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U.S. Nationals 1999 Reports
First Draft Overview

- Gary Wise

One of the most interesting tables in the first set of draft pods featured two Pro Tour winners. Here's how table seven ended up looking:

Seat:

  1. Bryan Lynch - 2 Pro Tour appearances
  2. Chris Stelzer - Juniors competitor better known as 'Yap's brother'
  3. Mike Bregoli - Dojo writer and Pro Tour veteran
  4. Mike Long - 3 time US team member, winner of PT Paris
  5. Nate Clarke - 2 time top 8 finisher playing in his final major tourney
  6. Casey McCarrel - winner, PTNY, presently leads the PT player of the year race
  7. Eric Lauer - Top 8 at PT Rome
  8. John Shuler - beloved Dojo writer

Not only did this table feature 4 players on the gravy train, but they were all sitting next to one another. The first pack was opened and drafted in the following order:

  • Lynch: Confiscate
  • Stelzer: Path of Peace
  • Bregoli: Symbiosis
  • Long: Phyrexian Ghoul
  • Clarke: Opal Titan
  • McCarrel: Argothian Swine
  • Lauer: Flesh reaver
  • Shuler: Goblin Matron
  • Shuler: Shower of Sparks
  • Lauer: Catalog
  • McCarrel: Titania's Chosen
  • Clarek: Healing Salve
  • Long: Veil of Birds
  • Bregoli: Headlong Rush
  • Stelzer: Tolarian Winds

One of the key differences between booster draft and Rochester draft is the amount of information which can be communicated through a pick. With Lynch and Stelzer taking what they likely felt were the best cards available (Though many would say the Titan is better than the Path of Peace), Bregoli took the Symbiosis instead of the Titan, communicating to Stelzer that he had no desire to fight over White. Long followed this up by taking the much-improved-under-6th-edition-rules Phyrexian Ghoul over the Titan, showing the table a preferance for Black. After Clarke had taken the Titan, McCarrel, who had expressed a desire to draft either R/G or U/W when we talked to him before the draft took the best card available, the Argothian Swine, which paired up nicely witrh the Titania's Chosen which both Lauer and Shuler passed up for inferior cards, essentially stating the weren't interested in drafting Green. The second pack went like so:

  • Stelzer: Catastrophe
  • Bregoli: Confiscate
  • Long: Wild Dogs
  • Clarke: Pegasus Charger
  • McCarrel: Acridian
  • Lauer: Fiery Mantle
  • Shuler: Desciple of Law
  • Lynch: Guma
  • Lynch: Catalog
  • Shuler: Goblin Matron
  • Lauer: Smoldering Crater
  • McCarrel: Hush
  • Clarke: Titania's Boon
  • Long: Curfew
  • Bregoli: Headlong Rush

After Stelzer took the power card which goes perfectly with his first pick (Both are White), Bregoli once again adopted a "best card" strategy, taking the Confiscate over the Wild Dogs or Acridian which would have gone well with his first pick Symbiosis. Long then took the Dogs, declaring a willingness to fight over green, and Clarke followeds that up with another good late pick: a Pegasus Charger. McCarrel further establishes himself in green with the Acridian after which Lauer declared he'll fight with Shuler for red. This is interesting because Lauer put himself in a potentially dangerous situation by drafting red behind an experienced drafter who had established himself in green, a color most often accompanied in draft decks by red.

In the third pack, Bregoli established himself as a force at the table by opening a Phyrexian Processor in an otherwise weak pack. Long took a Symbiosis, attempting to scare Bregoli out of Green, Clarke picked a Pit Trap and McCarrel took the best available card, a Power Sink.

The fourth packs saw Long open the table's third Confiscate, which he took over Despondency, in what may have been one of the few drafting errors one will ever see Long make. Drafting behind a blue player, Long could have further established himself in black by picking the Despondency, but instead passed it to Clarke, a move which would have loosened Longs hold on black if Clarke had chosen to pursue it any further.

In the end, the decks looked like this:

Lynch: A U/B control deck with Conscate, Phyrexian Reclamation, Expunge, a couple of regenerators and a fifth pick Bone Shredder

Stelzer: A U/W control dec k with a bunch of defence, fliers and Catastrophe

Begoli: A G/U powerhouse with fliers, mana production and a Processor

Long: An agreessive B/R deck with 3 Skittering Horrors

Clarke: A somewhat weak GW deck

McCarrel: A very strong RG deck, along with Bregoli's, its one of the two best decks at the table:

Lauer: a RB deck featuring a Phyrexian Reclamation, Cinder seer, Attrition and Pestilence, but not much else

Shuler: A RW beatdown deck with plenty of direct damage and a Catastrophe.



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