Ikoria is about as focused as a Limited format can be. Moving forward, I will be using it as the premier example of “draft a deck, not a pile of good cards.” Many Limited formats have a fine line between pursuing synergy versus pursuing the highest card quality in a vacuum.
I believe it’s correct to take cards like Bastion of Remembrance and Sanctuary Lockdown over Blood Curdle if Orzhov Humans is a potential avenue for the draft. Premium removal is still premium, but synergy payoffs are higher priorities in this format. Therefore, there are scenarios where Prickly Marmoset and Snare Tactician are higher picks than Fire Prophecy.
Time and time again I am faced with building my deck, and struggling with cutting cards. I find it difficult to cut cards that are likely to be good in your average Limited format. For example, I don’t play every copy of Dead Weight in my black decks. Take a look at this deck from my friend Alex:
Ignore the five copies of the second-best uncommon in the set, as this was pretty early in the format. However, note that there are two copies of Cathartic Reunion in the deck and two copies of Checkpoint Officer in the sideboard. In many Limited formats, inefficient tappers are solid cards, and Cathartic Reunion without graveyard synergies doesn’t ever make the cut. In Ikoria, I only want to play Checkpoint Officer in Orzhov Humans, because it has a Human synergy. In cycling, it’s just too inefficient and I would rather spend my mana cycling. Cycling can be prone to flooding, and Cathartic Reunion helps mitigate that risk, making it a more impactful inclusion than a classic Limited card that has a notable effect on the battlefield.
The following draft is a bit different from the classic archetypes in the format, but it presented some very difficult deckbuilding decisions, which we will address at the end.
Pack 1, Pick 2
The Picks So Far:
Pack 1, Pick 3
The Picks So Far: