Booster Draft is both a challenging and exciting format of Magic The Gathering. Not only do you have to work with a limited card pool, you also have to meta-game against the other people with whom you are drafting. If you’re just getting your feet wet in a Magic booster draft, these five tips will help you improve your odds of winning a few games.
Keep Your Cards Organized
This is basic etiquette. Depending on where you’re booster drafting, it may or may not be permitted to look at previously drafted cards before the drafting is complete. Always keep your cards in neat piles so they don’t get mixed with the cards you’re drafting. If the person in front of you is still choosing a card, place the remaining pack face down on the table neatly where it won’t get mixed with their other piles.
Picking The Right Cards
In a booster draft, powerful Magic cards are in short supply. A creature with an evasion ability such as flying or fear will be a huge boon in this format. Similarly, direct damage and creature removal are also going to be hard to come by. It’s wise to draft powerful creatures and removal spells before someone else does, sometimes even if you’re not playing that color. Anything powerful that you don’t pick up will probably be used against you by an opponent!
Picking The Right Colors
When booster drafting you’ll be playing at least 2 colors, often splashing in a few mana of other colors for killer creatures and removal spells. When you’re continually being passed cards of a certain color, it’s a signal that no one else is drafting that color. Similarly, the lack of cards of a particular color is often a signal that someone else is drafting that color. Your main colors should contain enough cards to flesh out the bulk of your deck. If your primary colors are weak, you’ll probably get beat by a deck with stronger cards in those colors. Try to find a niche that no one else has drafted yet.
Using “Mana Fixers”
Especially when you have 4 or 5 colors of cards in your deck, you’ll need to keep an eye out for artifacts, lands, and other cards that will help you access additional colors of mana in a pinch. Often called ‘mana fixers’, these will help prevent you from losing a game because you didn’t draw the right type of mana fast enough. Even if you don’t have all five colors in your deck, mana fixers can also help with cards that have multiple mana symbols in the casting cost.
A Word on Rare Drafting
In a sanctioned Magic The Gathering booster draft, you will always get to keep your cards. If you see a very expensive card that won’t help with your deck, whether to ‘rare draft’ it will depend on the prizes being offered, and your expected chance of winning. If you’re a beginner at Magic, you may as well rare draft the expensive rare as there is little downside. In a private booster draft, it is common to draft off the rares at the end depending on your match score. In this circumstance there is no reason to rare draft. Always find out how the Magic cards will be distributed at the end before the draft starts if you aren’t sure.