I mentioned in a previous article that the 2 Guys Gaming got together this past weekend. We played some of the old X-Men arcade title on Chris’s new Christmas present, the Pandora’s Boxx. We played about a dozen matches of Dragonball FighterZ. In fact, that’s what the last article was about. We also talked about playing some Magic the Gathering. Well, neither of us has a deck that has been updated (or even tuned) for a couple of months, so we’d have to figure something else out.
Inspired by this impending get together and with 20 dollars burning a hole in my pocket, I went to Wal*Mart to grab four packs of the latest MTG set. I figured I could combine them with two packs from my Ixalan fat pack (I’ll never get used to calling it a bundle) so that Chris and I could do a 2 player draft draft. What the heck. It had to go better than my disastrous xMage cube draft that I tried.
I also took the opportunity to open the rest of the packs from the fat pack. I have to admit that it was a weird feeling. For no particular reason, I had been hoarding them plus the packs from my booster box since I bought them months ago. I didn’t get anything worth value. Certainly nothing along the lines of the shiny Chandra that I opened from that set and promptly sold on eBay for 75 dollars. I got a new Vraska and a Wakening Suns Avatar in the last pack. So, a couple of fun cards that maybe I’ll do something with eventually.
I thought the format we were using was Winchester, but apparently it isn’t. It is a variation of that, too. I can’t remember where I found it, so I will just briefly describe it here. We shuffle all of the packs together, put them in a pile between us, and one person starts by dealing out 3 cards face up and one card face down. The person who didn’t deal picks one card, the person who did deal picks two, and the last goes to the person who didn’t deal. Continue until all cards are drafted. Build a 40 card deck and battle.
The reason that I went with this format was that I couldn’t figure out the math of the Winchester format. It felt like players would end up with different numbers of cards and that didn’t seem to make sense to me. I have not actually tested this theory, so maybe there is balance in the format that I’m not seeing. This format ensures that both players end up with the same size pool from which to build their deck. It does take some of the intrigue away from drafting, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I don’t pay all that much attention to what Chris drafts and what his plan is, so it’s all a surprise to me when it comes to playing the games.
It didn’t feel like there were many bomb rares or mythics in the pool. We did open a Huatli, which is just as bad on paper as I thought it would be when I did my Rivals of Ixalan preview article. While we were drafting, nothing else jumped out at me. I ended up going off board because there were very few blue cards and none of them were really worth drafting and went with Abzan. It was actually more WB with a splash of green for Hunt the Weak and Hardy Veteran. Chris put together a Naya deck with a heavy dinosaur theme. He ended up with Huatli, poor guy.
I said earlier that I didn’t see any bomb rares or mythics. As I was typing my deck into Tapped Out for the screenshot, it immediately recognized what I wasn’t able to see until I drew the card during the second game. Bishop of Rebirth is a draft bomb rare and don’t you forget it. Overall, the deck was good. A little creature heavy for my play style, but once it got cranking with that Bishop, there’s no stopping it. Add in removal for days and it should add up to a win.
So, yeah, about that win. I lost game two to some bad luck. I drew 2 of my three forests before drawing a single plains so that I could play the various white cards that were rotting in my hand. I ran Chris over in game 2 initially with my dorks before he recovered and stabilized. We played at a stale mate for a while until I could get my Bishop of Rebirth on the field and just remove all of his stuff while bringing mine back.
The last game was one of those epic affairs for which we will hopefully eventually become famous. We again went back and forth with me gaining the upper hand and what I thought was a two turn win when I drew my flying creature. He top decked a “pacifism” and I had to play some mind games with him to keep him from killing me for a few turns. I finally got rid of his big ugly and tried to stay alive long enough to get my Bishop out there. After the game, which he eventually won, I saw that the Bishop was two turns away. Oh well, he won this round fair and square.
Until Next Time…
I’m researching some other 2 player draft formats. One thing that we could do is just do a 6 pack sealed match, but I actually prefer the strategy of drafting, even if it doesn’t contain all of the intrigue due to the fact that cards are “known”. There are some other formats that do introduce that the unknown into the draft. Who knows? Maybe we will try one of those formats next time. Then again, we have something that we enjoy, it works for us, and why fix what ain’t broke.