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As part of the Magic: The Gathering Arena FNM at Home program, Wizards of the Coast has brought a new type of draft format to MTG Arena. Players can now draft against other people and not just the AI during this new type of draft. In honor of the new set, Wizards of the Coast is giving players a free Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths Traditional Draft. With the launch of Ikoria on Arena, let’s take a look at what makes this draft format different and explore some of the common archetypes to build towards.
Magic players who frequent stores or have played on Magic: The Gathering Online will find the rotating draft packs familiar. Players have to wait for the eight-person queue to fill up before starting, but once it does players will have a limited amount of time to make their picks. While the first-pick players will have about 70 seconds to make their choice, the timer will decrease for every pick afterward to a minimum of 30 seconds.
This new draft variant will be available in best-of-ones and best-of-three versions. For the free draft that MTG Arena is giving players, they will have their choice of which to participate in. Drafts with bots will also be available on a rotating schedule. Every player that enters into a sealed event of any kind will also get a random Godzilla Series Monster card style.
— MTG Arena (@MTG_Arena) April 16, 2020
MTG Arena archetypes are the key to a good deck
Once players get into their chosen draft, there are a few archetypes to keep an eye on. They are good goals to work towards in a draft but are certainly not the only option. Many of these archetypes have a good amount of crossover between them. Thankfully, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has plenty of built-in wedge color synergies, so splashing a third color is easy. Consider these:
- Blue/White Flyers
- Black/White Humans
- Red/White Cycling
- Green/White Vigilance
- Blue/Black Flash
- Blue/Red Spells
- Blue/Green Mutate
Don’t be afraid to experiment either! Temur Mutate has plenty of options for players, and splashing a few black cards into Green/White Humans is pretty easy. If you do end up going in three colors, you will want to pick some of the common dual lands for mana fixing, same with Evolving Wilds and the colorless fox Farfinder. It might not feel great prioritizing lands over other creatures or spells, but it will be essential for having smooth draws in your early game.
The other thing that new players need to watch out for is not to get too blinded by a late pack rare. Picking an off-color rare just because it’s big or cool won’t do your draft deck any favors. Getting to three wins in the Traditional Draft gets players six Ikoria Drafts and 3,000 gems, much better rewards than a single card.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that your first pack is not as important as it seems. Your first pick might be tempting to build your whole deck around, but don’t let it influence your other draft picks too much. Be flexible with your choices; your second and third packs will help define your deck. Drafting with other players means that you will likely be up against players in the same colors and archetypes. Before, Arena worked under an algorithm to simulate the best draft picks. Now, you will have to compete with another player who might be forcing a Sultai graveyard strategy that might compete with your Blue/Green Mutate deck.
Don’t forget to claim your three free MTG Arena packs using the code “PLAYIKORIA.” When you do, let us know what you get in the comments below! I got a Shark Typhoon, a gold wildcard, and The Ozoloith. Pretty boring for me, but hopefully you get something better! Make sure to follow Daily Esports for all your Magic: The Gathering news.
Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.