Full Force drafting is a series dedicated to forcing archetypes in draft formats. Join me every Thursday as we learn the ins and outs of the most recent Magic draft formats.

Kaladesh is swiftly coming to a close and this week we’re doing a slight revisit on an older Full Force. As the format has been fleshed out, we talked about it changing from looking like a two-color format into more of a three-color wedge format, focused around specific synergies. This week, we’re focusing on counters, which will touch briefly on the BW value deck we looked at when the format was new.

When I first looked at the WB deck, it touched a lot on Fabricate and this deck will focus on it as well. Something to note, however, is that the deck we drafted that first time used the Fabricate triggers more for artifacts than for the counters, which is a lot of the influence of the black cards, like Foundry Screecher and Dhund Operative. This will happen in your drafts when going for these synergy decks, because the colors bridge gaps between different archetypes, you’ll often find another sub-theme in your color. White often means you play a little bit of the bounce/flash synergies to rebuy Fabricate cards or triggers like Armorcraft Judge. Black can let you play with more artifacts, Green draws you more towards Energy with cards like Thriving Rhino. So drafting a “+1/+1 counters matter” deck can actually mean a lot of different things.

This becomes fairly important in our draft today, and I think I made a mistake in not trying to enable Dynavolt Tower. Being in Green tends to pull you towards the energy cards with great payoffs like Thriving Rhino and easy enablers like Attune with Aether. I didn’t base later picks around it and we ended up a little light on removal so playing Tower might have been the correct decision.

With how many different directions you can go, even trying to draft a specific synergy, how do you start? What pulls you into the archetype? For me, the easy top pick for this style of deck is Fabrication Module. The card has been incredibly powerful and since it will fit in any strategy decently (though obviously best with Energy or counters) it’s a great place to start because it allows you the flexibility you need to follow the picks after. On this same note, I also like to get into Green in this format in general and in this strategy in particular. Not only is Green one of the more powerful colors in Kaladesh, it also allows for that same flexibility we were just talking about, with lots of mana fixing like Servant of the Conduit, Attune with Aether, and Wild Wanderer and Green has some of the best pay offs for counters as well; Armorcraft Judge, Fairgrounds Trumpeter, and Durable Handicraft.

The flexibility is particularly important in a deck like this, compared to something like the Night Market Lookout deck we did because of how many cards are uncommons and their playability in a variety of decks. Almost everyone wants Fabrication Module. Every Green deck wants Thriving Rhino. Aetherborn Marauder is good even without counters. Keep yourself open to what’s coming, because if you see the cards you need drying up you might need to switch to your secondary synergy. We missed out on doing that today and missed late Energy bombs like Empyreal Voyager and Whirler Virtuoso. You can take a Marauder early and if counters aren’t coming pivot to Foundry Screechers and Operatives and get a great artifact build. Leave that door open as long as possible and take your picks with that fall-back strategy in mind. A small exception are the aggro decks like the Night Market deck or a Red based vehicles. While still needing to watch signals, these are easier to assemble because the cards they need aren’t as in desire and tend to be common. Nobody cares if you pick up Giant Spectacles, Sky Skiff, or Thriving Grubs, so the deck is easier to put together.

I know that flexibility and staying open has come up a lot in Full Force, especially during Kaladesh. This is no coincidence. As the format has played out, it has shown that more than normal these are important skills to learn. There’s the synergy overlap that rewards pivoting to an open strategy and switching colors can be easier than normal because of the decent fixing and the large number of artifacts cutting down on your need for colored mana. All of this makes Kaladesh incredibly exciting to draft for me. It’s a format that rewards “going deep” on a synergy by having very powerful synergies and yet also requires a lot of attention to signals and a willingness to shift strategies because of its flexibility. It can be an intimidating format for new players because of this and it makes it difficult to write concrete strategies for archetypes because of how fluid they are, but if you stay open mentally and with your picks the format will reward you.

If you want to vote in next week’s version of Full Force you can vote on the poll here. See you next week when we dive into a special edition of Full Force with the Twisted Color Pie Cube!