Draft Notes: I See A Red Deck And I Want It Painted Black

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The letter I! had the chance to walk the floor during deck construction for the first draft. The first player who caught my eye was Antoine Ruel from France, sitting in front of a black and red removal pile. He had Dark Withering, Rift Bolt, Sulfurous Blast, Tendrils of Corruption, Assassinate, a Fire Whip and other assorted goodies, but Antoine was sitting there and shaking his head. "These decks never win," he claimed.

The removal-heavy decks do not seem to inspire great confidence in their pilots. Tsuyoshi Fujita had gladly taken the black cards in pod one, ending up with a red-black deck that was just a tad sicker even than Antoine's copy. A Rift Bolt supported by two Sulfurous Blasts and two Tendrils of Corruption radiated an aura of destructiveness. But the old master pointed to his two maindeck Phyrexian Totems and commented: "I did not get good creatures." He projected a 2-1 result.

Two wins, one loss was also the cautious estimate that Shouhei Yamamoto gave for himself. He had been drafting on the same table as Tsuyoshi and Willy Edel. When the draft dust settled, his green-white deck included a Rebel chain of Amrou Scout, Amrou Seekers, Errant Doomsayers, and Knight of the Holy Nimbus. The green portion weighed in with Durkwood Baloth, Call of the Herd, Verdant Embrace and an entire battalion of four Thrill of the Hunt. If that does not instill confidence, what can?

Maybe the setup that Akira Asahara was caressing during deckbuilding could. I didn't get an estimate from him, but just got a glimpse of his array in passing. He also was black-red, but with Magus of the Scroll and Jaya Ballard, Task Mage and the coveted Tendrils of Corruption in his pile, his confidence level certainly was high. Jaya alone is usually quite impressive, but once Asahara starts discarding his two Dark Witherings to Magic's most famous flavor text character... well, you can probably imagine that - or maybe just dream of it.

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