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The draft order switch

October 28, 2010

I’m a little late with this, but as I mentioned earlier I have been busy. Last week Wizards announced that from the prerelease of Mirrodin Besieged, will now draft the pack in the reverse order. That means that we will be drafting Mirrodin Besieged-Scars of Mirrodin-Scars of Mirrodin during the winter and then in spring time (and then later on Nationals I assume) we will be drafting “Action”, Mirrodin Besieged-Scars of Mirrodin.

So what do I think about that? Honestly I’m pretty neutral about it and I don’t think this change will be particularly impacting. We have to assume that Wizards are going to sculpt the future sets so that they will fit seaming less with each other etc. If this is a way for Wizards to “highlight” their new set a little more, fine by me.

Hey, don’t be such a wimp! Take a stand!

Okay, okay. If someone would point a gun at my head and ask me to take a stand on the matter I would have to say that I’m a little skeptical about this change. I’m trying to understand why, for the sake of drafting and not by flavour related stuff and what nod, you would want  to have the set with the highest variance of cards last. The best answer to that question that I can come up with is that Wizards want it to be easier to get hooked on a theme from the new set. With the small set last I guess you could make a case about the mechanics and themes from the small sets getting left out in the shadow and are just another set of tools to complement the big set. To better support the small sets Wizards solution is to make sure that you draft those packs first.

If that is the case you are running I’m not agreeing with you. Or rather, I agree that the small sets are taking the consequences of being last in the draft which means the sets theme is not getting the spotlight they deserve but I don’t agree with that changing the order of the draft is not making the whole draft experience necessarily better.

I guess it’s what fundamental philosophy you prefer when you draft. Do you want to be hooked to a theme/plan early and then use the rest of the draft trying to stitch that plan together or do you want drafting to set yourself up for being rewarded at the end? I personally like the last philosophy best since it rewards players with a plan and knowledge about the draft format they are drafting. Anyone can pick up some sweet rare in the first pack or picking up a theme early. Not everyone knows how to get the maximum value out of the last pack. And with the change of the draft order it’s going to be harder to get good value out of the last pack since it got such high variance of the cards.

A good example of what I’m talking about is the draft format Lorwyn-Lorwyn-Morningtide. I know that this is a draft format that is really “love-or-hate” by players. I personally love it but I know a lot of people who really dislikes this format. Anyhow, one of my favorite archetypes to draft in LLM was Kithkin because there were some really amazing commons in Morningtide for Kithkin decks (Kithkin Zephyrnaut and Burrenton Bombardier were the highlights). The thing that you realised after a couple of draft drafting this archetype is that the you always wanted to pick one of the cmc 3 guys in Morningtide over two drops. That meant that you should value two-drops in Lorwyn over three-drops. Once you knew you were drafting Kithkin, taking Kinsbaile Skirmisher over Aven Changeling was correct every time and by doing so you got rewarded at the end and you ended up with a better composed deck.

If you were to reverse the draft order for that format, the format would be quite different. Would you want to fight for Kithkin Zephyrnauts in pack 1? Not really, you want to be rewarded with them… My point with this example is to show how drafting can potentially fundamentally change with this change in the draft order.

I’m probably exaggerating things though, making mountains out of mole hills. I haven’t really considered how Wizards are going to design the upcoming sets to work with the change, well because I don’t know. I’m not psychic. No matter how this change is going to effect drafting though, I’m excited to find out.

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