For plenty of people, the best way to learn a brand new set is to just play with the new cards. And really the best way to really get familiar with any new batch of cards is to draft over and over. When it comes to playing on Arena however, most people want to get the most out of their drafts. Make sure to bring a game plan into the draft and make sure to always have a few of these tips in the back of your mind.
Don’t Lock Yourself into a School
The main draw of Strixhaven are the various colleges that exist inside the game. Each college has their own style and strengths, but don’t fall into the trap of deciding a school too early in the draft. In a Premier Draft, as with in-person events, drafts are held with eight players all aiming to grab the best cards from each college. Sometimes, multiple players will be looking to draft the same color pairing as one another and accidentally hurting not themselves but other players who decided to stay with that particular college.
The best way to combat this problem is to head into the draft with an open mind. Sets based on color pairings usually have some of the most flexible commons and uncommons. Hybrid mana symbols are incredibly important for switching game plans mid draft, as they allow for seamless transitions from one color pairing to the next. It goes without saying that even if you pick a really good Quandrix card in Pack 1, it still may be the best call to pivot into Witherbloom later down the line. The key to making the switch is by paying attention to the drafters around the table.
Make Sure to Read the Room
In the past few sets, drafting has been a little less tactical than in previous years. Throne of Eldraine ushered in a new era of drafting where most cards are either incredibly strong, or really really bad. Players knew that most cards they could draft would end up being playable because they were just fine on their own. While Ikoria did have some payoffs for Mutate synergies, these sets typically had people drafting any two colors they wanted to without being punished. Strixhaven, however, is not so generous.
The major difference between Strixhaven and the previous sets in standard is the power level. Strixhaven feels vastly weaker than its predecessors. Weaker doesn’t mean less fun, it just means drafters can’t go picking cards without a worry. Players need to once again start reading the table and making note of what’s being passed and what colors are open. With powered-down cards, the college synergy is more important than ever. Being able to recognize what is happening around the draft table allows for a player to make better decisions even before the next pack is opened.
Study Up and Be Prepped for a Pop Quiz
As with every set that releases, it’s absolutely vital to get a glimpse of some of the cards beforehand. Knowing what mechanics there are, what kind of keywords are new, and what archetypes are available will go a long way to help succeeding in this limited format. For Strixhaven, giving a quick look over at some of the cards is doubly important because there are a lot of plain weird cards in the set. Some cards can surprise players still even after a few rounds of drafting.
Notably, there are a bunch of cards with reach that don’t necessarily make sense. Too many times have opponents swung into a squirrel not knowing it has a way to trade. As for the rest of the set, Lessons are an interesting addition that promotes more adaptable gameplay. The Mystical Archive cards are available in every pack, meaning some games opponents are going to have Time Warp or Lightning Bolt – both pretty tough to play around.
Then, of course, there are combat tricks to learn, but that rings true for all sets. Knowing is half the battle so make sure to read up on all the new cards from Strixhaven before heading to the Premier Draft queue.
Featured image courtesy of Wizards of the Coast
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