Ask Ken, 04/26/2004

A draft scenario which I haven’t seen discussed a lot is when the best three cards in your first booster are of the same color. What do you do if you get Molder Slug, Deconstruct, and Fangren Hunter in your first pack?

Welcome to another week of Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. This week will finish up our second month here at Ask Ken. I think you will all be pleased with our Thursday guest columnist – I know I am. We are going to do our best to not offend anyone this week, but believe it or not, we always try to do that. Anyway I am getting a funny feeling in my stomach. Either that squid I ate for lunch was a little too old, or it’s time for a little Reader Mail! Hey!

Today’s letter comes to us all the way from Amsterdam. Dimitri Reinderman writes:

Hi Ken,

A draft scenario which I haven’t seen discussed a lot is that the best three cards in your first booster are of the same color. Molder Slug, Deconstruct and Fangren Hunter, or Megatog, Grab the Reins and Electrostatic Bolt, or Slith Attendant, Skyhunter Patrol and Blinding Beam. Would you take the best card, or a lesser card in another color? Or only take the best card in such a case if it’s really a bomb?And what if you receive a booster like this for the second pick? Would you be more inclined to take the best card then?

By the way, I really like your column. Keep up the good work!

Regards, Dimitri Reinderman

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Well Dimitri, this is an age-old draft question. And it is tough to answer, particularly in this block. I am not a big fan of taking colored cards first pick unless absolutely necessary. I think that there is a lot of room to be flexible in this block. However you listed some powerful cards up there, so I am going to delve into the particulars of each before I give my general stance.

In your first example, this is a no-brainer. Slug is one of the best cards in the set, and Green is the consensus worst color in Limited, so the guy to your right may not even take a Green card. Especially since they may worry between your first pick rare and the fact that there are two high-quality Green cards that they might get trapped.

In your second example there were two tier-one bombs. Again, I think you have to go ahead and take the best card. Grab the Reins is one of the top two cards in the set, you really can’t ever afford to pass it, even if it means a splash or a color switch. Is the person to your right going to take Megatog? Absolutely. Can you live with that? Sure. You get to feed him in pack three where a lot of the powerful Red cards come, and you should have a second color, if it comes down to it, develop that color and make Red your support color.

You third example is the trickiest. You have three powerful White cards, and while I love drafting White currently, this is a risky pick. In fact, I am not even sure what is better, Patrol or Beam. Later in the draft, the pick is easier as it depends on your deck, but first pick first pack, it is tricky. I would look in another direction here. If there is no other direction, I think you have to take the Patrol, but you really want to take a card that isn’t White.

In general, and in this block more than others, taking a card from a color that is heavy in the pack isn’t that bad. This being the artifact set, you will often find yourself with only seven cards in your primary color, since artifacts take up so much of your deck. Don’t necessarily take this advice into the next block, but for now, feel free to dip into the deep colors in your opening pack.

Sharing is caring boys, and girls.

Still the source for advanced draft strategy,


Well I am tuckered out kids. I hope y’all enjoyed my peek into some of the inner-workings of my brain. Join me tomorrow when I try to explain why those of you who thought you were good now suck! G’night everybody!

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