I have two young boys, aged 10 and 7, who come along to my LGS and play Magic. They are, as you would expect, not top level players, and often go 0-4 at Standard. However, as Dad likes to draft, both boys want to also try drafting. For a long time I put them off, but eventually caved and allowed them to try it. To my surprise, the 10 year old usually goes 2-1 or 1-2, while the 7 year old, who did his first draft a few weeks ago, went 2-0-1!
So how did they do it? Before the draft, I described to them what you need to do to draft. However, to keep it simple, I gave them a few tips on how to draft:
- Stick to two colours and two colours only;
- Pick cards that are planeswalkers, remove creatures, are good creatures, or boost your creatures (combat tricks) in that order;
- And pick the best cards out of the first two packs and then only stick to those two colours.
Essentially, I was teaching them to force their draft - not something recommended, but something I thought they could handle. Surprisingly, it works for them.
Today, I decided to try this method in a League and see how it went. It's not something I recommend to experienced drafters, obviously, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment.
Pack 1 pick 1:
Well, this made it pretty easy to determine which colours to force! Sticking to my instructions, I have to take Ajani Unyielding here. If it wasn't there, I would have taken Ice Over, again going by what I tell my kids to do. My actual pick would have been Aether Chaser.
Pack 1 pick 2:
Ok, so knowing that I am already in white/green, I am only going to be looking at those two colours and artifacts. Scrounging Bandar is the best of the creatures, so that was the pick.
Pack 1 pick 3:
I know people like Audacious Infiltrator, but I am not a great fan. However, it is better than the other, very limited choices, so that was the pick.
Pack 1 pick 4:
This one was a tough choice between Mobile Garrison and Aetherstream Leopard. I like the Garrison more, so picked it.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Aether Inspector and Silkweaver Elite are not great creatures, so I looked at Lifecrafter's Gift instead, and picked that.
Pack 1 pick 6:
Another Scrounging Bandar and it is the best of the creatures here, so took a second one.
Pack 1 pick 7:
I'm a big fan of Narnam Renegade, and white/green is a colour pair that can trigger revolt, so I think it was the best choice here.
Pack 1 pick 8:
Only one card in the pack in my colours, so only one choice: Ghirapur Osprey
Pack 1 pick 9:
This was actually a misclick...
The remaining picks were all pretty obvious, so here they are:
Pack 1 pick 10:
Pack 1 pick 11:
Pack 1 pick 12:
Pack 1 pick 13:
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
After pack 1, here's what I have:
Obviously there are some cards here I won't be playing, and I also have no removal yet, which is an issue. Let's see what pack 2 brings.
Pack 2 pick 1:
Man, I don't like passing Freejam Regent, but I have to follow the rules! I took Aeronaut Admiral over the others purely on the fact that it has flying (something else I tell the kids to look out for).
Pack 2 pick 2:
Man these red cards... this one came down to Aetherstream Leopard, another Mobile Garrison / Daredevil Dragster (which would go well with the previous pick), or Dawnfeather Eagle, a card I really like. I took the Eagle.
Pack 2 pick 3:
Narnam Renegade is, on the whole, better than Ghirapur Osprey and could double as pseudo-removal in a deck that has none so far.
Pack 2 pick 4:
Nothing else in this pack except Aetherstream Leopard, so the cat it is.
Pack 2 pick 5:
Well... for this pick, I was torn between Prey Upon, which my deck really needed, or Renegade Rallier, which would be a good pay off for a white/green revolt deck. I actually quickly called my kids over and they said they would take the Rallier, so that's what I took as well.
Pack 2 pick 6:
Another Dawnfeather Eagle won out over yet another Osprey and Deft Dismissal; I cheated a little here as my kids would have taken Dismissal, but I think it might come back around.
Pack 2 pick 7:
Ugh. The only "white" card in the pack is Implement of Improvement, so I took it.
Pack 2 pick 8:
I broke my rules a little here and took a revolt enabler. It's actually possible my kids would have taken this as well (they are taught to take "good" creatures, then cards that boost creatures over bad creatures), so I took Conviction.
Pack 2 pick 9:
I'm not a fan of Silkweaver Elite, so took another Audacious Infiltrator.
Pack 2 pick 10:
I almost took Mobile Garrison here, but decided another revolt enabler might be good.
Here is the rest of pack 2:
Pack 2 pick 11:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
Here are the cards I'm happy to play after pack 2:
On to pack 3!
Pack 3 pick 1:
There were a few choices here but, sticking to the guidelines I teach my kids, Fairgrounds Warden is the pick.
Pack 3 pick 2:
Aerial Responder is the obvious (and most powerful) choice here, over Thriving Rhino.
Pack 3 pick 3:
No white creatures, no green creatures. My kids probably would have taken Ornamental Courage but I actually missed seeing it in the pack, and took Attune with Aether instead.
Pack 3 pick 4:
Thinking about what to take here, I determined it would have to be out of Eddytrail Hawk or Propeller Pioneer. In the end, cheaper is better when in doubt (or so I teach my kids) so took the Hawk.
Pack 3 pick 5:
Aviary Mechanic is the only white creature, but it ends up being a good pick for our revolt cards.
Pack 3 pick 6:
Another obvious (and much-needed) pick in Revoke Privileges.
The rest of the Kaladesh pack is actually pretty obvious and picked itself, so let's skip though:
Pack 3 pick 7:
Pack 3 pick 8:
Pack 3 pick 9:
Pack 3 pick 10:
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
As I expected, the deck turned out okay, but not spectacular. Of note I have Ajani Unyielding, a pair of Dawnfeather Eagles, an Aerial Responder and a Fairgrounds Warden. Hopefully it will do well enough to get me 1-2 match wins.
Versus: Black-Green, splashing Blue
I get off to a good start playing out Aviary Mechanic, Aetherstream Leopard (enchanting it with Conviction) and Aeronaut Admiral, while my opponent plays Fatal Push on the Mechanic and a lonely Mobile Garrison. They were able to get down a Rogue Refiner and kill the Admiral, but I played a Dawnfeather Eagle and continued the beatdown, winning soon after.
Game 2 was interesting as we both got stuck with just green mana for five turns. We both played out creatures but when my opponent found their Swamps and played a Winding Constrictor I figured they had the upper hand. We traded removal, and I was able to cast the Aeronaut Admiral and put Conviction on it, making it a 5/5 (with a +1/+1 counter from a Scrounging Bandar). My opponent had no answers for it and, when I played Dawnfeather Eagle yet again, it was all over.
Game 1 was very interesting, with me going from overwhelming favourite to win to losing badly! I started with a Scrounging Bandar into Aerial Responder and moved all the counters on to it. Needless to say, a 4/5 flying vigilance lifelinker is powerful! I got my opponent down to 10 and myself up to 32 life and was feeling pretty good about things. Until, that is, my opponent played Shrewd Negotiation and stole the Responder, giving me a Servo in response! I eventually managed to play Ajani to exile the traitorous Responder, but it was too little too late and I eventually fell.
I won't go into detail on game 2 or 3, as my opponent got badly mana screwed in both games and I was able to overrun them quite easily.
Game 1 started the same way as the previous match, with me building a huge Aerial Responder. Unfortunately my opponent was able to use Spire Infiltrator to tap it, then keep it tapped with Ice Over. We then began racing, me with a Dawnfeather Eagle and my opponent with a Bastion Inventor. When my opponent attacked with the Inventor, I blocked with my Aviary Mechanic and used Lifecrafter's Gift on it to let it trade, my opponent lost the race.
Game 2 was my turn to have mana issues, but this time I flooded badly, keeping a hand of 3 land and then proceeding to draw five in a row. All I was able to play was an Eddytrail Hawk enchanted with Conviction, which my opponent was able to keep tapped down with Pacification Array. I attempted to play an Eagle but it was countered, and my opponent was able to beat me into submission.
In the 3rd and final game I was able to curve out nicely with Narnam Renegade into Audacious Infiltrator into Aerial Responder, following up with Aeronaut Admiral and Dawnfeather Eagle. Conversely, my opponent used Ice Over on the Infiltrator, their Metallic Mimic got eaten by my Fairgrounds Warden I played on turn 6, and they were left with just a Bastion Inventor. I was able to curve out perfectly and won the game and the match on turn 8.
I certainly didn't expect to 3-0 with this deck. It might have been a little different had my opponent in match 2 actually been able to play Magic in games 2 and 3, but that is part of the game, I guess.
So, does that mean that drafting by forcing colours is a good way to draft? Not really. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails badly. You still need to be open and read the draft.
But I do think it's a good way to teach younger or less experienced players how to draft, at least initially, until they can understand how a draft works. Yes, they will develop bad habits doing this, but as they progress through their learning those bad habits can be undone.
Thanks for joining me again, and I'll see you next week!