Draft 1: Table 1

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Mirrodin limited is an interesting new format with many possibilities. Draft strategies range from declaring a color right from the start and sticking to that color, to flexibly picking artifacts in the beginning and choosing colors later. The latter seems to be more applicable to booster draft, where there always is a risk of being pushed out of your colors and those artifacts you pick in the beginning will always make your deck. But the format here in Lyon today is Rochester draft. Knowledge of your neighbors picks means that it is safer to declare a color from the start, just like in other limited formats.

But we shall see what will happen today. Eight players have fought through nine grueling rounds of swiss yesterday to find themselves at the top draft table. Most notably are Farid Meraghni and Amiel Tenenbaum from the home country, Wolfgang Eder from Germany, and Thijs Wessels from the Netherlands. Rounding out the table are Steven Gouin, Julien Colomb, and Lionel Perin from France; and Daniel Madan from Switzerland. The players are seated in this order:

1 Steven Gouin
2 Julien Colomb
3 Thijs Wessels
4 Farid Meraghni
5 Lionel Perin
6 Daneil Madan
7 Wolfgang Eder
8 Amiel Tenenbaum

Gouin opened the first booster and happily took Bosh. Colomb picked Altars Light behind him and Wessels showed a preference for green by picking Tel-Jihad Chosen. Meraghni took Rustmouth Ogre, Perin chose Cobalt Golem, Madan took Consume Spirit and Wolfgang Eder got a Titanium Golem. Tenenbaum had to settle for Rust Elemental and Necrogen Spellbomb, leaving no note-worthy cards on the table.

Colomb opened the second booster and chose Crystal Shard, heralded by many to be one of the best uncommons of the set. Wessels took Bonesplitter, Farid Skyhunter Patrol, and Perin went for Myr Enforcer. Madan continued to be the only black drafter at the table by picking Moriok Scavenger. Eder picked Banshee's Blade, showing that he was an equipment fan. Tenenbaum took the last good card; Taj-Nar Swordsmith.

Booster three provided a Molder Slug for Wessels. Only broken first picks so far. Meraghni chose a Blinding Beam for his second pick, indicating a preference for a fast tempo deck. Blinding Beam is a heavily discussed card as pros are yet unsure how important tempo aspects are in this limited format. Meraghni apparently is in the tempo camp. Betrayal of Flesh went into Perin's pile, a Pewter Golem for Madan, Eder took Leonin-Den Guard , Soldier Replica was Tenenbaum's pick and Gouin took Vulshok Berserker.

After the first three boosters, the colors seemed to be divided like this:

1 Steven Gouin: red/green
2 Julien Colomb: blue/white
3 Thijs Wessels: green
4 Farid Meraghni: white/red
5 Lionel Perin: blue/black
6 Daneil Madan: black
7 Wolfgang Eder: white
8 Amiel Tenenbaum: white

White seemed to be a prime choice for many drafters, while red seemed to be underdrafted.

In the next boosters Colomb got cut off from white, and he switched to blue/black. At the same time Wessels, sitting next to him, also signaled black with Irradiate: these two were in for a fight. Speaking about fights; Eder and Tenenbaum, who were sitting next to each other, were not only trying to draft the same colors, but basically the same decktype! Both of them were picking every equipment or white equipment-based card they could get their hands on. After the first round of boosters, Eder had three Leonin Den Guards, Auriok Steelshaper, Slagwurm Armor and Banshee's Blade. Tenenbaum's pile featured Bonesplitter, Loxodon Warhammer, and Taj-Nar Swordsmith.

Time for the second round of boosters. Gouin took no less than three Sun Droplets, creating a deck that was bound to cause headaches for his opponents. More bomb rares were opened: Oblivion Stone for Eder, and Promise of Power for Madan. Madan also picked two Atogs. Eder continued to illustrate his equipment preference: Slagwurm Armor, Vulshok Battlemaster, Neurok Hoversail went into his stack. Tenenbaum next to him got 2 Skyhunter Cub, Loxodon Punisher, and Viridian Longbow. Better than Eder, but that was to be expected since his position allowed to get the white goodies first.

Wessels got many green fatties, including three Wormskin Forgers, which he seems like. No black cards at all in the boosters for him though.

Colomb must have thought that playing only two colors wasn't going to provide him with enough options. He seemed to be all over the place, picking red, black, and blue cards. He also picked a Solemn Simulacrum, which should smooth out his mana.
Meraghni continued to pick cheap fast cards: creatures like Vulshok Berserker and Krark-Clan Grunt, Arrest and Shatter as removal, and Blinding Beam number two.

After 16 boosters, the color distribution was like this:

1 Steven Gouin: red/green
2 Julien Colomb: blue/black/red
3 Thijs Wessels: green/black
4 Farid Meraghni: white/red
5 Lionel Perin: blue/black
6 Daneil Madan: black/red
7 Wolfgang Eder: white/red
8 Amiel Tenenbaum: white/green

Eight more boosters to go.

Gouin masterfully opened his second Bosh, causing some sighs at the table.
Wessels added more big creatures to his deck, but the packs weren't really cooperating: his booster provided him with a first pick Alpha Myr. Mediocre to say the least.

Eder got his fair share out of the boosters: a Banshee's Blade, Loxodon Peacekeeper, Taj-Nar Swordsmith, Skyhunter Cub, and Sword of Kaldra. Tenenbaum was able to pick up a second Loxodon Warhammer together with two Pearl shards. Madan picked all kinds of artifacts: Spellbombs, Cromatic Spheres, Myrs; anything that could fuel his two Atogs.

Colomb didn't really seem to be able to get his deck together: he wasn't able to pick up enough quality creatures. Meraghni got three Electrostatic Bolt and a card that could be potentially broken in his deck: Slith Firewalker.

An interesting note: in the last boosters, Frenchies eagerly picked all the crap rares.

My predictions:

Gouin 3-0
Perin 2-1
Wessels 2-1
Tenenbaum 2-1
Eder 1-2
Madan 1-2
Meraghni 1-2
Colomb 0-3

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