Drafting Theros – Successes and Failures

So I think of myself a something of a Limited specialist. At my local game shop (Get Some Game) we draft every Friday night, and there are a fair number of really solid players there. I’m not the best in the store, but I’m usually in the top 5-6. But Theros drafting has completely dumbfounded me. I have had only limited success in the format since the set came out (get it, limited success in Limited? See what I did there? It’s gonna get worse, I promise), winning very few of the drafts that I’ve played and rarely coming in Top 4 in our weekly drafts.

So there are few things that I wanted to talk about as my failures have continued to pile up, all of these being things that have kicked my ass over the months that we’ve been drafting this set.

1) Green/Red Monsters is pretty good, and often pretty open. I actually went against type last weekend and won a three-round draft going with Green/Red Monsters. I started out trying to be Blue/Red, but moved into Green after a Nemesis of Mortals wheeled. That means it went all the way around the table and made it back to me. When a really strong card like Nemesis of Mortals does this it typically means that no one is playing that color, so you can take anything you want in that color with impunity. From there I started picking up Satyrs. Not the piping one, I think Satyr Piper sucks ass, but all the others. Voyaging Satyr is an incredible two-drop in Green, giving a body and ramp. Satyr Hedonist has an awesome sac effect that lets you drop a monster really fast, and Satyr Rambler is just solid, a 2/1 body with trample for two mana. Slap a Dragon Mantle on him and you’re golden. So I rode the back of my Nessian Asps and my Nemesisesisesis to victory. And a Mistcutter Hydra, which is just really bad news for your opponent who is playing almost mono-blue.

2) Green heroic guys are trap cards. I have been such a sucker for Staunch-Hearted Warriors that I must have lost half a dozen matches because of them. The initial cost is too high, and they fall prey to Voyage’s End or Griptide just as easily as a more reasonably costed card. And don’t get me started on the Battlemaster. So Green heroic guys are to be avoided.

3) Minotaurs are fun. There are a fair number of minotaurs in the set, more than enough to draft a tribal minotaur deck, and the Kragma Warcaller often gets passed around the table, so he can be a fairly late pick. Grab all of those guys you can and just curve out perfectly from Deathbellow Raider to Minotaur Skullcleaver to Borderland Minotaur to Kragma Warcaller and smash face. Supplement with Harpies for flyer defense and it’s a thing.

4) Flyers are tough. Blue/White flyers is totally a thing, and when you add in that white has the best heroic guys, and blue has the best bestow creature, you can make an unstoppable air force pretty easily. Wingsteed Rider, Phalanx Leader, Nimbus Nyad, Fabled Hero, Akroan Hoplite, Battlewise Hoplite, Triton Fortune Hunter are all valid cards, and then at the top of the curve you have all the sphinxes for beatdown. Definitely a solid strategy, but a popular one, so you’re gonna have to fight for your cards and get a little lucky to get enough stuff to make it work. But one Phalanx Leader and a couple of Chosen of Heliod makes for a decent little army.

5) Pay attention to what’s open. I have such a problem with this, because I’ll try to lock in a strategy based on one rare, and I do better when I pay attention to the signals and just take what the table gives me. I have to pay more attention to taking early removal and bombs, then worrying about solidifying a strategy in packs 2-3.

So there are a few tips based off my mistakes in Theros drafting. If you’ve got anything to share, leave it in the comments!

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