First pick Castle Raptor over Ixidron because there are other blue cards in the pack and I feel like playing solid cards that will always do me well. Other choices are Sol'Kanar and Spiketail. Second pick is Might Sliver over 2/2 white flanker. I never get Might Slivers, so I figure maybe now is my chance. But I hate drafting slivers over better cards. I take Watcher Sliver over Looter, then get a Spinneret Sliver, then take Gemhide Sliver over Fathom Seer (argh!) but can't resist taking Chromatic Star over Venser Sliver.
A second Gemhide says I can do as many colours as I want, but I don't get to long range the 5-colour 4/4 Ur-Dragon. I end up in GWr with two Bonesplitters, Lightning Axe and Rift Bolt maindeck (4/4 Trampling sliver and red Prodigal in the side). Every card is good - Penumbra Spider, Stonecloaker, Saltfield Recluse, Poultice Sliver, Cloudchaser, two Citanul Woodreaders, 2 Amrou Seekers, Mire Boa, Errant Doomsayers and Sunlance.
My first round opponent is Japanese with an 1846 ranking, "kajikaji". Perhaps a Japanese pro?
I miss my 4th land drop but know to play the Seeker before the regenerating sliver and start hitting for 2. But with no 4th land in side, I trade the Poultice for Flowstone Channeler so my Boa can hit play because I need to stay high in life for when the Halbedier un-suspends. Unfortunately, he has Prodigal so the trade isn't worth it, and I draw the 4th land so I could have hit with the Bonesplitter'd 4/2 regenerator. My inexperience with (and lack of faith in) slivers is showing.
Watcher followed by Might followed by Bonesplitter would seem to be good times, but Temporal Isolation and Fortify on the 4/1 takes down the Watcher and the Might sliver. Again, my error entirely - I knew I passed two Fortify and should have taken the hit and waited until I had mana open for Lightning Axe. Luckily Orcish Cannonade took out the Seeker so we're still close on life at 14 to 13 for me.
The Lightning Axe turns out handy on the Pardic Dragon next turn, and Saltfield Recluse says I'll win the race if he doesn't have anything. Unfortunately he does and Skirk Shaman makes the board more complicated. I top-deck a 4/4 Spinneret Sliver and I'm feeling a lot better at 4 life facing a pinger, 4/1 and 2/2 red fear guy. He does nothing and I draw a second seeker. This allows me to attack with the 4/4 green sliver, keep the 4/4 red sliver back, and still have extra creatures and tricks so he concedes.
Game two has me open weakly with two Forests, two Plains, Poultice and Bonesplitter Sliver and Saltfield Recluse. Not aggressive unless he has no blockers and I draw a Mountain. Again I make the grievous error of trading Poultice Sliver for Mogg War Marshall and a token. A ridiculously bad trade given that I drew the mountain and would have two 4/2 regenerating slivers the following turn. Skirk Shaman laughs at the Spider I play instead, and despite stalling at three lands, he continues to play spells with Flowstone Channeler. I again get foolishly aggressive and attack with the spider into Red-White leaving only a 4/2 to block. It's sometimes tough to watch these games afterwards when I can see just how stupid I'm playing. He takes the two to 18 and Sudden Shocks my guy (so losing the Poultice earlier wasn't so bad) to hit me for 5 down to 11.
I'm up to 6 mana now with two more in hand. I play out the Recluse and keep Stonecloaker back. My problem with Stonecloaker is that I want to be aggressive with it, I don't want to sit around. But finally I'm in a position to sit around as the board is at parity.
Did I say parity? I meant...parity. A suspended Pardic Dragon (he's still at 3 mana) is very ineffective against gating creatures and I begin the Stonecloaker dance to put on those time counters.
He attacks with everything and I know I'm screwed - he's holding Fortify. Why am I screwed? Because I foolishly attacked with the Spider again thinking the Stonecloaker provided defence! The Stonecloaker trades with a 4/2 Channeler and I take 5 down to 4 because I'm stupid.
Might Sliver comes into play only to face Aether Membrane (not a combo with a suspended Pardic Dragon) so I lay an 8th land and follow up with Watcher Sliver and the Spider that came to hide for the Stonecloaker. This is where my earlier Chromatic Star pick comes to haunt me as he plays a 5/7 Venser sliver that I can only glare at with frustration. I hated 9 other slivers (some in my colours), but not the one that was most important.
He plays Eron the Relentless while I draw my 10th and 11th lands. Suddenly his 5/7, 5/2 and 2/2 attack into my two 4/6s and a 2/4. What's up with this? Apparently nothing - he loses the Venser and I turn a Spider into a token and take no damage. I draw Rift Bolt for Eron and now I can attack back with everything to apply pressure!
Except, of course, that I'm a frickin' idiot. Those of you who are shaking your head at how stupid I must be to attack into a Membrane with a token creature deserve to be winning more 8-4 drafts. Or perhaps FNM and pre-releases. I lose the 2/4 spider, kill a goblin token, and hit him to 12. He slaps down a Basalt Gargoyle that I can no longer block while I draw land #12. I continue to attack into the Membrane and deal 4 a turn while making sure the Dragon will never see play, but as I draw the 13th land in 21 cards, I am forced to concede because of my own idiocy. The top two cards are Chromatic Star and land, but this game was mine for the taking if I had played it properly at all.
Game 3 has the usual "mulligan or not?" question:
Castle Raptors, Lightning Axe, Bonesplitter Sliver, Citanul Woodreader, Mountain, Plains, Plains.
I think this is a keeper even though I can't play any spells. I have 9 green sources that get the Woodreaders out, and any land gets a Bonesplitter while two lands gets me the Raptor, all the while having Lightning Axe back-up.
By turn four I haven't draw another land but I have drawn a Cloudchaser for turn three and Chromatic Star for turn 4. I decide to hold the Star and pop it for green and the Woodreader on turn 5 as I still haven't draw a 4th land and I'm now facing two 1/1 goblins and a Basalt Gargoyle.
I did, however, draw Stonecloaker, but I still don't know how to use it properly. I finally draw the Forest so with a 2/2 flier and 1/4 guy in play, I can Axe, play any of two Bonesplitters and a Watcher, or hold back on Stonecloaker.
I decide to hit with the Cloudchaser to make it a bit of a race, and play the Watcher to hold the ground hoping that my sliver combos will overwhelm the losing race in the air. He hits six mana and the Dragon comes to play once again. This necessitates a Lava Axe (discarding a just-drawn Woodreader) and I attack with the 2/2 and 2/4, this time intelligently leaving the 1/4 back in case of shenanigans. Perhaps I should have attacked with the 1/4 and attempted to lure a goblin in for Stonecloaker beatings?
A moot point as he plays Venser Sliver and Sudden Shocks my Stonecloaker when I exchange it for the Woodreaders. It's turn 8, I'm at 9 life, and I'm agonizing for a land so I can play the Raptor and solidify the board. Can "agonizing" even be used that way?
I attack for 2 knocking him to 12 and play a Bonesplitter so I have two 4/4s in play. Only when he attacks with everything do I realize what a stupid thing I've done - the man has two Fortify! Had I kept the Cloudchaser back, then I get another turn and maybe the Castle Raptor, or the other Bonesplitter, or anything that isn't being dead!
But as usual, I can't really complain - it was my own fault. Exactly how many times do you hear that from someone whining about their Magic loss?
[EDIT: I forgot to mention that for game 3 I put in an 18th land to go with the Star and the two Gemhide Slivers because I was worried his multiple pingers would batter my mana base. 20 sources and still no 5th land!]