Diego Mata has been having a great weekend. He came in with three byes but he is a flagged player. After storming through day one with a perfect record he finished in second place.
Many expected him to stumble in the first draft and quickly sink as players with more experience would climb up the standings. Still he held on and found himself still on table one for the second draft.
"Upstream" (to his right) he had Olivier Ruel and Arjan van Leeuwen. "Downstream" he had Noah Boeken – the only player who finished day one ahead of him – and Christoph Lippert.
The young Spanish started the first booster in a very confusing manner, often shaking his head and unable to see through the picks. He started of with a Werebear but Ruel, to his right, had opened Overrun. So green would need to be very deep for Mata to see any extra powerful cards.
As the picks unfolded Diego got increasingly nervous. Olivier was looking for a second color and taking white but Arjan - ahead of him – was solidly in blue-white. Again this gave Mata a world of trouble. He tried to find his own niche but things were getting very complicated.
Then the second booster came. It was time to see what Boeken and Lippert had in store for him. Like Ruel on the first pack Noah and Christoph had been very lucky with their first picks. The Dutch had Irisdescent Angel and Persuasion while the German had Cabal Patriarch and Mortivore. Yup, it was THAT brutal.
Since they were both drafting blue-black (with Mata, Ruel and van Leeuwen dabbling into white Boeken was just splashing it for the Angel) Diego couldn't expect any help in that area. There was only one thing left for him to do: pick up the leftovers.
So deep into the second pack, with Torment looming ahead, Diego Mata had to buckle down and aim for white-red with any green he could get in the process. Again the first pick of Torment was nothing to write home about while destiny mocked him on the near by boosters: just read some of the first picks Noah, Christoph and Olivier had.
Noah - Chainer, Dementia Master
Christoph – Shambling Swarm
Olivier - Narcissism
Below are the four deck lists we mentioned the most. You can see how bad things turned out for Diego Mata and how two blue-black decks, right next to each other can still turn out quite impressive. Ruel's deck – the one with two Overruns – is not very conspicious: any heavy green deck that keeps dropping small creatures might as well have a Vegas-like neon sign screaming "Overrun is coming! Repent!"