One of the biggest things to keep in mind about the new draft format is that Omens of the Past is about 150 cards smaller than The Empty Throne. This means you are significantly more likely to see a given card from Omens of the Past than you are a card from The Empty Throne. There are a few huge implications of this:
There is a lot more overall influence fixing, especially from the Omens featured factions. For example, you are way more likely to get multiple Hooru Strangers and Banners than Elysian. The amount of Banners and Strangers should feel significantly more common from the Omens packs than we are used to from The Empty Thrones packs given the smaller overall set size. This incentivizes three and four faction decks, typically centered in the Omens factions. For example: Fire, Justice, and Primal takes advantage of two Omens factions: Skycrag and Hooru as well as The Empty Thrones’ Rakano. The other tri-faction groups that are going to be better supported both by fixing and two Omens factions worth of multi-faction cards are:
Time, Justice, Shadow: Xenan, Argenport, and Combrei
Time, Fire, Primal: Praxis, Skycrag, and Elysian
Justice, Shadow, Primal: Argenport, Hooru, and Feln
Fire, Shadow, Time: Praxis, Xenan, and Stonescar
Just because there is more fixing to support 3+ faction decks doesn’t mean straight two faction decks are bad. You will certainly draft plenty of straight 2 faction decks, especially from Omens pairings, but you need to be aware of how easy it can be to splash certain cards and take the appropriate fixing to enable that. When to take fixing vs powerful splash cards will be an important skill you will need to work on to master this draft format. It will be equally important to know when it is right to focus in on just 1 faction pairing. This will mainly come from experience drafting and putting together decks, as well as observing what your opponent’s decks look like when you get a feeling that their deck is great.
The Omens of the Past themes are better supported than The Empty Thrones themes. For example, it will be a lot harder to assemble a dedicated Feln infiltrate deck with two less packs of The Empty Throne, and there will be considerably more Omens faction support as their cards appear more often. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to draft a great Feln deck in the new format, just that it will be harder to pull off than in the past. Conversely, you will have an easier time building around a particular Omens of the Past faction like Skycrag as there will be more Spark cards and enablers from Omens.
The main mechanics of Omens of the Past lend themselves to slower, value based strategies. Because the Omens cards are more common, that means more decks will be slower as well. The games go longer and having a robust late game plan is more important. The format being slower gives further weight to getting greedy with your influence requirements as you will have more time to get there.
Remember, that if you are building a control deck, you need to have a stronger plan late game with better and or more effective win conditions than your opponent. If you can’t come up with a powerful way to win the late game, you may be better off changing your focus to a more aggressive plan. Again, just because slower, more value/controlling decks are more common doesn’t mean you can’t draft a great aggressive deck, it is just less likely.
Because the Omens themes are better supported, more people will be jumping in on and focusing on them. This means powerful Empty Thrones faction cards, especially ones that are hard to splash, may go much later than normal. For example, Crystalline Chalice only really fits into the Fire, Primal, and Time deck as far as Omens focused decks go. That should lead to a balancing effect where even though there are less opportunities for The Empty Throne faction cards, you may be able to draft powerful cards later in the pack as a result of more people not focusing on them.
What works? Tried and true advice is to draft what is open. Focusing on what faction pairs seem most available in pack one should guide the rest of your draft. You should pick up on these signals and remember to target appropriate off faction fixing and splash cards. For example if the best cards you are seeing are Hooru, don’t be afraid to pick up some Skycrag or Argenport splash cards/fixing in case you end up playing a 3 faction deck.
In my experience, grinding from Bronze to Master post Omens release, powerful cards and/or synergies win the day in the new format. The more power you can assemble, either by having a super focused synergy driven 2 faction deck, or a 3+ faction deck splashing powerful cards with appropriate fixing, will result in the most success. I will be posting some draft videos where I talk through how I approach the format as it can be hard to visualize just by reading an article.
Thanks for reading,