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 has been fairly thoroughly explored so over the holidays we’re jumping back in time with the Magic Online Flashback drafts, starting with Return to Ravnica. RTR as a set has been thoroughly explored; even Wizards themselves put up a quick strategy guide, that can teach you the basics of drafting all the different guilds. Because of that, we’re going to concentrate on going totally off the rails and trying to have as much fun as possible.
RTR is a set that’s all about several different guilds which means your focus is normally around a few colour pairings, specifically Selesnya (WG), Izzet (UR), Rakdos (BR), Golgari (GB), and Azorius (UW). A lot of the normal strategy is to get into a colour pair, maybe splash one or two cards from an overlapping colour and work within the strategies in that pairing (Tokens, Detain/Fliers, Scavenge, etc.). Instead, we’re focusing on an odd sub-strategy that was under-represented, but still possible to do in RTR; Defenders.
For some odd reason the set has a few incidental cards with Defender and two cards that actually care about the number of Defenders you have. It’s not really tied to any guild, in fact the two “Lords” (Doorkeeper and Axebane Guardian) are in a colour pair that doesn’t show up until the next set; Simic (UG). The plan is to draft a lot of colours and play as many Defender cards as possible, slow the game down and allow Doorkeeper to mill your opponent to death. Definitely not recommended as the best strategy in the format, it is still somewhat reasonable as being base Green and having access to fixing with Axebane Guardian and Gatecreeper Vine, you can pick up a plethora of powerful removal and creatures in all the colours and you have access to some truly frustrating blockers, like Hover Barrier and Trestle Troll. It’s a fun way to draft (even though it’s not optimal) and if you want to put a new spin on an old format or are looking for a challenge I definitely recommend trying it at least once!
Next week, Gatecrash lands on Magic Online, with the much faster guilds of Boros, Gruul, and Simic dominating the format. Vote in our poll and decide what insane creation we will be making next!