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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.

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