"My deck is simply awesome," Kibler said as I sat down.
When I sat down to talk to Brian he had his deck pretty much laid out on the table and pretty much built. "Rochester draft is really easy to build," Brian commented. "I had my deck built in my hand pretty much before I sat down. I keep the cards in my hand sorted by mana curve, creatures, color. I build it as I draft it."
Brian was very happy with the way the draft worked out around the table. "The draft went pretty well," he said. "I think people were pretty cooperative." The cooperation worked largely to Brian's benefit. "I think I have the best deck at the table. Heiss got a hold of two Spikeshot Goblins, and an Altar of Shadows went to someone else, but none of those are as strong as my deck overall."
Brian seemed supremely confident heading into round one. "My opponent has multiple Looming Hovergaurds, but I think my deck is just better," Brian remarked. His copy of Regress makes my Atogs looks a little worse, but getting Atog and Megatog was really good for me."
Brian can look at those flyers without too much concern. He did manage to get a hold of two Skyhunter Patrols and three copies of Soldier Replica. The first striking Patrols can block opposing flyers and the Soldier Replicas can sacrifice to kill almost anything his opponent has.
Brian did seem a little confused over some of the picks that were made at the table. "The seventh pick Looming Hoverguard that made it to my opponent was sick. I don't know how it got that far around the table. There were far worse cards that went before him."
Brian didn't feel like it was possible to set yourself up with a color drafting strategy beforehand. "I really haven't gone with any sort of color strategy in my drafts today," he began. "I feel like I can set myself up to draft any color." Brian added to that with some thoughts on what he thought was best though. "Red is the baseline best color in the set, but so many people are drafting it that it gets diluted. Most of the decks are ending up with some other color and red.
Nate could only talk about the card he had missed. "There was a Rustmouth I should have taken, but I took something else over it." Asked what he took, Nate was hard pressed to even remember. He didn't see the draft as being as organized and structured as Kibler saw it though. "The guy to my right was drafting a little weird, so I had a hard time getting a bead on what he was trying to do."
Nate finally came up with a strategy that worked for him. "I just tried to ignore him and take what I wanted. Sometimes they were gone." It worked out for him later on in the draft though. "I got this ridiculous run of removal four or five packcs in a row, then I got two Spikeshots in a row from a couple of packs."
Talking about his quarterfinal opponent Nate seemed confident. "His deck didn't seem all that great. He got some good picks early on, including some flyers, but I don't think that it's all that great." Nate knew the secret to this match would come down to one card for him. "If I can get my Spikeshots up to two power then I should be able to kill his flyers."
Nate was blunt about the choices his opponent made that gave him the advantage. "I thought he made a lot of bad picks," Nate said. He finished that thought with an obvious one. "That helps me a lot."
Nate agreed that Kibler and Antonino probably have the best decks at the table. "Kibler got Grab the Reins, which is amazing. De Rosa got Glissa."
What Nate saw in the beginning of the draft ended up not being what he saw in the end of it. "In the beginning of the draft I thought I was going to start drafting white cards, but then the random guy to my right started drafting it." The random guy didn't even end up playing much of his white.
Nate's strategy worked out well for him in the end though. "I just started taking what I thought were the best cards, just ignoring him because he didn't seem to have any idea what he wanted to do." The strategy netted Nate a deck everyone thought could carry him to the finals.
"I took a bunch of artifacts until I got red cards. Then Deconstructs started to come to me so I ran that as well. I got a Goblin Charbelcher late, which seems like it might be good."
Nate did make a decision that many players weren't making. "I'm gonna run 17 lands, I only got a hold of one manakin. There's a school of thought that I could run fewer lands but I don't want to risk not being able to cast the Charbelcher. I was hoping to get a Scepter but didn't see one." The only Scepter at the table went to Jon Cassidy.
Ben Stark spoke candidly about how horrid his deck was. "I think I actually have the worst deck at the table," he said. He seemed nervous about even his first round match, but conceded "I have ways to beat my opponent, it's just that my deck is a pile of poop."
"The packs just weren't there," Ben added. "I was trying to draft white and equipment, I was clear white at least two seats to my right, and I got the equipment, but I didn't see any of the Skyhunter Cubs or Arrest, which are the two best commons in White."
Cooperation took on a new meaning for Ben as he settled into a seat next to best friend and teammate Antonino. "He (Antonino) and I were obviously going to sit there and cooperate. The guy to my left settled into blue/green and things seemed to be pretty cooperative from there."
Ben thought this event came down to two players. "Antonino and Brian are going to play in the semis," he said. "The winner of that match will win this event."
Ben also didn't understand what people were doing with some of their picks. "People were taking creatures when there was better equipment on the table." This could simply be a case of people making different card evaluations or it could be a case of Ben being right and everyone else being wrong.
Summing up his deck Ben went back to the packs. "I don't think the packs were there for me, so I'm a little unhappy with my deck. I really need to depend on Platinum Angel, Luxodon Punisher and a few others to win. I wouldn't normally play her even, but I needed her in this deck."