Would you make the choices I did in this draft?
Pack 1, Pick 1
Mishra’s Self Replicator is a powerful card, but it’s not so powerful that I want to start off my draft with it.
A barrage of 2/2s in the late-game sometimes isn’t good enough and the card dies to too many cards that are also cheaper. While you can certainly draft a deck with a historic theme that will gladly play the Replicator, I just don’t think the upside is worth forcing me down that lane. This card is more restrictive than a colored card, even though it may not look that way.
On the topic of powerful five-drops, Cloudreader Sphinx fits the bill. Fliers are a great way to win the game and this one sets up your next couple draws, which is nothing to scoff at. I’m a bit lower on the Sphinx than other players are, though. I think this set is filled to the brim with powerful win conditions, and your deck doesn’t even need that many.
I’ve been having a lot of success with decks that only have around five to eight ways to win the game and a bunch of card draw and interactive spells, so I don’t prioritize my finishers all that much. Cold-Water Snapper gets the job done and it can wheel. Don’t get me wrong, the Sphinx is good, but I would rather start off with a removal spell.
Settle the Score, a nice catch-all removal spell, is what I’m predicting most people will take. Well, I’m not a huge fan of starting off with the card. Settle the Score is a good Magic card, but exiling a creature in this format is not worth the lack of splashability. There are abundant removal spells at common, and I would rather take a splashable one than an unsplashable one any day of the week.
This leads me to my pick: Shivan Fire. While red is arguably the worst color and damage-based removal doesn’t always get what you want, this is a flexible and splashable removal spell. And don’t forget, it’s one of the few ways to beat a Turn 1 Llanowar Elves from your opponent!
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
I’m not really considering Run Amok. While it’s the best red card for this pack, I think both Thorn Elemental and Divination are just too much better, even though I started this draft with a red card.
So what’s better, Thorn Elemental or Divination? Well, if you paid attention when I was talking about Cloudreader Sphinx, you’ll realize that this pick is very easy for me. I’m taking Divination. In fact, this deck ended up with five copies of Divination, and I was quite happy with that.
Since the delta between the great cards and the good cards in Dominaria Limited is so large, cards like Divination skyrocket in value because you see your best cards at a higher frequency. Additionally, Divination helps your hit land drops and splash, which are both quite important for success in this format.
For those curious about how this draft went, I ended up in a multicolor base-blue deck and quite easily went 3-0. Here is the deck and the log of the draft!