Hey everyone. A friend and I are going to do a few rounds of Winston Drafting tonight (Here for those that don't know) with 3 ZEN, 3 WWK for each round. I was just wondering if anyone had a few tips for being able to draft well. I personally have never done this kind of limited before. It seems like the 1 on 1 drafting makes it much easier to tell what you opponent will play but is there strategy in drafting the bigger piles to get a bigger pool to build from or not. Also, is not picking a pile and going for the random card really ever a good choice?
Thanks for any tips or tricks!
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"You are what you pretend to be, so you must be careful what you pretend to be" from Mother Night
I've done a fair amount of Winston. Some key issues...
1) You'll be forced to play cards you otherwise wouldn't consider. Be prepared for this. Be more open minded about cards that are generally useful but underpowered (like Hedron Scrabbler) as opposed to cards that are just narrow (like Dispel).
2) Taking the top card of the pile is often fine. If there's nothing particularly compelling in any pile, take a chance. Then your opponent has to wade through the same crap.
3) It's up to you whether you want to take the big pile of below average cards, or hold out for something really powerful. If you try the 2nd approach, you might find yourself with only 20 or so playables which is a lot to overcome with card quality.
Winston is slow enough (because of how horribly inconsistent each deck will be) that the weird metagame rules of Zendikar limited no longer really apply to a lot of these cards, and something like Vastwood Gorger becomes much more reasonable. The best of the best aggressive cards/starts (Geopede, Gear on early guy, multiple counter allies) will still wreck face, but will be fewer and farther between, and when you only get so many two drops, there won't be enough cheap guys in the same colors for either player to draft anything like what would be an aggressive deck in normal ZZZ/ZZW.
If this is your first Winston draft, I suggest being aggressive with your picks of off colored power cards. Remember that if you don't have it your opponent will.
Once you've already played the format enough with the same person, it can become time to loosen up a little bit and stop aggressively hate drafting, but for now you'll do better by grabbing the few powerful cards you see. Expect to play 3 colors.
While I hate the weird narrow lower end spells they print so many of these days in regular draft, they are frequently quite fun in Winston. Shieldmate's Blessing will look so good