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By: TheWolf, Shane Garvey
Sep 28 2017 11:00am
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Hello everybody and welcome to my first draft article for Ixalan. I have been able to play with the set once so far, at the pre-release, and found the format quite good at this early stage. I went 3-1 with a red/green dinosaur deck splashing a bit of white, beating a black/white vampires deck, another dinosaur deck, a black/red aggro deck and losing in the final round to a blue/green merfolk deck. The format was fun, though we will see if it stands the test of time.

Below is every pick of my first Ixalan draft. Feel free to agree or disagree with my picks in the comments below. At the end of the article, you'll find a "First Pick First Pack" - let me know what you would take first out of the pack presented.

THE DRAFT

  Pack 1 pick 1:

  My Pick:

So first pick, and we have a fairly weak pack here. Our rare, Shaper's Sanctuary, is not a strong card, and we have a gold uncommon I'm not keen on first picking, as well as a sideboard card in Field of Ruin. Perilous Voyage is also not a card I'm interested in first picking.

That leaves us with the commons, and we do have some solid ones, though again none I'm really happy first picking. Vanquish the Weak and Territorial Hammerskull were the two I was leaning towards, though I found Ixalli's Diviner very useful at the pre-release. In the end I went with the creature.


  Pack 1 pick 2:

  My Pick:

Having said I didn't want to pick a gold card first, I decided to pick one second. I felt Call of the Feast was easily the most powerful card here, with Thrash of Raptors a distant second. I had taken a white card already, so decided to take Call of the Feast as it was least already one of my colours.


  Pack 1 pick 3:

  My Pick:

This feels like another weak pack, though Blossom Dryad performed well for me at the pre-release. Queen's Bay Soldier is a vampire if I want to head that way, but picking a vanilla 2/2 this early doesn't seem like a good idea. I decided to stay on colour and pick Sunrise Seeker; it's not a pick I am happy with, but this is a decent enough 5 drop, I think.


  Pack 1 pick 4:

  My Pick:

I like the explore mechanic a lot; it seems very powerful. Tishana's Wayfinder is either a 3/3 for three mana, which is above rate, or a 2/2 that draws you a card, which is good. Colossal Dreadmaw is also a good top of the curve card, and I think were the two strongest cards in the pack. I decided to move in on green now and picked Wayfinder.


  Pack 1 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Skyblade of the Legion and Paladin of the Bloodstained (which is one of the coolest Magic card names in a long while) are strong cards, and there is also another Tishana's Wayfinder. I went with the cheaper card and took Skyblade of the Legion.


  Pack 1 pick 6:

  My Pick:

Legion's Judgement seems like a fine card, though I don't think it's quite as good as its black counterpart. I was tempted by Siren Lookout here as well - this is a good little beater. But I went with Blossom Dryad; I'm not sure how good it will be in draft, but it was fine in sealed deck.


  Pack 1 pick 7:

  My Pick:

Ugh... Duskborne Skymarcher is not a card I expect I will play, but if I do go back into Vampires it will make the cut. I maybe should have taken Ixalli's Keeper here.


  Pack 1 pick 8:

  My Pick:

Giant Spider with +1 power and slightly harder to cast, Grazing Whiptail is a solid playable four-drop. I picked it as I am not sure if Slash of Talons is any good in this format. 


  Pack 1 pick 9:

  My Pick:

As I mentioned earlier, this is a sideboard card for the rare transform lands. I doubt it will make it into the deck. The rest of pack one was:


  Pack 1 pick 10:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 12:

  My Pick:


  Pack 1 pick 13:

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  Pack 1 pick 14:

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  Pack 1 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 1:

  My Pick:

Well, I'm certainly seeing some weak packs. I took Ixalli's Diviner here; it's better than it looks at first glance. A 0/3 that draws you a land, or a 1/4 for 2 mana are both perfectly serviceable. Still not happy taking it first pick of a pack, though.


  Pack 2 pick 2:

  My Pick:

This is a much better pack, with two strong white cards (Pious Interdiction and Emissary of Sunrise). I took the removal spell as I sorely needed it.


  Pack 2 pick 3:

  My Pick:

But this time, I will take Emissary of Sunrise. Ixalli's Diviner and Bishop's Soldier are also fine cards.


  Pack 2 pick 4:

  My Pick:

I don't have a lot of dinosaurs yet, but being in green white are two colours that can get them, which makes Kinjalli's Caller an alright pick. Besides, there is nothing else for me here.


  Pack 2 pick 5:

  My Pick:

Now we are talking. Pounce is likely to end up a premium green common, so I am thrilled to get not one...


  Pack 2 pick 6:

  My Pick:

... but two.


  Pack 2 pick 7:

  My Pick:

I found Commune with Dinosaurs to be a good card at the pre-release in the deck I had, but the problem I had here was I didn't have many dinosaurs. Spike-Tailed Ceratops is not great, but it is a dinosaur and if I can cast it for 4 mana thanks to Kinjalli's Caller, it becomes decent.


  Pack 2 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I didn't want Verdant Rebirth or another Sunrise Seeker here. I ended up taking Siren Lookout; it seemed blue was somewhat open and my picks so far were not that strong, so I was considering a possible change of colour.


  Pack 2 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Sideboard card. Moving along...


  Pack 2 pick 10:

  My Pick:

The next few picks really gave me nothing in either green or white, so I ended up taking some decent blue cards. I will wait to see what I open pack three; if I open a blue bomb I might move into blue. The picks were:


  Pack 2 pick 11:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 12:

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  Pack 2 pick 13:

  My Pick:


  Pack 2 pick 14:

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  Pack 2 pick 15:

  My Pick:


  Pack 3 pick 1:

  My Pick:

No blue bomb, but I did get a green one in Thundering Spineback. This is the stongest card in my deck and I now want to really concentrate on dinosaurs. This pack was actually decent for me, with another Pounce and a Pious Interdiction here as well.


  Pack 3 pick 2:

  My Pick:

I'm still hedging a bit here with blue. Storm Sculpter, as an unblockable 3 power creature, is quite strong. I do need to commit one way or another very soon though.


  Pack 3 pick 3:

  My Pick:

Pterodon Knight as a 3/3 for 4 mana is way below what I want to be playing, but if I can reliably give it flying it suddenly becomes quite good.


  Pack 3 pick 4:

  My Pick:

This is better than my last pick, and is actually quite a strong card. A 3/3 flyer for four mana is above what we often see this days, and the ability to pick up and fling another creature through the air for a turn is good too. At this point, I have firmly committed to green/white.


  Pack 3 pick 5:

  My Pick:

As I mentioned earlier, Colossal Dreadmaw is a good finisher. I did consider the gold uncommon, but didn't have a lot to take advantage of its ability.


  Pack 3 pick 6:

  My Pick:

As before this is a good card.


  Pack 3 pick 7:

  My Pick:

This was a toss-up between Skyblade of the Legion and Deeproot Warrior, the white card winning out due to being a flyer.


  Pack 3 pick 8:

  My Pick:

I don't think Prying Blade is necessarily all that good; however, I had some cheap flyers and if I could get a couple of hits in with it I could ramp quite nicely. 


  Pack 3 pick 9:

  My Pick:

Another Blossom Dryad for some more ramp. The remaining picks were:


  Pack 3 pick 10:

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  Pack 3 pick 11:

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  Pack 3 pick 12:

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  Pack 3 pick 13:

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  Pack 3 pick 14:

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  Pack 3 pick 15:

  My Pick:


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THE DECK

I'm afraid this ended up a bit of a mess. There is hardly any synergy, with only six dinosaurs, and it has ended up a bit of a curve deck. The draft itself felt bad - I don't know whether the packs were weak or whether the set as a whole is just underpowered, but I had a hard time drafting it. Here's hoping this is just a one off.

THE MATCHES

I'm not going to go into much detail on the matches other than to say they were a disaster. I went 0-2, dropping before the third round due to not being able to win any prizes. I lost all my games, as well, with only the first game of round one being even close. I did get a little unlucky, having to mulligan to 5 twice; I think the combination of that and my poor draft contributed to this poor result.

I was really disappointed with how this draft panned out, and hope it is an anomaly. The pre-release was fun, but this draft just seemed very bad. How's your experience been so far? Let me know in the comments.

FIRST PICK FIRST PACK

Here is a pack of Ixalan I opened on Magic Online. What you would take first pick, first pack? Let me know in the comments below.