Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Beyond Theros and Into Ikoria

My main love of Magic the Gathering is the Limited Draft format. I like the excitement of opening a pack and seeing what cards are there, passing them around and trying to build a deck, and then the excitement when a deck comes together. But the best part is that everyone is on the same level playing field, with ~45 cards to build a deck and play each other.

With that said, I did not have fun drafting Theros Beyond Death. I ended up at 55 wins and 60 losses after the many drafts I did, and only once got to 6 wins out of 7 before losing three times. I had many 0-3 results and generally felt flummoxed even when I thought I had a deck that could compete. it really killed my joy in March.

But along comes Ikoria Lair of Behemoths and the joy has returned! I'm at 28 wins and 18 losses, I've trophied twice (i.e. got 7 wins before 3 losses) in just seven drafts, and really feel like I've got the meta of drafting this set understood.

My best deck was a Sultai deck (Black, Green, Blue) based around Gyruda as companion with a couple cards that also fetched things from the graveyard. It went 7-1 and the only loss was close. Companions are busted.

I think part of my success is owed to drafting against real humans instead of bots. Somehow the open lanes are more obvious when drafting against humans, and it seems more likely that humans will try and force lanes that are already contested if the meta suggests its the best deck, leaving other colours super open and that just does not happen with bots. For example, twice I've drafted powerful Sultai decks because everyone seems to be trying to force Red White cycling decks. That' fine, those are powerful decks, but it means that I'm picking up relevant rares and uncommons deep into the packs.

Hey, I'll take it.

Another thing I like about Ikoria is that the mechanics are super fun. Mutate is a blast, companions are wicked when they work out, cycling is powerful. Theros' mechanics of Enchantments matter and escape were not exciting... escape was ok, but it did not grab me like Mutate does.

Overall, having lots of fun and I look forward to getting some more craziness in the next draft.

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