By: Jason Waddell
As a displaced American living in Belgium, I’ve learned that things work a little differently in this part of the world. For one, the school year runs much later. While our North American counterparts have already jetted home for the summer, Belgian students are in the thick of cram season. Secondly, and more egregiously, nobody around here watches Arrested Development. Few have even heard of it. I could have come dressed as Gene Parmesan and nobody would have even noticed.
The convolution of these two factors led to me interrupting my 15-episode marathon for a less-than-full-table draft. Monday evening’s draft was a mere six player affair, but one that I went into quite confidently. Most players don’t realize how different six-player drafts are from 8-player drafts, and I’m here to share one sexy secret you won’t find in Cosmo. What’s the difference?
There’s only six players.
Let me elaborate. Let’s take the simple and incorrect assumption that each player will play a two-color deck. In a six-player draft, only six of the ten guilds will be occupied. This leaves four of the guilds completely unoccupied. It’s the perfect set up. Gold cards are flowing like it’s 1849, and with only six players at the table, some players even let the gold cards in their colors wheel. Prep your energy bar wrappers, it’s time to smuggle some gold!
So what’s the plan? Cut the entire table from fixing, then reap the rewards of your Midas touch in Packs 2 and 3. For best results, commit to the strategy early and don’t be afraid to put all your Anns in one basket.
And commit I did. Within the first seven picks I collected four fetchlands and a Lotus Cobra. That’s the set up. Having hamstrung the entire table’s ability to get greedy, you set up some truly preposterous late-draft packs. Pack 3 Pick 5, for example, presented these two cards.
I took the Bloodbraid and wheeled the Shardless Agent. All told, I snagged 11 gold cards, which is about half the gold cards present in the entire draft pool. When you pursue a gold strategy, you have to play to the natural strengths of the cards. The assortment of gold cards in most cubes skews heavily towards three and four-drops, so you need to plan your curve accordingly. This means a midrange build, with mono-color cards filling out the lower end of your curve.
My Round 3 opponent wrecked me one game by playing Furnace Celebration, then cracking Fetchlands for four turns straight to obliterate my board. Goodbye Shardless Agent, Flametongue Kavu and Deathrite Shaman. As a killing blow he Entombed for Hellspark Elemental, sacrificed it end of turn to Goblin Bombardment and payed 2 for Furnace Celebration to deal the final 6 points of damage.
In Game 3 of Round 2, I was up against the ropes against a really good tripod (three Birthing Pod) deck. I didn’t have any artifact removal, and despite playing two Cascade creatures, sided in Daze to try and keep a birthing Pod off the table. On the draw I played a Turn 2 Tarmogoyf, then Dazed his Turn 3 Birthing Pod to pump my Goyf to a 4/5. This clocked him out before he could get his absurd Reveillark, Sun Titan, Angel of Serenity madness online.
Growth Spasm is the most fun three-mana ramp spell on the market. I cast it three times this draft, and not once used the Spawn token for mana. Instead, I turned it into a 5/5 dragon twice (thanks Sarkhan), and sacrificed it once to the glory of the
Hypnot Falkenrath Aristocrat.
Costa’s undefeated deck:
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