Ohhhhhh boy. Team drafting! That’s where it’s at—plus two turntables and a microphone. Today I am excited to discuss team drafting (henceforth referred to as “TD”) with all of it’s rules, facets, regulations, and of course…spoils! If you’ve never heard about TDing before, or have but want to know more about it, well then you are in for a treat…and I don’t mean the Rice Krispy variety.

Damn, that one even hurt me.

Recently, I started an email thread entitled “Team Draft League!” which included a select group of individuals from my LGS whom I know to be good players, good people, and reasonably good-lookers (not a deal-breaker). I wanted to begin having scheduled TD events whenever people cared to or were able to do one. TDing is a lost art of NYC LGS’s IMO (yo dawg I heard you like acronyms). Back in the day at a little store called Neutral Ground (at the time, the hub of NYC magic), one might be able to find players looking to team draft as easily as one might find one’s own Laboratory Maniac after casting Enter the Infinite (if one catches my drift!). For years after Neutral Ground closed, finding a good group to TD with was difficult and people began to lose hope! But fear not dear readers, for in my articles, the good guy always (sometimes) wins!

To my delight, my first email about starting a regular TD group was met with great enthusiasm by the twenty or so individuals I sent it to and we were ready to do our first TD. Eight of us met at a location provided by Nick Forker and what followed was a rousing success.

TDing can be done with six or eight people. Teams are made before the draft fires so that players can sit staggered between members of the opposing team. In a six-person TD (3v3), each person plays a match against each player on the opposing team until one team has five match wins. This mathematically eliminates the other team as a total of nine matches can be played between two teams of three. In an eight-person TD (4v4), each player still plays against only three people of the opposing team (the one they don’t play against is randomly chosen) so that the first team to seven match wins is the winning team. To the victor go the spoils; which are…all the cards that have been opened in the entire pool! The winning team then re-drafts the rares rotissarie style (for those of you familiar with fantasy sports drafts) until all have been drafted. Who picks first, second, and third is based on best record during the swiss.

TD’s are great for many reasons. First, you get to play with a selected group of players. This not only allows you to play with people you like and trust, but also players who, like you, are hopefully looking to improve by playing against a similarly higher quality player such as yourself (flattery will get me everywhere). Second, (well I kind of just said this but, to elaborate) TD’s are a way to really begin to hone your skills as a drafter. Teams are allowed to discuss certain aspects of the event with each other which can really begin to help players improve by learning from others. Two heads are greater than one. Psh, try three! Third, you do not need to rare-draft money rares since they will all end up in the pool at the end of the draft! This leads to players getting a more “real” deck both in pick orders, and cards that they end up playing. Players cannot communicate during the draft but are allowed to discuss deck-building decisions, sideboard decisions, and mulligan decisions. Players are not allowed to discuss lines of play with teammates during matches but they are allowed to give a scouting report before each match of cards that they’ve seen their opponents play. One interesting facet of TDing is that hate-drafting bombs is much more important to do than when playing in a regular eight-person draft. The reasoning behind this is that if you pass a bomb, every single person on your team will have to theoretically play against that card, making your teams chances of winning much worse.

So far my TD league has done around half a dozen TD’s and they’ve all been great. We’ve also been using foreign cards as of late which drastically increases the value of cards that can be opened (I highly recommend doing this should you TD in the near future!). I definitely feel like our play-skill as a whole has already improved and hope that we can continue to have success doing more TDing in the future!

errr…Touch Down!

World-renowned punster Hugh Kramer is also a skilled Limited Magician. He’ll share his thoughts on each format as it rears its ugly head, and continue his analysis well after the format fades into the darkness of rotation. Hugh was able to single handedly drive Matt Jones from the Limited format with his love of the Spider Spawning archetype in Innistrad Limited.

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