Ice Age Block Draft

Paul DeSilva
May 8, 2019 · 20 min read

Written by Sister Seth

On May 4th, the Sisters of the Flame decide to go back to the age of ice and snow. We held an 8 person Ice Age block draft! The format was:

2x Boosters of Ice Age
1x Booster of Alliances
2x Boosters of Homelands

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$3.59

This was our 4th Old School draft and we previously always featured a pack of Chronicles, which meant that taking a first pick Elder Dragon always put me on three color monstrosities that durdled forever, trying to resolve and win with a legendary monster that made my inner ten year old smile. With no potential for a Dragon, I knew I could try something new and was looking forward to messing around with some weird cards that I normally wouldn’t get to play. The draft didn’t disappoint. Luckily, this time I drank a little less and consumed a little less so I remembered a little more. Onto the draft!

PACK 1 — ICE AGE

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This pack was a dog. is Ok as it can sometimes pick off a couple weenies, but in general, it’s an over-costed Fireball. Still, it’s a first pick. I would have been happy to take something stronger, but luckily this pack was terrible.

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Not a terribly strong pack, but is a house. He is above curve and provides a nice answer to flyers which are a great way to win stalemates. While he really requires a R/G list, I am happy to sort of commit to that knowing that green itself can be incredibly deep in Ice Age.

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This pack is the start of the draft paying dividends to picking green. Minion is a house, but I like Centaur more and I also liked the idea of an aggressive R/G ramp deck. fits that perfectly as he is basically the biggest creature in the format. To be fair, Wild Growth and Folk of the Pines are both fine cards and you could easily make the argument for both of them.

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I pick the here. While I still think it was the correct pick, I admit I did not read the card. I sort of assumed it was the same as Rock Hydra, unfortunately I missed the memo that Wizards had to fix the all too powerful Rock Hydra. Anyway, he is a big dude that can swing, something I still wanted.

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Mountain Goat is fine to be honest. Mainly because creature stalemates happen and he can punch through. However, is a house and shouldn’t be in a pack this late. So I hate drafted it.

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The wolverines are nice and not terrible. However, I was already thinking of a ramp deck here. A cheap wall that can accelerate seemed to be what I wanted so I took the .

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Here I get a gift. A seventh pick is fantastic as he is likely the best four drop in my colors in Ice Age.

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Easy snap pick. An 8th pick is awesome as I just want ramp. To be honest, I was surprised how strong these later picks were for me. In general, the set isn’t as deep as newer sets, but these cards are not only playable but just strong pieces in decks.

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I took . Unlikely I play it, but a cantrip-ing removal spell isn’t terrible and against the weenie flyers, I knew this would be a great sideboard card. That and nothing else was playable, at least I hope my deck is good enough to make the rest unplayable.

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I am so happy to see the here. Ramp is what I want. The format is slow enough to make a three mana slow ramp like this good. He also works nicely with Wild Growth to really give you some explosive starts.

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The gifts keep coming. The second for my deck is awesome.

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is a thing. I am happy to potentially board it as I think some decks will attempt three colors while Ice Flow is fantastic.

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. I will not play it. But it has great flavor.

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AIIIEEEE!

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After the first pack, I was super excited to be honest. It had a couple nice threats, a shitty removal spell and solid ramp. Coming out of that pack with all these role players made me feel good that if I could grab a bomb in the second Ice Age pack or Alliances pack, I would be in a good spot.

PACK 2 — ICE AGE

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This pack was absurd. It has legit five first picks here. While I hate to pass the Lava Burst, is the best card in the set, an easy first pick. And with how deep this pack is I am thinking something good will wheel, hopefully the Folk as she is a fantastic creature, made even better with a ramp deck as she can utilize all that extra mana to close games out quickly.

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A weak pack, but a great creature for me. is a house. Two are even better than one. It is great to have such a strong, above curve dude, and now I have two.

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Soul Burn is awesome, but ramp is what I need. So the second is fairly easy for me to pick. Ultimately, I would only use one in my deck due to a fairly deep card pool, but there is no chance I play anything else in this pack so it’s an easy pick.

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Hill Giants are good in general. just has worse art. So he is my pick.

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is so strong, and I doubt a second tinder Wall makes my deck. So, I waste a pick on the Spellcaster. Sometimes you just have to be a dick.

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So many cool cards in this pack. I so wanted to take Marton Stromgald. I just didn’t see my deck having enough creatures to make him a reliable source of pump. This may have been wrong, but I went with the safe pick and grabbed a . I knew I would be hoping to grab a Joven in the Homelands pack, but if not, I knew I needed an answer to artifacts.

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I take . Again, Hill Giants aren’t bad. Goblin Snowman is cooler, but I wanted to be aggressive, not block.

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What a nice gift. An eighth pick is fantastic. I am a ramp deck, and in general for these slower sets, Rampant Growth effects are fantastic early picks. Thanks guys!

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The wheeled just as suspected. An easy pick and a fantastic card. I was surprised to see a Soul Burn here, but I guess nobody was on R/B at the table and as a result I guess people worried about the ability to hit big drain life effects. I think that is wrong as often just hitting for 2–3 is enough to get the evasion creature and allowing you to stabilize.

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is a nice card if I get paired against a green deck, unlikely to be played maindeck, but a solid pick up none the less.

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isn’t a terrible card. I can see a need to use it to push through damage in stalemate situations. Unlikely I play it, but something to keep in mind.

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is the pick. The card is bad, but I love its art and what it does. While I didn’t play it, I could see using this on a Scaled Wurm for plenty of damage.

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is the pick. Actually, not a terrible card. I am still unsure how good these pseudo-equipment are. They don’t seem bad though.

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is not a terrible creature. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a Giant Growth or other pump spell to really make him a hard hitter.

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is the pick. Definitely not playing this.

PACK 3 — ALLIANCES

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is the easy pick. It’s a great removal spell and one of the only cards in my color. I need to state it, I did not read all of Bounty of the Hunt. I thought the card was great but apparently it is different than the other pitch spells that have counters as the last line of the card says that the counters are removed at end of turn. I didn’t catch this till after round one. I am really sorry for that and it goes to show that you should always read the cards. But man I have to say, cards were weird back then.

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is the easy pick here. While not as good as Incinerate it’s a nice removal spell and great for killing the weak flyers of the format which I have no real answer to.

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Here I get another bomb basically. is amazing. As a regenerating threat its just a fantastic body that is so tough to get rid of. Super pumped to get this as my four drop space is filling up nicely.

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Here I take the first of 2 . In truth, I thought the card was better than it is, but its still not bad. Knowing what I know now, I would likely take the Gorilla Berserkers, but in the end they may not have made my deck anyway.

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I take here. The card seems to have some great upside, especially with all the big monsters I have. I did not use it in my main deck, but it would replace the Bounty of the Hunt after round 1. However, I never drew the card so I have no idea how good it would be.

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This pack still has a bunch of strong cards. I have to take the since removal is in too short supply in general. And while Bounty of the Hunt isn’t as good as I had hoped, its still playable. Also, the Gorilla Shaman is a reasonable card.

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is a house. I am not sure if it is better than Folk of Pines, but together they formed a fantastic set of five drops for my deck. Both having huge backsides while serving to turn my extra mana into damage as the game goes long. Very happy to get this card this late in the draft.

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I take the . Unlikely I play it, but they are awesome. Who doesn’t love a Mox Monkey?

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I take . The rest is hot garbage so it’s fine even though the card doesn’t work the way I thought it did.

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is the pick. If only it flew. I am not playing it, but a cool card is always nice to snag.

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My second . This one has the better art, so that’s cool.

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is a fantastic card. Pinging creatures are always nice. Happy to add more removal to my deck. This along with the Centaurs and Tactics will allow me to really control flyers without having to draft them which is great as I am hoping my ramp and big monsters will allow me to dominate on the ground.

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There he is, . I love the weird Homelands legends, and Joven may be the best of them. While slightly underpowered, his ability to shatter when needed is what I was hoping for. At this time I am starting to think that cards like Bone Shaman and Tor Giant will not make my list as I just have some higher upside or just generally bigger creatures to choose from, which is a fantastic situation to be in.

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Here I get Joven’s buddy, . Easy snap pick for flavor even though the Gnomes are likely the better card.

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I take . It’s bad. I could have hate drafted the Paladins, but oh well.

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I take the . I know it isn’t making my deck. Although with some pump the card isn’t terrible.

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again! I am happy to take a second. It is unlikely I play him, but I know another Icy was opened so maybe he will be an all-star. Also, just sick art.

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I take the . Card doesn’t seem terrible.

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Oh if only Minotaur tribal was a thing…

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Only one real choice. are a nice body if my opponent has black. I like them as a sideboard. Unfortunately, I never see them all day.

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My second . That is a snap pick. My removal is really looking strong at this point. I have multiple repeatable sources of damage, along with ample ways to remove flyers along with a couple of spells to hit the bigger things and an Icy Manipulator to deal with everything else.

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I take the . It hits hard. I think it is playable, but my four drops are so strong and I just have better ways to use my mana, so it ultimately sits on the bench the entire day.

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I take the . There might be a world where I side these in to shut down multiple creatures, although that is unlikely.

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is the pick here. I have enough unplayable Minotaurs. So I take a borderline playable first striker. Either way I feel confident that this pick isn’t affecting my deck.

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is the easy pick. While very focused, I can see this being a blow out against the correct deck. I do know that Paul is on blue white flyers at this point so I am thinking there is at least one potential player for its use.

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I take a .

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Another . Not the worst last pick from what is sometimes considered the weakest set in magic (I almost wrote worst set in magic but really there are no Eldrazi here or emo Jaces running around, so its infinitely better than the modern trash Mark Rosewater thinks is cool, what a fucking douche, end aside).

Deck Construction

I know coming out of the draft that my deck is super strong with many playables. As I go through the cards I know I want 18 lands as a default as I have some heavy hitters on the top end that I want to resolve ASAP and I have some nice ways to use all that extra mana. There were some tough cuts, as I had to remove all the generic Hill Giants as I just had so many other high upside spells. I settled on 3 ramp spells as it made my curve nice, while still allowing me ample high impact spells. One Joven makes the deck, more as a Shatter that isn’t dead instead of as a real threat. I settle on 2 Bounty of the Hunt, as I have visions of blow outs with my big monsters. I messed that up for sure and they would be removed from my deck after round one. Below is the list I would start off with. Key sideboard cards not listed are: Shatter, Chandler, Spectral Bears, Flare, Evaporate x2, Flare, and the man, the myth, the legend, the second Joven of my pool.

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I will try and report of the games although I guess beer and stuff while getting old makes it real tough to remember these things. We had a plan for 5 rounds, but we are slow and the games are long so we would end up with only four rounds of Ice Age, but to be honest I could have played four more. Also, we had ante in effect. We forgot to ante round 1, Round 2 my opponent didn’t want to and I was Ok with that. And I def just forgot about it for rounds 3 and 4.

Round 1

I was paired with Shaun. This is the first time I have met him and he is just a super pleasant and friendly opponent. He has a more aggressive white blue list with a bunch of little dudes and banding. Game one I am not sure how he actually kills me but his little dudes get there as my life pad reveals a fairly rapid decrease in my life total. I think it also involved an Icy Manipulator just slowing my defense down.

In comes the second Joven and we are off to game 2. If memory serves me correctly, this one was just a race. Looking at the life totals, I started to take some big bites from his life total and I win at 9. I think my cause was helped by an Icy Manipulator allowing my dudes to control combat, with a timely Bounty of the Hunt to kill two of his men. I know Goblin Mutant was part of the party, but I think he was more a wall flower, keeping Shaun from attacking to limit his value.

Game 3 is actually a blow out for me. While it started looking rough, with him resolving a second Cop: Red and an early Icy. However, my main man Joven shows up and destroys the Icy and the subsequent Folk of Pines and Yavimaya Ancients are just too much for his weenies. I want to apologize about the last game as I did not remove the Bounty counters, and that is on me. I am sorry Shaun, but I do think with me at 18, it would not have mattered, but I am sorry, and I need to read the cards more.

Round 2

I love playing Adam as the games are always fun and he always picks some weird shit to play that just makes me smile. Game one is slowed down by a Mudslide, yes look that one up.

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Gorilla Chieftain and Anaba Shaman spend time in the red zone as I am slow to develop my board due to the Mudslide. I use a Tactics and an Icy to manage his creatures and finish the game with a healthy life total of 18.

Game 2 is closer as Adam resolves an early Mountain Goat and eventually casts Feast of the Unicorn to make him huge. Luckily I have a Gorilla Tactics and I am able to stabilize at 11 and my Centaur Archers and Gorilla Chieftain are able to rumble through the red zone.

Round 3

I am playing David M. Last time he played a Polar Kraken ramp deck and it was awesome. This time he is on a 3 color black/green/red. Game one was a fun affair. I had some ramp in the form of wild growth. I was able to resolve a quick Centaur, Goblin Mutant, and Yavimaya Ancient. We trade some dudes and life for a turn or two. David had a tinder wall and hits me with a Mind Warp for four hitting the Hydra and some mana and another spell. I still have a solid mana base at this point so I am able to resolve a Gorilla Chieftain. Due to my big dudes I am able to force him into a Fire Covenant for like 8 life, killing my surviving Ancients and Gorilla leaving the Mutant. He is at 3 and he has a blocker, and he immediately acknowledges he made a mistake here. But looking at the top couple cards I don’t think it would have mattered.

Game 2 is a lot closer. Ultimately Icy Manipulator won this one for me. We trade hits for a while as we develop our boards, but Icy being able to isolate his best dude makes it easy. Centaur Archer and Gorilla Chieftain do some solid work this game. Having seen his last match, I know he has some cheap flyers and can use Howl from Beyond to steal a game so I have to play it conservative to ensure I have blockers always available. The game ends with me at 11.

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Round 4

I am paired against Paul. Recently, we have had some really epic battles playing Old school limited. I figured my deck matched up well against Paul as I knew he was on small white and blue dudes. My notes have only Pyrokinesis written down. I do remember getting a 3 for 1 with that card and it is likely all I needed to win. When you can get a pump knight and a pumpable flyer for only one card, it is unlikely for someone to come back. The life total has me at 16 at the end, and I see I gained 2 so he used his Swords to Plowshares on something. It looks like I took some serious bites out of his life total though so it’s likely my big monsters just got there.

Game 2 was a closer affair. I boarded in the Flair and the Evaporates as I felt the ability for card advantage would allow me to grind him down. I knew he had CoP of both colors for me so it was more about just hoping to not see one. Game 2 saw him drop a CoP: Red early. He also was able to drop a cheap flyer and resolve a Prismatic Ward when I tapped out for my Anaba Shaman. While my notes are terrible for this game, I do remember the woods were there to support me in the form of Folk of Pines and the Yavimaya Ancients. I remember needing to slow roll the pumping of them, keeping them at 3 power, to play around Reprisal as I saw that in the first game. Eventually my fatties were able to get there. After the game, Paul revealed his Reprisal.

We would play a third game which I won. Again, my notes are terrible, but I think it revolved around Icy and giant green monsters.

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Conclusion

For my luck and play, I was able to take first, only dropping my first game of the day. The deck was solid the entire day. With first place, I was able to bring home the “trophy” of sorts in the signed Baron Sengir, making my inner ten-year-old so happy.

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Mementos to each player based on final standings.
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An incredible prize pool that was drafted at the end based on standings.
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My loot!
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Cracked the Dark pack for a sweet, terrible Hidden Path.
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Sister Adam managed to draft 2x partial Albino misprint Hoar Shades!

What a great day of cracking old cardboard. Stay tuned for the next Sisters of the Flame Old School draft!

-Sister Seth