Tim Rivera: After I examined the entire pack, I noticed there was nothing that completely jumped out as a 1st pick. When there was no clear pick, I started eliminating cards as choices. Below is a example of my thought process:
Abilities - [Master's Embrace] over [Assassin's Strike]. [Master Embrace] is a very good card for both Hunter and Warlock by allowing you to pump up your ally to huge stats so quickly. It is also a very good draw later in the game allowing you to get your best Pet. [Assassin's Strike] is decent, but I prefer my ally removal to not be so situational.
Alliance Ally - [Tharal Wildbreeze] was the top pick. I think that the two cost Harmonize allies are the most powerful, allowing you to automatically skip to the next natural progression in the curve. Alliance has very good four drop allies that only get better when played a turn earlier. [Wendy Anne] is playable just for her body and the Delve is useful, but if the choice is between which two drop is better, [Tharal Wildbreeze] always wins out in my eyes. [Father Charles] is a fantastic ally and also worth of the top spot. Healing a nearly dead ally can equate to drawing a card in some Limited games, and his body is standard for a five drop. [Velkin Gray] is another good ally to consider taking. Protector is always good, and if played correctly you get two allies for only four resources. [Death's Duo] was two 3/3s, and this is instead a 1/5 Protector and a 3/3.
I chose [Tharal Wildbreeze] as the top Alliance ally as he lets me gain tempo when going second and shoots me far ahead going first. [Velkin Gray] came in a close second and maybe become my first pick once I play the set more.
Horde Ally - [Zaza'jun].
Monster Ally - [Deathsmasher Mogdar] was the top pick. [Deathsmasher Mogdar] offer a big ATK, but that is basically it. I found him useful in both Monster Death Knight and Monster Shaman decks, but outside of that I think there are better choices. I eliminated [Harpy Matriarch] and [Krum'shal] as choices and they are Empower Monster allies. I typically shy away from Empower Monster allies, unless I am playing a Monster Hero. Not wanting to commit first pick I eliminated both as options. [Bubblesmash] was the last option, but the 2 health is too much to overcome so I eliminated him.
Equipment - [Vial of Stolen Memories].
Quests - [If You're Not Against Us] was the top pick. [If You're Not Against us] is good in aggressive decks, and late in the game it can become a one resource draw card. [Signed in Blood] is decent, but I prefer to have quests that are proactive than reactive. [Cleaning House] can be played in the right deck, but I think it's a quest you want to take once you have a lot of six power allies not one you take beforehand.
Final Choice - In the end I had cut down from 15 picks to 6. Left we had [Assassin's Strike], [Tharal Wildbreeze], [Zaza'jin], [Deathsmasher Mogdar], [Vial of Stolen Memories] and [If You're Not Against us]. I instantly eliminated [If You're Not Against us], [Deathsmasher Mogdar], and [Vial of Stolen Memories]. Quests are not first picks in this draft block; the equipment was unplayable; and there are better 5 drops in this pack that we choose not to take, so why would we take this one. All these were the reasons they were eliminated. This left [Tharal Wildbreeze], [Master's Embrace], and [Zaza'jin]. [Zaza'jin] can be explosive going first, actiing like a poor mans [Nathanos Blightcaller] on an empty board, and [Master's Embrace] will always make it in a Warlock or Hunter deck if you have a pet. I decided against the [Zaza'jin] because if I was going to take an ally I would rather have one with elusive and harmonize. I also decided against the [Master's Embrace] because I did not want to commit to a class yet.
Tim Rivera's Pick - [Tharal Wildbreeze]
Jim Fleckenstein: This pack is pretty interesting. You have one of the few cards that can really make you want to consider monster from the get go in [Krum'shal]. You also, however, have one of the best uncommon allies in the set with [Velkin Gray]. If you take Velkin, it's less likely that your neighbor will go into blue (although if they are already blue you're handing them several playable blue allies that they wouldn't mind taking, or they take [Krum'shal]). [Krum'shal] keeps you more open, and you can be pretty confident that either your right neighbor or the guy two down will be blue. None of the class abilities or quests in this pack are worth taking first, and while I wouldn't mind having [Zaza'jun] in my deck if I'm red, I think taking [Krum'shal] shows your neighbor only one red card in the pack anyway (with a Velkin still present). He has to put you on green or red for faction. I'd probably take [Krum'shal] and see what I get from my left.
Jim Fleckenstein's Pick - [Krum'shal]
Robert Swarowski: The first cards that pop out at me in this pack are [Tharal Wildbreeze], [Velkin Gray], [Krum'shal], and [Master's Embrace], the rest of pack just isn't that good. Next I would eliminate [Velkin Gray], if I'm going to take an alliance ally first it's going to be the better of the two, that and four cost alliance allies are a dime a dozen in Throne of the Tides. Next I would eliminate [Krum'shal], he is a good man...er Monster but I don't want to commit to a Monster heavy strategy, which he needs to shine, this early. So it comes down to [Tharal Wildbreeze] and [Master's Embrace] and a tough decision it is. [Harmonize] is a great key word, and he has elusive making it even harder to stop. However [Master's Embrace] can be a real beating boosting [McCloud the Fox], [Shaafun], [Clamps], [Hellisa], well any pet I guess, but those are the common ones. Just think of giving +4/+4 to any of those pets, all but [Hellisa] sound like an unbelievable ally. Add to the card that you can go fetch one of these or the other three uncommon pets in a pinch and we are looking at a versatile card. I'm sure sure most players would just snap up the Harmonize ally and never look back, but I'm going with an ability that puts me in to one of two nice classes.
Robert Swarowski's Pick: [Master's Embrace]
Tim Rivera : There were three cards that popped up as first picks, [Bromor the Shadowblade], [Neferset Darkcaster], and [Drak'narr]. [Bromor the Shadowblade] was chosen because pumping a weapon once can be a beating, pumping up anything more than once can be devestating. [Neferset Darkcaster] was next chosen strictly because he has 2 classes and those classes Empower allies ([Zazzo, Herald of the Elements], [Lodur, Herald of the Elements] and [Baxtan, Herald of the Flame]) are ones that I want in any of my draft decks. The last option was [Drak'narr]. He is big and has smash which both complement each other well. I think that both the monsters are a little too weak to take first pick. [Neferset Darkcaster] only has his classes, but his body and no power is unexciting. [Drak'narr] is a safer pick allowing you to stay open, but I prefer not to take a six drop first unless its power level is off the charts. [Bromor the Shadowblade] is the pick in my mind. I am going to play a class with weapons after taking this first pick, and the weapons that come I am going to take aggressively.
Tim Rivera's Pick - [Bromor the Shadowblade]
Kirk Buckendorf: I would take [Drak'narr] because he's beefy on par with his cost and Smash is a great keyword on such a high natural Attack. The Alliance allies are heavily represented in this pack, so I'll keep in mind that I may be signaling Horde to the person I'm passing to. None of the class abilities scream first pick and I don't want to grab any of them early to have them sit in my side board, but I'll watch for what wheels. Second and third picks from the pack would probably be [Father Charles] and [Lucy Elizabeth]. If I see these wheel, I may think Alliance is being under-drafted.
Kirk Buckendorf's Pick - [Drak'narr]
Dane Young: I haven't done enough to know but right now I would say the [Brutal Strike], [Neferset Darkcaster], or [Lucy Elizabeth]. [Brutal Strike] is very powerful for 1 and there are a few good weapons and Runzik to help turn it on.
The allies are in that order because I would rather have a [Neferset Darkcaster] than have to go with a faction pack 1 pick 1. [Lucy Elizabeth] is the best faction ally given that the format seems ripe with four+ cost allies and cheap protectors are always useful.
Dane Young's Pick - [Brutal Strike]
Tim Rivera: There are two cards to choose from in here [Flame Lance] and [Farseer Nobundo]. I was not entirely sure what was the better pick. Mage got a big boost in Crown of the Heavens. Taking [Flame Lance] first pick and cutting off every Mage card afterward would be a good route to go. On the other hand you have [Farseer Nobundo]. He is a big neutral ally meaning you will stay open and can read signals. [Farseer Nobundo] also gives you insight into your opponents future draws, allowing you to make better plays with more information. [Farseer Nobundo] also can net you additional cards and combos so well with Delve. I like the option of staying open so I defaulted to [Farseer Nobundo].
Tim Rivera's Pick - [Farseer Nobundo]
Tripp Allen: Normally, I open a pack and immediately sift through to the rare. [Farseer Nobundo] seems like a gamble, and I'd probably frown if I opened this in my first pack. You might net an additional card from him, but probably not more than one, it's not a guarantee, and you and your opponent both know what that card was. With no consistency to the drop costs in a Draft format, you can't make educated guesses on what your opponent might have on top of their deck like you could in Constructed vs. a Grand Crusader deck. That late in the game, I'd rather play a 5/5 for 5 blank than him.
First pick, first pack, and there's a [Flame Lance] in here? I'd windmill this one so quickly everyone would think it was a bomb rare. No second thoughts, no regrets. Early game or late, it's efficient, instant-speed damage that can easily eliminate even some of the three-drops in this same pack with absolutely zero drawback. Even if I don't end up going Mage, I'd hate-draft this card just to keep it out of my opponent's hands. It's just that good. With two packs of Throne yet to go, there's a chance of finding a [Baxtan, Herald of the Flame], [Glacial Tomb], or [Bottled Knowledge] passed my direction...none of which would make me unhappy at trying to force Mage this early.
Tripp Allen's Pick: [Flame Lance]
Eric Buckendorf: My pack had two cards I would consider taking first. The rare, [Farseer Nobundo] and a two drop monster ally, [Jadefire Satyr]. I like the two drop since they still seem to be at a premium and he does not stick me in a class or faction just yet. I like the [Farseer Nobundo] because he has the potential to gain me a few extra cards down the road and his stats are not that bad for a five drop, "Dat Ass". I would take the [Farseer Nobundo] here, he also does not stick me in a class or faction and I can build my deck around his card drawing ability. He also allows me to see what my opponent is drawing and this will help me make more informed decisions. Also by build my deck around him, I mean I will just look for more delve. So this will not kill my deck if I don't draw him, every deck can use a little more delve effects.
Eric Buckendorf's Pick: [Farseer Nobundo]
Tim Rivera: [Jadefire Scout] jumped out to me as the the clear pick in a rather weak pack. [Jadefire Scout] is the most aggressive one drop in the format and will trade for another card straight up, which cannot be said for all one drops. The only other card I viewed as first pick worthy is [Kalam Blacksteel] for his Protector power.
Tim Rivera's Pick - [Jadefire Scout]
Jeff Driscol: This pack is immediately limited down to two cards, [Jadefire Scout] and [Infectious Brutality]. None of the faction guys are good enough to commit to first pick and [Shadow Word: Despair] is not strong enough to commit to Priest early. I haven't played with [Infectious Brutality] but it seems great to trade your little allies with their big ones or to add an additional 2 damage every turn. The downside is that it will never bring you back from behind. [Jadefire Scout] is hands down the best aggro one drop in the format and also leaves you wide open to anything while making your deck 100% of the time.
Jeff Driscol's Pick: [Jadefire Scout]
Phillip Martin: This pack has some interesting choices. To me, I am looking at one of four cards:
[Shadow Word: Despair]
Each of these cards are probably reasonable, it would just depend on what your goal in the draft is. If you are trying to get a 3-0 deck and need to gamble a little, I am probably more inclined to take the removal spell or one of the Alliance allies. Though my general strategy - for good or for bad - is to try and stay as open as possible in the first few picks, and so I would take the [Spashtooth]. He has a big enough back side that he can eat most two drops and live, and the delve can really grease the wheels on a deck where you're searching for something specific or trying to set up Enrage.
Phillip Martin's Pick: [Splashtooth]
Tim Rivera: I didn't get much farther than the rare in the pack. [Bladestorm] is an ability that I am willing to gamble on first pick. The AoE effect is the reason I am taking this ability. Warrior has a good common weapon in Throne of the Tides, so it seems easy to get at least one. The second bonus of increasing the ATK is nothing to slouch at either. I would take this ability and not look back. After taking it, I would value all weapons higher than normal, even if they are not the best weapon.
Tim Rivera's Pick: [Bladestorm]
Michael Barnes: For the first pick in the first pack, I am generally looking for a good neutral ally (so that I can stay open with regard to class and faction). Of the four neutral allies in the pack, [Drak'narr] is the one that I would pick here. He is well statted for his cost; and having Smash could really let me put some pain on opponents that try to under drop against me. However, there are some class cards worthy of consideration. [Banish Soul] is an excellent removal card; and [McCloud the Fox] can become downright unfair when paired with [Master's Embrace] (as Hans Hoh's Sealed deck at DMF Cannes illustrated). However, I personally won't move into a specific class unless a card is a true bomb. In the case of Warlock and Hunter, I'd need to be looking at [Shroud of the Nethermancer] or [Yertle]. Of course, there IS a class bomb in this pack. [Bladestorm] is reliant on having a weapon in play. Once you have a weapon, though, it's on! The drawback of past weapon attachments is that they generated card disadvantage if the weapon was ever destroyed. In this case, however, you get a truly amazing AOE effect from [Bladestorm] in addition to the attack boost. With a plethora of common Warrior weapons in Crown of the Heavens and Throne of the Tides, you should have no problem scoring two or three weapons to fuel [Bladestorm]. For me, this is a pretty straightforward (and pretty awesome) first pick.
Michael Barnes's Pick: [Bladestorm]
Todd Derbyshire: This is a great pack to open as it is going to allow me to track and see what players are hoping to play. [Drak'narr] is my clear pick here with it being pack 1 and my first pick of the draft as it is going to make the cut everyday of the week into my final 30. I noticed the [Banish Soul], [McCloud the Fox], and [Bladestorm] but these aren't class cards that are going to cause me to jump into those classes alone. Also as much as I am a fan of Harmonize [Shalyssa Groveshaper] as the 3 drop Alliance ally is the least appealing of all the Harmonize allies in the set. In addition, it suffers from the terminal illness of being Alliance. My condolences. So here I embrace my inner Timmy and take the neutral beat stick with smash and leave my self some room to navigate the rest of the draft.
Todd Derbyshire's Pick: [Drak'narr]