SAVANT, Sakura Tribe-Elder, Honden of Cleansing Fire, Wicked Akuba, Kami of the Fires Roar
3rd pick: RECIPROCATE, Orochi Sustainer, Order of the Taco Bell, One Hundred Talon Kami
4th pick: RIVER KAJIN, Devouring Greed, Eye of Nowhere
5th pick: SORATAMI SEER, Sakura Tribe-Elder, Masako the Humorless, Hisoka's Defiance
6th pick: DEVOTED RETAINER, Hana Kami
7th pick: BLESSED BREATH, Honden of Nights Reach, Hisoka's Defiance
8th pick: Eye of Nowhere
9th pick: Reach Through Mists

Then some late Thoughbinds and some off-colour cards completed pack 1, and he was nicely set into drafting a solid blue-white deck. When I asked him if he had a favour toward white over black due to passing Hideous Laughter (which is not wrong by any means, I was just curious), he explained how he and his fellow teammates who were at the table had agreed to show each other their decks so he felt the power of the Laughter was lost when your opponents knew you have it. He took the Soratami Seer so highly because he wanted to cut blue heavily in pack 1 and reap the benefits in pack 2, although he doesn't think that the card is too hot.

Pack 2

1st pick: JETTING GLASSKITE, Split-Tail Miko, Mistblade Shinobi, Phantom Wings
2nd pick: Waxmane Baku, Patron of the Crescent Moon
3rd pick: NINJA OF THE DEEP HOURS, Callow Jushi, Moonlit Strider, Terashi's Verdict
4th pick: HUNDRED TALON STRIKE, Floodbringer
5th pick: MOONLIT STRIDER, Silverstorm Samurai
6th pick: MOONLIT STRIDER, Silverstorm Samurai
7th pick: BLINDING POWDER, Teardrop Kami, Mending Hands
8th pick: MINAMO SIGHTBENDER, Toils of Night and Day, Quaillmane Baku
9th pick: MENDING HANDS

Two Heart of Lights were in the last few cards he received, which can be very important in the blue-white deck as he has no answer to troublesome cards such as Matsu Tribe-Sniper and Frostwielder. These may well be two of the best cards in his deck at the right moment. It was interesting to see how Ant laid out his deck during construction, as he puts Ninja of the Deep hours in his spells column and not with the rest of all the monsters.

Pack 3

1st pick: MOONWING MOTH, Briarknit Kami, Barrel-Down Sokenzan, Shinen of Life's Roar
2nd pick: KITSUNE LOREWEAVER, Araba Mothrider, Spiraling Embers
3rd pick: TORI WATCHWARD, Nikko Onna, Barrel-Down Sokenzan, Shinen of Life's Roar
4th pick: MOONBOW ILLUSIONIST, Nikko Onna, Ghost-Lit Nourisher
5th pick: TORII WATCHWARD, Shinen of Star's Light
6th pick: TORII WATCHWARD, Kaho Minamo Historian
7th pick: SORATAMI CLOUD CHARIOT, Cowed by Wisdom
8th pick: OBORO BREEZECALLER, Cowed by Wisdom
9th pick: SKULL COLLECTOR, Descendant of Soramaro

Then just some very late Araba Mothriders came round and made it into the deck, which looked like this.

When I asked him what his hopes were for the deck, he said that he would be happy with 1-2, but that is just Ant as he never has any confidence in his own playing ability. I personally feel that this is a 2-1 / 3-0 depending mainly on his opponents' decks and how many problem cards they have.

By the time I had gotten this far into the article, he has already dispensed with Craig Krempels in the feature match area so 1-2 is now a dead cert. He does have a very hard pod to contend with, but I have some confidence that we will see him coming back Sunday for the Top 8 possibly with some other members of his team …. THE SEVEN KINGS.

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