(Metagame Archive) The First Champion: Part 3

By Brian Kibler

When we last left our intrepid hero, he’d posted a 6-1 record in the Constructed portion of the Pro Circuit and gone back to his hotel to rest up for the second day of competition. The next morning’s wake-up call seemed to come mere moments after I closed my eyes, and as I crawled out of bed, I found myself hoping the draft would go faster than the Constructed rounds the day before. Every round on Day 1 went to the time limit, which resulted in an incredibly grueling day. The new single-game match system will certainly help remedy this for future events, but as of yet I’m not convinced the cure isn’t worse than the disease. I’m willing to give the tournament team the benefit of the doubt for the time being, but I’m going to reserve judgment until I’ve seen the system in action a few times.

Thankfully, my grand dream of a shorter day came true, and it wasn’t only because there was one fewer round. Two drafts took the place of that extra round, but the pace of play seemed to pick up, with far fewer plot twists in each deck meaning fewer options to consider every turn. While my hopes just as I rolled out of bed had been focused on getting back to sleep, once I sat down to draft I was all business, despite the cobwebs in my head.

Draft 1

I was fortunate coming in to know a few of the players at my table and their preferred strategies, but as luck would have it they were both directly to my left, so that information wouldn’t prove particularly useful. I can hardly bemoan my fortune in this draft, however, as it seemed that the two players I knew—Nick Little and Anthony Justice—were the only two players besides myself with a firm grasp of the draft format. VSUniverse’s John Stephens interviewed me about my draft:

Brian Kibler is one of the most popular personalities on the Magic Pro Tour. His quick smile and friendly laugh makes him a hit in casual conversation and his degree in Philosophy and Religion makes him an interesting serious conversation; sober or not.

Brian took his first draft table by storm, going 3-0 to move from 12th place before the draft into 3rd place, meaning that going 1-2 at this table almost guarantees a Top 8 appearance, and a 2-1 or better record does guarantee it.

We sat down with Brian when he was 2-0 in draft and asked him how things went for him.

“I wanted to draft Gotham Knights and Teen Titans,” he explained. “Teen Titans seems to be overdrafted though, so I like to watch the table for a while first.” Kibler’s plan coming in was to spend the first four picks of the draft on Plot Twists, watching to see what characters came to him. That plan was tossed out the window when he saw Cassandra Cain, Batgirl, in the pack where he would make his second pick.

“I knew that both of the players to my left wanted to draft Gotham Knights,” Kibler said. “If I passed Cassandra Cain then she’s the best pick for him with the 3rd choice. If I let him into Gotham Knights then we’ll be fighting for it the entire time. I didn’t want to get in that situation.”

The situation that Brian put himself in with that choice seems to have been the best one for him. Not only did he get Cassandra with the 2nd pick in the first pack, but he got two more at picks 5 and 6 in pack one. “She’s amazing,” he said. “I’d play five of her, she’s that good.”

Given the chance to play four or five of them Kibler passed on it by not taking two copies of Cassandra he saw in pack three. “My 4 drops looked really good at that point, so I didn’t need another one her. I was able to get late Tag Team’s and a Break You instead of her, which improved my deck.”

“Tag Team is amazing,” Kibler mentioned when I asked why he wanted three of them. “There was a play during Round 9 when my opponent had initiative. He attacked, I double Tag-Teamed, stunning the attacker and keeping my guy alive. He couldn’t make any of the other attacks he’d planned then. I attacked back, using Break You on one of my guys, and really stole the initiative that turn because of Tag Team.”

Initiative is crucial in this game, and the changes between Marvel Origins Draft and DC Origins Draft has made the odd numbers more important according to Brian. “In Marvel draft you wanted to be able to play your 6 drop guy first and attack with him first,” Brian told us. “Now, you want the odd initiatives. I want to play my three drop first and then my five drop Batman.”

Brian Kibler Draft 1 – Pod 2 Characters 3 Tim Drake, Robin 1 Batman, World’s Greatest Detective 1 Huntress 1 Dinah Laurel Lance, Black Canary 3 Cassandra Cain, Batgirl 1 Dick Grayson, Nightwing, High-flying Acrobat 1 Batman, Caped Crusader 1 Killer Croc 1 Lady Shiva 1 Cassie Sandsmark, Wonder Girl 2 Azrael 1 Koriand’r, Starfire, Alien Princess 1 Superman, Big Blue Boy Scout Plot Twists 3 Tag Team 1 Break You 1 From the Shadows 1 Combat Reflexes 1 Fast Getaway 1 Dynamic Duo Locations 1 GothCorp Equipment 1 Crossbow 1 Utility Belt

Kibler’s competition for Draft 2 at Pod 1 was far more experienced in draft. “I knew I wasn’t going to see Cassandra Cain at pick five or six this time,” Brian explained. I know that Gabe on my right and Nick on my left have drafted quite a bit and that they weren’t going to pass me that stuff.”

Kibler’s second deck doesn’t look nearly as good as his first, but it has his highlights. Two copies of Dynamic Duo made him decide he would play a couple of GCPD, who he can toss into a team attack and not worry about someone doing a lot of breakthrough when they attack back.

Brian Kibler
Draft 2 – Pod 1
Characters
1 Ratcatcher
2 GCPD Officer
2 Tim Drake, Robin
1 Dick Grayson, Robin
3 Huntress
3 Cat Woman
1 Man-Bat
1 Batman, Caped Crusader
1 Killer Croc
1 Azrael
1 Batman, The Dark Knight
Plot Twists
2 Dynamic Duo
1 Bat Signal
1 Mega-Blast
1 Fast Getaway
1 From the Shadows
1 Home Surgery
1 Fear and Confusion
1 Death in the Family
1 Break You
Equipment
1 Batplane
Locations
1 Wayne Manor
1 Clocktower

Kibler knows that 2 wins will get him into the Top 8, and stated his willingness to concede to any of the other Pro Magic players if he’s 2-0 in this draft when they meet. I wants to see some of his friends in that Top 8 with him. “I have a prize split with Gabe as well, so I want him to do well.”

Quite simply, my deck was insane. My first few picks were solid, but unamazing, and I situated myself into Gotham Knights quickly by snatching up an early Cassandra Cain ◊ Batgirl, intended as much to keep Anthony and Nick on my left out of the team as anything else. My middle picks didn’t excite me, but when I got a pack sixth with Cassandra Cain, Break You, and another solid plot twist remaining, I knew my deck would end up being a monster. It seemed no one else drafted heavy Gotham Knights (besides, ironically, the poor fellow to my left), as I had the chance to take five Cassandra Cains. I passed two for plot twists, which also just kept coming. I was literally giggling during deckbuilding, and felt that barring running into a ridiculous Teen Titans deck, I was almost assured 3-0.

Brian Kibler Draft 1, Pod 2

Characters

3 Tim Drake ◊ Robin, The Boy Wonder

1 Batman, World’s Greatest Detective

1 Huntress

1 Dinah Laurel Lance ◊ Black Canary

3 Cassandra Cain ◊ Batgirl

1 Dick Grayson ◊ Nightwing, High-Flying Acrobat

1 Batman, Caped Crusader

1 Killer Croc

1 Lady Shiva, Sandra Woosan

1 Cassie Sandsmark ◊ Wonder Girl

2 Azrael

1 Korian

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