Drafting Digest: Hail To The Chief

Another day, another draft! Ryan Saxe takes his experience at Grand Prix San Jose and uses it to make you better at the format! But he could use some help, as usual…

This format has been all about intricate synergies so far. Scrounging Bandar has impressed me to the point where it is in the top three commons of the set. The fail-case is a Bear, but the interactions with Revolt, +1/+1 counters, or just general sizing is great. Sometimes you just win by moving all the counters over to a Prakhata Pillar-Bug.

Optimizing each of these synergies when you draft is of utter importance to success in Aether Revolt Limited. Hopefully this pack will give us a first pick with some synergistic direction:

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

It is obvious that Maverick Thopterist is the best card in this pack, and by a good margin.

The 2/2 body ends up being relevant more often than not, and the Thopters really get in there. Sometimes the Thopters even pseudo-tap for mana. I have played with and against this card many times now. I’ve cast it on turn 3, and I’ve cast it on turn 5. Maverick Thopterist holds its own in both scenarios, and it is only second to Winding Constrictor regarding the gold cards in this set. It’s even splashable! It’s going to take a pretty good card to get me off of taking this artificer.

Our other options are reasonable magic cards. Druid of the Cowl is great in any deck and the 1/3 body ends up better than usual. Chandra’s Revolution is also a quality removal spell. It’s still unclear to me whether the card is better than Shock, but I am always happy to play it in my deck.

The problem is, both of these cards just aren’t remotely close to the same power level as Maverick Thopterist. Plus, the Thopterist gives us a synergistic direction to focus on, which is great. Don’t force U/R Improvise, but if it’s there, this will be one of your best cards. So I am taking Maverick Thopterist.

Pack 1, Pick 4

The Picks So Far:

The Pack:

The Pick:

Hinterland Drake is a pretty good card. The 2/3 blocks well as long as your opponent doesn’t have an artifact creature, and fliers are always great in Limited. Renegade Map, on the other hand, doesn’t particularly do anything, but then again, sometimes it does everything.

Even though the Drake is more of your classic good Limited card, there are a couple of reasons why the Map is the pick here. First, it is a one-mana artifact, which enables crazy draws where you can cast Maverick Thopterist on turn 3. Not only is it colorless, but it helps enable a splash. Taking the Map means that you could be U/R or X/R and splash the Maverick Thopterist. And last but not least, the Map doesn’t (always) take a spell slot in your deck.

All of these add together to get a card I am quite happy to take here.

One last note: these kinds of decks often want to play Implement of Combustion. A one-mana artifact that enables your best draws but cycles later on has genuinely been impressive. I don’t want to take it here, but you should note that it’s in the pack and expect to wheel it if you’re in the right lane!