There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Life in the Zoo: Legacy Pt.10- 24 to Richmond

So here I sit, with under 24 hours till the big event in Richmond. I've been watching the Standard coverage for today's 5K, and the player total just kept climbing! 561, that is a bit scary, since many of these players may stay for the Legacy event, and it may be much bigger then I anticipated. More players, means more random decks, and less effective sideboards. Oh well, not much I can do at this point.

I did make a couple of last minute adjustments this week. I've been testing -1 Grove, +Wooded Foothills all week. My final call is to keep the list the way it is, but I need to get on the ball and pile shuffle every time. I refuse to lose games and matches because I fail to shuffle. After all the prep work I've put in, that would just be stupid. I spent a large portion of my time this week testing against CounterTop, in an attempt to nail down my sideboard. Turns out Shusher is just not getting the job done. There is simply to much spot removal, to try and ride this guy to victory against control. By contrast, Stoneforger Mystic continues to play like a champ, although I look forward to the day that I can simply run 2 Jittes.

Now that My deck list is finished, I just need to sleeve, brick, and write up the list, and pull together my gear for the event. I gave Bertha the weekend off, stripped about 12 pages out, and switched over to a travel binder for the event.

  • Deck in Tournament Sleeves
  • Extra Sleeves
  • Completed Deck Registration Sheet
  • Deck Box labeled with incorrect deck name
  • Tokens that have nothing to do with my deck
  • Bag of dice, counters, etc
  • Paper and Pen
  • 2x 5hour Energy
  • 2x Power Bars
  • 3x Granola Bars
  • Water Bottle
  • 2x Drink Mixes
  • Meds
  • Chewing Gum
  • Bag of Trail Mix
  • Travel Trade Binder
  • Casual Deck (DoMT)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Sarkan Vol in Rise of the Eldrazi?

Art by Daarken.

My Life in the Zoo: Legacy Pt.9- Ready for Richmond

So with less then a week before the Richmond Legacy 5k, I've finalized my main list, and working on the side board. I was able to trade into a pair of Stoneforger Mystics last week, and have been testing different options between that and Jitte. While I still want to get a second copy of Jitte for a number of reasons, I have found that one each of Jitte, and one Mystic is the best option for this weekend. With this in mind, I will be running the following list;

Creatures:
Kavu Predator x4
Kird Ape x4
Tarmogoyf x4 (Woolly Thoctar x3)
Qasali Pridemage x4
Wild Nacatl x4
Grim Lavamancer x3 (x4 on the "B" team)
Stoneforge Mystic

Spells:
Invigorate x3
Lightning Bolt x4
Sylvan Library x2
Swords to Plowshares x3
Punishing Fire x3
Umezawa's Jitte

Land:
Arid Mesa x4
Grove of the Burnwillows x4
Plateau x3 (Sacred Foundry x2)
Savannah x2 (Temple Garden)
Tiaga x2 (Stomping Ground)
Windswept Heath
Wooded Foothills
Forest, Mountain, Plains 1 each.

The real question is what will everyone else be bringing. I've been doing a lot of research, and think I have a good preview of what the event will look like. I think the largest list to show up will be far and away Fish, making up as much as 10-12% of the field, and having a +.5 conversion rate. This is good news for me, as I already have a good match up on the list. It's possible that some of the best Fish pilots around are going to be there, so this conversion rate may be desceptivly low.

I think the next largest group will be Dredge/Ant, Bant, Zoo, making up about 7% of the field each. I can face dredge with tech, but Ant is almost always a coin flip. I have a good mirror from the main list choices, and Bant is a bit of an unknown for me. I'll have to check on that, but with  it's poor conversion rate, there is a good chance the field will take care of it for me.

The next largest group should be Goblins/Burn, Thresh, and Countertop, at about 5-6% each. Goblins/Burn is a good match up for me, but Thresh and Countertop are tough games. Thresh's low conversion rate should take care of it self, but Countertop converts at better the +1.25, so I'm going to have to devote some side board tech to this match. A number of other lists are bound to show up. Loam, Land, Belcher, will be there in small percentages, but only Loam has a high enough conversion rate to be a concern. Loam, and Dragon Stompy may be the sleepers of the event. We will just have to see. The rest of the field will be 1-2% lists, and rogue stuff.

This field presents some tough choices for sideboard consideration, because you just can't be ready for everything. For instance, the high conversions rates for mill out strategies like Painter, makes Gaea's Blessing worth considering for a single slot, despite the lists low chance of being seen. This type of combo out is very popular with several of the Virginia Legacy teams, which should be showing up in force. Pithing Needle is an auto include, as it helps in so many match ups, it turns off land abilities, handles planeswalkers, and turns off Top. I think this is going to be a 4 of, but I may need to adjust the number.

I think the Dark Horse of the event will be AggroLoam, so I think some mix of Crypt and Relic is a must. This will also help me with the Drege and Reanimator list which are sure to show up, even if in small numbers. Next up on the hit parade I expect is CounterTop. Luckily I've had the opportunity to test against this deck, and some very competent pilots for the better part of 6 months, unfortunatly beating it is still a bit of a challenge, so this is going to be a major board consideration. I already have Needles, which may go in against this deck. I think a mix of 2 Shushers, and 2 REB's gives me a solid leg up against countertop, and other blue control decks. The last big threat will be Zoo, and I already have a great main list mirror, so I'm not going to worry about it in the board. My last slots I think I'll put to Canonist, to help fight combo elves, ANT, Belcher, and Storm based becks. Both of thesee have been on the rise recently, and have low barriers to entry for Legacy.

With all this in mind, I'm going to run the following board;

Gaea's Blessing
Tormod's Crypt
Relic of Progenitus x2
Vexing Shusher x2
Red Elemental Blasts x2
Ethersworn Canonist x3
While I think that 20 lands is the way to go when running the A team, I'm a little concerned about the land mix. My testing this week will focus on replacing a single Grove with a Wooded foothills. I'm thinking this may be the way to go.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Repack Walk Through- Week 8

February's Repack event was another great one. We had 11 players participate, including 2 new players, and a spectrum of ages involved. An unexpected star this month, was my own son Tater, who went 2-0-1, and took second, only to dear old Dad. His 45 card deck, was a little too short on Land and creatures in my opinion, but is appears to have gotten the job done. Every creature in the deck was solidly above the curve.
I really enjoyed the drafting process this month, hearing several veteran players comment how how hard it was to make draft choices with so many good options. That's just the sort of thing a TO in this format wants to hear.

While I've been very pleased with the events using the current pack set up, several TO's and I have been discussing a slight shift, in order to address several deficiencies in the format. Repack tends to be very creature focused, with very little color fixing, and short on removal. There has also been a lot of interest in expanding the Mill option in blue, since this is a dedicated limited format, and a real opportunity for this Alternate Win Condition to shine. The thought process is by cutting an Eternal common, for a fifth Extended common, would allow more opportunity to address these issues. This would give a pack make up of 1 rare, 3 uncommon, 3 eternal commons, 5 Extended commons, and 3 Standard commons. This focus on controlling the Extended portion is currently underway in my own card pool. I've made arrangements to sell of 1000 commons (which are not very good for the format) as bulk for a grand total of $5, which will be spent on targeted Extended commons, to expand these roles. Items like Terramorphic Expanse, bounce dual lands, red and black removal, blue milling, quality red creatures, green ramp/color fixing, white weenie support cards, will provide more consistent and diverse deck options at repack events. While this a a 10x for one trade off, I do think the the difference in quality, will more then make up for the reduction in volume.

So, now back to the walk through. Each week I crack a repack, and do a walk through of the contents. I've seen these sort of draft walk through done a lot of different ways, but in my mind, there is one critical question to ask about every card. Should this wheel and why? I use a three point system to analyze a pack  In a "normal" pack, there should be 5 cards of each grade in them.

1) Shouldn't Wheel- these are the best cards in the pack, and should be scooped up before the pack comes back around. Your first pick should almost always come from this group, since odds are you shouldn't see any of them again. If one of these does come back around, and it still fits your developing plan, it's almost a sure thing to pick up on the wheel. One of these coming around may also indicate an open color, or deck strategy, and always worth giving a little thought to.

2) May Wheel-I put these at a 50/50 to wheel. your second pick in the pack will usually come from this group, since the #1 in the pack should already be gone. This group will tell you more about the other decks forming at the table then any other source of information. When the pack wheels around to you in pick nine, there should only be two cards from his group left, picks 9 and 10. The three that are already gone tell you a lot about the "best decks" being built by players 6, 7, and 8. Like wise the card you don't pick, will give you a clue to the "best deck" to be built by the player in position 2. This for all intensive purposes gives you a peek at 4 other decks being constructed. Counting your own deck, this gives you some degree of contrived knowledge about 5 out of 8 decks. If you do this type of thinking for all three packs int he draft, in addition to having perfect knowledge of your deck, you have had 3 peeks at 2 decks (positions 2, and 8), 2 peeks at 2 decks (positions 6, and 7), and one peek at 2 additional decks (positions 3, and 4). It's not a perfect world, and certainly as much art as science, but that is a lot of potential information. Since Repack is main deck mod, you should have a good idea of what you may face against nearly any other player at the table.

3) Should Wheel- This is the crap of the crap. If it wheels, it's exactly what I expected, and increases the likeliness of the predictions made from group 2. If it doesn't it makes things a bit more interesting. In essence it tells me that one or more persons isn't building their "best deck" instead making sub-optimal picks. In this case you are much more likely to have four "bester" decks, those that benefited from better then expected late picks, and then four "worster" decks, those making bad picks, or getting the shaft as others jump on cards expected for their "best" deck.
Loafing Giant 2
Lifetap 2
Lure 2
Earth Elemental 1
Phantasmal Terrain 3
Power Sink 3
Raging Goblin 2
Funeral March 3
Ingot Chewer 2
Stingmoggie 2
Wildsize 1
Foriysian Interceptor 1
Zephyer Sprite 2
Vampire Aristocrat 1
Viashino Skeleton 3

This is a goo pack with nice spread of power level, and color spread. It's color is a little heavy on red, abnd blue, but understandably so since these color appear in the uncommon slots, and the rare slot. The clear strongest card in the pack is the earth Elemental. Did you spot the combo between Lifetap, and Phantasmal Terrain? I'd really be tempted to first pick the Lifetap, knowing that nearly all the other blue in this pack would wheel, especially if it's a small enough pod that I could get two of those cards. Terrain effects are common enough in blue, that you could make an interesting control deck.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Reserved List on the Ropes: A Chance to Save Legacy with Reprints

If you are reading this, it probably comes as no surprise that the Legacy format has become a power house recently. It has experienced unprecedented growth over the last year, and the format is more popular today then at any other point in it's history. Some very reasonable estimates indicate that there are 10-20x more active Legacy players today then there were just one year ago. Even taking into account the recently massive growth of Magic on whole, the Legacy format has been growing by leaps and bounds. Wizards, the DCI, and TO's of all sizes have done a great job of giving players reasons to want to play Legacy.

That is what brings us to the potential problem. We have created a situation of relative limitless demand for the format, and thus the cards with which the format is built. Supply of many of these cards doesn't even come close to meeting the current demand. Future demand runs the risk of being insurmountable in magnitude. For instance nearly every multi-color deck in Legacy makes use of the original dual lands. It's a significant portion of the base of the format. First off, yes you can play without these, at some playable cost to your list. Mono-color decks can lack versatility and resilience, and substitutes, like the Ravnica shock-lands, have built in costs. So yes, you can play without the original duals, but ideally, every player is going to want some.

Some rough mathematics, based on the early print runs, and card frequency shows that there may be as few as 57,000 English play sets of any given dual land. Now that sounds like a lot at first glance, but you have to look other factors. How many of those cards are still in sealed packs? How many of those cards have been damage beyond practical play limits? How many of those cards are place in collection binders, never to be played in the foreseeable future? How many of those cards are owned and used by the massive non-competitive Magic Community, not available to those competitive players looking to participate in Legacy? The sad fact is we just don't know, and probably never will, but a number of Magic Scholars would estimate that roughly 50% of these cards are not in competitive circulation. Now that is a huge change for any functional population, and regardless of the quantity I think we can all agree that there are some cards that fall out of competitive circulation for some reason or another. Today the DCI reports that there are 34,418 "active" eternal players, so one could easily argue that there is not even one full playset available for each of today's players. Now dual lands are relatively plentiful, having been printed in 4 sets with a total print run which may be as high as 550 million total cards. Even with so many in circulation, playsets often go for $200 or more.

When talk about Legacy, it doesn't take long for Force of Will to come into the conversation. This card was only printed one time, but luckily was done so as an uncommon. Estimates indicate that there may be as many as 275,000 playset printed. Despite this quantity, this card retails as high as $200 a set.

Wasteland is inarguably the number one card in Legacy. This card also has only been printed in one major release with Tempest, and was printed as Uncommon. The Tempest release is estimated to have put 175,000 playsets in to circulation. It also had a small release as a Player Rewards card. With these two releases, the card still pulls in $100/$160 per set.

Another, and more recent Legacy staple is Tarmogoyf. It's single appearance as a rare in the Futuresight set is estimated to have put between 50,000-250,000 playsets into circulation. Print runs after Tempest Block are much harder to estimate, as the printers contracted by Wizards of the Coast appear to be legally restricted from giving information about their contracts. This card currently goes for $360 a set. The biggest issue is that Goyf will continue to be Extended legal for roughly another 4 years, further straining the supply.

Honestly, you can play Legacy with out any of these cards, but odds are you are going to want at least one or more of these playsets for a competitive Legacy list. The bottom line is Legacy demand is getting bigger, while the supply of key cards isn't. Wizards recent new enforcement of the Reserved list could address some of these issues, particularly with the dual lands, which are the backbone of the format. Wizards broader interpretation of the Reserved list, with regards to Premium cards, could allow them to put a limited number of new premium duals, into competitive circulation. These could be distributed in a number of ways.

What if multi-color Intro packs for future sets had a "1 in X" chance of having a premium, appropriately aligned dual land in it? I don't know what the total production of an Intro Pack is, so what the "X" should be is highly variable. In any case I think you could put as many as 2,000 playsets of a given dual land into circulation, without noticably impacting the value of existing copies. Not only would you help boost Legacy play, but you would also sell Intro Packs, for more then the value of the known rares. These sales would also be far more likely to got to veteran players, increasing the sales base beyond new players.

You could also distribute these cards as Judge Promos, or ultra player rewards ( like one for every 100 or even 1000 event participation). I think distributing these to Judges, doesn't directly address the issue, since many of them may not have an interest in playing Legacy. The exact details would have to be worked out, and I still think there needs to be an upper limit to how many they are willing to put out. Legacy has shown a huge potential for growth, but in order for it to continue, Wizards needs to find away to get more of the base cards into circulation.

Repack Walk Through- Week 7

January's Repack Draft event was great. We had a 9 person turn out, and becaus eof how everything finished up, everyone who entered was able to win something. So with no further bluster, here is Week 7 of the repack Walk Through. Each week I crack a repack, and do a walk through of the contents. I've seen these sort of draft walk through done a lot of different ways, but in my mind, there is one critical question to ask about every card. Should this wheel and why? I use a three point system to analyze a pack  In a "normal" pack, there should be 5 cards of each grade in them.

1) Shouldn't Wheel- these are the best cards in the pack, and should be scooped up before the pack comes back around. Your first pick should almost always come from this group, since odds are you shouldn't see any of them again. If one of these does come back around, and it still fits your developing plan, it's almost a sure thing to pick up on the wheel. One of these coming around may also indicate an open color, or deck strategy, and always worth giving a little thought to.

2) May Wheel-I put these at a 50/50 to wheel. your second pick in the pack will usually come from this group, since the #1 in the pack should already be gone. This group will tell you more about the other decks forming at the table then any other source of information. When the pack wheels around to you in pick nine, there should only be two cards from his group left, picks 9 and 10. The three that are already gone tell you a lot about the "best decks" being built by players 6, 7, and 8. Like wise the card you don't pick, will give you a clue to the "best deck" to be built by the player in position 2. This for all intensive purposes gives you a peek at 4 other decks being constructed. Counting your own deck, this gives you some degree of contrived knowledge about 5 out of 8 decks. If you do this type of thinking for all three packs int he draft, in addition to having perfect knowledge of your deck, you have had 3 peeks at 2 decks (positions 2, and 8), 2 peeks at 2 decks (positions 6, and 7), and one peek at 2 additional decks (positions 3, and 4). It's not a perfect world, and certainly as much art as science, but that is a lot of potential information. Since Repack is main deck mod, you should have a good idea of what you may face against nearly any other player at the table.

3) Should Wheel- This is the crap of the crap. If it wheels, it's exactly what I expected, and increases the likeliness of the predictions made from group 2. If it doesn't it makes things a bit more interesting. In essence it tells me that one or more persons isn't building their "best deck" instead making sub-optimal picks. In this case you are much more likely to have four "bester" decks, those that benefited from better then expected late picks, and then four "worster" decks, those making bad picks, or getting the shaft as others jump on cards expected for their "best" deck.
Blinkmoth Urn 2
Enormous Baloth 1
Drudge Skeleton 2
Wall of Bone 2
Healing Salve 3
Death's Duet 2
Icatian Moneychanger 2
Storm Crow 2
Sigil of Sleep 3
Strength in Numbers 1
Stingmoggie 2
Acceptable Losses 2
Weakness 1
Stormfront Pegasus 3
Darklit Gargoyle 2

This is a decent pack. It's mid-range power level, will tell you a lot on the wheel, about what colors are drafted around you. It's color is a little heavy on white black, but the other color should have clear signals.The clear strongest card in the pack is the Baloth, which will nearly cut green in this pack. The weaker blue and Red may allow you to undervalue potential picks in those colors in pack three.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Repack Walk Through- Week 6

Wow, here we are in Week 6 of the repack Walk Through. Each week I crack a repack, and do a walk through of the contents. I've seen these sort of draft walk through done a lot of different ways, but in my mind, there is one critical question to ask about every card. Should this wheel and why? I use a three point system to analyze a pack  In a "normal" pack, there should be 5 cards of each grade in them.

1) Shouldn't Wheel- these are the best cards in the pack, and should be scooped up before the pack comes back around. Your first pick should almost always come from this group, since odds are you shouldn't see any of them again. If one of these does come back around, and it still fits your developing plan, it's almost a sure thing to pick up on the wheel. One of these coming around may also indicate an open color, or deck strategy, and always worth giving a little thought to.

2) May Wheel-I put these at a 50/50 to wheel. your second pick in the pack will usually come from this group, since the #1 in the pack should already be gone. This group will tell you more about the other decks forming at the table then any other source of information. When the pack wheels around to you in pick nine, there should only be two cards from his group left, picks 9 and 10. The three that are already gone tell you a lot about the "best decks" being built by players 6, 7, and 8. Like wise the card you don't pick, will give you a clue to the "best deck" to be built by the player in position 2. This for all intensive purposes gives you a peek at 4 other decks being constructed. Counting your own deck, this gives you some degree of contrived knowledge about 5 out of 8 decks. If you do this type of thinking for all three packs int he draft, in addition to having perfect knowledge of your deck, you have had 3 peeks at 2 decks (positions 2, and 8), 2 peeks at 2 decks (positions 6, and 7), and one peek at 2 additional decks (positions 3, and 4). It's not a perfect world, and certainly as much art as science, but that is a lot of potential information. Since Repack is main deck mod, you should have a good idea of what you may face against nearly any other player at the table.

3) Should Wheel- This is the crap of the crap. If it wheels, it's exactly what I expected, and increases the likeliness of the predictions made from group 2. If it doesn't it makes things a bit more interesting. In essence it tells me that one or more persons isn't building their "best deck" instead making sub-optimal picks. In this case you are much more likely to have four "bester" decks, those that benefited from better then expected late picks, and then four "worster" decks, those making bad picks, or getting the shaft as others jump on cards expected for their "best" deck.

Pale Moon 3
Esper Battlemage 2
Puppet Conjurer 2
Air Elemental 1
Tolarian Winds 2
Abandoned Outpost 3
Horned Turtle 1
Healing Salve 2
Samite Healer 3
Horseshoe Crab 1
Spitting Earth 2
Weed-Pruner Poplar 1
Sparkmage Apprentice 3
Veteran Armorsmith 2
Grave Digger 2

This is not the sort of pack an organizer really wants to see. it's strng power level, and color skew, is going to create some odd draft scenarios. In my mind the clear strongest card int he pack is the Air Elemental. The problem is that 2/3 of the other top picks here are also blue, nearly insuring that you will spend the rest of the draft fighting for good blue cards. I'd really be tempted to take the Weed-Pruner, and le teh other players fight for the blue. Gravedigger would make a nice pick on the wheel.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Grim Tidings #20 - Superbowl Let-Down

(...Follow up to Grim Tidings #18)

Late in the fourth quarter of Superbowl 44, as the Colts were down 24-17, Peyton Manning threw an interception which was returned for a TD. The game was slowly slipping away, and that misplay essentially killed any chance for a miraculous comeback. I cursed in disgust, threw my hat on the floor, and conceded defeat at that point, How could my team, and experienced team of veterans, let the NFL Championship slip away like this?

The Colts were outplayed and outcoached on February 7th, 2010. Sean Payton coached a gutsy game plan, laying it all out there in an attempt to win. From their 4th & Goal attempt to the onside kick, the Saints were fearless. They adjusted to the Colts, and did what it took to secure the win.

The Colts were really stunned by that onside kick. I was too. Just when the Defense expected to Peyton to go out there and add to their slim lead, they were forced to return to the field and resume being dominated by the rolling Saints offense. The momentum was disrupted, and the game was slipping away. Compound that with a missed 51-yard field goal (personally, I would have punted) and the evening went sour pretty quick.

So at that precise the moment of my frustration, as anger and disappointment was at its peak, and the Colts defeat was surely imminent, I am taught an important life lesson. My precious one-year old daughter Maggie, who suffered through literally 11 consecutive hours of football coverage this sour day, successfully fit the letter “G” into the side her “Alphabet Train”, and looked to me for approval. She was oblivious to the Superbowl. Maggie was grinning ear to ear with her accomplishment, giggling and having fun while she sat on the floor in her cute little Penguin-PJ’s. I look at my wife, and realize at that exact moment, that football is only a game, and family is what really matters.

Its easy to forget that sometimes. My wife and daughter are the only things truly I care about in this world, although it’s easy to wrapped up in the pursuit of winning. The real prize from yesterday was the opportunity to sit in the living room with Maggie all day and watch her play and learn and grow. Whether it was matching two of her Noah’s ark animals, or playing in the big cardboard box her car seat came in, my time with her is priceless.

Likewise in Magic, I find myself consumed with winning sometimes. Probably not as often as I was ten-years ago, but occasionally I build decks that aren’t as fun for everyone else as I think they should be. Whether it’s a DBAD hoser like Blood Moon, or a recursive combo with Recurring Nightmare, I forget sometimes that this is just a hobby, and its meant to be fun, especially at the casual table I frequent every week. Brutal winning at the misery of everyone else (though cute the first time) isn’t really my style for playing a “game”.

I guess that’s why I like janky cards like Grim Reminder so much. As trashy as it is, it is my signature, a way to reflect my Mr. Suitcase reputation and personality of someone who has everything. I may not win any tournaments with it, but as Maggie poignantly taught me yesterday, its really not about the final outcome, but the fun of the experience you have while getting there.

Not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed the Colts winning the Superbowl too, its just not as all-important as I thought it was. There’s always next year. Go Colts!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Repack Walk Through- Week 5

Welcome back to Walk Through Project, now in it's fifth week. Like every other week, I'm going to crack a repack, and do a walk through of the contents. I've seen these sort of draft walk through done a lot of different ways, but in my mind, there is one critical question to ask about every card. Should this wheel and why? I use a three point system to analyze a pack  In a "normal" pack, there should be 5 cards of each grade in them.

1) Shouldn't Wheel- these are the best cards in the pack, and should be scooped up before the pack comes back around. Your first pick should almost always come from this group, since odds are you shouldn't see any of them again. If one of these does come back around, and it still fits your developing plan, it's almost a sure thing to pick up on the wheel. One of these coming around may also indicate an open color, or deck strategy, and always worth giving a little thought to.

2) May Wheel-I put these at a 50/50 to wheel. your second pick in the pack will usually come from this group, since the #1 in the pack should already be gone. This group will tell you more about the other decks forming at the table then any other source of information. When the pack wheels around to you in pick nine, there should only be two cards from his group left, picks 9 and 10. The three that are already gone tell you a lot about the "best decks" being built by players 6, 7, and 8. Like wise the card you don't pick, will give you a clue to the "best deck" to be built by the player in position 2. This for all intensive purposes gives you a peek at 4 other decks being constructed. Counting your own deck, this gives you some degree of contrived knowledge about 5 out of 8 decks. If you do this type of thinking for all three packs int he draft, in addition to having perfect knowledge of your deck, you have had 3 peeks at 2 decks (positions 2, and 8), 2 peeks at 2 decks (positions 6, and 7), and one peek at 2 additional decks (positions 3, and 4). It's not a perfect world, and certainly as much art as science, but that is a lot of potential information. Since Repack is main deck mod, you should have a good idea of what you may face against nearly any other player at the table.

3) Should Wheel- This is the crap of the crap. If it wheels, it's exactly what I expected, and increases the likeliness of the predictions made from group 2. If it doesn't it makes things a bit more interesting. In essence it tells me that one or more persons isn't building their "best deck" instead making sub-optimal picks. In this case you are much more likely to have four "bester" decks, those that benefited from better then expected late picks, and then four "worster" decks, those making bad picks, or getting the shaft as others jump on cards expected for their "best" deck.

Honorable Passage 2
Thunder-Thrash Elder 2
Gustcloak Cavalier 1
Research the Deep 2
Immolation 3
Disciple of Grace 1
Emerald Dragonfly 2
Holy Light 2
Fist of Ironwood 2
Frightcrawler 1
Wickerbough Elder 1
Grim Harvest 1
Obelisk of Grixis 3
Bloodthorn Taunter 3
Rampant Growth 3

While this pack has a good power distribution, it's color distribution is a bit lacking. Clearly White is the strongest color in the pack, and Blue is almost nil. My first pick here would have to be Grim Harvest, repeatable graveyard recovery is so good in this format. All the other level one picks are good creatures for the format, which will impact the board, as well as future draft selections. Going black on the first pick, almost insures nothing black on the wheel. Picks of the 2nd grade cards in this pack, would be totally dependant on what other picks you made in the course of the draft.