Amonkhet draft is proving to be amazing so far. Zach even goes so far as to predict it could be the best draft format ever. I’m not ready to go that far yet, but I am a big fan. The draft metagame feels balanced between aggressive decks and crazy fun stuff decks, which is a good sign. Over the next few weeks, we shall see how the metagame develops as people learn the contextual value of the cards in the set. I suspect Amonkhet draft will prove deep and flexible, with ample opportunities to gain advantage through skilled play. If so, then perhaps it will live up to Zach’s prediction.

Early returns have been that aggressive decks look strong. That’s not a surprise from looking at the spoiler. Red especially has a lot of fast and strong creatures, and exert generally encourages attacking over blocking. I don’t think aggro is the only workable archetype to draft, though. The curve-out decks are more obvious to draft, so people find them first. The slower decks require more experimentation to draft and build correctly. Plus, if the slow decks are as great as they look, that would explain why the aggro decks are strong as well. Like Zach says, the format looks very well balanced.

In between the paeans to beatdown this week, you may have heard rumors of durdly five-color green decks. Those stories are true. Here’s a version I drafted online:

Jund Glory

Creatures (12)
Festering Mummy
Naga Vitalist
Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
Neheb, the Worthy
Plague Belcher
Lord of the Accursed
Cursed Minotaur
Wasteland Scorpion
Pitiless Vizier
Glorybringer
Quarry Hauler

Spells (12)
Heaven // Earth
Gift of Paradise
Edifice of Authority
Electrify
Cartouche of Strength
Splendid Agony
Fling
Unburden
Wander in Death
Scarab Feast
Stinging Shot
Lands (16)
Forest
Swamp
Mountain

Sideboard (20)
Faith of the Devoted
Trespasser’s Curse
Minotaur Sureshot
Blazing Volley
Spidery Grasp
Manglehorn
Haze of Pollen
Reduce // Rubble
Spring // Mind
Kefnet, the Mindful
Hekma Sentinels
Scribe of the Mindful
Ancient Crab
Naga Oracle
Slither Blade
Winds of Rebuke
Censor
Compelling Argument
Luxa River Shrine

I started the draft with Kefnet the Mindful and looked to draft a reactive blue deck. Mostly I took black cards to go with the blue ones, but I did pick up a late Gift of Paradise. Going into pack two, I was open to taking whatever good cards I saw, or staying with Dimir if the cards continued to flow. Then this happened:

When you open Glorybringer, you take Glorybringer. At that point, I was open to either jump into red or go for a multicolor green deck. As it played out, red never came, and I ended up with a big pile of cards. Ultimately I decided the Jund build was better overall.

Gift of Paradise is a great fixing spell for Amonkhet because it provides two mana of a single color. Naga Vitalist also helps, as once you have a single land of your splash color, it provides a second mana of that color. That helps you splash the many double-colored-mana bombs like Glorybringer and Glyph Keeper. These two cards make this strategy viable. In fact, it might be one of the best archetypes to draft.

I was able to win the first two rounds of my draft easily. Turn four Glorybringer off Gift of Paradise is a real thing. Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons is also a house. You only need to make one or two snakes to get full value from her. One card that has impressed me a ton so far is Quarry Hauler. I’ve picked off a lot of creatures that my opponent put -1/-1 counters onto. That “proliferate” effect triggers Hapatra as well.

The draft league final round served up a mirror match. After barely losing a Glyph Keeper vs. Glorybringer race in game one, I decided to side into the blue version of the deck for more grinding fun. Here’s a the other version:

Sideboard Blue

Creatures (10)
Naga Vitalist
Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons
Hekma Sentinels
Kefnet the Mindful
Ancient Crab
Plague Belcher
Wasteland Scorpion
Quarry Hauler
Naga Oracle
Glorybringer

Spells (14)
Spring // Mind
Heaven // Earth
Reduce // Rubble
Electrify
Splendid Agony
Edifice of Authority
Gift of Paradise
Winds of Rebuke
Censor
Cartouche of Strength
Wander in Death
Stinging Shot
Lands (16)
Forest
Island
Mountain
Swamp

This version is a bit clunkier on the mana, but alsofeatures the amazing Spring // Mind to help hit all the colors. I still lost the finals, but this version of the deck made the matchup closer. Ultimately it came down to how quickly my opponent could land Glyph Keeper. Even so, I felt great about my pool of cards and both decks within it.

As you can see, this style of deck provides massive amounts of flexibility in drafting, building, and sideboarding. I’ve only scraped the surface. I can’t wait to see how Amonket draft develops. And that starts this weekend at Grand Prix Richmond. I’ll see you there!

Brendan McNamara (MTGO: eestlinc, Twitter: @brendanistan) used to play Magic in the old days. His favorite combo was Armageddon plus Zuran Orb. After running out of money to buy cards and friends who were willing to put up with that combo, he left the game. But like disco, he was bound to come back eventually. Now he’s a lawyer by day and a Dimir agent by night.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.