Drafting Digest: You’re My Obsession

Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan revealed what many pros think of the Draft format! Ryan Saxe explores the implications for your local events before offering two intriguing picks!

Now that Pro Tour Rivals of Ixalan is over, this Limited format is going to be in a state of flux for a while as everybody conforms to what have been deemed the best strategies. From watching coverage, to the newest episode of Limited Resources, to decks from the 6-0 drafters, a lot can be learned. I think the biggest conclusion is that red aggressive decks really don’t have the tools to compete here.

However, now that it’s public information that these aggressive decks are bad and that Snubhorn Sentry and Sun-Crested Pterodon (aka The Chicken) are great, maybe the format will go through a shift. These controlling strategies could be overdrafted, which weakens them enough to let aggressive decks make a comeback. So while content is going to focus on these sweet decks that don’t really care about attacking, keep your eyes open for extremely underdrafted strategies. Now may be a good time to exploit something like this!

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

The Pick:

Sun-Crested Pterodon isn’t really in discussion here, but I think that’s important to bring up based on what I’ve been hearing lately. Yes, “The Chicken” is surprisingly solid in this format, so much so that I want one in almost all of my decks and I’ve even splashed the card to good success. However, as it’s a five-drop, it isn’t irreplaceable, and I don’t want to waste an early pick on a card like that.

Atzocan Seer is a solid Magic card, but I want my gold cards to be a bit better than this to justify first-picking them. Additionally, W/G is not an archetype I like very much.

So which black card should take the cake, Sadistic Skymarcher or Vona’s Hunger? I used to be pretty high on Vona’s Hunger, but I’m not a huge fan anymore. There are two pretty big downsides, even if your deck is built around ascend, that make me lean towards the Skymarcher here. First, Vona’s Hunger is a non-bo with enchantment-based removal, of which there is quite a lot. But the more important downside is that often only a few creatures in this format matter.

Battlefields get cluttered with Legion Conquistador, Sailor of Means, Dusk Legion Zealot, and other little creatures. Often only one or two creatures on each side of the battlefield matter. Even with the city’s blessing, Vona’s Hunger doesn’t always have as much of an impact as you would expect. So I’m going to take Sadistic Skymarcher.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

The Pack:

The Pick:

A week ago, I wouldn’t have thought this pick was even remotely close. I love Curious Obsession. The card has performed quite well; if it goes unchecked it will take over the entire game. However, certain strategies in this format, often ones where Sailor of Means is great, don’t have a high enough creature count or enough cheap threats to really optimize Curious Obsession. Sailor of Means is an extremely important part of this format, and hence there is an argument for taking it over Obsession.

I really think this pick comes down to preference. I’m going to take Curious Obsession, but this is because I still prioritize cards like Kitesail Corsair for my control decks, and I know some players who do not. So if you think that your control-esque deck is not likely to be able to squeeze in the card Curious Obsession, I would take Sailor of Means. However, I believe that the way I draft these blue controlling decks will still be able to support Curious Obsession.