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The letter I! know that it has been a long time, and I know that a lot of you have been asking for it, so I have decided to bring back the draft walkthrough. Seeing as this week is Feedback Week, I decided to do a walkthrough for a draft that we could all participate in: a Magic 2011 draft with the Draft Simulator.


My recommendation would be for you to do the whole simulated draft first, see what kind of a draft deck you would put together by yourself and then read what I decided to do. Maybe you decided to go a completely different route than I did, maybe we did basically the same thing but wound up being a couple of cards off from each other, or maybe we even ended up playing the exact same 40 cards.

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Do the draft yet?

Good!

Now let's see what I did.


Act of Treason, Goldenglow Moth, Volcanic Strength, Sylvan Ranger, Tome Scour, Goblin Tunneler, Mind Rot, Incite, Brindle Boar, Palace Guard, Howling Banshee, Celestial Purge, Demon's Horn, Ajani Goldmane, Island

Click here to see my pick:

We should all be at least a little bit excited as we get to start our draft off with the extremely powerful Ajani Goldmane. Howling Banshee, Sylvan Ranger, Celestial Purge and friends are all good, but none of them can really compete with the bombtastic Ajani Goldmane.


Wild Griffin, Negate, Gravedigger, Yavimaya Wurm, Fiery Hellhound, Phantom Beast, Blinding Mage, Augury Owl, Mighty Leap, Whispersilk Cloak, Wurm's Tooth, Celestial Purge, Fauna Shaman, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

Fauna Shaman, Gravedigger, Celestial Purge and Whispersilk Cloak are the next best options, but neither of them catch my eye in the same way that Blinding Mage does, especially when we already have an Ajani Goldmane.


Even if you think that Fauna Shaman is a better card than Blinding Mage, which I don't necessarily think it is, I would rather go with the Blinding Mage because we already have an Ajani Goldmane that we really want to play. If we take the Blinding Mage, we will continue to leave our options open instead of pushing us towards the undesirable green-white color combination.

However, if you were playing in a draft where you got to keep the cards, and you really needed that fourth Fauna Shaman for your Standard deck, then I think it would make a lot more sense to take the rare.


Spined Wurm, Canyon Minotaur, Assassinate, Wild Griffin, Negate, Gravedigger, Augury Owl, Giant Growth, Goblin Piker, Doom Blade, Gargoyle Sentinel, Diabolic Tutor, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

Gravedigger, Wild Griffin and Gargoyle Sentinel are all pretty good cards, but none of them even approach Doom Blade's level. And if a third pick Doom Blade isn't a good sign to go black, then I don't know what is!


Æther Adept, Cultivate, Excommunicate, Merfolk Spy, Terramorphic Expanse, Wall of Vines, Demolish, Unsummon, Deathmark, Liliana's Caress, Redirect, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:

The Terramorphic Expanse comes in at a very close second for me this pick, with Æther Adept, Cultivate and Excommunicate coming in as my third and fourth choices.

Because I really enjoy drafting white-black in M11, I'm comfortable pushing myself further along the white-black road rather than leaving my options open with the Terramorphic Expanse.

The fact that the majority of decks end up playing either green, white or both makes Deathmark an excellent way to kill Yavimaya Wurms, Blinding Mages, and any number of other pesky creatures like Giant Spider makes Deathmark a very attractive main-deck option.


Diminish, Wild Griffin, Goblin Tunneler, Jace's Erasure, Plummet, Tireless Missionaries, Bloodthrone Vampire, Tome Scour, Rise from the Grave, Call to Mind, Plains

Click here to see my pick:

Rise from the Grave is also a very attractive option, but I'm not really in a rush to start taking five-drops this early. There tend to be plenty of opportunities to pick up good five drops, but there aren't always that many opportunities to pick up reasonably-costed evasion creatures.

Given that you can only comfortably play a handful of five-plus casting cost spells, it makes a lot of sense to wait to start picking up your biggest spells until a bit later in the draft.


Tireless Missionaries, Goblin Balloon Brigade, Naturalize, Blood Tithe, Harbor Serpent, Solemn Offering, Diabolic Tutor, Roc Egg, Wild Evocation, Plains

Click here to see my pick:


Ice Cage, Naturalize, Arc Runner, Mind Rot, Maritime Guard, Dryad's Favor, Solemn Offering, Ornithopter, Island

Click here to see my pick:

The only other card that is really worth noting in this pack is the Ice Cage, but it isn't a very good splash, and even if I had the mana to cast either the Ice Cage or the Mind Rot reliably, I would usually go with the Mind Rot.

There are too many opportunities to get blown out with your Ice Cage for me to want to take it over the old, reliable, Mind Rot.

(Ice Cage your creature, attack. You have a Giant Growth?—Ouch!)


Scroll Thief, Mind Rot, Incite, Hunters' Feast, Maritime Guard, Wurm's Tooth, Leyline of Anticipation, Island

Click here to see my pick:

Scroll Thief is the only other card worth noting in this pack, and there's no way that we would want to take it over our second Mind Rot when we are already heavily in white-black.


Goldenglow Moth, Tome Scour, Goblin Tunneler, Incite, Palace Guard, Demon's Horn, Island

Click here to see my pick:


Phantom Beast, Augury Owl, Mighty Leap, Wurm's Tooth, Celestial Purge, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

Like Deathmark, Celestial Purge tends to be pretty excellent in M11 Limited. While Mighty Leap can certainly be a strong option for your deck to have—the fact that most decks will be playing either black or red (it's really nice to have removal spells in your draft deck, and black and red just happen to be the two colors that have the highest density of removal spells, making them very attractive colors for people to draft) makes the Celestial Purge the pick here.

Besides, if we decide we do want a Mighty Leap or two, we will probably be able to get them later.


Negate, Augury Owl, Goblin Piker, Diabolic Tutor, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

There is some chance that I will play the Diabolic Tutor main deck, and even if I end up leaving it in my sideboard for slower match-ups it will be worth more to me than any of the other cards in this pack.


Merfolk Spy, Wall of Vines, Liliana's Caress, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:


Jace's Erasure, Tome Scour, Plains

Click here to see my pick:


Wild Evocation, Forest

My pick:


Ooooh, a 14th-pick rare! Let's get wild!





Assault Griffin, Negate, Manic Vandal, Spined Wurm, Arc Runner, Grave Titan, Tireless Missionaries, Goblin Balloon Brigade, Naturalize, Blood Tithe, White Knight, Sorcerer's Strongbox, Kraken's Eye, Leyline of Sanctity, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

Yes, yes, yes, yes! The huge, resilient, token-generating mythic rare Grave Titan is the clear pick here. Not only do we get one Grave Titan out of this pick, but now that we have a juicy enough target to justify running our Diabolic Tutor, it's like we have two Grave Titans!



Cloud Crusader, Thunder Strike, Azure Drake, Yavimaya Wurm, Inspired Charge, Blood Tithe, Squadron Hawk, Cancel, Primal Cocoon, Unholy Strength, Deathmark, Earth Servant, Autumn's Veil, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

Deathmark is an attractive option, but I already have one of the green- or white-killer and I'm low enough on creatures that I feel like I should take the flying, first-striking 2/3.


Diminish, Siege Mastodon, Quag Sickness, Garruk's Companion, Mind Rot, Maritime Guard, Dryad's Favor, Solemn Offering, Bloodcrazed Goblin, Bloodthrone Vampire, Ajani's Pridemate, Honor of the Pure, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

While Honor of the Pure is definitely worthy of an early pick, right now I'm not sure that I will get enough white creatures to make it really good. And with that in mind, I feel that it's a safer and better choice to go with the aurific removal spell.


Phantom Beast, Garruk's Companion, Vulshok Berserker, Brindle Boar, Bloodcrazed Goblin, Preordain, Holy Strength, Duress, Plummet, Prodigal Pyromancer, Roc Egg, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:

Prodigal Pyromancer is pretty appealing too, but rather than look to splash, I think it's time for us to start looking for Bloodthrone Vampires and Viscera Seers so we can sacrifice our eggs and make some omelets ... I mean 3/3s.


Giant Growth, Ice Cage, Plummet, Tireless Missionaries, Tome Scour, Naturalize, Arc Runner, Armored Ascension, Chandra's Spitfire, Kraken's Eye, Island

Click here to see my pick:

The very first pickable Armored Ascension is a welcome fifth pick for us. The ability to make even a dorky Glory Seeker into a dragon makes Armored Ascension one of the best white cards in the set.


Phantom Beast, Vulshok Berserker, Assault Griffin, Volcanic Strength, Sylvan Ranger, Cloud Elemental, Mighty Leap, Condemn, Relentless Rats, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:

Given how much we already have going on in the air, and the fact that our curve is currently a bit high, I feel more comfortable taking a Condemn that can deal with pretty much any creature that our opponent has the poor sense to attack with than taking the Assault Griffin which we could use to help pummel our opponents.


Goblin Piker, Mighty Leap, Dryad's Favor, Incite, Duress, Squadron Hawk, Elixir of Immortality, Flashfreeze, Island

Click here to see my pick:

At this point I think I would rather add my first combat trick, a Mighty Leap, to our deck than my first Squadron Hawk, even if I know that we are likely to get a Squadron Hawk tenth as we saw one the second pick of this pack.


Stormfront Pegasus, Incite, Duress, Squadron Hawk, Palace Guard, Jace's Erasure, Call to Mind, Plains

Click here to see my pick:

Another Squadron Hawk!


Arc Runner, Tireless Missionaries, Goblin Balloon Brigade, Naturalize, Kraken's Eye
Leyline of Sanctity, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

I really dislike Tireless Missionaries and I don't think that we are going to get low enough on playable that we would have to consider playing it. Instead I go for the rare, and potentially sideboard-able (if we see enough Lava Axes), Leyline of Sanctity.


Blood Tithe, Squadron Hawk, Primal Cocoon, Unholy Strength, Autumn's Veil, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

Squawk!


Dryad's Favor, Solemn Offering, Bloodcrazed Goblin, Ajani's Pridemate, Forest

Click here to see my pick:


Bloodcrazed Goblin, Holy Strength, Duress, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:


Tome Scour, Kraken's Eye, Island

Click here to see my pick:


Mighty Leap, Mountain

My pick:






Sign in Blood, Greater Basilisk, Berserkers of Blood Ridge, Mana Leak, Inspired Charge, Child of Night, Plains, Fling, Viscera Seer, Infantry Veteran, Shiv's Embrace, Stone Golem, Back to Nature, Traumatize, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

I toyed briefly with the idea of taking the Infantry Veteran, but I think that Sign in Blood is just too good in M11 Limited to warrant passing in this spot as our deck isn't really aggressive enough to take full advantage of the 1/1 Human Soldier.


Llanowar Elves, Assault Griffin, Azure Drake, Barony Vampire, Manic Vandal, Sacred Wolf, Stabbing Pain, Wall of Vines, Ajani's Mantra, Armored Cancrix, Stone Golem, Mind Control, Chandra's Spitfire, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

I'll admit that I hate passing Mind Control even when there is no way that I could conceivably cast it—especially when I already have something as good as Grave Titan in my deck—but Assault Griffin is too good of a card for me to feel comfortable giving up on in this spot.


Canyon Minotaur, Scroll Thief, Llanowar Elves, Assault Griffin, Azure Drake, Demolish, Merfolk Spy, Infantry Veteran, Viscera Seer, Elite Vanguard, Angel's Feather, Sunpetal Grove, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

I'm happy to add another Assault Griffin to my deck, although I wouldn't argue with anyone who would choose to take a one-drop over it in this spot.


Spined Wurm, Nightwing Shade, Foresee, Brindle Boar, Palace Guard, Hunters' Feast, Maritime Guard, Blood Tithe, Ornithopter, Prized Unicorn, Knight Exemplar, Forest

Click here to see my pick:

I don't really have an immediate interest in taking a second Palace Guard, and with only a single Knight in our deck, I have no problem passing the Knight Exemplar.


Child of Night, Canyon Minotaur, Relentless Rats, Disentomb, Pyretic Ritual, Fog, Bog Raiders, Prized Unicorn, Earth Servant, Mystifying Maze, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

Mystifying Maze is a more than welcome addition to our deck that has few color requirements.


Nether Horror, Holy Strength, Duress, Plummet, Arc Runner, Jace's Erasure, Demon's Horn, Captivating Vampire, Ajani's Pridemate, Island

Click here to see my pick:


Goblin Piker, Act of Treason, Viscera Seer, Pyretic Ritual, Stabbing Pain, Ajani's Mantra, Hornet Sting, Angel's Feather, Mountain

Click here to see my pick:

At this point I know that I am likely to get another Viscera Seer eleventh because we saw one when we were taking our first and third picks—so I'm not too drawn to taking it even if it does combo exceptionally well with our Roc Eggs. And while Ajani's Mantra is awfully cute with our two Ajani's Pridemates, I'd still rather go for an extra removal spell/combat trick in Stabbing Pain.


Goblin Piker, Act of Treason, Bog Raiders, Fling, Excommunicate, Pyretic Ritual, Dragon's Claw, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

I'm not a big fan of Excommunicate, especially when we already have pretty decent removal and a good deal of three drops.


So instead ... brains!!!


Viscera Seer, Plains, Fling, Infantry Veteran, Back to Nature, Traumatize, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

While I definitely want a Viscera Seer to go in our deck next to the two Roc Eggs, I'm willing to wait until the eleventh pick when we are likely to pick one up—especially when that means that we get to pick up the aggressive, utility-tastic Infantry Veteran.


Llanowar Elves, Stabbing Pain, Wall of Vines, Ajani's Mantra, Armored Cancrix, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

Probably not going to want to main-deck two Stabbing Pains, but I could easily see boarding up to two against an aggressive deck, or a deck that's sporting a couple of juicy targets like Prodigal Pyromancer and Llanowar Elves.


Demolish, Merfolk Spy, Viscera Seer, Angel's Feather, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:

A welcome addition given our two Roc Eggs.


Hunters' Feast, Blood Tithe, Ornithopter, Forest

Click here to see my pick:


Relentless Rats, Pyretic Ritual, Swamp

Click here to see my pick:


Jace's Erasure, Island

My pick:





To review, here's what I drafted:

Pack 1 Pack 2 Pack 3
Ajani Goldmane
Grave Titan
Sign in Blood
Blinding Mage
Cloud Crusader
Assault Griffin
Doom Blade
Quag Sickness
Assault Griffin
Deathmark
Roc Egg
Nightwing Shade
Wild Griffin
Armored Ascension
Mystifying Maze
Roc Egg
Condemn
Ajani's Pridemate
Mind Rot
Mighty Leap
Stabbing Pain
Mind Rot
Stormfront Pegasus
Bog Raiders
Palace Guard
Leyline of Sanctity
Infantry Veteran
Celestial Purge
Squadron Hawk
Stabbing Pain
Diabolic Tutor
Ajani's Pridemate
Viscera Seer
Liliana's Caress
Duress
Blood Tithe
Tome Scour
Tome Scour
Relentless Rats
Wild Evocation
Mighty Leap
Jace's Erasure
Island Island Mountain

And here's my final deck list:

Steve Sadin's Draft Simulator Deck
Limited


The last few cards that I cut were the second Mind Rot, Stabbing Pain, and Infantry Veteran

For a while, I wanted to run the Infantry Veteran over the Nightwing Shade, but I eventually went with the five-mana flyer. I wanted to run the Nightwing Shade because I could see a lot of games going long with this deck, and it is a very good card to have when you have a bunch of lands on the board.


It pained me to cut the second Mind Rot, and I'm still not confident that it was the right choice. I would, however, plan to sideboard in the second Mind Rot in a lot of matches.

What did/would you do differently?


Would you have taken the Fauna Shaman second and gone green? Would you have taken the Terramorphic Expanse to leave your options open? Would you have ignored the Roc Egg plan?

Post your final deck list in the forums to show me, and the rest of the world, a different way that this deck could have wound up.



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