Draft Strategies

Posted in Feature on March 25, 2006

By Olivier Ruel

Mr Olivier Ruel

On every Saturday, I'm going to discuss here about draft strategies. It might be about one specific pick in a draft, a color association or even about a full draft.
For today, I decided to go for the last option, as I was drafting online with my friends Quentin Martin (UK) and Jose Barbero (Argentine), and with my brother Antoine staying behind me and commenting my pick.
Of course, Dissension is not out yet, but it is still interesting to draft RRG, to discuss the strength of the cards as well as to practice the game itself.

First draw

1st pack was excellent, one of these packs that makes you wish you were playing sealed deck so that you can keep and play everything...

Hour of reckoning, Boros Guildmage, Ribbons of night, Golgari guildmage, Skynight Legionnaire, Peel from Reality, Siege Wurm, Dimir House guard

Olivier: so, guys, what would you pick?
Everyone: Ribbons!
O: Agreed

Let's stop on this pack before moving to pack two, and discuss about the strength of this pack’s top cards.
Hour of reckoning is strong too, but forces you to play White/Green with a solid white base, which might not be that easy as white doesn't have that many playable cards. For Quentin and Jose, Hour would be the 1st pick if Ribbons was not in the pack, but Antoine and I like the two Boros cards better.
Antoine: Legionnaire is better than Galvanic Arc in Boros, he's the most important card in this archetype.
O: Agreed once again, but I really don't know which one I would pick out of Legionnaire or Guildmage.
Quentin: Yes it's really tied.
Finally, I'm the only one in the room who would have picked the Guildmage, but no one was really that comfortable about the pick. Quentin would even have taken Siege Wurm over both Boros cards, which I disagree on, but the Wurm is still a 5/5 trample that shows up on turn 5, so if you feel like drafting green...
Our overall standing is:
1) Ribbons of night
2) Hours of Reckoning/Skynight Legionnaire
4) Boros Guildmage/Peel from reality
6) Siege Wurm
7) Dimir House guard
8) Golgari Guildmage

Two things might surprise you here, the eighth position of the Golgari Guildmage and the third place of Peel from RealityPeel From Reality. This little vote reflects our favorite combinations. Peel is fantastic in UR and none of us feels like drafting green is the best option for the time being in draft. But if you argue about the actual value of the cards, it would certainly deserve to end up in a slightly higher spot.

Next pick didn't offer much to discuss about, as the only candidates were Stinkweed Imp and the good but significantly less powerful Bloodletter Quill. Third pick offers one more good rare, Savra, as Well as Clutch, but I pick Dimir Signet to fix my mana. At this point, I think I'll end up UBR or UBW, so it is crucial for me to fix my mana the right way.
Fourth pick is more difficult, as the only playable card in my colors is Induced Paranoia, whereas the pack features two much stronger cards in Selesnya Evangel and Trumpeteer. After a long thought, I decide to pick the Evangel, considering that 1) nothing good in my colors on pick four is a pretty bad sign and 2) Paranoia would have probably finished in my board.
Pick number 5 offers me Golgari signet, making UGB or BGW (with the signet to draw on Ribbons) more and more an option.
Pick 6 is Drift of phantasmsand Drowsing shaman. It looks like nothing, but the pick is the key of my draft, that's pretty much when I make up my mind whether I'm Green or Blue. I went for the Blue wall because I had passed lot of green yet and no blue at all, so I was hoping for a good feedback at this moment.
Picks 7 to 15 didn't offer too many tough decisions; they gave me Dimir House Guard and Clinging Darkness as most notable cards.


Ripping booster two

DisembowelPack two went pretty bad. Once again, I opened a great pack, featuring Necroplasm, Putrefy, Golgari Rotwurm and Disembowel. I considered picking the best card, Putrefy, but the wisest decision was to take Disembowel. When you're uncertain about two picks, pick the one you will have the best chance to play in the end (which is why we wouldn't consider Hour of Reckoning as a first pick in a good pack). You might play Putrefy, you will play Disembowel.
The second booster was pretty weak, with a choice between Dimir Infiltrator, Surveilling Sprite, Consult the Necrosages and Remand.
Q: Consult!
A: Surveilling Sprite or Remand
O: Not Sprite, I don't like sodas.
Someone: clap clap
I wasn't quite sure about that one, but as I didn't have any two Drops except from the Talismans, I picked Remand.
Then I received a Brainspoil, but I preferred to pick the Dismisser instead.

Vedalken Dismisser

A: I pick Entrancer 95% of the time, I even firstpick it, but here you need removals.
Maybe I should have listened to him here.
Next choice I had to take was between Vedalken Entrancer and Dimir Cutpurse.
Q: Winning condition!
O: Which one?
Q: Cutpurse, used to like it, but it's really ok.
One more look at my removal: Disembowel, and Ribbons. If I could get Flight of fancy, the card would fit pretty well, I took it.
Not too much choice again, as the following packs offered me Tidewater Minion, Tattered Drake and Lurking Informant without many options.


Savage Twister
Pretty good pack featuring Mortify, Savage Twister and Giant Solifuge. Well obviously Mortify was the good choice. But Twister is so much better - maybe could I get two or three Gruul duals and/or Signets in the last pack. It had skipped out of my mind at this point, but I also had a Shred Memory that would eventually make it to the main deck.
A: Twister
Good to have a brother who truly understands you
Q: Do it!
I did, and didn't regret it. I had to second pick Gruul signet over Blind Hunter (when I could have had both Mortify and Hunter in the deck), but the price was worth it. I then picked Train of Thought over a UR Signet as it was now obvious that my right neighbor was drafting UR and wouldn't pass me everything.
I then got the crucial RG dual and even though the end of the draft went not that smoothly, I was happy about my deck.

8 Island
7 Swamp
1 Gruul Turf
1 Surveilling Sprite
1 Lurcking Informant
1 Stinkweed Imp
1 Drift of phantasms
1 Orzhov Euthanasist
1 Dimir Cutpurse
1 Dimir Houseguard
1 Petrahydrox
1 Sewerdreg
1 Tattered Drake
1 Tidewater Minion
1 Vedalken Dismisser

1 Gruul Signet
1 Dimir Signet
1 Golgari Signet
1 Remand
1 Train of thoughts
1 Savage Twister
1 Shred Memory
1 Clinging Darkness
1 Runeboggle
1 Disembowel
1 Ribbons of Night
1 Twisted Justice


I lost round one to Siege Wurm + Shadow Lance game two after I had already lost to Selesnya Guildmage one turn after I cleaned the board with Savage Twister game 1. Finally I lost to a pretty good deck but both times Twister was great.

Now, let me know what you think…

In Draft, which would you pick better of Steamcore Weird and Ogre Savant?

[The survey originally included in this article has been removed.]

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