Analyzing the 3-0 Decks from the First Draft

Posted in Event Coverage on September 13, 2015

By Oliver Gehrmann

It was a somewhat mundane task typing up the 20 decklists of the 3-0 drafters of today's first draft. So I decided to spice things up a bit and generated some statistics "on the side." These can give you a pretty good understanding of the Magic Origins draft format, so without further ado, let's delve right into it.

First, let's look at the breakdown of the five colors:


White turned out to be the most popular color among the 3-0 drafters

In hot pursuit of white (ten players) were decks featuring red (nine copies), followed by black (eight). Blue found itself in fourth place (seven decks) and, interestingly enough, green turned out to be the least popular color with just six players relying on it.

Since this can hardly lead to any profound conclusions about the strengths of the colors individually, we wanted to dig even deeper and show you how players combined the colors. That led to this interesting pie chart.


Green is suddenly on top!

When I first looked at this, I felt like I should eat my words. Green-white was in fact the most popular pairing. Four players made use of this powerful combination to win their respective draft pods. The only other color combination that proved as popular was black-red, a mix traditionally strong in draft.

Three players aced their pods with red-white and two each used blue-black, white-blue, and blue-red to do so. This shows that we saw almost every single possible color combination (except for black-green) winning at least one draft pod! So while certain archetypes convincingly confirmed their viability, there seems to be no single strategy that can't keep up with them.

Now that we've been looking at decks "as a whole," let's further break down the draft by individual cards. Let's start with the multicolored cards:

5 Blazing Hellhound
5 Iroas's Champion
4 Possessed Skaab
2 Bounding Krasis
2 Citadel Castellan
1 Blood-Cursed Knight
1 Reclusive Artificer
1 Zendikar Incarnate

These can obviously inform a players choice to draft a certain color combination in the first place since they are two colors all on their own. So the numbers of Blazing Hellhounds and Iroas's Champions may well have played a role in four players going black-red and in red-white being the third most popular archetype among the 3-0 decks. The only two multicolored cards that didn't see play in the 3-0 decks were Shaman of the Pack and Thunderclap Wyvern.

We're now diverting for a moment from our look at the colors and instead focus on the most popular artifacts:

5 Alchemist's Vial
5 Throwing Knife
4 Guardian Automaton
4 Runed Servitor
3 Sigil of Valor

These five cards are mostly interesting for their general utility. Since there's not much else that can be said about them, let's now look at the most popular white cards:

7 Charging Griffin
7 Grasp of the Hieromancer
7 Topan Freeblade
6 Stalwart Aven
6 War Oracle

These cards really illustrate why white is such a powerhouse in draft. Not only do we see one of the most aggressive 2-drops popping up, we also see a flying creature, as well as an enchantment that can put you far, far ahead in the damage race.

Next up are the top blue cards:

8 Aspiring Aeronaut
8 Faerie Miscreant
7 Claustrophobia
5 Disperse
5 Screeching Skaab
5 Separatist Voidmage
5 Watercourser

This breakdown is slightly misleading; Faerie Miscreant is not a very popular card. It is only really useful when you end up with several copies. Two players that managed to ace their respective draft pods did just that: Wenzel Krautmann and Valentin Hauser. Both were playing four copies of the card, making them that much more playable.

Other than that, we don't see a lot of surprises here. A lot of cards that buy the blue player time but that don't necessarily win games all on their own. Since blue was the only color that didn't get paired with any single other color three times, it appears that many players instead used blue cards to round out their curves and let the other color do most of the work.

Let's now take a look at the most played black cards:

7 Reave Soul
6 Unholy Hunger
5 Read the Bones
5 Shambling Ghoul
4 Fetid Imp
4 Nantuko Husk

We saw Simon Görtzen first pick Reave Soul and immediately add a second copy in his draft feature earlier. If a former Pro Tour champion is a fan of the card, it's no big surprise that it also leads the statistics for the most popular black cards. With Unholy Hunger, we see another powerful removal spell in second place. Read the Bones is a great way to improve the consistency of your deck (and can often be picked up a little later in the pack), while the other three creatures provide a very strong early game.

Next, we got the most popular red cards:

12 Fiery Impulse
10 Ghirapur Gearcrafter
9 Akroan Sergeant
8 Lightning Javelin
7 Mage-Ring Bully

While you don't need a lot of copies of Fiery Impulse itself to make the most of it, Andrej Rutar went a little overboard with a whopping four copies of the card. His opponents didn't have the greatest of times. We see another removal spell pop up in the top five cards with Lightning Javelin and then three aggressive creatures that can apply a lot of pressure and crush many an opponent's dream of keeping up with the red player.

Finally, here are the most popular green cards:

11 Timberpack Wolf
9 Might of the Masses
6 Elvish Visionary
5 Titanic Growth
5 Wild Instincts

Timberpack Wolf is another card that you want to pick up in multiples. Miguel Gomez led the pack with a stunning five copies! Amit Cohen also got his hands on three of them that were putting in some serious work while Robin Steinborn and Alfred Benages used them for their stats alone as a 2-drop 2/2.

Three cards in our top five are pump spells of sorts. With not all that impressive stats of 1/1, Elvish Visionary might as well be the weakest creature we have found in all of our top five lists, however, it replaces itself and will therefore always find a home in a deck sporting green.

That's it for our individual color breakdowns. Since some of you might be interested in a complete breakdown of the draft, here is the full list of cards that ended up in the 3-0 main decks:

12 Fiery Impulse
11 Timberpack Wolf
10 Ghirapur Gearcrafter
9 Akroan Sergeant
9 Might of the Masses
8 Aspiring Aeronaut
8 Faerie Miscreant
8 Lightning Javelin
7 Charging Griffin
7 Grasp of the Hieromancer
7 Topan Freeblade
7 Claustrophobia
7 Reave Soul
7 Mage-Ring Bully
6 Stalwart Aven
6 War Oracle
6 Unholy Hunger
6 Boggart Brute
6 Dragon Fodder
6 Subterranean Scout
6 Thopter Engineer
6 Elvish Visionary
5 Blazing Hellhound
5 Iroas's Champion
5 Alchemist's Vial
5 Throwing Knife
5 Ampryn Tactician
5 Cleric of the Forward Order
5 Enshrouding Mist
5 Knight of the Pilgrim's Road
5 Mighty Leap
5 Disperse
5 Screeching Skaab
5 Separatist Voidmage
5 Watercourser
5 Read the Bones
5 Shambling Ghoul
5 Firefiend Elemental
5 Prickleboar
5 Titan's Strength
5 Titanic Growth
5 Wild Instincts
4 Possessed Skaab
4 Guardian Automaton
4 Runed Servitor
4 Suppression Bonds
4 Maritime Guard
4 Send to Sleep
4 Tower Geist
4 Fetid Imp
4 Nantuko Husk
4 Act of Treason
4 Fiery Conclusion
4 Conclave Naturalists
4 Yeva's Forcemage
3 Sigil of Valor
3 Gideon's Phalanx
3 Patron of the Valiant
3 Anchor to the Æther
3 Jhessian Thief
3 Sphinx's Tutelage
3 Thopter Spy Network
3 Eyeblight Assassin
3 Goblin Glory Chaser
3 Ravaging Blaze
3 Leaf Gilder
3 Pharika's Disciple
3 Undercity Troll
3 Vastwood Gorger
3 Evolving Wilds
2 Bounding Krasis
2 Citadel Castellan
2 Chief of the Foundry
2 Guardians of Meletis
2 Hangarback Walker
2 Mage-Ring Responder
2 Veteran's Sidearm
2 Blessed Spirits
2 Consul's Lieutenant
2 Knightly Valor
2 Sentinel of the Eternal Watch
2 Totem-Guide Hartebeest
2 Artificer's Epiphany
2 Clash of Wills
2 Ringwarden Owl
2 Sigiled Starfish
2 Skaab Goliath
2 Deadbridge Shaman
2 Despoiler of Souls
2 Rabid Bloodsucker
2 Shadows of the Past
2 Thornbow Archer
2 Call of the Full Moon
2 Chandra's Fury
2 Magmatic Insight
2 Skyraker Giant
2 Volcanic Rambler
2 Hitchclaw Recluse
2 Managorger Hydra
2 Nissa's Pilgrimage
2 Skysnare Spider
1 Blood-Cursed Knight
1 Reclusive Artificer
1 Zendikar Incarnate
1 Bonded Construct
1 Gold-Forged Sentinel
1 Meteorite
1 Ramroller
1 War Horn
1 Akroan Jailer
1 Anointer of Champions
1 Aven Battle Priest
1 Celestial Flare
1 Heavy Infantry
1 Kytheon, Hero of Akros
1 Kytheon's Tactics
1 Yoked Ox
1 Calculated Dismissal
1 Displacement Wave
1 Harbinger of the Tides
1 Hydrolash
1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
1 Scrapskin Drake
1 Soulblade Djinn
1 Stratus Walk
1 Turn to Frog
1 Whirler Rogue
1 Blightcaster
1 Cruel Revival
1 Languish
1 Malakir Cullblade
1 Abbot of Keral Keep
1 Acolyte of the Inferno
1 Enthralling Victor
1 Exquisite Firecraft
1 Molten Vortex
1 Seismic Elemental
1 Dwynen's Elite
1 Gaea's Revenge
1 Honored Hierarch
1 Joraga Invocation
1 Llanowar Empath
1 Nissa, Vastwood Seer
1 Orchard Spirit
1 Rhox Maulers
1 Battlefield Forge
1 Foundry of the Consuls
1 Rogue's Passage

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