Dark Ascension Draft Night

Clearly I dabble in the dark arts that is Magic: the Gathering, but I really don’t play all that much.  Mostly,  I just buy cards and never do anything with them.  Well, it turns out that several members of my gaming group also used to play the game a bunch, and we all decided to play an evening of draft.   So we pre-empted last weeks’ normal gaming session with a scheduled game of MTG draft, where each person chipped in $20 and that covered the cards plus food for the evening.


The regular gaming group was invited via the standard email, and we signed people up on a first come, first serve basis.  We were hoping for six people, but actually got 8 attendees: Rob, Brandon, Sean, Derek, Joe, & Albert, plus two guys from outside the group: Icky & Aaron.  All had played magic in the past, but it had been years since most of us had played, and many people had no idea about the set, mechanics, or how draft worked in general.


I don’t normally document what it is we ate on the blog, but this is an exception.  We wanted to make something nice since everyone was chipping in and my wife came up with a suggestion for French Dips (seems logical enough: what else do a bunch of grown men want to eat besides meat?).  She even found a recipe online, and it was pretty fricking amazing, so I just had to share the link.  Amazing French Dip recipe found here.

In total, I collected $160 from everyone for the evening (including myself).  $90 of that was supposed to go towards the box of cards, but I wound up going a little over.  I spent $51 on the sandwiches, and another $25 on a pizza–so I dipped into the card fund by $6 there.


We handled what to play, where to play it, etc. all in advance by hosting a series of polls through Survey Monkey.  We could’ve played the latest set, Shadows Over Innistrad (or as Icky calls it, “Shadows over Innoruuk”), but the poll actually turned out the highest votes for another box of cards I just had laying around: Dark Ascension.  Don’t ask me why it won, as none of us really know anything about the set or it’s sealed value, but it had the most votes, so we went with it.

In advance, I tried to do as much research as I could

My Deck:

I was able to draft cards to make the following deck:

  • Creatures (17)
    • 1 Briarpack Alpha (foil)
    • 2 Dawntrader Elk
    • 2 Forge Devil
    • 1 Kessig Recluse
    • 2 Markov Warlord
    • 1 Mondronen Shaman
    • 2 Pyreheart Wolf
    • 2 Strangleroot Geist
    • 1 Ulvenwald Bear
    • 1 Wolfbitten Captive
    • 2 Young Wolf
  • Spells (7)
    • 1 Burning Oil
    • 1 Fire of Undeath
    • 2 Wild Hunger
    • 3 Wrack with Madness
  • Lands (16)
    • 7 Mountain
    • 9 Forest
  • DarkAscensionDraftBracketGreen:
    • 1 Kessig Recluse
    • 2 Lambholdt Elder
    • 6 Ulvenwald Bear
    • 2 Hollowhenge Beast
    • 1 Crushing Vine
    • 1 Tracker’s Instincts
  • Red:
    • 1 Afflicted Deserter
    • 1 Faithless Looting
    • 1 Fling
    • 1 Hinterland Hermit
    • 1 Russet Wolves
    • 2 Scorch the Fields
    • 1 Torch Fiend
  • Black:
    • 1 Death’s Caress
    • 2 Tragic Slip
    • 1 Vengeful Vampire
  • Blue:
    • 1 Mystic Retrieval
    • 1 Screeching Skaab
    • 1 Griptide
    • 1 Chill of Foreboding
  • Other:
    • 2 Executioner’s Hood
    • 1 Grim Backwoods

I had done a bunch of pre-drafting leading up to the event, and ultimately decided that I wanted to go with Black/Blue or Black/Red.  My first pack didn’t have any good cards from any of those colors, so I started with a foil Briarpack Alpha, and then kept getting passed red and green cards.  Nobody wanted any of the werewolves, so I started drafting them as well (though very few actually made it into my deck).

Throughout the draft, I never saw a mythic, and only once saw one of the uncommon lord cards.  I also found it unique that the people I played with took a very different tact as to what was good in a given set/color.  I kept seeing cards getting passed around when more than half the pack was gone that I would’ve considered strong contenders for the first pick in a pack (in fact, I never got a strangleroot geist until the last half of the last pack, when I was passed two in a row).

Because of the colors I was in, I wound up making a bit of a speed/agro deck.  Due to the limits of the format, I didn’t really think that it would be possible, as it seemed quite slow, but my deck really did consistently put out creatures and hit my curve for the most part.  I claim that’s the biggest reason why I was able to pull down the victory for the night.  To reinforce that notion, the second fastest deck (Icky’s U/W Spirits) wound up taking second place.

The Aftermath:

DarkAscensionHaving never done a proper draft before myself, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I can’t believe how much fun it was.  The drafting experience itself was certainly more fun than the act of playing magic, and that really seemed to be a commonly held belief by all of those in attendance.  By the end of the evening, my cheeks actually hurt a little bit from smiling too much.  Additionally, I had someone go out of their way the next day to call me and tell me how much fun the evening was.  We’re all in agreement that we’re going to do it again in the future, our next set will be Conspiracy though (or perhaps the sequel to it).

Since most people don’t actually play (or collect) magic, many people left their cards behind.  So, while I drafted complete crap when it came to value, I actually managed to retain all four mythics that were opened (including Sorin), which will surely make good decks one day if I ever get around to expending the effort.

We also had four packs leftover, and we opted not to open them, instead we’ll retain them to be packs used for a Chaos draft after Conspiracy.  Yup, we’re already planning that far ahead…


I just thought I’d end it with the links I found helpful in preparing for the draft.





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