The Deal With Drafting
The Deal With Drafting
Hey there folks! If you are reading this, that means that the good people
of SeemsGoodMagic.com have agreed to publish my writing again. It also
means that you have probably watched one or more of their draft videos. If
you haven't, you should go check one out. I'll wait.
Good. Recently, I myself have been attempting to make a draft video in a
similar manner. Unfortunately, none of my performances in drafts have been
at all helpful at anything except perhaps showing what NOT to do. Combining
this experience with skills that I have picked up during real life limited
tournaments (in which I have had a much higher rate of success--I got first
place in the last two that I was in) to compile a list of guidelines for
those of you looking to get into drafting at your local FNM or other events.
Please note that these guidelines are for Innistrad block draft as it is
right now: One Dark Ascension followed by two Innistrad.
1. Rare drafting rarely pays off.
It might be tempting to pick whatever random rare card happens to be in
your pack. Usually, the card is less than stellar without an entire deck
supporting it (for example, there are few occasions where you will have
enough mana to cast Alpha Brawl), or they are less useful than other cards
in the pack (like Call to the Kindred, which requires several creatures of
the same type, as well as a creature to enchant). Usually, you are better
off taking the versatile removal spell or Uncommon bomb... Lingering Souls
is the "classic" Dark Ascension example.
I understand that without the start-up packs, drafting is expensive. This
does not, however, justify picking up three one-dollar rares over cards
that could win you the game. The exception is cards that pay for the draft
on their own, or have incredible utility, such as Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
(an example of the first) or Snapcaster Mage (an example of both). If a
card has value, however, keep in mind...
2. One Good Card Does Not A Strategy Make
Throwing in a bunch of random cards with a Sorin will not win you any
games, unless you get incredibly lucky. This means that if you get a card
but no other support in its color is coming your way, you should not just
draft sub-par cards of the appropriate color. Sorin will not mind if he is
tossed into the sideboard of a red-green werewolf deck with a Mayor of
Avabruck and three Immerwolfs. Trust me.
3. One Pack Does Not Commit You to Any Colors
When you draft, there are several kinds of cards that you can pick up:
all-stars (Lingering Souls), removal (Tragic Slip, Silent Departure), bombs
(Villagers of Estwald) canned strategies (Kessig Cagebreakers), and fun
cards (Lost in the Woods). All of these things are cool, but no one card
should keep you from picking cards that are really good but off-colored
from your first and second packs.
4. Cheaper is Better
I play aggressively. Right now, there are a lot of really good, cheap
creatures in Innistrad. For people who prefer late-game bombs (hi there,
Mirror-Mad Phantasm!), this could be a problem. That is why picking up a
bunch of cheap creatures is better than big ones is usually a good idea.
This is why I do not like picking up Werewolves, which take time to flip.
Another example is something like Erdwal Ripper versus Nearheath Stalker.
The former is small but works quickly. The latter makes big trades, and
has undying. I would chose the Ripper over the Stalker simply because it
gets out faster, and therefore is easier played at the most opportune time,
like when an opponent had no blockers out. I will pick big creatures, but
Rotting Fensnake is only an option after the pack has gone around a couple
5. Recurring Spells Are Best
When it comes to choosing your final forty cards, wouldn't it be great if
you could name that extra trick or burn spell into your deck? That extra
card draw? Well, Innistrad Block is the perfect place for that. All of
these flashback cards can be extremely effective at turning the game in
your favor when you first play them, like getting a couple extra points of
damage in with Artful Dodge, as well as a finisher, when your opponent has
had time to stabilize their board position at the end of the game, so you
can get those last hits in. It is this utility that makes me a fan of cards
6. Temporary Removal Prevents Morbid
When I look at removal, one of my main concerns is how well it does it's
job. So it seems as if something like Silent Departure, which just returns
a creature to my opponent's hand, would be worse than Tragic Slip, which
moves it to the graveyard. However, my opponent benefits from the Tragic
Slip more than the Departure (with the exception of beneficial enters the
battlefield effects). For one thing, killing a creature allows my opponent
to play spells at Morbid strength. For another, if he is playing Zombies,
he now has another body to feed Stitched Drake. On the other hand,
Departure or even Griptide will ensure that they have to repay the casting
cost to just maintain their position before, which could be trouble of they
have no more cards in the graveyard to feed their Skaab Goliath.
I hope that you have found this article helpful, and remember it next time
you are deciding between a Stitched Drake and a Kindercatch (hint: the
Kindercatch will probably come back around). See you on Friday Night!
Morgan has been playing Magic for four years on and off, and been drafting
since Innistrad was released. She currently plays a Zombie Combo deck that
makes Rooftop Storm AWESOME (gentlemen) and can usually be found enthusing
about some strange bit of tech. Her MTGO username is MindofMyrddin...feel
free to hit her up!