Hello, everyone!

Today we are going to dive into the Booster Draft format.  The draft format is one of two limited formats for Magic the Gathering.  The other is Sealed.  In the Sealed format, you open six packs and use the cards from these packs to build a 40-card deck.  Booster Draft allows players to use cards selected from packs opened at the event to build a 40-card deck.

HOW DRAFT WORKS

A booster draft can have up to 8 players in a pod.  Each player in the pod will have three packs they will open during the draft part of the event.  This is how a typical draft is conducted.

  1. Each player opens one of their booster packs and removes all tokens or other non-playable cards from the pack.
  2. Each player selects one of the cards from the pack he/she opened and then places it face down in front of himself/herself.
  3. Next you will pass the pack to the player on your left and receive a pack from the player on your right.
  4. You will repeat this process until all 15 cards from the pack are selected.
  5. Next you will open your second pack and remove all tokens or other non-playable cards from the pack.
  6. Select one of the cards from the pack you opened and place it face down in front of you.
  7. Once everyone has selected a card you will pass the cards to your right and receive a pack from the player on your left.
  8. You will repeat this process until all 15 cards from the pack are selected.
  9. Finally, you will open your third pack and follow the same process you did with the first pack you opened.
  10. Once all the cards from the packs have been distributed, you will create your deck from the card you selected.

5 TIPS FOR DRAFTING

#1          BEGIN THE DRAFT BY SELECTING POWERFUL CARDS

When you open your first pack, you should look for powerful cards to build your deck around.  Select the one that will help you win the most.  Prioritize big creatures and quality removal to take out your opponent’s bomb creature.  Your goal is to build the best deck possible from the cards available.

Don’t worry about the signals that you might be sending to other players based on the cards you select.  The rarity of the card you select does not matter.  Players tend to want to select the rare/myth rare from the pack.  While you might have this feeling, you want to select the best card for the deck you are building.

#2          LEARN THE MECHANICS AND THEMES OF THE SET

Before drafting any set, you need to know the mechanics of the set.  The next piece of the puzzle is knowing the cards and themes from the set.  Before any set releases, Wizards of the Coasts previews the cards from the set.  Look at the cards to get an idea of what cards to look for when you are drafting.  You can check previews from the most recent set by checking out our preview videos.  (videos – Caffeinated Gamers)

#3          LOOK FOR QUALITY REMOVAL

In any format, removal is an important part of deck construction.  Given the choice between a removal spell and one that does not affect the board, you should take the removal spell.  Being able to remove the best creatures your opponent has will play a key role in how well your deck performs.  I recommend having between four and seven removal cards in your deck if possible.

#4          FIND A PATH

At the start of any draft, you will have many ways to construct your deck.  The choices you make early in the draft will help determine the colors of cards you will want to look for as the draft progresses.  Early in the draft, take the best cards regardless of rarity.  Then as the draft progresses determine the color pair you plan to play.  Look for quality creatures and removal in the color pair you select.

Most sets have special lands.  Whether they are two-colored lands (dual lands) or other special types, when you have the option of taking a special land that supports your game plan or a card you are unsure of you should take the special land.

By the end of the draft, you want to have about seventeen playable creatures and six or seven other cards.  Most limited decks will have seventeen lands and twenty-three non-land cards.

#5          YOUR CURVE MATTERS

Make sure that you keep an eye on your mana curve.  You want to have cards that have a variety of mana values.  You should focus on getting cards that cost two or three mana.  At least half of your deck should have these mana costs.  Then between six to nine cards of higher mana value.  Below is an example of how you should develop your mana curve in a limited format.  The guide is for sealed prerelease, but it shows how you should develop your deck mana curve.

A draft is an ever-changing way to play Magic the Gathering.  It teaches you how to play different strategies and learn the different ways to construct a deck.  Limited is a great way to learn how to play Magic.

Caffeinated Gamers will have draft events each Sunday at 4 PM.  Come out and enjoy this exciting format.

That’s it for this week.  I’ll see you next time.

By: Scott Trepanier

Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994.  His preferred format is standard.  Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.