In the midst of my Fall semester midterms, I’ve had a hard time finding time to play Magic. This past weekend, however, I got the chance to play in Grand Prix Providence. I battled with W/R Vehicles, but unfortunately I did not get a chance to pilot my Smuggler’s Copter into Day 2. At 4-3 I found myself signing the “drop” box and looked to find solace in draft side events. Looking ahead for the rest of the semester, I’m slowly realizing that I won’t have much time for Magic. With no local upcoming GPs until next year, and the next RPTQ not until December, there’s not much spell slinging to be had minus the occasional PPTQ I’ll be able to attend. When you find yourself busy with the goings on of everyday life, you can find Magic as a fun escape through different ways – for me it’s Team Drafting.
In a previous article, I introduced Team Drafting, why it’s great, skill-intensive, and a blast to play that requires just 5 other friends and 18 packs to draft. Living in a city with hundreds of Magic players is a huge bonus for Team Drafting, since you’re always going to be able to find someone who’s interested in cracking some packs. Since I Team Draft weekly, I’ve needed to think about Kaladesh limited, and how Team Drafting this set is different from drafting it at a table of eight compared to a table of six.
The Unpassable Cards
One important aspect of Team Drafting is knowing which cards you’re passing to your opponents. Since you sit on either side of two opposing team members, you’ll have an idea of what colors they might be in, and more importantly what cards you pass them and which they’ll end up taking. When it comes to powerful off-color rares in a regular draft, you’ll find yourself passing them more often than not, just to pick up a card for your deck instead, since the possibility of facing that rare is low. But, in Team Draft, every member of your team will be facing off against every member of the opposing team, so it’s important to take away any powerful cards instead of cards for your deck.
Here are the Cards that are too powerful to be passed:
These cards are usually extremely hard to deal with, so passing them up can be an extreme detriment if they reach your opponent’s hands. It can be difficult to take one of these cards knowing you’ll be down an important piece to your deck, but keep in mind the risks involved with passing bombs to your opponents. Some of these cards are more powerful than others, such as Verdurous Gearhulk being much more stronger on average than Cataclysmic Gearhulk, so there is some leeway room, but I tend to be more cautious in Team Draft than others.
One interesting note about the unpassable cards is that they’re mostly double-costed for whatever color they are. This limits how easy it is for opponent’s to splash. Eliminate the Competition can be splashed in a White-Green deck packed with Fabricate cards, but Noxious Gearhulk, because of costing 4BB is not as easy to splash. That being said, if you’re confident in what two colors the opponents next to you are, there are cases where you can pass up powerful rares in Kaladesh Team Draft, knowing that whomever you are passing to will either take that card and not play it, or pass it to your teammate.
There are other good rares I didn’t mention above, such as Dovin Baan, Skyship Stalker, and Cultivator of Blades, but these cards can be dealt with much easier and if they remain unanswered don’t get out of hand.
The Importance of Drafting Colorless Cards
One important note about team drafting Kaladesh is the value of colorless cards. Say you open a pack in which the two best cards are Welding Sparks and Renegade Freighter. Although Welding Sparks is a premium removal spell in red, Renegade Freighter is colorless, and can fit into any deck. This also goes for cards such as Bastion Mastodon, Iron League Steed, and Multiform Wonder. Colorless cards can literally go into any deck, so they’re more valuable to take than an equally powerful colored card. Your opponent might take the colored card, but they also might not and your teammate could pick it up. You have more to lose by passing up the colorless card.
A Limited Card Pool
Because in Team Draft you’re opening a total of 18 packs compared to the usual 24, this means fewer cards will be opened. When drafting specific card combos, keep in mind that you might not be able to pick up all the pieces for your deck. In Ryan Saxe’s most recent article on Kaladesh limited lessons, he examines the card combo of Whirler Virtuoso, Era of Innovation, and Decoction Module. You can find the full article here. Although in a regular draft you might be able to pick up all three of these cards, in Team Draft, since less product is opened, it might be wise to stay away from looking for two or three card combos.
Another important lesson to learn in Team Drafting Kaladesh is the ability to stay open and move into a color pair when it’s open. In pack one, if you start out Red-White and get passed a Voltaic Brawler towards the middle or end of the pack, you can safely assume that Green or Red is open. Like with any draft, it’s important to read these signals, but if you can solidify your color combination early in Team Draft you’ll have no trouble picking up a solid 20-23 playables for your deck. The decreased card pool also can alert you to what colors are open or are being cut earlier than in a regular draft.
I’ve had a blast Team Drafting Kaladesh and will be looking forward to how the format changes once Aether Revolt releases next year. Since I’m in the height of my semester, I won’t be able to jam as much Magic as I’d like to, but Team Draft is a wonderful outlet to get my fix. I hope you enjoyed this article and organize a Team Draft with your local players soon!
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