Gameben23's picture
By: Gameben23, Ben Leemaster
Sep 26 2007 5:53pm
Login to post comments

It has been a while now hasn't it? My last article was about my triumph in Tenth Edition limited, surpassing a field of one hundred and twelve players to finish with a split in the finals. Unfortunately my Odyssey Block Sealed didn't go as spectacular as I dropped around round five or six. Since then I have recieved props for the two part article for that Tenth Edition limited Premier Event, especially for the top eight draft. For those that missed it you can check it out in the archieves. I hope to bring you more drafts to come, after I resolve a fight with Draft Cap. In the mean time I thought I would share some aspects of draft, not just in 10th edition, that have served me well.


I am always looking for a way to give myself an edge in Magic, other than cheating of course. This is why I read coverage and watch Pro Tour videos. I remember drafting TTT last year during the Pro Tour and I ended up drafting an archetype I heard about via that coverage. Remember Tromp the Domains.dec? I won easily ten drafts after reading about the deck and merely mimicing the strategy. Another part of this is actually knowing the set. Which is an almost necessary part of drafting. Knowing the cards is an advantage you MUST have when playing limited. This is where you can deduce a value for picks.

Tromp the Domains

Imitation, the most profitable form of flattery.


This is not how many tix a single card is worth, but about how likely it is to win you packs. Such as a pack with Blaze and Incinerate. Easy to say, the Blaze is more powerful and thus has a higher draft value. Now this gets tricky when it comes to comparing cards in different colors. Let's say Incinerate and Terror are in the same pack. The cards themselves are on the same power level, don't let anyone tell you no different. This is where you got to make a choice based on your value of the card, which often comes down to personal preference or knowing which color is weaker as a whole. You want to know what I would have picked? I'll tell you. I would pick Incinerate, red as a whole is more powerful and I like it better as a preference because I like to be able to hit a player directly.


I mentioned personal preference for when assigning value to a card. The best example to this is one of my contraversal picks in my top eight draft. I took a Remove Soul over Terror in the second pack. Having only taken Incinerate before that pick it is easy to say Terror is the better pick. This is where many players can go different ways altering the draft, which is highly fascinating to me. I have a preference for blue as it has a very deep amount of commons that are playable, most of which have flying or say "draw a card". Both of which I have an affinity for.


Remove Soul

Does It matter which is better


THIS IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT TRICK YOU CAN LEARN IN DRAFT! As you saw in the top eight draft I stayed loose in my third pick with a white card in Voice of All. This may not be the greatest of example considering the pack was week other than that card. The fact remains I probable would have taken it over some solid blue or red cards. Voice of All is a powerful card as far as white goes, and the fact that it went third surprises me. This gives me the idea that the guy to my left is going to send me white. This is a three dimensional idea, signaling. The guy to your left is sending you signals, but at the same time you are sending signals to your left. This is crucial in the first pack, at least when playing with decent players, as you can dictate whats going to happen in pack two. You need to take notes of what you pass, at least cards that are good or at least playable. As you saw in pack 1 of my draft I basically refused to pass any blue cards in pack one and behold I got a third pick Air Elemental and fourth pick Remove Soul which is pretty good. I am to the point to where I can run this trick in my head. I would recommend anyone who hasn't learned this trick to try it, because this is how players win drafts.

Building Your Deck, Even before You Finish Drafting

I don't care what anyone says, twenty (Terrors) will NOT win a draft. This is a very subtle part of the drafting process. You MUST see what you have. Periodicly during a draft you need to ask yourself a few questions. How many creatures do I have? What's my curve look like? Do I have any tricks? Can I deal with artifact or enchantments? Your deck won't perform well if you ability to draw a creatue is ten to one. You won't win if your ability to remove a creature or pull ahead in some shape or form, what I refer to as a trick, then your deck is, for lack of a better, a "one trick pony". Which likely will allow you opponent to out play you. Third, in most formats of limited there is a very threatening enchantment or artifact. Although, this doesn't warrant drafting Naturalize over Craw Wurm it's something to consider in the last five or so picks in a draft. Bringing in a card like Smash versus a Platinum Angel can literally win a match. Not bad for a tenth to fifteenth pick card.

Craw Wurm


Ok, let's not go that far!

Curve: Something to Live By

This is the last and arguably one of the most important strategys in draft. I have found that you want something close to a bell curve often peaking at three to four mana cost. There are a few exception, as some archetypes flow lower or higher curve wise. Such as in Cold Snap draft the white weenie archetype would peak at two and go down often like a right triangle. This was fine as the decks motive was to finish the game within the first seven to eight turns or so. Normally, however, the bell curve is the normally the way to go. Often tempo will determine the end result of the game. I have found that often when I curve out playing stuff on every turn for the first few turns...I win, especially if you use all of your mana such as two drop on turn two and three drop on turn three and etc.

 Alright, this session of class is over. PENCILS DOWN!  Now, as for whats to come. I will be bringing weekly metagame articles for puremtgo. This will include Top Eight Metagame analysis and maybe even some interviews with some of the great players on MTGO. I also hope to bring some more draft articles as I enjoy drafting and have found people respect my game. That will come down to whether or not draftcap decides to like me anytime soon. More to the point, tell me what you guys think. Do you like what I am writing? Would you like me to go even farther in depth? Is there anything you would like to see in the weekly metagame page? Am I an idiot? Well, we all know the answer to that. Finally, to all of you, Have Fun and Good Luck.


Nice read by The Sneak (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 01/20/2008 - 04:33
The Sneak (Unregistered)'s picture

Amidst the recent negativity I thought I'd drop in and say I really enjoyed the recent article(s) on this. Can't wait to see the third in the series.

Nice read by The Sneak (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 01/20/2008 - 04:34
The Sneak (Unregistered)'s picture

Ok then, didn't mean to say it that many times...but I guess now you can tell I REALLY enjoyed it.



Nice read by The Sneak (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 01/20/2008 - 04:32
The Sneak (Unregistered)'s picture

Amidst the recent negativity I thought I'd drop in and say I really enjoyed the recent article(s) on this. Can't wait to see the third in the series.

Nice read by The Sneak (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 01/20/2008 - 04:33
The Sneak (Unregistered)'s picture

Amidst the recent negativity I thought I'd drop in and say I really enjoyed the recent article(s) on this. Can't wait to see the third in the series.

HEY! by Gameben23 at Fri, 09/28/2007 - 16:51
Gameben23's picture

HEY! Calm down man. This was kind of a "feeler article" for me. It was a very basic set of ideas that I have used myself in draft that have ultimately helped me win...alot. It was intended for players on a lower to mid-skill level. Which seems obvious because if your pro you already know these ideas. Due to such good response to this article, at least until now, I am planning to do some follow up articles. How many? Thats hard to say because limited can be approached in an infinite number of ways, and sadly enough I'm going to try and cover ALL OF EM. Bread Theory, curve, splashing, very in-depth guide to signaling(as that is what people are dieing for), to whatever idea that crosses my mind and the mind of my readers. And you have my word that NONE of those will be tossed together, they will be my absolute best work I can do. Until then, CHILL OUT.

Okay... by Spider Loc (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 09/28/2007 - 15:37
Spider Loc (Unregistered)'s picture

I was going to write a detailed critique on this article, but I had so much written that I'm writing my own article for new drafters instead.  Stay tuned for it.

 Also, who is the intended audience for this article?

Who proof reads this stuff by The Pink Floyd (Unregistered) (not verified) at Fri, 09/28/2007 - 02:21
The Pink Floyd (Unregistered)'s picture

I could hardly read this because it is so poor on grammar and spelling.

Seriously, does anyone proof read articles before publishing them, if they do... they need to be fired.

by ozzymage at Thu, 09/27/2007 - 16:10
ozzymage's picture

nice to see some articles about drafting in general as opposed to drafting XXX or TPF.

 I cant wait to read the next article in the series.

Thanks for the Feedback by Gameben23 at Thu, 09/27/2007 - 10:53
Gameben23's picture

I realize the idea of a "20 terror" deck is outlandish, but it got the point across I thought. This is a basic to slightly advanced level of draft strategy I covered. I understand that drafting a deck with 8 creatures and 14 removal is playable, truthfully I'm never really happy with it unless the creatures are game winners or just work really well with removal, kinda like Orgg(normally not too playable, but it rocks with heavy removal base). As far as not covering that strategy, I felt that it would just bog down the article.

Good Questions by Gameben23 at Wed, 09/26/2007 - 21:18
Gameben23's picture

I'm glad to see so much interest in this. I will indeed have to make a contiuation article because finding the signal and deciding when to force are very hard things to learn and even harder to master. Even then its not a guarantee. As in "forcing" a color its actually not a bad strategy, I actually do it all the time(often UW skys in TPF or UR in Tenth). It allows you to draft a certain color combination or archetype without making many mistakes in building and even playing as you learn from repetition. Knowing when to abandon that color is fairly hard. As far as going more in depth I hope not to take too long getting an article out :)

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Thu, 09/27/2007 - 00:08
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Although I agree with the general thrust of yoru article, I do have a couple of nitpicks.


Firstly, comparing Terror with Incinerate.  I think that  Incinerate is a slightly stronger card in a vacuum, but you could defend taking Terror over Incinerate because red is wafer thin while black is choc full of removal, card agvantage, and even fatties.  So for that example I would disagree wtih your evaluation.


Also, your argument about the 20 Terror deck is a little absurd.  Who are you slanting this article at?  The most clueless players need the simplest rules, so for that category of player, "take every removal spell in your colours unless there's a bomb" is much better advice.  Once players get beyond that and know enough to actually know what bombs and removal cards etc etc are, then perhaps your argument will make more sense.  But still it doesn't.  The reason for that is that good removal is a scarce resource and try as you might you won't be able to draft 20 removal cards as good as Terror for your deck. And RB decks that run 18 land, 14 removal spells and 8 largeish creatures (no early manacurve) are surprisingly playable.

So I can't work out what level of player you think would find that advice helpful.


Anyway, please don't take this as a big slam on your article.  I thought that most of it was very good.

Good Information by DarkDragon at Wed, 09/26/2007 - 19:29
DarkDragon's picture

I like the idea of your writing. Drafting is my favorite format, but also my weakest, so advice in it is always welcome. I agree that knowing the set and the value of the cards is important, which is information that can be found and memorized. Learning to interpret and control signals is not so simple to learn. I'd like to read an article in the future that breaks down what to make of the signals you receive and what types of signals to send along to get the best selection of cards to fit your draft strategy. =)

TY by Gameben23 at Wed, 09/26/2007 - 19:53
Gameben23's picture

Thankyou for the compliment and I aggree completely that this article was not nearly in depth enough on the topic of signaling. That topic will indeed need to be continued in a future article.

by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Wed, 09/26/2007 - 20:43
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

here is something I would like to know, (i loved the article by the way).. I believe I fall into the "average player, average drafter" camp.. while I know I make mistakes when drafting, I think the hardest picks to learn are the "not so obvious" ones that win matches..

I've tried to mimic draft strategies I've seen on the internet and its hard to incorporate into my drafts. I've tried taking "just the good cards of the color(s) I like" and I end up with the "20 terror" scenerio.. where my card quality is good by my deck is terrible. How do you "find" the signals in the picks. I know you can't really start picking up on signals until picks 4-8 those are the crucial picks that can make or break a draft. say you have a pack that could go "either way" and you end up signaling to the drafters next to you that you want a certain color and that color magically "dries up" in sequential packs. and how can you say "cut off" colors to the person next to you.. say in a real life draft where you know certain players tend to sway different ways (like my friends tend to leave blue alone.. but some get smart and deny me good blue cards)

 and is "forcing" a good strategy? what I mean by that is say I love the color blue and I'm going to take all blue cards whether they are good for my deck or not? is there times when you should or should not force? and how do you deal with colors card quality drying up in the third pack?


sorry if thats a lot of questions, but it was a great article, love to see another.

majorsite by dungdung at Sat, 10/30/2021 - 01:44
dungdung's picture

After reading this article, I think my insomnia will go away. Many of my worries have gone away. As expected, people need to read a lot of helpful comments and cheer up.메이저사이트