On Sunday, I drove to Rochester, MN to participate in the Magic the Gathering: Modern Horizons Pre-Release. This will be my third pre-release I have attended since rejuvenating my interest in Magic the Gathering. I’m still an amateur player, however playing in these events has given me confidence to keep playing the game. I had a blast playing with the new cards, but I also wanted to share some general tips for drafting in Magic that one of my friends sent me.
Modern is a format in Magic where decks are built with at least sixty cards versus standard Magic where decks have forty cards. Me and two other friends participated in this pre-release except it wasn’t like a typical pre-release I attended, it was a draft. Drafting in Magic can be extremely difficult. Drafting is where everyone opens a booster pack and picks only one card from that pack. Then the pack gets passed to the next player and they pick one card from the pack. This means I need to pick cards from what’s passed to me without knowing what cards were picked by other players. I chose to make a blue / white deck with a bunch of flying creatures.
My deck wasn’t that great. I found the other players in our group had more “aggressive” decks meaning their decks worked faster than mine. I only won one game out of twelve games (as I said, I’m still an amateur). After this experience, my friend sent me an article about what to look for when drafting. It’s titled BREAD which stands for:
B – Bombs. This is the super powerful cards. This could mean creatures that can’t be removed from the game easily or instants which can remove many creatures at once. It’s a card that you can’t pass up, so pick this card first in a draft.
R – Removal. These are cards that remove creatures or artifacts. If a deck doesn’t have removal, it’s useless. Creatures make up a deck, but the deck needs to be defensive as well.
E – Evasion! Choosing creatures that are difficult to block. This includes finding abilities such as flying, deathtouch, unblockable or I find menace to be an ability that’s kind of obnoxious. My deck was based around flying creatures, but the deck failed. That’s because of . . .
A – Aggro. This is why my deck failed. Aggro refers to filling up a mana curve. Meaning you want to cast a creature card every turn if able. This means choosing creatures that are cheap to cast. My flyers were great creatures, but often they required at least 3 sometimes even 5 mana to cast. This means by the time I was able to cast a creature, my opponent had at least three or four creatures out at once time. This cost me almost all of my games.
D- Duds! These are the cards no one wants. I was playing a blue / white flying deck, but I still found cards that were green or black which didn’t work with my color scheme. This happens to everyone at a draft where you’re forced to take cards no one wants. These cards can be sorted out when the deck building begins.
Even though my deck sucked, I liked the cards I drafted. I pulled a couple “Phantom Ninja’s” which cost three mana. Their special ability is they can’t be blocked. This is useful because anytime I attack with them, my opponent can’t do anything about them. I also liked my “Wall of One Thousand Cuts.” It’s a wall which provides a blocking creature for my deck. I also like the art work on “Oneirophage.” This is a squid illusion which every time I draw a card, I put a +1 / +1 counter on Oneirophage. This squid could become powerful as my turns progressed.
As I reflect on the pre-release, I learned valuable deck building skills. Deck building is the hardest thing for me to grasp in Magic the Gathering. Once I have a successful deck, I’m good to go. I’m trying to play more Magic because in August I’m going to Gen Con. If I can win at least one game in Gen Con, I would be thrilled.