Booster Draft Strategies

General forum

Posted on Sept. 7, 2013, 10:23 a.m. by triple_d

I have started playing booster drafts and trying to figure out what I should do.

I read up on the B.R.E.A.D., 14-16 creatures and 17-18 lands. A few things I figured out is looking for cards that give extra "bonuses." For example, a one mana creature with an ability is better than a one mana creature with nothing.

So what am I looking for in cards? What kind of combination should I go with. Any details would be helpful, thanks!

HarbingerJK says... #2

Tbh when ever I draft I follow that same strategy that a creature with some kind of ability is way better than a creature without. Following that rule I've inadvertently stumbled upon game winning combos. Things just kinda fall into place for me when it comes to drafting lol

September 7, 2013 10:38 a.m.

You're looking for one of two things in draft, power of synergy.

Power is finding cards that are inherently strong. Serra Angel is a classic example of this in Limited. A 4/4 flyer with vigilance is going to suck to play against.

Synergy is harder, and requires a knowledge of the archetypes available to you in that draft format. A good example of a card that benefits from synergy in M14 is Advocate of the Beast . There are only 3 or 4 beast cards in M14, and they're all pretty decent, but if you can get them on the field at the same time as the advocate, you can make a serious win condition.

Always be on the lookout for synergistic effects. Having cards that work well with each other can produce really powerful board states.

Another thing to note is that 1-mana creatures are usually really weak in draft. Draft decks are less likely to "curve out" perfectly, so avoiding that 1/1 for 1 and replacing it with something inherently more powerful is going to set up a stronger topdeck in the midgame.

September 7, 2013 10:40 a.m.

Arachnarchist says... #4

I agree with landgrafb about one drops. They are mostly unplayable. This is because MOST 1 drops are not good in limited. Mostly because most 1-drops are 1/1s and if unanswered it would take them 20 turns to beat your opponent down. By just going up to a 2/2 you cut that time in half. The other reason 1-drops are not played is because they're almost always a dead draw late game. There are exceptions to this such as Elite Vanguard , Gideon's Lawkeeper , etc.

September 7, 2013 11:27 a.m.

Arachnarchist says... #5

Creatures are the backbone of any limited deck. So being able to evaluate creatures is key. One of the best ways to do this is the vanilla test. I.e. look at the creature as if it was just a vanilla creature with no abilities first, and just compare the mana cost power and toughness. For example here are some creatures which are basically the bench mark for the vanilla test.

2 cmc: Runeclaw Bear
3 cmc: Undead Minotaur
4 cmc: Canyon Minotaur
5 cmc: Bonebreaker Giant
6 cmc: Vastwood Gorger

Now after determining whether a creature passes or fails the vanilla test, then you go to the text box. If a creatures passed the vanilla test, then you're just looking for any downside in the text box. If there isn't one it's a good creature. For example, Selesnya Sentry from RtR passes the vanilla test for a 3 drop and even though it's regenerate ability is very expensive, it's never a downside so you'll play it in limited. Compare to Demonic Taskmaster from AVR, which blows away the vanilla test but has a huge downside.

If a creature failed the vanilla test, then you're looking in the textbox for something really awesome. The best example of this is Royal Assassin .

September 7, 2013 11:35 a.m.

Arachnarchist says... #6

Also, something else to remember is that in limited you will rarely hit all of your land drops. For a 40 card deck with 17 lands (which is the recommended number) you can expect to hit your first 4-5 land drops, and then you'll likely draw a land every 2 to 3 turns. So you'll most likely be able to play your 2 drop turn 2, your 3 drop on 3, 4 drop on four, but then you might not play your five drop until turn 6, and your 6 drop until turn 8 or 9.

September 7, 2013 11:40 a.m.

SharuumNyan says... #7

I usually go with 18 lands (unless there are additional mana producers like Elvish Mystic right now). It all really depends on what you drafted. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all rule that works for everyone...and that goes for all Magic formats.

I have to disagree a bit with the advice on 1 drops because recently I've won so many games that would have been losses without those cards. One night I won two games with two Merfolk Spy doing most of the work. 1/1 cards aren't seen as threatening to your opponent either, which actially gives them extra protection. Who's going to waste a counter on a 1/1? Play your big guys, watch them die, and see that little 1/1 stick around 'till the end. It happens.

September 7, 2013 noon

SharuumNyan says... #8

Excuse the typos. It's early here :)

September 7, 2013 12:01 p.m.

@SharuumNyan, Merfolk Spy is an example of a 1-drop that's perfectly acceptable to run in Limited. It has evasion and an extra ability that can give information. The general rule of thumb, I guess, isn't to NOT run 1-drops, but rather not to run 1-drops strictly for the sake of starting your curve on turn 1.

September 7, 2013 1:17 p.m.

triple_d says... #10

Thanks for the advice, exactly what I am looking for. The vanilla test for the cmc is helpful. My problem is finding the right synergy and power. I am still screwing that up.

Last night I did a booster draft. I didn't have any creatures in play that did not have something extra. But they really didn't do much. For example, I had Suntail Hawk in my deck. It is a 1-drop 1/1 but has flying. And per B.R.E.A.D. I figured the flying was elusive and good to get attacks in early. In reality it did not really seem to do much. Before I knew it, another, bigger flyer comes out. So I am not sure if Suntail Hawk is part of the exception for playing 1-drops. Whereas one of my opponents played Capashen Knight and did very well.

Another combination I tried that I thought would be a good synergy was Blightcaster . With an enchantment giving me the ability to reduce any creature by -2/-2 for a turn I thought it would be a good remove card killing off weaker creatures. But trying to get the combo off by having it on there long enough never worked. From the vanilla test it would seem that Blightcaster fails it but I thought the ability would be a bonus.

I think the hardest thing for me is figuring out the good synergy from the bad synergy.

September 7, 2013 5:36 p.m.

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