Draft Tips



Hey all, i signed up for a draft tournament and i have never played draft b4 in my life. i need some help. i need like draft tips, strategies, what to look for, how to draft, etc. the packs are this is order, fifth dawn, fifthd dawn darksteel. thanks in advance


The Tentacled One
Yeah me too...

I don't seem myself participating in any drafts really, but I've never done it before, and it's best to be prepared, right? :D


Uhm... I've drafted some.

1. Try to stay strong in two or three colors, anything more pushes your mana base. It comes down to balancing "Broken Rare in color I'm not playing? Average card in color I am playing". Decisions like that also involve questions like : What set is next? What colors are good in that set? How many packs are left? And overall, should I switch colors?

2. Don't counter-draft.

3. Don't rare-pick.

I'm not the best drafter, so that's just some basic stuff.



In the right situation, raredraft. If the first pack is Troll Ascetic, second pack Chrome Mox, third pack Glimmervoid, etc. go for it. But, remember that cards that would not be good in Constructed are sometimes good in Limited. Also, big creatures are very important. Draft stuff like Fangern Hunter and Iron-Barb Hellion. Try to keep your mana curve close to 3, and play one or two big bombs.


Rarepicking is for serious hosers. If you want rares, buy packs. If you want to draft, draft.

Draft to win, not to go home with full pockets. Thats BS.



The Tentacled One
Wow, I just participated in a draft! Well go figure! Anyway, I think what Darius called counterdrafting these guys called "hate-drafting" and a couple of them actually did do it...

I don't think my mental factulties were up to their usual level, but I was a much better/more experienced player (still was my first draft) than most there, which made up for it to an extent...

Then again, I did draft U/B/R and ended up having to cut red from the mix, which REALLY hurt my deck, especially since i missed out on using Quicksilver Dagger and Crosis's Catacombs, as well as some potentially helpful direct damage...

I really liked the potential of Phyrexian Rager in my deck, and did have two of them. They helped every game. Oh, and we used repacks of shuffled cards (in the correct proportions of course) from this guy's collection (which was cool of him to set this whole thing up for us) rather than actual packs. That was good, because if it had been with current sets only, I'd have been a little bit lost, having not really played with Mirrodin, etc. And since no one was keeping the cards they drafted, there was no rare picking...

Something just crazy that happened though. Remember how I was drafting U/B/R? Well, in my second pack, I look through it to see Nekrataal, Sleeper's Robe, Treachery, and Flametongue Kavu! I didn't tell anyone until afterward what it was that was so good that it caused me to pass Treachery, Nekrataal, and FTK...

I ended up having either the best or second best deck there, as this one guy drew enough mana fixers to splash green in his blue deck, which was also artifact heavy and had a Tolarian Academy. I played him twice, one once and lost once. Most people ended up being too confused to draft good decks, or drafting as though they'd be playing group games.

It was fun, albeit a little bit easy. I know if there had been more good players I would have been slaughtered, most likely, but maybe I'm better at draft from the experience...

Killer Joe

New member
First of all, I think drafting is THEE best way to play Magic. It challenges your Deck building skills, your playing skills and puts everyone at the same starting point.

When I first started to draft I sucked! Rare cards were the ONLY choice because they were, um, RARE! One time, at FNM draft night, a very experienced player told me that his philosophy was "draft to win" and then you'll get all the rares you need. Good advice.

In fact, it is in my humble opinion that building winnable draft decks are based on solid common cards and maybe a few "BOMBS". Shatter, Electrostatic Bolt and Mana Myrs are good examples of why great decks win. Sure a Grab the Reins is a solid pick but I have devastated my opponents momentum by wiping out his creatures with a single Krark-Clan Grunt (a red common card).

Anyway here's some things I learned about drafting.

General Draft Tips & (Mirrodin/Darksteel/Fifth Dawn draft tips):

1.) Creatures (14-16)
You always want to draft creatures that have some kind of evasion like Flying, Unblockable or Landwalk. Otherwise you want creatures that have creature or non-creature destruction, bounce or direct damage abilities. If your pick for a creature doesn’t fit into these categories then a mana efficient creature or “Fatty” should do. Tramplers and First Stikers aren’t bad either but not first choices.

(M/D/5) – Same as above but go for the Mana Myrs first. Even the off color ones will help you speed up your mana production. The replicas are good, too. If you’re not playing blue the Wizard Replica is still a good choice just because it has flying and is a 1/3 hellavagood blocker. You could also decrease your creature count just because there are so many good elimination spells available.

2.) Spells (8-10)
You want to draft spells that disrupt your opponent’s game play. If the spell can destroy, bounce or burn then most likely it’s a good choice (mostly Black/Blue/Red). All others that do something to help you like life-gain or pumps your creatures are sub-optimal (IMO).

(M/D/5) – Same as above but if a Talisman comes by your way then grab it, even if it’s off-color. In addition to the disruption spells I mentioned above grab as many Artifact destruction spells as you can (red & green). The spellbombs are good too because they help thin out your deck. Yes, even the off color ones are good too. Also, the Skeleton & Crystal Shards are very good. You could increase the amount of spells you draft by decreasing your creature count.

3.) Land (16-17)
Use a mana symbol to land ratio formula. Count all the same colored mana symbols you drafted in each color then figure out the common denominator then add land according to the ratio. Ex. You have 10 Red mana symbols/6 Black/8 Blue. Find the common denominator (2). So add 5 Mountains, 3 Swamps and 4 Islands. This comes to 12 total so add an additional land type to each and since you have one or two slots left over, you make a judgement call as to what land type to add to make it 16 or 17 lands.

(M/D/5) – You can decrease your land count by 1 or 2 if you have mana producers like the Mana Myrs or Talismans. Some brave pro-tour types go as low as 12 land, ZOIKS!

4.) Colors
Generally, you should go with two colors, one main and the other supportive. In the case you draft a “BOMB” in an off-color you should splash a third color just for that bomb, but don’t draft anymore cards in that color or you could be facing color screw. Also, I wouldn’t draft cards with double casting cost colors like WW or BB or whatever unless you’re DEEEEEEP into that color.

(M/D/5) – With the addition of Fifth Dawn I think it’s a very good possibility that one can build Five-Color Artifact decks. Lots of Artifact creatures with the best spell types from every color.

5.) Your deck should only and ALWAYS contain just 40 cards…..PERIOD!!!!!!! Building that deck with just that one itsy-bitsy last 41st. card may be the DEATH of you. Believe it or not!

(M/D/5) – I’ve heard some war stories (urban legends really) about some pro-tour types are building 46 card decks and sweeping up tournaments left and right. I’ve never seen them nor do I believe them. Until I’m proven wrong (to my face) I’ll stick with the 40-card deck theory which is, if you want every draw in the game to count, you have the smallest amount of cards allowed in a deck. 40 for draft/sealed decks and 60 in constructed.


Generic Draft Deck
14-16 Creatures
8-10 Spells
16-17 Land
40 card deck

Mirrodin/Darksteel/Fifth Dawn Draft Deck
12-14 Creatures
10-12 Spells
13-15 Land
40 card deck

These are my opinions and not based on exact science. Just my experience. There are literally tons of articles around the internet on this subject and all are different.
Good Luck!



The Tentacled One
Cool, although my deck was only 14 lands because I was able to make my mana curve so low that it wasn't a problem, especially with my card-drawing...

There were a few unfortunate mana screws, but then there were also games where my opponent couldn't assemble a defensive arsenal before I had taken them to easily finished life totals...


to Killer Joe
[First of all, I think drafting is THEE best way to play Magic. It challenges your Deck building skills, your playing skills and puts everyone at the same starting point.]

I agree with what you said. I think drafting is the best way to play magic too. I usually draft only when I go to big tournamnts, ptq's, and pre-releases. I usually play in 2 drafts each day. I usually lose in the first round, no matter who I play, and I usually have the best deck in the entire draft. When I walked up to a pro player one day, at the fifth dawn pre-release, I showed him my draft deck, and he thoght it was really, really good.

So theres the problem, I can draft awesome, but I really can't play with cards that I havn't played with before.

So, drafting tips. You need to have bombs. Bombs are game breaking cards, something that will totally give you the advantage, like barter in blood, or grap the reins, or molder slug.

You also need mana acceleration. Talismans, myrs, anything to let you play your big creatures.

Big creatrues, also known as fatties (Jamie Wakefield said, that fatties will win you the game. Who ever has more fatties, wins. This is esspecially true in draft. If you think you will never play that 4/4 for 5 mana, and that he sucks,(fangreen hunter), you are horibble mistaken, because those big creatures you couldn't normally play in consturcted, are very playable in draft.

Removal is a must when playing draft. Your opponent may have 2 fatties on the board, all you need is that 1 barter in blood, and its game over for him.

A deck with a good combination of removal and fatties should fair well in draft.

The colors that do the best in draft are usually B/R. Mostly because of its removal. Red has burn, and burn if very good in draft. When you draft I suggest usually 2 colors. In some cases 3, and in even more cases, 1.

When you are actually drafting, you should look always look at your rare first, and see if it will pay for your draft. If you get a chrome mox, I would always take it because then, you just played a draft for free. If its not that good money wise, but reallly good play wise, you should look at every single card in the pack. You should look for the bombs, I was talking about earlier, because they will always be taken first. You can usually rely on myrs to go around the table, and you can take it next.

You should know what you are drafting after you have taken the first card from you first pack. Unless its an artifact of course, but then you usually have a good chance of knowing what colors, or type of deck you want to draft.

You should also pay attention to what is going around. If you are playing a draft where there is all 3 boosters from the same set, you can usually rely on cards that are being passed around in the first pack, and you can rely on those cards being passed around again. So you can decide which card is better than the others. Which is essentailly what you do in draft. You look at is this card better than this card?

Well, I think this is a bit random, but if anyone has questions cuz i'm not clear on something, go for it.

good luck drafting


Here's a challenge for you... I've done it twice - successfully - draft enough for a mono-color deck...

Got to finals the first time, and semis the next...

No color hosing is the best part...

Lack of "other" color strengths is the worst...