Choosing the first pick of a pack can set the stage for a strong draft, or send you tumbling down the road of tough decisions. On Day 2, every player starts with the choice of one of fourteen Born of the Gods cards. Though some may certainly be easy, choosing the best card possible from a pack can be tougher than it looks.
Here's a fresh cracked pack of Born of the Gods. Think carefully a moment and make your pick.
Nyxborn Triton, Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass, Eye Gouge, Bolt of Keranos, Retraction Helix, Nyxborn Eidolon, Fall of the Hammer, Mortal's Ardor, Crypsis, Culling Mark, Vanguard of Brimaz, Bile Blight, Akroan Conscriptor, Temple of Plenty: What do you take?
What did you choose? We caught up with David Ochoa and 8th-ranked Josh Utter-Leyton to get their thoughts on the pack.
"You're more likely to end up playing it," Ochoa explained after immediately grabbing Retraction Helix. "Bile Blight and Vanguard of Brimaz are both good, but it's less likely you'll be able to play them if you get forced out of your color. If the color of the card you took her is getting drafted to your right, ideally you'll still want to be able to play it. With Helix it's possible to be in blue and still play a ten some land, seven Island mana base."
Is it really that simple? Ochoa seemed to believe that. "It's basically a pick between Helix and Blight, but Helix is more versatile. It can deal with creatures that have already been bestowed, unlike Blight that can only deal with smaller creatures. Blue's a little shallow but it's got the most flexible spells."
Would Josh Utter-Leyton take a different pick? "I'm not going to take the red card out of the pack, so it's between Blight and Helix. I think I'd go with Blight," Utter-Leyton said.
"Actually, I think I'd rather go with the Helix," he tragically continued after a moment's more thought.
Why did Utter-Leyton make the switch? "Blight is double black. I'm a lot more likely to play the Helix in your deck," he explained, echoing Ochoa. "There's three base colors in this format: White is the best, then black, then green. Blue is a support color, but the best blue cards are the best support cards. Having blue as your support color is really ideal. By taking Blight you're committing to base Black. You can play Helix in a base anything deck.
So what about Akroan Conscriptor, a card both Ochoa and Utter-Leyton has pulled aside as really powerful? "It's power level is on par with Helix," Utter-Leyton said, "but I'd rather be blue than red. With three red cards in the pack, signaling is a thing. You'll create more red drafters to the left passing these. Theros can't support three red drafters. That's an easy tie-breaker between Conscriptor and Retraction Helix."