Something about Fate Reforged draft just feels wrong. There are lots of awesome rares to open, and a few really amazing uncommons, but after that it’s just all these boring mono-color cards! Then you get to packs two and three, where awesome three-color Khans uncommons and rares are just wandering around the table while everyone frets about the dearth of multilands and tries to draft two-color decks full of [casthaven]Goblin Piker[/casthaven]s and minor synergies.

Boooring. And for what? Why am I seeing charms and ascendancies wander around the table? Have we learned nothing?

Last week, I decided to try an experiment in the new draft format based on the following observations:

1. The average Khans cards are more powerful than the average Fate Reforged cards.
2. Lots of people are drafting two-color decks to minimize their need for multilands.
3. The good Fate Reforged rares are really good, and there are a lot of them, meaning a lot of people get attached to their first picks.
4. The Fate Reforged commons and uncommons aren’t exciting enough to push people away from their first pick rares.
5. Because of (3) and (4), the table is often very off-balance going into the Khans packs.

So, my ideas was this: in Fate Reforged, I would only pick bombs and extremely powerful uncommons over dual lands. I would then settle into a primary color or two in Khans, but mostly I would just take the best card in every pack, including feasting on all the gold cards in whatever Khan’s clans were open. What could go wrong?

I logged into Magic Online to give it a try. After pack one, I had one [casthaven]Yasova Dragonclaw[/casthaven], a bunch of mediocre filler, and six dual lands. Khans provided a huge pile of gold cards, a couple more dual lands, and adequate filler. I ended up with an awkward-looking white-green-splash-everything deck running both a Banner and a [casthaven]Map the Wastes[/casthaven].

I won the draft handily.

I tried it again, and lost a close match in the finals with a deck that looked better on paper, but was still awkward, five-colors, and using a banner.

I have yet to win less than two games with this (stupid) strategy. The quality of the unclaimed gold cards prancing around the table in Khans packs is just stunning. I’m taking charms and the common gold morphs with eleventh and twelfth picks. The decks have no coherent plan, but the lifegain lands and the power of the individual cards seems to easily make up for the inherent awkwardness. Magic Online failed to save my decklists, but here are is a game snapshot to give you an idea of how stupid this strategy feels:

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 7.59.19 PM

It’s hard to imagine the opponent doing much that is scary here, but it’s also hard to figure out what the heck I’m supposed to do. But it’s not that hard, really: you just trade your average cards until your powerful cards take over. This also gives you time to draw any colors of mana you have trouble finding.

This strategy has been really fun, but I’m going to give it up for a while. The big problem? I end up playing so few of the new cards that I’m not learning enough about them! I’m going to keep this tactic in my back pocket, though: give it a try and tell me what you think!

Gabe Carleton-Barnes has been playing Magic for over 20 years, mostly as a PTQ grinder and intermittently as a Pro Tour competitor. Currently based in Portland, Oregon, where he is an Open Source web developer by day, Gabe lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for three years. While there, he failed to make a documentary about competitive Magic but succeeded in deepening his obsession with the game. Gabe is now a ringleader and community-builder for the competitive Magic scene in Portland, wielding old-timey slang and tired cliches to motivate kids half his age to drive with him to tournaments.

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