Booster drafting has been around for a long time. In this format, players pick cards why would like to make a deck out of from booster packs that are passed around to all participants. Most drafting is done with eight people but matches with less players does occur.It’s an unpredictable format where players make decks on the fly and no event is the same.
Booster drafting is an enjoyable way for new players to strategically increase their card collection as well as practice and play Magic. After all, if you plan on opening up a few boosters, why not play with them while picking the cards you want from them?
Today, The Planeswalker Apprentice will focus on drafting basics for new players.
To enter a draft, you will be purchasing three packs of the set to be drafted. Usually these packs will be provided on your entry fee to your event but drafts between friends may require you to bring your own. There is plenty of variety in these events but usually drafts come from the newest set or a variety of packs from the same block.
Sitting down to the table with your three unopened packs in hand, you will need to understand how drafts work. First of all, you need to get in the right mindset before opening the first pack. Will you be trying to win the event and pick the cards that will make the best deck of the night of will you be picking cards for money value, trade bait or decks you may own or are interested in building?
When prompted, open your first booster pack and take a look at it’s contents. Discard the basic land, token and advertisement cards. Regardless of your motives, you will be picking what suits you best. As you already know, packs are random and no clear strategy is in effect till the first cards are picked. Take a few moments to read over the cards inside and choose one, placing it face down in front of you. Pass what remains from the pack and pass it to the player on your left.
Once prompted to look at the pack just passed to you, repeat the process, picking the best card to suit your motives. This will repeat until cards from all packs are gone. You will also be getting a second chance at picking from previous packs you have already seen, however most of the best cards from those packs may already be picked by other opponents.
Once the first pack is depleted, you will be told to open your second pack. Choose a card from it but this time pass your remaining cards right instead of left. Repeat this possess with the remaining cards as well as the third pack now passing left again.
If you draft poorly with being competitive in mind, your beatings will be severe and you may not have a fun evening. If you are planning on making the best deck possible for your booster draft, there is a tried and true system that has won many events in the past. It’s called BREAD.
The BREAD system focuses on using an anagram to help prioritize your cards in each pack. BREAD means Bombs, Removal, Evasion, Aggro and Duds.
Bombs are cards that can win a game by themselves, usually large creatures with massive attacking potential or ability. Planeswalkers are also bombs. Most of the time, Bombs are the rares in the pack but sometimes come in the form of larger uncommon creatures.
Removal is just that. Spells or creatures that can take creatures from the battlefield. This can come in the form of instants or burn. These types of spells should be picked next if no Bombs are available and are great at keeping the battlefield clean of threatening creatures.
The next best card you can pick in a pack is Evasion. This included unblockable creatures, flyers, trample creatures and the like. Anything that can push damage home. Because these creatures are difficult to block, then can put quite a bit of pressure on our opponent.
Aggro is anything that can hit hard and fast, creatures that can be played quickly for an optimal amount of damage for their casting cost. These sometimes can be difficult to snag later in the rounds but do your best, lest you end up with…
Duds. These are the worst cards of the pack and should always be drafted last. Also keep in mind, certain cards may be beneficial as sideboard cards and these can be picked from the Duds as well. These cards will likely not make your deck by the time you begin building.
Once all the cards have been picked, deck building will begin. Draft decks should stay at just 40 cards. Do your best to stay at 40, no more than that. You should also be using more than one color and should have a good curve in the casting costs of cards. With this in mind, mana distribution will be of the utmost importance and having at least 17 lands is necessary. Having less is a bad strategy. There will be plenty provided at the event so don’t skimp.
You will then begin to play matches. Typically, draft matches are quite a bit slower than what you may be used to but lends a great opportunity for new players to see strategy at play with new interactions between cards that a Modern or Standard format wouldn’t provide. With that in mind, be prepared for a grinding battle between some very atypical deck types.
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