MTG Draft Night: Conspiracy 2 – Take the Crown

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):

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. Continue reading

MTG Weatherlight Draft

We do an occassional MTG draft night with the local gaming group. The most recent one I’ve blogged about was the old-school 5th edition night. At the end of last month, we also revisited the “old school” theme with another set: Weatherlight.

Like 5th edition, Weatherlight was a set that most of us hadn’t played. One of the guys said that this was the set that made him stop playing magic, and I certainly remember some of the cards–but I didn’t remember a bunch of them. I’m not sure if that means I ever opened these packs or, maybe I just played with the reprints?

Whatever the case, it was fairly new to most of us, and we had prepared it as a blind draft so nobody had time to prepare strategies for it. So, the draft themes that had come out of it were pretty varied.

My first pack had an Empyrial Armor in it, and that card is a complete house, so I was fully into white. Later, there wasn’t alot of good white cards passed my way, but I did wind up picking up a few more armors. Red, however, was fairly available. I picked up five bogarden firefiends, and that card should be a 2 for 1 in many instances (or at least a solid 1 for 1). I rounded it out with a single “lightning bolt” and a Thundermare as a finisher, plus a Thran Tome for card advantage.

My deck looked a little something like this:

Continue reading

MTG 5th Edition Draft Night

Though the blog is primarily dedicated to 40k, I do have a long and varied history with other types of games.  Frankly, my local group winds up playing more board games than anything else, but we also dabble in the dark art that is Magic: the Gathering.

Last year, we finally bit the bullet and started throwing semi-regular draft nights together.  To date, we’ve had three or four of them on an almost quarterly basis, all of which have been fairly well received.  Well, to prevent things from getting stale, we opted to throw a couple of twists into it this time:

  1. We went with an older set from back when most of us used to play
  2. We opted to make the particular set we were drafting hidden

I figure I’ll break down a bit of those two decisions, as to how they worked out, and then talk a little about the event itself… Continue reading

Return to Ravnica – Draft Night

We’ve started making MTG draft nights a semi-regular thing in the gaming group.  Though we all enjoy it and frankly want to play it more often, we limit ourselves to about 3-4 times per year so that we don’t wear out our welcome.  Our most recent event happened this past weekened, where we played Return to Ravnica draft.  This marks our third draft since April of last year, but I didn’t bother writing up a blog post about the second one for some reason (likely because it was Conspiracy, so we had no real brackets or winners/losers due to it being multiplayer).


We’ve set a precident that we’re going to keep inviting those people that show up.  Sadly, Aaron wasn’t able to attend last time and we filled his spot with “Sambro,” so when we were looking for our eigth this time, we gave Sambro first dibs.  It was a little sensitive, because Aaron had a valid reason for not attending, but it made sense to invite those that do come.  I’m sure we’ll work Aaron back into the lineup again.  Otherwise, it was the same people in the first draft: Rob, Brandon, Sean, Derek, Joe, Albert, Icky, & Sam.


For food, we wound up having an extended meat and cheese tray.  I picked up six kinds of cheeses and two kinds of meats, plus crackers and pretzel crisps, plus chicken salad and a veggie tray.  Brandon was goodly enough to furnish some beverages.  It was a deviation from the normal “dinner” style with lighter fair, but I think it was a nice change.


Like last time, we wound up deciding the pertinent information (who, what, when, where, etc.) via Survey Monkey.  The group is super laid back though, so it fell into place quite easily.  We played a copy of Return to Ravnica because I had a box on hand, and it got the most votes from the group (winning handily with a whopping 2 votes).

My Deck:

rtr_boosterboxSadly, I mashed all of the cards together before I could get a list for this blog post.

Like last time, I did a bunch of pre-drafting and I’m not sure how much it helped.  Initially, I was convinced that U/W was going to be the strongest color because of how many flyers it had.  Then, I wound up yielding to G/W because green seemed to have so much good hate against flyers.  But my green decks all seemed slow, so I figured that R/B was going to be the winner.

Throughout the drafts, I really liked drafting propogate decks, but knew that I had to get the right centaurs to make it work.  So, when the cards came around, I committed to drafting Centaur’s Herald and Call of the Conclave whenever they showed.  In total, I got one of the Herald and saw two Conclaves, but only drafted one.  I also snuck a couple of Stab Wounds out because I had heard they were format defining, and was passed two Underworld Connections, so felt obliged to pick them (I think I picked the foil one over the second Call of the Conclave).

My packs weren’t amazing, in my opinion.  Prior to the draft, I had decided that I was going to draft for a winning deck, and not for value, but my first and third packs had shocklands, and I wound up taking them over the other stuff.  It helped that I didn’t see anything in either pack that was overly compelling.

I didn’t see a single mythic, which only means I should’ve sat next to Brandon–who managed to pass two mythics: Sphinx’s Revelation, & Isperia, Supreme Judge because he didn’t want to play W/U.  That shocked me (especially considering the revelation was in his first pack), but he beat me, and nearly won the night–so I’m not sure how bad of a play that really turned out to be.

In the end, I wound up making a three color deck who walled up at the start and would grind it’s opponents down with stab wounds or under the weight of populating creatures.

The Aftermath:

I did alright over the course of the night, with my only losses coming to Brandon’s B/R deck–he fell to the losers bracket after being beaten by Icky’s U/W control, where he beat me a second time, then clawed his way back up to win against Icky and force a final match, which he lost 1-2.  It seems that the two decks that I initially thought would be best were ultimately the ones that won.

Final standings looked something like this:

  1. return-to-ravnica-spoilerIcky
  2. Brandon
  3. Rob
  4. Joe
  5. Sean
  6. Sam
  7. Derek
  8. Albert

We’re going to try to keep track of this info, so we can use it for seeding information in the future.


I just thought I’d end it with the links I found helpful in preparing for the draft.

Image Credit: RTR Box art copyright Wizards of the Coast

Dark Ascension Draft Night

Clearly I dabble in the dark arts that is Magic: the Gathering, but I really don’t play all that much.  Mostly,  I just buy cards and never do anything with them.  Well, it turns out that several members of my gaming group also used to play the game a bunch, and we all decided to play an evening of draft.   So we pre-empted last weeks’ normal gaming session with a scheduled game of MTG draft, where each person chipped in $20 and that covered the cards plus food for the evening.


The regular gaming group was invited via the standard email, and we signed people up on a first come, first serve basis.  We were hoping for six people, but actually got 8 attendees: Rob, Brandon, Sean, Derek, Joe, & Albert, plus two guys from outside the group: Icky & Aaron.  All had played magic in the past, but it had been years since most of us had played, and many people had no idea about the set, mechanics, or how draft worked in general.


I don’t normally document what it is we ate on the blog, but this is an exception.  We wanted to make something nice since everyone was chipping in and my wife came up with a suggestion for French Dips (seems logical enough: what else do a bunch of grown men want to eat besides meat?).  She even found a recipe online, and it was pretty fricking amazing, so I just had to share the link.  Amazing French Dip recipe found here.

In total, I collected $160 from everyone for the evening (including myself).  $90 of that was supposed to go towards the box of cards, but I wound up going a little over.  I spent $51 on the sandwiches, and another $25 on a pizza–so I dipped into the card fund by $6 there.


We handled what to play, where to play it, etc. all in advance by hosting a series of polls through Survey Monkey.  We could’ve played the latest set, Shadows Over Innistrad (or as Icky calls it, “Shadows over Innoruuk”), but the poll actually turned out the highest votes for another box of cards I just had laying around: Dark Ascension.  Don’t ask me why it won, as none of us really know anything about the set or it’s sealed value, but it had the most votes, so we went with it.

In advance, I tried to do as much research as I could

My Deck:

I was able to draft cards to make the following deck:

  • Creatures (17)
    • 1 Briarpack Alpha (foil)
    • 2 Dawntrader Elk
    • 2 Forge Devil
    • 1 Kessig Recluse
    • 2 Markov Warlord
    • 1 Mondronen Shaman
    • 2 Pyreheart Wolf
    • 2 Strangleroot Geist
    • 1 Ulvenwald Bear
    • 1 Wolfbitten Captive
    • 2 Young Wolf
  • Spells (7)
    • 1 Burning Oil
    • 1 Fire of Undeath
    • 2 Wild Hunger
    • 3 Wrack with Madness
  • Lands (16)
    • 7 Mountain
    • 9 Forest
  • DarkAscensionDraftBracketGreen:
    • 1 Kessig Recluse
    • 2 Lambholdt Elder
    • 6 Ulvenwald Bear
    • 2 Hollowhenge Beast
    • 1 Crushing Vine
    • 1 Tracker’s Instincts
  • Red:
    • 1 Afflicted Deserter
    • 1 Faithless Looting
    • 1 Fling
    • 1 Hinterland Hermit
    • 1 Russet Wolves
    • 2 Scorch the Fields
    • 1 Torch Fiend
  • Black:
    • 1 Death’s Caress
    • 2 Tragic Slip
    • 1 Vengeful Vampire
  • Blue:
    • 1 Mystic Retrieval
    • 1 Screeching Skaab
    • 1 Griptide
    • 1 Chill of Foreboding
  • Other:
    • 2 Executioner’s Hood
    • 1 Grim Backwoods

I had done a bunch of pre-drafting leading up to the event, and ultimately decided that I wanted to go with Black/Blue or Black/Red.  My first pack didn’t have any good cards from any of those colors, so I started with a foil Briarpack Alpha, and then kept getting passed red and green cards.  Nobody wanted any of the werewolves, so I started drafting them as well (though very few actually made it into my deck).

Throughout the draft, I never saw a mythic, and only once saw one of the uncommon lord cards.  I also found it unique that the people I played with took a very different tact as to what was good in a given set/color.  I kept seeing cards getting passed around when more than half the pack was gone that I would’ve considered strong contenders for the first pick in a pack (in fact, I never got a strangleroot geist until the last half of the last pack, when I was passed two in a row).

Because of the colors I was in, I wound up making a bit of a speed/agro deck.  Due to the limits of the format, I didn’t really think that it would be possible, as it seemed quite slow, but my deck really did consistently put out creatures and hit my curve for the most part.  I claim that’s the biggest reason why I was able to pull down the victory for the night.  To reinforce that notion, the second fastest deck (Icky’s U/W Spirits) wound up taking second place.

The Aftermath:

DarkAscensionHaving never done a proper draft before myself, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I can’t believe how much fun it was.  The drafting experience itself was certainly more fun than the act of playing magic, and that really seemed to be a commonly held belief by all of those in attendance.  By the end of the evening, my cheeks actually hurt a little bit from smiling too much.  Additionally, I had someone go out of their way the next day to call me and tell me how much fun the evening was.  We’re all in agreement that we’re going to do it again in the future, our next set will be Conspiracy though (or perhaps the sequel to it).

Since most people don’t actually play (or collect) magic, many people left their cards behind.  So, while I drafted complete crap when it came to value, I actually managed to retain all four mythics that were opened (including Sorin), which will surely make good decks one day if I ever get around to expending the effort.

We also had four packs leftover, and we opted not to open them, instead we’ll retain them to be packs used for a Chaos draft after Conspiracy.  Yup, we’re already planning that far ahead…


I just thought I’d end it with the links I found helpful in preparing for the draft.