Ed Fear is one of the more "colorful", charismatic players on the Pro Tour, with a joking attitude and a willingness to throw around money, such as the PTR vs. Sol Malka challenge, where he put up $400 of his own cash in prizes if these two rival players would face off. Not only is he an interesting personality, but apparently he can play pretty well too. This is his first Pro Tour back after a year suspension, and coming into the last draft he was in prime position to make his first Top 8. Fear showed up to the draft table relaxed and ready to go, joking with the players and judges. The judge had to ask him to stop talking, and a few players at the table immediately shouted back "DQ him!" Fear, never at a loss for words, responded "Yeah, by DQ they mean five year suspension."
The first pack provided Nantuko Disciple, Firebolt, Patrol Hound, Cephalid Scout, and Childhood Horror. Surprisingly, Fear took the Horror, planning to force black. He second picked a Concentrate to go into blue/black, the combination considered by many to be the most powerful in Odyssey/Torment draft. The third pack provided Caustic Tar, and the rest of the pack gave him two Aven Fishers, Afflict, and a pair of Fledgling Imps.
In the second pack, Fear opened a Balshan Griffin and Call of the Herd, and contemplated the Call for a while before taking the 3/2 flyer. The second pick gave him another three powered flyer for five mana, as he gladly took Repentant Vampire. A second Concentrate gave Fear's deck incredible card advantage capabilities, and at this point, Fear was one of two black drafters at the table. This became apparent when he got a ninth pick Dirty Wererat. With that setup, Torment did not disappoint. Fear first picked a Butcher and second picked Cabal Torturer over Hydromorph Gull, Turbulent Dreams and Deep Analysis. He then took Mesmeric Fiend over Soul Scourge, and surprisingly, Boneyard Slasher over Shade's Form and Organ Grinder. Rounding out his Torment picks were a pair of Obsessive Searches and two copies of Waste Away.
Sideboard: So how do you feel it went?
Fear: Heee heee heee! (laughs more) That's how I feel it went. That's your answer. It's a good laugh. I think I drafted it well but to be fair the packs really worked out in my favor. I don't really know what people were taking over some of this stuff.
Sideboard: Such as?
Fear: Well, I certainly passed some good cards, but literally every pack would come to me, and the best card was in my colors every single time. I opened the Wererat and it made the lap (drafted ninth) when I almost took it first. So, I think I got tremendously fortunate.
Sideboard: First pick, first pack you could have taken Firebolt, Nantuko Disciple, Patrol Hound or Cephalid Scout, but you took Childhood Horror. Was your plan to draft black from the start?
Fear: Well, basically I decided that since the player two to my right was Kai, the player to his left would realize that Kai likes blue. Therefore, he'd have more of a tendency to go into green and red. It's a rough approximation and I don't like to make it, and normally I'd value Firebolt as the best card in that pack by far. It's better than Childhood Horror. But, what I did in the last two drafts was I completely cut off black from the player on my left, and I tried to cut it off going to the right and just clean up in Torment. Here, the exact same thing happened as my last draft. First three picks: Butcher, Fatigue, Torturer. Again and again, not exactly in that order, but you understand what I'm saying. It seems to work. So at that point, I was fairly certain the guy to my right was going to be red/green, so I'll put him in aggro, me in control, and then Kai in control, and make that differentiation.
Sideboard: First pick second pack were you thinking about Call of the Herd at all?
Fear: I considered the Call, but what did I take out of that?
Fear: Right, Balshan Griffin. I'm not a big fan of Balshan Griffin, especially with it being double blue. At that point I already had the first Concentrate. I considered the Call, but at that point I really want to reward the player to my right partially, if he's wavering on green or thinking about dipping into black, or thinking about red/black I can possibly save myself by shipping him the Call, which is just an excellent card. So, hopefully he'll go into that (green), and that will leave me some space.
Sideboard: You took Cabal Torturer over Hydromorph Gull, Turbulent Dreams and Deep Analysis.
Fear: That's true. Deep Analysis...I have two Concentrates, so Deep Analysis was getting a bit superfluous. Turbulent Dreams...my opinion is on record about it. I got a lot of flack for taking Obsessive Search over it at Grand Prix Naples. I think it was the right pick there, and I think it was the right pick here. Turbulent Dreams is fine in blue/green, it can be absolutely insane where you go "scoop your side, all my guys instantly gain threshold, smash you for a million" but my deck has a lot of control and it's very solid at this point and I just don't feel like gambling. Obviously there's synergy with all the card drawing I have. Hydromorph Gull is fine, but I already had five very good flyers at that point, and it was just an issue of cost. My picks went four, four, four (casting cost) and adding another five drop isn't where I wanted to go. So a three drop fitted my curve much nicer, which is why I drafted it.
Sideboard: Is that why you took Mesmeric Fiend over Soul Scourge as well.
Fear: Yeah. Exact same decision, exact same reasons.
Obsessive Search over Shade's Form and Mind Sludge? Not a big fan of Mind Sludge?
Fear: Well no, I'm a big fan of Mind Sludge and I intend to run a lot of swamps, but I was already into three double blue cards at that point, so I'm going to running a max of nine, perhaps ten swamps. I like Sludge, but at that point again, it costs five, versus one, and it gets me to, you know...(better cards). I'm figuring if I just get mana and keep going I can't really win...I can't really win? (laughs, spectators crack up) Yes. I'm figuring should I get enough mana and get to the late game I really can't lose. I have so much card drawers, and flying, and control and removal that I think it should work really well for me.
Sideboard: The one pick that I didn't really get at all was Boneyard Slasher over Shade's Form and Organ Grinder.
Fear: Well, I'm figuring I'll be getting to threshold a reasonable amount. Organ Grinder...I already thought I had my third three drop, which is what I was going for, but I had shipped that as well, I think it was the earlier Organ Grinder actually. I didn't want another one, I wanted another two drop. Again, I like my chances in the late game, and one of the ways I actually get there is by playing more two drops, and reasonable powered creatures to get in there and block and put on some early pressure. But yeah, it's certainly an interesting pick. I don't know if it's right. In retrospect, I would have taken the Grinder. I thought I already had one and I did not. So, that was a mistake.
Sideboard: Any predictions?
Fear: Yeah. I predict I will make Top 8.