Drafting Digest: Curiosity Killed The Opponent

Good news, everyone! The new Limited format isn’t bad! Ixalan just needed a little help from its sister set, and it’s getting it! Ryan Saxe opens a few packs and a lot of discussion!

Now that we’ve been drafting the format for a couple days now, trends are starting to appear. So far, I have no reason to believe any specific strategy isn’t viable. I have seen good decks of every tribe, great one-drop-oriented aggressive decks, and super sweet five-color durdle decks. I’m not saying that this format is going to be one of the best, but it certainly looks promising! I do have to say that I think the format is fast, and a good portion of the time you should draft decks that lean aggressive, but that isn’t to say you can’t do other things.

Let’s jump into a draft!

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

This pack has a ton of options. I’ll start by saying, while I usually take rares early on to try them out, Dead Man’s Chest is a card I just don’t think will be good. It requires a few too many hoops to jump through just for the potential of drawing some cards.

Storm Fleet Swashbuckler has impressed me. It’s not a slam-dunk first pick or anything, but I’ve found ascend to be easier to turn on in aggressive decks because they commit so much to the battlefield. And this card is somewhat of a wombo-combo with Tilonalli’s Crown. That being said, I think our other options are better.

Atzocan Seer is a very powerful card. It’s likely one of the best enablers for the five-color durdle decks I alluded to above. However, it will also be great in G/W or Naya Dinosaurs. It takes a lot for me to first pick a gold card though, and I don’t think the upside of Atzocan Seer justifies the narrowness. If I first pick a gold card, I generally want it to be one of the best cards in my deck, and I just don’t see that being the case here all that often.

Jungleborn Pioneer has impressed me. Both the 1/1 and 2/2 body can trade with relevant cards, and they both are part of a relevant tribe to boot. It’s not fancy or anything, but at this point I think the Pioneer is the best green common, and I’m fine first picking it. However, the last option for this pack is going to take the cake.

The lords in this Limited set are busted. Merfolk Mistbinder is a gold card worth the risk. There are plenty of ways for the tribe to go wide, and it pairs nicely with the new Slitherblade: Mist-Cloaked Herald. I’m pretty happy to start off my draft with a lord and lean merfolk. If I don’t get to play the card, so be it, because if I do it will be one of, if not the best cards in my deck.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

The Pack:

The Pick:

Reckless Rage has gone down for me. As it turns out, such a large portion of the creatures in this format have two toughness that the downside is quite detrimental. Sure, it’s a good card, but it’s not good enough to get me off my Merfolk start.
Giltgrove Stalker is a sneaky little two-drop. A great Merfolk to pair with what I have so far, and I’m always looking up to pick up as many two-drops as I can. Especially because the two-drop slot for common Merfolk in Rivals of Ixalan is lacking. While I could see this being the correct pick, I’m quite high on the last option, and I think it’s even best suited for Merfolk.

I believe Curious Obsession is better than every common by a reasonable margin. If you connect once, it likely gave you a profitable attack and a card. And all for one mana! And anytime Curious Obsession does more than that, it snowballs out of control and takes over the game, since you get to keep drawing into cards that enable more attacks. I’ve been impressed so far, as it’s single-handedly both won games when I played it and lost games when my opponent played it. Maybe I’ve had a warped view so far, but I honestly don’t think so. I would happily first pick Curious Obsession, so I’m ecstatic to pick one up here!