Drafting Digest: Too Much Of A Good Thing!

Sometimes a pack is just full of strong choices! So how do you separate the best from the merely good? Ross Merriam shows the way in Kaladesh Limited!

Everyone who starts a draft opens that first pack hoping to see a bomb rare looking back at them. And, failing that, a premium uncommon. Maybe something to build around or a powerful card that still leaves your options open. Either way, the early picks in a draft are all about power. But sometimes you have an embarrassment of riches, and sorting through powerful cards can be as difficult as deciding between a bunch of middling ones. This draft is one of those picks.

Pack 1, Pick 1

As you can see, we have not one, not two, but three great uncommons in the opening pack. If I had to rate them on raw power, I’d order them Arborback Stomper, Cloudblazer, Snare Thopter. However, Cloudblazer being two colors is a huge liability this early, so I’d rather take one of the other options, seeing as they are all quite close.

If you really like green in Kaladesh Draft, then by all means take the Arborback Stomper here. It’s a huge body that helps stabilize the battlefield with the triggered ability, and that’s exactly what you look for out of spells costing five or more mana: something that can press your advantage and also catch you back up when behind.

Snare Thopter is a much more aggressive card but has the advantage of being an artifact, so it can go into any deck that wants it. I’ve been very impressed with it, as the 3/2 body isn’t as vulnerable as it is in most formats. If this draft had happened in October, I would’ve taken the Arborback Stomper, but given the rise in my opinion of Snare Thopter, I’d rather get aggressive and stay open.

Pack 1, Pick 3

In the pool:

The cards available:

When you start with two artifacts as I have here, you’re looking for a clear signal of which color or colors to move into. But once again we are presented with a wide array of comparable cards spread across three colors, from Brazen Scourge and Salivating Gremlins in red to Dhund Operative and Weaponcraft Enthusiast in black and Glint-Sleeve Artisan in white.

Four of the five continue the artifact trend of the first two picks, with Weaponcraft Enthusiast being a key cog in synergy-laden artifact or swarm decks. But the first two picks don’t really suggest a theme, since they are fine cards on their own, so I’d rather take a more generically powerful card.

Salivating Gremlins is the most powerful card of the group, and I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking it here, but for me it comes up a little short to Dhund Operative. Premium two-drops are always high picks in Draft because you need a solid curve and playing weak cards is a liability. Dhund Operative is great on turn 2 but still relevant later in the game due to deathtouch. I just can’t pass up the opportunity to start filling in my curve, preparing for an aggressive artifact deck.