To prepare for our most recent MTG Draft Night, as with most of our groups events, we started off with a survey. We asked about what kinds of sets people would like to draft, what the food should be like, what the venue should be, etc.
The results of the survey in many instances were the same. People all seemed content to keep having the draft at my place, and were fine with whatever as far as food goes. The important part seemed to revolve around having a good bunch of guys show up and draft cards. That’s where the real fun is (even more so than the actual games).
The only real differing opinions came when we talked about what sets to draft. The most preferable solutions seem divided into Unstable, Conspiracy, whatever the latest set is (we’ve not yet done a “new set” around release time), Dinosaurs & Pirates (eg. Ixalan), or a Chaos Draft. Truth be told, when you’re only talking eight people voting, all of them came out relatively close in the rankings.
I would’ve thought that Unstable would win, because it basically met two qualifications. First, it was an UN set, so that appealed to the casual players in the group (and we’re all pretty casual). Secondly, our draft night just so happened to be scheduled for the same night that the set released. That made for a pretty convincing argument.
However, we went by raw numbers. And by raw numbers, Conspiracy 2 won out.
We’ve had a number of draft nights so far (five I believe), which were (in chronological order):
- Dark Ascension
- Return to Ravnica
- 5th Edition
I never did a blog post on Conspiracy. If I think back, I might’ve been swamped at the time, or I more likely just didn’t know how to write-up a game which had no clear winner.
Since we were doing Conspiracy again, and I wanted to be able to make a blog post, I also wanted to be able to crown a winner. To make this possible, I decided to put a meta-game in place wherein people would score points throughout the night. The winner of the night would not only get pride, but also get first “draft” in picking their Christmas present for the year (more on this later).
Points would be awarded for the following actions:
- Arriving Early (+1 point for each minute early – Maximum 10 pts)
- Arriving Late (-1 point for each minute late – Maximum 10 pts)
- 1st to Leave before the event was done (-20 points)
- Bring a “pre-planned thoughtful” gift (+5 points per individual gifted – Maximum 20 pts)
- Bring a food item to share (+5 points)
- Failure to wear the crown when becoming Monarch (-1 point per infraction)
The idea here was to award people for being good. Fundamentally, these were to determine Christmas gifts, and I like the idea of rewarding people who are just good people more than those that are good at the game. Of course, everyone who is invited is a good person–so we’re really just splitting hairs at this point…
Most of these I had planned out in advance, but I did have another guy show up an hour early, so we brainstormed the specifics. We went into detail about what constitutes a ‘food item’ (for instance, if someone brought a lot of food to share, could they earn this twice? — we decided that it was too difficult to draw a line on this one). After careful debate, that’s the list we went with.
The next category was based upon a history of draft nights.
- Placing First in Each Previous Draft Night (-3 points)
- Placing Second in Each Previous Draft Night (-2 points)
- Placing Third in Each Previous Draft Night (-1 points)
I liked the idea of weighting this category heavily so that the people who come to game nights regularly, but those that don’t often win, would be more likely to win this evening. That way, everyone is a winner in their own right. Luckily, I have blog posts on most of these nights. The only one that we didn’t have was for a multiplayer game, and it’s hard to truly say who won that.
I think everyone can agree that Sambro won the drafting portion of the evening and ultimately had the best deck–but that doesn’t translate to wins in multiplayer. His deck was so fast and threatening that he had a huge target painted on his back when he started each game.
As such, we didn’t count him as the “winner” for this point and he didn’t get any negatives.
The final category was actually playing the game:
- First Player Out of Each Game (+2 points)
- Last Survivor of any game (+2 points)
- Each Opponent Taken Out (+3 points)
- Removing Multiple Opponents in a Single Turn (+2 points)
I guess it makes sense that, as a competitive game, we give some sort of credit for people for actually winning the game, right? Well, in this sense, we figured it’s multiplayer, so it shouldn’t necessarily be about winning, but about taking other players out of the game. That way, the player who wins the game and kills one player actually does a little worse than the player that loses the game but takes out the other two.
So what did people get for rewards? Well, I had collected a few MTG prints online. Many of them came direct from the artists themselves, but also a fair number came from Mark Aronowitz on Facebook–he’s sort of an art broker for various artists. I ordered mats from matboardplus.com (the same company I used to get mats made for my Star Wars posters from 2016). I included a copy of the card for each, trying to use the original printing where available (and affordable)–using collector’s edition for the beta stuff to the best of my ability.
That all set me back more than I typically would want to give away as Xmas presents, but it was a neat gift, so I ok’d it. I didn’t want to go out and spend a bunch of money on frames though, so I spent much of the Summer rummaging through garage sales for cheap 11×17 frames.
The winners, in order, and the art they selected are as follows:
- Joe – Force of Nature
- Sam – Orcish Conscripts
- Mitch – Nebechanezzar
- Derek – Pendlehaven
- Sean – Frozen Shade
- Brandon – Solkan’ar the Swamp King
- Icky – Serra Angel
- *Albert – Hypnotic Specter (not pictured)
- *Aaron – Hand of Justice
Albert and Aaron didn’t show up to the game. Albert used to be a regular, but he opted to bow out of the event (replaced by Mitch). Since he’d come to every game up to that point, I decided he needed a print as well. He’s into really heavy metal so I figured the Hypnotic Specter or the Frozen Shade were the most appropriate options.
Aaron only showed up to one draft night (the first one), and then had to bow out of the second one. We wound up filling his spot that time and not inviting him back because the eight slots were filled. I feel kind of bad about that, and would welcome him back if we free up a spot. So he got the 9th piece.
Sometimes we opt to kick in extra money for better food, but this night we went fairly light. Each person paid $20 to participate in the draft and I pick up food. The box was ~$90, so that left $70 left for food. Our local grocery store was selling sides of beef for $60, so I picked one up and made huge steaks for everyone. With the leftover cash I picked up potatos and broccolli, and threw together a salad with what I had in the fridge. My wife made rice crispy treats that were hard as a rock (you know, those things that look like cupcakes in the photo), and Mitch brought doughnuts.
They weren’t the most delicious steaks I’ve ever had, but they were pretty tasty. Big thanks to Joe for going out and cooking them all for us. Also, in case anyone is wondering, 1.75 pounds of steak is just too much for a normal human to eat at dinner. There were leftovers for days…
I don’t have much documentation on the games. For the first pack or so, I was the only player drafting green, so I had a pretty reasonable mono-green deck going. My goal was to draft something based around Summoner’s bond, Natural Unity, and Menagerie Liberator (trample!). I passed over too many liberators though as green was so plentiful that, once Sean started drafting it, I was a little light on them.
Still, I had four in my deck, and it worked fairly well. The first game, I absolutely dominated. The second game, I found myself mana screwed (along with Brandon) and I was killed by 1/1 critters before I could draw my fifth land. I guess I should’ve mulliganed after all, eh?
For notable cards I did manage to draft both Weight Advantage & Sovereign’s Realm (in my first pack, no less). I should’ve played the realm, but I found the whole thing too intimidating. I guess you just draft the best card out of each pack and play with everything–then use the bad cards as “lands”? Weight advantage didn’t come up until the third pack, and I hate drafted it–too late to switch colors, but I had no desire to see a cheap blue deck pound me into the ground because of it.
I never know how to end these posts.