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Everything you need to know about Booster Drafts

Booster drafts are pretty familiar to most people who played Magic: The Gathering, in paper or digital formats, and the Mythgard versions will be quite recognizable to anyone who has ever cracked open boosters around a table at their local game shop or Magic Online client. The specific mechanics of Mythgard, though provide an interestingly different experience and the exacting elements are well worth studying so let’s get started!


Format

Like in Magic, Drafting is just that, getting a set of random cards from Booster Packs, and selecting one at a time which to add to your deck. Because Mythgard packs are small, only six cards—one Mythic/Rare, two Uncommon, and three Common—the “packs” that are opened for each round of drafting are actually two packs simultaneously, 12 cards total, with the same ratio of card rarity. Opening your pack initiates the timer to make your selection, which will be usable on later picks if a queue builds up. Your pack is passed to the left in the first round, then right, then left again, then right again, leading to four total rounds, leaving each player with 48 cards to make a 36-card deck. You will have access to all paths and powers in deckbuilding, and you will be given usually 5-6 minutes to build a deck, as set by the organizer of the tournament.


General Notes on Strategy

Unlike drafting in Magic, which is oriented toward letting cards make it all the way around the table almost twice, 8 person pods with 15 card booster packs, the Draft pods in Mythgard are staked to the size of the “pack” itself, with a maximum size of 12 players. While this means that you are more likely to get off-color cards at the end of the pack, and on fewer potential slots,[1] there is some relief in Mythgard’s incredibly flexible resource system. Drafting in Mythgard feels like drafting in Magic sets like Invasion or Ravnica that focus heavily on multicolor support. The easy color-fixing that comes with the Burn System means that it is not only viable to play with >3 colors, but it is probably the best course of action in many, if not most, Drafts.

Unlike Arena, where the Boost and Cull system makes focused decks oriented toward a single Color or even tribal synergies within that Color,[2] Draft in Mythgard more commonly resembles classical strategies in Magic, where simply making the best deck out of available materials is probably the dominant drafting strategy. There are maybe some focused strategies lurking due to the availability of all paths and powers,[3] the Core Set of Mythgard likely does not lend itself to much in the way of genuine synergy.[4] Generally speaking, the same kinds of bombs that you would prioritize in Arena, large Minions that can trade and overrun, are going to be useful in Booster Drafts, but with a much closer focus on Gem costs.[5] Similarly because colors are less focused than in Arena, there is often even less consistent opportunity to force colors and have useful removal and Minions up and down your curve, meaning that buff Spells feel even more powerful as you utilize your larger Minions to control the board and win trades. For this reason, this weekend’s KG Draft is experimenting with a ban on Pentacle of Flavors as a buff Spell which makes a minion incredibly durable, able to devastate the board with Blast, and trade way up with Slayer, especially in an already very powerful Color, Purple.


Speaking of Colors, the basic conceit in a Booster Draft, that you considering carefully what kinds of signals you are sending to your opponent, is as critical to Mythgard as any similar game. The colors your opponent to your left (then right, then left again, then right again) see is an indication of what they think you are not playing, and a sign of safer colors for them to draft, meaning that you may not see those same colors come back next round. This is a bit trickier, as the double packs are often unusually skewed toward single colors, meaning that you might pass a bunch of Green cards even if you drafted the Volkov Heavy or other bomb.


Rather than simply looking at what Colors you are being passed, you can pay closer attention to the quality of cards being passed. For better or worse, the Core Set of Mythgard has plenty of draft chaff. Getting passed a pile of Yellow might seem like an indication of what someone is drafting, but if you see Obligations and Verdant Jungles, it may be just as likely that this was a Yellow heavy pack that had the lone Yellow card worth picking snapped up. The structure of Rarity in packs means that Mythics are reasonably uncommon, and the emphasis on consistency and bulky Minions mean that many Rares are more for filling niches than providing general utility, cards like Ghul or Blood Dolls.


Previous Drafts experimented with banning overwhelming bombs and, interestingly, focused squarely on two Commons, Terragon and Volkov Heavy, rather than outrageously powerful constructed cards like Sapo, The Devourer. Don’t be afraid to snap up an obviously useful Common or Uncommon just because there is a shiny Mythic in your pack! Similarly, don’t be too alarmed with the chaff that you accumulate, especially with late picks, as you will draft 8 more cards than you can actually fit into your deck.

KG Draft on Saturday!

As you may have already noticed, I am hosting a Draft this weekend (June 13th) and, as I strive to do with most events, it has a big payout attached courtesy of my coin cap. Hopefully everyone can join us and keep have fun in exploring Booster Drafts!


Footnotes

[1] While a Booster Draft in Magic generates 45 cards on a 40-card minimum decksize, many of those slots will be for Lands [2] You can never escape Valkyries! [3] you could probably hit a critical mass of Enchantments or even maybe Artifacts to justify Rainbow’s End and Fires of Creation, respectively [4] What Jesse Mason would term the distinction between Bombs and important cards in draft, which can maybe be tied to the use of Dampen Thought in Kamigawa Block Limited, cf. [5] The recent nerf to Terragon indeed has done a lot to prevent literally every deck from wanting to splash purple to have a ferocious pearl-bearing turtle dragon to terrorize opponents.

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