t's 2 PM here in Lyon, and the players are gearing up for the second rochester draft of the day. Table 2 features:
1 Alexandre Belin (Switzerland)
2 Sam Gomersall (England)
3 Steven Gouin (France)
4 Nikolaus Eigner (Switzerland)
5 Farid Meraghni (France)
6 Jeroen Remie (Netherlands)
7 Olivier Ruel (France)
8 Thomas Gundersen (Norway)
Gomersall, Remie, Ruel, and Meraghni are the most accomplished players, hoping to add a GP top 8 to their resume. Probably only two players from this table will make it, so they're in for a tough draft.
Belin opened the first booster and picked a red card, the color that is considered to be the best in this limited format: Shatter. Gomersall didn't want to dedicate himself to a color yet, and took the strong equipment Vulshok Battlegear. Gouin chose Somber Hoverguard, Nikolaus Eigner gave a black signal with Barter in Blood and Meraghni picked Pyrite Spellbomb. Remie, sensing that white might be open, went for Blinding Beam. Remie: "Ten hours ago I thought the card was utter stains, but now I think it's really good, first pick quality". Ruel took Ogre Leadfoot and Gundersen wheeled Needlebug and the red mana Myr. Ruel got Clockwork Condor on the way back and rounding out the playable cards of this booster were Raise the Alarm for Remie and Chromatic Sphere for Meraghni. Gomersall got Fiery Gambit as a lucky 15th pick.
Gomersall had the privilege to lay out the second booster and chose Spikeshot Goblin. Apparently he felt that red was strong enough to pick it right behind another red player. Gouin took Skyhunter Cub, Eigner got Reiver Demon, Meraghni signalled red with Haematite Golem, Remie picked Yotian Soldier, and finally an Aether Spellbomb for Ruel, Nim Shrieker for Gundersen, and Forge Armor for Belin, not mentioning random unplayables.
Booster three gave Gouin the powerful Loxodon Warhammer. Eigner signalled green with Deconstruct, Mergaghni picked Goblin War Wagon, Remie got the white mana Myr, Ruel took Terror, Gundersen got the black mana Myr, and Gomersall gave a green signal by picking chaff like Groffskithur and Journey of Discovery.
Time for booster four. Eigner opened a fairly weak booster and took One Dozen Eyes. Meraghni got Krark-Clan Grunt, Remie showed a preference for green with Fangren Hunter. Ruel took Pewter Golem and Gundersen picked Ogre Leadfoot.
Four boosters have been drafted so far. Let's take a look at how colors seem to be distributed:
1 Alexandre Belin: red, other color is unclear
2 Sam Gomersall: red, probably green
3 Steven Gouin: white, blue
4 Nikolaus Eigner: black, green
5 Farid Meraghni: red, other color is unclear
6 Jeroen Remie: white, green
7 Olivier Ruel: black, probably blue
8 Thomas Gundersen: black, red
Four red drafters, three green drafters (counting Gomersall, who seems to have maneuvered himself into a great green position), three black drafters, one blue drafter, two white drafters. White and blue are both fine colors, so you can clearly expect people to pick up blue or white cards. Belin seems to have a good position for white or blue, Meraghni will probably go blue, and I expect Ruel to pair his black with blue. But we shall see what these pros will do.
Meraghni's booster featured Domineer and Duplicant, and he took the latter. That got a thumbs up signal from Ruel, who happily picked Domineer. Gundersen got Consume Spirit number one and Belin gave a white signal with Auriok Transfixer. The booster round finished with everyone nicely picking cards in their colors. An odd pick was Ruel's second pick Vermiculos. Craig Jones has been savagely laughed at for playing that card in English PTQs. But probably the French know something the English don't.
Second round of boosters.
Belin started picking red, white, and black (an unusual choice since he had two black drafters on his right) cards. Gomersall stayed on red/green but didn't really get quality cards. Gouin stuck to the white and blue cards, with Crystal Shard and Somber Hoverguard as highlights. He also first-picked an off-color Shrapnel Blast in a weak booster. Eigner got some random creatures and an important Betrayal of Flesh. Meraghni picked 2 Shatter to go with an Isochron Scepter. He decided to go with green as his second color after picking Deconstruct. That upset Remie a bit because it meant that he would get less quality green cards out of the third booster round. Remie did get Duplicant, a couple fast creatures, and combat tricks like Roar of the Kha out of these boosters. Ruel got more black and blue cards, notably Looming Hoverguard. Gundersen picked up Consume Spirits number 2, 3 and 4. Always nice.
Third round of boosters.
Everyone kept on cards in their colors, cooperating nicely together in general. There were some interesting moments worth mentioning. Meraghni got his second Isochron Scepter and therefore picked Shrapnel Blast over Spikeshot Goblin. Remie, hurt by Meraghni's switch to green, picked two Pewter Golems because he needed to improve his creature base. Ruel on his left wasn't happy not to get the first Pewter Golem as that left him with no pick. But he was hugging Remie for that second Pewter Golem because it meant that he could pick the broken Crystal Shard. Hugging people at your draft table is not allowed at top level Magic events, so he got a draft warning. Gomersall opened Fiery Gambit, which caused sounds like "Go for it!". For those of you who don't remember anymore, he got a 15th pick Fiery Gambit out of the very first booster and it obviously is a tempting card. Gomersall was able to resist it and took a good card instead. Ruel ended up picking the money rare. The last booster featured an unknown rare because many players had to read it: Spellweaver Helix. If you would have put your money on Ruel to eagerly pick the rare, you were right. His deck might not be all that good, but he did get a nice share out of the rares at the table.
Remie's deck looks very good, featuring a good curve and combat tricks. Gundersen's quadruple Consume Spirit and double Spikeshot Goblin deck also looks good. I expect these two guys to make the top 8.