A Beginners Guide to… Drafting

How to make the most of your game store experience.

People, let’s talk – it’s nearly Modern Masters release date. This Friday you’ll potentially be down at your local game store getting ready to draft. That’s some actual money you’ll be spending. Now, you’re going to need a bit of guidance. Serious guidance. This isn’t that. Instead, this is the first in our series of beginner’s guides… for drafting.

Drafting is a fun, and relatively economic, way to get into playing Magic down at your local game store. You get to look at some cards, play some games and, if you aren’t socially compromised by making direct eye contact with someone for 45/50 minutes when you first meet them, make some friends. Well, acquaintances at first. Friends with card playing benefits later on if you’re lucky.

But before you take Friday night off the sauce to hit the sweet, sweet sound of cracking packs, you’ll want to hear my top five tips on how to succeed at the well choreographed shadow boxing that is the drafting experience.

Fun! With friends! And that prick who always seems to get best cards…
  1. Find the best player and then studiously avoid them. There is a best player. There is always a best player. Casually ask around – “Sure thing, I really think that shade of brown is slimming. Say – who usually wins these things?” Or alternatively watch for signs of cockiness. They’ll be demanding something called a ‘competitive prize pool’, talking dismissively about their ‘legacy deck’ being ‘vulnerable to the gush’ or they’ll be giving other people unsolicited tips. When you’ve identified Jonny (or Jenny) big pants. you want to be giving them a wide berth. Sit as far away from them at the table as you possibly can. If you end up next to them then you want to be making excuses swiftly. A cracking go-to excuse is to crease your eyes, wince a bit and make excuses about your ‘rash’. Be vague though, you’re not inviting a diagnosis.
  2. Step Up. Some people round the table will tell you to take out the weird advertising card and the token from the booster pack. These people are weak and this attitude will get them killed in war. Don’t do it. Make the next person do it. You’re here to step up – and if that first step is on their neck then that’s fine (this is a metaphor, don’t step on anyone’s neck – that’ll end badly).
  3. Talking. This isn’t speed dating. Say witty things but don’t give too much away. Don’t be that bellowing buffoon in the draft. You know the one. It’s a bloke, always a bloke. He doesn’t have close friends and the people at work don’t invite him out any more. He’s been loud in the build up to the draft, farting nonsense from his flapping gums about other people’s trade binders. Getting over-excited about something that seems mundane to you. Probably a card he’s seen. It’s cool to get excited about cards, that’s fine but don’t advertise this excitement to rooms full of people. That shit is uncomfortable. Then, the draft starts and pack 1, pick 1, so does he… “OH, YOU’LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT I’VE GOT HERE!” I bet I will you abominable prick. I bet it’s a card. A rare. And something about it means that you can’t control your vocal chords any more.
  4. Pick a colour. Some people, I call them cheats, like to spend the first pack and a half milling about between different card colour combinations. These people are irritants and need a stern word about decision making. After one card (at the most two) you should be ‘in’ a colour. You don’t change horses mid-race do you? No. Pick a damn colour and stick with it. This is just another example of indecision, an attribute that will have your arse shot in no time at all on the mean streets of life. Force it. Ram it down everyone else’s throat. Loudly. Except don’t say anything and try to keep it a bit of a secret. Essentially, cover all the bases.
  5. Choose black. Don’t be stupid. It’s got all the kill spells. Why wouldn’t you?

    Mr Bloody Blue Pants with his fat arsed blockers
  6. Don’t choose blue. Don’t be that player. it’s annoying and you’re always pushing the games too long. You’ll end up sat there reading cards with too much text on them. Flipping cards back into your hand or, even worse, your opponents. This is dicking about. Don’t do it. You might even end up doing the most annoying thing in Magic. Nothing. You’ll end up saving your cards to play on your opponent’s turn. Your turn is called ‘your turn’ because it is your goddamn turn, the clue is right there – in the name. So do something on it. Don’t be that player.
  7. Don’t Sideboard. You might as well wear a jaunty hat with a dandelion and the word ‘FAILURE’ in bright red. Stay the course. It’s like the colour choice thing.
  8. Food. Some fools bring food to the table. This is wrong. Anything other than an extra strong mint is evidence of the creeping Americanisation of our society. They’ll be offering bits to you too. ‘Pretzel?’ They’ll say in your Upkeep phase. That kind of fuckery is not on. It needs to be stamped out. They’ll probably be drinking a gaudy can of energy drink too. Shameful behaviour. A cup of tea in a sealed travel mug/container is acceptable. This is Britain, not the United States of Type 2 Diabetes.
  9. Rules? Yeah, I mean follow them. Obviously. But push them. You don’t see me sticking to five points in this article do you? And I‘m winning this one. Winning.

There you go, drafting is the sweet science of Magic and you just got the best schooling you could wish for.

In the next guide I’ll be talking about giving your opponents advice and other nonsense that people who play this game are wildly guilty of.

 

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