Recently I entered my second booster draft.

I was sitting on the couch, planning on just chilling in the house when the Geek Retreat Facebook page posted that they had a special prize that night: the limited edition Sin Collector card. With its exile ability and deliciously creepy artwork, it would be perfect for my Black/White deck.

sin collector foil
Hello, sexy.

Determined to win the card, I decided to make my way to the tournament and texted a couple of pals to see if they were going along. Everyone was busy that night, so it was me drafting alone. I’d been in a tournament before and done alright: I’d come fifth overall under the tutelage of Dan and another participant, but this time my success boiled down to how much I’d learned over the previous months.

After registration and some banter with the other attendees, our pods were arranged and we cracked open our first packs. Dan had sent me some deck ideas that afternoon and I tried to put together combinations based on them, but nothing particularly cohesive appeared.

So I winged it instead.  Theros doesn’t have much response against flying creatures, so to begin with I started selecting all the fliers I could. After pulling a few Prescient Chimeras and Setassan Griffins, I realised this wasn’t the way to go: no properly powerful fliers such as Spellheart Chimera and Medomai the Ageless were appearing, so I changed tack to large blue and green creatures.

When nothing but Vulpine Goliaths popped up, however, I realised that that this would be a terrible idea and I started to panic. With my heart in my mouth, I popped open the second booster and had a flick through…

Cute, but useless.
Cute, but useless.

Luckily I was saved by the appearance of Akroan Hoplite. Picking him out the pack, I decided to make a Red/White deck that utilised the Heroic and Scry mechanics unique to Theros. Because I’d taken so long to decide on my colours, rarer cards were hard to come by, so I bolstered my deck with low cost common and uncommon cards.

With a little tidy up from Michael, my deck was good to go. My sideboard was a travesty, but with this deck and my eye on the prize, I was ready for my first duel.

My first match was against Colin, who had had the same problem with deciding which kind of deck to build. As a result, he’d constructed a three-colour creature deck, which unfortunately didn’t work for two rounds. Despite a sideboard change, I won both duels.

My next opponent, Ryan, had chosen a Red/Black deck. We began the game and I managed to pull ahead for the first round, using my double-scryed Flamespeaker Adept to destroy his defences. Round two was a hard-fought battle, ultimately culminating in Ryan utilising Grey Merchant of Asphodel’s ability to devastating effect.

Round three turned into a war of attrition, with both of us chipping away at each other until Ryan gained the upper hand. I had one round to win and take the match, but things weren’t looking good. After having a look at my limited options, I put down a couple of creatures with high devotion counts, played a few cheap enchantments then slapped down a Fanatic of Mogis, dealing enough direct damage to unexpectedly win the game.

Proof that devotion can be deadly.
Proof that devotion is deadly.

Final score: 2-1 to me.

I was in good stead for winning the limited edition Sin Collector. I jumped into battle with my final opponent Douglas with fire in my belly and my eyes on the prize.  I drew my first card…

And proceeded to get utterly pumped by his White/Blue deck. No matter how hard I tried, I simply couldn’t best him: for every Heroic-triggering spell I cast, he had a Stymied Hopes and whenever I tried to attack, he’d always counter with Voyage’s End. I had no hope against his deck and the match was a whitewash in his favour.

I was doing a different type of crying.
I was doing a different type of crying by this point.

It was no doubt a huge knock to my chances of obtaining the fabled Sin Collector card: I had come so close, yet remained so far. We waited for the other matches to end and sorted out the prize cards. It didn’t really matter, though: the one card I wanted was out of my reach.

Michael walked over to our pod and I hung my head as he announced the winner…

Michael Slevin.

What!? I had won!? But I’d lost my last game badly, so surely I’d had no chance of victory. There must be some mistake!

But no, the results were in and I was the sure victor of my pod. With a massive smile on my face, Michael handed me the grand prize: a limited edition Sin Collector.

Sin Collector Small

I’d taken part in my first solo booster draft and managed to win the card I’d wanted so much. The plan was to put it into my deck, but for now, I think he’ll stay in my folder as a memento of my first prize win.

Bring on next month’s tournaments.