World Championship Draft Breakdown: Analyzing PVDDR and Seth Manfield’s Drafts
Hey everyone! Another World Championship has come and gone, and Yuta Takahashi claimed the title solely off his amazingly built Izzet Dragons list! He’s an absolute master of the game, so it’s no surprise that he took it down. What is surprising about Takahashi winning though is the fact that he started 0-3 in the tournament after being unsuccessful in the draft portion.
Managing to go 11-0 in standard like Yuta did is near impossible to do, which is why limited mastery is so important when it comes to succeeding in dual format events like this. I wanted to go over Paulo and Seth Manfield’s drafts in order to talk about where I agree, disagree, what we should take from these drafts, and what separates these amazing players from the rest of the flock when it comes to limited. Paulo also talked over his thoughts on his draft on his YouTube channel: PVDDR Draft Analysis.
*IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW ALONG, PV’S DRAFT STARTS AT 31:55 WHILE SETH’S DRAFT STARTS AT 1:49:18*
I did watch both drafts in real time in an attempt to limit my biases of their picks since I knew the outcome of their drafts before having to write about them. It’s obviously easy for me to praise or criticize a decision that either player made after knowing whether it ended up working out or not, so I did everything I could to limit that. I’m trying my hardest to remember my exact thoughts while watching both these great players draft so that I can give the most unbiased feedback possible. Time to dive into the draft portion of Worlds, starting with Paulo!
As a final note, I included the pictures of packs where Paulo and Seth had the most interesting decisions. If they were between two choices, had a completely obvious choice, or a negligible choice at the end of a pack, I eschewed those.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
Pack 1 Pick 1
I love that Paulo took Borrowed Time over Eaten Alive here. Sure black is a better color than white, but Borrowed Time is such a better removal spell and way more important in the white decks than Eaten Alive is in the black decks. Falcon Abomination is also just too much weaker than these other two cards in my opinion
Pack 1 Pick 2
Here he picks up a Hound Tamer, which was by far the best card in the pack. I like how he isn’t tying himself to Selesnya and is instead just taking strong cards and seeing where the draft takes him.
Pack 1 Pick 3
This is one of the few picks where I disagree with Paulo. He takes Flip the Switch, which is a fine, but unexciting pick. Personally, I would take the Vampire Socialite because it is irreplaceable if you are Rakdos since it is one of the few excellent vampire enablers. Flip the Switch is overrated and only okay in my opinion, so I like going for the high risk, high reward pick here.
Pack 1 Pick 4-5
Taking Ecstatic Awakener here is why Paulo is the best. He doesn’t force archetypes; he just keeps taking good cards and see’s what he’s passed. This lines him up well when he gets a fifth pick Fleshtaker and is able to start moving into Orzhov.
Pack 1 Pick 7
Pack 1 Pick 9-15
He gets a lot of mediocre red playables at this point, which does give the impression that red might be somewhat open at the table.
Pack 2 Pick 1
Pack 2 Pick 2
The second Fleshtaker now more or less locks him into Orzhov, which makes the rest of the draft pretty straightforward. There’s two more picks I wanted to go over though.
Pack 3 Pick 2
Paulo is no fool, and he knows how his deck is going to win. Ecstatic Awakener is phenomenal in this deck as well as probably just being better than Olivia’s Midnight Ambush in most decks. Him taking the Awakener here shows how you shouldn’t just blindly slam removal in Limited. You always need to be considering your synergies and asking yourself how it is your deck is going to actually win the game.
Pack 3 Pick 3
This is the only pick that I heavily disagree with. Paulo takes Shady Traveler over Search Party Captain, which doesn’t make much sense to me since he has so many cheap creatures and shouldn’t have an issue getting it out on turn three. This must’ve just been an oversight or something.
I love how Paulo drafted, and by navigating his seat well he ended up with a solid B deck in my opinion. He ends up going 2-1 in his draft. Now it’s time to dive into Seth’s draft, which is a lot more turbulent and unclear than this one.
Pack 1 Pick 1
Seth’s draft was even harder than Paulo’s in my opinion, and it definitely showed. His first pick was the easiest part because Sigardian Savior stands head and shoulders above the rest of the cards in the pact. Unfortunately, I believe that being overly attached to this first pick is what ultimately ended up causing Seth to end up with a poor deck.
Pack 1 Pick 2
The second pick is where I see things begin to go off the rails. Seth is faced with taking more or less three cards: Eccentric Farmer, Covetous Castaway, and Revenge of the Drowned. Castaway goes perfectly with Sigardian Savior because it is both a two drop and also mills you into more potential two drops. Azorius is also loaded with great early creatures like Lunarch Veteran, Devoted Grafkeep, and Shipwreck Sifters, all of whom are great enablers for Sigardian Savior.
Azorius is also a very good color combination in this format, whereas Selesnya is one of, if not the worst archetypes. I would definitely take the Castaway here and be happy about it, whereas Seth takes Eccentric Farmer. Farmer is a great card, but good three drops are way easier to get in this format than good two drops. I see the thought process that Azorius may be over drafted because it is such a good color combination, but going out of your way to take the worse card just doesn’t make sense to me. Regardless, let’s move forward with the Farmer and Savior as our picks.
Pack 1 Pick 3
In the next pack there’s a Shadowbeast Sighting and an Organ Hoarder, and despite being off color without first two picks, I love Seth taking Organ Hoarder because it’s so much better than the next best option in the pack.
Pack 1 Pick 4
Seth then takes Shipwreck Sifters over Falcon Abomination, which is just not something that I can get behind. Sifters need to be played in multiples, so taking them early won’t work out if there’s someone else prioritizing them. I’d rather stick with the baseline powerful blue card that’s good in pretty much every deck than commit early on to a card that is often not even good unless you have the proper support. Sifters is basically an Azorius card when you get down to it.
Pack 1 Pick 5
Pack 1 Pick 6
Again, the same issue as before; Seth is taking Shipwreck Sifters way too early. There’s a slight white signal being shown here, but it’s honestly still too early in the draft to be making concrete assumptions about what colors each drafter is in. Early on in a draft most players are just taking good cards and seeing what signals show up later on, so don’t get baited early on by a signal that isn’t actually there!
Pack 1 Pick 7
Seth takes Might of the Old Ways here, which is a pick I really like. Geistwave has been very mediocre for me whereas Might of the Old Ways can really shine if you end up in Selesnya or Simic. Larder Zombie is fine too, but you normally don’t want more than one in your decks and it’s easy to pick them up late.
Pack 1 Pick 9
Now this is a signal. Lambholt Harrier and Ardent Elementalist are both solid, and I’m a pretty big fan of Defend the Celestus in the aggressively slanted green decks. I really like that Seth takes Defend the Celestus here. At this point though, the odds that Blue and White are open is starting to diminish in my eyes.
Pack 1 Pick 10
He snaps up a Harvesttide Infiltrator, which is better than it looks in Gruul! Yet another potential Gruul signal arising here.
Pack 2 Pick 1
An easy Contortionist Troupe out of a pretty mediocre pack. I would say that this pick solidifies Seth in green, which means that it’s time to decide whether to stick with the 1-2 white/blue cards he drafted or to jump ship to a more open color.
Pack 2 Pick 2
This is where things start to go badly. Seth ends up taking Shadowbeast Sighting here, which doesn’t make much sense to me since you already have so much green top end. Bloodthirsty Adversary has been insanely good for me, even if you’re Gruul. To me, this seems like a really good time to take a red card and hope to wheel either Burn the Accursed or Kessig Naturalist. Since green was open in the first pack, it really doesn’t seem too crazy to assume that the Naturalist will wheel.
Pack 2 Pick 3
Seth takes Lunarch Veteran over Burn the Accursed here, which blows my mind because we’ve seen no white cards at all during the entire draft and because of how bad Lunarch Veteran is when you’re Selesnya. He needs removal so I would take the Burn the Accursed and hope to wheel the Unnatural Moonrise and pick up some more werewolves to synergize with it. That card is way too underrated I swear!
Pack 2 Pick 5-8
Seth is getting very unlucky in these packs, but at least he picked up a Bird Admirer. Again, another garbage pack is thrown his way where the best card is Lambholt Harrier, which he doesn’t take. He also ends up having to pass an Immolation when he takes Howl of the Hunt over it, even though he’s in desperate need of more early game plays and interaction.
Pack 2 Pick 9
The late Sunrise Cavalier and Burn the Accursed show that red is open! We’ve seen no white cards, so if a Boros card is going late that means that there are almost certainly very few people in red. Taking Blessed Defiance (which is unplayable in my opinion) over a good piece of removal is beyond baffling. It’s not too late to jump ship and be Gruul!
Pack 2 Pick 10
He takes Return to Nature over Kessig Naturalist here. A great Boros card, and then a great Gruul card come back to back insanely late in the pack. Once Seth passed this Naturalist a second time, his draft was more or less doomed.
Pack 2 Pick 11
Pack 3 Pick 1
Opening a second Graveyard Trespasser when you aren’t in black is insanely unlucky, but at least being in white paid off here because he was able to first pick a Duelcraft Trainer.
Pack 3 Pick 4
Seth ends up taking Search Party Captain over Duel for Dominance here, which I don’t like. Captain may be a better card, but at this point he has no removal and a ton of big creatures. He also has a high creature count so it shouldn’t be too hard to trigger Coven. You NEED removal, so sometimes you should take it over a superior card so that you aren’t just cold to a Morbid Opportunist or Skaab Wrangler.
For the rest of the pack Seth picks up a more random filler and passes on a few more werewolves. The only other baffling pick is him taking
This deck is probably a D to D- since the curve is poor, there is only one rare, and there is no removal. You have big creatures here though which means that you do at least have a consistent avenue to victory. He ended up going 1-2 in his draft, which makes sense. He needed to abandon white and blue earlier and not get tied to exactly one Organ Hoarder and one Sigardian Savior. Red isn’t a great color, but an aggressive Gruul werewolves deck was open for all of pack two and three, and I believe that Seth would have had a good deck if he ended up going red after he got passed the Bloodthirsty Adversary.
Hopefully you were able to learn something from my breakdown these drafts! Drafting is probably the hardest form of Magic that’s currently around, so keep watching great players like these two draft and try to learn as much as you can from them and limited content producers like myself!
Thanks for reading!