I didn’t think I would have to write this article, but I do…
There is not a single common or uncommon that it is correct to take Pack 1, Pick 1 over any of the companions.
Yet I keep seeing companions Pack 1, Pick 2 to Pack 1, Pick 5. You could make an argument for Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate if one of the rares is foil, but even that card isn’t in the same ballpark as the best companions: Lutri, the Spellchaser; Lurrus of the Dream-Den; and Gyruda, Doom of Depths.
Let’s go through a couple of my undefeated companion decks.
At first, I was skeptical of Keruga. I would still take it super-highly, but thought companioning it wouldn’t be worth it, since no two-drops in a Limited deck is very risky. It turns out that having a companion is just so fundamentally busted that it’s correct to go for it where possible. It’s drafting on hard-mode, but it’s a fine line to follow because every single companion is just a good card to include in any deck. If a companion draft doesn’t get there, that’s okay! My current plan when I have a companion is to strongly shift my pick prioritization to optimize them. This means taking Frost Lynx above Essence Scatter, Of One Mind, and Dream Heron because of Keruga. Even though Dream Heron and Of One Mind are playable with Keruga, it’s extremely important to have tempo-positive three-drops to help claw back from behind.
However, I would not take Frost Lynx above Ominous Seas unless it was late in the draft and I was already certain I could companion Keruga. If I Pack 1, Pick 1 Keruga, I would still take a card as powerful as Ominous Seas Pack 2, Pick 1. This helps my fail-case when missing on Keruga to still have a fantastic deck. I hope not to play Ominous Seas, since companions are just that good. But hedging, and walking that fine line between companion in the sideboard versus the starting 40, is the name of the game!
Companions are so good that you can splash them outside of their colors! This Izzet Kaheera deck might looks a bit odd, but it was truly phenomenal. In fact, it gave me a specific appreciation for Frenzied Raptor. I won’t get into that here though, as my article on Thursday this week will delve into this specific sub-archetype for Izzet.
For now, let’s jump deep into a draft. I don’t start with a companion, but let’s just say that Pack 3 gets tricky!
Pack 1, Pick 1
Pack 2, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Pack 3, Pick 4
Take a good amount of time to look over the cards I have drafted so far. Especially consider whether this can be an Umori deck, because that’s what makes this next pick so difficult.
The Picks So Far: