Draft 2 Feature: John Ormerod (England)
by Mark Wraith
Going into the second pod of today's Rochester Draft, John was a clear three points ahead of the rest of the field, with ten wins. He probably needed only one draw to qualify for the top eight, but if he could somehow win all three matches, he would repeat a feat previously only achieved by Jon Finkel, that of winning all his matches in a Grand Prix.
The first booster is of course a very important one in any draft format - and John would be picking second in it, giving him the chance to advertise his colours right from the start. Darwin Kastle first picked a Tribal Flames, and John drafted Thornscape Apprentice. Olivier Ruel, seated to John's immediate left, then took a Kavu Climber, possibly signifying his intention to fight John for green.
The second Booster is a first pick for John. With a Shackles in there his pick was obvious - the Apprentice has already cemented him in white/green. Olivier picked a Faerie Squadron, which annoys Zvi, who commented afterwards, 'There was no reason for him to make that pick. He came up to me and apologised after the draft.' Zvi had picked a Tower Drake, and was obviously hoping to build a firm groundwork for a mainly blue deck with the Faerie Squadron.
As John had the 'wheel' (the eighth and ninth pick where the draft changes direction) he would be lucky to get a good pick out of this booster. Olivier opened the booster, and decided to take a Tribal Flames. There was a Sky Weaver in the booster, and Zvi was glad to be able to pick this. 'If he takes the Sky Weaver I have to abandon blue. If he was going to point the gun he should have pulled the trigger', commented Zvi. With one blue, one black, and one red card, it's obvious that Olivier is still struggling to decide which colour to draft. John got a Might Weaver and a Dismantling Blow.
Booster four saw Zvi declaring his blue intentions, with a Faerie Squadron. John got a Kavu Climber, and a Restrain. Olivier took an Explosive Growth which John would otherwise have received, and so he definitely looked like he was competing with Ormerod for green.
John continued to draft white and green cards, until the tenth booster. He had already drafted a Harrow by this point, and decided to branch out into a third colour, taking a Zap. This seemed like a strange time to diversify, as there was an Explosive Growth also in the pack, which would have been a perfectly reasonable green card to draft, and Zap is not that powerful.
John immediately followed this up with a second Harrow, and in the same booster he also got a Verduran Emissary, which was a surprisingly good quality creature for a thirteenth pick.
Olivier opened up booster thirteen, which had a Rith, the Awakener. By now, Olivier had decided on his colour, but unfortunately for John they were also Red/Green/White, and so Olivier got the dragon. However John did manage to get a Serpentine Kavu instead, which wasn't too unsatisfactory.
John continued to draft good quality creatures throughout the rest of the draft. In booster seventeen, he took an Agonizing Demise, which he can play even with only one swamp in his deck, due to his Harrows, and his Nomadic Elf.
The twenty-second booster contained the fourth Armadillo Cloak of the draft, but due to the distribution of other white and green players, this is the first one that John manages to get. A Thornscape Apprentice and a Kavu Climber completed his draft.
John ended up playing a deck which was White/Green, apart from one Zap, and one Agonizing Demise. He should definitely manage to pick up the one win or draw that he needs to make it into the quarter-finals.