Draft One: Mike Sochon and Alexis Dumay
By Victor van den Broek
Three of the four French national team members had to draft on table 14. Mike Sochon would be feeding Alexis Dumay, and it would be interesting to see how these two French players draft.
Mike opened a reasonable booster containing a Waterfront Bouncer, Gerrard's Irregulars, Ramosian Sergeant, Orim's Cure and a Misdirection. Considering that Misdirection isn't a highly valued pick, picking the Waterfront Bouncer would put him in a good position to cut off blue. Alexis however opened an Overtaker along with a Squallmonger, Nightwind Glider and Orim's Cure. Alexis also picked the only good blue card in this booster as well, still following the same strategy as Mike. Alexis picked up the Gerrard's Irregulars from Mike's booster, considering he didn't pass any red in the first booster, so it looked like he was in a good position to cut blue and red. Mike had to choose out of Wild Jhovall, Cateran Brute, Orim's Cure, Story Circle, Misshapen Fiend, Vine Trellis and Kris Mage. Picking the brute Mike seemed to head for the B/u mercenary deck. His next pick, Shoving Match, makes for a good finisher in this deck. After that he followed up with Highway Robbers, Alley Grifters and a Task Force. In the meanwhile Alexis had drafted two Kris Mages and a Cho-Manno's Blessing. Alexis continued his streak of quality cards with a Squee, Goblin Nabob, a Steadfast Guard and 4 Orim's Cure in a row. Mike's picks watered down a bit with Skulking Fugitive, Cateran Persuaders, Dark Ritual and a Misshapen Fiend.
Alexis had to worry about his left neighbour. He sent strong signals in the first booster that he wouldn't draft white, but who passes up on a 8th through 12th pick Orim's Cure? The booster he opened didn't contain any of the white powerhouses for his deck, so he had to settle for a Flowstone Crusher over a Defender en-Vec and a Dominate. Mike quickly picked that up after Alexis passed it him, and that's a good followup on his first pick Intimidator. Unfortunatly for Alexis, the quality of the cards he was passing was higher then the quality of the cards he was picking. Alexis' next series of picks had two Flowstone Walls, a Moggcatcher and a Lawbringer. Mike's however were Belbe's Percher, Seal of Doom, Cloudskate and Vicious Hunger. Alexis continued his cooperative drafting though in the form of an eighth pick Rathi Intimidator, where he picked a Downhill Charge.
Considering that Alexis only got one card worth playing in Nemesis, his left neighbour is probably on white as well. His W/R deck has a real control element to it, in the form of 4 Cures, 2 Flowstone Walls and the Kris Mages. It still lacks finishers, though. Mike's deck looked nearly finished already, featuring removal and evasion.
In the Prophecy booster, it was Mike's turn to return some gifts to Alexis. Alexis opened a Troubled Healer, so that made the 5th damage prevention spell in his deck. Mike opened a Withdraw, and passed a Berserker to Alexis. Mike's next Prophecy booster was insane. Featuring Mageta, Troubled Healer, Flameshot, Coastal Hornclaw and Steal Strength, this was a classic example of one of Prophecy's broken boosters. Mike antidrafted the Troubled Healer here, but it still left the Mageta for Alexis to pick up. Mike finished the draft up with another Withdraw, two Steal Strengths and a Rebel Informer. Alexis picked up some rebels and two Rhystic Lightnings. Mike looked around the table in amazement when he passed a ninth pick Task Mage Assembly to Alexis, wondering why it was still there.
All in all both players ended up with rather strong decks. Alexis should be able to hold off until he gets his Mageta running, and with some luck ditching a Squee to it every time. Mike's deck looks solid, featuring spot removal in Steal Strength, Seal of Doom, Dominate and the two Withdraws, and evasion in the Rathi Intimidators.